Thursday, October 28, 2010

Still kicking

Sorry, for the lack of updates lately, October tends to be by far my busiest scheduled month ever. The last couple weekends have been jam packed, as we got to visit one of Columbus' most notorious Haunted Houses, visited Ohio Village for their Hallow's Eve festival, ran back up to Cleveland for my niece's birthday, and visited Columbus Zoo's Boo Bash. That's just been the last couple weeks, add in multiple trick-or-treat days (3 by last count) for the daughter and going back up to Cleveland this weekend for a Halloween party at my brothers and a ton of work around the house (hopefully to complete everything I have to do there).

Anyway, that's just a long way of saying, I haven't had much time to write anything. The beginning of November probably won't be much better. At some point I'm hoping to write up a review on some of the things we did in October, but we'll see how that goes (I know I'm breaking my rule on not promising future posts).

Until next time, hopefully your Halloween costume turns out perfectly, you get to indulge in a ton of candy or adult spirits and you have a safe Holiday.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Friday Thoughts 10/15/2010

I was hoping this week would have been a good one, but I seem to have hit a rut as we got closer to the end. The good news though is the week has went by fairly quickly and I'm looking forward to the weekend as we do some Fall/Halloween activities here in the Columbus area.

1. While I don't approve of the alleged behavior of the NY Jet football players in relation to the Ines Sainz incident. I do want to point out a picture in the link of the story I've attached below. While there is no doubting she's an attractive woman and I completely understand as she puts it "She likes to look good". I do think that it's entirely possible that she doesn't quite understand the word 'professional'. There aren't a lot of 'professional' jobs that I know of where a female would find it appropriate to walk around with their blouse unbuttoned to the point it is in this photo. Again, this isn't to say what the Jet players did was excusable, but I do find it sort of amusing that this woman considers herself a 'professional' sports journalist. Given her hard hitting journalism such as measuring biceps on Super Bowl media day and such, you to ask the question on what exactly is she supposed to be doing in that locker room.

http://www.cleveland.com/ohio-sports-blog/index.ssf/2010/10/ines_sainz_reporter_in_jets_co.html

2. A quick trip to one of the many Thrift stores in Columbus last week allowed me to find what I needed for my Halloween costume and I lucked out in that I found it at the first store I visited. I'm going a bit dapper for my costume, either as a devil or a vampire. I'm leaning toward a Devil, as Vampires have been so overplayed, and I've dressed up like one before.

3. I don't know how they manage to do it, but the South Park writers never stop amazing me, how they can keep their edge so many years in is absolutely amazing. If you haven't seen this week's episode, check it out. The 'Jersey' episode bordered the line of hilarious and offensive in only the way South Park can.

4. While driving today, I noticed bumper stickers plastered all over a van that caught my eye. I can only remember one exactly, which was "Satan was the first liberal". I'm guessing I will not be hanging out with the driver of this vehicle anytime soon.

5. The fascinating thing to me about strongly religious people, (assumption based on all of the bumper stickers, although most were conservative/republican based). Is that to my knowledge, most major religions preach about compassion and understanding for others. I'm guessing the lessons did not take for the car owner.

6. I'm trying to figure out how to handle my daughter's religious education she's receiving at day care. It's a Christian child care. I don't necessarily have a problem with what they are teaching her, but it is interesting to see what she's picking up, and at some point, I'll likely have a conversation with her in regards to it. I want to try and ensure she has an understanding that Christianity and it's beliefs are not necessarily the only ones out there, this will likely be an ongoing theme.

7. It seems I've been able to work some religion into the blog, after struggling with large posts for sometime that I eventually scrapped, it's interesting that it sort of works itself in there on its own. As to some of my thoughts, I could fill a book on it, I'm sure, which is why you haven't really gotten any posts about it from me. Every time I start writing something it strays off into so many directions that I'm sure it's unreadable. Anyway, I'll give up this much, I suppose if you must label me, you could call me a "Christian". My family is not what I would call 'religious' at least growing up. I've never attended church regularly, except for the time period when I became Catholic, due to my wife's request for marriage and I had to go through that whole process. I can say with some conviction though that even though I 'converted' to Catholicism, I most certainly am not Catholic, at least at this point, I still wonder what the hell I was doing in going through that, but then again we all do things at times for our significant other. Right now though, I'm not entirely sure I believe in anything, maybe it's due to things happening in life, maybe it's the inevitable position I was bound to take based on my father's views. I could probably give a better synopsis if we broke it down into spirituality and organized religion. Organized religion doesn't work for me, although I can appreciate what it does for some people. Spirituality, I'm still working on.

