Saturday, July 26, 2008

Baseball Weekend 2008!

I Have Left the Building
I wrapped up my on-site biz in "New Heaven" and officially left the client site. After a week that left me shell-shocked, I finally found the best view of the building: the view from the train getting the hell out of town.

The view from the train: my favorite view of the building.

Rather than head into the office on Friday morning, I opted for a raucous Thursday night on the town in New Haven with my buddy, The Rogue. Evidently, downtown New Haven is quite the party scene late at night with people everywhere and cops blocking every intersection.

Providence with Dr. J3K
Friday afternoon, I hopped a train to Providence for "Baseball Weekend 2008" with Jimmy Three Thousand. Shortly after arriving, we headed to the theater to check out "The Dark Knight." Holy crap, what a movie. Seriously, Tim Burton should be ashamed of the 1989 film. How good was Ledger? Not only was it a far superior film to "Batman Begins," I think I'd rank it as one of the better films I've seen this year.

After the movie, we purposely avoided Captain Seaweed's for fear that we'd end up like Uncle Walter. We were certain that we'd end up in the hurt bucket if we chanced a visit. Next time, my friends, next time. We ended up at a little place for a few beers and some catching up. Ultimately, we decided to get our monthly intake of greasy food. This would prove to be a poor decision as I would be in a perpetual state of gastro-intestinal distress for the next 48 hours.

Seemed like a good idea at the time.

Yankee Stadium
The first stop for Baseball Weekend 208! was Yankee Stadium. I'd never been to Yankee Stadium for a game and wanted to get there before the season and the stadium ended.

The view from our seats.

After an endless Amtrak ride, we hopped the subway and headed to the stadium. We found our seats in the Loge near the right-field foul pole and lamented the fact that they could comfortably accommodate someone only about 4 1/2 feet tall. Couple being cramped into the seat with the facts that it was sweltering and my stomach was percolating the entire time and you've the recipe for bliss. Still, it was great to be at the game.

I could use an ibuprofen & Pepto sandwich.

Unfortunately, it went extra innings. We had to leave to make our return train. Alas, we didn't see the Yankees win it but we had a great time.

Leaving the city by train.

Another skyline shot from the train.

Accidental patriotic photo.

Pawtucket Red Sox
Sunday, feeling much better, we headed up to Pawtucket for a Red Sox game.

Outside the stadium, a statue of the lady "Paws" mascot.

Until we arrived at the McCoy Stadium, we were certain that we'd get to see David Ortiz who was on his AAA rehab assignment. The night before, he hit a homer in the tiny, tiny stadium. To our dismay, he wasn't in the lineup and had been moved to the AA club, the Portland Seadogs. It was a good game fueled in part by our blind hatred of the Toledo Mudhens.

The press box completely blocks the view of some of the seats.

Not only is the stadium normal sized, the concession prices are much more realistic than their professional counterparts. Two beers for $9.00! I felt like a king ... a king who only drank two beers during the game, but still. My point is that it was affordable.

Fishing for autographs before the game.

Elvis Presley works as a photographer for the Toledo Mudhens.

10,500 people were at the game.

Afterward, we headed back to Providence, cooled by a Del's Frozen Lemonade. Then, we headed out to a local haunt to sip a margarita and watch the RedSox game on TV.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I Can Make Seconds Feel Hours

It seems that my song was playing and Lady Destiny was calling me out onto the floor to dance the "New Haven Bullshit Two-Step." I've been busting my ass all week long to get drafts of materials out for review prior to leaving the project. Today, I had a meeting with the C.O.O. (to whom I directly report) and the departmental Vice Presidents. Honestly, I've been dreading this damned thing since the meeting invitation hit my inbox. I had a sneaking suspicion of how it would go and, boy, was I ever right. Here's the summary of what the VPs said (I paraphrase, of course):
The materials look great; they're so much better than what we have. (Queue foreboding music.) But, we just don't have the time to update the materials; it's too much work for us to review it, plan our exercises, and use this stuff. Oh sure, we'll use it in the future but right now, we just don't have the time to do it.

Okay, thanks very much (for your company's money, you bunch of whiney-assed sissies). I love, love, love to hear sob stories about how hard people work, about how much time they spend on bullshit, about how they're too stinking busy to use the very thing that will help remove some of the unbearable burden of time-consuming work. I find it hard to take that with a looming implementation date they're unwilling to step up to the plate and do what it takes to make it successful. If that's their attitude, I'm done with killing myself to make a golden egg out of the turd they gave me. Instead, I'll just pick out the corn and give it back to them.

I took the afternoon off and went to a movie.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My Latest Existential Crisis

Ah, that old familiar territory. It seems like only yesterday that my friend Scott and I would regularly experience these types of crises during work at the start-up software company for which we worked. Flash forward eight years and I still seem to be circling the drain.

