Saturday, August 29, 2009

First Game Back at Big League Dreams Park

So a new team asked me to play softball...If you know me, I like to embellish my softball stories... but to write out everything I would say, would take a while. The organizer of the team played Shortstop and batted first in the lineup which I thought was quite a selfish move. He's only an average player. Plus, those are my spots typically :) . Anyways, I started the game in Left-Center (at Ebbets Field) and let a groundball roll through my legs to the wall.... good first impression on my part.
What the outfield looks like at a typical 'Big League Dreams Park'

I made up for it by going yard (2 run HR) and making a diving, face-first, belly flop catch in the outfield. After some more routine catches and 2 more singles, we found ourselves down 15-18 in the last inning of the game. With 2 outs and runners on 2nd and 3rd, one of my teammates hit a double to make the game 17-18. The lead-off hitter (the 'organizer' I mentioned above) was next up and I was extremely worried he was going to ruin it. He didn't. He hit a groundball up the middle to tie the game up 18-18. Next up.... me. Looked at 1 pitch, then hit the 2nd one in between the SS and 3B, for the walk-off game winning hit.

I'm pretty sure they want me to come back next week.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Vertical Farming

I loved this idea for quite some time, but I do not know why a prototype has not been developed yet. The financing is an issue to deal with, but I believe the actual farming methods and resources used check out as 'better' than typical agricuture. I see lots of benefits for environmental and social causes, and I'm sure that long-term finances check out as well. As is the problem with a lot of sustainable solutions, the up front cost is a hindrance.... and the only thing that usually can fix such a problem is government involvement (in terms of incentives).

Also, I received a comment via Gmail asking me to post this video on Vertical Farming and the concerns/hype I raised above...I'm improving readership it seems!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Life of Riley... maybe I should change my Blog Title

So in my previous post, I have a picture of me and a tavern called 'The Life of Riley'. My mom told me this was an old phrase meaning 'living the good life.' I got pretty excited about this and did a little google search myself. Here is what I found, providing another reason for me to like my own name.

1-The expression, "Living the life of Riley" suggests an ideal life of prosperity and contentment, possibly living on someone else's money, time or work. Rather than a negative freeloading or golddigging aspect, it instead implies that someone is kept or advantaged. The expression was popular in the 1880s, a time when James Whitcomb Riley's poems depicted the comforts of a prosperous home life

2- Meaning: An easy and pleasant life.


The phrase originated with the Irish/American soldiers in the US Army during WWI. The first known citation is in a letter from a Private Walter J. Kennedy, stationed at Camp Dix, New Jersey, which was published inThe Syracuse Herald on 29th June 1918. The piece was headed "Great Life, Writes Soldier at Camp":

"This is surely one great life." writes Kennedy. "We call it the life of Riley. We are having fine eats, are in a great detachment and the experience one gets is fine."

Later that year, on 22nd October, The Bridgeport Telegram published a letter from Private Samuel S. Polley, 102 Regiment, stationed in France.

"They [German officers] must have led the life of Reilly as we caught them all asleep in beds..."

Who Riley (or Reilly, or Reiley) was isn’t clear. If he had been a known individual then it surely would have been recorded. The lack of any such records points to the name being chosen as that of a generic Irishman, much as Paddy is used now.

The phrase may have been brought to America by Irish immigrants, although there’s no known use of it in Ireland prior to 1918, or, more likely, it originated in the Irish community in the USA. It reached the wider public via the 1919 song by Howard Pease - My name is Kelly:

Faith and my name is Kelly, Michael Kelly,
but I’m living the life of Reiley just the same.

3- Living the Life of Riley" suggest an ideal life of prosperity and contentment, possibly living on someone else’s money, time or work. Rather than a negative freeloading or gold digging aspect, it instead implies that someone is kept or advantaged. This expression was popular in the 1880s a time when James Whitcomb Riley’s Poems depicted the comforts of a prosperous home life, but it could have an Irish origin: After the Riley clan consolidated its hold on country caravan, they minted their own money accepted as legal tender even in England. These coins called O’Rileys and Reillys became synonymous with a monied person and a gentleman freely spending was "living on his Reillys".

Which got me thinking, what does my name mean....

The name Riley is of Irish and Gaelic origin. It means Valiant and Courageous.

The meaning behind the name Riley begins when the name originally appeared in Gaelic as O’Raghailligh, which means descendant of Raghallach.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Road Tripping with Mom

So after I got back from the wedding in NC, I officially began by descent from the upper reaches of Canada (see flower flag below). I picked my madre up from the airport in Seattle and we began our Road Trip. On the agenda... well, we didn't know. I tried to get her to pick some places to go to, but instead we played it by ear. Stop 1: Seattle.

