Thursday, June 28, 2007
We had tickets for tonight's game. But Jen's parents are in town and she has a 4-week-old. Jason had a late sim at work. Jose is on his way to Corpus Christi for the weekend.
I had no one to go to the game with. So I sold our three tickets.
Three people sitting in our seats just saw Craig Biggio go 5-for-6 to not only hit #3000, but also 3001 and 3002. And then Carlos Lee won the game with a walk-off homer. But not just a homer. A walk-off grand slam.
And I sold our tickets.
I can't believe I missed this game.
Monday, June 25, 2007
Mom decided that we needed to do a least one educational/historical activity while she was in town, so yesterday we headed over to see Battleship Texas. It's docked (probably feet deep in silt by this point) right off the Houston Ship Channel and next to the San Jacinto Monument. While I'm sure this area of town was much different years ago when the Battle of San Jacinto took place, it's now devoted solely to making funny-smelling and probably toxic materials. Nothing like going to see a historic landmark nestled amidst chemical plants galore. Anyway.
As we learned, the Battleship Texas became the first memorial battleship museum in the country in 1948. It was commissioned in 1914 was, at that time, the most powerful weapon in the world. It saw action in both world wars, even though it was a pretty old ship by 1945, and was part of D-Day, as well as the battles at Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Only one person was ever killed in battle onboard, and the ship was surprisingly unscathed in both wars. It was decommissioned right after WWII and had been scheduled for use as target practice, but the people of Texas managed to buy the ship and bring it here in 1948.
It was a cool ship, and fun to visit. The big disappointment was that the engine room was closed -- the engines are National Engineering Historic Landmarks and we wanted to see them. But the rest of the ship was cool enough. A couple of the anti-aircraft guns on the deck still move, so Jose and I had a lot of fun aiming the gun and shouting things like "fire in the hole." Enjoy the photos...
I'm not sure that I can take much more of the Astros. Last night's game, though they managed to eke out a win, was the perfect example of the exercise in futility that their season has become. After losing the first two games of the series, they were up 7-3 in the 8th inning. But Rick White and Dan Wheeler each gave up 2 runs, and the game was tied. In the top of the 9th, the Astros somehow managed to score another 2 runs to make it 9-7 -- which Dan Wheeler promptly ruined again as he was inexplicably left in the game and gave up 2 solo home runs. The Astros somehow managed to score another 3 runs in the 10th to make it 12-9, and finally the bullpen was able to hold onto a lead to win the game. The worst part? Dan Wheeler got the win. The win! He got a blown save, and a win. What a chump.
After Biggio gets hit # 3000, I'm not sure how much more there will be to see this season.
Friday, December 08, 2006
I didn't look at the
I didn't look at the news all day, so I didn't find out until right now, when J told me that Andy Pettitte resigned with the Yankees because, reportedly, the Astros wouldn't offer $14 million to counter the Yankees' $16 million offer.
AAAAAAARRRRRGHHHHH and SIGH.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Admission time: my preparation for
Admission time: my preparation for the half marathon (in five weeks) has sucked. My longest run is the slow 11-miler I did with June and Erica a month ago. Other than that, my longest run is a 10K, and my most recent long run was the 8.33K I did at the 25K relay almost three weeks ago.
The 11-miler was done at a slower pace than my normal long run pace. The 5-6 milers were done at what would be a great race pace for me, but I've got to be able to maintain it longer.
So my dilemma is as follows: how the heck to do I effectively prepare to cover the distance in anything less than 2:30 in five weeks, while also accounting for the fact that I can be quite the lazy one when it comes to motivating myself to get out the door, and for the fact that life is busy?
Comments and suggestions more than welcome.
In the meantime, everybody cross your fingers that we get some good weather at Cape Canaveral tonight! I've been working like crazy for the past couple days following Marc around and doing everything he does, but if the weather doesn't cooperate, we don't go. And at the moment, the weather's not looking great for a shuttle launch...
Sunday, October 01, 2006
All season, there was too
All season, there was too little. For the last two weeks, it was too late. Cardinals look to win the division by 1.5 games. Season over for the Astros. The worst part is that they beat themselves today with errors; the game should have been tied 1-1 in the 9th! And leaving 12 men on base -- UGH.
I can't really say the Astros deserved it. In fact, the entire NL Central is pretty mediocre. The Cardinals won the division with a record of 83-78. Only 5 games over .500? That usually does not equal a division win.
Still, the season has ended for my team. And that is sadness.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Astros Update, sponsored by
Astros Update, sponsored by Magic Glow Skull: Astros win again, undeterred by a 3-hour rain delay. I thought the game was never going to start, but things finally got underway with Roy O taking the mound. Whenever Roy O pitches in a key situation, I always feel good. Final score was 3-0, with the Astros scoring 2 of those runs on bases-loaded walks. On a soggy, nasty, very chilly-sounding day in Pittsburgh, I'll take it. Magic Glow Skull says GOOOOOOOOOO Brewers! Beat the Cardinals!
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Astros Update, sponsored by
Astros Update, sponsored by Magic Glow Skull: OH. MY. GOD. While it has now been shown that even Magic Glow Skull is no match for Albert Pujols (Cards won 4-2 on his 3-run homer; why are you even pitching to him, San Diego??), it continues to work its magic on the Astros. They just won 7-6 in the 15th inning. They were down 6-1, and came back to win. FYI -- Ausmus hit the sac fly that scored the winning run immediately after Jose rubbed Magic Glow Skull for luck. Astros remain 1.5 games back. Four games to go.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Astros Update, sponsored by
Astros Update, sponsored by Magic Glow Skull: The 'Stros beat the Pirates last night despite a shaky start from Pettitte. He gave up an early 3-0 lead but shut the Pirates down after that, as the Astros went on to win 7-4. Magic Glow Skull remained burning after the win to help the Padres, who battled back against the Cardinals to overcome a 5-2 deficit to win 7-5. Astros are now 1.5 games back, and I'm starting to freak out a little. Five games to play, with a possible sixth game for the Cards (makeup game with the Giants) if necessary.
Saturday, December 03, 2005
I'm sitting here working on
I'm sitting here working on homework while watching the Big 12 Championship. If you are a Colorado fan, I'm sorry. Your team is being slaughtered. It's 70-3. And there's still 7 minutes left. In the third quarter. And Texas just pulled their starting quarterback and is now giving the backup some experience. Wow. This is a massacre.
Friday, November 04, 2005
Without further ado... World Series
Without further ado...
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Thoughts from last night: Brandon
Thoughts from last night:
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Wow. Wow, wow, wow, WOW.
Wow. Wow, wow, wow, WOW.
I smelled the cigars, stood on the mound, and narrowly avoided getting sprayed with champagne. The only downside is that it wasn't the Astros celebrating. Brandon Backe pitched his heart out, giving the best performance of the series. But it's not enough when your team can't score runs. Regardless, I'm proud of the Astros. They had another magical season, and finishing ahead of 28 teams and only behind 1...well, that ain't bad.
Tons of details and tons of photos to come.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Me chillin' with Mo.
Me chillin' with Mo. ;) My photos from last night are in the gallery. I took them with Nick's camera; I borrowed it because it was small and fit in my pocket. After seeing what other people brought, tonight I'm taking my SLR. I plan to have much better photos tomorrow.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Working as a photo runner
Working as a photo runner is NOT GOOD for my career-related wanderlust.
Carter's overly-complimentary post about me made me realize (as if I didn't already) that I am beginning to vastly overcommit myself. And each time I commit to something new, it's my real job, the job that pays, that gets a little squeezed. I know that's probably not a good thing, but beyond that I have not thought much about what to do or decided in which direction I want to go. (Well, it may be more accurate to say that I know what I'd do if money weren't as much of an issue. But of course it is.) It's just an observation at the moment.
