Thursday, June 6, 2013

No. 364 – Paranoid Android

Performer: Radiohead
Songwriters: Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Ed O’Brien, Colin Greenwood, Phil Selway
Original Release: OK Computer
Year: 1997
Definitive Version: None

The clock was ticking on completing The Baseball Room on time. I didn’t want to reveal it piecemeal after Debbie and I bought our house; it had to be all at once. So, as I mentioned, I announced a party and invited several friends over for the opening and an afternoon ball game on TV. The date: June 18, almost a year after Debbie and I moved in. The date was carved in stone.

And there was nothing second-rate about any aspect of The Baseball Room. Let’s start with the window treatment.

When we bought blinds for the house, I measured the window in the second bedroom—The Baseball Room—carefully for the custom-made blinds to fit. I paid extra for a light-reflective treatment to block damaging sunlight from coming through the south-facing window. This was to prevent autographs from fading.

To cover the edges—and the blinds—I hung curtains that had multicolored baseballs that had the logos of all MLB teams at the time they were made. (I think it was even before the 1993 expansion.)

The overhead light fixture was transformed into a ceiling fan made by Hunter where the light was a baseball, the blades were bats, the housing was a mitt and the base was home plate. Dave had one of those, and I had to have one, too. If you ever want to challenge yourself with a chore at home, try installing a ceiling fan by yourself. Maybe it’s gotten easier in the past 15 years, but it took me a whole day to get that thing up there.

Opposite of the window, bookcases lined the wall. The dimensions worked almost perfectly. I could have five Sauder bookcases, each filled with memorabilia, and have just enough room for the light switch, which, of course, had to have a baseball faceplate.

Each shelf on the bookcases had a theme, mostly depending on how much stuff I had. I had a 3,000-hit shelf, where something representing every player who had 3,000 hits was displayed. I had a Columbus shelf, a Negro Leagues shelf, a Chicago baseball shelf and so on. Across the top was all Cincinnati and Cleveland.

On the other walls, I had smaller bookcases, one for my Topps sets in notebooks, with All-Star Game tributes atop; the other for programs, which also was my World Series shrine. The defending champ would have domain of that shelf for a full year. On Opening Day in 1998, the shelf would be dedicated to the Florida Marlins.

In front of the window was my old 15-inch big-screen TV to which I connected a cheapy VCR. This was for viewing videotapes of various postseason game from the past decade that I had accumulated or baseball movies. For the full effect, you could pull my chairs from Comiskey Park and Municipal Stadium for any viewing.

On the door to the closet, in which I kept my caps and jerseys and other baseball cards, I took some cork and pasted it to the door, so I could stick small knickknacks and pictures and whatnot. That was another multiday job, making sure everything was in just the right arrangement. I had pennants lining the entire room near the ceiling; I had a baseball-themed rug; and the piece de resistance—a baseball-shape doorknob.

Nothing was left to chance, and when complete, practically every inch of the room would be filled with baseball treasures.

The planning had been well-laid out, the purchase of necessary stands and other necessary accessories time-consuming, but … do you know how long it takes to fill a 14 x 12 bedroom with baseball treasures—particularly when every item has to placed perfectly? I didn’t. Why do you think I blew my original deadline? June 18 was sacrosanct; I had to have everything done by then, however.

I started racking up the hours as the deadline drew near. It was a labor of love, sure, but it still took a lot of time. It wasn’t enough, so I pulled an all-nighter the Friday night before the party. In addition to placement, I had to clean everything on the floor and put that away, too. Whose brilliant idea was this anyway?

Finally, at about 6 in the morning, as the sun was coming up and I was fading but trying to finish things off, Debbie came and got me. She made me come to bed, even though I wasn’t quite finished, because I had to get some sleep. I didn’t fight it.

I didn’t sleep long. There still was work to be done before noon, and when people started to show up, everything was done. The grand ceremony could commence …

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