Saturday, October 20, 2012

Still Alive...

Giants' starting pitcher, Barry Zito throws as the San Francisco Giants take on the St. Louis Cardinals in game five of the National League Championship Series, on Friday Oct. 19, 2012 at Busch Stadium , in  St. Louis, Mo. Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle / SF

Seven years, $126 million.  For one night, it was worth it. 

And, if my beloved Jints make it to the 'Ship, he'll be the starter for game 1.

The debt has been repaid.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Where I promise to blog more than bi-annually...

Six months, eh?

Yep, it's been exactly six freakin' months since my last entry here, and as I have constantly done, I again apologize for the lack of entries; I have no excuse, since my third shift schedule affords me the opportunity to do entries whilst everyone in the house is asleep, and before I get my 5-9 hours of snoozing...

So, you may (or may not) be asking yourself; what's been going on these last six months?

Well, for starters, the fam has done a lot of traveling; there is so much to see out these parts, and iconic landmarks top the list; from Lady Liberty to the Nation Mall and all its museums, we've gone as far north as Concord, New Hampshire, and as far south as Virginia, seeing as much as we can...

love Lady Liberty

Grand Central Station


Turned 46 this year, but, as the blog was started while I was 44, the name stays the same for now.

Our son graduated from pre-school, and we are now a couple of weeks away from the first day of Kindergarten - school is great, teachers and administration are awesome. Meanwhile, Z. continues to thrive, grow, and appreciate the natural beauty of the surrounding areas...


Graduation

Summer play

Enjoying his first s'more

We made it back to the City By The Bay for a week in August, where, surprisingly, we froze our patooties off; of course I should have remembered those cold summer months from living there for almost 45 years, but living in an area where summer is summer, one can almost be excused for assuming it'd be like that all over the country...


Made it to the best ballpark in the majors...


where THIS guy roams center field

We did manage to see as many friends as we could, and we did spend a day with family, which always warms my heart, especially during a cool summer...it makes me miss being that close to everyone, and it further makes me feel more guilty that I don't blog more often. Facebook and Twitter, along with actual emails and phone calls can provide snippets, but I feel like I'm cheating both myself and all of you by not providing more insight through the written word.


Great to see family...

...and friends...


...including friends I haven't seen in two years...

or in this case, almost 30 years!

So, with that in mind, I will try to do more via this little blog. It is suppose to focus on sports, pop culture and food, so I really can take subjects that interest me (and, hopefully, you, dear reader) and put a Robert spin on it.

Let's see where this leads...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Happiness is a job you love...

Hi there - I again humbly apologize for the dearth of posts on this blog; being at a job I dreaded took a lot of energy away from me, and what energy I did have on a daily basis was split between searching for another job, and taking care of our son, that, though fun, can be exhausting...

So, in October, I stopped working at the job I dreaded, for a lot of reasons (commute, a**hole insurance agents), and started to take a long look at what would be next for me...

The turning point? Coming to visit family and friends in the Bay Area in November. One visit in particular, to Goody Goodie Cream & Sugar, where I reconnected with my last pastry chef, Remi Hayashi-Girouard, and it was just like I was working at the dearly departed Splendido Restaurant over a decade ago. The banter, the gossip, but, most of all, the incredible bread and pastry being turned out from the kitchen, ignited my long dormant passion for being in the kitchen once again.

Upon my return to West Hartford, I turned my focus from desk jobs within the insurance and benefits industry, and redirected it to baking and pastry. In late December, I took a position with a chain, whose name translated from French means "The Good Bread"; I couldn't even complete a month with "The Good Bread" - something about retrieving pre-made, frozen, preservative-laced, high fructose corn syrup laden goods, then proofing, baking, said goods, did not sit well with me, and, goes against every fiber of my culinary training...

