5.17.2011

day baseball on the radio

is a excuse.

blog is still on hiatus.

5.13.2011

writing around a block

I have a writing block.

Will try to find a solution soon.

Here's t0 24 being a good year.

5.05.2011

the purposeful porpoise

It's Thursday now and Osama Bin Laden is still the lead story. The viewing public is processing a slightly unpleasant idea, that is, the Navy Seals weren't sent in to capture Bin Laden, they were sent to kill him. He was, in a sense, assassinated. I do believe he was an enemy combatant, and given the chance I'm sure he'd have loved to take out a few Navy Seals on his way to the next life, yet, the emerging details suggest he could have been captured. It was a long road to frontier justice and if anything, this proves that the US still partially abides by the code of the west. Myself, I'd have liked him to have been found guilty at trial and then left to rot in prison for the rest of his life. We could have used frozen and seized al qaeda funds to pay the bill and after locking the cell denied him every last bit of due process. Keep him alive and give him years and years to sit in a dark concrete room and only turn the lights on long enough to pass on whatever great things America accomplishes in the future. Perhaps even rig up a projector and stream American Exceptionalism onto his wall. But I might be misguided in this idea. Perhaps shooting an unarmed man in the head and then feeding him to sharks was the best path to justice.

5.02.2011

Osama Bin Laden

Last night, shortly after hearing that Osama Bin Laden had been killed by US forces, I hopped on facebook and flippantly made a comment about how his death doesn't help Pablo Sandoval's wrist. Sarcasm and humor at the dawn of history, or something like that. It's been nearly ten years since 9/11 and nearly 13 years since the attacks on US embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi. In that time, and particularly after 9/11, Bin Laden became the face of global terror. There was a time in my life where he was the most feared and hated man in the world. That he survived the months immediately after 9/11, as the collective western world attempted to bring him to justice, remains remarkable. It was briefly possible to believe that the war of terror was a war on something other than a transferable idea. Of course, I should have been smarter. Terror is abstract and ambiguous. Terror isn't symmetrical. Removing the Taliban from Afghanistan has made us safer, centralizing intelligence has made us safer, restricting funding to terrorist groups has made us safer, killing Bin Laden has made us safer and increased awareness and security has made us safer. But yet, we will never be completely safe. Bin Laden's death will only embolden the al-Qaeda cells in Yemen, Egypt, Iraq and Afghanistan, amongst other countries of the world. Terrorism is a cancer that only spreads and like cancer, it only takes one cell to cause damage, one little cell to start the whole thing over again. And when did it start? When did someone decide that asymmetrical warfare was worth trying? Think back and go further and you'll see it never 'started' and look forward and you'll see that it'll never be 'finished.' Osama Bin Laden's death doesn't change anything. As an enemy he was already neutralized, as a leader he was of minimal value. But his death did bring to some amount of closure. The bogeyman is dead and we were able to chant and wave flags, the bogeyman is dead and one cycle has come to a close. The bogeyman remains, always, in the shadows, ready and waiting for the next opportunity to strike again. It's a peculiar kind of calculus. The costs and damage from 9/11 far exceed the costs and damages inflicted against America on that day. The trillions of dollars spent, the thousands of military causalities, the hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, the erosion of our civil liberties, the military misadventures around the world and the economic decline of the American empire can all be traced to our heavy handed response.

Our reactions were exactly as Bin Laden planned.

He got what he wanted.

He is gone, but he changed America like few Americans ever could.

Are we safer? Are we better?

