Monday, October 29, 2012

See Ya Later, Tigers. Hello, Halloween.


Today's a rather sad day for Tigers fans, but perhaps not of the surprising sort. After all, those first three World Series games against the Giants this weekend were kind of a premonition for Detroit's--um, hiccups--against San Francisco, an all-too-clear road to the unfortunate end of baseball season in the Motor City. I caught most or all of each game, grumbling and whining the whole way through. Well, maybe grumbling and whining more during games two and three. For the first, I was still hopeful that we had a great shot at winning despite our rocky start. And the fourth game--well, I just kind of froze in sad disbelief as the so-called "battle of the bullpens" turned into a sad sweep. A sad sweep that would, ironically, mirror our success in the ALCS against the Yankees (in reverse, of course).

Brad and I drove through downtown Detroit on Saturday night before Game 3 started.
The city wasn't packed, but was certainly bustling and busier than I have ever witnessed while in the D.
Finally got my photo of this guy.
The Spirit of Detroit, decked in Tigers attire in honor of the 2012 ALCS Championship and World Series.

Oh, well.

I'm over it. At least in the sense where I'm not ashamed to wear my Detroit shirt in public or slap an ol' English-D sticker on my car window. Or do this:


That's right. I made that. All. By my. Self.

To help numb the baseball-induced pain (and appease my appetite for fun, Halloween-related activities), Brad and I carved pumpkins during game four. For someone (me) who has only ever free-handed silly, snaggle-toothed faces, this was a big deal for me. And sure, I didn't finish my design until baseball season ended, but I'm still pleased with the outcome. Now, I just hope these little works of art can make it through Wednesday without being ravaged by our monster raccoon.

Brad, testing out the glow quotient of his jack-o-lantern.
All kinds of American car love.
Photobucket      Photobucket
So proud.

Now, I'm on to other pressing matters, like whether or not I'll be able to put together a costume by Wednesday.

I know you all are on the edge of your seats. Throw me some suggestions while you're teetering there, will ya?


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Baseball: Playoff Fever and Tiger Mania


Who's watching the Tigers game right now? Are you as neurotic about it as I am?

Baseball's so ingrained in me at the moment, I almost typed "Tigers" with an @ symbol just now. That's one of the side effects of constantly live-tweeting about one topic, folks. I apologize to you non-baseball fans who follow me on Twitter.

For the past few weeks, I've been in baseball-mode . . . almost a baseball frenzy. It started out with the excitement of not one, but two teams to root for--the Orioles and the Tigers. Detroit for obvious reasons, and Baltimore because it's my dad's team and I grew up watching my parents yell happy or not-so-happy things at the TV whenever an O's game was on. To quickly catch you up on the situation: The Orioles used to be really good. Then, they weren't for a while. Then, this year--pow, bam--they're kicking butt and taking names. They made it all the way to the ALDS round of the playoffs, but barely got snuffed out by the Yankees. And so, it's time for my dearly-beloved Tigers to take revenge and shut New York down.

The downsides to my baseball mania? I've sort of developed an inclination to yelling at my TV. And pulling my hair out. And clapping really loudly when I'm in a room by myself. As a result, my hands hurt, and I feel a little crazy sometimes. And, whoopsie . . . I may or may not have missed a couple (all) of the presidential/VP debates so far . . . but it's worth it. Politics should not be discounted, but I prefer to be optimistic in life and watch things that keep me awake, not put me to sleep. In the meantime, I'll take my election facts in an unbiased, read-only format, thank you very much.

Election? Sorry, my TV's been tuned into TBS for half a month now.

So, with Game 4 of the Tigers vs. Yankees series now in its third inning, I'm signing off for now to fuel my new habit, and crossing every finger that tonight will be the night that Detroit officially sweeps New York. A 56-inch TV, embroidered baseball cap, and box of Cracker Jacks--I think I'm all set.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ode to the Grocery Store


First, let me begin by saying that this is not really an ode. I just like the way the title sounds.

SECOND: I made a pizza last night. And I did more than just open a Red Baron box and set my oven timer for 20 minutes. Granted, I discovered that making my own pizza is really easy, especially when pizza dough and pizza sauce all comes in ready-to-use packaging. But we won't let that ruin the joy that I've acquired from my first Italian pie-making adventure, will we? I think not.

To my surprise, I found shopping for ingredients to be much more of a pain than actually cooking my (say it with me in an Italian voice) pizza pie. Granted, I did decide to run my dinner errands at Wal-Mart, but any grocer should carry green peppers. And more than one package of pepperoni.

Then, we have check-out lines. Now, I'm a proponent of self-scan aisles--in moderation. It's the point where there are six out of fifty-seven lines open, four of them self-scan, backed up into the clothing section to the point where there's a barricade across half of the store, that I start to get irritated. And, of course, no one seems to know how to ring up their own items.

So, I'm standing in line, grumbling under my breath at the old ladies and people on their cell phones who obviously have no regard for humanity because they're taking their sweet time and don't have the common decency to learn how to bag their own bread and shampoo. I'll show them how it's done when I get to the front of the line, I vow, and glide to a register when it's my turn to set a shining example of what a courteous, self-scanning-patron should look like.

Then, like a bad dream, time slows down and everything goes horribly wrong. All bar codes disappear into the folds of inferior packaging, and I wave items all over the scanner, wondering why the computer can't recognize a single thing I swipe over that red light. The electronic produce inventory doesn't know what a zucchini is, so I start pushing random vegetables on-screen so I can just be charged for something and get on with my life. Next, I wrestle with a defective batch of plastic bags as I try desperately to open just one. I mentally promise to shove everything in the same sack if I manage to conquer static electricity, then commend myself for being environmentally-friendly in the process. Fewer bags is better, right?

Meanwhile, a very loud, Russian woman is yelling into her Bluetooth headset, something about . . . eh, I don't know what it's about, because it's in Russian. This happens more often than you might think.

Then, the card swiper. It's easy enough to get used to, particularly if you've grown accustomed to regularly buying food, clothes, etc. in public places . . . you know, things to help ensure your survival. I have yet, however, to meet a card swipe machine that is exactly the same as one in another store. Signature or no signature, credit button or cancel/enter, buttons and screens and digital prompts telling you to get help from the cashier when there's clearly none around. When there is a cashier/moderator available at a self-scan, that's the time when you start to wonder: "Wouldn't this have been a lot faster if you were helping me out from the beginning?"

Miraculously, after five minutes of arguing with the computer and wondering how I actually got to the point where my receipt rolls out of the machine, I grab my things and go. No goodbye from store employees, and only a 80-percent confidence level as to whether or not I correctly paid for everything I'm leaving with. But if an automated voice thanks me and I have a lady pushing me out of the way with her cart to be next in line, I'm going to assume that I'm done. Adios, supercenter. Time to dodge all the bad parking-lot-drivers and go home.

And that . . . is how I made pizza.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Guest Post: Pure Michigan Blog


I am incredibly excited to announce my latest venture--a guest post on the Pure Michigan blog! For those of you who don't know, Pure Michigan is a widely-publicized campaign that promotes the state of Michigan through every outlet imaginable--TV, radio, print, billboard, local food packaging, license plates--you name it. It's an incredible demonstration of state pride, and I am very fortunate to be a part of it.

My guest post summarizes a day I recently spent in Jackson, Michigan. Barbecue, prison, and artwork are all in the mix. Come on--now you know you're curious.

You can read my post on Pure Michigan's blog riiiiiiight here.

Enjoy! :)
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