12:00am 2016-01-01

This is a response to the Daily Post’s prompt: Stroke of Midnight

Where was I on New Year’s Eve? I was home.

The last couple of years, I’ve been keen to stay home an celebrate the new year privately with my wife and my best bud and roommate, Shon.  It kind of works out because I don’t get any invitations to go anywhere anymore (I must’ve pissed off too many people or something), as I used in the past.  So, we’ll stay up to midnight, alternate between Univision and KRON-TV.  Univision because Spanish Television is far more interesting than any of the major media outlets (ABC, CBS, NBC, etc) and KRON because it is the last remaining local coverage of the San Francisco fireworks left on the air.  Univision’s ads for their programming is also entertaining as hell, and it makes me want to brush up on my Spanish so I can follow along.  Not to mention, the women on Univision (and Telemundo) are hot as hell.

This year’s San Francisco fireworks were pretty impressive; it looks like the city really went all out this year.  San Jose, on the other hand, had nothing.  When I was a kid, they used to do a huge party in downtown with the big black bowler hat coming down on top of the clock tower (I’m assuming as an homage to the ball dropping in Times Square) but I guess no one wants to pay for that anymore, so the city doesn’t do it.  That stopped happening a while back, actually.  The only city in the Bay Area that does any kind of major celebration is San Francisco.  Oakland, given their distance from the city, probably lets SF pay for their show and then everyone goes to Treasure Island for a front-row seat.  I know that it was mentioned that this year, it was an unusually clear night, so the fireworks weren’t obscured in the slightest.  Even through the shitty cameras of KRON, you could see how awesome they must’ve looked from the ferry building.

In years past, I used to host a huge NYE party with all of the friends that were around back then.  We had built up a gamers’ paradise tradition back in 1994, where we would hunker down at someone’s house and play games all night.  In those days, that usually meant bringing over your Pentium PC, or an N64, or your PlayStation (original).  My buddy, Ken, had his house in San Francisco overlooking City College with this huge balcony.  With the lack of visibility toward the bay, we couldn’t see any fireworks, really.  But we all brought food (I usually cooked), shared a lot of laughs, took breaks watching anime or sitcoms, and enjoyed the company until the wee hours of the morning.  As time went on, we lost touch with some friends, made new ones, but the parties continued through until around 2009, when we decided to do a trip down to Disneyland for New Years.

Disneyland is a whole other ball of wax.  It is crowded as hell.  In order to make it into the park, you need to arrive at the opening of the gates at 9am and then be prepared to hang out in the park all the way to midnight.  Disney’s California Adventure is a great alternative, though, and it also happens to be the one part of the park that serves alcohol.  If you’re looking to ring in the new year with a flute, then you have to go to DCA.  2009 was the first and best year we did Disney.  We went again in 2012, and it SUCKED.  It was so packed, you could not move anywhere by the time you got to the Hub (the big circle in the center of the park).  Kiss any semblance of personal space goodbye, because you were shoulder-to-shoulder with perfect strangers.  I kept my hands in my pockets, and sure enough, someone kept trying to reach in to grab my wallet… it was a pickpocket’s dream.

People were getting trampled as we were trying to get the hell out of there and over to DCA, because I knew that it would be far less crowded.  Sure enough, you could breathe over there.  After that, I think Julia and I made it clear that if we should happen to be down at the Disneyland Resort for New Year’s in the future, we would choose DCA over Disneyland.  A lot of fun, less people, you could get on a lot of the rides.  The only drawback is that after the New Year is rung in, they shut down DCA and force everyone to either go home, go into Downtown Disney, or take their chances back in Disneyland.  We went back to the hotel, obviously.

Next year, I don’t know where I’ll be to ring in 2017.  Maybe someone will put together a party and toss an invite, or maybe I’ll just be home again.  Either way, I hope that it’ll be the end to an amazing 2016.

