Saturday, March 30, 2019

The Peg House -- Never Don't Stop (a food review post)

Okay, sitting down to write this, the first thing I'm realizing is that I don't have any pictures of the place and, if you'd seen it, you'd understand why. It looks like pretty much dozens of other roadside... let's say "general" stores... scattered around the US. Shack-like buildings selling junk food, alcohol, souvenirs, and trinkets, uniquely situated at a distance where travelers need to stretch legs, get snacks, and go to the bathroom. Of course, they're filled with all sorts of things to attract the eyes of children, somewhat forcing you to spend money on junk that mostly goes into the trash once the vacation (or whatever) is over. If the junk even makes it home at all.

Not that I'm saying that The Peg House is that kind of store. I'm also not not saying that.

Of course, The Peg House is slightly different because it's actually a somewhat historic building in that it was put together with wooden pegs rather than nails, hence the name. Not that that makes it historic. My impression is that the building has been there a while, which may or may not be true; it's just my impression.

But you thought this was a food review, right?
Which is the point. If you were driving past this place without knowing what it really is, you would never be enticed to stop if you didn't have a little kid in the back seat threatening to water your seat covers. It looks like a general store, even once you walk inside. I mean, all of the kid traps, including special $5 and $10 grab bags placed right on the floor just inside the door, are right up at the front where you walk in. All of which is why my wife and I didn't stop there last year when we were driving up to Eureka; there's nothing special about it from the outside. Or the inside, for that matter.

But, this time, we already knew we were stopping there for burgers and that they are supposed to be some of the best burgers on the west coast. Even so, we were confused when we walked in. So confused that we walked back out and looked around outside to make sure we were at the right place. Going in a little farther, there was a menu over the counter, but it still wasn't clear where to order the food, since there was nowhere to cook anything in the store we were in. Yes, I asked, and we placed our orders. We were close enough to the right place for it to count.

Honestly, I was a little bit skeptical of everything at that point.

After placing our orders, burgers and cole slaw, because they don't have a deep fryer for fries. Yeah, that's what I said: They don't offer fries with their burgers because they don't have a way to cook them. Do you wonder why I was skeptical? And I'm not really a fan of cole slaw because, mostly, unless you make it yourself, cole slaw sucks.

Anyway, after placing our orders, we poked around in the store for a while, which was, actually, a moderate amount of fun. Kind of like treasure hunting because they had so much odd stuff in there. Not that the stuff in-and-of-itself was odd, but it was all rather -- and I hate this word -- random, so you couldn't tell what you were going to come across. But I digress from the food, which came without too much of a wait.

If you've been paying attention, you may have surmised that there's no interior seating. They do have a large patio area around the side-back set up with picnic tables. Of course, it was raining. They also have a small covered area with a couple of tables, so we were able to get out of what was then, fortunately, just a drizzle and sit down to eat our food.

Which brings us to the crux of this whole thing. As I've mentioned previously, we're always scouting burger joints (and I've done at least two burger review posts already), and Sunset magazine says The Peg House has the best burgers on the west coast. [Of course, Sunset magazine has never had burgers at my house but, then again, I also don't sell those burgers to the general public. Or any public.] That's a tall statement to live up to.

Now, I'm not going to say that these were the best burgers ever, or even the best burgers on the west coast, but they were very good. They're definitely in the category of burgers worth making a special stop for. I'm all in on the "never don't stop" catch phrase they have. But let me get to the real reason you should never don't stop: the cole slaw.

Remember how I said I'm not really much for cole slaw? Maybe that's because my idea of cole slaw was formed at a young age by what was then Kentucky Fried Chicken. Nasty stuff, still to this day. Or the day that was the last time I ate there, which was years ago. It's unusual to come across any cole slaw that I feel is worth eating. By worth eating, I mean it's fine. Fine enough to eat but still not great. However...

