Thursday, March 29, 2007

Best DC Blog Nomination

I have been away for a few days and returned to discover that I have been nominated for the “Best DC Blog You Couldn’t Quit for Lent” award on Best DC Blog. Not only was I nominated, but I somehow made it through the elimination rounds (probably by flying under the radar) and have advanced to the finals. I am truly honored to be nominated and also curious to know who nominated me.

Anyway, even if you’re like me and don’t celebrate lent, you can still go to Best DC Blog and vote for me (Sean’s Ramblings). Polls are open until Saturday at 6:00 pm Eastern time. Vote early and vote often!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Even though I have lived in the DC area for almost six years, I finally feel like an official resident. I take the bus to the Metro everyday to get to work, which generally takes out 55 minutes door-to-door. Since I was attending the Pens-Caps game last night, I decided to drive to work. (After 8:00pm, my bus runs only every half-hour making for an extremely long commute home.) When I have driven to work in the past, it usually takes about an hour and twenty minutes since I-66 is HOV only in the morning. So yesterday, I went to my bus stop, rolled down my car window and asked if anyone wanted a ride. I had two takers, Jim and Julie. It was a bit of an awkward ride, but we made it through by talking about traffic, Metro, the weather and restaurants. My total drive to work ended up taking about 35 minutes.

While I’m sure that some of you outside of the DC area may be amazed that I picked up strangers, this is actually very common around here. There is a website dedicated to slug lines and slugging. I definitely don’t want to do this everyday, but it is nice to know that I have the option. Plus, I feel like I made it through a right of passage of living and working in Northern Virginia/DC.

Penguins Clinch Playoff Berth

For the first time since the 2000-01 season, the Pittsburgh Penguins are going to the Stanley Cup playoffs! This makes me happy. Attending the Penguins-Capitals game last night and watching the Pens win also makes me happy. In January, the Capitals took a 4-0 lead before the Penguins came back to win 5-4. Last night, the Penguins only spotted the Caps two goals before scoring four consecutive goals and hanging on for a 4-3 win. Here are game summaries from the Post-Gazette and Washington Post. Still no comments on the Caps' blog On Frozen Blog about the game, although they have already started to talk about the off-season and next season.

There is a 100% chance that I’ll be writing more about the Penguins and the playoffs over the (hopefully) next few months.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Motown Philly Back Again

As part of my 2006-2007 sports adventure, I traveled to Philadelphia on Saturday for the Flyers-Islanders hockey game. Here are some notes from the trip:

* Even though I listened to CDs on most of my drive to and from Philly, I heard Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” three times on various radio stations. Can you say monster crossover hit?

* Of course, I also heard Toto’s “Hold the Line” (love isn’t always on time) twice, so maybe they are making a comeback.

* Philadelphia fans have a reputation as being some of the roughest and toughest in sports. From my sampling of one hockey game in Philadelphia, I was disappointed. There were a lot of fans dressed as empty seats. To be fair, the Flyers are terrible this year, plus it was an early game. I will give credit to the fans who booed the team with about 2 minutes remaining as the Flyers could not get the puck out of their zone.

* The song that played when Flyers came out for their warm-up: Loverboy’s “Working for the Weekend.” This seems like an extremely random song. Actually, since many of the players are Canadian (like Loverboy) maybe this gets them pumped up.

* I had a cheese steak, and it was good.

* The Flyers showed a feature on the scoreboard of Simon Gagne and his Lamborghini. It seems to me that a Lamborghini would be a useless car to drive around Philadelphia. There are a lot of narrow streets and he could never go that fast driving on I-95 at 4:30pm on a Thursday evening. Does Gagne take the Lamborghini to the grocery store?

Next on the sports trip:

Tuesday: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals at the Verizon/MCI/Phone Booth

Wednesday: Boston Celtics vs. Orlando Magic at the “new” Garden.

In case you were wondering, the Islanders won 4-3.

