Saturday, September 29, 2007

Day One in Indy

Our first game was at 10 this morning and we were playing a team that won the tournament three years ago. Our leadoff hitter tripled and I singled him home for a 1-0 lead. After a spirited 2-2 start after two innings, we lost 17-8 or something like that. That meant we'd have to win the next three games just to make it to Sunday. Not easy.

We won the second game 13-2 I think against a Canadian team and followed that up with a hefty 15-5 win. I hit better in the second of the games going 3-4 and being robbed by a great catch on the one out that I made. I even had a triple!! Prior to that game, I was 2-7. Ugh. So then we play the last game of the day and need to win to play tomorrow.

Oneof our outfielders lost a ball in darkness (lights aren't all that great here) and they went up 4-0. We started to catch up and were down 6-5 going into the bottom of the last inning. We get the first two guys on and then it's the top of the order. Our lead-off hitter hits a ground ball and just beats out the double play at first, so we have first and third with one out and down by one run. The number two hitter in the line up pops out!!! Ugh!! Two outs and we still trail by one. Who is up? Yep, me. A pressure situation with the team counting on me.

Well, I walked up and drilled the first pitch back up the middle to drive home the tying run. The next guy up is one of two guys on our team who can hit homeruns regularly (this tournament allows one per game) and he did to win the game! Everyone mobbed me though because it was the "pressure" at bat that allowed the #4 hitter to even come up to bat. I'm now the #2 hitter's best friend since I bailed him out. He was pretty busted up after popping out with the game on the line. He said that if I had made an out that he would have been sick all night just thinking about his at bat.

So now we have games starting at 9 and every hour after that as long as we keep winning. Thankfully I Tivoed the Bears game. The plan was for me and MWrigley to watch the game and she was going to cook dinner, but that's been thrown a sunder for now. We'll still have a good day together, but not as much as we would have if only I'd made an out in that last at bat. Talk about a quandry.

By the way, kudos to my regular team which went 4-0 at the USSSA Fall State Championships today. One of the teams they played had scored 18 runs in one game, but our pitcher shut them out!! Sweet.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Hello from Indy!!

Yep, I am here in Indy with the latest update. Actually, not too much happened today as I had two banker meetings with a client today and then left around 4 to come down here. It's about a three hour drive, but it took a little longer due to rush hour traffic around Chicago.

Last night, T-Rex Tim, I and a new character to my blog, Ms. Wrigley (henceforth just MWrigley) went to a wine and pizza fund raiser put on by an organization called Reach Out. This group picks a charity every year and holds fund raisers for them. Last year, they benefitted Family Rescue, a charity I support. This year it's the Chicago Battered Women's Network. In addition to advocacy type things, they support a phone line to which battered women all over Illinois can call and they will find them appropriate housing. Good stuff.

In addition to the fine, fine company provided by my guests, we had another lucky table incident!! There were maybe 50+ people there and my table of three (really just T-Rex Tim and I) won three times! The guy right behind me won twice as well. Very lucky area. My raffle winnings included a gift certificate to Ben Pao and a really nice bottle of Booker Bourbon. T-Rex won an Amazon gift certificate. I also bid on and won another dinner certificate at the silent auction as well as a spa certificate! MWrigley and I were also given baseball hats with a whiskey logo on them. Cool.

So this morning came early and I had to be downtown by 9:00 a.m. Yeah I know, boo-freakin'-hoo right? Well, I'm not used to having to be anywhere that early, but it's been a long week with a lot of drinking, long evenings and early mornings, so it was kind of tiring for me. Anyway, I didn't actually have to be there until 9:30, but that's when the banker was going to show up so I got there at 9, fortunately for me as she showed up 35 minutes early!!

Anyway, it's been a while since I have ridden the bus and I had forgotten how glum the riders look in the morning. That's the best word I could think of: glum. It's probably a combination of work, the morning and it being Friday. I don't know. It doesn't seem like train riders have the same look.

Have a great weekend all!!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Still busy, but a slightly more interesting post

Sorry for all the erratic postings folks. With el supremo in town and some client work requiring me to be out of the house, my postings are not as interesting (to me at least) as I would like. This weekend I head down to Indy for a 35 and over softball tournament and the following weekend I hit Owensboro Kentucky for a Super World Series tournament. That one is the same tournament that was played in Vegas last year. I guess the rotate it between the two locations. So Owensboro is the Vegas of the East apparently.

