a guy and a bee

a collection of random thoughts and ideas from me, her, and sometimes us

opening day!

opening dayas you probably know, i am a big orioles and baseball fan and with the 20th anniversary of camden yards coming up, my wife got us opening day tickets for christmas (or was it my birthday…). anyway, i’ve been to opening several times as a kid and my buddy dan and i went last year. this year, it was bee, myself, my dad, and dan and his dad. well, needless to say, we had a great time.

with all the new renovations to the stadium, we got down to the stadium early around 1230/1245 to take in the events. first we talked around the stadium on the outside to see the brooks robinson statue since we hadn’t been down that way since it was installed. with all the crazy people at pickles we stayed on the other side and took it in from afar. as we got into the eutaw street gate, we saw the new gino’s stand and the patio area above centerfield. we made our way from there to right field and watched some batting practice and then went over to left field and took in some more BP. i just missed a ball by a split second. guess i should have had my glove on instead of keeping it in our bag. haha.

our seats were in section 13, which is different than our partial ticket plan but still under cover. and boy was it windy under there. there was probably at 10 degree difference from the sun to the shade because of the winds that were whipping through the stadium friday. many of the renovations to the stadium looked nice and well done. can’t decide yet if i am fan of the new lower wall in right field. it’s kind of like when they moved home plate so they could add more seats to the stadium. guess we’ll see how it plays as t he year goes on. as the festivities went along and all the players got introduced, it was great to see markakis and wieters be presented with their well deserved gold glove awards. nick should probably have 2 or 3 by now, but you can’t argue giving him one for having an error-less season and playing more than 150 games in RF. the new rules in voting for gold gloves as probably helped make this possible finally.

the game turned out to be a great one too and arrieta pitched a gem. i knew the orioles would win. they have one of the top 3 win/loss records on opening day in all of major league baseball. i’m pretty sure the only boo’ing on the day was when kevin gregg was introduced. poor guy. then again, they might have boo’d troy patton too for letting up a 2 RBI home run in the 9th in. no one boo’d the caped crusader, er, field trespasser though as the baltimore police laid a nice tackle on him. we also missed it because we were in the concourse at the time when a police officer came running by us and down the tunnel.

all in all, it was a great time at the yard and a fun way to spend the day with some family, friends, and new comers to opening day in baltimore, aka a statewide holiday!

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“do i feel lucky? well, do ya?”

well that’s what i am thinking and i don’t have a. 44 magnum in face like the guy in dirty harry. yes, me and millions of other people went to the local gas stations and convenience stores and bought a mega million tickets. the biggest jackpot ever! over half a billion dollars! a couple of us from work all threw in a few bucks each today as well earlier in the week (as well as the extra tickets i picked up for myself on the way home).

not sure what i would do with all that money but i’m sure i would buy a piece of the orioles and ravens. haha. so here’s to hoping that tomorrow, we wake up rich in more than one day. guess we will find out.

what would you do with all that money anyway? do you play the lotto or do you not like it?

duck fat fries are for real at victoria gastro pub

last night after the circus, bee and i made it over to victoria gastro pub for the first time and it was fantastic. i am sure every other blogger in HoCo and the surrounding region has written a blog about the food so here’s my perspective.

we lucked out when we got their around 6 pm and didn’t have to wait which is unusual since the other few times we’ve tried to go the wait was more than 30 minutes. we ended up sitting out on the heated patio and had a nice time. it was actually warmer out there then it was inside the restaurant.

photo from foodspotting

we started out with the duck fat fries and as i’m sure you’ve heard, they are fantastic. they are rich and deep tasting and the roasted garlic aioli really makes them. not over garlic-y like some things can be. we tried them with ketchup as well and although they tasted good, stick with the aioli.

i got the black angus burger and removed the pickles. i only really like pickle spears, not the slices. normally, i am a ketchup and mustard kind of guy on my burger but just stuck with the aioli as it comes. it was juicy and delicious as all of the pieces worked together to make a great burger. the sweet paprika fries that i got were good, but weren’t as good as the duck fat fries and were slightly overcooked. i didn’t let it ruin my meal though. haha.