4.29.2011

nostalgia

In 1990 I went trick or treating on the Strip. The Stardust had just remodeled and they had these planters that also would shoot a jet of water three or so feet, kind of a lob shot, from pipe to pipe. As a little kid, (a dumb little kid) I found these to be remarkable. The water would just shoot out and then land, without even a splash. The Stardust, of course, was across the street from the Silver City and next to the Westward Ho. There was a McDonalds on that block, and also the Frontier, which might have been the most depressing casino ever. Even as a little kid I was terrified of the place, though, many years later we'd sneak in for bikini bull riding. To the north of the Stardust was Circus Circus and the Riviera and past that was the El Rancho and after that was Wet n' Wild and finally the Sahara (if you ever want to test someone that claims to be from Vegas, ask them if they remember the time and temperature display on top of the Sahara). Now, 20 years later, the Stardust, Silver City, Westward Ho, Frontier, El Rancho and Wet n Wild are all gone. The Sahara is closing next month and the Riviera will be shut down and destroyed just as soon as the economy recovers. Circus Circus seems safe, and maybe that's meant to be, I should have one place that I remember growing up in. When my mom was living at the Salinda we'd walk down the strip past Fun City and the Bonanza and the Ihop and go to Circus Circus to play the games. I was pretty good at the one where you shoot water to blow up a balloon and get a prize. We'd usually win a few stuffed animals and walk back home, often stopping at Vegas World for hot chocolate in the coffee shop, it came in thick brown mugs and I was allowed to draw on the keno slips with crayon while we waited. And don't forget, Vegas World is gone as well. The apartments where my mom lived were destroyed to make room for the Mirage and the Salinda is now a parking lot. Fun City is gone but at last check the Ihop might still be standing. Going north of the Stratosphere, there are still places I remember, but I suspect they are gone just as well. My life got pretty settled by 1989 and I can always go back home to the east side but yet I feel something is missing. The memories that a kid makes from five to nine are important. Those are major developmental years. Many of mine were made on the northern Las Vegas Strip and all the places are gone. I've been fighting this nostalgia all week long, even going as far as searching youtube for vintage vegas videos. But you know what? It's all gone, and all the super 8 in the world isn't going to bring that part of my life back.


The Ho.


Vegas World. A truly nutso place.


Silver City


The Sahara. The clock is just beneath the S on the top of the tower.


Fun City.


The amazing fountain.


The El Rancho. Wet n Wild can be seen in the middle bottom of this picture above the van.

4.28.2011

wanting a clean slate

I've been think lately about what a fresh start really means. Easter is the time for resurrection and redemption. Easter is the time to move into the light. In my life I've made many mistakes. I've let down those closest to me, shunned my family, lied for my own benefit, cheated on women I've loved and chosen to be defensive and mean when I should have been open and understanding. Currently I am in the middle of an average book. The central character, in his youth, professed his love to a woman. She told him she could never be with him because he wasn't capable of being tender and loving. Though he felt that at that time, in his youth, he was capable of being tender and loving, it later became a curse, a guiding principle, a lingering question, he may not have been that way then, but ever after it could only be true.

Words, actions and memory shape so much of who I am and how the those in my life feel about me. I want to forgive those that have hurt me and be forgiven by those I've hurt. The mistakes we made, all of us, instead of being curses, I want to break them apart and leave them behind. Life is terribly long and very hard and I waste so much of my energy on what I can no longer influence or control. There is always a next move and I'm going to try to make whatever I do next as positive as possible. Nothing from the dawn of time to this moment needs to matter anymore. It's the season for resurrection and redemption.

