Tuesday, August 30, 2005

I have been sitting here watching the unbelievable destruction caused by hurricane Katrina to New Orleans and Biloxi, Mississippi. The lives of hundreds of thousands of people have been changed forever. Homes, businesses, cars, infrastructure were all damaged and destroyed by the storm.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of the Gulf Coast as they struggle to rebuild their lives.

If you can, I encourage you to make a donation to the American Red Cross at this link or at 1-800-HELP-NOW.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

It's late, so this will be short. We're having a great week here in Seattle, and I'll fill you in on the details later. R. got sick Tuesday evening and into Wednesday, so J. and I ended up going to the Aquasox game without the ladies, but other than that things have been good.

One bit of advice, though. Never, ever buy a Ford Freestar. We got one as a rental from Hertz, and it is quite possibly the worst vehicle I have ever driven. Now, I drive a minivan at home, a Dodge Grand Caravan, so I know that we're not exactly dealing with high performance vehicles here. But compared to the Freestar, the Caravan is a Ferarri. This minivan handles like a brick and misses a lot of the little touches that make minivans a good ride if you have kids to haul around. This is one of the few times I have had a rental I couldn't wait to give back.

The other thing I'm aggrivated about is the fact that the Sox dropped two of three in Kansas City. I'm sorry, but the defending world champions (I still like saying that) should take at least two of three from the Royals, if not sweep them. Things are getting tight with the Yankees again, as the Sox have only a 2 and 1/2 game lead in the division. They are on their longest homestand of the season, so hopefully they can win a bunch of these games.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Well, we made it to Seattle in one piece, but it's been a very long day. A. and I got up at 4:30 this morning to make our 8:10 flight out of Green. It took us about 5 hours to fly to Phoenix, where we changed planes and flew another 3 hours to Seattle. As usual, everything was right on time with Southwest, but it was still a lot of time on the airplane. We picked up our luggage and rental car and headed over to the hotel.

The hotel, a Marriott Residence Inn, is very nice. We got a suite so that the kids could sleep in a separate room. The only problem we're having is that we're not doing very well navigating Seattle so far. We tried to go to this restaurant A. read about on the Web and got directions off Mapquest. The directions didn't work out, and while we were trying to correct ourselves, I took a left turn on a "No Left Turn from 4-6PM" at 5:54. Naturally, there was a cop waiting right there. I played dumb out-of-towner so he let me off with a warning. He also told us we would have to pass through a bad neighborhood to get to the restaurant, so we gave up and went to an Outback near the hotel.

Tomorrow we're going to the zoo, and hopefully we'll get our bearings around town a little more. We have free high-speed Internet in the room (not wireless, though!), so I should be able to post a couple more times this week. However, my body is saying it's after midnight (although the clock says it's just after 9) so I think it's time for bed!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Well, we're off to Seattle for a week's vacation tomorrow.

I badly need to get away. I'm really looking forward to this trip. We have a Bat Mitzvah out there, we'll be doing some touristy stuff, and we've got tickets to two baseball games. We're seeing the Everett Aquasox on Wednesday. The Aquasox are the Mariners short season Class A afflilate, and the Aquasox were J.'s Little League team this season. He's very excited about seeing the "real" Aquasox.

Sunday we're going to see the Mariners play the White Sox. I'm really looking forward to seeing Safeco Field and pining about how nice it would be to have seats that are designed for 6 footers in Boston.

I'll try to check in from the West Coast a couple of times, and of course there will be detailed reviews of the two ballparks at some point.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

I can't believe some loser spammed my blog!

I turned on the word verification option to prevent this from happening again. So if you post a comment you'll have to type in a word that appears in a box on the screen. This prevents automated systems from posting to the comments system, so it should prevent this from happening again.

How did I miss this the last time I was shopping for a desk?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Going back under the knife...

I spoke to the doctor Monday night and the results of my tests came back. The good news is that the CT scan came back OK. The bad news is that the biopsy came back positive for the same cancer I had before. I'm going to have to go back in for additional surgery to remove the small spot (it's only 10mm long!) where the cancer exists. I'm scheduled to go in on September 12.

Needless to say, I'm far from thrilled to have to go in for more surgery, but I have to get rid of this thing. So I'm just trying to keep a stiff upper lip and get this whole ordeal over with.

All right, enough of that topic. On to some more interesting stuff.

