Ready For Life In 4K? Me Neither

I’m in a hotel room watching a 4K TV for maybe the second time in my life. At least I think that’s what it’s called. It’s an ultra high-definition TV set. I can say that much. What do I normally watch? Who knows? My wife knows, but she’s crashed out on the couch, and I’m not waking her up to ask. Let’s just say its high-definition. Maybe just not ‘ultra’ high definition. Anyone who will read this will range between knowing what the fuck I’m talking about and not knowing what the fuck I’m talking about, and consider me a part of the latter. All I know is that this TV is blowing my mind, as I’m sure it’s supposed to. Like when we first saw HD quality, or Blu-Ray, or colour TV instead of black and white, or black and white when we had only heard the radio. I look at this TV, and I don’t even think real life looks that clear. I could be mistaken, or maybe I need glasses, but I just don’t think that if I was looking at the same thing from the same distance right beside the TV, that the real life equivalent would be as clear. So mission accomplished, and mind blown.

Now how do I feel about this two beers into my evening? I don’t know. It’s impressive. Sometimes I ask the age-old question about whether we put the same effort into salvaging the planet, that we do into blowing our minds with new tech, would the world be a better place or not, but then people just give me dirty looks and call me a hater (which is the weirdest thing to say to someone who asks that question, but that’s what I usually get). Having 4K around isn’t hurting me, other than the odd sensation like ‘whoa, was that guy just there??? Oh wait, I’m only watching TV.’ Is it helping?

Here’s the thing. When I’m watching TV, I don’t really care what the front lawn looks like 7 houses down from the one I’m supposed to be looking at. I mean sure it’s nice to see someone’s hair standing up on the back of their neck during an intense moment, but if there are lice bugs clinging to the end of those hairs, I don’t need to know. If I’m watching Baseball, it’s disturbing that I know how many days of facial hair the beer guy has grown, that’s just too much detail. Like if someone holds up a newspaper in a scene, I think it’s pretty cool to be able to read a couple of other headlines, other than the one you’re intended to look at………but NOT THE FINE PRINT!!!! NOT THE FINE PRINT!!!! IT’S NUTS TO BE ABLE TO READ THE FINE PRINT…..FROM MY COUCH……I CAN’T EVEN READ THE FINE PRINT ON A PAPER HELD UP TO MY FACE……IT’S TOO MUCH!!! Ok calm down. It’s not that serious. Go buy one. It’s great. I say I won’t get one, but there’ll come a day when we just won’t be able to strain our eyes to watch anything else, and then there’ll come another day when 4K will be a steaming pile of shit compared to the new thing they invent tomorrow, so whatever.


Personal (And Not So Personal) Updates For Your Consideration

Says here that my last post here was in January. That makes this by far the longest Thoughts and Rants in Jogging Pants drought ever. Man, I used to do this once a week without fail. While I was looking back to see how long it had been since my last post, I glanced at the stats page. It kind of made me feel nice and I want to pass on thanks, should any of you be responsible for this phenomenon. This isn’t the most prolific and well-known blog out there, but despite the fact that I haven’t posted here in close to 3 months, at least one person has visited this site to read one of my blogs every day in the last month. That’s fuckin cool, I’m sorry to get swearing so quickly, but it just is. Makes me feel warm inside. Every day except March 20th. So uhhhh, where were you guys on the 20th, huh??? Not one of you could click over for 5 minutes??? 😉

There’s one post in particular that shows up in the stats a lot. I have NO idea why. I think it gets googled by total strangers. It’s called “Guys, Your Feet Are Fucking Ugly”, and I wrote it in July of 2014. Usually a post gets its most views the day or week it’s originally posted. To give perspective it got 42 views the day it was posted. It finished the year with 70 views. In 2015 it had 217 views, and mid way through April this year it’s trending way higher than that. I’m curious to know why. It’s sort of funny, but not my best work. If you feel like reading it, here’s the link https://thoughtsandrantsinjoggingpants.com/2014/07/02/guys-your-feet-are-fucking-ugly/ According to my stats, someone looks at this almost everyday. So weird. Skip to the 3rd paragraph if you read it.

