Back on the Beach...

it's been awhile since i've been here.

man do i have some stories to tell....

worked a lot. learned a lot.

stressed a lot. smoked a lot.

met a girl.

was offered a job. took it.

thought about it. walked away from it.

now i'm sitting in a half-boxed-up apartment which gives you no idea if i'm coming or going.

the very picture of transition.

the chance for true change.

an opportunity for re-invention.

think about what can be. start moving toward it.

create a job. hire some help.

be with someone.

smoke a little less. stress a little less.

work a lot more. learn a whole lot more.

now that would be a story to tell...

i should come here more often.


waiting for (economic) independence day

the frustration i've had is that american economics has recently been discussed as a zero-sum game. it's either capitalism or socialism...no ifs, ands or buts. and while a purely socialist economic system & government has been proven repeatedly not to be optimal, the idea that we can cling to capitalism as it currently exists is naive.

at some point, the cycles of boom and bust that we've endured were going to catch up to us. sure, it's brought us a ton of good - the good ol' InterWeb that we all enjoy so much probably wouldn't be nearly as widespread or profitable as it is now without capitalist innovation. (honestly, when i was in high school, perez hilton was the weird kid who hung out by himself. now he's a pseudo-celebrity.) and in the grand scheme of things, it really didn't affect the general population when the whole thing went pop in the late '90s - unless you were a tech geek who spent all of his stock options on a palace and a ton of toys in the silicon valley.

but it was inevitable that the same cycle would eventually attach itself to something integral like the financial sector (and by extension, the housing market). suddenly when the bubble bursts, the fallout affects everybody. if we've learned nothing else, it's that human nature tends more toward all for one than one for all. and that applies to any system - capitalist, socialist, communist, etc.

as the world's leader in capitalism, it's little surprise that we were the first to find its pitfalls. which leads me to believe we'll see ourselves engaged in an interesting social & economic experiment in the coming decade or so. make no mistake, our military has long been used as a socialist tool (not to suggest that they don't provide a very needed and very welcomed defense, but they've also been used to promote and protect american business interests worldwide). and as we've used it to the neglect of domestic affairs, don't be shocked to see more socialist ideals creep into the public discourse.

that rambling preamble was all to suggest that there has to be a semi-happy medium. the real question is where the line is drawn. there are plenty of people who are smarter and more educated in this subject that i am (and presumably aren't currently engaged in watching a spongebob squarepants marathon). we can only hope their voices and ideas are heard and applied in a reasonably timely fashion.

anyway, that's my two cents (adjusted for inflation, of course).


my blue heaven

act like you've been there before.

that's what's commonly said about athletes who perform exaggerated celebrations after routine accomplishments. don't pose and preen after a scoring a touchdown, hitting a home run or burying a 3-point shot. it's a part of your job - you've done it previously, you expect to do it and you'll do it again. no big whoop.

but what if you've really never been there before? what then?

as an "esteemed member of the media" i've seen my share of press boxes and done my share of interviews, but today was different. i was covering the dodgers.

i don't want to give you the impression that i couldn't keep my objective wits about me. on the outside, i was the picture of professionalism. sure, i made the typical rookie mistakes like not knowing where to find the media parking lot, the credentialing table, the press box or my spot in it. but at least i looked like i belonged.

on the inside, i was as happy as adam lambert in a mascara factory. walking down the halls lined looking at old black and white photos with greats like robinson, reese, koufax and drysdale would be awesome for any baseball fan, but even better if you're part of the blue crew during your down time.

if you've done this dozens of times, seeing vin scully, dressed in a dodger blue-tinged blazer, standing in the doorway to the press box doesn't make you want to run over and tell him that he has the greatest job in the world and how much you'd love to have it (but only after he's done with it, of course). 

if you've done this dozens of times, you don't have the urge to tell fernando valenzuela that your first memories of watching baseball revolve around fernandomania and that crazy rookie season of 1981. 

if you've done this dozens of times, seeing Nancy Bea and Mike Brito don't secretly make you happy inside. the dodger dogs don't smell quite as good and the cookies aren't quite as chocolatey.

covering your team for the first time is truly a labor of love. it showed a bit when i stumbled over my first question during a short interview with orlando hudson. after all, the o-dog had become an immediate fan favorite in los angeles (that's what happens when you hit for the cycle in your home debut). 

once the game started and i was in front of my computer, i began to feel more at home. though it would have been nice to see the dodgers win (they're 0-2 when i've been in the stadium this year, by the way). they say it's never as good as your first time, but it's also never as awkward.


i ain't mad at 'cha

i was having a discussion with a friend recently. not an actual discussion...just a series of text messages, the whole of which constitute the average 21st century discussion. but i digress.

the topic was performance enhancing drugs and the men who love them. he was partially filled with moderate indignation that a whole generation of players could cheat the game.

i didn't care.

he said they only way they should get into the hall of fame is if they buy a ticket.

i didn't care.

he had no problem if a generation of hall of fame classes looked like this guy.

i kinda cared. but not enough.

you see, i'm burned out on cheaters and scum. i've had my fill of scandal and situations. some days the sports world feels as foreign (and dangerous) as mos eisley.

in short...my anger reservoir is dry.

baseball player busted for 'roids? yawn. football player gets caught packing heat? ho-hum. basketball player smokes two joints before he smokes two joints? whatever. let him smoke two more.

as i get older, my sports philosophy borrows from frank cushman. you remember cush; jerry maguire's quarterback prodigy who tried to remove himself from the maguire-sugar feud with one simple phrase.

