Baseball Search And Rescue

In my previous post on pitching, I showed the location of my net in the bottom picture.  If you take a look, there is a hill right behind the net, and a fence behind that.  The fence is roughly the same height as the hill and about 7 or 8 feet back from the top of the hill.  This means that sometimes, when I Randy Johnson a pitch (though killing no birds in the process), the ball hits the hill.  Usually, it just bounces a bit and hits the fence, but occasionally, it can hit the top of that hill and bounce right over the fence.  Behind me is a big, plant-filled field, so naturally some baseballs end up in said field.  I lost two of them on the 29th, but was fortunate enough to find one again.  Then I went out and purchased three new baseballs, but went and lost one of those in the field as well, so this afternoon, I put all of my BSAR skills together and went out there to find those baseballs.  I knew that they couldn’t get more than 6 or so feet into the field, so it was just a matter of moving enough plants to spot them.  It took me 40 minutes, but I was able to find both baseballs.  One was hidden pretty well and I needed to move in a bit to see it, but the other one was actually hidden in plain sight.  Once I spotted it, I had to move back out of the field to take another path to get there, and when I got outside the field, I could see it clearly.  That it took me so long to find the thing was a result of the human mind’s way of working.  We put together patterns and abstract out a lot of the detail without even thinking about it, so sometimes, you can lose something right under your nose.  Which happens to me a lot, as I don’t pay attention to things very well…

The upshot of all of this is that I now have 8 baseballs to throw, and on Sunday, I’m going to find some method to prevent baseballs from getting into that field.  Go Team Me!

Job Progress

I had an interview today for a programmer/analyst position and the interview went rather well.  This job is currently #2 on my desirability list, but it’s the only one so far that I’ve gotten through an interview with.  Next week, I’m going to meet with the director of the office and, if all goes well, they may give me an official job offer.  In the meantime, I would like to push organization #1 a bit more to try to get an interview and subsequent offer out of them, but I think I am going to hold off on this until next week, when I’m more confident that I’ll get an offer.

A New Toy

Pat and I went out on Sunday and wanted to play some baseball, so we went to the sporting goods store and purchased a net.

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The thing has its own carrying case and is actually pretty small.  I’d estimate its radius to be approximately one foot.  You can see it next to my camera case for comparison.

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And here’s Shadow, trying to figure out what’s going on.

When we opened the thing up on Sunday, it practically jumped out of its carrying case.  It’s packed in there sort of like a tent, and it quickly springs to full size.

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As you can see, full size is approximately the size of a hockey net.  It also comes with some posts to hold the thing up, as a net wouldn’t be of much use if it was just lying there on the ground.

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Here you can see the thing in its full glory, along with an add-on to show a strike zone.  The strike zone is probably a little too low by an inch or two, but it doesn’t matter too much, especially for me—I’m not so good at throwing strikes…

So on Sunday, as I said, Pat and I were doing some very easy batting practice in front of this thing.  It was the first time I had thrown a baseball or swung a bat in a year, so I was rather rusty.  Eventually, though, I started throwing strikes from about 30-40 feet out and Pat was crushing the ball.  I got a few good swings in as well, and some of my best ones went as far as his.  I really have to work on my batting stance, though, as I’m not getting my legs into my swing nearly well enough.

After we were done with BP, we started packing it up and tried to put it back into place.  Pat was moving it and the top right-hand corner bent down.  We spent about 20 minutes trying to fix the thing, but it wouldn’t work, so we took it back to the store and got another one.  This one does work, so I’ve been using it since.

Today, I went out for some more pitching practice and have done a bit better.  I don’t have a mound at home, so I have to throw from flat ground, but I’ve upped my velocity to, say, 100 MPH (yeah, right…).  Unfortunately, if you look in the background there, you can see a little hill in the back of our property.  This means that when I miss, if I do it just right, the ball will bounce on the hill go right over the fence, and into the neighbor’s property behind us, which is a big field.  I lost two good baseballs today doing that, so tomorrow I’m going to take a look for them and then see if I can’t find a way of setting up some kind of barrier to keep this from happening, because I know it’ll be a long time before I actually have any real control over my pitches…especially because I was throwing about 80% 4-seam fastballs and the rest two-seamers with a couple of curveballs thrown in.

The Return Of Catblogging

It took me a full week, but I finally got some pictures of Leo.

Maus:

Maus is the same as always. He whines sometimes to act as though nobody’s fed him in months, even though he was licking my cereal bowl an hour before…

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Here’s Maus. You can tell that it was right after getting home, as all of my boxes and whatnot are still stacked up at the door. The fact that my room’s a mess shouldn’t be too surprising…

BONUS FOOTAGE: Here is Maus attacking my camera strap. Warning: it’s 7.4 MB of pure cat goodness.

Nani:

Nani’s still as weird as when I left… She doesn’t jump into the bathtub quite as much, but instead has found other places to sit, like, oh, my computer stand whenever I move the laptop anywhere else.

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Nani, sitting in my mom’s old cabinet. Fortunately, she isn’t heavy enough to make the thing unstable.

Haley:

The odd thing is that I actually have better pictures of Haley than I do of Nani or Maus.

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Here’s Haley, relaxing with the Sunday newspapers and lounging in the morning sun. She did not much appreciate my coming down to photograph her at first, but soon got into it. Unfortunately, she got so into it that the next several shots were all blurry…

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She stayed still just long enough for this one, though, and that’s my favorite of the set.

Shadow:

He’s still not a cat, but hey, he likes having his picture taken.

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Shadow, the suave, debonair type.

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I’m not sure if he’s hiding, blinking, winking, or thinking, but it was a rather hot and sunny day out there.

Leo:

Hunting after Leo is kind of like finding Bigfoot:

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You’re sure you’ve got him, but nobody else believes you.

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As soon as you see the eyes, you’ve lost.

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Forget Bat Boy—this is Cat Cat!

But I wasn’t going to settle for this. No, I had to hunt down the Leo Cat myself and take a picture for posterity’s sake.

The first thing I did was go downstairs with my camera and try to turn on the light. He was hiding next to the coffee table like above, but as soon as I went for the light, he went a-runnin’.

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He then found a way to hide downstairs. I went down and started turning on lights, as I wasn’t going to settle for this.

That caused him to run back upstairs and hide behind a couch, so I shut the basement door and started chasing him around the first floor, turning on lights so that I would get good lighting when I finally get my pose.

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The master escape artist made his way upstairs, but I knew that I would be able to catch him there, just as long as he didn’t get away from me. That’s when Leo made his biggest mistake: he ran into my room. Once there, he was cornered.

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Leo must have been exuding raw fear or something, as the other cats came over and were interested in what was going on. Well, Nani was interested whereas Haley stopped caring by the time I snapped this photo.

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Leo was in Jungle Kitty mode, but he knew that he was trapped. I, to be sporting, moved some boxes out of the way so that he could make his escape. He did so and hid behind the couch.

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Leo, knowing that I had bested him at this game, decided to let me take a clean shot. You can see Maus at the very top of the screen, apparently rubbing it in.

After this, I let Leo go, turned off all of the lights, and he’s probably hiding behind a couch right now, but in a couple of hours, he’ll go back to the coffee table.