However, this was by far the best cole slaw I've ever had, which might not be saying a lot based on what I just said about cole slaw, so let me restate it: The cole slaw was awesome. Better than the burgers. I did already say that the burgers are good enough to warrant a special stop, right? Well, they are. And the cole slaw is even better. I was blown away. I mean, I just took a bite of it out of what amounts to politeness, and it was like a flavor explosion in my mouth. Man, now I want some of that cole slaw!

Fortunately, my kids are not into that kind of stuff. You basically have to force my son to try anything vegetable based that isn't a potato, and my daughter... Well, she's waffley. She did, at least, taste hers. Long story short, my wife and I scored extra cole slaw! So worth it! Seriously, if you're ever travelling up 101 and going through Leggett, stop for the burgers, but make sure you get the slaw!

Full disclosure: We did not stop on our way back south but not because we all didn't want to. It's just that we were somewhat recently stuffed on grilled cheese, but that's a review for another time.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Sundiver (a book review post)

I had high hopes for this book. Okay, well, that's not exactly true; it's just that I haven't read a book I really loved in a while now, and I was just hoping to at least like this one. It's an award winning book, and my wife liked it and the other books in the series back when she read them, though that was a long time ago at this point. Needless to say, I was disappointed. In the book, not my wife.
I was disappointed a lot.
Not Snow Crash a lot, but a lot nevertheless.

But I think I get it, why sci-fi fans like this book and Snow Crash and other books like them: They're responding to the concepts, the ideas, rather than to the book itself and the actual writing. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for a good idea, but I think if you're going to make it into a book, you have to back it up with some writing that supports it, and this book didn't have that. Nor did Snow Crash.

So, yeah, yadda yadda, uplift, yadda yadda. The idea is that older alien races will find pre-sentient lifeforms and raise them to sentience and be their patrons. There's this whole galactic system for it. Yes, it's an interesting idea, but the book... Man, it was hard to read.

Mostly because the protagonist was his own deus ex machina. As it turns out, Jacob, the main character, had a split personality, and he somewhat inappropriately referred to his alter ego as Mr. Hyde. Basically, any time Jacob ran into a situation he couldn't handle he could whip out Hyde and Hyde could do it. Because Hyde could do everything. Need a lock picked? Hyde can do that. Need to pocket someone else's belongings without anyone else seeing? Hyde can do that. Need to shit flying monkeys out of your ass? Well, Hyde didn't do that, but it wouldn't have surprised me.
It's lazy writing, though, having a way for your protagonist to personally meet any and all challenges on his own with his own secret weapon. Actually, it reminds of a horrible 80s movie, The Dungeonmaster, in which the hero had a laser-firing, computer watch that would defeat all of the bad guys.

As a total aside, that is one of the strengths of the Harry Potter books: Harry can't do much of anything on his own. I mean, he needs help, a lot of it, and he gets it by having a support team around him. Secret Harry never pops out of his head with all of the correct spells to accomplish whatever he needs to do at any given time. It makes him believable as a character.

Having a split off personality hiding in your brain does not make for a believable character.

Not to mention the part where anytime the story would get stuck because the characters didn't have enough information to move forward (not to mention the audience), Hyde would pop up with an insight and move the plot forward. Not that it was an insight Hyde had any right to have, but, hey, when the author gets stuck with how to move the plot along... Yeah, just toss the new info in from, basically, nowhere.

As if that's not already asking a lot from the reader in terms of accepting things, we also have to believe that we've managed to make spaceships that can fly in the sun... using "refrigerator" lasers. And I'll buy that. I mean, I will if that's the thing the author is asking us to accept but, then, he has to throw in aliens that live floating around in the outer layer of the sun. And other stuff... All together, it was just too much to put up with at any given moment. Something was always coming across as dumb to me because there was just too much to buy into.

Mostly due to the issues with the protagonist. But when you have that going on, when I can't buy into the main fucking character, then I can't buy into the rest of the story.

And, as if that wasn't enough, the author kept adding things in that really should have been a part of the fabric of the book. It was as if, as he was writing, he'd have a brilliant idea about something that should be in there and, from that point onward, that thing would be in the book, but he never wove those things back into the story that he'd already written. And maybe that's just me, as a writer, who is seeing that, but I know how that kind of thing goes and, if you're unwilling to go back and work those things into the bit you've already written, then leave them out of the book.

