‘Hitting’ an all time low?

OK, we’ve had some weird stuff here of late, so lets do something different, a bit of sport. And what better night to do baseball, than in the last hour before the trade deadline closes? Not that it means there will be no more trades this year, it just makes the whole process a lot more complex, thats all.

Its hard to believe now, that just 3 years ago, I was celebrating my ‘American League’ team, the Kansas City Royals, winning the whole thing, the World Series. Last season, I almost saw my ‘National League’ team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, do the same. Still, it was second year lucky for the Royals (they lost WS the year before), so maybe the Dodgers can get there this year? Have to say that on what I’ve seen, I doubt it, but this isnt about them.

As I say, 3 years ago, the Royals were on an all time high, now this year, there is currently, only one team worse than them, and thats a pretty tight race! I know, it must be hard for a small market team to have continued success, but the collapse has been dramatic, all the same. Then, I’d look excitedly for their results, now I try to avoid them, of sorts.

Fine, it amuses me, that as someone who has always enjoyed rooting for the under dogs, that I support the Dodgers, who are one of the big market teams, but I guess its the Hollywood connection, and no more? Oh, and I might get to keep the streak up this year, on watching play off teams in a season, care of Seattle, though they do seem to be wobbling a bit, but fingers crossed!

But yes, thank goodness for Baltimore, or the Royals really would be hitting an all time low, just 3 seasons after the all time high. Funny how things change?

Fine, I might have given a few clues to the video tonight, but its not the famous one, its a live performance from 2000, as I have used the former before.

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Taking a ride on a big wheel, and other things

Right, and so to complete the posting from Seattle scene…

Thursday, I decided that the little toe on my left foot wasnt going to stop being an issue anytime soon, so decided that was the day to ride the full length of the Seattle Light Rail, up the other extension since I was previously here, the one up to the University of Washington. I have to say that the extension at this end of the route (to Angle Lake) has been an absolute boon, as its nearer than the Airport station to here, and walk-able. Well, in perfect health, maybe, but I survived. There is one killer (but thankfully short) uphill stretch on the walk from here to that station, which I wont be missing now!

Coming out of the University station, I rather expected to be on the edge of the University grounds. Ah well…What I was very close to, was Husky Stadium, the home of the University football team. Well, seemingly in these days of glorious sponsorship, its now called Alaska Airlines Field, but will always be Husky Stadium to me! I hobbled a short distance further, didnt find anything more than sports facilities, so gave up on that idea. When I got back to the station, I did find a map, and the grounds were relatively nearby, but decided I wasnt going to push my foot by setting out again, in a totally different direction. So, defeated, back into town, earlier than planned. So I headed for a landmark with memories for me, that I knew hadnt moved, the rail station. Wrong time of day to see the Empire Builder train, though I did see a goods train trundling through the station, heading south. One of these days I will do another long distance train journey, though whether it will be the repeat Empire Builder again, or more likely, Los Angeles to Chicago (via Kansas City, please note), I have no idea. In theory, I could do a ‘Clara Johnson’ and travel by train from Oklahoma City, via Texas, to Los Angeles, if timed right, but I wouldnt put good money on that one. Requires a change in Texas, a slightly shorter one than I suspect Clara did!

After that, I headed down to the front again, and ended up seeing the city from on high again, this time from a giant wheel, hence the title of the blog! The last time I did one of those was the London Eye, with my mother, and that would be about 25 years ago! This time, it wasnt just one turn around the wheel, but 6, but then again it was a lesser radius, which probably explained why! Blonde moment, I realized eventually that I’d only looked in 1 direction for about 5 turns, so turned to take in the other side, and that was when the wheel stopped at the bottom lol! Ah well…

Yesterday, day time at least, was relatively quiet. Went and did the holiday shopping for others, and also found myself a new (much needed) handbag, that certainly looks vintage, even if it clearly isnt! I also found a gorgeous dress in another store, very 30’s, but a bit pricey for me (about $60, plus tax, however much that might have been), and was only a medium size, so I talked myself out of it. Hindsight to that, I discovered I wasnt quite as impoverished as I thought I was, so I decided to go back today, and see if it actually fitted, or not, and probably buy if it did. But no, someone had already beaten me to it, not surprised, it was gorgeous. Macy’s did also have some nice period dresses, but with them you’re talking over $200 each, plus tax, so didnt even consider it, way beyond my purse!

