Archive | June, 2008
June 26, 2008

The Wii, it has finally arrived



Now I can get a bit of practice in before Olga’s next Wii tournament. It’s my goal to beat her in tennis. How the hell did those Russians get so good at tennis?

June 17, 2008

Shea Stadium: Home of the world’s largest Slip ‘n Slide

As I previously mentioned, the entire reason I took this trip to New York City was to see the Mets play at Shea Stadium. After NYPD gave us the go ahead to leave the scene of the accident, we caught another cab.

“Did something happen here?” our new cab driver inquired.

“Yeah, our cab driver hit just hit a pedestrian. As far as I’m concerned, if you get us to the hotel without incident, I’ll consider you the greatest cab driver in the city.”

We arrived at the hotel, checked-in, and headed down to the bar to have a few pints and watch Russia beat Greece in the Euro2008 tournament. The weather did not seem very conducive to an evening of baseball, as it had been raining sporadically, but we figured it would clear in time for the game.

Not quite. We arrived at Shea around 6:15pm and the rain started to pick up. We bought tickets for seats in the covered upper reserve area and waited for the storm to pass. Our seats were pretty good, and we were definitely surrounded by some, uh, entertaining New Yorkers. Shea Stadium was pretty disappointing, though. There was nothing special about it (might as well have been back at RFK stadium) and you could tell they had really skimped on maintenance for the past few years. Most of the rows weren’t even lettered, so it was amusing to watch people attempt to find their seats (“This K?” “No, this is J.” “What? I thought this was L.”). Citi Field, which is being built right next to Shea and is due to open in 2009, looks like it will make an excellent ballpark, though.

Game time rolled around, and conditions were still too poor for play. The announcer came over the loudspeaker and told us that the National Weather Service predicted the storm would pass in half an hour and the game could begin afterwards.

Wrong. Another intense storm rolled in. Thunder, lighting, and heavy rain. Huge puddles formed in the outfield and along the edges of the infield tarp.

Laura mentioned that it would be fun to slide across the wet tarp that blanketed the infield, like a giant Slip ‘n Slide.

Apparently the Texas Rangers had the same idea, because several of them emerged from the dugout, ran full speed towards the tarp, dove headfirst, and then slid across the tarp on their stomachs. The crowd LOVED it (frankly, anything at that point was entertaining).

Here’s a video I took of the Slip ‘n Slide action:

With the fresh batch of storms rolling in, an announcement went out that the game was canceled and that we had a year to use our tickets for another Mets game.

“Ugh, we have to come back to this city?!”

So, yeah, between the incident with our cab and the rainout at Shea Stadium, this weekend jaunt to New York kinda, well, sucked.

June 15, 2008

Somebody’s going to emergency

I made a quick trip to New York City this weekend. One of my roommates, Laura, had a Sunday flight to Israel out of JFK airport and had decided to go up to NYC a day early. We looked up the schedule for the Mets and Yankees, and since the Mets were in town I decided to tag along so we could cross Shea Stadium off our list of ballparks to visit. Rather than taking the ridiculously overpriced Amtrak train to NYC, we opted for the BoltBus, which picks you up at Metro Center in DC and drops you off near Penn Station in NYC. The buses are clean, comfortable, and have free wi-fi and electrical outlets for those who bring along their laptops. Not bad for $40 roundtrip.

We hailed a cab to take us to our hotel, and ended up with a driver who had absolutely no idea how to get to the hotel, so he spent a majority of his time talking with his dispatcher in order to get directions. We were about five minutes into our ride, when, attempting to make a left hand turn at an intersection, our driver struck a pedestrian who was walking through the crosswalk. The odd thing was, he had slowed down while making the turn, so Laura and I had both assumed he was waiting for the pedestrian to cross so that he could complete the turn. Instead, though, he sped up, and all we heard was the sickening sound of steel hitting flesh, followed by the pedestrian falling to the ground.

All three of us immediately got out of the cab. The pedestrian was a well dressed woman, probably in her mid 60s, who was screaming at the cab driver.


I looked down at her left foot and thought I was going to be sick. It had been run over by the cab’s tire, and the upper half was completely unrecognizable. It was now an indistinguishable mass of exposed flesh, bone, and muscles, with blood slowly pooling all over the asphalt.

