At the Ballpark

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We drove down to San Diego to watch the Dodgers play the Padres. All I can say is that this is a beautiful ballpark. Gonna go check things out in a few.

This was part of an event held by the University of Phoenix Alumni Association of which Ann is a member. Aside from gas in the car and parking, it cost us very little to enjoy the day.

UPDATE: It’s always a good time in San Diego when the Dodgers are in town. The crowd seemed to be 70/30 Dodger fans but it could be that we were making the most noise. Then again, there was a ton of blue everywhere we looked. Besides, the Padres didn’t do much on the offensive side and were shutout 4-0 behind the incredible arm of Clayton Kershaw.

Before any of this, I drove across the Coronado Bridge which is something I’ve always wanted to do and apparently, so do many others. There’s a u-turn at the end of it so you can turn around. Sadly, as scenic as it is, it’s also one of the top suicide bridges in America and there are many suicide prevention hotline signs posted along its path.

Watching a game at Petco Park is only part of the experience. Sure, you can buy your ticket and watch but Petco has gone the extra mile by adding to the experience and making it much more family-friendly because, let’s face it, kids have a hard enough time sitting still in general let alone trying to watch a baseball game.

Just outside the stadium (but still considered a part of it) is the Park at the Park, a nice little area where fans can sit on a hill and watch the game either obstructed by the centerfield backdrop or on the screen attached to the back of it. This is where we spent inning 3-8 and loved every minute of it. It’s more than just “going to the ballpark”: the park includes a playground, affordable food vendors, and best of all, a small diamond where kids can play some baseball while Padres employees pitch to them.

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Here’s Anthony taking his turn at the plate. Remember: he’s a golfer.

There’s also lots of other fun stuff like face painting and balloon animals.

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There’s also this little area that has a sandbox in front of it.

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And to top it off, it’s surrounded by an amazing skyline.

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Petco Park and the Padres have taken just going to a ballgame a more memorable experience, one that I would be happy to have for my home team.

Toward the end of the evening, Anthony and I found ourselves playing catch in the park with a souvenir baseball he bought.

We’ll never forget that moment.

Thank you, San Diego.You should be proud.

See the complete set of pictures on Flickr

“Dodgers Suck”

PHOTO_20130918_131121Although my city of residence is closer to Anaheim than Los Angeles, I am a Dodgers fan and always will be. Nothing will change that.

But there are some in the area who choose to make that stadium in Anaheim and its team of residence – the one with an identity crisis that can’t choose which town they hail from – their lifeblood. And that’s fine.

Then there’s those who take their fanaticism to ridiculous levels and think that their current team (now 5 games under .500 with no chance of making the playoffs) is still better than this year’s Dodgers (87-64 with a Magic Number of 2).

I had a run-in with one such gentleman at Anthony’s school today and it was classic.

I had just picked up Anthony and was nearing an intersection bustling with kids crossing in every direction. There was some kind of SUV in front of me, one that could imply more than a few things, whose driver apparently couldn’t decide whether to pull over or stop at the intersection. The driver eventually did park all caddywhompus with the rear of the SUV sticking out into the street. I maneuvered around it to the stop sign.

Approaching the busy crosswalk, I told Anthony – he chatting away as usual – to tone it down while I took in all the sights and sounds around me so as to proceed with caution.

Even with him quiet, there was still a steady cacophony from the kids leaving school and crossing in front of me. Then as I was sitting there, I heard the following being mumbled on my right side.

“Dodgers suck.”

It was from the guy driving the SUV who no doubt saw my lanyard hanging from my rearview mirror (see image above). I turned down the radio and looked over at him, smiling.

“I’m sorry, but what did you say?” Dude probably figured his little sotto voce sentiments would go unheard by me but alas, even with my tinnitus acting up, I heard him loud and clear.

“Oh…I’m just waiting for my son,” he said uncomfortably.

“That’s funny because I thought I heard you say, ‘Dodgers suck’ instead.”

Trying to justify his statement he simply replied, “Well, they do,” which is akin to a child wagging their finger in another’s face and saying, “Told you so!” Put simply, there is no justification for his remark when given the stats from this year’s Dodger season. I won’t bore you with those but he apparently forgot about this.

Maybe he figured I was going to start yelling and screaming. Maybe he thought I was going to get out of my car and get in his face. I did neither. I’m not that fanatical and I know the facts, so I just kept on smiling and replied.

Mr._Krabs_-_OMG“Oh, well I’m sorry you feel that way, guy. See you in the playoffs. Have a good day!” I threw him a peace sign and drove off, still smiling.

Dude didn’t know what hit him. His face was blank, as if Mom just found his porn stash/pot under his bed while she was cleaning his room and confronted him with it.

He had nothing else of substance or fact to contribute to this unscheduled conversation, and it’s doubtful he will bring this up with his wife or anyone else.

A guy named Mahatma Gandhi said it best:

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

So thanks for expressing your knee-jerk opinion, Mr. Angels Fan! And I truly hope you have a good day…although my Dodgers may have already ruined 2013 for you…

LinkedOut

LINKEDINToday, I received a LinkedIn connection request from a coworker still working at my former employer. I think I had spoken to this person only a few times at length and to be quite honest, I was only doing it to be cordial. There wasn’t much else to say to this person as far as I was concerned. Opposite sides of the fence, you might say, in more ways than one.

