Archives for October 2017

A Different World Series Experience

It is the bottom of the 6th inning of the Dodgers-Astros World Series and the family is gathered around the television.

That is an experience that mirrors the one I grew up with as a Dodgers fan in the ’70s and ’80s which is to say how we watched the Dodgers in the series.

But that is where many of the similarities end because by the time I was the same age as my oldest child is I had seen the boys win one series championship and play in four.

And by the time I was 19 it had turned to 2 series championships out of five visits so I never expected to have to wait 29 years before I got a chance to see them in the series again.

A Different World Series Experience

If my grandfathers were here we’d swap stories, memories and thoughts about this series.

We’d laugh about how the Cubs finally won another title and I know they’d talk about how they can’t believe how old they are because they would both be over a 100.

I am sure they would point out how strange it is to see us watch while occasionally checking our phones, updating statuses or responding to texts from friends/family about the game.

And I am certain they’d include a comment about their favorite grandson live blogging the moment.

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Since they aren’t here all I can do is make educated guesses about their comments and say it is as hard and as fun to watch my boys in blue play.

The series is tied but they easily could have been up 2-0.

The reasons why they aren’t are as cut-and-dried as saying they were outplayed but include the screwy and questionable plays that make sports amazing.

You know the kind that make fans of the winning team declare those destiny and the fans of the losers call cheating.

Memories

As the game progresses I make a point to look at the faces of my children and to enjoy their expressions.

Teens are jaded and some of the looks that cross their faces are harder to come by than they once were.

Sometimes I catch them looking at me and they laugh because they say I am way too serious and there may be some truth in that.

Twenty-nine years is a long time to wait and I didn’t realize how much I missed this until it started.

It turned the pilot light that never stopped burning into something big and bright.

So as we head into the top of the 8th I have to stop writing and focus solely upon my boys.

The baseball lords of superstition must be followed and I must go through the remaining rituals just in case they will help.

The Nintendo Lesson

“Dad, you may know a lot about old games like Space Invaders and Asteroids but in this house I am the Nintendo Master.”

He is right, in this house he is the Nintendo master and all will readily admit his overall skills are superior to the rest of us, but the Nintendo Master forgets his father can be ridiculously competitive.

The conversation started because he was watching me try to fumble through Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions.

The game had been provided for review by the fine folks at Nintendo and I was happily checking it out or at least trying to.

Trying to meaning that the 3DS didn’t want to cooperate with my fingers or so I tried to claim.

It might have worked but the aforementioned Nintendo Master didn’t have similar issues and his hands are about my size.

The Nintendo Lesson

I listened to his laughter and instruction and after a few minutes agreed that it was worth passing the 3DS over to him so I could see how he played.

Don’t tell him I said this, but I enjoyed listening to him explain how, what and why he was doing certain things and was grateful that this teenage boy was happy to spend time with his old man.

He is a hair short of 17 now and while we haven’t reached a place where he is unwilling to hang out with me it happens with less frequency than before.

The boy who was once my shadow doesn’t always feel like being the shadow anymore.

That is normal and natural, but not without a bit of angst for the old man.

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Anyhoo,  as I sat there listening to him talk I thought about buying the Wii when he was around 8 and wondering how long Nintendo would hold his attention.

The games seemed to be geared to younger kids and while that wasn’t a big deal then I figured eventually things would change.

Except they haven’t completely, there are some games he has totally given up on but the Mario games aren’t among them.

He still plays some of the Zelda and Pokemon too among others.

That is not to say he won’t get on one of the other systems and play something more grown-up but he still gets lost in the games on that 3DS which I might add we have had since 2011.

That is a pretty good run.

The Nintendo Lesson Part II

At family gatherings, my middle sister sometimes likes to tell all of the children about how Uncle Jack/Dad and grandpa would play this game where I would end up being sent from the dinner table.

I can’t tell you exactly how or why this game started other than when I was a teen I was smarter than my father and I liked to try and prove it.

On more than few occasions, my dad and I would have a disagreement during dinner that led to my being banished from the table.

While I would like to say my dad was primarily responsible for my exile it is not true, I did quite a bit to make it happen.

Yeah, I was ornery back then and I guarantee there were more than a few comments that made my me that made him want to pick me up and throw me.

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Fast forward to the present the Nintendo Master does an excellent impression of me as a teenager with one giant exception.

No one ever took my 3DS because I didn’t have one but he does and his mouth led to it being stripped from his possession.

I told him to consider it to be his Nintendo lesson but I don’t know that he took it as that.

Trust me when I say he is lucky I remember how fiery and feisty I was at his age. 🙂

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During the time in which he wasn’t allowed to use or play on the 3DS the old competitive fire burned a bit brighter and I tried to take advantage of the time to improve my skills.

If this were a movie I’d tell you I gained a lot of ground and turned into a Mario powerhouse but that is simply not true.

I got better, but not enough to turn around and say I was the Nintendo Master but I did improve enough to get a thumbs up from him.

And that my friends is worth a lot.

I’ll keep playing these games with him for as long as he’ll let me. Sometimes it is the best way to get a teen to talk.

Disclosure: Product was provided by Nintendo but all opinions are mine.

What Good Is The NRA?

It is almost impossible for me not to view the NRA as a sick joke. that is being run by sick people whose willful blindness and myopic approach to gun violence is shameful.

Hard not to think it is being run by sick people whose willful blindness and myopic approach to gun violence is shameful.

I looked at a recent press release and one section made me shake my head.

In an increasingly dangerous world, the NRA remains focused on our mission: strengthening Americans’ Second Amendment freedom to defend themselves, their families and their communities.

Many of my conservative friends like to share statistics with me that show crime is down and that statistically, we live in a safer world than we did.

They tell me they hate fearmongering and scare tactics and yet that is what I keep seeing from the NRA.

It makes me ask questions.

What Good Is The NRA?

I am not anti-gun.

You won’t hear me arguing against your owning a pistol/rifle but I might push back against certain pieces of hardware because there is no reason for you to own those.

You’re not Rick Grimes holding off the zombie hordes and you are unlikely to convince me that you deserve the right to be able to use military grade or almost military grade equipment.

I know those last few lines or so are going to stir things up and that some people are going to try to educate me about guns and throw all sorts of stupid and meaningless statistics at me because that is part of what the NRA has been good at providing.

They don’t want to take any responsibility for helping to inculcate a culture of bigger and better firepower.

They only want to promote themselves as the bastion of safe and responsible gun owners while pretending their fear mongering isn’t pushing people to chase the bigger and better firepower before it gets taken away.

There is little to no working with Congress to try to develop solutions to gun violence, only finger-pointing, and head shaking.

Stupid statements that suggest there are no solutions because criminals are bad and mentally ill people are sick as if that should be the end of the discussion.

I’d have more respect if they didn’t perpetuate the myth that only criminals and mentally ill people use guns to do bad things.

I’d have more respect if they said they knew things were bad and were working on using technology to develop new and innovative solutions.

Expectations

I don’t expect all gun violence to magically disappear or for any group/person to come up with a perfect solution.

But I would feel better if the disingenuous folks would say they thought we could do better and were working on trying to find a way.

A healthy society makes an attempt to improve life for everyone. They don’t stop searching for a cure to cancer because it hasn’t been found.

They just keep going and that is the problem, we don’t see to see that happening now do we.

I don’t care that you own a gun and I am not trying to take it away, but I do care about an honest discussion and we are not having one.