Where the heck did Morgan Ensberg come from? He had a pretty decent year in 2003 with 25 HRs but only 60 RBI, then only hit 10 homers with 66 RBI last year. This year, with more than a month left in the season he's become one of the top sluggers in the National League with 33 homers and 91 RBI. Ensberg has been one of the big reasons behind Houston's resurgence the last couple of months to lead the NL Wild Card race. It's a bit of a shame that he plays in Houston instead of in a bigger baseball market, since he doesn't seem to get mentioned much.

A big Windows 2000 worm hit a bunch of companies yesterday. Microsoft had to "mobilize it's war room" yesterday to help it's customers battle the infection. One more reason I'm glad I have a Mac...

Yesterday's events in Detroit and Tampa turned into a big 2 game swing for the Sox yesterday. Big Papi came up huge in the clutch again for the Sox, as he hit a game tying home run in the 9th before the Red Sox scored 7 runs in the 10th to take a 10-7 win from the Tigers. Meanwhile, the Devil Rays beat the Yankees by tying the game in the 9th on an Eduardo Perez home run off Mariano Rivera, then getting a bases loaded walk in the last of the 11th to win it (losing pitcher: Alan Embree, although he didn't give up the walk.) So instead of being up 2 and 1/2 games this morning, the Sox are up 4 and 1/2.

Can Mike Remlinger pitch any worse? After giving up a grand slam to Craig Monroe in the bottom of the 10th, his ERA is now 54.00. I can't believe his Red Sox career is going to last much longer.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Another nice day at the beach today. It was a lot hotter than last week, so we left around 4:00 and drove over to Newport and had dinner at Flo's Clam Shack. Flo's is another Rhode Island clam shack that has been around forever (since 1936). I had some great fried clam strips, along with the requisite clam cakes. Good stuff.

I had another round of testing at Mass General on Thursday. First was a biopsy on the area that the doctor saw on the ultrasound a couple of weeks ago. Having needles stuck in my neck was no more enjoyable than it was the first time it happened a few months back. Later in the afternoon I had a CT scan on my neck and chest. The scan itself wasn't bad, but I had to drink some really nasty tasting contrast, then had more contrast put in through an IV. So I've had more than enough needles stuck into me for a while.

The results of the tests won't be back for a few days, so I should know more next week.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Quite an evening at Fenway Park last night, as I went with my friend Bismo to see the Sox take on the Texas Rangers. The big pre-game event was the return of Kenny Rogers from his suspension for assaulting two cameramen a few weeks ago. Inexplicably, an arbitrator shortened Rogers suspension from the 20 games imposed by Bud Selig to 13 games. Most of the rest of us on the planet would be fired if we assaulted someone in our workplace, but this arbitrator somehow thinks that a 13 game suspension was sufficent. Go figure.

With that backdrop, Rogers (who was booed every time he walked out of the dugout) took on Bronson Arroyo in the final game of a three game series. It was a warm night at Fenway, with the game time temperature at 84 degrees. We were seated in the grandstand under the roof in section 24, so there wasn't much of a breeze and it was pretty hot, but the seats themselves were great.

The first few innings went very quickly as both Arroyo and Rogers pitched well. Then in the 4th the Sox broke out for five runs, including Manny's 32nd home run, a three run bomb over the Monster and out onto Lansdowne St. Arroyo continued to pitch well until he tired in the 8th, and he and Mike Myers combined to give up four runs to bring the Rangers to within 7-5.

The Sox then proceeded to score nine runs in the bottom half of the 8th against a succession of ineffective Texas relievers. The worst of the bunch was Kevin Gryboski, who managed to give up six runs (three earned) on two hits, three walks and a questionable error by Gary Matthews Jr. Rookie Manny Delcarmen and his 95 MPH fastball pitched a scoreless inning to mop up in the 9th to give the Sox their 11th straight home win.

Former First Lady Barbara Bush threw out the first pitch to her husband. It was kind of cool - how often do you get to see a former President in person?

So it was a good win and a fun night at the ballpark. The Sox are now 5 and 1/2 games up on the Yankees, and how can you not love that?

Sunday, August 07, 2005

We had an amazingly great day yesterday.

For the past three summers, we have been trying to go to the beach. We've been to the lake in Vermont many times, but the kids had never been to an ocean beach. Two summers ago, we kept talking about going and just never seemed to get to it. Last summer, we had two different days scheduled and the weather intervened both times.

So this year we decided that we would go on the first day that presented itself as a beach day, unless we had something going on that we simply couldn't cancel. Of course, July was out because of my medical situation. Then the forecast came out for this weekend and it seemed to be the opportunity we had been waiting for. Saturday's forecast was for mostly sunny skies, low 80's, low humidity. We had plans to go to a birthday party, but we made the difficult decision to bow out of the party and head for the beach.

