Friday, March 30, 2007

Baseball? Really? Hmmm...

Sigh.

I've never really been a baseball fan. I've always blamed the Royals. I was 23 months old when the Royals won the World Series. That was the last time they won their division.

I was into the games somewhere between the age of 6 and 9. I remember watching the games on local tv and even listening to it on the radio. I attended a bunch of games at what was then just Royals Stadium. But after moving to Illinois, I couldn't follow the Royals and had no interest in following the Cubs or Cards (nobody roots for the White Sox in Peoria).

I've already documented how by the sheer number of games, a baseball game is 1/10th as important as a NFL game. I can't even sit through a non-playoffs NBA game. Basically if it's not football, or it's not the playoffs, I'm not that interested.

All that said, for some reason, the idea of watching baseball suddenly seems interesting. Maybe it was watching some youtube clips of ozzie smith, or playing softball again, or maybe the commercials where ESPN always makes every sport sound so freaking good...but I'm at least semi-interested in baseball.

I tried to think if there was a team that I could get behind, that would have a winning season and have a chance at the title. And nothing seemed right. In the last 2 years the White Sox and Cards won and if I had any reasons to root for teams, those would have been it. I was happy they won, but I didn't really care after they did it. The Cards/Mets series was more enjoyable than the sloppy WS.

I toyed with the idea of picking a team that hasn't done that well that could be on the rise, like Cleveland perhaps, but it wouldn't feel right either. No, the only team that I could ever root for, would be the Royals. And if they ever make the World Series, at least I could say that I never followed another team.

Too bad they still aren't wearing the powder blues. Snazzy.


The last time the Royals even finished 2nd in their division was 1995. They've finished in 5th place 6 times since then. But it wasn't always that way. Ignoring the 1981 strike season, starting in 1975 the Royals finished 2nd, 1st, 1st, 1st, 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 1st, 1st - when they won it all in 1985.

But now? They're the consensus pick for last place in the AL, and they're in the division where any of the other 4 times could be a legitimate title contender. It doesn't really seem fair.

I guess the lone bright spot is Alex Gordon...and that's about it.

But I'll be tivoing the Opening Day game vs the Red Sox and who knows, this year could be the year.

Boo! Williams!



Well, we're on the eve of a tremendous Final Four, baseball's opening day is approaching, and it's the week leading up to the Masters. So of course I'm going to talk about Arena Football, a sport that I haven't watched more than 10 seconds of.

1. KC Brigade won in overtime, on a Boo Williams 35 yard touchdown. He had 7 rec for 110 yards and 2 tds. If the name sounds familiar, he was a tight end for the Saints from 01 to 05. I remember picking him in fantasy because he was pretty cheap and sometimes scored. He had 5 touchdowns in 03, 12 in his career. He looks much happier on the Brigade, then he does in the NFL.

2. The Brigade play in Kemper Arena, an arena that was 3 miles from our house in central Kansas City. Kemper was host to both an NHL and NBA team in the 70's/80's as well as an indoor soccer and minor league hockey team, both of which I attended many games. (I still remember going to a KC Comets soccer game, and my mom gave my 6 dollars to give to friend's parents who were taking me. I didn't realize that's what the money was for, and spend the 6 dollars on 3 souveneirs. Money went farther in the early 90's.)

Kemper also hosted the 1988 Final Four which was won by KU. It's really a shame that I wasn't born about 6 year earlier, so I could have enjoyed the 85 Royals and 88 Jayhawks. As it stands now, I don't have any memories of rooting for any team to win a championship on any level.

Kemper is being replaced by the Sprint Center, which doesn't yet have a major tenant. They were hoping to land the Penguins, but that didn't happen. That would have been nice with Crosby and all Oh well. The Clippers and 2 unnamed NBA teams are rumored to be up for relocating.

Friday, March 23, 2007

I Hate Chalk


The last time there were 2 regionals that had the top 2 seeds in the elite 8 was 2002. The other half of the elite 8 was a 5-10 matchup and a 12-2. (Interestingly, that 10 seed in the Elite 8 was Kent State, led by NFL Star Antonio Gates. Also I picked them to go to the Elite 8 based on nothing, probably my best, reaching bracket prediction.)

After tonight we could easily have a 1-2, 1-2, 1-2, 1-3 Elite 8. Are you kidding me?