But back to last night and my job as a photo runner at the World Series: If I have ever done anything this cool, I don't know what. And if I ever do anything this cool again, I think my head might just explode.
A quick list of highlights before I give more details:
The entire experience was so incredibly surreal. I saw most of the game by looking between photographers' rear ends. I thought Roy would be golden with a 4-run lead. I thought the Astros would capitalize on one of their zillion chances to score. And yet somehow, working as a runner made me less attached to the game. As I drove home last night, I was less disappointed that the Astros lost, and more upset about the fact that if they can't win tonight, I don't get to go back to work Game 5.
I don't know how I feel about that -- by "that," I mean, the way that I became detatched from the game. I somehow feel slightly guilty, and yet at the same time, I think it's probably good for my overall well-being to not be quite so emotionally tied to the team.
The worst part of the series? It could so easily be the Astros up 3-0. Talk about frustrating.
Friday, October 21, 2005
TOP 10 PERKS OF GETTING
TOP 10 PERKS OF GETTING INTO THE WORLD SERIES as presented by Roy Oswalt on Letterman last night:
10. Another two weeks of wearing a cup and showering with the guys.
9. Get to visit exotic, far-off destinations like Illinois.
8. More time to discuss with the team doctor if Cialis is right for me.
7. With the discount, beer is only 18 bucks.
6. It's fine and all, but the good news is, I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to Geico.
5. Certificate good for one free groin pull.
4. I get to appear on my favorite late night program — The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.
3. World Series MVP gets to throw switch on Saddam's execution.
2. Clemens used his AARP card to get us cheap hotel rooms.
1. If Steinbrenner wants me next year, my price is now a billion dollars.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Roger Clemens's mother, during her
Roger Clemens's mother, during her last days before passing away a month ago, first asked him if they'd won the pennant yet, and then mentioned Shoeless Joe Jackson.
That is just freaky if you ask me. Uncanny. They won the pennant and face the White Sox. Goose bumps.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
After Monday night's rollercoaster of
After Monday night's rollercoaster of emotion, I have to admit that last night was rather underwhelming. By yesterday morning I'd finished wallowing and recovered my confidence in the Astros and in Roy (He was nails! Nails!!) so I went into last night's game viewing feeling good. For the first 5 innings I was even calm enough to do a little web surfing as part of my graphic design assignment for next week (researching typography assignments from other schools and writing a proposal for an assignment of my own -- basically I get to choose what I want to do for my own project assignment).
What's that saying? Momentum is only as strong as your next starting pitcher? Before the game, Fox replayed the Pujols home run complete with audio: roaring as the pitch came in, followed by absolute silence. It was stunning to hear again how quiet we got in an instant on Monday. But not last night. By the time the last few innings rolled around, I got a little nervous but not too bad, as Roy had it under control and I knew the Astros would not make the same mistakes twice. I only worried briefly when Grudzielanek got the 2-out hit. I knew the 'Stros would pull through. I was a bit disappointed that Lidge didn't come in to finish the game though; I know it wasn't a save situation, but having Lidge do the 9th would have been a fitting end after Monday's fireworks. I am more than happy enough with Qualls and Wheeler shutting down the Cards.
When Jason Lane finally had the 27th out firmly planted in his glove, I just smiled. I shook Jason a bit, going "We're in the World Series!" but I mostly just smiled. God I wish they had won at home on Monday night when I was screaming so much I made myself light-headed. But somehow it still felt right. After all the bedlam of Monday night, it was nice to just see the 'Stros come back to dominate the Cardinals in Game 6. The 4-run winning margin was the most of any of the six games. Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell didn't even immediately run onto the field; they just looked at each other, smiled, and hugged. Later, as he was interviewed on ESPN, Biggio had tears in his eyes. Awwwww.
Interesting stat: Eight of the nine starters last night have never played for any team but the Astros. Only Brad Ausmus has.
One of my favorite parts of a big win is savoring all the great descriptions of various moments in the game, like when Oswalt totally tied up Pujols in the 1st inning and just made him look stupid...
From Kent: "Congrats on Houston’s win! I saw you hitting a home run on tv to help the Astros through in one of the Houston games. Are you going to go to a World Series game/s?" To which I can say: YES! I'm going to Game 4. Because Chris's girlfriend's stepdad got tickets in the lottery, and Chris is my favorite person (after Oswalt) in the ENTIRE WORLD.
"The fans in Busch Stadium stood and roared in the first inning at the introduction of Albert Pujols, who ascended from the status of popular All-Star ballplayer to living god here with his monstrous home run against the Astros on Monday. He strolled to the plate, flashbulbs popping.
Roy Oswalt was not among those worshiping, however. The Astros right-hander threw two fastballs and a cutter to get ahead one ball and two strikes, and then he pumped a 95-mph fastball up and in, which, when thrown to Pujols, is like reaching for an alligator's tonsil: You just don't do it.
But Pujols was overpowered, swinging feebly, striking out, and Houston catcher Brad Ausmus thought: Oswalt's got it."
"This team won 15 of its first 45 games -- and somehow found a way to spring off that trampoline all the way into the World Series. How'd that happen?
And this team took an Albert Pujols haymaker to the noggin Monday night, watched in amusement as the rest of the world gave it a 10-count, and then rumbled right back to rewrite the ending two days later, with a methodical 5-1 dissection of the St. Louis Cardinals."
"You find out a lot about people in the tough times. When things were at their worst, the Astros hung together. They became closer because people like me no longer believed in them.
Early in the season, an opposing player approached Adam Everett and said: 'I guess it's pretty bad in your clubhouse.'
Adam told him: 'No, it's still good.'
It's really good today...
As the Astros were flying to St. Louis Tuesday night, the pilot announced: 'We've reached our cruising altitude, and if you look out the left side of the plane, you may see a familiar object.'
He meant the baseball that Albert Pujols hit off Brad Lidge in Game 5.
The Astros decided the best way to deal with the issue was to confront it and have a few laughs. At one point, Roy Oswalt is supposed to have said: 'Hey, Pujols' home run almost hit the plane.'
That was their way of letting Brad Lidge - and everyone else - know it was going to be OK and that life would go on."
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!! WORLD SERIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And this
And this from Lisa:
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
It was one game. We
It was one game. We are still up 3 games to 2. The Astros still have two more chances to win the NLCS.
But it was a crushing loss. One minute I was screaming. The next minute I was chewing on my towel in a flood of nerves. Pujols was up, and Pujols was due. The third minute I collapsed into my seat as if the wind had been knocked out of me. It was the first time I'd sat down since the 7th inning.
One out away. One strike away. I suppose this is why you play to 27 outs, and not 26.
But we have two more chances to win, and two more awesome pitchers lined up. I still think I'll see a World Series.
Monday, October 17, 2005
More thoughts on yesterday's game
More thoughts on yesterday's game after reading some news and watching the highlights:
1. That play at first base, the final out of the 9th inning and the second half of the double play, was close. WOW was it close. But the ump made the right call.
2. Sportscenter showed Adam Everett (the 6 of the 4-6-3 double play combo) jumping around like a kid after the ump called that out, then being hugged rather violently by Bruntlett and Ensberg. I laughed very hard. Everett is adorable.
3. Craig Biggio says "If I didn't have a heart attack tonight, I guess I'll never have one." I feel the same way.
4. This Jayson Stark article is great, especially in how he continually expresses incredulity at the Astros' ability to eek out wins. I, also, am incredulous. This team is freaking insane. They have a slew of great pitching but a serious lack of offense at times, and yet they have managed to get the Cardinals in a 3-1 hole.
