It’s bloggerin’ tiiime!
THE BLUE METHOD
A few weeks ago, Brandon told me about a band named “The Blue Method”. No, not that Brandon. The other one. An R&B band out of … I don’t know where, Philly? But R&B isn’t an adequate description. They’re kind of an Epic R&B band. When someone hips me to new music or when I find something new it’s not just some tunes to listen to. It’s raw materials. Drum beats, bass lines, vocal stylings, textures, compositions, harmonies, feels, etc. It’s inspiration and fuel. They’ve got some serious talent, although maybe too much talent for radio play. Organic R&B doesn’t really have a home on radio anymore.
In an interlude song the dude says, “How can you please your soul if you don’t create something? How can you please your god if you don’t create something? Don’t be a stain on the wall. You’ve got to leave your thumbprint on this earth.”
Amen. Unfortunately, they didn’t leave their thumbprint at Whitlow’s in Arlington. I went with some friends to see them but apparently the band canceled at the last minute. C’est la vie. Some other time, maybe. But somebody owes me five bucks.
THE BATTING CAGE
This is what I’m really here to blog about. A while ago I told Jenny that I’d teach her how to bat. She’s been playing on the company softball team (ringer!) because we need a certain amount of females in order to participate, despite the fact that she’s never played softball before. Gutsy. Most of the time when I offer people something they politely turn me down, but Jenny more or less said, “OK. When?”
Thursday night was lesson 4. I wrote an email re-capping lessons one to three and the goal of “Lesson 4: The (Ego) Cage or When Thinking Gets in the Way”. So Larry, Jenny and I went out to the batting cage so that she could put all of the pieces together from lessons 1-3. We bought a bunch of tokens and got to it. Jenny’s got a good, full swing now, by the way. There were plenty of missed balls but, you know, misses and hits are closely related. Missing is part of learning how to hit. In a sense, missing is learning how to hit. There was much frustration but that’s kind of what lesson 4 was about. Letting the frustration come and then letting it go. Not letting your mind get in the way of the intended action.
The frustration mounted. Larry and I were watching her swings and trying to see what was going on. Big swings, so close, but no contact except when I told her to think of Larry’s favorite boxers. Haha. That was kind of funny. I was trying to distract her from thinking about swinging so she could really swing. Then at one point Jenny stood on the home plate directly in the firing line of the batting cage pitching machine. Larry and I looked at each other like, “What in the world is she doing?”
Larry and I told her to get off the plate but she didn’t listen. The machine pitched, ball’s in the air, Jenny steps back into the batter’s box and CLING! She hits the ball. She stands on the plate facing the oncoming ball and does it again. Six or seven times in a row she hits the ball. What the hell!
I tell her to get back in the batter’s box because you can’t stand on the plate and face down the pitcher like that during a game. Back in the batter’s box she can’t hit the ball. She stands on the plate, ball comes, she hits it again. And again. And again.
When the amount of pitches per token is up, I have her come out of the cage to rest and let Larry bat. She was frustrated as hell because one way she can do it and the other way she can’t. And the way she can do it … you can’t do it like that in a game. I had no idea what was going on so I’m like, “It’s okay. This is a good thing. Process it.”
Let’s figure it out, y’know. What’s happening here? Larry finishes his batting and then I go in for a bit, trying to call my shots. If I call foul tip all the time, I’m pretty accurate.
Then Jenny goes back in the cage. We’ve got two tokens left (about 16 pitches per token but it varies according to total randomness). Jenny stands in the batter’s box and gives some good swings but doesn’t make contact. She stands on the plate facing the ball, steps back and she hits it. Wee-urd. In the batter’s box, nothing. Token runs out. Before she puts the next token in I say, “This time try standing closer to the plate. Crowd the plate. You can’t stand on it but you can be closer than normal and let’s see what happens.”
She crowds the plate. Ball’s in the air, she steps back, swings late, and the ball hits the lower portion of the bat. But it’s a hit. She misses a few, barely tips a few, gets a little frustrated, then gets back in position. And all of a sudden she’s hitting. I mean, she’s HITTING these balls! CLING! CLANG! DING! Ball after ball. It was amazing. I’m getting choked up just thinking about it. I had to sit down because I truly wanted to cry. About four weeks ago we did lesson one at Jones Point park, a few feet from the Potomac River, hitting a tree with the bat so she could get the feel of hitting something for the first time.
All the work she’s put into this, all the hours, throwing, catching, batting, breaking the tee — yeh, you owe me ten bucks 🙂 — calibrating. It all came together. She’s put more work into her game than anyone else on the softball team and she doesn’t even work for the company. She rounds up people so that they’ll actually make it to the game. And now she slugs softballs. My hat goes off to you. In fact, I’m going to put a hat on right now so I can take it off in your honor. There. And much appreciation to Larry for being there by your side for every swing. Well, technically, he was behind you picking up the balls from my bad pitching, but you know what I mean.
We were supposed to have a game the next night but it was canceled because we didn’t have enough people to field a team. Way to go, team.
Now there are two games left. One of them I can’t make due to company training, but I’ll be there for the last one. I think I’m going to get some batting cage practice in beforehand. Practice makes perfect.
ILLEGAL GAY IMMIGRANTS
Next thing you know, they’ll want to adopt our precious tow-headed offspring. Won’t someone think of the children?! But wait! Worry not, citizen. The president is on the case.
Pres. Bush. Gay marriage. Illegal immigration. Is this an election year or something? Hmmmm. Enjoy your biennial dose of tactical misdirection, America.
Currently listening :
Eye To The Telescope
By KT Tunstall
Release date: By 07 February, 2006
better late then never but this is Dan, the manager of The Blue Method. Thanks so much for the kind words you posted about the band, very cool of you. Just wanted to get the story straight for you as well. We didnt cancel that Arlington show, the band actually drove all the way down to Arlington only to find out the bar had double booked the venue that night with ourselves and a local band. Rather then send the local band home, they sent us packing to the bands dismay and apparently proceeded to tell patrons who came to see us that we canceled. You’re the third person who was told that. Anyway, to make it up to you, we will be playing a show that will TWICE as good as normal at Whitlows on August 11th (barring any venue screwups) Hope you can make it out.
Posted by The Blue Method on Jul 28, 2006 7:27 PM