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Inspirational Reads

Welcome!

January 31, 2008

Wow. I haven't blogged in almost a week. Okay, so maybe it's not that shocking, but I looked at the date of the last one (which I put up with minimal effort...I'll admit) and I was a little shocked. For a while I was cranking one, maybe two blogs a day. Ah, laziness has dragged me into her clutches once again.

In case you were wondering, laziness has beautiful red hair, so it's not much of a struggle to escape her wily clutches.

I digress. What else is new? Certainly not my tangental musings.

Why roll the welcome mat out?

Ah, that's something entirely new. It's because I've been threatened with new readers. Now, I've come to know my readers (one of them in particular rather intimately) and I'm pretty much on a first name basis with all seven of them (it helps that my readers are largely my friends). Now, however, I might have to learn a whole NEW cast of characters.

The reason for this sudden influx is simple: I did a guestblogging stint for a friend's blog where I wrote about what it was like being 24. 24 was not one of my best years (though I did meet my wife, the comely and buxom Boudicca, at that age), but when telling a story, no one wants to read happy tales. They want romance, tragedy and war. 24 pretty much provided all of those things for me. So, I wrote a short summary of the things that went wrong that year and how they were different from how I had envisioned my life unfolding. If you want to read it, you can find it here.

Being the nosy type that I am, I read the comments attached to the guestblogging post. Wow. Was I ever humbled! To anyone who wanders over here from Ex's blog...thank you very much for the kind words. I try to remain humble, but with you people propping up my ego, well, it's tough to not let my opinion of myself suddenly run away. Again, though, thank you all for your very kind words.

Now that I've thanked you, let me warn you: I often don't put in the same amount of thought to my posts here that I did to my post I submitted for the guestblogging. In fact, I recently went on a rant about a particular basketball game where someone criticized the post as being poorly written. It most likely was (note: it is horribly written), but it was more of a visceral reaction to a game rather than anything else.

Another warning: my posts here tend to be more profanity-laced than the one on Ex's site. I fancy myself to be like Kevin Smith, except without the success, money, good looks, man-crush on Affleck and little dick. Okay, so pretty much the only thing I share in common with Kevin Smith is a proclivity toward using the f-word and a hot wife.

So, if you have moseyed on over from Ex's site, I invite you to stay, look around, kick the tires, read up on my life, have at it as you will, and don't get too offended by anything that I say or write. If things seem a bit too empassioned, chances are I was writing more from the gut rather than from the cerebrum.

And, above all, have a good fucking day.

You Pick the Title

January 25, 2008

I couldn't think of an appropriate title...actually, I couldn't think of a more appropriate title. So, I'll give you the two I cooked up without much extra thought:

A) Hello, My Name is Pig
B) My Career in a Nutshell

Feel free to add your own.

Begin the Recruiting...Now

January 24, 2008

My daughter scored her first basket last night in a thrilling triple overtime victory. She had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation, but her shot came about a second after the final horn sounded. We had a talk about knowing what the clock is doing...and listening to the coach when he's booming "Shoot! Shoot!" at her.

Her line for the game: 2pts, 1 for 3, 2 rebounds, 1 steal, 0 knees to the opposing players' midsections.

I tried to get a picture, but apparently I had the camera on the wrong setting, so it didn't take a picture, even though it told me it had taken a picture. Yeah, I'm confused by it myself (obviously, or there would be a picture here).

After the game, we went to get ice cream. One cone of vanilla soft serve for everyone! We had barely left the parking lot when my son dropped his cone on the floor of my car. My daughter rescued it, but the damage had been done. It was covered with crushed goldfish, mud, hair and probably a dead bug. Rather than turn around and buy a new one, I fell upon my frosty, tasty sword and surrendered my cone to him with the warning that this was the last one. There were no further incidents.

So, now I'm sitting around, waiting for Pat Summit to call, or Muffet McGraw (sorry, Geno...no dice!). Yep. Still waiting...

(Yes, I'm being facetious, but Damon Bailey did verbally commit to Indiana in the 8th grade, and clearly my daughter is on the same track.)

