Thoughts On Theo

I have this feeling that the late-afternoon of Monday, October 31st, 2005, is going to be one of those ‘Where were you”-type moments that are pushpins on the large, ever-developing maps of our lives. Well, at least for Red Sox fans anyway.

I was at work when one of the West Coast Posse sent along the following email:

Did Theo Epstein resign? What are you guys hearing about this … breaking news as we speak … er … e-mail.

You would expect the usual responses from those outside of the loop. “No way..they were supposed to announce something today” or “Nope, haven’t heard anything. Where are you seeing this?” I began searching around a bit for any info, but I couldn’t find anything. I was sure that someone 3000 miles away must have been mistaken, but there was this little tinge of fear that what Ben was emailing about was actually true. “No way,” I told myself. “There is no way that Theo leaves the Sox. He’s from Brookline and is a GOD in New England. Why would he ever want to leave?”

After work, I jumped in the Gray Go-Slow and turned on the famous (and infamous) WEEI of Boston and despite the crappy reception, you could feel the tenseness among the on-air group, a sort of confusion that combines bewilderment, exciteability and anger all mixed into a pot of ‘What happens next?’ Then, it hit me: Theo Epstein was no longer going to be the General Manager of the Boston Red Sox.

For those that are not Sox fans or for those that will never understand what the 2004 title meant to a legion of fans, this decision will be talked about in the lighest of senses. But for everyone that was along on the ride, Theo became as much of a hero as David Ortiz, Curt Schilling or Manny Ramirez. Without Epstein, the Sox don’t win the title last year. It was Theo who went to Arizona to dine with a workhorse over Thanksgiving dinner. It was Theo who inked Ortiz and then proceeded to re-sign him to one of the most amazing financial deals for a premier slugger in MLB history. And while it was Theo who averted near-disasterous deals with Adrian Beltre, J.D. Drew, Carl Pavano and others, he also pulled the trigger for Dave Roberts and Dougie Mineketiseraweqwiz (I give up on his spelling) in a little deal involving an Boston icon that was not easy to do. His hiring raised eyebrows and eventually would cause tears after the final out was made in St. Louis just 13 months ago.

For the age group that reads this blog, however, Theo was something else altogether. A young guy, Epstein was promoted to a position that most people dream of and that very few people under 30 attain. He gave hope to others that the X and Y generation could make a huge difference in an industry that actually means something to people. He was a rock star, hanging out with Pearl Jam and playing with his own band at various benefits. You saw how pissed he got at losses, how excited he was at winning and how much he loved the job that he grew up wanting. Then again, you could also picture him coming in on a Friday, hungover as shit from the night before and grabbing a Large No. 5 at Dunkin’ Donuts. That what was great about him – he seemed like a normal guy living an unreal life with stress that most of us would find hard to imagine and impossible to ignore.

Quite simply, he was one of us.

But now, he’s gone and with him, an era of fun has been ushered out as well. The writing is on the wall that the team will definitely change, but no one expected this much. While we’ll still cheer the Sox wins and grumble about the losses, whoever comes in and takes over will be like the teacher that comes back from sick leave and replaces the cool substitute. More questions remain than answers, but at least for one night, it’s fair to say that a new martyr has been created by the Nation while two new pariahs (Larry Lucchino and the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaugnessy) are left to assess the benefits of leaking ‘inside information’ in a Sunday newspaper.

See ya, Mr. Epstein. Class will never be the same without you.

I Love/Hate Technology

Sunday was supposed to be a relaxing day.

After our team’s opening night Saturday (and the hellstorm of work that led up to it) went off with a few hitches, I was looking forward to doing next to nothing Sunday, save watching football, cleaning up the apartment and setting up my new Tivo box. Needless to say, I wouldn’t be writing about it if the process was simple, so you’ll get the full unedited story.

1 – Dell. Remember a few weeks ago when I told you that a Miller Lite virus attacked my keyboard? Well, using my extended warranty through Dell, I sent the computer out for repairs and was told it would be returned to me within eight days. I was pretty content at the whole process: they shipped out a box, complete with packing foam, paid for the whole thing and gave me a reasonable expectation as to when my pc would be home again. Well, a week passed. Then, two weeks passed. I began to get suspicious and decided to contact them. Contacting them, by the way, entails the equivalent of Private Chat (for you UMaine First Class users) and getting rerouted to three different chats before finding which one applies to you. The user names of the Dell employees are pretty funny, considering the broken english you get from most. I’m not sure, but I think ‘Chuck’s’ grammar school teacher probably taught him how to string together sentences. They can’t hide the fact that they use foreigners, so why even try at this point?

