Monday, March 31, 2008

Opening Day

In honor of opening day of the 2008 baseball season* here is a cool map courtesy of the amazing website Strange Maps titled the United Countries of Baseball.

* for all teams with the exception of the Boston Red Sox, Oakland A’s, Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Great Weekend

Despite losing $100 rather quickly playing blackjack in Atlantic City, ruining multiple fantasy baseball teams by unsuccessfully attempting to draft two teams at the same time, and watching both the Devils and Flyers earn points in New Jersey’s shootout win, I had a fantastic weekend. I spent time with friends I have known for many, many years and generally spent a lot of time laughing. Now I’m home, tired, and not looking forward to head back to work Monday morning.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Difficult Decision: Devils or Flyers

I am heading to New Jersey this weekend for my annual fantasy baseball draft and a night in Atlantic City. In addition, I am attending the New Jersey Devils-Philadelphia Flyers hockey game on Friday night. I'm in a bit of a quandary in that I don't know who to support. It is probably best for the Devils to lose so that the Pittsburgh Penguins, my hockey team of choice, can move closer to winning the division. However, it is going to be really difficult to root for the Flyers, arguably the Penguins biggest rival.

Therefore, I asked some of the biggest hockey and Pittsburgh Penguins fans I know for their opinions. Please note that the question was posed and the answers received prior to Thursday night’s Penguins’ victory over the New York Islanders and Devils’ loss to the New York Rangers, which virtually guarantees that the Penguins will win the Atlantic division.

Seth of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Empty Netters

I would almost look at this in terms of gambling. You may hate "X" team a lot, but I'm sure you like your wallet a lot more.

In other words, root for what benefits you or your team more in terms of tangible gains. I would root for the Flyers in this case.

Mystery Man of Tidbits and the Angry Consumer

It is tough to cheer for a team that you absolutely hate. Unfortunately it is all about the team you love, our beloved Pens, and not the team you hate, the Flyers. I don't know why this is seriously a dilemma. Do you really love the Devils anyway? I mean they are a division rival. The closest comparison I can make is this:

The Patriots are playing the Browns. If the Browns lose the Steelers are in the playoffs. I hate the Pats, but have to cheer for them.

Greg Wyshynski of AOL Fanhouse and Deadspin

As for rooting for either the Flyers or the Devils, I think it all depends on what you want out of life. Do you want a Devils team that couldn't find the back of an opponent's net with a map and a giant flashing sign that reads "Back of Opponent's Net" to, perhaps, gain a few points on the Penguins?

Do you want the Flyers to earn a few points, move up the standings and into a likely first-round battle against Pittsburgh for Keystone State supremacy? Better question: Do you want Sidney in a seven-game series against Riley Cote and Steve Downey. Even better question, in light of the previous question: Do you value Sidney's ability to walk without benefit of a cane?

I'd go ahead and root for the Devils, because they are on the side of light (irony) while the Flyers are the devil's tools. But I think your question is yet another indication that fans really do like ties.

Scribbled Noise

My response: Hmm...That really is tough question for me. Obviously, I hate both teams due to our division rivalries. I guess I will have to root for the Devils because I absolutely loathe the Flyers and my disdain for them actually outweighs my hatred for the Devils. I would have an enormous Ruutu-like grin on my face if their playoff hopes come down to their games with us the last week of the season. It would be soooooo sweet to knock them out and have a team like the Caps make it in instead. They would just be crushed. With that said, the division heavy schedules for all of us will surely make for some interesting hockey the next ten days. The Devils play NYR, PHI, NYI, BOS, PHI and I think that from those games they may get points in 4 of 5 of them. On the other hand the Cryers have games against NJ, NYI, PIT, NJ, PIT and they may end up with points from only the NYI game. I think that if the Pens win tonight against the Islanders and the Rangers beat Jersey the division is ours so F@#& Filthadelphia!!!

Pat from Doubt About It

There are a number of factors that are at play in answering this question:

- Yes, a Devils loss does more to solidify a Penguins Division title. Although by Friday, that may or may not still matter given the slate of games the Pens have this week.

- The Flyers, it should be noted, are by no means locks to make the playoffs. A Flyers loss against the Devils certainly wouldn't help their chances, and it would likely make their final two games against the Pens even more significant. The question then becomes: how much do you want those last two games against the Flyers to matter? Do you want the chance to knock them out? Or do you want to have the games be largely meaningless so that Crosby, Fleury et al can rest? Again, with the Flyers current standing, it is impossible to tell how it will play out.

