Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sunday, September 27, 2009

all i wanted...

this weekend, was one win. Illinois vs THE Ohio State. Chiefs vs Eagles. Brats vs Kid-Iron. Three games that I followed, all I wanted was one win.

Illinois lost 30-0.
The Chiefs got destroyed.
And then Peyton throws 4 TDs to crush my heart into pieces.

The sad thing is that I care so much. Football is a terrible hobby. Usually things people do for enjoyment in their free time, they enjoy. For example, walking your dog basically has a 100% success rate. If you like to bake, chances are you will enjoy baking cupcakes, unless you burn them, which should only happen rarely. Even watching a movie that you pick out should have a low rate of disappointment.

But this?

I didn't watch the Illinois State game (couldn't even if I wanted to since I don't get the Big10 network). So I've seen Illinois go 0-2 (losses of 28 and 30), the Chiefs go 0-3 and my fantasy team go 0-3.

I have more fun doing laundry. What with the fresh smells and warm sheets out of the dryer.

This is retarded.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

TU episode 14.5

(If you can't see the embedded player, launch the external player)



















Launch in external player

sportsbook 2: electric bugaloo

First let's check in on my week 1 picks:

LOCK: Steelers -5.5 $30

2-TEAM TEASER (lines teased by 6) $30
Chargers -.5 AND Bucs +9.5

3-TEAM TEASER (lines teased by 10) $30
Pats -.5 AND 49ers +16.5 AND Eagles +10.5

3-TEAM PARLAY (actual lines at 6-to-1 odds) $10
Vikings -3.5 AND Texans -4.5 AND Jags +6.5

Invested: $100
Currently: $60

- - -

Hmmm...who knows anything before the season starts? Like how am I supposed to know that Tampa sucks ass?

Now I've got my patented system that allowed me to go 13-3 against the spread last week. With renewed confidence let's go to the Hoagie ATM and put another $100 on the line. And because I'm retarded, I'm doubling my parlays! And I'm including the Lions actual spread in a parlay! I must hate money!

2-TEAM TEASER (lines teased by 6) $60
Packers -.5 AND Falcons +10.5

3-TEAM PARLAY (actual lines at 6-to-1 odds) $20
Lions +6.5 AND 49ers +7.5 AND Seahawks +2.5

3-TEAM PARLAY (actual lines at 6-to-1 odds) $20
Chargers -5.5 AND Broncos +1.5 AND Colts -1.5

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Afternoon Scene: Brand New - Part Two

In honor of the brand new album (Daisy) by Brand New, here's a song from their last album:

"Jesus Christ"


And here's a song from Daisy, that came out yesterday:

"At The Bottom"

fantasy note

After listening to today's Fantasy Focus podcast, I'm reminded why I'm glad Brittany doesn't play fantasy with us. I don't think I could handle it if the Sweaty Bratwursts were 0-2 and the Healing Crystals were 2-0.

how famous?

How famous do you think you have to be to get your ashes scattered in the Chiefs' endzone? I mean, surely Oprah is famous enough for an endzone, although Chicago has so many people that it could be more prickly of a situation. But Kansas City? They could use the attention.

So for an author, how famous do you need to be? Stephen King famous? Or would Dave Eggers be famous enough?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

supersonic acrobatic rocket-powered highlights

First one features two goals, including multiple camera angles on a blind goal.



Next one features four goals from an online match. The last goal occurred on the kickoff of Sudden Death.



Last clip is three looks at the same play, an incredible save where I am racing towards the goal.

2nd novel

For a while, I've been brainstorming a 2nd novel. I've got a bunch of ideas and a few paragraphs to go with them.

I thought I'd put a stake in the ground with some of my ideas, just to see what happens.

The first one that I fleshed out, with a working title of "The Race." It could be good. But for whatever reason I haven't been motivated to jump into it. It's semi-intimidating. Could be 3rd or 4th book I write.

