Wednesday, March 31, 2010


This is a smorgasboard post of ideas that have crept into my mind recently.

I had a short conversation with a quasi-acquaintance of mine the other week down in Portland. She says that she doesn't find many things sexy. I countered with the fact that I find many, many things sexy. I don't think I mentioned it at the time, but I find her sexy:

Very sexy. Even with the MS-paint sunglasses.

I'm not sure why she doesn't find many things sexy. Maybe it is because she is sexy and her standards are higher. Maybe she is so busy with life, work and graduate school that she focuses her time and energy on those things instead of being sexied out all the time like me. Anyways, the conversation started when she saw an olde' style growler of beer, which she thought to be sexy.

I just got out of the shower and the idea of touching on some more of the "sexy" aspects of my life in this blog popped into my head. Schaubs had a really interesting post up the other week where he got pretty personal, and I really enjoyed reading. He's mentioned the same on my blog before, "blah blah mundane blah blah, oh hey! there's the good stuff, glad I kept reading!" or thereabouts. Now, Schaubs and I have never met, but we're blog-friends and I value his input and agree with him when he says that the more juicy (or sexy) aspects of this here blog are its strong points. The day-to-day rambling or chronology of what I've done just isn't really exciting to read, or to write.

That said, here goes some unsexy rambling on becoming old! (joy)

I'm not sure if this is normal, but I have a part of me that kind of wishes I was an old man. I wouldn't give up my youth for anything, but I'm kind of excited to eventually move into old age and have gained experience and wisdom along the way. Ideally, I will be in a position where I can pass that knowledge on to the next generations in a positive way. The struggle would be finding a medium to pass the knowledge on, where the younger generations would understand and be interested in what I have to say. I'm thinking after I retire from teaching, and contacting more people than my possible future grandchildren.

"The Simpsons" does a great job of portraying the dread a lot of families have when it comes to taking care of their elderly grandparents. I always loved visiting gran and grandma, primarily for the fact that they lived in Florida and California, respectively. We would put our time in with them, and then we would go to Disneyland or go roller-blading in the sun, or go to the beach. It is kind of sad to think I enjoyed the time away from them more than the time with them, for the most part, but what can I say, I was a kid.

I don't want to be the old man who yells at kids to shape up from his porch. I want (even though it isn't going to happen) to be the Johnny Cash or George Carlin who uses a relevant medium to get through to younger generations. There are popular elderly people on Youtube, who have used that medium to share their knowledge with the world, and I think keeping up to date on the technology world would be a great way to communicate. Writing is another medium that could work, and I would love to improve my writing to the point that I could weave a story together with a point of wisdom I am trying to impress upon the next generations.

And speaking of sexy... does anyone find a woman in a baseball hat and a long-sleeve baseball shirt (the ones with navy-blue arms and a white torso) not sexy? Assuming a good height to weight ratio, that shit is sexy every time.

Softball garb, or a girl in sweat pants. Check please.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Photo Week 12: Weak 12

I snapped a few photos last night to make sure my 11-week streak stays alive. Josh, Flew, Derek and I ran the pool table at The Parkway for an hour. I started out hot, cutting in a ball that might have been my nicest pool shot ever. The cut was at such an angle that the cue ball ricocheted around the table twice as the object ball slowly made its way across the felt and into the side pocket.

I was down in T-town for my alma mater's first ever hosted ultimate frisbee tournament. They needed an 8th team to join and the Tacoma crew slapped together a team at the last minute. We beat UPS-A, then lost to Western 10-13 (collapsing after we were tied at 10's), and then we walloped UPS-B.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Portland March Madness Trip Report (Longish)

This is my account of last week's extended weekend down in Portland for the first round of March Madness 2010.


The first evening started out at the Gentlemen's Club where we discussed Wittgenstein over a game of backgammon... okay, Flan and I were drinking tall boys of PBR's in his bed watching basketball... okay, okay, they weren't tall boys. We played it tame Thursday night, in anticipation of a weekend to remember.


Flan woke up at an ungodly hour to go into work. 4am? 5am? I slept. BAM texts me saying he is 40 miles out at 9am, so I hop out of bed and MAX downtown to find a pub. Beautiful day, so I wander around for a few miles, eventually slipping into Schmizza. The server says they aren't open for another 30 minutes, and do I want a beer? I am confused, but order two 23oz beers and some pizza tots.

BAM arrives!

I pay up my first of many lost prop bets on the weekend--he made it before the end of the first round of NCAA games. He adds the dollar to his stack of 99 ones. He lost the dollar back by the end of the game, which I added into my wad of 60 ones. Flan calls and we plan to meet up in an hour at Buffalo Wild Wings. With an hour left, BAM and I check out the drink specials at Schimzza and see 2pm-6pm Happy Hour specials on "$5 Schlong Island Iced Tea". BAM butters up the server and she hooks us up, since it is still before noon. BAM and I stumble out 30mins later.