"i just want to play football."

that's where i am right now. i've heard all the arguments ad nauseum. they're cheaters! they're criminals! kick 'em out, lock 'em up and let 'em rot! my response can be summed up in a pair of simple if-then questions.

a) if they are playing, then how will they help the team?


b) if they are not playing, then how will it hurt the team?

in short (with all apologies to jerry o'connell) i just want to watch ball.

there have always been cheaters, criminals and miscreants in professional sports and no amount of finger pointing and spotlighting bad behavior is going to prevent it in the future. it has little to do with money, talent or entitlement. some people have a knack for finding trouble. some of them just happen to run, jump, throw, hit, catch better than the rest of us. the sooner we accept it, the sooner we can all move on.

of course, if this attitude catches on, the 24-hour sports news cycle that thrives on creating, reporting and exasperating train wrecks might cannibalize itself. which most likely would put me on the bread line.

that's a scandal i'd certainly care about that.


dog people

i spent a portion of yesterday at the beach enjoying the sun and hanging out at the los angeles bbq fest.

good times, by the way. it was the second year, hopefully they begin to invest in some advertising. sounds like most people either heard about it through word of mouth or just by seeing the tents set up near the beach.

but during Marcas' Day Out, i was reminded of how much people love their dogs. and how much that annoys me. it's become commonplace for people to take their dogs everywhere. shopping malls, restaurants, grocery stores. sanitation be damned.

what was once a fad for overindulged, eccentric socialites with little to no understanding of life for us non one-percenters has become a social epidemic.

perhaps that last sentence says it all, but in case you were unclear, i'm not Dog People. 

to begin with, i find it strange that Dog People love dogs more than they love people. i can only imagine how horrible their interactions with people have been to drive them into the furry paws of a noisy, sloppy animal that not only is riled up by most any sound it hears, but will continually holler at the same sound. even if it happens every day at the same time. sure you can say that of some people - then they stop being infants and realize the mailman is nothing to freak out over. your value as a warning signal is lessened when you bark at everything.

lest you think i'm speaking through prejudice and not knowledge, i've lived with Dog People. and even with the most responsible dog owners, you (as a non-dog owner) still end up bearing some responsibility for the dog. making sure it doesn't accidentally run through the slightest open door, stopping it from eating anything and everything it finds on the floor. not to mention the inevitable chewing of some item you absent-mindedly left sitting on a table.

and there's history here as well. too many times as a kid, i was chased by barking dogs while riding my bike or walking to the bus stop. understandable if i had irritated the creature in some way. but aside from your average North American Drama Queen, i don't know any animal that gets upset over a lack of eye contact.

dogs are like children. no one loves yours as much as you do. most of us don't want to see or hear about it all the time. but unlike children, they don't have to go everywhere with you. your dog has no idea what an airplane flying an advertising banner is all about. and something tells me that even if he did, like the rest of us, he wouldn't much care.

walking your dog if fine. even taking your dog to the park is a good idea. but unless you're blind or disabled in some way, i don't want it hanging around while i'm eating or wandering underfoot while i'm walking in a crowded public area. it doesn't need to be in the office and you're crazy if you think it's a good idea to take doggie to market.

hopefully this is a phase, but something tells me this isn't going away anytime soon. Sounds like a case for Wade Blasingame.


what the hell is wrong with me? what's missing? i have a job. i have an apartment. i have friends. but i feel like there's something wrong. i don't know what it is. it's empty. not from hunger. but it doesn't feel like a lack of fulfillment. it is it anxiety? is it fear? i don't know. and it bothers me. i want to fix the problem. i want to know that i'm okay. and i don't. 


playing hardball

last week i was asked to run for public office.

this isn't the setup to a joke.

a friend called me to say that a municipal public official was not running for re-election and to his knowledge there was no one running for that seat and that i'd be the perfect candidate.

said aloud, the idea sounds perfectly ridiculous. the last campaign of any sort that i was involved in was my victory for vice-president...of the eighth grade. and while i voted in every election, i never followed the day-to-day workings of government until He Who Must Not Be Named was heading out of office in washington.

so why me? i'm the square peg. the fifth wheel. i'm a cartoon geek. a sports guy. i've spent my adult life more worried about busting the phillies than filibustering.

but when i think about it, it makes sense. in a year where Change was more ubiquitous than ryan seacrest, why not go after someone who has a working knowledge of the area, but is still enough of an outsider to not be jaded by the local view.

(admittedly, i do feel a bit like i'm being obama'd...the statement "he's black, he's young and he's smart" has reportedly been uttered more than once. i'm flattered that people feel that way about me, but it also feels like an artificial construct and i'm not comfortable being mini-me.)

the reasons to run are numerous, though few of them seem to be good. perks like a bigger paycheck (always attractive...even more when you're surrounded by debt) and increased attention (though the latter might be more of a liability than an asset). the experience and adventure of running for and holding public office. more importantly, there's also the satisfaction of knowing i could help a community. though it seems harder to find that love without a prior connection to the community. or will that love come by acclamation?

then there are the other questions...can i really enact change through policy? or is it better spurred through the grass roots? where is the line between acknowledging supporters and being beholden to interests? can i walk that line? what about my current career aspirations? would they be on hold? would holding public office help enhance those opportunities

all of these things are continually running through my mind. soon i will need to make my final decision. i have come to the fork in the road. let's hope i go the right way.