Sunday, August 31, 2008

August 31, 2008

Another low-key day, which was nice. I woke up at 1 again, took a shower and then checked my e-mail, where I found out that the guy I e-mailed on Craigslist about a bike wanted me to come by his house between 8 and 10 a.m. Needless to say, I didn't get any of the seven bikes he had for sale. Early bird gets the worm, I guess...
After that, I went grocery shopping and stocked up on more food I can make (and a strainer). I got a lot of fruits and veggies, as I'm trying to eat healthier. I also got some more tuna for sandwiches and some other lunch meat, I got some Slim Fast shakes for breakfast, some more Golden Grahams, stuff to make tacos and I got something interesting that I'm going to have for dinner sometime this week. It's something I've always wanted to try and I'm not sure this is the best way to try it, but whatev. Any guesses? Give up? Matzo ball soup! I'll give my goyum review of it later this week.

After shopping, I basically just sat around my room. I'm odd in that I have ADD, but I'm also really lazy, so I spent the day constantly switching between activities that can be done while sitting down. I found Project Runway reruns on YouTube and started to get caught up with the episodes I missed while in Birch Bay/on the road/out here, played some Madden and surfed the 'net. I really need a bike!

Looking at the box score of the Greensboro Grasshoppers game makes me pissed I didn't go tonight. Both players I'm excited to see (Mike Stanton and Matt Dominguez) each hit two home runs and the Grasshoppers won it in the bottom of the ninth! Ouch. I'm going tomorrow though for the last game of the season. It's about an hour drive out there, so I'll have to get up waaaay earlier than I have been, since the game starts at 12:35!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I just thought of something funny...

My thumbnails are the only buff part of my body!

August 30, 2008

I had a pretty low-key day. Woke up at 1 (who's jealous?), drove down to State Employees Credit Union to try and deposit my rent into Dickran's account, but they're only open Monday through Friday. So I got a coffee and headed home where I just chilled, played with my phone (beat the Cannon Game), played some Madden and surfed the internet (did some blogging, scroll down!). I almost made a huge trade in my fake fantasy baseball league, but couldn't pull the trigger. I know...it's absolutely thrilling to read about trades I ALMOST MADE in my FAKE FANTASY LEAGUE. Haha!

At 7, I went to the mall to go see Pineapple Express. It was really funny — better than I expected. The couple sitting next to me were blazed out of their mind, which I guess is to be expected in a movie like that, but it was really annoying because the girl talked through the whole movie. If that wasn't bad enough, her voice sounded like Fran Drescher.

After the movie I walked around the mall a little bit and got suckered into a sales spiel by a woman at the Seacret booth. Before I knew it, she was filing my nails and trying to sell me a kit for Cheryl and Mom. By simply rubbing three different sides of this little spongy rectangular file on my thumb nails, she buffed up and made them super shiny in about 10 seconds. Honestly, they look pretty cool and I was almost persuaded, but the whole thing just seemed like a scam. Pushy sales people creep me out.

Now I'm back home, admiring my shiny nails and watching UW vs. Oregon (which I can't believe is on TV here). Jake Locker played baseball this summer in the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League and my editor said he talked to scouts who believe his future is in baseball. Hard to disagree after watching a few absolutely pathetic possessions.

I was going to get an oil change this weekend, but the place I've decided to go to (based on a discount from my Durham Bulls ticket stub) is only open until 1 on Saturdays, which obviously didn't fit into my schedule this weekend. Tomorrow I'm going to go grocery shopping and try to find a bike on craigslist, but that's about it. I'm sure there will be more Madden and videos on Break.com. It's pretty lonely, especially with my roommate gone this weekend, so it's weird that, in a way, weekdays are better than weekends. That's when you really know your job is awesome! But, I need to start planning more weekend field trips because sitting around in my room for 16 hours is going to get old really fast — no matter how much I love video games, TV and the internet! I might head out to Greensboro tomorrow night for a Grasshoppers game. Then down the road, I'll shoot for visiting the Harbaughs, the North Carolina Baseball Museum, the Duke Hall of Fame, a Duke football game, walking around Chapel Hill, etc...

When it rains, it pours

I realized something today when I was driving to the movie theater. See, it was absolutely pouring. The whole phrase, "when it rains, it pours?" I think the guy that thought of that was from Durham. It was like someone was dumping buckets of water on my car. My windshield wipers were useless and it was actually kind of scary to drive through. But, anyway, what it made me realize is that now I know why people sound disgusted when they say, "Oh, you're from Seattle? Doesn't it rain there all the time?" Because when they think of rain, they think of buckets being dumped on their car. When, actually, I can probably count on one hand the number of times it's rained that hard in Seattle in my life. This is the second time since I've been out there that I've experienced rain that hard — and it's still summer! So, it led me to do some research and I laughed when I found out the results. Check this out...

Annual rainfall (in inches) in Seattle: 37
Annual rainfall (in inches) in Durham: 48

Spoiled

One thing I've noticed about Durham is that Starbucks are few and far between. I realized that might be the case when I walked into work the first day with a Venti Iced Coffee (no syrup, no room) and my editor said, "Oh good...you found the Starbucks." What? The Starbucks? Yes...the Starbucks. As in, the only one. Check this data from starbucks.com ...

Number of Starbucks within 2 miles of...
My house in Redmond: 11
My house in Durham: 0

Number of Starbucks within 5 miles of...
My house in Redmond: 33
My house in Durham: 9

Number of Starbucks within 10 miles of...
My house in Redmond: 100
My house in Durham: 22

Number of Starbucks within 20 miles of...
My house in Redmond: 308
My house in Durham: 54

Number of Starbucks within 50 miles of...
My house in Redmond: 471
My house in Durham: 65

That's insane!

I got some games!

I got some games for my iPhone and, like the apps, they're all awesome. They were all free and I was expecting to delete some, but they're all great.

Anaconda
This is like the classic snake game. It's really easy to play (just tap the screen the direction you want your snake to go), but I don't think a lot of people have downloaded it yet because on my first game I got second place on the high score list.

CannonGame
This is like Scorched Earth, except there aren't other tanks firing at you. You're a tank and you have to adjust your angle and velocity to hit five targets. You get 15 shots per level, each getting progressively harder with more obstacles.

BJ Run Lite
This is a blackjack game. I thought it was just going to be plain-old blackjack, but it's actually a lot more fun. You get five hands and 30 seconds to make the best five hands as possible. You get bonus points for blackjacks, hands of 21 and time that you don't use. Really fast, really fun and really addictive.

Accel Break
This is like my favorite game on GameBoy, Alleyway. You know, you move the paddle around, hitting a little ball to break a block of bricks at the top of the screen? Good times!

Break Classic Lite
This is like Accel Break, but a lot more cartooney, with more colors, multiple balls and silly sound effects.

Tap Tap Revenge
This is like Guitar Hero for your iPhone. Except you've never heard of the songs and it's not as fun. Free though...

August 29, 2008

DBAPin' it!
Yesterday was awesome. I got to do a lot of writing at work (here, here, here, here & here). Yep - five different things in one day. They're keeping me busy and I love it! For the Hot Sheet, I wrote the pieces on Pedro Baez, Buster Posey & Matt Cerda.

I was also surprised to get a check yesterday. I mean, I knew I was going to get paid on a freelance basis, but I didn't know payday was yesterday, so that was a nice little surprise. I ended up working until about 6:45 when a co-worker offered me one of the company's season tickets to the Durham Bulls game. I told him that I didn't want to be a third wheel, because his girlfriend was in town for the weekend, but he insisted that it was no big deal, so I went DBAPin'! That's what they call it around the office when you go to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The Bulls were playing the Charlotte Knights (White Sox AAA team). I missed David Price by a day, but it was still fun to head out to the ballpark. I got to see Chris Getz play for the Knights and that was cool since Getz was one of the first players I interviewed for StopTheWave.com.