Also on the bloggy linky topic, I started contributing to another blog site called “Everything MLB Inc”. I blog about the Toronto Blue Jays once a week. I guess that’s why I haven’t been doing this blog. There’s a small part of my that always wanted to be a sports reporter or something like that. So for 2016 I’ll do it. I hope the Jays’ season is as magical as last year. If you follow another team, I can’t really vouch for this blog. I don’t think they have all their writers in place yet. Here are some links to my first few articles for those interested in Jays stuff. Close friends might enjoy how brutally inaccurate some of my predictions have been so far.
http://emlbinc.blogspot.ca/2016/02/toronto-blue-jays-2016-projected.html
http://emlbinc.blogspot.ca/2016/02/toronto-blue-jays-2016-bullpen.html
http://emlbinc.blogspot.ca/2016/03/toronto-blue-jays-2016-lineup-breakdown.html
http://emlbinc.blogspot.ca/2016/04/blue-jays-week-1-update.html

The movie thing…… Some readers of this blog might remember me talking about acting in a movie last year. For those that don’t, here’s that story…..
https://thoughtsandrantsinjoggingpants.com/2015/09/06/that-time-i-was-an-actor-in-a-kick-ass-movie/
Anyways, the update is that we recorded some commentary for the special features last weekend, because……. apparently there’s a distribution deal in place that would see this film available for purchase this year at some point (we’re hoping soon). Where will you be able to get it? Can’t say for sure, but pretty sure there will be physical copies (DVD, Blu-Ray) available for online purchase, as well as being available in digital form (iTunes etc). Super duper stoked for this. Will provide details when I have them.

Now for my version of Batman vs. Superman. My 3-year-old son loves Batman. His aunt bought him a set of 3 superhero costumes. This box and it’s contents have been put to way better use than just about anything he’s owned in his young life. I would say about 60% of his days, he wants to dress up in a costume at some point. Not having siblings, and perhaps not wanting to be the only super-hero at home, he tries to get my wife and I to wear the other 2 costumes. He is ALWAYS Batman. My wife who would often be in the room with him playing while I cook dinner gets to be Superman, and I get stuck with Robin. I try not to take it personal, even though it’s ridiculous because I tower over both of them, but I’m a good sport so Robin it is. These are sized for toddlers. If I could box I would do so in the heavyweight category. The little Robin mask is stretched to its absolute potential just to get around my face, and after a minute or two the velcro just gives out and slingshots across the room. So fun. So my wife, who is smarter than me, has stopped dressing up as a superhero, sometimes even saying “no thanks, but why don’t you ask daddy?” I can’t say no. So more days than not, I dress up in a toddler sized superhero costume, although I’ve been upgraded to Superman. Sometimes we play with train engines, and sometimes we fight crime. Then, one day my son finally said to me “Do you want to be Batman????” I jumped at the chance! After all these months of having to play superheroes with lesser cool factors, I have reached the pinnacle of toddler sized superhero outfits. Yessssssssss……………………. Here’s the thing though……………….The Batman outfit’s got some stains on it, from a 3-year-old wearing it more than any other article of clothing. Yeah, they’re messy. Also, I’m back to having to wear a mask again. That mask is just as tight, but it covers more of my face and makes me sweat. That’s when I realized a HUGE and VERY IMPORTANT life lesson, taught to me by my own son…… We can’t all be Batman! Some of us need to be Superman, and others need to be Robin. Ponder that!


My Son’s First F-Bomb

It was going to happen sooner or later. I think I’ve taken to the parenting thing a lot better than I originally expected I would. I change diapers like an absolute champion. I cook more, and better. Most importantly, I’ve never absent mindedly left my kid anywhere which I think was a concern among immediate family for various reasons. The one thing that was never going to go well was the swearing thing. I swear. A lot. The more comfortable I am, the more I do it. If I’m around you and it seems like I’m swearing a lot, take it as a compliment. It means I’m being myself. As it pertains to pro-creation, it makes sense that I’m ultimately responsible for a lot of things surrounding my kid’s development, and speech is definitely included. The thing is, I’m pretty comfortable around my kid, so you see the problem. The odds are stacked heavily in favour of him eventually being exposed to a healthy dose of colourful language. What kid isn’t, right? Yeah, most kids aren’t…. not like this….. and don’t leave comments saying that you swear a lot too. Thanks, but you don’t. Not like me. I’m not proud of this, but I’m not really as ashamed as I should be either. Lets just say that if my son ends up being half the potty mouth that I am, I just hope I’m not the reason. But I will be.

