– Brain Dump Volume 2 – Or – Vegetables Scare Me

Item #1 – Vegetables

Do they really scare me?  Well, no.  Maybe this one.  A few of them I actually enjoy.  But in the very near future, like, Monday, I better learn to enjoy them a whole lot more.  I have agreed to join my wife in doing something called the Whole30.  If you haven’t heard of it (and I hadn’t until about a week ago; oh how quickly our fortunes can change), it’s a torturous healthy eating plan where you eschew the delicious evil foods we all enjoy, like sugar, dairy, grains, and everyone’s favorite, legumes.  You do this for 30 days and by the end you supposedly feel amazing.  After the 30 days, you can gradually start adding those evil things back into your diet, in moderation of course.  I guess the idea is to detox, break bad eating habits, and shock your body out of it’s cravings for all that junk.

I’ll be the first to admit, my eating habits are pretty terrible.  I’m certainly not above washing down a few doughnuts with a Mountain Dew, usually at 2 AM.  So, I’m sure this will be a good thing for us and the kids, who will be doing a modified version.  Still, I’m terrified.  We have a few friends that will be doing it at the same time, so maybe there will be strength in numbers.  Still…terrifying.

So this week I’ve pretty much been on a mission to eat as much horrible-for-me food as is humanly possible.  Exhibit A: the two corn dogs I’m eating this very moment.  And I may or may not have eaten a bacon-cheese hot dog and fries for dinner a few scant hours earlier.  And I can neither confirm nor deny, that was preceded by an Oreo McFlurry.

Yeah, maybe this Whole30 thing isn’t such a bad idea.  I mean, I would like to be alive when my kids graduate.  From elementary school.

Fortunately, bacon and eggs are on the approved foods list.  This is basically how I plan on getting through the month:

I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.  If I don’t slip into a spinach induced coma.

Item #2 – The Wife Video

My wife recently turned…a different age.  For my own safety I won’t say what the different age is, but know that she does not look it.  When someone does manage to deduce the number of years she has graced the planet Earth with her presence, they are always surprised she isn’t younger.  In honor of her age turning, I produced this little video for her.  She’s embarassed I put it on YouTube and Facebook, but she’s amazing and I don’t care who knows it.

There was a time when I made videos like this on a regular basis.  Even had a little side business for a while.  I miss doing it and enjoyed putting this one together for her.  Maybe I’ll get back at it.

Item #3 – Milkshakes

I’m really going to miss drinking milkshakes.  Like, a lot.

Item #4 – 15 Minutes

I recently had my very own 15 Minutes of Fame.  I can’t really get into specifics about it here.  All I can say is that I never expected it to involve a goat.

Random song lyric of the day

Smile
Like you’ve got nothing to prove
No matter what you might do
There’s always someone out there cooler than you

I know that’s hard to believe
But there are people you meet
They’re into something that is too big to be
Expressed
Through their clothes
And they’ll put up with all the poses you throw
And you won’t
Even know

-Ben Folds – Cooler Than You

-Hey, Remember Blogs?- or -Brain Dump Volume 1-

brain

Lately I’ve had some things rolling around that empty space just below my bald spot I wanted to get out.  They aren’t really conversational things, not that their taboo, just not things that would naturally come up in a conversation.  At least not my conversations.  I think I’ve always been more comfortable writing things down than at actually talking.  At least when it comes to most things deeper than, say, level two small talk.  I’m much more comfortable carefully crafting my words with characters I can touch with my fingers than I am coming up with them in my head, then spitting them out and having them sound semi-coherent.*  That’s why I love texting.  I mean, yes, I am like a high school girl in some ways (hello, Snapchat!), but everyone should, and mostly has, embrace texting.  Texting is like having a real life, talking conversation, with the added bonus of seeing what you just said before actually saying it.  This not only prevents me from saying dumb things, but is a big help in making me sound more smarter.  Because, as it turns out, sometimes we say things we really shouldn’t!  What a world.  Texting hasn’t always saved me from shoving my size tens–ok, size nines–into my virtual mouth, and it’s not a one size-fits-all solution to every conversational need.  But still…don’t throw shade on texting.  (Oh, and I am somewhat capable of carrying on a normal, verbal, face-to-face, conversation.  Usually.)