After the game, David Price was signing some autographs on the concourse because he had been down behind the plate all night, charting pitches. At first I just took a picture of him with my new phone, but then decided to introduce myself. Price was another guy that I interviewed for my site, so I reminded him of that and told him that I'm out here doing an internship. He didn't really care, but he was nice about his apathy.

After the game I came home (finally figured out which exit to take to not get lost on the way home!), Skyped with Cheryl for an hour which was awesome and then downloaded some games to my phone and played Madden until 3:30. I slept in until 1 and now I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to do today. A movie maybe? Nikki Glaser might be in town, I might head out to Raleigh? Stay tuned...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Food Dude

This guy is a genius and his tips are on my level. I hope he has more recipes because I almost burned down my house trying to grill chicken tonight! (NSFW)

iPhone review

I love this thing more today than I did yesterday. Seriously, you couldn't ask for a better phone. If you're in the market, you really should get one — it's amazing and the $199 price tag is a steal. The phone quality is exceptional, the interface is very easy to use, intuitive and has some great features, the camera is as good on a phone as I've seen and it has GPS, iTunes, YouTube, e-mail, a calendar, calculator and weather report all built in. My battery has lasted all day and I really only have two gripes about the phone, but they're both minor. First, you can't set a home page for the internet browser. This isn't a huge deal because I have my bookmarks set up and am two clicks away from those. Secondly, you can't text pictures to your friends or create videos. Sure, you can e-mail photos, but you can't text them, which seems strange. But, like I said, the gripes are pretty minor, especially when you consider all that you can do with the phone. The best thing about the iPhone is that you can download other little applications that can really do some neat things. Here are the apps I downloaded yesterday...

MLB At Bat
This is the application I was most excited for and the only one that costs money ($4.99). It provides live score updates for all MLB games, as well as video highlights. For some reason, it doesn't have box scores, but having near-live video highlights straight to your phone for a one-time fee of $4.99 is an incredible bargain. The video quality isn't superb, but hello...you're watching highlights on your phone, for crying out loud!

Baseball
This is also awesome. It provides player stats all the way back to 1882. 1882! No more sitting at a game wondering how many doubles Mark Ellis hit last season or how many strikeouts Heath Bell had. Faster and easier than loading Baseball-Reference on the internet and it was free!

Jott
This program records 15 seconds of audio and turns it into text. My first test had about a 90% accuracy rate and I was speaking pretty quickly. The only thing it didn't recognize was my name, so that's promising. No more typing up little to-do lists or grocery lists, I can just speak them into my phone. Sweet!

Urbanspoon
This is a great little application, made even more desirable for me because I'm away from home. It uses your phone's GPS to figure out where you are. After that, it gives you three lists that look sort of like a slot machine. The one on the left has a list of nearby cities. In the middle, there's all different types of cuisine and on the right there's price ranges. You can lock down all or none of the columns and it will recommend a restaurant. So, for example, you could tell it that you want an Italian restaurant in Durham that is between $5 and $10. Or you could request any type of restaurant under $20 in Chapel Hill, etc. It gives you the phone number, reviews, directions. It's awesome!

Last.fm & Pandora
These are both internet radio programs where you tell them a few artists you like and they play similar artists. Today I said I like Gatsbys and it suggested Moneen — good call!

Stanza
This is a free book service so I can read books on my phone. I have to download a program to my Mac to get the books and it looks like most that are freely available are sci-fi, so I'm not sure how much I'll use this.

Loopt
Loopt is a social-networking app, similar to Twitter, where you keep your friends updated with what you're doing. It's cool because Cheryl and Megan have it too, so it's nice to know what they're up to and where they are. You can update your status as much as you want and can even include pictures. Fun stuff!

Google
This is a google reader app for reading RSS streams of Web sites. Probably won't use it much, as I like to flip through my bookmarks instead.

Instapaper
This allows you to send text versions of web sites to your phone to read later. We'll see how much I use it. It was free and was listed as one of the best apps, so I'm trying it out.

Shazam
This is mind blowing. You press a button, hold your phone up to the radio and, after listening to 10 seconds of the song, tells you the artist, song title and album title. Technology is amazing!

Showtimes
This uses the GPS to identify the closest theaters and give you showtimes for movies. You can click on the theater and get directions. Another awesome app for someone 3,000 miles from home!

Any recommendations? Any good games? Let me know!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

August 26, 2008

My iPhone came!
I had another great day at work, but the best part of my day came afterwards, when I got home and saw that my iPhone arrived in the mail (thanks BWE)! I'm not kidding when I say that from the time I got home (about 6) until now, I haven't taken my hands off the thing for more than a minute. It is quite possibly the greatest invention ever and I've already put in all my contacts, downloaded about 12 applications, added some music to iTunes and some photos and set up all my web-browsing bookmarks. I'm addicted. So addicted in fact that I didn't leave myself enough energy to write a better blog post. Don't blame me, blame Steve Jobs — the saint that he is! I'll do a rundown of my applications tomorrow (because they're sweet!)

Monday, August 25, 2008

August 25, 2008

MacGyver meets Martha Stewart



Sorry for the lack of a post yesterday. I usually do my posting at night and last night was spent Skype-ing with Cheryl until 1 in the morning, so I went right to bed after that. Plus, yesterday wasn't too exciting anyway. I just woke up, got Starbucks, did a little shopping (I got a can opener and a bigger pot!), played some Madden and relaxed. I was going to go to another baseball game, but the guy I was going with bailed on me and I was too tired to drive out there by myself. So I scrapped that and just hung out. It was a nice, relaxing day.

Oh yeah, my roommate moved in yesterday and he's awesome. His name is Josh and he's really nice. Kind of reminds me of a country-fried Uncle Chuck. For the past four years he was a high school science teacher and now he's back at UNC to get his masters.

Today, I woke up a little early because I headed out to the post office before work to mail Cheryl an awesome care package. I got to work and it was (surprise, surprise) another great day. I went in and did my morning work (here) and then finished up a database project I was working on. I don't have any writing assignments this cycle, so I'll be doing a lot of data entry for the next two weeks. I did find out that I might get a Web-only story, but we'll see...
I went home and made lunch and got a nice surprise when I returned ... the new issue was being passed out around the office. I got my copy and it was still a little warm! I immediately flipped to my page and seeing my name inside the magazine I've been subscribing to for the past three years was a thrill. Conor Glassey in Baseball America. Still kind of hard to believe! It was very exciting and the article (although chopped down) turned out well. There were two minor errors in the notes section of my page, but nothing major and I doubt other people will even notice. Anyway, the new issue has Angels reliever Scot Shields on the cover because there's a big feature on baseball's unsung heroes, middle relievers. Here is a list of places you can buy the issue, but wait a little while as I don't think it's actually on newsstands yet. To be on the safe side, wait until next week.

After work, I played a little Madden and then cooked myself dinner, which was an adventure. Sure, I have a shiny new pot, but when I was taking the stickers off, I realized it was a sauce pot and there were four warnings not to use it at high heats because of its copper bottom. Why sauce needs a special pot and why anyone would want that much sauce is beyond me. Wanting to make macaroni and cheese, I ignored the warnings and it seemed fine. However, as the water was boiling, I realized I don't have a strainer. So I had to improvise by poking some holes in a paper bowl. The mac n' cheese turned out great and I even added some fresh broccoli. I'm like MacGyver meets Martha Stewart!

Now I'm watching the Dodgers and Phillies on ESPN and doing some laundry.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

August 23, 2008

Well, I didn't get a can opener today. Maybe tomorrow...

It's funny because I did actually go shopping today and had a list that included a can opener. But instead of going to Target or something, I headed out to the South Point Mall which is awesome. Because part of it's outside and part inside, it's like a cross between U-Village and Bellevue Square. Seriously it's that good. There were lots of great stores, the mall was air conditioned and it was a busy day, which meant a lot of good people watching.