bee got the lobster grilled cheese with the spinach salad as her side. at one point in our relationship, we ate grilled cheese every friday night and enjoy a grilled cheese whenever possible. this was probably the fanciest grilled cheese she has had and from all accounts, it was fantastic. how much better can you get than brie and lobster to make a grilled cheese? apparently the spinach salad was also really good. she was a member of the clean plate club at the end of the dinner!

certainly check out VGP (for short) for yourselves, but we will definitely be going back as there were several other menu options that looked great as well as a large brunch menu on the weekends. you can see the menu for yourself on their website.

it was a place on my list of places to eat so not only did we get a great meal, we crossed off a place on the list that i (we) wanted to try. feel free to check out howchow’s articles about VGP too.

hocofood@@@

the greatest show on earth!

bee’s take:
truly how i felt today . . . finally circus day.

zp, being the phenomenal person he is and knowing that it takes very little to make me truly happy, has been introducing me to all the things i did not do as a kid.  upon learning that i had never been to the circus, he bought the tickets and prepared me for the best day ever.  fifth row end seats so i did not have to touch anyone and was close enough to be amazed and far enough to not be overwhelmed.  the circus was amazing and far exceeded every thought i had of it. it was the greatest show on earth and just as magical as i had hoped.

what did we see today, you wonder:

  • clowns – colorful and full of energy.  and really good at playing off mistakes vs.  making mistakes on purpose.  incredibly entertaining.  and colorful (oh wait, i said that once)
  • elephants – adorable.  well behaved.  and they did such a good job at holding trunks to tails.
  • tigers – not my favorite, by far, but they were synchronized.

  • stilt walkers – they glow in the dark.  really, does it get any better than that?!?
  • acrobats and tight-rope walkers – their coordination, speed, and focus on what they are doing with every light-up toy and sound going on in the background is amazing.  and they are really good at what they do.
  • cross-bow man – they set him on fire and shot him across the arena in the dark.  and there were fireworks.  and then they made him not on fire with fire extinguishers (not as fancy or cool as you think it would be).  and then they gave him a new cape and he ran into the center like it was no big thing to have just been on fire.  kind of wackadoodle, thought provoking, and REALLY stunning all at the same time.
  • jugglers – they were juggle-tastic.
  • aerialists – one of those things that always make me sit with my mouth hanging open.  they as so strong and delicate all at the same time.
  • the strong men – whether or not the log they carry is “that heavy,” you cannot fake them lifting eachother or four other people and twirling them around in a circle for what seems like a really long time.
  • horses (and mini horses) – they pooped in the three-ring circus.  and, the circus workers were really adept at cleaning it up very quickly.  also, just for the record, they are mini horses, not baby horses.

zp’s take:
when asked her favorite part, bee listed everything.  at the end of the day, she keeps going back to the elephants and how well they stay together, holding trunks and tails.

lots of kids at the circus today and they didn’t even bother bee.  well, other then the one that kicked her in the back, LOL.  as a child, she never went to the circus so we have been fulfilling all those childhood activities one at a time and the greatest show on earth was in town so we went and saw the clowns. this circus show was themed “fully charged.”  lots of lights and excitement as well as the standards.  sadly, the clowns didn’t pile out of a car like you would see on any circus show/movie.  of course, the guy flying across the arena on fire made up for it.  funny how the simple things in life make her smile for days at a time.  or a $12 snowcone in an elephant shaped mug, haha.

don’t change the game

coach harbaugh never likes the refs call

it seems like in every major sport these days, there is a large mistake by the officials on a regular basis. granted referreeing isn’t a perfect science and there is only a split second for you to make the decision, but it seems like the obvious calls are being missed and therefore games are being changed because of it. take the syracuse vs. unc asheville game the other night in the second round of the ncaa tournament. an inbound pass goes in and doesn’t even hit a player on unc-a and the ref gives the ball back to syracuse. now granted, this might not have changed the final outcome, but it changed the game at that moment and with such little time on the clock left, there was no way the team could recover. maybe they should have called a foul on unc-a as both players went after the loose ball. as well, in the same game, there was also a shot clock violation that didn’t get called. i didn’t see if that got overturned by replay, but the officials have replay on the court so why not use it when the play is crucial to the game.

The NCAA Coordinator of Officials, John Adams said,

“I’m not going to alibi for the gentlemen in the game. They work their butts off. When you see this call, it’s either a foul or you give it to the other team that didn’t knock the ball out of bounds.”

