Friday, December 18, 2009

Decisions... Decisions....

Well, it's that time of the year again. I have a Christmas gift card and Christmas cash. Now, I just need to decide what to spend it on. The first thing that popped in to my head was to buy a Nintendo Wii. Now, I'm not a huge gamer, but a few months back, I was at my friend Keith's house, and he has a Wii. We played Star Wars: Force Unleashed, and it was bad as a MoFo! That would be my primary reason for getting the Wii. Not only could I play alone, but I could connect over the Internet and play against Keith, and others who have it. Also, Wii has the Wii Fit games that you can use to get exercise & burn calories. However, as I understand it, the Wii does not play BluRay, like Xbox and PS3 do. I believe Xbox and PS3 will also stream Netflix movies. But PS3 is also $100 more expensive. There also remains the option of simply getting a BluRay player, and bag the whole idea of a game system. Or I could go another direction entirely. So, I pose the question to you, the audience. Which way do I go? Thoughts, please?

Monday, November 30, 2009

City of Brotherly Love

Well, I had something exciting happen this weekend. We were in Jersey for Thanksgiving and Chrissy's Aunt Fran's 90th (!) birthday party. The original plan had been to head home late Saturday night, hopefully after the traffic had eased. However, at the party, we were talking to Chrissy's cousin Joe, who lives in Winchester, VA. Joe shares Eagles season tickets with a friend of his, and had been planning on taking his brother Mike, who was at the party too, to the Eagles/Skins game on Sunday. Unfortunately (for him), Mike had a flight leaving out early in the morning. Joe's wife, much like mine, would go with him and enjoy the game, but would rather him go with another real fan who will enjoy the game. After a little discussion, he asked if I wanted to go to the game! I'm sure he would rather have gone with an Eagles fan, but at least this way, he didn't have to find a sitter for the kids.

Fortunately for me, we had brought laundry to do, so I had one of my Redskins jersey's. And, of course, I had my Skins hat. So, steeling myself for plenty of ribbing, I met up with Joe and we headed to the Linc. I wasn't overly fearing for my safety for two reasons: 1) I'm not the type to come back at drunken idiots yelling at me. I'll just let it lie. 2) What were they going to say that I didn't already know? "Redskins suck"? I'd just shrug and say, "And?..." While I certainly think we have potential to play much better than we have, we are currently 3-8.

So we head to the park and look around for a parking spot. On our 3rd side street, we finally find a spot and pull in. There are two guys sitting in lawn chairs enjoying some pre-game beverages. Of all the possible spots on all the streets and all the fans milling about, guess what? One Eagles fan and one Skins fan! So we chatted with them as we ate the Wawa hoagies we picked up on the way in. Once we were done eating and pontificating, we headed to the stadium. As many people as we passed, I was surprised not to hear any comments until I was about a block from the stadium, when a police officer directing traffic shook his head ruefully, sighed and said, "I know you can't help it." This brought me to attention of another fan who called out, "Here's an asshole!" After that, I made it the rest of the way to the stadium relatively unscathed. A few times, I hears "Redskins... mumble mumble..." muttered under someone's breath behind me.

Before the game, Joe showed me around the stadium a bit. A little mini-tour. It is a very nice stadium. A lot more character to it than FedEx Field. There was HeadHouse Plaza, an area where various vendors hocked their wares while a band played on stage. In addition, there was an Interactive Zone with activities for kids, including Play 60 activities. I even saw a few Skins fans milling about, though not nearly as many as there were Eagles fans at FedEx four weeks ago. Inside, next to the pro shop, there was a hall of fame area that had names on the walls of past players, glass towers showing notable past players, photo collages showing key moments from each decade. In the South corner of the field was the Miller Lite Phlite Deck, where a band played at halftime.

After the tour, we headed toward our seats. Upper level, row 5. However, in our section, there is what I believe was an area for handicap seating, which took up the first four rows, and was lower than where our seats were. So, for all intents and purposes, we were in the front row of the upper level! Naturally, on the way there, I heard "asshole!" a couple more times, as well as "Redskins suck!" Once we made it to our seats, the people around us were very nice. The one exception being a Redskins fan two rows behind us. He was so annoying, I wanted to smack him, and we were rooting for the same team! He was much louder than I was, and repeatedly called for Philly players to get injured or killed. I'm all for healthy competition, and good-natured "insults" between fans, but he crossed the line. I don't want anyone (even Cowboys players or fans!) to get hurt or killed. I just want a good game, hopefully that the Redskins win. I did get a good game. Unfortunately, we lost 27-24. Not a huge surprise, but disappointing. On the way out, one Eagles fan in the row behind us even tapped me on the shoulder and said admiringly, "You guys played a tough game!" Guess that's about the most we're going to be able to hope for this season...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Letting Go and Moving On

