Showing posts from 2012

The Brewery Visit Gone Wrong

Vermont has more breweries per person than any other state in the country. I think it's something about the water that makes their beers what they are and has so many fine breweries popping up from top to bottom of the state. I have a goal of visiting, well, as many as I can reasonably visit. It's a work in progress. The visits started in earnest last winter, with my buddy and I stopping at a number of them, a few more than once.

Some breweries give better tours than others, plain and simple. Some are brew pubs with tasty menus, and some just offer beer tastes. Some answer questions down to rather fine detail of what is crafted there, and others are ridiculously tight lipped. Still, of the Vermont breweries I've visited, all were an enjoyable experience for one reason or another.

With the ski season upon us, we headed up to Stowe this past weekend, which put us somewhat in driving distance of a bunch of them, especially since we were only doing a mild tasting and some sho…

Getting ready for ski season!

Arrowhead Stadium

So here I am at Arrowhead Stadium!

This is my third new NFL venue this year, and quite likely the last. When the schedule comes out each year, there are the two-for-one MLB/NFL weekends I try to set up for September, the two-NFL-games-in-one-weekend craziness I likewise try to scheme, but there is also that one team or venue I always seem to have in my sights as the one I must see each autumn.

That team this year was the Chiefs. For the past couple of years, I've looked at the schedule to see if I could get to Chiefs and Broncos games the same weekend, but there have been no such alignments of a Sunday game for one and an MNF game for the other with the road trip in between. This being the 50th anniversary of the Chiefs, however, had me ID them as the team to see this year. A bye week for the Giants opened this weekend a bit wider. Dirt cheap airfare clinched this for me.

So, this makes 24 teams. Not bad. Not bad at all. I'm 3/4 of the way there now, and I feel fortunate sayin…


The day before Sandy hit, I did a huge cleanup outside. I moved something like 30 wheelbarrow loads of partially shredded leaves. I passed on all the 1:00 football games and just kept working. My neighbor was out there doing the same cleanup. We knew it could all be for naught, as we had no idea of what was in store. Downed trees seemed quite likely.

Well, my mailbox and post were toppled. Other than that, I had a ridiculously small amount of yard cleanup to do. I gathered fallen twigs and branches throughout my yard into the pile shown here. That's it. I did lose power for 62 hours, and with that power loss went my heat and running water. The house had cooled to 54 degrees Thursday morning, before the electricity kicked in, with the furnace and well pump coming to immediate life.

Of course, many suffered great losses, my family included. Many, again, family included, lost their utilities for far longer than I did. It's truly depressing on one hand but rather reassuring on th…

Getting ready for Sandy

I've cleared the gutters.
I've caulked that leaky window.
I've gassed up the chainsaw.
I've purchased D batteries and bottled water.
I've secured use of my neighbor's pool water for toilet flushing.
I've charged up every rechargeable device I have, whether or not I think I'll need that old digital camera, the helmet cam, etc, these next few days.
I've pulled out all the old candles I have lying around.
I've got my British ales lined up.
I've got the charcoal grill prepped and ready to fire up should meats in the freezer start thawing.
I've washed my apples, and other produce, and have plenty of nuts and other non-perishables ready.
I have enough Halloween candy to nourish me for a few days.

I guess that should do it...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

University of Phoenix Stadium

So here I am at University of Phoenix Stadium. I thought it was hot yesterday, but this is just wrong. I mean, NFL football in 100+ temps? 100-deg colder would be preferable to me. Ok, the game is indoors, but I still had to step outside to get here. Thankfully, the roof will be closed for the game, the awesome spectacle of the roof opening mid-game at Chase last night notwithstanding.

When the NFL schedule was released in April, I was hoping to swing something like this--one trip out west to knock off the last two baseball teams, and get to a Cardinals game the same weekend. The multi-destination ticket cost what I would have expected to pay for a round trip to either San Diego or Phoenix, so don't ever say HKHWR isn't efficient.

I meant to note yesterday the number or folks in town for both the Diamondbacks and Cardinals games this weekend. There are plenty. In fact, I'm not even the only nut who preceded these games with a trip to a Padres game. Despite the heat, I spe…

Chase Field

Soooo here I am at Chase Field!

Hooray! HKHWR has done it, parking his butt in a seat at the ballpark of all 30 Major League teams. And, let me first say that...IT IS HOT! Wow! HKHWR doesn't do well in this type of weather, and really is just stymied by temps this high at any time of year, let alone in Autumn. I had noted two or three other weekends where both the Padres and Diamondbacks were home the same weekend, but one of two main reasons I opted for this last weekend of the baseball season was to hopefully avoid some of the famous Arizona dice. Thankfully, the 10-minute walk from the hotel wasn't too stifling.

