Thursday, March 31, 2011

Take Me Out to the Ballgame...

You always get a special kick on Opening Day, no matter how many you go through. You look forward to it like a birthday party when you're a kid. You think something wonderful is going to happen. 
Joe DiMaggio

Today is the most important day of the is Opening Day.  And while it is said that today everyone has a chance, as a Mets fan, I know this not to be true.  That doesn't matter.  Above being a Mets fan, I am a baseball fan.  So, while I know in my heart the Mets will falter, likely embarrassingly so, I hold out hope for a wonderful baseball season.  It begins today.

I recall opening day in my Little League meant a parade.  We would start on the southern tip of the island (of Staten) and march every single team  (probably 60 teams) to the field where everyone would crowd the outfield of the DeYoung Field and listen to the national anthem and some director from little league HQ's give a speech.  It was fun.  However, in 2005, after 17 years of organized ball, I hung up my cleats.  Now Opening Day is strictly about the big guys.

Baseball has always been my life.  It is my favorite sport to watch, favorite to play, favorite to talk/argue about, and favorite to attend.  It is both a thinking mans game and the physically hardest to do.  Physicists have written that hitting a moving round ball with a round bat squarely is the hardest single achievement in sport.  My sinking batting average as pitchers got better, as well as my transformation from a lead off batter to a relief pitcher, can attest to that fact.

Me, two hours after the Mets lost the last game at
Shea Stadium and therefore missed the playoffs.
Notice the guys 10 rows down doing the same thing as me.
Some of the most fun or moving moments of my life have been spent at a baseball game.  I once watched a Yankee game from the dugout while sitting next to Chip and Dale.  I once saw John Olerud hit for the cycle.  I ran around the bases at both Shea and Yankee stadium...neither of which exist any more.  I was at the first baseball game in New York City after 9/11 when the Mets defeated the Braves on a 8th inning Mike Piazza go-ahead HR that made all 55 thousand people cry.  I attended the final games at both Shea and Yankee Stadiums.  

The sun slowly setting on the last game at Yankee Stadium.
I may hate this team, but I will always love this stadium.
It is a long season, and yes, during the Summer, especially seeing as how the Mets are usually fading at that point, I do lose interest for a short time.  But once September kicks into gear and I have to root against the Yankee and the Phillies, and for the Cubbies and the Twins, I get back into it.  And the World Series is easily the greatest thing ever.

Alright, a little business right now.  Prediction time.

AL East:  Boston Red Sox
AL Central:  Detroit Tigers
AL West:  Texas Rangers
AL Wildcard:  Minnesota Twins

NL East:  Philadelphia Phillies
NL Central:  St. Louis Cardinals
NL West:  San Francisco Giants
NL Wildcard:  Cincinnati Reds

World Series:
Boston Red Sox over Philadelphia Phillies in 7.

The Cardinals will overcome their injuries and barely fight off the young Reds for the NL Central.  The Red Sox will cruise with the best team in baseball.  The Rangers will fight off the pesky resurgent Angels.  And the Twins will have their annual September surge into the playoffs.

The Phillies will dominate the NL all year.  The Giants will not be dominant but will win in a very weak division.  The Reds will surprise a few by competing for the Central, but will settle for the Wildcard.  The Tigers will pull away late.

The Yankees will not make the playoffs.  They cannot do it with only 2 pitchers (Hughes and Sabathia) and if they want Felix Hernandez mid year they are likely going to have to give up Hughes...which still leaves them with 2 pitchers.  

The World series will be offense versus pitching at it's purest.  The Red Sox stout lineup (with the possible mid-season addition of the current Mets SS Jose Reyes) pinned up against the 4 aces of the Phillies staff. It will go 7, but the Red Sox will win because of Josh Beckett out dueling Roy Halladay, as Mr. Beckett typically steps up his game in the post-season.  

Take all that to the sports book in Vegas.

Let's Go Mets! (I USED to sound just like these kids and their accents)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Twitter Be Crazy

Well, apparently we have a crazy on our hands...or at least a screw loose.

So, instead of explaining the story once an hour for two days I decided to write it in a blog post so I can just direct folks here.

Last night, ON ST. PATRICK'S DAY NO LESS, I received a random e-mail from some person saying our twitter "friend" @fmn1986 was not truthful.  I don't know the person who e-mailed me, they got my e-mail from this blog and e-mailed me specifically because they noticed we (meaning me and FMN) were making plans to meet.  I was told she was a young college student in Michigan and certainly not the NYC assistant district attorney she claimed to be.  I was told she lives in Michigan, not NYC, and she is not married.

