Friday, July 11, 2003

Bad Alena

I just noticed that the last time I posted was Tuesday. I've been so lax! Truthfully, I've either been too tired or too busy to stir up enough motivation to write. That, and other than random bitchiness about work, I haven't had a heck of a lot to post. I've been a little tired of thinking and analyzing anything going on, so I've just been kind of sitting back and pushing everything out of my head.

I am now completely fed up with my piece of shit CD burner, and if I had the proper tools, I would smash it into tiny pieces and fling them off my front porch. However, I had a discussion with Alex about possible problem causes due to my uninformed, flail-around-till-it-works installation. Turns out I might need another master/slave jumper or something. I pray to god that it works.. it pisses me off to own a CD burner that I can't even use (even though I only paid $20 for it, but you know, it's the principle of the thing!). Besides, I got these really cool blank CDs yesterday that I'm dying to use. They look exactly like mini vinyl records, it rocks. Le sigh.

And then we got hit with this HUGE storm yesterday. I'd just been telling my mom to not worry if she hears on the news that there's major flooding and damage happening in WV, since we're always flooding. And up until yesterday, even though we've been having a lot of rain and a lot of storms in general, we rarely ever flood here. Most of the really serious flooding has been in southern WV and in Ohio. I was out blank CD shopping, to test my theory that my CD burner prefers black-bottomed CDs (keep your dirty jokes to yourselves). It seemed like the burner worked fine on my black TDK disks, yet when I try to use the normal CDs, I get all sorts of crashes and errors.

The storm hit when I was in OfficeMax, and man, you have never seen a rainstorm until you see a WV summer storm. I swear, we don't get rain like that in CA. Storms here can dump two inches of rain in a matter of 15 minutes or less, and because it drops mass quantities of water all at once, the roads turn into one big sheet of water. I could hear how hard it was raining while inside the store, so I decided to walk out and wait under the awning for it to let up enough to run out to my car. I saw some OfficeMax guys out there smoking, so I figured, what the hell, and went outside.

Well, within about five minutes, my entire backside was wet. Not wet, but sopping wet. This was because not only was it raining cats and dogs, the wind was really strong and blowing all the water sideways. So since I was already half-wet and the rain didn't appear to be letting up, I figured I'd make a dash to my car. I was going to have to change anyway, when I got home.

Oh my god. I have never been in rain like that. By the time I'd walked the 150 or so feet to my car, I was drenched. I looked like I'd jumped into a swimming pool. The drive home was pretty scary.. every road had at least an inch of rain, and my poor station wagon isn't equipped to drive through that sort of thing. I mean, if I had a truck, I wouldn't sweat it. It was really scary driving the 5 minutes to my house.. I wasn't sure whether my car would get stuck in a deep puddle (and it felt like it might, a couple times), whether I'd lose control, or whether I'd make it home safely. I was freezing by the time I got inside my house (where I had the a/c running, of course).

You know.. I rarely, if ever, dream about actual people from my life.. if I do, it's often not even really the person, but someone random in my dream that represents them. And I swear to god, Jan was in every freaking dream I had last night. And there was even a dream with a tiger in it, with me and Jan.. and when I woke up, I was like.. what the fuck, a tiger? And a bear? And then it occurred to me.. duh, tiger reference (that makes no sense to anyone but me and Jan, but just trust me on this and go with it).

Just weird. The tiger was pretty tame. It was like hanging out on the steps of a pool or something with us, while the bear off in the distance kept taking people out when they'd try to walk by it or whatever. That part is because I've been playing Rise of Nations and on high resolution, when infantry units die, they go BOING and fly up in the air and then land on the ground, dead. So people walking by the bear would die like that. Boing.

I'm beyond trying to analyze most of my dreams. They're usually very odd, non-linear, and random. I have no idea what all these dreams mean, other than I'm thinking about Jan a lot. Just call me Dr. Alena.

And then.. Alex started pasting me about this weiner incident at a ballpark, and the more I read it, the funnier it seemed.. so I'm going to post the article here. The sausage jokes alone are fairly unbearable, but I've highlighted some of the better sentences in the article.

A Teeny Weenie Fine
By Amy Shipley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 11, 2003; Page D01

Wurst came to worst late Wednesday night when a Pittsburgh Pirates player was arrested on battery charges and later cited for disorderly conduct after hitting an Italian sausage mascot in Milwaukee with a bat.