Flan's co-worker can't make it, so we change plans and meet at the MVP Sports Bar slash Thai restaurant. Two hour wait on food when we arrive, so we start drinking a pitcher of Bud Light and a pitcher of Coors Light. 30 minutes later the entire restaurant has cleared out and BAM is spitting game on the MVP server, who sits down with us for a few minutes to watch the basketball games. I'm pretty sure we had some prop bets at this place, but I can't remember... possibly betting on what the score will be when the next white guy scores. A couple pitchers later...

What the hell did we do after that? Oh yeah, we MAX'd to NE Portland, then walked 2.5 miles to meet up with Jesse for... drinks. I know it is 2.5 miles because I won a dollar off of Flan, who thought it was only a mile. Someone with a fancy phone looked that shit up. We made a pit-stop at Irving Park on our walk for restrooms and I swooped in on 3 people tossing a disc. Got my throws in, then we finished the death march to the Tin Shed.

I spilled my first Gin & Tonic all over the place, which led to the first of several "will MHG spill another drink at this table?" bets on the weekend. After my 3rd (2nd?) G&T I craved a burrito from the Mexican restaurant just down the street, so I bounced. Just down the street ended up being another 2 mile road trip of stumbles and tunnel vision. I made it back in one piece and put the burrito in my mouth on the bench outside the Tin Shed.

We walked... gah... another 1/2 mile to another bar for... more drinks. It was sunny and I was happy. We heard stories of Flan tandem-bicycling with Jesse's friend Brad, and Flan bailing out on Brad, which led Brad to hit a tree. Yeah, that's about all I comprehended.

Then Flan and I got a ride from Jesse to Flan's indoor soccer game in SE Portland. BAM and I had a sidebet on Flan's goalkeeping ability. I had under 2 goals against, BAM took the over. Two minutes into the game BAM won the bet, but I quickly texted BAM to "Let it Ride!" with his winnings on the outcome of the game. Flan's team stormed back and won 8-4. I had a beer and a bucket of popcorn while rooting on the friendly sasquatch.

Ryan, Klink, Nat Arrive!!!

BAM heads back to the house to meet up with the new arrivals. Flan says "Fuck that, let's go drink to celebrate the soccer win!" I gasp. But shrug my shoulders and follow. Flan The Wise leads me on a walk to a bar a few blocks away and as we saddle up to the bar, the bartender says, "33.4 seconds left on $1 PBR Tall Boys." Flan doesn't miss a beat: "Four PBR's!" I take two. We celebrate. Apparently the deal only stands as long as the Blazers are playing.

We make it home on a ride from one of Flan's teammates. Even the two mile ride is eventful. We stop at a light and see this skinny indie guy punching these two muscular bald guys in the face. I try and piece together what is going on. A bike is on its side in the street. Scruffy Indie guy is going apeshit on two huge bald guys. Eventually a fourth guy comes in and tries to get the Indie guy to stop hitting the bald guys in the face. He succeeds... temporarily. The bald guys get back in their car, and then the crazy Indie guy runs up and kicks the driver's side window... shattering it... with the driver sitting in the seat. Shiiiiit. The driver gets out. The Indie guy finally realizes "Oh shit." and runs to his bike, picks it up and tries to peddle the fuck out of Dodge. Unfortunately, the 4th observer guy grabs the back tire and as the Indie guy is peddling and looking over his shoulder, he realizes the bald guy is walking up to him, and he isn't going anywhere. I expect blows, but the bald guy starts a conversation. The second the bald guy points to his car and looks over at it, the Indie guy cheeses it, and runs down the block and around the corner.

We, along with four other cars that are watching the show, end up leaving without any heroic action.

Flan and I make it back to the house and celebrate our safe arrival with UFO Pizza and a game of Munchkin and more PBR. Klink kicks all our asses and takes our money at Munchkin. We head downstairs for some shufflepuck for $$'s. I think Nat and I beat BAM and Flan, but I could be mistaken. We all pass out on the couches watching Vince Vaughn telling us that we're so money we don't even know it.

Jonno Arrives!


Oh God, Saturday.

Another beautiful day in Portland, but this time we don't get moving until 11:30 or so. BAM tries to get a bet in on waking up Jonno for breakfast, but nobody will take it. The six of us (minus Jonno) roll into NW Portland for breakfast. The wait for breakfast is 90 minutes, so we kick the soccer ball around in the street for 90 minutes until our 6-top is ready. I heroically nut Flan with the ball, then he cheap-shots me back while I am taking photos.

The wait is worth it, and our breakfast is delicious. Mine consists of a chocolate shake, a tall boy of PBR, a grilled cheese sandwich, and a cup of tomato soup. BAM and Flan make an over/under bet on how many times to guy at the bar will check out Klink on her way back from the bathroom. I think BAM wins with over 3. This restaurant's slogan: "You eat here because we let you" and this restaurant has panties with their slogan for sale.