So... I suppose the real question, now, is whether I'm going to go on to the next book in the series. Honestly, I don't know. I have the books here and had planned to read the series because I had thought I was going to enjoy it and all of that. And it's one of those things where I have this question poking at me now about what people have seen in these books. Maybe the next one's better? Book two does, actually, have higher ratings than this one. For the moment, though, I'm going to read something else. Once I finish that book, I'll see how I feel about giving Startide Rising a chance. I'd say it's not looking good but, then, I did read all of that Lovecraft shit and L'Engle's mess, too.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Parasitic Services

Let's talk about Toys R Us for a moment. This is one of those write-what-you-know moments; I know because I used to work there. You know, before they ran themselves out of business.

One of the reasons they went out of business was their... let's just call it their fear of being taken advantage of. As such, they had very draconian return policies and spent huge amounts of time being obsessed with "shrink," which is to say theft, especially employee theft.

I was reminded of this general atmosphere, recently, in dealing with eBay. As I've mentioned before, I've been selling off old collectibles of mine on eBay. Not because I want to use eBay or love eBay or because of any liking of eBay but because they are the best parasite for the job. Sort of like eating a tape worm before going to certain countries. You don't want to swallow the tape worm, but you do it because you don't want worse things to happen.

In this case the worse thing being my garage door exploding because there's too much stuff in my garage.

In theory, eBay is a platform designed to facilitate... I don't know... selling stuff to other people. Not just tangible items, though, so it's not as simple as just selling off your beanie babies (the most popular item on eBay for years after it started). And, you know, it did start out that way. It was even a free service for a while, until the traffic on the site became too heavy for the creator to pay the fees for the upkeep without charging people for using the site.

But that was 20+ years ago. These days, eBay is violently afraid of anyone selling anything without them getting a cut of it. You know, because they deserve it in some way. On site communications cannot include any type of contact information because, you know, you might be trying to solicit sales outside of eBay and that is strictly forbidden. And nothing in an auction post can even hint at requesting communication from a potential buyer, because that could also be a solicitation for selling off of eBay. Not mention the fact that they are now auto-relisting auction posts and charging you for it and not giving you an option to not choose that.

They have become the epitome of a parasitic service that exists to suck as much money out of its users as possible while giving back as little value as possible. Let me put it another way:
I started using eBay back in the 90s, so I've been there a long time. In the time since I started using them, they have not increased the value of their "service." That's pretty much the same as it always has been; however, the cost of using the "service" has increased dramatically: Their listing fees, for example, are seven times higher now than when I first started using the site, not to mention all of the other fees that didn't even exist 20 years ago. Back in the day, it was perfectly fine for me to direct attention to my own website, so eBay could actually be used as a marketing tool (which was cool); these days, I can't even exchange an email address in private communication.

I could go on, but I'm sure you get the idea.

To say that I have been annoyed by all of this would be an understatement. But it did start me thinking about the general tendencies of "platforms" to become parasites. Lyft, Uber, Airbnb, all platforms that started out as a cool idea with the idea in mind to help people, just like eBay, until someone, often not the creator, realized they could make a lot of money from it without really doing anything. Just hang on like a tick and get fat. [I wanted to use a picture of a tick for this post, but the one of the mosquito being so full of blood that it was dripping out was too gross to pass up.]

Then it occurred to me that this is the same thing that Trump (#fakepresident) is doing to the United States, right now, turning it into one big tick to feed him and his cronies. Not that this has not being going on, especially among Republicans, for a long time, but Trump (#fakepresident) has been going about removing any pretense at all of giving any value back. Because, you know, the government is supposed to be symbiotic with the people (that would be us): by the people, of the people, for the people and all of that. Evidently, Trump (#fakepresident) believes that the only humans who count as people are rich, old, fat white guys. Which we already knew, but it's so blatant... so blatant... All you have to do is look at his proposed budget to know how little value he wants to return to "the people."

