Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Monday, May 26, 2014


Every now and then I feel this mad urge to start another blog--call it the Secret Blog, maybe--and blog about all the stuff I don't blog about because people who actually know me read this blog.  You know, things people do that aggravate me, my latest struggle with something or other that we can't talk about on this blog because--yeah, and things that just happened where if I post them, everybody will know it's me because they were all there when it happened (or, worse, they were all there when it happened and Hey Jen, it didn't happen like that, it happened like this.)  Trouble is, if I started a secret blog I wouldn't be able to tell anyone where it is because--all together now--then it wouldn't be a secret.  And if it was a secret, nobody would read it unless I also had a secret Twitter account that I could Twitter from and tell people where it is, and that's getting pretty far into the realm of too many things to remember.  I know some people invent whole new identities on the Internet and call themselves clever names like Elvis Hitler that no one will ever guess are fake, but I'm not among them because I'd forget if my password was like EHitler88 or 88EHitler or some combination of the two and then my blog would never get updated.  It's hard enough to keep updating this one on something remotely resembling a regular schedule.

So for the record, here's something that irritates me that is innocuous to include on this blog.  People and elevators.  I may have mentioned this before, but why does every person who ever steps into any elevator just automatically assume that A. they know where that elevator is going and B. that elevator is going the direction they want to go?  This is particularly annoying at the Tom Landry center where I swim (Tom Landry also has a freeway named after him, in case a sports center isn't enough).  The elevator chimes once for up and twice for down, just like most other elevators on the planet.  What's more, there's a big ol' light outside the door that points up or down, and if that's not enough, a pleasant female voice comes on when you enter the elevator and says something cheerfully informational like, "First floor.  Going down."  So that's three (count them) 3 different clues which direction you're going before your elevator doors even close and still!  STILL people get on the elevator and look at you in astonishment when the elevator starts going down (or up) and say, "Oh, I thought it was going up (or down)."  Fer cryin' out loud, you normal human beings can pay attention to things like that without a half hour a day on the meditation cushion and certain pharmaceuticals, unlike Space Cadet Yours Truly who might have a bad day and end up on an airplane going the wrong direction and say "Oh, I thought we were going to Shanghai."  Why don't you do it? Really, is it that big a deal?  Please think about it.  Thank you. Pant. Pant. (wiping foam off face)

So it's Memorial Day weekend.  Every year we try to get out to see a couple of baseball games.  For the most part we don't go to Rangers games, though--too far and too expensive and the seats we can afford are worse than airplane seats (no, really).  We go to see the Frisco Roughriders
Alec Asher of the Frisco Roughriders
instead, the minor league team that the Rangers stripmine when they need a new player at basically no notice.  Minor league baseball is a whole nother thing entirely from the major leagues.  For one thing, you never know what's going to happen.  Sure, baseball is baseball and there are bound to be surprises, but minor league play has a lot more of them.  Minor league players are still learning, you see, and they'll do things like accidentally run into each other or both make a grab at the same ball or--well, stuff you don't often see in major league games.  Which sometimes turns the whole tide of the game in a direction you never expected.

(I'm guilty of my not-exactly-major-league sports fandom for a long while now.  When we lived in San Diego, we often went to see the San Diego Gulls for the same reason.  Minor league hockey is exactly like minor league baseball, except it's played on skates and you don't get called out for a bad swing.  Oh, and the zamboni is often the best player of the night.  You can always count on the zamboni.)

So yesterday we packed up and headed out to a Roughriders game.  The Roughriders play at Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco, which is right across the street from IKEA.  In fact, if you leave early, you can stop at IKEA, buy a Stockholm sofa, put it together in the parking lot and watch the game in relative comfort from section 107.  Okay, I exaggerate a little, but the seats really are pretty nice compared to Rangers Stadium.  It's a low-rise stadium, which means you feel like you're practically on the field, and it's very family-oriented (you can be thrown out for excessive swearing, among other things).  There's between-inning entertainment, which gets silly because the mascots are these giant orange fuzzy things I've never figured out.  think Joan said they were prairie dogs, but if they are, they're mutant prairie dogs from the nuclear testing of the 1950s. I'm serious.
Have you ever seen a prairie dog that looks even remotely like this one?  No, the guy in the middle.  Honestly, don't make me smack you.

Things started going wrong at 2:05 P.M. with the first pitch.  I had completely forgotten that for a day game start time, there's no such thing as a "shady side of the park."  Usually the third-base side eclipses the sun early in the game, and if you're on that side, you don't have to worry about getting hot or how much sunscreen you put on.  Not so this particular day, in which we're out there at peak sun time and the sun shows no sign of going to hide behind the third base wall any time soon.  I started to get concerned about sunburn, coming as I do from a family of anti-sun fanatics, and finally I got up to walk all the way back to the stupid car to get the stupid sunscreen that I'd stupidly left there.  Which, for the record, was stupid.  I got out of the ballpark and into the parking lot and quickly became aware that sunburn was going to be the least of my problems.  Barrelling toward us from somewhere near Irving was a thunderhead the size of--well, it was big, anyway.

So I went back to the stands (with the sunscreen) to tell Joan that the rain cloud was on the way.  She said she didn't care; if it rained we'd be cooler.  She had a point there.  But when the rain cloud showed up ten minutes later, it let loose with apocalyptic sheets of rain, thunder and lightning that sent all the players scrambling for cover.  Well hey, it is Texas, you know.
Yep. Can't hardly see across the field.

As for us fans, we huddled in the back of the ballpark under awnings, concession stand panels and anything else that might make us less wet.  Too late to be dry.  I mean we were pretty soaked.  The field staff, good kids all, ran through the crowd wearing swim fins and snorkels, but for the most part the crowd started to evaporate after about 45 minutes.  Even Joan and I limped back to the car (Joan's having all kinds of trouble with her knee) and drove home, wringing out hair and clothing and we just happened to have a towel in the car, thanks to yours truly and her swimming habit.  Never know when you're going to need a towel.

And the Roughriders?  Well, two hours and thirty minutes later they came back and won the game, 3-2.  Still, I'm not sorry we left.  2 1/2 hours is a long time to sit around in wet clothes, even for baseball.  To say nothing of being menaced by mutant prairie dogs.

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