I’ve slipped up around him. Quite a bit. I slip up around everyone. That’s just me. I almost can’t even keep swearing out of my blog. Think about that. Even if I swear impulsively in my blog, I could always delete and re-word. I don’t even do that. I’m only slightly embarrassed that my mom and her friends read this, but not enough. So with that in mind my son is being set up to fail (or succeed as an awesome swearer). He’s 3 years old and change. I’m honestly surprised that it took this long for as many times as I’ve used foul language in front of him, but F-bombs are not for everyone, and perhaps it took him time to gravitate towards the sheer power of its emotional expression, and how a well placed one can just free your soul for a split second (OK I’m over selling it, I’ll just get to the story).

I’m into Balsamic Vinegar big time. There’s a great place that sells all these different flavours of it as well as Olive Oil. It’s fresh, and they let you sample them out of the (casks??? I don’t know what the container is called) dispensers. I could spend all day in there until my insides cried for mercy. They pour it, and cork it. I spent more money on it that day than a human at my income level should, but I knew my next salad was going to be like a leafy chompy heaven, and was looking quite forward to this. Had to get a traditional Balsamic, as well as a flavoured one. I chose Espresso flavour. It tastes like Balsamic Vinegar, but the aftertaste is like you just ate a Coffee Crisp.

When it’s finally time to prepare this salad, I’m only too excited to pour this liquid euphoria onto my salad. As I try to take the cork out (it’s a cork with a plastic lid on top, so you can open it with your hands as opposed to cork that would be in a wine bottle that you would use a corkscrew for…… just in case you had trouble picturing it……because if you can’t picture it, it fucks up the story……. oh there I go again), and the plastic top breaks off, leaving me with no easy way to open the bottle. Also leaving me with an unusable lid for my bottle. Now that really sucked, and I was frustrated, but I had another bottle, so I figured, let’s try that one? This is still good. Then I tried to open that one, and the exact same thing happened to the other cork, and that left me with no re-course but to have an immature temper tantrum in the kitchen, during which, I exclaimed loudly/angrily “YOU GOTTA BE FUCKING KIDDING ME!” That, my friends, is par for the course, but what happened after isn’t. My son who was playing with toy trains in his bedroom with my wife, stood up and looked her in the eye, balled up an angry little fist, and screamed as clear as day “YOU GOTTA BE FUCKING KIDDING ME!!!!!!!!!”

So it starts.


David Bowie Sadness

I found out this morning that David Bowie passed away. It’s been bothering me all day. I’m not even sure why. Celebrities die all the time, and I should be used to it by now. In a workplace full of people half my age, nobody seemed particularly devastated. A couple of people seemed suitably bummed, but not to the level I was looking for. So I did what anybody would do in this situation and logged into Twitter. This was better. People falling all over themselves to pay respects to David Bowie. One tribute more eloquent than the next. Re-tweets of celebrities and die-hard fans pouring out their hearts. I’m neither, but I felt like I would like to be one of the people who said something beautiful about David Bowie. It would probably get read by 3 or 4 people, and get heaped onto the magical invisible ‘I don’t give a shit’ pile in their minds, only to be soon erased. So I came home and went through my typical evening routine, cooking some dinner, and getting the boy to bed before probably falling asleep on the couch. Maybe I drink one of those kick ass Belgium beers in the fridge. The last of an epic sampler pack, but can I stay awake to drink it? Then I remember that I have a David Bowie concert DVD. I don’t even think I’ve ever watched it before. When it comes to music, sometimes I just buy stuff just to have it. The price was probably right, and I’d heard he was a hell of a live performer. Tonight would be the perfect night for a cold beer, warm sweater, and some David Bowie sadness.

Just as I start to relax a bit, I find myself totally captivated by this concert. I LOVE music, but I only LIKE David Bowie. I want to say I love David Bowie because he’s super cool to me, and he aged so incredibly well, and he’s such an innovative ground breaking artist, and I’ve never heard anybody say anything bad about him. If I said I loved David Bowie, then you would demand to know how many of his albums I have, and I’d have to answer none. Just the 2 disc greatest hits collection, and a 45 single of ‘Modern Love’ on vinyl from back in the day. That’s better than nothing, but it’s not love. He was good. I’ve talked to very knowledgeable music people who say he’s the best ever. At some point in the future I would probably go through a David Bowie phase and listen or purchase all of his music, but I haven’t yet. My connection with David Bowie doesn’t have to do with me being his biggest fan, but more to do with him being my first!