None of which has anything to do with where all this started out, but this is the way my brain works. Or something.
And you might be saying, "Well, don't use eBay, then." Or any service that acts as a parasite, but, really, it's not that easy. Or it is that easy as long as I'm okay with having all the stuff in my garage, because there is no real better option, and that's how they get you.

No, I don't have any solutions. I feel like this is all a big trap we've gotten ourselves into as a society, including insurance companies, which may have been the first big corporate parasites, companies that want to take in as much money as possible but do everything they can to avoid paying out. Or maybe it just all goes back to the elite, ruling class living on the backs of the serfs, and we're all just still serfs who haven't figured out a way to get out of that tyranny yet. At any rate, it's these kinds of thoughts that allow me to understand the growing hate of capitalism by the young.

And they may be right. Maybe service companies shouldn't be allowed to be "for profit."
No for profit hospitals.
No for profit prisons.
No for profit insurance companies.
No for profit platforms that exist only to suck the profit out of other people's work.

No for profit government.
Or government employees who are only there to make themselves rich.

We've been living by the laws of greed for... a very long time. Maybe it's time to try altruism.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Rebels: "Ghosts of Geonosis: Part 2" (Ep. 3.13)

-- "We're in trouble!"

Jumptroopers are cool! Or, as they are called in this episode, rocket troopers. But I looked it up and "rocket troopers" are the "also know as" term, so I'm going with jumptrooper.

Also, Saw Gerrera is an asshole. Which I knew, because you can see the asshole streak in him back when he was first introduced, but it's becoming more than a streak, something more along the lines of a big, gaping hole. It doesn't make it less interesting to see the evolution of the character from his first appearance in Clone Wars to his last in Rogue One.

This is one of those frustrating kind of episodes. The team caught a Geonosian last episode, and it keeps trying to tell them about the Death Star, but, well, there's a language barrier and the rebels have no actual way to comprehend what it's trying to say, so they continually misunderstand.

And then they have to fight the Empire.

Most of the episode, though, is dedicated to the question of whether the Geonosians deserve to be wiped out, not the kind of question Rebels usually goes in for, so it was good to have them dealing with a more serious kind of philosophical question. You know, the kind of thing Clone Wars did all the time.

"Stupid sand. It gets everywhere."

"This doesn't look good."

"I want one of those jet packs!"
"I know."

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Spring Broken

It's spring break here.
Saying that, though, I'm not sure if it has any meaning left.

Let's look at it like this:
You have some "typical" corporate job, and it's a drag, and you have vacation time so you decide to use it. You go to your boss and tell the management asshole that you want to use some of your vacation days to take a week off of work. Your boss gives you that "boss" look and says, "Sure, that's fine. You can skip coming into work next week but, while you're at home, I want you to work on a couple of special projects and bring them back to me complete after your vacation."

"But I wasn't going to stay home..."

"Well, you better just plan to take them with you, then. And make sure you do a good job. Your next raise will depend on it."

What do you do, right? All you want is some time off, a vacation, but you're given even more work to do and there's no real way to get out of it even if it's wrong and, if that kind of thing actually happened to someone, probably illegal.

I don't actually know if that kind of thing happens or not, but I do know that the United States has more unused vacation days than any other country in the world. Why? Fear.
People are scared to use their time off because they worry that taking the time off will reflect poorly on them... in some way or other.
Which is not the point of this post.

It's spring break here.
Spring break is like vacation for kids. Or that's the idea, right? They're kids, and they need a break from school every once in a while. A vacation.
I remember when it was like that. When I was a kid, it was like that. School was out, and there was nothing to worry about for a solid week. Unless you were one of those kids who had put off normal school work and had to use spring break to catch up on that work, but, then, that was on you.