- From a "how much do you respect this organization" stand point, I pick New Jersey in a landslide. Yeah, NJ has a rather weak fan base and doesn't have the hockey history that Philly does. But when I think of Philly's hockey history, I think of names like Hextall, Lindross, Bobby Clarke, and Ben Eager come to mind. Not exactly characters I associate with respect.

- Final verdict: go with New Jersey. Division titles are meaningless when compared to seeing the Philadelphia Flyers agonize in defeat. And besides, I'd like to see the Devils make a run...only to still fall short of the Pens in the standings.

Vote None of the Above (A Tribute to Brewster’s Millions)

The Pensblog

hahaah we would wear a pens jersey and just boo everything.
It's a tough call on who to root for, though.

Koz, a contributor of Mondesi’s House

Let me think about this. My first reaction was to strap dynamite to your chest, but you seem like a nice guy and suicide bombing isn't all it's cracked up to be.

You can't root for either team. Overtime is the worst case scenario, because it means 3 points are distributed in the division. My advice is to wear as much Penguins stuff as you can and walk around with your nose high in the air. Boo everything that happens and watch the game with an expression of disdain you might show while cleaning up dog feces.

If it is a close game in the third, pray silently for a regulation finish. At this point, a Flyers victory has much less impact on the Pens, so that's the way you probably should lean, but the only inkling of happiness you feel during the game should be from inspecting what a modern hockey arena looks like, knowing the new Penguins arena will be top-notch. The only other reasons for happiness would be if a fan were injured by a stray puck or Martin Brodeur announces his immediate retirement.

PittGirl at The Burgh Blog

Devils versus Flyers?!? And you want to ROOT for, nay SUPPORT one of them? Dude, neither the Devils nor the Flyers are the Penguins, so you root for neither, you wear your Crosby jersey, you get drunk and you use every chance you can to drunkenly yell at the lot of them to go to hell because this year is OUR YEAR.


Tecmo of Pittsburgh Sports and Mini Ponies

I cannot, in good conscience, tell you to root for the Devils OR the Flyers.

The Flyers are struggling to make the playoffs while the Devils are assured of a spot. There's a chance that we might play the Flyers in the first round, which would collectively shut down the Pennsylvania-hockey-fan-landscape. However, I can't root for them to win. I can't stand the Devils at all, so I can't tell you to root for them, either.

In my opinion, you should probably pull for a 0-0 tie late in the game, followed by both teams being incinerated in a massive fire. I hope you make it out of the inferno in time.

Enjoy the game

From Going Five Hole

I understand the pickle you're in. Unfortunately, these days we can't root for ties and someone has to win. I think you should just go and enjoy the game itself. Granted, you hate both teams, but you love hockey. Root for an exciting game...

This may be my favorite answer. I really do love the excitement of going to live sporting events, especially hockey games. That is part of the reason why I have undertaken a multi-year hockey road trip in which my friend and I are attempting to visit every NHL city/arena. I’m going to sit back and enjoy the game.

Oh, I must have missed the last line of Going Five Hole’s response:

...and maybe for Brodeur to tweak a hammy or something.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Pop vs. Soda

One of the key ingredients to a successful fantasy baseball draft is the food and drinks. I write this because my teams have not fared so well over the past 15 years, so I must enjoy the food and camaraderie. Anyway, when the draft took place in Pittsburgh, we had fries from The O (the Original Hot Dog Shop for those not familiar with this Pittsburgh landmark or the "Dirty O" for regulars). Some years are more difficult for me in terms of eating good food since the draft often takes place during Passover. I should actually do a study to determine if there is a correlation between where my team finishes in the standings based on whether or not I am eating matzah or macaroons during the draft.