I was looking at my sporadic blog, and at my earlier post about our new cat, Mister. I realized I hadn't posted a picture of him here. I had put some pictures of him on my Facebook, but not here. There may be some people who see this who don't see my Facebook, and vice versa. So in any case, this is Mister:

This segues nicely into the subject of my post. I've been struggling recently with letting go. I saw a comedian (I think) a while back talking about friends who have died, and how long you should wait before deleting them from your cell phone. Oh, wait. It was George Carlin. It was his last special on HBO before his passing. Interesting. Anyway, in a similar fashion, I don't know how soon is too soon to change my digital presence to reflect Buddy's passing. I have a picture of Buddy for my avatar on several different sites to which I regularly post. I have a pic of Buddy as the wallpaper on my phone. A few times, I have gone to change it, wanting to put a pic of Mister on there. But I always stop before I do. I feel like somehow I'm betraying Buddy's memory by doing so. I know that's completely irrational, and strictly an emotional reaction, but there it is. So, how soon is too soon?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Some Stats on Jason Campbell

Toward the beginning of the season, I had a discussion with another Redskins fan regarding Jason Campbell. Like many others, he stated that he thought Campbell needed to go. I disagreed, saying that the problem was the Offensive Line, not the Quarterback. We agreed that we would see who was right by mid-season. Now that we're into the 2nd half of the season, I went through some stats and put together an argument for my side as follows:

During the Kansas City game, when Campbell was benched at half, and Collins came in:

- Campbell was 9 for 16 for 89 yards. 1 sack, 1 INT, 0 TD. QB Rating 46.1
- Collins was 6 for 14 for 75 yards. 2 sacks, 0 INT, 0 TD. QB Rating 60.1

Last week against Atlanta:

- During the first half, the Offensive Line gave no protection. Campbell was sacked 5 times. Portis had 4 runs for 4 yards. Then, Portis went out with a concussion. Betts came in and had 4 runs for 14 yards The team had 1 FG. No TD.

- By all counts, Zorn and Bugel completely ripped the team for playing terribly (stating, among other things, "This is not Pop Warner football!"). During the 2nd half, the O-Line began blocking much better. At which point:
- Betts had 11 runs for 56 yards + 1 reception for 23 yards. Cartwright had 7 runs for 16 yards. The Line gave up no more sacks and team scored 2 TDs.

This week agains Denver, the O-Line blocked better than they have all year, and:

- Campbell went 17 for 26 for 193 yards. 1 TD, 0 INT.
- The Skins rushed for more yards than they had all season, and scored more points than they had since week 2 of last season.
- Campbell's QB rating for the Denver game was 100.3, which was better than the week 10 ratings for Joe Flacco (98.1), Payton Manning (97.4) and Donovan McNabb (93.7).
- Campbell's current QB rating for season is 87.9, which is better for the season than media darlings, such as Matt Ryan (78.8), Jay Cutler (76.0), Matt Cassel (75.3).

All of which is to say that I think Campbell is a good QB. I'm not saying he's Payton Manning or Tom Brady, he just needs an Offensive Line that protects him. He got that in the beginning of last season, and the Redskins went 6-2. He didn't get it at the end of last season, or the beginning of this season, and the Skins went 4-12 for that period. He got it on Sunday, and we beat the 6-2 Broncos, who were and are still at the top of the AFC West. I rest my case.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Mister Update

First big kitty news, Mister had his first vet appointment yesterday. Well, not exactly his first, but his first with us. He had two vet appointments in NJ before coming down here. But this was his first time seeing our vet, Dr. Shah. It was so cute. We walk in a couple minutes after 8:00 a.m. (our appointment was at 8:00), and there is half the staff waiting to see our new boy! They all loved Buddy so much, they were all excited to meet Mister. Naturally, they all thought he was adorable.

He was very curious about the new surroundings. He jumped on the exam table, jumped down, did a few laps around the room, jumped on the counter, jumped down. At one point, he tried to jump up on the top edge of a corkboard on the wall. That didn't work out so well. But he was able to push off before falling down and he landed safely back on the exam table. Best of all, though, he got a clean bill of health from the doc. Yay!

Even though he was really good while he was there, he still wasn't too happy about the whole experience. When we got home, he pretty much ran for the bed and stayed there most of the day. He seems to have settled down now, though, and he's looking forward to a visit from his Aunt Noelle this weekend.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Vacation and New Beginnings... and New Beginnings?