*Sort of iroinc given my current occupation basically requires me to talk AT LEAST semi-coherently for 10 hours a day.

I guess that sorta turned into Item #1.  Moving on!

Item #2 – Work Friends

I have been fortunate in my working career to have worked with some of my very best friends.  In my earliest job, I worked with my still-to-this-day best friend for many years.  After the first few years of that job, one of our other very good friends came on staff.  The three of us had some great times.  The two of them even threatened me into asking this cute new teacher out on a date (It worked out, we’re married now).  We didn’t make a lot of money (we were custodial services technical engineers–janitors), but you can’t put a price on that stuff.  Eventually, one of us left for greener pastures…but the other two followed to the same pasture less than a year later.  Together again!  We had more good times.  Ping-pong, wiffle ball, darts, blasting really bad music on the manufacturing floor.  We also occasionally did some work.  Good times, good times.

That went on a few years, then one of us left again.  Then I left a little while later.  Now we’re all in very different career fields, and the chance of us ever working together again is slim to none.  But we had a solid six or seven year run.  I realize that’s pretty unusual.  Not only that we got to work together for so long, but that we actually remained friends.  Did I mention we were all roommates for a while too?  People were amazed we hadn’t killed each other with all the time we spent together.  But it worked for some reason.

I guess I’m a pretty likable guy and so at my few subsequent jobs I always was able get along with pretty much everyone.  There was always one or two I could go a little deeper with, share a few inside jokes with, felt I could trust.  But even then, they were pretty much workplace relationships.  With the exception of one birthday party, I can’t remember doing anything social with anyone from those jobs.  It’s not that I wouldn’t have, and it wasn’t by design.  Had I stayed in those places longer maybe it would have been different, it just never happened for whatever reason.  They were good people, we had some good times at the office, and we keep in touch on Facebook and such, but that’s as far as it went.  Maybe it was because I already had built-in close friends at those other jobs, so I never really had to branch out before and didn’t know how.  Who knows?

It’s been a little different at my current job.  I’ve been there for about two and half years, and though it’s impossible to say yet that I’ve made lifelong friends there, something feels different.  Maybe it’s the nature of the work.  It’s a pretty small organization and you really have to trust and depend on the people you work with.  You spend a lot of time together, often in close quarters, and deal with a lot of stressful situations.  Now, this could be a recipe for disaster, and in a lot of other, similar outfits it certainly turns out that way sometimes.  But where I work, it works.  Of course, there are some I would prefer to work with more than others.  Some a lot more.  Though I’m partial to my team, I’m fortunate that there are very few at work as a whole I would have a problem working with.  That’s pretty rare, I think.  The crew I work with regularly is tough to beat.  My squad, we work well together and we LIKE each other.  We hang out off the clock, we text and, yes, Snapchat each other on our off days.  We go to each other’s birthday parties, give ourselves nicknames, tease the crap out of each other, and generally act like total goofballs.  I think part of it is the camaraderie of the job, but mostly I think we just enjoy each others company.  And we trust each other.  I know they’ve got my back, and they know I’ve got their’s.  That’s a big deal in our line of work.  It’s weird, because there’s a pretty big age spread between us, so it’s hard to imagine another scenario where this would have happened, but fortunately it did.  Like any tight knit group, we have our bad days where we would just as soon smack one or more of the others across the teeth as look at them, but they’re pretty few and far between.  It’s a good group.  I’m sure at some point in the future, maybe the near future, one or more of us will move on to something else (Heck, now that I think about it, it actually already happened once).  But this time around it’ll be “see you on the weekend” and not just, “see you on Facebook.”