With the draft taking place this weekend, a flurry of e-mails has gone back and forth discussing who is bringing what. One such e-mail was from the Commissioner who simply wrote, "I'll bring soda." I was and still am appalled by this sentence. The Commissioner, Marc, was born and raised in Pittsburgh and has lived in Michigan for several years. The last time I checked, both of these areas are "pop" country. I would understand if Marc lived in the Washington area and tried to assimilate by saying the dreaded "soda" (I wouldn’t agree, but I would understand), but again, he lives in Michigan. Marc, are you turning your back on your yinzer roots? :)

You may be wondering how one defines pop or soda or even Coke territory. The map below, which I found on what appears to be the now defunct Tasty Research website, shows the most popular term used for carbonated beverages throughout the United States. I wish I knew who created this map, although I think Alan McConchie deserves the credit. I saved an article from the October 6, 2002 edition of The Sunday Capital which describes how McConchie started a website at California Institute of Technology asking Americans to respond to the pop/soda/Coke question. Unfortunately, when you type in the website, you receive a message that the page is not found. However, the Cal Tech site may have turned into, which does not appear to have been updated in years. Regardless, this is truly an awesome map.

I expect that Marc will bring the pop this weekend.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

You Can Stuff Your Sorries in a Sack

I’m not a big fan of people apologizing for not updating their blogs. I generally feel like if you have time to write something you do, and if not, then you don’t. So what am I doing today? I’m apologizing for not writing much lately. Between preparing for two auction fantasy baseball drafts (that will be taking place at the exact same time this weekend) and researching places to go on my Seattle vacation, updating this site has been a lower priority. Don’t worry though; I’ll have more to write soon.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Peeps Extravaganza

Many people around the world are observing Easter today, and what better way to celebrate than with Peeps. You know Peeps, the marshmallow tasty treats that according to the Peeps website (where you can also join the Peeps fan club) is the best selling non-chocolate Easter candy for the last decade. People have become extremely creative with their Peeps over the years. Take a look at the amazing artwork, including “Peep Art” by Ilana Greenstein and Jane Dokko pictured here, from The Washington Post’s second annual Peeps Diorama Contest. There are some truly incredible creations.

In more Peeps news, Metro uses Peeps to encourage people to take Metro to get to the new Nationals stadium. Hopefully, Metro did not spend the money for this video in place of purchasing a few new trains.

Finally, although this is not Peeps related, I went to Wegmans this afternoon for my weekly grocery shopping trip. Although we arrived just after 5:00, the Kosher food section was already closed. Due to Easter. Please note that the regular deli was open until 6:00.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Visiting Seattle

Next month, I’m going on a real vacation for the first time in over three years. I’m heading to the Pacific Northwest, primarily to Seattle with a two-day/one-night trip to Victoria. Although I am reading up on places to go and things to do, I’m hoping that someone reading this can provide some advice about visiting Victoria and Washington. While I know that I’ll visit the Space Needle, Pike’s Place market and attend a Mariners game while in Seattle and see Butchart Garden in Victoria, that’s about all that is planned at this point. Here’s where I need some help:

- Suggestions on places to stay and eat in Seattle and Victoria
- When going to Victoria, is it worth it to get a package hotel/ferry deal?
- Are there other day or multi-day trips I should take (ex. Mt. Rainier)?
- Should I go anywhere in Oregon?
- Is it OK to wear my Steelers jersey around Seattle to taunt Seahawks fans?

Any help and suggestions are appreciated. As always, feel free to e-mail me at seanramblings at yahoo[dot]com if you do not want to leave a comment below. Thank you!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Steelers vs. Redskins 2008

Since the Pittsburgh Steelers will face the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field during the 2008 NFL season, I thought I would contact the Redskins to see if there were any group ticket sales. Between the number of transplanted Pittsburghers I know in the DC area, the number of friends and family who would travel from Pittsburgh and beyond to attend a Steelers game and the few friends that I have who are actually Redskins fans, I figured that I could easily find enough people to qualify for a group. So I called the Redskins and asked if they had group tickets available. They did. Great success! So here is what the group package for 25 people entails:

- All you can eat
- All you can drink (pop and/or alcohol)
- Pregame field passes
- Box or suite seats (I couldn’t remember what the sales manager told me)

All of this for just $800! What an amazing deal! Oh wait, the group deal is $800 per person or a grand total of $20000. In that case, I think I’ll pass.

The Redskins representative said that the only group packages they sell are for suites/boxes; they do not sell group tickets because they are not "the minor leagues." The more I thought about it, the more I realized that he was correct. A minor league team would never do any of the following:

- Sign Adam Archuleta to a 6-year, $30 million contract; bench him partially through the season; and cut him at the end of the season.
- Hire an offensive coordinator before hiring a head coach, and then a month later, hire said offensive coordinator who has never held a position over quarterback coach as the head coach.
- Charge fans way too much for everything from concessions to parking. (Actually, that’s probably all sports owners.)