Next one is one that I've started outlining recently. It has some overlap with Autopilot. I might be better suited to write it in a couple of years.

I just came up with an idea within the last 24 hours, working titles (no spoilers) GGTB or GSV. Of course, ideas always seem better right when you have them, but I'm really liking this and I could see this being novel #2.

holy shit, is it 5770 already?

playoff predictions: week 2

AFC

Clearly In
Colts
Ravens

Likely In
Jets
Pats
Steelers
Chargers

Likely Out
Broncos
Titans
Bills
Jaguars
Raiders
Texans

Clearly Out
Dolphins
Chiefs
Bengals
Browns

NFC

Clearly In
Giants
Saints
Falcons

Likely In
49ers
Vikings
Cowboys

Likely Out
Eagles
Packers
Seahawks
Bears
Cardinals

Clearly Out
Bucs
Panthers
Rams
Lions
Redskins

- - -

The NFC seems to have separated into 11 pretty good teams and 5 terrible teams. To have teams like the Eagles, Packers and Bears sitting outside the top 6 NFC teams is sort of weird, since they all seem like playoff caliber teams. I still like the Packers but after losing to the Bengals, I can't rank them higher than the Vikings or Cowboys.

The Jets are surprising me. I still don't want to put them in the top tier in the AFC, despite knocking off the Pats. The Texans, Titans and Jags seem like they should be better than a 1-5 combined record.

Monday, September 21, 2009

chiefs after week 2

I was hoping to get to write a Game Balls post, but that will have to wait. Until November. Since the Chiefs are going to be 0-7. And the Lions will get a win first. But that Burger Bet is going to get might interesting in December.

Anyways, I'm sure you didn't watch the Chiefs-Raiders. So if you saw the final (13-10) some of these numbers might surprise you:

Chiefs First Downs 25
Raiders First Downs 11

Chiefs Yards 409
Raiders Yards 166

Cassel 24/39
Russell 7/24

So how come the Chiefs looked so good and lost 13-10?

Key Plays:

On 3rd and 9 from the 13, the Chiefs get an 8 yard pass and have to settle for a chip shot. Only 2 games in, and about the 5th time I've seen receivers catch the ball one yard short of the marker.

With Flowers back at CB, pass defense is much improved. On a Raiders 3rd down, he breaks up a play. But KC is called for illegal hands on the other side of a play. That penalty extends the drive so OAK gets a 48-yard field goal.

4th and 1 from OAK-27. 44 seconds left in the first half and KC has 1 timeout. Haley calls for LJ up the middle, he gets it, clock running. A few incompletes later, Bowe catches a ball at the OAK-9 with 14 seconds left. Chiefs use their last timeout. THEN WHAT HAPPENS? 1-yard pass to the flat, tackled in bounds, half over. Even if Haley calls a play with that route, Cassel has to not throw the ball there. I know your 9 yards away and a touchdown seems tempting, but in a 3-3 game, with points at a premium, if you're not kicking with 14 seconds left and no timeouts, you have to STRESS that you can't throw it short of the endzone.

Raiders take a 6-3 lead on a 54-yard field goal after a Cassel pick. Oakland kicking got them points without being able to move the ball.

Bowe scores with 2:30 to go, KC up 10-6. The Chiefs sack Russell which would bring up 2nd and 18. THEN WHAT HAPPENS? A stupid Chief dives on Russell on the ground. 15-yard penalty. Chiefs fans thought it was a bad call. It was one of those where you see it, and your mind starts thinking "please no flag, please no flag" and then you see the flag. I can't say it was a bad call.

Later in the drive, JaMarcus completes his 6th pass of the day on 3rd and 15. Leads to a touchdown. Game over.

- - -

The Chiefs looked like the better team. Russell looked like a Arena League caliber-QB. And yet the Chiefs are 0-2, and I believe have 2 wins in their last 27 games. That's Lions bad.

Friday, September 18, 2009

yes! trophies!


How glad am I that Tom Brady came through at the end for me? Very glad.