However, while I was there, I was contacted by the owner of the Hartford Baking Company, a small little bakery/coffee house less than 10 minutes from our home. Zach and I went there in December, and seeing bannetons, bakery racks, and, some awfully good looking bread convinced me to ask Scott, the owner, if they had all their bakers for the holidays; it wasn't until January when I came in for an interview and tryout, and soon thereafter, I was in the kitchen, mixing, shaping, proofing, slashing, and baking some of the best bread in the country!

You'll notice that I'm entering this post at 5:00 in the morning; bakers' hours, people, bakers' hours. I am on such a high right now, finally doing what I love to do, with a boss as passionate about baking and bread as I am, and with co-workers equally passionate, I can't help but feel very very lucky.

It took some time, but I think this East Coast thing just might work out...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Yes, this really happened...

One week later


It still seems like a dream at times (though, thanks to the MLB Network, and sfgiants.com, I can see the games and highlights as often as I want!)

My childhood baseball team, a team that was really bad during my formative years, playing in a cold, windy ballpark, a team that constantly teased us, be it 1971, when they won the West on the last day of the season, but had to use their ace pitcher, thus making the best-of-five LCS no contest for the eventual champion Pittsburgh Pirates;

Or, 1978, when I was 13, and they stayed in first place for most of the summer, only to fade down the stretch…Mom actually thought I was going to have my first ulcer…

Or, 1982, when I was 17, and, thanks to a Ron Pruitt bloop, they got to within a game of the lead going into the final weekend, only to have Rick Monday ruin things on a Fred Breining fork ball that didn’t dip…Joe Morgan then knocked the Dodgers out on the last day of the season…

Or, 1987, when, in game 6 of the LCS, with the Giants needing one win to advance to the World Series, Candy Maldonado lost a line drive in the lights, leading to the only run of the game, and then Jose Oquendo ruined Atlee Hammaker for all Giants fans…BTW, we would have KILLED the Twins in the Series…ah, well…

Or, 1989, when the earth moved, and the A’s rattled the Giants’ pitching staff in 4 quick games…

Or, 1993…sigh…Salomon Torres was the best (?) option on the final day of the season…

Or, 1997…attended my first playoff game (Thanks, Jim C.!), only to see Devon White ruin the season…until we were walking back to the car, and a group yelled out “AT LEAST WE BEAT THE DODGERS!”, to which we all answered “YEAH! AT LEAST WE BEAT THE DODGERS!”

Or, 2000…first year at Pac Bell, best record in the NL, only to have fellow Filipino Benny Agbayani take Aaron Fultz deep, and then we only get one hit off of Bobby Freakin’ Jones…

Or, 2002…yeah, that happened…

Or, 2003…when we were introduced to Mad Dog Russo on the west coast…

Earlier this year, my family and I moved from the Bay Area to Connecticut; I joked with a friend as the Giants stayed within range of the Padres that it would be my luck that the Giants would win the whole thing the year I’m not there to experience it first hand. Now, the internet, as I’ve told many a relative and friend, does make the move not as traumatic, as I can keep up with family and friends through the many myriads of social networks. The only thing the internet cannot duplicate is feeling, and, as I sat there with my wife, watching Brian Wilson nail it down, I was somewhat at peace with not being in my hometown to watch the Giants win it all. Of course, once Nelson Cruz swung and missed, I yelled my head off (much to the chagrin of my 4-year old), called the family, and Facebooked my feelings of the night.

Every day after winning the Series, I checked in at mlb.com to see highlights, and the MLB Network was awash with Giants replays, so the happy feelings continued. It was only today, 8 days after the fact, that I watched the home run, and watched the strikeout, and listening to Joe Buck rattle off the names of the Giants that never got the chance to win the series in San Francisco, that I began to tear up…then, remembering that my brother went to my grandparent’s, mother’s and aunt’s tombstones to celebrate with them, a profound sense of sadness came over me…

Sports do seem silly to some, and believe me, living right between Boston and New York has heightened my passion for my home town teams. Sports, for my family and I, brings us all together, be it watching Dwight Clark rising to snare “The Catch”, watching my sister go nuts after a double overtime Sharks win, following the “We Believe” Warriors of 06-07. This victory, however, trumps them all. My dad and grandpa taught me about baseball, and the Giants. I still remember grandpa telling me to finish my sandwich before the first pitch, so that I can watch everything on the field at Candlestick. Mike Krukow had it right at the victory parade, when he had us remember those who introduced us to the national pastime. This victory was a tribute to them, and for that, I will be forever grateful for the 2010 San Francisco Giants – World Series Champions.