After consultation with some members of our twitter family, I spoke (gchatted) with FMN.  She admitted the e-mail was true and apologized profusely.  I was told by her that she started this story a few years ago as an escape from a bad time and it basically snowballed on her.  She would not go into detail over why she did what she did, or what the circumstances were....saying "I can't get into it right now".  If her words were true, she is deeply troubled and deeply apologetic (though, also quite dramatic)...but who the eff knows if her words are true.

She could either be continuing to BS me, or is genuinely a confused/troubled albeit loopy college student with a crazy creative mind and a lot of time on her hands.

I have never met her in real life.  We chatted via e-mail and texted each other.  We made plans to meet a few times but they were always cancelled or something came up at the last minute and we never ended up meeting.

She did tell me that the name she gave out was actually her name.  She is a real human being, just not what she said she was.  I think she took all her accounts down.  That picture on twitter was not her picture. When I spoke to her last night I asked that she send me a photo right now as possible proof she is a real person.  She did.  I believe it.

I have no idea how she knew a surprisingly good amount about the legal field, or areas where people lived, or how she kept up with the level of detail she did within her story.  As I've said to a couple of you, the 1/10th of me that isn't intensely creeped out is kinda impressed.

I did e-mail the person who randomly e-mailed me back, asking how they knew and if there is anything else I should know.  She told me she followed FMN too and was confused by all her details, like vacations/jobs (I knew ADA's didn't get out at 5 o'clock)/etc.  As creepy as FMN is, this person seems just the same.  She apparently did "research" and found out and confronted her or something.  I don't fully know and don't plan on finding out.  But apparently she was right about FMN because everything is gone.

So, there you have it.  Feel free to comment any questions.  And FMN, if you read this, you're better off not commenting.

[Edit: I want to point out as a grown adult, I don't take all this very seriously.  I find it funny and have been making jokes all day.  Though creepy, it's all very amusing.  Now, ON WITH YOUR DAY!]

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"There are sober kids all over who don't get Guinness on St. Paddy's Day"

[This is a long post.  Feel free to not read, but at least look at the pictures, they're a pain to post.  Also, there was a video but because facebook is bad, it didn't work and I erased it]

The last two or three days have completely kicked my ass.  That river is wider.  I really need some cheering up.  Since How I Met Your Mother is for some reason not working, I am going to move on to my next two favorite and Irish.  I'm gonna spend some time going through St. Patrick's Day (fuzzy) memory lane.

It all started as a young'n in college at SUNY Albany where the St. Patrick's Day tradition was Kegs 'n Eggs.  Which meant wake up at 6 am and start drinking immediately.  The entire University takes part, each bar has a breakfast party, each house has an afternoon Beer-BQ and it's just a general messy affair.  But as 18-21 year was glorious.

My Senior year was the greatest St. Patrick's Day of my life.  In fact, that was the greatest two weeks of my life...March 3-18, 2006.  It began the weekend of the 3rd when my closest college friend invited about 12 of his friends from home to visit and spend the weekend.  I basically lived at that apartment.  What resulted was a 48 hour long party, which was incredible.  Just, so much fun.

The following weekend was the America East Conference championship game.  Albany (us) vs. Vermont.  I remember being at Washington Tavern that Friday night and people were discussing possibly showing up Saturday night around 10pm to camp out for tickets to the game.  You see, Albany had never been to the NCAA tournament before...but we were the favorites this time to win the conference.

The following morning me and three or four of my buddies headed to the gym to play some basketball.  The ball somehow ended up going out an open door towards the football field.  When I ran outside to grab it I saw 4 or 5 tents already set was about noon.  I walked inside and told everyone to get in the car we were going to Wal-Mart.  We were back a half hour later and set up our tent...tenth in line.  By midnight that night there were about two thousand people there and probably around 300 tents set up.

You put two thousand college students in tents with the prospect of a big sporting event the next day, you have a party.  Each tent had a cooler.  Every hundred feet or so there was another stereo set up with a group of people dancing.  There were chants of "not a real state" - of course, about Vermont - going on all through the night.  The security guards were sharing in the beers.  Everyone even behaved themselves.

