We played the green team in kickball, last night, and got our bundles trundled. We reluctantly played on the grass again, because the "coach" of the purple team got all sandy on us, and demanded that her superior team(that wasn't able to defeat ours) play on the dirt field. Terra started off pitching in the impossible grass, and was having a hard time, so I took over, and actually got a workout. On one play, in particular, I successfully fielded a grounder between first and the mound, and was ready to throw the offender out, except there was nobody playing first. So, I foolishly threw the ball at the runner, missing wildly, and he rounded first. I retrieved the ball by the fence, and rather than throw the gigantic ball back into play, I ran down the runner in my finest sprint, reaching the third base region at roughly the same time as him, where I made a critical mistake. I threw the ball again.
I was running really fast, and didn't manage to get the ball to move any faster than I was running. The ball went wild again, and the runner made it home. On top of that, I was so focused on the throw that I lost my footing, and fell squarely on my belly, producing a sensation of intense pain throughout my upper body. I got the wind knocked out of me, and I was so dizzy that I couldn't see. This sensation continued for perhaps ten minutes, though many of which I continued to pitch.
We lost by over ten runs, scoring only two ourselves. We retired to Grinders for a pleasant drink or two, before heading home for the night. I don't know if it has anything to do with my little crash, last night, but I have a terrible cough now.
Jeff is settling in, and I think I am officially not allergic to his cat. We have set up the dining room, which sat useless for the last year and a half, as an actual useful dining room. There are decorations and posters on the walls now. It looks like someone actually lives here. It's nice to feel whole again, and not like a stranger in my own apartment.
I was driving to work the other day, and I noticed on a stretch of road between Tracy, MO and the bridge to Kansas, a young buck lay dead, killed by a passing car. Fuzzy antlers in the velvety early stages of growth sprang from its lifeless head. I don't know why I took notice like I did, but I did.
The next day, the deer was still there, just as dead, but with a plague of flying insects swarming all around it, even noticable at 60mph. Also noticable, though, was the fact that the antlers, small and velvety as they were, had been removed, with only two bloody holes surrounded by frantic insects remaining to indicate that there had once been anything there at all.
I wondered who would emasculate the deer like that, for such a tiny reward, if such a small pair of antlers could even be considered a reward. It was a sobering moment.
Today, instead of the customary run, Kelly and I met at my house, and proceeded to walk down to the West Bottoms and climb all over piled rubble and tetanus-wielding rebar, more than able to run someone through when they slip and fall on the plentiful loose rocks and gravel. We averted disaster, but instead got really sweaty and climbed up and down through contiguous construction zones and derelict bridge underpinnings.
We emerged back into civilization in the exploding West Side, which is a close-in neighborhood that's trying and failing, to remain predominantly hispanic. It was a long dirty walk, with lots of foliage scratches, rubble slides, and near misses. We got back and drank some beer. So it all works out.
On June 16th, we are holding a crazy preposterous party at the apartment. Want to go? Let me know.
We had our first playoff game last night, in kickball. We managed the best defense and offense we ever have, scoring 13 runs, and allowing only four, all but one of which were scored in the last inning when, I may say, I was out of the game. The team played admirably in the second game, against the first-place team, but fell 4-1, ending the season. We stayed around after the second game, and cooperatively drank over thirty beers between us. It didn't even seem like a great effort, but it was a lot of beer drinking. After the game, the group went to Grinders for tasty beers and the loud singing of Bruce Springsteen songs. Below is an assortment of pictures from the evening.
Toward the end of the first game, I was running to second base, trying to outrun a force throw, when the second baseman fielded the ball within about ten feet of where I was running, and rather than risking a bumbled throw and catch at the base, just threw the ball at me. I leapt into the air, so at the apex, my feet were perhaps three feet off the ground, and the ball bounced off me. Perhaps it was the grief of the moment that made me forget, but when I landed on the other side of second base, I stomped back to the earth with all my weight on my right foot, and my knee was locked. I didn't break anything, but it took some doing to hobble off the field. I was done playing, for the night.