Maybe I was overreacting and being a bit unfair. Even though I live in the DC area, I don’t follow the Redskins nearly as closely as I do the Steelers. Therefore, I asked the guys at DC Pro Sports Report their thoughts on the Redskins organization.

What are your thoughts about the Redskins recent head coaching search process?

It was a bizarre mess, wasn't it? I think Daniel Snyder [or The Li'l General, as I call him] enjoys meeting with coaches and chatting up other NFL bigwigs. I think he's trying to learn from them, but I think he also enjoys the media attention lavished on the Redskins during these times. I didn't have a problem with the hiring of Jim Zorn, though Ron Meeks was my preference at the time. Snyder has tried recycled NFL coaches [Marty Schottenheimer] and college [Steve Spurrier] and even dipped into the team's own history [Joe Gibbs] for a solution and nothing worked. So I don't have a problem with giving the top job to a guy who has never been a coordinator. You'd have to say that the best coach in the NFC East the last decade has been Andy Reid and he had never been a coordinator when the Eagles hired him. Zorn probably has as much of a chance to succeed in D.C. as anyone else. His biggest challenge won't be dealing with the opposition, it'll be dealing with his own front office, where authority rests with Dan Snyder and Vinny Cerrato -- two men not exactly famous for their encyclopedic knowledge of football.

What Was the Worst Transaction During the Snyder Era

Boy, there is a lot to work with here. Hiring Spurrier was an obvious mistake. I think they overpaid for Clinton Portis, but he's been a good player when healthy so that can't be the worst. The competition is too stiff for that "honor." I think trading a first day draft pick to that idiot Brandon Lloyd and then giving him a fat new contract was pretty stupid. Cutting Brian Mitchell so they could sign a crippled Deion Sanders [against the wishes of then-coach Norv Turner] was a big screw-up. Chucking the fattest contract in history for a safety at Adam Archuleta was pretty typical of Snyder. I guess I'd go with cutting Brian Mitchell to sign Deion Sanders. Redskins fans loathed Sanders before he came to town, never warmed up to him in our uniform and missed Brian Mitchell [who is still a fan favorite here] terribly. That one was bad for many, many reasons.

What separates the Redskins from every other NFL team?

Well, in the 1980s and early 1990s, it was greatness that set the Redskins apart. Only the 49ers were run as well as the Redskins during that time. To win 3 Super Bowls with 3 different quarterbacks and 3 different tailbacks is truly an incredible achievement. It may never be equaled. Right now, I'd say Dan Snyder is what sets the Redskins apart. That's probably just the way The Li'l General likes it. Nothing pleases him more than to be seen as the big shot making the tough decisions for the team. Alas, most of the decisions he makes are incorrect. He's done well by basically ignoring free agency this offseason [terrible free agent class and ridiculous contracts thrown around], but Snyder usually follows up one good decision with 5 or 6 bad ones, so we'll see if he can finally get and stay on the right path.

What is your least favorite part of attending a game at FedEx field?

Now, that's a tough question. It's a toss-up between being gouged for parking, sitting near drunken idiots who won't shut up or put their shirts back on, and losing to some other lousy team in our own place and ruining my entire Sunday.

My questions did have a bit of a negative slant, didn’t they? I guess there is a good reason for that. After realizing that I was not going to spend $20,000 to attend the Steelers-Redskins game, the Redskins sales guy suggested that I try StubHub.

I guess I should have asked Charley Casserly if he had any ticket connections.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


According to Sitemeter, this is the number of visits to Sean’s Ramblings this past Friday smashing the previous record for visits in one day. Did these visits come from hundreds of people searching for a picture of a young Terry Bradshaw? Is there a huge market for people seeking best man speech suggestions? To answer the second question is possibly, although folks are not visiting this site for my words of wisdom.

