Saint Pete to Meet Dali and Watch Baseball

Hi you in the future. This was the Friday and Saturday (July 10-11) road trip from Coral Springs to Saint Petersburg to re-visit The Dali Museum and watch a baseball game. It was a lone trip and you were not embarrassed. Only you for thoughts, conversation, opinion, and entertainment. One can be alone.

Packed bag and lunch the morning of drive to Saint Petersburg.
Packed bag and lunch on passenger seat the morning of drive to Saint Petersburg.

So you didn’t leave at 5:30am on Friday like you wanted and instead left at little before 8am. It wasn’t inconvenient until the detour on Alligator Ally through Immokalee, a place you have never been.

The east coast Florida highways have more trees and greenery than the west it seems.

Only until you crossed the bridges, especially the highest bridge with the yellow suspension cables extending diagonally down that from afar seem like a golden spike, that you accepted that Saint Petersburg is a peninsula. Because of the earlier detour you didn’t arrive before noon. You arrived at the museum at 3pm though you entered Saint Pete by noon, but decided to eat a Publix veggie sub at a public park the size of one city block exactly. The park was nice enough and many people were sitting down on blankets. Parked on the street and slide coins in the meter. It became noticeable that those people where the city’s homeless. With the homeless spread across the park the non-homeless stayed clear. You were part of the homeless scene.

Looking up at The Dali Museum entrance.
Looking up at The Dali Museum entrance.

The first visit to The Dali Museum was on another road trip several years before with an ex-high school girlfriend not longer after your separation. The museum was smaller, but still there. I remember the very large paintings and the white pajama shaped dress she wore with black heels; thought it was too much. So a new three story museum was build in the same spot as the old. Three floors, but only the third floor for exhibition where the concrete spiral staircase leads. And so Dali and you were together again.

Let the others go in order and view each painting one after another like a doctor evaluating patient x-rays. No, you, you zagged when they zigged, went up when they went down. Leave the gallery and return later and view the paintings in reverse. Randomly jump without fear or thought from one to another. You drove the museum security nuts! They saw you multiple times. And again in circles. What must’ve they thought? There’s a crazy.

Three Young Surrealist Woman Holding in Their Arms the Skins of an Orchestra.
Close up of Three Young Surrealist Woman Holding in Their Arms the Skins of an Orchestra.

Dali ordered the gallery closed at 5:30.

Later that day after sofritas at Chipotle you drove for 10min to find a parking spot near Tropicana Field that wasn’t $15 expensive. Even $10 was too much and so you found one lot for $5. Turns out it was a city lot and that is why it was the least expensive the attendant explained and congratulated you for saving five dollars. So you parked there and walked the few minutes to the stadium.

Third base line and field post in Tropicana Field during game.
Third base line and field post in Tropicana Field during game.

Ten dollars was the cheapest ticket and you sat at the 300 level in the last of the last seats behind the outfield next to the electronic display boards. There was a tank full of sting rays below a board. A tank full sting rays?! The seats were aluminum benches just like the bleachers you find in high school gymnasiums. It was an indoor stadium and you were thankful for that because the heat was strong and you just wanted to sit and watch and clap for the home team a little. Final score Tampa Rays 3, Houston Astros 1.

And then around 10pm it was back to the bedroom you rented in Amy’s house not far from the stadium.

Definitely Minimal, Certianly Expensive: A Personal Experience with the New Balance HI-REZ

Published a couple years ago, Born to Run, described secretive Indians living in hard to find desert wilderness with the super human capacity to run very long distances. Most amazing of all is their feat of extended distances absent modern running shoes and the luxury of dri-fit sweat wicking first world clothing. Don’t even try to imagine running without sunglasses, bubble gum shoes or a matching outfit. You want to look cute right? Running is the fashion show of sports you know. Anyhow, the spirit of the book was that after all their endurance and less than ideal equipment these Indians don’t suffer from the ailments plaguing millions of runners in their right minds or any other ailment. The strong advocacy was for minimalist running. These respected Indians’ notion of footwear is a thin leather soles and leather laces to wrap around ankles.