I guess all of this is just to express how grateful I am to have been able to work with very good friends, and then make some new very good friends when we parted ways.  I know it doesn’t work that way for everyone. #blessed (<—that’s kind of a joke, by the way)

Item #3 – Item #2 Went Too Long

Item #4 –  Blogging Can Be Fun!

Well, I think that’s about all I’ve got in me today.  This was fun.  Who knows, maybe I’ll do it again soon.

Worst Christmas Songs Ever – Wonderful Christmas Time – Paul McCartney

This one is really sad.  Paul McCartney.  Member of the British Empire (MBE) medal recipient Paul McCartney.  Sir Paul McCartney.  Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney!  What was he thinking with this infectious tune?  And not infectious in a good way as some songs are.  Infectious like an infection.  Like an oozing boil, festering in your ear canal kind of infectious.

It’s basically the same two notes over and over and over and over and over and over and over…you get it.  You’ve heard it, unfortunately.  This is the same person that wrote Hey Jude, Helter Skelter, and Let It Be?  If this was someone’s first exposure to Sir Paul, they’d skip The Beatles, like they’d skip Nickleback after hearing Chad Kroeger.  And that would be a tragedy.  Skipping The Beatles, not Nickleback.

Besides the irritating, yet somehow unforgettable melody, there are the lyrics.  Behold:

The choir of children sing their song
Ding dong, ding dong
Ding dong, ding ooo
Ooo ooo toot toot toot toot toot toot
And:

The word is out
About the town
To lift a glass
Ah don’t look down

What??

So, two notes plus lazy, terrible lyrics equals radio Christmas airplay forever.  Must be good to be a Beatle.  If you don’t mind causing your former bandmates to roll over in their graves every yuletide.

In case you’ve forgotten how truly annoying this piece of garbage is, here you go:

The Worst Christmas Songs Ever – Last Christmas by Wham!

bad-christmas-musicThis month my friend/uncle Jeff has been counting down the top 25 Christmas songs on his blog, You Know What I Mean?  For a man his age, his selections have been pretty, to use a phrase from his era, “boss.”  No real disagreements from me, and I consider myself something of a Christmas music connoisseur.  From the sublime to the classic to the absurd, if it’s yuletide I’m on board.

Between his countdown and the ubiquitous sounds of the season on every car stereo, department store PA system, and television screen, I have become inspired to dust off the ol’ blog and do a countdown of my own.

However, while he is counting down the 25 best Christmas songs, I will be offering my opinion irrefutable evidence as to the worst Christmas songs. These will all be pretty well known atrocities that make us all want to jerk the car into the nearest bottomless ravine when they come on the radio.  Fortunately, I doubt I can come up with 25.

Let us begin.

While this countdown will be in no particular order (which makes it more of just a list, I guess), this first abomination should be at or near the top of any worst list.  Better yet, all copies should be at the bottom of Mariana Trench where the only ones to be audibly assaulted are invertebrates and really ugly looking fish.  Nobody likes them anyway.

The song, Last Christmas by Wham!, is without a doubt one of the worst recordings in human history, Christmas or otherwise.  I dig 80’s pop as much as anybody, but this 4 minutes and 38 seconds of putrid dog vomit takes all of 80’s music’s worst qualities, most notably George Michael, into a holiday horror show.  Whiny, dull, and waaaaay too long, if it wasn’t for every easy listening radio stations obsession with playing it every 15 minutes it would not seem like a Christmas song at all.

The thing is, the song itself isn’t actually bad.  I’ve heard a number of covers over the years that are solid.  The Jimmy Eat World version is especially top notch.  Their version has an upbeat, sort of dreamy modern nostalgia feel to it.  Like it should be played over a video montage of your Christmas morning.  The original Wham! version has the feel of sadly drinking a bottle of gin alone on your way to jumping off a bridge on Christmas Eve.  Happy holidays!

You’ve all heard it way too many times, but here it is again if you’ve somehow forgotten how truly terrible it is.  Enjoy?

