Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The ice is slick, bitch!

That's how Bob Barker would address today's weather!

Due to the fact that 8 months out of the year in Minnesota stay at 22 F or colder, there is frequently ice on the road. Case in point...this morning. Here is what is going on in my head on an icy morning.

I have a light pick-up truck, rear wheel drive. Which means I have no traction on anything that is slicker than a cat's tongue - definitely not built for Minnesota winters. So to compensate and give myself a little traction, I keep the gas tank full and 300 pounds of sand bags in the back over the wheel wells. While this does help, it doesn't give me the traction of every other car on the road. This means I have to be smart when I drive to work, the store, or anyplace else.

I have a 3-point system for computing my little truck's ability to deal with the weather on any given winter day.
1) How many times do I slip and grab my truck to keep from falling while shuffling around it to scrap the windshield?

2) How many seconds do my tires spin as I try to jump the pile of snow the plow has left at the exit to my apartment complex drive?

3) How many times does the back end of my truck go left to right to left to right as I attempt to stop at the first stop light?

The end result (level of ability to deal with ice/snow that day) must be greater or equal to the level of the danger of the route, which is computed through a complex and impossible-to-explain equation involving the following factors:

1) Roads that are sanded, plowed, or salted or any combo thereof.

2) Number of curves in the road.

3) Number of times I may potentially have to start from a stopped position on a hill.

4) Number of times I may potentially have to attempt to stop as I head downhill.

5) Number of times I may potentially have to merge from a slow, unplowed street onto a clear street or vice versa.

At the first stop light I come to, I then make my decision about which route I will take to my destination because I have then collected all of my data. Since I am in my 3rd winter in Minnesota, I know exactly which roads are plowed, which are salted before it starts to freeze, which are just sanded and not plowed, and which are ignored. So, today, based on the level of slipperiness, I decided to vary from my normal route (which includes several hills, a perilous curve, merging onto a clear road from a messy one and an insane number of lights). That was almost a very bad idea.

I went to merge from Ayd Mill Road onto I-35E South...this is a curve that is tricky even under the best conditions if you aren't aware that it's so sharp...and apparently the car that led our line onto the interstate was NOT familiar with it. The entrance ramp is a sharp sweeping curve to the right, and is pretty narrow - protected on either side by guardrails and some foliage. In front of me were 2 SUVs, 2 sedans, and one other pick-up truck like mine. Basically, by halfway through the turn, one white sedan and I were the only vehicles in our line that hadn't hit anything or spun! (Fortunately, since I grew up in NY with much more snow than we get here and way more perilous roads, I know how to drive even my tonka truck in the snow.)

I knew something was up when I saw headlights facing me on this one-way ramp (that was the other truck). I had left A LOT of distance between myself and the car in front, so I just took my foot off of the gas until I had slowed down enough to feel confident in testing the brake. Amazingly, the sand in the bed and my brakes stopped my truck well into a safe zone from the chaos in front of me. Now all that was left was gripping my wheel as I sat there and hoped that the cars behind me were paying attention and had traction - which they all did. Phewwwww.

Then came the funny part. So there are 5 cars in front of me tangled up. (All 5 driven by guys, just in case anyone cares.) One sedan hasn't done anything other than come to a stop while the rest spun and banged around him. So these 5 cars stop spinning, and everyone gets out of their cars to look at eachother! I don't think any of them hit eachother - they all hit the guardrail. Then they slowly tried pushing eachother out of the way. I just sat there and waited. And waited. It was amusing, but I sure as hell wasn't leaving the warmth and safety of my little truck that stopped! Victory is mine!

Eventually they all got the hell out of my way and I continued on my path. But that route, despite a minimum of hills, stops, and curves, has been eliminated from my snow routes. Of course, if everyone would just slow down, be careful and NOT slam on their brakes when they feel their car start to slide, all would be well. Here's a hint, Minnesota, if the car in front of you is spinning - just take your foot off the brake. You'll slow down faster than he will if you don't slam on the brake and go into a slide - because you know he is certainly slamming his brakes, therefore keeping your car away from his! Just chill! Well, not literally - the road already did that.

Monday, November 28, 2005

I Wanna Be A Weathergirl, Too

Minnesota Meteorology Requirement Posted by Picasa

Based on the accuracy of weather forcasting in this state, and the annoying fact that I have to sit through weather warnings for all of North Dakota, South Dakota, Upper Minnesota, Wisconsin and half of Canada that don't impact me (I have to listen to these reports due to the lack of a major news station in any of these areas), I have determined that there is only one requirement for being a weatherperson in this state: a map of the upper midwest and Canada.

I'm qualified...because I have that, and I got it for free, 'cause I'm a member of AAA, thanks to my parents. And my mom is always saying "Go to AAA and get a map." Not sure why I need a map when I never leave the Twin Cities metro, but I guess I'm just supposed to load up on free maps. Most moms say useful stuff like, "Make sure to turn the lights off when you leave a room." Or "Wash your darks in cold water." My mom tells me to go to AAA and get my free maps.

If anyone's going to Idaho soon, and they're not a member of AAA, call me.

The sphere of connectivity

This place cracks me up. Minnesota, that is. Minnesotans love to have a connection to things that are happening. For example, there is a claim on Sheryl Crowe because her Texas-bred husband-to-be used wheels on his bikes that were designed by someone in Minnesota. And they have a connection to Cyndi Sheehan because a local politician talked to her once. And now the connection transcends state borders. Either that, or Wisconsin is actually part of Minnesota and there are actually only 49 states, or Puerto Rico now counts as the 50th. Because if anyone has or had a connection to Wisconsin, Minnesota news likes to babble on and on about them, too.

Example #1: We are in Vikings territory. They are the "hometown" team...like it or not. The Packers play in Green Bay (Wisconsin) - many hours away. But the golden boy QB's new book "Farve" just came out - and you would think that he was born and raised just blocks from the capitol. Instead of being from Louisiana and playing in Green Bay - the arch rival of the locals. They are promoting the book here like he's wearing purple and gold every Sunday. Although based on his most recent performances against the Love Boat crew...maybe he is.

Example #2: We are claiming Dany Heatley of the Ottawa Senators of the NHL up here. Because Canadians have accents, too. Just kidding. Actually, apparently we get to claim him because he played collegiate hockey at the University of Wisconsin. If you are as confused as I was, I'll explain it for you...Wisconsin is next to Minnesota. I mean, you see residents of Houston claiming Louisiana State athletes all the time, right? Oh. I think we also get to claim Heatley because he continued his points streak against a team that had a Bloomington, MN native on it. Just in case Wisonsin and Minnesota sharing a border wasn't a good enough rationale.

On a different note regarding Minnesota sports...the midwest has a version of football played at smaller high schools called "9-man." The major difference is that this version has 9 players on the field instead of 11. The field is also a little smaller. I'm told that it is an amazing version of football, and reportedly some of the best football players in Nebraska history played 9-man. I just can't believe that they can't find TWO more kids to put on the field. And with all of the open land up here, there's gotta be enough space for a regulation football field.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Olympics are coming! The Olympics are coming!

The Olympic Museum; Lausanne, Switzerland (Click the picture to make it big enough to see.) Posted by Picasa

And, I, for one, can't wait! I love the Olympics. From the unveiling of the U.S. uniforms (for the first time in a long time, in 2006, including an American-born company - Nike, along with perennial Canadian favorite, Roots - in the process) to the lighting of the torch during the opening ceremonies, to the medal count on the news, to the last insane and unknown sport's conclusion...I love it. I am a sucker for the Olympics. Whether it's a story about a speed skater's sister's battle with leukemia to an alpine star's favorite movie to a hockey player's visa issues while playing in the NHL, I absolutely love it. For two weeks every two years (yes, I love the summer games, too - and was thrilled beyond belief when they split up the Olympics so that I get to watch this stuff every two years instead of every four years) I memorize crap about curlers from Austria (I got to try curling this past winter - what an underrated sport - that is freaking fun), biathletes from Zimbabwe, snowboarders from Japan and mogul stars from England. From Ali's emotional torch lighting to the insanely hilarious Kerry Strug incident, I eat it up. And I'm not ashamed to admit it.