Confusing Names

Congratulations to Jeff Green who scored 22 points and had 9 rebounds against North Carolina yesterday in leading Georgetown to the Final Four. Amazingly, Jeff Green also finished sixth in NASCAR’s Food City 500 in Bristol, Tennessee. That is a terrific day and much more impressive than Tony Stewart driving in the Indianapolis 500 and a NASCAR race in the same day.

According to The Washington Post’s Steven Goff, Fred will soon be a member of D.C. United. Fred currently plays for Melbourne, but a deal should be finalized soon as Australia signs the international transfer certificate. Technically, his name is Helbert Frederico Carreiro da Silva, but like many Brazilian soccer players, he goes by a singular name, Fred. During the World Cup, I wrote that Fred has the best name in sports, so the fact that he is coming to D.C. United made me very excited. However, it turns out that the Fred who played for Brazil in the World Cup is Frederico Chaves Guedes. This Fred plays for the French club Lyon and will not be joining D.C. United. I declare that there cannot be two Freds. The first Fred can keep his name, but the second Fred must be called Fred II or Right Said Fred.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

A Useful Kevin Federline

Are you tired of the same old search engines like Google and Yahoo? If so, there's a new way to find information on the web: Kevin Federline. That's right, there is a search engine called Search With Kevin where you can search the web and win prizes such as a Kevin Federline CD, autograph, or T-Shirt. Apparently, you can also Search With Hinder, Wynonna or Meat Leaf. It's nice to see that Hinder has something to fall back on in case they do not have another hit.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

My Argument with a 16 Year-Old

Since its inception last June, I have become a regular reader of and commenter at Mondesi’s House. Another person who comments frequently is a 16 year-old named Adam, who is a Penn State fanatic. Adam’s comments over the past month have been increasingly frustrating as he writes ridiculous things about Penn State’s basketball team such as expecting the team to defeat Ohio State in Columbus even though Penn State lost 11 or 12 straight games and that Penn State looked like a lock for the NIT after starting off 9-4 (with “impressive” wins against UNC-Greensboro, Morgan State, Long Island and Maine and losses against Stony Brook and SE Louisiana). If Adam was just being optimistic, even if delusional, about Penn State hoops, that would be fine by me. I still think the Pirates could be good at the beginning of every season. However, he generally ends each comment attacking Pitt.

For the NCAA Tournament, Mondesi created a tournament group. After I predicted two days before the tournament that VCU would defeat Duke and meet Pitt in the second round, Adam wrote a message directed at me saying that “Coach K is not going to lose to freaking VCU in the NCAA Tournament. Watch some college basketball and get your head out of you Big East Ass” and that Pitt could not beat Duke. After Duke lost, Adam wrote that Duke was only a 2-person team and that VCU was the real deal. Naturally, I called Adam out on the hypocrisy. The response: he called me a moron. I tried to take the high road saying that instead of writing that he was wrong, he instead threw insults my way. That seemed to stop the comments…for about 4 hours. After Pitt defeated VCU to advance to the Sweet 16, Adam started a new rant stating that Pitt fans should not be satisfied by beating two mid-majors and if they lose to UCLA, Dixon should be fired.

This is the point when I stopped. I came to the realization that it’s just not worth arguing with him. Even if I win, all I can say is that you bested a 16-year-old, so I really can't win.

I also realized that it is a good thing I did not have the internet at 16. I could easily have been Adam getting in arguments with fans of the Atlanta Braves or Cleveland Browns.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Fantasy/Rotisserie Baseball Advice Needed

It is that time of year again. Over the next few weeks, I will spend hours reviewing my fantasy baseball teams, searching through fantasy baseball magazines and websites and creating (or not creating) draft strategies. As I have written here countless times (I could probably count the number but I don't feel like it), I have never won a fantasy baseball (or football) league despite being in one league since 1992 and beginning my fourth year in another. Therefore, I think I need to change my strategy. In the past, I have relied only on fantasy magazines, free portions of websites and written notes. This year, I am thinking about using spreadsheets and actually having a computer at the draft. Plus, I am considering signing up for a fantasy/rotisserie website.