 

 

Eulogy For Jackson

2002
2002

To those that know him, you know the word “rascal” is the most apt descriptor.  He is known for barking at the neighbors for having the audacity to use their backyard, eating entire blankets, escaping into the woods behind our house, or stealing countless food items left unattended and sitting too close to the edge of the counter.  He even stole our Christmas treats:  the wedge of brie (2005); the three giant fudge brownies (2013).  He rarely came when called, sat only when there was a tasty reward to be had (and even then, only long enough to get paid), and never learned to behave at the vet.  He was basically useless as a fetch partner, refusing to de-mouth the ball, and he once peed on the Christmas tree in protest for the in-laws having the gall to bring their dog for a visit.

But for all his shortcomings (most of which can be traced back to his masters), Jackson was the best kind of rascal.  Yeah, he’d steal your sandwich right off your plate without batting his big brown eyes.  But after inhaling it, he’d nuzzle up to you with his tail all a’wag and melt you with those same, guilt-free eyes.  Always playful, rarely grumpy, it was almost like he was winking at you as he walked past with that dirty sock in his mouth.  “Chase me,” he would say.

The first six years in our house, he was Number One, getting lots of attention from Jen and me.  When Lily arrived, he was demoted, but never jealous.  When Henry came along three years later, I’m sure he felt his stature slip a little bit more.  He didn’t get to come along on as many trips, he was banished to the outdoors more than he probably would have liked, and he lost being-on-the-furniture privileges.  Still, he took it in stride, rarely acting out, and treating the kids like the older brother he was.

When I first noticed the hint of the lump about two years ago, I knew it was likely the beginning of the end.  Not having the financial means to pay for a surgical procedure, we just had to watch as it grew larger and larger.  Golf ball, baseball, softball, volleyball, and now, nearly basketball sized.  Despite the growth, Jackson was barely phased at all.  It wasn’t until very recently we noticed it effecting his mobility.  He gets around nearly as spry as ever, just with a slight hitch in his step.  He wasn’t in any pain and it did nothing to curb his napkin/paper towel/wipe thieving ways.  He was still Jackson.

About three weeks ago, the sores started to appear.  I’ll skip the grosser details, but a trip to the vet about two weeks ago confirmed what we already suspected:  the decline had begun, and it would be rapid.  We could probably put the inevitable off a little while longer–a month more, maybe–but it’s clear things are getting more difficult for him.  He pants almost all the time, the sores are getting worse, and it can’t be comfortable to walk around with a basketball sized growth hanging from your side.  The time has come.

Tomorrow will be a pretty terrible day.  There’s already been quite a few tears, and I don’t think it’s really sunk in for the kids yet.  I never look forward to taking Jackson to the vet, and this is one trip I especially would prefer to skip.

It’s easy to get attached to almost anything that’s been a part of your life for 12 years.  But when it’s a living, breathing companion, it’s all the worse.  Jackson has been with Jen and me for all but two years of your marriage.  He’s the first dog I’ve ever had.  He’s far from perfect, but he was my puppy and gave me a lifetime of stories and memories.

For the last three and a half years, I’ve worked jobs with weird hours, getting home sometimes at three or seven in the morning.  Whenever I walked through the front door, Jackson would be walking down the hall from the bedroom to greet me.  As much as I won’t miss the hair on the sofa and pooper-scooper duty, I will miss that every day.

Good bye, old friend.

2014
2014

Review: everPresent: How the Gospel Relocates Us in the Present by Jeremy Writebol

Back in my less contented days as a Junior College student, my uncle used to tell me to “bloom where you’re planted.”  Sort of a cheesy phrase, but true none the less.  As a not quite (or barely) 20-something, I was in a rut and wanted a change.  But rather than making the most of where I was, even while not wanting to be there, I moped and complained.  To usurp another gardening metaphor, that grass on the other side sure looked emeraldesque.  Fortunately, through no real workings of my own, but through divine pruning and care, I did eventually bloom.  Or I at least sprouted (I think of myself more like a vegetable than a flower).