The next day I was first in line to get into the arena and me and the friends were there 2 hours early sitting in the fourth row behind the hoop.  Several thousand people (small arena) chanting "not a real state" and when the dean told us to be respectful, we chanted "we respect you".   And then we won and got to rush the court. Some of you may have gone to big schools where big sports happen and this may not seem like a big deal.  But to a die-hard sports fan who once signed up for SUNY was resigned to never rushing a court/field, it was one of the greatest moments of my life.  I have something in my eyes right now just thinking about it.

Then, the following week me and all my friends were able to attend the NCAA tourney game against UConn in Philadelphia.  It was St. Patrick's Day.  We arrived early and spent a couple hours in McFaddens Philly before going into the arena.  We were the 16 seed playing the 1 seed. We were winning by 11 points with 11:23 left on the clock.  This would quite literally be the greatest upset in major American sports.  A 16 seed has never defeated a 1 seed.  We lost by 13.  I still have nightmares about Rudy Gay.

Then we moved on from college and St. Patrick's Day moved to New York City.  The day begins at around 9, we have our morning bombs and don't speak to each other until we do.  In 2007 we were wondering why St. Patrick's Day isn't treated as Christmas we decided to make it like Christmas. We wrapped "presents" woke up and opened them.  My friend Dan (6'4", 250) surprised us with a grown-man onesie.  

St. Patrick's Day has always been my favorite holiday.  All of NYC gets together for one purpose and all of my friends usually make it.  I've shown people their first real St. Patrick's Days and I've shared several with some of my best friends.  Below are some of my favorite St. Patrick's Day memories. Some are embarrassing.  Some are funny. Some are just special.  All make me smile.

2007 - My Fav. St. P's pic of me

2005 - Night Pong
2006 - at the Tourney
2010 - Shutup
2008 - Where's Timbo?
2009 - They be short
2010 - Why?  How do you roll?
2007 - I'm 6'1", he's 6"3 - I could see the parade
2009 - I'm an idiot
2008 - Irish and English getting along
2007 - Parade
2008 - Stop interrupting our bombs
2010 - Hate the game.
2008 - Bombing
2006 - Yup.  St. Patrick's Day

Monday, March 14, 2011

What's In a Dream?

I recall last night my last conscious thought before falling asleep was "oh great, my dreams are gonna be fucked up tonight".  I had taken some get-to-sleep pills that were not working.  This meant at some point I was going to be slipping in and out of consciousness without actually being tired.

I remember at the beginning of my sleeping I had a vision of a ghost coming at me from across a courtyard and it morphed into a black cat and ran into an alley next to me.  This scared me to no end and I woke up...frightened.  I didn't fall asleep again for an hour and a half.

I don't remember much of my dreaming from last night, just the last few minutes of the last dream.  The good news is it was a doozie mentally.

As is probably the case for most people a lot of the occurrences in my dream don't make a lot of sense both mentally and physically.  What I mean is things happened that can't physically happen in real life.

I got into my father's SUV with him and my brother and we were on our way to a children's party, sort of like a Chucky Cheese type place.  I have a 4 year old niece.  We were being followed another car which I presume had my sister-in-law and my niece in it.  In our car was to be my mothers family.

My Uncle got in, who immediately started fighting with my Dad.  I can't explain this, but I got into it with him...literally.  I punched him in the face a few times.  EXPLAIN THAT!?  I can't...I like that Uncle.

A few missed turns, a few bad directions, a lot of yelling, my brother leaving our car for the other, and a few forgotten people later....we arrive at a bridge overlooking an epic river.  And when I say epic I mean it.  I couldn't see the other side.  And when I say bridge I mean a rinky-dink wooden bridge like one you might think Huck Finn would cross.

This is where the physically unexplainable only-in-a-dream change occurs on the spot.  Suddenly, instead of in an SUV with my father and some family who I barely recognize, I'm on a go-kart of some form, sitting in the front seat with my mother.

We turn into the bridge's on-ramp and just as we're about to begin making our way across the bridge two hooks SLAM into the edge of the bridges sides.  I look to my left and there is a boat waiting.  I realize that this machine I see in front of me is going to draw this bridge so that the boat can pass.

Having now realized we were in for a wait (we weren't, in about 2 seconds the bridge was drawn and the boat was gone ---- ahhh dreams) I started checking on our situation.  The kart I was in had one wheel hanging off the edge of the ramp and this made me feel real unsafe.  My mother started asking attendant if there was any way across the river without having to use this ramp...she apparently didn't like the looks of it.

