The Commish of the Potomac Wiffleball League asked me to do the “6 Innings” (6 innings for wiffleball vs 9 innings for baseball) interview for this week’s issue of “This Week in Wiffleball”. Here’s the result:
6 Innings with Lindsay Fincher
Fresh off her birthday before Week 4, which was celebrated with cupcakes in between games, we’re sitting down with Lindsay Fincher of the DC Wifflehouse. Whether it’s being featured on the front page of the Examiner (Read Here) during practice, or traveling the world, Lindsay is part of the new generation of players that will help define Wiffleball for years to come. Sure, Ryan Hughes is the head of the Ballers…er…the Wifflehouse, but Fincher is the heart. A 6 Innings profile can’t do her justice, so check out Lindsay’s blog at lindsayfincher.com.
Name: Lindsay Fincher Team: DC Wifflehouse (2006 – Ballers for Jesus) Age: 25 Hometown: Rancho Mirage, CA Resides: Washington, DC Employer: Big Energy Seasons: Summer 2006, Spring 2007 Bats: Left Throws: Right
TWIF: What is your favorite baseball team and who is your favorite baseball player of all time? LF: "Los Angeles" Angels of Anaheim. Tim "King Fish" Salmon.
TWIF: What is your favorite thing about Wiffleball? LF: Competing, the cute matching t-shirts, beaning batters for the hell of it knowing they can’t take first, and the planes from National Airport roaring overhead.
TWIF: If you could put a Wiffleball anywhere, where would you put it? LF: I’d like to hit one over the big orange fence someday, but I’m always content to smack one straight back to the pitcher and watch him writhe in pain, even if it’s an out.
TWIF: Who is the player in the league you’d most like to see get hit by a car while chasing a foul ball? LF: At the risk of being kicked out of the League, I’d have to go with you, the commissioner. I’m not big on authority figures, and your absence would result in a total collapse of The Canvassers, the PWL equivalent of the New York Yankees.
TWIF: Ryan Seacrest or Ryan Hughes? LF: Hughes. You think Seacrest knows his way around a Wiffleball field? Please, he’s too busy serving as Simon Cowell’s pool boy.
TWIF: During Week 4 you celebrated your birthday week by ripping a double in your opening at-bat, your first career extra base hit. As you continue to grow and develop as a player, what advice would you give to the young kids out there just starting out in Wiffleball who have dreams of making it to the show in 15-20 years? LF: First, you can never take enough BP. I’d recommend, at minimum, two hours in the batting cages each day. Second, find yourself a good agent – someone who is willing to step up to the plate for you and negotiate an endorsement deal with In-N-Out or Stolichnaya (sorry, gotta show my sponsors some love). Third, and most importantly, stay away from the hard stuff and the Wiffleball groupies, no matter how tempting. I’m not going to name names (saving it for my autobiography), but we’ve already got too many Darryl Strawberrys running around the Potomac Wiffleball League.
“Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations, that we have forgotten, as a people, the cost of a free and undivided Republic.” – General John A. Logan
On Friday, Yushchenko signed a decree placing the ministry troops under his command — an order that Interior Minister Vasyl Tsushko, a Yanukovych loyalist, rejected.
The troops, however, are under the command of a Yushchenko ally, and some but not all units followed orders to head to the capital, Kiev. On the way, some of them were reportedly stopped by traffic police who were following a government order to stop the deployment.
The escalating succession of commands and counter-commands testing loyalties among the country’s police and security services has alarmed foreign governments and raised fears that a poisonous political feud could spill into violence between armed units of the state.
About a month ago, Salon’s Cary Tennis ran a letter from “Big East-Coast Jerk” entitled “I left New York for San Diego and now I don’t know where I am.” As expected, the reader responses devolved into a bitchfest between offended San Diegans telling Big East Coast Jerk that he is a rude asshole who should go back to NYC, and New Yorkers advising him to get back to The City because all those Californians are a bunch of goddamn surfers and valley girls who can’t make a proper pizza. There was also an occasional comment from a Midwesterner who, quite frankly, hoped that both coasts would just STFU about their alleged superiority and stop calling the middle states “fly-over country.” Read a few of the letters, they’re quite hilarious, and, in some cases, spot on.
