Monday, May 26, 2014

Give Me the Keys, and I'll Drive You Crazy

I'm going to guess, er, one person will get that the title of this post is a reference to a Huey Lewis song title.

That's all I've got on that.

But yes, I'm coming to you LIVE from sunny, hot, humid, but beautiful Key West, Florida. Lisa and I arrived last night - tired, slightly tweaked, but no worse for wear. I think I'm starting with a cold, but it's nothing I can't beat. Go to Publix, grab some meds, and voila!

This is a different vibe for me than from a lot of places. It's not a true "beach town" but there are a few beaches around here. It's a tourist town, for sure, and a partying town, without a doubt. Yet it's great to be here, and I have no complaints.

I suppose I was a little disappointed in the drive down US 1. Lisa's parents started driving from near Melbourne, FL around 8:00 yesterday morning, and it took them NINE HOURS! By comparison, it took us not quite four, with various slowdowns.

It is quite surprising that it isn't mostly four lanes all the way, for instance. Hell, you get squeezed to one each way for long stretches, including ones where you can't pass. That caught me off guard. Not exactly what I expected.

In Big Pine Key, you MUST slow down to 35, and believe me, they're too happy to pull you over if you don't. I watched it happen (and thought it was going to be me, as I was going - GASP - 39).

But we made it here without incident, and are settling in for the next few days. I'm told I need to chill, and so I will.

It's hard to go wrong, when the view is this.

By the way, I did pass a Waffle House last night without entering. Yes. You ready that correctly.

We've already hit the touristy stop, where we passed on waiting on line for a personal picture.
I already got my 95 "ends" photo, and though I drove past the US 1 "end," I will go back and get pictures when I feel right.

Oh, and there's a Beatles connection here at this hotel! Another post for another time!

OK, off to the pool.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Long Drive

State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory,
(Photo by Jim Malas).
I'm getting on an airplane next week and heading to Fort Lauderdale. From there, I'm driving (with Lisa) to Key West.

Ah, Florida. A state I never thought I could live in but as I get older, I find I'm miserable in the winter, so why not just be hot?*

*There are deeper thoughts in regard to this, but for now, that will suffice.

Of course, road dude that I am (even if I haven't been as much of one lately), I will be sure to get a shot of the southern terminus of US 1. I only wish that they still had the colored signs (US 1 was red, as was US 19, but US 301 was yellow, 27 was green, and so on).

The whole thing is gloriously remembered here.

Yet with time being short and all, I'm stepping on an airplane.

I'm not anti-airplane, per se. Yet if given the choice, I would drive. It's just how I'm programmed. I'm not afraid to fly either. I'm largely unfazed, to be quite honest. But...given the choice, I'm behind the wheel.

As we got closer to this trip, I half-heartedly offered to drive from New York to Key West, believing that I could do it in two long days. Of course I knew this wasn't realistic, but it was fun to dream for a moment. In reality, it makes no economic sense and is a poor use of our time.

Conversely, I resent airlines. First, we all know they're overpriced. Tickets are too high to begin with, followed by the utter insult of baggage fees. Of course, if you want to fly out of Stewart or Westchester, yeah, that's going to cost you more. But now factor in the cost to get to and from the airport, or to park your car there.


Now, the schedules. Well, we all know that the airlines can't work around you or I, so that's a lost fight.

Next is security. Of course, they have a job to do, and need to keep us safe, but the airport experience isn't really a whole lot of fun anymore. At least I feel like people are watching at all times, and again, they should be.

As for on the plane itself, well, that's a personal thing. I suffered with an unexpected case of claustrophobia, and was heading for a panic attack, on a red eye flight from Los Angeles to JFK in 2011, and have never forgotten it. I felt a similar case flying to Las Vegas in 2012. Not fun. I haven't had it since then but I'm very cognizant of it, and will be for a long time.

After that, it's just boredom. I want my road. I know, we can't always get what we want. But I like the freedom that the highway affords.

In the end, it's all talk and personal preference. The bottom line is I'm going away.

And I really need to do that. Really.

Field of Dreams

Those who know me well enough might know the story. They know that, in the spring of 1989, it wouldn't have been wise for me to go see "Field of Dreams" at the Jefferson Valley Mall.

They would also be working in hindsight. As I went there with my girlfriend that night, I thought I was going to see a baseball movie with Kevin Costner. It wasn't supposed to be heavy lifting, and goodness knows I needed to be light at that time.

You see, my father had just passed away that March, so a baseball movie was EXACTLY what I needed. However, the movie I should have been seeing was "Major League" or maybe "Bull Durham" (which came out in 1988).

Instead, we got a nice fantasy film, based on a book, that had flaws (Shoeless Joe Jackson batting right-handed), and a nice story. It also had some comedy at times, and lots of old baseball uniforms. And it had Burt Lancaster, who probably overacted a touch, but what was the harm?

It had a lot of things that we baseball fans enjoy.

It also had a father-son back story, and ended with the now-deceased father showing up wearing a model of an early-20th Century Yankees uniform. It isn't an exact Yankees uniform (or Highlanders, if you please), but it is close to the model they wore between 1909 and 1911 (sans pinstripes).

Still, the interlocking NY is there. The pinstripes are thrown in for effect. And father and son have a catch.

I was the last one out of the theater because I was dumbfounded and now shaking.

The movie, in many ways, has not aged well. Critics don't quite love it so much anymore. I still have a framed movie poster that I've since moved. I'll still watch it when it comes on, and I still enjoy it, personally. At the same time, it's a test of will to get through that last scene without reaching for the tissues.

Joe Posnanski decided to revisit the movie and his own connection with it, and wrote about it on NBC Sports Hardball Talk.

By the way, the list of "best" baseball movies from Kyle Smith at the New York Post that Joe displays is laughable. "Fear Strikes Out"? Holy wow that movie is horrible.

That's another post for another time.