Going back to the 70s, when I saw my first Yankee game at Shea Stadium (yes, the Yanks called Shea home for a spell in the 70s) to today, I have seen all 30 teams play in 38 or 39 ballparks. It was in 1991 when I first hit the road for a ballgame, first traveling to Baltimore, and then a few weeks later making a day trip to Boston. It wasn't long befo…

Petco Park

So here I am at Petco Field. Can you feel the excitement? Have you been checking back here daily or weekly since my post in Minny about the serious progress I'd be making in the first phase of this ballpark craziness? I hope you have. Petco is the ballpark of the penultimate team I've yet to see play at home. I'll hit that last one really soon.

I flew into town last night, and I'll be heading out in the morning. Yes, HKHWR is up to his old tricks. It's been a few years already since I've been to San Diego. So, today, I walked around the Gaslamp District for a bit, ferried to Coronado, where I found the Coronado Brewing Company, and now I'm settling in to what brought me to town.

I know a bunch of people who have been here, and everyone gives it high marks. I walked around the outside of the ballpark early today, as my jet-lagged self was rather energetic earlier in the day than usual. It is an impressive sight, with a large footprint that doesn't feel …

National Punctuation Day

Wow hey Happy National Punctuation Day to all of you especially my copyediting colleagues blog writers and anyone who gives a hoot about commas colons semi colons and so forth and let me add that while this latest National Whatever Day may not hold the morning appeal of National Coffee Day nor the 5:00 pm excitement of National Beer Day and is certainly not the nutritionist nightmare that is National Cheeseburger Day National Punctuation Day is indeed one to celebrate

Mall of America Field

So here I am at Mall of America Field, 19 years after my first visit to this stadium, you know, when it was still the Metrodome, which it still mostly is. As I noted yesterday, I am seizing the opportunity to get to two games on one plane ticket, since the schedule gods kindly set both the Twins and Vikings up at home this weekend.

Because the hotel is so close to the Mississippi, this morning I took a nice stroll along and across it, ending up in St. Paul before heading back to check out of the hotel and head over to the stadium.

I tend to think of ballparks I like more than ones I don't particularly care for, but, as a ballpark, this was bottom three. As a football stadium, well, it's a dome. A rather typical and I suppose dated one. The outfield walls that had those weird baggies are nicely tucked away, however, which is an instant improvement over its baseball configuration. The roof is nicely stitched up too, so I've no fear of a collapse, even if an open air stadiu…

Target Field

So here I am at Target Field...wait, Target Field? Seriously, HKHWR? That's right, for while the stated goal earlier this year was to knock off ballparks of teams I hadn't seen play at home (a goal that will be realized by season's end), and I did endure one at the Metrodome, one of those sweet schedule alignments was noted back in April, and I booked this little weekend jaunt. Yeah, me, and a number of observant schedule hounds: The Vikings are home tomorrow, so it's another two-games-in-one-weekend event for us. This is a rather good September for that, as the MLB and NFL schedule makers have nicely set us up. More on that in a few weeks.

I picked a hotel within walking distance of both stadiums. It was another Marriott one that was converted from a train station. After arriving, I walked over to the very nice Town Hall Brewery, where I talked to several locals over a couple of pints, including the recommended and simply sensational Dortmuder Export Lager.

So, yeah,…

Yankee Stadium

A View From My SeatTesting a new sharing feature on one of my fave apps (not to mention scoring an easy post...)

The broken wrist

In my last entry, I excused my lack of posts by virtue of a broken wrist. Here, I will explain how I broke it. First, go back and reread one of the early posts on this blog. You'll see that I was/am very interested in the whole cross county ski thing. I like watching the pros do it, but I especially like firing my poles at the snow while pushing off on a ski, and repeating that motion until my arms, shoulders and legs ache so good.

The thing is, cross-country ski seasons are shorter than downhill ski seasons, and so my chances to do it are limited to a few days a year. It is such a great workout, though, that I've looked for ways to replicate the experience throughout the year. I've owned a NordicTrack for a good 10 years now, and less than half that time has it served as a coat rack. It's a great cardio workout, but it's not a true replacement of the XC experience. Late this spring, I began reading about roller skiing, and found a place in Norwich VT that rented a…

Some new hardware

Ok, I've had something of a writer's block going for, well, a good chunk of the year. I never could figure out how some posts felt written in my head before I turned to my blogging tool of choice (PC, iPad, or this phone), while other times it seems I go days or weeks with nothing to write. No, FBOW, I'm not done posting here. It was the last Olympics that got me started blogging after all, and these games have given me some ideas too. And, the ballpark and stadium visits over the next few months should ensure a half dozen or so posts.

That's all well and good, but what caused the dry well for all of July? Why, that's simple. This...