So why were these so many visits on Friday? Two reasons: Yahoo! and Jenna Bush. At the bottom right of its homepage, Yahoo presents the top ten searches of the day. On Friday, March 14, Jenna Bush Wedding reached #8. When someone clicks on Jenna Bush Wedding, Yahoo also provides other suggestions such as Jenna Bush Wedding Date and Jenna Bush Wedding Plans. If you select JBWP (I don’t feel like retyping this, this post is your first option. Thanks to Google Analytics, I learned that nearly 90% of the visitors found this site just through searching for JBWP. In case you were wondering, there were visitors from every state and the District of Columbia except for South Dakota and Vermont and 55 countries including Iran, Haiti, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The top five visitors by city: Houston, New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Washington. There were also five visits each from Cebu and Batangas (they are both in the Philippines; I had to look it up) and Accra, Ghana (I had to look this up too).

I’m sure that no one cares about this but it’s really OK to take a break from all of the NCAA Tournament coverage. Do you really need to read and watch people debate the merits of the RPI?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Pittsburgh Heroes Invade Chantilly, Virginia

The sports memorabilia industry is a big business. Want to know how big? I have no idea, but I’m sure someone out there knows. Let’s just say that it’s more than $1 million (feel free to use your best Dr. Evil voice here).

This weekend, March 14-16, the Collectors’ Showcase of America invades the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Virginia. Some of the “guests” scheduled to appear include Terry Bradshaw, Joe Greene, Jack Ham, Rocky Bleier, Ralph Kiner, Terry Hanratty, Donnie Shell, Andy Russell, Antwaan Randle El (he’ll always be a Steeler to me), Dave Parker, Mark May and Hines Ward. I did mention that this show takes place in the Washington DC area and not Western Pennsylvania, didn’t I?

Although tickets to the event are only $5, the big money to be made by the “guests” and spent by the attendees comes from autographs. Do you want Hines Ward to sign a jersey? That will be $139. How about an Alexander Ovechkin puck? $100. An autograph by Garo Yepremian? $30. (Are there really people who are willing to spend $30 on a Garo Yepremian autograph?) Although Joe Theismann may or may not sign your fantasy football league trophy named in his honor, Joe Greene will not sign any Coca-Cola memorabilia. In addition, there is no word on whether Terry Bradshaw will sign a movie poster of the terrible film Failure to Launch.

More information about the show is available on the Collectors’ Showcase of America website. In addition, it looks like there will be approximately 100 dealers at this event. I wonder if any of them would be interested in buying an autographed Sammy Khalifa picture.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Finger Painting

I don’t know what else to write except that the pictures below are really cool. Enjoy!

These pictures were created by Guido Daniele, a "multimedia artist and body painter" born in Soverato (CZ - Italy) who now lives and works in Milan.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Best Man Speech

Were you wondering what I actually came up with for my brother’s best man speech? Well, here’s the speech in its entirety, although I removed the names to protect the innocent and inserted a few comments along the way:

You may or may not know this, but this week, this past Monday through tomorrow is National Procrastination Week. In honor of this week, Groom waited until the last few days to write his vowels and I started working on my best man speech yesterday. I began by brainstormed ideas about what I could talk about such as how Groom’s life began, his unsuccessful attempt to forge out dad’s signature when he got in trouble in first grade and our amazing experience taking a cross country road trip together; but I wanted to come up with something really eloquent and special. Since I’m not creative enough to do this, I went to the internet (pause for laugh) and found a site called The Best Man Speech dot com. It’s a real website. Here’s what I found:

It hasn’t always been easy growing up in the footsteps of an older, competitive and successful brother the one who was stronger, could run faster, watch TV later – all that sort of thing.

I really liked where this speech was headed. I mean, I couldn’t relate to this at all since I was the older and successful brother, but Groom probably could. Unfortunately, if I wanted to read the rest of this speech, it would have cost $15 (the actually the cost is 10 pounds but I didn't want to discuss the exchange rate) to subscribe to the website. I’m sure that Groom, the kid who had a paper route and instead of staying home on snow days went through the neighborhood to shovel snow for money, and who, let’s face it is an all-around thrifty guy, appreciates that I didn’t waste $15.

Since the internet didn’t help much, I’ll just fast forward to when Groom moved to City. He wasn’t in the area long when he mentioned that he met someone but we didn’t know anything about this mysterious woman other than that her nickname was "Shul Girl" because they met at synagogue. We later learned that Bride had her own nickname for my brother, Hot Boy. (I thought about pausing to ask, "Hot Boy? Really?" but was talked out of it.) Since we’re all here tonight I guess things worked out; even if Bride is a (awful purple football team in the AFC North) fan. She’ll be a Steeler fan soon enough.