Yeah, and Mark currently holds the Golden Helmet for highest weekly score. Great.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Softball 2009: Playoffs / Wrap

Playoffs: First Round

------- 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 -- F
US --- 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 -- 3
THEM 4 2 0 6 2 0 x -- 14

Batting Stats for Playoffs: First Round
1st AB: 1B
2nd AB: line out
3rd AB: ground out

Pitching Stats for Playoffs: First Round
6 IP
14 runs
0 K
0 BB

ERA: 16.33 and the loss

We got crushed. Had a promising start in the top of the first, but there wasn't much we could do. Perhaps we should have taken batting practice instead of spending the entire pregame time cutting off our sleeves and applying temporary tattoos. Perhaps.

- - -

Last night we had our end of the year party. I won the Male MVP award. In 06 and 07 I won the Cy Young award, and felt like there was nothing I could do to avoid that noble, yet bland distinction again. It meant a lot, probably too much, to be bestowed the MVP award from the captains.

Anyways, the season's over so time to total up my 2009 stats. I don't have individual stats for the mid-season tournament.

2009 Batting Stats
12/21: 10 singles, 2 doubles, 7 runs scored, 2 rbi, 1 sac fly
Average: .572
Slugging: .667

2009 Pitching Stats
41 innings pitched
51 runs
9 K
0 BB
ERA: 8.71

2009 Regular Season
Team Record: 3-6
Games I Was There For: 3-3
Pitching Record: 3-2

2009 (includes mid-season tournament and playoff game)
Team Record: 6-7
Games I Was There For: 6-4
Pitching Record: 6-3

- - -

If you compare my 09 stats with my 07 stats, they are remarkably consistent. My batting average is only 4 thousandths off! And my ERA is practically the same, as well. Pretty amazing, if you ask me.

Batting Stats for the 2007 Season:
21/37: 16 singles, 4 doubles, 1 triple, 12 runs scored, 4 walks, 6 rbi, 1 strike out.
Average: .568
Slugging: .730
OBP: .610

Pitching Stats for the 2007 Season:
72 innings pitched
91 runs
10 K
3 BB
ERA: 8.85

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

rugby is still awesome

Okay, so this is a funny time to post, just after week 1 of the NFL just started, but I'm still fascinated by rugby. If I ever move to England or Australia I would definitely want the Rugby Sunday Ticket package. Well, I still might be too cheap, but I would talk about how much I want it.

Anyways, I was reminded of rugby by Stokley's touchdown, how at the end he came towards the center of the field, eating up time. One of the parts of rugby that I like is that your "extra point" takes place from a distance out, at the point at which you scored. Imagine Peyton throwing to Harrison at the pylon, and then Vinatieri has to kick the extra point from the sideline.

Anyways, it seems that really major competitions are the World Cup (next one in fall 2011) and Six Nations tournament held every spring.

So for now...here are some highlights.

playoff predictions: week 1

The point of this post(s) is not to show off my amazing powers of making predictions. Much like I did last year with this post, I'm curious about how valuable snap judgments are, and how early you can see the playoff picture. (E.g. I wonder at what point I would have been able to see the Cardinals as solid contender last year.)

- - -

AFC

Clearly In
Pats
Steelers
Chargers

Likely In
Colts
Ravens
Jaguars

Likely Out
Jets
Titans
Bills
Broncos
Chiefs
Raiders
Texans
Dolphins

Clearly Out
Bengals
Browns

NFC

Clearly In
(none)

Likely In
Seahawks
Falcons
Packers
Cowboys
Giants
Eagles

Likely Out
Saints
Vikings
49ers
Bears
Redskins
Cardinals
Bucs

Clearly Out
Panthers
Rams
Lions

- - -

The NFC is a lot more muddled as 8 teams looked really good, plus the 49ers had a nice win on the road, so I guess that's 9. As I could only have 6 playoff teams, right now I've got Saints and Vikings on the outside just because of who they played. I don't think 3 teams from the East will make it, but based on their wins, I couldn't justify dropping any of them, even with the injury to McNabb.

