Wednesday, July 16, 2008

You CAN go home again

Or, as I've been repeating throughout the week, almost to the point of attrition: Tom Wolfe was full of shite. Here are a few highlights from my wonderful week-and-a-half vacation trip to ye olde hometown.

The lush, rolling hills of Ohio... I still miss them.

I donated blood on Independence Day -- I thought it'd be a nice, patriotic gesture, and a useful one, since I'm type O-negative. Unfortunately, I not only went in on a completely empty stomach, but I also had the brilliant idea of squeezing my fist strenuously in an effort to accelerate the process so I could get to the 4th of July parade. I almost passed out, and I ended up having to wait an extra half-hour before the staff let me leave. I think I really scared the crap out of them.

Darrel and Lisa have been the highlight of the Hiram parade for the last few years, and this year was no exception. The theme:

Saluting Ohio's small farmers (yes, that's a rooster in a wheelbarrow!)...

... and breeders! As popular as the rooster-in-a-barrow was, Ella and Serena really scored the most oohs! and aahs! from the crowd, and rightly so. They're adorable.

Got a chance to see The Best Damn Band In The Land at Blossom, performing Carmina Burana, the Polovtsian Dances, and the 1812 Overture, complete with cannons and a killer fireworks show.

Glacial Grooves State Memorial in Kelleys Island. My friends know me well, we took a four-hour detour just so I could satisfy my geo-geekiness.

Reason no. 1469 why pothead douchebags should be executed on sight. Fucking asswipes!

On the ferry ride back from Kelleys Island, Ella struck up a conversation / candy-mooching mission with some random family. The nice gent wearing the baseball cap then asked me if I worked with troubled Polish kids, explaining that he, too, ran a volunteer parents camp for at-risk Polish kids. It took me roughly five seconds to catch on to the fact that he'd seen my T-shirt. Too bizarre to make up.

The centerpiece of the Sabathia trade, Matt LaPorta, was scheduled to make his Akron Aeros debut on Tuesday, July 8, but that game was rained out. As a result, we got to see his first games in the Indians organization when we attended the twinbill the following night. LaPorta (center) went a combined 3-6 on the night, showing pretty good plate discipline and a quick, powerful bat. Keep those fingers crossed!

We went to see the Tribe on Friday. Darrel shamefully and shamelessly snuck in his MD 20/20 fix in a double-layer of ziploc bags hidden in Baby Serena's diaper-changing mat. He even had the gall to claim that the rubber insulation in the mat preserved the wine's slightly chilled temperature perfectly. He's truly a monster.

Uncle Cliffy! I had never seen him pitch in person before, and was not disappointed: 6 IP, 0 runs, 7 SO. He laboured a bit, but was absolutely dominant when he needed to make pitches. The Tribe beat the Rays 5-0, and Uncle Cliffy picked up his 12th win of the season.

The beginning of a bizarre post-game fireworks and music celebration that included a gospel choir and a disconcerting hodge-podge of Motown, rock, pop, country, and Tibetan throat-singing music. (All right, I made that last one up.)

Considering what a miserable season the Tribe have put together this year, it's kind of remarkable that the town's still showing the team lots of love. The attendance was roughly 40,000, and quite a few people honked when this bus drove past.

This quick recap would not be complete without a heartfelt thanks to the best friends a guy could ever wish for. Darrel, Lisa, Baby Ella, Baby Serena... thanks a million!

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