The person I chatted with told me that my computer had already been shipped and even gave me a DHL tracking number. Wow…tremendous, right? I saw that the computer was reportedly in New Hampshire already, but the address they listed was incorrect and didn’t even have a street name on it. Red Flag no. 1. I went to DHL’s site to see if I could re-route it, but to no avail. I called and got the following response when I gave the number.

DHL: “Yeah, uhhhmmm. We’re showing that package as lost.”
Josh: “It says on your site that it’s right in Londonderry.”
DHL: “Yeah, that’s incorrect. You should probably contact the shipper to let them know. Is there anything else I can do to help you tonight?”

Red Flag 2. Hey DHL Douchebag! I didn’t lose the computer….you did!!! Why should I call when you obviously have so much more info than I do? And second, why are companies now asking people if there’s anything else, especially in this situation? What else could I want – shipping rates? Dropoff locations? A brochure that explains how packages get lost? I then contacted Dell (they told me that their records showed that DHL had the package too) and they said they’d resolve it and have something out to me within 2-4 working days. At this point, I was very skeptical but didn’t have the time to worry otherwise. Not having a computer at home has been an adjustment, but overall, I’ve survived by using a work laptop with wireless access.

Fast forward to Sunday: I rise at around 11:30 (love sleeping in…love. it.) and decide to stroll back to the VWA for the afore-mentioned work computer, bring it home and rip on some Dell agent as to why seven days later, I had no computer. I figured that round-trip, this journey would take about 40 minutes. Of course, I couldn’t find the laptop anywhere. I jumped on my work pc and after changing my fantasy football lineups, headed to for what I thought would be a quick status check. About 90 minutes later, I was more frustrated than ever. I got re-routed for a good hour to different chats where no one wanted to help. Finally, a kid named Josh (ironic) took the bait and did what the other guy could have done a week ago: simply write up the order as ‘lost’ and ship me a new computer. What was most irritating was having to give my contact info over and over and over again, explain the situation and then be told, “Sorry. Not this department.” I never did get an answer as to what happened to my ‘2-to-4 day’ promise and was told that within 10-12 days, I would have a new laptop, possibly a better version than my current model. I’ll believe it when I’m typing on it.

TiVo: Later on this day, I decided to get something done and moved my new TiVo box to the living room from my bedroom. Now, I just set this thing up last week at blog reader Berger Berger’s house because I don’t have a phone line which TiVo requires to set everything up. This is probably the most retarded requirement I’ve heard in quite some time. The need for house phones is dwindling thanks to cell phones and with wireless internet technology abound, don’t you think they could figure something else out? Anyhoo, I spent a good hour arranging everything (only took one call to Tivo too to correct a problem), brought it home and set it up, only to realize that you need a phone line/USB wireless connection to update the info. I bought the USB, but guess what I needed to set it up? A wireless laptop!!!! Irony is a BITCH.

In the meantime, I decided to move the box and rearranged it to use with my Comcast cable box but I couldn’t get any type of signal. After looking through the manual and troubleshooting, I found out that in order to transfer the unit to a cable box setting, I would have to DIAL IN AGAIN AND REDO THE WHOLE THING. Ever have those moments where you lean back, look around and assess what is happening in front of you? Yeah, I’m surprised that something didn’t get broken. Until I can get back to a phone line, my TiVo is working as a nice coaster. And no, I’m not getting a phone line.

Other random bits:

–The anti-pot commercial people have done it again. I once mentioned the National Anti-Drug Youth ad about missing the little brother’s birthday party (“I’m sure your brother will understand that you missed his birthday party because you were out smoking pot.”) killed me every time I saw it. Well, now they’ve added one about missing dinner with your grandmother. This one just about ripped my heart out; not about smoking weed, but c’mon, sad grandmas?! That’s just wrong! I hate the U.S. Government.

–Hey, speaking of pot, it’s the 20th anniversary of Nintendo! Check it out:

And if you don’t think I’m getting an NEX, think again!