4.26.2011

putting the bullets away

I work in West Oakland and it's a violent place. There have been 11 shootings within three blocks of my office in the past three years. Most go unreported because most of the time no one is hit. A young man with a modified assault rifle shooting from a moving vehicle isn't the same as a trained Marine. It's often times more dangerous being a bystander than being targeted. Early Monday morning two men were murdered inside a club around the corner from this desk. The details are sketchy, but it seems like four men rolled up in a Dodge Avenger and one got out and tried to rob several patrons of the club as they stood on the sidewalk. At least one person resisted and several men ran back into the club. The assailant signaled to his cohort who then stepped out of the car with an assault rifle, walked several paces to the door of the club and opened fire on those inside. Six people were shot: two died, two suffered life threatening injuries and two are expected to fully recover. This took place four blocks from the Oakland Police Headquarters and a block away from Jack London Square. Less then an hour later there was another shooting at a club even closer to my desk but this time only one man was superficially injured. The difference between a superficial injury and a mortal wound is frequently a matter of inches, only luck kept the body count down. Four hours after the second shooting we were back open for business, another work week started and nothing had changed because nothing ever changes. West Oakland is West Oakland is West Oakland. It's cliche that this is the wild west and I think that might be wrong. The wild west had a code. There isn't a code here. Out this way, you can be sitting in a bar, minding your own business, and then catch a bullet because some kid decides to light up the whole room for no sensible reason. You can be walking to your car and catch a bullet from a block away, from a flare up you didn't even know existed. It's always hard to write about this stuff because I don't believe anything will change. Everything has changed. Human life is less and less valuable and you can see it everywhere you look.

4.21.2011

plans, never realized

We bought our house on Florrie St. in 1989. It wasn't all that much to look at but it was ours. As a kid it seemed huge. I remember thinking I'd never be able to jump and touch the ceiling in the living room. Not long after, maybe the next spring, my uncle and some cousins visited. It was the first time we hosted our family in our home. I distinctly remember my dad giving a tour of the house and pointing out all the modifications and remodeling he wanted to do and seeing him kind of bask in the feeling of owning a home and showing it all off. Now, this was 1990, money was good and I think my dad wasn't quite tired yet. We talked about putting in an above ground pool and a deck and planting a vegetable garden. I was even allowed to sketch it all out on butcher paper that I always borrowed from the school teacher next door. What I didn't know then was how hard it can be to take the last few steps to reach a dream. All the modifications and remodeling never seemed to actually happen and what did get done...a back patio, some cement work and a cinder-block fence...it never actually got finished. We managed to put beautiful tile in the living room and hallway, but never got around to putting the baseboards back down and the cinder-block fence was never sealed and capped. The kitchen island was torn out and never quite reconstructed. Money for these projects would come in but then just as fast bleed out. The booze and slot machines had to get their take and raising kids couldn't have been cheap. All the focus on getting custody and buying a house must have been exhausting. My family's home entered a long and slow decline. I'm not sure why I've been remembering all of this. Those early days were a long time ago. Maybe the deck and pool and garden never happened, maybe the unfinished patio is being lost to the elements, we were still close to having those dreams fulfilled. Close might only count in horseshoes and hand grenades but it feels better than getting nowhere at all. I sometimes think a sense of incompleteness has become central to my personality. And maybe if we planted that garden, it would all be a different story.

4.20.2011

swinging for the fences

Monday afternoon I discovered that a squirrel ate one my strawberries. In Las Vegas we didn't have squirrels that would eat a strawberry. There weren't squirrels at all. Plenty of lizards though. Thankfully lizards don't bother eating strawberries, they only eat insects and rice krispies. I've been researching ways to handle the squirrel problem and think I might have to trap them in a stove pipe and then release them over by the soccer fields. I don't go messing with their acorns so they shouldn't be messing with my strawberries. There is a website out of Mississippi that has a good diagram of a trap, I printed it out and am going to tape it to my window, a sort of warning to the bushy tailed rats. Keep munching and get trapped! Might be a good idea to also put up a photo of a squirrel in a stew pot and really drive home the lesson. Keep munching and get munched!

Hey man, I can't have strawberry shortcake unless I take a stand now.