This leads to my question. Does anyone out there have any websites they would recommend? (Please note that I realize that some of my league mates read this site, so I understand if they do not want to reveal their sources.) There are dozens of websites out there like The Talented Mr. Roto, RotoTimes, RotoWorld, Ultimate Fantasy Sports, etc., etc, and many seem fairly expensive. I have no idea where to start. Any advice?

Monday, March 19, 2007

Movie Trivia

Today’s challenge is to name actors who are in two sets of movies with at least three films in the series. For example, Harrison Ford starred in both the Indiana Jones and Star Wars series. There are a few easy ones out there and others that may be more difficult.

There is only one rule: the actor must have been in all three movies of a series, not just one or two. Feel free to add your list of actors (please include the films) in the comments. Just to save you a guess, although Steve Guttenberg acted in at least three Police Academy movies, there were only two Cocoons and two 3 Men and a Baby films.

I’m not sure if this qualifies as trivia, but should give you something to think about on a Monday.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Ben Howland & Jamie Dixon

If you live in Western Pennsylvania or follow college basketball, here are a few things you are going to hear a lot over the next few days:

- UCLA basketball coach Ben Howland used to coach at Pitt.

- Pitt’s basketball coach, Jamie Dixon, was an assistant of Ben Howland.

- Jamie Dixon and Ben Howland are good friends.

- Ben Howland’s daughter, Meredith, attends Pitt and stayed with the Dixon family at some point.

- The Post-Gazette’s Shelly Anderson is a visionary (read the last two sentences).

- Jerome Bettis is from Detroit. Oops, that is a flashback from something I heard a lot last year.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, UCLA and the University of Pittsburgh will meet in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St. Patrick's Day

To celebrate, I will be outside as a soccer referee for nearly four hours this afternoon. That's right, even though the expected high is 37 today and there is an inch or two of snow on the ground, the soccer tournament must go on. The competition will be played exclusively on all-weather synthetic grass fields, so apparently, the tournament officials want to prove that snow and cold count as "all-weather."

Here is a message from the tournament's website:

While the playing conditions are certainly not ideal, the field surface is firm and traction is adequate. Hopefully players will enjoy the unique experience of playing in our wintry conditions this weekend.

The kids may enjoy it; they play for an hour and can go inside between games. The referees will be outside for nearly four consecutive hours.

Players should expect the fields to have a coating of snow. Dress appropriately. Referees will be lenient on warm weather clothing that does not present a safety hazard (ex. scarves, exposed hooded sweatshirts, etc).

If the tournament is stringent with referee uniforms (like nearly every other tournament I have participated), we will be wearing shorts. Hats are also frowned upon.

Sorry for all of the complaining. I just want to stay inside this afternoon, drink hot chocolate and watch college basketball.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Name All 50 States

Click this link if you think you can name all 50 states in 10 minutes. Please complete this without searching the internet or looking at maps. I was able to finish with 1:12 remaining, although I had 49 states done with about 6 minutes left. (The missing state is in the comments section. Do not look until after you finish the game.)

I found this quiz through Rinsem's Rink.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Band Madness

Everyone loves brackets, but let's say you're not a college basketball fan. Well, here's an alternative: the website Band Madness "is a March-Madness style, single elimination tournament of pop/rock bands where the winners are determined strictly by fan voting. There are 512 artists from various decades and genres."

This is one huge bracket! Anyway, you can go on and vote for your favorite bands. Some current match-ups include: The Beatles vs. Big & Rich; Tenacious D vs. Cat Stevens; Run-DMC vs. Moody Blues; and Monkees vs. Wolfmother (this last one is no contest - you can't stop Micky, Michael, Peter and Davy!).

I learned of Band Madness through Deadspin, so I thought I would give them some credit.

Early NCAA Tournament Thoughts

* I’m 1 for 3 in my tournament picks thus far with Davidson losing to Maryland and Texas Tech falling to Boston College. Good start, Sean! At least I picked Louisville correctly.

* Stanford, thanks for showing up. For all the people (like me) that thought you did not deserve to be in the tournament over Drexel and Syracuse, you proved everyone right.