Well, we're back. We spent last week at the beach in Wildwood, NJ. Naturally, it rained almost every day there. Of course, except for Friday, when we were packing up to head back. But, as the old saying goes, a bad day at the beach is better than a good day at work. Seriously, though, vacation is vacation. I always feel that you can't control your circumstances, you can only control how you react to them. Whether we were able to sit out on the beach, or were stuck in our room, or wherever else we went, it was up to us to have fun. And so we did. We went to the Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum at Cape May Airport. We went down to the Boardwalk one morning when it hadn't started raining and rode rented bikes. We played Rummikub. We visited Douglass Fudge for the first time, where I found that the fudge well exceeded that of any other I have tasted. In fact, they have sugar-free fudge that tastes better than any other regular fudge I have ever tasted! (sorry James). We finally got to try chocolate-covered bacon from Laura's, after seeing it on Dinner Impossible! Everything really is better with bacon.

We did finally have to come back. But we were not alone. As you know if you read this blog, last month, we had to put our beloved Buddy to sleep. Well, about four or five months before that, a young cat began loitering in my mother- and sister-in-law's garage. After a several phone calls, discussions and back-and-forth decisions, they decided to keep him. Not for themselves, but for the unfortunate, inevitable time after Buddy was no longer with us. We knew we would want another cat at some point, we just weren't sure how soon. Well, a month later, we knew we would be in NJ for our shore vacation, and decided to bring Mister home with us when we came back. They had taken him to the vet, so we knew he was a healthy, neutered male about two years old (sadly, many people in that area drop unwanted pets off in the countryside, rather than find homes for them or take them to shelters). It has been just over a day, and he seems to be adjusting pretty quickly. After the initial lap around the apartment looking for the way back to the garage he knew, he worked is way under our couch. He stayed there for about an hour, before finally coming out. He walked around again, trying to figure out where he was. He eventually got used to us enough that he sat in my lap for a few minutes. Then he wandered again, eventually ending up on the couch. He spent most of the afternoon sleeping (he had a rough morning), with periods of waking up to explore. He still hasn't eaten or drank much, but we're hoping that, as he gets used to the fact that he is safe here and his food is safe here, his appetite will pick up.

The other, fortunate-yet-unfortunate new beginning was the new football season which began this weekend. The Redskins lost their opener to the Giants 23-17. The game really wasn't as close as the score and stats might indicate. They looked fairly outplayed in many aspects of the game. I don't know what happened to the much-touted West Coast Offense that we displayed to great effect against the Steelers' 1st team in preseason. It looked like Zorn had abandoned the passing game and reverted to the Gibbs run run run game. The "upgraded" defense looked like it got some of the big plays (a sack and 2 turnovers) it wanted, but at the expense of basic good play across the board. DeAngelo Hall got an INT, but missed several tackles that let big plays get by him. Haynesworth created some pressure, but not enough to collapse the pocket on the QB as we wanted. Orakpo was virtually invisible all night. I certainly hope this was just a rough beginning and we'll shake the rust off next week. There's no reason we shouldn't beat the Rams next week, but then again, there was no reason we should have lost to them last year!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sad News and Angry Letter

As I'm sure most of you are aware (especially those on Facebook), we had to put our beloved Buddy to sleep. To make a very long story short, he was at least 15 years old (we never new for sure exactly how old) and diabetic. Toward the end, he stopped eating and drinking, and was so weak he could barely stand. We really did try everything we could (antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, testing his blood sugar) to give him (and us) as much time as possible. We finally had to let him go. It got to the point where it was not going to be fair to him any more. It was a difficult decision, and the first time either of us had to make that decision, but it had to be done. By the time we actually brought him to the vet, his condition had deteriorated to the point that neither of us had any doubt that we did the right thing. It was tough for us, but right for him. *sigh* Very sad.

Ok. That was the sad news. Now, the angry letter. An angry e-mail, actually. A while back, I had been noticing some delays in the turnaround of the movies on our Netflix queue. I went back & forth with Netflix customer service sending me non-responsive form letters that had nothing to do with my problem. Someone finally answered me personally, that Netflix was sorry, blah blah blah, if it happens again, let them know, more details, yadda yadda yadda. It happened occasionally after that, but for the most part was fine. Recently it has gotten worse again. So I did a little looking on my history and wrote back to them. Maybe you can tell me if this happens to you, too. When we return a movie, we put it in the mail, Netflix receives it the next day, then ships out the next movie later that same day, we receive it the following day. Three day cycle. One day each for shipping each way. What I have noticed is that during periods when we watch a lot of movies, suddenly, it takes two days for them to receive our returns. This month, we have returned eight movies (with a ninth on the way back). Our last four movies were mailed on two consecutive Mondays, but Netflix didn't show them as received until Wednesday, which means we didn't get the next movies until Thursday. This only seems to happen when we exceed about five movies in a month. What I suspect is that, when our frequency of return becomes to high, they will receive a movie, but hang on to it for a day before officially marking it as received. The more movies we can get out of them in a month, the more processing they must do and the more postage they have to pay. If they can slow us down a little, it saves them money. Maybe if we get fed up enough, we'll upgrade our membership and they can make even more money.