Yesterday evening saw the return to Safeco Field, and the Mariners, this time, all went far more smoothly. I also have to thank Melissa for the Goody Bag (not that she will see this) that was provided too. Must be a lucky mascot, mind, as I saw them win twice! Hobbled back to the Light Rail station just in time for a train to pull in empty, and run back from there, to Angle Lake. Still got my commuting skills, got a seat, no idea how!

Today, beyond the failed shopping trip, was the farewell tour. I didnt go right down to the water today, its a steep route down, and more critically, up, as I discovered on Thursday, so settled for a seat at the top of the steps, and looked out over the water from there for a while. Then back to the Light Rail, the ride out of town, and for now at least, the final farewell. In theory, if nothing changes in my life, I’ll be back in 6 years time (my post retirement trip), as this place will be my stop off point to Alaska. In reality, the way my body is currently falling apart, I wouldnt put good money on being in strong enough health for that, even with breaks en route, but we will see. Thats one thing I have realized, west coast trips really are going to be a no go, very soon, if not already! There will be 1 more, even if I have to drag my shattered body to LA, it will happen at some point! But Seattle…?

Tomorrow, I fly back home, back to work on Wednesday, blessed with a bank holiday this week, which enables me to do it this way. Covering as Team leader again for that week, should be interesting, once I’ve caught up on work emails at least! 2 weekends from now, is Blackpool! Then, as far as I know, thats it until a few days away in Scotland in September, couldnt afford more at present, anyway! Especially as, maybe in November…? You’ll have to wait on that!

Right, video time. Big clue in the blog title, absolutely! Live performance, nearly 50 years old, now I really feel old!

Disability training required!

Firstly, a quick reminder for the newer folk around here, and numbers do seem to have exploded viewing this, so…I’m on holiday now, in Seattle. What this means for those lucky people who know to read both blogs, there’s no point, they just get copy and paste treatment, as most would want to know the same things, and besides, I dont have the time to write 2! So… Yes, I know, its been a while, but more on that in a moment!

Strictly, the holiday made an early start on Thursday, as I went into Am Dram mode again in Cookridge, with a couple of work friends. I would spend time praising the performance to the hilt, and telling you to go see it, but there were only 3 shows, its finished by now, but…It was really good, I must say, as was the meal before that, both the food, and the company.

I was going to post something on Friday re the reduction of stakes on the ghastly machines in betting shops nowadays, from £100, to £2, but firstly I ran out of time, having my hair done (shock horror, I’m not a natural blonde!), and then packing to come here. So it never happened. Mind, as the reduction wont kick in until 2020, I shall probably be rude about the betting industry before then!

Yesterday was just a typical US Travel day in so many ways, that I’ll only pass on the interesting details. Yes, Manchester Airport redeemed themselves this time, though they get one more chance to mess up yet. As does Seattle, where a lovely young lady not only helped me through, and got my baggage for me, she actually ran me over to where the hotel courtesy shuttles pick up, and I’m sure thats not in their job description. But the middle one… No, it wasnt bad, just the opposite in fact, really good service, but…

Every other airport I’ve seen in the US (even before I needed this ‘old crock’ service) has either had a separate line for wheelchair passengers, or mingled them into the crew column, or a mix of both. Ah, but this is Vegas, so…Its not the biggest International sector, I suspect it doesnt need it. So there is a crew column, but access passengers…no! Seems we, regardless of nationality go into the US there, in the US citizen queue. So yes, lol, dont tell Trump, but I’m a US citizen, of sorts! Not really, but yes, it was amusing.

