Saturday, April 30, 2005

Less Than 24 Hours

until I can eat cookies, pizza and Lucky Charms again!!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Pop Culture Stuff

I hate to admit this, but I actually caught the last 2 minutes of American Idol last night. This guy with long hair was singing the Nickleback song "How You Remind Me," and he wasn't very good. How did he make it this far? At the same time, Paula Abdul cried more than when her marriage to Emilio Estevez ended (at least that's my guess). I'm so glad I don't watch this show.

Since I'm already talking about American Idol, I find it funny when the contestants get arrested, like in this case, where Bo Bice (is that a real name?) was arrested twice in the past four years on drug charges. Nice.

After watching and mentioning Life on a Stick last night, I've decided that someone from the show is going to have a monster career. I have no idea who or why, but it seems just random enough to happen. I mean, who would have predicted that Hilary Swank would have two Oscars after performing in "The Next Karate Kid" and 90210?

Would President Bush have done an address on national TV during the last season of Friends? I'm suprised he did it tonight at 8:00, right when Survivor started. Maybe he picked tonight because there was no National League baseball games.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Old Job

I'll apologize in advance if this post is somewhat cryptic. If you know me and know what I did at my last job, you will understand. If not, just bear with me. I met with some folks from my old job yesterday to discuss the big annual event. I was essentially asked to perform most of my duties from when I was working there at this year's event, but as a volunteer. I'm very proud of myself in that I said no. I almost always say yes I can help, so this was a nice change. I'm still probably going to help, but it will not be during the entire weekend, and I won't have much responsibility. This way, I can actually enjoy the event and catch up with people I haven't seen in a year.

As I'm writing this, I'm also watching Fox's show Life on a Stick. This is a terrible show. The dialogue and acting is terrible. I'm glad I have a remote.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

I Hate Ryan Seacrest

I should take that back. I really don't hate Ryan Seacrest. He just annoys me. I don't understand why he's famous. Even more unbelievable, he just received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I really don't understand why. Can you name any movies or TV shows (besides Idol) that he's been in? He had his own talk show that failed. When people talk about American Idol, they discuss the singers and the judges, not Seacrest. So why is he getting a star when he doesn't even act on the TV show. Simon Cowell said it best (and I really hope he is being serious) in the article linked above:

"Ill-deserved," the famously grumpy Cowell replied, dryly. "I cannot believe that April the 20th is going to be Ryan Seacrest Day."


I'm working from home today (despite writing this post, I really AM working) preparing for a quarterly meeting which takes place Friday through Tuesday. It's a little scary sitting next to two laptops, my personal one and one from work. Anyway, for a quick break to go with a late breakfast, I decided to turn on MTV. Of course, they are not showing any videos. They are showing a show that I have never seen before called Next. Apparently, a person gets to have 5 dates, and he/she gets to say next whenever he/she wants the next date. The dates seem to last about 30 minutes each, although some are shorter (some are longer). Oh, and the other four contestants who are not on the current date all hang out on a bus. I think the goal is to get a second date. This seems way too complicated, so I'm going to go back to analyzing hundreds of pages of documents.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Book Report

Since I started my new job in January, I have read books for pleasure for the first time in years. I am really enjoying it, but I don't think I've been able to share with anyone what I have read.

So just for my sanity, here are the books I have read recently (in no particular order):

Angels and Demons - Dan Brown
The Bourne Identity - Robert Ludlum
The Bourne Supremacy - Robert Ludlum
Into Thin Air - Jon Krakauer
Into The Wild - Jon Krakauer
Let Me Tell You a Story: A Lifetime in the Game - Red Auerbach & John Feinstein
Winter Games - John Feinstein
Fargo Rock City - Chuck Klosterman
Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

I feel like I've read more than this, but I can't think of any more at the moment. I will be starting Da Vinci Code tomorrow, and am always looking for suggestions for what to read next. Please let me know if you have any thoughts or ideas.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Ithaca College Sports Update

Besides the Ithaca College website, this may be the only place to get Ithaca College sports news (well, at least a few times per year). First, the Ithaca College Women's Crew team is ranked #1 in the NCAA Division III Varsity Eights. If you know what a Varsity Eight is, please let me know.