When I lived in NY, the greatest thing in the world was getting the live Candadian feeds of the Olympics on our satilitte dish that measured the size of half of the countries entered in the games. (I'm pretty sure that my small hometown doesn't have cable yet...at least not on the road I lived on...and I can remember my dad going out to the dish in the back field - we had 40 acres or so - to move the dish, while we set up a relay chain of my mom watching the TV to my sister outside the window and me halfway between to my dad shouting if the picture was clear or fuzzy in order to get it into focus. What a sight. No wonder my family is so weird now.) But we got to see everything before it was shown on the American stations! Of course, we were in NY so we got the feeds from Quebec - in French. And it was fun while I was in HS and was taking French in school and could understand every 18th word, but pretended to know that the commentator was saying that Maria Munoz-Juevos from Bulgaria just fell off the balance beam and broke her tibia and that the underdog from Ethiopia just overtook her on the floor routine. Thank goodness for parents that humor kids and over-encourage them. (Now, instead of that, though, my mom likes to think that I speak Spanish and French fluently enough to tell someone to reprogram a car's complex internal computer to water her orchids on the 3rd Sunday of every odd month. She's going to be sadly disappointed when I get home for Christmas and I can't do that. I should study up. I have a month. I bet my parents never knew how much of an impact the Quebec feed of the Olympics had on me. Now they do. My dad also didn't know how much the pine tree in front of our house meant to me until he cut it down. Or how much I always wanted to see him slaughter a duck and never understood why we always had to go to the front of the house with my mom when a duck was being prepared for dinner. Hmmm. I grew up on a farm in case you couldn't tell.)

But, back to the topic at hand. I absolutely love the Olympics. And everything about them. On the day after I graduated from college I flew to Switzerland to spend two weeks at the house of my doubles' partner on the tennis team who was from the French part of the small country. She happened to live near Lausanne, Switzerland - the home of the Olympic Museum. The pictures above are from that trip. From the upper left corner, going clockwise and ending with the middle picture:

* The Olympic flame that they keep burning in front of the museum. You can't see the flame itself in this picture - but it's there. I swear.
* The amazing view of Lake Geneva from the steps of the museum. It's absolutely breathtaking and this photo doesn't do it justice.
* Britt (my friend/doubles partner) and The Steph on the steps leading up to the museum.
* The Swatch statue in front. Hey, it's Switzerland.
* The Olympic flag, center stage.

The museum was unreal, the views were unreal and the city of Lausanne as a whole was, yes - you guessed it - unreal. But back to my point - I love the Olympics! And I can't wait for the next edition. If I could be in Italy going to every event and sleeping next to no time at all in order to wait for the next starter's gun to go off - I would!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Now Showing: The Newlyunweds

No more Jessica! Posted by Picasa

Could there be a more exciting story in Hollywood right now? Well, besides the question of when Brad and Angelina are gonna make it official? After months of speculation, rumor and denial - the inevitable happened, in very unexciting fashion. Jessica and Nick are done. The timing was perfect - it left just enough time after the release of Jessica's coffee table book about planning the perfect wedding to keep THAT from being totally awkward. Or not.

At least I have a shot with Nick now. I have my appointments next week to go blonde, blonde, blonde and jump up to a "D" cup. And oh yeah: Nick, I'm "saving myself for marriage," too. Or not - you'll have to find out yourself...hahaha.

Really? Is this a good idea?

This article is too funny. I guess the situation isn't...but this article is from the AP about the sisters that were hit by a balloon during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade yesterday. This just cracks me up. (My thoughts.)

Macy's to Host Family of Injured Sisters

NEW YORK (Nov. 25) - NEW YORK (AP) - The Albany sisters struck by a falling street lamp knocked loose by a wayward balloon accepted an offer Friday to attend the 2006 Thanksgiving parade and sit in the VIP section. (Is this really a good idea? Go sit CLOSER to the action next year? I would request seats about 30 rows back. Behind some tall, annoying people with big fuzzy hats.)

"We're looking forward to having them here next year, them and their family," said Macy's spokeswoman Elina Kazan. "They are remarkable young ladies. We're very sad they were injured." (Unsaid - "They are remarkable because they are dumb enough to not sue us in this litigious society where they would have a clear cut case of negligence considering how much we screwed up running these balloons down the parade route in 1997. We're sad they were hurt - but ecstatic that they don't want to sue." Not that I support the over-zealous people who sue anything and everything because they were "injured" - but come on...this would probably be easy cash in an out-of-court settlement for this family!)

Sarah Chamberlain, 11, and her sister Mary, 26, were struck by the falling 30-pound light after the tethers from the "M&M's Chocolate Candies" balloon became entangled with the lamppost along Times Square. (Wait, I thought they were the Albany sisters. Hmmmm.)

Sarah took nine stitches to her head, while her older sister - who uses a wheelchair - suffered a bump on her forehead. Their father, Stephen Chamberlain, said the family had accepted the invitation to return next year and sit in the bleachers near the Herald Square flagship store. (Why is it important to point out that her sister uses a wheelchair? Why aren't groups that protect the rights of disabled individuals shouting out in anger? You know that they could never say "her older sister, who is black" or "her older sister, who is gay." Who cares if she is in a wheelchair or not - isn't she really just a person who was injured? Does the wheelchair make that bump on her head that much worse?)

"We just count our blessings that they weren't seriously injured," Chamberlain told The Associated Press earlier in a telephone interview. "Sarah is upset because she's worried about the balloon. It ripped and she wants to make sure that the balloons stay in the parade, and she wants that one fixed." (And this girl is supposedly 11?? Doesn't the age of attachment to giant balloons end at about 7? That dad could be counting a huge payday if he played his cards right.)

He said the family won't sue because it was "a freak accident," and "accidents just happen." He also praised rescue workers and said Macy's had sent its Santa Claus to see the younger sister. (Yes, accidents happen. But they just went through this a few years ago - and they haven't figured out how to keep balloons from attacking lights yet?? Once again, this girl is 11, right? Does she really still believe in Santa? That light must have hit her a lot harder than we all thought.)

"We're all planning on going down again," Chamberlain told Channel 9 in Albany. "I told the president of Macy's, when he called this morning to see how everyone was doing, that we're going to take him up on that." (OK, now you're just name dropping.)

The second Thanksgiving Day Parade accident involving a balloon and a lamppost since 1997 prompted city officials to launch an investigation.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued a statement announcing a task force that will work with Macy's to find out what if anything about the Thursday accident was preventable. The investigative group will be co-chaired by Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo and city Office of Emergency Management head Joseph Bruno. (Can we bring Brown in from FEMA, too? This catastrophe seems like it might be at a level of management that even he can handle. I mean, he has a full year before the next parade.)

Bloomberg said that while the city was grateful there were no serious injuries, "our good fortune should not stop us from determining what went wrong and how similar incidents can be prevented in the future."
Macy's pledged its full cooperation. ('Cause the family was stupid enough not to sue.)

The lamppost involved in Thursday's accident was among those replaced following the 1997 crash of the "Cat in the Hat" balloon into a post on Central Park West, seriously injuring two people. (Appears like the replacement plan worked well.)

The old lampposts had arms that extended over the parade route, creating more possibility of a tangle with the balloon tethers; the new posts are lighter and smaller. (Does the weight of a lamp really have an impact on whether the balloon tangles in it? Yes, it will hurt less when it falls on its victims - but doesn't the issue seem to be entanglement? How does the light being lighter -hahaha- help that issue??)