Pirates first baseman Randall Simon received a $432 fine for using a half-swing to topple one of the four mascots participating in the customary race of the sausages between innings at Miller Park.

The teetering sausage, beaned by Simon in front of the Pirates' dugout, tumbled into the hot dog running alongside and both fell. The two women inside the costumes were treated at the ballpark for skinned knees, a sheriff's spokesman said. The bratwurst and Polish sausage were uninjured.

The incident set off an investigation by the Milwaukee District Attorney's Office -- which decided yesterday against filing criminal charges -- and caused a contrite Simon to insist that he had no intention of smoking the meats.

"I wasn't trying to knock her out," Simon told reporters before Pittsburgh's 5-4 victory in Milwaukee yesterday. "I was trying to tap the head and let her finish the race. Unfortunately, she lost her balance."

Immediately after the game, Simon was read his Miranda rights, arrested, handcuffed and taken to the Milwaukee County Jail, where he was released after being photographed and fingerprinted. The police report indicated that he was "cooperative." He later explained that he had nudged the mascot in fun.

"I thought at the moment they were trying to play with us," he told reporters. "They were running right next to the players."

At 8:30 a.m. yesterday, Simon met for two hours with Deputy District Attorney Jon Reddin, who said he also grilled the hot dog, Italian sausage and one independent witness. Reddin said the injured mascots, Brewers employees identified by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as Mandy Block (the sausage), 19, and Veronica Piech, 19, agreed that Simon did not intend to hurt them.

Block, who reportedly stands 5 feet 3 and comes up only to the waist of the oversize sausage suit, requested an autographed bat from Simon, who signed bats for both women and gave them to the Brewers.

"We had no intention of prosecuting this criminally," Reddin said, adding with a chuckle that "this is the wurst case I've ever had."

The Brewers' chairman of the board is Wendy Selig-Prieb, daughter of Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, who relinquished his ownership of the Brewers when he assumed his current post full-time.

In a statement, Selig said baseball officials were reviewing the situation. "Obviously, the type of behavior exhibited by Mr. Simon is anathema to the family entertainment that we are trying to provide in our ballparks and is wholly unacceptable," Selig said in the statement.

The mascots are sponsored by the Klement's Sausage Co., which sells sausage products at Miller Park. James Klement, co-president of the company, said from its Milwaukee office that he was "shocked and disappointed" in Simon's action, but acknowledged that the costumes -- more than eight feet tall and about 50 pounds -- are susceptible to toppling.

"Those sausage costumes are very top-heavy," he said. "Any slight off-balance [action], the wind, anything, can tip it over pretty quickly. . . . you still shouldn't be fooling around with a bat in that area."

Simon swung his bat at the sausage as it ran within arm's length of the dugout. Struggling to get up, the Italian sausage was helped to its feet by the Polish sausage. The hot dog got up without assistance and resumed the competition. The bratwurst, unencumbered, waddled to victory in the event, which is normally a public relations "race" that the participants take turns winning.

The incident was a meaty one for 24-hour sports Web sites and TV networks. A tape of the incident was replayed continuously on and NBC's "Today Show'' featured the knockdown and ESPN News reports called it "Sausagegate."

The Pirates issued a statement yesterday apologizing for the incident and saying it would be dealt with internally.

Brewers executive vice president Rick Schlessinger said two scheduled races between the Brewers' Racing Sausages and the Pirates' team of racing pirogis were still on. The mascot challenges are set for Aug. 15 in Pittsburgh and Aug. 22 in Milwaukee.

"Right now," Pittsburgh director of media relations Jim Trdinich said about the upcoming contests, "it's no holds barred."

Simon was booed at yesterday's game in his only appearance, when he was used as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning. He grounded out.

"I've never been in any situation like this," Simon said. "I've never hurt anybody in my life."

Deputy Inspector Sherry Warichak of the Milwaukee sheriff's office said a number of callers had complained about the light-hearted characterization of the beaning by the media.

"The bottom line is that the guy hit somebody with a baseball bat," she said. "As comical as the sausage issue is, it still has to be looked at seriously and reasonably, which we have done and the district attorney's office did."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

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