Hmm. Just thought of something else. I didn't think about until I was just writing this post. I'm sure they will say that they have no control over the Post Office, and it's probably just random delays. The one problem with that, which I did mention in the e-mail, is that the delays only occur when our frequency of rental increases. The other problem, which just occurred to me, is that the shipping delay never occurs when they ship us the movies. Only when we return them. That would be a pretty big coincidence...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Borrowed Time

Well, we got some bad news from the vet today. It's a pretty safe bet that our Buddy has an abdominal lymphoma. In other words, a cancerous tumor. It was a fairly emotional morning. Our vet, Dr. Shah, is really wonderful. I think he's really trying to get us to realize that it's not going to be much longer. There was some discussion as to whether we should put him to sleep today. The other options consisted of nothing (where he would waste away to nothing), Prednisone (which would have had too many side effects), Metacam (an anti-inflammatory, which would hopefully alleviate some discomfort or pain he may experience, and allow him some quality for what time he may have left). So we decided to go with the Metacam. We'll see how that does for him. We also got an antibiotic, since he seemed to be displaying some of the same symptoms he had before when he had a mouth infection. We hope that between the two medicines, he'll start to feel a little better and start eating better. When we can get him to eat, he seems to perk up quite a bit. The problem is getting him to eat. If all goes well, and everything works as we hope, we're still probably only looking at a couple of months. But for now, he's home, and he doesn't seem to be in any pain or discomfort.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Redskins Training Camp

Well, it's almost upon us. Camp starts this Thursday, I believe. (Why it starts on a Thursday, I have no clue.) I've thought about going to Fan Appreciation Day, but I think I'll pass. a) Don't want to go solo. b) It's going to be hotter than Hades, not to mention humidity roughly equal to that of the Atlantic. c) The older I get, the more crowd averse I get.

As we get closer to the season, naturally, all the prognosticators have to put in their $0.02. Not too many people are giving us much of a chance. I think the collapse of the O-line in the 2nd half of the season is looming large in everyone's mind. I, on the other hand, think we'll do much better than last year. I certainly hope so. Of course, I am optimistic. I am a fan, no? In any case, it's not entirely without cause. Our defense, already ranked 4th last year, has added Albert Haynesworth. He should draw double, sometimes triple coverage in the middle, meaning someone else should come free to go after the QB. His presence also should effectively shut down (or at least limit) the middle lane for RBs. We also added Orakpo on the line and Daniels is back and healthy. In the secondary, we re-signed Hall and Rogers has had a full offseason of working on a healthy knee. No question our defense should be greatly improved over its already spectacular performance last season.

The greatest question marks appear on the offense. Here's why I think we'll do better this season. Campbell is in his 2nd year under Zorn. His handling of the off-season shenanigans of Snyder & Cerrato shows his maturity and determination to be the leader of this team. I think he will make great strides this season. Last year's rookie receivers are now healthy, know the system, have adjusted to NFL speed and have had an entire offseason to work with Campbell. I think they will step up and give defenses someone to cover other than Moss. Portis, as usual, is a machine (though I don't get the new look...). Another 1,000+ season. The O-line is the only area of concern. They've certainly gotten younger, with the release of Jansen & Kendall and the return of Dock. The question is, will they gel as a unit and stay healthy? If they do, I think there's no limit to what this offense can achieve. Apparently, Madden 10 agrees with me...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Two for Two!!

For the second night in a row, Larry Michael read one of my questions on Redskins Nation!! Last night, I asked if the Skins would consider putting Rock Cartwright in on punt returns. Tonight, in response to the recent press release regarding the changes in the parking and tailgating rulse, I asked what the shuttle situation would be this year. This time, they didn't use my last name, but they still said "Michael from Crofton." Those were my only two emails so far, so I guess I'm going to have to come up with some more questions.

Monday, June 22, 2009

I'm Famous!!

Most people who know me (and many who don't) know that I am a big Redskins fan (and season ticket holder!). There's a show I've been DVR-ing and watching on Comcast SportsNet called Redskins Nation. It's a nightly show, hosted by Larry Michael, who does the play-by-play on the Redskins radio broadcasts. Every show, they do a segment with fan questions. People can write in and ask questions, and Larry and the Official Redskins Blogger, Matt Terl, answer. Tonight, they led the segment with a question I sent in last week! They even said my full name and location, so there was no doubt it was me! Yaaayy!!