Here are some Elite 8's notable for least upsets:

1985: 1-2, 1-2, 1-3, 1-8. Total = 19 (Villanova was the 8 seed and won it all)
1993: 1-2, 1-2, 1-3, 1-7. Total = 18 (3 #1 seeds advanced to the Final Four)

Without looking at every year, it's reasonable to assume that this year could set records for most chalk. If Florida, UNC and Georgetown all win, then regardless of the Orgeon/UNLV game, this would be the chalkiest Elite 8 ever. In fact, we could reasonably have all 4 #1seeds advance to the Final Four, which would almost make me vomit.

Also, last year was the first year that no #1 seeds advanced to the Final Four.
In current format (since 1985) all 4 #1 seeds have never advanced to the Final Four.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Home Cookin'


Obviously Florida has the easiest path to the Final Four. And since pretty much everyone has them there anyways, even if they lose, it doesn't really matter.

But for the other 3 regionals my bracket is relying on Home Court Advantages. The distance might not seem like a factor, but it plays a role in how well students/fans are able to travel, plus a time zone difference can lead to fatigue. Here are the driving distances from each campus to their regional site.

San Jose
My bracket: UCLA 5 hours
KU 27 hours
SIU 32 hours
Pitt 38 hours

East Rutherford
My bracket: Georgetown 4 hours
UNC 8.5 hours
Vandy 14 hours
USC 41 hours

San Antonio
My bracket: Texas A&M 3.5 hours
Memphis 11 hours
Tennessee 17 hours
Ohio State 20 hours

For what it's worth here are the distances for the Midwest Regional:

St. Louis
Butler 4 hours
My bracket: Florida 13.5 hours
UNLV 23.5 hours
Oregon 31 hours


Does that mean that I'm worried Butler can knock off Florida? I shouldn't be, but yeah, a little.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I'm (an) Upset

Part of my advanced methodology for picking my bracket came down to studying the chalk. The evidence was clear. Looking at the Sweet Sixteen over the last 3 years, the number of upsets has been 6, 6, 7, 7, and 8. (Upsets being defined as any team not seeded 1-4, so yes a 5 over a 4 would be an upset for this discussion.)

Clearly the range for upsets is 6-8, with 7 being a likely target. But if you don't pick at least 6, you are relying too much on chalk, and ignoring history. Especially after last year's GM run where an 11 seed made it to the final four, it seemed that upsets were getting more and more probable.

So of course I picked 5 upsets. I wanted to pick 6, but couldn't find a sixth team.
For a chalk comparison, Mark picked 1 upset (Tennessee), Kirat and Niraj both picked 3, and Matt picked 4.

And as it turns out there were 5:
5 Butler
7 UNLV
5 USC
6 Vanderbilt
5 Tennessee

Too bad they weren't the 5 that I picked (I did get 2 of them right. Which means that there were 3 upsets that I thought would be that I got wrong, plus the 3 that I didn't expect.) So I got 6 wrong, and in a normal year, if you don't pick any upsets, you're likely to get the 6 upsets wrong anyways.

(Also, only once in the last 5 years had a region gone perfectly 1-4, and it happened again this year in the West).

3.21.07

So I've made a big deal about what I'm currently eating, what about what I used to eat?

Well, I occasionally would go to Chipotle and get a burrito with barbacoa beef, peppers, salsa, cheese and sour cream. Here's the nutrition facts:
That doesn't include guacamole, chips, or even beans. I'm not sure where to start, basically every line is bad, except for the protein, but it's not like I needed that much protein.

And this was for lunch, after I had already had at least 600 calories worth of cereal, and perhaps a granola bar during the day. Sometimes I would add 150 calories worth of coke, and maybe even chips and guacamole. Then I would come home and have a dinner of probably at least 1,000 calories(pasta, quesadillas, fatty burgers), and then probably a late night snack as well. It's easy to see how I could eat 3,500 calories a day without feeling too guilty, with rationalizations like I'm not having bacon or I'm not eating french fries.