Anyways, there was one response in particular that I could really identify with:
I realize this letter will get lost in the pile but…
This letter and comments really spoke to me as I am dealing with a similar situation, but with the coasts reversed.
I grew up in Southern California (born in Anaheim) and moved to Washington DC at age 24 without so much as a thought in my head. I think considering the bigger ramifications of such a move would have made me talk myself out of going, so I just bought the plane ticket and dived right in.
I’ve been in DC a year and a half now, and am definitely ready to leave. What’s keeping me here, and what keeps most people here, is my amazing job – it is said that a few years experience in DC is equivalent to 2x that in any other place.
But, I have had a difficult time adjusting and making friends. There are SO many things about the East Coast that are foreign to me. The directness (interpreted by my Californian eyes as rudeness), the segregation , the better/more important-than-you attitude. There really seems to be a chip on the shoulder of so many people out here when I tell them I’m from California. They assume we are all shallow airheads, and usually feel the need to tell me as much.
So, it’s been an adjustment, but I think in the long run it will be good for me (I’ve decided to move away in a year’s time).
Also, as a fellow 20-something, I think that at this stage in our lives nowhere will be home or totally comfortable. We are trying to figure everything out at once, and I think that means we’ll have some lonely periods. I’m just trying to view this time as character-building and ultimately an adventure.
My situation is a bit different than “Anonymous” because I spent 3.5 years in DC for college, and so was quite familiar with the city, not to mention that many of my friends from GW are still here. Still, I feel ya, dude. There is something about this place that drives me crazy. The more time I spend here, the more I hate it. Everyday I wake up, I ask myself, “How did I end up back in this city?”
I blame London, of course. After finishing my degree at LSE, I went back to SoCal to do the whole job search thing. The career opportunities in my hometown are a bit lacking (unless you want to be a real estate agent, golf caddy, or work at a big box store like Office Depot) and I didn’t really want to live in LA. I was still on that urban high from having lived in London, and craved a “real” city environment with all the amenities I had enjoyed over there. And so I thought, well, Washington DC has a lot of jobs, and a subway system, and all my friends are still there, maybe I should go back. So I bought a one way ticket, packed my bags, and soon found myself at Dulles airport on a cold day in mid-January.
And, you know, I liked it for the first few months, until one day something just clicked in my head. “Wait a minute, this isn’t London. I fucking hate this place.” Since then, I had a few trips back to California – some work related, and some for vacation, and every time I became more and more convinced that I had made a mistake moving back to DC. A really, really big mistake. This city just isn’t where I belong. I knew this in college, of course, but apparently had a momentary lapse of judgment post-LSE and somehow ended up back here. I’m sick of flying 3,000 miles back home, and tired of missing Thanksgivings, birthdays, and Easter brunches at Las Casuelas. As ridiculous as it sounds, I need my palm trees, beaches, flip flops in the winter, real Mexican food, and Angels baseball games. I don’t know why it’s taken me six years to finally realize this, but it is what it is.
I came to this realization while watching 28 Weeks Later, the much anticipated sequel to 28 Days Later. Unfortunately, my UK visa’s been expired for quite awhile. Dammit.
28 Weeks later is a rather mindless film filled with blood (lots and lots of blood), gore, suspense, and audience members screaming “Oh no she didn’t!” In other words, a perfect Saturday evening movie. The beginning has a rather intense chase scene (yeah, chase, as in these “zombies” are super fast runners, not like the old school 20th century zombies). I suppose, technically, the “infected” in the 28 series aren’t really zombies, but they have several zombie factors so I call them zombies.
The premise of 28 Weeks Later is that the U.S. Army has moved into the UK after the zombies starved to death to re-establish control and start moving the Brits (who survived in European refugee camps) back to London. District 1, also known as the Green Zone (haha, get it? Get it?! Green Zone, like in Baghdad! Where do they come up with these things?!) is located on the Isle of Dogs in London’s East End, with the returning refugees being quartered in the “high-rises” of Canary Wharf.