So, my client here in New Haven has an insurance business for which I'm developing training materials to support a software implementation. Yesterday of all things, I was creating a training module that taught readers how to update an insurance policy for a "deceased" owner. Frak, I thought, someday some jackass at an insurance company who doesn't know dick about anything will be changing my status to "Deceased" in some damned software system.

One minute, I'm writing a boring training manual. The next minute, I'm struggling to deal with my own mortality, attempting to reconcile the time I've spent on this planet with the time I hope I have left. Thinking, once again, how much I really detest so many things about the corporate world.

I couldn't help but think of how, lately, everyone has seemed a little more brittle. Several weeks ago, I had to leave New Heaven to get home as a result of a family medical emergency. My mom was suddenly hospital with what the doctors thought were heart problems. At the time, they scheduled a heart catheterization, certain that she had some sort of blockage. (Turns out, the docs weren't right; her problem wasn't cardiac in nature but was a reaction to some medication that presented like heart problems.) I threw all my shit in a bag, sped to the airport, and bought my way onto the next flight home. It was a freaky few days but, in the end, everything turned out OK. Nonetheless, it was one of those situations that sort of belly-punch you into an awareness that life is fragile and time together is fleeting.

"Don't waste it. Don't waste it." These are the words that keep surfacing from the depths of my mind. When I emerged from the fog of thought, I grabbed my iPod and, magically, stumbled onto "Theory of the Crows" by The National which was in my queue. The lyrics seemed to fit and I felt a little less desperate, a little more a part of the world, a little less alone.

where crybabies cry
in the united states
bright white on both sides
like a plate
nobody listens
nobody should
it'd be a waste of attention
not enough money
to buy a PC
so i come in this weekend
asleep on my feet
and if i forget you
i'll have nobody left to forget
i guess that's what assholes get
traded my day light
for a career
but i need you to disprove
my theory of the crows
pouring my fingers across the keys
will someone review my salary please?
i'm selling my time to the man who sells style
that time should be mine to waste on you
i'll suck off investors
i'll suck off VCs
i'm losing my posture from time on my knees
they treat me so well
cause i'll do anything
it's in my nature of service
but i'll need you to disprove
my theory of the crows
kids of the wealthy are raised by the poor
you send daughters to los angeles and new york
i need mine to see me when i wake up
i need mine to know
that i'm what they come to
when they come home

I Love Baseball

Maybe I'm simply in the middle of an existential crisis brought on by a looming deadling and a mounting stress level but I just cried at seeing Yogi Berra throw out the first pitch at the All Star game. Shut up, Joe Buck, people with half a brain know it's a special moment; let me weep with joy. Shit, I love this game.

Home Run Derby

Not too much to do in the old hotel except for watch TV. Naturally, I watched the home run derby last night. I was as awed by Josh Hamilton's shots into the stratosphere as I was annoyed by Chris Berman's self-serving yapping.


Friday, July 11, 2008

My Time in New Heaven Nears The End

I've been unable to write much in the last month or two because I've been, well, what's the word for it? Oh yes, gainfully employed. As much as I hate to leave the title, "Man of Leisure," I need to start helping to pay the mortgage, you know? The point is that my consulting assignment has keep me ridiculously busy and, frequently, out-of-town at my client's site.

During my time as a road warrior, here are a few things I've noticed, learned, discovered:
  • Inexperienced travellers in the airport annoy me. How about this: instead of complaining for 5 minutes to the TSA worker about how "gross" it is to walk across a floor in your bare feet, just suck it up and walk the twelve feet to get through the security checkpoint. Everybody has to take off their shoes, everybody. Deal with it.
  • Working in a cubicle with no phone is bliss.
  • Some older middle age men just can't wait to get home from the office before rubbing one out. Seriously, if you're going to punch the munchkin at work (and I don't think you should), at least thoroughly clean up. Seriously, they don't pay me enough to walk into a restroom and discover this sort of shit. Needless to say, I've stayed the hell away from the toilets.
  • Frank Pepe really does make the best pizza I've ever tasted. Tomato pie!
  • I've developed a new nerd crush (me, not her) on Sarah Vowell. If you haven't picked up Assassination Vacation, The Partly Cloudy Patriot, Take the Cannoli, or The Wordy Shipmates, go get them. She's smart, funny, and down-to-earth.
  • If you're the only person on the Hertz rental car shuttle from the airport, the driver will make announcements as though the bus is completely full. This will be the case even if the driver recognizes you from previous visits and even if the two of you chat on the ride to the lot.

I could go on and on and on. Instead, I'm going to go to sleep. This week is my last week on-site here in New Heaven. After that, I'll be back at home with slightly more time on my hands to do things like, I don't know, write blog entries, take photos, sleep in my own bed. You know, the good stuff. More later.