Now I'm eating 1,500 calories a day, enjoying what I eat more, feeling better, and not missing all that junk.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Monday Hamper Dump

  • Saturday was a Tour de Force day for college basketball--totally redeemed the first two days of lackluster action.
  • I've been on fire with cooking: pita pizzas with homemade sauce, cheddar hashbrowns, chipotle ranch chicken pitas...
  • I've got big plans for my creative writing...more on that before 2007 is over.
  • Blogger has every picture I've uploaded
  • I've started doing a little bit of yoga, which has already made a noticeable difference, but also goes beyond the line of just healthy eating/exercise to more of a health freak. We'll see what happens.
  • And all the best games from the Sweet 16 are on Thursday:

Friday, March 16, 2007

Madness? Not so much.

The first 4-day weekend is the wild one.
The second 4-day weekend is the great basketball one.
And the final four it typically a let down.

Well when the biggest upset is an 11 over a 6, this first round was anything but wild. And there weren't even that many close games either. The two 11 seeds to advance, were hardly surprises as VCU and Winthrop were projected sleepers.

With a lackluster first round, it will be hard for the second round to have that many exciting matchups. Unless a 1 or 2 goes down, or either of the 11's advance, it will be hard to have a 2nd round upset. As for great upcoming games?

Hmmm...Winthrop/Oregon? Butler/Maryland? I can hardly contain myself.

Seriously, Kansas/Kentucky could be interesting, as could VCU/Pitt, UNC/MSU, USC/Texas, BC/Georgetown. But they all rely on the underdog showing up. Probably the best game over the next 2 days will be...

Louisville/A&M

It's in Lexington, even though Texas A&M is the higher seed. Louisville is explosive and A&M has Acie Law. Oh yeah, and I have Texas A&M in the final four--partly because if they can get past Louisville, they will go to the Regional in San Antonio.

The game is at 2:40 Central, 20 minutes after the tip of Butler/Maryland...hopefully they don't stick Chicago in the Butler market.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Box Office Hit

The movie "300" has been a surprise hit, and talks are already in the works for a sequel:

An Incredible Time of the Year


Chicago weather can be brutal, but we are on the cusp of a beautiful 6 months. The winters are just a bit colder than Peoria/Champaign, but the benefits it that the summer is rarely too hot. Perhaps a few scattered days in July and August, but overall from April to October in Chicago is a wonderful time of year.

And walking without a coat, thinking about March Madness, softball season is looming on the horizon, and I'm feeling quite fit and comfortable in my body...things are just pretty good right now.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

3.13.07


I recently mentioned some of the healthy foods that I couldn't live without. Now I'm pondering the most unhealthy foods possible. Deep-dish pizza, fried chicken, donuts all come to mind. While unhealthy, they don't really take the cake. And neither does cake. Here is my list of worst foods:

3a/3b: French Fries/Ice Cream
You'll notice a trend on my list. As opposed to say fried chicken, it at least is a meal. It fills you up. Sure it might have 700 calories instead of the 200 in baked chicken, but at least it provides a dinner. French Fries makes the list because it doesn't fill you up, full of the worst fats (likely trans fats but at least saturated fats) and because they only accompany other bad options. If you served french fries with a whole-grain turkey sandwich it might be a different story. (Not really, but you get the point.)

And ice cream is definitely not a meal, or at least it shouldn't be. It's empty calories after you've already eaten. And it usually packs in candy or chocolate syrup or something else. We can get by just fine without dessert.

Replacement Options:
Make your own french fries at home - cut potatoes, season with salt and pepper and even garlic powder, cooking spray and an oven. Because it's the oil, not the potato that's terrible. And they have low-calorie single serve ice cream bars/sandwiches. For under 150 calories you can satisfy your sweet tooth while maintaining portion control.

2. Coke (and any other regular soda)
Soda? A 150-calorie drink worse than deep-dish pizza? Yeah. While we may think of it as pure Americana, there's nothing pure about it. It's high fructose corn syrup and food coloring. It's not even real sugar. And it provides 0 fulfillment. It's a waste of calories. You can drink yourself fat and not even realize you had anything at all. And once you stop drinking it, you realize that it tastes too sweet anyways. It manipulates your taste buds.

Replacement Options:
Of course water is the best, but I think it's fine to have a zero-calorie soda.

1. Beer
This is bad for so many reasons. For one, a Bud "Light" still has 110 calories per 12 ounces. Hardly a light drink. And you're more likely to drink 6 than you are to stop at one. While 6 of them might fill you up, it's the same filling as food provides. In fact, from my own experience, it makes me even hungrier for greasy, unhealthy foods, compounding the badness.

