Monday, May 28, 2012

My first ever Boston Red Sox game

They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. The way to this girl's heart is through her sports.

I've been a baseball fan since I was knee-high to my father. I remember as a kid listening to games on my little handheld pink radio. I'd play at the local park and sit on the merry-go-round and listen to the announcer give play-by-play information on whatever game was on.

Sometimes I'd sit and listen with my dad while we sat in lawn chairs and enjoyed the weather. As I got older, we'd watch the games on television together. And when I was even older, we went to see the games at the stadium. It didnt matter whether it was professional, triple-A, or a local farm team playing under the lights on a hot summer night. All that mattered was that I was watching the great American sport of baseball.

I've seen the Minnesota Twins play in person. At one point, I even had an autographed ball by several of the players. Today I have no clue where that ball is. I'm sure it was lost in the many shuffles of moving I've done in my lifetime. When I lived in Virginia I went to see the Orioles play.

Nothing compares to going to see the Boston Red Sox play baseball. That's not to say that the baseball is not as good, but the whole experience is different. Picture a kid sitting in the back seat of the car as you drive by the stadium and he or she sees the sign for Fenway Park for the first time. That was me yesterday!

My mouth dropped open in awe. Flies could have landed on my tongue and it wouldn't have bothered me one bit. Here I was, driving by a stadium that's been around for 100 years. It's beautiful!

We parked just a block away, but that entire block there was an energy that radiated off every person walking by, heading in the same direction as us. . .to Fenway. Banners hang from the side of the stadium lettered with names and dates of some baseball greats like Wade Boggs and Babe Ruth just to name two.

Then we walked down Lansdowne Street. Here is huge difference that any other game I have ever attended. This street is partially closed off to visitors who don't have a game ticket. Lansdowne Street is a smorgasbord of game day vendors.

There are souvenir stands, baseball stores, food carts, food stands, beer, even a three-piece band played music in the middle of the road. There was a caricature artist drawing his heart out and a line of fans waiting their turn. Another vendor was a balloon artist making funny things out of balloons including a baseball hat for a kid on his birthday yesterday.

We had the opportunity to meet a beautiful 67-year old woman who wore a funny hat with fake hair on top of a Red Sox visor. The same hat the friends I was with were wearing. She asked if the guys would take a picture with her. Of course! It was only her second time at the stadium and she was there with her family to celebrate her husband's birthday.

Everywhere you turned you saw a Red Sox t-shirt on someone old or young, big or small. Hats were worn or carried in hands, but just about everyone had one.

I can honestly say that I did not stop gawking or smiling until the game was over and we were on the highway headed home. Okay, honestly, I have not stopped smiling at all.

Going to a Red Sox baseball game is not just going to a game, it's part of an adventure that you will remember for life. If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend that every person experience it at least once and if you're lucky, more than once.

I promise you, you will feel like a kid in a candy store and just won't know where to look first, and you will want to look at everything. You will want to tuck every little thing in your pocket and take it home with you.

When the game is on. . . all eyes are on the field and the enthusiasm is electrifying and catchy. From the vendors hailing and selling their lemonade, hotdogs, and peanuts, to the fans making a wave go around the stadium, you will feel a part of this day like no other. Lots of oooo's, ahhhh's, and clapping.

Every time a foul ball is hit, you will wish the ball came your way. You will find yourself hollering at players trying to get their attention, trying to get just a smile, a tip of a hat, or maybe even a handshake.

When a homerun is hit, you will high-five the complete stranger standing next to you. It doesn't matter that he's a fan for the other team. Everyone is excited that the ball hit the back wall.

When the sun shifts and shadows encroach on the field and the game is at a close, you will feel a sadness in your heart that such a day has come to an end. But -- you will relive this day, the game, the fans, and the energy over and over again in your dreams.