I woke up, this morning, startled awake by the acute pain of trying to put some weight on my right foot, in my sleep, presumably, to push myself into another sleeping position. I stood up, and the pain was real and immediate. The walk around the bed and into the bathroom was excruciating. I decided if it was that difficult to walk to the bathroom, eight feet from my bed, negotiating the walk to the bus stop, the walk across the expansive floor of Union Station, and the walk from the ticket window to the platform would be downright impossible. I called Amy and said that I wouldn't be coming to Peoria after all, after explaining the details of the accident.
I made a number of phone calls to friends and medical supply companies about getting some crutches, and none were able to help. It was suggested that I see a doctor about my heel, and upon diagnosis, crutches would be furnished, at the very least. I called several podiatrists' offices, only to find that nobody could see me today. I took a shower, and got an idea. Devotees will remember that I had another kickball accident in the Fall, but I did not say, in that account, that the doctor prescribed some Naproxen for the pain and inflammation. By the time I saw the doctor, however, the pain was pretty much gone, and I never took any of the medicine, until today.
I took a single large pill from the cannister, and I feel great! I can put some weight on the foot, and walk comfortably, even though there's a small limp. But anyway, my weekend is wide open now.
I met Kelly in front of her place last night, and Terra joined us soon afterward, and we walked to JP's Wine Bar, down on Walnut, just south of downtown. Jeff met us there. It was wonderful! The atmosphere, the service, the selection, and the food all combine to create a very nice bit of ambiance. After that, the four of us walked around the Crossroads, Union Station, The Liberty Memorial, Penn Valley Park, and back home, for a total of about five miles. I was pretty badly saturated with sweat when I got home, and had to change all my clothes. I hadn't planned on getting any exercise, because of my injured heel, but a five mile walk over the undulating streets and sidewalks of the neighborhood just south of downtown will definitely serve well.
I spent this past weekend at home, hoping to goof around KC, but wound up mostly just sitting around on account of my stupid heel injury. On Friday, Jeff sent me an IM from work, asking if I wanted to go to Barley's in Shawnee, since he already had to go to Shawnee to get some new bicycle tires. I had been sitting around the house all day, feeling sorry for myself, so I took him up on it.
We got there, and in my weakened condition, I was only able to get one beer(a delicious Singletrack) and my first prime rib in years, down. We took the long, long way home, taking city streets north, out of the wretched confines of Johnson County, into KCK, where we wandered back and forth through urban areas, and then suspiciously into farm fields and hilly redneck farmsteads, and then back into zones of heavy industry. The weather was perfect. We eventually got back home, and I stayed up too late, looking for diversions on the internet
On Saturday, I broke my recently ratified personal rule, stating that I would only use my car for getting groceries and commuting. I drove to Roeland Park to attend a World Cup party. We watched England defeat Paraguay, Argentina defeat Cote d'Ivoire, and Trinidad and Tobago, in their first-ever trip to the World Cup, tie up with Sweden after a long, aggressive game.
On Sunday, I sat around all day, playing Civilization.
I recently noticed a dream that I've had with a certain degree of frequency, over the last ten years or so. It's always the same in the basic theme, with different details each time. For whatever reason, I'm living back in Peoria, but I'm the same person as I presently am: 27 years old, with a life elsewhere. But the strangest part is that I'm in high school, back at Notre Dame High School. For some reason, the dream always takes place on the first day of school, and I have no idea where I'm supposed to go, but it doesn't really bother me. After two or three periods, I wander over to the school office, and pick up my syllabus, to find that, not surprisingly, I've already missed a class or two.
I go to classes, and the weeks pass, but there's always one class I never attend, for some reason. It's usually either a science or mathematics class. Like a blanket that's not long enough to cover my feet, my attendance can never get perfect, and predictably, I am failing in said science or mathematics class. It's usually around here that I wake up, and have to take a few minutes to reassure myself that I am independent, single, successful, and happy in Kansas City, distantly separated from Peoria Notre Dame, both temporally and spatially.