fantasy wrap: week 1

ESPN.com projected scores for our teams in this order, for week 1 only:

1 Savan
2 Kirat
3 Dave
4 Matt
5 Niraj
6 Doyle
7 Boss
8 Mark
9 Swag
10 Harlan

This is how it turned out:

1 Mark
2 Harlan
3 Niraj
4 Doyle
5 Boss
6 Kirat
7 Matt
8 Savan
9 Dave
10 Swag

Really, the one that ESPN was close on, was that Swag would finish towards the bottom. So take their projections with a shaker of salt.

- - -

In addition to the real, tangible trophy that will be bought for the winner, ESPN allows me to create virtual trophies. Two of which will be awarded throughout the season, to the person with the highest and lowest one-week scores. I'm guessing since they're not up yet, they won't be awarded until Saturday when scores are locked.

Mark will be the first to receive the Golden Helmet Award for scoring 143.5. As soon as someone posts a score higher than that, they will claim the Golden Helmet.

Swag will be the first to receive the Red Banner of Shame for scoring 81.5. As soon as someone posts a score lower than that, they will claim the Red Banner.

Once I realized that I couldn't beat Mark, I was just hoping I wouldn't get the Red Banner of Shame in Week 1. Both of these scores seem beatable, especially the low score during bye weeks, but you never know.

- - -

And Matt was the first to benefit from scheduling, and Boss the first to get screwed. They're in the same division and Boss scored more than Matt; he lost, Matt won.

And with Matt's victory, Naperville takes an early 1-0 lead in inter-divisional games.

- - -

Three Guys That Won Your Week

Brees 50
Eagles D 42
Peterson 39.5

Interestingly, 2 of the three were consensus #1 at their position. It's almost like people knew ahead of time that Brees and AD would be good.

Monday, September 14, 2009

monday morning bonerjam express

So Cutler found out that Hester and Bennett (who the fuck is Earl Bennett?) are not Marshall and Royal. And Marshall and Royal found out that Orton is not Cutler. Funny thing about that trade. Denver used to have a passing game, Chicago not so much. Swap QB's, and neither one has one anymore.

Ravens
Passing yards: 303
Rushing yards: 198
1st downs: 32
3rd down conversion: 58%

Chiefs
Passing yards: 159
Rushing yards: 29
1st downs: 11
3rd down conversion: 20%

Those are some of the worst stats I've ever seen. Yet by beating them on turnovers and penalties, with 2:14 to go in the 4th quarter, it's a tie game and the Ravens have a 3rd and 8 from the KC 31. Their kicker already missed one from the 23 yard line. The were stupidly close to winning a game they were effectively dominated in. And yet they still couldn't cover the spread because of a garbage time touchdown after the Chiefs couldn't convert on a 4th down.

Back to the Broncos. That touchdown ranks up there with some of the best highlights for Hail Marys, too bad it was in a 7-6 Bengals/Broncos game. If the Broncos hadn't already been covering the spread, would have been one of the flukiest gambling swings ever.

After Delhomme's terrible playoff game where he committed 57 turnovers, everyone jumped off the Panthers this year. And then yesterday I remembered they were 8-0 at home last year. Could Delhomme just be bad in the playoffs? Perhaps they would regain their 08 form? Um...no.

I started Lance Moore because he was going against the Lions and I figured Brees would get 4 TDs. He got 6. But none for Moore. Come on!

The Jets won 24-7. The Texans only points? A pick-six. Seriously, Houston offense...what happened?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

immediate post-game thoughts

Another season-opener in the books, and another loss. The Chiefs haven't won since 2005, my first fall in Chicago.

But it was a thoroughly enjoying game, despite the 14-point loss. Some thoughts:

Missing Cassel and Flowers (#1 CB) was huge. They went after Leggett, Flowers replacement, early and often. When we get them back we should be better.