A Chip off the Ole Block

January 22, 2008

Saturday morning, I pulled myself out the the post-r.e.m. haze and staggered downstairs to begin the arduous task of creating breakfast for the children (pour cereal into bowl, dump milk on top, find spoon). My children enjoy getting up at the very crack of dawn. In fact, I think they get up before dawn, quietly steal downstairs, turn on Noggin and Disney Channel and rot their brains view wholesome, educational television until I finally roust myself from my hibernative state and go on and feed them. My daughter is very clever and not only figured out how to work the remote to turn on the television AND the cable box, but also has learned which channels are Nickelodeon, Disney, Noggin and Cartoon Network. Boomerang still eludes her, but I'm confident she'll figure that one out soon enough. For, you see, as I was about to learn this past Saturday morning, she's figured out where other channels are that offer a slightly more adult fare.

As my feet met the chilled linoleum floor of my kitchen, I looked into the living room to see my daughter staring at the television, a rapt and attentive look upon her face. I thought nothing of it, though I did realize that the sounds coming from the television were not those of the usual Saturday morning cartoon extravaganza. After a moment or two, my daughter looked into the kitchen and smiled at me and said, "Guess what I'm watching, daddy?"

"What?" I replied.

"Basketball!" came her quick answer. "I'm rooting for Kansas to lose."

That drew a tear to my eye. I stepped into the living room to find that she was, indeed, watching basketball. Somehow, she had managed to land on ESPN-U, which was replaying an old Kansas/Missouri basketball game (from 1998, I believe). I watched for a couple of seconds, chuckled to myself, patted her on the sweet little blonde head, and went about fixing breakfast.

I love basketball. I love watching it. I love playing it. I love reading about it. My little girl is like me in this aspect, well, partially. She loves playing basketball. And now, apparently, she loves watching it, too.

What's even more fun than just watching basketball is going to her games. She's developed quite a bit over the past year. She has yet to score, but she likes to shoot. Her favorite shot is a little "baseline J" (more like a baseline H, as it's a hop-shot instead of a jumper), which was always one of my favorite shots, too (I'm also a fan of the 10-foot jump shot from the wing, but she's not strong enough to get the ball up from that distance). She's also turned into a momnster rebounder. Monster in that she doesn't try to rebound the ball while turning away from it (in that kind of "Aaaah! It's going to hurt me!" way). Instead, she grabs it with both hands and secures it.

While this has all been fun, perhaps the most...amusing...part of going to the games came last Friday night. She was bringing the ball up the court when the defenders all came out to mob her. She tried dribbling past them, but it was four-on-one, so she picked her dribble up. And then she kneed the kid standing over her in the stomach to move her out of the way. It wasn't a hard knee, it more like a gentle nudge to get her out of the way. When she got whistled for the foul (her first ever, I might add), she was like "I didn't see my knee move. I don't know what you're talking about."

A chip off the old block, indeed.

You Might Not Want to Read This, Eric

January 18, 2008

I went ahead and slept before I wrote this. I was going to write it last night immediately after the game, but I was so disgusted that I had to rest a bit before fully committing my thoughts to electronic media. Even with a few hours of sleep and a steamin' cup o' joe coursing through my veins, I'm still disgusted.

I watched the Indiana/Minnesota game last night on ESPN. First of all, I don't know what game the announcers were watching, but I don't think it was the one they were broadcasting. Doris Burke, ugh, can someone find a tennis ball and shove in her mouth? I realize Erin Andrews is eye-candy and thus they shove her on the sidelines, but, seriously, she does a much better job than, well, pretty much all of ESPN's female announcers. At least Andrews seems to know what is happening on the court during the course of the game. Ugh, again.

Second, I know I made fun of Bruce Weber being a whiney little duck yesterday, but the referees for this game were awful. Both ways. There were calls that should have been made that weren't and there were calls that were made that I kind of scratched my head over. At some point, are the referees going to remember that for a charge, the defensive player needs to establish his position. It used to be, back in my day, that you didn't get a charge call if you were standing there moving backwards and turning to avoid the contact. You had to have your feet set and firmly establish a second before the collision that the spot was yours. And, if you're going to call over-the-back, don't call it on a tall player who has the ball yanked down by two other players so that the tall player's arms get pulled down onto the defensive rebounding player. Or if you do it, call it on both ends. And, on a long in-bounds pass, if the player catches it, puts his foot down on the ground in the front court and then dribbles over into the back court, that's a back court violation. Call it. Ugh, yet again.