I suppose it might have something to do with the fact that I never finished college, and actually rounded it off pretty disgracefully, but something feels much more present, pressing, imminent. I think something about my present life, not related to higher education, is prompting and fueling these dreams, and the uneasiness they instill.
I was driving south on 4th St in Leavenworth, going to lunch with Geoff, and as I approached the crazily busy intersection at Marion, a large line of cars formed in the left lane to turn into the Price Chopper parking lot. To avoid being delayed by this, I used the right lane, which was largely clear, with traffic moving about 30-35 miles per hour.
Meanwhile, a woman of highly advanced age made her only fast move of the day, propelling her 2002 Toyota Avalon sedan into a left turn. Unfortunately, that fast move ended quickly, with her halting for no apparent reason in the middle of my lane. I had about fifteen feet to bring my car to a stop, from 30 miles per hour. The front right corner of my car struck the passenger-side doors of her car at a low speed, but enough to severely dent her car, and shatter the plastic housing of my right headlight.
I hastened out of the busy intersection, with her driving in front of me. She stopped, cockeyed, in the middle of the street onto which she was turning, to assess the situation. She moved with glacial slowness as I urged her to pull into the adjacent parking lot so we could get off the street.
A bystander named Kim did a fantastic job seeing to the only injury sustained in the accident. The aged woman, named Marjorie, suffered the shifting of a square inch section of the loose skin on her elbow, causing a superficial wound that bled a lot.
I called the police, who arrived within 90 seconds and got right to work. Within another minute, EMS people showed up and bandaged Marjorie up nice and tight. Geoff said that his neck wasn't feeling quite right, and is going to go and get an X-Ray done. Now, I have a fair nasty bit of paperwork to do, and probably about $1500 worth of damage to my car.
The party was fantastic. The keg of Two Hearted blew at about 12:30 am, and after I did the dishes, I came back into my room, and found the following note, sitting on my desk:
The sex with you was the most amazing cosmic lovemaking EVER! I never gave anyone a blumpkin before. DAMN... you are so hot. You can give me a dirty sanchez anytime. By the way... Cleveland steamer- I LOVED IT!
Your special girl.
Bleh. I don't think it needs to be said that no sex was had between me and anyone. Sigh. I don't know anyone as filthy as this, and if I did, I don't think I'd be quite the sleeper at night. I'm going to bed now.
UPDATE(6/18): The pictures are done. Enjoy!
I wish I had thought of inventing this section on the ole' website when we got our first keg, but we'll make do, and you, having no choice, will have to take it and like it.
I have decided to keep a running section of this website to chronicle which beers are being pumped at any given time, from the kegerator in my kitchen. For reference, the first keg was Bell's delectable Two Hearted Ale. The last of it was consumed after only two weeks of service, last night, at our awesome party.
So, with an empty barrel and slight headaches, Jeff and I motored down to Gomer's in Midtown, and chose, from the selection they had in stock, a keg of Boulevard's delicious Pale Ale. We brought it home this afternoon, and put it in the kegerator, making sure to let it sit for a while before tapping it. Then we went for some errands and a joyride around the the Historic Northeast.
We tapped the keg when we got home, and found that the first pour was almost perfect. Here's to happiness!
In a further effort to get my harmless little website banned in more workplaces, I've added a new section, called the On Tap section. It details which beer is currently on tap at my place. The inaugural entry is the keg that Jeff and I went and picked up today, Boulevard Pale Ale. You may also notice that the entry is listed at on the bottom right corner of the page. You might have to scroll down, if you're using a computer that sucks.
On Friday, before the party, I ran down to Sunfresh, to pick up some beer for when the keg would inevitably blow, during the night, which it most assuredly did. Unfortunately, nobody drank any of the beer I bought. It'll have to do, for kickball.
