Sunday, July 30, 2017

Surfing in the Northeast

Hang loose, man.  That is what I expected to hear when DLG got her surf board for her 11th birthday.  It was a long board and that is about all I know about the style.  I am not a surfer of oceans. 

After watching Soul Surfer with the family, it's probably better that I don't learn how to surf, anywhere.  I have sweet blood that sharks would love.

DLG had been going to surf camp for a couple of years now on Nantasket Beach in Hull with East Coast Hui, and she always seemed to enjoy it.  The beach always got crowded, so the breaks were a little tough.  Notice the surfing lingo.  But she always had to borrow a surf board.  Some times she would go out and just miss a wave with the board that she borrowed and would often blame it.  I think she also blamed the board for a lot of things at home too.

So when she got her first board, it was University of Hawaii dreaming that we were doing.    We would go to meet with her every winter (and stay with her since it was too expensive to stay anywhere else).  It would be a lot of fun to visit her.  Yes, she still has trouble on 3 foot waves, but so what?

The surfing in the South Shore is not great, not like California or Hawaii.  Nantasket is OK and seems to be for everyone.  The surfing in our town is a little rougher.  Peggotty and Egypt beach always seems to have some surfing but we were always told that these places were not as safe as Nantasket because of rip currents and rocky shores.  I guess we'll have to wait for the outer cape and Nantucket until those three foot waves above turn into six foot waves.

Any way, her surfing is a hit and when she tells anyone her favorite sports it is always basketball, volleyball and surfing now.  Now I guess I just have to check to see if there are any surfing scholarships anywhere.  You never know.  University of Hawaii doesn't have them...I already checked.

But we'll have to tackle the tougher waves first.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

You Mean Castle Island isn't an Island?

"You mean Castle Island isn't an island?" Was one of the first things DLG said when we drove by Day Boulevard into the parking lot. Good question when you think about it.  Why still call it an island when it isn't an island anymore?  Seems kind of silly.  Rhode Islanders are writing mean emails to me right now.  But Castle Island is its name; Castle Peninsula does not have the same ring to it, especially for the drunks walking up and down the beach.

View from one of the Walls?
After 12 long years - C was in a stroller last time we were here - we made our way back to Castle Island in South Boston.  A former fort to protect Boston proper during the wars hundreds of years ago, Castle Island is now a big giant playground with a great ice cream and hot dog shop (Sullivans).  My how things have changed. 

Some things have not changed though.  Anything historical and C, G and DLG all roll their eyes and complain.  Like I am torturing them with the things that I like to do, because I am "old" and "out of touch."  I admit that sometimes I think that I am alone in my love for American history, but today's trip wasn't my idea, it was LC's.  Now who's "old" and "out of touch" kids?  To Mom's credit, it was a beautiful day, the kids had been sitting around the house for days on end watching (TV) the Summer pass them by and we were thinking about getting a beer afterward.  I was in, at least.

After hemming and hawing about doing something else, and driving through West Roxbury, Dorchester and all of the other dangerous villages to get to South Boston, we finally arrive.  Storms were brewing, but the weather was pleasant and it wasn't TOO crowded.  When we got onto the grounds, we walked around the fort and actually went inside.  Last time I was there, I didn't remember a guided tour, I just remembered walking in and walking around the grounds.  But this time were met at the entrance to the inside by a guide, literally stopping us in our tracks.  Scott, I think his name was, showed our group around and talked quite a bit about how he was a volunteer for some group that maintains the fort.  I just wanted to get on with it, at this point.

No idea what this statue was commemorating
We were guided up the walls and inside the fortress walls. to look at the cannon, cannonballs and flags that were used (in replica) during the wars.  While Scott's information was more about what was around the fort (Deer Island, Quincy Shipyard, Spectacle Island), some of his information was new to me. 

It was interesting hearing about the history of the fort and the fact that soldiers were stationed inside for months at a time with only slivers of sunlight as their actual view of the outside.  We saw some cannons - fake of course. all lined up facing the harbor.  And we felt the walls since we were told that the farther inside you went the more likely the walls were to "sweat."  I started to sweat too since it was getting humid.  Unfortunately, the tour was cur short a little since the storm clouds got closer and closer.  No sense getting any wetter than we already were.

The kids still complained as we got into the car about being hungry this time.  Yes, I though to myself, a beer would taste good right now.  Sadly, the rains came right afterward.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The 2017 Major League Draft is On Hunter Greene Time

Out of nowhere last night C asks me if I want to watch the MLB draft.  I told him "sure," unsure why he wanted to watch it.  But to spend time with my 15 year old son without the pretense of telling him some life lesson really appealed to me. 

When I walked back into the living room - our so called couch room - I was the draft on and he was sitting on the couch.

"So who do you think is going to be taken #1" I asked.

"This 17 year old kid from California.  He throws the ball 102 MPH and hits bombs..." C explains to me.

"102 MPH?" I picked my head up.  "Really?  What's his name?"

Not the greatest throwing motion...
"Hunter Greene" C tells me, as he shows me a video of him pitching.  That's impressive as I'm watching his highlight package that any recruiting service would be proud of.  "He was on the cover of Sports Illustrated last week."

"What's Sports Illustrated??" I say half-joking.

We then hear the MLB Network guys tell us that Minnesota is on the clock.  Oh, I forgot how much I dislike Harold Reynolds.  2 hours of listening to him not giving me any insight at all should be fun.  I have never even heard of the other guys.  I guess they didn't take any castoffs from ESPN.

