Sunday, November 27, 2011

I Can't Quit You, Quatchi! #4

In celebration of Quatchi's fourth birthday -- it was November 27, 2007 when he was first introduced to the world, along with his Vancouver Winter Olympics mascot pals Miga and Sumi -- here's a roundup of my latest Quatchi findings.

Kicking things off is this killer Quatchi toy (above) that was posted on etsy. Other creative folks have rendered Quatchi in ceramic, leather, and, uh, keychain. I still come across the occasional Quatchi illustration, like these Canucks-themed drawings made during Vancouver's Stanley Cup run last spring. (See more Quatchi-themed art at deviantART). Less original, but possibly more useful, are these Quatchi icons of various sizes.

Over at Quatchifan2010, Sophia's massive Quatchi clan continues to have fun since moving from Korea back to Canada...

Elsewhere in the blogosphere, Sammers' Q, along with new pal Mini Q, continue to cook up a storm and travel the globe on Quatch Watch. Incidentally, Mini Q is the only Quatchi I've seen whose nose is not only off-center, but also above his eyes!

I've also discovered some Quatchi-tagged posts on tumblr, like this funny gif...


And here's a video of Quatchi wandering down Bourbon Street, where he meets up with some drunk girls...

Be careful, Quatchi!

Finally, it's great to see that Quatchi designer Meomi remains busy with the Octonauts and their other cool projects.

Wherever Quatchi is, I'm sure he'll spend today cheering on his hometown BC Lions in La Coupe Grey.

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy 122nd, State of Washington!

My home state hits the big one-two-two today.


Friday, November 04, 2011

Happy 150th, University of Washington!

My alma mater hits the big one-five-oh today.

I enrolled as an 18-year-old freshman in September 1987, and graduated as a 32-year-old Communications major in December 2001. (Yeah, I took some time off along the way.) My parents also graduated from there, as well as one of my sisters.

I still love the school and the campus, and the Graduate Reading Room at the Suzzallo Library (above) remains one of my favorite places on earth.

Oh, and I still love Husky football...


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Thursday, November 03, 2011

I Read a Book: The Underground Baseball Encyclopedia

The Underground Baseball Encyclopedia: Baseball Stuff You Never Needed to Know and Can Certainly Live Without

By Robert Schnakenberg
282 pages
Triumph Books, 2010

Baseball constantly rewards us with historic, unforgettable moments -- new milestones, no-hitters, World Series victories and so forth. But for every Lou Gehrig farewell speech, there's a Disco Demolition Night, as baseball also delivers an ever-increasing amount of arcane, oddball lore. There are enough drunken antics, wild '70s hair hairstyles, and George Brett hemorrhoids to fill an encyclopedia. Now, thanks to Brooklyn-based author Robert Schnakenberg, it finally does.

The Underground Baseball Encyclopedia is a tidy, cross-referenced compendium of the game's underbelly: the sordid and the silly, the scandalous and the stupid. Other than tasteful coverage of a few truly ugly episodes (i.e., Lyman Bostock’s murder), Schnakenberg usually goes for the laffs. And why not?

Here’s an A-to-Z sampler: Astroturf, The Bad News Bears, Cocaine Seven, Double Knit Uniforms, Eephus Pitch, Fuck Face Card, Greenies, House of David, The Isotopes, Juiced, Harry Kalas, Lake Erie Midge, Morganna, "No Pepper," Saduharu Oh, Joe Pepitone, Dan Quisenberry, Road Beef, Schottzie, Tomahawk Chop, Bob Uecker, Bill Veeck, Winfield Seagull Incident, Xenophobia ("See Rocker, John"), Youppi, and Don Zimmer.

Baseball is a game full of eccentrics, and the UBE has loads of ‘em -- players (Dock Ellis), fans (Steve Bartman), broadcasters (Harry Caray), and various other characters (wacky ballpark vendors, secret mistresses, "disgraceful" National Anthem singers). There’s Chief Wahoo and Chief Noc-a-Homa, Billy Bean and Billy Beane, The Baseball Bunch and The Brady Bunch (specifically, the episode guest-starring Don Drysdale). And, of course, mascots. Nearly 60 are listed, and while most of the book’s entries are limited to a few sentences, the Phillie Phanatic has by far the longest UBE write-up, spread across four pages.

Schnakenberg admits up front that his survey is "far from comprehensive," but a few oversights remain: the (Mario) Mendoza Line, 1975 bubblegum-blowing champ Kurt Bevacqua, Kenny Powers... Granted, defining what constitutes "underground" is pretty much impossible, yet some inconsistencies are apparent: Dodger Dogs are included, Fenway Franks are not; Johnny Bench Batter Up is in, the Rod Carew Batting Trainer is out; there’s Larry Doby’s Cock, but no Merkle’s Boner.

Still, with over 400 solidly researched entries, the UBE is a fun read for both casual and hardcore fans, at least those of us whose appreciation of the game isn’t limited to the Ken Burns-y, Field of Dreams-type stuff, but who dig the offbeat sidelights just as much. Maybe even more.

Originally appeared in a shorter version in Zisk #20.

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