In addition, earlier this week, Ithaca's baseball team broke six school records in defeating Cazenovia 37-11. Yes, that was a baseball score. Here is the box score of the game. I feel a little bad for Cazenovia since they were winning 8-4 after 3 innings only to be outscored 33-3 over the next six innings. Well, maybe I don't feel bad since Ithaca also tied a school record by having six batters hit by a pitch in the game. Here's a little more info on the game:

The Bombers’ 33 hits, 60 at-bats and 32 RBI all set single-game school records. Senior outfielder Ben McBride (Ridgefield/Ridgefield, Conn.) tied the NCAA single-game record with nine at-bats, finishing 4-for-9 with a grand slam and six RBI. Freshman infielder Todd Czerno (Columbia/Brainard) broke a school record with three hit by pitches. Sophomore outfielder Jeremy Peters (Thomas R. Proctor/Utica) hit his first two career home runs (both in the ninth inning), ending 3-for-4 with six RBI and three runs scored. Freshman first baseman Eric Ferguson (Columbia/East Greenbush) was 4-for-5 with four RBI and his first career home run. Junior outfielder PJ Canestrari (Randolph/Ironia, N.J.) also hit a grand slam.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Friday Night Shopping

What better way to spend a Friday evening than going to the grocery store? I'm only being a little sarcastic because the trip was to Wegmans, the greatest grocery store ever. Besides having everything, they also have the best Kosher for Passover section in Northern Virginia. I should probably mention that I don't like Passover food (who does?). I understand the meaning of Passover, but I would much rather have another one day Yom Kippur-type fast over the eight days of Passover.

Anyway, back to the shopping trip. Wegmans had Kosher for Passover products that I have never seen before. I have never seen Kosher for Passover pizza or blintzes (I actually bought the blintzes). There is also Kosher for Passover ketchup, waffles and syrup. Who is buying the waffles and syrup? You can go eight days without waffles. Fortunately, they were not selling Crispy-O's, the worst cereal known to man.

Here's something I never thought I would say...Wegmans was sold out of gefilte fish.

I also bought the 5-box pack of Matzah. It's not that I like Matzah or will come anywhere near eating all of it. The price of the 5-pack ($4) was cheaper than buying two individual boxes.

The total cost, $90. Ugh.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Nats Baseball Report Card

I went to my first Washington Nationals game on Wednesday night at RFK Stadium. The stadium itself was much nicer than I expected. There's nothing fancy about it, but it reminded me of the Three Rivers/Riverfront model of stadiums. The ball does not travel well in the park, so don't expect a lot of home runs there. The tickets were only $10 for decent seats. In addition, using Metro to get to and from the game worked very well.

On the negative side, the food is nothing very exciting. No Hebrew National hot dogs. The best thing on the menu (chicken fingers and fries) was $8.50, which is more than I'm willing to pay for stadium food. Fortunately, I met up with some people at the game who brought peanuts, cookies, cracker jacks and more, so I was happy. The mascot looks silly. I know they say it's an eagle, but I'm still going with an owl. The people who throw/shoot T-shirts are horrible. They should be out there before games practicing. The guy with the cannon (when he got it to work) shot at least one shirt into the bullpen, nowhere near the fans. Several T-shirt throwers didn't even get the shirts into the seats.

All in all, it's nice to have a local baseball team. The Pirates are still my #1 team, but I'm considering myself a Nats fan. The Nats ended up winning 2-0 in a not-so-exciting game, but again, it's nice to go to a game!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Wednesday Morning Thoughts

- I'm going to my first Nationals game tonight. I'm excited to see the new hometown team in person and to add RFK to the list of stadiums I have watched games at.

- Help me understand this...Cardinals over the age of 80 are not able to participate in the conclave for selecting a new Pope, but Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) is 78.

- It is extremely odd reading Angels & Demons at the same time as the real conclave has been taking place. I have not heard anything about the Illuminati or missing Cardinals during the non-fictional conclave.

- You would think that after 17 years, I would be able to shave correctly. However, I still manage to cut myself every few days.

- Have a good day!

Monday, April 18, 2005

Screech the Eagle

Even though I've downloaded Hello and Picasa, I still can't figure out how to add a picture. Therefore, check out the Nationals new mascot in this Washington Post article. The Pittsburgh Pirate can definitely take Screech (the Nationals mascot, not necessarily Dustin Diamond).

Sunday, April 17, 2005

The Paintball Diaries

Friday 4/15
7:20pm - After hearing about a friend's experience playing paintball where he got hit in a place where you don't want to get hit, I went to Target and bought a cup. I was very excited that I now own a Major League Baseball authentic cup.