But, really, my beef was with the game over all. Tubby Smith has led the Gophers back to almost national prominence, or so claimed the announcers. All he had to do was get that signature win. Never mind his 12-4 team has beaten up on nunneries and daycares while choking against any sort of talent. I was watching last night, and sure, there was plenty of motion and action on the offensive side for Minnesota, but they didn't do anything with it. Most of their offense went through Tollackson (more on him in a minute) and Coleman. And Coleman has, perhaps, one of the ugliest shots I've ever seen, and I watch a lot of basketball in the 5-7-year-old leagues. Half the time it looked like he was going to set the ball for a kill in volleyball rather than shoot an 8-foot jumper.

And Spencer Tollackson. What can you say about this mook? According to the announcers, the "big guy" was "doing it all tonight". Yeah, he was doing it all. Except hitting free throws (0-7). And playing defense on DJ White (17 points). And scoring on DJ White (14 points...all of them on back-door slips down the lane where another player had to rotate over, leaving Tollackson open for a reverse or matched up against Lance Stemler (ugh)). And every rebound that he had, he stole from another player, either over DJ White's back or Ellis'. And he had a verticle of about none.

In the end, the team that should have won ended up winning. This was a game that should have been done about ten minutes in, and Indiana should have been cruising in that 16-24 point lead range. The calls on Gordon early in the game were ridiculous (the hand check that wasn't, the charge where the kid was turning to back away) and allowing Tollackson to manhandle White in the post was disgusting (and yet, DJ White managed to make it look like he was being guarded by a seventh-grader, albeit a seventh grader who was about six inches taller). Fortunately, Jordan Crawford was flashing some moments of brilliance while Gordon languished on the bench. I don't know what the refs have against Gordon (but I bet it has to do with his orally committing to Illinois before switching to Indiana). If Eric Gordon played in the ACC, especially for Duke or Carolina, he would not have had any fouls (even the third foul, which definitely was a foul as he hip-checked the guy going past him...which wasn't called on the very next play when Crawford was being hip-checked all the way down the court in the backcourt) in that game.

It was a good win in that Gordon sat and White sat for a long period in the second half and the reserves were able to score nearly 30 points. Plus, overcoming all the turnovers (again, Gordon was criticized for making passes too early or doing too much, when most of them should have been handled by the recipients) and the foul disparity that existed for most of the game (I think they equaled out in the final minutes, except for the free-throw shooting). Overall, it was as ugly a win as you'll see, but it's still a win.

Now, Tubby...as for getting national recognition...why don't you focus your efforts into beating Wisconsin. Please? Thanks.

When I'm Wrong, I'm Wrong

January 17, 2008

Apparently, yesterday, I learned that, as a scientist, I can be wrong from time to time. Shocking. So, I thought I'd own up to a few things I might have written recently that were dead-in-the-water wrong. Such as the seminal "NC State sucks!" blog from last week. In it, I incorrectly reported that Courtney Fells was out for the game against Carolina. He was in, and what an impact he had. I think he hit the shot that gave them 13 points at the half as opposed to 11. This, of course, while Carolina was hovering around 43 points. Nothing makes me smile quite like a Wolfpack beat down of epic proportions. And if that wasn't epic, then it was getting close to it. So, Wolfpack fans, sorry that I misrepresented the state of your team. Also, I'm sorry that your program is a fourth-tier team in what once was the best conference in the country. Oh, by the way, Arizona State is #22 in the land.

Also, last year about this time, I wrote about the end of an era in Green Bay. Well, I was wrong. And I couldn't be happier. Watching Favre stumble and underhand toss a pass that was able to gain the first down was in a word (said through my green-and-gold filter) awesome. The snowball throwing was a nice touch. And though I won't make any bold predictions about this weekend's game, I will remind a certain quarterback that it doesn't get down to 8 degrees in the bayou. Oh wait, that's both of the quarterbacks. So, I'll just kindly ask Eli to return to the Eli of old. But, hey, thanks for beating the Cowboys. Not that I was afraid of them, it's just that I'm sick of seeing Tony Romo. Anyway, you should all know who I'm rooting for on Sunday night.