Thankfully, Laura is a certified EMT and had been carrying a small bag of supplies in her luggage. She yelled at the cabbie, who was quickly descending into a state of hysteria, to open the trunk so she could reach them. She put on her gloves and began to perform her tasks. A bystander called 911, and another ran off to a nearby apartment building to locate the woman’s husband.

The cabbie, meanwhile, had gone up to the women and was absentmindedly attempting to reattach the sole of her foot, which had been sliced to about halfway down her foot and was now hanging down, exposing the muscles and bone. Laura told him to back off, and he slowly sank to the ground, his back against the cab.
An EMT had been driving by the scene in her SUV and pulled over to see what was going on. About 30 seconds later, three NYPD cars pulled up, followed by a firetruck and ambulance. A cop walked up to me and said in a thick New York accent, “Ma’am, we can’t have any bystanders here. I need you to move to the sidewalk.”

“Oh, I was in that cab.”

“Sarge, we got a witness here.” He nodded in the direction of the cabbie, who was slumped against the cab, head in his hands, and clothes smeared in blood. “That your driver?”


“Well, at least he cares that he hit someone.”

The cabbie was now hyperventilating, and a bystander was pouring water over his head, trying to get his attention. Two firefighters tried to get him up on his feet, but he fainted, so they moved him to the sidewalk and began to administer oxygen to him.

The paramedics put the woman on a stretcher and sped off to the hospital. One of the cops got in the cab, which still had the woman’s grocery bag on its hood, and moved it to the side of the street. The firefighters retrieved a bucket of sand and began to spread it over the blood that had collected on the asphalt. Another cop pulled Laura and I to the side and took down our names and contact information. He told us we were now free to go, so we grabbed our bags from the cab.

“So…I guess we should grab another cab?”

June 14, 2008

NYC for the weekend

NYC for the weekend, originally uploaded by lfincher.

In NYC for the weekend. Mets game tonight. Our cab driver hit a pedestrian on the way to our hotel (she will survive). More on that later.

June 13, 2008

Third time’s the charm


Thanks to a former co-worker who informed me of my appearance in today’s edition of the Washington Post Express. I usually grab a copy of the Express on my way down to the bowels of hell (aka metro) but the Examiner lady was closer so I got one of those. Figures.


Yep, making fun of old people – that’s what I do best.

#1 and #2.

June 13, 2008

There goes my Elite Status

Continental Airlines, citing the high price of fuel, told employees Thursday it will eliminate service from Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport to 15 destinations worldwide, including Palm Springs.

Guess I could still fly DCA-IAH-ONT and then drive an hour and a half to Palm Desert. Yay.

June 9, 2008

New iPhone

Seriously considering ditching my Treo and purchasing the new iPhone when it is released in July. The GPS would be extremely helpful (I get lost easily on these strange Virginia highways), and the price range ($200-300) is ideal. The only downside is switching to AT&T from Verizon. Ugh.

June 9, 2008

Sign on back door

“Chemicals on lawn. Don’t let Tucker out.”

I should also mention that there are 1350lbs of sand in our backyard. What the hell is going on back there?

June 5, 2008

I might have to buy this



Via Noisebot, a t-shirt that pays homage to the most famous line in There Will Be Blood.

June 3, 2008

Old Soviet habits die hard

On a talk show last fall, a prominent political analyst named Mikhail G. Delyagin had some tart words about Vladimir V. Putin. When the program was later televised, Mr. Delyagin was not.

Not only were his remarks cut — he was also digitally erased from the show, like a disgraced comrade airbrushed from an old Soviet photo. (The technicians may have worked a bit hastily, leaving his disembodied legs in one shot.)

Mr. Delyagin, it turned out, has for some time resided on the so-called stop list, a roster of political opponents and other critics of the government who have been barred from TV news and political talk shows by the Kremlin.

The stop list is, as Mr. Delyagin put it, “an excellent way to stifle dissent.”

It is also a striking indication of how Mr. Putin has increasingly relied on the Kremlin-controlled TV networks to consolidate power, especially in recent elections.

If you have any interest in the Soviet tendency to edit photos to their liking (like old school Photoshop!), check out the book The Commissar Vanishes: The Falsification of Photographs and Art in Stalin’s Russia. The Newseum also hosts a website with several examples of edited photos.