Kay Sarlin, spokeswoman for the city Department of Transportation, said the problem was not linked to the size of the balloons, which has remained constant over the years. (What is the DOT doing in this? Can I get to work on a giant, inflatable version of my truck, walked along by 95 people in matching red sweatsuits and white gloves? Stupid.)

Stupid Weatherman

The last weather forcast for "Black Friday" that I heard on Thursday night was a possibility of a light dusting of 1-2 inches of snow starting in the afternoon. So imagine my surprise (and disgust) when I went to go out to my car at 11:00am and there were 3 inches of snow already laying on the ground! What the f***?? When did it change? And how could they miss it by that much?

I think that snow has an exponential effect on feelings while you're driving. For example, if you're in a really good mood to start, and you get in the car and the roads, grass and stuff are white and flakes are falling - you can't help but smile and get in an even better mood. But, if you're pissed off before you get in the car, and then it's snowing and crappy out on top of that...all you want to do is use mental telepathy to will the other cars into an uncontrollable fishtail into a telephone pole. I think that the open, white, infinity feeling created by snow diving at your car windshield creates this exponential effect. Maybe that's just me.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Oh boy!!

Unintentional comedy alert - the American Music Awards on ABC. So far, they are 5 minutes into the show and Mariah Carey has provided enough entertainment to warrant a post...

* She emerged from a giant ball to a grand appearance. Apparently everyone knew who was appearing from this giant ball (except for me) cause you couldn't see the person until the light hit her - it was just a very tall woman in a long dress until then.

* Her sound pieces in her ears must not have been working, she kept trying to fix them. It's always amusing to watch artists trying to fix them and still act natural while singing.

* Her legs and upper body do not match each other in size. Very disproportionate.

* She still has this "I'm doing so well since I got out of rehab or wherever I was" look on her face...still. Hasn't it been years since that? Stop riding that train.

* Her heels were so high she couldn't even move or walk properly. Not without clinging onto a guy.

* Then she slipped on her dress (well, on the one side of her dress that there was - the other leg was cut all the way to her waist). That was funny. She almost fell.

* She can still do that really high thing.

And now Cedric the Entertainer is retelling all of the same sorry jokes from the past year...but not delivering them well. No one's laughing. You know the jokes, "Sheryl and Lance are here...they arrived on one of those bikes built for two." and
"Lindsay Lohan's here. Thank goodness she didn't drive."

This is gonna be good.

Mariah cont...

Ahh, she just won an award...the first one of the night. And in keeping with awards show tradition, has already changed her dress and hair. And admitted that her ear pieces didn't work and her dress wasn't sewn on. Whatever that means!! That the reason she didn't move was cause she was afraid of a "wardrobe malfuntion?"

The AMA togging marathon

* Ok, no one ever said that country singers were rocket scientists...but Brooks & Dunn just said they were glad Mariah Carey won the first award because they were glad to see her in that dress again. Ok...BUT SHE CHANGED. So she wasn't wearing the same thing. She wore more clothes to accept the award.

* Rob Thomas is kinda scary. At least when he performs live.

* Oh great, Lindsay Lohan is making her prime-time singing debut. I predict train wreck.

* Good prediction, The Steph. Wow - she is BAD. And I think she's wearing a nightgown. I don't understand why though. Except she's wearing white and everyone in her band and back-up vocals is wearing black. And she's singing other people's songs. In a strange medley. Her handlers thought this was a good idea? And she just babbled something at the end that no one understood. And is celebrating like something wonderful just happened. She just performed on live TV for the first time...she didn't save a starving infant in Africa like Sally Struthers!

* Phew...a commercial. Relief.

* Gwen Stefani just floated down to the stage in the middle of a rap song in a hot air balloon that looks like an ice cream cone. Picture that image. And then after all that she sang about 6 lines.

* Then she won and went out for her speech and had no clue what award she won cause she wasn't watching since she just got off the stage and still had her monitors in her ears. Cross between cute and funny and just plain arrogant and weird.

* Why is Serena Williams there? Is she still playing tennis or is she just appearing in "ER" and at random awards shows? Is she planning on starting a singing career, too? Maybe she can sing the National Anthem before one of her matches.

* Jenny McCarthy & Hillary Duff are good friends? Since when?

* There is a definite trend in that the female singers are wearing heels soo high that they can't walk or move and always look like they are about to fall over. It's kinda amusing.

* All of the country singers are singing the opposite type of song from what they sang at the CMAs. I guess so that the 12 of us that watch both awards shows don't say "Oh, they're singing the same songs." But I also guess that they should have enough songs in their repitoire that they don't have to sing the same song twice. Afterall, they can fill an entire concert.

* What's with this weird b&w artistic cinematography during the live performances? The first time it was a solo artist and he was wearing black...so I just thought my eyes were seeing things weird or the lighting was bad. Now I see it's something weird they are doing. Just show the performance.

* Cyndi Lauper sounds the same as she did in the 80s. That's cool. She's also just as weird looking. That's also cool.

* Awesome performance by Sarah McLaughlin and Cyndi Lauper. Very, very cool. And Cedric just made fun of the weird filming of the performance. Haha. Hmm...that's the first time he has appeared since the about 45 minutes ago. I guess they decided his joke about Britney's soon-to-be-ex-husband didn't fly too well and they cut him?

* SIDENOTE DURING COMMERCIAL RELIEF: Mark Paul Gossler is gonna be joining the cast of Commander in Chief. I may have to start watching it! And on a further, rather unrelated, note, Dean Cain is joining Las Vegas...giving it even more reason to stay #1 on the favorite shows list!

* Oh no...Serena is a presenter. She's with Frankie J and is about 2 feet taller. She's presenting favorite Latin music artist for some reason. And screwed up her lines...I can't understand a word she said. Urgh.

* Why does every other category have a male & female version, and favorite Latin artist groups them together? Shouldn't they have 2 categories, too?

* Uh oh - the first obvious lip-syncher. Wahoo. I've been waiting for this moment all night. During the young rappers montage.

* How are both 50 Cent and Rob Thomas considered Pop/Rock?

* Will Smith is staying committed to "morals and ideas in the face of negativity." "Ideas??" I hope he meant to say "ideals" and just lost the "l" in the awards acceptance excitement. Otherwise his speech was stupid.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

A couple of things that make me go "hmmmmmmm"

* Leonardo DeCaprio has a head shaped like an upside down triangle. He's not "hot."

* Layering tank tops and long sleeve shirts - that's cool. Layering underwear - what's the point? (That's what the display at a local, unnamed, department store had. How weird is that? Guys don't care if you layer a solid color with plaid under your clothes. I'm sure they will just say, "Gosh, I have to take 2 sets of underwear off, now?" And girls will say, "I hope I remember which layer goes back on first.")

* "The Poseidon Adventure" may be the worst made-for-TV movie ever. It does go along with a philosophy of mine - anything with a Baldwin brother in it (save "Backdraft") absolutely sucks.

* Cover charges at auto salvage yards are not for the live entertainment or drink specials.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Awwww...how cute

In case you can't tell who is who...this was the actual caption on the website: "Owen (L), a baby hippopotamus that survived the tsunami on the Kenyan coast snuggles up to a giant tortoise near a century old in an animal facility in Mombasa, (AFP/Peter Greste)" Posted by Picasa

Thanks for the clarification on the identification. This is a cool friendship, I guess the new motivational story to tell kids is "The Hippo and The Tortoise." What gets even better is that Kenya apparently has a history of inter-species relationships taking place at their wildlife preserves. Hmmm.

No bells! And other musings.