8. I watched Rocky IV again last night. It's the one where he fights the Russian, Ivan Drago, it's always been one of my favorites, (actually all four of the first Rocky movies are favorites). Anyway, I'm going to treat life's problems as my Ivan Drago from now on. Big imposing issues, that essentially you just have to overcome and ultimately beat down. If I was clever, I'd figure out a way to make that statement witty and put it on a bumper sticker.

9. My parents are really awesome. I can't list all of the great things they do. While those on the outside who viewed us as we were growing up probably wouldn't ever think that we were 'family orientated'. I'm constantly amazed in watching families who pay lip service to that commitment but fail to deliver on the actions. Anyway, I asked my father to try and work with a contractor to get something done with my water heater at my house, since I wouldn't be in the area and it was required by the city in order to pass the Point of Sale inspection. Estimates were in the 250+ range. Anyway, I heard a rumor today from my brother that my father has decided against a contractor and is completing it himself. I'll be a bit premature (since it's not done yet) and express my gratitude here first. (He doesn't know, I know). Thanks Dad, actually thanks to both you and Mom, for all of the things you guys have ever done for me and my family. A person could not have asked for better parents.

10. I'm really excited for tonight's stay at home night, I picked up a copy of "How to train your dragon" (which is one of the best animated movies I've seen), am either going to make pizza or pick some up and then I'm going to make some Cafe Du Monde beignets for dessert. It's shaping up to be one of those great nights at home.

Have a great weekend, and as always, thanks for reading.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Life is a game of inches

About two months ago, I wrote about how fortune seemed to line up for me over the past few weeks, and how small things seemed to be moving in positive directions when I needed them too.

I think I jinxed my own karma. It probably started happening about a week or so after that post, but since that time the last two months have been dismal, with one bad break after another. Sure they were likely to happen anyway, but when you start going bad, they do seem to pile up.

Here's what we've had, just off of the head.

1. After thinking my home inspection by the city went fine, upon receiving their formal write-up I realize I'm left with no choice but to hire a painter to paint the house and have a plumber come in and do some work on the water heater. Cha-ching

2. Our new car suddenly has warning lights come up regularly on one of the tires. After filling it thinking it was just low, two days later it's back and I schedule an appointment. Of course there is an issue with the tire, a nail in the inside sidewall, meaning the tire is not fixable, and there is no roadside warranty on the new car, just manufacturing warranty. It doesn't help that the price for the new tire, is about what I usually spent for four on my old car.

3. Chipped tooth on a tic tac. Visit to the dentist reveals a crown is needed. Another nice bill.

4. I haven't mentioned the wife's purse and bag being stolen yet have I, of course this happened so long ago now, I don't remember it as much.

5. Continued fighting with insurance and the hospital that can't seem to submit appointments right from a year ago, when my wife had a series of bills come up.

6. Regular oil change and rotation on my old car, which we hardly ever drive, turns up that the back brakes and rotors are bad, wonderful.

That's all I can think of off the top of the head at the moment, and it's not like they don't happen to anyone else, but I'll be honest, combined with the move to a new city, and stress of getting situated and trying to get the old house ready, I swear I'm ready to kick the dog. (Figuratively speaking of course.)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Follow up to baseball predictions for 2010

So, the regular baseball season is over, let's see how I did.

http://lifeandtimesincleveland.blogspot.com/2010/04/baseball-predictions-for-2010.html

Well, in the American League, I did predict 3 out of the 4 playoff teams. I mixed up the AL East and Wild card winners as the Yankees and Rays flip flopped and I missed on the West Division winner. Nice season by Texas and I gave them no chance in my preview. I did call Seattle's issues though, so I don't feel too bad about my predictions here.

In the National League, I picked the East and Wild card winners. I missed on the Central and I've been kicking myself all summer, as I really liked the Reds, but couldn't bring myself to pull the trigger on the prediction. I'm also kicking myself as I didn't identify them as my surprise team and the thought did cross my mind, but it's easy to say after the season isn't it. Great showing by the Reds and this team is definitely one that can maintain this level of play especially if their pitching comes around. My west pick of the Rockies wasn't bad, the Giants and Padres both had great years and until the last 2 weeks of the season the Rockies were in the discussion. The Dodgers were a nightmare, here's hoping that the McCourt fiasco forces them to sell the team to an owner that can run the organization with the respect it deserves. (2nd to the Yankees for all time organization, in my opinion.)

