I’ve been AFK

Sorry, folks. I’ve been working on an awesome project, and have been away from WordPress. Back tomorrow.

As an apology, have a picture that symbolizes my relationship with my brother growing up.

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Why Do People Make Things So Complicated?

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Indoors or Outdoors? Why choose?

So I’m sitting here in front of my computer, sore as hell from tennis last night (Monday.) I have basketball tonight, tennis tomorrow night, golf on Thursday evening, and softball Friday after work.

I’m doing a lot of running around this summer. And I love it.

I’ve not always been like this. In fact, I still considered myself pretty sedentary indoor-activity-focused, even as recently as Spring.

The thing is, I’m a pretty big geek, as if you couldn’t tell. I love videogames, boardgames, surfing the web, watching TV, etc. But I’ve always had a thing for playing sports. When I was little, my parents never let me have a videogame system (back when it was only Atari or NES,) so I pretty much had to go outside, to stave off the boredom and the “Well, if you’re so bored, why don’t you clean your room?”s from Mom (love ya, Mom!)

I’d end up playing any and all sports with the kids on my street. Baseball, basketball, soccer, football, you name it. I was one of the better ones, so I had lots of positive reinforcement going on (although really, I was only one of the better ones because I was one of the bigger/older ones.)

Over time, my intense shyness caught up with my homelife (whereas it had already flourished in school and talking to adults,) and I withdrew into myself. I had been taking piano lessons for forever, so I would spend my time playing the piano, watching TV, boardgames and, yes, videogames. I eventually saved up enough money for my own NES, thankyouverymuch, and so would be constantly saving princesses and playing soccer and baseball electronically, instead of in real life (the sports part. I never saved any princesses in real life, dammit.)

Am I sad this happened? Only in that I never hung out with my peers in the neighborhood anymore. These were some awesome kids that if I’ve heard correctly have turned into some awesome adults. But I truly grew to enjoy playing games inside as much as I enjoyed playing games outside.

Eventually, my circle of friends changed, and now I have a lot of good friends that love videogames and boardgames as much as I do.

But lately, I’ve fallen in with coworkers that would rather go outside. And as a result: tennis and golf and basketball and softball.

I now have friends I can go out and play with, as well as friends I can stay in and play with.

I would highly recommend you do the same. Having both is awesome.

And if you can’t find anyone for whichever one you need, well, what are you doing Saturday?

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Yes, but what about games?

Current Videogame Obsession: Crackdown 2. More of the same as Crackdown 1. This is a good thing.

Current Boardgame Obsession: Pandemic. Friggin’ Epidemic Cards. I’m thinking of manually choosing roles instead of them being randomly assigned. I suppose that would make each game uniform, but it’d be worth a couple of times through to see if that’s the case. Talk about a game that’s stacked against the players.

Yes, but what do you feel about the whole Roger Ebert “videogames can never be art” thing?: I don’t agree with him that they can never be art, but I’m not convinced that they’re there yet. If I could talk with him, I would ask him if all books/paintings/movies/songs are art, or if it’s just the really good ones, and would it be even slightly possible for even one videogame to approach that level of artistic direction. But ultimately, it doesn’t matter what his opinion is, just like it doesn’t matter what my opinion is.

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So I’m sitting here at work thinking about three women to whom I’m attracted (note: not a song. Yet.)

I do this a lot. Not thinking about these three necessarily, but thinking about relationships, both specifically in my life and generally as a concept. Continue reading

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Suits Win the Day

Located on the former footprint of Yankee Stadium, this 10 acre park will feature three natural grass athletic fields for baseball, softball, little league, discus, shot put, and the javelin.  The southern ball field will be oriented in the same manner as the field that existed in Yankee Stadium.

Heritage Field will also include, overlooks, pedestrian & sports lighting, a perimeter walking path, grass berms, bleachers, and on-grade bleachers so as to provide an array of seating options for families.  The new field-level comfort station will be constructed with a rain garden and play area adjacent to it. The latter will include water features and play equipment for children of all ages.