I can’t help but think that if I’d read Jeremy Writebol’s debut book everPresent: How the Gospel Relocates Us in the Present, that sprouting process may have been sped up a bit.  It’s not everyday a good friend of your’s publishes a book; probably rarer still that it is actually worth reading.  But Jeremy’s book is a good and easy read on how the Gospel of Christ relocates the Christian where he or she needs to be, without having to move them at all.

It’s a fleshing out of that “bloom where you’re planted” philosophy.  It spells out what makes that possible; through focusing on the Gospel, not only how it relates to our spiritual location, but our physical one as well.  The Gospel is more than just about our spiritual salvation.  Clearly, that is a fundamental element of it, but there is more.

God is omnipresent, and Christians, as His ambassadors, are nearly so.  Wherever Christians are, they are to be the light to this world.  That includes in our neighborhoods, workplaces, and schools.  That is being ever present.  By doing so, we can “relocate” ourselves and those around us, as human beings, into the place where we were supposed to be all along; with God.  We were dislocated from that position after the Fall, but the Gospel puts us back where we belong; in the presence of the Father.

For the discontented 20-something to the satisfied 60-something, and beyond, being “ever present” wherever we are is not only a reassurance, but a duty.  Christians are called to go into all the world and make disciples.  This includes going to work, school, and next door.  It sounds intimidating, but it really doesn’t have to be.  As Jeremy says in the book, “The method is: be present, as a Christian, with lost people.”  We do that everyday.

I’d encourage anyone to read Jeremy’s book (and not just because I happen to be in it, briefly).  It’s a great wake up call, and a fresh look at what should be a well known truth.

Here is where you can get it:

ebook – http://store.gospelcentereddiscipleship.com/products/everpresent-how-the-gospel-relocates-us-in-the-present

paperback – http://www.amazon.com/everPresent-How-Gospel-Relocates-Present/dp/0615989020/

Memories of The ‘Stick

With the last 49er game to be played at Candlestick Park tonight, I have been inspired to recall my favorite memories of the cavernous, cold, windy, broken down old girl.

Though I grew up in the Bay Area, I was never a 49er fan, much to my family and friend’s chagrin.  I always cheered for the Giants, but they were a distant second to my first love, all geographical permutations of the Angels.  Still, being that my favorite teams were no where close by, and virtually all my friend and family were Giants and Niner fans, I spent a fair amount of time taking in games at Candlestick Park.  A lot of good memories.  Here’s the Top 7, in no particular order.

1.  Since my dad and I were mostly fans of American League teams, Twins and Angels respectively, I had been to several Oakland A’s games as a kid.  Besides our team allegiances, back in those days, pre-Mt. Davis, the Oakland Colesium was actually pretty nice place to watch a ballgame and was much more convenient to get to than Candlestick.  So, I was already a veteran ballgame attender when my uncle Jeff took me to my first Giants game.  They played the Cincinatti Reds.  Thanks to Baseball-reference.com, I was able to pinpoint the exact date, September 19, 1987.  We had probably the best seats I’ve ever had, five rows directly behind home plate.  At not quite 10 years old, I was too young to really appreciate them.  So that’s not the memorable part.  In the bottom of the sixth inning, I had to go.  My uncle asked if I could hold it.  I said no.  With the Giants still batting we got up to go to the big trough.  As we were about to enter the restroom, the crowd let loose the kind of roar that can only be inspired by a home run.  Specifically, a two-run home run by lightweight shortstop Jose Uribe.  Anytime you miss a home run at a baseball game its a bummer, but when you miss a rarefied feat like a Jose Uribe home run, who hit only 19 in his 10 year big league career, it’s almost a tragedy.  To this day I remember the look my uncle gave me when we heard that crowd erupt.  It’s about the dirtiest look you could give a 10 year old and not have them burst into tears.  He got over it I guess, agreeing to be my best man at my wedding 15 years later.  The funny thing is, according to baseball reference, Will Clark also hit a home run in that game and neither my uncle or I have any memory of it.

