Friday, October 31, 2008

Baseball Sadness

Last week saw the conclusion of Major League Baseball's World Series, the Fall Classic. This year, even though my beloved Yankees didn't even make it to the playoffs, I thoroughly enjoyed watching both the American and National League Championship Series, as well as the World Series itself. And in the baseball world, the World Series concluded in a dramatic and convoluted fashion - which is fitting, considering the political environment we find ourselves in.

I found it so ironic that the officiating during the World Series was about on par with the officiating that I see day in and day out for two months during the summer - absolutely terrible. We expect perfection from umpires, who are only human in the end, and hate it when they blow calls. There is no other game that has such subjective officiating, especially in terms of calling strikes or balls, and that in and of itself makes the game that much more dramatic. The strike zones of the officials in Philadelphia were ridiculous - the Rays' pitchers totally were hosed by the calls that the umpires made and that wasn't cool. It should have been a much tighter series than it was, but all being said, with the exception of the blowout of Game 4, each game was only decided by one or two runs - which speaks to the level of quality baseball being played by both teams.

I wish the Rays had found a way, but that Cole Hamels was lights out. And I love it when I see a well-pitched game. I wish Cole Hamels had pitched a complete game in the Series, much like Josh Beckett did when he was on the Marlins against the Yankees five years ago (seriously - five years - ugh, I'm so old).

It does make me sad that baseball is over - though it truly was over for me at the beginning of August. The end of baseball is always the harbinger of my Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder kicking in for the cold months, dark nights, and limited light of the day. At least spring training is not too far away. :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I found this preview posted on E!Online....I usually don't wish for time to fly by, but when it comes to Lost, I don't know how I can wait!!

*PS - this video should work - apologies for the last link - ABC must have taken the video off of YouTube...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Power of Team Work

My newest roommate has gotten both me and Karen into a new reality show, The Biggest Loser. I have never really wanted to watch the show, but I must admit, I have found parts of it to be inspiring. But last night's episode highlighted the timeless principle of team work and it was by far the most inspiring part of the show that I have seen to date.

Both teams had to participate in the same challenge - climb a mountain as many times as they could in 14 hours. At both the top and the bottom of the mountain they had to take a picture for physical evidence that they had made the climb. The kicker was that if the entire team was in the photo, then they would receive 6 points versus the 1 point for every picture that was taken.

The two teams each had their own strategy. The black team decided to stick together and they would march up and down the mountain together as a team and not leave a person behind. The blue team decided that if they let one of their teammates, Brady, off by himself, he would be able to get up and down the mountain more times than they would together. And off they all went. The black team stuck to their strategy and went up and down the mountain as a team, while Brady would lap both his teammates and the other team, running up and down the mountain. In the end, one team completed 81 miles while the other completed 79 miles - only a 2 mile differential. Brady, all by himself, ran over 20 miles in the timespan, an absolutely incredible physical feat. BUT the kicker was, because the black team stuck to their strategy and went up and down the hill as a team, they ended up accumulating more points, 164, than the blue team, which had 149.

What an incredible illustration. Here you have two teams that end up being only separated by a 2 mile differential and yet because of teamwork, one team was able to pull off the win. Brady on the blue team went off on his own and tried to carry the team on his shoulders, pulling off an absolutely amazing physical feat, and yet came up short! How incredibly powerful to see a group of people work together on a common goal and come out on top.

Getting a group of people to work together for a common goal is probably one of the single most hardest things to do - but the rewards when it is pulled off is a testament to its power. It makes me look at my own life and wonder where should I be utilizing teamwork and its principles and what should I be doing to be a better teamplayer? Because though I can accomplish some pretty neat things on my own, how much more successful would I and whatever I am working to accomplish be if those principles were utilized. It really is the only way to "win".

Monday, October 13, 2008

Close Encounters of the Artistic Kind

This weekend I had the opportunity to go visit two of my best friends, Matt and T (Laura) Slagel, in their newish (they've been there for about a year now) home in Charleston. While traveling was a bit of a nightmare (I don't want to be in the vicinity of an airport for a while) and the weather wasn't great (rained for most of the weekend), we still got to have a great time in the city. One of the best parts of the trip was a "Taste of Charleston" art walk. T knows how much I love art and free food, so it was pretty much guaranteed to be fantastic. What neither of us knew was just exactly how fantastic.

To set this up properly, I must give a little background. Each art gallery (and there are a ton in Charleston!) had restaurants come and cater some hors d'everues and offer free libations (water and wine). You could consume as much or as little as you liked and view the different offerings of the artists in Charleston. I also think the hope on the artists' part is that you consume enough of the libations offered that while loosening up your tongue, it also has the same effect on your wallet. Some of the art galleries actually had the artists present so that you could speak to them about their work, which was very, very neat. Some of the pieces of art are more interesting than others, some more generic beach scenes. There were a few that I really responded to with their movement and colors. I kind of like to feel my art more than look at it, if that makes any sense. That is why I love modern art, like Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. But none of the art that I saw in the first two galleries we visited even came close to that experience. But then we visited the third gallery.

Oh. My. Goodness.

First, as we start in to the gallery, walking up the stairs to it, the artist was there leading some people out and walked with us up to the gallery. Then as we get in to the gallery, it didn't take long to realize that it was actually the guy's apartment as well as his gallery. And then he started speaking. I have never felt so off balance my entire life. This guy was so passionate, so into his work, so into the creation process of his art work. He apparently has taken 4 years of his life to decode the four elementals to invent a new creation process with oils and acrylics that he can manipulate to his will and make them into whatever he desires. I am still trying to quite figure out what that means, but it was pretty intense from his description. And the art is absolutely beautiful - I am in love with it. He said that you wouldn't find anything else like it in Charleston, and he was right - I did not see anything that remotely resembled his work in any of the other galleries. But he spoke so fast, so passionately, and fired questions at all three of us without pause, that my brain felt like it was always three steps behind whatever he was saying. He called my feet "paws" while remarking on my chipped purple toe nail polish. He talked about balance and elements and movement and "pop" and my head was spinning and it was Africa hot in his apartment and I was so confused and then we were saying our goodbyes, got his card, and walked out into the relatively cool Charleston air. If you think of every stereotype there is for an artist this guy fit it, but he was so amazing.

He may be my soulmate, but like the 150% percent soulmate of the artistic, creative part of my soul. I don't think he would do anything for the part of my soul that loves sports and baseball (the best game in the world Josh Hayden). But it was a crazy experience and I loved/was confused by every minute of it. I don't know his name - the name on his card is Iamikan, but I just can't believe that that is his real name. But whoever he is, he made quite an impression, I am in love with his hella-expensive art, and I hope that I get to talk to him again some day.

Speaking of the sports part of my soul, the current LCS playoff series just confirms that there really is not a more exciting or dramatic game than a well-played baseball game. You just can't beat it. I am firmly on the Rays bandwagon and hope they beat the flippin' tar out of the cursed and hated Red Sox. Go Rays!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Not Making This One Up...

Are you wondering why we have to spend $700 billion dollars of tax money to bail out private companies and save the entire global economy? Read THIS ARTICLE, from the New York Times written all the way back in 1999. Kind of a self-fulfilling prophesy, looking back, isn't it? And just think - the more agencies and private companies that the government involves itself in, the more times this exact same scenario will be played out...