I forgot to mention the other day that Cheryl and I got iPhones. Both of our phones were getting old, so we decided to drop T-Mobile and switch to AT&T. All the stores in Durham were sold out of the new 8G iPhone 3Gs, but they had them in Redmond and mine is on its way and I'm soooo excited! (Best. Wife. Ever. Seriously, I should just start referring to her as BWE) So at the mall today I got an orange skin for my future phone and Madden '09.

I also picked up this week's copy of The Independent and there was a huge feature on non-Olympic sports and how to participate in them around the Raleigh/Durham area. I might see if I can get the guys in the office to join a kickball team with me. We'll see...

I also saw an ad for a midget wrestling tournament tonight. I seriously thought about skipping the Bulls game for it, but decided not to. After a game of Madden (which is freaking amazing, BTW), I headed out to the DBAP and got there just in time for the game. I watched David Price warm up and met up with the BA crew. We were rolling 5 deep and sat right behind home plate. I was actually sitting directly in front of Rays' GM Andrew Friedman.

For his third-consecutive AAA start, the Price was wrong, bitch. His fastball's good, but his secondary stuff doesn't wow you. He doesn't have a knockout pitch that makes your jaw drop like Felix's curveball, Peavy's slider or Johan's changeup. Plus, he's been struggling getting his secondary stuff over, so hitters have been laying off of it, sitting on fastballs and driving them. I don't think he's ready for a September call up. We'll see if the guy sitting behind me agrees or not...

While Price wasn't too impressive, a trio of arms out of Indianapolis' bullpen got me excited. Mariano Salas, Juan Perez and Evan Meek (from Bellevue) were all in the mid-90s with good sliders. Obviously, because they're minor-league middle relievers, they're not hot prospects or anything, but they were fun to watch and combined for 3.2 hitless innings.

I introduced myself to Friedman after the game, congratulated him on the Rays' great season and told him that many fans back in Seattle have adopted the Rays this year since the M's have basically been out of it since mid-April. He laughed and I also told him about the article I wrote about Matt Moore, who we agreed is a stud. Friedman became the fourth GM I've met, along with Theo Epstein, Billy Beane and Bill Bavasi. Hey ... three out of four ain't bad! :)

I came home after the game, Skyped with Cheryl and played some more Madden. It's almost 3:30 now and I'm wiped. Will I get a can opener tomorrow? Stay tuned!

Hallmark moments

So I went to Hallmark today because a certain someone I know loves getting cards in the mail. We'll keep that person secret, so the cards will still be a surprise. Anyway, as I was looking through the cards, I realized that there's more than just the typical birthday, get-well-soon, anniversary and thank you cards. Hallmark has little sections of cards labeled "Cards for unique needs" and here are some of the cards they offer...

• birthday cards in Spanish, Russian, Finnish, Swedish, Chinese, Japanese, French, Hebrew, Greek, Italian, German, Norwegian, Polish & Braille
• Belated Sympathy
• Braille Sympathy (I'm sorry you lost your vision?)
• Recovery Anniversary
• Miscarriage
• Divorce Announcement
• Weight Loss Encouragement
• God Bless Your New House
• Potty-Trained Kids
• New Christian
• Entering U.S. Coast Guard
• Loss of Tooth
• Drivers License
• New Dog
• Coming Out

Crazy!

Friday, August 22, 2008

August 22, 2008

Carolina Mudcats

I didn't end up waking up at 6 a.m. because I realized last night that the NBC Olympics Web site videos wouldn't work with my computer. The extra sleep was nice and I felt better about the dilemma when the US team ended up losing the game anyway.

I didn't miss much. I headed into work a little early because Friday mornings are pretty busy. That's because Fridays at BA always mean it's time for the weekly Prospect Hot Sheet, where we take a look at which prospects had the best weeks. It's really fun. We start looking over the prospects for each of our respective leagues on Thursdays, update their stats Friday morning to reflect what they did Thursday night, and then have a meeting to discuss who makes the cut. Quite a few of my rookie leaguers had great weeks, which was awesome because that means I got to do more writing! Here's a link to this week's Hot Sheet. I wrote up Jaff Decker, Jack McGeary, Nico Vasquez, Jordan Lyles and a kid that jumped out at me yesterday when he tore it up for two games in the Pioneer League, Delta Cleary. Dad, you'll want to keep an eye on this kid! I also wrote up Cleary for today's blog post. So, that was a lot of fun.

I headed home for lunch and on the way to my car I saw something that you never see in Washington — a little lizard was zipping along the sidewalk. It caught my eye because it was moving so quickly. I stopped and watched it for a little while and it was about two inches long and was kind of blue with a red stripe. I have no idea what it was, but it soon dove into a crack in the sidewalk and disappeared. I went home and tried to make a tuna sandwich, but I broke the rinky-dink can opener that's here, so that sucked. I tried to go ask the old Hispanic woman (there's at least one, Fernando!) across the street if she had one I could borrow, but she said no even before I finished my question. I think she was either scared of me or didn't understand what I was asking for. Maybe both ... I am pretty scary! :) So, I ended up making a PB&J instead. I need to buy a can opener this weekend. I'm sure this is just thrilling information.

Anyway, headed back to work and it got pretty quiet toward the end of the day. At about 5:30, one of my co-worker's girlfriend showed up and four of us carpooled out to Zebulon to watch the Carolina Mudcats take on the Mississippi Braves. The reason for the excursion was to see Tommy Hanson pitch for Mississippi. BA ranked Hanson as the 9th-best Braves prospect heading into the season and he'll surely rank higher this winter. But we got out there and it turns out Hanson was pushed back because of a recent rainout. Boo! Adding to that, Cameron Maybin didn't play for Carolina. Double boo! But it was still a good time and I was pretty impressed with the pitcher who did end up going for Mississippi, Kris Medlen. Plus, we got to see Braves top prospect, center fielder Jordan Schafer hit an opposite-field home run and lace a triple off the center field wall. He looked really good.

A funny thing happened before the game even started. We got into the stadium with some general admission tickets that were given to us by the media relations department. But, BA goes out there frequently enough that the usher behind home plate knew my co-worker by name and told us we could sit anywhere, so long as we weren't in someone's paid seats. No problem, right? Well, before the game starts I go to get some food and end up coming back down a different aisle, actually in the section next to the one we originally set up camp. Here's the conversation I had with the usher as I was trying to head down the aisle...

Chuck: Whoa, whoa, whoa ... where do you think you're going?
Me: I'm going to my seat, right there.
Chuck: Well then let me see your ticket.
(I show him my ticket)
Chuck: Do you know where these seats are? They're waaaaay out there! (points to outfield bleachers) You can sit anywhere you want out there, but you can't sit here.
Me: Oh, well we got those tickets from the media department. I write for Baseball America and we wanted to sit behind home plate to get a good view of the pitcher.
Chuck: Son, I don't care if you wrote The Bible, these seats here are $10.50.
Me: (blank stare)
Chuck: I want you to have a good view, but it's not going to be from my section.

I ended up going back down the right aisle and didn't have a problem at all, but I couldn't believe I was hassled by a minor-league ticket Nazi! The game was fun and usually I don't care for mascots too much, but I have to say that Carolina's mascot, Reggy, was pretty entertaining. There were some good between-inning skits and events and he actually had me laughing out loud on a few occasions. Check out his YouTube page, I'm sure there's something funny there. Mississippi beat Carolina 8-2 and, unfortunately, nothing triggered a psychotic rampage by Mississippi Braves manager Phillip Wellman like this epic ejection from a couple years ago...



Now I'm back home, I'm tired and I'm looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow. When your biggest plan for the day is, "buy a can opener," you can sleep in as long as you want! I do think my roommate may be moving in tomorrow though. We'll see. Tomorrow night I'm heading to the DBAP to see David Price in action again. Hopefully he'll be better than last time!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Check this out...

Found this Web site today and it's radically tubular! Cheryl - find some pictures of Denise and Jon!

August 21, 2008

You guessed it — another awesome day at the office! (Click here to read today's blog post) The day just flies by, it's so crazy. I ended up staying until about 7:30 tonight because I was having a good time and wanted to keep working on a new project that I started today. Obviously it's really tough being away from Cheryl and my family and friends but, as far as jobs go, I've never been happier to be at work.