I just learned that the high school at which my dad teaches doesn't have bells to tell kids when classes end and start. The teachers and kids just watch the clock. That just ruins the American high school experience. Now the TV show "Saved by the Bell" has no meaning to these kids. What a tragedy.

Dateline is doing the world's longest story on the guy who killed John Lennon. There is a distinct possibility that this story is longer than John Lennon's life. Yeah. Two hours. 7-9 CT. Who the hell needs to watch a 2 hour story on Lennon's killer? I am not voluntarily watching a 2 hour special on Lennon's killer, I want you to know. I figured it would be a normal Dateline...main focus on whatever it is, and then some other little stories. Then I'm sitting here going "God, this story is taking FOREVER." Then I looked at the clock and realized it's almost 9. And that Dateline started at 7! It's the 25th anniversary of Lennon's death and they are commemorating it by doing a 2 hour special on his killer?! How about talking about freaking Lennon if you are going to commemorate anything? My dad just pointed out that if Chapman had killed Lennon 24 years ago I wouldn't have anything to complain about tonight. Interesting point.

I also just learned that my dad gives test problems that are too hard for his students to solve. And that he got one "perfect problem" wrong, too. I think that he is a sick, twisted schoolteacher. Then he graded on a curve. I didn't know what grading on the curve was until like my 3rd year of college. We just had straight up grades. Kids are spoiled these days. If you fail, you fail, I say. So strange.

Another note about schools - I'm still upset that the local public schools here don't have art and music classes. This isn't the first time I have ranted on it - remember, I think all kids should have a crappy ceremic, glazed thing on their shelf at home. I still have one of mine from high school, or elementary school - it's hard to tell, my art skills were really bad.

Every time I see purple, I think of the "Purple People Eaters" from my elementary school art class. See what these kids are missing out on these days??

You wanna know something funny? Who cares, I'm telling you anyway...Pepsi with Lime in a can tastes like regular Coke. I don't like regular Pepsi in a can, but Pepsi with Lime in a can is good. And a 12 pack of Pepsi with Lime is cheaper than a 12 pack of Coke. Isn't that stupid? It's also cheaper than regular Pepsi. Probably cause no one realizes that it tastes like regular Coke and they can save $1.49 by substituting it. That tip is worthy of "Hints from Heloise" publishing.

I'm done with the healthy versions of Campbells Soup. I used the low-sodium "Healthy Choice" version of Cream of Chicken Soup to make a casserole, trying to change my ways and care about healthy eating (hey, I just cut a percent of fat out of my milk by switching to 1%. It tastes the same). But the casserole sucked with the better-for-me version of ingredients. I would rather die at 70 and eat well than live to 75 and be grossed out every time I eat.

Someone wasted their time posting this?

This is seriously a complete "article" on espn.com. The full text is below (with my comments - which are longer than the stupid story - in italics), but hit the link to verify I'm telling the truth. I can't believe I wasted a click of my mouse to read this profound report. I searched for more text below the ad, but I just didn't see any! Oh and by the way, I'm really not sarcastic at all. Really. I'm just a little critical, though. And, I just want to know how Crasnick landed this hot and heavy interview.

If he's free, Urbina still worth a look (No shit - anyone's worth the look if they are FREE! Oh wait, unless he means free as in "available." Guess that's what he means. I suppose you couldn't get a major league pitcher for literally nothing. Now, that would be a great concept, though. And, would make for a better story.)

By Jerry Crasnick
ESPN Insider

If you think it's tough for an agent to peddle a player with diminished bat speed or even a steroid habit, imagine the challenge that awaits New York-based agent Peter Greenberg. (Yes, I waste a lot of my time pondering the difficulty of those above tasks.) He represents pitcher Ugueth Urbina, who is in a Venezuelan jail waiting to go on trial on charges of attempted murder. (Thanks for the bio note on Greenberg and the synopsis on what Urbina is doing with his off-season. So far, I've been incredibly enlightened.)

Last weekend, Greenberg traveled to Venezuela to visit his client and friend. (Aww, that's sweet.) He returned confident that Urbina will be acquitted, and convinced that Urbina is still hungry to pitch in the majors. (Ok, one useful piece of info - Greenberg is a private investigator that can instantly determine a person's guilt or innocence in a quick weekend retreat to South America - guess we can eliminate the whole judicial process if we have guys like him proclaiming innocence. Also, glad that a major league pitcher just a couple of months removed from the 2005 season is still hungry. Can't imagine what would happen if he wasn't. Guess he would retire. Which is what this story ISN'T about - therefore I'm guessing he really is still hungry.)

But the agent is also aware that the process still must play out, and that there will be numerous twists, turns and provocative headlines along the way. (Whoa - and now we learn that he can state the obvious. Gotta love this agent. How do I hire him to represent me in my job search?) Before Urbina can pursue his livelihood, he must get his life in order. (Ahhh, and the life of a major league pitcher is reduced to REALITY in one short sentence. What did I say before about stating the obvious? Glad that ESPN.com boiled it down to the basics for me.)

He took my concern seriously!

Earlier this week, on Monday to be specific, I was driving down Washington Ave. in Minneapolis and as I approached the Caribou Coffee that shares a building with a yoga studio, there was an ambulance stopped in front with its emergency lights on. The standard thoughts went though my head, "Oh wow. Wonder if someone dropped a pot of hot coffee on himself." and "Bet someone pulled a muscle trying to get out of some complicated yoga move." As I got up closer, the ambulance pulled away from the curb and turned off its lights. My next thought was "Oh, guess it wasn't soo bad, they aren't tearing off to a hospital." Then I pulled up next to the ambulance (for which I had pulled over to the left a lane since it was blocking the right lane when it had its lights on at the side of the road). The next thought that ran through my head was "Holy crap, that ambulance just used its emergency lights to stop and buy coffee!!" Yes, that's right - the driver and his partner were drinking their Caribou Coffees and eating some sort of pastry out of a Caribou Coffee brown paper bag!!

At first I was angry. Then I was sad. Then I got angry again when I realized that I just pulled out of a lane of traffic for an ambulance that was buying coffee. So, I then called the medical center that operated the ambulance!! I had to leave a message on some general ambulance services voicemail. Believe it or not, my message was very civil - I really just said that this happened and that it bothered me that emergency care workers were using their lights to stop traffic to get coffee...and that I just thought that they should know about it. It was really a nice message...I didn't get mad at all. And I really didn't expect him to call me back.

But then on Tuesday, someone called from the medical center saying that he had received my message and wanted to talk to me about it. We played phone tag back and forth from Tuesday afternoon until this afternoon (today is Friday), until we finally caught up with each other. The amazing thing was that this guy, who I think is the director of ambulance stuff there, left me voicemails each time he called, called back again before I even had a chance to call back and kept saying that he would try me until we could connect. It was amazing - he actually seemed to care about addressing my concern about driver conduct!

When we finally connected he had already talked to the crew prior to talking to me, and explained their policy to me about putting on their flashing lights for security measures, etc. He also said that it bothered him because their 13 ambulances are basically giant billboards for their medical center and that their drivers have to understand that every action they take reflects back on the organization because of that. When I thanked him for making such an effort to get back to me on the issue and that I appreciated his concern for the perception created he told me that it would be hypocritcal of him to not care about the concerns of the public since their job was to serve the public! Imagine that!!

I was amazed...and impressed that he actually "got it." If I ever need to be whisked away in an ambulance, I'll request his ambulances. Hahaha. Like I'll have a chance to special request emergency transportation!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Tonight's Togging

He's still this hot! (Well, when he's not wearing the cheesy facial expression.) Posted by Picasa

TV Tonight:

* Glen Campbell looks like a character from Star Trek come to life. Seriously, have you seen him lately? And he has obviously has a crapload of plastic surgery. (See the CMAs. Yes, I watched them.)