I remember the first time I got a significant assignment over break. It was over summer break between middle school and high school, and I was assigned books to read over summer break. Three or four of them. One of the books assigned was a book I already loved, and I never minded reading assignments; still, I remember feeling like it wasn't okay for them to do that. BUT! I excused it because I was going to be going to a different kind of high school... It was one of the first magnet schools in the country, not that you can turn around anymore without bumping into some kind of magnet or charter school, but, at the time, it was still this kind of experiment, and we didn't know the kinds of changes it would bring... like homework during summer breaks.

And, damn, my daughter is on spring break, and she has a shit-ton of homework. Her English teacher assigned a major project which is due on Monday after break. No, this is not one of those things where my daughter put it off and, now, has to do it over spring break (she never does that); the teacher scheduled a test for the Friday before break, then took 20 minutes of their test-taking time to explain their 200 point spring break assignment. That's just bullshit.

And she has a buttload of chemistry homework. Her teacher assigned them, basically, a homework assignment for each day of break, including the two weekends, as if they were still going to be in school. My daughter already spends two to three hours a night doing chemistry homework, so she's going to be spending that same time on chemistry over her vacation, too.

Not mention that she got homework in history and Spanish, also. Including watching a movie for history class that most of the students will have to pay to rent, another thing I don't find to be okay.

Oh! And she has softball practice and a game during spring break, too.

Excuse me, but what the fuck? Seriously, what the fuck?

My daughter already spends basically all of her time being stressed about school and had been looking forward to a little time off from that; now, she gets to spend all of spring break being even more stressed about school. Why? Because we actually planned (months ago) a small trip during break, the first time we've done that in something like four years (and only the second time we've ever done it), and, now, my daughter has to balance the trip against all of the fucking schoolwork she has to do.

And that's just wrong.
Inherently wrong.

Not that I blame the teachers. Not exactly. They're just part of a system that no longer works, as has become abundantly clear in the news in the last couple of weeks (and, yes, it's all related), and doing the best they can, which includes burying their students in homework and waiting to see who can rise above it all.

Perform monkey! Perform!

No, I don't have any ideas on how to fix it.
Yeah, I'm lying, but what does it matter if I have ideas about what's wrong with the education system in our country? I'm sure you have ideas, too, and those ideas are probably not the same ideas.
Mine are just better. 😏
[Oh, look! My first post emoji!]
So, no, I don't have ideas on how to fix it; I'm just pointing out an issue. Bringing it up. Not that I expect anything to come of bringing it up; sometimes, you just want to put it out there.
Of course, this isn't the first time I've brought up the crushing amount of homework my kids get, and it probably won't be the last time, either.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Rebels: "Ghosts of Geonosis: Part 1" (Ep. 3.12)

-- "There are times I hate being right, and I hope this isn't one of them."

I guess we're on a dead planet kick: Dathomir last episode, Geonosis this episode and next. Wow! The Clone Wars really left a lot of dead planets. Which makes me wonder about the "current" state of Mandalore. The original conception of Boba Fett was that he was the last of the Mandalorians, but so much of that got changed in the prequels and the subsequent Clone Wars episodes dealing with Mandalore that I'm sure what the current status actually is. I'm not even sure the Fetts were supposed to be Mandalorian at this point.

None of which has to do with this episode at all.

So getting back to Geonosis, a great place for a vacation home!
If, you know, you like absolute solitude. That is until the zombie bugs come for you.
None of which are in this episode.

But Saw Gerrera is in this episode! And he's looking more like how he looked in Rogue One than he did last time we saw him. Saw's an interesting character, one who could probably support his own series. [Hear that Disney? Give us a Saw Gerrera series!] He's gone missing on Geonosis investigating the disappearance of the entire population of the planet. And what do you do when your team investigating a disappearance also disappears? You send more people, of course!
And Jedi, if you have them.

Not that the rebels have actual Jedi, but they have the closest thing to it that's left in the galaxy.

I'm sure all of this is leading us toward the Death Star and Rogue One, but that's just a guess.

"They kind of look like battle droids to tell you the truth. Ugly battle droids that smell."

"Honestly, I was hoping I'd never have to come back to this dust bowl."