“He didn’t get it right.”

having umpired baseball for parts of 13 plus years, i know that you can’t be right all the time but a play that like needs to be overruled by the officials. when there is more than 1 official on the floor, you need to get together and make the right call. just now at halftime of the murray st/marquette game, there was a clear walk as the player scored at the buzzer and it counted. unbelievable. it’s not just now and it’s not just basketball. i’m sure every major sport this year had has their fair share of screw ups and i’ve even screwed up before, but it appears to be happening more and more on the national stage, which isn’t good. you never want to put yourself in the game and make a call that can change a game like that.

remember the perfect game that armando galarraga (who is now in orioles camp) had a couple years ago when jim joyce blew the call at first? he later apologized for screwing up the call, but it doesn’t go back and fix the wrong and change history. how many perfect games have there been, ever? 20, in over 100 years.

if you are going to let the players play, let them play. ultimately, you need to be consistent, whether it’s good or bad. be consistent and don’t put yourself out there to make a critical call in correctly. it’s a shame things have been so bad lately, but hopefully it changes so it stops affecting the game adversely. literally, for the love of the game, they need to be better.

you can see the play in syracuse/unc asheville game on youtube.

mattress capital of the world?

has anyone else noticed recently that columbia seems to be the mattress capital of the world? i hadn’t really noticed this until lately when one mattress store left the columbia crossing shopping center and 2 days later there was another one. maybe the sign just changed and it caught my eye, but after that i started noticing more and more of the these places. there is basically a mattress store in every strip mall if you haven’t noticed. and if there isn’t a mattress store, there is a furniture store that sells mattresses.

is there a need for this many mattress stores and how do they stay in business in a down economy? i know i haven’t bought a mattress in several years and with the price tag on these things, people are more likely to continue to stretch their bucks and not replace an older mattress. am i missing something here and should get a new mattress? i count at least 9 on the yellow pages site and several more in laurel and other parts of the county. i know howard county is big, but i’d imagine there isn’t a need for this many mattress stores.

what am i missing here and why does it seem columbia is the mattress capital of the world?!

hocoblogs@@@

mental note: places to eat

this is my mental note on places to eat. most of them are in howard county but i do venture out of the area to try some places. most recently when we were in towson last month we tried the S&J crab ranch, which was very tasty. if you have any suggestions or feedback let me know. generally, i stick with american or italian food. i’m not really a big fan of spicy food or rice/beans so that ends up cutting out most mexican or asian cuisines. i am sure i will blog about them after i try them as well.

so here’s the list:
hickory ridge grill
victoria’s gastro pub
sonoma’s
2nd chance saloon
cafe de paris
aida bistro
pub dog
venegas prime filet
the corner stable

that’s all i have for now. maybe this will help us not go to the same places all the time!

work travel

does your significant other travel for work a bunch? lately, bee has been traveling for work and i was thinking about how different things are around the house when she’s not here. it’s certainly quieter but i can also leave stuff wherever i want (until she comes home at least). of course that didn’t work out in my favor when bee was in chicago and a fell and fractured my rib, haha. i also find myself eating out every meal. if she’s away any portion of a weekend, i can pretty much guarantee eating out at 4-5 straight meals. sometimes with my folks, sometimes by myself but not at home.

the other thing i end up doing is cleaning up more and getting things together for when she returns. sometimes i end up fixing things that i put off i guess mostly because i have the time to do it. many times, i’ll find a random card for her to tell her i missed her.

anyway, i guess it’s just one of those things i was thinking about last week when i was home alone. it’s always good to enjoy some downtime and time along to reflect. so my question for you is, what do you do differently when your significant other is away?

happy anniversary to us!

lately, it’s been go go go and today we took the day to enjoy our anniversary. bee and i now have been married for two years. like any couple we’ve had a our ups and downs and are always working on keeping our strong relationship going. since we both decided to take off work today, we wondered down to annapolis and walked around the shops. i ended up buying a pair of new sperry’s but that was about it. other than food of course as we got food in several places as we walked around, LOL. i didn’t really need more shoes but am my mother’s son and couldn’t pass them up. it was nice to go on a day that wasn’t the weekend. the slower pace let you walk through stores at your own speed and talk to many of the shop owners. in the spring and summer, i am sure it’s busier on a a random tuesday, but not today. we were even the only people on the dock so we snapped this photo via her ipod touch.

