The San Francisco Giants #tBT

Pitchers and catchers reported this week at Spring Training in Arizona. It's been five years since the San Francisco Giants won their first world series in more decades than I care to count - and I still think that was one of the coolest things ever. Back in 2010, armed with my relatively new telephoto lens and a rabid sense of curiosity, I took the day off from my newspaper job, hopped on the most crowded train ever up to the city with my family and walked up to Market Street to watch the parade.

I never knew if the Giants would ever win the World Series again so I wanted to make sure I was eyewitness to something I could tell my grandkids.

Boy was I wrong. :-) 

Third baseman Pablo Sandoval after his first ring in 2010. 

Third baseman Pablo Sandoval after his first ring in 2010. 

Third baseman Pablo Sandoval after his third ring in 2014

Our view from the Edelman San Francisco offices.

I missed the 2012 parade since I had just started my new job and didn't think it would leave the best impression with new leadership if I just... didn't show up for work after the first week. But when 2014 came and my heart palpitations subsided after that bumbled ball that led to a triple in the 9th inning of game 7 against Kansas City, I worked from our San Francisco office that incidentally was mere feet from the orange and black confetti, pomp and most certainly circumstance. 

Well, the goosebumps and admiration apparently never waned from that same childish glee of 2010. It was like Christmas morning biking from my apartment down Market Street to Edelman, high-fiving giddy fans behind the steel barriers. 

Times change; rosters change; you get change after handing the cashier a $20 when it only cost $14.76. 

But that feeling of winning it all never seems to. It's amazing to me what happens to San Francisco when everyone is just super pumped together. Well, except for those... over-excited fans. I could deal without that.

A Jaunt in the Wine-Country Woods

I like Valentine's Day. But I don't like the overt and unnecessary social media, overhyped commercialism and unjustly high expectations surrounding it. "Look at this bunch of roses and champagne and chocolate AND OTHER STUPID OVERPRICED THINGS MY BOYFRIEND GOT ME OH MAN HE MUST LOVE ME HEY EVERYONE CHECK IT OUT!!!!" 


That said, here's what I did for Valentine's Day. This year, I wanted to do something a little different and stray from the path of the typical showmanship. I rented a little cabin in the woods of Healdsburg, CA, I found on Airbnb  that had no internet, no TV, no cell reception. It was perfection! When's the last time you really connected with someone  using only a crackling fire and a bottle of wine to grease the conversation? Try it sometime. I bet you'll find it refreshing to avoid the bombardment of self-indulged I'm-only-posting-this-on-Facebook-because-I-want-to-prove-to-everyone-how-happy-I-am stuff and create a memorable connection with someone special. 

The Present Face

If you're a warm-blooded, eagle-enjoying, Budweiser-drinking American, I don't need to tell you twice about the "present face." It doesn't matter if what you're unwrapping is 100 percent exactly what you need/want/love, you still have to put on an act in the unwrapping process. It's kind of a half-smile, half-intrigue sort of thing and it's fully uncomfortable. You know everyone is watching you, anticipating your reaction so you have to BRING IT. None of this B-squad stuff. To wit, it kinda looks like Klay Thompson in NBA marketing when you KNOW he has no interest in being there but his contract says he HAS to pose for marketing stuff.

Susan Burr, my mother, couldn't even get to the point of having a present face thanks to my pooch, Rookie, believing every present was in fact his.

Susan Burr, my mother, couldn't even get to the point of having a present face thanks to my pooch, Rookie, believing every present was in fact his.

And then when you've finally unwrapped it, expressed your act of excitement (which, by the way, is probably entirely genuine, but the fact that you have to express something right then and there makes it always feel less than so), some people may just choose to move onto the next thing. But others, caught up in the moment of thinking how to act in the present process, will tell you what they plan to do with the gift, or how it will make their life better. "Oh this is great - NOW I can finally cram sixteen V-8 juice cans into my ear!"

Anyways, these are photos from my mom's birthday and unwrapping ceremony, where my giant puppy apparently thought every present was for him... Now, I'm not saying my mother has a present face. She actually is one of the few people I've noticed who can maintain genuine excitement throughout. She's a model for those who wish to graduate from present-face school. I don't know how she does it, but dammit I respect it.