Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The bees! The bees!

Ever have one of those moments where you feel like you're in a movie?

This happened to me once before. So let's set the Wayback Machine for 2007.

I had just moved up to Sussex County and I was driving down a highway I thought was 65 mph. It wasn't. It was 55 mph, as I discovered when one of Sussex County's finest pulled me over. So I'm sitting there while he looks at my license and registration, talking about my knowledge of the speed limit or lack thereof, when...

His radio goes off: "All personnel, we have a multivehicle incident..."

He clicks his radio, says he's on it, literally tosses my license and paperwork back at me, hollers, "Slow down, sir," over his shoulder, jumps in the car, pops the lights and siren and tears off.

I was that guy. That guy at the beginning of the movie who is pulled over for some minor offense when the real villains go zipping by at 100 mph and the cop blows off the first guy to join the chase.

Pretty cool.

I was reminded of that this morning. Why?

Well, yesterday, Marisa texted me to tell me we had bees under our kitchen deck, and they had chased Norton the Dog and Oreo Cookie Kitten back into the house from where they were sunning themselves. So when I get home, she shows me the little hive under the left side of the deck, and I blast it with my trusty Raid anti-bee spray. There were also a bunch of bees around the light we put on to see the hive, so I blasted them, too. (I should mention it did occur to me that there were a lot of bees for a tiny lil' hive.)

This morning, she tells me the bees are back, worse than ever.

So thinking maybe I missed the hive in the dark, I go down to the garage (under the deck) to investigate. Nope. That is one dead little hive. So where are the bees coming from?

Then I turned around and looked up at the right side of the deck.

You know that scene in a movie where the hero kills some monster, and he's all proud of himself, and then he turns around and the monster's Mommy is standing right there, towering over him.

I felt Just. Like. That. Because the second hive was about the size of a football and swarming in bees.

Ho. Lee. Sugar.

So later tonight, when they are (hopefully) in their state of torpor, I'm going back out with my Raid...

Let's hope I don't end up like Nic Cage at the end of this little gem:

"The bees! Not the bees!"

Monday, July 26, 2010

I was impressed, for a moment

Something strange happened the other day. As you may have guessed from my rantings, I am on the moderate-to-left of the political spectrum, depending on the issue. But through work, I had the chance to meet my (current) state's governor, who is a conservative Republican.

No, he's not the governor of the State of Confusion. Quiet back there in the Peanut Gallery.

Where was I? Oh, yes, shaking hands with the governor. (As I said to the folks on Facebook, no, that's not a euphemism.)

He was shorter than I expected, actually.

Here's the thing. No matter what I felt about him before he walked into the lobby of the building (where we had our photo op set up) and no matter what I felt about him after he went on his way (into the meeting room for his event)...
In that one moment when he strode into the room with his staffers and bodyguards...

I was impressed.

I think over on Facebook I compared it to being in a professional sports locker room for the first time.

The first time I covered the Pittsburgh Penguins, I was dazzled. Wow! There's Mario Lemieux! There's Jaromir Jagr! Ron Francis! Etc. The second time, it was like, excuse me Mario, I'll just get out of your way because I have to interview Tomas Sandstrom and I'm on deadline. It's a job and you're kind of used to it.

Right up until the moment the governor walked through the doors, I was like, "whatever." This is the guy whose budget decisions threatened my wife's job and many of her friends'. Once he was gone, it was like, well, on a professional level, glad that's over with.

But that photo op... he had an aura. I think it's the aura of the office. The governor is supposed to be a "big man," and while he certainly is barrel-chested and stocky, he's not particularly tall - when I think big, I'm thinking offensive lineman. He's really not much bigger than my best friend, who's about 6-foot, 250-something (and jealous, as he, too is a conservative Republican).

I think it's kind of a (low-rent) version of what people say about meeting the President - you salute the rank, not the man. (Though I wonder if this is still true.) I mean, this is the governor.

I thought after all I've been fortunate enough to have seen and done in my journalism career, and particularly given my political leanings and the fact that I'd worked for a couple of days with his advance team (so it was a job, not a celebration), I wouldn't have been so caught up. And frankly, by the time I shook his hand, some of the magic had gone - particularly because he seemed very nice, in contrast to his reputation.

But in the moment... huh. Nice to know I can still be impressed. Much like faith, I'll take my amazement where I can find it.

Friday, July 09, 2010

The Raiders Research Project

For those of you who are not regular followers of my blogging history and Oakland Raiders fetish, you may not know about my other blog, the Raiders Research Project.

Receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey is one of the candidates for the 2009 "AFR" First-Year Star award, as covered by S&B Report and the Raiders Research Project.

The Project is something I started doing a few years back, a mix of my own obsessive-compulsiveness, love of all things sports-statistic, and the Raiders' notorious lack of disclosure, even to the media and fans.

The Project as a whole is updated yearly, give or take, as most of the various sub-Projects are things like the team's coaching staff, or starting lineup. Of course, with the Raiders having celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2009, that's a lot of information to wade through. Particularly when faced with the NFL's skinniest media guide as a primary source of history.

Nonetheless, although my work for Raiderfans.net and S&B Report has been extremely limited over the past year (due to Baby Bear and the rest of what cramped this blog, too, among many things), I am not abandoning it entirely.

Thus, I am wading into the yearly update of the Raiders Research Project, which is hosted by S&B Report, and the belated poll for my annual "First-Year Star" award.

Raider fans, enjoy!