4.19.2011

I never learned how to make decisions

I've got a decision or two to make in the next several weeks and I'm relearning something I've always known, plainly, I'm not great at making decisions. There is part of me that remains terribly impulsive and another part that is quite restrained. I'm sure this has been completely maddening to those around me. It's maddening for me to feel indecisive. But really, I have no idea what I'm doing right now. There are choices that can be made, but none of them have to be made. The eight ball is on the table, but I'm somewhere in front and not behind. Now, I can spit out cliches about this all day long but I don't have any that will get me closer to figuring it out. And since this blog is vague by definition, and I'm not even telling those closest to me about any of this, I can't really write it all out and ask for help. Maybe instead of help I need guidance. Or maybe what I need is a sign. Catholics are always looking for signs. My life has become disjointed and rambling. That is the truth. More to follow, as it develops.

4.15.2011

4.14.2011

the cavalcade of broken body parts

Since Sunday I've been battling a cold. Not a big deal. I usually eat these fuckers right up and this one is your standard cough cough, sneeze sneeze type. I've been drinking hot toddies and taking dayquil and don't feel all that bad. Truthfully, I shouldn't have played soccer Tuesday night but had I missed the game my team would have been drastically short. I spent the first 45 minutes playing goalie and trying to stay warm. Whenever the ball came near me I'd just blast it as far forward as possible. At the very end I decided a few minutes in the field might be nice. I made it all of ninety seconds before tripping and landing square on my right knee. The diagnosis? A scrape and a contusion plus general soreness. I woke up yesterday morning feeling better about my cold and stiff in the knee. My buddy Kelly had organized a team called Godzilla's Revenge for a charity soccer tournament benefiting Japan so I was set to play again last night and told myself I'd take it easy. A few minutes into the third game some gorilla man on the other tried to shoot from 25 yards through traffic, about the most ineffective tactic possible on a small goal. The ball made it maybe five yards before slamming into the side of jaw and knocking me to my knees. The game didn't quite stop, but quite a few people were concerned. I was seeing stars and thought my jaw might have been broken. After a bit I was able to figure out that I wasn't bleeding and the stars kind of went away and the only long term damage seems to be a sore jaw and a loose molar and it kind of feels like my bite is misaligned. We finished that game and I played in the next with few problems. After that we had one more to go and it was maybe thirty seconds in before I tried to step through a challenge and took a knee straight to my quadriceps, maybe six inches above the bruise on my knee. For the second time in forty minutes I was all fucked up on the field. I hopped off and walked the injury out and managed to play in the second half, even clearing a ball off the goal line. It's all fun when you're warm and loose and it was horrible when I got up this morning and nearly fell the first time I put any weight on my leg. I'm working now, in an office chair, with one leg shooting straight out under my desk. The consolation to all this misery was winning our bracket of the tournament. My leg will heal and my jaw will stop hurting and I'll always know that Godzilla's Revenge got the job done.

4.12.2011

i get jokes

Remember the joke about how many ____ ethnic group it takes to change a light bulb?

20, one to hold the lightbulb and 19 to pick up and spin the house?

Somewhere in the world someone has modified that joke and made it about how many women does it take to compose a 25 word text message. And I'll find this joke on the internet and tell it again and again. Not so long ago I listened to four women, with a combined 21 years of post secondary education, spend nearly 40 minutes dissecting and assembling three text messages.

Benjamin Franklin wrote most of the Declaration of Independence in 40 minutes!

4.11.2011

jay eee double eff

The Giants won two of three over the weekend. Opening day and opening night were both fantastic. I had to miss the end of the game on Friday to make it to my soccer game and we went down 3-0 before rallying back. I didn't contribute very much beyond a fantastic cross that their defender kicked into the goal. So it was sort of an assist. Opening day was about the fans while opening night was about the players. They each received their rings and a warm moment to bask in the love and affection of their devoted fans. My friends and I were sitting in the bleachers, and it was terribly cold, but in the end everything was perfect. Giants were down 2-1 and got a two out rally. With runners at first and second, Miguel Tejada battled and eventually crushed a ball to deep left-center. From where I was sitting I could see the ball being held up in the wind and also drifting away from Colby Rasmus. It was going to be a tough play because of the wind but without the wind the ball would have been three rows deep. The ball disappeared from my view just as the crowd exploded. What I couldn't see was the ball glancing off of Rasmus's glove, what I could see was the Giants racing from the dugout like they'd just won the World Series. I immediately began hugging everyone in sight and then ran down the aisle to reach over and pound the wall and just scream. Baseball is back, the Giants are back, LA is in town, the weather is warming up and all is right in the world.