5. Line from the previous article, emphasis mine: "Mabry also fell into an 0-2 pit, as 43,000 people stood, waved their festive white Astros towels and did their best mega-decibel imitation of a NASA launch." Hahaha. And: "The trouble is, what can they do to top that script from Sunday? Get no-hit by Chris Carpenter for 8 2/3 innings, then score five with two outs in the ninth to win? Come from 11 runs down and win in 29 innings? Activate Nolan Ryan and have him pitch the ninth?"
6. There are so many bizarre decisions that keep on turning out well for Phil Garner. Willie Taveras hasn't started the last two games. So he came in yesterday to pinch run, and scored the winning run in the 7th on a sac fly. Orlando Palmeiro would've made that play close if he'd run, but having Willie there ensured he'd get home. He's fast. Then in the 8th, Willie goes to the wall in straightaway center field to catch a ball on the hill. That hit travelled probably 425 feet. Anywhere else in the park, it would have been gone. And if anyone but Willie had been in centerfield, it would have been a hit.
7. Those of us at the stadium, at least those around me, never realized that La Russa had been tossed. I didn't know till we were listening to the post-game show on the way home. I guess he was ejected while he was still in the dugout, then came out to argue. We never saw the ejection, just the extensive arguing, and couldn't figure out why the umps were letting Tony jabber on for so long.
8. My name didn't get drawn for World Series tickets. Anybody that did??? Otherwise, if the Astros get one more win I'll be hitting ebay.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
OH. MY. GOD. I CANNOT
OH. MY. GOD. I CANNOT HANDLE THIS. SERIOUSLY.
The Astros won Game 4. By a score of 2-1. With a man on 3rd and no outs, they somehow got Pujols trying to get home on a grounder by Reggie Sanders. Then, incredibly, Lidge somehow got Mabry to ground into a double play to end the game.
I don't know how the Astros managed to hang on and win that game. But they did.
My ears are still ringing from all the insanely loud cheering.
The Astros have three chances to get to the World Series and their names are Pettitte, Oswalt, and Clemens. I like their odds.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
If you love me, you
If you love me, you will go to Astros.com sometime between noon today and Friday and register your name for the drawing for World Series tickets (if the Astros win the NLCS). If your name is drawn, you will then buy 4 tickets, give at least one to me, and I will love you FOREVER.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
A History of Baseball According to Sarah
I became a real baseball fan in 1994. This is strange for many reasons, not least of which is that 1994 was the year that the season ended in August, with no postseason, because of the players' strike.
I don't remember why I suddenly got into baseball. I'd paid peripheral attention to it over the years, and had been to the old Fulton County Stadium for a Braves game once on a choir trip, but thus far in my life the most attention I'd paid to a professional sport was to the NBA, for the first few years the Hornets were in Charlotte. But something about baseball stuck with me that summer between 10th and 11th grades. I remember being at the farm for two weeks, and going over to Uncle Joe's house each afternoon or evening to watch the Braves play on TBS. My cousin Michael was a big Phillies fan and we teased him mercilessly. The next summer, we used one of the days at the farm to drive the hour to Philadelphia and watch the Phillies take on the Braves in the Vet, a stadium that doesn't exist anymore.
I became a Braves fan for three reasons: they were the closest major league team to my home in Charlotte, they were always on TV thanks to Ted Turner and TBS, and hey, they were good. It's easy to root for a winning team. I can't profess to have been one of those Braves fans who stuck with them through the bleak 1980s (sorry, Carter and Dr. G), but I guess you could say I jumped on the bandwagon relatively early. Relative, at least, when you consider that 1994 was only 3 years into their incredible reign over their division.
The strike came, and it probably should have nipped my fandom in the bud. But it didn't. By October 1995, I was cheering in the parking lot of Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill just after performing in a huge marching band competition as Marquis Grissom caught the ball and the Braves topped the Indians to win the World Series. My sister had been listening on a Walkman, and told me the news. We went back to my grandmother's condo and watched enless postgame coverage on TV.
The next summer I travelled to Atlanta to see a game with my friend Ginger, and that fall I enrolled at Georgia Tech. While my decision to go to Tech didn't have anything to do with baseball, the fact that the Braves played minutes away from campus was icing on the cake. The first thing I ever remember asking Carter to do for me was bring me a program from a 1996 World Series game he saw. I'd known him for probably a day and was already demanding things. I still have that program somewhere. The Yankees, of course, won the series.
In August 1997 I started co-oping in Houston and attended my first Astros game in the Astrodome. We sat in centerfield, where they had some guy dressed up in a military-ish uniform who shot a cannon each time a player hit a home run. That spring, Ginger came to visit me in Houston and we went to see the Astros take on the visiting Braves, who were still very much my team. The lady I lived with had given us some great tickets, about 10 rows back from the Braves dugout. We were in heaven.
In October 1999 I saw my first (and thus far, only) World Series. I managed to get standing room only tickets to Games 1 and 2 in Atlanta. The Yankees won both, and went on to sweep the Series. Freaking Yankees. I haven't been able to stomach them since.
I attended my fair share of Braves games over the years I spent at Georgia Tech. I went to a bunch of Astros games as well, both in the Astrodome and at the new Enron Field when it opened in 2000, during my six co-op tours in Houston. But the Braves were still my team, my boys. I couldn't imagine ever straying from that. Astros, sure, but Braves first. Always first.
In 2001 I moved to Palo Alto, California and tried to get used to the idea that my baseball experience would now involve a lot less of the Braves and a lot more of the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A's. I'd never really paid much attention to the American League, and still don't. Oh, I keep up with the players and general trends, but the National League is my home. I religiously watched the 2001 World Series between the Diamondbacks and Yankees, the first time I’d paid close attention to a series that didn’t involve the Braves.
I went to a handful of Giants games, including one where we sat a few rows behind Barry Bonds's kids. San Francisco's beautiful ballpark is what really began my quest to see all 30 baseball teams play in their home stadiums. I've checked 15, exactly half, off that list thus far, with many of those visited in the past 4 years.
In April 2002 I went to Opening Day for the A's. In May 2002 the Braves came to town to play the Giants and not a single one of my friends would go to the game with me. Not wanting to give up my one chance to see my boys, I went alone, bought a ticket off a scalper, and sat about 20 rows behind the Braves dugout talking to two old guys next to me. They knew the Giants, I knew the Braves; it was one of the best times I've had at a baseball game.
That summer I moved to Houston permanently. I went to a bunch of Astros games in 2002 and 2003, making special effort to attend every game of the once-a-season visit from the Braves. In 2003 I went on a baseball road trip with a group of friends, traveling to New York and Boston to see the Astros play the Yankees and Red Sox, and to see Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park. By sheer coincidence, we were sitting in the first row of seats in right field on June 11 when the Astros used 6 pitchers in a no-hitter against New York. It was one of the coolest and most bizarre baseball feats I will ever see.
In October 2003, while vacationing in Greece, I poked my head into a small bar on the island of Santorini to get an update on the Marlins-Cubs NLCS. Knowing only that something strange had happened, I used some of my precious minutes at an Internet cafe to read that the Cubs' curse had been extended after the infamous Steve Bartman reached over the rail to catch a fly ball away from Moises Alou.
In 2004, I decided it was time to make one of my closet dreams a reality and along with Jason and Chris, I became a baseball season ticket holder. We only had a third of the season (27 games), and the tickets were for the Astros (not the Braves), but it was close enough for me. When the Braves came to town early in the season, I cheered for them. Every other game I rooted for the Astros and came to know the team even better than I had during my six previous years of attending Astros games on and off. And it happened. I don't when, or why, or how. But it happened. I became an Astros fan, Braves second, Astros first. My Astros, first.
Of course, an ulterior motive for buying season tickets in 2004 was that it gave the opportunity to buy ticket to the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game at Minute Maid Park. We revelled in Lance Berkman's great showing at the derby as he smacked ball after ball over the train tracks and into the black night, a feat topped only by winner Miguel Tejada. We sympathized with Roger Clemens as he gave up 6 runs in his All-Star game star in his city, Houston, after exhausting himself acting as the ultimate city ambassador in the days before the game.
