— Captain Sisko, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 7.08: “The Siege of AR-558.” This made me shed a tear like I did during Band of Brothers and The Pacific, except that DS9 came before both.
Band of Brothers + The Pacific Set [BluRay]
World War II was such a world-changing event that no miniseries — let alone two-hour movie — could ever capture its full import. But that doesn’t stop these two from trying. The Band of Brothers & The Pacific Set ($135) puts both award-winning, 10-part miniseries in the same box, letting you catch a glimpse of the conflict from both shores while garnering a new respect for the men and women who lived through it. Features include 13 total discs — including special features for both series — and crystal-clear hi-def picture and sound. This title will be released on November 8, 2011.
Of course I have both box sets already. In Blu-ray.
BUT OMG LOOKIT NEW BOX NEW BOOKLETS OMG OMG OMG
The only thing I might ever drool over more than drooling over Tim Lincecum.
Will you just fuck off with your stupid sex scenes?? PLEASE?! I am bored by them now. Sexytimes is not what the war was about.
Well, I really liked all of the scenes between John and Lena. Their love story is one of my favorites in probably all of movie and real history. Although, yes, it was kind of jarring to see Anna Torv go from Fringe to Sex and the City in that one Kim Cattrall-style scene.
New Year’s Eve seems so far away from now. I can’t believe it’s already June. Remember when we were in Our Ballpark and that theme song from The Pacific played on the scoreboard? I spent the last week of my vacation in Maryland watching that whole series. My buddies and I were talking about it just now. They, too, liked The Pacific a lot. It’s just funny to me how differently each one of us liked it. Each of the guys likes it for the various scenes of war and carnage. (My friends are gamers, and geeks, so they would like that kind of stuff.) The war stuff was pretty interesting for me, too, but I also liked that The Pacific was very heartfelt, even romantic. I’ve told you this before, though. I’m just repeating myself, but it bears repeating. It’s been a few months, almost a lifetime, since New Year’s Eve. It’s also been that long since I last saw The Pacific. I wouldn’t mind sitting through it again, and in case you haven’t, well…
Anyway, those guys consisted of my roommate and our mutual guy friends. They were having their weekly game night. I had come home at ten from visiting my editor friend at the bar in the Sunset. I feel bad expecting that she might hook me up with a drink when the reality is that she really wasn’t in a position to do so because this was her first real night at work. You see? I didn’t even really want a hookup in the first place, but the fact that I actually thought, if only fleetingly, that I might be able to score a free drink makes me feel very selfish. At least I didn’t spend an arm and a leg. I had two Anchors for four a piece. Some places charge six, seven. Did I mention that this place is kind of divey? Which is slang for “not pretentious” and “a totally cool place to relax and be yourself”.
Except when I’m trying to strike a conversation with a cute guy. He was there to also support my editor friend’s first night at work. Guess what? It turns out that he’s already dating one of the other editors! My friend only enlightened about this when I asked her to tell me more about her cute friend. I am so out of the loop. The worst part is that I can’t be too mad because the editor he’s dating (when this started, exactly, I don’t know but it had to have been fairly recently) is a very sweet girl and also stunningly gorgeous. I’m not just talking sexy, but she is gorgeous in a very classical, classy way. She doesn’t let that beauty go to her head. That’s what sucks. I can’t be all “Boo, you whore” like on Mean Girls. She’s not a mean girl.
So much for trying something new. I don’t normally go out on Tuesday nights (or most week nights, for that matter). This was an adventure for me. Even though I don’t have work tomorrow, going out on a week night still felt somehow irresponsible. Also, there was the matter of getting home. Unless I’m tagging along with Ray or Wolfie (whenever he’s in town), I don’t usually like going out drinking. I don’t like the insecurity of not knowing how I’ll get home, or that I have to leave early to catch the buses before they stop coming for the night, because cabs don’t go to my crappy part of town. My plan was to show up at the bar and commit myself to staying for an hour before I had to leave again.
