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.

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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!

Praying for a miracle, and reaching for the stars

Regardless of what happens tonight, and it might be all over then, though I hope not, by the next time I get to post here, the baseball season will finally be over. Hopefully, it creeps over into November, because if it doesnt, it means the Dodgers have lost the World Series, and I will be a slightly less happy bunny. I mean, they could still lose it tomorrow, in November, but then at least the dream will have lasted one more day.

In all honesty, against any other team, I’d probably be hoping for a Houston win, because of all the problems they had with the hurricane, and everything there, it would be nice for them to have something to bring cheer. But, yes, its the Dodgers, so fine, I care, lol! No, I have no idea what I’d do if the Dodgers were playing the Royals, except that I probably wouldnt really care who won!

Technically, the Dodgers have a strong hand, given the last 2 games are at home. But the pressure of having to win both games, or else, must still play a part? Game 5 was an absolutely crazy game, 13-12, in what was supposed to be a game between 2 strong pitchers. But yes, whatever they’ve done to the balls this year, its certainly changed things in favor of the hitters, indeed, gone too far in my humble opinion. Yes, I like runs being scored, as much as others, but all tactics seem to have gone out of the game this year, beyond the hitters just trying to smash every ball out of the park! And the balls flying for miles, to help them!

Anyway, not a lot I can do, from here, I guess. I know what some think, but no, I’m not a witch, and cant fly at supersonic speed on a broomstick to get there, and change the history of the game lol! Even if I had a flying saucer spaceship (oh please!), still the same! But yes, in my sleep, I’ll be hoping for 2 Dodgers wins in the next 2 nights, and a World Series title.

My next game, all things permitting, will be next May, on the West Coast. But no, not Dodgers Stadium, but a long way north of there, in Seattle. Yes, another stadium to tick off my list of visited for a game, though I have done a tour of that stadium. But yes, definitely health permitting, but fingers crossed.

The video, well the title is a line from the lyrics. Cannot find an actual live performance of this one, sorry!

Walk of life, and death.

When it comes to US sports, my longest term love has to be the NFL. Primarily because it was the first one shown on TV over here, back in the mid 1980’s, and I’ve pretty much followed it ever since then. In that time, its changed channels, its changed from being recorded highlights, to 1 game a week, to the numerous games per week we have now over the years, but its always been around.

For many years now, providing most of that much improved coverage has been Sky Sports. Even then, they’ve been through a few presenters over the years, but for many of them, there was 1 American guy there, who definitely knew what he was talking about (unlike some of the UK ones), and even better, was a fellow Buffalo Bills fan, through thick and thin. Well, I suppose had a good reason, he was born in the city, whereas I just picked them out purely at random!

Then tonight, when the coverage of the game from London started, I heard the sad news that he’d passed away, at the age of 62! Hey, he’s not that much older than me, and believe me, I feel my age at present, anyway! So…I just want to say, Kevin Cadle, I’m going to miss seeing you on TV, and yes, rest in peace.

I guess it would be wrong (and I’d hate myself if I didnt) not to mention a certain team in the World Series, starting Tuesday (strictly, Wednesday morning, my time), the Los Angeles Dodgers. Yes, its a shame its only happened the first year after Vin Scully retired, though such is life. I have seen people hoping he will do something, but hey, he’s fast approaching 90, so I dont blame him for saying no, so far at least. Who me, a Dodgers fan? Well…

No, I wont see any of it live, all going to happen in the middle of the night over here, and I’m too old, and fragile for things like that, even if I wasnt working! I’ll see some presentation hopefully, though no idea how much? But yes, naturally, I’ll be dreaming of a Dodgers Championship, though only from afar. It will actually be strange next May, assuming I decide I’m up to the trip, when I see a game in Seattle, its been a long time since I saw one other than Dodgers Stadium, but…I can at least add another to my stadium visit list, as I say, health permitting. With luck, and finances, I hope to add the White Sox to my collection next September, though that might be a step too far on both counts!

The video is one with plenty of NFL, plenty of baseball, and some basketball too, which Cadle was a top coach in. Yes, its an oldie, the Houston Oilers no longer exist, so…