* Dean Cain is as hot now as he was when he played Superman in the "New Adventures of Lois & Clark." (See Law & Order: SVU)

This makes me think of something. Guys have their "list." Girls are never asked about their "list."

My List (in case my relationship status ever necessitates the "list"):
* Dean Cain (duh)
* Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
* Tom Cruise (10 years ago - NOT NOW)
* Josh Duhamel

Monday, November 14, 2005

Make up your mind!

So here are all of the weather forcasts for Tuesday (tomorrow) that I have heard in the last 24 hours in this order:

* 1-2 inches of snow total, starting Tuesday morning
* 4-8 inches of snow by Wednesday, starting late Tuesday
* Light rain today, changing overnight to snow, 2-3 inches of snow total by the end of Tuesday
* Snow starting overnight tonight, blizzard-like conditions and high winds on Tuesday with 4-8 inches of snow total
* Light rain tonight and through tomorrow changes to snow late in the day, possible 3-6 inches of accumulation by Wednesday, wind chill on Wednesday of 10 degrees

I think it's going to be sunny and clear, high of 58. How in the world am I supposed to plan my day if I have no idea what the weather is going to be? Do I wear boots? Do I wear gloves? Do I need to leave 2 hours early to drive the 7 miles to Minneapolis or can I leave half an hour early?

Welcome to Minnesota! :)

Winter must be here.

I had to buy tubes of sand for the back of my truck :( Supposedly we'll have blizzard like conditions tomorrow. Wahoo.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Marine Corps Baller, Shot Caller...

Marine Corps logo Posted by Picasa

Tonight I went to the Marine Corps Ball, believe it or not. No, not as the date of a Marine. As a civilian invited as a thank you for supporting the Marines and their efforts. (Over the past summer we did some really cool stuff with connections between families here in the Twin Cities and Marines and soldiers stationed in Iraq, and a really cool July 4th celebration to honor them.) It was really quite the honor to be invited, especially since I am no longer affiliated with the team. I was touched that they thought enough of my personal efforts this summer with the programs to invite me.

It was a lot of fun, and I got to see some really nice people I had met through the team that I hadn't seen in a little while. The Marine and his wife and family that I know, with whom I sat at the ball, are being sent to Japan in a couple of weeks for three years. Exciting for them because their family will be together for the first time in two years (he is in San Diego, she and the kids are here)...not exciting for their daughter who is a junior in high school.

The whole Marine Corps Ball experience was a lot of fun. They, like all branches of the military, have great tradition of which they are very proud. And it was fun to see their ceremonies and excitement over the birthday of the Marines. But here's what I found the most amusing the whole night. And I can't get this image out of my head. And I can't stop laughing despite understanding the solemnity and tradition behind this occurrence!

As I alluded to above, sorta, the Marine Corps Ball is a big (black tie) gala that celebrates the birthday of the Marine Corps. So of course there is a big birthday cake. Here's the cool part about the Marine Corps birthday cake. It's paraded into the room with all of the pomp, circumstance, respect and honor that the flag is! I'm not joking. Everyone has to stand up, they play the Marine Corps song (From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli...) and it is escorted in by an armed guard. Well, young Marines with cool swords actually. Then they cut the cake and the honored guest (the guy who gave the keynote speech) gets the first piece. Then the oldest active Marine in attendance (tonight that was some guy born in 1963 who just returned from Iraq) and then the youngest active Marine in attendance (tonight that was one of the only two female Marines I saw there...she was born in 1986!!). They were the only people in the room allowed to get dessert before dinner. I guess their parents weren't there. Then they fed the rest of us regular food (the standard banquet fare - option of herb roasted chicken, basic salmon, beef tips or the veggie crap. Is there a hotel/convention center caterer out there that doesn't have that menu for banquets?), and then only after we ate our meal would they let us eat cake! They cut the giant cake up and gave everyone a piece. It was good, as far as birthday cakes go!

It is also just so amazing to me how young these Marines are. Actually, the majority of the soldiers, Marines, and sailors that are serving our country overseas and stateside. So many of these kids can't even drink legally yet! I think they said tonight at 70% of active duty Marines are in the 18-21 range. I could be misquoting that - but it was something very close. I guess in the history of the military and especially in times of war, the majority of servicemen and women activated to serve in conflicts have been this young...but it just seems to strange to think that these guys that are only 20 or 21 years old have already served two or three tours in Iraq and seen so much bloodshed and horror.

Alright, that's a whole 'nother dissertation from The Steph. Basically all I wanted to say tonight was that the Marine Corps Ball was really awesome and I was very honored to be invited. And I'm glad that the birthday cake got the respect that it deserved.

Friday, November 11, 2005

(Tennis) Kids These Days

Well, this post is going to make me seem at least 2x, cancel that and make it 3x, my age. But, oh well.

So tonight I spent 7.5 hours as a roving umpire for a 12-18 year old boys tennis tournament. (No, you non-tennis people, 12 year olds didn't play 18 year olds...it's 14 & under, 16 & under, 18 & under.) I decided either that I am incredibly unhip or am thinking like an old fogey when it comes to the clothes kids wear when they play tennis these days.

When I was a junior tennis player, we wore tennis clothes to play tennis. Our skirts matched our shirts, or we wore dresses. The guys' shirts matched their shorts. And we all had warm-up suits with matching jackets and pants. Here was the scene at the tourney tonight:

Every single boy was wearing size XL clothes. But here's the really funny part...no matter what size the body, the clothes were all the same size. A kid that should be wearing small or medium clothes wore XL. A kid that should wear XL wore XL. It was so strange. It's not like the kid that should wear XL wore XXL or XXXL to get the same effect. So I have a theory. Either there are lots of stores out there that are completely out of XL clothing, or there is 1 store that ONLY sells XL clothes.

Also, it's a good thing they started making basketball shorts with pockets, cause that's what the kids seem to be wearing these days. And random t-shirts or cut-off sleeve t-shirts that have nothing to do with tennis. There was even a kid wearing cargo khaki shorts. THOSE AREN'T MEANT FOR TENNIS! Oh, and nothing matched.

And for warm-up pants...you know, the stuff you wear over your shorts cause it's freaking cold outside on your way to the match...some of the kids were wearing jeans over their shorts! Or baggy cargo khaki pants. Oh, for 20 pairs of XL nylon warm-up pants from Nike to give to these kids.

When I was working the boys & girls state HS tourneys, I learned that the state high school association in MN has very a strict uniform policy for high school tennis players. (FL has one, too, but it's no where near as strict as MN.) But because of this uniform policy, the kids were all wearing tennis clothes. Or at least they weren't wearing basketball uniforms with pockets. We didn't have a uniform policy in the NY state high school federation. We could wear whatever we wanted. But we usually wore tennis clothes! At least I always did. The "non-tennis players" on the team at least just wore coordinating shorts and t-shirts. Am I pathetic that I think that MN has it right for tennis and there should be a dress code for USTA juniors, too?? "Way back in the olden days" when I played, you could tell the juniors playing in the tourney apart from the juniors just there hitting or watching because they looked the part. Now, I can't figure out who is a player, who is a friend, or who is there for the 3-on-3 pick-up games.

Part of the problem rests with the clothing suppliers because it's nearly impossible to find a warm-up suit these days. You can find "cute" pants and "cute" jackets, but not warm-up suits! Like where you buy the pants and jacket together and they charge you one price! You can't even find an individual jacket and an individual pair of pants that match to create a warm-up suit. Let alone find real tennis clothes, or sneakers, now.

And I don't buy the excuse that it's expensive to buy "tennis clothes" - you should see the cars that these kids drove up in or were dropped off in. Their families can afford Lexi and Hummeri and thousands of hours of private tennis lessons. They can afford to buy matching clothes. Lord knows they have enough that doesn't match!