Replacement Options:
If you can drink just one good beer, say a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale at 200 calories, and savor it, then you wouldn't have to swear beer out of your life.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Madness? Yep.

So it's Monday, so of course I'm already on the 3rd (hopefully final - I just printed it out for the first time) draft of my bracket. I've been using a strategy that I developed a couple of years ago, but this year I've fine tuned it with a couple of new methods.

I feel pretty solid about most of my picks. Excluding the Midwest Region. I feel comfortable my regional winner, but the rest of the bracket I'm not sold on. My goal is to get 6 of the Elite 8 teams, we'll see how that goes. And I'm feeling pretty good about getting 3 of the Final 4, too.

And as for Thursday and Friday while I'm in the office, I have Tivo. So I won't miss a minute, but that means that I'll be trying to avoid all sports related sites, which I'm not sure if that's even possible. But it'll be worth it, right? The mmod internet thing was cool last year, but it wasn't great or 100% reliable.

Random Monday Thoughts

You really don't need to put your clothes in a dryer. Just hang your shirts on hangers, and put the hangers on your shower rod. Shirts dry in a couple hours, pants overnight.

I get nosebleeds in my right nostril more than once a week.

I've fallen asleep in a movie theater only once: Gladiator.

Hoagie Central's Exclusive Bracket Contest

Sure it's easy to pick a Sweet 16 when you go all-chalk. But let's kick it up a notch. The rules are simple:

Make a list of teams, picking one team from each seed.

Your list could look like this:

1's: Florida
2's: Georgetown
3's: Oregon
4's: Maryland
and so on.

You could pick every team from one region if you wanted to.

The scoring system for each game will be:

(# seed) x (# of round)

Imagine Maryland wins a Sweet 16 game. If you picked Maryland, that win would be worth 12 points. And you would have already gotten 4 points for their first round game, and 8 points for the second round game.

Friday, March 09, 2007

The Elusive 5-point Play

Well of course you've heard of a 4-point play, but that's as good as it gets, right? Illinois had a 5-point play opportunity. Here's what happenned.

Illinois is trailing Indiana by 4 with about 4 minutes to go. The ball is passed to Frazier on the perimeter. He fires a 3 and at the same time the ref blows his whistle. The foul is off the ball, someone pushing off on Pruitt. Frazier's 3 goes in, and Pruitt gets to shoot 2! Unbelievable.

So what happens? Of course, Pruitt air balls the first free throw. (slaps forehead) He makes the second, tying the game at 46 all with 3:30 to go.

This after hearing that Xavier and Nevada lost in their tournament, taking 2 at-large spots away from Illinois' chances. So they kinda need to win this game. Back to the action.

Building an NFL Team From Scratch

Here's a simplified mock draft if you were the GM of an expansion team. It should be pretty self-explanatory, you have 8 rounds to make picks, and can only choose from the pool of players available in that round. Of course, you must choose one from every position. The rest of your team would be filled with average players. (And I don't want to hear about how you think that the Rams have a better D-Line than the Titans or whatever. Just use your opinions to make your team.)

(click the picture to enlarge)

Here's my team:

1. Ravens (SEC)
2. Chargers (LB)
3. Colts (D-LINE)
4. Cowboys (O-LINE)
5. Leinart
6. Washinton
7. Franks
8. Suisham

Exclusive Bracket Contest coming Monday to Hoagie Central

This is pretty simple, and I don't know if anyone else has ever done anything like this.

The rules are you select one team from each numbered seed. Then you get points for each game they win.

For example, your list could look something like:

1's - Kansas
2's - Wisconsin
3's - Memphis
4's - Texas
and so on...

The scoring system for each game will be:

(# seed) x (# of round)

Complicated, yes. But it rewards picking the right sleepers.

So let's say Texas is a 4 seed, and wins a Sweet 16 game. If you picked Texas, that win would be worth 12 points. And you would have already gotten 4 points for their first round game, and 8 points for the second round game.

When Delaware State wins the Championship that will be worth 96 points!

3.9.07


I know I've touched on this before, but it boggles my mind. I can't believe how widely accepted it is to say "I'm on a diet." Obviously, any of the 65 million overweight Americans (I am still technically overweight) got that way because of their eating habits. Any variation of losing weight or dieting that ignores changing those long-term eating habits won't work.