A little NEK'ing

As if I didn't have enough reasons to like Vermont. I mean, there's the skiing, the fresh air, the craft breweries, and all that. Now add this...

Minute Maid Park

So here I am at Minute Maid Park.

The quest to touch them all is officially renewed this season. I left off last season with three teams to see and four other new ballparks to hit. The goal this year is to complete the first part, and chip away at the second.

This is my first time to H-Town, Space City, Magnolia City, or whatever the locals call it. This will be a very brief trip, as I arrived this morning, made the prerequisite brewery stop (and there's an awesome one here in the St. Arnold Brewery, where seven smackers gets you four 8-oz samples and a souvenir glass), and then leave tomorrow morning. There are, though, a number of things, and people, I'd like to see here. Perhaps I'll leave more time when I eventually make my way back for a Texans game. I note, in fact, that one of the first things I checked when the schedule was released was whether or not I could get to both teams in a single weekend, but the schedule gods did not comply. What I didn't double chec…

Every year around this time...

Unlucky: slipping on some wet leaves and nearly falling backward
Lucky: grabbing a low branch and gaining my balance
Unlucky: realizing that it wasn't a branch but a poison ivy vine
Lucky: tossing it to the side before it touched the rest of my arm
Unlucky: having the vine swing back and smack me in the face
Lucky: having the presence to catch the vine in the same hand
Stupid: pulling the vine so as not to have to worry about walking into it again
Comical: how moronic I must have looked tangled up in the damn thing

Effective? Just took a cold shower with some old poison ivy wash...

The BPP All-Time Dream Project | Baseball: Past and Present

The BPP All-Time Dream Project | Baseball: Past and Present

This was a fun little project in which I participated, one that took an interesting turn as I saw the names of some of the voters, making me feel like I was rubbing shoulders with some big boy sportswriters. The appeal of this for me was multifold tho, letting me reflect on my favorite ballplayers over the years--the ones I saw and read about as a kid through the ones I watch now--, and getting to see the opinions and selection reasoning of so many.

In my mind, the list of greats started here, with this collection from the 1976 Topps set:

This scan of my cards will probably make Sliced Tongue...check that...Who Made the Grade...cringe somewhat when his discriminating eye does its reflexive grading (or, he may offer a better example from his vast collection...). Anyway, the 10 cards have been valued ones to me, stirring up my interest in baseball history as they caused me to read about these players and others acros…

April 10--what a historic day

For better or worse, I couldn't help noticing the wide-ranging interesting events--some tragic, some just interesting--that occurred on this date...

In 1815, the Tambora Volcano in Indonesia claimed over 80000 lives. Simply tragic. I saw several interesting stories about it today, including this one

In 1912, 100 years ago, the Titanic left Southampton for its fateful trip, simply tragic as well, ultimately claiming over 1500 lives.

Also in 1912, the Yankees debuted their pinstripes.

Fifty years later, in 1962, the Dodgers played their first home game at Dodger Stadium, now the third oldest stadium in MLB.

Fifty years later, today, in 2012, Matt Groening tells the world that the setting of his Simpsons town is Springfield. Well, no, we knew that. He told us which Springfield, as most every state has a Springfield, and which Springfield was always a mystery. Congrats, Springfield, OR; you are the lucky Springfield.

I haven't been doing a lot of this lately...

...because I've been doing a good amount of this...


and the other thing...

Wordier posts to come back soon...

New York sports

It's still the first half of February. Pitchers and catchers are just showing up in Tampa. But, what a time it is for New York sports...

The Giants win the Super Bowl for the fourth time.

The Rangers are in first place.

The Knicks...yes, the Knicks...are rolling.

Eli for Big Blue. King Henrik for the Rangers. And now Lin for the Knicks.

Baseball can wait. There's a lot of good things happening at MSG, and in New York sports in general, right now...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

When Feelin' Blue is not Feelin' Blue

CCR may have been my first favorite rock band. Growing up, I can still remember the records that would rotate at family dinners throughout the seasons and years. Cosmos Factory was a favorite, with my Mom particularly fond of Ramble Tamble. And, what is not to like about that! Appreciation of CCR stayed with me, and I eventually bought all their albums myself, still owning them on CD. Anyway, I don't want to go off on too much of a tangent here, and will simply segue to this song that I can't get out of my head for the last month or so...

Perhaps one of their lesser known songs, the "Feelin' blue, blue, blue, blue, blue" chorus just won't leave my head. And I don't want it to leave any time soon. I'm feelin' blue in the best of possible ways.

Congrats to the New York Giants on their fourth Super Bowl Championship. Outstanding!!

Maybe I have one more football post in me for this season, but, if not, what better way to end it than a Super Bowl victo…

If I post it, they will win

Ok, I've been posting on the Wednesday or Thursday before each of the Giants playoff games, and they've won. I grew hip to this trend before the Championship game, and they squeaked out the win. No way will a Big Blue loss be attributable to my not doing my part now. So, here goes nothing....