I did end up getting a ride after all. One of the other staffers was there and he’s kind of turned into a good drinking buddy and possibly a good friend overall. He confessed to me that he is forty! I had no idea. At best, he looked just a shade over thirty. Before he gave me his exact age, he remarked about how he loved listening to Journey when he was in the seventh grade. “That should tell you how old I am,” he said as he took a swig of his Anchor.
He made this remark because the jukebox in the bar started playing “Don’t Stop Believing”, and I quipped that I also loved that song growing up but that it took new meaning after the World Series. He knew what I was talking about! I hadn’t taken him for a Giants fan. Or maybe it is now universal knowledge that “Don’t Stop Believing” is the Giants’ theme song and only the Giants’ theme song…
I’m a little sad that things did not work out with that other guy I was talking to. I am also discouraged that two attractive folks like him and the aforementioned editor got together so easily as if luck and fate favored them and exclusively of their ilk. When my friend told me the news about their coupling, I actually said these words to her: “It’s not fair.” To which she said sympathetically and without condescension: “I know.”
It was a nice night, though. I might have otherwise wasted a perfectly good, warm, summery Tuesday night at home doing what I usually do: watching TV series, or my nose would be stuck in a book or, more likely, I’d be writing to you. But I got out there, Linc. I made myself get out there to support a friend, and I made myself get out there, not necessarily to meet someone tonight, but to simply be in circulation.
Apparently, I have a pillow named after you. And each night, I kiss this pillow, make out with it, possibly do things to it that would make one cringe if one were to hang out with me in my room and find said pillow, if it exists — which, in fact, it does not. I’ll admit to owning many pillows (I like sleeping in comfort), but I don’t kiss them or whatever. I mean, if I was 15 again…
I had a nice weekend. What did you do? You know, I’ll never really know the answer to that question. All I’ll ever know is what I see on your official Facebook page, or from word-of-mouth, which I generously receive from my friends, from hardcore baseball fans like Ray and Wolfie, to casual fans who have a soft spot for you, like one of my old City Hall coworkers. I know it’s obvious that I’ll never be in a position to ask you a casual question like How was your weekend?, but something so obvious is also the kind of thing that one usually keeps in a convenient blind spot — and then, out of the blue, the fact of the matter bumrushes you.
I’ll never know who you really are, Linc. The pillow remark was a joke conveyed by some friends I was hanging out with on Saturday night, and then after that, after I gave them a halfway withering stare that I turned into a bunch of giggling at their good-natured ribbing, I started joking about your personality. I had a beer in one hand, and near the other, a slice of pizza, and I said to my friends, “I don’t think he has much of a personality. When he’s not working, he just plays video games.” And then my friends all give me withering looks and go, “We play video games, Joseph. A lot.” Chastened, I duck toward my beer, take a gulp and mumble shyly, “I know.” Then I burp.
I liked how my friends compared themselves to you. In this way, I think, they were trying to say that maybe you do have a personality: that behind the celebrity and the talent, you’re just a regular person. You could have been sitting there with us, late at night at that North Beach pizzeria, just one of the guys (and some gals, like Mary).
Sunday was a lot tamer, as Sundays usually go. Do you ever do brunch? It’s a hugely popular urban habit, but I haven’t regularly done brunch in years — and, you know, I don’t think I miss it. I don’t think I miss the brunch lines and the white women (I don’t know why they’re always white, or Miss Chinatown wannabes) drunk on mimosas. The last time I ever had a Sunday morning routine that didn’t involve stumbling around my kitchen hunting for cereal, it was when I lived in the Outer Richmond district. This was only last year, shortly before the start of the wondrous 2010 season, but it already seems like painfully ancient history. Anyway, each Sunday, I would walk from my house to this amazing little cafe on Balboa Street that would only be open each morning and be closed by noon. They made all their pastries right there in their own little kitchen: delicious and generous servings of muffins and croissants, just enough to stock a small cafe, but never too much to make you feel like it’s all mass-produced. It was like paying a visit to the home of a favorite aunt, or a very neighborly neighbor. I miss that place a lot, Linc. I miss that whole neighborhood. I hate being priced out of what I now know was my ideal life.