Today has been relatively quiet, as I gave the body chance to recover in advance with planning. In truth, with the warmth here, less needed, but anyway… Just to say, for those who care, I now have an active US cell phone again, until next Sunday, so if you wish to talk, for any reason, just ask for number. If I dont know you of sorts, tell me why you want to talk to me, OK? Not saying I wont give it, but just curious, thats all. Only works for 8 days anyway!

OK, there has to be a down point, doesnt there? Yes, there is one, though hopefully the Mariners will sort it out, they have been emailed already. The game was great, the only snag being that the seat was up more than a few stairs, which didnt help, but I got there eventually, with only minimal soreness. No reason they should have known, I’m not obviously disabled (brace is under top/skirt, and fact not mentioned), so how would the poor guy picking my seat know? I did come down after 7.5 innings, I needed to go ‘somewhere’, and never went back up. Actually found a more comfortable seat for the other 3.5 innings, as it went to overtime. Then, after Seattle had won…

Given I was sore, and given there was a sign for a disabled elevator nearby, I decided to use that to get downstairs, rather than struggling down a large number of stairs, in a large crowd of people. Unfortunately, the lady in the elevator had either failed her disability training, had never been given any, or just didnt think it applied to anyone in less than a wheelchair! So when I, and another lady who said she had walking difficulties got into the lift, she bluntly told us that the lift wasnt meant for ‘people like you’, and pointing at a couple of mothers, with buggies behind us, said, “Its meant for them!”. I have no objection to them using it, but it does say its a disability elevator, so… Complaint email has been sent to the Mariners accordingly! Do I expect anything more than platitudes from them? Probably not! But put it this way, not that they will care, but I had planned a second game at some point Friday, or Saturday, but certainly wont be bothering now! I know, whats 1 customer to them, but all the same…

Fine, video time. I couldnt think of a song that really fitted in with all this, so just made a random choice of an under rated Soft Cell song.

You know how to please me?

Let me say that I’m currently on a bit of a subject drought for these, now I’m doing 3 a week, instead of 2, so if anyone has any suitable ideas for subjects they’d like me to discuss (excluding anything UK politics related), feel free to either post in comments here, or send them to stephmajor8@hotmail.com , and if they appeal, I might just go with them!

This morning I got to see last nights baseball game between LA Angels, and Kansas City in the latter city. To say the weather was interesting for baseball would be putting it mildly. It would be fair to say that the second half of the game was played, quite literally in a snowstorm! Mind, its not exceptional, as apparently recently, a game there at the beginning of May had the same issue! They did get through, but you couldnt see a lot of anyone’s faces, shall we say? 😉

In truth, only a matter of just over a fortnight into the season, and lots of games have been postponed due to the weather. To say this hasnt been helped by the fact that the season started even earlier this year, to try and give more rest days for the players during the season, but in truth, a good number of these have come after the season would normally have started too. Snag is, now all these extra built in rest days for some teams arent going to happen, because of making up all their lost games in the future.

Of course, if sanity had prevailed, the MLB should have scheduled most of the games for the first couple of weeks away from the ‘frozen north’, though I guess that would have then caused issues late in the season for the warmer weather teams in having no home game revenues later in the season as they tried to compensate. But yes, seriously, games in Detroit, Minneapolis and Cleveland at the beginning of April, oops! You may have noticed Toronto missing from this list, which is even colder, but of course has a stadium that can shut a roof, and solve climate issues that way!

But yes, believe me, you wouldnt get me at a baseball game in a snow storm! Only once have I been to a game where the temperatures couldnt get out of the low 40’s, but that was minor league, in Rochester, in April! That was more than enough. Oh, 4 of their first 5 games, cancelled due to the weather!

Ah well, Seattle will hopefully be warmer, and besides, they have a retractable roof, so I should be fine this year. Famous last words!