When I was 7 years old I found my way into current pop music. Before that what do we listen to? Whatever our parents have around the house? Kid music? Who knows? None of that matters. What matters is that when I became first aware, and then quickly lifelong obsessed with music, David Bowie had a song (and an album) called ‘Let’s Dance’. You only had to see this dude in his white outfit playing a guitar in a Mexican restaurant to know he was the guy. Or just to look at him on the album cover, shirtless with his 1920’s boxing gloves on. He was my first favourite singer. I wanted his album. Birthday present? Christmas? I think my parents probably shied away from that, possibly because they were aware of such freaky things as Ziggy Stardust, and I wasn’t. Yet they were totally cool with Boy George which was odd to me. David Bowie in 1982 was as clean-cut as they came, and I thought that would be totally suitable for a kid to own that album. They must have relented in time for me to get the ‘Modern Love’ single.

That was kind of it for David Bowie for me for a while. I didn’t know at the time that there was a lot more substance to David Bowie’s music that would allow me to partially rediscover it as I got older. As I sit here and watch his concert DVD, it almost feels like I’ve come full circle. Am I sad because a legend has passed away? Yes, but he did leave us with 25 albums, and I’m sure I’ll spend the next several years discovering a lot of his music for the first time. Am I sad because I’m closer to the age in which he passed away (69) than I am to the age in which I discovered David Bowie for the first time? Certainly. I will say this though. While watching the concert I felt like there were times where his music was reaching into my body and touching my soul. Not all musicians have that power, but I’m grateful that David Bowie did, because it’s one of my favourite parts of the human experience.

Thus concludes my odd little story about David Bowie sadness. Turn and face the strange!


Talk About The Death Star Not Being Fully Operational

I watched Star Wars the other night. You know, the first one. No, not Episode 1. The first one which was Episode 4. The one from 1977 that got this whole thing started. It was called ‘A New Hope’, which I swear I only found out recently. We always just called it Star Wars. My wife bought be the DVDs for my birthday because it’s been a lot of years since I’ve seen those ones, and with the new one coming out now, I want to have the plot lines fresh in my mind when I check it out. I figure I’ve got a couple of months still because I don’t have the patience for crowds. I’m sure the movie won’t spoil in the meantime. I can ignore civilization until then.

I have a connection to that movie in that if I’m not mistaken, it was the first movie I ever saw in the movie theater. It’s also the only movie I ever went to see with just my dad. Meaning there might have been some family outings when I was young, but the two of us only went to the movies once. That sounds sad as I’m typing it, but it’s not. We did lots of things together, just not the movie theater. Sporting events was our thing. We watched a lot of movies together at home. RENTING movies……I know what we have now is way better, but can I just say I miss renting movies???? So my dad and I watched the first Star Wars movie, then known as ‘Star Wars’, now known as ‘A New Hope’. Why? I think we were in Niagara Falls or Buffalo, and I’m pretty sure my mom didn’t want us in her shit while she was at the shopping mall, so she must have given the orders for him to take me to a movie. Or maybe it was his idea, but she definitely gave the orders for him to take me away from her shopping situation. I’m guessing the movie had been out for a long time, or possibly re-released by the time I saw it because in 1977 I would have been too young to remember it. Whenever it was, it was really one of my earliest memories.

I had a few thoughts when I was watching ‘A New Hope’. Overall, I have to say that I still enjoyed it. I’ve never been too picky with special effects, so it didn’t bother me that those particular ones are outdated. I know they were really something at the time. A couple of things bothered me…..

– Why were Luke and Leia so pissy and bitchy with Han Solo?? Yeah, he was meant to be seen as a selfish character, but neither of them knew the guy for 5 minutes before they started in with their odd little snarky judgemental comments. I’d have been tempted to slap the both of them. Especially Luke. So whiny. That didn’t bother me when I was 5 years old, but it does now. It didn’t take Luke long after looking at his aunt and uncle’s charred bodies to just fly off with Obi-Wan Kenobi who he’d only met that afternoon. Spent the whole movie crying about “I wish Ben was here”. What about Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru???? They fuckin raised you!! Burnt to a crisp, and you act like you don’t give a shit? Then you have the nerve to get on Han Solo’s case because you think he’s selfish??? Where do you get off? (OK, this went off the rails…. calm down Ryan)

– I know there was some talk about the Death Star not being fully operational, but what’s with all the hallways that end in drops into the infinite abyss?? And the control panels with maybe a one foot platform to stand on around them. What electrician is going to be able to do work on these control panels?? It’s totally unsafe. Sure, we’re so concerned about the main characters who are trying to escape the Death Star, but what about its thousands of employees? It’s the employer’s responsibility to create a safe working environment for its employees. Humans, Droids, or otherwise. With the technology they have available, there’s got to be a better way to build this thing. I guess they all got blown up anyways. Nobody cares about that. So sad about Alderaan, but what about the innocent lives that were lost when the Death Star blew up? Not everyone in there was evil. Most of them were just like you and me. Working for some evil organization, trying to put food on the table. It’s a shame about the Death Star. Should’ve been better built though.


