Friday, September 15, 2017

More Bowling

Bowling keeps happening every Tuesday night.  I’m enjoying it, but it sure isn’t going my or my team’s way.

We are currently in last place.  We just can’t seem to win, or if we are in the lead, we can’t hold on to it.  This last week’s third game was a great example where we lost our lead in the ninth frame.

And I am lucky to get more than one strike a game right now.  My high game the last three weeks has been a 161, but other than that, I am usually in the 120 range.  A few games, I’ve been lucky to hit 100.

I’ve noticed this before.  The more I bowl, the less well I actually do.  You’d think it would be the opposite since I’m practicing, but it’s not.  I’m not sure what it is.  I feel like I am trying too hard, and that is making me do worse.  I’m stiff instead of being lose and relaxed, as I am when I am not trying to any expectations.  But who knows if that is the case or not.


I do know that I am completely enjoying my bowl.  It really fits my hand well, something I was truly worried about.  And it’s fun to have my own shoes and my own ball.  It’s a luxury, sure, but it is a ton of fun.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Fantastic Weekend Home

I was able to head north to visit my family over the Labor Day weekend.  Thanks to getting to leave early on Friday and the day off Monday, I was able to spend two full days up there without taking any vacation, too!

It had been hot down here, but it was just as hot up there.  That meant we spent the weekend at my parent’s house, which has AC.  Well, we did go to church Sunday morning, but you know what I mean.  Anyway, we played lots of games both days.  Didn’t really do too much else, but it was just fun getting to hang out and spend time together.

On the way home Monday, I was even able to meet up with my friend Donald for lunch in Fresno, which was great.

Traffic was sluggish the last 60 miles or so, but it wasn’t as bad as I feared it might be.

I’m definitely ready for another visit.  They are just way too short.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Gladiator Rock n Run 2017

This last weekend was the Gladiator Rock n Run at the Rose Bowl.  It was the same weekend it was last year, but unlike last year, which was cold and cloudy all morning, this one was warm going toward hot.  I did the 7:30 wave again so I could do the 10K, and I was sweating almost the entire way.  Still, it wasn’t as hot as it would get even yesterday, when it hit 110 here in town.  Over there, I think it was a little cooler, but still, that’s hot!

The bad part about doing the 7:30 wave is having to get up and be there in time.  I am so not a morning person.

The good part about doing the 7:30 wave is that I was home by 11 AM.  Not that I did much with the rest of my day but veg.  I did get my clothes from the mud run washed, but that was about the only productive thing I did.

The run itself?  I thought I was doing well by training for some stairs.  I didn’t train nearly enough.  And running into the Rose Bowl and going up and down the stairs 3 times is one of the first things we do.  I was so sore for the rest of the run that I had to walk parts.  My legs just couldn’t run.  And I skipped the cargo climb again.  I probably would have gone for it if they only had one cargo climb, but my legs were shaking pretty badly and they had two back to back.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to do both of them safely.

I also really need to work on my upper body.  It is embarrassingly how little upper body strength I have these days.  I can run the distance, but I can’t do anything else.

All this aside, yes I had fun.  The 10K part of the course is really cool, and I enjoyed that.  It’s a fun challenge.  I just need to prepare more for it.

And that includes stairs.  Between the mud run Saturday and then playing ultimate yesterday, I am so sore!  I’m getting better as the day goes along, but it might make bowling very interesting tomorrow night.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Back to Bowling

When the spring bowling league came around, it didn’t work with my work schedule and I didn’t want to commit with ultimate Frisbee being on an unpredictable night of the week.  Then, as it turned out, I got sick and wasn’t even able to sub most weeks.

When sign ups happened for the fall league, I once again thought I was going to miss out thanks to work schedule.  But when one team needed an extra person, I took a closer look at the schedule and realized I could do it, so I signed up.

We are playing on Tuesdays this time, instead of Thursday.  And we are back to teams of four, but we have six teams of four.  It’s pretty much the usual gang out there bowling and having fun, but we are loving it.

Every time, they’ve offered a very good deal on a bowling ball, a bag, and bowling shoes.  I decided to get that this time around, so I am using my own ball and shoes.  I love it!  I should have done this back in the fall when they first offered it.

Of course, the first week with my new ball was the lowest I’ve bowled.  But my entire team was off that night, and I’m not sure why.  I really don’t think it was my ball, I think it was me.