After work I went grocery shopping because I'm tired of going out to eat so much. Got a bunch of stuff for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as some snacks and a fantasy football magazine. Then I came home, turned on the Little League World Series and cooked dinner for myself. I wanted to make macaroni and cheese, but I need to get a bigger pot, so that didn't work out. I ended up making a quesadilla and a salad. After that, I did the dishes. Read this paragraph again. That's right, I went shopping, cooked my own dinner and then did the dishes. I joked to Cheryl today that this whole 'living on my own' thing is actually good husband training!

Now I'm just relaxing, still watching the LLWS and waiting for my friends to Skype me. Going to bed right after that because I'm planning to wake up at 6 to watch Stephen Strasburg and Team USA take on Cuba in the Olympics.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

WA vs. NC

August 20, 2008

Nothing too exciting today ... had another fine day at work. It started out with my daily morning routine (blog post can be found here) and then looked over the layout of the article I wrote. I had to cut my article down quite a bit, but I believe the full version will appear online. We'll see...

I went to lunch with a couple guys at the office to another southern fast food place called Chick-fil-A for more chicken and sweet tea. I think Chick-fil-A is better than Bojangles. The sandwich was a lot better and they have awesome waffle fries. Plus, it's a really funny place. Because they serve chicken, they have a cow for a mascot. The cow always has a sign with horrible writing that says "Eat Mor Chikn." Also, instead of asking if you want to "super size" or "jumbo size," they ask you if you want to "fatty size" your meal. I said no.

Found someone to head out to Burlington with me on Sunday, so I've got a baseball-packed weekend, which should be fun. On Friday night, a bunch of the guys at the office are going to Zebulon to see the Mississippi Braves take on the Carolina Mudcats. The Mudcats are the double-A affiliate of the Florida Marlins, but it's the Braves' pitcher, Tommy Hanson, that we'll all be there to see. On Saturday, I think David Price is scheduled to pitch again at home for Durham, so I'll head back to the DBAP for that and then on Sunday I'm going to Burlington with another intern, Jesse, to see the Burlington Royals take on the Danville Braves.

After work I just headed home and chilled out. There was a huge storm tonight when I was out driving around for dinner, but I went and grabbed a sandwich. Cheryl got Skype set up, so after dinner I was able to video chat with her (and Madi and Livi and Gabi and Ali and Pax!) and that was awesome. Fernando, who knows what it's like to be away from your main squeeze, told me that Skype is my new best friend. I have to agree with him on that one, I think it will help a lot. Thank you technology! I watched a documentary on the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) called "This Film Is Not Rated" and that was pretty fascinating. I had no idea that the panel in charge of rating movies was so secretive — it's like the CIA. If you like movies, it's a very interesting and enlightening documentary. Of course, the documentary itself received an NC-17 rating.

I just got done watching Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh win gold and that was pretty sweet, but now I'm heading to bed.

In honor of the Olympics

I was bored after work today and searched for my eighth-grade crush on MySpace. Surprisingly, her profile isn't private. Looks like she's married with a kid and a dog in Cleveland, Ohio. Check it out, if you don't know who I'm talking about! Haha...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Unexpected comedy

The owner of the house I'm living in has two books on his coffee table: How To Be A Gentleman and the sequel, As A Gentleman Would Say. I thought they were strange choices for the only books visible in the house and wouldn't have touched them. But Cheryl (bless her heart) opened them up and we were soon in stitches. Looking through these books and seeing all the ways my gentleman skills could improve had me wondering if Cheryl actually planted them herself (J/K). These books actually have some interesting information, but they're also filled with comedic gems. Here are some of my favorites...

• A gentleman does not shout at deaf people or at people who are blind.
• When a gentleman wears a cummerbund, he makes sure the pleats are turned up. (In that way, they can actually be used as tiny, secret pockets, perhaps for the safekeeping of theater tickets.)
• If a gentleman does not speak French, he does not attempt to use French words.
• When a gentleman outgrows his clothes, he gives them away to charity. He does not pretend that someday he will lose weight. When, and if, he does lose weight, he certainly will not want to celebrate by wearing out-of-date clothes. Whoops...

Here are a few great situations from As A Gentleman Would Say. The "what not to say" examples are the best...

When a gentleman is introduced to a friend's newly adopted son or daughter...
He does not say:
"Don't worry. He'll start looking like you after a while."
"Look out! You'll probably get pregnant right away."
"Are you going to tell her she's adopted?"
"Aren't you kind to give a poor orphan a home."

But he does say:
"Congratulations. He's a very lucky boy, and you're a lucky mommy and daddy too."

When an acquaintance reveals to a gentleman that he and his wife are taking fertility drugs...
He does not say:
"Couldn't you just adopt? Think of all the unwanted children out there."
"That's an awful lot of money to spend just to have a baby."
""Which of you has the problem?"
"Watch out! You could end up with a litter."
"If God had wanted you to have children..."

But he does say:
"Well, good luck, Larry. I'll be looking forward to the blessed event."

When a gentleman has difficulty understanding a person who has a foreign accent — or a speech impediment...
He does not say:
"Isn't there some kind of sign language you people use?"
"What's the matter? Don't they speak English where you come from?"
"Wow. You must really have a hard time using the telephone."

But he does say:
"I hope you'll pardon me as I want us to be able to have this conversation, but I'm having a hard time understanding you."

If a gentleman notices, mid-conversation, that another gentleman's fly is open...
He does not say:
"Look out, Bob, the barn door's open."
"So, I see Mary Jane gave you red silk boxers for Valentine's Day."
"You know, you could get arrested for walking around that way in Utah."

But he does say:
"Jim, your fly is open."

When a friend tells a gentleman that he is gay or that she is a lesbian...
He does not say to him:
"Well, that's fine. Just don't get any ideas about me."
"Funny, you don't act gay."
"As if everybody didn't already know."

He does not say to her:
"But you're so feminine."
"I bet the right man could change that."
"What a shame."

But he does say:
"I'm glad you feel comfortable telling me that, Tad or Tabitha."

When a friend tells a gentleman that his or her child (or sibling) is gay, and the gentleman is not sure whether the family is happy about the revelation...
He does not say:
"Maybe it's just a phase."
"I always thought he [or she] was sort of an oddball."
"I'm so sorry. I know you always wanted grandchildren."
"Well, at least you'll never have to hire a decorator."

But he does say:
"Michael (or Sue) is a wonderful person. That's the thing that really matters."

And then there's a chapter at the end called "When Good Guys Go Bad: Talking your way out of trouble when you've blown it, big time" that includes this...

When a gentleman, in the throes of passion, calls out a name, and it is not the name of anyone who is in the room at the time...He will have some explaining to do. Even in the most intimate of moments, a gentleman thinks before he speaks, because, even if he is not listening to himself, somebody else probably is. And that person may very well be taking notes. If he does flub in this truly horrifying manner, he can only say, "I don't know what came over me." If his partner forces the issue by asking, "Who's Veronica?" the gentleman saves a ghastly moment by turning it into a triumph, transforming a potential insult into an awkward, but still appealing, compliment. "Ah, Veronica," he says with a sigh. "I met her years ago, and she was the first great love of my life. You're the only woman I've ever met who made me feel that special." If his love interest doesn't mind comparisons, even complimentary ones, the gentleman may escape with his life.

August 19, 2008

Coming To America

I probably already sound like a broken record at this point, but it was another great day at work! The day started on a particularly good note when I got some great feedback from my editor regarding my first article. The article is about Matt Moore, a 19-year-old leftthanded pitcher in the Rays system. He sounds like a stud and I really enjoyed putting the article together. Here’s what the e-mail from my editor said after I sent him my first draft…

“Conor, I enjoyed reading your draft; it was very thorough. Most of our short-season pieces have been one- or two-source, two-source maximum. You obviously have reporting skills our other interns lacked because this was very thoroughly reported. It didn't seem like you had a hook, so I inverted the piece a bit; I thought the Birmingham quote was strong and tried to build a parallel between New Mexico and the Rays, so take a look at my edit and see what you think. I also thought the end was a bit tacked on, empty-the-notebook style, which isn't a bad idea, but I just thought we wouldn't need it. Very strong first effort, thanks for being patient w/me. See you in a office in a half-hour or so.”