The Green Zone, pre-Zombie
Using Canary Wharf as a Green Zone was quite a brilliant move on the part of the U.S. Army. Canary Wharf is, after all, home to the ONLY Chili’s Grill & Bar in London. Certainly, after being holed up in a cottage or bomb shelter, subsisting only on canned pork ‘n beans, and living in fear of super-fast rampaging zombies, I would love to calm my nerves with a Presidente Margarita, Awesome Blossom, and, eff it, a Molten Chocolate Cake.
As you can imagine, however, the movie does not center around survivors eating at Chili’s and admiring the architecture of Canary Wharf. That would be slightly boring. The situation becomes completely FUBAR’d due to almost unbelievable stupidity and you soon have yourself some bloody zombie action. Much like its prequel, 28 Weeks Later contains amazing footage of a deserted London, including a few scenes from my old ‘hood, Bankside. Yeah, sure, the place was overrun with zombies, it’s effing expensive as hell, and the Mexican food there totally sucks, but all I could think about during the movie was, “Damn, I really miss that city.”
If you have a zombie obsession, and, like myself and my coworkers, constantly find yourself talking about zombies during important meetings, you might as well check out the movie. What have you got to lose besides $10.25?
I’ve never seen them do this before. Maybe you have to go with exactly three people (after all, won’t the fourth person feel a little left out if the good people at Ben’s didn’t write something with ketchup on his or her hotdog?)
Nevertheless, after seeing 28 Weeks Later (more on that in another post) and having a few drinks, Mike, Laila, and I went to Ben’s Chili Bowl for some late night sustenance.
A Washington D.C. institution since 1958, Ben’s is well-known for its chili half smokes and milkshakes. While the U Street Corridor has changed rapidly, from the “Black Broadway” of the 50′s, the riots of ’68 and drug wars of the 80s, to the current wave of gentrification, Ben’s has always been there serving up its delicious chili dogs to Washingtonians.
It’s an ideal place to visit after you’ve had a few beers, so that you can sit at the counter and say “Yeah, give me a half smoke with chili and cheese, a chocolate shake, and some cheese fries” without thinking about the consequences of said food consumption (i.e., your arteries slowly clogging up, heart attack, food coma, etc).
If you’ve never been to Ben’s, I highly suggest visiting the next time you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in this city. It’s a great place to take out of town visitors, and, for me at least, it’s one of the few places in this city that, while you’re eating a half-smoke and drinking a milkshake, will make you think to yourself “Well, maybe D.C. isn’t so bad after all.”
Quite a brilliant question to ask someone after they’ve had a few drinks, although to be fair I would have given a smart-ass response sans alcohol.
They said, “How are you working to save the earth?” (Although I remember it as “What are you doing for Earth Day?”) and I said, “Drive my SUV.”
For those of you who are fortunate enough to not live in this squalid cesspool (aka, Washington D.C., our nation’s capital, “grand old seat of precious freedom of democracy”, blah blah), the Washington Post Express is the free paper that is handed out to commuters every morning as they descend the escalators into the depths of hell (aka, Metro) on their way to dreadfully boring jobs as cogs in the government machine. Once a week they have this “Out There” feature in which they send out two people to scour restaurants for slightly inebriated Washingtonians in the hopes that they will say something stupid. The Express staff members will then take your photo and quote and publish it in next week’s paper, as demonstrated above.
Having also been featured in The Examiner, Washington’s other free newspaper, I now feel that I have accomplished everything I possibly can in this city and am ready to move on to another area where I can amuse commuters with my wiffleball skills and lack of environmental consciousness.
This is by far the best footage I have come across of RATM’s performance at Coachella. I have no idea who shot it, but it looks like a rough cut of some professional footage. This video includes “Testify”, “Bulls On Parade”, and “People Of The Sun”.
The reason I never write about concerts is because, in general, I suck at reviewing them. I have to write about Coachella, though, so forgive me if this totally sucks or if I use the word “awesome” way too much. Pictures will be up later. I’m liberally sprinkling YouTube and professional photos throughout this post to give you some eye candy.
Day 1 – I’m not drunk, I just haven’t slept
My flight out of DCA left at 6am. I thought it would be quiet and relaxing – I mean, Jesus, who flies to Houston at 6am besides businessmen? Unfortunately, I was inundated with annoying middle schoolers in matching maroon sweatshirts, all of them on a simultaneous caffeine and candy high. I switched planes in Houston and landed in Palm Springs before noon. Kat picked me up and we met up with Lindsey and Danielle at In-N-Out. It’s a tradition that my first meal upon arrival in the Great State of California has to be a double double – been that way since I was a freshman at GW.