Aside from the Colts choking it at home last weekend, it was a pretty good sports weekend for the Jenks household. My dreams of a Colts/Packers Super Bowl probably went up in smoke when Dwight Freeney went down with the injury, but oh well. Here's to hoping that the Patriots' D turns him into Philip "Belichek's Bitch" Rivers this weekend. Mouthy little shit. If the Colts could have gotten any pass rush on that arrogant little punk, the game would have been a lot different. Alas, they didn't...and now we have to hear about the inspired play of Philip Rivers with his bad knee (note, I'm not giving the booing of the Patriots fan any play, since that shit has been way over-hyped and run into the ground...yeah, they booed, but it wasn't like it was malicious, and it wasn't like it was a raining chorus coming down on her head, and she was laughing about it anyway. She wasn't booed off the field. She certainly wasn't running away crying. She was wearing a Brady jersey. Do you think she'd get booed anywhere else in the league? Jesus. Give it a rest.).

I didn't get to watch the second half of the Indiana game this weekend (nor most of the first half, since it was about ten minutes straight of commercials between the end of the SD/Ind game and the switching of the broadcast to the basketball game), but I will say (again) that I'm sick of Bruce Weber. Whine whine whine. Quack quack quack. You're an annoying little orange and blue duck. Rather than whine about the refs, maybe you should teach your kids how NOT to get beat by the likes of the mighty Tennessee State Tigers on your home court. That being said, Indiana needs to learn how to avoid letdowns on nights when Gordon's head is not fully in the game and/or the referees are calling traveling/palming really tight (which I've seen in a few games this year where they're keying on Gordon). I think their ranking is just about right, though. I can't say they're better than, like, 7, but I don't think they're worse than 12. That's just my thoughts, at least.

A New Era for Noa Briqualon

January 11, 2008

What the hell is it about Purdue's head football coach? Are they contractually obligated to employ someone who looks like Wilford Brimley? I guess Boiler fans can look forward to another six years of "plopping that thing into a steaming bowl of Quaker Oats."

Story.

More God Awful Announcing

I pretty much crucify the local sports talk media for their stances on anything and everything, pretty much because I like taking them to task for being complete and insufferable morons and/or asshats. This past 24 hours has been no exception.

A little update here. We recently got a "new" sportstalk radio on the FM dial, 99.9 the Fan, and their ads were pretty funny. Basically, one of them was "Sportstalk you can hear...at night." It reminded me of a Spongebob episode, and that always makes me giggle. Ah, the Hash-Slinging Slasher. Anyway, the AM stations constantly sputter and spew fuzzy whines, interference, and Spanish all day. It gets worse at sunset. With an ad campaing that pretty much pointed out the shortcomings of the other two radio stations, I thought I might give this one a whirl.

Big. Effing. Mistake.

It is nearly unlistenable. They have some washed-up has-beens (read: super stars for their respective teams) that they culled from the local college teams. Most of it, though, is pandering to the NC State crowd, and of the three colleges down here, I can't stomach State the most. Their fanbase is as rabid as something such as West Virginia or Alabama (football) or Illinois or Kansas (basketball), but without any of the results. Actually, I take that back. West Effing Virginia's fans stay the whole game, and Illinois and Kansas sell out their home stadiums. I was actually about to compare NC State to Purdue...but that'd be an insult to the Boilermakers (I am currently on a kind streak in respect to Purdue, because a kid who went to my high school plays for them). Basically, NC State is like a kitten that yowls and hisses at you: it's loud and annoying, but menacing enough that you're not afraid to punt it across the driveway.

So, this sets the stage for yesterday. Everyone around here has a titty hard on for the N.C. State/UNC matchup this weekend, and they were debating who is going to win the game tomorrow (this is almost like debating who would win a boxing match between Mike Tyson and a corpse). For one, they allow this guy to call in and make his point:

"N.C. State is going to win because we have more players who can play and score. We've got [Brandon] Costner, [Courtney] Fells, [Ben] McCauley, J.J. [Hickson] and Gavin [Grant]. We might be a little light at point guard, but all Carolina has are three players: [Ty] Lawson, [Tyler] Hansbrough (pronounced 'Hansboro' by the mental giant on the phone) and [Wayne] Ellington." That was his point.

First of all, Fells is out.
Second, you just scored 54 points against D-1 newcomer N.C. Central. At home. Your home.
Third, you just beat D-1 newcomer Presbyterian 50-43. At home. Your home.
Fourth, if Jesus Christ played point guard for your team, none of these other players would be star-caliber.
Fifth, oh yeah, UNC only has Hansbrough, Lawson and Ellington. Only. Oh yeah, and Danny Green. And Quentin Thomas. And Deon Thompson. They're just such a thin, untalented team. Ranked number one in the country.