It felt really great to have such positive feedback on my first article. Plus, the rearrangement worked out really well and the article is solid. I can’t wait to see my name inside the magazine I’ve subscribed to for the past three years. This is all still pretty surreal.

After my daily blogging (here), I wrote some other little things (short notes) that will appear as sidebars on the same page as my article and then worked on another little project. I ate lunch at a southern fast food joint called Bojangles and it was really good. I had a chicken biscuit sandwich and French fries and I liked it when I ordered, the guy didn’t ask, “What do you want to drink?” he asked “Do you want sweet tea?” Yes. Yes I do!

After work I headed out to the AT&T store to look into getting iPhones for Cheryl and myself. They’re sold out, but it could happen on Thursday, we’ll see. In honor of Usain Bolt, I wanted to go to dinner at this Jamaican place next to Bojangles. I pulled up and walked in the door, but when you walk inside, it’s wide open and it’s like three rooms. I figured it was all the same place and walked up to a counter to order some food. Turns out I took a wrong turn and ended up in a Mexican restaurant next door to the Jamaican place. So, I must have sounded like a big tard when I asked the woman behind the counter, “What would you recommend? I’ve never been to a restaurant like this before.” I should have known something was up when she said, “How about a taco?” So, I was a little bummed about my misfortune, but the food was actually amazing. I tried something called a pupusa that was to die for! I had the cheese variety and it was basically cheese-filled flat bread. I called Megan to ask if she had tried one before and she told me she had and it’s a favorite of Brangelina. The pork in the taco was a little spicy, but they also put pineapple in it and it was a great combination. I’ll definitely be visiting the Mexican place again, although I still want to try the Jamaican place too.

Now I’m home and after a little Madden, I watched the M’s for a bit, but now I’m watching Trading Places. I’m ashamed to admit that it’s the first time I’ve seen it, but it’s freakin’ hilarious so far. Tomorrow night I’ll be watching Coming To America (also for the first time). I’m pretty sure Eddie Murphy was the funniest guy on the planet at one point in time. It’s really too bad that he’s resorted to Norbit and Daddy Day Care (although I have to admit the previews for Meet Dave looked pretty funny).

Monday, August 18, 2008

August 18, 2008

Sweet deal on a TV!

It sucked sleeping alone and being away from Cheryl, but I got a good night’s sleep and woke up this morning ready for work. I made coffee and filled up a thermos for work and that worked out really well, so I’m going to do it again tomorrow.

Work was great, as usual. I’ve never had a job where I woke up in the morning and was excited to go to work, but being at Baseball America has been so awesome so far, that’s been the case. The days fly by and I hardly want to leave at night. I went in and did my morning work (my daily blog can be found here) and then started on a project that will appear in the next issue.

Another intern named Jesse picked me up for lunch and we headed out to a place called Moe’s, which is similar to Oobas or Taco Del Mar…. except, of course, they have sweet tea! The streak continues!

I realized I didn’t really have anything for dinner, so after work I went to a grocery store called Food Lion for a little shopping. I picked up a few boxes of spaghetti and a jar of sauce. Easy enough, right? Ha! I also made an impulse buy and got a Pop Rocks chocolate bar. My cashier gave his unsolicited opinion of the purchase.
“Whaaaaaat?” he exclaimed as he read the package. “Pssh … it’s prolly naaasty.”

Well, DeKaar, you are wrong, my friend. It was amazing. I was expecting crappy chocolate and really weak Pop Rocks, but the chocolate was really good and the Pop Rocks packed a punch. I can’t wait to have another one!

I got home and started cooking my spaghetti. It was an adventure, to say the least. I really didn’t think you could screw up spaghetti as badly as I did. The problem was that I tried to cook too much spaghetti in too small of a pot (the only one available). Oh, and the fact that I wasn’t really paying attention — I was looking for TVs on craigslist while it was cooking. So the water boiled out and some of the noodles burned on the bottom. So I ended up eating spaghetti that was both undercooked and burned at the same time. Go figured. At least the sauce was good! I had a goal of losing some weight while I’m out here and now I’m beginning to think that I might not even have to work out. My horrible cooking should suffice!

My ADD didn’t work out too well when it came to cooking, but I did find a TV on craigslist tonight. It was perfect. First of all, it was a crazy coincidence because the guy I found that was selling it is doing so because he’s moving to Seattle. Secondly, it’s a 19” TV that was listed for $75. I e-mailed the guy and said I was interested and he called me back right away and said that we could meet up in a few minutes, but that there was a problem with the listing — he put the wrong price. I figured he would want $100 or something, but he actually only wanted $35. He also asked if I wanted a free microwave or toaster. What a guy! He only lived about 10 minutes away, so I went and picked it up and then headed down to Target (again) to return some shorts that didn’t fit and pick up a few things. I got a cable, so I can watch TV in my room and got some drinks to stock my new mini fridge. I called Matt on the way home from Target and he’s loving his new job and said he’s planning to fly out and visit me sometime in October. That would be so sweet! Duuuude! Sweeeeet!

I hooked up my 360, played a little Madden and now I’m watching the Olympics before I call Cheryl one last time and head to bed.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

August 17, 2008

Saying goodbye

Sleeping went a lot better than last night and Cheryl and I woke up at about 9. We started the day by heading to Starbucks where I got my usual iced coffee and Cheryl tried the new Viviano orange, banana and mango smoothie — I had a sip and it was ok, but tasted a little too much like protein powder and vitamins for my liking. I don't think they have Jamba Juice out here, which is too bad! After that we headed back out to SuperTarget for a few more things that I needed for my new house. Then we went to lunch at Boston Market and then headed out to Chapel Hill to visit a different Locopops. I tried the fluffernutter and Cheryl had strawberries n' cream. That place is awesome!

After that I had to take Cheryl to the airport and it was brutal. I've been trying to block out the thought of being apart for the past few weeks, but it hit me like a brick wall as we were driving to the airport. Cheryl and I have had such a great time the past few weeks on our road trip and out here in North Carolina and it's going to be so tough to be apart from her for the next five months. She's my best friend and I love her more than anything in the world. So, saying goodbye was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, but I think it will make us stronger as a couple. As we were sitting in the car at the airport, I thought about what it must be like for people who have loved ones going off to Iraq and it really put things in perspective for me. Nothing can substitute for a hug and a kiss, but at least we'll be able to see each other and talk everyday. Thanks to technology, we're only a phone call, e-mail, test message or video chat away. Plus, we get to see each other in about five weeks in Washington D.C. and then again at Christmas. I'm so grateful that I have a wife that is so supportive of my goal of becoming a baseball writer. I love you Cheryl!

I got a little lost on the way home from the airport, but eventually found my way home. I don't have a roommate for another week and the house was way too quiet. I was bummed out and ended up taking a little nap before hearing from Cheryl when she got to Atlanta for her layover. After that I made myself dinner, cutting up Cheryl's leftover steak from last night for an awesome quesadilla and decided it would be a good idea to go to a movie instead of sulking in my silent house. It was a good plan as it killed some time and took my mind off of being alone (even though it was the first time I've gone to a movie by myself). I saw "Tropic Thunder" and it was OK, but I think I liked "Step Brothers" better. I did see some good previews though (Sex Drive and Role Models) and it felt good to laugh. I'm going to have to follow my own advice to Cheryl and keep myself busy while I'm out here to keep from going crazy.

Now I'm home, watching the Olympics and waiting for Cheryl to call from Seattle.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

August 16, 2008

Another awesome day!



