Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Deep Down, I'm a Horrible Person

I live just north of Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. The winters are long and cold, the growing season is short and mild, and I like it this way.

I have seasonal allergies.  Actually, I have a lot of environmental allergies, but the pollen and mold spores are by far the worst. I help my wife in the garden, not because I like to garden, but because I think my kids need to see living things nurtured and helped to grow (and because it makes my wife happy). So, you see why I like winter...and now, it's ending.

This past Saturday, Minnesota hosted Louisiana Tech in a baseball game in the new Target Field. The Gophers lost, 5-2. Most of the articles I read were about the stadium, not the about game. How nice it was outside, how this was a dry run for the Twins, to see how crowds would be handled, and logistic sorts of things.

I'm not going to lie to you, I was not in favor of a new stadium. When they decided not to put a roof on it, I was completely opposed. However, the trickle-down effect to a local economy from a professional sports team is undeniable, if somewhat incalculable. So, in the long run, it's probably not a bad thing to have (and, it's not my county with the elevated sales tax).

But the whole idea of building a new stadium, so you can offer more amenities (and charge more for them), so you can take in more money, so you can pay better players, so you can have a more successful team, so demand goes up for the tickets, so you can charge more, so you can pay better players, ad infinitum... it just seems like it never really works out that way for teams, you know?

Starting sometime last week, we've had a stretch of good weather here. In fact, the high today (Wednesday the 31st of March) is forecast to be near 80. On the days the Twins have two exhibition games scheduled (Friday and Saturday), there is rain predicted both days.

Don't get me wrong, I don't wish for it to rain on ... yeah, I kinda do wish for rain. But not because I want the fans and players to get wet. Not because I want the game canceled, which would lead to make-up games, which usually leads to double-headers, which would make a friend of mine near-giddy. A side reason I want rain is I'd like to know the color and/or pattern on the tarp they use to cover the infield.

No, the real reason I want rain, is because I love the sound of unreasonable people shouting at other unreasonable people...and a rained out game at the new roofless field would likely cause that. I told you, I'm a horrible person.

Until another time,

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Better Night's Skeptic

We don't watch much TV in my house. What we do watch is the occasional PBS cartoon (think "Clifford" or "Fetch!"), some "Jane and the Dragon" on qubo, and sports. Any sport. Using our house rules definitions, figure skating and ballroom dancing are sports, but only at the national competition levels.

I was watching a basketball game with my seven year old son, and we were discussing the rules. Why the three-point arc doesn't touch the free-throw circle, why some fouls give free throws and some do not, why do they have to keep tucking their shirts in, etc. They got to the point where they need to take a TV timeout, and went to commercials.

NCAA playoff games are not marketing vehicles to the under-ten crowd. I was pretty certain I would not see Pokemon or GI Joe. I knew there would be a Cialis or Viagra commercial, but those are usually really circumspect, and he doesn't really watch that closely. When a network commercial gets thrown in for a somewhat suspenseful/violent show or movie (CSI, NCIS, and so on), I tell him, "You might cover your eyes for this," and he typically does. He's rather sensitive to that.

A commercial for mattresses came on. It must have been a Sleep Number commercial, because the tag line was "A Better Night's Sleep". The commercial ended, and my son huffed. I asked him what was wrong with the commercial, and he says, "Ha. A Better Night's Sleep. They just say that to try to get you to buy it."

Marketers of the world, beware. A seven year old boy is onto your scheme to try to get us to buy your stuff.

Until another time,

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Agony of De...Head


I have some friends who get migraines, and their sensitivities when so affected vary as widely as they do...some can't tolerate the rustling sound of the curtains moving; another can't move her facial muscles without pain shooting through her skull.

When I get a migraine, light becomes a searing, tear-inducing beam of fire. So, when I was dropping the children off at the Child Care center, and I felt like I had a needle behind my right eye, I started to feel a little apprehension. When I got back in my car to head toward work, I was hoping it'd just go away. By the time I reached the freeway, I had tears coming from my right eye. I turned around at the gas station, and drove home...squinting, blinking, and trying to drive while seeing as little as possible. It was a harrowing two miles.

I stumbled into the house, took two Excedrin, and felt my way downstairs. I lay down on the couch in the basement, trying not to look directly at my cellphone screen, so I could send a message to my wife to say I'd made it home (I had sent a message to her and my boss in the gas station parking lot). I lay there in the dark and quiet, mentally building walls to block the pain.

I have an extremely high tolerance of pain. Whenever I'm hurt, I explore the pain: probing, prodding, flexing...whatever I do that hurts, I need to know the exact thresholds of the pain. But not with a migraine. I fear this pain, so much so that when the pain spikes feel like they might be subsiding, I continue to lay still in the dark, maintaining my walls, for fear that it's not gone, only resting for another attack. I suppose it was a long four hours before I got the courage up to move..and it was going away. Tears still streaming from my eyes, but I knew it was going to get better from here. Those of you that have had migraines know: when they start, the pain comes at you like it will never stop.

I have a family history of migraines, something I was hoping that I would not inherit. I've done some research, and it seems to me that there are as many theories surrounding the onset of migraines as there are people who get them. For some people, it's a very specific triggering action. For others, it's something as generic as "when my blood pressure goes up." My trigger? I'm not sure. I've only gotten five migraines, three were close together (within a two week period), and two have been outliers. Not really very much to go on.

Anyhow, it's passed now, and I'm beyond grateful. Here's to hoping some doctors have a major breakthrough in finding the causes of these. I'll volunteer to be tested on.

Until another time,

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hello, World!

Only in a computing environment would those two words carry as much connotation as those do.

I'd apologize for the boring layout, but I like to have a site that can be checked from a work/school computer without drawing undue attention to yourself. So, no apologies.

I just needed a place to rant (usually about how people fail to question everything), and brag about my kids (probably about how they are learning to question everything).  I might never post here again, and instead I'll be holding the address forever. That's actually part of what took me so long to start a blog, I couldn't think of a good name for it.

I have a variety of hobbies, all of which are covered (very well, in most cases) by a multitude of other blogs. The world did not need another World of Warcraft blog, nor did it need another blog displaying photographs of signs that contain grammatical/spelling errors, nor was there a need for another blog that covers game strategies.

Instead, I decided I'd start a blog about arguing, and seeking resolution. About never taking things at face value, instead, taking them with a grain of salt, and forming your own opinions about things after gathering more information from different sources. There are too many media sources to allow one to dominate your data intake, because no single source is ever non-biased.  You really need to hear both sides of a bias, to determine where the truth lies (not Truth...there are other blogs for that).

Until another time,

PS I really hope my friends with blogs will correct my typos as nicely as I correct typos for them.