While I was hiking the Inca Trail in September, the Astros went on a 12-game win streak, part of their 36-10 finish. On the last day of the season, they redeemed themselves from being written off at the All-Star break and won the Wild Card.
I watched Games 1 and 2 in Atlanta, cheering as Jeff Bagwell hit his first postseason home run. I was in the stands for Games 3 and 4, leaving the latter in the 8th inning only to get to Edgar and Betsy’s wedding. The scary part is that they’d have understood if we’d been late to the nuptials. We all gathered to watch the crucial Game 5 and whooped as the Astros won their first postseason series and headed to St. Louis.
I was at Minute Maid Park when the Astros battled back to tie the NLCS 2-2, and from Section 311 I watched Brandon Backe toss a 1-hitter against an equally in-the-zone Woody Williams. When Jeff Kent hit a 3-run walkoff homer in the bottom of the 9th, I thought I would die. The 2004 NLCS Game 5 is arguably the best game, in any sport, that I have ever seen. I say “arguably” only because I was at the stadium again for last Sunday’s game.
I was at Opening Day again this year, even though we didn’t renew our season tickets. (We will next year.) I suffered with the team as they fell to 15-30 in mid-May, and perked up when Morgan Ensberg got hot and the team started to climb in the standings. I was way out in right field as the Astros won the Wild Card again, on the last day of the season, with a great Roy Oswalt performance and a win over the evil Cubs.
I spent the majority of last weekend at the ballpark once again as Oswalt pitched to a win on Saturday and we prepared for the potential clincher on Sunday. 6 hours, 18 innings, and 23 players later, the Astros were NLDS champions again, heading to St. Louis for a rematch. I will be at game this Saturday, and Sunday, and even Monday if Game 5 is necessary. I cannot wait to put on my jersey and get ready to scream some more.
As I thought about all this, I realized that I have been fortunate enough to see some spectacular baseball over the past decade. As the Astros face the Cardinals tonight in Game 1 of the NLCS, I hope that the next decade of my baseball fanship is even better.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
for it's root, root, root for the home team / if they don't win it's a shame
OH. MY. GOD.
Today I saw the longest baseball game in postseason history. And my team won. It was one of the best games I've ever seen.
I had a feeling, as we drove to the ballpark shortly after 10:00 this morning. I had a feeling that the Astros would win. I don't know why, and I can't explain it. But I was confident. They were going to win. It was all part of my plan -- split in Atlanta, sweep at home, Astros win the series 3-1.
By the third inning, after Brandon Backe had given up a grand slam to Adam LaRoche and the Braves led 4-0 and Tim Hudson was groovin' on the mound, I began to worry. I still felt like they were supposed to win, but it wasn't looking good. Soon it was 5-0. Then 5-1. Then 6-1.
By the bottom of the 8th, the stadium was rumbling. We were trying to stay positive, but we were worried. Things didn't look good. I couldn't stop clapping the free noisemaker they were giving away. Who gives a noisemaker to 43,000 nervous baseball fans?? I'm sure everyone around me wanted to break the thing into bits.
The Astros got things started and then -- Lance Berkman! Grand slam! I screamed and screamed. We saw two grand slams in one game, and this one was for the home team. 6-5! We're only down by one run! It was a game again!
To the bottom of the 9th inning we go. One out. Two outs. I am wringing my hands, clapping the noisemaker like mad, as Brad Ausmus comes to the plate. He hits a long ball, and I see Andruw Jones chasing, but I can't tell where it hits the wall! It is above the line? Below the line? Aaaaaaaaaack, what's happening?!? I hold my breath. I look at Jason, who points at the umpire who is wiggling his finger in a circle in the air.
HOME RUN!!! The game is tied! I'm not even cheering anymore, no "woo" or "yay" or polite and restrained clapping. I'm just there, outright screaming bloody murder, it's absolute bedlam in the stadium and I'm jumping up and down so crazily that I'm sure at any moment I'm going to fall into the row in front of me. My throat hurts, but we're in extra innings, free baseball!
To the 10th. The 11th. The 12th. The 13th. The Braves have quite a few chances to score, making me even more nervous, but our bullpen keeps shutting them down. Brad Lidge escapes a jam. Dan Wheeler pitches beautifully. The game goes on, the scoreboard lighting up with zeros, as the Astros go through every available bench player, and every available bullpen pitcher.
The 14th. The 15th. Brad Ausmus moves to first base. Can he even play first base?!? Then they switch -- Raul Chavez to first base, and Ausmus back to catcher. This is crazy, people! This game is officially insane!
We take a peek at the bullpen, where, are you kidding me?? Roger Clemens is warming up. Clemens, who pitched Game 2, and whose day it is to throw between starts, is warming up in the bullpen. In the 16th inning, he comes into the game. Roger freaking Clemens is pitching in the 16th inning of Game 4 of the NLDS. We have no more pitchers. Oswalt pitched yesterday. Pettitte has to be saved in case we play tomorrow. There is no one left. The Astros order is so out-of-whack that we figure the only possible way for them to win is with a home run. The lineup is too screwy to play small ball. Someone has to launch it.
The 16th inning passes. And the 17th. We are in the bottom 18th inning. The game has been going for almost 6 hours, a new record for postseason baseball both in game length and number of players used. We are tired, we are spent, we have cheered for the duration of two baseball games and it's surprisingly draining.
We just want someone to win. We want someone to win it for the Astros. We don't want to see the team have to go to Atlanta tomorrow, and play a crucial Game 5 after exhausting everyone today. It is the 18th inning, and we wonder how much longer it can last.
Clemens bats first, and takes a mighty hack at the ball. He's trying, but soon he's out. The stadium sighs. We clap. And sigh.
Chris Burke is next. We watch, a little detatched. I am tired of standing up and sitting down. My hands hurt from clapping the noisemaker. My feet are sticky from the coke that someone spilled. My throat is raw from yelling. Please, Chris Burke, please.
He hits it. The ball flies as if it's in slow motion. It rises slowly, as it heads toward left field and the infamous Crawford Boxes. Home run territory. I swear you could feel the stadium collectively suck in air. For an instant, I swear you could hear a pin drop. The ball floats. I can't tell yet. Is it gone? Is it in the seats? Is this it??
The ball lands in the second row of seats and the stadium explodes with noise. Chris Burke has just hit a HOME RUN in the bottom of the 18th inning. The game is over. The Astros win the game, and the series, and are headed to the NLCS. As Burke is mobbed by his teammates and confetti starts to fill the air, we are all in the stands screaming. Just screaming.
The 6-hour marathon is over. Astros win!!
Sunday, October 02, 2005
Astros win the Wild Card!
Astros win the Wild Card! Woooooooo!
The stadium was nice and loud, and my nerves, already frayed, really started to go after the Cubs came back to go on top 4-3. But Jason Lane hit a monster home run, and Neifi Perez threw the ball away, and Qualls and Wheeler held it, and Lidge closed it out, and WHEW.
Astros win the Wild Card!
Friday, September 16, 2005
We lost our softball game
We lost our softball game last night by one lousy run (I was the tying run and was stranded on 2nd base), but I had the best game I've had in ages. I went 3-for-4 and was on base each time. I hit into one fielder's choice, but ironically that was the time I ended up scoring a run. I also made a catch in the outfield. Woo!
I'm headed to Minute Maid Park again tonight for my second Astros game this week. After worrying me with two quick losses to the Marlins, they won the last two on the strength of Clemens and Pettitte and are now a half game ahead of the Phillies and Marlins for the Wild Card lead.