It's the same as someone in debt, saying that they are dedicated and excited to get out debt. Well what happens when you get of that debt? If you go back to the same spending habits, you'll be right back in debt.

Or someone with a criminal history saying he won't commit any crimes until he reaches his goal of being out of jail for a year. It's ridiculous.

But we don't balk when someone says they are dieting in order to get down to their goal weight. We applaud them.

My point is really quite simple and I think this sums it up neatly:

The goal cannot be getting out of debt. The goal has to be saving money.
Just as the goal cannot be losing weight. The goal has to be eating healthy.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Moving Day


Jamal Lewis to the Browns.
Terrible for Lewis. Doesn't he know that his best games came against the Browns? Sure, he'll rush for 1,000 yards in practice, but that's about it.

Dre Bly, Travis Henry to the Broncos
The Lions apparently didn't like having a Pro Bowl player, it threw off the team's chemistry. Although Bly isn't happy because he wanted to play for the Redskins to be near his house in Virginia. Uh, both the Redskins and Virgina sucks. Be quiet and enjoy the mountains.

Ahman Green to the Texans
See, why waste a draft pick on Reggie Bush when you can sign Ahman Green. Makes perfect sense.

Napolean Harris to the Chiefs
He's good, right?

Joey Porter to the Dolphins
The Dolphins look like they will have a solid defense. If they sign Trent Green, which they are interested, they could be competitive this year. But I don't see Green being great anymore. Better than what they have, sure. (I was a huge Green fan prior to 06, but injury aside, he's too old. Even before the playoff game, I knew I didn't want him to start it)

Adalius Thomas, Wes Welker to the Patriots
No surprise here, Pats always make good moves. Welker is rivaling Drew Bennett as my favorite white receiver. Could be productive with Brady.

Thomas Jones to the Jets
Conventional Wisdom is that the Bears couldn't afford to keep him when they have Benson. But I think that's a terrible move by the Bears. The best teams have 2 running backs and especially when the QB position is so shaky, you need Jones. Grossman-Benson backfield is not inspiring confidence. Combined with departure of Defensive Coordinator, problem with Briggs, and Super Bowl jinx, I expect a letdown season from the Bears. I would say they wouldn't win their division, but their division is abysmal. Perhaps the Packers can do something. Move makes sense for Jets, who are up and coming with the Manginius.The AFC East is the opposite of NFC North.

Joe Horn to the Falcons
Vick has never had a good receiver. Joe Horn is overrated. I'm sure everything will work out.

Brad Johnson to the Cowboys
So BJ will now backup Romo. What does the Vikings QB Depth Chart look like?
Tarvaris Jackson, Brooks Bollinger, Drew Henson. Wow.

Tatum Bell to the Lions
This makes sense because the only good player that the Lions have is Kevin Jones, so it makes sense to trade a DB for RB (I know I advocate a 2-back system, but that's when you have the luxury of having other good players). What the Lions really need, is another good receiver. But I guess there's always the Draft.

Brian Simmons to the Saints
I'm not sure how good Simmons is, but if can add a little defense to the best offense in the league, combined with the NFC sucking, Bush and Brees only getting better, and the Bears downturn, I expect big things from the Saints.

Nate Clements, Ashley Lelie to the 49ers
These blockbuster moves establish the 49ers as the odds on favorite for Super Bowl XLII.

Drew Bennett to the Rams
St. Louis heard how Detroit was going after running backs, and decided that wide receivers were their thing.

Jeff Garcia, Jake Plummer to the Bucs
They already had Simms and Gradkowski for the future, so Garcia seemed like a good move. And Plummer prior to 06 had 3 solid years in a row, but do they really need him? And now he's retired, but only sort of? It's just stupid.

Fred Smoot to the Redskins
Smoot likes double dongs. There I said it.


Other Moves:
Steelers resign Najeh "The Dump Truck" Davenport
Pats cut Corey Dillon
Colts cut Brandon Stokely
Dolphins cut Joey Harrington

I bet a Harrington-Dillon-Stokely combination could do better than a couple of teams out there.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Physics of Me Hitting Dingers


So of course in order to hit the ball farther, I need to impart more momentum on the ball.

momentum = mass*velocity OR p = m*v

So if I want to hit the ball farther than I did last year, I can either swing the bat faster, or swing a heavier bat at the same speed I did last year. I've been building muscles in my arms in the hopes of doing either one. I'm not sure of the optimal bat weight to generate the most momentum. But presumably it would be the heaviest bat that I can swing normally.