Saturday 4/16
7:35am - I leave my home wearing a long-sleeve Blockbuster shirt (from my days when I worked at Blockbuster), black sweatpants with the number 109 on it (from when I played soccer at high school and "forgot" to return it), a pair of white New Balance shoes and a green University of Rhode Island hat that has seen better days. My rationale for wearing all of this; I decided I was OK with all of these items potentially getting ruined, although I struggled with possibly parting with the sweatpants.

9:15 - Arrive at the paintball place. Surprisingly, everyone seems to be wearing camouflage. The white shoes may not have been the right decision.

9:30 - Safety briefing time. I learned that wearing the mask and goggles is good. I also learned that you can surrender. Finally, you should not shoot animals. The guy leading the briefing shared a story of a guy a few weeks ago who tried to shoot a deer as it ran through the course. The briefing guy made gun sounding noises (pow, pow, pow, pow) while explaining the story. How has this guy not won a Grammy for best spoken word album?

9:45 - I am very happy to be with a private group. Many of the walk-on paintball players look scary and have extremely sophisticated paintball gear and weapons. My group and their equipment didn't look nearly as scary. Plus it's nice to know that the group I was with are working or have worked to defend the country and are not part of a militia. The paintball demographic is an interesting one.

9:50 - Someone in the group has extra camouflage. I now look like I fit in. Well, except for the shoes.

10:00-1:00 - The early session. For the most part, I am just trying not to get hit. Almost all of the games are capture the flag on several courses as big as 100 yards long by 50 yards wide with trees, rocks, barriers throughout the course. I think it was 12 against 12. At one point, I got hit and leave the field. When I got to the "dead zone," I realized that the paint didn't break, so I didn't have to leave. Oh well, too late for me. Mostly, I played on the defensive of things. During the entire morning session, I hit exactly 0 (zero) of my opponents.

1:00 – I was smart enough to bring my lunch. The snack bar selection doesn't look very appetizing.

1:30 – Getting really frustrated by the group of teenage referees. They are burning cardboard boxes in a fireproof barrel. Of course, the ash is blowing right into where everyone is eating. Plus the fire is right next to the canisters of CO2. Not very bright.

1:31 – Fortunately, the CO2 is not flammable. Nevertheless, why is there a fire when the temperature is in the 60s?

1:50 – Before the afternoon session starts, there seems to be swarms of junior high and teenage boys. I’m a little scared that this is the future of our country.

2:00 – Afternoon session begins. I notice that the kids are walk-ons, and am happy that I won’t be joining them. They start on one field where it appears to be 40 versus 40. Even I would be able to hit someone with that many people.

3:00 – I’m doing much better. I actually hit someone on the opposing team. Unfortunately, even though I managed to hit the guy two or three times, the paintball didn’t break, so he was able to stay in…just in time for he and another person to hit me.

3:15 – After another capture the flag round that ended in a draw (in which I was not shot), I learned that I somehow hit an opponent. It turned out that I hit my friend who brought me. Even though it was a lucky shot and I don’t think I aimed, I’ll take it.

4:45 – Definitely my best game. I got the flag for my team, although before I grabbed it, I did ask the ref it that was really the flag. On the way back to base, I did hit someone on the other team when I was trying to.

5:10 – Day over.

5:30 – I had to give back the camouflage. I felt somewhat cool wearing it.

7:00 – Much needed shower!

8:45 – Celebrated the day with a frozen strawberry margarita and dinner.

Overall, it was very tiring but fun. I still cannot aim, and I realize that I did my best when someone was telling me where to go. I think I’m more sore now than I was this morning. I’d play again, but I’ll wait a while.

I Survived

In case you were worrying about me, I wanted to let you know that I made it through paintball yesterday in one piece. I'm a little sore this morning and have several welts on my shoulders and knee. I will share my full paintball experience later today.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Wish Me Luck

I will be "playing" paintball for the first time tomorrow. The only time I have used any type of gun is going to a rifle range when I was in Cub Scouts and playing Duck Hunt on Nintendo. I wouldn't be too worried except the people who are participating with me all have military or government experience (and I'm not referring to the IRS or Department of Education). I don't think my experience playing Halo on XBox is going to help.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Washington Baseball

The big news around town is the home opener for the Washington Nationals tomorrow (Thursday) evening. It's nice that they are opening against their fiercest rival, the Arizona Diamondbacks. I am excited about there actually being a baseball team here after 30+ years without one. The team has been a pleasant surprise so far this season, going 5-4 on a 9-game road-trip.

There is a drawback to the new team in town. I'm not a big fan of the radio announcers. I was listening to part of the game last night when it started to rain. The announcer gave the exact time and date (5 'til 10 on Tuesday, April 12) and seemed excited to say that this was the first rain delay in Washington Nationals history. I'm suprised the rain delay wasn't sponsored.