My Toronto Blue Jays Stories Volume 5

The Summer I Met Two Legendary Soon To Be Ex-Jays

I know I promised 10 of these. 6-10 are coming next year during baseball season. This blog is shutting down all baseball operations for 2015. Before that I will tell you a story from my childhood chock-full of encounters with famous people, and baseball nerdery. To be honest, I can’t remember for sure which summer this was, but according to my research, it was probably 1989. Before this I don’t recall ever meeting a major league baseball player, and if I had, I will hopefully remember that by the time I’m finished writing this post, and then I’ll just scroll up and delete this sentence. So if you just read that last sentence, that means I didn’t delete it, which means these were in fact the first 2 Blue Jays I ever met.

I collected baseball cards from the time I was a small boy until it got to be a crappy hobby thanks to unruly collectors, and market saturation. I used to memorize baseball statistics on the back of the cards as a kid. I have knowledge of baseball history that can only be described as unnecessary. I kept the cards organized by teams, then by year, then by batting average and so on and so on. You couldn’t buy me toys as a kid, but if you bought me records or cards, I was good to go (records is what we used to call music….for the young readers). My cards started out in piles with rubber bands around them. Then one day it occurred to me that these cards were actually worth money. Everyone always told the story of what a Mickey Mantle card would go for, and a generation of baseball nerds figured if we took care of our cards, that someday they might be worth something. If they weren’t in mint condition, they weren’t worth anything, so I started putting my good cards in the sleeves of binders and protective cases where they sit to this day. I had sad moments realizing that my Cal Ripken Jr rookie card and other notable gems had devalued while being shuffled around through different filing systems.

Everything I learned about collecting came from frequent visits to a local sports card store that had opened up around this time. Family owned by people who seemed to be the inspiration for every comic book store owning cliché I’ve ever seen on TV or in film. They had a tough time hiding just how annoying it was dealing with 12 year olds all day, but when they were in the mood for it, we got along great. After all, we were regular customers and spent big money (only by our meager standards of course) in there. We were there constantly. It was a bike ride away. I loved picking up the monthly price guides and finding out how certain cards in my collection had increased or decreased in value over the last month, and trying to predict those trends. It led me to have a pretty vast collection. It was through the employees of this store that I became aware that Blue Jays first baseman Fred McGriff would be signing autographs at a Honda dealership one summer morning.

My buddy and I got dropped off at the dealership. We weren’t even old enough to drive yet. I’m sure Honda was hoping that some of the Jay fans that would descend on their dealership that morning were at least potential car buyers. There was a rule about just how many autographs you could hit Mr. McGriff up for. I’m gonna say 1 or 2 items were the max. While in line I saw that greedy bugger from the card store. His eyes were popping out of his head, and when he saw us in line, he giddily informed us that Fred signed EVERYTHING. They had brought like 12 items. All of these items would now be for sale at his store for double the original value. I wondered if Fred knew or cared. Maybe this guy just pretended to be a huge fan so Fred wouldn’t know the difference. I think we had brought an extra baseball card over the limit just in case, but we certainly didn’t have 12 items. When I got to the front of the line I was pleased to find out that Fred McGriff was a super nice guy that was very generous with his time. He engaged in small talk while signing my cards, and gave me the confidence to say what I really wanted to say to him. As casually as I could, I asked him to hit a home run for me that night. I don’t know why. It’s not like he was signing my cast in a hospital or something. Sounds dumb to me now, but if I could somehow gather a list of everything I ever said as a kid or a teenager, I’m confident that 80% of it would absolutely sound dumb to me now, and such is life. He grinned at me and said…. something, I don’t remember what he said, but he basically agreed to hit a home run that night. Now I don’t think I was ever naive enough to think that he didn’t try to hit a home run every single time he went to the plate, and if anyone was prodigiously powerful enough to be able to confidently call a shot, it was him. You know I can’t end the story with a hitless night at the plate. Of course he homered in his first plate appearance that night. I called everyone I knew and took full credit for it. After all it was my suggestion.

