Griffey’s return to Seattle

June 23rd, 2007

Last night was Ken Griffey Jr.’s first game back in Seattle, after leaving 8 years ago to play for Cincinnati.  The Reds and Mariners are in different leagues and only play when the Interleague schedule pairs them together.  Prior to the game, there was a special presentation for Griffey, highlighting his years in Seattle and bringing back past teammates, Edgar Martinez and Jay Buhner, to help him celebrate.  Safeco field was soldout, the first time this season.  When Griffey walked onto the field there was a good two-minute standing ovation.

Once the game started, the Mariners were out of it pretty much from the start.  After a few innings, the Reds were leading something like 8-0.  Griffey was up to bat and the Mariners decided to bring in a new pitcher.  Out comes Ryan Rowland-Smith, a rookie pitcher that was just called up from the minors.  I gotta hand it to the Mariners.  They bring up a kid and force him to make his major-league debut against one of the best hitters of all time.  Rowland-Smith showed real signs of greatness though… in 5 pitches he strikes out Griffey Jr. and ends the inning.  Of what ended up being a 16-1 final score whoopin’ of the Mariners, the emergence of Rowland-Smith as a possible future pitching phenom salvaged the spirit of the Friday evening fans.  Griffey ended up with 3 strikeouts and 1 hit in his return.  Not a great showing, but he still impressed the fans and everyone still had a great time.

Inspecting bridges in Hawaii

June 12th, 2007

When I saw the news headline, “Half of state’s bridges fall short of standards“, it reminded me of my first college internship, working for the Hawaii State Dept of Transportation. One of my duties as an engineering intern was to perform high-level bridge inspections. Basically, we weren’t trained bridge inspectors, but we could provide structural insight on areas of failure or gross neglect. This article talks about how Hawaii bridges are not meeting federal standards… and how they haven’t been meeting standards for years. I think that’s a little overblown though. The bridges aren’t going to fall down, but apparently they aren’t as good as they should be. When I was inspecting those bridges in 1997, what I most remember was that there were cracks everywhere in the concrete…. which is expected from a 50 year old bridge. I’m sure the federal inspectors are finding some of the same cracks I saw…. which is probably what caused them to get a failing grade, since you can’t expect concrete to not have some stress cracks in it. It’s a tough job inspecting bridges, with the unknown people, rodents, and other things found in the dark, damp underworld of concrete crevasses. I wouldn’t want to do it again, but for one summer, it was a fun experience.

Baby Hannah - June 2, 2007

June 12th, 2007

Just before 1am on Saturday June 2nd, Rachel and Michael delivered their first kid, Hannah. After a week of rest and relaxation (and poopy diapers), Mike and Rachel were ready to have visitors. Hannah was a little sleepy when I saw her, as you can see in these pictures. We distracted Mike enough for him to watch a baseball game on his new LCD flatscreen. However, we could tell that no matter how much joy came with getting a new big HDTV, their gift of a little girl made all other material needs insignificant. Having a kid may be the end of Mike & Rachel’s wild ‘n’ crazy social life, but think of the positives… they get to receive Mother’s and Father’s Day gifts. Congrats to Rachel and Mike!!!

Look at the size of that collar

June 6th, 2007

I stopped by McCormick & Schmidt’s happy hour before the Mariners game yesterday. They’re known for great happy hour deals, especially their $1.95 burger/fries. Instead of getting the standard burger, I opted to order the halibut collar, assuming it would be something like fish ‘n’ chips (without the chips). When they brought it out, it seemed like the whole crowd gasped at the size of it. It barely fit on the plate and it must have been the WHOLE collar off the halibut. Just so you know, halibut runs about $10-15 per pound at the supermarket, so this collar (including bones), which weighed at least a pound and a half, should have cost about $20. Thanks to happy hour prices, it was only $3.95. Yay for happy hour!

Saturday softball tournament

June 4th, 2007

This weekend, my co-ed softball team played in a 1-day tournament up in north Seattle. Being June, the weather in Seattle is 80 and clear skies. The whole field consisted of 5 teams playing double-elimination. Our first game started at 9am and we whooped the other team… something like 22-8. The next game had a similar result, which put us into the championship game. Since we hadn’t lost yet, we were able to relax for a couple hours while the other teams played each other to earn the right to play us for the championship. In the final game, we played against a team that didn’t like us, since we already beat them once earlier in the day. Down 4 runs in the final inning, my team fought back and scored 5 runs to win the tournament. We all got t-shirts… yay, free stuff.

One thing we all noticed was the differences between most other softball teams and ours. Part of the difference is age and part of it is our demeaner. My team is between 28-35 yrs old and we all have higher education backgrounds. Not to sound snobby, but other teams seem to be more whiskey-tango usually with one or two guys in their fifties, trying to relive their thirties. Other teams also tend to have tattoos, or have women with legs the size of bridge abutments. We don’t fit in when compared to other teams… especially those that are competitive enough to play in weekend tournaments. Instead, we fit the mold of teams that play at Greenlake for fun with the other Seattle urbanites. Unfortunately, there aren’t many Seattle tournaments, so I guess we’ll have to keep venturing out to play the crazy-competitive and trashy teams that seem to be in every tournament.