Saturday, August 30, 2008


So here's what our tv used to look like. A 20". Note how the box sits well within the brown edges of the tv stand. And within that, it still has a good couple inches of frame on the sides of the tv.

Here's what we got now. A 46" Samsung with full 1080p HD. The screen itself goes beyond the edges of the tv stand. And it's crystal clear, but the biggest difference I think is the color that just pops off the screen.

(click for HD detail)

Friday, August 29, 2008

bonerjam word cloud

This is a representation of the words used in the HCMMBNJ. It's fun to find gems like stinks, crappy, Bonerjam and bonerjams. And Brees, Hester, Harrington and Lions.

Update: foodasfuel word cloud

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

symbii cross-promotion

Red and Gold Kool-Aid

There's really nothing like Chiefs' blogs when it comes to getting the latest team news and completely biased propaganda.

For example, this post from Arrowhead Addict on Monday with this gem:

Wow! The Chiefs signed a damn good kicker. Kicker Jay Feely, cut by the Miami Dolphins two weeks ago, has been signed by the Chiefs to a one-year contract. I expect Feely to be our starting kicker, maybe even for years to come. I’ve always liked him. Good to see us actually spend some change.

Sounds great, right? He's going to be our starting kicker for years to come! Awesome. Until you go to Arrowhead Pride on Tuesday:

The Chiefs released veteran kicker Jay Feely today, one day after signing him. This is the business of the NFL. I'm glad to see the coaching staff isn't keeping any player around to save face, even in the kicking position. Football players are the number one priority in Herm's Kansas City.

Ah, they cut him after one day. But that's because our coaching staff has got it all figured players are our number one priority! Awesome.

Monday, August 25, 2008

brady to see first action of 08 against kc

Ha ha, oh my god, he's going to be so RUSTY! I bet the Pats barely win by 20 or 30 with Brady getting no preseason reps.

Construda 2008 Draft Analysis

I'm happy with my draft, with only one pick that I wasn't quite sold on. But there were a number of players that I had my eye on, that I didn't get. So I figure it's worth posting here, and then checking back at the end of the year, to see if things worked out or not.

For the record, here is my drafted lineup:

Players That I Was Targeting

Round 1
Tony Romo
Marion Barber

I would have had to draft either one over Addai. I considered taking Romo with the 7th pick, but couldn't pass on Addai.

Round 2
Darren McFadden

I would have had to take him before Big Ben. No way I was doing that. If I could have gotten him in round 4 that would have been nice.

Round 3
Ryan Grant

I could have taken him instead of Colston, but I already had a RB and I wanted a top WR.

Round 4
Chris Cooley

No way I take a TE over Welker. I wanted Cooley in Round 6 or 7.

Round 5
Calvin Johnson
Dwayne Bowe

Either one would be a great 3rd receiver. And I really liked Johnson. But I would have had to take Calvin over Thomas Jones. I already had 2 WR, so I needed a RB.

Round 6
Joey Galloway

I would have been happy to get him as my 3rd receiver. But he went just before I picked up Cotchery. But I'm glad I got Selvin Young.

Round 8
David Garrard

I should have taken Garrard instead of Scheffler. Hopefully Big Ben doesn't get hurt.

There were some other receivers I liked and some were still on the board when I picked my 5th.

Anthony Gonzalez
Roddy White
DeSean Jackson

I was high on Colston, Cotchery, and Young. I had Gage as a sleeper. The rest of my draft wasn't necessarily targets, just players that seemed like good value at the time.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

1st ever Beach Volleyball Tournament

This morning I woke up at 7:30 (Central Time!) to go do something that I've always wanted to serious beach volleyball. I had played a few games at Matt's recently, but this was an Advertising Young Professionals Tournament.

There was 13 teams in four pools. Pool play would determine seeding in the bracket, every team would get to play at minimum 3 opponents.

However, we were in the pool with 4 teams, so we were to play 3 opponents in pool play (three games to 21 vs every opponent).

Also, you were permitted to play 4-6 players at a time, but max 3 guys. We only had one girl, so we played 4 the entire time, usually against 6 or 5. (Here's the secret: the girls that were playing, we'ren't very good. I think we had an advantage that we only had one girl. When I'm serving, if I could, I aimed for a hole between two girls.

First Opponent - Pool Play
We won our first two games, coming back from 16-20 and 17-20 respectively. We then lost our third game against them.

Second Opponent - Pool Play
The opposite happened. We lost the first two, but picked up the third.

Third Opponent - Pool Play
We were 3-3 and they were 4-2. But I knew that if we won 2 of 3, we would both be 5-5 but hold the tiebreaker, meaning we would be at worst the 2nd seed from our pool of 4. (The top seed gets a bye into the quarterfinals.)

We won the first game, but lost the second. That puts at 4-4, and the next game would determine if we had a winning record and our seeding. I started the game serving, and proceeded to rattle off 11 straight points. It got closer, but we were able to hang on, get to 5-4, and get that #2 seed.