–I think it’s hilarious on how the media is skipping around the NBA Dress Code issue. Basically, the NBA wants their players to dress more white and not look like 50 Cent on the sidelines. Interesting move that the players association is backing. I also thought it was particularly telling that one of the dissenting ‘this is racist’ voices came from Stephen Jackson of the Indiana Pacers, otherwise known as ‘the guy that wasn’t Ron Artest that attacked Detroit fans last year.’ Will this somehow bridge the gap between the NBA and the growing amount of people that say, “I used to watch the NBA all the time, but don’t anymore. Can’t figure out why though”? Doubtful, but at least it’s an attempt.

–If you were to say a year ago that Bill Simmons would write a book and I wouldn’t have it read it a good month after its release, I would say that you were crazy. I finally bought the thing tonight. I am a terrible fan.

–Atlanta, pt. II coming Sunday. I have to go call my grandmother now….

thanks for reading,

Sox Talk and The Taking of Atlanta, Pt. 1

First this week, some Sawx talk and then, some Dirrrrty South talk. This is a really long entry, so take it to the bathroom or something.

A point was made by a reader last week that counteracted my claim last week that Keith Foulke could have cost the Sox their 2005 season by the fact that without him, the Sox wouldn’t have won the World Series in 2004. Very true and something I should have included as Foulke is my favorite Sox player (other than Adam Stern…just kidding) and he was money in da bank last season. However, I was a bit disappointed that his tough-guy act hurt the team this year when he decided to forgo knee surgery in the offseason and just tough it out, apparently assuming that pitching for a major league team and putting constant stress on it would make it better.

Unfortunately, his wickets were a lot worse than he thought and his 2005 sucked, arguably costing the Sox some games and potentially a shot at the postseason. While we’ll never forget 2004, there is something to be said for personal responsibility when it comes to your team and that being the toughest isn’t always the smartest. Had he done the surgery in December, it’s pretty safe to assume that he’d be good to go for this year, right? So why wait? What’s the point? In any case, I fully am expecting him to come back strong next season and allow Craig Hansen to learn the majors for at least a couple seasons before taking over the closer role. At least…I hope.

And in case you didn’t see it, the Sox were eliminated quietly and meekly in the ALDS this week, just tossed around by the ChiSox like a band of Mexican wrestling midgets. I mean, it wasn’t even close. Between the so-so pitching, tired bats and overall lack of that Sox spirit that was so ominpresent last season, you could just tell that it wasn’t going to happen. While I personally didn’t feel that same depression like after the Aaron Boone homer in 2003, I still was hoping for some sort of ‘Things are going to change’ statement from the front office, something that said, “You know, this is unacceptable. We expect to win a World Series, not get swept out of the playoffs. This will be a busy offseason for us, so bye.” Alas, I didn’t expect it and we didn’t get it, rather the usual p.c. talk that dominates the 24 hours after a playoff exit.

But there will be changes, the only question being how many and how far-reaching. Here’s what I expect/predict for 2006:

-Francona/Epstein to be re-signed. I think this goes without saying. Theo is Theo and while some may disagree with Terry’s take on how to run a ball club, he makes the playoffs and got this team to over 90 wins without an ace pitcher, without a closer and minimal power production from the corner infield positions. Say what you will, but he’s doing a good job and Joe Torre ain’t walkin’ through that door folks. (That is, unless he gets fired and wants to come to Boston. Then, Terry can go screw.)

-Millar/Mueller to not be resigned, while Timlin will be brought back. After a year where he hit just five home runs and complained about playing time, it’s time for one of the most interesting personalities in Sox history – Kevin Millar – to cowboy his ass up out of town. I love Mueller’s defense, but his lack of offense late in the season hurt the club at times. Kevin Youkilis is out of minor-league options and deserves his shot at either 3rd or 1st. While older and coming off a career-high of appearances, Timlin can still be valuable to the pen but just not in the same role which I expect will be taken over by Hansen/Delcarmen. Regarding the other crop of free agents (Mike Myers, Matt Mantei, John Olerud), it will all depend on how comfortable the front office is with their age and physical abilities. I’m guessing that most of the older guys will be cut or re-upped at bargain prices. There’s a lot of relievers out there this offseason, so basing your future on reclamation projects seems foolhardy.

