Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Encyclopedia of Me - W (Mark)

Weird Al Yankovic: This is totally geeky, but I've always loved Weird Al. I think he is brilliant with his knack for parody, and who else could make the accordion come (somewhat) mainstream? OK, I may be exaggerating his mainstream appeal a bit. The first song I remember hearing and learning is "Dare to be Stupid." The title says it all. From there add a little "Like a Surgeon," "Yoda," and "Fat." In the recent past I've rediscovered him and love the songs "Amish Paradise," "TMZ," and "The Saga Begins." And I always loved to hear which songs would make it into his traditional polka. His most recent, "Polka Face," is brilliant as always. I'll toss out one more gem from his recent album: "Skipper Dan." Let's just say my father may get an extra special kick out of it. (P.S. I love that our kids are enjoying Al's comedy as well.)

Washington, D.C.: My first trip anywhere east of the Rockies was to our nation's capital. We went as an 8th grade class after studying U.S. government all year in history. I woke up early for the whole year to deliver newspapers to save money for the trip. We spent a whole week there and got to see a LOT of things. I have a few special memories: laying a wreath at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, completing a scavenger hunt at the Smithsonian that ensured that we would see a little in every one of the museums along the mall, walking along all the monuments, and stopping for a day at Colonial Williamsburg before flying home. Living near D.C. has been awesome because we've gotten to spend time at the National Book Festival and at many of the monuments and other sights. It's one of those cities that has a very cool feel, like everyone there is looking to make something big happen, whatever his or her politics may be. And to top it off, the city is one where I feel very comfortable driving. I'm looking forward to a return visit sometime soon.

West Coast: I spent all of my childhood along the left coast, from Los Angeles to Vancouver, B.C. The vast majority of my time was in one town, about midway between Sacramento and San Francisco. Benicia, incidentally was the state capital for a very brief period from 1853 to 1854; I hear Jack London also liked to get drunk there. I love where I grew up--there were opportunities to see great sporting events, visit awesome museums, go to the beach, eat wonderful seafood, attend concerts, and a whole lot more. The weather is about the most perfect I've ever experienced when you consider the entire year. Even though I am thrilled to be living in the East, and can't really picture myself anywhere else right now, I still have a special place in my heart for California.

Wil Wheaton: I was not a Star Trek guy growing up. I had seen all the movies and the original series, but I did not really get into any of the newer iterations. I absolutely love how they've used Wil Wheaton in "The Big Bang Theory" as Sheldon's archenemy, though. We were recently at a new bookstore in our local mall and they have a decent game section as well. Have I mentioned how much we love games? Anyway, the owner told me of a site about gaming and other geeky stuff called, wait for it, Geek and Sundry. On this site there is an ongoing series called "Tabletop" in which Wil hosts celebrities from the sci-fi/gaming world and they play a game of some sort. It's a way to introduce people to various interesting table top games. I've seen a bit of some of the episodes and really enjoy his personality and how he interacts with his guests.

Will Clark: So, another baseball reference. Will Clark is my absolute favorite baseball player of all time. The Thrill's number 22 was my number whenever possible, and even though he batted left-handed I tried to adapt his style into my right-handed stroke. From his first at bat, a home run off of Nolan Ryan, I couldn't stop watching him play. He played hard and was never got caught up in any of that prima donna kind of nonsense. Some of my fondest memories include coming home from school in 1989 and watching the Giants play the Cubs in the National League Championship. He batted .650, hit two home runs, and nearly single-handedly sent the Giants to the World Series. They were swept by the A's in that infamous World Series that was disrupted by the San Francisco earthquake. It nearly broke my heart when the Giants let him go to the Texas Rangers. Fortunately, I was in Japan for those first seasons so I didn't have to watch the Giants without him. His autographed baseball card is still one of my favorite possessions and I have a great photo of his picture-perfect swing hanging in our baseball-themed bathroom in the office. I was reading an article that said since he's not in the Hall of Fame, if any player is NOT better than Will Clark, he can't get in. Well, if he ever gets enough votes to make it in, we will be there for that ceremony.

Willie Mays: You get two baseball references this time. That's life. If Will Clark is my favorite all-time player, the "Say Hey Kid" is a close second. I wish I could have seen him play. Most people are familiar with his famous catch at The Polo grounds during the 1954 World Series (this picture is also on the wall). He was one of those all-around players (today they call them "five-tool players") who could do everything. He hit 660 home runs, which was the second most at the time, and he did it despite spending a few years in the Negro Leagues and missing 266 games in his prime because he was drafted to serve in the Korean War. Given his yearly average he missed out on hitting somewhere around 60 home runs, which means he was a good candidate to break Babe Ruth's home run record of 714 before Hank Aaron did it. Every time I see Mays on TV at a baseball event he's smiling, and it's infectious. Plus, like Marcie from Peanuts says, "Willie Mays had a hat."

 (P.S. The third picture on the wall is an autographed picture of Buster Posey, current catcher for the Giants and rookie of the year two years ago. No W reference, but I'm mentioning him anyway.)


Boquinha said...

I almost forget sometimes that you totally have that goofy side of your personality that gets into things like Weird Al. I like the reminders. And I like seeing you laugh.

I *love* going to DC together. I don't know what it is, but it is very much growing on me as a favorite city.

I liked reading all about Willie Mays and Will Clark. I'd LOVE to go to the hall of fame for that, too, just to see your enjoyment there!

Emily Foley said...

My oldest sister got married when I was 9, to a man from Albuquerque, and they chose the Washington DC temple to get married in. It was far and kind of a weird choice since there were so many closer temples, but ever since then, DC has been one of my favorite cities. Our family moved to Gaithersburg, MD a year later and I loved every second of our time there. I love the east coast and I love DC--the history and the patriotism and the monuments. It's such a great place.

Jimmy said...

I just returned from a family vacation in Southern California. Convinced that the weather can't be any better than it is there, but I bet Benicia is a close second.

I have a friend here that has gone on a few Scout camps with us and he keeps us laughing with his Weird Al quotes. So I've grown to appreciate Werd Al's genius.

Dr. Mark said...

Stacy - I doubt we'll be seeing Will Clark make it to the Hall of Fame, but maybe we could go there sometime just to see it. ;)

Emily - DC is so full of things to do that it seems like someone is always telling us about something new. You cannot get to it all, but it's fun to try!

Jimmy - I bet you had some pretty great weather in So Cal. It can get a little stickier than I like, but it's not terrible. And Weird Al is an under-appreciated artist in my opinion.

The Magic Violinist said...

I love DC and Weird Al is cool! :D