4.07.2011

another year in the sun

This is a blog. Sigh. I should post more links. Very true. I just want to write about the Giants, I just want to write about love.

The Giants are 2 and 4, a not quite dismal record. And tomorrow the season finally starts. There are many things I would change if I ran baseball including eliminating the DH, unbalanced schedules, the lack of doubleheaders, an international draft, banning Vin Scully and perhaps most importantly, I'd issue a decree that whichever team wins the World Series, they always open their season at home the following year. Tomorrow afternoon the title defense really begins, tomorrow we're raising the flag. I'm about half way through Fever Pitch, Nick Hornby's famous account of his Arsenal obsession, and I now have the words to describe what I feel about the Giants. Last September and October, that trip across the Rubicon and finally to the promised land, will stick with me for the rest of my life. It was, day by day and pitch by pitch the absolute best experience a baseball fan could ever have and I was there for so much of it all. The Giants clinched all three series on road and I emotionally missed the parade, so tomorrow will be the first time I am able to fully celebrate the 2010 World Series.

And yeah, I'm looking forward to another year in the sun.

4.05.2011

i have little in the way of explaining this

The video below was put together by the Horn of Justice for a class assignment for AP Government. It's been unearthed and uploaded to youtube. Though I am in the credits, I have very little screen time, I'm pretty sure I was being a good kid and visiting colleges when the majority of the filming took place. I remember coming up with the rough outline of the video with my friends and feeling quite proud of how it all came out. And now, 11 years later, I'm just amazed that we weren't all kicked out of school. There isn't anything I can write here that will do justice to what you're about to experience in the next fifteen minutes. Just um, watch, and I'm sorry, to everyone...but also, I still got small American birdhouses, if you're interested.

4.04.2011

wacky misadventures

I was at Sloat twice this weekend. That's the garden center. I've got it in my head to have a garden but know nothing about anything relevant to having a garden. I've got no clue about the composition of my soil, how much sun the various areas of my garden actually get and most importantly have not the faintest idea what actually grows in my micro-climate. So I go out to Sloat and wander around, trying to happen upon something that will be easy to grow and difficult to kill. I've got it in my head to grow blueberries, though I only really like them in cereal. The Sloat man told me they needed five hours of sun and acidic soil. I looked him straight in the eye and asked how can I even tell if my soil is acidic? His answer was complex but the solution simple, buy a bag of acidic soil and mix it with my soil. I'm not the proud owner of two blueberry bushes that better fucking give me some berries. If all goes well, there will also be strawberries, tomatoes, raspberries, lavender and spearmint. The spearmint is growing pretty good. I like to chew on the leaves before making my rounds in social ramble. The girls find spear-minty breath to be preferable to PBR breath. I also planted some flowers and one vine type plant that might cover a fence and attract humming birds. Those little wigglers are always fun to have around. The big mean cat that is always stalking through isn't fast or smart enough to chase down a humming bird. There is also a mole that is digging around. I might need to flood his subterranean lair and trap him in a cage. Not sure if he and his friends are the types to eat blueberries but it isn't worth the risk. No way I spend all this time trying to coax precious berries out of a bush next to a fence and then lose my bounty to an animal that lives beneath the ground. I'm reminded of a story about a girl I know. Well, not really about her, about her mom. Apparently this girl came home from school one day to find her mom cackling like a maniac and repeatedly bashing a mole with a shovel. Blunt force trauma delivered to a one pound rodent. I don't want to say I approve, but really, who likes their garden fucked with?

3.31.2011

baseball! baseball! baseball!