Right, video time. Some live glam rock from the 70’s! Yes, its hard to find film from those days, has to be said. So who wants to Skweeze me, lol?

A couple of old friends, revisited

Its amazing to think that in just 6 weeks time, I might be doing a blog on a Sunday evening, but be 8 time zones away, in Seattle. Strictly, at this time in Seattle (about 12.25 pm at time of writing), everything permitting, I should be at the baseball park, about to watch my first Mariners game. Its not the first baseball park I saw, that honor goes to Fenway Park, 16 years earlier, though only from a distant observation tower, Seattle was the first I saw up close, and personal. That first trip there, back in 2003 began my love affair with Seattle that has gone on ever since. I’ve been back a few times since, though not recently, and never been there at the right time for a game. This year, I’m planning on 2! This time around, I sort of wonder if its the last time, because with my less strong body, old age, and only 1 trip to the US a year, it probably is, unless I get to Alaska in retirement year, as I would most likely transit through there, with a short break either way, if I get that far, in a healthy state.

In truth, Seattle probably now only ranks Number 2 in my heart, after Los Angeles, but long before I ever visited there, I fell in love with this place. Maybe its because the weather is just so British, with all that rain? Well, I guess all those coffee places help too, lol! I’m sure I will see some new sights (I plan to visit the Uni, now that the light rail runs out to it), and some old friends too, like the Space Needle, Pikes Place market, and oh, some of those coffee shops lol.

But yes, its going to feel strange this time, when I get to say goodbye at the end of the stop, because this time, it might be forever, not just for a few years? But hopefully, one more time, just after retirement…?

The other old friend I plan to visit this year, well, I’ve been away a lot longer than just under a decade. More like 3 decades, in fact, if not slightly more! But yes, given a lot of my childhood holidays seemed to end up in the Scottish Highlands, Inverness holds a special affection for me. And indeed, after those childhood holidays, I went back a few times on my own too! So landmarks like the Castle, the river, and the Northern Meeting Park are all ingrained in my memories. But I’ve never gone back since then, because as tastes, and flight prices changed, I’ve been going abroad pretty much since then!

This year of course, due to cutting back on my work hours, due to my crumbling back, I can only afford 1 US trip this year. But the week was booked in September, and I can afford a short trip, so I’m going back! Mainly for some rail journeys, but I’ve now decided to renew my acquaintance with the city. I know, I said after Newbury that I shouldnt do things like that, but in truth, after over 30 years, there’s barely any details I remember, so I dont really see any issues on that front, in truth. But yes, in this case, almost certainly will be the last time. Still, given I thought I was never going to return…?

OK, video time. Inverness seems not to have produced many pop stars over the years, if Wikipedia is to be believed. But I found Runrig, and when I saw the title, assumed it was a cover of the Public Image song, but it isnt, just the same name.

The morning sun is shining?

Like a baseball, probably not? But fine, I’ve killed the most famous baseball song to death over the years, so lets try something a bit different for the song. Interestingly enough, I found a ‘live’ version of this, but not from either of the writer’s groups! So yes, a group out of left field for you tonight.

The season actually started yesterday, as many wise people might have noted, and yes, I managed to see a couple of games over here on TV yesterday morning before bedtime. Unfortunately, the Dodgers game was after midnight over here, even if it was a late afternoon game in California, so missed that one. Unlike many from last year, a real pitchers game, which unfortunately the Dodgers lost 1-0. Yeah, one of the games was 14-7, seriously!

This year, my plan, given I’m only going to make 1 trip to the US (unless someone else pays for my stay, or I win a contest or something, neither of which is ever likely to happen), and things work out that way, I’m planning to sneak in 2 games during my stay in Seattle in May. I’m pretty sure that given my health, sitting in a baseball stadium during the afternoon after arrival might be about all my back is good for! After that, Mariners are away for a few days, but then come back for the following weekend, so I’ll plan to go on either the Friday, or Saturday evening. Probably the Saturday, as the recovery time I’ll need will ensure I have no crazy ideas of trying to go very far from the hotel on the Sunday, after packing to go home, as I dont fly back until the afternoon. But at the same time, Friday might work better, as at least it would then allow me on the Saturday to look back one last time at Seattle before leaving, whereas late at night, I wouldnt see much?

