We’re not quite halfway through the year, but it seems like as good a time as any to take stock.
I’m much happier and in a much better place than I was last fall, when I was last trying to write regularly. But there are still opportunities to be better. I’m doing some of the things that I care about, and letting others fall by the wayside.
I can’t put more hours in the day, but I can try to use them better. That means less television, YouTube videos and Twitch streams, and more time spent creating things.
I want to get back to writing on a regular basis. For now, that means challenging myself to write at least one blog post per week for the month of June. Eventually I’d like to get back to creative writing.
I want to start drawing and painting again. I’m hoping to pick up a sketchbook this week.
I want to take and share more photos. Here are a few that I took in the park this weekend.
As we head towards summer, where are you? Do you have things that you want to change, opportunities to be better?
Lego produces Advent calendars for several of its most popular product lines, and for the past few years I’ve gotten the Star Wars ones. Spending a few minutes each morning putting together that day’s model and taking a photo of it for Instagram is a fun thing to do during a stressful month.
Except I already managed to fall behind… Day 1’s landspeeder model and Day 2’d Rose Tico minifigure ended up getting photographed together in a quickly assembled holiday scene late last night.
Predictably, most Mets fans hate the idea of the deal. We’ve been conditioned to distrust the Wilpon family’s motivations and the people that they hire to run the team. And to be fair, Sandy Alderson, Omar Minaya, Jim Duquette and Steve Phillips had a mixed track record in making trades and signing free agents.
But we also hated the idea that’s been floated for weeks that they want to trade Noah Syndergaard. And well, you can’t have it both ways. The Mets have been a fourth-place team with an under .500 record for the past two years and they’ve been a losing team for eight of the past ten seasons.
This can’t be another winter where the team tinkers a little bit and hopes for the best. You either do a complete tear-down and rebuild, or you trade players that won’t help you in 2019 for ones who will.
The 2019 Mets will win more games because of Cano and Diaz than they will because of Bruce, Swarzak, Justin Dunn, Jared Kalenic and Gerson Bautista.
Cano is still a good player — even at age 36 — and should be able to help the Mets score runs while not hurting them too badly in the field… at least for the next year or two. Diaz was the best reliever in the American League this year and gives the Mets the lockdown closer they’ve wanted for years.
Meanwhile, Bruce has had exactly one good season in the past five. Swarzak was a complete bust in his first year in New York. Dunn is the best pitching prospect in the Mets’ farm system, but he hasn’t thrown an inning above Double-A. Kalenic will be 19 next season and has all of 52 games of professional experience. Bautista is a project.
You could argue that the Mets should be able to get more for their prospects than Diaz and Cano, but I’d point out that Dunn is the only one who could charitably be considered close to being a contributor at the major league level.
If Brodie Van Wagenen’s first trade as Mets’ general manager turns out to be the centerpiece of the offseason, I’ll join the crowd of disappointed Mets fans. If they complete this deal and still go on to trade Syndergaard, I’ll be wondering if Van Wagenen even has a plan.
But I’d like to think this is just step one of a roster reshaping that will give the Mets a true chance to compete with the Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies.
I haven’t seen my friend Bart in forever, so when he asked if I wanted to go to a sports card & memorabilia show today, I said “sure.” The Westchester County Convention Center was also hosting a reptile expo today, and that drew a bigger and more diverse crowd, but there was plenty to see at the card show.
I found a “vintage” signed Marv Throneberry card from a Renata Galasso baseball card set honoring the 20th anniversary of the 1962 original Mets, signed photos of current Mets’ second baseman Jeff McNeil and once (and perhaps future) Mets’ infielder TJ Rivera, a double-signed photo of Lee and LJ Mazzilli, signed photos of three members of the Magnificent Seven gold medal women’s gymnastics team from the 1996 Olympics, and a few $3 Oyo Sports figures that I didn’t have.
I also snagged a baseball card album so I can start organizing my Mets autographs from the past few years. My first binder held 50 years of Mets’ players, but it’s time for a new one. So I’ll be updating my Mets autographs needed list sometime soon, but probably not until after the holidays.
But as fun as it was to go to a sports card show and find some cool things to add to my collection, the highlight of my day was getting to see an old friend again.
We’re officially in the holiday season (I’m pretty sure it started before the Halloween trick-or-treaters got home with their candy), which means it’s time for cheesy Christmas movies. And I do love cheesy Christmas movies.
Netflix Original The Princess Switch feels like a mashup of The Parent Trap and The Princess Diaries, but it works because it embraces the ridiculousness of the concept. Vanessa Hudgens stars in the double role of Stacy, the Chicago baker who goes to the fictional monarchy of Belgravia to compete in a Christmas baking contest and Lady Margaret, a royal who’s soon to marry a Belgravian prince and wants to know what it’s like to live as a normal person. The two women switch places and romantic hijinks ensue. It’s sweet, fun, and recommended if you’re into this sort of thing.
Kurt Russell stars as Santa Claus in The Christmas Chronicles, a tale of two siblings who almost ruin and then save Christmas. Kate (Darby Camp) and Teddy (Judah Lewis) lost their father and Christmastime hasn’t been the same same ever since. But Kate is still a true believer in Santa, and talks her brother into staying up to try to catch old Saint Nick on video when he visits their house. It works, and they manage to sneak aboard his sleigh while he’s delivering other gifts in their neighborhood. When he discovers the stowaways, the distraction causes Santa to crash his sleigh and lose his sack of presents, his magic hat and his reindeer. The two kids become Santa’s helpers to recover the lost items and save Christmas.
I enjoyed this one for the relationship between Kate and Teddy, as well as Russell’s mugging for the cameras. I’m not quite sure what to make of the CG elves that show up near the beginning of the movie’s final act. They’re cute, and seem designed to interest kids and sell toys… but by the time they show up, I wonder if those kids are still paying attention… the first twenty minutes sets up the Pierce family dynamics and doesn’t seem all that magical to those with short attention spans.
The Christmas Chronicles is also recommended for those who enjoy sappy Christmas movies.