My best so far this season was a 161 in the second week.  That second week was pretty funny.  The first game, I started out with a turkey (three strikes in a row).  I followed that up by bowling a gutter ball with my first ball in the fourth frame.  I did pick up the spare.  Then I started the second game of the night with a turkey.  No, the fourth frame wasn’t a gutter ball again.

My low was a 107 last week.  That was my first night with my new ball, and it was the middle game of the night.

Last night’s scores were much closer to my average, 135, 132, and 147.  I’m quite happy with them.  I had a really hard time bowling strikes, but I did pick up a nice number of spares.

I was so worried about the holes on my ball being big enough for my thumb, but so far, it’s worked out well for me.  I’ve always had a hard time with house balls.  In fact, there is one ball in particular I made sure I used every single week.  Obviously, the guy in the pro shop knows what he’s doing because I haven’t had any trouble in the two weeks I’ve used it.  And it’s just so fun to walk in and go straight to the lane to bowl.  Sometimes, it really is the little things that are just so much fun.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

End of Summer League

Unfortunately, my summer league season ended worse than it began.  We lost our last couple of games, putting us just below the 50% mark.  It didn’t help that we were down players those last couple of games.  I got a lot more playing time than normal, or than I really wanted.

After all the driving I did for games, I was pleased that the tournament was once again here in town.  I was especially glad when I saw that we were in the first game, which started at 7:30.  Yikes, that’s early.

We had numbers again for the tournament, including three subs.  Unfortunately, that didn’t help our performance.  We lost the first game, and it wasn’t especially close.  We did win the next game, and quite handily.  But we lost the final game of the day.

I could easily see some personalities come out as we lost that I didn’t enjoy being around.  Many of my teammates were great, but the few were definitely annoying.

Because the tournament was in town, I saw quite a few of my friends from pick up here in town who were around to watch at various points during the day.  Some even subbed on various teams, which was a lot of fun.  And one friend came with three of his kids to watch the finals.  We wound up sitting together and talking, which I really enjoyed.  Unfortunately, the wind came up for finals, so it wasn’t nearly as interesting a game as normal.

I put in my appearance at the party as well.  It was at a different bar here in town, but it was a bar I wasn’t familiar with.  Obviously, I just don’t go to bars here in town.  Seriously, the only time I go is with ultimate teams/tournaments, and since this is only the second tournament here in town, it’s introduced me to two bars now.  Not that I plan to be going back since I don’t drink.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Trixie Camp 2017

I finally made it back to Trixie Camp!  I actually had a hard time believing it had been so long, but the last time I made it to one was 2010.  That’s a long time.

For those who may not know, this is what we’ve started to call the annual Trixie Belden Convention.  Basically, it’s an excuse for those of us who have met on the message boards for this old kid’s mystery series over the years to get together and have fun hanging out in person.

This year, the convention was in New Orleans, a place I’ve always wanted to go.  Yes, it was in July, which is definitely not the best time weather wise.  I truly appreciated our dry heat when I got home.

But we had a lot of fun.  It was so great to see people I haven’t seen in person for years and just hang out.  There was just about enough time to catch up with everyone.  Another day or two would have been perfect.

We didn’t leave the French Quarter the entire time we were there.  We had a walking tour, including one of the cemeteries.  We went down to the old mint and got a jazz concert out of the deal.  There was time for shopping and just hanging out.  We took a steamboat up the river to the site of the Battle of New Orleans.  And we did lots and lots of walking.

Did I mention it was hot and humid?  It was.  It even poured one afternoon when we were at a museum a little ways from our hotel.  But after wrapping my phone in a plastic bag, I headed back.  Honestly, it felt pretty good.

I would have loved to get to the Garden District, something there just wasn’t time to do.  I guess that will be the next trip, right?

Friday, August 11, 2017

End of an Era

I have more things to blog about, but I want to mark this one closer to the actual event.  You see, last Saturday, my roommate moved out – my final roommate.

Yes, after all those years of panicking when I didn’t have a roommate or one was moving out, I am actually living on my own.  It’s a weird feeling, and I don’t think it has really sunk in yet.  How can it when I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had time to do much at home.  The bunk beds are still up in both bedrooms, for example.  And I don’t know what to do with a pantry all to myself, especially considering how little food I really buy.  The entire place needs a good cleaning, but that sounds way too much like work.

But it is still a wonderful feeling.  I can do all of those things, and I will then be the only person to mess up the place again.  And if I don’t know where something came from, I can throw it away.  It seems I’ve inherited stuff from multiple roommates over the years.