We walk around the Pearl District for an hour in the sun. Klink checks out the architecture while the five guys try to find things to bet on. How long it will take the girl longboarding to fall? Can Nat climb that tree? How many strides does it take MHG to cross a street? My favorite bet of Pearl District had to be the Dandelion Racing we did in the little park stream. Ryan, Nat and I dropped dandelions into a little winding stream at the same point, and although Ryan's mammoth dandelion started out hot, much like the red hydroplane racer at M's games, he caught a snag and my green hydroplane did a spin move off of him and won the race for a cool $2 profit. Nat's sunk, or something.

We walked around for a bit, then found a sports bar to watch some more basketball and drink more beer. This bar is where the side bets really starts picking up. The table next to us has March Madness crazies as well, and I take one of their guys' money repeatedly on prop bets. First bet he set the over/under of the total score of the game we were watching at 145, I take the over and win the bet with 6 minutes remaining in the game. Second bet was who would take the half in the Northern Iowa vs. Kansas game, UNI was up five with five minutes to go and he picked Kansas. Ship it! Third bet I was feeling bad for the guy, so he picked Kansas to win the game, and I took UNI. $3! Hahaha.

The six of us get about ten games of Asshole in while watching basketball and drinking. We watch UW beat down New Mexico, and have some quality bets on the game and side action. Nat and I have a secret side bet on who will eat the last curly fry from the basket. He picks BAM and I take Flan. Our $1's are on the table, and others at the table keep asking what our bet is, but we can't say. Flan deduces that the bet involves him and BAM, so he promptly bets a dollar on himself, BAM obliges. Ryan tries to get action on the side action, but Klink keeps her dollar. Flan starts doing all sorts of things to try and win the bet, he gets close with dipping a curly fry in ketchup and eating it, but he can't figure it out. The curly-fry bet ends up being terrible, because nobody is eating the fries. Nat and I get sick over eating the entire basket (and which I blame for my "Stinky" nickname). We finally get the basket down to one fry and we stick the basket in the direct middle of the table and say "ONE LEFT" Flan grabs it, shoves it in his mouth, and wins him and me crisp George Washingtons!

Jenn and Eli Arrive!!!

Jenn, Eli and Jonno meet us at the sports bar and I get a side bet in with Jenn at some point, but I forget what for. We are seated at different tables, and I win $1 off Flan for picking Jenn to be the first one to look over at our table. Flan had Eli. We agreed not to influence their looking over at our table, and it took a good 15 minutes for Jenn to finally look over and win me my Flan dollar. I remember BAM winning a lot of big side bets, but I don't remember what they were... little help?

Klink lost some of her Munchkin money to me. First with a bet on when the current basketball game will go to commercial break. I set the over/under at 11:45 left in the game. She takes over. A guy drives to the basket at 11:50 and I don't like my chances. The ref's whistle blows at 11:47 on his way to the hoop, getting fouled. She's won the bet... but wait! The clock keeps ticking! It doesn't stop ticking until 11:44, three seconds after the whistle, and the game goes to commercial break, and I win the bet!!! Whoop! Bad beat for Klink, but if you want that dollar back you can always... go fuck yourself! hah! She wins the dollar back shortly thereafter calling "Over" on a 10-point end game spread in the UW/NM game. She offers an additional bet on a 20-point spread, which I initially turn down, but then accept. UW is up 21 with 15 seconds left and New Mexico drains a seemingly inconsequential 3-ball to ship me my blood money back. Bad beat #2 for Klink!

At some point I reach for my winning bet and spill my beer onto Ryan's quick-dry shorts. BAM collects side-bet spillage bet from Flan.

After UW wins, we bounce from the bar and go to a penthouse party at Flan's work friend's new place. Drink more PBR. The place is great, and the condo complex is out of this world. We bring our drinks up to the penthouse and get a bird's eye view of the city while watching more basketball. We get kicked out by a group that reserved the room 30 minutes later. Boo. We head back to our vehicles. One car goes to the Kava and Hooka bar, the other two head back to Flan's place to change and wash up. We all find our way to the "Pied Cow" Kava and Hooka bar.

We share two or three bowls of Kava, share a few candelabras of Hooka, and play Mafia for money. The only mafioso to pull off a victory is Jenn, but we all suspect foul play when she tips Flan (the game master that round) $2. I lose a 10-push up bet somewhere in there. Eli "goes to the bathroom" at the restaurant at some point and returns with a 12-pack of PBR. Time stands still at the Pied Cow, and we leave around 9pm after enough laughs to fill an episode of Full House.

Pre-arranged ping-pong plans fall through and we scoot down to Ground Kontrol and Voodoo Doughnuts. Voodoo's slogan: "The Magic is in the Hole" also panties for sale. I win $1 off of BAM at NBA Jam with Reggie "Mr. Clutch" Miller draining a shot at the buzzer. Dr. Mario, Frogger, Q-bert, Tron and pinball fun is had. We roll back to Flan's and Nat destroys at Liar's dice while we attempt to finish off all of the booze in the house.


We don't succeed, because I find a very dented PBR in the morning and crack it open, and start watching bball. Flan is off ski-racing on Mt. Hood so I continue to hide my new empty cans of PBR around his house where he will run into them. In the shower, on the bed post, etc. At about 2pm, after watching basketball and serenading Nat and Klink on Flan's bed with Counting Crows, Blues Traveler and Bone Thugz, I pack up and ride back North to Seattle on my motorcycle in a slight drizzle.

