Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Few Things We've Been Up To

What have we been up to?

Sunday Tori, Max and I spent the afternoon at the ballgame. Metairie is home of the Triple A New Orleans Zephyrs, and their stadium is less than a mile from the house. When they play at home on Friday night they have fireworks after the game, which we can see over the treetops.

So Sunday afternoon we went to the game. In the '70s I spent a lot of time at Chavez Ravine watching the Dodgers, but have pretty much abandoned watching baseball these days. Long story, don't get me started. Let's just say I don't have any idea who won or even played in the World Series the last few years, and don't care.

It was a wonderful day. Cloudy skies and a breeze kept the temperature out of the 90s, we were seated right behind home plate, two rows up. It's the minor leagues, but at a high level, so the players have skills and they can taste how close they are to the show. Almost every break between innings had some kind of contest for kids – silly things, done in an almost self-consciously silly way. But it was fun.

Sadly, the Zephyrs – who had been on a winning streak – got hammered Sunday by the Albuquerque Isotopes. The Zephyr pitcher started hot, never got behind the three batters he faced in the first inning, took 'em out in order. After that they must have figured him out because they started hitting him hard. By the seventh-inning stretch it was 7-1, and only a rally in the bottom of the ninth made it a respectable 7-4.

But I enjoyed the game, enjoyed being part of the small crowd in the small park rooting on the home team, even though the only result that mattered was to the individual players and how it affected their chances of making the big club. (The Zephyrs are part of the Miami Marlins farm system, the Isotopes belong to the Dodgers.) There was an earnestness about it that I found missing from the major leagues in decades. The most fun I've had watching baseball in 30 years.

Couple of weeks ago we went to the last of the spring concerts in La Freniere Park, but at Tori's suggestion we took it a step farther and packed a picnic dinner. I fried chicken. (No offense, but I've never had fried chicken better than mine. I've had some as good, but never better.) And Tori made potato salad. We both like potato salad, but we realized neither of us had made it since we've been married. So she took a shot at it and it was great. We'll be fiddling with that for a while 'til we get it just right. Potato salad is another of those kitchen things that has less to do with a recipe and more to do with creativity. Which is why she's so good at it. If your potato salad tastes exactly the same every time you make it, you're doing something wrong.

Concert was good. The Bucktown All Stars was mostly middle-aged white guys playing mostly '60s and '70s soul music. They had a great brass section and a fun play list that included some James Brown and Van Morrison and Sly and the Family Stone and "Sweet Soul Music."

But the best thing about the band was the tambourine/maracas player. She was an older woman in a lime-green outfit who was just rocking out nonstop on every song. She was terrific. And then one of the band members happened to mention that she had graduated from high school in 1947! Which by my reckoning makes her 82 or 83! I hope I'm rocking like that when I'm that age. Hell, I hope I MAKE IT to that age!

Saw "Now You See Me" yesterday, the movie about the bank-robbing magicians. Really good, very entertaining. Nice twist at the end that I actually saw coming, which made me feel very smart. Even though I didn't realize it until about 60 seconds before the twist, and in retrospect I should have seen it earlier. In fact, I DID see it earlier, but just like a good magic trick, you don't realize what you've seen and what it means until the magician is pulling the quarter out of your ear. They warn you right up front – the closer you watch, the less you'll see. And with me, they were right.

On the other hand, I have to ask a question. Is ANYONE going to go see the new Superman movie? Anyone? Ye gods! Do we have to have the origin story AGAIN? Who cares! The problem with movies based on DC Comics is that they treat them so reverentially, like it's "The Greatest Story Ever Told" or something. They take themselves so damn seriously you can almost hear their brows furrowing. The Marvel Comics movies just have fun. Stuff blows up. Goofy things happen. Audiences laugh and cheer and have a good time.

Superman again? No thank you.

We also spent some time getting Millie a bunch of stuff for her new apartment. Nothing big. Just a boxful of the kind of stuff you need, but don’t' get until you need it. Pot holders and dish towels and a peeler and Neosporin and a pair of pliers and Band Aids and stuff like that. Maybe she has some of it, maybe she doesn't. But even if she does, she'll eventually use all of it. It was fun. Lots of fun.

And she does like her surprise packages. It goes in the mail today.

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