Last year we were 2-14, but were in most games at the end. Likewise today. So on that front, it's difficult to get to excited about playing the Ravens closely, just because we did that to a lot of teams last year and still ended up with the #3 pick.

BUT...

We had a semblance of a pass rush on a few plays. An improvement, even though Flacco really had a ton of time on most plays.

We got a great play on special teams (blocked punt for TD), defense (70-yard INT return) and offense (50-yard rec by Bradley) which lead to a 53-yard field goal by Mr. Irrelevant.

That field goal was huge tying the game at 17-17.

To that point our defense had played good enough. We even got a gutsy effort by Gonzalez's replacement on a TD to tie it at 24.

And we had no turnovers, and few penalties.

We looked like a competitive football team for the most part.

The defense got exposed at the end, but they also dominated TOP. In the future, if our offensive does better in the first half (we basically had 30 yards) maybe the D won't be so gassed in the 4th.


If I were to rank today's game compared to the last couple season-openers, it's better than the Texan's drubbing, the terrible Bengals incident, and even better than last year's close game against Cassel's Pats.

Friday, September 11, 2009

PUT IN ON THE BOARD!

Here's the first round of The Board wagers this year. We haven't figured out stakes for this bet yet...Mark suggested an appetizer to be paired with the burger bet. I don't know if that makes sense, especially if we split the bets, they basically cancel out each other.

Anyways, using our custom scoring for this year:

Dave: Tom Brady vs Mark: Drew Brees
Dave: Pierre Thomas vs Mark: Kevin Smith
Dave: Steve Slaton vs Mark: Steven Jackson
Dave: Flacco vs Mark: Delhomme

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

gambling addiction

I'm addicted to churning out shoe-in picks!

You know I'm starved for football when I visit the Hoagie Central sportsbook on a Wednesday!

Starting 2009 with $100

LOCK: Steelers -5.5 $30

2-TEAM TEASER (lines teased by 6) $30
Chargers -.5 AND Bucs +9.5

3-TEAM TEASER (lines teased by 10) $30
Pats -.5 AND 49ers +16.5 AND Eagles +10.5

3-TEAM PARLAY (actual lines at 6-to-1 odds) $10
Vikings -3.5 AND Texans -4.5 AND Jags +6.5

Burger Bet


Winners History
2008: Dave
2007: Mark

4th annual nfl picks

AFC East
Patriots 12-4
Dolphins 7-9
Bills 6-10
Jets 5-11

AFC North
Steelers 12-4
Ravens 11-5
Bengals 7-9
Browns 3-13

AFC South
Jaguars 10-6
Colts 9-7
Titans 9-7
Texans 8-8

AFC West
Chargers 13-3
Broncos 6-10
Chiefs 5-11
Raiders 4-12

NFC East
Giants 11-5
Eagles 9-7
Redskins 7-9
Cowboys 7-9

NFC North
Bears 12-4
Packers 11-5
Vikings 8-8
Lions 3-13

NFC South
Falcons 11-5
Saints 9-7
Bucs 8-8
Panthers 5-11

NFC West
Seahawks 9-7
49ers 8-8
Cardinals 6-10
Rams 5-11

Super Bowl Pick: Pats over Packers

Edit: I originally made my picks and hoped they were realistic. I went back and counted. I had 124 wins in the AFC, 126 in the NFC. There should be 256 total. So I had to go back and add more wins.

I added a win to the Pats, Giants, Cowboys, Falcons and two to the Bengals. Why not?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

grading the fantasy draft

So I know I love my team, but could it be that there's just more talent to go around? I'll go team by team and give grades and then rank them to see how they match up with the end of the year standings.