Will that be it for a city I love? Not sure? If my back is up to my post retirement plan to visit Alaska, then I will probably be back in 2024, as its an ideal place to split the journey for me. But in truth, given the state of my back, I’m less sure I’ll be up to that trip by the month, but we will see. But yes, I’ll probably look back as if it is, just in case.

It will be a nice way to round the circle at least, as the first baseball park I saw on a solo trip to the US was Seattle. Strictly, back in 1987, I saw Fenway Park from a considerable distance, but that was it. Funny thing is, I’ve been to Seattle a couple more times since, but once was out of season (I did a stadium tour instead), and the second time, the only day they were at home on the stay was the Sunday. The plan was to go, but then my flight was delayed by 9 hours to Chicago, so spent Saturday night there, only arrived in Seattle at lunchtime on Sunday, and yes, it was an afternoon game! So, I plan to get it done this time, twice over, lol!

I will see more from here during the summer, for sure, mainly matinee games due to the time difference, but there will be a few of them, for sure. And of course, there may be some live games on ESPN (assuming the hotel has it?) while in the US too.

And yes, fine, I’m sure that in about 7 months time, I’ll be looking at the climax of the season, and hopefully Dodgers will go one better this time around!

Video time. Paul Simon (Simon & Garfunkel), and Bruce Woodley (Seekers) wrote this song, but as I say, I cant find a live performance by either on You Tube. But seemingly, the group that first brought it to fame were a 2 hit wonder called the Cyrkle. However, dont feel sorry for the guys, apparently they went on to write numerous famous ad jingles from the 60’s and 70’s!

Moving forward in time?

I know, all my US readers will wonder what I’m talking about, as you moved the clocks forward for summer time just over a week ago. We here in Europe arent quite so keen, as we move the clocks forward this weekend. Yes, the loss of an hours sleep, and all that, mutter, mutter…lol!

In theory at least, spring officially starts here, by the way. No, it doesnt feel like it at present, I must say. But yes, the notable landmark for me, the start of the baseball season is a mere 9 days away, though I wouldnt fancy watching it in Cleveland, Boston, or Colorado at present, to name a few. There is somewhere even more northerly of course, Toronto, but yes, that can be an indoor stadium, so temperature is less of an issue. My ‘fondest’ memory would be April baseball in Rochester (minor league), when the temperature was barely above freezing. In practice it was a double header, but one game in freezing weather was more than plenty for me!

Of course the more amusing date we are heading for, slightly further ahead than this weekend, is the arrival of the twenties! So yes, everyone needs to get back into Jazz music, Flapper dresses, and illegal booze lol! Oh, I wish! Oh fine, I suspect the 2020’s will be very different to the 1920’s, and lets definitely hope they dont end with the same crash at the end of that decade, though I strongly suspect I wont care by then, either way! But yes, I’ll keep my new flapper dress, just in case we get a twenties match up! 😉

In truth, I need summer, and some heat to arrive, the sooner the better. Fine, here in the UK, I doubt the heat we will get will have any dramatic effect on my back, unfortunately. So if someone wants to pay for me to move to somewhere where its hot all year round, I would appreciate it, though not expecting it to happen. Yes, in hindsight, going as far north as Seattle, even in May might not have been my best option, but I’ll survive, I guess?

And yes, I know, I’ll get my hour of sleep back at the end of October (just before US does), but thats a long way off! Well, hopefully it is, as thats when the baseball season ends, lol! But yes, I’m hoping the spring forward with the clocks, will be matched by a spring upwards in temperatures. Yes, stop laughing!

Right, video time. What we wont be doing on Saturday night/ Sunday morning, when an hour of time will beat us, not the other way round!