The last week or so has seen me drinking socially just about every night....a little exhausting even for me. Additionally, I'm feeling a little plump because of it, so later today I'm hitting the gym and testing my strained calf muscle on the treadmill. My calf was hurt down in Orlando and I've passed on softball since then to give it time to heal for Indy. It was doing well until this morning while I was laying in bed and stretched out after my slumber. The calf locked up pretty tight and then started spasming. It settled down and doesn't hurt now, but I'm not sure what's going to happen the first time I race down the first base line. We'll see I guess.

So I'm heading to Indy on Friday and I don't have a roommate! A nice king sized bed in the adults only section of the hotel (there's some water park attached to it) and no one to share it with. Sigh. It's not my regular team of softball folks, otherwise I'd have had two beds and a roomy. No worries though.

The Romanian girl with whom I had a date a few weeks ago and who was the subject of one blog topic which riled some readers, has closed me out on eHarmony. My schedule just got hectic at the wrong time for her (Orlando and work), so that's unfortunate. This happens regularly, but since she made my blog, and commented once!, I thought it worth mentioning. The topic was women calling the next day after a date just to say thank you for the night before. Since then, I have had more than one date who HAS called the next day to thank me. On top of that, several male friends and business associates have done the same thing after a night on the town. See, that's how civilized, functioning members of society should act and there are still a mess of women taken on dates who need to learn that. Ok, no more ranting about this topic. Sorry!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Another short posting!

Long day of work today (el supremo's in town) which will be followed by much wine drinking and probably a lot of food (did I mention el supremo's in town?), so I figured a short post now might be better than a really bad, drunken post later. Maybe not though.

Received an email from Portage Park Michelle the other day (she's the one who narrowly escaped a run in with a black bear) mentioning that inspired her to start a blog. It's difficult for me to believe that I've inspired anyone to do anything, but I'll take it!

Yes, I'm still pissed about the Bears. I'm also very unhappy that the Packers handled the Chargers, a team that beat us soundly in the second half. Packers are 3-0 and we are 1-2....not good.

Ok, have to run!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

If You're Homophobic, Move to Iran.

According to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, there are no homosexuals in Iran. Me thinks he's probably wrong.

My dad's second cataract surgery took place this morning and went smoothly. He should be able to see clearly by the time you read this!

It's late and I have an early morning, so that's all I have for today!

The last guacamole

Sorry about the late post; the Bears game threw me for a loop. As you know, I'm a Bears season ticket holder and avid tailgater. Yesterday was, once again, a beautiful day for tailgating. Unfortunately, the game was at 7:15 pm, so by the time it ended (and we'd been destroyed) it was time to just go home and clean up.

The spread for this game will differ from future games most likely. Since it was a night game, there were no breakfast items. In fact, I have yet to make a bloody Maria (bloody Mary but with tequila) for a tailgate this year! Normally I have several before the game, but only if it starts at noon. Any later and I switch to beer or Captain and Coke.

So we haven't had egg sandwiches or bacon or sausage patties at all. And we can only really have guacamole while it's relatively warm out. When it gets cold, people have gloves on and don't want to be dipping chips into anything while wearing gloves. Makes sense. So while yesterday was great, the next home game (in three weeks) will be too cold for guac I'm sure. Boo.

However, the cold weather does bring a new dish out: three-pepper chili! I do love to make my three-pepper chili and am looking forward to it again this year. With the acquisition late last year of the Vidalia Chop Wizard, my chopping is done in no time and the chili is a breeze to prepare.

The Bears got smoked last night and lost several players to injury: Briggs and Vasher (groin), Rueben Brown (ankle) and Tommie Harris (not sure). Why can't they lose Grossman to injury? Three more interceptions for the boy-who-wonders. Their offensive line seems to have aged about 10 years since the Super Bowl and just aren't getting the job done. Berrian dropped three passes that anyone reading my blog could have caught, I'm looking at you Alexis! Benson can't run through a hole to save his life. Archeleta couldn't cover your mother, much less a tight end. Tillman couldn't cover Owens, but at least he kept him out of the endzone. It was a debacle.

Serenity now. Serenity now. Serenity now.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

It's a nice life.