Harlan: Good QB,TE,D and K. Receivers are decent. And when Lynch is back, should be solid. A-
Brats: Thin at TE. A
Swag: Pretty solid, great at RB. Needs Ochocinco and Schaub to come through. A-
Bloopy: Like this team a lot. Got value for Frank Gore, that could be a good one if he comes through. Matt will ride Roy Williams til he dies. A
Kirat: Solid as well. Mo-Jo, Santana Moss, and Peyton all could be elite or risks. A-
Vagnasty: Don't like Palmer as your starter. Slaton and Moss are great, as are the Ravens and and I like Hines Ward. But he needs Steven Jackson and Palmer to come through. B+
Mark Vag: Don't love his receivers or Ryan Grant. Hard to say right now. B+
Boss: Good QB, 2RBS, 2WRS. If Romo is like Romo of old could be a great team. A
Doyle: Rides and dies with Warner. Not a lot of depth. B+
Burnsy Cock: Great team, don't love Kevin Smith, but doesn't need him. A

As I surmised earlier, just about everybody's team "looks" good on paper in a 10-team league.

Projected Illini Standings:
Dave
Mark
Kirat
Niraj
Savan

Projected Naperville Standings:
Boss
Bloopy
Swag
Harlan
Doyle

I actually think the Naperville Division is going to be a tight race. I could see Boss/Bloopy/Swag/Harlan all vying for first.

- - -

Interestingly enough, after I wrote all that, I went to espn.com and found projections for Week 1.

Here are the league rankings based on these projections:

1 Savan
2 Kirat
3 Dave
4 Matt
5 Niraj
6 Doyle
7 Boss
8 Mark
9 Swag
10 Harlan

this never gets old

I can't wait for Cock at Vagnasty, Box
or Bloopy at Vag, Box!

revealing my big board

Players I Wanted:

Slaton as RB1
Pierre Thomas as RB2

A. Johnson/C. Johnson/Moss as WR1
also liked White & Boldin but didn't think they would fall to WR2 (I think Boldin has better year than Fitz)
Bowe/Colston/Welker/Housh as WR2

Gonzalez at TE

Brees/Brady if possible
Rodgers/Rivers/Ryan/Romo if made sense, otherwise hold out til McNabb

- - -

Basically, I wanted a late round draft slot since I wanted to get a WR first, and I would have felt stupid taking Andre Johnson any earlier. So that worked out. Then I'm sitting there at #12 and Brady is on the board. I was comfortable not taking a QB til late. I was thinking in my first 4 picks, 2 WR, RB and TE--thinking I could get Gonzo with my 4th pick.

So I'm sitting at 12 and I could pair Moss with Andre Johnson and have two of the best receivers, get Slaton, or take Brady. I go with Brady because I've haven't had an elite QB in a while. Moss goes at 16 and Slaton at 25.

So at 29 and Westbrook was the only top running back left after Portis and Barber are gone. I was happy to get Boldin at 32.

First Four: Andre/Brady/Westbrook/Boldin
If I hadn't taken Brady, this would have likely been my team:Andre/Slaton/Boldin/Gonzo

Basically it was either Gonzo or Brady, and I'm happy with what I got.

I was ready to take Gonzo at 49 if he fell, but Mark took him at 41. Then I hoped Pierre Thomas would fall but Matt got him at 47. I was happy with Willie Parker, as long as I got Mendenhall too.

At 52 I take Braylon Edwards as my 3rd receiver. He could be a #1. He could also be a bust. Not sure how to feel about him yet.

From 53 to 68, there weren't any picks that I was excited about. Again, happy with my draft slot to get 6 in the top 52.

Against the advice of Matthew Berry, I grab Moreno as my 3rdRB. I like him a lot. Then I get Royal and I feel really strong about my RB/WR so far.

9th round I get Mendenhall and breathe a sigh of relief for my Parker pick. 10th round for my 5thWR I have a choice between Lance Moore and Santonio Holmes. Surprising depth I thought.

So through 10, I've got 5WR, 4RB and Brady. Everyone else has a TE by round 8 or so, so I'm relaxed thinking I'll have my choice of whatever. I've got my eye on Shiancoe. Then there's a run on backup QB's and I rush to get somebody, Flacco, eh. Then Shiancoe gets taken in the 11th round, as a backup TE. I don't even have my starter yet! Crap.