That's my last post of the night. I hope this made up for the past few days.

Gas Prices

This just in…gas prices have increased. While this is not news, thanks to public transportation, I am only driving a few miles a day. Therefore, I have not had to fill-up much lately. When I filled up at least a week or two ago, I paid $2.02 per gallon. Tuesday night, I paid $2.26 a gallon. That seems like a sizable increase between fill-ups.

C is for Cookie?

I saw a story on Good Morning America Wednesday morning about Sesame Street and the show’s effort to promote exercise and eating healthy. Apparently, Cookie Monster is not eating solely cookies anymore. He is now choosing to eat fruit and vegetables sometimes. Fortunately, Cookie Monster is still eating cookies, just not as often as he used to, which is good since changing his name to Carrot Monster just doesn’t sound right.

While I was waiting for the internet to come back, I typed up my thoughts of the day. That's why I am posting several items at the same time.

More Comcast Problems

For the third time in less than a week, Comcast high speed internet was down in Northern Virginia again tonight. This is getting extremely frustrating, and even worse, I’m not sure what I can do about it. Comcast is the only option where I livea for wireless internet. The outages are happening throughout the area, so it’s not just happening to me. Any suggestions on how to fight The Man?”

Lack of Posting

Sorry that I haven't written anything the past few days. I was a soccer ref for indoor games on Monday night and then got home late last night followed by Comcast internet being down again. Just a quick update of things...

The sunburn is much better, but my forehead and nose are multiple colors. Fortunately, I don't see my forehead and nose very often. I think the aloe has been helpful.

Carl Krauser did declare for the NBA, but because he did not hire an agent, is still eligible to return to Pitt.

I have some Sesame Street news, but I will wait to share until later today.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Charles & Camilla

I don't usually follow the British royal family, but the entire Charles-Camilla wedding (and the drama prior to the wedding) was intriguing. My one question from the ceremony: how did Camilla get the pheasant to stay in her hair?

I can't figure out how to add pictures to my blog, but if you don't know what I'm talking about, go to this Yahoo! picture. also has a story about all of the feathers at the wedding.


It is a beautiful weekend here in Northern Virginia. The cherry blossoms have started to bloom and the sun has been shining all weekend. Yesterday was also the first day of outdoor soccer. Before leaving to go to my soccer referee assignment, I did a quick search of the house to discover that there was no sunscreen. Unfortunately, I did not give myself enough time to stop at the store to buy sunscreen. Therefore, my forehead, nose and back of my neck are as red as an apple. I have more games this afternoon, and although I now have sunscreen and aloe vera, it could be a rough day.

By the way, sunscreen is in the seasonal section of the grocery, right next to the Passover food. I never think of two together.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Boycott Old Navy

You may be asking: why would I want to boycott Old Navy? Is it because of some legal matter or human rights? Maybe it's a stand against corporate America? Nope. It's because they changed the lyrics to Young MC's "Bust a Move" in a commercial, which I believe was to sell summer T-shirts for women. Therefore, I am refusing to buy their womens T-shirts! :)

Friday, April 08, 2005

Pittsburgh Sports News

I haven't mentioned Pittsburgh sports recently, so I figured now would be a good time. I guess I'll start with the Pirates. They are off to an impressive 0-3 start after getting blown out in their first two games at home against the Brewers. Last night was at least close. They lost 1-0 in 12 innings at San Diego. I really want the Pirates to do well, but it's not going to happen this year. I hope that in me writing this, the Pirates will have a good year. After Tommy Maddox got hurt, I said that the Steelers were done. Then they won 15 in a row to reach the AFC Championship Game.

On to a different topic, Panthers basketball player Chris Taft declared for the NBA. Although his numbers aren't overly impressive, the NBA apparently likes his "potential." Because of the potential, it actually makes sense for him to leave now as opposed to staying at Pitt. With Carl Krauser probably also leaving (which makes sense since he's about to graduate and is 35 years old), Pitt may be playing like the Pirates next year.

Finally, in my quest for a new Steelers jersey, I have ruled out getting a Terry Long jersey after he has been accused of setting fire to a chicken plant.

Ithaca College in the News

On the front page of yesterday's USA Today, there is an article about the growing trend of non-Ivy League CEOs for Fortune 500 companies. There is a pennant of Ithaca College right on the front page and a brief mention of IC grad Robert Iger, who will be taking over at Walt Disney for Michael Eisner. I think Iger now qualifies for the Ithaca College A-list. Chuck Bell is still on the B-list after a mention by the Sports Guy in this week's Intern Search Contest.