So tonight we celebrate all the good things Bride and Groom have found in each other, a best friend and a true partner in life. May your love and friendship grow everyday you are together.

To Groom and Bride! (Everyone drinks during the standing ovation!)

If you’re a best man and looking for a speech, feel free to use any portion of the speech. Of course, National Procrastination Week is always in early March so that may limit you a bit.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Random Thoughts

I love attending the Pittsburgh Penguins-Washington Capitals games in DC. Even though the Caps are the home team and play in their home arena, the game seems as close to a neutral site as you will find because of the even amount of fans supporting each team. I’ve probably attended at least six of these games over the past few years and I think that the Penguins have emerged victorious every time. You couldn’t have asked for a better game on Sunday as Sidney Crosby scored the game-winning goal with 30 seconds remaining** to give the Penguins a 4-2 victory (Jordan Staal added an empty net goal). Much more on this game at The Pensblog, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (here and here) and The Washington Post.

- Can I blame Metro or Maryland’s transportation department for signage around the Forest Glen Metro Station? Taking the Beltway to the Georgia Avenue, there is a sign letting you know to turn left, or take Georgia Avenue South, to get to the Metro. After driving about a half-mile, there is another Metro sign with an arrow pointing ahead. The only Metro station that way is the Silver Spring station which is more than two miles down Georgia Avenue and then you would turn on to Colesville Road. If you ignore the original Metro sign and turn right on Georgia Avenue, the Forest Glen station is at the second light.

- Who would have thought that 15 years after The Cosby Show ended Raven-Symoné would be the cast member with the most successful career?

- What to watch tonight: The Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball championship between George Mason and William & Mary at 7:00pm on ESPN. I would love to see Folarin Campbell and Will Thomas make the NCAA Tournament again in their senior seasons. Go Mason!

- The best man speech was a huge success. At least I count it as a huge success since I didn’t embarrass myself and everyone is still talking to me. I’ll have more about the wedding including the speech transcript tomorrow.

** I just watched the highlights of the Pens-Caps game and learned only now that Nicklas Backstrom of the Caps actually shot the puck into his own net to give the Penguins the win. From Section 430, we thought that Pascal Dupuis scored the winning goal and was surprised that Crosby got credit for the goal. We figured that maybe Crosby shot the puck and it deflected off of a Capitals player. Apparently it was all Backstrom. When I thought Dupuis scored, I told my friends that the Dupuis and Hossa for Armstrong and Christensen trade was the greatest deal in Penguins history. I might have exaggerated a little.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Redbox Rage

Perhaps you have seen these Redbox machines at your local grocery store or McDonalds. The idea of Redbox is brilliant in its simplicity; rent a DVD for just $1 and you can return the DVD to any Redbox location. Just within 5 miles of my zip code, there are 10 Redbox locations which makes renting DVDs extremely convenient. The price of a Redbox DVD rental is much cheaper than Blockbuster, and you can select movies immediately without waiting for your Netflix DVD to arrive through the mail. Although Redbox does not have the selection of Blockbuster or Netflix, they do have most, if not all, of the new releases. As someone who does not rent enough movies to make Netflix worthwhile, Redbox makes sense financially. I don’t feel nearly as bad renting a terrible movie for $1 rather than $5 at Blockbuster.

I’ve been a little reluctant to use this giant red machine, but I finally did so recently. I wanted to rent Michael Clayton (I’m embarrassed to write that I have not seen it yet - sorry Jason), but it was completely out at Blockbuster. Although it was also out at the closest Redbox, we ended up renting another movie. The process of choosing a movie was easy. You just go through the movies, touch the screen, swipe your credit card and the movie appears out of the slot. The process of returning the movie is much more difficult. You would think it would be easy as all you need to do is slide the movie back into the slot. However, there is no separate slot to return the movie quickly; you have to wait for idiot people who are already in line to complete their transactions.