Monday, March 18, 2019

Rebels: "Visions and Voices" (Ep. 3.11)

-- "Our futures converge on a planet with two suns."

This episode has so much in it, I hardly know where to begin, especially if you want it without spoilers. Oh, who am I kidding? None of you are going to watch this, so I'll just spoil away!

Ezra is being plagued by visions of Darth Maul... which turn out to be not so much visions as the real thing. Talk about a way to ruin your day! Maul is still stuck on that thing whole Ezra being his apprentice thing. PLUS he wants to know what it was the holocrons were going to reveal to him and Ezra. He REALLY wants to know.

Which leads them back to Dathomir, apparently where Maul has set up shop, in the ruins of the Nightsisters' temple. Or something. And the dead Nightsisters don't really seem that happy... about anything.

Just to ponder, because the episode implies that the Nightsisters are now extinct. But are they? I mean, I never assumed that Maul's group of Nightsisters were all of the Nightsisters, but the episode implies that that is so. Maybe it's the influence of having played Galaxies, but my impression was that the Nightsisters were spread all of the planet in different clans. So now I don't know... Are all of the Nightsisters dead? All of them?
Yeah, I probably won't look into it.

At any rate, they're not happy and are looking for a way to hook themselves back into the land of the living.

And the darksaber shows up.

And Obi-Wan... Well, that's all I'm going to say about that.

"I told her I had a plan."
"Really? And she left anyway?"

Thursday, March 14, 2019

The Aliens Have Landed! Maybe...

There's some backstory here that I haven't filled you guys in on... Well, a lot of backstory, actually, and, well, I'm not going to fill you in on it now. To make a long story short, my wife became a lawyer last year. I wasn't allowed to talk about it while she was studying because... Well, for the same reason that I don't talk about stories I'm working on while I'm still working on them.
Yeah... if you don't understand how that works, I'm not going to explain it to you.

As a follow up to my review from yesterday of Captain Marvel, I'm linking this "lawsplainer" my wife wrote about what it might be like if aliens, actual space aliens, ended up in the United States. You should follow the link and go read it. It's both amusing and educational. Witty.
But, then, this is my wife we're talking about here, so witty should be a given.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Captain Marvel (a movie review post)

Of all of the things that Marvel has done well -- and they have done a lot of things well! -- perhaps the most impressive has been bringing in their intergalactic stories in a way that seems real and plausible. [Which, all things considered, is much more difficult than making their super heroes real and plausible.] Captain Marvel is no exception to that, and I'm extra impressed with their handling of the Kree/Skrull war, something I've been vaguely worried about since Guardians of the Galaxy came out.

Okay, actually, I've been worried about that since Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, the Kree/Skrull war having at one time been something largely dealt with in the pages of The Fantastic Four. And, well, Fox really fumbled the whole Silver Surfer/Galactus thing [yeah, sure, they fumbled the entire Fantastic Four thing, especially with their most recent attempt], but, then, that was Fox and not Marvel. Is anyone else looking forward to the return to Marvel of the FF and X-Men properties? Man, I sure am!

But I digress...

I guess the thing to know here is that Captain Marvel is another great entry into the MCU. All of their movies are so good, it's difficult to even know how to rank them anymore, so I can't say how great it is, just that it is. It's solid, which is especially important since it's a... hmm... prequel is not the correct term but, chronologically, Captain Marvel happens first of all of the MCU movies. And this really could have gone awry considering that Nick Fury and Agent Coulson are both involved in this story, Fury integrally so.

Technology is amazingly amazing. Seriously. We may not be able to re-age people for real, but the tech they used in Captain Marvel will make you think they can.

Brie Larson was a surprise, at least for me. I was rather ambivalent about her as the choice to play Danvers when they announced it. I didn't see Room (and have no real desire to) so my only real experience of her was from Skull Island, in which she was forgettable. But, then, it was a movie you want to forget, so maybe that's why. I have to say, though, that Larson nailed it as Carol Danvers, at least as she is in the movie (because I have no experience of this Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel from the comics). She was... well, a delight, which is not exactly what I want to say, but it's true. She's quirky and sarcastic and and has the perfect sardonic turn to her smiles when she needs to have a sardonic turn to her smile.