That last game really was something else, eh? I was lucky enough to watch it in a great sports bar in Stowe, VT--the Sunset Grille and Tap Room. We spent seven or so hours there, ate two meals, and, well, enjoyed some pints of Switchback Ale. Enjoyed them we did through the AFC battle, and then through about the first half of the NFC game. By then, the nature of the latter game was clear--a tough battle with momentum swinging back and forth. I get nervous watching these games, and this game was no exception. Afraid to watch the TV at some points, I just stared at the mostly consumed dinner that remained on the plate in front of me. Nerves aside, it was a fun atmosphere.

Stowe is nicely…

Hip, hip..

At the start of his career, he was the second best catcher on the Yankees. For a few years after that, he was the second best catcher in New York. But, there is no denying Jorge Posada was a very essential part of the Yankees' success for so many years. That switch hitting bat of his lived in the middle of an always potent Yankee lineup, and created pitching matchup problems for the opponent. Despite some ups and downs with the press as his career slowed down, he always has seemed so worthy of our respect and admiration. Some will argue that he is a Hall of Famer, others will argue the opposite. Maybe he does have too few hits to cement his legacy. Perhaps that double off Pedro in the 2003 playoffs was his grandest hit, and even that was eclipsed by what Boone did to end that series. As he says here, however, he "did come out to play everyday", and for a catcher, that's no small feat.

We'll miss you, Jorge.

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The Night My Beretta Died

I'm rather surprised to have so few pictures of my first new car, a 1990 Chevy Beretta GTZ. It mostly predates my interest in photography, and the only pictures I have with it were shot with a little Ricoh point and shoot. But still, I have so few of it.

That car got me to football games in the midwest in 1990, to ballgames in Boston and Baltimore in the spring of 1991, and then to a bunch of games in September of 1991, when I spent the middle days between weekend midwest ballpark and stadium visits on a sojourn to South Dakota. Here is my best picture of it, taken in Badlands National Park...

Wait, let me make it pop out a little more...

That's better. The day before, she had topped 100 MPH for the second time. It was a great trip in so many ways.

Little did I know that my car would be declared a total loss a few months later.

Without warning, my deep red Beretta GTZ spewed orange–red flames into a rainy grey January evening. I was returning from the DMV of all places, when th…

I'm not superstitious, but...

For the past few weeks, I've done a post about the Giants, and they've won the next Sunday. Now, there may be plenty of reasons for Big Blue to lose, but let it go on record that HKHWR is doing his part to keep this nice run going.

Not boastful in either of the first two rounds, I am certainly not going to change my tone here. I will note that I like the way the Giants are playing on all three sides of the ball--offense, defense and special teams. A wise coach from a division rival once said you had to win two out of three to win, and the Giants don't look overmatched in any of them.

For most of the season, I had thought the Giants special teams were average at best. They're certainly not an elite group, but they are playing more competently than they have all season.

I am very happy happy with the way the offense is going. The running and passing games are both solid. The two-back rotation does take a quarter or so to start moving, but they seem to get stronger as the…

Can history repeat for Big Blue?

When the Giants built that momentum that got them to the playoffs at the end of the 2007 season, their first opponent was the Bucaneers. I remember thinking that the Giants could totally win that game if they played as they did the week before against the undefeated Patriots. And they did.

Their next opponent was the dreaded Cowboys. I remember thinking that game could go either way. The Cowboys looked good going into the playoffs, and I wouldn't have been shocked at all if they won, but I thought Big Blue could do it. And they did.

Then there was that little game against Green Bay. Lambeau Field. The Frozen Tundra. Manning, a QB who had never played in weather like that, and ditto for many on the team, who I thought tipped their hand about the frigid temperatures presenting a problem. I recalled that the Bucs, who had never won a game when the temperature was below 40 at kickoff, had in a recent season knocked off GB up there, but I simply didn't give the Giants a chance. The…

What a difference a year makes

A year ago, the Giants finished 10-6 and missed the playoffs. I blasted them (or maybe whined about them) a number of times on this blog. They did plenty of things right, but clearly it wasn't enough, and, when push came to shove, their record appeared to be better than they were.

This year, their record is worse, but they seem like a better team than that one, especially of late. They've been playing without a number of key starters from last year, yet other players have come in and played well or well enough in their absence, and others have simply excelled.

The QB has thrown two fewer TDs this year, but has had a much better season: He's thrown for well over 1.5 miles more compared to what he threw last year and has nine fewer INTs. He also lost one less fumble this year compared to last, and I must throw in the fact that he had one critical fumble recovery this year, extending a drive in the second half of the deciding final game.

Last year, the Giants simply didn'…