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!

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Whats in a name?

One of my pet hates with modern stadiums is that they dont have what I would call, a proper name, especially in the US, where seemingly nearly every team now plays in a stadium with no local name, just the name of whoever may be sponsoring it at the time. Thankfully, Dodgers Stadium, Wrigley Field, and Fenway Park (to name a few) survive at present by their original name, but for how long?

Thankfully, there are some places that regardless of how many times the name changes, most people still know them by their old name. In truth, I suspect the tale of tonight’s rant will be one of those, despite the ghastly name change.

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum started to be built in 1921, opening in 1923. In its time, as well as hosting numerous teams from the Los Angeles area (including for a few years, the Dodgers, more on that later), but also hosted 2 Olympics, and may well play a part in hosting another in 2028, when the event returns to town. I wont be there to see it, even if I’m still alive by then!

But now, or more strictly correctly, in August 2019, the name will change, it will be ‘The United Airlines Memorial Coliseum’. Yes, I know, money talks, and all that! In truth, beyond the whole matter of the name change, its who the sponsors are! Yes, United Airlines.

Thats right, the company who in the last few years have had a total customer services meltdown are putting $69 million towards repairs to the stadium, presumably in a desperate attempt to improve their standing in the community? And yes, they are still as bad as ever, only last week throwing a woman off a plane, due to a ticketing error, on the way to see her dying mother for the last time. No, thanks to their incompetence, she never made it! Of course, it wasnt their fault according to them, but seriously, given those circumstances, and the fact the ticket had been paid for, what a shambles!

The amusing thing of course, is the LA reaction to this. Most of that has involved comments about buying tickets for the stadium, then having someone coming up, throwing you out of your seat, and beating you up for good measure! That attitude might improve towards them over the next 18 months, but I wouldnt put good money on it! That is of course, given the amount of bad publicity they’ve had of late, that United Airlines are still around by then! Wouldnt that be ironic?

With luck, everyone will continue to call it The Coliseum, and nothing more for the rest of time!

What I didnt know, until I did a search, was that the Dodgers actually played 1 game there after their move to Dodgers Stadium. To celebrate 50 years in town, in 2008, they played a pre season game at their old home, against Boston Red Sox. No, the stadium was no longer designed for that, but anyway…

I found this. Yes, the Boston Red Sox song, sung in Coliseum. Official attendance was over 115,000, but certainly not that many there in this shot!

Review Of The Year, Part one

Now, normally when you do a review of the year, and you’re splitting it in two, you’d do two spells of 6 months, right? But when I looked back on my year, it took me about 30 seconds (if that long) to work out that apart from one event in May, not much happened for the first 8 months, then a hell of a lot happened in the last 4! So to avoid a 500 word blog tonight, and a 3000 word one tomorrow, I’m doing this on an 8/4 basis this year.

In truth, the highlights of the first 2 months were getting the news I’d passed probation period at work, and getting a passport in my new name. Oh, and around the same time, my first moments of DWP fame, in an LGBT sense, with an interview from work, about life as a LGBT woman in the Department. Which of course led to something that will be mentioned in Part 2, but for now…

No, diplomacy means I’m not mentioning a certain event that happened in the US, in January, but you all know what I think of him, and his actions, so lets leave it there.

Of course, my first flight as Harlean Carpenter, was in May, going back to Hollywood, or more strictly, Los Angeles. Lets just say the whole apartment thing this time around wasnt the success of the previous trip, both in the sense of initially booking an apartment, and then the landlord deciding he wanted to decline the booking, because he hadnt put in his price rise for the New Year. Fine, I thought, until he told me it was done, and suddenly the price had risen by over 20%, nearly 25% in fact! So I started again, thought I’d found somewhere decent as a replacement, but it didnt live up to all its claims. Dont get me wrong, it was nice enough, just didnt have all the facilities it claimed it had.

The funniest moment was a delightful Thai takeaway I had found 18 months earlier, and the lady still remembered me the moment I walked in, despite that. Its sad to think that by the next time I visit, she will almost certainly be gone, as it will be a few years before I get there again (unless I get a role offer), and I doubt she was that young this year, so…but she was amazing!