Everything Old is New Again

Everything Old is New Again

Ever since I was a little boy, I’ve followed the (mis)adventures of the San Francisco Giants.  My father took me to my first baseball game when I was in the first grade, about six months or so after my first San Francisco 49ers game.  When I was that young, I think being able to take off from school to go do something with your dad that didn’t involve a doctor or dentist appointment was pretty special.  I remember the atmosphere was different from a football game, but being able to ride up what was the longest escalator I’d ever been on in my life up until that point to the upper deck behind home plate thrilled me all the same.  My dad taught me what he knew about the game, and I honestly couldn’t tell you what he was saying because it was really loud and I was in over my head with the action on the field and the reaction of the crowd.

Giants' lettering from 1983-1993
Giants’ lettering from 1983-1993, courtesy of SportsLogos.net
Giants lettering from 1994-1999
Giants lettering from 1994-1999, from SportsLogos.net

Over time, the more time he and I spent watching the Giants (of both San Francisco and San Jose), he taught me about the game that I would eventually follow closely.  I was taken with all aspects of Giants baseball, from Candlestick Park and the way the wind seem to swirl around the bowl, right down to the uniforms.  For some reason, I was fascinated by uniform design and as I got older, when the uniforms changed, I always thought it was really cool to kind of see the directions in which the teams would go.  In 1982-1983, the Giants had introduced a new uniform that switched from the familiar script to a block/small caps logo, and their road uniforms were a simple copy of the cap logo, the intertwined SF they’d been wearing since their move from New York in 1958.  In these uniforms, they would win the NL West division twice (1987, 1989), and the NL pennant once (1989), and they were the first uniforms I’d ever see the Giants wear in the acolyte phase of my baseball fandom.

In 1994, the Giants returned to the classic old-style lettering that they used from 1947 in their move west.  It was awesome, and conveyed the maturity of the franchise.  The cap logo also received a classical treatment, as they added serifs to the SF.  I loved it.  The feeling of watching the team in the older-type uniforms was that of watching a team back in the Golden Age or something, even though it was the mid-1990s.  They got a bit of an adjustment in 2000 when the team departed the Stick for Pacific Bell Park, but ever since they’ve been the same uniforms.  We’ve seen some pretty cool alternate and special event uniforms arise since then as well; my favorite is the Hispanic Heritage uniforms with the block “Gigantes” on the front.  The team has a .950 win percentage in those uniforms.  I’m not fond of the Orange Friday alternate home uniforms, which sometimes reminds me of a CalTrans crew working those late nights on I-5, and the stadium turns into a giant construction zone with the heavy orange-colored attire everywhere.  I do own an orange Giants tee for games that land on Orange Friday, but I tend wear it under my black dugout jacket and my cream-colored home jersey from their 50th anniversary in San Francisco.

1986 SF Road Uniforms
1986 SF Road Uniforms, from SportsLogos.net
2012 Proposed SF Road Uniforms
2012 Proposed SF Road Uniforms from SportsLogos.net

Anyway, last night, I was looking through SportsLogos.net for Giants logos I could transfer to my iPhone.  Spring Training begins in less than a month and I’m already kind of hurting for some baseball. While I was there looking through the logo gallery, I happened to notice that there was a new entry to the list with specific notation of a new alternate road uniform.  When I looked at it closely, I was instantly brought back to my childhood. I talked with Julia about it and she said these aren’t officially announced, but SportsLogos.net is pretty good about maintaining their site integrity, so I don’t know if this is a rumored/proposed uniform design or if SportsLogos has some inside information (that site is nothing except logo/graphic design and design news for all sports teams on the planet).  Regardless, if the Giants are intended to wear these, I’m looking forward to seeing them in action, again.  Take a look (click on the images to see them in their full view) and compare the two uniforms, because I think this is an awesome move by the Giants.

I don’t think I would be equally thrilled to see the old 80s block Giants uniforms, and given that these are going to be alternate road uniforms, that means they will be in occasional use outside of the current road uniform with the block “San Francisco” on the front.

I’m sure it seems like I’ve gone on enough about my fascination with baseball uniforms.  Maybe, one of these days, I’ll share some of my designs for some of the fictional baseball teams that I’ve written about in the past.

Olympic Fever, Baby!