The End.

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Photo Week 11: Portland March Madness

This photo pretty much tells the story of my weekend in Portland. We waited for 90 minutes on Saturday morning to get into a breakfast joint in NW Portland, then I ordered a chocolate shake, a PBR tall boy and a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup. It. Was. Good.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Memorable Car Rides

I was listening to a random Death Cab for Cutie song at lunch today, and it just so happened that the LA plan I was teaching for the day dealt with sensory imagery in writing. The song, I think "Passenger Seat", is just filled with sensory imagery. The song touches on quite a few of the senses, but sight caught my eyes/ears most often while listening to the song and visioning myself in the place the song takes me.

Where the song took me wasn't expected.

It took me back to California, January 2007. I wrote a post touching on what was happening in my life at the time. The Death Cab song reminded me specifically of the car ride back from Sonoma with Kristina. I think during that ride home, after wine tasting and Guitar Hero'ing (for my first time), I drove her Yaris back home through wine country at dusk, and we kissed for the first time. Kissing Kristina had been something I wanted to do for quite a while, but living together I didn't want to create any weird tension in the house. She ended up solving the problem.

I remember having a great time all day long with Kristina, from the ultimate frisbee in the morning, to using towel-wipes and deodorant between frisbee and the birthday party instead of showering, to the party itself. I remember being completely happy being designated driver the 150 miles home, so she could enjoy herself with her friends. I remember having a stupid Charlie Brown smile on my face and rosy cheeks when she leaned in and kissed me, while we were driving home, talking about the beautiful scenery and our amazing day.

That drive home through wine country was one of my most memorable car rides, so I tried to remember a few more.

When Stacey and I first started dating, she was living in Sacramento, and I was finishing up school in Tacoma. We met every month between when we started dating in February and my graduation in May. I had spring break in March, and we helped her brother move to Portland in April (I think). I distinctly remember a drive from Tacoma to Portland we took where my speed varied from 40mph to 90mph due to a distractorous shotgun passenger.

Other memorable, less riskae, car rides include:

Driving in the family van to Sun Mountain in Central Washington. The trip only takes four hours, but that seemed like eternity from 9-14. I remember one trip my cassette player batteries ran out, and I was listening to some female artist, and as the batteries started to die, her voice got slower and lower until it sounded like the possessed chick from Stigmata. It scared the hell out of me. A different trip to Sun Mountain had me reading one of my first fantasy novels, and I was listening to No Doubt's "Tragic Kingdom" CD on loop. Whenever I hear songs from that CD, I always think about the drive to Sun Mountain and the fantasy book where everything has a "true" name, and magic exists if you know the object's true name.

Driving to and from Santa Cruz my senior year in high school with Jonno and Andrew. I had two friends that were freshmen at Santa Cruz, and Jonno had a friend at UC Davis. Andrew got a $295 speeding ticket on our way down, so he ate plain Cheerio's the rest of the trip. We slept at the UC Davis athletic fields the first night, and felt the wrath of the sprinkler system. We spent a night or two in the Santa Cruz dorms, and hung out at the boardwalk. I collapsed a tent on Jonno on our way back to Seattle, because I was in a hurry to ask out a girl and have the house to myself... only to find the house canvased when I got back to Seattle, because I forgot about the painters.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Photo Week 10: Powder Day and PLU BBQ

Had the best ski day of the season on Friday. It had snowed 11" in the last 24 hours, and Ryan and I were getting snowed on pretty hard up on the mountain. The snow was really wet, which meant a good workout for our legs to push through all of the wet snow. We drank PBR tall boys on the slow chairlift on the backside, and it was snowing so hard we were completely white and the rims of the beer cans had a half-inch of snow on them during the 8-min ride up the mountain.

Saturday and Sunday I spent down in Tacoma, attending my third or fourth PLU BBQ ultimate frisbee tournament. This is a college ultimate tournament, with a few elite high school teams and also a few alumni teams. I've played with a Tacoma pickup team in the past, and the best we've done is losing in the semi-finals. This year my old college, UPS, finally had enough alumni players to make a team. We ended up going 7-0 and winning the entire tournament! I think there were a few teams better than us, but we won all of the big points and got lucky in a few key spots to take down the entire tournament. I got completely wrecked in our first game on Sunday, going up for a disc in the end zone and getting hit on the way up by one guy, then getting my feet taken out from under me by a second guy, and falling four feet onto my back, and then getting landed on by a third guy. I got the wind knocked out of me by landing on my back... that has never happened before, only from landing on my chest. Our team was using a "Judge Dredd" theme...


Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I was a P.E. teacher today in a middle school, where the sport of the day was dodge ball. I got to hit middle schoolers in their groins and I also got to fill out a police report--an eventful day! The police report had to do with my iPod and all of the money in my wallet being stolen from the teacher's office in the locker room. I'll try to recap what happened, but I find it a weird coincidence that I am also reading "Crime and Punishment" by Dostoevsky. I'm not far into the book, but he gets incredibly deep into so many aspects of crime--the good, the bad, the why, the how--that my mind is still racing with all of the implications from the theft today.