God, how sad this dissertation is. Am I really only 27??? Zoinks, I am 15 years older than many of the kids in the tourney tonight. All of these kids grew up playing under the "new" rules of tennis. They have never known having a change-over after the first game of every set and kids 16 and under have always been mandated to take a 10-minute rest after the second set if they split sets. And they have always gotten a changeover after the end of a set, no matter if it was an odd or even game. Oh wow. Scary. They have it sooo easy :)

Monday, November 07, 2005


The NBA has started up again. Now there are bigger whiners in the public spotlight than me in my private spotlight :)

The Steph's Rules For Driving

Urgh. People drive me nuts. As in when I am behind the wheel of my lil' pick-up, the other so-called human beings (I prefer the term "f'ing monkeys") driving their vehicles make me insane! Due to the fact that no one else knows how to drive as well as I do, I'm writing down the rules of driving right here for the rest of the idiots to read (and yes, I believe in road rage...at the very least in screaming curse words while my middle finger is extended high in the air and is waved from right to left to right to left while I swerve to the left with extreme control around your slow a$$):

* If you make a mistake (i.e. you suddenly realize that THAT left is the one you need and you are in the right lane of a 4 lane highway), then commit to your mistake, turn around somewhere else where you won't be interfering with me and get the HELL OFF THE ROAD.

* While we're on the topic - don't turn left from the right lane of a 4 lane highway.

* Use your damn turn signal if you are going to suddenly slow down from 45 to 10 mph to pull into KFC and load up on lard.

* Use your 3 rear view mirrors. They are there for a reason - that reason being: YOU AREN'T THE ONLY CAR ON THE SIX LANE HIGHWAY.

* If you are planning on making a turn, or stopping, at the intersection 2 miles ahead, don't keep your freaking foot "riding the brake" the whole way so that I THINK you are going slow.

* If you are going 20 mph in a 55 mph zone - no matter what the reason - put your hazard lights on so I can freaking pass you instead of running into the back of your a$$.

* If the light turns red, STOP. If you do that, then everyone can comply with the next rule:

* If the light turns green, FREAKING GO.

* If you aren't able to talk on your cell phone and drive competently at the same time, then don't do it. When I was learning how to drive during my learner's permit days, my mom actually made me learn how to drink (a Coke from Burger King, you idiots, not gin & tonic) or eat a burger while driving since she knew I would do that when I had my license for real. Due to this lesson in driving, I can drive a standard, eat a burger, drink a Coke, talk on my cell phone and STILL FOLLOW THE RULES OF THE ROAD WITHOUT KILLING ANYONE. The least you can do is learn to talk and drive at the same time.

* If I'm going 65 in a 55, don't come flying up behind me and flash your lights for me to get out of your way. 'Cause I'm going to slow down to 55 and ride right next to the SUV in the lane next to me and make your life miserable. Or I'm just gonna keep going 65 and make your life miserable.

* Remember the #1 rule of driving: Don't do anything that will interfere with another driver...blend in, don't cause them to blend you in! And stop being stupid.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

My family is nuts.

And so are their neighbors. But they know it, and I include myself in the nuttiness. I was talking to my dad tonight on IM and he was telling me how he was mulching tree branches all day today. I was curious as to when my family got a chopper-upper, since that's a big deal (to those of us that like those things, hey, I got excited when we got a weed wacker on wheels. It was freaking awesome. Then I almost cried when my mom told me she broke it).

I have to reprint this conversation. It's too funny not to share with the world. It is not edited at all, this is a real conversation between The Steph and The Dad of The Steph. My side comments for your benefit are in (italics).

The Dad: Good evening. (Yes, my dad starts out that formal in an IM)
The Steph: Hi. How are you?
The Dad: Good. Kind of tired. I used the shredder most of the morning to chop up old dead limbs.
The Steph: You guys have a shredder? (How dare my family not tell me this exciting news???)
The Dad: Yeah. I got it last year sometime. I think we had it when you were here at Christmas.
The Steph: I didn't know that. No one showed it to me.
The Dad: Got it at Lowe's on clearance for $125.
The Steph: Hmmm. Good deal. What do you do with the chips?
The Dad: Maybe we didn't have it. It was back by the little room in the barn.
The Steph: I don't think you had it! I would have made you chop up a tree for me! (Seriously, I would have made him chop up a tree for me.)
The Dad: I use the stuff for mulch. Put most of it around the banana trees. (Yes, my family has banana trees. Along with two types of kumquat trees, tamerind trees, ponderosa lemon trees, 3 or 4 types of fig trees, loquat trees, persimmon trees, and 87 types of oranges/grapefruits/tangerines/etc. and 8 million orchids and bromeliads.)
The Steph: Yeah, you definitely didn't have it the last time I was home.
The Dad: I only use it for scraggly limbs. Generally dont do big limbs.
The Steph: Well then I would make you chop up a little tree for me. (Seriously, I would make him chop up a little tree for me.)
The Dad: The small limbs are easier to mulch than bag. Maybe I didn't have it. I have a lot of mulch now. Charlie wants to burn the stuff. (Charlie and Linda are our neighbors. They are really cool. They give us lots of free potting soil and blueberry bushes.)
The Steph: I would have definitely remembered if you had it. Charlie wants to burn your mulch?
The Dad: He wants to burn the limbs before I chop them up. He says it is easier. But I told him I wanted the mulch. (OK, now that's a funny conversation to imagine. Two guys arguing over a fence cause one wants to burn the other's branches while one guy wants to chop up his own branches. Oh, to be a grasshopper on that fence.)
The Steph: Hahaha. Why does he want to burn your branches? Why does he care about what you do with your branches?
The Dad: He wants to save me work. I don't burn the stuff because you technically need a permit and I really don't think it is that safe. He just wants to save me some work.
The Steph: Yeah remember when I burned down the garden back in NY? (We use to burn our "burnable" garbage when we lived in rural NY. One Spring my little burn barrel fire got a bit out of control and I burned down all of the dried up crap in the garden. The great thing was that I wound up accidentally fertilizing the garden by doing this and it was the best flower garden ever that year. For proof that this works, see pictures of Yellowstone after it grows back after fires. Greener and with bigger flowers than ever!)
The Dad: Yes, but you didn't burn down the house. And I had a fire extenguisher. Charlie will need a whole fire engine if his gets out of control.
The Steph: What the heck is he burning??
The Dad: He burns old trees and limbs.

Was that weird or what?


I think that the cameramen are drunk. And I think that Forrest Sawyer has lost control of the episode. I think everyone's just making crap up now.

Something tells me that this episode is not going to make it into reruns. They should either skip it or reshoot it!

Just when I thought it couldn't get worse...

Did they rehearse this?? Seriously. Did they rehearse this?? There are camera people walking in front of live cameras to get into position. If they had rehearsed this, that wouldn't happen. And both actors would know their lines. I would hope!

Why don't they use those invisible teleprompters that real politicians use for speeches? And why does Forrest Sawyer look so lost? He is such a bad actor.

Why don't they see that I'm right?

This is my new take on glogging...I'm going to call it "togging" - blogging and doing a running commentary on a TV show that is not a sporting event.

We are about 15 minutes into the live episode of "West Wing" and my statement that live prime-time episodes are a bad idea stands true.

I had such hope in the first 47 seconds. I thought, "Wow, this has potential and they may prove me wrong." The set is large and they have enough cameras to allow for great angles (like Matt Santos getting a little kiss on his cheek from his wife behind stage), and when you think about it, the subject matter of this episode (a presidental debate) is conducive to live TV. And then in the 48th second it just went downhill.