Playoffs - First Round
We didn't get a bye, but we got the next best thing: an opponent that was 0-6 in pool play. Surprisingly, we didn't blow them out. They actually had some good guys on their team. Their downfall was their girls that couldn't serve the ball over the net or do anything besides get in the way. Of course, they played all 6. They would have been better off playing just four, and putting their two worst girls on the sidelines. We won the first two games and that was it (best of 3 in playoffs).

Playoffs - Quarterfinals
Now we were set to play the 1-seed from another pool. They had a bye, and only had to play two opponents. At this point we had played 11 games, them 6. Also, I was exhausted. I really wanted to quit and just go home. But I didn't.

Here's what ticked me off. They saw that we only had 4 players, so they decided to just play 4 as well. 3 guys, 1 girl, even though they had 3 girls there. And they were saying to each other, "We'll just play 4. We'll be fine." As if they knew they were going to win. Fuck you guys.

They won their first game, but it wasn't a runaway. I knew we could hang close. The second game was going our way. We got up to 16-10, and then I rotated the sidelines. I never got to play again. We lost 17-21.

Here's the thing. All day we had a rotation of 6, with 2 guys. For the quarterfinals, someone's friend showed up and we put him in the rotation. He sucked. He blew at least 10 points in the quarters. But it's not just that he sucks, it's that he was rusty. He said he hadn't played volleyball in years. So why are we putting him in now? We've played 11 games together, we know what we're doing. We got our rust off in pool play. We know who's ball is who's when it's in the middle. Now we put in Sucky McRedshirt. Thanks for showing up.

To sum up, this was a super fun day. I was exhausted by the end of it, and the worst part during it was how hot the sand got. It was burning all our feet, but there's nothing you could do, except bring socks I guess.

The very first game, I was playing poorly. Lots of mishits, a few stumbles. But after that, I was one of our better players, rarely hitting the ball out or into the net. In the last game, against the best team, I hit a couple great cut shots, was solid.

We finished with a 7-6 record. 5-4 in pool play. 2-2 in the tournament. It was pretty amazing to be there, with the sand and the lake and the skyline. In the picture above, we were playing in the little alcove above and to the left of the faux ocean liner in the bottom right quadrant.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

it's just like watching me play madden

Madden allows you to save any replay and upload it easily. This is my first one worthy. 3rd and 18...Croyle to Bowe.

you want a real fantasy challenge?

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And trust me, with 750 players being drafting, you'll need SLEEPERS! Try and get Michael Furrey and Bobby Sippio early, cause they'll be gone by round 5!

Are there even 750 players in the NFL? Who cares!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

wine tales

Hopefully this blog post won't be as excruciating as Sideways.

So when I heard that Chris was getting married at Blue Sky Vineyards, it was sort of a joke. Not the wedding, but the winery. I mean, Southern Illinois wine? Come on.

I've had a fine Port at Blue Water Grill. I've had a terrible red wine in Paris.

But Carbondale wine? Do they stomp the grapes wearing Crocs while watching Nascar?

So we went to the wedding and we had a glass of Molti Bianchi. It was...delicious. Suprisingly amazing. In fact, a few weeks later we ordered 3 bottles online. More on that later.

On our anniversary, we went to Lynfred Winery in Roselle, IL (near Schaumburg). We shared a wine tasting: 7 glasses for 7 dollars. We each had about 2 that stood out from the rest. The Chardonnay was particularly bland, but I enjoyed a red and white that day.

Then they said that we had to try their Wine-A-Rita. They gave us a free sample and it was awesome. A perfect summer treat. We liked it so much that we bought the mix and a bottle of white Illinois wine, Chardonelle. Very good.

A few days later, our bottles from Blue Sky arrived. We knew we liked sweet wines, so we ordered 3 sweets: two whites, one red.

Molti Bianchi $11
Sweet Riesling $15
Concord $10

The one that we had at the wedding, was our least favorite. The Riesling was delicious, and the Concord was unbelievably amazing.

Then, just last night, I went to the Chicago Firehouse Restaurant on someone else's dime. I ordered a 16 oz Ribeye with a blue cheese crust. It's hard to not enjoy a steak, but I must admit that it was cooked longer than I asked for (medium-rare) and it was not up there with the better steaks I've had. But I'm not complaining.

Then my aunt-in-law ordered a bottle of red wine. A 2005 Groth Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon. I tasted it. It was pretty good but I wouldn't order it again. I finished my glass and that was that. Then I found out the bottle cost over $100.

I couldn't believe it. That glass of wine that I thought was just okay was at least $20.

So to sum up, the best wine I've ever had, was not from Paris, and wasn't a $100 bottle from a fancy restaurant. It was a $10 bottle from Southern Illinois.

Monday, August 11, 2008

my top 3 reasons didn't make the cut

1. I'm hungry
2. Chalupas!
3. Lunch

rough draft finished

At over 46,000 words, I'm finished with phase one. Now it's on to editing, proofing, rewriting.

Still a lot of work left to do. But at least it's down on paper. It's a lot easier to fine tune, than it is to create.

