Sabbatical 2019

After five years of employment, I was granted a 4 week sabbatical to which we can add a certain number of vacation days.  I stretched mine to five weeks and enjoyed it immensely.  Leading up to this, I experienced feelings of inadequacy and believed myself to be under-skilled in my role.  It may be part of a “mid-life” crisis that I think began at the beginning of this year.   I wondered truly if this is what I wanted to be doing with my life, all the while battling addictions to a lifestyle long since left behind.

I needed a break from life and the grind so badly.  During the trip, I resolved to do my best to smile and be kind to those around me and to continue to do so when I returned.

I started off visiting my parents and taking the train from the beautiful downtown Los Angeles Grand Central Station.

I traveled by train and sleeper car (best way to travel IMO) to my hometown, El Paso, Texas, a month before a racist would target my people and murder too many before he was stopped.  Let me tell you, that affected me and made me feel that no matter what we do or how much we could accomplish or contribute to the United States, we’d never be loved or appreciated.

I spent a lot of time with my family there and loved it.  I felt I was where I belonged even though going back permanently is an unlikely nostalgic urge.

After that I went to San Antonio for the first time and stayed in the company of two of my beautiful cousins who graciously hosted and treated me like the utmost welcome visitor.  We went to Paper Tiger and caught some live music by Haunted Like Human and the John Glenn Experiment.

The San Antonio Museum of Art was exhibiting “Men of Steel / Women of Wonder” like they knew I was coming.  As a huge DC Comics fan, I was a Charley Bucket in the Chocolate Factory.  So much to see, so much to wrap my eyes around, and all of it challenged the dominant narrative of what a superhero is and the form they take.

This is when the world wide heatwave of 2019 struck and I had to spend some extended time in my hotel room reading, sleeping, and watching TV.  Didn’t mind a bit.  That’s what vacation is fucking for.

I moved on to Austin and suffered the outdoors just enough to get a taste of the city and live music.

Next was Houston, one of the hottest parts of the trip.  Exploring during the day would have been unbearable so, equipped with a flash on my camera and no fear of the dark, I wandered.  I got to catch my favorite pitcher throw a great game in Minute Maid park.

Originally I had planned to train to New Orleans but the recent flooding and inaccessibility by rail nixed that and I flew to Atlanta, the final destination of my trip.

I loved it.  I caught a ballgame at SunTrust Field and smoked some of the best cigars I’ve ever had in my life.  Visited the MLK Jr. National Historic Park.

Being on the road for a few weeks really made me miss my chosen home of San Jose and I came back happy.  Went and saw a San Jose Earthquakes match and I also ventured to a part of Oakland that I’d never seen and was taken by.

There’s a lot more to say, but this is how I’m going to remember it.

If You’re Into Jerky and Fish

These dried, little mackerels (I think?) are one of my favorite snacks.  They remind me of the harder parts of a salmon steak in texture, which I love.  Not too salty, I was expecting more of that, and with a teriyaki flavor.


This is something I can only describe as fish bacon roast.  It does not have any fishy taste to it, but not as brittle as bacon nor as dry as jerky.  A perfect in-between.  Same great teriyaki flavor as the mackerels.  All three of them have this and it’s pretty damn good.

Fish jerky for sure.  The equivalent of the moist, boutique premium beef jerkys except made of fish.  The texture reminds me of sashimi.  No fishy taste in this either.  A light teriyaki glaze that doesn’t stay on the fingers.  Very delicious and tasty.

The Heckling of Todd Frazier

When I was in Chicago, I had the blessed opportunity to see the Detroit Tigers @ US WEST Cellular Field.  It’s a great park and I’ll never forget the long walk there from downtown.  Uneventful, relaxing, and gave me a great feel for the city.  Got hella carbs (Italian food and beers at some random hole in the wall) to fuel the journey through several neighborhoods.

The game itself was both a hoot and a holler.  Miguel Cabrera had hit two homers in the game, something I’d never seen live, off of Chris Sale of all pitchers.  One was to left field and one was to left center.  Both cleared the fence pretty easily.  Verlander was late 2016 solid.

But my personal highlight came after my 8th beer when Big Lunch and I toured the park around the 4th or 5th inning.  There were two men in scoring position, but I don’t remember if the bases were loaded or if that was an empty Miller Lite can clouding my vision to first base.  One of the White Sox’s off-season free-agent hitting acquisitions was Todd Frazier.  The White Home Run Hope of 2016.  The at-bat ended up being a 3-2 count with Todd and freaking Justin Verlander locked in.

Either way, Todd Frazier took a strike that was slightly above the letters to end the inning.  He was pretty upset and I would have been too if I were a White Sox fan.  But I’m not.

By the time he got his next at-bat, I was back in my seat right above the Visitor’s Dugout.  First pitch was a called strike right above the letters.  And I couldn’t help myself but yell, “SAME PITCH THAT STRUCK YOU OUT, TODD!!!”

He broke a slight, but muted, smile.  Todd Frazier, you no doubt had to stifle your admiration of my amazing timing and explosive wit.  I’m sure of it.

Raise your hand if you got jammed!