Which is an interesting concept, because as much as I see myself settling down here in San Francisco, I also miss my parents very much. I don’t think Filipino families were meant to live apart. It simply isn’t in our culture. This whole standard of being out of the house by the time you’re 18? It wasn’t invented by us. I wonder if that’s why you bought your condo in Seattle, not necessarily because Seattle is where you’re from, but because you have no real interest in being far from your family. If this reasoning is true, then maybe that’s your Filipino side talking, after all. Anyway, I don’t know if I’d ever move back to Maryland. I don’t despise where I grew up as much as I did in those first few years after I left; in fact, I now respect it so much more, and I always enjoy myself whenever I visit. But to spend the rest of my life there? I don’t see it. Well, ideally, I would spend the rest of my life with you, if you’d have me, if you knew of my existence, which you don’t. And that’s okay. Where was I? Oh, yes. I want to make my life in San Francisco.
This devil town is pretty demanding. I have sometimes felt like it’s intentionally trying to boot me out with its skyrocketing cost of living, buses that never come, jobs that never hire. By the time I’ve gotten the life I want, I will probably look back with the feelings of relief and age that can only come from hardscrabble maturation. I didn’t want it to be this way. I didn’t want to become cynical and old, but I am gradually realizing that this is the stuff of life. Maybe “cynical” and “old” are words too harsh, and maybe “learned” would be more positive to describe this process. Maybe this is life itself.
Remember how we spent New Year’s Eve in Our Ballpark? (I can’t believe that I haven’t been back there in so long. Maybe in a month? Over a month?) Anyway, I said to you that maybe the big entrance song for the team on Opening Day this year should be the opening to The Pacific, and then you told me that that song was composed for real heroes, for the soldiers of World War II and the soldiers of today. Remember? Do you still feel that way? I know, Linc. I know that it would be a little wrong to associate that song with a baseball team. But in my mind, even though soldiers are the ultimate heroes, and they have died on so many battlefields, when I listen to that song, all of you are lumped together: baseball players, soldiers, dark islands, muddy trenches, bleachers, turf, bags, the mound, tanks, missiles, a fastball.
You are never going to guess what link Ray forwarded me today. Apparently, MLB is sponsoring a contest for some kind of a dream job. I thought that the webpage for it was kind of funny because it was written up like a job listing, except that I didn’t get the vibe of a traditional hiring. Even though you have to send your resume and answer two essay questions, it’s less of a job application and more of a contest form. Which, I guess, is how all hiring practices are, if I really think about it. Well, who knows? Maybe I’ll get this one.
Check it out, Linc. The confirmation message that comes up after you submit the application:
Thank you for applying to for the MLB FanCave 2011 Dream Job. Please relax in the bullpen while we review your submission.
I didn’t realize until about half an hour later that the context is a little off. Shouldn’t you relax in the dugout instead of the bullpen? The bullpen is for practicing and warming up. If you’re not scheduled to pitch, and if you ain’t on the roster, then the dugout is where you’d hang around. Maybe someone at MLB will hire me to proofread and fact check things like that. That would be pretty cool. I ain’t looking for glamour, Linc. Just a job where I don’t feel butterflies every night before I have to get up for work, a job with a steady paycheck that gives me enough money so that choosing between a ballgame or groceries isn’t choosing between life or death.
If I got this job, I wonder if, eventually, our paths would cross. Many times, I’ve thought about what my first meeting with you would be like. Sometimes I’m comically nervous, tripping over my own feet, allowing myself to be flattened by stationary furniture, my cheeks burning with embarrassment when I finally make my way to shaking your hand. Other times, the learned man is who emerges. He shakes your hand confidently, though his heart threatens to jackhammer right through his chest. His mind races for the right words to inaugurate this moment. All he can think of is, “Hi.”
Sledge’s wife Jeanne was so touched by Mazzello’s characterization in the just-concluded HBO series that she sent a special gift to the actor — her late husband’s pipe.
“She was so moved she actually sent Eugene’s actual pipe he had his whole life,” Mazzello tells PopcornBiz. This is the same pipe that is represented throughout the series by the soldier seeking calm amidst the horrors of war.
“It really took me back,” Mazzello says, “I’m going to cherish that forever.”