The pedestrian promenade along Ruppert Plaza will feature ample walking space, shade trees, and terraces with seating and landscaping.  The plaza allows provides space for a future outdoor vendor. A grand staircase, ramp, and landscaped hill shall connect this space to the adjacent rooftop facility.

Source (including picture): NYC Department of Parks & Recreation

They broke ground today.

Say what you will about the Yankees (I’m a Yankee hater, myself,) but this idea of making the old stadium site more than just a parking lot is pretty cool. Not to mention what they’re doing at other sites as well.

Of course, it would be better if the Yankees actually footed the bill for this stuff, since it was their idea to destroy the parkland to build the new stadium (see, I gotta rain on the parade at least a little!)

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Wanted: American Folk Music

Warning: To all my friends outside the United States, this is a very U.S.-centric post. You know, just in case the title of this post didn’t spell it out enough for you.

How many of you Americans reading this know the words to the National Anthem? How about “America the Beautiful?” Easy, right? Now what about the words to “My Old Kentucky Home?” Do you even know the tune to that one?

My guesses: 99%, 75%, 10% (for both words and tune.) Bonus points if you know any of the other verses to the “Star-Spangled Banner” (I don’t. I’m a music snob for knowing that other verses exist, but not so much of a music snob that I actually know any of them.)

What I’m (very slowly) getting at is that we’re losing our folk songs. The one genre of music that is unequivocally American is being lost to the sands of time. Rock comes from Jazz, which came from Blues and Ragtime, which came from the mix of European and African cultures in New Orleans. So yes, Rock is American, and could only have come out of the United States, but at its very basic core, it has overseas influences.

Folk music, though? It’s all American only (it’s called “Americana” for a reason, after all,) and we aren’t teaching it to our children.

I think this may be because of a possible stigma against it. Let’s play in the rabbit hole known as CertButt’s Attempts At Logic(tm):

When I was younger, I Hated country music (notice the capital H.) It was all back-water, country bumpkin, cousin-dating hick crap. And, in a fit of “I’m better than you”-ness, I would automatically associate anything that had acoustic guitar with country music, and therefore back-water, countr- ah, you get the idea (nevermind that my parents, and by extension I, listened to Loggins and Messina and James Taylor. We also listened to Huey Lewis and the News, so CLEARLY those other guys didn’t play country music.)

Side note: I forgot how much angrier I was when I was in my “I Know Everything” phase. It was all so simple! Looking back, I’m kinda surprised my parents didn’t strangle me. Heck, I would have strangled me.

Anyway. Over time, my music education has thankfully progressed to the point where I don’t automatically hate country music, I don’t think country music is back-water, country bumpkin, cousin-dating crap, and I also know that not everything that has acoustic guitar is automatically country music. Yet I can understand how some people might not have progressed that far in their music appreciaion, and can still think that anything sung by Burl Ives (for example) is back-water hick crap. Of course, movies like O Brother, Where Art Thou can serve to bring Americana back to the masses, while simultaneously confirming its back-water status (“Wow, we’ve sure come a long way since we thought THIS music was good!”)

In reality, though, folk music is part of our American-ness of being (yes, I just said that. I stand by it.) When I hear music by Bill Monroe or David Bromberg, I certainly do think of cowboys around a campfire playing guitars, but I don’t think of it as back-water. I think of it as history. I think of it as MY history, a suburban wanna-be punk like me. And I’ve heard lots of people much smarter than me say that we should pay attention to history.

Needless to say (but I’m going to say it anyway,) I’m not suggesting that all other music isn’t American, or that we should only listen to folk music. I listen to all kinds of music, from all kinds of musicians, from all kinds of countries. What I am saying is that there is a rich tradition of music that has been passed down from generation to generation through oral and aural methods, and we owe it to generations past to keep the tradition going. Do we let the stigma of back-water hicks poison our history? Only if we let it.

What are your favorite folk songs?

(While I was assembling this post, I stumbled on an amazing collection of music in iTunes. It’s a collection of Bluegrass and Old-Time String Band Music from the Florida Folklife Collection. It appears to be published by the Florida Department of Education. I listened to a couple of songs, and they set me a-giggling. You can find the list of songs here. It’s a great way to cheer yourself up.)

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