It wasn't so much that this moron called in to make his "point". It's that the N.C. State homer host was like, "Yeah, he's right! He makes a good point!" And it wasn't just that. He continued on. The big thing that's going to affect Carolina? They're playing at noon. Carolina usually plays later in the day, and this earlier tip time will play right into the Pack's hands. Jesus.

The thing that made me dismiss him altogether, though, was the claim that UNC and NC State are the top rivals in the ACC. Huh? What? I'm sorry, if memory serves, there's this other team whose campus is closer to UNC's which actually fields a basketball team. What was the name? The coach has a really long, messed up, difficult-to-spell Polish last name. You know, sounds like an English noble's title. Baron? Earl? Something like that.

Ugh.

And then this morning, on one of the AM stations, I heard a guy trying to prove just how good Memphis is by using algebra. That's right. You see, Memphis beat East Carolina who beat N.C. State who beat Villanova who beat Pittsburgh who beat Duke. So, Memphis would beat Duke. Yes, Memphis probably would beat Duke, just based on talent alone. But, to try and compare the two by using a string of less talented teams is simply ludicrous.

By that logic, Indiana beat UNC-Wilmington who beat East Carolina who beat George Mason who beat Dayton who beat Pitt who beat Duke who beat Marquette who beat Wisconsin who beat Texas who beat Michigan State. Simple as that. Give Indiana the Big Ten crown right now. Right? Right?

I'm sure there'll be even more dandies. I didn't even get into the end of the college football season where David Glenn gave his daily moronic statement about how the ACC was an up-and-coming league, all because the offensive coordinator for Clemson decided not to leave his current post for the same post at Tennessee. Because, you know, that speaks well for the league when an offesive coordinator doesn't leave for a more recognizable school. Or it could mean that the defenses in the ACC are so feeble, the OC only has to mail it in when scheming up offensive schemes. Brilliant deduction, smackass.

I'll be sure to keep you all informed.

A Goose, a Hawk and a Steaming Bowl Full of Rice

January 9, 2008

Yesterday, Richard "Goose" Gossage was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Behind him were Jim Rice and Andre Dawson, whom many of those "in the know" think will be voted into the hall next year.

Now, if you've read this blog at all, you know that I treat baseball season like a prolonged pecking by an annoying little bird while I make an "ow" noise over and over and over again. Think Peter Griffin on this one.

However, the Hall of Fame intrigues me because now I actually remember some of the guys who are being voted in (or not, in the case of Mark McGwire). I'm not sure how to take this. I don't feel old in many ways, and yet, players I loved as a kid are now up for induction to the Hall. Sheesh. That's an age marker right there.

Goose Gossage was a reliever for the Cubs for a few years (among a slew of other teams), so I always enjoy it when a former Cub makes it in. I also enjoy it when a member of the Facial Hair Hall of Fame makes it in, and Goose's mustache was nothing short of epic. I remember him being a typical Cubs reliever, though. Good at stretches, but enough to rip your heart out. I'm sure every team with a closer (that would be, every team) has the same thoughts on closers. Of course, not every team as Ryan Dumpster...er...Dempster.

I also remember having a lot of Jim Rice's baseball cards as a kid. Being that I can't stand the Boston Red Sox, I'll just say that he deserves to be in the hall. He was a good player. Fin.

The man I want to see in is Andre Dawson. His year in 1987 when he tied for the major league lead (with rookie sensation Mark McGwire) captivated me unlike any other season that I've toiled through as a Cubs fan. It was amazing because they ended up in last place, and yet Dawson came out and gave his all every freaking day. And though he was older and relied on for his power (which is funny now as you see the bulked up power sluggers like Bonds, Ortiz and M. Ramirez compared to the stick figure that Dawson seemed to have), he was still good for a dozen to two dozen stolen bases a season. Yes, he's not an overwhelming numbers guy when you look at his career, but his charisma and effort and never-say-die attitude were important for a team (the Cubs) that constantly was used to and expected nothing but mediocrity and below. He acknowledged the fans and, of course in Wrigley, was loved because he returned that love to the people sitting in the seats. Andre's Army was created because of his stint with the Cubs. I definitely feel he's Hall-worthy, and hopefully he will make it in. Granted, I'm looking through a filter and viewing only his time in Chicago, but when he was in Montreal, he was just as exciting and steady as he was in a Cubs uniform.