And as most of us do when we receive such requests, we click on the link and start to stalk checking out the person’s profile: current and previous employers, current and previous cities of residence, other connections, etc. Then I got to thinking that if this person came across me then they must have also seen all of my same information.

Without much more thought, I did what I should have done a long time ago: I deleted my LinkedIn account, and I did it for several reasons besides this one.

I Never Used It
Outside of changing my profile picture and updating my resume as my employment situation changed, I did not engage in anything on the site. I followed only a few, did not join any discussions, etc. That alone was reason enough for me to close my account.

It Never Worked
True, you get out of it what you put into it and I put lots of tweaking into my profile. It yielded only a few contacts from potential employers and neither of them seemed legit. I even posted drawings I did in college as a means to sway potential employers into seeing that I’m more than just a one-trick pony. Zip. Not one person asked about them.

My Resume Sucks
No really, it does. If you read it you’d probably think I was one of the dullest people on the planet. Seriously, who would willingly subject themselves to 9+ years of writing, editing, and proofreading? Aside from that I don’t have experience with Chicago and AMA style which, if you plan on being a proofreader, is huge outside of holding a degree (which I don’t have, either). I’d prefer to not return to those occupations again and given these facts, chances are I probably won’t and I’m okay with that.

Few Connections, Most Distant
A majority of my connections were from my past and pretty much useless. What good is the opinion of or recommendation from the guy I worked with nine years ago who probably barely remembers me? What about the invite from the aforementioned person today? They are as good as strangers to me now, and I’d rather have more up-to-date contacts to give to potential employers. (Most of my current references are not on LinkedIn.) Also, I’m not a “connection whore” and feel the need to link to everyone I could think of like the guy who sold me peanuts at the ballgame. I like my circles small but some like theirs large which boggles my mind as to how they keep up with all of them. That, or like Facebook, they treat it as a popularity contest. S/He with the most connections wins.

Strangers, Stalkers, and Psychopaths
Aside from the random invitation from someone you may know, there was also the plethora of invites from headhunters, recruiters, and downright strangers – more people who have seen my embarrassing CV. At first I approved them thinking that hey, the more connections, the better. Then I realized that these few strangers I approved just connected to even more people. It was like a pyramid scheme without the scheme: they were on top and their mass list of connections trickled down. What an ego trip. Compare that to my 50 connections when I closed my account. Then there’s times when things turn sour with one of your connections or you ask them to write a recommendation and it was so poorly written that you have to keep it private. That happened to me. This person turned out to be a real psychopath and I hid their recommendation from the public eye.

And with that, I’m done with LinkedIn. So to all of you – all 50 of you – who were connected to me via LinkedIn, you aren’t now. But it’s doubtful they’ll even notice I’m gone.

And to the former coworker who wanted to connect with me, don’t hold your breath waiting for my approval.

I’ll Never Part With You

IMG_20130902_155345Me and my old iPod Video have been through a lot. Heck, I remember the day I bought it and how, up to the minute I walked to the register to pay for it, I was still contemplating buying the Zen Vision:M (but they were out of stock).

But in the end I felt I had made the right choice, especially after seeing a coworker’s face beam with jealousy after showing it to her – she was still using one of those old music-only models with the LCD display in 2006.

I’ve had my share of accessories for it including a Timex watch that, with the dongle inserted into the charging/data dock, allowed me to control the music as well as volume from the watch (the music controls being limited to skipping and rewinding). This would have been great if I was into running at the time, but did come in handy on those road trips we took with it.

Flash-forward to when I bought my first iPod Touch. Once I was taken in by everything this nifty little gadget could do, my old iPod Video started collecting dust in the drawer, rarely to see the light of day. Why should it? All it did was play music. It had no WiFi, no apps (although I did have Tetris on it when Apple actually sold games for it via iTunes), a small screen, and was bulky. From that point on, it pretty much because useless.

But I refuse to get rid of it, even if Apple has made deleting songs from it such a monumental task. In fact I had to download different software to do it since Apple virtually bricked this thing with the latest iTunes “upgrade”.

This iPod is ugly, it’s clunky, but it’s in near-pristine condition due to the great care its owner gave it. From Day 1, it’s been wrapped in a thin plastic protective sheet and then encased in a hard plastic case for further protection. The silver backing is practically scratch-free save for the few marks I left on it when changing the battery, something that is darn near impossible with the new iPods.

And I still love the thing.

So much so that selling it is the furthest thing from my mind. It’s not worth the time or trouble to do it anyway. Here’s what Best Buy is offering for it as part of their trade-in program:

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It doesn’t matter if this thing was touched by the hand of God and signed by him/her in gold ink, they wouldn’t give me a dime for it. I checked Amazon and the going rate is around $16 provided it meets their criteria. And eBay? Pfft. $30, tops. That’s exactly $1 per gigabyte of storage.

To me, it’s just not worth my time to go out of my way to sell the thing when the sentimental value I have in it far outweighs anything anyone is willing to give me for it. Not only that, it’s still cool to bring out and use now and then for nostalgic purposes even if the nostalgia is only 7 years old.

Yes, my current iPod does more than this one and my phone does even more than both. But even so, I’m holding on to this classic piece of technology for as long as I can and continue to use it as I see fit.

Well, that’s until Apple decides it doesn’t want to support it anymore…