So we got up relatively early for a Saturday and got on the road for Sand Hill Cove in Narragansett, RI. This was one of the Rhode Island beaches we went to regularly when I was a child, and I thought it would be fun to take the kids there. There is a large parking lot, a modern bath house (newly built in the '90's, replacing the old one I was familiar with), snack bar, sandy beach and very kid-friendly surf.

As a side note, Sand Hill Cove was renamed Captain Roger Wheeler State Beach many years ago, but I've never heard anyone call it that. Most Rhode Islanders still call it Sand Hill Cove.

We left the house around 8:30 and got to the beach a bit after 10. Traffic wasn't too bad, and the beach was busy, but not mobbed. The kids got right into it, playing in the sand and water and having a grand time. A. and I relaxed in our beach chairs, read, kept an eye on the kids and hopped in the water every now and then. It was incredibly relaxing hanging out on the beach, soaking up the sun and watching the kids. We had packed a lunch and got some Del's Lemonade for snack.

At around 4:00 we were starting to feel the effects of all the sun and surf and started to pack up. We changed clothes and then headed to the legendary Point Judith clam shack Aunt Carrie's for dinner. Aunt Carrie's is a legendary Rhode Island institution, which opened in 1920. I have been going there since I was a child. Aunt Carrie's is famous for inventing clam cakes, another Rhode Island culinary classic. Clam cakes are essentially balls of fried dough, mixed with clams. They are of questionable nutritional value, but they taste really good. Everyone left stuffed and happy for the ride home. I was happy to have gotten my clam cakes and Del's. If I had managed to get in some coffee milk and some New York System weiners, my day would have been complete!

We had such a great day at the beach that we're thinking about going back next Saturday, weather permitting. Here's hoping!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Wow, do I feel better. I feel as good as I've felt since the surgery. I guess it's all a matter of getting the right drugs.

Rafael Palmiero has to be the most shameless athlete I've ever seen. To go in front of Congress in March, wag his finger at them, and say that he never used steroids, then get caught using them a few months later is unbelievable.

What I find even more unbelievable is the number of Hall of Fame voters who seem to have no problem cooking up excuses why they are still going to vote for this cheater. They try to rationalize it by saying that we don't know when he started taking steroids, or that we don't have clear proof on guys like Sosa , McGwire or Bonds so how can we keep Palmiero out? Or that steroids weren't illegal in MLB at the time (even though using them without a prescription is against the law).

It's very simple. We know he cheated. If you think putting cheaters in the Hall of Fame is OK, then go ahead and vote for him. Personally, I hope more of the voters see things the way Peter Gammons does and keep him out. The thought of Palmiero up on that podium in Cooperstown makes me nauseous. I hope I never have to see it.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Nothing like a 3 hour commute.

The commuter rail train I take home hit and killed someone tonight. So we all had to wait around until the MBTA sent busses to take us home. I don't know much about the circumstances surrounding the poor person who was killed by the train, but it's a shame.

The good news is that I had my best day in terms of energy in months today. I felt as close to my old self as I have at any time since the surgery.

I'll comment on Rafael Palmiero at some length sometime in the next couple of days, but my short thought is this: he's a proven cheater. He doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame. I hope he doesn't get in.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Another day at Mass General, and some more bad (or at least not good) news.

I had my follow-up scan today. It turns out that there wasn't much absorption of the radioactive iodine in the spot on my left side that the doctor is worried about. That means a biopsy is the next step so that he can get a better sense as to what it is. The spot is so small (10 millimeters), that I'm going to have to go back to my surgeon for her to do the biopsy. So I have to call her office tomorrow to schedule that.

Also troubling was the fact that the scan showed some absorption in my chest, where they would not have expected anything. At first they thought it might be superficial, so I actually had to go back for three more scans. Turns out it wasn't. Now I'm going to have to have a CT scan next Thursday to see what is going on there.

The best case scenario is that the spot is benign and the thing in my chest is nothing to worry about and the doctor will just continue to monitor it. Worst case is more surgery. The good news is that none of this is particularly unusual - these just are not the answers we had been hoping for. There's nothing to do about it, though, than continue to go down this road and do the additional testing.

I'm glad Manny and the Sox managed to patch things up, though. You just can't make up what happened over the weekend. Manny doesn't play Wednesday, gets booed Friday, almost gets traded to the Mets. Then he pinch hits in the 8th yesterday and gets the game winning hit against the Twins!

eXTReMe Tracker