–Manny will stay, meaning the Sox need to resign Damon or get CF help. This Manny-for Carlos Beltran rumor is still out there, but do you want to trade a guy that hits 45 bombs with 140 RBI with a .290 average? This all comes down to two things: a) if getting rid of the $60 million left on Manny’s contract is that big of a deal and b) if they believe Beltran is the real deal and that 2004 was just an off-year. If Beltran is acquired, then a corner outfielder is needed. I honestly think that you might as well keep Manny and just build around the power combo that he and Ortiz bring. It’s $60 million for a team that is right up there in revenues. They can afford it. As far as the bearded wonder, it’s up to him to decide what will make him happy. Does the Boras agent take the money and run or does he take some equally good money and stay in the red-and-white? I have this feeling that Boras is going to push him somewhere else after he got served on the Varitek signing last season, not wanting to get the reputation this his status as the no. 1 agent in baseball is waning.

–A big-name 1b or 3b will be dealt for and a middle relief arm will be signed. This is a terrible free agent year where the biggest names at those positions are guys like Paul Konerko, Scott Hatteberg (Moneyball!) and Joe Randa. This will help determine what position Youk plays for the foreseeable future. Regarding pitching, there’s a lot of intriguing names out there including Gordon, Wickman, Wagner, etc., but with Foulke and Hansen as closer candidates, I think they’ll ink a couple good middle guys that we’ll get to know sooner than later. However, if there’s a disappointment at all this offseason, it could be the 1b/3b position simply because the Sox might want to take a run at someone in the markedly-better 2006 free agent class (Derrek Lee, Nick Johnson, Melvin Mora, Aubrey Huff, Pedro Feliz) instead. Also of note, the starters are much better a year from now (Pettite, Mulder, Zito, etc.), one of which I expect to be added to a rotation that will included Papelbon, Jon Lester and Bronson Arroyo. Wells and Wakefield will also be free agents (depending on team options) and I expect those two and possibly Curt Schilling to retire.

And yes, I think they’ll win the World Series in 2006. Why not us?


Back in the spring, my buddy Page was stressing out. After not doing a lot of law school internship interviews due to other emerging commitments, he was left without a job for the summer because of those commitments not coming through. I was privy to him opening rejection letter after rejection letter and the subsequent frustration that came with it. Why was this such a big deal? Because in law programs, the firm that you intern with during the summer after your second year is the one you get hired by the year after you graduate. However, the amount of firms that came up with interesting ways of saying ‘no thanks’ was mounting.

Then, it happened. After he nearly tore up the letter because he expected another no, a patent law firm in Atlanta, GA, took a chance and wanted to interview him. Already up against odds because they preferred Georgia residents, Page impressed them enough in interviews to land a spot for the summer. One long drive down later and like Ray sang, Georgia was on his mind. So naturally, I had to go visit, a thankful trip after the usual winter confinement of working in pro hockey. Without further blabbing, I give you the first installment in the Trilogy of Trips series – part one of July’s visit to Atlanta, full of drinks, divas and derelicts.

Friday: After arriving in Atlanta, I took to jumping aboard the MARTA (Hotlanta’s underused T-system) so I could head downtown and meet Page in his office building. The first obvious cultural difference I would experience is the amount of African-Americans or, in other words, a lack of white people. This stuff really isn’t a big deal to me, but it’s an interesting cultural study in how some minorities must feel in places like Maine and New Hampshire except worse. Living up here, we really have no idea of the fishbowl mentality that some minorities deal with when living in primarily white-dominated areas like New England. The second difference was how freakin’ hot it was as luckily I arrived during the first big heat wave the city had all summer. Awesome! I hate the heat and this just cemented my resolve about never living in the south. I couldn’t deal with walking outside and immediately sweating for months on end. Of course, Southerners probably would hate dealing with months and months of snow and ice, so I guess it’s all relative.

I got aboard the MARTA car and noticed immediately that I was one of two white people in the train. No big deal, other than the fact I didn’t really know where I was going, was sweating like I stole something and had some travel bags with me, making me feel I was sticking out as a tourist-type. Then, the other white guy got off the train and it was just me. Yikes. I assume that northbound was a good way to get where I was supposed to go, but I really wasn’t sure. I just imagined that the train would lead into some unsavory part of Atlanta where I’d have to sell drugs or dance-battle in order to get out, making the whole story a great movie. ANYWAY, some guys on the train started rapping loudly, at which point I fully expected the hook to be, “Kill the whitey with the Red Sox hat…stomp his ass into a welcome mat.” After listening for my call to death, the train stopped at a place called the Five Points which I thought would be a good spot to get where I needed to go. Five Points must mean a ‘hub’ of sorts, right? WRONG. I got off the train and found that I should have stayed on because my stop was just a few away. I then got to hang out for about 15 minutes in the middle island between the trains, overheating and anxious about my unfamiliar surroundings. However, when I saw a few policeman in the area, I relaxed a bit. (Later on, I found out that the Five Points was the WORST possible stop I could be at, as it’s become infamous with assaults, murders, etc., hence the police presence. Uh-huh. )

