The Good and the Bad

New Softball Season
Its spring and we're starting a new softball season in my coed league. I tend not to take the games very seriously and just try and have fun with it. This past Thursday we had our annual practice. We're so awesome (or is it that so hopeless?) that we only need a single practice to get ready for the season which starts next week.

It turned out to be a great practice because another team just happened to be there and we got a little scrimmage action going which was way more fun than just a practice. Last year I led the team with a batting average of 850. I was a little worried that it was some sort of fluke, but it seems like my strategy for getting a high batting average still works. I'm not a very good hitter, but I'm good at getting to first base quickly. So my strategy is just to keep the ball on the ground and run to first base as fast as my legs will carry me. The only out I had in scrimmage was when I accidentally hit a pop fly to center field. Most of my hits were fairly light hits to second base or the shortstop followed up my super-awesome base running skills. The main thing I get out of softball is a whole lot of fun.

Now it's time for the bad news. Some lawyers at work have ordered me to give a deposition in Minneapolis this upcoming Tuesday. I just bought the flight on Friday and will be flying out Sunday because our lawyers want to prep me all day Monday. Then on Tuesday the other team's layers (should I call them the enemy? :-) ) get to question me. I'm probably being called in because my name is on a patent related to the case. I am not looking forward to this. I've talked to some other engineers who have given depositions before and universally they said it was not a fun experience. The only bright side I can think of is that it will be a new experience and I do like new experiences, but in this case I'd be willing to skip the new experience if I could.

It's spring, get out and have some fun!


First Figure Skating Competition

There are two major figure skating associations in the United States, USFSA and ISI. USFSA is the professional organization that you need to go through to be in the Olympics, but it does also accommodate lower level skaters. ISI is more of a recreational skating organization for people just looking to have fun. I am in ISI at the "delta" level. Now with that background let’s get on with the meat of my story.

Friday night was my first competition in figure skating. My routine is a one minute routine that I skate to Green Day's Boulevard of Broken Dreams. I was in my car listening to some Green Day on my way to the rink. I was pretty excited about the competition at this point. Then my GPS beeped at me saying that I was there. At that moment I distinctively remember thinking that field doesn't look like a skating rink. Right after that thought, I was like oh crap I entered the wrong address in my GPS. In my years of using a GPS I have never had a problem getting someplace so I've gotten lazy and didn't come with a backup plan. I pulled off to the side of the road and called Kim, my coach, and told her I was lost. She told me the road it was on and I then stopped at a gas station to get directions. Luckily it was only 7 miles from where I was and I got there with plenty of time. Just out of curiosity when I got home I checked and the rink's website has the wrong address on it. The directions on their website are great, but not so great with the address. I think they did that just to be mean to us people who use GPS's. Anyways everything turned out fine, and from now on when I'm going somewhere important I won't be trusting my GPS so blindly.

Once I got there I didn't have an hour to sit back and relax like I had planned, but I still had a few minutes. After that I went on the ice for my five minute warm up. It was during this warm up that I started getting a little nervous. I was the first person after warm up to skate and so I skated. Once I got into the routine, the nerves left me and I did pretty well. It wasn't the best I had ever skated the routine, but it was a little better than my average during practice. It felt great to be done!

After waiting a half an hour I got my score. FIRST PLACE! Well that's a little deceptive because what I actually got was a gold metal. I was the only male at my skill level and age bracket so I skated against the book. Basically this means the judges rate my performance and determine a fair placing for the performance. In my case I was so awesome I got the gold.

Skating in front of a crowd like that was a great experience. I plan on doing it more as I become a better skater. One last thing. I ordered some pictures of my competition from a photographer since it was my first one. I'll be sure to post a few when I get them. Since I don't have any of me skating right now, I'll leave you with a shot I took of my coach's daughter. She's a princess.


Spring Hiking

The weather was pretty nice this past week so I spent a lot of time outside. Good thing too, because it looks like it's going to be cool and rainy this whole next week.

Jamie (a friend from college who lives in LA) visited me for a day. One thing we did was go out for a little night geocaching. It was the first night cache I had ever done. The way it worked was that the GPS lead me to some parking coordinates. Then there were directional reflectors that you would shine a light on to follow a trail through the woods. It would have been very tough to nearly impossible to see the reflectors during the day, but at night it was a piece of cake. It was a very cool cache.

Then on Saturday I was out hiking and saw a few turkeys. Not too interesting until you know that my dad has a turkey fetish. So I snapped a few pictures and sent them to my dad, which I'm sure made his day :-)


Brandon & Molly's Wedding

Molly, my cousin, lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She was getting married to Brandon on April 7th, 2007 so I flew out there for a three day weekend. Everyone stayed at a nice hotel with a great pool. I had a ton of fun talking with all my cousins that I hadn't seen in awhile. By "awhile" I mean like over a decade for some of them. On the first night I spent some time in the pool with most of my cousins who were all bridesmaids. All the groomsmen were also there. I haven't had so much fun in a pool in a long time.

Beyond conversing and swimming with my cousin who have become beautiful young women (I'm not sure why my mom didn't give me any of the pretty gene's that my cousins have), I also met my grandma and all her sisters. I was impressed at how good of shape they all are in for being in their 80's. It gave me hope that there might be some good gene's in my blood. One of the conversations we had was about all my ancestors. Some of them promised to send me the parts of the family tree they have compiled. I said I'd spend some time trying to compile a family tree. I know that there are some websites setup to help with this and I'll probably check them out. It should be fun.

The actual wedding was good times had by all. Before the wedding there were a few people frantically running around. It doesn’t make much sense why people get so stressed out about weddings. I've never seen anyone get a failing grade and have to retake the wedding. I wish everyone could just chill out and have fun at a wedding, but I suppose it just depends on your personality. Some people need something to worry about. With all that said, nobody seemed too stressed out by this wedding and as expected everything turned out fine.

In all the conversations I had it amazed me how much I had in common with this side of the family, but there were some pretty big differences too. It sort of surprised me that so many of the older people still held to the idea of segregation of whites and blacks. I guess it shouldn't have surprised me too much. Hopefully those sorts of beliefs will mostly die out with my parent's generation. I was also bombarded with questions about my current girlfriend, to which I always replied that I didn’t have one. They usually replied with something about how I was still young and had plenty of time to find someone. While I won't say I'm definitely not getting married, I don't think it's a necessary thing like this folks did. I believe I can live a great life without a wife. Even though I disagreed on these few things, I still found these conversations interesting.

Overall it was a good weekend. The best part was meeting up with all my extended family I hadn't seen in years. And the swimming was enough physical activity to prevent me from getting cranky like I do when I do too much sitting around.