This race is really going to go down to the wire, I think, and probably won't be decided until the last day of the season! The Astros have a decent schedule left to play, with 3 against the Brewers, 4 against the Pirates, 7 against the Cubs, and 2 against the Cardinals. The Cards, of course, are the tough part. I think the 'Stros should be able to emerge with more wins than losses against all the others. It's just a guess, but if they can go 10-6 or better in the last 16 games, I think that would do it...
While the Astros battle the NL Central, the Marlins and Phillies have slightly harder schedules. Both face the NL East-leading Braves again, as well as the not-dead-yet Nationals, and this weekend they actually play each other -- I don't expect either one to sweep the three-game series, so hopefully their wins will sorta cancel out.
Come on Astros! I wanna go to more postseason games! (Though if the Astros can hang on and win the Wild Card, the first round will be exactly the same as last year -- playing the Braves. And if they win that -- likely playing the Cardinals, who I expect to feast on the sub-.500 NL West winner.)
Monday, July 25, 2005
I didn't mention it earlier,
I didn't mention it earlier, but of course I was thinking about it yesterday: Lance won! Yay Lance!
And now I can stop watching OLN for another year.
Monday, July 11, 2005
Bobby Abreu just hit 24
Bobby Abreu just hit 24 homers in the first round of the home run derby. WHOA. 24! Last year we saw Miguel Tejada set what was the single round record of 15. It's not the record anymore!
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Roy Oswalt won the fan
Roy Oswalt won the fan vote to get the final spot on the NL All-Star team! Yayyyyy for Roy! He is truly deserving. I can't believe that this will only be his first year as an All-Star.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
The Astros have finally turned
The Astros have finally turned the season around a bit. In the past couple weeks they've been winning a ton, and have scratched their way back to 40-42 with the possibility of being a .500 team again at the All-Star break. (Depressing to realize that they've gone something like 13-4 in the past few weeks and still are not back to .500...) In addition, they've just tied the Cubs for second place in the NL Central! Sure, the Cardinals are unreachable, but second place ain't shabby.
Saturday, July 02, 2005
Thank Goodness It's Tour De France Day!
I am just stupidly excited that the Tour De France starts today. I'm not afraid to admit that somewhere along the way, Lance Armstrong turned me into a cycling fan. I don't know if my high interest in the sport will continue after this year, once Lance has retired. But I hope it will. Watching OLN obsessively for the entire month of July is just too much fun.
Tour De France starts today with a ~11 mile time trial...
Saturday, June 11, 2005
I say this ever so
I say this ever so cautiously, but...I think the Astros may finally be turning things around, and showing signs of life. Debbie, Jason and I hit the ballpark tonight for Nolan Ryan figurine night and interleague play (the Blue Jays were in town) getting there early to watch batting practice (I got a bunch of good photos!). The game was going well, Clemens pitching beautifully for seven innings and only giving up one run to lower his 1.67 ERA a bit more. Brad Lidge came in for the top of the 9th to close out the 3-1 win...or so we thought. He blew the save. Tied 3-3. The stadium went quiet. Yet again, there would be no win for the Rocket, and the Astros would again fall as they have so many times this season already.
But then, Morgan Ensberg saved the day! Three-run homer! Bottom of the 9th! Walk off, baby! Astros win, 6-3!
Friday, May 27, 2005
Kevin Millwood has just joined
Kevin Millwood has just joined the DL on one of the two fantasy teams I mentioned yesterday -- the team that had six, then I dropped one so they had five, and now they're back to six.
Welcome to The Disabled Wonders, Kevin. Thanks for playing.
Thursday, May 26, 2005
I haven't given a fantasy
I haven't given a fantasy baseball update in a while. That's because BOTH OF MY TEAMS SUCK. As in, they REALLY suck.
Team #1, NL only. My keepers, i.e. my best players, this season are Eric Gagne, Jim Thome, and Scott Rolen. For those keeping score at home, that's:
Team #2, both leagues. Yesterday I had SIX, count them, SIX players on the disabled list. I can only carry three on the DL before they start taking up roster spots, so yesterday I dropped Jeff Bagwell, whose playing days are likely through thanks to that darn shoulder. But I can't really drop any of the remaining five:
It's not even June and I have already given up on both of my teams for the season. There's no coming back from this.
At least the Astros won last night. That is cause for a minor celebration -- with the way things are going for them this season, who knows when they might win again.
Thursday, May 05, 2005
Here's a photo of the
Here's a photo of the best catch you might see in baseball all year. Even if you don't like baseball, you should appreciate this one. I watched the Sportscenter highlight and my jaw dropped. Ichiro climbed halfway up the outfield wall and caught the ball. It was a certain home run, and he caught it.
Friday, April 22, 2005
A fellow Team Mission Control
A fellow Team Mission Control member sent a photo of me crossing the day 1 finish line in La Grange.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Jen's sister ran the Boston
Jen's sister ran the Boston Marathon yesterday in 3:29, which reminds me that Chris's friend Cheri won the Boston Marathon yesterday (wheelchair division). Also, my sister ran the Pi Mile Road Race at Georgia Tech on Saturday in 26:22, so I totally feel Jen's pain about being the sister with less natural athletic talent. I've been running for three years and can barely get under half an hour, while Katie starts running to keep in shape for her wedding and reels off a 26:22. Big dork. ;)
Last night Jason and I headed downtown to watch the spectacle that was Roger Clemens vs. Tim Hudson. It was a fantastic game, the pitchers matching each other pitch for pitch, and the teams matching hit for hit. Hudson got hit on the leg by a line drive, and a couple innings later Jason remarked "what if Clemens get hit on the leg?" No sooner had he said that, and I'm talking like, seriously, two seconds after he said that, Clemens got hit on the leg with a line drive. It was SPOOKY, I'm telling you.
Clemens threw seven scoreless innings with Lidge coming in for the 8th and 9th, while Hudson tossed a nine-inning four-hitter. At the end of "regulation" the score was still 0-0 (and it wasn't even 10:00), so we went to free baseball! Qualls pitched a scoreless 10th for the Astros, while Reitsma got into trouble when the Astros loaded the bases with no outs. They failed to score, though, which I still can't wrap my head around. How do you fail to score with the bases loaded and no outs?? All you need is a long fly! Geez. Anyway, on to the 11th, where Wheeler pitched scoreless inning and Sosa did the same for the Braves. Wheeler came back out for the top of the 12th and made one bad pitch, which Ryan Langerhans (who??) hit for his first career homer. Kolb came in for the bottom of the inning and the Astros continued to not be able to hit for crap, and lost 1-0.
It was a great game, minus the outcome. It was sort of a shame that neither Hudson or Clemens got the win after they both pitched such stellar games. Clemens has a ERA of 0.43 for the season so far, and yet he hasn't won a game because he's gotten only one run in support. Ugh. Such is baseball, I guess, but it sure is frustrating to watch.
Afterwards, I found myself thinking about other great games I've attended. The best baseball game I've ever been to is (as if there were any question) last year's NLCS Game 5 when Brandon Backe pitched an 8-inning 1-hitter and Jeff Kent won it 3-0 for the Astros with a three-run homer over the railroad tracks in the bottom of the ninth.
The best football game I've ever been to was the 1998 Georgia Tech vs. Virginia game when Tech came back from being three touchdowns behind to win 41-38. Virginia had been ranked #7, and we all swarmed the field and took down the goalposts.
Ahh. The memories.
Monday, April 11, 2005
Just got back from Dr.
Just got back from Dr. O'Neill's office, where I did a lot of sitting for 15 minutes of action. Turns out that the pain in my knee, and the random bump that has formed on my kneecap, is my knee trying to build new bone to compensate for the fact that it has been over-stressed. So it's an overuse injury, and in response my knee is forming something like a bone spur, I guess:
"The reason for bone spur formation is the body is trying to increase the surface area of the joint to better distribute weight across a joint surface that has been damaged by arthritis or other conditions. Unfortunately, this is largely wasted effort by our body as the bone spur can become restrictive and painful."