* Conversely, no one thinks Arkansas belongs in the tournament. Even though I agree, I think they will play with a chip on their shoulder and defeat USC in the first round tomorrow night.

* I saw that Metro had a system-wide delay this morning and reading about Arjewtino’s commute confirms my belief that I picked the perfect day to take off work.

* I am devastated. Applebee’s used the chorus from “It Takes Two” (one of the greatest songs EVER) in its commercial for Pick ‘N Pair where you can choose a sandwich and salad (or something like that). First, Panera has had “U Pick 2” for years. More importantly, that song should not be used in an Applebee’s commercial. I hope Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock are getting paid a lot of money.

A Dream Comes True

Today, March 15, 2007, I took the day off so I could sit on my couch to watch hours of the NCAA Tournament. I write this every year, but the first four days of the NCAA Tournament are some of the best days of the year. While I enjoy the beginning of the NFL season, the NCAA Tournament combined with baseball’s spring training, for me, represent the start of spring. Plus, there are 48 intense games in 4 days that include teams that I support, teams I want to lose and upsets that you do not have in every other sport. Think about that for a minute. If the Arizona Cardinals defeated the Indianapolis Colts during week 14 of the NFL’s regular season, that is an upset, but not entirely unexpected because they are all professional athletes. Now if a small school such as Valparaiso University with a student enrollment under 3,000 hits a shot at the buzzer to defeat a large SEC school like the University of Mississippi (enrollment of 17,000+), THAT is an upset.

On today’s schedule:

Maryland vs. Davidson
Georgetown vs. Belmont
George Washington vs. Vanderbilt
Duke vs. Virginia Commonwealth
Eastern Kentucky vs. North Carolina

At some point, I’ll meet my wife for lunch to make up for sitting on the couch all day. Plus, I’ll watch more games on the computer including Pitt and Wright State for the late game.

In case you were wondering, my Final Four picks are Florida, Kansas, Georgetown and Texas A&M. Unfortunately, this has no chance of happening since the Sports Guy also picked these teams for the Final Four.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


It seems like only yesterday that I wrote about the issues with our car and the "Maturn" dealership. Actually, it was Monday. Anyway, my story was picked up the website Jalopnik which has the tagline "Obsessed with the Cult of Cars," and I had 190 hits yesterday. That is a new record breaking the previous record when I was featured on a West Virginia University fan site for writing about Kevin Pittsnogle.

Here is the link to the “Blog Hoonage” where I am one of the featured links. I have no idea how (or if I should) respond to these comments:

Wow! News flash, the automotive service industry is corrupt, and you will pay alot to "fix" your car unless you find someone you trust...
I do have a small portion of sympathy for those who refuse to learn mechanics on their own

Wellll... that and, it's not unlikely that his car was at the timing belt and water pump service point. And those aren't cheap (or easy) to do. Is the second mechanic he took it to going to fix it for free if/when the belt pops or the water pump fails and the motor is a big paper weight? The dealership would likely be expected to if that happened shortly after they worked on it. So it's easier for them to say "this needs done" versus paying out the nose later to fix a problem they didn't cause.
That's not to say that shops don't "upsell"; they most certainly do, the jerks. But just because one shop recommends more service than another doesn't mean that's what's happening

Publish or Perish (not Robert Parish)

I have decided that I want to be an author. Specifically, I want to write a book. One big problem: I have no idea what to write. Fiction – I am not creative enough to pull this off. Non-fiction – I do not have the time to devote for interviews and research. Auto-biography – My life is not exciting enough to cover more than a magazine article. Plus, I’d be extremely wary of any magazine that wants to publish my auto-biography. You may be thinking to yourself, Sean, why don’t you write about your passion? Excellent suggestion. I could write about Pittsburgh sports; however, an Amazon search of sports books with “Pittsburgh” in the title has 3,106 results. I am passionate about fantasy sports, but there is already a fairly established market out there, and I offer no fresh ideas with the possible exception of tips on how to lose every single year.