For comparison, Roadside Attractions was about 20,000 words. Although this one will end up around 175 pages, instead of 116. There were a lot of filler pages in RA.

Friday, August 08, 2008

45,000 words

If you've been following along, you might expected this post to be called 90%.

However, a funny thing happened on my way to writing a 50,000 word novel. I'm almost finished at 45,000. But that's okay. Once I get the rough draft finished, then I can go back and edit, and see where I need to add scenes if I do.

So I might get closer to 50k than 45k when it's all said and done.

And I'm almost tantalizingly close to finishing the rough draft.

The Chiefs, Lions, Ravens, Jets, and Saints are the best teams in the NFL

Future Hall of Famer Brodie Croyle

The Chiefs started the 08 campaign with a 16-play, 81-yard TD drive. Key plays:
Croyle running for a first down on a broken play on 3rd and 3.
Croyle to Cottam (3-rd pick) for 18 yards on a rollout.
Croyle to Charles (3-rd pick) who picked up the extra YAC on 3rd and 10.
Croyle to Franklin (4-rd pick for 22 yards in a tight window on 3rd and 15.
Johnson up the middle on 3rd and goal from 5.

Draft picks look good. Charles looks a lot better than Kolby Smith--could be a feature back if LJ goes down.

As for the Bears, their offense came from Wolfe and Forte, not Orton or Grossman. I would rather play those RBs than Kevin Jones. I mean, when you're using players the Lions don't want, you know you're in trouble. (See Eddie Drummond)

But let's take a trip down memory lane. The day was September 27, 2007. The Bears decided to bench Grossman and go with Griese. Chicago rejoiced. "Griese will solve our problems!"

At the time I mused at how funny it would be if Rex were to somehow comeback and be the 08 starting quarterback. I was young and naive. It seemed so obvious that the Bears would need to get another quarterback in the offseason.

Well 2008 is here, and the Bears are having an open competition between Grossman and Orton. The same quarterbacks that have been benched by the Bears in recent history. Good times.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

all kinds of weird

I mean I don't care about Favre, but this just looks wrong.

Also, if this means that Pennington comes to the Chiefs I will really hate you Favre. If we're going to lose, I want to lose with my guys (Croyle) not Chad.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

nfl preseason eve

Croyle! Orton! Chiefs! Bears!
The NFL on FOX! Don't miss it!

The Chiefs come to Soldier Field tomorrow to kick off the preseason. Conventional wisdom is that the preseason isn't worth watching. But I'm afraid the Chiefs regular season might be the one that's not worth watching.

Since they're such a young team that needs to develop to talent, this is going to be another losing season. But I'm actually excited to watch these young players, some for the first time.

Is Croyle to Bowe the next Montana to Rice?
Unfortunately, Dorsey will not get a chance to put pressure on Orton/Grossman due to injuries.

Also, the supposedly radically new Madden 09 is dovetailing nicely with me getting a ps3, so I'll be getting that on Tuesday--in fact it's already ordered. So at least one version of Croyle will be awesome.

Oh, and I am so sick of Brett Favre. I don't give a shit what happens--I just wish he would have stayed retired.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

tales of a second annivesary


Two years can go by pretty fast. We watched our wedding DVD for essentially the first time. We realized that the ceremony is really boring and skipped straight to the reception disc. And then we fast forwarded through the dancing and the setup. So basically we watched the party get introduced and then us smashing cake. Well worth it.

I suspect it will be more enjoyable down the road when our memories aren't as strong and we don't look like we did that day.

But more importantly, we started the anniversary day at Congo River mini golf. 36 holes of perfectly hokey safari-themed fun. The first game was pretty tight. Brittany got off to an early lead but I held close. She got a hole in one on about hole 12 and was keeping her lead. I responded with a hole in one soon after. Going into hole 17, I was a stroke behind. But a great tee shot gave me a gimmee second shot. She settled for a three, making us even going into the final hole.

I went first and it was a long hole, with ridges and a turn. I played a masterstroke. My ball came to a rest inches from the hole, a guaranteed 2. The pressure was on her. I thought for sure that I would win. And then what does my wife do? Ace. She wins the first game with a hole in one on 18. Not even Tiger does that.

I was a little miffed but also proud. My wife can play.

Then we went to the second game and apparently I was shaken up. Within the first 4 holes, I was behind 6 strokes. Mostly I was played bad. Just a lot of bad shots. I kept saying it was early. But she held on to a solid lead through the front nine.

But then I roared back, making up multiple strokes on a hole here and just playing smart. By the end of that 18 I had come back and won by a couple strokes. It was pretty remarkable since I was down so much early, but that's how it goes.

Although we both won a game, the memory that sticks with me the most is her acing the winner.

Friday, August 01, 2008

it's good to be alive

Perhaps, one day I'll look back on this general time and reflect on how amazing everything was. And if my life continues to improve, than that's good too.

Life is good. It has been for a while. I'm lucky. And I know it.

don't you hate pants?