But I look back at how God provided all those roommates over the years, and I marvel at how good He’s been to me.  I never went without roommates.  And, while I had some interesting roommates over the years, the vast majority are people I count as friends.  In fact, they are some of my best friends.  The thought of not making new friends this way makes me a little sad.  Not enough to actually get another roommate, of course.

And I’m not opposed to having a roommate in the future.  I’m planning to keep a bed in the spare bedroom, just not bunk beds.  But I can be very selective about who becomes my roommate.  I don’t have to jump at the first guy who walks through the door.

I’m excited to see what happens in this next chapter of my life while still being thankful for what God did for me in the last one. 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Liquid Run 2017

Last year, I heard about something new, the Liquid Run.  But it was scheduled for the same weekend that I did the Irvine Lake Mud Run last year, and I was already signed up for that one.  When they announced the dates this year, and it was the weekend after the Irvine Lake Mud Run, I signed up.

So June 24th, I drove down to Newport Beach to try something new.

This isn’t like the runs I normally do.  The course was only a quarter mile, and it was all on floating platforms in a little cove.  There were things for us to climb over and go around and even slide down.  It looked like fun.

However, the experience wasn’t nearly as fun as I wanted it to be.  While there didn’t appear to be crowds early, they were backed up by the time I went to run it, so I started late.  Not that it helped.  For the first third of the course, we were stuck in a traffic jam and just barely inching forward.  Things did get better after that, fortunately.  I might have baled if it didn’t get better.

Even when we started to get moving, I didn’t have that much fun with it.  I mentioned the floating platforms, right?  The made standing very difficult, especially if you have no sense of balance like I do.  Plus the platforms were slippery when wet.  And I had a hard time getting over some of the obstacles since I couldn’t push off since my feet were slipping.

I wound up being out there much longer than I thought I would be.  The lockers I had to rent from were looking to move on by that time, but they waited, fortunately.  And I was meeting Joy for lunch, and I was much later than I told her I would be.

So, I won’t be signing up for this one again.  Other people seemed to really enjoy it, but it wasn’t my thing.  I don’t regret it, however, since I wanted to try it out and see what I thought.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Irvine Lake Summer of Mud 2017

Okay, back to June.  On June 17th, I did the Irvine Lake Mud Run, my second of three runs in a row that month.

Considering how poorly I’d done the Saturday before at Camp Pendleton, I was concerned about how this one would go.  I was still getting over being sick, although I was definitely on the mend.  I hadn’t been running much in between, however.

But this is a shorter course, and I was able to run most of it no problem.

There weren’t many surprises on the course this year, but that’s okay.  It’s still one of my favorites thanks to the mud slide.  And the lines were so short when I got there I may have done it twice this year.  About the only crowd was the crowd for the shower at the end, but that’s a minor issue.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to hang out with any Irwins or Smiths afterward since they were all busy that day.  It meant I drove down and back and just did the run.  On the other hand, I wasn’t stressing over anyone waiting for me, which was very nice.

At one point while I was running, I heard someone in a golf cart shout out “Is that THE Mark Baker?”  From a later comment on Facebook, I confirmed it was the guy who runs this particular mud run.  Hadn’t interacted with him much on Facebook recently, so I’m surprised he still recognized me.  Definitely put a smile on my face.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Summer League 2017

I’m so far behind, Summer League is almost over and I haven’t talked about it at all yet.

Yes, I’m playing ultimate Frisbee Summer League again.  The sad part is, they are using a bunch of different fields this year, and only one of them was close to me.  Even worse, the one close to me we only play at twice, and I missed one of those games.  Most of the fields are far.  Like an hour with traffic far.

But it’s still worth it.  It helps that my team has a winning record!  We are in the middle of the pack, but I will take it.  Seriously, this is so much better than the leagues where my team didn’t win at all.

It helps that we have some very athletic men, the kind who can get everything.  And our women are wonderful.

Honestly, there’s only one weak link on the team – me.  I’m feeling slower than ever this year, thanks in large part to how little I’ve been running this summer.  I have to start ramping that up for a mud run I have in a month.  A month from today in fact.  Yikes!!  But I’m playing only a few points, so it’s not a huge deal to the team.  I don’t have as much opportunity to contribute to the team as a result, but I do what I can when I am on.  Usually, they are poaching off of me, and we need to figure out how to best use that as a team to work the disc down the field and make them pay.