Every year since I could remember, my family and I have always watched the Olympics. Since the 1980 games in Moscow, I can recall sitting in my family room and enjoying the competition of the worlds’ athletes every four years (until 1992, when they started staggering the Winter Games). I never miss out. My favorites are volleyball, basketball, baseball, softball, swimming, and for some reason, I always seem to catch the Equestrian. It never fails! This year, instead of happening upon it, I shall seek it out and get it over with. I have no idea what it is about the equestrian that just sucks me in.

I was in awe of the opening ceremonies last night from Beijing. The Chinese know how to put on a show, but as Julia and I were commenting on the torch-lighting ceremony, I said that I thought the best torch-light I’d ever seen was Barcelona ’92. When they passed the torch fire to the archer and he had the one shot to hit the target.  At the time, I thought it was the best way ever to light that torch.

Paralympian Antonio Rebolle gets ready to send the torchs flame into the huge cauldron at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

Paralympian Antonio Rebolle gets ready to send the torch's flame into the huge cauldron at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

Did anyone else fast-forward through the march of the athletes? Julia and I sat through a healthy chunk of the smaller nations, but once we got to Italy, and it was starting to get later and later into the night, we decided to time-shift on the ol’ TiVo and blow through the geographical trivia contest and slow it down during the more impressive nations (such as the UK, US, etc). I cheered for the Japanese national team early on in the march, and of course, the “Chinese Taipei” team waving their specially-designed, least-offensive Olympic flags instead of their own national flag (which China finds too offending to display). Here, I thought the Olympics were about setting aside differences and competing on a level playing field… but whatever. The reception of the team from the US was heartwarming. It makes me want to pull for Chicago in their bid for the 2016 games, and wish that the San Francisco bid for 2012 wasn’t such a spectacular failure. I think having the games in the Bay Area would’ve ruled big time, and I don’t care how much of a traffic jam it would’ve caused… I love the Olympics.

My question to my readers today is in two parts: 1) Are you watching the 2008 Games? 2) If so, what’s your most favorite event?


I typically root for two teams: San Francisco and Cleveland.

San Francisco is immediately obvious; I live in San Jose and proximity dictates that I throw my support behind the local team. Of course, I will also throw some fandom behind the A’s because sometimes when Giants baseball kills me, it’s nice to bite into the refreshing lime wedge of A’s baseball, which at times, can suck way less.

Why Cleveland? It all goes back to my father. My dad loves baseball, and he was the one who introduced me to the game when I was a kid. We would travel to the Stick to watch the Giants in San Francisco, but also we would hang out at Municipal Stadium almost every home game during the 1989-1992 seasons and got to know some of the minor leaguers when they would go to the bar after the game and drink with us. It was a lot of fun (and yes, even though I was like 11, as long as I didn’t sit at the bar, I was cool). But my dad’s first love was and is the Cleveland Indians.

Not because he used to live there or anything, but because when he was a little kid, he would catch the sports scores on the radio during the 50s. Every now and again, he told me that he heard a pitcher named Mike Garcia (aka The Big Bear). It was one of those things, I guess, when you hear someone with your own name being referred to on a broadcast medium like radio and eventually television. So, naturally, he would root for the pitcher who shared his name and the team he played for, which was the Cleveland Indians. Ever since, he would always keep tabs on the Tribe and of course, as his son, I tried to be as helpful as I possibly could in that area.

And that carries through even today. I may not follow the Tribe as die-hard as I do the Giants, but I still follow them. When I talk to my dad on that increasingly rare occasions these days, during the baseball season our conversation will turn back to the Tribe and how they’re doing. My dad doesn’t follow the game as avidly as he once did when I was growing up, but that bond that we built between us with the Giants and the Indians will always remain, no matter how old we get.

With the start of the 2008 MLB season this week, I’m ready to go back on the trail with my teams once more; ready to live and die with wins and losses. I’ve made many friends because of my love of the game, and maybe lost more than a few loves because of it, but I won’t apologize for being who I am and loving what I love.

Go Giants! Go Tribe!