I was talking with Julie earlier, and she invited me to a barbecue/dinner eating thing at the home our mutual friends Erik and Sheila, which is way the hell out in Overland Park, in the 140s of streets. Nevertheless, it was a very nice evening. I think I like playing with dogs too much. My penchant for getting dogs worked up never seems to please said dogs' owners, and tonight was no exception. Even so, I think all present had a good time. It was one of those evenings that made me feel like an adult. Times like that used to freak me out. I guess I get a certain satisfaction from them now. Like I must be doing something right.
I gave Julie a ride home, and navigated a criss cross of streets all the way back to home, sweet home, at 11th and Washington, where everything's normal.
I met up with Kelly and Terra for a walk tonight. Even though I had previously agreed to meet them both at my front door, I had completely forgotten about it, and started walking to Kelly's place. When I had gotten about twenty steps from my front door, Terra drove by, right in front of me. Processes started firing off in my head.
So I called her, and she asked me what the hell I was doing, as she promptly reminded me of the plans I had made. I turned in my path, went back to my door, and waited for the ladies. Terra came around the block after parking, shortly, but we waited a short while for Kelly, so we each grabbed a beer and sat outside, waiting for her. Kelly ambled up a few minutes later, and we were underway. We went through the West Side, looking at the pretty Mexican homes, parks, murals, galleries, schools, and whatnot.
When we reached 20th St, I insisted that we not walk back up the hellish hill we had just descended, as the spots on my shirt had congealed into a pangaea of sweat, both of the front and the back. So, we walked over to Locust, and stepped into Grinders for a halfway drink and a bite to eat. From there, we came back north, and found that in all the construction hubbub, that KC's only Toynbee tile has been either removed or destroyed.
From there, we walked up Grand to the River Market, where in our stupid rock-kicking game, I almost broke the front window at River Market Brewing Company as we passed. Terra had to pee something fierce, so we called on Erp and Jay at their place on the west side of the River Market area. We hung out there for a bit, and everybody had a smoke. Not me of course. I think that crap is disgusting.
We discussed upcoming travel plans, kickball, and the general state of the world. It was actually very, very nice. After perhaps twenty minutes, we shuffled along, in the general direction of a point somewhere between Kelly's place and mine, in Quality Hill. On the way, we made sure to cross the highway on the old abandoned streetcar bridge that feeds into May St. On the way over, I windshielded a speeding Grand Am with a big sticky loogie. I was very proud.
When we reached 10th St, we made to part ways, and Kelly remembered that she'd left all her personal effects at my place, including her treasured ipod device. So we all walked up to my apartment, got some water, exchanged gross sweaty hugs, and retired in our various directions. I directed myself directly into the shower.
It was a lovely evening.
Today was one of those days when I actually worked. A lot. We were supposed to basically supervise the setup of a big room we'll be using in July for our gigantic headlining exercise, for the division, and the Singaporean Army. We got there, and found that the unit had only sent one guy, a young sergeant, who was under the impression that his duties were to bring us the materials, and we were supposed to set the room up. Rather than argue, and force a Congressional oversight meeting, we just set the damn room up. We unfolded about 65 tables, and assembled a similar number of recently painted wooden mapboard partitions, and placed them around the room. I'm not upset that we had to do manual labor. I got a lot of good exercise, and my hands are like meatloaf now, but if I had known that we were going to be working like that, I would have come to work in jeans and a t-shirt.
On Friday, we start stringing cable. That'll be a real gas.
Once again, we got our butts handed to us in kickball, last night. After the game, Maggie generously dropped me off at Grinders, where only Terra and Amanda had convened. Everyone else slipped off. After a couple drinks, and some delicious tots, we called it a night. Rather, Terra and Amanda called it a night. I asked to be dropped off at 12Baltimore, where Chris the friendly bartender was pouring some kind of Schlafly seasonal, and the SkillsUSA people were eager to converse and commiserate. I went home after that, thoroughly pooped.
