On the way home from NY, I was caught in the blizzard over the weekend, and our dinky Long Island airport closed. Since I had to change in Baltimore, I ended up driving down with my sister and her husband, who live down there, to catch the (delayed) second half of my flight.
The place they put the gate was a giant space at the end of the hall- on one side was the gate for Columbus, and the other side was a gate for a (similarly delayed) flight to Louisville. I sat on the Louisville side, since it had a better place for me to plug in my computer, and I figured I'd hear them announce my flight anyway, since it was all sort of the same room.
I took out my computer, and started playing one of my stupid time-wasting games, when I feel someone watching me. It's a 7-year-old girl, looking shyly at me and watching what I was doing. I think she and her (teenage) brother were flying alone, because there were no parents in sight.
Anyway, I showed her the game ("These are the fire mages! They do splash damage!" "Crap! My sword dudes don't work against flyers."), and she was fascinated for a while. We talked strategy a little (she told me where to put my units). I even offered to let her play for a bit, but I think she was too shy.
It was actually fun, though I spent the time waiting for some adult to pull her away, accusing me of trying to molest her, or something (you don't talk to strangers!). Eventually, she asks me, "Are you going to Louisville with me?" I said that I wasn't, I was waiting for the Columbus plane on the other side. She said, "Aren't they getting on the plane?" I looked over, and sure enough, the gate is open, and people are jumping on the plane.
I quickly thanked her, packed up my stuff, and made it as one of the last people on the plane. I'm glad that girl wasn't afraid to talk to me, and I'm glad I wasn't the antisocial jerk I usually am, because being friendly with her was probably the reason I didn't miss my flight. I know people's walls are built much higher these days, when you see news stories about baby murders and kidnappings and stuff, but it's good to see that you can still be nice to strangers, and how it comes around and helps you too.
Her: "Honey, can you watch the baby for a while?"
Me: "Sure, but I'm in the middle of a game, and would like to get to a save point first. It may be a half hour".
Her: "Ok, no problem."
I love that "I need to play my video game for a while" counts as a valid excuse.. The sad thing is that it is a real excuse for me. I know I could leave the game on and not save, but then I'm paranoid about accidentally shutting it off, and also, most games have a "this is how many hours you've played" counter, and I feel guilty watching it tick upwards without me doing anything about it.
Yeah, I'm crazy.. now let me go find a save point.
My parents have the MLB network, and one of the cool things about it is that they show "classic" old games. It's cool to see the players play so differently- choking up on the bat, not wandering away from the plate for 5 minutes between pitches, pitchers going longer into games.
Tonight's game was game one of the 1970 World Series (Orioles vs Reds), and the way the pitchers were used was really interesting. The Orioles were up 4-3 in the top of the ninth, and Jim Palmer, the starting pitcher, was up to bat. I don't know how many pitches he threw, but he only had one strikeout, and had let up 3 runs. In today's game, he'd probably be long gone. Anyway, the Orioles had runners on first and second with 2 outs, and Palmer was due to bat. I figured this was a no-brainer pinch-hitting opportunity. But they let Palmer bat! And the announcers didn't seem like it was a big deal! I guess the assumption in those days was that a pitcher would throw a complete game unless there was a real reason not to.
It didn't end up mattering- Palmer grounded out, and then got 2 outs in the ninth, walked the third batter (Pete Rose), and got taken out with 2 outs in the ninth. The relief pitcher got the last out and finished the game.
Nowadays, with teams having defined "closers", managers would be falling over themselves to have the reliever start the ninth inning- and complete games are few and far between. Contrast that to 1970, when Palmer had complete games in 17 of his 39 starts.
Sometimes, I wonder if we are a little too scared with pitchers (I'm especially thinking of the way we handle young pitchers- stuff like the "Joba Rules"), and don't train them to go deep in games. Since middle relief is such a weak point for so many teams, you'd think that some small-market team could try something different and train starting pitchers to go deeper into games, and have one less hole to cover.
Or maybe I'm just getting crotchety in my old age. Though I can't say "In my day" about 1970, since I wasn't born yet :)
This actually hasn't happened in a while, but I thought of it today since I'm giving a lot of tests this week.
Sometimes, usually in my lower-level/non-majors classes, when I give a test, someone walks in who I usually don't see in class very often. They usually look disheveled, as if they've just woken up (even in afternoon classes), and ask me "I don't have a pen to take the test with. Can I borrow one?"
So, here's someone, who either knew there was a test and didn't bring the ONE thing they needed, or didn't know there was a test, luckily came to class anyway, and was.. what? Expecting to sit through an hour-long (sometimes two hours long) class without taking a single note? Really?
I give them the pen, but I mentally say to myself "The drop deadline is in 2 weeks. See you then." Usually, I'm right.