Yesterday was a classic example of one of the reasons why I like my life. After getting up relatively early, I phoned one of my clients from home. In order to reach this particular client, calling before the day starts is very important, lest he get sucked into the problems of the day. Following our successful conversation, I headed into the office to see Ricardo and T-Rex Tim. Just about 12:30, one of my clients called to see if I wanted to go to the 1:20 Cubs game. Actually, it was one client going with the client I had called just that morning! I told the client that I was supposed to do work on his account, but he told me to blow it off and come out. How could I say no?

We saw an offense filled 13-7 win by the Cubs and went to Goose Island's outdoor patio for a few beverages afterward. One of my softball buddies, JC, joined me on the patio and then we headed off to Bernie's to meet some friends of his and his girlfriend. A few drinks later and I stumbled home to sober up.

Though I rented a movie, The number 23 with Jim Carrey, I decided not to watch it and instead watched some shows I had Tivoed.

Yesterday, I received an email from the Red Cross. I had mentioned that I was separating from them because the national office decided that only board members could be on the finance committee. They wanted me to stay on and head up the investment subcommittee, but I told them that wasn't acceptable as I couldn't allocate investment dollars without fully understanding what the goals, objectives and needs of the chapter were on an ongoing basis. So even after the CFO took me to lunch to persuade me to stay on, I said that I couldn't unless I was allowed to sit in on the finance committee meetings as well. In the email they sent yesterday, they changed the rules so that non-voting committee members can sit in on meetings. Yay for me!

I have to tell you, I LOVE that my house is clean!!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Some Things Are Just Socially Unacceptable

Sometimes I want to do things (to or for people) that society may find acceptable and sometimes they may frown upon. For instance, helping push a stranger's car out of the snow is acceptable. Helping someone carry their groceries, usually not, though if they are older, possibly. Buying complete strangers their dinner, sometimes can actually be ok, but normally they think you're up to something or crazy.

So today I'm walking down the street and an Eastern European woman is walking towards me. She was fairly plain. Not unattractive, not thrilling to look at. However, her hair hasn't seen a salon.....probably ever. There's really no way, in our society certainly, for me to walk over to this woman and say, look I know this guy that owns a salon (he trimmed my beard the other day), how about if we go see him and I pay to have your hair done? No strings attached. I drop you off, pay him and you never see me again. First, she'd probably call the cops as soon as I approached her. And she probably wouldn't listen to anything I said anyway. Isn't that odd? Of course it's odd that I WANT to do that in the first place, but no one ever said I wasn't odd.

Earlier, while driving, I was sitting behind a woman in a Mercedes convertible. She was smoking and threw the butt out on the street. It's EXTREMELY unacceptable for me to get out of the car, pick up the butt and throw it back in her car. Now, SHE was littering, but I would get arrested/fined for damaging her vehicle. Just doesn't seem right to me.

Ok, enough of that philosophical talk for now.

Had a productive morning at the office then lunch with Ricardo and T-Rex Tim. After lunch, I went home to use a drill-powered-drain-snake (no snickering) to unclog the drain outside my downstairs door. This is the drain that backed up and started letting water under my door while I was watching it. Manual Labor Mike (who is working on the condo building's front door) helped run the drill while I threaded the snake down the drain (again, no snickering). We actually got this crappy piece of machinery to work (I borrowed it from our maintenance guy) and we got the drain unclogged (it was a bunch of dirt).

My new cleaning lady then showed up and cleaned my condo for the first time in three months! Sure I cleaned some things here and there, but she cleaned everything. I'm so happy! It makes a huge difference having MLM out of the condo AND having it clean again!!!

Welcome to 1994

OJ on the run and in trouble with the law. Hillary presenting a health care plan. It's 1994 all over again!

Have you seen the previews for this Caveman tv show? I'm not sure I can think of a worse premise for a show.

Today, Ricardo and I headed west on Chicago Avenue to find a place to have lunch. We're at Halsted which is 800 west. We ended up at 2300 west before finding even a decent place to eat. By then we were in Ukranian Village I think and ate at some interesting little dive. We met T-Rex Tim, aka Lil'Tim, who came into the office for the first time in memory. He was actually supposed to be the third person in our office, but he opted for greener pastures...with our blessing. He's hunting for the perfect job for him (kudos) and might be in the office more often for a bit. We'll see.

This week has been terrible for me getting up in the morning. Seems like no matter what I do, I hit my snooze hour. Terrible. Hopefully tomorrow will be different, but it's after midnight already, so do I even have a chance?? Not really.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Goatee is a little less today.