2.  I’ve only been to two 49er games.  The first was in November 1998.  It was a Monday night game against the New York Giants.  It was raining.  True Niner fans can probably remember what was significant about that game.  Defensive tackle Bryant Young, an emerging star, broke his leg.  My buddy Jon the Green Beret had procured the tickets from a co-worker.  The seats weren’t great, field level end-zone a few rows under the overhang, but given the precipitation that night they were more than acceptable.  Young’s injury is the only thing I remember about the actual game.  The adventure was getting there.

Jon and I left early enough to stop in San Francisco for dinner.  Jon parked his baby blue VW bug in a surprisingly convenient parking spot near the restaurant and we went inside.  We should’ve known our fortuitous parking was too good to be true.  When we returned to the car, it was gone.  We hand’t noticed the “Loading Zone Only” sign.  There was a phone number for the tow yard on the sign, but these were the days when only high-powered executives and drug dealers carried cell phones.  We hiked around in the rain looking for a pay phone, when we came upon a tow truck and its driver ruining someone else’s day.  The driver directed us to the tow yard and we trekked the 15 blocks.  Being the only one of us with a credit card, I paid the $150 fee and they released Jon’s bug from car jail.  Amazingly, we got to Candlestick in record time and were just sitting down in our seats the same instant as kick off.

3.  Earlier that same year, 1998, Jon, myself, and Jeff his wife Jody all purchased a small season ticket package for the Giants.  It was called the Six Pack.  You got six games, plus a seventh game against the Dodgers for free.  The seats were in right field, in what they called the Family Pavilion.  Theoretically, a family friendly area of what could occasionally be a pretty unruly stadium.  This is where we, along with my buddy Josh the Rev, were sitting for one of the most entertaining and memorable baseball games I’ve ever attended, for both on and off the field reasons.

First the on field stuff.  Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, JT Snow, Russ Davis, and Glenallen Hill all homered.  Rodriguez injured Jeff Kent’s knee sliding into second base.  Fans in left field were mercilessly taunting Hill, possibly the worst left fielder in the history of the sport.  He misplayed two fly balls my five year old daughter could’ve handled.  A fan jumped out of the center field bleachers and ran around the outfield.  He circled Griffey a couple times, slid into second base, then laid down on the outfield grass.  Security initially sent out their apparently oldest and slowest security guard, to nab the fit 20-something.  It was like watching your grandfather trying to catch Barry Sanders.  Finally they sent reinforcements and they were able to take the kid down. The Giants ended up with a 7-6 win, despite all the long balls surrendered.

Now the off field stuff.  It pretty much all started with Griffey’s home run.  He hit it over the center field bleachers, into this sort of no-man’s-land between the bleachers and the right center field stands where we were sitting.  This no-man’s-land was off limits to fans, filled with scaffolds and beams supporting the bleachers.  A few kids ran down from the stands into the area to try to grab Griffehy’s home run ball.  I’d be lying if the thought hand’t crossed my mind too.  A rather girthy security guard waddle-ran into the area to shag the kids out of there and tripped.  He went down like a giant sequoia.  Without bracing himself at all, he landed throat first on a scaffold pipe.  As other security guards and medics gathered to help him, two idiot fans at the top row of the bleachers kept pointing down at him and laughing.  The guard, now on his back, even in his injured state, pointed right back at them and yelled a few choice words of his own.  After a few minutes, two SFPD officers grabbed the two idiots and started to lead them down the back stairs of the bleachers.  One of the idiots tried to pull away from one of the cops and ended up getting a face full of bleacher and a new set of steel bracelets.  As we were sitting behind the bleachers on the other side of no-man’s-land we literally had a front row seat to all of this.

An inning or two later, we saw a whole squadron, maybe eight to ten, SFPD officers on dirt bikes ride up behind the bleachers.  They saw on their bikes for a few minutes, then dismounted and all walked up into the bleachers.  They stood in the back row, just watching the game.  Then they left.  It was very odd.