My story starts just finishing up lunch in the teacher's office located adjacent to the boy's locker room. The bell rings for 4th period to start, and I put my things away while the first few boys get into the locker room. There are two open doors between the teacher's office and the locker room, and as I'm putting my iPod into my jacket pocket, I wonder if it is a good idea to do this in view of a few students, but I figure it'll be alright. The other male gym teacher and I usher out all but a few stragglers from the locker room and start taking roll.

Fifty minutes later, class has gone just fine, until I notice after all of the students have left the locker room for their next classes, that the pocket to my jacket is unzipped. Fuck. I check the pocket and my keys are there, but my iPod is gone. I check my other pocket with my wallet, and everything is there except for the cash (which I guessed to be $10-$40). My season's pass to Stevens is still in the upper pocket. There are four new dum-dums on the chair my jacket was hanging on, a parting gift from the thief? Funny.

I immediately go tell the other gym teachers, and they can't believe it. The older teacher says he thinks he knows who was in the locker room--the two Hispanic kids who asked for ice and then disappeared. I remember them heading into the locker room, but I also remember a few stragglers coming out late from the start of the period, and I really don't think the Hispanic kids had anything to do with it. The older gym teacher and I walk to the main office (5th period is luckily the prep period for gym) and on the way just happen to run into the on-duty police officer for the school. I explain to him what has happened and we go find the two Hispanic kids who are in the lunch room (this school staggers lunches for 4th and 5th period, depending on the grade). The older teacher immediately has the two Hispanic kids come with him and the officer to the officer's room to discuss what happened. They deny any involvement, and I feel awkward, but I am also pissed for having my stuff stolen. I continue asking around in the lunchroom, knowing that most likely the thief is in the room, and I'm trying to pick up on anyone acting differently, even though I have no idea who most of the kids are, or if they were even in one of the gym classes (I only worked with half of the students in 5th period gym). Realizing walking around the lunch room asking for my stolen iPod wasn't a good use of my time, I made my way to the officer's room.

The older gym teacher had left, and it was just the officer and the two kids in his office, and the officer was interrogating the two students about what happened and why they were in the locker room. They said they were getting ice for one of them who sprained his ankle, and that they didn't know anything about the stolen iPod. The officer thought he caught them, and said, "What stolen iPod? I never told you what was stolen" But the two kids said the older teacher and I had told them in the lunch room, which of course I had, and felt stupid about now, making it harder for the officer to do his job.

Again, I felt uncomfortable having these two kids being interrogated by the officer, because I knew their story checked out, and they really did not seem like the type of kids to do this. But the officer didn't share my view, and he kept asking the two students repeating questions. I got more uncomfortable, until the officer eventually said he knew that the two students had more to tell that they weren't telling. The students finally said that they saw two other boys in the teacher's office when they went to the locker room looking for ice. They named the two boys after more prodding, and the officer radio'd for someone else (another officer?) to go grab those two kids.

K came in first, and the officer asked him if he knew anything about a theft in gym class. He denied knowing anything. The officer had the two Hispanic kids tell their story again, this time with K in the room. K again denied any involvement. The officer said, "I've been doing this for a long time, K, and I know when someone is lying, or not giving me the entire story. What happened?" K eventually said the other kid had given him the iPod, and he had slipped it into his friend A's purse at lunch. The officer called for the girl to be brought down to his office.

A arrived next, and she had her purse with her. The officer asked her if she had an iPod, and she said that K had given her one at lunch, but she didn't know whose it was. The officer took the iPod from her, and handed it to me (and it was mine, same style, same music, same distinct dent in the corner). The officer continued to question K and A, and letting them know the severity of their actions, being accomplices, etc.

Eventually the boy who K accused of giving him my iPod showed up. S completely denied everything, and the officer again had the two Hispanic boys tell their story, and then had K tell his side of the story. S continued to deny everything. K said he only received the iPod from S, and that K had no idea where any money was. The officer put a lot of pressure on S to fess up to the theft, including expulsion from school and criminal charges. This is when he had all of us except S fill out incident reports of what happened. I went back to the gym to fill mine out, to make sure no credit cards or anything else was taken. When I arrive back in the officer's room, all of the students but K and S had been allowed to go. S was in tears, and had admitted to taking my money and iPod. S and I go back to the gym and he gets me my cash from his gym locker.

There are so many frustrating and weird things about this experience.

First, I feel partly to blame, because not only did I allow for a student to see me putting an iPod away, but the other gym teacher and I left the teacher's office open. I feel like the opportunity to steal my iPod was way too tempting to pass up for this kid. I know it isn't my fault, but still, as an educator I value prevention, and I did very little prevention in this instance, and it ends in a kid getting expelled from school.

