As I have mentioned before, one of the loveliest things about London (possibly England (possibly Britain (possibly Europe))) is the “after work drink”, especially on a Friday. In this job, my 12,000th since moving to America, I am very lucky to not only have a bunch of people who enjoy the same semi-religious ritual, but we also have a de-facto place to worship.
Nothing dramatic, gossip-worthy, or significant, needs to happen; we just need to talk and laugh. It sounds like such a simple recipe doesn’t it? But it’s surprisingly difficult to find. You need people with whom you can communicate in a way that doesn’t involve sport, and also who aren’t affected negatively by someone with a foreign accent, and who says a lot of stuff that doesn’t make a lot of sense. You also need people who don’t drive to work. How fortunate to have found such people! And tonight, after my old team-mates had left to pursue their commutes and domestic duties, how extra-lucky was I to be invited into a new cabal of people who work in a related team and share this odd collection of values?
It has been a while since I last blogged, and a lot has happened. The last couple of weeks have been genuinely enjoyable and that probably has something to do with why it’s easy to write again.
Some cryptic stuff to remind myself about why life has been enjoyable:
- Working with Homehub CPE on TLS1.2.
- Nick and his team are delightful to work with.
- Pub quiz with Matt, RJ et al
- Birds…including Russ.
The company paid for us to have a day in the sun and even provided some food and beer – all while we should have been at work. Who could object to such a good deal? Me.
Without wanting to sound ungrateful, I feel the need to comment on my first baseball experience. The TL;DR version is:
- Tailgating is a depressing testament to the failure of America to live up to its own hype.
- The Phillies played like crap
- Baseball is a stupid and boring game. Stupider than Cricket. Stupider than American Football (and that’s saying something).
- It was 92F and there is no shade in the vast majority of the ground. But that doesn’t put people off for some reason.
- Fans of the Phillies (pretty much everyone in Philadelphia) absolutely do not understand how anyone could not be thrilled by the experience let alone understand my view on it.
So, for the uninitiated, the start of a day of serious sportsfanship in this colony involves “tailgating” which means starting the day’s celebrations in the parking lot [car park] where people “party” by drinking beer, throwing things around and sometimes grill food.
Now, like every other human being on the planet, there’s nowhere I’d rather be on a hot sunny day than a massive concrete parking lot together with a bunch of people I don’t know from work who are all wearing the same clothes. Drinking a beer, having a sandwich and watching everyone thrill to the excitement of playing “cornhole” (they really do call it that) is indisputably fun of course. But doing so in a massive concrete car park, with all of the romantic and sensual sights and smells that go with it creates a truly memorable experience.
Wiley enterprising patriots set up stands near by where you can purchase bottles of overpriced water and “Trump for President” T-shirts; proud murcans all.
But of course, this rich cultural experience was just the hors d’Oeuvres – the main course (which is inexplicably known as “entree” in the U.S.) was yet to come.
A few of us were unable to suspend our excitement and so left the parking lot before all of the beer had been quaffed and headed over to the stadium. The obscene heat punished us for daring to leave the shady serenity of the concrete but we persevered in the knowledge that excitement, refreshment and seating awaited us in the cathedral of sports that was only an agonizing few minutes walk away in the 92F heat and 90% humidity.
We eagerly presented our company-bought tickets and were permitted entry to the ruby city of the Phillies stadium. It was everything I imagined it would be! A vast amphitheater packed with armies of identically dressed people sampling the gastronomic delights and audaciously over priced beer before returning to their seats where the non-stop action can be enjoyed.
There was some initial confusion regarding the location of our seats, but after a long and tiring slog through the labyrinthine stadium village we eventually found the oddly shaped grill that was our alloyed seating: the Budweiser Rooftop! Imagine the top shelf of the oven but with a good view of the lush green sportsball field.
I started writing this over a year ago but ran out of inspiration, though you can pretty much imagine the rest – especially if you’ve seen a baseball game.
This morning I received some spam via a comments form on my website. Here it is with identifying information removed so as not to accidentally generate traffic for them:
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In case you don’t know what “CCI Mini Mags 22 lr.” refers to, allow me to save you the effort of Googling: it’s ammunition for rifles.
So help us defeat Hillary, and we’ll send you some ammunition. Could there possibly be a more perfect example of deranged Tea-Party insanity?
So here’s a challenge: if you can formulate an offer of equal or greater batshit-craziness then please let me know. The best one will win a picture of an Eagle holding an M16 on a Harley Davidson, signed by Donald Trump’s hair.