Later that summer, I was playing tennis with the same friend. This is in Mississauga, which is where I grew up, and just outside of Toronto for my readers that aren’t from around here. Man, I wish I still played Tennis. Those were fun times. It was in the evening during baseball season which seems impossible now that I think about it. For a lot of reasons it seems impossible, but this was the 80s man, and ANYTHING was possible back then. My buddy and I just playing tennis, and I look over to the other court, and there was only one other court. I see a guy that looks so much like then Blue Jay shortstop Tony Fernandez, that I had to call my buddy up to the net for a little chat. I explained my suspicion, and without drawing too much attention to ourselves, we needed to be sure that this was in fact Tony Fernandez. We started rallying again, hitting the ball just slow enough so we weren’t even playing tennis, but watching Tony Fernandez play tennis. This was dumb, so we approached the net again. Do we make a break for it with our bikes, and try to get our Tony Fernandez cards, and a pen, and come back before he’s done playing? I used the word impossible before. In this day and age, a guy like him would be getting paid $15 million dollars a year, and would have an entourage, and wouldn’t come out to the suburbs to play tennis on an outdoor public court. It was summer too. They have games like every day. Are you telling me that this rich Dominican ballplayer was in town, and spent an off-day in Mississauga, and played tennis in the evening? Maybe. I mean definitely, it happened, but I still can’t believe it. Maybe he had a buddy that lived in the neighborhood. Who knows? So my buddy and I are caught between the prospects of awkwardly watching Tony Fernandez playing tennis, or stopping their game to try to talk to him, or more interestingly risking the whole encounter by leaving to try to get something to autograph, and trying to rush back before he leaves. I should mention that both of us lived about a 3-5 minute bike ride from the court. So we risked it. Even crazier is that there was nobody waiting for our court either. We used to have to wait for that court all the time, and the night Tony Fernandez is there, there’s nobody around? Crazy! We drove our bikes home like we were shot out of a cannon, grabbed whatever Tony Fernandez baseball cards we had available, and were back in 6 minutes tops. Then we had to hurry up and wait. We asked if we could get an autograph, and his buddy who was speaking on his behalf said that if we waited until their game was over, he would sign our autographs. Fair enough. We stayed behind the fence and watched Tony Fernandez play tennis for a bit on the same tennis court that we played all of our tennis on. Eventually he came off and signed our cards one at a time. During casual chat time, I tried to bait him into talking about the Jesse Barfield for Al Leiter trade which pissed me off so much at the time, although historically, it turned out ok. He just said that Jesse was a good guy, but was fairly diplomatic otherwise. Once we had our autographs, we left them alone, and probably went home to brag to our other friends who weren’t there. It was a nice surprise.

Blue Jay fans know too well what ties these 2 players together in team history more than any other detail. Unfortunately it’s not what they did for us on the field, because they were both exceptional baseball players, and their names are up there with other choice few names as the best players in Blue Jay history. Soon after these chance encounters, they were both traded to the San Diego Padres for Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar, and it seems ridiculous to say that the trade was lopsided from a talent perspective, but Carter and Alomar were the 2 key pieces that lead the Blue Jays to back to back World Series champions in 1992 and 1993. Does that mean they couldn’t have won with McGriff and Fernandez? Nobody will ever know. All I know is meeting me seemed to be their bad luck charm that summer, but it’s a fun Blue Jays memory for me nevertheless.


My Toronto Blue Jays Stories Volume 4

5 Jay Games in Vegas

Did I pledge to write 10 of these Blue Jay blogs??? Yeah that must have been when they were still in it. I’ve spent the last few days picking my broken heart up off the floor, and am back to try to fulfill that ridiculous promise. Man, I must have thought they playoffs would last forever. 10 blogs???

Today I will do a little bit of cross promotion. I do have another blog. It’s a Las Vegas travel blog actually. Some of you have read it, and judging from the stats, most of you haven’t. That’s cool. I understand how weird it must be to be a Las Vegas enthusiast. If you were to click over to http://www.paymevegas.com you will probably notice that I don’t get to write in that one nearly as often. The reason? I just can’t justify going to Vegas as often as I’d like to go, but I do go to Vegas a fair bit by most people’s standards. In fact, I just returned from a week-long journey, so Pay Me Vegas will have some new content shortly.