Man, a gold-glove pitcher who can get strikeouts and hit homeruns. Someone should totally draft me for your 16" Chicago Advertising Co-Ed Softball League Fantasy Team.

Monday, March 05, 2007

3.05.07



I just made the best dinner I've had since I've started foodasfuel™. I've made some pretty good chipotle cheddar lean-beef burgers, but that was even better. This was the first time I've ever made fried chicken, and it was healthy and delicious.


Click on me for Super Delicious Detail!

I started with strips of boneless pre-cooked frozen chicken, (6oz = 240 calories) mircrowaved them until they were warm, and then rolled them in a spice rub I created:
  • freshly ground sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • garlic powder
  • spicy chicken seasoning
  • emeril's essence
  • pinch of chili powder
Then I dredged the pieces in flour (less than 1/4 cup = 75 calories at most) and then pan-fried them in a skillet on medium heat with PAM* as the only oil. I also added crushed Honey Bunches of Oats (no more than 25 calories) for extra crunch.

The flavor was good enough to eat on its own, but I dipped them in low-calorie ranch and barbecue sauce. The result was a dinner under 400 calories, with under 10 grams of fat and about 2 saturated fat grams.

At KFC, a breast and drumstick are 610 calories, with 36 grams of fat, 11 saturated. Plus, you'd likely get fries or biscuits or something else on the side anyways.

[1] In the past 2 months there are certain ingredients that I wouldn't want to live without. PAM, or any non-stick spray is essential to low-calorie cooking. Apples (granny smith only) are incredible, 100% whole-wheat bread is surprisingly delicious*, South Beach cereal bars (along with a fruit) are my breakfast-tasty and filling at 140 calories, potatoes are filling and versatile-baked, fries, hash browns, and I rely on chicken more than anything for my lean-meat protein dinners.

[2] I frickin' love 100% whole wheat bread. I used to eat 'wheat bread' when I was younger and it always tasted dry and not very good. And that didn't even have the health benefits of the whole grain. But I'm a convert to the 100% whole grain. It's rich and hearty, yet soft and tasty. I find it more filling and a more enjoyable bread. I've tried both Butternut and Jewel brands and they are both satisfying. Also, just because something says "whole grain" doesn't mean that it has that much whole grain, look for 100%.

Are You There Margaret? It's Me, God: Flash Fiction


It's not that I'm lonely. I have millions of people talking to me everyday. But the conversation is just so one-sided. Yeah, yeah, I know people want me to talk to them, but that's not how it works. But I wish that people would talk to me about stuff that I was interested in, instead of just their own problems, you know.

But I really shouldn't complain, my twin brother Isaiah has it pretty rough over there. What with the 5,000 years of suffering and all. I think he gets a bad rap, anyways.

The other thing, is that everyone thinks that I've got all the time in the world to listen to their prayers. Do you know how hard it is to keep track of everything? Luckily I made a deal with Steve Jobs, and now I've got a nice incoming prayer podcast setup, but he still can't make a iPod that's big enough.

And it's not just listening to prayers--you wouldn't believe how long it takes to clean up the world. I've been meaning to dust the Sahara for a couple thousand years. And I really need to get around to vacuuming South America. The Amazon really isn't supposed to be there.

I'm so busy that I hardly get to enjoy my holidays. How ironic that I'm the one that has to work every Easter and Christmas. No one ever says, "Hey Joe, why don't you just call in sick today." Even Isaiah spends Hanukkah in Fiji. (He invented it, not to compete with Christmas, but to have a week that didn't mean anything just to have some time off.)

The only vacation I do get is at the end of August--the annual family reunion picnic. Everyone's there. Isaiah brings some Matza, my uncle Buddha brings his famous samosas, Grandpa Confucious has some egg rolls and fortune cookies, my uncle-in-law Mohammad brings some killer kabobs, and I make my traditional homemade bread and fried cod. We all get along but it can be really distracting. After Katrina, I decide to teleconference in 2006.

But we're all one big happy family. We just wish that sometimes you'd show an interest in our problems. Oh well, maybe next evolution.