Double Lobster

I guess any weekend where you have two lobster meals can't be all bad. On Saturday, Chrissy's company had their annual summer gathering. This year, it was at the National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland. They have a Fosters Clambake tent right by the water. I think I heard that the clambake goes on every weekend, but they rent out for groups on occasion, too. In any case, they had the company picnic there on Saturday.

They served clam chowder, steamers, lobster, grilled chicken for the non-shellfish peeps, corn & potatoes with blueberry cake for dessert. The weather in the morning was very cloudy and icky, and "they" were predicting possible intermittent showers through the day, and temps around 91. I think that scared some people away, as somewhere around 1/2 the people who had RSVP'd that they were coming didn't show. Fortunately for us, that meant that, as we left, there was lots o' lobster leftover, and they began giving it away! So we each took one home with us and warmed them up yesterday! Yummy!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Facebook v. Blog

I was updating some info on my blog, when I realized I hadn't updated in forever. I realize a lot of this is due to now being on Facebook. I hadn't realized quite how long it had been, though. I guess all I can say is that I'll try to do better... Right now, though, I need coffee.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Back from the Bluegrass!

Granted, it was only 5 days off (2 of which were the weekend, so we had them off anyway), but a vacation is a vacation... even if it's just a mini. Chrissy and I took a few days off work and went to Kentucky to see some horsies. We left early early Thursday morning from BWI and flew into Louisville. We picked up a car there, and headed to Churchill Downs, where they run the Kentucky Derby. We did the walking tour, and visited the Derby museum, where I ran into a woman who was doing research and taking photos for a book she is doing on things to do in Kentucky. She took my picture on a racehorse simulator, so I may appear in a photo collage in her book! Then we went to Woodford Reserve distillery. Woodford is the official bourbon of the Derby. Nice tour and nice tasting there. I won't go into full details on everything, or this post will be more like a novel.

Highlights - we visited the following stables: Vinery, Three Chimneys and Darley. We visited Old Friends, which is a retirement farm for former thoroughbred race horses. Spent quite a bit of time with Michael Blowen, who started and runs Old Friends. We went to Keeneland race course on Saturday. Went to the Kentucky Horse Park on Sunday, and took a horse park tour (including Winstar Farms). We had dinner at Malone's steakhouse (a Top 10 in the Country on a few different lists). I tried bison for the first time, at Ted's Montana Grill, not Malone's (pretty good - not as tender as beef, but similar flavor). One of the funniest things that happened was when we were at Vinery. We saw a horse there named Repent. I went to pet him, and he moved his head around. Didn't quite try to nip my fingers, but not far from it. Then, I went to scratch his chin. Well, that must have just been the magic spot for him, because the moment my fingers made contact, he about fell into a trance. He became perfectly still. After a bit, I stopped, and he began moving around again. Then I went for the chin again, and sure enough, he froze. Cracked me up! Check it out...

Anyway, overall it was a very good trip. Saw lots of horses, had lots of good food. Did a lot of running around, though. Now, we're trying to catch up on our sleep. Not doing a very good job, I might add. I think I need another vacation.

P.S. Congrats to Sharon & Steve! They finally made it home yesterday after a long, arduous process to adopt their new daughter from Russia. Welcome home, Victoria!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Buddy!

Today is the 15th birthday of our cat, Buddy! Actually, since Chrissy was his 3rd or 4th owner, we don't really know how old he is, but based on estimates from his vet records, and pictures of when he was little, we estimated. Also, I'm not sure how, but I seem to remember having some sort of indication that this was the time of year he was born, so we just picked this day... He's getting up there in years, and he's definitely slowed down a bit, but he's still doing pretty well. He's still seems happy. He's still interested in food. He eats, drinks, and uses the litter box. He still sleeps on my chest every night. Actually, he starts on my chest, then moves down to my legs, then (usually) will move on to the bed at some point, but not always. Occasionally, the alarm clock goes off and he's still on my legs. :-) He's so sweet...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Country Week

I'll keep this brief, since I'm home sick. It was country week on Idol, with mentor Randy Travis. Oddly, no one sang a Randy Travis song. Michael sang Garth Brooks. They're always saying they want to see what kind of artist someone will be, and Michael showed it. Good job. Allison sang Blame it on Your Heart. The song was a bit old for her, but at least none of the judges mentioned her age! Woo Hoo! Kris, Danny, Anoop and Megna all kicked ass! Lil was ok, but seemed a bit uncomfortable. Scott wasn't great, but he keeps going through, I think, because no one wants to vote against a blind guy. Alexis did pretty well, but the judges weren't crazy about her performance. Matt did well, but not as great as the judges thought. Adam was just weird. He sang some weird middle eastern arrangement of Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash. I hated it, but then I'm biased. I can't stand him. We'll see what America thinks. I'm hoping he goes home, but I could see Allison or Lil going home instead.