A little bit after that there was some sort of commotion near the right field foul pole in our section.  About 50 cops emerged out of nowhere, all swarming to that location.  We found out later a drunken fan being lead away by police had tried to grab the cops gun.  Bad idea.

And all of his took place in or near the Family Pavilion.

4.  At one of the games during that 1998 season we witnessed history.  The Giants were facing the Arizona Diamondbacks.  Arizona had a 8-5 lead going into the bottom of the ninth.  The Giants cut the lead to two and had the bases loaded with two outs.  Barry Bonds, who didn’t start that night, came up to pinch hit.  Now, keep in mind, this is 1998 Barry Bonds, as in pre-BALCO, expanding cranium, inhuman muscle bound freak Barry Bonds.  Even before his embrace of the Cream and the Clear, Bonds was likely the best in the game at the time, and already a sure fire Hall of Famer.  But, he hadn’t yet sold his soul to chemistry so his days of being routinely intentionally walked regardless of the situation were still to come.  Which is what makes Arizona manager Buck Showalter’s strategy all the more amazing.  Up by two runs, with two outs and the bases loaded, Showalter intentionally walked Bonds, sending a run to the plate and putting the tying run only 90 feet away.  I had never even heard of anything like that, much less witnessed it in person.  At the time, there was only one other known instance of that happening (it has since occured once more; Josh Hamilton was IBB’d with the bases loaded in 2008).

Ah, but did it work?  Well, since the next batter was Brent Mayne, yes it did.  Despite our best efforts to distract the right fielder, he made the play on Mayne’s low line drive to end the game.

5.  The second 49er game I went to, I have virtually no memory of.  All I remember is where our seats were (end zone, upper deck), who the opponent was (KC Chiefs), and who I went with (my wife).  The only reason this one is memorable is because my wife’s cousin, who was living in Colorado at the time, saw us on TV.

6.  Candlestick was well known for its inhospitable weather.  Cold, foggy, windy nights were the norm during baseball season.  Though, on the rarest of occasions, Candlestick could be quite pleasant for a night game.  I remember one particular night, it was a game against the Dodgers.  I was about 11 or 12.  We brought sweatshirts and blankets, preparing ourselves for along cold evening.  Not only was it a balmy 70ish degrees for the entire nine innings, but the Giants and Dodger fans were very cordial to each other.  Friendly ribbings back and forth, pats on the back, smiles.  It was a….weird night.  Pleasant, but weird.

7.  Jon the Green Beret, my buddy Mike, and I decided at the last minute to take in a double-header.  The Giants were playing the Pirates.  It was 1997.  We got to Candlestick after the first game had already started.  We brought a 12-pack of Mountain Dew with us, only to be told we weren’t allowed to bring it inside.  Being poor college students who couldn’t afford to waste perfectly good soda, we started chugging them right there at the gate.  We gave a couple away to a man and his young son, but we each drank at least three in a three minute span.  I don’t know who we didn’t die.  The Giants won the first game in 13 innings, 6-5.  I don’t remember how.

The nightcap was a pretty dull contest.  Until the ninth.  The Pirates exploded for six runs, hitting two home runs in the process.  The Giants were down 10-1 coming into the bottom of the ninth.  The stadium had just about cleared out and the sea gulls were arriving en masse.  We were in the uppermost of the upper decks.  A combination of desperation, being pretty much the only ones left in the upper deck, baseball superstition, too much Mountain Dew and other baseball stadium junk food had us doing some pretty strange things to try to spark a rally.  After JT Snow hit a two-run homer while I happened to be mimicking George Washington crossing the Delaware, my foot resting on the seat in front of me (no, really), we went berserk.  Three batters later when Rich Aurilia hit a three-run homer after we all did some ridiculous dance, we just about lost it.  When the next batter, Rick Wilkins, went deep after we did both the George Washington and the dance, we thought we’d found the formula for momentous comeback.  Sadly, it was not to be.  The Giants lost 7-10.  But it was just about the best ninth inning I’ve ever witnessed:  12 runs scored and five home runs hit between the two teams.