So I get Donald Brown, mostly so Mark can't get him.

At round 13 I start looking at defenses. I listened to the BS Report with Football Outsiders and wrote down Bears at the top of my big board. I couldn't believe that they were still on the board with a bunch of Bears fans in the room. The three guys in front of me had already drafted a defense before round 13, so the Bears came to me easily.

Then in 14 I get my first TE, and another in 15.

- - -

Of course, I'm happy with my team. Everyone is at this point. Partly I think we're down to a 10-team league so there's more talent to go around. Also the flex helps spread the receivers out more. But seriously, look at my team this year and last year and my team last year looks like a bunch of scrubs.

Monday, September 07, 2009

the best shoes in the world

Funny backstory: about 15 years ago, one of my parent's friends gave me a pair of running shoes. They were New Balances. They had a giant N on the side. I had never heard of New Balances. I didn't like the way they looked. I thought they were generic Nikes. I don't think I ever seriously gave them a chance.

- - -

I am brand loyal to New Balance running shoes. For a long time I would buy whatever shoes I thought looked cool. I've worn Nike, Reebok, Converse, Vans, Airwalks. Generally speaking, they all wore out in less than a year. Usually by about 6 months in, they already look pretty shabby, I and I try and stretch the usage a bit longer. Some shoes just a month or two of use and and parts start flapping and falling apart.

I bought these shoes at the Finish Line at the Woodfield Mall.


8505 NBzip. I bought them after they were recommended to me as "the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn." I got them on sale for 39.99. I timed it right at Finish Line because they were just getting in new fall shoes, and these were priced to move.

So yes, they were amazingly comfortable. But the biggest reason why I'm in love with New Balance shoes is the durability. I bought these late summer, 2007. Over two years old and they are in great condition. The only thing worn out about them? The bottom of the sole. I've worn these almost every day for two years, walking to work, traveling, etc. And the shoe itself is lasting longer than the rubber sole. (A pair of casual Skechers I bought after these got worn out with almost no usage.)

So they're 39.99, amazingly comfortable, and last longer than you could reasonably expect.

Today I bought a replacement pair from Sports Authority. NB409 (full model#: MR409SR)


They were on sale for 39.99. They're amazingly comfortable. And this pair was even made in the USA. (The previous pair was made in China.) So that's a bonus. Unless the American workmanship doesn't last as long, that would be a bummer.

how to: cook sweet corn on the cob in the microwave

I love sweet corn. It's about the only vegetable that I get excited about. Except for a potato, which I don't think counts, due to the fact that we slice them and fry them to the point of super deliciousness.

I especially love getting sweet corn at the Farmer's Market. It's fresh and awesome. But how to cook it? This was a tip passed to me by a co-worker and it makes it super easy.

Just take an ear of corn, wrap it in a paper towel, then run your hands under the faucet and wet the paper towel all the way around.

Then put it in the microwave: 3 minutes for a small ear, 4 minutes for a larger one.

It comes out and the paper towel has kept steam right on the ear, so it's juicy and hot. I use some no-calorie butter spray and then add salt and pepper and I'm good to go.

the mystery of the inflating hamburger

I buy frozen burgers because I like to be stocked up for a week or two and have them ready to go when I come home from work. I'm not too brand loyal--if something's on sale, I'll try it out.

I recently bought some Glenmark Cookout Burgers. The package states "homestyle thickness" and "our biggest burger." Okay, fair enough. There's 8 in a box. The first thing I notice is that it's more of a rectangle than a circle, or even a square. It's basically shaped like a deck of cards.