And her chemistry with Jude Law was great. Not any kind of romantic chemistry, it's not that kind of relationship, but their mentor/student whatever-it-was was perfect. Of course, Law is good in this type of role, very reminiscent of his Watson role alongside Tony Stark. Um.... I mean Robert Downey, Jr.

I also really enjoyed Annette Bening. Not only is it good to see her in something again, this movie really allows her to show some of the range she has as an actress.

Actually, all of the cast was great, which has been the standard with the Marvel movies. It's another thing they do well. Really well. Pretty close to perfection. DC, on the other hand... Well, I'd say they're somewhere around the same level as Fox showed themselves to be when they cast Miles Teller as Reed Richards. Seriously, what the fuck, Fox?

All of which is to say, you should see this movie. That is, you should if you like good stories, good acting, and fun. If you're old, stuffy, and snooty, and don't get into that "superhero stuff," you'll hate this, but it's your loss, man; it's your loss. People with good taste will love this movie. And, if you're planning on seeing Endgame in a few weeks, you should make sure you see this movie.

Friday, March 8, 2019

How To Catch a Softball (please take the time to read this post)

Obviously, the first thing you need to catch a softball is the actual softball. It's difficult to catch something that isn't there. That's why there's an absence of things like unicorns, dragons, and dinosaurs in the bedrooms of little boys and girls all across the world.

So here's a thing:
Last year at one of my daughter's softball games, the coach told their best hitter to not hit a home run because they only had three softballs left, and they couldn't afford to lose the ball. Well, she could hit a home run as long as it was one of those that went to the fence and she was able to do it because of the outfielder chasing the ball. Just don't hit it over the fence.
But she did.

They made it through the game, but it's rough when you have to always be mindful of how many balls you have left in the bucket. It's like when you have to budget out how much gas you can afford to put in your tank rather than just filling it up.

To put it all another way, let's just say that girls' softball is not a priority for schools, especially on the non-affluent side of town (where we are), where there is no real support for sports for kids at all, at any age. That stuff is reserved for kids on the other side of town... Now I'm wondering if train tracks play a role in this at all, because we do have them; I just don't know if the tracks divide the city in the way that I'm speaking of.

Of course, then, the next you need is a glove.
But if you can't afford a bucket of balls, you can't very well afford gloves, can you?
And here's the thing:
At pretty much all of the other school in Santa Rosa, the girls playing softball on the high school teams grew up playing softball for the city league and have all of their own gear, like my daughter. But, see, my daughter is the only one of those girls on her team, because we drove her across town so that she could participate in softball when she was a kid. That's a luxury at least 50% of the girls on her team couldn't afford, either because of the significant monetary cost to join the league or because of the significant time cost of practice and games (not to mention the cost of hotels for away games or spending hours and hours driving back and forth because you couldn't afford to stay over night for the tournaments (which is what we did)). All of which means that many of the girls on my daughter's high school team do not have softball gloves or headgear or bats; they depend on the school to supply those for them. Just like a lot of kids depend on the school to supply musical instruments for the music program.

And, yeah, girls' softball just isn't a priority...

Which brings us to the  part where I'm asking you for money. Well, not me, my daughter is. They're holding a fundraiser, and it would be great if you could donate. It doesn't even have to be a lot. Are you drinking some Starbucks sugarbomb coffee right now...?
Are you?
I see you there moving it away from your monitor and/or your phone so that I can't see it, but it's too late! Those things are no good for you, anyway, you know? And that guy who used to be their CEO is a dick, so put that money to better use. At least once. That's all it would take, the cost of one of those overpriced cups of coffee would go a long way to helping these girls out.

So please follow the link and give them what you can. $5.00 would be great! More would be even better! They have a breakdown of how the money is used and what it will provide. My daughter would love to meet her goal!