Friday, March 13, 2009

What the Hell is Wrong with PETA?

Did you hear about this? PETA wants to make Clooney-flavored tofu, called CloFu. Seriously. Not a joke, people. They apparently got a hold of a gym towel that he had used to wipe down after exercising. Now, normally, what would be your first thought upon finding such a trophy? Sell it on eBay! I'm sure some fanatical Clooney stalker would pay $300 for a hermetically sealed baggie containing a moldy towel dripping with George Clooney's sweat. But no. Some genius at PETA decided a better use for the towel would be... to... take the sweat and make... tofu? Yeah. That makes sense. Aside from the fact that making anything edible from anyone's bodily fluids is enough to make the average person vomit, I don't see the connection. Clooney doing voiceovers for Budweiser? That, I get. He's a man's man. Men want to be him, women want to be with him. So an all-American beer is the kind of product people might associate with him. But tofu? Sweat-flavored tofu? Aye yi yi...

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Group 3

I don't know if previous seasons were like this and I just don't remember, or if it's just an odd season. Lots of lackluster performances by very talented singers. Lots of bad song choices. Not a lot of clear cut favorites. Von was good, but still a bit shouty for my tastes. Taylor was ok, I think. Don't really remember, which isn't very good. Alex is nice, and a good singer, but it was a bad performance. Arianna was just a mess, and I think she knew it. Ju'Not was very good, but I don't know if it was good enough to go on. Wild card, maybe? Kristen took all the soul out of Gimme One Reason. In her intro clip, she introduced herself as a karaoke host, and it absolutely showed in her performance. Nathaniel can actually sing, but is very very annoying. Big time Drama Queen. Ick. Felicia, on the other hand, was fantastic. Great performance, great look, great vocals. She's my first pick to go through. Scott sang Bruce Hornsby, big surprise. I think he struggled. Lots of pitchy parts. He seems nice, but I think he gets by in the competition because of the blindness. Based on his performances in Hollywood, I wouldn't have sent him through to the finals. If he could see, I don't think he would be where he is now. Kendall was hot. That's about all I can say for her. Jorge was great. Best of the men's performances, I think. He's my #2 pick. Lil Rounds finished off the show with a bang. Smokin' hot, fantastic voice. She's my 3rd pick to go on. Easily the best of the night.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Second Group of Twelve

Another night of underwhelming performances and poor song choices on Idol. Jasmine started off with a disappointing perfomance of a poor song choice. Matt, the dueling pianist, stunk up the joint. Jeanine, who I never even heard of before last night, struggled through Maroon 5. She did have nice legs, though. Nick... aye yi yi. What can I say about Nick/Norman? Great voice, fun to watch, but definitely should not be going through to the next round on this singing competition. If I were in this competition, singing my heart out, and he went through and I didn't? I'd be pissed. Allison did a serviceable job on Heart, but it's not 16 Year-Old Idol. They must have mentioned her age about 10-15 times. They did the same thing with Jordan Sparks. They should not be judging based on how well the do for their age. They should be judging based on how well they sing. Period. Kris, I thought, did an excellent job singing Man in the Mirror. I thought it was among the best vocals of the night, and liked the arrangement even better than the original. Megan did a fantastic job singing Corrine Bailey Rae. I really like her. She's soulful, unique, memorable. Definitely the best of the night. Matt did ok singing Tonic. I like Matt and he seems like a nice guy. I just don't know if he did well enough to go on. Jesse did pretty well with Bette Davis Eyes, but I can see Simon's point. Not the most memorable. Kai is another nice guy who just picked the wrong song and had a pretty boring performance. Mishavonna did the same. I don't see the attraction to Adam. I think he's very annoying and shouty. I didn't care for his performance at all. I think Kris and Megan were tops for the night and Jesse should be the next highest. That's what should happen. What will probably really happen will be Allison and Adam will get the most votes and Megan will go through in 3rd.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Quote of the Day

From Entertainment Weekly's summary of last night's Idol: "Since my surest bet of the night is that two men will advance to the top 12 on Wednesday night, that means only one woman will be able to join 'em, and I'm putting my money on Alexis Grace, a contestant whose transformation from perky young mom to black-slip-sporting sexpot won't be seemingly complete for the judges until Alexis installs a stripper poll [sic] at center stage and works it like a nine-to-five. Seriously, how many ways can this woman be asked by the judges to dirty herself up, or to make love to her fiancé before she's got a legitimate sexual harassment suit on her hands?"