As happy as I am to watch the Toronto Blue Jays in the playoffs, even I would have to admit that they did everything in their power to hijack our Vegas itinerary. I remember when the playoff schedule came out and I mentioned to my wife that they might have some games that I absolutely MUST watch while we’re there. Maybe just one. There did exist a scenario where there would be five in total. Guess which scenario played itself out? This required a lot of patience and understanding from my wife. Not that she doesn’t love the Jays too. It’s just that I have a 3-year old (who was still 2 at the time) who really doesn’t give a shit about baseball unless it’s an excuse to have me pick him up from his crib well past his bed time….. oh yeah, under those circumstances, he’s fan #1. The boy needs to be monitored/entertained during all waking hours. This made things awkward, because if I need 3 or more hours of focus and attention towards a ballgame, then my wife gets stuck on kid duty for that length of time 5 out of the 7 days we’re there. Possibly making matters worse is the time change. These playoff games were played at 4pm EST most of the time, which is 1pm Vegas time. That’s right smack in the middle of the day. This is the story of how I managed to watch all 5 games.

Oct 11/2015 Game 3 of the ALDS

We were down 2-0 in a best of 5 series against the Rangers. The Sunday game was at 8pm EST which was 5pm in Vegas. This was huge for me because I flew in that day, and would have been crushed if the Blue Jays played an elimination game while I was in an airplane, or getting fucked by Thrifty Car Rental (that story another time). We had time to get to the hotel, have dinner, get settled, well before the game started. While I wanted to have cool/obnoxious stories to tell to my friends about where I watched the game (Hey man, where are you? On your couch?? Cool! I’m sitting on a patio overlooking the strip in Vegas in a t-shirt, is it cold there? etc……….), I was perfectly happy to watch the first game in the hotel. Our room had a good-sized TV, a bunch of channels on digital cable, and a comfortable couch to sit on (we were at a time-share, so we had a condo unit, which was perfect for still being able to watch the game after the boy went to sleep). 5pm rolls around, and I grab the remote, and start flipping through the channels. There were like 50 or more channels. I didn’t see the game anywhere. It must have been on commercial. I flipped through again. Nothing. Again. Nothing. They’re gonna throw the first pitch in a minute. I think it’s on FS1. I don’t know these channels, what channel is that? I’m looking at a chart with the channels, and it’s saying FS1 is channel 5-1, but when I flip past with the remote, it skips over. I’m in full freak out mode. There’s an elimination game being played and I can’t get the goddamned channel? It’s a playoff game. Isn’t baseball America’s pastime? I’m in America! I won’t stand for this. So my wife manages to get the game on the radio on her iPad while I call the front desk asking what the trick is for getting FS1 on the TV. They even sent a guy who came and flipped through the channels just like I had 3 times already, only to tell me that they don’t get that channel, and sometime during that my wife goes to the store to get some supplies. So there I am with my son watching cartoons with the Blue Jay game on the radio, losing my mind with every pitch. This was not sustainable. I was going to have to go to the bar. My wife came back and it was the 3rd inning. I texted one of my buddies and asked him to message me a play by-play while I walked to the nearest bar. Even though I was staying off the strip, I was located pretty close to the new Linq Promenade. I found a bar as soon as I walked in. A huge one called Yard House, which I was familiar with, and hoping to go to because of its vast beer selection, but I could see all the TVs had Sunday night football on. Yes, early season NFL games between 2 non-playoff teams trumps playoff baseball in the United States. Can’t believe it. The next place was called the Tilted Kilt, and I saw it had the game on, but was packed (it was the Sunday before Memorial Day, so a long weekend in the States meant busy bars). I walked up close to the window to at least see the score and inning. As I got close, I saw someone get up from their seat at the bar. I ran inside, sat down and ordered a Sam Adams. Phew! Disaster averted. I was there about 30 minutes before Troy Tulowitzki hit his 3-run homer to give us a commanding lead in the game. I could tell who the Canadians were when the table in the far corner went ape-shit after it happened. Jays win. If Jays lose, series over, and probably a better vacation.

Oct 12/2015 Game 4 of the ALDS

Down 2-1 in the series, we had another elimination game. This time it’s a 1pm start in Vegas which is right in the middle of the day. Our plan was to go to the Planet Hollywood Hotel after our lunch at Bobby Flay’s burger restaurant. The boy usually takes a nap at that time, and my wife figured she could push him around the Miracle Mile Shops and shop while he slept. I could then go to the lounge in the Planet Hollywood Casino, where at 1pm on a Monday, it wasn’t too busy. Now if the boy slept for 3.5 hours, we totally could have pulled this off. Luckily the game was a bit of a laugher, with the Jays scoring a bunch of runs early, and getting good pitching as well. When he did wake up, we went to Garrett’s Popcorn, and got what I maintain is the best popcorn in the entire universe. We were able to sit outside a bar (which is outside the concert venue where there is a Brittany Spears concert just about every night for those that find that appealing), and watch the end of the game. Jays win.

