Maryland

Come on, DC United!

Boy, Lisa and Girl with the DC United mascot, TalonBoy showed a bit of interest in football during the World Cup (or, as he insists on correcting me every time I call it “football”, soccer), developing a particular affinity for Holland, whose orange strips he liked. I wanted to take him to see a football match in person, so I looked into ticket prices for DC United matches.

As look would have it, last night United were at home to the Harrisburg City Islanders, a USL-2 team (equivalent to AA minor league baseball or League One in the Football League), in the quarterfinals of the US Open Cup. Apparently playing a minor league team in a secondary competition isn’t that big of a draw for the crowds, so tickets were $15, instead of the $40-$60 they usually are for MLS games. Cue the purchase of three tickets.

Lisa and I had been to a DC United match before–we went to see them play a friendly against Chelsea in the summer of 2005. A few days after that match, we got a message on our answering machine from someone at the United ticket office, wanting to sell us season tickets. This was fair enough, I suppose–I’m sure there were a lot of people at that match who don’t usually turn out to MLS games, especially since the match was at Fed Ex Field (the Redskins’ new stadium), rather than United’s usual RFK Stadium, to accommodate the crowd.

Abby and Lisa in their matching black Man United away stripsTwo days after booking the tickets for last night’s game, I again received a call from the DC ticket office. Do they seriously call everyone who ever books a ticket?

Anyway. It wasn’t till the day of the match–when I was visiting the Harrisburg website to see what colours they wear, to make sure none of us wore the same–that I happened to notice this game wasn’t at RFK either. Instead of being moved to a larger stadium, it had been moved to a smaller one: the Maryland Soccerplex in Boyds, Maryland, half an hour north of the city.

The Maryland Soccerplex turned out to be a really beautiful place–two dozen football pitches dotted around grass and trees, with a small horseshoe stadium in the centre. It was a bit out of our way, which meant we were a bit crunched on time to get there, but we were in the car park getting out of the car when we heard the distant chords of what Boy excitedly called “the song before the teams play.” We were inside the stadium by the game’s fifth minute–though there had already been a goal scored in the first minute.

Boy had a great time. (Everyone had a great time, in fact.) Best was listening to him experiment with cheering–something he started doing as soon as we sat down and he found himself in the midst of a large crowd where shouting was actually encouraged.

Abby examines my tongue after a blue raspberry IceeAt first he tried a few shouts of “Come on, DC United!” Then he got a bit nervous–I think because no one was joining in with him–and persuaded Lisa to shout it with him.

Then the stomping started.

The crowd started chanting, “D–C–United,” then repeating the cadence by stomping their feet: one, two, onetwothree. And Boy realised that he had found his spiritual home. He spent the remainder of the match jumping up and down on the aluminium stands, trying to create as loud a stomp as possible, then impatiently awaiting the next time someone in the crowd would raise the chant.

BoySo a 2-0 win for DC United, and a great night out for all four of us. (Except maybe Girl, but in this family, if you can’t articulate, you can’t vote.) Boy and I are already planning our next match out.

Though Lisa is less than enthused about the prospect of full price.

I

Snip snip buzz

Leo Jones (Reggie Yates)Okay, I don’t get it.

I go into a salon in Florida, and I tell them what I want–an inch long on top, half an inch on the sides. And I walk out of there with an inch of hair on top and half an inch on the sides.

But in Maryland or Virginia, I say an inch on top and half an inch on the sides. And always, I end up with the same result–two or even three inches long on top, and an inch and a half on the sides.

Do Floridians really have that much better of a handle on Imperial measurements than Marylanders and Virginians? As a product of the Florida public school system, frankly I find that rather hard to believe. But whatever the reason, I’m getting rather tired of having to time my haircuts so that they coincide with trips to Florida.

I

Inheritance
Words yesterday: 1089
Words total: 51,804

Time spent writing: Two hours (1.30-2.30, 3pm-4pm)
Reason for stopping: Lisa got home; Boy got up from his nap, quota
Food: Pasta topped with chili and Italian cheeses. God that’s the best lunch I’ve made myself in a while.

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Now we’re just doing made-up stuff

Shelves of booksNumber one sign we’re settling in at our new place: we’re buying new bookshelves and unpacking our boxes of fiction books.

We left behind all our bookshelves in Gainesville in 2004. Shortly after we moved into our Maryland apartment, we bought four new bookshelves, which were enough for me to unpack all my history and biography books.

But the Maryland place never really felt like home, so we never bother unpacking any more books after that. This week, though, we’ve bought three new sets of bookshelves, and I’ve managed to unpack almost half of our fiction. It feels so great to finally have some of these books that have been sitting in boxes for four years out and on display.

I

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Why the weather sucks

Jackie Tyler (Camille Coduri)Forecast for the night before last was for rain. A big thunderstorm.

And yesterday it got cold like it’d rained the night before, dropping from at least fifteen degrees back to comfortable temperatures (and rising to a lovely 75 today).

Only problem is that it didn’t rain. Know how I know? I know from the layer of pollen caked along the perimeter of the grass everywhere grass meets concrete. I know from the visible haze of pollen glinting in the sunlight as it floats through the air.

Stupid rai–rai–rai–a-choo!

I

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Just an ordinary day


Photo SharingVideo SharingPhoto PrintingPhoto Books

So rather than drive down to Atlanta for a Doctor Who convention, we decided to stay home Memorial Day weekend and go to a Vanessa Carlton concert. As you can see, Boy particularly enjoyed the opening act, Superland.