Shortly, as in four hours from now, the San Francisco Giants begin their title defense. The team is largely the same as the one that captured the World Series on 11/01/10. Same rotation but without Edgar Renteria and Juan Uribe and with Miguel Tejada and Brandon Belt. This is good. The Giants are built around starting pitching and they have it in abundance.

Tim Lincecum
Matt Cain
Jonathan Sanchez
Madison Bumgarner
Barry Zito

Just typing it all out feels pretty remarkable.

oh...try this....Buster Posey.

wwwwwwwwwwoooooowwwwwwwwww

Feels good.

I feel great about this season and this team. I think they are going to win the West and then make noise in the playoffs. I've got them finishing with 94 wins and Brandon Belt winning Rookie of the Year. The five starters are going to combine for 70 wins and Brian Wilson is going to save 46 games. Aaron Rowand is going to be released by July 1st and Miguel Tejada is going to be a serviceable shortstop. The Giants are going to draw 3.2 million fans, though, only the die hards are going to come out to see the Pirates on a cold Monday night.

Let's go Giants.

3.30.2011

and that was that

My Tuesday night soccer team just wrapped up a completely mediocre season. We went 0-5-2 and only managed to score six goals in seven games. I personally put a fat zero onto the board, continuing a scoring slump that goes back several seasons. Our deficiencies are numerous and solutions hard to find. Going into next season we need a central MF, a sweeper and our forwards to actually score goals. We also need to increase our fitness, hold shape and play with better pace. In addition, our tackling is inadequate and our set pieces wasteful. But hey, we sometimes go out for beers after the games and mostly manage to not spill all over ourselves or fall off our bar stools. Next season starts in two weeks and with any luck it won't turn into an ever fucking disaster again.

3.29.2011

i can wait

I got a family friend who is locked up for murder. She got caught up with drugs and sex and the party. One day she invited a drifter to her house to do some handyman work. They got involved in the drugs and sex and party and at the end of it he was dead and buried in her back yard. Now here is where the story gets fuzzy. The facts are as above, they partied, fucked and did drugs. He ended up dead and buried. Several years later a particularly strong thunderstorm roared through and washed away enough top soil to reveal the man's hand and her roommate was surprised. The body was exhumed and found to have been burned over and chopped up and an autopsy, which suggested death by strangulation, was ultimately inconclusive. It took seven months and the help of America's Most Wanted for the body to be identified. Our friend was arrested and she said it was self defense and that she got scared and buried the body. The state says she should have called the police instead of burying the body. There were enough inconsistentcies in her story for the prosecution to get her on manslaughter charges and she is currently serving a seven to 20 year sentence. She might have been able to claim self defense at trial, or might have been convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death. Taking a plea was a safe bet for all involved. According to court documents, the murder took place in March 2000 and the body was found in July 2003. In those three years I saw this friend many times, both at family parties for my brother and I and also occasionally at the Stardust where she worked as a 21 dealer. She was a friend. When I graduated high school she gave me $5o and wrote me a nice card encouraging me to do my best at college. When I graduated college I would have had to write her in care of the bureau of prisons and my letter would have been scanned and censored. My dad remains in touch with her, they've been friends for nearly two decades. Her letters suggest a maturity and sense of purpose that might have been missing during the years of endless party. Two years into her term she was diagnosed with breast cancer and has received treatment. Her cancer is in remission and she is 45 years old. She is also now eligible for parole. Whether or not this happens, I can't say, but all developments suggest she'll soon be starting her life over. I shouldn't write that I admire someone who choked a drifter to death, even if it was in self defense. Yet, I admire her. She got caught up in something awful but has otherwise handled herself with dignity. Her letters are thoughtful, introspective and warm. Someday soon she'll be able to restart her life on the outside. Someday eventually there will be other family parties for her to attend. I'd like to tell her that I succeeded at college and still remember her laughing and sneaking me beers at my brother's HS graduation party.