* Forrest Sawyer is playing himself in the role of the moderator. While he was explaining the rules of the debate, Alan Alda (I can't remember his character's name) couldn't stop laughing for no reason. Something was obviously amusing that we couldn't see. When that happened on the live episode of "Will & Grace," it was OK because that was a comedy. This is a drama.

* Matt Santos had a line after Forrest finished the rules, but someone forgot to tell the sound guys that because his microphone wasn't on. Ooops. (By the way, this is the point in the episode at which I would have cut from the live episode and started rolling the pre-recorded tape of the same episode.)

* Alan Alda had the opening statement. He got through being happy to be there and thanking the audience before forgetting his lines. Then the camera panned to Forrest, who was like "What the hell am I supposed to do?" and to Matt Santos who looked very confused. When Alan started saying lines again, I was unsure if they were really his lines or just something he was saying. Matt Santos was biting his lip to not laugh.

* This is boring. The episode.

* They forgot to practice camera angles beforehand I guess.

* Alan Alda is REALLY REALLY REALLY bad at live TV. REALLY bad. I can't tell you how bad he is at this.

* Alan Alda is NOT very presidential. If I was a voter in this election and watched this debate, I would definately vote for Matt Santos. I hope that Alan Alda never runs for President in real life because this will really hurt his campaign. But then again, look at our current president...maybe TV does imitate life.

* This would never happen in real life. I thought that "West Wing" was supposed to be drama based on how the White House could be/would be/is run. A debate would never happen like this. This is insane.

* I'm so disappointed in this episode. I knew it was going to be bad, just because it was live. But this is just beyond saving. I was prepared to be disappointed and not like it. I can't believe that they went beyond my disappointment. I love this show. This makes me really sad :(

Continuation of Rude People Rant...

I meant to write about this last night. But quite frankly, I forgot to.

Yesterday, I was setting up the small merchandise table at a local college football game (I help two of my friends sell t-shirts/sweatshirts/etc at these games, and they do it as a favor to their friend...it's a lot of fun, we have a good time - people watching is hilarious!). I arrive and the boxes of stuff are under the two tables. It's about an hour before the game is scheduled to start, and our tables are set up in the entrance-way where the little concessions/table area is. It's actually like a "common area" at the school, so it has a very lounge-like feel to it. I pull out the first box and take out 1 sweatshirt and put it on the table, then reach in to pull out the 2nd sweatshirt, etc. I have barely put the first sweatshirt down on the table when the woman who was sitting at the round table nearest our set-up jumps out of her seat and says, "Oh, you have sweatshirts!?" I was like yeah, and continued to pull stuff out of the boxes because it was pretty obvious that I was just getting started setting up. Or so I thought! Wow, I must have been mistaken.

By the time I have pulled the 3rd sweatshirt out of the box (you know, different sizes, all of the same style of sweatshirt, it's really an amazing concept) about 3.5 seconds later, this same woman says to me, "Is that all you have??" I resisted the urge to tell her to sit down and shut up for 5 minutes so I could pull the stuff out of the box, and instead "Nice The Steph" prevailed and I said, "No, we have a couple of other things. Let me pull them out for you." Then after each of the remaining 3-4 different items was pulled out she asked me 47 questions about it. I was sooo temped to just say "CHILL OUT." Gosh it's good that I'm such a freaking nice person. Then she decided she wanted to buy something but didn't have exact change, but since I had literally just arrived and hadn't seen the AD yet, I didn't have the cash box yet. Urgh. Fortunately it arrived about 37 seconds later. I don't know what I would have done with that lady if it hadn't arrived so soon.

Oh, and this same lady wanted to buy our $5 close-out t-shirts for no more than $2.50. The AD is a VERY nice guy and sold it to her for $3. I would have charged her $10 for it at that point. If she could afford tuitition at that school for her kid, she could afford the $5 shirt!

It was amazing how the instant I started to pull out that first sweatshirt this lady developed the need to buy something before the second hand on Mickey got all the way around again. Is it really that pressing to buy a $15 long-sleeve t-shirt from a small college athletics program with an hour to go before kick-off that the salesperson is tempted to find an armed guard to fend you off?

Oh, and then that started this deal on the T-shirts. $5 each, or if you buy anything else then it was $3 per shirt. Well, one guy seemed to think that if he just bought two of those shirts then he could get them for $3 each cause he was buying two things. I tried to tell him, no, $5 for the first and $3 for the second. But it was just too exhausting to argue over $2 and I just gave him the two shirts for $6. People are nuts.

Alright, I'm going to watch the live episode of West Wing and cry when they try to ruin one of my favorite prime time shows by doing a live episodes. I REALLY REALLY REALLY want to meet the idiot at NBC that decided to start doing live episodes.


So I'm sitting here rereading some of my older blog posts (I can't say "old" cause I really haven't been blogging for very long!), and I realized that with my in-depth critiques and analysis, I have probably eliminated myself from employment contention at several teams and companies. And possibly made myself eligible for a raise prior to even applying for a job at other companies with my comments and compliments. I decided that it would be interesting to create a list of these companies/organizations/individuals...just cause I'm bored and I think that people will care. Or not. But it seemed like a fun way to waste some time. And as I write this list, I am greatly amusing myself. Which is what really counts. So screw the rest of you if you think this is a pointless exercise...skip to the next post!

So here goes the list:

Places That Would Hate Me Now If I Was Dumb Enough To Send A Link To My Blog To Them (or if any of my 3 readers, including my family, are mean enough to do it):
Red Sox (I'm REALLY OK with this one!)
Sometimes ESPN.com
Sometimes the NFL
Fox Sports (and add without a doubt: Tim McCarver, Joe Buck and Scooter - this is the one I am most proud of out of all of them on this list!)
The Williams Sisters
All prime-time TV shows with live episodes
Houston Astros Clubbie
Sometimes MLB Marketing
William Baldwin
The Red Cross volunteers that went through training with me
Rude Americans
Gopher fans
A stupid local "advertising firm"

Places That Would Love Me Now If I Was Smart Enough To Send A Link To My Blog To Them (or if any of my 3 readers, including my family, are nice enough to do it):
Sometimes ESPN.com
NBC's "Today Show"
Sometimes MLB Marketing
"How I Met Your Mother" (and Neil Patrick Harris)
City of St. Paul Tourism
Greeks (especially Kalikantzaroi)
The American Red Cross
Power Ball
New Yorkers
The Month of October
Gator fans
Super Target
Webster's Dictionary

This boat has floaties...

The Vikings are actually winning a game. By a lot. 24-0 in the 2nd quarter. Oh wait, they have a non-whining, proven Super Bowl Champion QB in there this week. And did I mention that they're playing the Lions? And Joey Harrington? Maybe this lead isn't such an amazing accomplishment yet.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

I miss SNL.

The funny SNL, that is. Remember when it was LOL-funny? I know, most people don't. 'Cause that was a decade or more ago. But, WOW, it's pathetic now. "Weekend Update" isn't even funny anymore without Jimmy Fallon, no matter what anyone says. And that used to be the only part of SNL to which I looked forward.

Now, all they have are stupid, meaningless skits that don't make any sense. I'm all for stupid, brainless comedy that doesn't seem to have a point. If you have ever been to Homestarrunner, you understand that. That is just senseless cartoon skits that have no real reason. Like new boots that need an extension cord? Or Trogdor? What the hell are those? But who cares - they are funny with no real reason. And Teen Girl Squad. There's no point to that. It's just funny without having a real rationale or basis. Or deep thought. But SNL has no rationale, basis or humor. I just don't get their humor anymore. And there's nothing "to get."

Great, now I have confused myself and babbled on about nothing. Literally about nothing. How something that has no meaning or reason can or can't be funny. Wonderful. My Saturday nights have come to this. Zoinks.

We'll take Theo.