In Seattle, we stopped by the touristy areas (we are tourists anyway) and did the Space Needle, sculpture park, and Pikes Place Market. Rather than relive every minute, I would have to say the best moment was eating chowder (scallop chowda for me and southwestern chowda for my mom) and crab rolls. Also, the guys at Pikes Place dangled an octopus in front of a kid's face. That was classy!
Put that on a Postcard

On the way down I-5, we came across Olympia. I have driven by Olympia and you literally don't even recognize you went through a city. I knew it was the capital city, so we made a stop. Disclaimer: it was sunset at the time, which makes everything in the world 100x more beautiful, but I don't think the city really needed the sunset to be beautiful. It had an awesome capitol grounds and it also had a concert in the park down the street. All in all, it looked like a great place to live.
Capitol Grounds (put that one on a postcard too)

After waking up, we made an inland journey to Mt. St. Helens. An hour of driving later, we came upon a foggy mess. We could see the ruins of the eruption, but we literally could not see the mountain/volcano. The two of us were pointing at distant ranges and smaller mountains. Finally the fog cleared enough for us to see the ginormous mountain in front of us. It was right in our face! Yet it took us an hour to recognize that with all the fog. Anyway, the visitor's center was really informative and had a nice recount of that day in 1980. It even had a story of a man and his wife floating down on trees away from the blast. Crazy!
This one is not postcard worthy, thus, I bought a postcard from the Visitors Center

Driving down I-5 South, we came across Portland. I had been to Portland once before and absolutely loved it. I told my mom and she seemed less enthused. She would have been happy to go through it, because she did not know of one touristy thing to do. I kept telling her, we got to stop... it is such a wonderful city. So we stopped and in the end, she tells me, "I wish we had more time here." CMON! We stopped at Powell's (the local bookstore that fills a city block) and ate lunch at a local brewery (which had ornate carved archways). A stop at 'Cupcake Jones' afterwards and my mom was hooked. Below is a tavern we ran across.
Turns out the phrase 'Life of Riley' means 'Living the Dream'.... how awesome is that?

After a night in Eugene, OR (home of University of Oregon.... the team that the Utes are going to throttle this coming year in football.... you heard it first right here), we headed southwest towards the coast and Redwood National Forest. There are not enough words to describe how awesome and spiritual those forests were. I took probably 50 pics of trees, but probably should not put them all in this post (believe me, there were plenty of postcard worthy pics too). Yet the pics really don't do them justice, as the trees just don't looks as tall and thick in diameter in the picture. You really need something (like me hugging the it comes, call me that environmentalist name) next to the tree for perspective. The 'treehugging' (hate the animosity behind that word when people use it... hell, I enjoy hugging's better than hugging a car or building) picture below is a middle of the pack redwood tree too.

I took lots of upwards pics, to try and capture the enormity of them.

Don't say it.....

After about 3-4 hours of tree viewing we finally came across 'Big Tree'. One of my mom's favorite stories of the trip is me seeing the road sign for 'Big Tree' and slamming on the brakes and pulling onto the shoulder to look at the tree the arrow was pointing to. We both thought it was an average redwood and were confused why we drove out of our way to see something we had already seen. Getting in the car, we drove a quarter mile more and saw the parking lot for the Big Tree. The sign earlier was just letting us know to take a left, and it was not pointing at any tree in particular. I'm college educated....
Creative Name...

We saw a herd of about 25 elk just outside the forest... pretty neat to see them that close.

After driving through the redwoods, we came upon the ocean. My mom had never been to the ocean and she honestly got a little giddy when she saw it.. I pulled a NASCAR-like maneuver and parked the car so we could go walk the beach. We got the feet wet and gathered rocks/seashells for the nieces and for her pond at home. We also got some pretty awesome vistas from the historic 101 Pacific HGWY. Here is one of them:

Ocean Vista Postcard, count it!

At this point of our trip, the ole Suzuki Forenza had to do some serious mountain climbing, winding up and around many ranges. The first was during the night (and come to find out, with only 1 headlight. I credit our survival to my awesome driving). The second was on our way to and through Lake Tahoe (where we stopped because that is where my mom and dad got married). We looked for the romantic wedding chapel, but could not find it (still interesting to see where it all started). Instead, we got some good looking views of the lake (specifically, Emerald Bay).
Finally, after Lake Tahoe, we kept the best for last. Driving I-80E to Salt Lake City. There is nothing better than driving ~500 miles from Reno to SLC than going through such glorious cities such as Winnemuca, Battle Springs, Elko, and Wendover. If you want classy sophistication, look no further. Too bad I took no pictures to show you :)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Wedding Week

It has been a while... it is my goal to write blog posts frequently enough so there is a point to visiting my blog... it is pretty annoying when you click on a blog and the same stories are up. That has been the case for 'Nomadic Ute' as I have been traveling (hence the name of my blog!) for the last 2 weeks. Here is the recap of the week out in North Carolina:

Wednesday: I arrived at NC at 9am... after catching the redeye from Seattle at 11pm the previous night. I thought this was a good idea, being that I could spend the cross country flight sleeping. Well sometimes good plans aren't executed. I didn't sleep at all, and I lost 3 hours in the time zone switch overs. Additionally, Adam, the groom, was picking me up from the airport so we could drive 5 hours to Charleston, SC for the bachelor's party. Basically, I knew once I got off the plane that a 40 hour sleepless state was in the future.