I woke up hung over, this morning, and met up with Geoff for the BCTC day at the ballpark, where we watched the Royals, of all teams, complete a sweep, in a 15-7 win over the dead-last Pittsburgh Pirates. The sun was merciless. I have sunburn on all exposed segments of my body, including my damned scalp. After the game, we went to BB's Lawnside, way down south, where I ate what were perhaps the greatest pork ribs ever served, some heavenly potato salad, and some unfairly delicious baked beans that I couldn't finish.
We took the long way home, and came up Troost, all the way from 85th. It was a lovely day. I think I'm done, though.
Jeff and I took the long way to Grinders, last night, taking pictures as we went. We stepped into the H&R Block headquarters construction zone, along with the new Power and Light district area. It's all coming along very nicely. We could descry aisles of stairways in the new arena, and began to get a feel for how the neighborhood is going to be when all the crazy construction is finished.
We walked into Grinders about ten minutes late, after a leisurely mile and a half walk across the east Crossroads, and met Ryan and Jennifer at a picnic table out back. As the service is in a rebuild status there, we had to take it upon ourselves to get drinks, and Heather behind the bar was happy to help. Shortly afterward, Chris arrived. From there, we all took it in turns making fun of the terrible band playing at some fundraiser next door, and savored the moments that band chose to take a break. New wood chips had been lain under the picnic tables, and I was getting eaten alive by ravenous biting flies, principally via impressive bites through my socks.
Chris went home to continue studying for the upcoming bar exam, and we that remained started dropping names of old Nintendo games we used to play. The beer, interestingly, had stopped flowing at our table. Soon after we ran out of Megaman villains to compare, we said good night to Ryan and Jennifer, and headed back north, where we wound around the streets for a while, until we found the Red Front. There, we drank low-priced beers, and talked with locals and NV overflow patrons. We met Wes, a future downtown resident who was doing a dive-bar pubcrawl from west to east, and needed to find another place to go. I directed him to the Caddyshack in Columbus Park.
Jeff and I finished our drinks and walked over to 12Baltimore, where some awesome band was playing 70s funk music, and out-of-town patrons were dancing emphatically. I ate a club sandwich that had a glazed donut for a bun, and Jeff had some chips that cost one fifth of what my sandwich was. I need to be more savvy. We were home by 1am, and I was asleep soon after that.
Today, I have a pair of parties to make: a pool party at which I will exhibit my no-swimming policy, and a beer-tasting party right up the street from the pool party. It's shaping up to be a very nice Saturday. First, I need to get my annual haircut.
The kickball team got together at Mulkey Square Park, last night, and did some practicing. I think some fundamentals were definitely batted around, but we didn't have enough people. I suppose I should send out the invitation a little more than two days in advance, next time. We all took it in turns to kick, field, pitch, and in Liz, Maggie, and Kelly's case, smoke. After the rousing practice, of which we need more, Liz, Kelly, Jeff and I ran down to Minsky's on the City Market for some so-so pizza and terrible service.
I spent the remainder of my Sunday quietly typing various things at my computer, and watching my oft-neglected copy of Raising Arizona. I slept heavily, content with a pleasant weekend.
I was just downloading and arranging some music on my machine, and recalled how I used to acquire mp3 files, back in the infancy of my internet music fetish, in 1998. The method by which files were principally downloaded in those days, if you weren't lucky enough to find a good link to a file, sitting conveniently on a web page found with a popular search engine of the time, like hotbot, excite, altavista, mp3.box.sk, or mp3.lycos.com, you would have to do an ftp search.
I recall going to audiogalaxy.com, when it was an ftp index of mp3 ftp servers, primarily located on college campuses around the US, Canada, Australia, East Asia, and Western Europe. I would search for a particular song, and would be given a list of results- all ftp servers -and would have to plug a server IP address, username, and password into my preferred ftp client at the time, leechftp. Then, once you did that, it might have about a 50% chance of working. About half the time, it would be a wild goose chase of ftp welcome messages that tell you to go and vote for their site to get access.