I have a hard time being patient. It's not one of my better qualities. Whatever I want, I probably wanted it fifteen minutes ago and I'm unhappy to have waited that long. I talk a good game about taking the long view but mainly want what I want, and right now. It's been made pretty apparent that I need some more patience with a few things in my life so I've been thinking of this friend, locked away, doing her time and waiting to restart her life. She wrote my dad once, telling him that we're all doing our time, one way or the other and all we can do is make the best of the world around us, words for me to take to heart and words as a reminder.

Take my time. Be patient. Have faith.

3.28.2011

the questions and answers

I'm asking questions that I know can only be answered when we take away the space between our bodies and let our heart beat as one.

3.25.2011

tell the story about being bored on the fire

The summer I was fighting fires was my greatest adventure. It was the middle of July and the West was starting to burn. We were on top of the list for an off forest assignment and as such were monitoring all the big fires. Our most likely candidate was a complex of brush fires outside of Battle Mountain, Nevada. We were quite surprised to be sent all the way to the Clear Creek Fire outside of Salmon, Idaho. It took a day and a half to drive that far, all the way across the Sierra's, through Nevada and up 93 into Idaho. When we got to the fire it was clear that an all call for equipment had been made in anticipation of what was then a small fire growing into an epic fire (and this proved true, when we arrived the fire was at 30,000 acres and when we left it was at 285,000). We knew we'd be there for 21 days and got settled into fire camp. Our first week was spent covering the back side of a ridge. The work, while important, was also terribly boring. From dawn until dusk we'd sit, spread out along a mile of road, and watch for spot fires. In a sense, we were charged with making sure the fire didn't creep down the ridge and then burn up the other side of the road. The weather and terrain was severe and the fire was growing daily on every front but ours. Towards the end of that first week we were losing our minds. We were trained up, well fed and ready for some action. Watching the helicopters drop retardant could only hold our interest for so long. The road we were stationed along fronted a wide and shallow river, maybe 35 yards across. One afternoon we got to wonder if the pump on the engine could send a stream of water clear over the river and to the other side. Our pump was designed to push water a long way through hoses, not necessarily to allow us to put water on a fire at any distance. We decided our only chance was to use and inch and half hose with a half inch straight bore nozzle. This was not recommended. Four of us manned the hose while our engineer steadily increased the pressure. The hose was pushing water about half way across the river when the pressure started to pull the nozzle from our hands. We were in our heavy turnouts with helmets, gloves and goggles but they wouldn't have made a difference against a bronze nozzle flopping around with all that pressure behind it. At 80% of the pumps capacity the hose was ripped from our hand and started dancing and bashing into the ground before shooting straight up and then bashing down again. It would have split our heads down the seams or broken our backs. On an engine like ours you couldn't just cut the pressure, it had to be bled down. In the mean time we scrambled safety and for the only time that summer I did something entirely and instinctively right without having to think through the correct course of action. I jumped out of the way of the hose and dove under the truck and into the mud. With my body protected I was able to watch the hose dance and smash while everyone dodged and ran. After a few long seconds the pressure decreased and the hose fell to the ground. The four of us on the hose were splatted with mud, soaking wet and terrified. We didn't reach across the river, but we did stop work for a snack and a canteen of water and our clothes dried quickly in the scorching sun. Being bored at work has never been as thrilling as that week.

3.21.2011

asb

I have good friends.

The Giants have a rolling road show of great vibrations. The fans have never been louder, more engaged or excited. Buster Posey, Cody Ross and everyone else might as well be Paul Bunyan crossed with Johnny Appleseed wearing Jimmy Doolittle's pants. And Brian Wilson stands above them all. Last season he bought the Beard of Zeus in a Tenderloin pawn shop and has been unstoppable ever since. I've never really experienced a title defense. It's been easier than I had anticipated.

Whenever anyone starts talking shit I just remind them about the 2010 World Series.