...of highlight during the time in Charleston was
1- Riley placing a 'wet floor' sign in the middle of the hotel driveway during a torrential rainstorm
2- 3 dozen oysters among 5 people... all of which may or may not have come back out an hour later
3- group picture in middle of a fountain followed by at least 3 failed piggy back rides (leading to grown men being dropped onto the ground)
4- Arguing about college football with random people on street (teams included Ole Miss, LSU, Oklahoma, Utah, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, and probably more SEC teams). We did this inside and outside a cigar shop (outside only because the owner kicked us out for being loud).

5- I danced on a stool at a bar. Why? They were allowing every girl in the place to dance on the bar but no guys. So I decided to make a fool of myself (only for Adam's enjoyment, not mine...:) and dance on the stool next to the bar. I was told to get down within 5 seconds. Equal opportunity?
6- many more stories that deserve their own blogpost or a phone call. Disappointingly, no photos of this night!

Thursday: Recovery

Friday: Rehearsal and dinner... At the rehearsal, we learned how to stand and how to look. Basically, the goal is not to attract any attention to me (which is hard to do, I mean look at me... Just Kidding!) At the dinner, we had a delish set of appetizers, garden salad, chicken pasta w/ white sauce, and my favorite desert, chocolate mousse cake. I happened to get myself in trouble with the bride (inappropriate ettiquette... my bad), Kristen, but I of course made up for with my charm and humor. The night ended with Adam giving our groomsmen gifts (Abita bucket, alma mater miniature football helmets, beer, and cufflings... mine were Utes cufflings). They were awesome gifts!
Rehearsal Dinner: Adam looked too sexy to not post!

Saturday: WEDDING DAY! All the groomsmen got together for a bucket of range balls in the morning at the UNC golf course. Great way to start the day! Afterwards, we got all primped up and suited for the wedding... and arrived an hour before. I ushered guests to their seats... not too hard of a job. After 45 minutes, the Father proclaimed "for the first time,... Mr & Mrs Parker". He was quite a funny man (a staunch conservative) and did an excellent job of administering the wedding.... Following at least 3 hours of wedding photos, which everyone else typically dislikes, but I didn't mind (does this speak to my subconscious interest in being photographed?), we got to the reception.
Groomsmen with Bride

The best part of all of this, is that the wedding party gets treated like VIP's. Everyone is all asking you questions (i.e. what have you been doing all week, what are you wearing, can I get a pic of you?... RED CARPET treatment basically), and you have a backroom to retreat to, where food and drinks await. We spent some downtime there, so we could be ready for the reception dinner.
To enter the reception, each groomsman and brides maid entered as a pair to the song "Go Ninja Go". I was told my ninja roll and strut was the best by far. I have entered a room at least 3 times like this. Dinner was good again. Lots of dancing ensued with all my ole TFA friends. We wished the Parkers a great time in Hawaii and thanked them for such a great wedding.
TFA Friends @ Wedding, we threw it down on the dance floor

Post wedding was basically reminescent of TFA-ENC. Ten of us crowded in a hotel, played semi-loud music, played some 'games', and ate pizza. You just can't do it better than how we do it in ENC.
Sunday: Recovery Part Deux... headlined by a NICE cracker barrel breakfast with people in above picture.

Monday: 9 holes of golf, in which we were hasseled by the course marshall. This was followed by a Bojangles lunch, a necessary stop while in the South, being that such food (aka hearty, fattening, well-seasoned, greasy) is impossible to find in PHX. This was followed by another 9 holes of rain interrupted golf. After an hour and a half of hiding under our carts from the rain, we proceeded to play golf through puddles/lakes/mud. At this point, scores really didn't matter... we were all hacking it up and running around, being that no one else was on the course and that we had some pent-up energy. I proclaimed that I was going to make every putt and from what I remember, I did?!?!

Tues: Morning work out, followed by a southern BBQ lunch (pulled pork, baked beans, potato salad, and hushpuppies). I have a pic of its deliciousness on my phone, but I most likely lack the technology to transfer said picture to this blogpost...probably because my phone is about 4 generations old. ...I flew back to Seattle to await the arrival of my mom, so we could drive down to Utah.... more pics and stories from that trip soon.