Finally back home for a stretch, sitting in front of the TV preparing for my firs extensive use of picture-in-picture this year (Red Sox-Yankees in the main frame, Monday Night Football in the PIP frame).

I didn’t do my Purdue friends justice with a full accounting of my trip to West Lafayette two weeks ago as I had done for my trip to South Bend. It was a beautiful day, the Boilermakers pounded Illinois, we spent the entire second half in the parking lot tailgating, and I ended the evening puking on the side of I-65 on the way back to Indy. That’s a solid day right there. For the crowd who knew me in my lightweight days, when each weekend seemed to bring a new vomiting experience, this was my first alcohol induced purge since the first Sinatra Party in December 1998.

Being back in Kansas City for a week was great, confusing, happy, sad, frustrating, and fulfilling all at the same time. It had been almost four months since I had spent any real time there. Arriving last Monday was kind of like coming out of a coma; things had changed a little, but not in real significant ways. The grass and trees weren’t as green as they were in June, the billboards had changed, people were fired up about the Chiefs instead of the Royals, and not surprisingly I heard most of the same songs on the radio. It was like stepping out of a room for awhile, and when you come back, all the furniture has been moved just a little; enough that you notice, but not enough that the basic set-up of the room has changed. It was great seeing everyone, not to mention my epic tour of KC eateries. I managed to squeeze in Jack’s Stack, California Taqueria, Manny’s, Oklahoma Joe’s, Jim G’s in Raytown, Bryant’s, and the Falloon. Not bad work, although my waistline and cholesterol count aren’t all that appreciative.

Game three of the ALCS was one of those epic events that I’ll never forget. Pedro Martinez – Roger Clemons at Fenway. You knew something big was going to happen, and given each pitcher’s mental make-up, there would probably be some kind of ruckus. I can’t say I expected events to reach the point where Don Zimmer charged Pedro and Jeff Nelson and Karim Garcia are beating down a Boston groundskeeper. In retrospect, though, that’s the only way things could happen. Sox fans had to arrive with their hopes high, only to have them crushed. That’s the way of the Red Sox.

Is there anything better than playoff baseball in Fenway Park? Yankees fans are exuberant, but expect to win. Cubs fans are just happy to be there. Red Sox fans, on the other hand, live and die with every pitch. They know their history, so each high point could be the moment that changes everything while every low point is another sign of the inevitability of their cause. Despite being the smallest park in the majors, Fenway has a roar unlike any other park. However, it also has an eerie silence you hear nowhere else. It’s as if Red Sox fans have been punched in the stomach so often that they can’t bring themselves to make noise when things go bad. (Derek Jeter hits a ball down the line that hits third base and flies into short left field, scoring a run. That’s Red Sox baseball, right there.)

I’ve seen one movie in the past five months, and that was Old School on DVD, rather than in the theater. My expectation is to see Kill Bill one night this week when S. is working, then hope to get her out to School of Rock and Mystic River after she completes boards next week. What’s this mean, for you, the loyal reader? Well, some movie reviews perhaps. I must admit, I’m horrible at remembering things from a movie the first time I see it, and I don’t know if I’m ready to splurge on a pen with a light on it just for you jokers. But I’ll see what I can do.

Now, back to the posting. I’ll not keep you wanting this week. A brand new Listening Post will be published this afternoon…