I met up with Page and we rode out to Decateur, a surburb. I learned that the area is still growing and developing (thanks to the city burning down to the ground during the Civil War) and that condos are going up everywhere. You can haggle rent costs for apartments and a nice condo can be had right downtown for $175,000-$225,000, depending on ameneties, because of the mass amount of housing to be had. It’s a city that has a ton of clubs and is very diverse in terms of what attracts people to live there. I also learned that Page’s air-conditioning in his truck was not working and that his passenger-side window does not roll down. It was like driving around in a sauna and would be part of what I’ll call THE WORST 20 MINUTES OF MY LIFE (coming soon). After we met up with another friend from Mass. (the inimitable Josh Howes) who flew in, the night was ours. After heading into town to meet up with some of Page’s law friends, we downed some beers and headed into the night, simply going to the only bar we would ever need to go: Mako’s.

I’ll start by explaining that Mako’s is my favorite bar of all time. Ever. I can’t imagine another place ever moving into this top spot unless they offer free beer, free food and tons of hot women at all times. Mako’s is a chain (the others are in Florida) and the draw is simple: cheap beer, dive atmosphere and all waitresses/bartenders dressed up in lingerie. I mean, it’s incredible. Sirens going off announcing free shots, giant shot luges and gorgeous women everywhere. I would have bought a cot in the corner and moved there if possible. (And ladies, there are male bartenders who look like A&F models, just for you. See? Equal opportunity!) In the very front window, there is a giant swing which a young lady operates, doing a dance for you on the swing while you swing back and forth. It’s hard to truly describe, but just imagine something great.

So, the co-workers bought a ride for one of the ladies that came out with us and then another for Page, complete with a bare-ass spanking via a fraternity-style paddle (costs extra) and a stamp on both cheeks to boot. Hilarious! Having been out with Page before though, I knew something was coming my way and lo and behold, I was eventually on the swing thanks to a Page ‘donation’ and I got my own paddle ride as well. I’ll be damned if it didn’t hurt a little bit. However, the swing girl was a bit bitchy to me, basically yelling at me to swing harder and that I was hurting her ankle somehow, making the experience a bit tainted despite the beautiful simplicity of the experience. After departing the bar around 2 am, we headed back to one of the guy’s condos where we proceeded to get really, really drunk and an hour later, it was decided a trip to the Waffle House was needed. Despite none of us being that great to drive, four people jumped into one SUV while myself and Bud, one of the younger firm to-be-named partners, were left. He asked if I wanted to ride with him, beckoning to his BMW two-seat Roadster. Yeah, this was going to be awesome.

We jumped into the ride and prepared to depart, following the Page group ahead of us. As Bud revved the engine and put it into drive, we took off like a speeding bullet and prepared to navigate the parking garage labyrinth like a chase scene out of an action movie. But before the previews began, there was a jarring bump under the car like we had run over a moose. Worse – Bud drove over an approximately eight-inch cement riser/divider and had completely ripped apart the bottom of his car. As the other carload and myself looked on in horror, Bud backed up the car with all kinds of fluids draining out like the blood of a victim in a Friday the 13th movie. Before we got out to survey the damage, Bud looked over to me and calmly said, “I guess we’re not going to the Waffle House, huh?” It remains perhaps the coolest response to a disasterous situation that I’ve ever heard in person. I thought Howes – a fellow BMW owner – was going to cry. Bud parked the car and we jumped into the SUV, dropped off someone that was comatose-drunk and headed to someone’s apartment in the city that we weren’t supposed to be at. And this, folks, was Night 1.

(Of note: Worst of all, the whole BMW incident could have been avoided. Bud wasn’t even supposed to be out and should have been in Connecticut visiting his girlfriend. However, he changed his flight by a day to hang out with us and got a bad break as a result. Even better? He missed his early flight on Saturday. I love this guy!)

Day 2 and more? Next week!

Thanks for reading,

In true Reading Rainbow-like fashion, here’s a website in case you want to learn more about what you read here today:

Oh, what a weekend!