He checked my flexibility (which is great, no loss of range of motion or I would have noticed by now), gave me a few stretches to do, and did some x-rays which showed that despite the fact that the "knee lump" feels hard, it's not actually bone yet. Just gunk that might eventually form bone. Anyway, for the next eight weeks whenever I do anything athletic (running and soccer, basically), I have a lovely little knee brace to wear with two tubes in it. One tube goes across the top of my kneecap, one right underneath it. It's supposed to take some of the stress off my patellar ligament (the ligament that holds your kneecap in place). Then after 8 weeks I got back for him to see if the "knee lump" is fading/softening. If it is, that's good, if it's not, we'll try something else.
So, the appointment was uneventful but hopefully I'll now be on my way to getting rid of the knee ache. I had a good time at the doctor, as I usually do. I find orthopedics so interesting, and Dr. O'Neill is nice but moves very fast. I always want to stop him for ten minutes and start asking all sorts of knee questions just to satisfy my own curiosity. I don't think I could do the doctor thing, but if I ever decide to change careers entirely, I think being a physical therapist would be very interesting and rewarding. You get all the knowledge and get to help people get better. But you don't have to do the surgery thing. ;)
Sunday, April 10, 2005
I bite my thumb at you, sir!
No matter how the rest of the season goes, I'm going to bask in the fact that while the Astros are off to a healthy 4-1 start, Carlos Beltran and his precious Mets are 1-5, the last team in baseball to record their first win this year. I'm going to giggle silently today and hope ol' Carlos is having at least a few second thoughts.
Friday, April 08, 2005
biking for bucks
This morning after a "reminder" email, I met my $300 fundraising goal for the MS150! Hooray. If you would like to sponsor me as well, you still have time. Just click that link! All money goes to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Monday, April 04, 2005
So it turns out that
So it turns out that even after going to Georgia Tech, the influence of my mom, my little brother, and my home state burn strong. Yes, I still bleed a little Carolina blue.
I was so nervous watching the end of the game just now. Pacing back and forth, all muscles tense, barely breathing. But they won!
The Tarheels won!
My brother's probably going crazy on Franklin Street right now. What a great night.
Monday, April 04, 2005
Great and thoughtful post from
Great and thoughtful post from Gabe Rodriguez's blog (he's one of Houston's fastest runners):
I was conversing with a customer the other day at the store who had "crossed over", a term I endear to runners who have taken up cycling or triathlons. We spoke about bikes, gear, the cost involved, the training time involved, and then he mentioned something I found very interesting.
He said, "I enjoy the running community more. In the cycling community, everyone thinks they're Lance Armstrong..."
Interesting. Everyone thinks they're Lance. I asked him to expound on the subject and he further mentioned the mentality everyone would have on even a simple ride, where the riders would try to drop one another, constantly testing the pack, edging for a breakaway ride into glory.
I mentioned this to my wife, an accomplished Marathoner and Duathlete, and she emerged with quite a pearl: she found that in cycling there is a machine between you and your success. She believes the cyclist gets inspiration and motivation from the dollar signs between their legs. Hey, out of shape, no problem, I've got a $6000 Cervelo. Haven't done the 100+ training rides, no biggie, I just dropped $1500 on a pair of Zipp wheels. It is like their fitness level can be purchased with equipment, and that equipment can be pushed harder and harder and the feedback is real, very real in the concrete nature of heart rate, cadence, miles per hour. Whereas, in running your "equipment" is yourself, your body.. take it or leave it. Out of shape, your body will let you know. There is no coasting, no relaxing, every step may hurt, may reverberate reality up your joints and through your bones until you realize you cannot purchase your fitness (but a nice pair of shoes doesn't hurt).
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
This kind of thing always
This kind of thing always worries me a bit -- a biker killed when hit by a car as she was stopped along the side of the road. While it really adds emphasis to the notion that bikers should pull well off the road when stopped, the scary part to me is that the driver (who is suspected to have been drunk) swerved toward her.
I take the proper safety precautions when I go biking. I always wear a helmet, I ride with traffic, I signal turns and slowing, and I pick less-traveled roads with wide shoulders and slower traffic when possible. And yet there's nothing I can do to control crazy drivers.
When I went riding two days ago I was cruising solo down Port Road, a fairly empty road deep in Seabrook, or maybe Shoreacres. Not much around but refinies and chemical plants, and not much traffic on a weekend. I looked up ahead and saw a white pickup truck pulling a trailer coming towards me in the other lane. Oncoming traffic -- no big deal, right? So imagine my surprise and moment of outright fear when, with about 600-700 feet to go between us, he moved from his lane into my lane. On this long empty road with no other traffic in sight and no apparent reason for doing so, he moved from his lane into my lane.
I was already preparing to jump off my bike at 20+ mph and dive into the grass on the side of the road, figuring that although I'd probably end up with a broken bone or sprained joint, it was better than the alternative, when he moved back into his lane as quickly as he'd left it. He was probably in my lane for no more than 2 seconds, but that was enough time for me to panic. He zoomed past me, with my already tired legs shaking that much more.
I just wonder why? WHY?? Why would you intentionally do that? Is it fun? Do you get some sort of thrill out of it, knowing that you're in some sort of position of power? Why would you intentionally move into the other lane, knowing full well that the biker heading towards you will experience a moment of terror with the realization that they have absolutely no chance of avoiding serious injury or worse if hit by a car going 50 mph??
It'd been a long time since I was as livid as I was for the five minutes after I thought I was about to end up in the hospital.
Monday, March 28, 2005
My second 2005 fantasy baseball
My second 2005 fantasy baseball team (NL only):
C - Mike Lieberthal
1B - Jim Thome
2B - Chris Burke
3B - Scott Rolen
SS - Kaz Matsui
MI - Placido Polanco
CI - Sean Burroughs
OF - Carlos Lee
OF - Raul Mondesi
OF - Jason Lane
OF - Juan Encarnacion
Util - Jeff Conine
SP - Carlos Zambrano
SP - Jake Peavy
SP - Andy Pettitte
SP - Brad Penny
SP - Luke Hudson
SP - Cory Lidle
RP - Eric Gagne
RP - LaTroy Hawkins
RP - Juan Valverde
RP - Antonio Alfonseca
C - Damien Miller
2B - Desi Relaford
SS - Cristian Guzman
OF - Barry Bonds (drafted in the 13th round; hope he heals quickly)
OF - Marlon Byrd
OF - Jason Michaels
SP - Edwin Jackson
RP - Julian Tavarez
RP - Matt Herges
RP - Chris Reitsma
Monday, March 21, 2005
Somehow I am currently at
Somehow I am currently at the top of my NCAA pool. I am surprised, and don't really expect to stay there (Katie and Brian and Andrew, among others, all have many more points available than me), but at least I got 10 of the Sweet 16 and still have the chance to get 3 of my Final Four. Alas, I picked Georgia Tech to win it all out of love for my alma mater, and of course they got slaughtered by Louisville yesterday. Didn't really expect them to win, but was hoping...
I picked UNC to meet them in the final though, and I think UNC has a great chance of getting there and winning the whole thing this year.