When I first found out my iPod had been stolen, I thought there might be a 5% chance of getting it back. We jumped from two kids we knew were in the locker room, to a kid who had been handed the iPod and stashed it in another student's purse, to the actual thief. There is no way we go from A to B to C without truth-telling from A and B. The pressure applied by the officer seemed very surgical, and he had a very keen sense for when the students were withholding information, it was very interesting to observe. I also feel very lucky to have my iPod and money back.

It turns out that the kid who originally stole my iPod already has a record of theft (at age 12). Not terribly surprising, but I wonder what will come of this. It seems like this incident could be a good thing for this child if it shows him that there are consequences for his actions. If he does this when he is 18, the outcome will be a lot worse, so maybe there is time for him to change before he becomes an adult. I think the statistics are against that change for him, but I hope at least some good comes out of this, because when I left the school I felt, besides great work on the cop's part, nothing good came out of this whole ordeal.

The kid who stole my iPod and I had a few minutes of walking to the gym and back together, and another few minutes in the officer's office together alone, and I had no idea what to say, so I didn't say anything. I felt sorry for the kid. One part of me wanted to ask him why he did it, but I knew I wouldn't be happy with the response however he answered. I wonder what will go through this kid's mind tonight. Will he wonder what he can do better next time to not get caught? I wonder if his parents are going to beat his ass. All could have been prevented by me just locking the teacher's door like I do at nearly every other school. Sigh. But if it didn't happen today, the kid probably would have stolen from someone else, and maybe he wouldn't have gotten caught.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Photo Week 9: Softball and BBQ

It hit 60 degrees on Saturday, and the pickup softball season has begun! Last year, this guy saw a slew of people on Craigslist looking for softball teams to play on, and decided to start a pickup game where everyone was welcome to play. It was a huge success, and one day last summer we fielded four entire teams and had a round-robin tournament on two fields. I'm not sure if the game will keep going through the rainy season, but I'm sure we'll try and find fields on sunny days like yesterday. Yesterday I was up to bat with two outs and the bases loaded... and had my best hit of the day, deep to left-center, but right to the left-center fielder, damn 4 outfielders in softball!

Since it was such a nice day yesterday, I threw together an impromptu BBQ, since it is my last weekend house-sitting at my parents' in Seattle. Marc, Tyler and their families came down and it was perfect. A big reason I made the move back to Seattle is to spend time with my family and friends, and to be a part of my friends' children's lives as they grow up.


Saturday, March 06, 2010

Crazy Girl or Dream Girl?

Last we left our hero, he had sworn off crazy dream girl as being crazy. He was confident in his solitude and smiled to himself that it was she who would be missing out, and not the other way around. But she has returned.

Chapter Two:

An apology letter arrived in his mailbox, with crazy dream girl apologizing for her silent treatment the past few weeks, citing that she didn't know what to do in that awkward situation. Knowing that the thing with her and my teammate had ended the week before, I was willing to give her another shot...

We talked earlier in the week about getting together, and settled on Wednesday for a walk around Greenlake. We would both already be in Seattle around 3pm, and the weather forecast looked nice. I hustle down to Seattle from subbing in Everett, texting her at 2:30pm, letting her know I should be in Seattle by 3pm and asking her where we should meet up. She gets back to me at 3:30pm, saying that she worked from home today and that her meeting had been rescheduled for next week. This pissed me off a bit, because she could have let me know earlier in the day so I didn't rush down to Seattle right after school. I end up spending the rest of the afternoon and evening rock climbing, playing racquetball and ultimate frisbee--so the night wasn't a waste, it just wasn't exactly where I wanted to be spending my time. As I'm rock climbing, she and I text back and forth about plans for Thursday night. She wants me to come out there, and I say sure, but she has to cook something up. She counters that I need to bring the wine.

Thursday rolls around, and I'm excited for the evening. I sub in Seattle and have a great day, kind of giddy for the evening and full of positive energy. I wait around in Seattle, waiting for her to get off work. She sends me a text around 6pm, saying that she is tired from work and wants to know if we can go out for dinner instead of her cooking. I had boughten a nice bottle of wine, and was looking forward to sharing it and having some nice, home-cooked food--but instead I drive over to her area and don't mention the wine.

I have some fun with her on my arrival. The only other time we had met up in that area, she suggested parking in a specific location, where she said there are always spots available. I decide to park in another location and see if I can surprise her. She bombards me with texts while I find parking, so I know she has already parked and is waiting for me to arrive before heading into the restaurant. I know the unique car she drives, so it is easy to spot. She wants to know where I am, and I joke about starting a scavenger hunt. Eventually she texts, "I want to look out of my car and see you." And I text, "Look left."

Dinner is great, conversation is great. We talk about all sorts of things. Life, work, relationships, the future--all that good stuff. The waitress brings us the bill and crazy dream girl says, "Oh, I guess she doesn't think we want another drink." We head over to the dive bar across the street and grab a pitcher of cheap beer and stake out the pool table. Two guys are playing, and I challenge the two of them to play her and I. One guy ends up leaving, and crazy dream girl recruits a young lady from the bar to play with the other guy against us.

