Monthly Archives: September 2015

A bit of fiction

I walked by the windows of the shop on my way home every day for a year. My steady pace rarely slacked, except in front of a particular pair of pristine glass window panes. No matter the time of year it remained transparent, so much so that it seemed as though there was no window to speak of. An open air shop, while not practical in the midwest due to the frigid winters, would carry a certain charm. Instead, I pretended and dreamed of that unsealed marketplace. Everyday I peered in with tempered enthusiasm. For within the dusty stands directly behind the immaculate window it contradicts sat an item that beckoned itself to me. Over the time in which I had swooned it seemed I may have been the only one to lay eyes on it. Despite the window’s clear perfect complexion, it hid in a dusty shadow – forgotten. A month into the inanimate love affair I decided to do some research. This is a necessity. Year, model, etc. The internet is littered with manuals and guides. I even watched a few tutorial videos. The studying was obsessive, as if it were life or death. Each word traveled into my mind and sunk its teeth in. I wanted to master the possibilities.
Saving up my chips took a considerable amount of time, longer than I would have hoped. Life seems to find a way to get in the way. My car, while dependable, was growing exceedingly older. So new tires and a starter and everything in between seemed to crop up. Then my mother fell ill, so plane tickets and such. To top it all off, the air conditioning cut out in my small home. I thought the landlord would cut the expense, but he is a crusty old man who doesn’t want to be bothered. Absurd but not worth the confrontation. So time crept on, as it does. A year, almost to the day, later I strolled in with a pocket full of bills that I counted and recounted (and then washed my hands repeatedly.) My smile was toothy, despite my mother vowing that it should never be so throughout my childhood. The young woman behind the counter of the pawn shop was the daughter of the shop’s owner. She had taken to flashing me a warm smile as I stalked by each day. Her large halo of hazelnut curly hair framed the glowing smile meticulously. It was a highlight of each day. Now, we spoke! She expressed surprise that I was there, standing in front of her. The sentiment was shared. The day had arrived, I would be the proud owner of that old literary brownstone in the window. She lugged it over, money exchanged hands (her’s far softer than mine.) With my fist clinched, knuckles white around its case’s handle; shoe to pavement I sped home at a blistering pace. Far faster than any in the past year. I felt the need to close us off from the world, drawing the curtains and locking the doors after arriving to my small shotgun home.
Set down on the desk with a mighty clunk, the sound of angelic choirs. Clips actioned open, the lid removed. The shop girl dusted it off before boxing it in the case, I almost wish she hadn’t. It was less familiar without the layer of gray fuzz. The first key, the first click was so loud it made me jump a little. The first letter written on a silky off-white sheet of paper. Only the letter was something odd, not a letter at all! Not the K I had chosen. It did not even remotely resemble such a letter, or any letter in the English alphabet. The small symbol was nothing I had seen before in the online manuals or any walk of life. It was equal parts square and squiggle. My hands rubbed their way across my excited eyes out of habit, as if I were miss-seeing the tiny ink blot. But it stood firm, its confidence abundant. I envied this confidence and wondered where it came from.
My fingers instinctually began to push the other keys with frantic immediacy. They too did not produce anything similar to their counterparts printed on each metal key. More symbols. Each one different, each with a different story to tell. While my mind told me to search them out, to learn their meanings, something held me back. I wanted to know, that was certain. The mystery, the wonder as I squinted at the line of symbols that drew me in. But my head was reeling. Then each one started to pang in my skull, as if each symbol was learning from the other, trying to explain their worth to my soul. In an instant I knew, I knew their message. The typewriter was teaching me the axiom.
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Based off of this prompt: After a year’s wait, you finally strike – it’s yours. But once you get home you discover that it’s nothing – nothing like you thought it’d be…
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500

It is hard for me quantify why I love baseball so much. Baseball is the greatest sport to ever be played. It’s the Great American Pasttime. I was raised to love baseball. Growing up my dad instilled in me the importance of the sport, as his father had with him. My grandfather was a giant Cardinals fan. My parents remind me time and again how much my baseball passion reminds them of him. It is my little way of carrying on his legacy. I’ve spent countless hours in the backyard playing catch with my dad and family. As the mitt pops back and forth, we fill the air between us with discussions of the history of the game. This discussion has evolved over time, beginning with my dad teaching me about the greats such as Musial, Gibson, and Williams and evolving into talks about current greats like Smoltz, Pujols, Jeter, and Ortiz. I’ve loved this game my entire life.