Cheryl and I had an awesome day today! It didn't start off so well (or as early as we had hoped) because the bed I have out here is only a twin, which doesn't work out so well for the both of us. I think the bed is actually a little bit smaller than a twin because it's smaller than the box frame it's sitting on and the twin sheets Cheryl bought for the bed are a little baggy. Anyway, Cheryl ended up sleeping on the floor last night and last looked at the clock at 3:45, so she was tired in the morning. I was tired too, but don't have a valid excuse like she does. We finally got rolling at about 11 and pretty much had one goal for the day: go find Durham's "Neglected Dinosaur Statue." We found out about the statue on RoadsideAmerica, the same place we found out about the world's biggest shuttlecock. It's an awesome Web site. See what kind of cool stuff is near you — you might be surprised!

The statue used to be part of a dinosaur walk associated with Durham's Museum of Life and Science, but a hurricane destroyed most of the dinosaurs and this beast is the last one remaining. And they weren't lying about the neglected part. It has a big hole in the side and it looked like a homeless person set up camp under the neck. It was fun though!

After that, we drove around looking for a place to eat and ended up at Northgate Mall, near Duke's campus. We had lunch and then I went to a barbershop in the mall for a haircut. I have been meaning to get a haircut for quite a while, but have just been so busy with the roadtrip and getting settled and all. The barbershop was a good time. There were three people cutting hair: an old lady, a dude that weighed about 500 pounds and was talking on his cell phone the entire time (while he was cutting hair) and a cool looking dude with dreads down to his shoulders and a Michael Vick jersey. I was the only white boy in the place and ended up getting the cool guy and he was awesome. I told him I'm from Seattle and it turns out he's old buddies with Chris Wilcox. He gave me a good haircut, including some features I've never had done before.
1) He made my hairline go straight across (shaving off my widow's peak). It looks cool now, we'll see how it looks in a week...
2) He gave me pointed sideburns. Never would have requested them, but I think they look sharp.
He was really nice and gave me his card with his cell phone number on there and told me that if I ever have questions about the area, I can give him a call.





After that, Cheryl and I drove around Duke's campus and then headed back to the house and crashed for a little bit. When we woke up, we were both hungry, so I started researching places for dinner. When we first got to North Carolina's visitor center, I picked up a little magazine called the Official Visitor's Guide to Durham and it is awesome. It has a listing of every restaurant in the city, with a little paragraph on some of the best ones. Because it's Cheryl's last night here, I wanted to take her out for a nice dinner and found a place called Watts Grocery that looked good, but not too stuffy. I called for reservations, but couldn't make one, although they said they had eight tables for walk-in guests. We drove over there and walked right in. It was a cute little place and the food was fantastic. Cheryl had a steak and I had the pork tenderloin. We got a side order of hush puppies and I also got a sweet tea. I'm not joking when I say that I've ordered sweet tea at every place we've gone out to eat. Sweet tea is so good and makes every meal that much better. Here are some pictures of our delicious meals (for Caroline!).







After dinner, we went to a place called Locopops. (I found this in the visitor's guide too, as it was voted Durham's best frozen treat.) It's a little shop that only sells popsicles and it was amazing. Cheryl and I ate our first ones in the store (she had cookies n' cream and I had blueberry buttermilk) and they were so good that we got two more for the road (peaches n' cream and ginger cantaloupe). Here are some of the other flavors they feature: chocolate brownie, apple-lemon-thyme, cucumber chile, berry hazelnut, jasmine green tea, ginger cucumber, fluffernutter, cherry hibiscus, mango chile and mexican chocolate. I think Cheryl and I are going back tomorrow after lunch!



Now, we're just chillin' back at home for the night. Dickran's back in town, moving out some more of his stuff and he just gave me a mini fridge for my room, so that's awesome. In a little bit, Cheryl and I will play some games and watch the Olympics or maybe a movie and then head to bed. Hopefully it'll go better than last night!

Friday, August 15, 2008

More writing

Had an awesome morning here at the office. As proof, I offer more links to my writing on BA's Web site...

Prospect Hot Sheet.

In there, I wrote the pieces on Alcides Escobar and Ryan Dent.

And my second Short-Season Daily Dish. I'll be doing the Rookie Leagues Dish next week.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My new house

Cheryl was awesome and made a video tour of my new house. Check it out (but Cheryl says you can't make fun of her commentary)...

My first post at BaseballAmerica.com

Writing for the BA blog started a day earlier than expected. Here's a link to my first post...

Click here.

Each day at BA, different writers recap the highlights and solid performances from the different minor league levels. The blog posts are done first thing in the morning and are known as the Daily Dish. You can see that today I did the Short-Season dish (so, I would have included any AquaSox, if any were worthy). I'll do the Short-Season Dish again tomorrow and then will take over the Rookie Leagues Dish on Monday.

To navigate to the blogs on your own, follow these three simple steps...
1) Go to www.baseballamerica.com
2) In the blue toolbar at the top of the page, you'll see the word BLOGS on the right side. Hover your mouse over that word and click on Prospects.
3) Scroll down and on the right sidebar you'll see the word Categories. Under that, click on either Short-Season Dish or Rookie Leagues Dish.

August 13, 2008

First Durham Bulls game!



Quick recap of yesterday, just to keep things fresh. I was way too tired to do it last night, because it was a busy day...

First of all, it rained pretty much all day. Given my recent luck, I was worried that the Durham Bulls game would be rained out. I came into work at the usual time and typed out a first draft of the story I'm writing for the next issue. It's coming along nicely and I'm just waiting to hear back from a coach today and I think it will be good to go.

After that, I went and picked up the key for my new house. Both of the guys living there left in the morning, so the place was empty. So I went and picked up Cheryl at the hotel, we packed up the car, checked out and drove over to the new digs. I suggested that, instead of going out for lunch, like were were planning, we should just unload everything into the house and have lunch there. It was a great idea, as it felt so good to have everything out of the car and into my new house. I still can't believe how perfectly everything came together and I'm so happy with how it all worked out. The house is awesome and I know it will be a great place to live for the next 5+ months. (Cheryl is on picture duty today, so look for those tonight!)

After our PB&Js, Cheryl dropped me back off at work and then went all wifey by going out and buying me sheets, a laundry basket and groceries. She also unpacked and organized everything in my room. Best. Wife. Ever.

I went back to work and found out that I'll be doing some daily blogging on the Baseball America site beginning on Friday. Very exciting! I'll show you all how to read the stuff when that time comes. I also got a pair of tickets to the Durham Bulls game that night from the office season tickets. That was cool because Cheryl and I were planning on going anyway (and several coworkers laughed at me when I asked if I should buy tickets in advance or if I could just walk up to the ticket window. Their response? "Dude, you work at Baseball America now. We don't pay for baseball games!")

Cheryl picked me up at 6, we headed home for a sec and then headed off to Durham Bulls Athletic Park. It's a really nice Triple-A stadium (especially compared to Cheney!). Got there just in time to see David Price warming up in the bullpen (pictures later) and then headed to our seats, behind home plate. Price looked ok. The defense didn't help him a lot, but he was struggling to put hitters away and threw about 30 pitches in the first inning. Because of that (and the fact that he started to get hit around a little), he only went 4 innings, giving up 7 hits and 3 runs. He struck out 6 and walked 0.



Because we were both tired, Cheryl and I decided to leave after the 7th inning, with the Bulls trailing 7-3. We headed down to the team store and were looking around, when the TV announcer said the Norfolk Tides were warming up Kam Mickolio. I turned to Cheryl and said, 'I'm sorry, but I have to go back,' explaining that Mickolio was part of the franchise-crippling package given to the Orioles for Erik Bedard. She understood. Again, Best. Wife. Ever.

Mickolio was a little wild, the defense made some errors and the Bulls mounted a little comeback, but fell just short, ultimately losing 7-6.



We got back to the house at about 10, watched a little Olympics and headed to bed. Another great day!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

August 12, 2008

I found a house!

Phew! I can't tell you how much of a relief this is! The situation couldn't have turned out any better and I'm so excited to move in tomorrow night!