we are typically big present people and i always win at getting the best presents but this year we struggled with anniversary gifts. if you follow the traditions, the 2nd year anniversary present is either cotton or china depending on whether you follow the traditional or modern gift list. we aren’t really big china people and didn’t even get any fine china for our wedding. her co-workers suggested that she get me something “made in china.” as far as cotton, that didn’t really fit either so we basically ended up present-less although i did pick up a couple things from the vera bradley outlet for her since her pattern is being discontinued.

after we wondered the docks, we headed to crate and barrel and pottery barn. it’s a requirement for her every time we are out that way since there isn’t one in columbia. we bought a interesting serving bowl, so maybe that qualifies as china. haha. for dinner, we headed to george martin’s grillfire over in arundel preserve (it’s in “The Hotel”). we went for my birthday and really enjoyed it so we went back. it’s more upscale but not really fancy or traditional fine dining. she got the cobb salad and i had a nice marinated skirt steak. we started with their mac and cheese. they have a fantastic cheese bread that they bring out to every table so if you go, keep an eye out for it. the food was pretty good again and i am sure we will be back. my buddy gave us a coupon but it didn’t fit the requirements of the fine print so i guess we have to go back! we finished the meal with some cotton candy so i guess all in all, we filled both the cotton and china anniversary presents but just got them for ourselves instead of for one another.

so here is to many more years of happiness and happy anniversary to us!

i don’t get the baseball hall of fame selection committee

every player and sports fan even wants to be in their respective hall of fame. lately it seems like some of the hall of fames are under issues. for example, in the NFL HOF, there is always questions about art modell not getting selected as a great contributor or cris carter selected at WR. anyway, in the baseball hall of fame, my gripe is that it always seems like people get in after years of trying. how does this happen when the players stats don’t change after they’ve retired. the main issue here is the baseball writers association of america. the BBWAA is lame. many of these people vote on unwritten rules or made up issues about how they don’t like a guy or that they can’t vote on a first time balloter. a guy like cal ripken jr. doesn’t get a unanimous vote because one or two guys don’t vote for a first ballot guy. the guy that saved baseball and will have a streak that will never be broken. the guy that revolutionized the shortstop position and paved the wave for guys like jeter and a-rod. granted he also grounded into the most double plays in baseball history but if you played 2,632 straight games, you might have a bad stat or two.

anyway, my point is that these guys are voting in players and most of them probably haven’t played a game since rec league if at all. and my main point here is that players who are on the ballot year after year go up and down and might eventually get into the hall because all the sudden these writers think it’s a good time that player to get in. for example, this year, barry larkin was selected as the lone member of the class of 2012. he received 86.4% of the vote, but just last year, he only received 62.1%. the year before that 51.6%. so how does a guy that wasn’t deserving two years ago and only half the writers voted for all the sudden garner a 80%+ vote by the same guys that said two years ago he shouldn’t be in? don’t get me wrong, larkin helped the reds win the world series in 1990 and has some nice stats. he was an all star, gold glover, silver slugger and NL MVP so why of all the sudden does someone completely change their mind and decide to put him in? it’s not like they had a stacked ballot last year for the election with roberto alomar and bret blyleven getting in. you can make this case for many of the people who have gone in over the years. this year as well the late ron santo was elected by the veterans committee. in 1980, santo received 15% of the vote. now with each voter only getting 10 votes and players like willie mays, al kaline, brooks robinson, and others getting elected in the late ’70s/early ’80s, i can see santo not getting in at the time but now he gets elected by the hall of fame veterans committee after not getting much support decades ago.

anyway, at what point do we get a selection committee that puts people in based on merit and ability and not by a group of writers who make a decision on who knows what. it is prestigious and an honor to get into the hall of fame and i hope they would all vote that way. on a side note, according to wikipedia, the sports writers at the baltimore sun aren’t permitted to be in the group by their employers.

i won’t say that the BBWAA is a joke, i just think there has to be a better way to select future HOF members. and who knows, maybe one day roger maris will get inducted. or jack morris.

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