The other big highlights that will stick with me, would be 2 Louise Brooks silent films, viewed at the historic Egyptian Theater, a guided Hollywood walk given by a wonderful lady that I like to see as a friend, a ‘better than I would buy’ seat at a Dodgers game, thanks to another friend, with the added bonus of it being a game that Kershaw pitched at! Lastly, there was a wonderful Harlow display at the Hollywood Museum, which was a delight to see. Oh, and thanks to the Metro, getting to Santa Monica far easier than ever before!

In truth, I have no idea when I’ll be back, unless I get an offer, which I would have to say is pretty unlikely. But never say never… Certainly, due to something that will be mentioned shortly, walking up the hill to where Harlow rests at Forest Lawn would probably be beyond me now, but anyway…

In July, 2 things happened, one good, one bad. The good one was, that knowing that Clara Johnson’s middle initial was E, and finding a few images of a chorus line dancer/Goldwyn Girl, and putting two and two together, when you find a dancing match, named Elaine Johnson, who has a career that seems to tie in to Clara’s, well I jumped on the issue, and joy, actually found 3 pictures of her from a credited movie promotion shoot. Of course I cant be 100% sure its one and the same, but enough coincidences for me to say it is. In fact, as you’ll find out tomorrow, this isnt the end of that story! Yes, a few new pictures, wow! I’d still love to find her married name, so I’d have a chance of paying my respects if, and when I get back to LA.

The bad thing, my back, after giving me support for about 59 years, decided it had had enough, and snapped. Quite literally, though not in too severe a way, fingers crossed. Yes, osteoporosis had taken its toll on me! Painkillers, and other meds (been tweaked a couple of times) keep it bearable, but yes, its fair to say old age is beginning to catch up with me. It eventually led to me cutting back to 4 days a week at work, with which I can just about get by financially, but holidays will need to be cut back on now, for sure.

August marked 1 year in the new job, and in truth, apart from a dream acting offer, I cant see me leaving before I get to retire in just over 6 years time. Yes, I really am that old lol! The rest of the year, and a few landmarks, tomorrow!

Right, the video. One of the few modern groups I have much time for, are The Killers. I now love them even more now I know that each Christmas, they record a song, and give all royalties to charity! This is the 2013 song, which is apt given where I was in May, and even more so when you see something I post tomorrow!

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…

Memories Are Made Of This

I know, strictly the baseball playoffs started 2 days ago, with the 2 wild card games, but in a sense the serious stuff starts tonight! Not that the 2 games so far have been dull (31 runs scored in 2 games already!), but now the maneuvering stuff starts tonight, with the American League Divisional series. Tomorrow sees the start of the National League matches, including the Dodgers, but fine, for now I’ll root for the Red Sox in the AL, given the Kansas City Royals arent there this year, but more on them shortly.

Its hard to believe now, it seems so much longer ago, but just 2 years ago, I had the thrill of watching a lot of the playoffs from a wonderful apartment in the Hollywood Hills. To say that was an amazing 4 weeks would be putting it mildly. Sadly, as I have previously reported, returning to that wonderful home from home on Verbena Drive isnt going to happen, as a mere few months later, the owners of the whole home (the apartment was a separate building, below the main home) sold the place, so never again. Not that the place I stayed in this year was bad, but it wasnt the same.

It was a series of mixed emotions for me, the Dodgers not lasting that long, but the Royals kept winning, and winning, and indeed, on my last night in that apartment, I saw them win Game 1 of the World Series, in a crazy number of innings, against the Mets, and of course, a week or so later, they won the World Series, and I really felt part of it, because in truth, I was, because I saw them live so often, which I could never have done at home in the UK.

And here we are, 2 years on, and I get to see some of the first divisional series match tonight, before bedtime, between Houston, and Boston, because it starts at 9 pm over here. Given work tomorrow, I wont see the end though, for sure. Tomorrow night, or more strictly in my time, early Saturday morning, the Dodgers will start their journey, hopefully further than 2 years ago, fingers crossed.

And oh, I kept the streak, the 1 game I saw in a stadium this year, both teams are in the play offs! Yes, that night, in about 12 (or 13?) innings, they beat Arizona! Guess who they meet in the playoffs, yes, same team!

But yes, for now, I’ll look back 2 years, to that Royals Championship, and hope that maybe this year, my NL team, the Dodgers can match them.