Prior to the incident, I had cooked a few, and thought they were fine. Nothing outstanding, but perfectly suitable. And then one day I put one on the George Foreman and I had my sweet corn going in the microwave. After a few minutes I opened up the grill and noticed that it was puffing up, like a balloon. I put the grill down and cooked it longer. I lifted it up and again saw it almost inflating. I poked it with a spatula and tongs, and I could flatten it to normal thickness, but then when I let go of it, it inflated up again.

I wasn't sure if it was full of blood, or if it was going to explode, or what. But it looked done. So I put it on my plate, and cut into it. This is what I found:

In case you can't tell, this burger was hollow. Or at least, a definite air pocket. It looked like a pita. Or a chicken cordon blue without out the stuffing.

I ate it and it tasted just fine. I felt a little gypped but I suppose it was the same thickness. In fact, this could be a genius marketing ploy: DIY stuffed burgers--cook and then stuff with cheese and bacon and barbecue sauce for an inside-out masterpiece!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

hamper dump

It's been a while. Here's everything floating around in my melon.

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Our bed frame was not meant for a split-box spring as it essentially has no support in the middle of the bed. So I had to go to Lowe's to buy support beams. I measured the notches and realized I needed beams 62" long, 1.5" wide, and 7/8" high. The two dipshits at Lowe's tried to help. They grabbed a wood plank marked 1 x 2. They got out their tape measure and marked 1/2 an inch on the width. They tried to put it through their super-giant-saw but it just split. They basically told me they couldn't help me.

So I went the Home Depot a block away. The dipshits that work there were equally unhelpful and listened to what I said and basically didn't know what to do. Then I noticed a chart comparing nominal sizes with actual sizes.

It looked like this.

This was breaking news to me. All my life I had heard about a 2" by 4" and had assumed it was actually two inches by four inches. Apparently not.

So I asked the Home Depot dipshit if he had a tape measure. I measured the 1 x 2 beam, and sure enough it was the perfect width and the difference on the height was negligible: 3/4 " x 1.5."

So I just had him cut the 8 foot beam down to 62" and I was set.

But the moral of the story is that I talked to 3 people who work in the wood department, 2 at Lowe's and 1 at Home Depot. When I asked for a piece of wood that was 1.5 inches wide, everyone acted like that was a problem, despite the fact that every pieces marked 2 inches was really 1.5. These people work in the lumber department. The guys at Lowe's used a tape measure and didn't know the piece they were holding was 1.5 inches wide.

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African-American really is a poor term when used as a description of skin color. You could be a black guy from Jamaica or Haiti, etc. You could be a white guy from South Africa. You could be a British black guy. You could be a man born of a Kenyan father and a mother from Kansas; just as much white as black.

White people aren't referred to as European-Americans. And good thing as that opens up just as many worms.

I know that race is a social construct and we really don't need labels. But as long as we have them, they should be better.

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Lots of Chiefs news in the last few days. Here's a sampling of the craziness:

Aug 30, 2009 6:12 PM CDT: Cassel out 2-4 weeks with MCL sprain
Aug 30, 2009 6:19 PM CDT: WR Darling likely out for the year
Aug 31, 2009 10:16 AM CDT: Gailey fired as Off. Coordinator
Aug 31, 2009 1:02 PM CDT: Head Coach Haley announced as new Off. Coordinator
Aug 31, 2009 5:41 PM CDT: Sounds like Cassel will be ready for Week 1
Aug 31, 2009 6:26 PM CDT: LB Zach Thomas retiring
Aug 31, 2009 7:12 PM CDT: LB Zach Thomas not retiring
Aug 31, 2009 7:37 PM CDT: QB Thigpen has been playing with two broken ribs
Sep 1, 2009 1:09 PM CDT: QB Croyle named starter for last preseason game

Cassel is the guy, but he's questionable for a little while. Thigpen re-energized the team last year but couldn't win games and played like crap last week with broken ribs. And Croyle, Herm's boy who could never stay healthy, is apparently our QB without injuries and might be starting in the season opener.

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I read for about an hour a day on the train. I've been reading nothing but Kurt Vonnegut for weeks. Life seems more amusing.