Until I figure out my great novel, I’ll be here. If you have any book ideas (and I use it), I will give you a mention in the acknowledgement section.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Woo hoo!! Here is the Post-Gazette's article. I do not understand why this story did not lead Good Morning America. This is obviously the biggest news of the day!

What a way to start the day!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Car Repairs

Last week, we took our car to the dealership to fix the windshield wipers and to get an oil change. In its review of the car, the dealership (I do not want to give the car company name but it is a name of a planet and rhymes with Maturn) found that the water pump and belt needed to be replaced. Along with a few other things they found, the grand total of repairs was $1,350! The car is barely worth that amount. Therefore, I took the car to a local mechanic who is a family friend of a friend. After looking at the water pump, belt, etc., they determined that the only thing that needed to be replaced was the idler pulley (whatever that is). They said that the water pump and belt looked fine. The total of today’s repairs: $182.45! That’s quite a difference.

A few things. First, the new mechanic will be getting a lot more business, while the Maturn dealership, well not so much. Look again at the prices again. Instead of looking into buying a new car, we can now wait and try to save a little more money. I don't know about you, but we know very little about car repairs, so you put so much trust into professionals. I feel violated, although it could have been much worse. We could have paid $1,350 and been in even more debt.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Question of the Day

Where have all the Paula Coles gone? (And did she find her John Wayne?) Yippee Aw, Yippee Yea.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

URI Tribute

In honor of the University of Rhode Island's men's basketball team advancing to the Atlantic 10 Championship and a chance to win an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament, here is a YouTube video (thanks to Deadspin) of the classic mascot fight between Rhody Ram and the St. Joe's Hawk. My brother was actually at this game. If I remember correctly, Rhody Ram lost his job because of this incident.

Anyway, I know a lot of people who graduated from or worked at George Washington University, so I know they want GW to defeat URI today. However, as a show of support of my brother, here is URI's fight song:

We're Rhode Island born;
and we're Rhode Island bred;
and when we die we'll be Rhode Island dead!
So, go go Rhode Island, Island!
Go, go Rhode Island, Island!
Go Rhode Island, U - R - I!

UPDATE: GW defeated URI 78-69 plus Georgetown crushed Pitt 65-42. Not a good evening. At least the Penguins won today.

Friday, March 09, 2007

The Jody Gerut Experience

The few Pittsburgh Pirates fans out there that read this probably already know that the team cut outfielder Jody Gerut. Gerut was a bust since joining the Pirates in 2005 from the Cubs in exchange for Matt Lawton and cash. Although he hit 22 home runs as a rookie for Cleveland, Gerut only had 18 at-bats with the Pirates due to knee injuries.

While Gerut did absolutely nothing on the field as a Pirate, I do want to thank him for his book selection. In a recent Q&A (half-way through the article) with the Post-Gazette’s Dejan Kovacevic, Gerut talked about the book “The United States of Europe” by T.R. Reid. I was looking for a book when I saw the article and am currently reading Reid’s book courtesy because of Gerut’s comments.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Stupid Person

Most of the people on my bus enter and exit at the Park ‘N Ride in which there are two stops, one at the front of the parking lot and one near the exit. The stops are approximately a football field apart. So tonight, the bus driver announced at the first stop that the back door was not working so everyone standing at that door had to exit through the front. At the second stop, everyone exited through the front door...except for one man. Even though he sitting directly next to the back door, he waited for a good 20 seconds until he realized that the back door wasn’t opening. Very smart. (Of course I smiled at the idiocy.) I guess it could have been worse. He could have yelled to the bus driver to open the back door.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Fantasy League Champion

Were you curious how I did in my fantasy celebrity league? Well, even if you were not (which is very likely), I am sharing the results anyway. After losing year after year in fantasy baseball and football, I think I found my niche. Yes, you are reading the blog of the fantasy celebrity champion! Thanks primarily to Anna Nicole Smith with some assistance from Eddie Murphy, Ellen DeGeneres, Helen Mirren (great free agent pick-up), Scarlett Johansson and Mary J. Blige, I won the league my a huge margin. I am now going for a repeat against a formidable group of opponents. This season should be more difficult since the Grammys and Oscars have passed. It could come down to whoever has Anna Nicole or Britney.