Comcast Problems

Internet for all of Northern Virginia was down last night from the time I got home until (I'm guessing) sometime in the middle of the night. Very frustrating not being able to do email, post a message here and check baseball box scores. Hopefully, everything is fine now.

On the plus side I heard the classic song "Jump Jump" by Kris Kross yesterday. While I'm a big fan of the D-A-double D Y-M-A-C, I'm not so high on the Mac Dad.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Lyric of the Week - Banking Options

I have figured out how to do internet radio at work, and I would like to thank Yahoo! LaunchCast for having free music. I am fine with having commercials as long as I get free music. Anyway I put on the Big Hits of the 80s station today, where I heard the song "Alone" by Heart. The main line in the song (and the lyric of the week) is "How Can I Get You Alone." I know the word is alone, but every time I hear it, I think "a loan." I can't understand why Ann and Nancy Wilson don't try going to a bank or credit union for this person.

Your (Sponsored) Washington Nationals

While driving home this evening, I turned on the radio to listen to the Washington Nationals game just in time to hear Brad Wilkerson hit a home run. I don't think Wilkerson even crossed home plate when the announcers stated that the first run scored of the game was sponsored by the local Fox TV station. Let's just say that I'm not impressed.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Fantasy Baseball Team

If you're interested, here's my fantasy baseball team from this weekend's draft (it is a NL-only league):

Infield: Jeff Bagwell, Jeff Kent, Rafael Furcal, Mike Lamb, Jeff Conine, Jose Valentin, D'Angelo Jimenez

Catchers: Todd Greene and Humberto Quintero

Outfield: Rob Mackowiak, Jim Edmonds, Matt Holliday, Xavier Nady, Jayson Werth

Pitchers: Oliver Perez, Roger Clemens, Tony Armas Jr., Chad Cordero, Danny Kolb, LaTroy Hawkins, Jeff Weaver, Brett Tomko and Ben Sheets

Apparently, I was going for the all "Jeff" team.

More Pope Thoughts

I'm being completely serious in this post. Does the Pope have any family? He obviously does not have a wife and kids, but does he have any brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, etc? If so, do they have any say or role in the Pope's funeral or inheritance? I'm guessing that this would be in the Pope's will, but (at least in my opinion) these are interesting questions.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Next Pope II

Sorry; I was getting confused with the fact that today is baseball's Opening Day. (I'm not counting the Yankees/Red Sox game last night.)

Next Pope

Being away this weekend, I have not been able to follow the news as much as I would like. I have heard that the Cardinals who are under the age of 80 will select the new Pope in two weeks. My question: does it have to be current Cardinals or do former Cardinals have a say? I think it's a lot of pressure to have only current Cardinals like Albert Pujols and Scott Rolen decide on the new Pope. I hope that former Cardinals who are a little older like Ozzie Smith, Stan Musial and Joaquin Andujar have a say. I wonder if they'll let Mark McGwire have a say especially after the Congressional steroid hearings.

Morbid Thoughts

The biggest story across the country and around the world is obviously the death of Pope John Paul II. I started thinking if the death of any current living figure would match the coverage and affect around the world of the passing of Pope JP2. I should preface this by saying that assassination does not count because that adds a whole criminal/conspiracy element. I also want to point out that I do not want any of these people to die.

Here is my list:

President G.W. Bush
Former President Clinton
David Beckham
Kofi Annan
Jennifer Lopez
Michael Jordan
Tony Blair
China's leader (I really should know this)

Except for President Bush, I'm not sure if anyone would exceed Pope JP2, partly because of the coverage and mystery involved in who will succeed him. Any thoughts or people I've missed?

Friday, April 01, 2005

Heading to the Windy City

I am leaving for Chicago today for my fantasy baseball league draft. I will probably not have an opportunity to post anything this weekend. This is the 15th year of this league, the 14th in which I have been involved. I have known many of the people in the league since I was in high school (some even longer), so this has become an annual tradition. There's something really nice about being associated with the league for nearly half of my life. It's kind of scary thinking that I started in the league when I just started driving. Back in the day, we figured out stats by pencil and paper.

This may sound sentimental and I know I'll have a great time this weekend, but I really want to win this year!

So as I depart, two closing thoughts:

1. Happy April Fools Day!

2. Don't forget to set your clocks ahead on Saturday night/Sunday morning.