(Side note about work: The second day of work was great, BTW. Better than the first day I think, just because I had stuff to do all day and was less nervous. My article is coming together nicely and I can't wait to write it up and see my name inside Baseball America. Tomorrow should be great too — I'm very excited to go to the game and see David Price pitch tomorrow night. Pretty much everyone from the office will be there.)

As it turns out, I'm living in a house that I haven't mentioned on the blog yet. It's one that I just found out about this afternoon, at about 4 o'clock. More details down below...

After work, Cheryl and I had an appointment to meet up with the main roommate at the cheaper house downtown. We went there and it would have been fine except, like I mentioned before, it just felt a little on the sketchy side. Plus, the girl living in the room I would take over isn't moving out until next Tuesday, so Cheryl and I would have had to continue staying in the Comfort Inn or go and sleep on the couch at that house...two pretty crappy options.

When I found the other house this afternoon, I really hoped that it would work out because it is SO CLOSE to my work. How close? 2.1 miles! So, after the meeting at the first house (and dinner at The Q Shack — had to take Cheryl there, it's that good!), I came home and did some napkin math. Even though the new house is more expensive, the fact that it includes utilities and saves me money on gas by being so much closer to my job, makes the overall difference only about $400 in the grand scheme of things.

At 8:30, Cheryl and I went to meet the owner of the new house and it couldn't have gone any better. It's in a little cookie-cutter neighborhood that the owner said is filled with young families. The guy owns the place but is moving out because he just accepted a basketball coaching job at some D-III college in Virginia. Aside from being close to work, here are some of the other perks about the place...

• It's only $450 a month (all utilities included)
• The guy's leaving basically all of his stuff there, so it's furnished. I have a bed, a desk, a TV, fridge, kitchen table, couches, recliner, coffee table...everything!
• It's a three-bedroom, but I'll only be living with one other guy. He's a long-time friend of the owner, so that's good and he's moving in because he's going back for his Master's in nuclear something-or-another at UNC.
• The lawn gets mowed for me (must be part of a homeowners association or something).
• The other guy moving in doesn't get here for another week or so, so Cheryl and I have the place to ourselves for the remainder of her stay.
• The owner gave me a 5-month, 18-day lease.

I'm stopping by tomorrow morning to pay August's prorated rent + a damage deposit and Cheryl and I will move in tomorrow night, after the Durham Bulls game.

I'll post pictures later, but here's my address — write letters and send cookies! :)

11 Yorkfield Ct.
Durham, NC 27713

Monday, August 11, 2008

August 11, 2008

First day at work

Today was the first day of my internship. I woke up at 7:45, showered, got dressed, checked a few things on the computer and then headed downstairs with Cheryl for the Comfort Inn's breakfast spread. Headed out at 9 because I wanted to hit up Starbucks before work. Got there at 9:20 and there was only one other person there. I realized right then that the place was pretty laid back, which is just fine with me. That notion was solidified when everyone started trickling in from 9:30 to 10 — mostly wearing shorts and T-shirts.

Eventually, I got a grand tour, a little history on the magazine and a desk. But, I didn't really have anything to do in the morning, but that was ok, because I wanted a little time to look over craigslist some more in my pursuit of getting out of the Comfort Inn. Basically twiddled my thumbs until about noon until the boss asked if anyone wanted to go out for lunch at a place called The Q Shack. This brought people out of the woodwork and 7 of us piled into one of the editors' SUVs. It was a lot of fun to hang out with the group and I know why everyone was so excited about the place, because the food was spectacular. I had a BBQ beef brisket sandwich with hushpuppies, collard greens and sweet tea. Southern style!

Headed back to the office and finally got something to do — some data entry, compiling a list of each collegiate conference's standings, award winners and league leaders from last season. This will take me a while. But, we also had an editorial meeting to plan out the next issue and I actually got a writing assignment as well. Boo yeah!

The work environment is great. Like I mentioned, it's casual, laid back and everyone is really nice. Aside from the editors, most of the other writers are in their 20s, which is cool. Plus, it's just awesome to be surrounded by so many knowledgeable baseball people. Just listening to the conversations in the office had me excited.

The big news today was of course the Adam Dunn trade and then the fact that Rays top pitching prospect David Price got called up to Durham. Cheryl and I are going to see him pitch on Wednesday and I bet a lot of the other guys from the office will be there as well.

After work Cheryl and I went to dinner at a pizza/pasta place called Ruckus and it was really good. We then drove around for a little bit, looking for a place to live — but no luck. Looks like I might end up in the cheap downtown house, if I don't hear anything else. We'll see. I have a little time to think about it, as the girl that's in the room I'd take is planning to be there until the 19th anyway. She said we can work something out if I need in sooner, but that might give me an extra day or something to make up my mind on what I want to do/where I want to live. I'll ask around at work tomorrow and see if anyone knows anything about the neighborhood I'll be in. Now, we're chillin' back in the hotel room, watching the Olympics — a nice, low key night that also included my first cribbage victory!

Goodnight! :)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

August 10, 2008

First full day in Durham

So today was our first full day in Durham. Not as hot as I expected, but it's pretty muggy. Cheryl and I ate breakfast right across the hotel at Waffle House. If you've never been to the south before, Waffle Houses are everywhere. So, I figured they must be good. Not so much... Cheryl called it Awful House.



Then we went to Target to pick up a few things that I'll need (bathroom supplies and the like). Holding off on looking for a futon or TV until I figure out where I'm going to live (yeah, it's still up in the air right now).

We went and looked at a possible house that's in downtown Durham, near Duke. I would be living with four other guys and the house seems nice enough, but it's pretty far from where I'll be working and the neighborhood seemed a little shady. I know I would really like living with four guys and the one I met today seemed like a real solid guy that I would get along with, but it might be worth a little bit more money to live closer to work. I e-mailed another prospect tonight and hope to have something figured out very soon. I'm interviewing with the main guy at the Durham house Tuesday after work, so that's still a possibility...

After that, Cheryl and I ate dinner at Subway and then headed out toward Apex to watch a movie. We got to the mall area at about 6:15, but the movie we were going to see (Step Brothers) didn't start until 8. So, Cheryl and I killed some time at Borders and then got ice cream. I picked up a copy of the Independent Weekly, which is like the Research Triangle version of Seattle Weekly or The Stranger. Looks like there are some good concerts coming up, which is good to see.

If I end up living closer to the office, I'm going to look for a part time job and working at the mall area Cheryl and I visited today would make sense. Borders or the movie theater are possibilities. Maybe Starbucks or waiting tables? I don't know, I'm kind of clumbsy!

Eight o'clock finally rolled around and we headed to the theater. I wasn't expecting much after seeing the movie get just one star in the Independent, but it was awesome! I highly recommend it. There were parts where I was laughing so hard I was crying and two times I thought I might pass out. Cheryl was a little embarrassed (as is usually the case when we see comedies in the theater), but it was a good stress relief, as I'm a little nervous/anxious for the first day of work tomorrow! I told Cheryl that it was my favorite Will Ferrell movie ever, but we'll see if that stands the test of time. Currently, I think would rank his top three movies as: Anchorman, Elf, Blades of Glory, with Old School a close fourth.



So now, Cheryl and I are hanging out, watching the Olympics and eating jelly beans. Tomorrow's the first day at work, so I'll keep you posted! :)

Road Trip Statistics

If you know me, you know that I love statistics. So, here are some statistics from our road trip that you might find interesting...
