P.S. – I know there is supposed to be a 5 to 10 year grace period after winning a World Series, but after Buster Posey’s little speech at the victory celebration “Let’s enjoy this today, tomorrow, for a week or even a month, but let’s get back to work and make another run at it.”, I AM PUMPED!!!!

(Now, if they can get a quality bat for Jonathan Sanchez…)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

WORLD SERIES...BITCHES!!!

Oh, so many things to love about a tense, tortuous 3-2 nail-biter to win the National League pennant:

*A bullpen that fires 7 shutout innings (Affeldt, Bumgarner, Lopez, Tim-May, and the Beard);
*The ebb and flow of chances on both sides (as yours truly, at the suggestion of Bill Simmons, sat watching in the fetal position);
*So many clutch defensive plays - Utley for the Phils, Huff to Renteria for the Giants;
*Juan OOOO-REEE-BAY hitting the game winner to the opposite field, so that punk Jayson Werth (former Dodger) could have a great look at it;
*The many shots of the Philadelphia crowd looking panicked/scared/etc.;
*And, of course, the Torturer himself, Brian Wilson, making things just a bit too interesting in the bottom of the ninth; however, when you throw a pitch like this:
Well, that would freeze many a batter (right, Mr. Beltran?)

We'll see you Wednesday - game 1

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Why.Not.Us.

As I watched the Texas Rangers eliminate the New York Yankees last night, my first thought was that of happiness for long-suffering Ranger fans, who finally get to see what the World Series is all about...and my second thought was that of the countless Yankee fans who called into Mad Dog Unleashed before the game stating that "We have Texas right where we want them", and "We're the Yankees, and we're going to win it all!"

First off, dear caller, you do not wear the pinstripes, so please, spare me with the "We" "We" "We" talk...

Secondly, it's nice to have all the confidence in the world, but, you tend to forget that Phil Hughes was handed the task of saving your season...which is not good...

This brings me to tonight's clash between the upstart (Jonathan Sanchez) and the wily ol' vet (Roy Oswalt)...as I've been hearing for the last two days, the Giants have no chance - Oswalt today, former World Series MVP Cole Hamels tomorrow, so, Texas, pack your bags, your headed to the City of Brotherly Love...

But......Why.....Not......Us?

I have to channel my inner east coast sports fan, I suppose, but the Giants are in the driver's seat, and they're throwing a lefty who can neutralize Utley and Howard, who, by the way, threw the clincher for the Western Division this season, has thrown a no-hitter, and may be just the right guy to push us over the brink.

Now, a lot of superstitious people may be cursing me for jinxing this, but for god sakes, don't you think we Giant fans deserve the right to feel confident, to know that we'll close this out tonight, that things eventually balance out - I mean Oswalt has not lost once in Philly as a Phillie - that changes tonight.

Philadelphia has been king of the National League the past two years - that changes tonight.

Giants fans have suffered for far too long - that changes tonight.

Tonight IS the night!

Friday, October 8, 2010

I don't know how the rest of the post-season will go, but...

Geez - two months since the last post, eh?

It's a little past midnight here in West Hartford, and the house is quiet; spouse-asleep, son-asleep, while I, lifelong San Francisco Giants fan, I am energized; seeing your favorite pitcher on your favorite team set a franchise mark with 14 strikeouts, winning a 1-0 game, well, that'll get your adrenalin pumpling.

I know, I know - there are 10 more victories to attain, but, at least for a night/early morning, I feel really good about our chances.

Thank you, Tim-may, and good night...