A Conflict of Interest

ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN.com, ESPNews, ESPNClassic, ESPN360, ESPN the magazine, ESPNDeportes, ESPN the weeekend, ESPN the deodarant, ESPN the breakfast cereal, ESPN the disposable diapers... the list goes on and on.

If you just watched SportsCenter, you would think that Arena Football had replaced hockey as the 4th professional sport in America. Although they are getting better with the hockey highlights, since ESPN stopped airing hockey games their hockey coverage has been practically nonexistent. But their AFL coverage has been wall to wall.

Well, fine if you want to be like that, here's 10 seconds of AFL analysis.

New York lost 7-60. Clearly it was because they didn't establish the running game, 1 yard on 2 carries is not going to get the job done. They became one dimensional.

The Kansas City Brigade upset the defending champions Chicago Rush by...what else, running the ball. Chicago had 13 yards on 3 carries, while the Brigade has 131 rushing yards on 23 carries.

brigade (noun) A military unit consisting of a variable number of combat battalions or regiments. Go Brigade!

These games just reinforce what everyone knows about football: defense wins championships and you must run the ball!

Friday, March 02, 2007

My Job Is Hard

It's amazing I can get through an entire day. Honestly, do you know how many sites there are to read on the Internet? And games? And once you read a page, it's not done. In a half an hour it could have something new again. This is really tough.

Can you imagine the stress of accidentally hitting the "Play Clubs Alone" instead of "Play Clubs" button, and having to close out the window as soon as possible. It's enough to give someone a heart attack. And then the phone rings. And most of the time, it's business related!

Back in the old days, sure you'd read the newspaper at your desk and maybe take a long lunch break, but now we've got interactive news. Between deadspin, espn, page 2, reddit, chicagoist, consumerist, the onion, overheard at the office, kissing suzy kolber, copyranter, nirajsanghvi.com, buy 2, zug, mcsweeney's, youtube, it's amazing that I have any time left.

Do you know how hard it is to finish reading an article when you have meeting reminders popping up in front of what you're reading? Annoying. And then once a week I have to fill out my timesheets. I should file 5 minutes on friday as busy filling out timesheets.

The only good news is that it's Friday, and I can finally get out here soon.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

1985: Flash Fiction


Big Brother was watching me. His name was Eric. He can be kind of a jerk sometimes. And he always has to win. Today Big Brother wanted to play hide and go seek.

I climbed into a sleeping bag in the attic. The zipper was pulled tight. This hiding space was perfect. I was sure no one would ever find me. I heard footsteps and I could see flashes of light dancing on the walls. I was winning. It became hard to breath, but I wouldn’t dare cough. I was perfectly silent.

For the first time, I was aware of it as it happened. I had the opportunity to do what I always wanted, but never had the chance. You can dream anything you want and make it real. I wanted to fly. Just the thought that I could, filled with me joy. I sprinted down an anonymous residential street, full of perfectly green lawns and paperboys throwing newspapers in sprinklers, to build up speed for takeoff. When I reached the fourth mailbox on the left, I leapt forward, high, higher into the air, receiving a sudden lift from the wind the moment before my face plunged into the concrete road, leaving cartilage and tissue behind as an unpleasant reminder that I will never fly.

I woke up.

The oxygen level was dropping below 20%. I was winning.

My little sister through a pack of 64 crayons against the wall. The blues, greens, purples fell harmlessly to the ground, casually grazing the white stucco walls and the beige Berber carpet. The oranges, reds, yellows, magentas, and pinks exploded into a volcano burst of color in the fireplace. I heard a silent gasp of gas pass through the air at a normal pace. People were screaming. Our house was on fire. I wanted to run through a car wash. I wanted to take a shower in milk. I wanted to sleep in the freezer. I wanted to take off my burning clothes. My visual angle zoomed out and tilted down. I was watching my family burn. I was on fire.

I woke up.

Eric was shaking me. I didn’t win.

Now I’m sitting at the typewriter in the den. Big Brother is watching me type. They’re fragile, innocent. They’re similar to molecules of firewood. I’ve got a million of them. These little atoms bouncing around. They’re so excited. They could catch a little help and start a great fire in our den to keep me warm. Or they could explode and burn down our house. But most likely nothing will happen. All these millions of ideas I have, they’ll just sit there, in our den, like chunks of wood. Eventually they’ll rot. But right now my ideas are as young as me, they’re fragile, and they’re just waiting. All the need is a little help. A spark.