Everyone had a great time. More pictures of both Boy and Vanessa can be seen at Boy’s pictures site. Why, the only thing that could have made it any better would have been if Sergeant Benton had been there!

Now I just need to find someone who wants to drive down to DragonCon in September (Lee).

I

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Pros and con(vention)s

Vanessa CarltonTrying to decide what we’d rather do over Memorial Day weekend at the end of the month. We’ve got two choices.

Pros for going to Hometown Holidays:

*It’s free.
*It’s a free Vanessa Carlton concert.
*It’s at Rockville Town Center. It’s within walking distance from our front door, for goodness’s sake.

Cons for going to Hometown Holidays:

*It’s not a sci fi convention.

The alternative would be to go to TimeGate VI in Atlanta.

Pros:

*John Levene (Sergeant Benton from Doctor Who)
*I’ve been wanting to take Lisa to a sci fi convention for a while, and a small one like this seems like a great place to start.

Cons:

*It’s in Atlanta.
*John Levene is the only person on the guest list I’ve ever even heard of.
*It’s $45 a head, not including travel, food or accommodation.
*Vanessa Carlton won’t be there.

As Lisa and I have talked about going to TimeGate, we’ve also looked at going to DragonCon in September. A comparison between TimeGate and DragonCon:

People I’ve ever heard of at TimeGate: John Levene

People I’d be excited to see at DragonCon: Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings), Morena Baccarin (Firefly), Adam Baldwin (Firefly), Jamie Bamber (Battlestar Galactica), Avery Brooks (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), Jeremy Bulloch (Star Wars and classic Doctor Who), Leah Cairns (Battlestar Galactica), James Callis (Battlestar Galactica), Kathleen O’Shea David (wife of Peter David), Peter David (umm … Peter David; also, we share a literary agent), Michael Dorn (Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica), Gigi Edgely (Farscape), David Franklin (Farscape), Liz Lauren Gorinsky (editor at Tor Books), Dean Haglund (The X-Files and The Lone Gunmen), Laurell K. Hamilton (Anita Blake author), Richard Hatch (Battlestar Galactica old and new), Virginia Hey (Farscape), James Hong (this guy), Walter Koenig (Star Trek), Gareth David Lloyd (Torchwood), Cirroc Lofton (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), James Marsters (most famous for Buffy and Angel, but I’d be interested for his Torchwood apperances), Tahmoh Penikett (Battlestar Galactica), Jewel Staite (Da Vinci’s Inquest and Firefly), Paul Stevens (editor with Tor), George Takei (Star Trek), Harry Turtledove (alternate history novelist), Adam West (Batman and Mayor of Quahog, RI on Family Guy), Janny Wurts (author) and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro (author).

So … all things being equal, if Lisa and I were to only go to one of these conventions, I doubt anyone would be surprised that we’d rather go to DragonCon. The problem, though, is that DragonCon falls on Labour Day weekend. My high school reunion is on 22 September, and Lisa’s sister’s wedding is on 29 September. Since both events are in St Pete, Lisa was planning on taking the intervening week off work, so she can’t also take time off to go to a science fiction convention.

There’s no reason I can’t go, though–I’m a jobless deadbeat, after all. But without Lisa, I’d need someone to go with (in all likelihood, someone to take me there). And not having been to a convention since I was about twelve, I’d really prefer that the one I go to where I learn how to attend a convention like a grownup be with Lisa.

What does everyone else think?

I

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That’s one employee for everyone at the table

The eighth Doctor (Paul McGann)This wasn’t an incompetent dining experience by any means, but it was bizarre.

This afternoon at the Cheesecake Factory in Baltimore, our table was waited on by no fewer than seven separate employees over the course of the meal, including three different managers. We apparently had two different servers assigned to our table (one on drinks and one on food); one of these had her shift end midway through the meal and was replaced by a new server.

Apparently while they were cooking Lisa’s cousin Steven’s burger, the burger “broke”, and we had a waitress and two different managers stop by to let us know about the delay, then a third manager bring out the replacement burger once it was ready.

And incidentally–this isn’t really realted, but it’s the route we have to drive to get up to the Baltimore Inner Harbour–I-395 in Baltimore is a mile and a half long and has zero exits. What the hell is the point of that?

I

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Let it snow

The 5th Doctor (Peter Davison)My sister Sarah spent Christmas in New York. She really wanted it to snow while she was there. It didn’t.

Now my mum is visiting us up here in Maryland for the week. So today we got snow. The forecast was for a little snow in the morning, to be followed by freezing rain in the afternoon. It’s now three o’clock and it has, of course, been snowing for the past five and a half hours. Mum has been out playing in the snow with Boy (who refused to take off his boots, hat or coat once he came inside).

And Sarah is apparently refusing to respond to any texts from my mother.

I

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Raindrops don’t keep falling on my head

Adric (Matthew Waterhouse)Yesterday, our apartment complex apparently decided to turn the water off for two hours. Of course, they didn’t inform us of this. Would anyone like to know when I discovered the water was turned off?

I discovered the water was off when I was stood in the bathroom with my face and hands covered in shaving cream lather.

I

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Time for a quick trip to Florida

Boy in the snow

We fly out tomorrow morning.

I

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A Traitor's Loyalty Cover

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