Sunday, March 20, 2005
My 2005 fantasy baseball team,
My 2005 fantasy baseball team, immediately after the draft:
C - Jason Varitek
1B - Todd Helton
2B - Mark Loretta
3B - Mike Lowell
SS - Derek Jeter
OF - Gary Sheffield
OF - Moises Alou
OF - Steve Finley
Util - Jeff Bagwell
SP - Curt Schilling
SP - Carl Pavano
SP - Chris Carpenter
SP - Andy Pettitte
SP - Rodrigo Lopez
RP - Francisco Rodriguez
RP - Braden Looper
RP - Jeremy Affeldt
C - Johnny Estrada
2B/3B/OF - Ryan Freel
OF - Reggie Sanders
OF - Alex Sanchez
SP - Kevin Millwood
SP - Woody Williams
SP - Jake Westbrook
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
Georgia Tech made it to the finals of the ACC tournament while I was out of town, beating Carolina (take that, Brian!) before falling to Duke in the final.
As a result of that good showing, we're the #5 seed in the Albuquerque regional and will have to beat George Washington and probably (note I say probably) Louisville to advance to the Sweet 16. Then probably Washington for the Elite Eight, setting up a potential ACC Wake Forest-GT rematch for a spot in the Final Four. We'll see. Yes, we shall see.
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
grab your things / I've come to take you home
Today is Cari's birthday, and due to an inability to buy cheese curds at Whole Foods because she left her wallet at work, she can't make poutine (ick) and we will now be visiting the Cheesecake Factory for her birthday dinner. As you can guess, there are no complaints on my part. Mmmmmmm. Cheeeeeeesecake. Thanks for forgetting your wallet, Cari!
I left work at 4:30 yesterday and had planned to go on a bike ride, but ended up sitting on my butt watching TV and messing around on the computer. Next thing I knew, it was dark. Excuse: I was tired anyway. I do need to start biking though, in preparation for the MS150. And speaking of the MS150, if you would like to sponsor me, please do so here.
Yes, that entire paragraph was a way to work in the "donate to me" sentence.
But to continue with the athletic theme, I've been a major slacker in terms of working out since the marathon. That, combined with the fact that I've been eating whatever appears in front of me, has resulted in gaining about 5 pounds. This does not make me happy. Grr. Time to buckle down again.
I'm running the Rodeo Run 10K in a week and a half and am going to plan on doing at least 4 runs between now and then. My goal is 1:05:00, or ~10:30 miles. I think I can do it, but it'll be a challenge.
Looking toward spring in general, I'm finding that time management is the hardest part of any workout routine. There are so many things I enjoy doing, and so little time. Rock climbing on Mondays, softball on Thursdays, soccer on both Saturday and Sunday once the spring season starts again. Plus we usually go swimming on Wednesdays, to stay in shape for two upcoming triathlons. Add to that the need to get in at least 2 decent bike rides per week from now until the MS150 in mid-April, and the fact that I'd like to get in at least 2 runs per week to maintain my running fitness... That adds up to nine activities, or, more activities per week than days!
Somehow I'll work it out.
Saturday, February 05, 2005
I'm watching the Tech-Duke game.
I'm watching the Tech-Duke game. It's only 8-8 at the moment, but already I'm remembering how much the addition of three schools to the ACC (two already, Boston College comes next year) has screwed up the basketball schedule. It was a football move, with little regard to basketball. Case in point: we have to visit Duke this year, but they don't have to visit us. Next year, it's reversed.
But today, I just want the Cameron Crazies to SHUT UP ALREADY!
Monday, September 15, 2003
queen of minor injuries
if i had a soccer game every night, i would be in incredible shape. then again, i might also inadvertantly kill myself.
i hurt myself again, and am now going to dub myself "queen of the minor injuries." my mildly sprained finger improved a lot over the weekend, and the bruises from last wednesday's climbing disappeared, and my ankle only feels weird if i turn it a certain way...but last night i tweaked whatever muscle is on the inside of my upper right thigh. groin muscle, anyone? or rather, as i'm going to start calling it, the oswalt muscle?
it was raining steadily at 7:00 when our game was supposed to start, not to mention the fact that lightning was criss-crossing the sky. but apparently we have to give it 20 minutes. at 7:20 it was still raining, but the referee counted 16 seconds between lightning and thunder, and so he decided that the game was on. i headed out onto the field not exactly excited by the prospect of getting struck by lightning, but fortunately, that part of the storm moved on and by the end of the game, even the rain had ended (though by that time, we were so wet and muddy that we didn't notice). buzz has joined our team, which is awesome. now i have a friend in the group!
anyway. we played, and the first run of the game, i felt a twinge in my oswalt muscle. it bothered me the rest of the game, not enough to keep me from playing, but enough to be bothersome. i thought maybe it'd go away overnight, but it didn't.
queen of minor injuries. that's me.
other than that, i had a nice weekend. friday night we went to see "once upon a time in mexico," which is not as good as desperado, and unnecessarily gory. but i still love johnny depp and antonio banderas. saturday, jason and debbie and i went downtown to the open house for the toyota center, the new coliseum for the rockets and aeros. it was really, really nice. the upper level was open to the concourse, which i thought was cool. the lower level along the sidelines are "club seats" featuring a really posh concession area. since we are planning on buying a 13-game season ticket package for the aeros (minor league hockey team), we'll even get to take advantage of the poshness. woohoo!
from there we headed over the few blocks to minute maid park and took in a true pitcher's duel, and maybe the fastest baseball game i've ever seen. it lasted only 2 hours and 5 minutes, with roy oswalt and the astros emerging victorious over matt morris and the cardinals by a score of 2-0. oswalt went 7 innings with no runs, giving up only 4 hits and striking out 8. matt morris wasn't bad either, going the same number of innings and giving up the same number of hits. he just happened to give up a couple runs too. dotel came in for the 8th, and wagner closed it in the 9th for the astros. he didn't top 98 mph (which seems slow for wagner!), but was still effective.
anyway. yesterday i got some digital photos printed and was privy to the slight incompetance of the walmart photo lab. luckily, eckerd's saved the day, and now i have everything i need to put together my scrapbooks from scotland (a year ago) and france (january). i'm so slow. while waiting on photos, i got my oil changed. hooray for being productive.
i think i'm going to have to skip climbing tonight because of my oswalt muscle. grr.
Tuesday, September 09, 2003
listen as the wind blows / from across the great divide
so today i'm taking a class called "influencing others: the leader's tool kit." the bad news is that it's yet another leadership class, as if i haven't experienced enough of those already. the good news is that the woman teaching is enthusiastic and funny, and thus keeps my attention. so far this morning, we've assessed our listening skills and i've learned that i am best at appreciative listening (meaning that i listen best when i am being entertained or inspired) and worst at empathic listening (meaning maybe i'm not the best person to come to when you just want to vent). hmm. i probably could have predicted those. despite the fact that i always try to be a better empathic listener, i never seem to have much success. i always want to fix things, instead of just being a shoulder to lean on.
i'm a little sore from the rock gym last night, but not too bad. i was having sort of an "off" night. i wasn't able to do as much as i did last wednesday; i just didn't feel as good or as balanced, somehow. my new chalk bag worked ok though, and after last night i am seriously considering buying my own pair of climbing shoes, despite their price (between $80 and $140). the rock gym shoes never fit me quite right; in order to get the right length and avoid painfully compressing my toe, i end up with shoes that are too wide, and i can't lace them up tight enough to prevent the foam pieces from working their way in. what i really need is a shoe designed for women; despite their hugeness (size 11), my feet are narrow like most women's feet are. thus, men's shoes never fit me as well as i'd like. we'll see. i tried on a pair of climbing shoes at rei on saturday. they were $137 at the store, i found them for $95 online. sheesh.
i recruited buzz for my women's soccer team, and am quite excited about that. she's pumped to play, and even if she sucked (which she doesn't), she'd be a great addition simply because i know we can count on her to show up at each and every game!
after climbing we sauntered over to waffle house, where conversation ensued that made me want to clarify things in my life. weirdness.