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The Boston Red Sox are like the heart and soul of baseball and my love for it. They went through 86 years of failure, of mishaps, and of heartbreak. And they came through it! Those guys day in and day out play their hearts out. It’s beyond me, it’s beyond you. A lot of my friends and family get annoyed with my mood swings during the season because if the Sox have a bad game, I have a bad day. And when the Sox are killing it, I feel like a million bucks. In recent years it has been particularly up and down. Some of the times have been unbearable like losing seasons and the worst of all, losing a post season berth on the final day of the season. But the highs have been so glorious. 2013 is a season that still, two years removed, I cannot quantify. It was all born of tragedy. The team put an entire city on its back and spent all of October healing wounds. It’s tough to be so wrapped up in something. It takes time and patience. But it’s a passion, it’s a real passion. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Red Sox Nation doesn’t give up. Red Sox Nation fights through it and is there for a heart breaking game 162 loss to fall out of the playoffs, is there for a 93 loss season, and is there when they clinch the division with the best record in all of baseball and go on to win the World Series. These moments are so sweet because we’ve earned them.

I never get sick of it. I follow all 162 games of the season. Factor in the month of spring training and the month of the post season, it is nine months out of every year. And there is nothing in the world like attending a baseball game. It’s the atmosphere that gets me. All the cliched things people say, but they are true. It’s the ballpark franks, the roar of the crowd, the peanuts and cracker jacks, the vendors yelling about how cold their beer is, the hecklers yelling at the players, and seeing your favorite player get up to bat. And even better when they deliver.

I have seen a lot of incredible things at baseball games. Beckett’s one hitter in 2011 the night the Bruins won the cup. Nap’s walk off homer against the Yankees in 2013. A 14 inning a marathon walk off against Oakland in 2011. Carp’s pinch hit 10th inning grand slam at the Trop in 2013. I wasn’t sure I could top it, but Saturday I did.

12004770_10153081388171766_7713911180555057543_nDavid Ortiz is probably the player who has meant the most to the Boston Red Sox franchise. A team with such a storied history, that is a bold statement. The man has meant a tremendous amount to the team, the fans, to the city. Tonight when I went to the game with him sitting at 498 career homers I was less than confident I’d see such a historical moment. Multiple times over the day leading up to it I said incredulously ‘there is no way he hits two in one game for it’ to push the feeling of dread that he may do it Friday, the game I wasn’t going to. After his first inning three run home run for 499 I felt my chances gaining. My heart swelled. I was extremely nervous. Could I be so lucky? In his third at bat he led off the inning, with two strikes on him – an inside pitch. WHACK! To the seats. I was shaking all over. High fives, screaming, hugs, tears welling in my eyes. He had done it. It is the pinnacle of all I love in the game of baseball. David Ortiz, released by the Twins after the 2002 season, became Big Papi in Boston. He is a hero. The 2004 ALCS, in the face of elimination, he put the team on his back. We come back to beat the Yankees and go on to win the first WS the team had seen in 86 years. ‘This is our fucking city.’ 2013, bases loaded with two outs against the Tigers in the ALCS, GRAND SLAM into the bullpen. Going on to bat .688 in the 2013 World Series and taking home his first WS MVP. It goes beyond those moments. It goes beyond these moments. But he started with modest beginnings, a young man with a dream leaving Santo Domingo and coming to America to pursue it. Three World Series rings, one World Series MVP, one ALCS MVP, nine time All-Star, six time Silver Slugger, and now the 27th member in the over one hundred year history of Major League Baseball to hit 500 home runs.

Often it is hard to be a fan. It hurts, it is cruel, it will break your heart. But on Saturday it was a reminder of why you push through, why you shoulder the pain. It is a beautiful game. It is unlike anything in this world and I will love it until my last day.

500!!!!!!!!!

A video posted by Fox C. Mason (@kaitgolightly) on Sep 12, 2015 at 4:43pm PDT

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There has been an awakening…

Happy Force Friday!!!

Okay, so it is actually three days later and Monday now. But, really, Force Friday began Wednesday with the 18 hour unboxing live stream. That was the beginning of a whirlwind of weekend that was equal parts fun and exhausting.

To begin, I had been a little under the weather during the front part of the week. Short of death, nothing was going to keep me from participating in Force Friday. Luckily my lovely fiancée was there to support this and help me get to feeling better.