But, the times that it worked, there was your file, sitting right there. But, before you could download it, you had to upload something to the server, to "credit" your session with allowed data to download. They called it "ratio" downloading. I personally thought it was a brilliant idea. Using this requirement, I was able to spread the music of bands that I especially liked, but that didn't enjoy a great degree of fame, especially in the Pacific Rim.
Then, in my experience, napster came along, and changed everything. I haven't logged into an ftp server for over six years, to download mp3 files. I don't even run an ftp client, an absolute essential for any geek in 1998, on my computer anymore. Now, the procurement of digital music have been simplified and awesomified with Soulseek and Allofmp3. How times have changed. I worry for the future, though.
Today, I did something I haven't done in so long that I don't when the last time was that I did it. I drove to a bar in Kansas City. I despise driving. I mean I really just hate it. I hate driving with an irrational dislike that is matched in ferocity only by my converse love of beer. Nevertheless, the fact that I was already very late, and the fact that it was frigging hot outside combined to form the decision that I needed to drive to La Bodega to meet a bevy of friends and well-wishers, down on Southwest Boulevard.
The tapas were delicious, and the Bully! Porter was very fresh. That might be assumed, considering that the brewery is about six blocks away, but alas, sometimes, lines are left to sit, awaiting patrons with the sophisticated taste that warrants an order of the bully.
Anyway, I have people coming over soon. Buzz off.
We played some more kickball, last night, and managed to score two runs! Unfortunately, the other team scored three. In one of the runs, I actually had to cross home plate twice, because of the indecisive umpire. I was disappointed in my sentence to run more, so I lowered my pants and displayed my bottom to the ump, on my way back to third. Maybe he was able to see that. Our defense is really starting to come together, though we still need more work, and more communication. Throwing and catching are some trouble areas.
After the game, a group of us went over to Grinders, where Matt bought drinks. We thanked him profusely, until he left. After that, I set about blinding everyone with my camera's flash. Here are some pictures.
I got home from work at the customary time, last night, and almost immediately, went to sleep. It went from a nap to a full-blown slumber. My phone rang(I think), at about 9:30pm, when I decided I need to wake up, if I was to have a functional next day. Once my status on IM went green, Jeff, sitting in the next room buzzed me, and suggested going to the Peanut in ten minutes. I accepted said proposal, and located my pants.
I made the fifteen-foot trek to Jeff's room, where he had, in the interim four minutes, changed his mind. "Let's go to Harry's instead. They have Bully Porter." Once again, I didn't make waves. On the way to the River Market, we walked past the building that Kelly had before told me was her office. I pointed at it from across the street, and said, "I think that first-floor office is where Kelly works." Jeff elaborated the moment. "Is that Kelly?"
We walked up to the window, and stood in front of it, in plain sight from her desk. She must have either been busy, or had trained herself not to notice the movements outside her floor-to-ceiling windows, because she took no notice of us, even after we'd stood there for about ten or fifteen seconds, staring creepily right at her. I remedied the situation by calling her, and we soon got a crash course in the month's-end processing of accounts receivable at her firm.
We left Kelly to finish her overtime, late-night work, and continued on to Harry's. As we walked in, I headed toward our normal table, which was open, and was flagged down by an enthusiastic Craig, who was having a relatively rough evening. We hung out and enjoyed the beers until they chased us out, but not before Rose the friendly bartender, off work that night, came and sat with us, and foolishly revealed personal information about herself to us.
Jeff and I walked home, and ate junkfood before shuffling off to our rooms. Amazingly, I woke up this morning with no trace of a hangover, feeling rested and comfortable. I am now almost finished with the last workday before taking five straight days off. Happy Fourth!
I just bought $43 worth of fireworks, on my way home from work.