Total miles driven: 3,363
Total hours driven: 50 (29 by me, 21 by Cheryl)
Gas station stops: 11
Money spent on gas: $357.39
States driven through: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina
CDs listened to: 68
License plates seen: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, U.S. Government, Puerto Rico, British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. So, for those keeping score at home, in the US we only missed Delaware, Hawaii and Rhode Island.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Road Trip: Day 7

Louisville, Kentucky - Durham, North Carolina



Start time: 8:45 a.m. EST

The final leg of the trip was pretty uneventful, as we were both tired of driving and anxious to just get to Durham. We barreled through Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina and we both agreed that it's a beautiful part of the country. Lots of rolling hills that are packed with trees — even more than we're used to in the Northwest! We crossed into North Carolina at about 4 p.m. and stopped at the state visitor's center where there was a display case for a local artist that apparently specializes in gnomes. My kind of guy! We checked into our hotel, where we'll be staying for the next few days while I find a place to live. Conveniently, the hotel is only about 3 minutes from the Baseball America office, so getting to work on the first day will be a breeze. Cheryl was also super excited that Boston Market still exists out here and we had dinner there after we checked into the hotel.




































Miles driven: 567.5

Road Trip: Day 6

Kansas City, Missouri - Louisville, Kentucky



The best thing about deciding to split the Colorado to North Carolina portion of the trip into three days is that we were able to take things a little bit slower, which allowed us to have some fun. The midway point between Kansas City and Louisville conveniently happened to be St. Louis. So Cheryl and I decided to go up in the Gateway Arch and it was awesome. Even though it took about three hours, it was definitely worth it. The top is 630 feet from the ground and has a great view of downtown St. Louis, including the new Busch Stadium. We got into Louisville at about 11 p.m. EST and ate a late dinner at the world's biggest White Castle restaurant. Cheryl hated it and hated my gas the next day...












































Miles driven: 562.3

Road Trip: Day 5

Boulder, Colorado - Kansas City, Missouri



Start time: 8:45 a.m. MST.

Cheryl proved why she should always drive in the morning when I took a wrong turn that led to a 20-minute detour through downtown Denver. But, we finally got everything straightened out and hit the road. The majority of the day was through Kansas, which was flat, boring and filled with homemade pro-life billboards. We didn't think we'd be stopping anywhere between Boulder and Kansas City, but then we started seeing signs advertising a place with a live, 6-legged steer. How could we pass that up?!?



The place was called Prairie Dog Town and it also features goats, pigs, all kinds of birds, coyotes, badgers, raccoons, foxes, buffaloes, rabbits, rattlesnakes and a miniature donkey. Admission was just $6.95 and the woman working there was nice enough to tie plastic grocery bags to our feet to protect our shoes from the mud.



The prairie dogs were cute and the mutant cows were interesting, but the rest of the place was kind of sad. It's no zoo and seeing all the animals in little cages made Cheryl bummed out.




Mr. Bill, on the other hand, had a great time. The gift shop was filled with all kinds of interesting items. I picked up a back scratcher, which will certainly come in handy in Durham, as I'm always begging Cheryl to itch my back. Cheryl got in the spirit of the place by trying on a hat, but we only got a magnet for ourselves.



We couldn't stay too long, as we still had several hours of driving left on our way to Kansas City. We kept on truckin' through Kansas and finally rolled into Kansas City at about 8:30. But it wasn't time to head for the hotel. Oh no...we had a mission! Before the road trip, I found a Web site called Roadside America that lists all kinds of interesting things near cities - touristy things you might want to see on a road trip like ours. What's in Kansas City, you ask? None other than the WORLD'S BIGGEST SHUTTLECOCK! Boo yeah!



It was awesome and it was also interesting to hear a loud buzzing noise while walking through the park. I had no idea what it was and was worried because we saw a cage full of rattlesnakes just a few hours earlier. Turns out it was locusts. Cheryl also saw her first firefly, which she absolutely loved. She tried to take a video of them and here it is (look closely!):



After the shuttlecock, we went to dinner at the world famous Arthur Bryant's BBQ. I had been there before and it was even better this time around, which is surprising because I had very fond memories of the place to begin with! I was also very happy to see a mural on the building next door of one of my heroes, Buck O'Neil.



































Miles driven: 700

Road Trip: Day 4

Hanging out in Boulder, Colorado



Like I said, little Jack became our new best friend. He's a Patterdale Terrier and he's sooooo cute! We woke up at about 8:30, showered and had an awesome breakfast of cereal, donuts, fresh fruit, juice and coffee. Then, Joan took us out to toodle around Boulder. We first went up Flagstaff Mountain and took in the great view of Boulder. Then we went shopping at the Pearl Street mall, where there are some awesome stores and she took us to lunch at a place called Hapa. They offer an innovative twist on the food, and it was extremely delicious, but I've never felt so bloated after eating Sushi. I made Joan try eel and she made me try her favorite, a house specialty roll called the multiple orgasm that had crab, cream cheese and a bunch of other delicious stuff all deep fried together...mmm!



After that, we drove around Boulder and finally found a statue of Ralphie, the buffalo mascot for the University of Colorado. My dad better like this picture because I was almost attacked by bees trying to get it! Joan almost wet her pants, she was laughing so hard. We went back to the house and hung out for a little bit before Cheryl and I headed to Denver to go to the Rockies game and Joan and Scott went to a concert.



We left Boulder at 3 to beat traffic downtown and were at Coors Field by 3:30...for a game that was supposed to start at 7. Cheryl is an absolute TROOPER! We walked around the stadium for a while, I bought a Troy Tulowitzki T-shirt, and then we went to the Breckenridge Brewery for some snacks (chili cheese fries and deep fried mac and cheese wedges) before meeting up with a sketchy scalper in a deal arranged on Craigslist. Only, at this point, it had begun to rain. There was clear sky on the horizon, however, and I was sure the light drizzle would pass without a problem. We went into the stadium and walked around for a while, waiting for Blair to meet us there. I really like Coors Field. For obvious reasons, it really reminds me of Safeco Field, but there are certain aspects about Coors that I like better. I like that when you walk in from the home plate entrance, you walk straight in and can see the field, as opposed to walking up stairs to the concourse. I also like that in left field, the concourse is open air — at Safeco, it always feels like you're walking through a tunnel.

One thing I definitely like better about Safeco, however, is the roof. Coors could have used one on this night, as rain spoiled the game. It didn't spoil the entire evening, though. One thing I wanted to do at Coors Field was try Rocky Mountain Oysters. While I didn't hate them, I don't believe that I would seek them out again. I'm glad that I gave them a shot, but I don't see myself ever craving the taste of chewy chicken that has been soaked in saltwater...



Speaking of sucking balls, the game was rained out. So, Cheryl, Blair and I decided we'd try to go see Seth Rogan's new movie, "The Pineapple Express". We drove a half hour to the Cherry Creek Mall, only to find out that the movie was sold out. So, we ended up watching Adam Corolla's "The Hammer" at Blair's apartment. Cheryl and I had seen it before, but I think I actually liked it even better the second time around.

Road Trip: Day 3

Park City, UT - Boulder, CO



Start time: 7:40 a.m. MST.

We started the day by driving up to the end of the road that leads to the cabin, in search of a moose. No luck. The driving went quickly and was fairly uneventful (thanks Wyoming!) The only eventful thing that happened was actually bad. About 30 seconds before taking the exit off of I-80 to head down to Boulder, a rock kicked up from the truck in front of us and put a nasty ding in Gary's windshield (Gary is the name of Cheryl's car). It's about the size of a quarter...



We got to Boulder at about 3:30 p.m. and nobody was home. The house was unlocked though, so we went in and were met by a little black dog. He seemed nice...then we closed the door and he went bonkers, barking loudly and jumping all the way up to Cheryl's face. This didn't last long, however, and he quickly became our new best friend (more on him later).

Scott, Joan and Erin (yay!) got home a few minutes later and we hung out for a bit before heading down to Denver to meet up with Blair for dinner. I haven't seen my cousin Blair in 10 years, which is completely unacceptable. We went to a little brew pub right across from his apartment called the Bull and Bush. I had an awesome jalapeno cream cheese bacon burger.

After dinner, we took a drive down memory lane, looking at the houses where Joan and Scott used to live in Denver. We also drove down Grape Street and looked at the house I came home to after I was born. The couple living there now was nice enough to let me in for a little tour.





















Miles driven: 520