Yes, tonights video is black and white, and could well be from a time when the team was the Brooklyn Dodgers, just maybe?

To the Pacific, and back, via public transport

Oh fine, I know, a lot of catching up to be done, so lets get things nicely up to date here.

Sunday

The main event of note on Sunday was a trip along Sunset Boulevard, to a lovely bookshop serving the acting industry, for a series of short pieces written, and directed by women. No, before the men reading this start muttering about rabid feminists, a number of the actors reading were men! Though fine, one of the funniest was a spoof about make up just for lesbians, and if you werent one already, and you wore it, well, you might soon be one! Met up again with some delightful ladies I met just over 2 years ago, had a great time.

Monday

Due to some good news, I had to start changing plans on my days out, more on the news, probably in next blog. So I headed out to one of my favorite coastal places around here, Pacific Palisades. Its funny, I’d normally groan at the thought of nearly 90 minutes on a bus, without comfy seats, but for this route, especially the last part, I can make an exception. Had a nice stroll around, though I passed on walking down the canyon to the beach, because I knew I’d see the ocean again, plus you limit your bus options back, if you do that. But yes, I’m going to miss that place.

Tuesday

Known now as the day that if anything could go wrong, it would. A lovely man I know purchased me a nice seat for the Dodgers game that evening, snag was, I had to get the ticket printed off, and obviously my apartment doesnt have a printer, and I dont have a smart phone, so…I walked to a Fedex office in town, got on their internet, to grab the email, print off the ticket, and… Hotmail decided it was suspicious activity, and so wanted me to get a code sent to another email address. Fine, except that when I tried to get into that box, to get the code, it wouldnt let me in, and wanted to send a code to the other address it wouldnt let me into!
Fortunately, he’d sent a copy of it to my Facebook messenger page, assuming I could save it on my smart phone which I dont have, but I printed that off, and it got me into the game. Snag was, I didnt notice at the time, it didnt give all the details of my seat number! More on that later…

Finally, about an hour later than planned, I headed to Venice, the California one! You know, with the beach, and the muscles, and…a certain statue! Back in 1922, a shy(?) student named Myrna Williams posed for a statue that was to stand outside the high school. Oh, you might know her by her acting name, Myrna Loy! Unfortunately, with everything, I arrived in the school lunch hour, which made getting to her trickier that it might have been if the students had been in class. Anyway, having given my regards to her, I set off back to the bus stop, to get a bus to the beach, and waited…and waited…and waited. In the end, 2 buses more or less came along together!
After a stroll along the boardwalk, I set off to find the muscle, on the beach. Yes, it might be lively at weekends, but on a Tuesday afternoon, grand total of 3 guys doing their thing! Fine, it was something, but…I suspect a weekend visit is more, err, fruitful in that sense?

Given that I needed to get back at a reasonable hour to get to the Dodgers game, I set off to get home, which should have taken 90 minutes max! Actually took just over 2 hours. Not traffic mainly, just crazy passengers delaying things! Which meant I ended up leaving here late, hitting the crowds trying to get into the stadium, and then…

I normally sit up ‘in the Gods’ at baseball games. Yes, your view is limited, but the seats are cheap! And when you’re on a budget… Last night, I was down at field level, which is a long way down from the entry area at Dodgers stadium. No idea where I was going, took the wrong turn, got there eventually, though I missed the first half of the first innings, ah well…Yes, thats when I found out my ticket didnt actually give seat details. Anyway, at the second attempt, I found a seat no one else wanted, and watched most of the game.

Yes, one of those games that goes on forever, I left at the 11th innings mark, and headed for the buses back into town, to head home. Unfortunately, despite the bus being very full, the driver wasnt keen on leaving while the game was still going on. Eventually he did, before the Dodgers finally won, after 13 innings! Snag was, there were a lot of very drunk, very loud youngsters on the bus, screaming and shouting at regular intervals, but eventually we arrived at Union Station, and… There is meant to be a train at that time of night, every 20 minutes. 25 minutes after arriving on the platform, a train finally turned up! Given there were already people waiting, I would guess, at least 30 minutes, if not more, after the previous one.

I’ll save today, as this is far too long already! I need to thank Sarah for finding this apt video for me. Looks like Madonna was trying to portray a few golden age actresses, but warning, it is Madonna, and some of it might not be suitable for children, just saying…