Too funny! Seriously, though, Alexis was hot. Not just physically, but the performance. She should definitely go through for the ladies. Danny should be a lock for the guys. In fact, he's my early pick to win the whole shebang (not to be confused with She Bang, by William Hung). My money's on Noop-Dawg for the #3 spot. I pray to all that is holy that tonight is the last we see of Hyena Girl (a.k.a. Tatiana).

Monday, February 09, 2009

Star... Wars...?

This absolutely cracked me up! Apparently, this guy found out his friend had never seen Star Wars. He was going to show her, but she decided she had seen enough of it from clips and such, and she didn't need to see it because she already knew what happened. So, like any good friend, he recorded what she said, and created a brief animation showing what she was describing.

Star Wars: Retold (by someone who hasn't seen it) from Joe Nicolosi on Vimeo.

I think my favorite part is when Amber mentions The Force, and we see the formula F=MA (Force = Mass * Acceleration, for those that don't know). Followed closely by when she mentions the "dark side" and Joe shows the album cover for Dark Side of the Moon. This is a must see for any Star Wars fan!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Ok, Now THIS Really Ticks Me Off

Apparently, some folks are upset with President Obama because he thinks Washington overreacts to ice. Well it's true! People in this town f-ing flip out over one snow flake! Hell, last year, they cancelled schools one day because snow was predicted for the next day. As usual, the weather people were wrong, and it was a clear blue sky the next day. Have you ever had to go to the grocery store and suddenly realized that someone had predicted snow? It's a madhouse! Bread milk toilet paper! Bread milk toilet paper! It's like a mantra that shoppers chant. You would think people would be housebound for a month the way they act.

The worst snow I've seen in this area was the blizzard of '77, when the snow was around 5 feet deep. There were drifts up to the roof of our cape cod. My sister and I dug a maze in our front yard. We dug a trench by the road so we could throw snowballs at cars (at least until our dad came out and yelled at us for doing it). Even then, the roads were cleared by the end of the week. One week! I've lived more or less paycheck to paycheck most of my adult life, and it's been a rare time that I didn't have enough food in my apartment to last me through one week. Granted, it might not have been stuff I would be thrilled about eating. I might have had to live a week off of year-old soup, peanut butter (with or without bread & jelly) and ramen noodles, but I could make it.

I used to work at Blockbuster and it was just as bad there. People would run each other over to grab the last copy of Gator Bait II ("Cajun Justice"!) off the shelf, just so they would have something to watch. These are people that if, a week before, you had said to them, "I will give you $10 if you watch Gator Bait 2," would have told you to take a hike. Seriously. Gator Bait II: Cajun Justice.

I've heard all the criticisms. I don't buy 'em. "It's because he's new here. He just doesn't understand." Well, I've been here 35 years and I don't understand. "People here come from other areas that don't get snow. They just aren't used to it." I came here from Hawaii. "We don't get that much snow here, so we're not prepared for it." I get just as much or as little snow as anyone else in this area and I still think it's absurd. People. Here. Just. Friggin'. Panic. Plain and simple.

Oh, back to what really set me off about the Post article. The quote from the Associate Head of Sasha & Malia's school, "No question, the president is right. The next time it snows, we would like to invite him to help us make the decision. His involvement will make it much easier to explain to our students why they won't be able to spend the day sleeping and sledding." Maybe the president should rethink where he sends his kids if the administration at Sidwell Friends thinks that's what school is all about.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I Am Brilliant

Ok, I know it's not very modest... I'm just feeling pretty good right now. We recently had some computer issues, and had to buy a new one. When we got the old one back from the shop, and had to get our data off it and on to the new one, we had a problem. There were mother board issues with the old one, but the hard drive was fine. We just couldn't get it to boot up. After doing a little research online, I thought it would be possible to move the drive to the new computer and set it up as a secondary drive. Upon opening up both computers, it seemed it might not have been as easy as I thought to access some of the cables necessary to move the drive. However, I was able to unplug the drive on the old comp, disconnect the drive on the new comp, then connect the old drive to the new comp. This allowed me to copy some files onto a flash drive I had purchased, then, upon reconnecting the new comp drive, to move the files there. Granted, I had to move the files in batches, since the old hard drive was 80G and I the flash drive was only 4G. The drive wasn't full, and a lot of what was there was Windows and other programs. I think the actual data took probably 10 switches or so. It was a little slow & tedious, but given that I have virtually no formal computer training, I was pretty impressed with myself!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Post Office

