Take me out to the ball game…

In my never-ending quest to experience all there is to experience in US culture, today I went to my first baseball game! And let me tell you, Jimmy Dugan may have said “There’s no crying in baseball!” in A League of Their Own, but I think there were a few fans on the verge of tears at this game!

Living in Tampa FL, I went to see the Tampa Bay Rays play the NY Yankees at Tropicana Field. These two teams played this past Friday night too, and I’m told that the Rays won, which was a bit of a surprise for me given that the Yankees’ reputation precedes it across the seas and that the Rays season was finishing today, no matter what the outcome. So, at the end of the 5th innings when the Rays were leading 2 runs to zero, I must say that I was cautiously excited. Though I am an equal opportunity cheerleader and will cheer on anyone for good play, I also live in Tampa, so my heart was in it a little bit more for the Rays, and the top of the 6th was when heartbreak set in for Rays fans.

With 2 players on the bases and none out so far, Alex Rodriguez hit a homer, bringing all 3 home. Then, with two out, another 3 runs  and the bases loaded, Rodriguez hit another homer. All over, Red Rover. I think that was when half the stadium decided to vacate. What was the point in staying, after all? With 10 runs in 1 innings there was no way the Rays were coming back from that. *sigh*

That’s not to say that I didn’t have a great afternoon though, because after all, that was some great ball, and that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? I also overindulged a little, because as Lane Kim said in a recent rerun of Gilmore Girls “There’s something deeply satisfying about watching other people exercise while eating junk food.”

While we’re on the subject of US culture, I’ve really gotten into fall this week. We don’t make a big deal of Halloween or the fall season in Australia, but I’m always up for something new! Just yesterday I bought a cinnamon scented decorative broom for my front hall, 3 miniature pumpkins for decorative purposes and a pie pumpkin, which I will use to make maple pumpkin biscuits this week. I also have big plans to make a pumpkin pie in the next few weeks. I’m so keen to see what it tastes like! Except for the legend of my mother cooking a chocolate pumpkin cake for my first birthday (we were on a posting to Canada, so she too was getting into the pumpkin spirit), I have never eaten pumpkin as a sweet before.

No, wait! I fib. I succumbed to temptation and tried a Starbucks pumpkin spice frappuccino this week. It was different from anything I have ever tasted. I think before I commit to an opinion I will need to undertake a little more testing J So it’s probably more true to say that I have never tasted pumpkin pie before. Wish me luck in the baking and tasting processes!

In the meantime, what are your favourite traditions? Are there gravestones and skeletons out the front of your house like the one up the street from me? Are you, too, busily baking an assortment of pumpkin flavoured yummies?


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You Spin Me Right Round

Confession of the Day:

I have a little obsession with NCIS. GIbbs, Tony, McGee, Ziva, Abby, Ducky and Mr Palmer are old friends. I love them like a big dysfunctional family.

And what better way to feed such an addiction than with a spin-off? Right now I’m watching the second episode of NCIS: Los Angeles after last week’s series premiere and an introduction to the LA team at the end of Season 6 of regular NCIS. I figure spin-offs are the tv version of a film sequel – and hey, there’s good logic behind the “If it worked the first time…” line of reasoning. There have been a lot of them even in recent years: CSI pulled out Miami and New York, Law and Order got SVU and Criminal Intent, Buffy led to Angel… the list goes on, and the practice has been around since before I was born. But does it really work? I know there’s been lots of discussion on this over the years, but since I was watching the birth of this new spin-off I figured why not weigh in.

As I said, there’s good logic in trying to milk a program or a film for all it’s got – if the formula worked once and made you lots of money, why wouldn’t you give it a second go? Or third, or fourth, or fifth… Yes, Bruce Willis, I’m talking about you. Die Hard 4.0? Seriously? And I suppose it works, in a way; the success of an original will pull people back for the sequels and spin-offs to get more of what they loved the first time round, and that alone will generate money. But in the end, the trouble is in the formula. Like every sane girl, I swooned over Jason Statham’s perfectly sculpted abs in the Transporter movies, but unfortunately the novelty of his character Frank Martin beating the pants off multiple assailants at once wore off by about 30 minutes into the second film, so you can imagine how I was feeling by the end of the third… So clearly problems arise when you follow too closely the formula that worked so well in the original.

Unfortunately, problems can also arise when trying to be different. Like I’m finding in NCIS: LA. Aside from the name of the agency and the Navy-related casework, there’s not much of the original structure to be seen. With Director Vance based in DC with the original team there’s none of the politics we’re used to. In the segment that I just saw, two agents visited the wife of a deceased SEAL and didn’t announce their status as agents of a federal agency before questioning her. Oversight on the part of the scriptwriter? Perhaps, but little things like that can add up. I have to admit to being one of those people who forms judgements fairly quickly. Happily, I’m not too stubborn in changing my mind… well, when it comes to tv and films, anyway : ) So I ask you  not to hold me to my verdict on NCIS: LA if I change my mind over the coming weeks.

Something about these people just doesn’t click for me. Not for lack of trying, I assure you – I have a big history with Chris O’Donnell, starting with his keen-bean rendition of D’Artagnan in The Three Musketeers in 1993, through his caring brother character Peter Garrett in Vertical Limit to Meredith’s McVet in Grey’s Anatomy. So for his sake, I want to like this show. Maybe I don’t know them well enough yet, but I’m willing to hedge that they won’t match up to the love I have for the original crew.

Like a good relationship with your family, friends, coworkers and lovers, a good love affair with a tv program or film requires the right chemistry, and if there’s no spark nothing will save it for you. So here’s to sparks, and I hope there are more in your lives than there are in my life right now.

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Hello world!

Well, I’ve finally done it. After years of debating the to-blog-or-not-to-blog issue, I have finally caved, in desperate need of something to do with my brain. I’m Katy, and I’ve just followed my father on a two year military posting to the US. Having spent April, May and half of June making my way from Egypt through Greece and Italy to the UK, I’m now flat broke and living at the mercy of my very generous parents.

After struggling with my university degree I’m currently on leave from my studies, but I’m actively applying to study by correspondence from Australia when the new school year starts in February. In the meantime I’m busy doing lots of reading, lots of baking, trying to get in shape again, organising some volunteer work and I’ve signed up for a photography course starting next month.  I’ve just realised how busy that makes me sound, but I’m really not!

I had escaped from the house yesterday (I love my family, but sometimes I think we all need a little space!) and was sitting with my coffee, reading my book, in Starbucks, and I had this insane urge to write. Now, I get these from time to time and nothing ever comes of them, mainly because I was brought up to be uber-pedantic when it comes to spelling, grammar and sentence structure, and I get so caught up in trying to make everything perfect at the first go-round that I never end up writing more than a couple of sentences. This time was different though; rather than writing snippets from the million novels passing through my thoughts, I started writing about myself. Sure, it’s an easy topic, but that’s just a start, right?

While I don’t have a specific direction for this blog, I think it’s going to be a bit of a life journal really, with bits and pieces of everything. Living in another country is such an amazing and challenging experience in so many ways that I’m sure that will give me lots of material, and I’ll share my baking successes, book reviews, life reviews, musing on how a girl with no job and no desire to join a sporting team is ever supposed to meet a guy in a completely new environment…

I hope you’ll come on this journey with me and share your lives too; I’d love to hear your thoughts on anything and everything!

Katy

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