To all you baseball fans, if you want to experience a game day like no other, I recommend you go see the Red Sox play. Oh! And take me with!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Secrets to a successful and long marriage - from my parents

Today is the wedding anniversary of my parents. They have been happily married now for forty-seven years. This evening when I called mom and dad to wish them a happy anniversary, I decided it was a good time to find out what was their secret for a lasting and happy marriage.

First, let me tell you the story of how they got together. The first time they met, my father asked my mother out. On that first date, he asked her out for another and so it went. The story goes that they dated for about two months before dad proposed to mom.

Where did dad propose?

Now that's an interesting story. Apparently, a friend of my father had always teased him that he would never marry. So when he proposed he proposed in front of that friend as a witness. Where did Keith Goodman propose to Mary Cohoon? Inside the JCPenney store in Spencer, Iowa.

Yup. You read that correctly. Dad got down on bended knee in front of their friend and proposed to mom right there in the middle of JCPenney. Now, if you are like me you ask yourself or in my case I asked them, "What department did you do this in?"

It was in fact as I had predicted. In the ladies' lingerie department. HA! How romantic is that?!

Way to go dad! Three months later, Keith and Mary tied the knot and became husband and wife.

I asked my parents if they still loved each other as much now as they did then and they both said that the love was stronger.

I asked mom and dad if they still had romance in their marriage. Mom jumped in and said, "Absolutely!"
Dad answered, "Every day."

When asked 'What is the secret to a happy marriage?' my parents had this to say. "Patience, tolerance, talking and most important, listening. The love is there and will continue to grow as long as you remember those keys."

'How does one keep a marriage going after forty-seven years?' "Support and working together," was their collective response. "At various times one of you will have to support the other and then it will be the other person's turn the next time, but if you work together you can accomplish anything and it will be much better because you did it as a team, a couple."

When I asked Keith and Mary 'If you could change on thing about your marriage, what would it be?' They both responded, "Not move so much." I for one can tell you that I agree with that assessment. We moved a lot of places for my dad's job. All for good, but it does take a toll. The fact that my parents are still together is a testament that in spite of those hardships, if they work together they can make it happen and be happy.

On the humorous side, I asked my parents, "If you were on a deserted island and could only take one person with you, who would it be and why?" Not surprising from this happy couple was that they would take the other. Mom would take dad because he could kill the food. Dad would take mom because she is a good cook.

How perfect is that? Two people who complete each other, each bringing to the table something the other person doesn't have.

To my wonderful and loving parents, Keith and Mary Goodman...Happy Anniversary!

Love you!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Why do social media sites constantly change their faces?

I woke up this morning and was going to write something about stopping to smell the roses. Then I logged in to Blogger and completely changed my mind. The dang sit has changed!

Seriously folks, why do social media sites like Blogger, Twitter, and Facebook feel the need to change their faces?

While change is good, constant change is disruptive and unproductive.

I get the fact that they want to offer more functionality and features. That's great!
I get theat they want to out do their competition. That's half the game.

BUT when they make these changes by changing the face of the application they aren't just offering something new that every user will want. They aren't just beating out their competition. They are pissing off the end users who made them what they are today.

I, like many users, do not like being taken by surprise with a new interface and then having to spend time trying to re-learn what I already knew how to do.

Why not just add another menu option or a button instead of changing the entire look and feel? Why not consider usability when you are redesigning a social media site? Any other software company does!

Did they bother to do a beta test with end users to see if they liked the new look and feel? Did they bother to get any other person's opinion to the change other than the dud sitting behind the computer screen all day long who probably doesn't even understand the word social?

Well, to all you social media sites out there. . .Get a clue!

We, the end users, do not particularly like having to re-learn a tool every time you get a bug up your behind and decide to add some cool feature. And to be honest. The new features aren't all that useful. And if they were, they would be just as useful if you left the old interface.

As a software development manager and an end user, I humbly suggest you pull your head out of your you know what and start paying attention to the end user and cut the proverbial crap. We want to be able to use the site, not be afraid that everything will have changed or that we will have to learn something new every time we log in.

Just my opinion.

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