Y'know... usually, I'm the first one to defend the Post Office. I think that, if you consider the number of articles that travel throught the postal system every day, and the fact that you can drop one small piece of paper in a box on one side of the country, and within about 1-4 days, it can reach any address in the entire country, all for $0.41, that's pretty damn amazing. I think most people take it for granted. Really, if you think about the number of letters, post cards and bill payments you send out every day, and the number of letters, fliers, bills and such that you receive every day... when was the last time you sent something that never made it to its destination? Doesn't happen too often. Last month, however, on December 15, I spend %5.45 to send a letter by Priority Mail with Delivery Confirmation. I realize it was during the holiday rush, but still. The guy at the Post Office actually took the letter from my hand, entered everything in the machine, and put the envelope into the bin. So I had no chance to screw it up. He did everything for me. Well, guess what? To this day, the track and confirm page only shows that my envelope was accepted for shipping. I have called 3 times to have the envelope investigated. Each time, I have been told that someone will contact me by the end of the next business day. Twice now, I have received no call. My third call was Friday, so they have until COB Monday to call me. I'm not holding my breath. What's even more frustrating is that, when I called yesterday, I asked if I could speak to someone directly, rather than waiting for someone to call me back (since that obviously wasn't working too well). I was told that they couldn't put me through to anyone, but that if I didn't get a call, I could call back and ask for the Consumer Affairs Division. So guess what I'm doing Tuesday? I still think that the Post Office is a good deal in general, but I think the next time I have an important letter that needs confirmation, I'll send UPS for FedEx. It might be worth the few extra dollars.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


Who ever heard of a Romantic Zombie Comedy? Apparently S.G. Browne has. In fact, he may have invented it. He just finished writing Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament (to be available on Amazon on March 3, 2009). Breathers is a story of Andy Warner, every day guy just like you and me. Except that he recently died in a car accident. To most people, that would be it. Not for Andy. Three days later, he woke up ("reanimated") and got out of his coffin. Fortunately, his parents, despite the social stigma of having an undead son, picked him up from the SPCA and took him back home. Check out Scott's website for the book, and you get an idea of his style. From what I can see, he's dark, sarcastic and pretty damn funny. The book reads kinda like the dark shadow to HBO's True Blood (though Scott wrote his short story, A Zombie's Lament, a year before Charlaine Harris wrote her first Sookie Stackhouse novel). Of course, that's just my initial impression, based on the site. Long story short, check it out. Looks great. While you're there, enter the contest to win an autographed Advanced Reader's copy of the book. I am!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Merry New Year!!

Ok, so I'm a few days late. One major reason is that our computer is currently in the shop. We dropped it off just before we left for New Jersey for on New Years Eve. My mother-in-law doesn't have a useable computer and we're used to that, so it wasn't as big a deal for the 4 days/3 nights we were there. When we got home, though... Eeee. So weird. It's scary how quickly and easily we become dependent on computers. In the meantime, email, web surfing, Facebooking and blogging suffer.

So the Redskins finished 8-8. Could definitely have been worse. We really had no business losing the games to the Rams, the Bengals and the 49ers. By all rights, we should have finished 11-5, second in the NFC East and with Philly's wild card slot. But... we didn't. I'm actually ok with it. If you had told almost any Skins fan at the beginning of the season, with a young QB and a rookie coach, that we would have finished at .500, I think they would have been estatic. Then, we went 6-2 to start, beating the Cowgirls and Eagles on the road. Everyone got unreasonable expectations which, being the Redskins, we naturally failed to live up to. Overall, I don't think we did bad. Our defense finished 4th in the league, I believe. Campbell, in his first full season, made vast improvements over last year and finished right around the middle of the league. Portis finished 4th in rushing. Zorn had some growing pains, but acquitted himself rather admirably IMHO. I think we have a good foundation on which to build next year. I think our biggest focus in the offseason should be shoring up the O-line. We got some great veterans, but for linemen, they're too old. Either through free agency or definitely through the draft, we need to get some guys in there that won't tire out as the season goes on. The D-line probably needs some work, too, but offense is what needs the most attention. We'll probably lose a few high profile players, and we'll certainly need to renegotiate a few contracts. If Taylor, for instance, isn't willing to step back from the $8M that he admitted he wasn't worth, I doubt he'll be around next season. It's a shame, too. I really would like to have seen what he could do if he stayed healthy and focused.

In other, somewhat football-related news, I got 2nd place in my office football pool. Yay! Not much else going on in non-football news. Guess we'll see what the new year brings...