Saturday, May 31, 2014

Today's Topics: Work, The Harley Babe and Kaner

Dang -- it's been two weeks since I've posted. It's not like I've been sitting around on my butt the whole time. Much of my time has been spent with the move of my department to a new building and subsequent new initiatives that we are beginning at work. Money has become tight and some part-time-workers are getting hours cut or jobs slashed. I am involved in a dispute that may have result in some significant changes at work. Overall, it doesn't seem good when one drops a bunch of f-bombs when speaking with his supervisor. They were not directed at her, of course, but at the situation. This next week might be crucial to the direction of the next few years.

The Harley Babe
This evening I was ready to work out at the fitness center but got delayed. By the time I got ready to go, there wouldn't have been enough time to get in the work out before it closed. So, wearing workout duds, I instead headed to the local Wienerschnitzel to get some chili cheese items for my daughter. While waiting, in walked a statuesque blonde Harley babe. She was tall, tan, and built like the proverbial brick shithouse. Needless to say, Rob of Rob's Vegas and Poker Blog would have approved. After she ordered, she stood next to me and said "Guess I'm waiting here with you." Of course, the scene looked absurd. I kept thinking back to that scene in Pulp Fiction after Vincent and Jules got Marvin's blood washed off them and wore Jimmie's clothes.

THE WOLF: Perfect. Perfect. We couldn't have planned this better. You guys look like... what do they look like, Jimmie?
JIMMIE: Dorks. They look like a couple of dorks.

Yeah -- just dorky lightning36 making small talk with a Harley babe. I asked her if she rode to Wienerschnitzel. She said "Yeah -- my bike is right outside -- the one my husband is sitting on.

Ha ha -- like she actually thought I was hitting on her?

Dorks. They look like a couple of dorks.

Game seven of the Chicago Blackhawks - L.A. Kings series is tomorrow night. No matter what happens, it seems to me that one thing has been made clear over the past few seasons: Patrick Kane is the best clutch performer in professional sports.

Kane's ability to shine on the big stage when the stakes are highest is reminiscent to one other Chicago athlete: Michael Jordan. Yes, Kane has been that good in the big moments.

I will admit that before Kane appeared to lose his immaturity, I didn't like him a whole lot and even suggested that the Hawks should trade him. To his credit, he straightened out his act and has earned the respect of hockey fans across the globe. It would not surprise me if Kane scored the winning goal tomorrow night. At least I can hope.

Time to publish this post and dream of a Hawks victory tomorrow night. As I write this, I am watching television. The show: The Big Bang Theory, of course!

Dorks. They look like a couple of dorks.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

A Very Special Graduation

Thursday evening was a very special night for the lightning family -- or for at least two of us in particular. My oldest daughter actually completed her degree requirements last December, but participated in the school's spring commencement exercise at the "request" of her father.

Years ago when my kids were very young, I learned that my school had a tradition that allowed any of the faculty, staff or administrators to present the diploma to their son or daughter at commencement if their child was graduating. I thought it would be the coolest thing in the world to do so. That day finally came. The feeling: great!

Several of my colleagues told me that they were crying. Although I thought I would be, I wasn't. I guess I was too mesmerized in seeing something I had dreamed about many years ago come true.

Some nights you just would not trade for anything.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Legend in His Own "Senior" Mind?


Long-time readers of this blog know that I have occasionally reported on my success -- or lack of it -- in softball. I have played softball ever since my graduate school days, eschewing baseball for a game more befitting the recreational player. Back in the late 1980's, I played on several teams in a summer. It kept me busy, and, truth be told, I was actually pretty good. However, the 1980's are a far cry from 2014.

Last season, I felt like I had become a liability (or maybe a bigger liability!) to the team I had played on for many years. But realistically, it was just difficult playing against guys who were, in some cases, almost 40 years younger. Sheesh -- I remember when I was young and could actually run. And some of the really athletic guys who were in their early 20's just absolutely killed the ball. Playing defense in fear is never good. So, I decided to retire from my old team. And actually, I was asked if I wanted to be put on the roster as a fill-in player in case the team ran short during the season. I never responded to this suggestion as I got really busy at work.

So what did I do? I accepted an offer to play on a team in the ... umm ... senior league. Actually, I told Dan, the captain, that I would think about it, and he put me on the roster. Dan is retired and obsesses about softball. He held a few practices, but I never found time to go. Then, last week was the first game. I looked at the lineup card, and Dan put me in right center field, batting sixth. What -- the outfield? I hadn't played there for years as I was too slow and have a crappy arm. Now in the senior league, however, I was one of the young guys on the team. Imagine that!