I catch fire, knocking in four of our striped balls before accidentally knocking in two of their solids... oops... on my first time to the table. Next shot of ours, she also knocks in one of their balls, so she can't mock me too much after that. We end up winning when their guy knocks in the 8-ball out of turn when they've still got five balls on the table to our none. Crazy dream girl and I play a game afterwards, with driver to the cabin this weekend on the line. I'm cruising to victory when she starts distracting me from the pool game with kisses. She tells me I'm a pretty good kisser. I quickly get disinterested in the pool game and we call it a draw. An hour later 11:00pm rolls around, and we decide to call it a night, both having to work the next day, but plan on either going up to the cabin or getting out on a hike this weekend. I walk her back to her car and we say goodnight. When I get home I have three texts from her, saying she is trying to stay awake until I get home. I let her know I'm home, and she sends a picture-message of her and her dog cuddled in bed--cute and sexy.

Friday I sub back up in Everett, and I'm on cloud nine all day. It is a class I have subbed for many times before, and I get a really good breakthrough with two difficult boys that rarely ever do work. We are working on problems together, and it takes a lot of effort from me to focus most of my attention on these two kids, but also keep the rest of the class working, but I feel like my energy reserves are limitless, even on just 5 hours of sleep. Crazy dream girl and I didn't have any set plans yet, but we had talked about heading up to the cabin Friday afternoon/evening, and if we did that I wanted as early a start as possible. I let her know when I get done teaching, around 2:30pm. She gets back to me at 3:30pm, saying that she is going out to happy hour with her new VP and boss (she just got a promotion at work), and that she will let me know when she's done. I take this to mean she wants to hang out tonight.

6pm rolls around, and I get a call from Will, asking if I am heading to a birthday party down in Tacoma, and if he and his girlfriend can get a ride. I tell him the Tacoma party is my Plan B, and I'm pretty sure I'll be busy, but I tell him I will give him a call at 7pm and let him know if my plans have fallen through. I text crazy dream girl at 6:30pm and tell her I would like to hang out, but if she's got other plans I'm going down to Tacoma at 7pm. She gets back to me quickly, saying that she has just left happy hour and is heading home. I take this to mean that we'll be hanging out soon, so I text Will back, saying I won't be able to give him a ride. She texts me, letting me know when she gets home, but that is all she says. I give her 15 minutes, then wonder what is up for the evening. She says that she is tired, and thinks she's going to just stay in for the rest of the night.

This rattles me, because again I think she could have been much more clear earlier, instead of having me wait for five hours. In hindsight, maybe she was wanting to hang out and then changed her mind when she got home and felt tired, I don't know. I tell her it wasn't cool to keep me in the dark. I call Will back and see if he and his lady still want to go down to Tacoma, he says sure, and the three of us head down shortly thereafter. On the drive down, she texts me and says sorry, and that it wasn't her intention to leave me in the dark, but she couldn't turn down happy hour with her new VP and boss. I tell her I understand and would have done the same thing. I'm not mad that she had happy hour, I'm mad at the lack of communication--but I don't know if I ever get that point across. Again, a fun night, but not my first pick of who I want to be spending my time with.

I wake up Saturday and send her a text, wondering if she wants to BBQ tonight. A few hours later she gets back to me and says that I was pretty harsh last night. I apologize, although feel a little bit like a bitch, because I feel like my point is valid. A few hours later I text her again asking her if she wants to come over and BBQ. No response. Haven't heard from her since. Been here before.

The little romantic angel on my shoulder says "Fight for her!" but the little rational angel says "Don't be her bitch! She's treating you like shit!"

It really just comes down to communication, and I think I did a crappy job of both communicating and reading too much into what she was saying. I want to talk about it with her, but now she is ignoring me, and I'm not going to bother trying to call her if she has ignored me for the past few days. For a communications major, she kind of sucks at communicating. The second time being ignored isn't as bad as the first time, because I knew what I was getting into the second time around. If a fun night of pecking and pool is the only thing to come out of this second go around, I'm fine with that, but it isn't what I want.

I'm sad/mad because I want to be spending time with her and I'm not. I'm not sure she understands that, or if she cares. She's got the power to make me feel like a billion bucks, but also to feel terrible. I'm not sure if that is a good thing, or me just being a silly boy. Working on Friday was amazing though, and I had a huge smile on my face pretty much all day.

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Monday, March 01, 2010

Vancouver: 2/28/2010

The most amazing sporting event I've ever witnessed. Sums up my Sunday. I woke up Saturday morning with the bright idea of heading up to Vancouver either Saturday night or Sunday morning. I sent Schaubs an email, seeing if he was going to a pub to watch the game to meet up and he responded within the hour saying that he had family plans, but I had a place to stay if I came up Saturday night. Having never met him, that is a pretty cool and generous offering. Must be something in the water up in Canada, because everyone I met up there was nice. I ended up not needing the place to stay, because I got invited to a home game in Seattle Saturday night.