Then I turned and stared across the water.  And my alarm went off.

So there I was...having been brought to this place by an arguing family, a father trying his best but failing, a mother looking for a short-cut, going from a big SUV to a tiny go-kart, one wheel hanging off the side, my brother having gotten out a while back....staring across what had to be the mightiest river in the world and there was no bridge.

I woke up drenched in sweat.

That final view I had, looking across a bridgeless river...that's how I feel right now.  I've extended school as much as I can.  The bridge is drawn.  It's now time to sink or swim.  I'm terrified.
"Dreams are often most profound when they seem the most crazy." - Sigmund Freud
He'd probably have a field day.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Twitter Be Good

I've been twatting since late 2008.  Back then I used it only to plug the old Tree here, (no, the blog, get your head out of the gutter), which was brilliant since I didn't have any followers.  I didn't start twatting with gusto© until last summer.  I didn't know what was going to happen but I didn't have a whole lot to do, ya know having recently become unemployable a Juris Doctor.

When I mention my twittescapades to friends and the such they either chuckle or mock me.  I guess I can get that.  In a prior life I probably would have done the same.  I guess it's easy to assume these kids and their social networks and their friendbooks and twitspaces are for teenagers and loners.  In reality, it's very different.  OK, not that different, but shut up and let me blog.

I fully agree 95% of what comes across my timeline slash I type myself is absolute moronic dribble.  I know most of what I say is either terrible jokes, inane flirting with strangers, or something about Scotch and boobs.  Not exactly Leaves of Grass.

However, there is that occasional intelligible tweet that has meaning.  I've had conversations that have genuinely helped me.  Also, in tough times, like say during/preceding the bar exam, post bar panic attacks, terrible days, and Mets losses there is a ton of people ready and willing to throw some support your way.  This is nice even if it comes from people you've never met in real life.

Even betterer...sometimes you can make an actual real life connection with people.  It may be a new NYC drinking buddy (this week!), a bean-town sweetheart who has talked me off a ledge more than once, or a Chicagoan who is willing to have the very frank conversations I can't have with any local people...believe it or not, you can find real life friendships on this crazy thing.

Last week during the Oscars I saw someone complain on twitter about how everyone was live-tweeting the show.  Someone else informed them there was a simple solution...turn off the twitter.  The original tweeters response?  "What, and be alone!?"  This may seem pathetic to some...but I get it.  I hate being alone.  I fear it like nothing else.  This is probably not healthy...but while I work on that I have my twitter friends to keep me company, which is nice.  There is always somebody there.

There are practical considerations too.  I have had leads on jobs because of twitter.  I now have connections with people and lawyers in cities across the country.  If I need an idea of where to stay or drink myself silly go out for dinner in a dozen different cities, I can simply ask and I'll have an answer in a minute.  It's nice.  I can ask questions and get answers.  For God's sake, I got at least one question right on the barzam because of a lunch break twitter question asked and answered within seconds.

My friends and family can mock and chuckle all they want.  Twitter is really silly.  But I like my twitter family.  They have actually helped me. They make me laugh.

Plus it's a nice platform for me to pretend people care what I have to say.  I have a large ego.  It needs food.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

"that's why you're broke"

While walking along 53rd street on my way home from skoolz I was approached by the most adorable little college student.  Note to all charitable organizations:  if you want me to stop for your worker and not pretend I can't hear them over my Ipod, have an attractive female do it.  Anywho, she stops me and we have this exact exchange word-for-word:

Adorable Charitable Worker:  Excuse me, do you like children?
Me:  No, not particularly.
Adorable Charitable Worker:  Well, do you have a big heart?
Me:  No, not particularly.
Adorable Charitable Worker:  Ok, would you like to sponsor a child who really needs you?
Me:  Sorry dear, I'm about as broke as that child.
Adorable Charitable Worker:  How can you be broke?  ::looks me up and down:: You don't look broke.  How old are you?
Me:  ::not wanting to be the broke 26 year old::  I'm 23.
Adorable Charitable Worker:  So why are you broke?  Are you a senior?
Me:  No, I'm a law student.
Adorable Charitable Worker:  Ohhhh, so you're smart...that's why you're broke.  Have a nice day. ::turns around and walks away::
So...what?  Is everybody in on the joke but us?