The tide of my sickness began to turn just in time for the live unboxing stream. What initially sounded a bit unnecessary to me ended up becoming something I thoroughly enjoyed. The real stand outs from the event, for me, being Poe’s black X-Wing, Sphero’s BB-8, and the Millennium Falcon quadcopter but more about that later. The fervor that grew with each hour of the stream (I did sleep for some of them but they showed recaps) was a great lead up to Friday. Grade A job from the marketing people there. Andi Gutierrez and Anthony Carboni were troopers and stayed awake through all 18 hours hosting. Major props there as I’m fairly sure I would have died, sick or not.

When Thursday finally came around I was as giddy as a kid waiting for Christmas (or just myself waiting for Christmas, truth be told.) We decided to head to Toys’r’us when they closed at 9 to scope out the situation. Equipped with water, iPads, and a wallet preparing to get lighter, we were ready. We were greeted by two small groups in front of us (four people in total) already forming the line. The humidity made it pretty awful but we powered through. We all struck up a conversation that would last until they opened the doors at midnight. We found no need for our iPads. Linnea told Josh via text that “these are her people” and it is true. It was nice to immerse myself with people who had the same kind of passion that I normally dealt with on my own. While I’m so grateful to Linnea for going with me, it was nice to compare notes with fellow fanatics. The awesome folks that were first in line have a Facebook group that I gladly joined and am enjoying posting in.

In comparison to them, I felt like a bit of an amateur. They were headed in with the intention of getting one of everything, ultimate collectors. I could only tip my cap. I’m not as much of the collector type. I like to open my toys and enjoy them. But I have complete and total respect for those who do collect, it takes an extreme amount of time, money, and determination. I couldn’t help but be a little envious. 

Some members of 501st showed up. Had to snap a picture. As time crept nearer Linnea and I discussed what I wanted most and a budget (one we’d both blow through and then some.) After a Starbucks run and two large bottles of water were crushed, the time crept closed to midnight. When doors finally opened we snagged our free poster – an excellent Kylo Ren poster, and free Lego brick featuring a first order stormtrooper. We headed for the aisle, my excitement level through the roof really. I quickly grabbed Finn and Poe figurines. Linnea grabbed an Artoo lunch box and the Funko BB-8. The latter garnered some attention as it was the last one and we even had someone try to barter for it. I was slightly disappointed to find that they had none of the large Poe Dameron black X-Wing so Linnea suggested selflessly that we go to Target as well. She’s truly the best, considering she had to be up in six hours at this point.


Target was a total success. Not only did they have Poe’s X-Wing with the figurine but I also picked up a giant 18 inch of, as Oscar Isaac said, “the best damn pilot in the galaxy.” We left Target on cloud 9. I was so glad to share the evening with her and have a blast. Passions are the best when shared with the ones you love.


At the time, I thought this was essentially the end of our mission. Hardly. The worst thing for our bank account that happened was the pre-planned trip to Orlando with my family. The first day there we tried the Super Target where I picked up Rey on her Speeder, a First Order Stormtrooper coffee mug, Linnea got a cute BB-8 shirt, and I bought my nephew a Boba Fett hot wheels car that he clutched all weekend.


From there, we went to the Florida Mall. Also a mistake for our financial responsibility. I bought a set of figurines from the Disney Store. Even though they were just six little figurines for a modest $15, it ended up being one of my best investments. After all of the shopping, back at the condo, I sat on the floor and unboxed them with Luke watching me closely. Sharing this time with him, the same kind of moments I had with my dad during the prequels when I was young, was not lost on me. It is something that means a great deal to me. 

I happened upon the ultimate prize of the weekend at Brookestone: the Sphero BB-8. Being championed by many as the best Star Wars toy of all time, this item is already selling out everywhere. Some have compared its future Christmas sales performance to huge hits such as furbee or tickle me Elmo. Linnea promised to get me one for Christmas but as soon as they started to sell out everywhere we decided to jump the gun. Let me tell you, I do not regret it. The thing is as cool, if not cooler, than I could’ve imagined.  

At the end of it all, I know that I’m really grateful to have Linnea. She puts up with my crazy obsessions and passions. If anything, she encourages them. That’s all you can ask for in life. 101 days until the Force Awakens and I can’t wait.

Not SW related, I got a great book at Sci-Fi City:

A successful weekend indeed.

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