I left Seattle at 7:30am, trying to get up to Vancouver to find parking and a spot at a bar as quickly as possible for the 12:00pm game. I arrived in the city at 10am and spent about 30 minutes trying to find a free parking spot, which I miraculously came across less than a mile from downtown Vancouver.

10:30am was too late. Pubs had HUGE lines outside, and were already at or near capacity. Here is a photo of The Lennox Pub at 10:30am...

Just down the street from there is a wine and liquor store, again... 10:30am:

After walking around the city, looking for a pub and really just soaking up all the atmosphere, I find what looks like the best bet. I really want to experience the Olympic feel and excitement, and the only guarantee I have is the pre-game festivities. If USA wins the game the streets will be somber after the game. If Canada wins it will be unforgettable. So I root for Canada... actually, I also root for USA, the underdog. It is a win either way, really, and I'm just happy the two teams are playing in the finals.

I don't know the name of the pub (which sounds silly, and I didn't get any pictures of its name, which seems weird to me), but the line was only about 30 people deep, and I still had an hour before the game got started. Also, I could watch the game from the line if I didn't get inside in time, because they had TVs pointed out towards the patio. After waiting about 30 minutes, and watching the group of Canadians on the patio heckle any USA flag-wielders who walked by, the bald guy below showed up draped in a USA flag.

Every single other USA supporter laughed and shrugged off the Canadian hecklers, but this guy had a cowbell and balls of steel. He leaned over the railing of the patio and wrang his cowbell in their faces, shouting "USA! USA! USA!" for a good minute or two. I was scared for the guy's safety, but the Canadians didn't do anything. Bald guy called their bluff! It was all in good fun. About ten minutes before the game starts, the floor manager of the pub comes out and greets the crazy American guy, asks if he is alone, he says yes, and then the manager lets him skip the line and get in--I thought that was awesome, even if I got cut. As the Canadian national anthem is being played just before the start of game, the bouncer lets in everyone waiting in line.

The pub is completely packed, they have to be over capacity. There are no aisles for the waitresses to move through the crowd. Luckily, most of the pub is already drunk, so getting up to the bar for a pint is easy. The game itself is a blur. It is a great game, and I am starting to understand all of the intricacies of hockey, enough to appreciate the sport and the high level that this particular game is being played. The entire bar screams whenever Canada does anything good, so that helps me learn quickly. If Canada is a man down and they clear the puck, the entire bar shouts. If the camera pans to William Shatner or Michael J. Fox, the bar goes CRAZY.

The guys next to me are loving their spot. They have spoons and are clanging these hanging kegs every time something goes Canada's way. The entire game the pub is at a high energy, especially with Canada up 2-0. USA Scores to make the game 2-1. I'll be completely honest--before the game even started, I had a gut feeling that the game would go to a shootout. Even when the USA was down 2-1 with only a few minutes remaining, I did not think the game was over. The pub, on the other hand, started celebrating with about 10 minutes left to play on the clock, and the level of jubilation at any little thing Team Canada did positive was just insane. After every positive thing, it sounded like the team had won gold by the volume of the cheers. The first time I thought the USA might not make it to a shootout was when I snapped this shot:

The quality is terrible, but the photo sets the scene. 1:17 left to play in the 3rd period. 2-1 Canada. USA has an empty net. I have seen this tactic used quite often at the end of close hockey games, and although I'm sure it works occasionally, I have never actually seen the tactic work out for the empty net team. I think 90% of the time a team pulls its goalie, the empty net gets scored on. Here is when I thought Canada had the game in the bag.

And then the incredible happened. USA scored, and the entire pub fell silent. Oh. My. God.

Most patrons in the pub were feigning optimism during the 15-minute break between the end of regulation and the start of Overtime. "We've got this!" "Yeah." Without near the enthusiasm that they were spending on friggin' icing calls against USA five minutes earlier. People weren't sure how many overtimes there were, and if a shootout would happen after the overtimes or not. Most people thought the momentum would carry USA to victory.

And then Canada won.

And then the pub went ape-shit.

It was amazing.

I celebrated with the guys around me, then rushed outside to experience the streets as soon as possible. Shrike does a good job of describing the experience out on the streets on his blog, and I will try to do the scene justice, but I doubt I can put that experience properly into words. I was out on the streets way before Shrike, because he was actually at the game, so I got to see a lot of the build up, and also experienced the complete sardine-feel outside The Lennox Pub an hour after the game.

Easily the most happy people with smiles on their faces I have ever seen. The most high-fives I have ever seen. Strangers were high-fiving strangers, police were high-fiving strangers, I even saw a person high-five a bus-driver through the bus-driver's open window while he was stopped at a light. On the drive home I saw a car going 40mph on the bridge with a passenger high-fiving pedestrians... ouch! Easily the most car-honking I've ever heard.

My camera ran out of battery at the end of these photos, so I didn't get to capture the really good sardine experience, but here's an example of how many people there were. I took out my cell phone to snap some 20x10 photos in the middle of the bedlam. I held the phone above me and snapped a few pictures. It was so crowded I couldn't lower my arm and put the phone back into my pocket.

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