Danielle and I headed out to the Empire Polo Fields in Indio (location of Coachella) shortly thereafter. The traffic was a nightmare, compounded by the fact that my hometown had been inundated with idiotic East Coast drivers. (“New Jersey? WTF are you doing here? Hell no we’re not letting you in our lane!”) By the time we got there, the temperature was hovering around a balmy 100 degrees (oh, trust me, it gets much hotter there). Teenagers roamed the fields and scavenged through recycling bins in search of ten empty water bottles, which they could exchange for a full one. Personally, I opted to spend the $2 per bottle.
That night I saw the Arctic Monkeys, Interpol, and Gogol Bordello. The Arctic Monkeys and Interpol were good…nothing to really write home about. Gogol Bordello, however, put on an amazing show. They were playing opposite Bjork, but the crowd was much larger than I expected. Gogol Bordello, if you have never heard of them, is a punk band composed of immigrants from Eastern Europe. A Slavic Flogging Molly, if you will. The lead singer, Eugene Hütz, is an absolute madman who enjoys crowdsurfing on a large drum. Check out the video below:
If you get a chance to see these guys live, jump on it. The music has a Slavic twist to it with an accordion and violin that will have you dancing around like a fool in no time. They were the last band of the night, which was great, because by then I had been up for 24 hours straight with three hours of sleep the night before, and was subsequently staggering around like a drunk without the benefit of actually being drunk ($7 for a Heineken?! ARE YOU SERIOUS?!). Trying to leave the concert was an absolute clusterfuck, as you had thousands of cars trying to get out and no cops directing traffic. It took us TWO hours to get out of the parking lot. WTF?
Day 2 – it’s not hot, you’re just weak
The first band I saw was Jack’s Mannequin, a solo project of Something Corporate’s lead singer Andrew McMahon. Something Corporate, which is now kinda defunct, was one of my favorite bands – nice SoCal rock with some piano thrown in. Jack’s Mannequin’s performance at Coachella was solid, and I loved hearing them perform “Bruised” live (“Vacation’s come and gone too late / There’s so much sun where I’m from”).
Next up was Travis. I had never heard of these guys even though they have apparently been around for quite awhile, but Olga raved about them so I decided to check them out. They were pretty damn good, although I could barely understand a word the lead singer was saying, his Scottish accent was so thick.
Saw the Decemberists next. Gotta love a band that’s kinda named after the boys of 1825, although I was a bit disappointed that they didn’t play 16 Military Wives. In between the Decemberists and Arcade Fire we met up with my friend Kim, who was lucky enough to be covering the concert for WORK. I shoulda been a journalist.
I started listening to Arcade Fire a few months ago at the suggestion of my roommate, Mike, and they put on an amazing show. Definitely a crowd favorite. The final band we saw that night was the Red Hot Chili Peppers. There’s not much to say about the Chili Peppers. As expected, they were awesome live. And yeah, they played “Under the Bridge”, with a crowd of 60,000 singing along.
Flea, with RHCP
Day 3 – THE DAY RAGE REUNITES! “What better place than here? What better time than now?”
First up was Kaiser Chiefs. I became quite familiar with these guys while living in London, as it seemed every third song played on the radio was “Oh My God” ( “Oh my god I can’t believe it / I’ve never been this far away from home”). I love Kaiser Chiefs, but they just didn’t sound that good live. Whatev.
Ryan and headed over to the main stage a few hours early in order to get a decent spot for Rage Against the Machine. We had to stand through Crowded House, some Australian band I’ve never heard of. They were alright, I guess…I wouldn’t buy their CD or anything. No idea why Coachella put them so close to RATM, though. Really effin’ idiotic, as the hardcore RATM fans in the front were throwing bottles at Crowded House and chanting “RAGE RAGE RAGE!” I felt kinda sorry for those poor Aussies.
