Where's Nate?

living large in the four-oh-eight. wicked large.


otter nonsense.*

(*Right off the bat, allow me to apologize for the plagiarism. Otter Nonsense is a brilliant improv comedy troupe at Middlebury. Pretty damn funny, indeed.)

Paige, Fen, and I just got back from a long weekend in Carmel with the Johnson family. Activities included golf at Pacific Grove Muni (aka "Poor Man's Pebble Beach"), grilled pizza, dinner al fresco at Forge in the Forest, and journeys down to the Yankee Point beach. Amazingly, we had sun and temps around 70 all weekend long. I can't remember the last time we saw consistent weather like this in the summer.

The highlight of the weekend, though, was a kayak trip up Elkhorn Slough outside of Moss Landing. At the apex (?) of Monterey Bay and right off Highway 1, the slough is home to harbor seals, sea otters, and a ton of bird life. Yep, bird life.

Paige and I enjoyed racing Reed and Jessica and Mom and Dad a couple of miles up the slough, where we were startled by otters and seals popping up along the way.

Otters are even more entertaining up close, especially when they grab clams and crabs from the bottom and start cracking them at the surface. What a bunch of smart and noisy animals.


play ball.

Many of you know I am on a quest to visit every major league stadium. Right now, the count is 16 of 30 active stadiums. But the catch is that new ballparks are introduced almost every season. So while I've seen MLB games in Montreal, Philly, Milwaukee, San Diego, and Cincinnati, they were all in the old stadiums. All told, I've seen ballgames in 20 of 30 major league cities (Montreal moved to DC, of course). And the quest continues.

I've also seen minor league games in large cities like San Jose and Buffalo, medium-sized cities like Syracuse and St. Paul, and small towns like Burlington (where Paige and I had season tickets for the Vermont Expos in 2001, a squad that featured current Pirates All Star Jason Bay). So imagine my excitement when we saw the Traverse City Beach Bums a few weeks ago.

It's a funky little park that looks more like a Hampton Inn than a baseball stadium. But the fans are close to the action, the beer is cheap, and the mascots are hilarious. These features reminded us of our beloved Vermont Expos and the cozy confines of Centennial Field. (For a cool review of baseball in Traverse City, check out this article. I think the reviewer was in Wuerfel Park the same night we introduced Jia and Hannah to pro baseball.)

In a related story, the Big House is being renovated over the next few seasons. I'm not sure how you can mess with perfection. But my grad school alma mater is throwing $225M at Mecca and adding luxury boxes and a few more seats. I guess 110,000+ watching the Wolverines every Saturday in the fall isn't enough. Please, please make the place LOUDER. My fingers are crossed.


oh canada.

My alma mater has a new logo. And, boy, does it look cheap.

I don't like to complain about this kind of thing, but Middlebury's new maple leaf motif strikes me as a bit odd. As the College on the Hill expands rapidly beyond the cozy confines of rural Vermont, I understand why the administration feels the need to develop a brand statement. But couldn't they have done better?


itsy bitsy spider.

Today was all about water. I guess I'm used to the fact that it doesn't rain in Silicon Valley from May to October. Not today.

This morning, Dad and I fixed the sprinkler system at Inwood Court. We trimmed back the grass in the front and back yards and replaced a handful of sprinkler heads. My fingers are crossed.

Then in a surprising turn of weather, a flow of monsoon moisture came up from the south (see above). When the rain finally started to fall this evening, I ventured into the backyard to witness a very rare event firsthand.

With over 300 days of sunshine a year, San Jose is a fairly arid place. We put away the umbrellas in late April and keep them stored until the clocks change in November. Living in paradise is such a burden.


star studded.

The Midsummer Classic is here in the Bay Area for the first time since Oakland hosted the game in 1987. (Side note: I attended that Home Run Derby. Mark McGwire, a rookie, was the big star.) It's a fantastic opportunity for baseball players and fans to celebrate the game. Some initial thoughts:

The good
• TV coverage for the best ballpark in MLB not named Fenway or Wrigley.
• Proof that if Bonds played half his games in another park, he'd be well past 800 by now.
• MLB asserts itself at the most "global" sport.
• It really does count (for World Series home field advantage).
• Bonds is in the starting lineup

The bad
• ESPN coverage, complete with Chris Berman dropping local city names.
• A packed, overhyped McCovey Cove that looked like the Bay Bridge Toll Plaza.
• Peter Gammons putting Bonds on his heels. (Show some respect, PG.)

OK, OK. Maybe the last comment is a little bitter. I used to be a huge Gammons fan when I lived in Red Sox Nation. Maybe I've grown tired of his East Coast bias and his rock and roll tribute albums.

Perhaps the most telling image was of Barry and A-Rod chatting for nearly half of the Home Run Derby. Why is that telling? Barry might as well have handed A-Rod the key to the city.

Yeah, you heard it here first: A-Rod will be a Giant in 2008.