Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Weber Review, TV Recap & Yankee Stadium

I haven’t always been a big reader/fan of Military Science Fiction, nor have I been a detractor - I just haven't read all that much of it. What I’ve read (Heinlein, Scalzi, Buettner, Haldeman, OSC, etc) has been pretty good, but the subgenre is awash with a great many authors. Just take a look at Baen. That having been said, one of the top names in Military Science Fiction (and to a lesser extent Military Fantasy) over the past couple of decades has been David Weber. The books set in his Honorverse are considered by some to be top books in the subgenre. For people like me who may want to sample Weber’s copious output and get a slight feel for some of the milieus in which he writes, Worlds of Weber is a terrific collection to do just that. This all leads, to of course, the review of Worlds of Weber I posted last night.

TV viewing so far this fall has been hit or miss, as I’ve been saying here at the o’ Stuff. I didn’t even watch Fringe last night, but rather, I tuned in for the “mid-season finale” of Eureka on the SciFi Channel. I may watch Fringe on line to see if I missed anything, but I’m in no rush. I’ve been following Eureka since it started and think it has a really solid blend of humor, character, plot and science-fictiony stuff. In other words, one of the instances were the SciFi Channel did something right. As a result of the last game at Yankee Stadium on Sunday*, I didn’t catch up with True Blood until last night, but I’m still really intrigued by the story and Harris’s version of the Vampire. Although I thought the most recent episode was the series’s weakest, it was still good. Paquin is really settling into the Sookie role very well.

Heroes was OK, but then again, I think I’m one of the few people who didn’t really hate last season. I think too much was crammed into the first episode and I fear the writers are in danger of writing themselves into a corner. I thought the FX for the Speedster were pretty cool, grim-and-gritty Peter has the potential to be annoying, Hiro is becoming less relevant, Mohinder has the potential to fall into Mad Scientist category and Sylar’s character arc still remains the most interesting thing on the show.

The two sitcoms Mrs. Blog o’ Stuff and I catch every week, How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory started off pretty strongly this week. Much as I love NPH and How I Met Your Mother, I fear that it may jump the shark this season. Everybody has guilty pleasure sitcoms (I think) and these two are ours, since I can’t even call The Office a guilty pleasure

*My last game at Yankee Stadium was in May (the photo on the left was taken with my camera phone that day) of this year with a bunch of friends, much beer was consumed so of course we had a really good time. I think my very first game at the Cathedral must have been when I was three or four. Whether or not the following is memory is of my first game, it is one of my earliest memories in general: I clearly remember being at the Stadium during a rain storm on Helmet Giveaway day. Growing up, my parents and I would trek out to the Boogie Down Bronx at least once a year. This was when they sucked in the 1980s and it wasn’t always a guaranteed win. However, I got to see my favorite player, Don Mattingly. I remember him patrolling right field wearing #46 before he was awarded the first base job and was battling it out with Steve Balboni** for the first base position. We went to a 4th of July game one year (no not when Rags had his no hit day) and a few bat days. When I got old enough to drive I went to a few games with my high-school crew. I even saw Pink Floyd play at the Stadium in 1994.

However, some of the best times at the Stadium I had were with Mrs. o’ Stuff – in the late 90s when the Bombers were the kings of the sports world. This was before we were married and had annoying things like a mortgage, house bills and all that nasty grown-up stuff. We saw the raising of the banner on opening day in 1997 from the bleachers with my (then 13-year old) brother-in-law which, unfortunately, ended in a loss to the As after McGwire smacked a homer into the black. Later in 1997, we went for my brother-in-law’s birthday, we unknowingly bought tickets for a random game against the Expos – it turned out to be Don Mattingly Day. Throughout 1998 to 2000 we went to about 3 or 4 regular season games per year and a nice handful of playoff games. For our wedding, we had a Yankee NY sculpture and we made our entrance to “Here Come the Yankees.” In trying to find the song, Mrs. o’ Stuff had to go all the way to Yankees Media relations in order to get a copy – he was so impressed by our dedication as fans (she told him of the ice sculpture) he said we could have a tour of the media and press box, which was pretty cool. He would probably be impressed with my pin-stripe Yankees basement. The stairs leading up from the basement are adorned with the retired numbers.

One year for my birthday (I think or was it our anniversary?), Mrs. o’ Stuff purchased a stadium tour for me, which allowed us to sit in the dugout and walk on the field. We also happened to go to a Mets-Yankee game with one my Fraternity Brothers and his now wife on one of their first dates.

In all, the place has a lot of good memories and helped to generate more memories. My favorite (not being there) memory is probably watching them win the 1996 World Series.

I thought Sunday's ceremony was nice. Bad: No Mattingly and Bob Sheppard couldn't make it in person, and the start time of the ceremony should have been 6 PM. The Good: Everything else including Bernie Williams return to the Stadium and the clear omission of Roger Clemens.

** As it turned out in a strange twist of fate (Not the Hardy Boyz kind), Balboni wound up coaching my brother in law in little league before Mrs. o’ Stuff became Mrs. o’ Stuff.

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