I was sad to see that Shawon Dunston won't be back on the ballots as he received less than 5% of the vote. Not that he deserved to be in, but he did have a cannon for an arm and excellent range at shortstop. Most of his errors came from over throwing the first baseman.

Tim Raines, while not a Cub, did play for a while on the South Side. He, too, I think, is hall-worthy, for much the same reason as I think Andre Dawson should be in. I just really liked Tim Raines and had hoped, for a while, that the Cubs could recreate that Dawson/Raines outfield, but it never came to be. Oh well.

Now back to the pecking. Owowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowow.....

You Done Good, Britney

January 8, 2008

Congratulations to Britney Spears, who won the Big 12 Rookie of the Week award this past week. You lead the Big XII Freshman in scoring and blocked shots. That's awesome. Keep up the good work. Since my daughter has started her season, I might have to turn on your games if I can catch them so that she can look up to you. Again, congrats.

Of course, it helps to have Whitney Houston throwing you the ball.

Since my daughter plays point guard, I'll have her watch you, too, Whitney.

Adieu

January 7, 2008

College football wraps up tonight with the championship game between Louisiana State and the Ohio State University, a game in which the Bayou Bengals are favored by four points (at last check). Frankly, for me, I'm ready to see football go away. This year has just been kind of bad all over...unless you're a fan of the Ohio State or LSU, I guess. Even these teams have had their high and low points this season. The BCS, itself, needs this to be a good game, since most of the other high profile bowl games have been either bad games (VT/Kansas) or games where the outcome was known pretty much from the kick off (Georgia/Hawai'i, USC/Illinois). Personally, I'm not sure which it's going to be.

The Buckeyes were, of course, in this same position last year...with one less loss and a Heisman quarterback behind center. We all know what happened, so no need to repeat it here. A lot of people seem to think that the same will happen again, since LSU supposedly has a lot of "team speed" and OSU's quarterback isn't nearly as mobile as Troy Smith was last year. However, I think one thing that everyone is overlooking is Jim Tressel. The Sweatervest is a good coach, and pretty smart, as well. Yeah, OSU got beat bad last year by Florida's faster defense. I'm pretty sure Tressel has heard that a few (thousand) times since last January, and will have prepared his team appropriately.

The one problem that Ohio State might have issues with is that it's been 52 days since their last game. 52 days. That's over seven weeks. That's almost two months. That's a long damned time to sit and prepare for a game. A ridiculous amount of time, but that's the flawed system we're under now. Get to play for the national championship...and wait. Wait wait wait. I think it's unfair for the teams that have to play in the national championship game (LSU has had about five weeks of watching film, themselves) to wait this amount of time to play. It's almost like starting a fresh season, and only playing one game.

To that end, I think that Tressel will have his players prepared and hungry after last year. Despite this being a home game for LSU (does LSU play a bowl game anywhere outside of Louisiana? It just always seems like they're either in New Orleans or Shreveport or something), I think that the SweaterVest will prevail. Ohio State 27, LSU 24.

In other news...
Yes, Notre Dame does have a top class coming in this year, which is pretty cool, since, you know, they shat the bed this year. Picking up Deion Walker was a nice land from this past weekend, and took a little of the sting out of the defection of Omar Hunter. Fortunately, Hunter was not our only nose guard recruit for this class, though he most likely was the best of the crop (and is one of the best defensive linemen in the country). Plus, he was a bit of a bonus recruit. Hopefully, there is enough time left in the recruiting period (signing day is in February) to fill in any gaps left by defections.

The thing that...I dunno...disgusts? angers? disappoints?...me is that this is the second year in a row that Florida has yanked a recruit out from under the Irish. The nice thing is, this seems like not only a good, talented class, but also a very cohesive class. They're all friends, and a lot of the other players were suprised by Hunter's defection. Hopefully this means lots of good things for the future of the program, as it will leave fewer years like this past year (7 seniors) in the offing. The other thing is, it's nice to see that, despite having the worst season in the history of the program, the coaching staff could still assemble a good, talented class to help fill in the depth chart left decimated in the wake of You-Know-Who that seems wholly and totally committed to playing for the Blue and Gold.

My First Review (and Other Stuff)

January 4, 2008

A couple of site updates. One, I've added a new "feature" in the side panel/bar. The "What I'm Reading" idea I stole from Ex-Everything where she listed all the books she had read during the year. So, I'll try to keep the list current. When I'm done, I'll asterisk the title, signifying finishitude.