Based on Page 2 writer Jim Caple's eval of Theo Epstein's departure from Boston, I'll beat the Red Sox fans to the joke (which they won't get around to coming up with until they get over their sadness enough to remember that this is a way to make cracks about the Yankees. And, it what Yankees fans are best at - beating Red Sox fans to their jokes about the Yankees - cause we're smart enough to do that. Have you ever heard a Red Sox fan beat anyone to a self-depricating joke? No, cause A) they aren't smart enough to do it and B) they can't take a joke from anyone. New Yorkers are smart and tough with a sense of humor. Go Yankees.).

Senor Caple said:
"It's hard to know for sure, because of the way the mainstream media, talk radio and blogosphere have buried this story, but Epstein apparently left the Red Sox because he didn't always see eye-to-eye with team president Larry Lucchino. This is a startling development, of course, because it makes him the first person in history who did not get along with his boss.
And who can blame him? After all, Lucchino only hired Epstein a decade ago, then made him the game's youngest general manager, then gave him the second-largest budget in baseball to work with, and then offered him a $4.5 million contract to stay. The gall! Imagine working for such an ogre. That is so much worse than what Brian Cashman or Terry Ryan ever have to deal with."

Red Sox Fan's Punch Line:
"Sounds like he's perfect for the Yankees."

And What Yankees Fans Will Say:
"We'll take him!"

What Red Sox fans fail to realize is that regardless of who we have, there is always someone else out there that can make you better or help you along. And regardless of former alliances, we'll take them! You would think that the Red Sox would understand that, considering their pitching staff in the last few years has spent a few games in Yankees pinstripes themselves.

And what Red Sox fans will also fail to realize in all of this, by putting down the Yankees by saying that Epstein is perfect for them, they are also putting down themselves. But good for them for not seeing the whole story in a joke. It lets them keep the stars in their eyes. And brings them back to their pre-2004 success misery. I'm glad that the Red Sox will have something to make them sad in 2006. They were just too damn happy in 2005. It wasn't natural for them and they weren't sure how to react all year. Their hearts weren't into their "Yankees Sucks" cheers. It really took some of the fun out of it for the Yankees fans. It's hard to have your "A Game" on in a rivalry if your opponents just aren't up to it.

I have already spent too much time reading ESPN.com this morning.

The NBA has 1 fan.

I wonder how much of ESPN.com's Pat Hruby's salary is paid by David Stern? Because he sure does believe in the NBA, at a time in which even people who love pro basketball still believe most of these rumors regardless of how much they defend the sport!

Here's my eval of his eval of some of the "rumors:"

2. Only the Last Five Minutes Matter
His words:
"...don't think players are lollygagging the rest of the way. Slack off early? Your team may not have a chance to make up the deficit. And you probably won't be on the floor to help...Remember: every NBA player wants to start. Every player wants to finish. The time in the middle is a rolling audition."

My words:
"Actually, only the last 3 minutes matter. Have you ever been to an NBA game that was closer than 15-20 points before 5 minutes remaining in the game? And then suddenly at 3:21 remaining, the lead switches and everyone gets excited? Here is where I'm torn between the rules in sports like hockey, basketball and football vs. volleyball (ok, I really don't watch volleyball or care about it, I'm using it as a scoring example) tennis and baseball. There are no clocks in volleyball, baseball and tennis. It's all about getting to the end. Even in hockey, which does have a clock, in most games it's exciting til the end 'cause the scores are usually so close that 1 shot on goal, which only takes a couple of seconds, can change the outcome. And, at least in football one scoring opportunity can yield a ton of points, and can be done on 1 quick pass. So, unless it's a complete blow-out and the entire second half is irrelevant, the game can still be exciting 'til the end. Usually when it's played on a Monday on national television. But that's a whole 'nother conspiracy theory. Let's revolutionize basketball and get rid of the clock. That would be fun. Play it like volleyball. Best of 5 sets, first to 25 in each set. Yeah, that's a great idea. I'm writing to David Stern."
"OH, and by the way, if the 'time in the middle is a rolling audition' - then does it really matter? Have you ever seen an audition that counted in the box office revenues? I didn't think so. But, nice try at making a point."

3. The Draft Lottery is Rigged
His words:
"In other words, just a typical, unremarkable, massive follow-the-ping-pong-ball plot linking Jordan, David Stern, the NBA, the networks, the accounting firm of Ernst and Young, the CIA and the Freemasons.
And, possibly, whoever shot Tupac."

My words:
"Who really cares? In this age of trades, free agents and all of that other jazz, players don't stay too long in any one place. So, does it really matter who they get 1st in the draft one year? Because they'll probably trade him away soon. Or if a team DIDN'T get the 1st draft pick then they can get someone else equally brilliant by calling another team and making a 'blockbuster trade.' Maybe I'm wrong and the 1st draft pick is important, look at what LeBron James has done for the Cavs. They have won the NBA Championship since then, right? Or at least brought back the popularity of red #23 jerseys . That counts for something. I think."

Which leads to the final rumor I'm going to address...
8. The Fix is in for Big-Market Teams
His words:
"...keep in mind that NBA ratings have less to do with a team's local market size than its national following..."

My words:
"Hmmmm. I didn't actually read any real arguments against this rumor in his evaluation, so there wasn't much to copy and paste. So maybe he's saying that the fix isn't in for big-market teams, but it is on for very popular teams with big-name players. And with owners who had just won two other 'world titles' within the year so they need to add the third title in order to make for a 'nice story.'"

Friday, November 04, 2005

Running out of letters!

Hmmm. I must type a lot. My keyboard is losing it's letters! That's right. I can't see half of the letters on my keyboard anymore! It's a really good thing I don't have to look at the keyboard to type. I don't even know what letters I'm missing because when I look at the keyboard, I'm not sure what is supposed to be in the blank spaces. I only know where the letters are when I'm not looking at them! Let's see, in order to find out what letters are missing, I'm going to hit all of the blank keys. If you have any of these missing letters, let me know.

Blank Keys:

Well that's stupid...those don't even spell anything. Why in the world are they worn out???

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Unpaid Advertisement for NBC

Yes, I know that this makes me a geek. Well, not makes me a geek, but further proves the point. I am fascinated by Mars and outer space, I think dinosaurs are cool (Stegasaurus is my favorite, for the record) and I love the time of year when NBC's "Today Show" does "Where in the world is Matt Lauer?"

How cool is this week of his life? In 6 years he has traveled to 30 different locations...spending less than a day at each. But every day for a week he's in a different place, from the pyramids of Egypt to an oil rig in the North Atlantic. Each trip takes him to one of those places that you read about in books in school, and I, for one, always thought it would be cool to go to all of them. He basically gets to take your 7th grade geography and history books and make them come alive.

Make your jokes about me being a geek...but if someone gave me the chance to take a week and go to 5 different amazing places around the world, I would endure the jet lag and customs and poor service on a plane to see 5 really cool places. So there.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

To interfere or not to interfere...that is the question...

The NFL can't seem to decide whether they get involved in team "security" issues or not. This past weekend, an idiot ran onto the field in Cincy and took the ball right out of Brett Favre's hands...and it took 5 minutes for them to tackle him and get the game restarted.

From AOL.com Sports:
"NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Monday that the league doesn't get involved in team security issues.
'It's a local matter,' he said. 'If there's any questions, we can assist them. But it appears to be an isolated incident, and the Bengals are reviewing it.'"

Now, remember, just a couple of weeks ago, Tagliabue actually flew in to Chicago to meet with the Vikings' owner at an airport about improving team security and offered up the NFL security guy to them. If that's not getting involved in team security issues, I don't know what is. Seems to me that the NFL should be a bit more worried about crazed fans running onto the field and interfering with play or compromising safety than with some moral issues that a team has.