Nearly five years later this book led me to minimalist running through the New Balance HI-REZ. Free shipping, a one week wait, and $120USD later, I try these shoes on and prepare for running bliss. Feeling closer with the road I expected. Extremely light to the I-didn’t-know-I-was-wearing-shoes weight of 4 oz per shoe. So flexible that I folded FOLDED these shoes an stuffed them into my pockets. The feeling was incredible and New Balance might as well advertise wings. But that’s another company named after Greek mythology.

Towards the end of the first 5k that warm mid-July night my sore calves reminded me of the warning label on these shoes. The warning label effectively cautioned using these shoes slowly in small increments. Yeah, I disregarded the advise and ran as normal. Having run for the past 10 plus years I always considered myself a minimalist runner even before I had a name for it. Cross country teammates said I ran like a bitch which really meant I ran pretty which really really meant I had good form. And I still do though I don’t hear “ho bitch” much. What a shame. The last mile or so was just a preview of what to expect. Calves were sore and they let know it like hungry infant twins.

During that night run through the neighborhood sidewalks I unintentionally scared a fellow runner. Sure I caught up to him from behind and he did not see or sense me. Maybe I should have announced myself and asked for his permission to pass. Really scared he was. Sorry bro but it’s the shoes. Or maybe that I was running solely on the soles of my feet and my calves were taking the hit for the team. Well, I did hold my breath on purpose as I approached to deepen the effect of a fictional silent night runner. Showboat a bit when you have the chance.

The soreness continued after the run and into the next day. Soreness as the only connector between these two days. Taking a different running style I slowed pace and changed my running gait the next day. Small choppy steps instead of long strides. Forefoot strikes instead of tippy toe running. The second night’s run was good and for the next three weeks I continued the same running style. One month into the HI-REZ experiment the infant twins have recovered and generally my feet felt stronger. So I extended my running gait and began to feel normal again. Back to my normal running gait.

The shoes however show obvious wear. Those chicklet-sized “pixels” that resemble pads on a cat’s feet were wearing out quickly. This after only maybe 50 miles. Another 50 miles and these shoes will probably reach their end of life though maybe I might be able to have them around in good enough condition for house shoes. The $120USD HI-REZ are certainly for bourgeois runner, but they are so very worth it. Relatively, this is one of those affordable luxuries. Buy the Porsche just once and it could change your running outlook. Or stay content and sheltered with the Camry and never know of such an experience.

What exactly have I just paid for? I typically always say this out loud after splurging a bit and usually rationalize it as the intellectual cost of the design. Total materials alone won’t get you to $120USD and neither will the technology behind the placement of the pods on the soles. New Balance, in some hype videos, allude to all the work needed to design and create the pods so they don’t fall off. That’s pretty much BS after having purchased the shoes. Sure New Balance tries to demonstrate value but its difficult to justify it after actually owning the shoes.

Perhaps it is the privilege of having access to a wonderfully designed shoe. What else could there be aside from design? Without design and the corporate guts to produce this type of shoe there is nothing. And nothing is exactly what you end up with. Nothing in materials. Nothing in design and by this I mean minimal. And 100 miles in literally nothing is left of the shoes. It’s something of a transcendence after realizing that for many years you thought you needed cushioning or stability to enjoy the innate instinct to run. It was all a lie. Now that makes sense. I’ve found truth.

Miami Marlins Triumph and Lose to Pirates

Pecked “Marlins Stadium” into Google Maps. Huh? When did Florida Marlins change nationality and become Miami Marlins? Remember the open roof and well used and renamed Sun Life Stadium where the Marlins used to play? Why am I asking you questions? Many degrees less commercialization and inversely many degrees more baseball. An inverse relationship. Hello Hip Hop meet Commercialization and begin making Hip Hop Babies Deserve Hip Hop T-Shirts together. Good to see you Yoga, I’d like to introduce you to my associate Commercialization for you both to contort yourselves into all manner of perversion. Oi!

I-95 and exist 3a en route to the airport then exit on 12 ave. If it weren’t for the visibly very homeless at the exist I’d feel uncomfortable. Homeless on every freeway exit. Cross the bridge and stay on your right otherwise the line of cars will prevent you from turning right to reach the parking garages squared at corners of Marlins Park. Look up after turning on 7 ave and the white retractable dome looms over the homes of inner city working poor. Homes and apartment buildings of past decades unchanged and unmaintained by their many owners. Umm, yeah, don’t follow those directions.

