Saturday, March 11, 2017

Batter up in Old Town Scottsdale

I did not know that Spring Training was a thing. I mean I have always understood that baseball teams go to warm places and practice before the season begins. It is not like I thought that they just all met up on opening day, chose positions and hoped for the best. I just was unaware that it was something that people, other than those contractually obligated to be there, would care about.  I certainly never imagined that it was such a thing that it would fill up all the hotels in the greater Phoenix area.  But apparently it is as I just found out when my usual hotel in Tempe, along with all its neighbors, was booked up and I was relocated to an office park somewhere on the north side of the city.

Someone mentioned that our new location was close to Old Town Scottsdale. I looked it up, liked what I saw and decided that this was how I would spend my free day in Phoenix. Then I got to the Middle of Nowhere Motel 8, opened up Google Maps and discovered that I was nowhere close to Old, New or even Middle-aged Scottsdale.  We weren't close to downtown Phoenix either. I feel like this location may have been the result of a practical joke that got out of hand. This was maddening. How many fricking people had come to watch men not compete at a sport that on its best day is boring af and why had they taken all the good hotel rooms?

Friday, March 10, 2017

Getting artsy in Detroit

I won't lie. I was not exactly thrilled to have a recent day off in Detroit. It's cold, it's not particularly pretty and my fuzzy recollection of 8 Mile informs me that it's a dangerous place, especially if you are a white man of limited talent trying to become a rapper. Also, did I mention it was a bitter 20-ish degree cold?

Yet, this was my reality last Friday. I could either risk freezing and/or getting shiv'ed for referring to myself as Slim Berti or I could sit in a hotel room all day. We all know which one I chose.

I rented a car, called a friend and told him I had a great day planned for us. That may have been a slight exaggeration but I'm pretty sure that I did reveal- in a mumble and under my breath- that we were going to the hood. That is probably something that he'd want to know. But I had a good reason, nay a great reason, to visit this particular economically depressed neighborhood. I wanted to see Tyree Guyton's work before it was all reduced to ashes.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The things that happen when you go looking for humpbacks.


It really could have gone wither way.  Back in 2010, I flew to Seattle, drove 3 hrs to Anacortes and took a 2 hour ferry to the San Juan islands, all with the goal of kayaking with orcas.  It is a beautiful part of the world and I'm so glad I got to see it and would go so far as to call the trip a rousing success but for one noteworthy fact. We saw zero orcas. Not a one- ok, well, maybe one if you count the one we saw on the ferry back to Anacortes but that was not the point.  Afterwards, I continued to exchange emails with the owner of Seaquest, the kayaking outfit we used and eventually learned that ours was the only trip all season that saw no orcas.

My fortunes improved the next year when I flew to Cancun, drove 3 hours to Chiquila and took a 30 minute ferry to Holbox in the hope of swimming with whale sharks. This one was a slam dunk. I was able to swim with 3 whale sharks, saw countless others from the boat and enjoyed three days of stress-free island living at its best.