Now to the awards, I realize that they haven't been announced yet, but for my purposes (fuzzy math), let's see how we did.

AL MVP: Evan Longoria, probably won't be in the top 5 for voting, had a nice year, but did not break out, like expected. This one seems pretty far off from a prediction standpoint to some of the others I did.

AL Cy Young: Fernandez is in the discussions, Verlander, while having a good year is not. Fernandez's big question though is whether they can vote for him since he doesn't have the wins of two other contenders (Price and Sabathia). It would be easy to argue though that Fernandez was the best AL pitcher this year, and hence should win the award even if he doesn't.

AL Rookie of the Year: My pick of Brantley stunk, he just didn't have much of a season, my mention of Wade Davis looks pretty solid and considering the AL class was not as good as the NL, I don't feel bad about my predictions. My guess is the win is probably going to Texas' closer (although I'm not positive he still qualifies as a rookie). If Carlos Santana did not get hurt, he would have been in the discussion and that's good news for the Indians.

AL Comeback Player of the Year: Fausto Carmona, I feel pretty good with this pick, nice rebound year for the Indian's pitcher. Someone else could win the award, but he's in the Top 3 discussion.

AL Manager of the year: Ron Gardenhire, given that I'm seeing a lot of articles talking about Gardenhire doesn't get the credit for what he does, I'm feeling pretty good about this prediction. Nice year for the Twins and their manager.

NL MVP: Prince Fielder isn't even in the discussions and shouldn't be. I took a shot on someone other then Albert Pujols and picked wrong. In my opinion, Joey Votto (Reds) or Carlos Gonzalez (Rockies) should be the winner, but we'll see what happens.

NL Cy Young: Adam Wainright, nice year by Wainright, but I think he get's overshadowed by Ubaldo Jiminez who if he had finished like he started would have been a slam dunk or by Roy Halladay, who lived up to the hype and delivered a great season for a Division winner. My guess is this vote goes to Halladay.

NL Rookie of the Year: A lot of good candidates here. I picked Heyward at the beginning of the season and he had some ups and downs. While I'm not sure whether he'll win the voting, a case could be made that he should be. The NL had a great class, so even handicapping at this point is a bit difficult. The AL is going to need a stellar class of rookies to keep the balance of power in their favor over the next couple years, as there are some superstars in the NL class this year. Stanton (Marlins), Baumgartner (Giants), Alvarez (Pirates), Posey (Giants), Strasburg (Nationals). If I had to guess who will actually win the award at this point, I'd probably choose Buster Posey from the Giants.

NL Manager of the Year: Bobby Cox, as his last year and the fact that the Braves made the playoffs, I'm guessing this pick is right.

NL Comeback player: Ricky Weeks, he's another one that is definitely in the conversation even if he doesn't win it. A good recovery from a broken leg.

NL Surprise team: As I mentioned in the preview, I had a hard time calling the Braves a surprise, but considering they had been down for a couple years they sort of fit the criteria. My real regret is that in choosing the Braves, it prohibited me from putting my thoughts on the Reds down.

Last review of my predictions post: The Cleveland Indians, oh how I wish things would have been better or would be better next year. There are some pieces here for this team. From an offensive standpoint if LaPorta can become a real player and team with Choo, Santana, and Sizemore (if he can get healthy) this team could have some consistent offense. The rest of the offense stinks though and the pipeline in the minors doesn't bring me a warm fuzzy feeling. Most of the minor league players are marginal at best in my opinion their 'ceilings' are as solid major league players, which means there aren't many potential superstars. The pitching staff has some bright spots, at the very least they'll have a solid rotation next year. If Fausto Carmona can revert to Cy Young form, it goes along way in carrying a pitching staff if you have a dominant ace. The other prospects and likely starters don't do much for the imagination. This seems to be the common theme for the organization over the last 10 years, there seems to be an inability for recognizing players with superstar potential, except in an occasional trade (Sizemore, Santana, Choo). You can't be a perennial contender by relying on other teams to develop your top talent.

I completely forgot to do an NFL preview, so most of the sports content is likely to just be thoughts on baseball and football over the next couple months.