Second, my friend Joel had a baby...er...well...Mrs. Joel had a baby, and he's pleased as rum punch about the wee bairn. In fact, Joel has decided that his life is now blogtastic, so I've added a link to his site in the friends area. Read it, if you're like me and nosy curious about the goings-on in the Joel household.

Finally, I got my first review! Well, sort of. I need to asterisk this one as well, methinks.

So, I've sent the manuscript for King of Thistles/King of Shadows to a few of my friends who were foolish interested enough to read it. The only one, so far, to get back to me has been the aforementioned Joel. I consider Joel probably my best friend from the fifth grade (he arrived AND moved away all in the span of that fateful year). We conversed via the post for a few years and then sort of drifted away. A couple of years ago, he found me (thanks to me tricking the people at Classmates.com, so that I could post my email in the "free update section"...I'm so effing clever). We got to talking via email and I told him about the book, so he offered to give it a read, and I sent it to him. He read it. All 1400 pages of it, and he offered some kind words of praise. That made me happy, and thereby got me more interested in working toward getting it out there for more people to email me and tell me how good it is. Or at least that they want to read more.

Now, I, too, am pleased as rum punch.

I did get a "review" of sorts when one of my ex-girlfriends sat down and read the book when it was in its infancy (well, perhaps awkward adolescence), and she offered more criticism than review...as in you should change this and that and maybe fix this. I think her overall view was "it's good...but could be a lot better if you tried harder and made these corrections". So, if by chance you ever read this blog, Julie, thanks. I did take some of your suggestions to heart, and I feel it made a much stronger story overall, especially now that we see more of why the king is spiraling into madness.

So, that's it. A renewed vigor to write. I even have a few notes jotted down about a few things I want to add, shift, change, so even the version that Joel has read will be changed slightly. All for the better.

And that ought to play even better in Peoria.

Resolvarium

January 3, 2008

As I mentioned yesterday, before getting distracted by a girl whose name is apparently "Apple Pucker", I was going to talk about my goals for the coming new year. Now, I know this is a shock to many of you that I would seek to better myself like this. I mean, how do you better something that's already so grand? Like, how can you make Boticelli's "The Birth of Venus" any better (well, for one, get rid of all that hair...). But, dear readers, I have looked in the mirror and discovered a few things that I could perhaps improve. So, I will list them here.

Remember, last year, I went on a whole great big thing about how I'd save money by making my own coffee. It's probably true. Anything I saved, however, I predictably pissed away at the end of the year...buying more coffee while tutoring (by the way, if anyone in the Raleigh-Durham area needs a chemistry/biology tutor, drop me a line). So, I mostly stuck to that resolution until the annual end-of-year hedonistic largess hit.

Anyway, my New Year's Resolutions for the year 2008 A.D. are as follows:

1) Regrow a gall bladder. I've taken stock of my organs and decided that I am lacking one of these. I must regrow it. If only to be handily serviced by a blonde nurse named Jamie once more.

2) Shave more often. I grew out that big-ass hairy beard last summer when I thought I was going to star as Hagrid at my wife's Harry Potter Release party, and have since grown lax in my shaving and personal grooming habits. But, no more! From here on, I shall shave more than just on Monday morning and will thus no longer resemble a Nerf herder. Speaking of Harry Potter...

3) I resolve to care less about what British teens are doing. The judge was very specific about this one.

4) To play less Civilization III and to read more of my own stories. Really, there's no elaboration needed here.

and 5) Begin reducing the size of my guttus maximus. In what I like to call "Operation Jumbo Drop", I've decided to actually stick with it and lose a few pounds...or 30. We'll see how this goes, but for once, I've actually become kind of fired up about losing the weight. Perhaps it has something to do with the survey crew who have been staked out around my belly button recently. I have a Doctor's appointment in four months, and I need to be under the weight I was when I went last year, or I'm fairly certain my doctor is going to beat my ass. Or maybe make me run in front of a cartoon rendition of Gillian Anderson. I bring you peace.

I will buy a scale, because I want to see how my progress is going. I'm a scientist (allegedly) and I'd like numbers to follow up my progress. Since shooting my ass through the LC/MS won't tell me what I want to know (plus, I'm notoriously insoluble in methanol), I'll have to rely on the scale. And you better believe I'm weighing myself naked, because my clothes don't come with a tare weight. Plus, I'll be naked.