Back in my college days (or as I refer to it, When Life Wasn’t Stressful), I was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. Every meeting, we’d talk about what was going on in life and most of surrounded what had happened the past weekend, probably because the alcohol prevented us from remembering anything prior to that. This week’s entry is in honor of one of our brothers who always started his rants with, “Ooohhhh, what a weekend.” I don’t know why, but it just hit me as I was rueing traffic on 93 Sunday AM.

I want to send a shoutout to two of my great friends who this weekend revolved around and whose respective gatherings helped me get two great hard liquor induced hazes on Saturday and Sunday, plus a chance to see old friends and meet new ones.

The Rob Night – Many of you know the Goateed Gorilla, Robbie Akerley. Well, Ak turned 30 and a surprise party was thrown in his honor Friday night in Portland, ME, by his ladyfriend Jen. Now, we’ve all known about this for a few months now and part of keeping a surprise secret is really thinking about what you say to the person without accidentally spilling the beans, especially when that person begins thinking of taking a trip and you have to agree instead of saying, “Nahhh….that weekend would suck for a trip. Why? Uhhh….locusts?” Luckily, everything worked out well and we celebrated another bloke turning the corner of 30 years old. It did get me to thinking though: what if someone had a surprise party planned for them and they somehow made other plans or missed it because of an emergency? Does everyone still get together and celebrate? Has this ever happened? I need to know.

I’ve always been an admirer of birthday parties, probably because my own birthday comes at one of the worst times of year – January 4th, less than two weeks after Christmas and four days after New Year’s. Compound the hockey schedule for the past five years and Jan. 4th has been about as important a date as May 23rd. So when other people have a surprise party, I get pretty excited for them. Of course, my dad has it a bit worse: his b-day is December 30th. Sorry about the rant, but the winter’s coming and I get a bit crazy these days. Other highlights of Friday included the official coronation of a new catchphrase, the announcement that Cartoon Clyde is FINALLY moving out of Bangor and into a new place about an hour down the highway (it’s Waterville, but it’s a start) and…hey, there’s an Ultimate Warrior dvd set coming out! Yes!!!!

What was I saying? Oh yeah. Rob’s a great guy, yadda yadda. He does love his bacon/pepperoni pizzas (four, dude? Wow) and still would love if Jimmy Buffet turned out to be his real dad and if Rivalries’ hot Chili Buffalo sauce came out of faucets in lieu of water. I did get a lot of compliments that the blog has returned, which I really appreciate.

The Ben Night – After a long night and a straight three-and-a-half-hour drive to Plymouth, MA, (complete with bumper to bumper traffic once we neared the Cape Cod area), Day Two was my first and only wedding of 2005 for my good friends Ben and Jen. Now, we can all complain about our hectic schedules but I think Ben’s tops pretty much anyone I know. He took a job directing games with the LA Kings recently and barely moved out there a month ago with his fiancee, only to have to turn around and come back for their October 1st wedding, a date which they had planned months ago. They were in town for about six days before turning around and heading right back to LA Sunday. In normal jobs, this wouldn’t be that big of a deal. However, the Kings’ opening night is planned for this week and they’ve told him that it’s the most important home opener in thier history. No pressure, Big Ben, no pressure.

Upon arriving at the ceremony, I caught up with Ben and some others and was given the task of helping break down a sound system at the ceremoney and transporting it back over to the reception hall for the party. We’re not talking about a boom box here – it was two big mounted speakers, 50 ft. of cable and a big soundboard. After a pretty quick and interesting ceremony, myself and two other guys turned into the Wedding Roadies and started packing up, trying to stick to a pretty well-timed out schedule. But this is Nason involved, so SOMETHING was bound to happen. The first problem was trying to lug out and then drive out two carloads of equipment while the wedding party was still getting congratulations from all of the guests in the recieving line, almost directly in the way of where we had to go. We finagled another path and made it out, unloading and setting up while everyone was enjoying cocktails in another room. However, not having ever set up audio equipment, we kind of winged it just trying to make sure everything was ready to go before the guests started entering the main room and the wedding party arrived.

Everything was wired up when the moment of truth came: plug ‘er in and let ‘er rip. Problem 2: nothing was working. The music sounded horrible and the mikes weren’t doing anything. The issue was compounded by the wedding planner/location manager who was telling me that everyone was ready to come in, basically refusing to work with us when we tried to explain that we were having audio issues. But sometimes, luck comes at the best time and literally 30 seconds before everyone started entering, the board came alive and we were in business. So, overheated, stressed and relieved, I helped introduce the world to the newly-married Ben and Jen (insert Benifer joke here) and we were good to go.