Oct 14/2015 Game 5 of the ALDS

The series is tied 2-2, and back in Toronto after 2 games in Texas. This game decides who advances and who goes home. We decide to go to Mandalay Bay on this day. The Shark Reef Aquarium was something kid friendly on our agenda, and maybe something that my wife and son could check out while I obsess about the fate of my Toronto Blue Jays. We decided to have lunch there. I saw an Irish Pub called Ri Ra in the shopping area. We ascertained that the game was on TV, and went in for lunch. It was Wednesday and I was already ordering salads. Everytime I go to Vegas, we just keep having epic meal after epic meal, and sometimes my body just stops wanting food. It’s those times that I know if I see a good-looking salad on the menu, order it and live to fight another day. I had a Guinness IPA for all you beer fans. Apparently this was a limited edition, but it was crazy. It had that smooth texture, but totally tasted like an IPA. So weird, but good. I’m sure they’ll have them everywhere soon. This game was kind of nerve-wracking. My son doesn’t have the attention span to sit in a restaurant for too long, so we watched a few innings, and then I needed to do a location change. What would happen in between the Irish Pub, and my final destination? Would some legendary baseball play happen that Jay fans would remember for all of eternity, and I would miss it? We were boogeying down to the Mandalay Bay Sportsbook, where I would finish watching on TV while my wife and son went to the aquarium. I walked past a hobby store and saw Pete Rose in there signing autographs. I wanted to just go in there and tell him that I think he’s awesome even though he’s been treated like a steaming pile of shit over the last 25 years or so, but I didn’t have time to stop. I went to the washroom and came out. Texas had scored the go-ahead run on a Russell Martin throwing error that was one of the most bizarre plays in MLB playoff history. Luckily they replayed it 5,219 times or I would have really missed out. Then a few minutes later it happened. Easily a top 5 moment in Toronto Blue Jay history, when Jose Bautista hit a home run that gave us the lead in the game and series for good. It was weird because I was in public, but not with anyone, and I started jumping up and down like a 5-year-old. I guess it was one of those ‘dance like nobody’s watching’ moments. I didn’t give a shit what anyone thought of me. I was just having a full on celebration by myself in a room full of people who were probably a little indifferent to the outcome of this game unless they bet on it. One guy came up to me and hugged me though. He must have been in the same situation as I was. It was a pretty joyous moment. I wished my wife was there with me, but she was looking after my son so I could enjoy that moment, and I’m forever grateful.

Oct 16/2015 Game 1 of the ALCS

The Jays were in Kansas City. In an effort to accommodate my son, we decided to go to Circus Circus. Our friend had flown in to join us for a couple of days, so we had an extra adult with us who was also a Jay fan. Again, my wife and son are off playing games, or doing whatever you do there. Our friend and I were in the Circus Circus Sportsbook suffering from second-hand smoke and mediocre beer. When my wife ran out of patience, we were happy to change locations. I hadn’t been to Circus Circus in years. There’s a reason for that, but I don’t like to be judgemental. It’s a good place for a certain crowd I suppose. Had the ventilation been better, I might not have minded it so much. Courtesy of our friend, we now had a rental car, so we drove back toward ‘home’ again, listening on the radio as we drove. We decided to go back to Linq Promenade, and gave the Yard House another try, which worked out great, since I love beer and they have fantastic food. The Jays didn’t fare so well. Royals win.

Oct 17/2015 Game 2 of the ALCS

Back to the Miracle Mile inside of Planet Hollywood. We went right back to that bar inside the mall near Brittany Spears. I drank a Pina Colada while my wife pushed my son around in the stroller. When he fell asleep, she brought him over. This bar was basically just a circle inside the mall. At the entrance there was a line where you couldn’t cross unless you were 21. I sat right beside it, and parked the stroller on the other side with my son fast asleep. This allowed my wife to go to the casino to do some gambling, which she hadn’t done much of up to that point. I was happy that I was able to watch the game and my son at the same time, so she could go have fun for a bit. This was looking like an awesome game. David Price was pitching a gem until the 7th inning when everything fell apart. Royals win.

All told, 5 games in Vegas was bittersweet. We won the first 3 and moved on to the ALCS. We lost the next 2 and would go on to lose the ALCS. I felt bad for the amount of time we spent working around those games, but at the same time, I think we did a lot of the things we wanted to do. I think I might owe my wife some additional consideration on our next trip. My son has already forgotten all about it I’m sure.