Stability. That’s one of my resolutions for the new year, if not outright wealth. Stability: so I can buy, without trepidation, something like The Pacific DVD set, in that beautiful tin box, which contains that entire outstanding, inspiring mini-series.
“And, of course, you have a crush on the entire cast,” the Avatar drearily points out.
We had been standing under fall of night in Our Ballpark with our arms crossed in thoughtful regard of the photo on the scoreboard when his comment causes me to drop my arms and wander away with an exasperated sigh.
“Yeah, well, I have eyes,” is all I can manage to sputter.
I am suddenly filled with horror at just how awkward and insecure I sound, at how it took me several too long moments to come up with a retort. The old friend who I had dinner with shortly before Christmas — wow, I can’t believe I can already refer to that as last year — has turned out to be right: these last two months of solitude really have transformed the world into a place so suddenly new that whatever knowledge I’d accumulated in the past, in ten years of supposedly growing up, has reverted dramatically. I had spent these last ten years being a show-off know-it-all, and it took a single year, 2010, and a single sojourn of two months, for me to realize that I am still learning. That 2009 baseball season was perhaps the most important catalyst of all.
As of late, even my verbal sparring with the Avatar has gone limp. I wonder what would happen if I broke down, right now, just collapsed to my knees and buried my head in my hands? I wonder what would happen if I sobbed, “What’s wrong with me? What’s happening?” Because that’s exactly how I feel: life is not merely an unsolvable mess, for it has evolved to a point far beyond being just overwhelming. 2010 was a year that delivered me into the world for a second time. This rebirth may, in theory, be a good thing, but it is also physically painful and emotionally terrifying. The whole world is a blinding light. I am shocked with becoming.
Yet I do not falter in Our Ballpark, an imagined world where I have always emerged as myself and never in some ideal form (particularly keeping in tact my less than ideal body) but also where I feel safe enough that I do not need to collapse under the weight of my own thoughts.
I have been looking away from both the Avatar and the scoreboard for some time, lost in thought, gazing toward Triples Alley. Funny thing, losing myself in my thoughts here in Our Ballpark, an imagined world born out of my own thoughts. Everyone needs a place like this. If you are new, if you are reading my accounts for the first time and wondering if there is something a little off about my thinking, that I spend so much precious time in an imagined setting when I could be living productively in the real world, know that you also have a place like this. The scariest truth of all is not that I could be some weirdo blogging weirdly about an imaginary ballpark with an imaginary boyfriend whose form is, at times obviously and sometimes not, based upon Tim Lincecum, but that everyone is thinking is the same thing: everyone has an imaginary ballpark, an imagined Tim Lincecum. Everyone, even you. And maybe, though it is too preposterous for me to grasp even as wishful thinking, someone is imagining what it might be like to talk to me, too.
“Hey,” the Avatar says. “Dude.”
I don’t turn to face him. What does he want to say? What will he do? The voices of men have always been indecipherable. Perhaps it’s an evolutionary holdover: mask all feeling, continuously sound like a threat or otherwise neutral, and you will be feared or held in reverence by rival clans and wild beasts.
Then I feel the rush of his arms around me and our hands clasping together. The anguish that had vexed me to such a degree as to physically burden my shoulders has vanished. What an illogical solution: that being in love could so quickly dissolve the complexities of living. But maybe what it takes to get by without perishing so prematurely is a little bit of deviance from the rules — or perhaps an acceptance that there aren’t really any rules at all, just guidelines and boundaries that exist as a spatial enclave for the desires of destiny and the human heart.
On occasion, I must hold my breath, not entirely out of sentimentality, because I’m swept away, but because the Avatar’s athletic grasp is so fucking strong that my body feels ridiculously squeezed. Then I subtly exhale before I must hold my breath again. I don’t complain, though. Being held by him is like ducking underwater, and I want to see how long I can enjoy the subaqueous panorama.
“I’m gonna buy it,” I tell the Avatar. “I’m gonna buy that DVD set, and when I do, it’s going to mean more than that.”
He says so in a whisper before kissing my cheek and ducking his head against my shoulder. “Happy new year.”
(Original article excerpted from NBC San Diego)
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