Or so we thought.

The wedding reception/post-party went as expected (complete with a record amount of noise complaints and one police visit to the Plymouth Comfort Inn), despite me somehow getting lost driving to pick up the equipment from the reception that night. I mean, I had to drive about 200 yards and somehow ended up on Route 3 North, a full exit away from where I had to be. I would say that’s why you don’t drive partially drunk, but most everyone that knows me would say that could happen while I’m sober as well. I have no idea how long I was gone, but apparently, it was quite a while. Needless to say that I sobered up quite a bit when I finally did make it back to pick up the damn equipment, which was still waiting for me. I wish I could truly put this 20 minutes into words, but just imagine confusion, utter rum-induced confusion.

(Side note: Ryan Reynolds can do a movie, ‘Waiting,’ about working at a restaurant, but doesn’t want to do the much-rumored remake of Fletch or a Van Wilder sequel? Huh?)

Sunday was the icing on the wedding cake as I groggily answered a call from Ben at the hotel, asking me if I knew where his backpack, which contained his work laptop, was. I told him that I could check my car, but I wasn’t sure. Our other friend Matt had also packed up some equipment and had headed north to Manch-Vegas, NH, the next morning and lo and behold, the bag was with him. I told Ben not to worry and that I would simply same-day the computer on Monday AM to him when I got home. “Shit! I think my wallet and….oh man…my house keys and cell phone are in there too!” Uh oh. “No problem….you’re flying out of Manchester right?” Double uh-oh. Ben and Jen were flying out of Providence in six hours, barely enough time to drive up to Manch and back. Luckily, Matt offered to drive down to Providence to meet the newlyweds and saved the day. That guy deserves his own Sovereign Bank player profile or something.

By the way, I heard today that Ben and Jen got to the airport 20 minutes before they were supposed to leave. I love ya bud, but…holy shit! A tip for him and others: if you leave your stuff in different places, it will never get all lost at once. (Take it from someone that consistently loses everything and is always looking for something.) But the two are a great pair of people and the whole day was a truly fitting tribute to who they are. Too bad they live 3000 miles away, but alas, another potential landing spot could be established.

And I didn’t even mention about Thursday night and sitting in Monster seats to the Sox/Jays finale, capped by Big Papi’s game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth when sent the place into an Oprah’s Favorite Things fury. If Sox management could somehow make the seats a bit more comfortable and actually facing toward home plate, Fenway could stay alive forever. Despite a pretty brisk evening and me in the middle of a flu-like illness, those seats are AMAZING and really do bring you so much closer to the action. If you are ever able to snag some of those, do it…well-worth the cash.

Random Bits:

–As if the past two Octobers weren’t stressful enough, the Sox have once again pulled us back in for what we hope will be another deep run. It’s an anxious but amazing time that can only truly be understood by those fans who have lived this all their lives. I haven’t written much about the boys in red for quite a while, but I think that might change this week.

–The Atlanta trip blog, among other ‘What I Did This Summer’ essays will come soon, promise.

–The insanity has begun as work craziness has intensified over the past four weeks, culminating in another two weeks for our home opener. The good news is that unlike the past few years, I haven’t picked smoking back up as a result of the intense stress. The bad news: there’s still two more weeks for that to happen.

–Any Spider-Man fans? Kirsten Dunst recently spilled the beans that Venom and Sandman will be the next two villains in SpM 3, due out in 2007. Venom would be played by Topher Grace of That 70s Show fame and Sandman by Thomas Hayden Church of Sideways and more importantly, the former NBC sitcom Wings. That show ruled.

–After deciding to take the plunge and pick up HBO (fantastic decision), I also just bought a TiVo box last week for $50 thanks to their new rebate program. I haven’t set it up yet, but I can already tell you that Arrested Development, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Ultimate Fighter II and Entourage will get season pass status. I’m also hearing great things about Prison Break, Lost and The Office. Is it just me or is TV finally getting better?

–What looks like a great movie – Domino – opens up next Friday the 14th. It’s based on the life of Domino Harvey, a former model-turned-bounty hunter. I’ll let y’all know how it is, but the cinematography looks fantastic.

–Y’know, Keith Foulke almost cost the Sox a shot at the playoffs if you really think about it.

–Have you heard of the rap group, the Ying-Yang Twins? Yeah, I think they suck too.