I look at Baseball America's website to look up a little more about Greene.  Topping radar guns at 101-102, he throws 4 pitches for strikes.  At the same time he has a lot of pop in his bat at his position of shortstop.  Quite an impressive resume.  I also noticed that he worked extensively with Alan Jaeger.  The guy who teaches long toss and has those bands that I have trouble talking to c about, much less institute.  I think C knows more about this kid than he knows about anyone on the Red Sox.  The Twins are still on the clock.

And the Twins are still on the clock.  I guess it is not an advantage that the Twins have an extra 10 minutes to decided since they have had since the season ended to decide who they were going to take First overall.  Finally Rob Manfred comes up to the podium to declare the first overall selection. 

The Twins ended up taking a different shortstop from California, however - Royce Lewis from Jserra Catholic HS.  Another kid with a lot of pop, but also plus speed.  The Reds picking second end up taking Greene.  I would rather go to Cincinnati myself than Minneapolis.  C remarks that the Lewis is not that good, even in High School and he has not idea where "UC Irvine" is - the school Lewis committed to.  I tell him that maybe it has to do with signability, although one would have heard about that before hand.

C and I watch for a couple of more hours.  I finally turn off the TV when the Red Sox selected Tanner Houck from Missouri.  A lot of talent in the first round.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

6 Reasons Why 13 Reasons Why Is Important

13 Reasons Why is one of the most controversial series in a long time, they said. Depicting a Girl's descent into a mindset that suicide was her only option, and her friend's anguished attempt at trying to understand it, "13 Reasons Why" became a flash point for child psychologists everywhere.  It was a triggering situation for vulnerable youths.  It depicted a high school that really couldn't exist in reality.  It wasn't lighthearted enough.  Numerous reasons abounded for why "13 Reason Why" was bad for kids and their parents alike.  Hannah Baker and Clay Jensen are bad for our kids!

I'm here though to tell you that there were actually 6 reasons why "13 Reasons Why" was actually a useful and necessary show to come along.

1.  The Music.  OK, C would not say that the music was one of the best things about the show, but the atmospheric 1990's alternative music sensibility was perfect for the show.  The show was moody, somber and serious.  So was the music from the 1990's.  The Cure and Joy Division?  Count me in. And the final scene with Bob Mould's "See a Little Light?"  What a great song for this show.  I'm still humming.

2.  The Cinematography.  I'm sure I wasn't the only one to notice that as Bryce's tape was playing and for all scenes afterward, all of the blues were accentuated while all of the other colors became muted.  Maybe a parlor trick, but you just don't see TV shows with these kinds of processes.

3.  Clay's Tape.  I admit that the melodrama was thick with this show, and especially so when the lead character finally listens to his tape.  This was a deeply affecting episode and I felt awful when Clay declares that "I killed Hannah Baker and breaks down in Tony's arms.  Heartbreaking.

4.  The Symbolism.  I hope I'm not forcing things here but it seemed reasonably plausible that that last scene I talked about before did not feature anyone who was alive.  Tony was clearly a guardian angel.  I don't have an answer for his boyfriend since he was a bit player with few lines.  Clay could have easily thrown himself off of the cliff.  Skye also slit her wrists as shown when Tony and Clay were in the cafe.  I think what we saw were four dead people driving off on the highway at the end.

5.  Real Depiction of Teenage Angst.  Hey, I was a teenager once.  And I am raising one, soon to be two teenagers.  The tapes were a microcosm of teenage life.  Every tape depicted something important in Hannah's life, but only a couple were actually important.  A couple of the tapes were, taken by themselves, not terribly important.  The poem tape?  Not really a big deal.  And I'm still unsure what Marcus did.  But no matter, these were important tapes to Hannah.  Just like typical teenage angst.

6.  Talking to the Kids.  This is the big one.  Since I finished the last episode a couple of weeks ago, I have been able to have a heart to heart with C.  But we've also had small conversations with both C and G about the show.  We have talked about how disturbing the suicide scene was.  I have talked about the music that I like.  And we have talked to the kids about how bad at his job Mr. Porter was.  All of the time trying to reinforce how much they mean to me. Yeah, this was an important show at an important time.

And all of the words we said yesterday, well that's a long time ago.  Sing it Bob Mould.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

No Hitter Time in America

No Hitter Time
C has been pitching lights out this year so far.  Except when he was held in there for an inning too long, things has been really happening for him. out of state, EBL or AAU, it hasn't mattered, the fastball has been snapping, the curveball that he has been working on has been biting.  Long story short, C has been pitching really well.

Then came his recent game in Raynham against one of his AAU teams - East Coast Bulls.  He felt strong pitching 5 no hit innings for his school team Xavierian on Monday, things were looking up for his Saturday pitching performance on Saturday.

And it was impressive.  7 innings, no hitter.  The first one of his career.  the innings that I watched were no contest.  His curveball was rocking and setting up the fast ball nicely.  He ended up with 13 strikeouts, and no hits. His first full no - hitter of his career.  Hopefully, not the last.

Oh, by he way, he went 3 for 3 in the game as well, the only hitter with more than  hit in the 5-0 shutout.  Sadly, his coach lost his ipad in the second game, as c went another 2 for 2 in his two at-bats.  One of the best doubleheaders, he has ever had.  Not bad considering his Father was watching him.