Maybe this victory is a good sign for the upcoming fantasy baseball leagues.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Notice Anything Different?

(Hint: Look at the right column.) You can now play a miniature version of Space Invaders right here on Sean's Ramblings. Have fun and please let me know your high score.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Penguins Update

Sunday was a good sports day as I was able to watch George Mason defeat Old Dominion to advance to the CAA Conference Championship and the Pittsburgh Penguins win in a shoot-out over the Philadelphia Flyers. After the Penguins game, I called my brother to celebrate the victory and we briefly talked about the Penguins and the playoffs. Then today, I read this article in the Post-Gazette stating that “the Penguins have declared an impasse in negotiations with government officials over construction of a new arena and will aggressively explore relocating the team to a new city.” Even though there has been talk of the Penguins leaving Pittsburgh for months, I always figured that the team and the city/county/state would work out a deal. I am hopeful that this is just 11th hour posturing by the Penguins to get a better deal, but what if it’s not and they really are preparing to leave?

If the team really is leaving, the timing of the announcement is interesting. 12-game playoff packages went on sale to the general public today. Fans must place a $200 non-refundable deposit per seat toward Full Season Plans for 2007-08. Therefore, season ticket-holders already had to pay this $200 non-refundable deposit. Would the season ticket-holders have paid this if today’s announcement happened two weeks ago? I don’t know the exact numbers, but let’s say there are 10,000 partial- and full-season ticket-holders. That’s a nice $2 million for the team even if they don’t make the playoffs or move to Kansas City. Although Howard Baldwin and city/county/state officials all deserve some blame if the Penguins leave town, the Penguins’ greed should not be overlooked.

For more comments, click here for ThePensblog.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Sunday Morning Thoughts

- Tonight is the premiere of “The Winner” starring Rob Corddy on FOX. I will probably not be watching since I saw this show 15 years ago when it was called “Get a Life” with Chris Elliot.

- With all of the news over the past few weeks, I have not seen anyone mention the "Naked Gun 33 1/3" curse. See: Anna Nicole Smith and O.J. Simpson. Is Fred Ward next? Maybe it is the curse of the 1995 Razzie Award winners. Anna Nicole Smith won Worst New Star while O.J. Simpson won Worst Supporting Actor. Look out Worst Support Actress (for "Car 54, Where Are You," "Exit to Eden" and "The Flintstones"): Rosie O’Donnell!

- Since we are now in the March Madness, here is something to think about. The teams listed below are either considered in the tournament or on the bubble, even though they have terrible road records:

Michigan State: 1-8 on the road (the one win was at Penn State which really should not count as a win)
Purdue: 2-8 (wins at Penn State & Northwestern)
Georgia Tech: 1-8
Oklahoma State: 0-7 (probably not on the bubble anymore)
Alabama: 2-7

If a team cannot get close to .500 on the road, I do not think the team deserves to be in the NCAA Tournament.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

My Life

I received a call from my college earlier this week for its annual student phonathon program. They were asking for money, which is fine since I’m glad to contribute a little. Anyway, the reason I am writing is the student who called listed some of the activities I participated in during college. He was genuinely amazed that I was involved in so much and still able to do well in school. Later that same night, I IMed (can I use "IMed" as a verb?) with a friend from college who was equally involved in school and now has three young kids and serves on several boards.

All of this got me thinking. Here is what I do now: work, watch TV, play Xbox, blog, referee soccer, play ultimate frisbee (although primarily during the summer) and volunteer maybe five days of a year. I am not truly involved in any community groups or organizations. So what happened to me? Has this happened to other people? Is it common to be so involved at one point of my life and so little involved in another?

I don’t know about the last two questions, but I can probably answer the first one. Work happened. I spend 10-11 hours per day either at the office or commuting to and from work. I spent 10-15 hours per WEEK at my college job. All of the hours working and commuting really prohibits any activities during the week, and on weekends, I like to sleep, relax, have fun and run a few errands.