I’m sure that this has happened already but there has to have been some Redbox confrontations, particularly among people trying to return their movie just before 9:00pm. If you don’t return a movie by 9:00, you are charged for an additional night, or another $1. My personal experience in returning my DVD in the middle of the afternoon was extremely frustrating. I hoped to run into the grocery store, return the movie, and leave quickly since we were meeting some friends for dinner. I had no such luck as there were two people already ahead of me in line. The first guy was trying to select a movie and the guy next to him kept commenting on every single movie out there. I’m sure that the first guy really did not care about the second guy’s opinion of Lake Placid 2. After maybe 3 minutes, the first guy picked his movie and left. I wish the second guy moved as quickly. It took him at least 5 minutes to choose a movie even though he already saw most of the films listed. Then, he tried to swipe his credit card but it did not go through. Instead of trying to swipe it again, he stood there staring at the machine. After another 90 seconds, he repeated the same process. I was getting more and more angry watching him since I had somewhere to be. I almost yelled at the guy to swipe your "f-ing" card again. It must have been a full 10 minutes for the guy to complete his transaction. It took me only 15 seconds to return my movie.

So if anyone associated with Redbox happens to read this, please install a return slot in all of your new machines. Otherwise, I can see someone getting hurt in a case of Redbox Rage!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Life Without the Internet

From Monday at 11:00am until Wednesday at 10:00pm, something was missing in my life. That something was internet access. I wasn’t in the remote wilderness; I was in New York City. I even had a computer, although I could not justify paying $17.95 a night for internet access in my hotel room. I even considered paying $8 for internet access at LaGuardia airport (cheers again to Albuquerque Airport for having free wireless internet), but I didn’t think it was worth it. Instead, I had to learn about what was going on in the world through the USA Today and the limited time I had in my hotel room watching TV.

Over the last few days, my life has been incomplete. I couldn’t check my e-mail or visit my usual website for news and information including the Post-Gazette, Washington Post, Deadspin and Google Reader. For example, I didn’t know that Sidney Crosby returned to the Penguins until after the game ended. I couldn’t see if people had excellent best man speech ideas for me based on Monday morning’s post. I did not learn about Brett Favre’s retirement until many hours after the announcement. I also didn’t know that Lindsey Lohan’s mother and sister were going to be on an E! show titled Living Lohan.

Now that I’m home, things seem right. I can see how many people visited my blog (only folks searching for "why I hate Hillary Clinton" on Google); I can read other blogs again (OK, I haven’t done this yet); I can check my bank account balance (an extra $1000 did not magically appear); and I can read my e-mail again (I received mostly spam messages and junk mail). Actually, I did receive the following eight news alerts from The Washington Post within a 24-hour period:

Inside Decision Tuesday
Obama & McCain Win Vermont
McCain Wins Ohio
Clinton Wins Rhode Island
McCain Wins GOP Nomination
Clinton Wins Ohio
Clinton Wins Texas
Bush, McCain at White House

So McCain winning Texas wasn’t important? Why wasn’t there a news alert about Ben Roethlisberger’s $102 million contract? It doesn’t matter now since I can find everything that I need from the comfort of my home and office.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Best Man Speech (Happy National Procrastination Week)

Did you know that this week (March 3-9, 2008) is National Procrastination Week? It is also Newspaper in Education Week (March 3-7) and National Sleep Awareness Week (March 3-9). Reading newspapers, being aware of sleep and actually sleeping more are all perfect ways to procrastinate. I know this from personal experience.

So my brother is getting married this weekend, and I have known that I am the best man for many, many months. With this much time to prepare, many people would have a brilliant speech prepared and rehearsed by now. I have nothing. In my search for ideas, I decided to write on my blog (another great way to procrastinate) and hope that folks have advice and suggestions about what to say.

In the meantime, I figure that I should share my one idea and try to get some feedback about it. I would love to start the speech by quoting “The Office” episode when Michael Scott speaks at Phyllis’ wedding. He said, “Webster's Dictionary defines wedding as the fusing of two metals with a hot torch.” This line will likely bomb which would set me up perfectly to tell another joke that perhaps 1/3 of the room will get. Therefore, 2/3 will think that I bombed my first two lines and probably tune out or stand up and go straight to the bar. This may not be a good strategy on my part although I could probably come back with a zinger about the bar being open or something.

As you can tell I could use some help or suggestions. If you don’t feel like providing a comment or e-mailing me at seanramblings at yahoo[dot]com at this time, I understand. It is National Procrastination Week.

Update: The speech has been written and is posted here.