Thursday, September 04, 2003
and to think, i still can't do a pull-up
back in college, when we all still used icq instead of aol instant messenger, i saw one of the funniest away messages ever written. the spacebar anit's keyboard had stopped working, and her entire away message (written with classic anit hilarity) was-written-like-this-with-dashes-instead-of-spaces. it cracked me up, and still does.
i'm reminded of this as i suffer through my own typing problems today, those difficulties being caused by the fact that my forearms are as sore as they have ever been in my entire life. every time i lift a finger, i feel it from the inside of my wrist to my elbow.
betsy and i took advantage of ladies night (half price!) at the rock gym last night to go climbing for the second time this week. dear god, what a workout. betsy had me climbing (or at least attempting to climb) routes that i'd never tried before. by the end of my trip up the first route, the yellow path over in the corner, on which i got to about 4 feet from the top of the wall before being unable to get to the last hand hold due to the burning in my arms, i knew it would be a tough night. we tried a few more of our nemesis walls, including the blue route next to the door, and the purple route next to the elephant. i couldn't do those, but did manage to complete a dark grey route i'd never tried, as well as the swirl route that crosses over the rock crag.
at the end of the night, we did about a half hour of bouldering that did me in. i am so incredibly sore.
i need to go buy a chalk bag. last night was the first time i really needed it to keep my hands from slipping off the holds.
ok. enough typing.
Tuesday, August 26, 2003
The STS-107 accident investigation report will be released in about 45 minutes. Once we've all had a chance to read it, or at least skim it (as the report plus appendices tops out around 1000 pages, I've heard), I'm sure it will be the pervasive theme at work for a while. We all know it will have some harsh things to say about NASA; this is to be expected. But our more imminent concern is what it will say about conducting entry risk studies, as that is where our expertise lies. So it should be interesting, to say the least.
Matt lent me a CD of an Austin-based band called Damesviolet. He saw them here in Houston on Saturday night, but I didn't go because I was still moving. Anyway, they are pretty good, I'm enjoying their CD.
My fantasy team (the "All-Star" one) keeps inching up on Ron's team, but I can't quite surpass him. We're currently in first and second, him with 67 points and me with 66.5. Randy is a (very) distant third with 46.5 points. It's a little strange because in the past two years, Randy has won the league, with Ron in second, and me in third. This year Randy's team just hasn't performed like he expected them to, I guess. But anyway. It would be awesome if I won, but I don't think I'm going to be able to pull ahead of Ron (though on the plus side, there's no way Randy will catch me). I'm winning all the pitching categories except strikeouts, and he's winning all the hitting categories except stolen bases. The problem is that I don't think there's any way my team will outperform his team enough for me to pull ahead of him in any categories; if anything, he's likely to pull ahead of me in a category.
But second place certainly ain't bad. We have 8 people in the league, and only one of them is a girl. And yet the girl is in second place. Ha HA! :)
I went rock climbing last night, which, as George scolded me this morning, was probably not the best idea considering that my ankle is still swollen from twisting it on Sunday. In fact, it's still swollen today. Ugh. Yesterday I went to the clinic after lunch to ask them for an ice pack, which turned into a half hour ordeal. In order to get an ice pack, I had to see a nurse, who then said I had to see a doctor. Then, to get an ace bandage and ice pack, I had to go through the whole warm-up rigamarole of the doctor listening to my heartbeat, listening to me breath, taking my temperature, taking my blood pressure (which is excellent; perhaps I should start eating more salt), asking if I smoke, and asking if I'm pregnant. Sigh. Finally I got an ice pack, but it was a one-time-use deal, so this morning I stopped at Eckerds to buy the kind you can refreeze. It's in the freezer as I type, so that's that. Hopefully the swelling will go down today.
Rock climbing was a lot of fun, even though I was taking it easy. I guess I am destined to get some sort of scrape every week; the first week it was my knee, then my elbow, and last night I left with a nice 2-inch rope burn on my right forearm. Becca came for the first time last night too, and she did awesome for her first time. I was so proud. Now if only we can get her to trust the rope a little more; despite the fact that it caught her when she fell, she still said she doesn't quite trust it. She's weird.
At the end of the night we played a bouldering version of Simon Says, and today my fingers hurt. Whew. The amazing thing about climbing is that after only three weeks, I noticed last night that I actually have triceps! Ha. I've always been able to feel some faint semblance of a bicep in my arms when I flex, but now I might actually be developing triceps! Amazing. ;) Anyway, the bouldering was tough stuff, but that's what will help me get better--working on my finger strength and general upper body strength. I can't do a chin-up. I have a feeling that once I can do a chin-up, it will open a whole new world of climbing. ;)
Wednesday, August 20, 2003
that ball's outta here
Turns out we had a bye in volleyball last night, so I ended up going to the Astros-Cubs game with Jason and Debbie. Jason scored 3 tickets from someone he works with. Tonight I'm going after Rich turned in unused season tickets for extra seats. I don't really know why everyone suddenly has extra baseball tickets, especially for this series against the Cubs since it's ripe with playoff implications. And thus should theoretically be harder to get tickets to. But I guess since it's in the middle of the week and all... Anyway. I really can't complain, as I'm getting two nights of baseball in a row, and that's always a good thing, even if it does leave me sleepy the next day.
Last night I came home from the game and had planned to go directly to bed, but I ended up turning on the Braves-Giants game. The score was 2-2 when I turned it on, but Javy promptly hit a 2-run homer to put the Braves ahead. Hooray! Then Ortiz gave up a homer. Uh oh. Then Hodges came in from the bullpen and ended up wild-pitching a run in. Tie game, 4-4, on to extra innings. The Braves couldn't score in the top of the 10th, and wouldn't you know it, first up for the Giants in the bottom was one Mr. Barry Bonds. Facing Ray King. Ugh. Whyyyyyy is Ray King still even pitching? I hate him. Every time I see the bullpen give away a game, it always seems to be King on the mound. Him, or Hernandez. Ugh.
Anyway, I'm sure you can all guess what happened. King pitches to Bonds, Bonds swings, and hits a monster home run into McCovey Cove. Game over.
Sigh. At least Bonds is on my fantasy team. But I'd rather the Braves had won.
This morning I am all enamored with materials science after reading an article about man-made diamonds that Christina linked to. It was extremely interesting. Combine this with the blurb I read in Outside magazine last night about all the cool outdoors-y things you could make a career out of with a materials science degree, and I'm now entertaining flighty thoughts of a total career change. ;)
Tuesday, August 05, 2003
Last night I went to the rock gym with Betsy, Buzz, Fred, Nick, and Steph. I'd been to this rock gym before, but couldn't remember how long it had been. When I got my name sticker, I discovered that I last visited on June 6, 1998. Five freaking years ago. Geez. So it was a rough night, and this morning my arms still feel all wiggly and weak. Dang.
In any case, it was a lot of fun, and I plan on joining the group regularly for Monday night climbing sessions. I gotta get better, as last night even Betsy was showing me up by climbing harder routes than I could manage. ;) Buzz was kicking my butt too, but that doesn't count, seeing as how Buzz has the upper body strengh of 5 of me put together.
See, me, I have absolutely zero upper body strength. I can't even do a single chin-up. And as if to rub it in, Joe (the guy who was working the desk last night) heard me comment on this, and responded by doing multiple chin-ups from various locations such as the door frame, and hanging from a tiny little grip by two fingers. Then he did a one-armed push-up on the floor. Bastard. (Though Buzz totally showed him up by doing a one-armed pushup with one arm, then immediately switching and doing another with the other arm. Buzz rules. I would be scared to meet her in a dark alley.)
Anyway. At least I have something to work on. The most difficult route I climbed last night was a 5.8, which is really not hard at all, and makes me sound like a huge wuss. Next week I hope to finish a 5.9. We shall see.
Oh, my aching arms. This is almost as bad as the day after surfing. :)