October 29, 2005

       Where, oh where has the last couple of months gone? Down the daily work drain, I suppose. The day job has been very hectic as of late and, though, I'm in a patch of normalcy at the moment, it will pick up again very soon and before I know it, the ides of December will be staring me square in the eyes. Things should unfold in a more typical fashion than they did at this time last year -- I hope.
        I've only seen a couple of "new" movies since the last time I posted, but since baseball season is over now, I should be able to make a few more visits before 2005 is over. I'm looking forward to the next Harry Potter movie, Zathura, the live-action/CGI Narnia movie, and several others.
        On the baseball side, let's see...Angels over the Yankees, Chicago over Boston, Houston beat Atlanta and the Cards swept the Padres. Then the White Sox took care of LA/Anaheim and the Astros surprised St. Louis. Finally, the White Sox on their first World Series since 1917. Well, it's a good thing I'm not a compulsive gambler. Congrats, Chi-Town. I wasn't sure who to root for, though. Both teams had ex-Mariners (Chicago had four -- Garcia, Podsednik, Marte and Widger -- with Cora coaching third) and both teams had long title droughts (Houston had never been since their existence in 1962) and it's interesting when a World Series doesn't involve a team from either coast (first time since 1987, I believe). The White Sox won all four games (another stunner) and now I'm hoping that Bud Selig, for once in his commissioner career, does the honorable thing and paves the way for Shoeless Joe Jackson to be voted into the Hall of Fame. Joe has been dead for a while now and that means the lifetime ban should be over.

September 4, 2005

        One of these days, I'll have the time to write here more often than once a month, but probably not until the primary elections are over.
        The Mariners are still treading water (no pun intended) in the AL West. I still like what I see from the new guys, but there are a couple of holes to fill before next season if there's going to be any contention in the near future. Felix Hernandez is a super-stud on the mound. I just hope he can handle the pressure. So far, so good. The Mariners need some power in their outfield. Something like 50 players have more homers by themselves than the M's outfield has combined. Maybe with a #2 or #3 starter and a bopper in left field, the hometown 25 can realize some October baseball in 2006.
        The Shea Stadium page is up now with some pictures. Montreal's Olympic Stadium is next, but I may have to wait until my French/English dictionary arrives in the mail before I can get that one done.
        Not a whole lot going on with my movie-watching. Labor Day weekend is here and in Hollywood that means the end of the summer blockbusters. I saw quite a few of them this time around and almost all of them were very well done.
        I try to stay away from political commentary on this site -- and leave my rants and vents for the occasional appearance on a friend's website -- but I can't let what happened in New Orleans last week alone without expressing my frustration (even from this distance).
        What do 9/11, the Iraq "war" and the New Orleans disaster have in common? Experts warned the Bush administration about all three of them and because of the White House's inaction and bad decisions, all three turned out to be much worse than they ever needed to be. It's a fact that an August 2001 briefing warned the White House about hijackers learning to fly passenger jets. It's a fact that war-tested U.S. generals warned Bush (should I start calling him President Icarus from now on?) that an invasion of Iraq would do nothing to help the security of the U.S. or the world. It's not "liberation" if we're building 14 bases there (another fact). It's not "democracy" if the Sunnis and the women don't have a voice (yet another fact). It's also a fact that the Bush administration -- and the Republican-laced Congress -- voted to cut funding for levee rebuilding in Louisiana and put FEMA under the umbrella of Homeland Security.
        Can we really go another three years without something else going wrong? What are the odds nothing like this won't happen again between now and November 2008?
        Bush should do the civilized world a favor and resign before things get worse.

August 7, 2005

        Well, it appears that if I wait long enough between posts, I actually have some things to write about.
        On the job front, for the first time since I voluntarily left Wizards of the Coast in February of 2001, I am once again a permanent employee. I was hired by King County a couple of weeks ago to work in their Voter Services department. I'm looking forward to the challenge of getting through an election cycle without hearing things like "fraud", "missing absentee ballots" or "late military-ballot mailing". If I didn't believe it could be done, I wouldn't try to help get it done.
        Speaking of rebuilding projects, the Mariners just finished a 2-4 road trip and are now a season-low 16 games under .500. The playoff drought continues. I do believe positive steps are being taken, however. I like a lot of the new guys on the team and I believe they have what it takes to get this thing turned around before too long. Players like Mike Morse, Willie Bloomquist, Chris Snelling, Felix Hernandez, Yuniesky Betancourt, and Yorvit Torrealba will hopefully do for the hometown team what the youngsters on the 1994-1995 Indians did for their fans. And with the money the M's will be saving by unloading Boone, trading Winn and tweaking their bullpen, they should have enough money to go after a power pitcher to intimidate the opposing hitters -- at least until Felix is old enough to drink.
        It's been a good summer movie-wise for me as I have been able to stay away from the crap that usually smells even worse when exposed to the hot summer sun. Sure, it's been a while since I've seen a good independent movie, but the blockbusters on my watched list have kept me entertained.
        Lastly, my softball team finished its fifth game yesterday and even though I haven't hit a double since 1998, I'm still batting .600 and leading the team in on-base percentage.
        The next stadium to add to my site will be Shea Stadium, but I'm not sure yet how to set that one up.

July 4, 2005

        Happy 229th birthday, USA! Maybe someday, this nation will actually fulfill its lofty aspirations and democratic obligations...
        Another busy month has passed, but I really should spend some time getting more baseball-park pages up on the site. My goal should be to get caught up (all 37 major-league parks and the pages for Cooperstown and Louisville Slugger museums) by the end of the season, but I don't want to rush through this, either. Even when the pages are up, I'll still have to go back and add the motel info and drop some logos in there somewhere.
        I'm happy to be back at the county job and I'm still in the running for one of two permanent positions. I'd like to be there when this whole county election thing gets turned around. Getting one of those positions (or a long-term temp one) will force me to cut back my shifts at Safeco Field, but I'm getting the impression from my county bosses that I should be able to balance both gigs sufficiently.
        One thing that both places have in common is an uphill battle restoring confidence in the administration.
        The Mariners might have made some progress to that end by designating Bret Boone for assignment. Within the next 10 days, the second go-round for Boone in Mariner navy-and-teal will come to an end. In a lot of ways, I'll miss him. He was always great defensively and his HR numbers at second-base are historically significant. Also, his preseason TV commercials were usually among the best of the bunch. That being said, for whatever reason -- mental, physical, or team-performance-related -- the Mariners are in no condition to keep a 36-year-old second baseman on the roster batting .231 and making $9.2 million. Only the Yankees can get away with that and, appropriately, there's a fairly good chance he'll end up in pinstripes.
        Last Saturday, I started playing weekend softball. Most of the team returned from last season and we won our first game 22-14.
        Lastly, I finally got the movie-review page updated so now anyone that happens to stumble upon this site isn't reading reviews for a movie that's already come out on DVD -- unless I saw it in that forma