In the first game I came up in the first inning with the bases loaded and two out. Time to hopefully not be a chump to my new teammates. Surprisingly, I got a hit and drove in the first runs of the season. I went 2 for 3 and had three runs batted in. Not bad for my first game.

Tonight was game number two. I was shocked to see that I was batting lead off (a place usually reserved for fast guys!) and playing left field. Left field -- a place for guys who are good fielders and have a good arm -- ha! I told Dan "You realize that I suck." He told me "You won't drop more balls than anyone else, and at least if you do, you will be able to run after them." Senior league softball!

Well, I have something interesting to report: tonight I played the best defensive game I have played since prior to 1990! I caught six fly balls in left field, including one darn good backhand catch of a sinking fly down the left field line and a good running catch in left center field. I guess fear is a great motivator. I went two for four and now have a .571 batting average.

A funny story: I asked Dan's wife who was last in the batting order so I would know who to follow for my second time at bat. She said "80 ... He's 80 years old!" Ah, senior league softball!

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Waiting for the Move

I am getting ready to move into a new office at work in a brand new building. I never thought the day would actually come after waiting years. Less than two weeks to go!

I was warned about the numerous little problems that others who have already migrated to the new building have found. Such is life. I have already warned my staff about not whining and complaining as we work things out. Some pictures of the new office:


So far my request for a large screen television has gone unfulfilled. I guess I can live without it ...

Sunday, May 04, 2014

A Little Cubs-Cardinals Action in Chicago

Yesterday turned out to be a fun day. Earlier, I had bought two tickets to a Cubs-Cardinals baseball game at Wrigley Field as a Christmas present for my brother, AKA the King of Komps AKA thundering36. It looked to be a great day weather-wise.

Game time was 12:05 p.m., so that meant an early wake up time for me so that I could get on the road (about a 150 mile drive) prior to 7:00 a.m. Once up in the suburban Chicago area to pick up my brother, I drove us to the Metra commuter station so that we could take the train into the city. We were surprised to see many people in the train decked out in red. Could Cardinals fans have infiltrated the transportation system that thoroughly? We found out that the Poland Constitution Day Parade was in Chicago that day -- the largest Polish parade outside of Poland. The red of Poland pride filled the train!

Once in Chicago, we were treated to an interesting site: the Adams Street Bridge was up to allow passage of some boats down the south branch of the Chicago River.

We got on a crowded Red Line train to go from downtown Chicago to the north side. Once there, we were at the Friendly Confines.

One bummer to the trip: we found out that you can no longer bring open drinks into the ballpark. We had done this for years but had not been to any games in over a year. So much for the ritual of stopping by the 7-Eleven store across the street from Wrigley before games.

The game itself? It was a beauty -- a 3-0 shutout of the hated Cardinals. Left fielder Junior Lake, who started out the game by getting a late jump on a fly ball that dropped in during the first inning, was the hero with a two-run home run. Anthony Rizzo added an insurance homer late in the game. There is really nothing quite like joining the home crowd in singing Go Cubs Go after a victory.

Before going back to Union Station, I did take a quick picture of the Willis Tower-- formerly known as the Sears Tower, and once the tallest building in the world. Now it is only the tallest building in North America at 110 floors.

There were still plenty of Polish people on the train back to the suburbs. Lots of red doesn't matter when the Cubs win.

And oh ... there was a great promotion at the game -- a pretty sweet fedora with a navy blue band with the Wrigley Field 100 Years logo on the front and a Budweiser logo on the side.

All in all, a pretty nice day!

Friday, May 02, 2014

R.I.P. Larry Ramos

I grew up listening to the music of The Association. I was fortunate to finally see them three years ago as part of the Happy Together Tour -- August 25, 2011, in Effingham, IL. After the concert, I wrote a review in my blog:

The Association, featuring Larry Ramos, Jim Yester, and Russ Giguere, took the stage, looking like angels that came down from heaven, dressed in their all white outfits. Although their harmonies were a bit rough at times, it was a thrill to hear classics such as Cherish, Windy, Along Comes Mary, Never My Love, and Everything That Touches You. However, they also did a kick-ass version of California Dreamin'. Yes -- the show finally started picking up!

Unfortunately, Larry Ramos passed away at the end of last month. Rest in peace.