Let’s find a restaurant on 12th Ave. Peck away on the Yelp app. Its an unkempt neighborhood that 12 ave. Though I’ve never driven through it before or maybe because I’m not accustomed to the urban-ness of downtown Miami; it still seemed quite run down. Reached Dixie Highway finally and found nothing interesting. Probably drove like a total tourist – phone in right hand, steering wheel in right while alternating between glances of phone and anything on left and right sides of street. Dashes of people gathered at corner restaurants with names and facades unknown. Very much an insider or locals things. Naturally. Hungrier by the traffic light we dash as fast as the speed limit allows back to the stadium resigned to pay a premium for soup kitchen food.

Twenty dollar parking sounds expensive until you realize the amazingness upon entering the gates of this concrete palace. Imagine this modern marvel of engineering. Floors, ceilings, walls, everything of of concrete. The parking garage is entertainment own its own merits. Parking spots are very narrow and surely a nightmare for any car owner that doesn’t appreciate dents. If perhaps not your style strangers are willing to help. Shamefully, exploring was limited to the walk to the elevators. Must return. Even the Apple store inspired attendees with mobile cash registers were something of treat. Marlins Park is sure to create a new class of well trained work force from the local community to meet the technological demands of the future in retail and/or parking garages.

Show my paper and up the escalators. Ladies beware of the escalators! Do not fashion yourself a return to the eighties and wear way too short and tight shorts unless you fully expect to display the bottom half of your derriere for the gentleman pretending not to observe your escalator hazard.

Wow. This is an amazing! Entering the stadium on the escalators behind home plate the stadium spread before you in manicured green. Like a widescreen movie the floor and ceiling on level 2 frame your vision. Almost an hour before the game’s start and plenty of time to walk the entire stadium at least once. The seating seems appropriate and enjoyable from any angle. Pirates had begun their batting practice. Baseball is too slow and boring they say. Baseball is like good comedy. Good comedians talk around a joke for a good two to three minutes. It’s enough time to talk to your friend and laugh. Baseball is the same way. There is enough time to talk to your friend and strangers before the next pitch usually.

Marlins Park 360 view from the 306 section.
Marlins Park 360 view from the 306 section.

Ten dollar tickets in section 306 thanks to the Boy Scouts. Struck with guilt of my own childhood I donated $5 dollars to the Boy Scouts outside a local Publix for long rectangular coupon card. There in small print is the Miami Marlins “boyscouts” coupon code for ten dollar seats, where available. A rainy workweek ended only to begin a rainy weekend. Upon arrival the entire 306 section was completely empty. Row A seat 24 and row b seat 24 were mine. One for my bum and the other for my legs. Baseball if paid full attention is a awfully long game to the average spectator. On the third base line, section 306 or the Vista section is well above any other section in the stadium and facing the full glass side of the stadium facing east and onlooking the Miami skyline. The seat and view isn’t as awful as one would expect in cheapo seats. Checkout the view from the 306 section of Marlins Park.

Ehh. The architects of Marlins Park foresaw the future before Google Glass. There is just simply no escaping the advertisements and from the vista of our seats we have a full view. Along all sides of the stadium are spaces for promotions, sales, and offers. No opportunity is wasted. Likely the most distasteful display of advertising and promotion are the in-stadium commercials. These live commercials broadcast onto the jumbo-trons hock t-shirts, tickets, and food and are all ailed by cartoonishly chipper “dancers” on springs possessing a bobblehead quality. Vomit…

Nothing carries emotion and brings together a stadium like Take Me Out to the Ball Game, the baseball anthem. A stadium standing many with arms on shoulders swaying and singing the anthem that brings smiles to the losing team. Shame it was only sung once.

Whatever. Not one home run. Booooo! You stink!

Home already. Leaving the stadium was freakishly smooth. Police at traffic lights waving forward traffic. That all changed as traffic headed for the one lane onramp to I-95, I think. Most cars seemed to heading north to Fort Lauderdale.

Miami Marlins lost 7 to 4. The “boyscouts” coupon code is valid until Sept.