Manu Chao with Radio Bemba Sound System played after Crowded House. Oh…My…God…these guys were amazing. I’ve never heard any of their music before, but I was impressed with their entire setlist. Intense mix of rock, reggae, ska, a few foreign languages thrown in…these guys really blew me away. I had no idea what they were saying, but they kept screaming California, so that’s gotta be something.
FINALLY, the last band of the night, the last band of Coachella 2007, the only band I would fly 3,000 miles to see reunite…RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE.
Ryan and I had a decent view…we were probably about 30 feet in front in front of the soundbooth. I found myself surrounded by half-naked, sweaty men wearing bright orange “Drive out the Bush regime” bandanas, shouting “RAGE RAGE RAGE!” RATM walked on stage and Zack shouted “Good evening, we’re Rage Against the Machine from Los Angeles, California!” The crowd went nuts. SEVEN LONG YEARS WITHOUT RAGE! Abandoned in our time of need! With everything that has been going on these past seven years, we could have had five new, angry albums!
They opened with “Testify“, the Battle of Los Angeles anthem railing against our runaway oil consumption and subsequent military intervention in the Middle East (“Mister anchor assure me / That Baghdad is burning”).
Yeah, kinda like this
All hell broke loose when Morello started on the main riff. The crowd was packed so tightly where we were that I was literally picked off the ground and moved 10 feet left then 10 feet right, then 5 feet front, and 5 feet back – my feet weren’t even touching the ground. It was like some sort of bizarre tug of war using human bodies. The heat was suffocating, and I managed to take a knee and elbow to the head from some crowdsurfer. A few guys were being carried out, all bloodied up. It was freakin’ intense. After the first two songs, I moved back about 15 feet where it wasn’t as packed, and the air was a bit, uh, fresher. A moshpit formed to the left of me, and to my right, three guys climbed on top of the soundbooth, with security following soon thereafter.
That’s gotta hurt
02 “Bulls On Parade”
03 “People Of The Sun”
05 “Bullet In The Head”
06 “Down Rodeo”
07 “Guerrilla Radio”
08 “Renegades Of Funk” (my current ringtone, ooooh yeah)
09 “Calm Like A Bomb”
10 “Sleep Now In The Fire”
11 “Wake Up”
13 “Killing In The Name” (with a little improvisation thrown in “Some of those who hold office are the same that burn crosses.”)
At one point, during “Wake Up”, the crowd cheered loudly as Zack called for the Bush administration to be “hung, and tried, and shot”:
“A good friend of ours said that if the same laws were applied to U.S. Presidents as were applied to the Nazi’s after World War II, then every single one of ‘em, every last rich white one of ‘em from Truman on would have been hung to death, and shot. And this current administration is no exception. They should be hung, and tried, and shot. As any war criminal should be. But the challenges that we face, they go way beyond administrations. Way beyond elections. Way Beyond every four years of pulling levers. Way beyond that, because this whole rotten system has become so vicious and cruel, that in order to sustain itself, it needs to destroy entire countries, and profit from their reconstruction, in order to survive, and that’s not a system that changes every four years, it’s a system that we have to break down generation after generation after generation after generation after generation. Wake up!”
WARNING: Political rant about one minute in
I was like, whoa, did he just say that? And poor Jimmy Carter, what did he ever do to deserve that fate? And aren’t you supposed to try a person BEFORE hanging and/or shooting them?
The last song of the evening was “Killing in the Name.” It was like seven years of pent up anger exploded at the end, with a crowd of 60,000 screaming “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me!” over and over.
“Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me!”
I was so amped after that set I wanted to put on a bandana and start throwing molotov cocktails at Wal-Mart. The only “raging against the machine” I managed to accomplish that night, however, was pushing my way past a security guard who was yelling “This exit is for wrist bands ONLY!” But that exit was closest to where we had parked, and we were in no mood to walk all the way around the polo fields. Allllll hell can’t stop us now!
The very next morning I was on a plane headed back to DC. Back to reality, working for Big Energy, filling up the 14mpg SUV, and thinking, hmm, business school…maybe I’ll give that a try.
There are very few things I regret not doing, but I have the feeling that if I did not go to this concert I would have really regretted it. I saw one of my favorite bands reunite after a seven year hiatus…and yeah, I’ve got the “Battle of Coachella” shirt to prove it.