Feel free to run screaming from the blog now.

Oh, but before you go, I give you this story out of South Bend, IN (home of the University of Notre Dame, where I went, in case you've, I dunno, been asleep the past year or so). I really don't think this was a Halloween prank; clearly, this was a scout for the Scarecrow People, and they're looking to take over.

Baby Name Remorse?

January 2, 2008

I know there are some parents who read this blog. I just read this article on CNN about parents feeling regret over the names they gave their children. And it's nothing like "I shouldn't have named him Cadillac" or anything like that. It was more people concerned that they picked popular baby names.

Having a popular name isn't all that bad. One of my best friends in high school was Matt Webb, and I lived with Matt O. in college. Even now, I hang with Matt O. at work (different O.). Matthew is a pretty common and popular name. Back in the dating days, I would always get "I love that name" when I introduced myself to the ladies. Usually, it was followed up with "I always wanted to name a baby that name" which made me move along because I'm not one to have a junior hanging around. But that's just me. Even now, the commonality of my name is...troublesome...at times, especially when it comes to hanging with my wife's family. See, her sister married a man named Matt and she has a cousin named Matt, so when we get together there's me, Matthew (my brother-in-law) and "Cousin Matt", who is the cousin (and who hates the Red Sox and Cowboys more than I do...so he's a good guy, in my book).

I've never wanted to change my name due to it being common. If I did change my name, I'd change it to Alexander, just because I like the name. Now, my children, both have good names, I believe. We've never (we as in the buxom and comely Boudicca and I) regretted naming our children what we named them. We did have a conversation once as to why we didn't consider the name "Peter" for our son (he is named after a certain Doubting Apostle...not a certain cheeky tank engine). I reminded Boudicca, in all her buxom and comeliness, that we didn't want him to think he was named after Peter Griffin (insert Peter Griffin laughing noise here).

So, my question is...have any of you had remorse over what you named your children? Or remorse over what your parents named you? Just curious. I'd like to see if this is really as common as the article makes it out to be. And for parents, was it really that tough to pick a name for your child?

Happy MMVIII!!!

Good New Year to all reader(s)! I hope that you weathered the storm of booze and bad television on Monday night to ring in the New Year. I, myself, enjoyed a lovely coffee-based beverage (which is about the only type of brewed beverage my GI system can handle anymore) and muted Carson Daly for most of the evening while reading a book (okay...graphic novel...but it's really well-written) until the final few moments before midnight when I turned on to hear a very sick-sounding Dick Clark countdown the last few moments of 2007. I then turned back to the sport year-in-review thing on ESPN that Sportscenter was running.

I was going to write up a little story about my most memorable New Year's experience, and then I realized I didn't have one. I spent nearly every New Year's with my parents at home, even when I got to the drinking age. I did, one year (1999) go down to Indianapolis where I went "clubbing" with four women. The most exciting thing about that was that we ended up at Steak 'n Shake at 5 am eating breakfast and then went home and slept for a few hours and then I woke up, my friend Jenn peeked over the balcony upstairs and said "I just turned on the weather...we need to leave, like, NOW!" A huge snowstorm was gunning for Indiana and it was rolling into the southwest quadrant of the city. Fortunately, we were on the northeast side, and we beat it out of town...barely. I always kind of felt like Lando Calrissian flying out of the second Death Star with the flames and everything licking around the outside of the Falcon...except it was snow and ice doing the licking.

Around Marion the snow caught up with us (we were traveling from Indy to Fort Wayne) and slowed our progress. Fortunately, we didn't have to pull over and eat body parts or anything to survive. We made it home safely. And, I guess I just told you my New Year's Eve story. The following year was 2000, and I had to stay home with my family because, you know, the world was ending. My mom was convinced that civilization would grind to a halt. It sort of did for us because our cable was out, which my mom did blame on the imminent end o' the world. My dad wouldn't let me sneak off to the bathroom and throw the breaker box at the stroke of midnight. My now ex-sister-in-law noticed that midnight had fallen and we missed the new year by five minutes. And we all lived. Fancy that.

So there. TWO stories for the price of none. And with that, I'll sign this entry done and get around to telling you all how I'm going to better myself later (hint...it involves buying a scale).

Happy New Year...a day or so late, but the sentiment is still there.

EDIT: I changed the title of the post. It no longer reads '28'. It's now '2008'. Thanks to the buxom and comely Boudicca for that fix.