A buddy sent me this link to a World Clock. It has some interesting things on it, but the really cool thing was the life expectancy link down at the bottom. After clicking there, you enter your biological age and then answer questions about various aspects of your life and your age is adjusted up or down and at the end it gives you an estimated life expectancy. It was kind of cool to go through the process. Turns out I'm 41 going on 25 and should expect to live past 90! Sweet!!!

Sooooo, Orange Julius Simpson was arrested. Surprised? I didn't think so. For the record though, here are the charges per CNN:
The 11 charges include two counts of first-degree kidnapping with use of a deadly weapon; two counts of robbery with a deadly weapon; and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon.

I'm sure he's innocent though. I mean, it's not like he's assaulted anyone with a deadly weapon least anyone he hasn't actually killed.

This, :-) turned 25 today! Yay!!! Just thought I'd mention that.

Today I had to get my oil changed finally (might have let it slip a few miles). They discovered, somehow while looking at my oil filter (?), that I had a nail in one tire and a big chunk missing out of another one. Now as soon as I pulled into the shop the guy said, "Hi, what can we do for you today?" And I said, "Well you can NOT ask me if I want to change my cabin filter after you change the oil and oil filter." He was a little taken aback, but I just don't like screwing around with that kind of stuff. The car's fine. The filter's fine. The tire's are fine!! Just change the damn oil!! Ok, actually the state of my tires was an issue in my mind almost a year ago when I took my car in to get winterized. They told me my tires were fine. Great.

After going to the gym today, I stopped by my buddy's salon to say hi as he called me while I was down in Orlando. He was just finishing with a client and then we chatted for a while. After a few minutes he sat me down in one of his salon chairs and trimmed my goatee. At first I was a little skeptical, but he actually did a good job. Mostly he shortened how far down it went on my neck and some little touches. What a nice guy!!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Just another manic, and Monday too.

After getting in late on Saturday night and doing some laundry (boy did some of my uniform t-shirts stink!), Sunday morning came around quickly. It was off to the store for tailgating accoutrements and then loading up the car before my buddy (and client) arrived at 11:30 for the 3:15 game.

Normally, with the weather in the 60's or low 70's, I'd be all about making chili ahead of time as well as various appetizers wrapped in bacon. No time for such extravagances though, so it was down to butterfly pork chop sandwiches in barbecue sauce, guacamole and chips, breast of chicken bites (both honey glazed as well as spicy) and then some burgers and sausages brought by my guest. It wasn't bad, but not a top 10 tailgate.

Unfortunately for me, my buddy brought a bunch of beer (like cases!!) which I seemed to think was a challenge of some sort and proceeded to imbibe way to much. Actually before the game I was fine, but during the game the additional beer bought for me by my buddy pushed me over the edge. Then, after the game, we joined the Boyz from the row in front of me at their tailgate. THAT was the final straw.

Needless to say, today was less than productive, even though I had much work to do. It's going to be a busy Tuesday. Oh and my pulled calf muscle hasn't started to get better yet. I'm not real jacked about that, but it did keep me out of softball tonight and might on Wednesday as well.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Bad News, Good News.

This entry is being written from my humble abode in Chicago which means several things: first, we lost today. Second, we finished the games before my flight left Orlando. Third, my plane did not go down.

After getting up at 6:15, we won our 8:00 game against a team from Ohio called Southgate Merchant by the score of 10-1. Defensively I was moved over to first. After scoring 7 runs in the first, it was pretty much over as our defense was solid. Still, only scoring three more runs the rest of the game was troubling.

Because the games from Friday night were moved to Saturday morning, the original Saturday morning games were pushed back two hours. Our second game didn't start until 12:30, which meant we were in the heat and humidity (or avoiding it) for over four hours before our game even started. Part of the problem is that the fields, in true Disney fashion, are about a half-mile from the parking lot if not further. Our opponents didn't have an early game and normally we would be at a slight advantage going into the game already warmed up and such. However, in this heat, it put us at a HUGE disadvantage. It didn't cost us the game, which we lost 6-1, but our bats were noticeably slower.

Below are some pics I took. One cool thing about the games today was that we were announced as we came up to bat: "Now batting leadoff for the Brewdogs.....#19.....Joe Sutton." Pretty sweet (and yes I was indeed hitting leadoff for our final game.) The team that we lost to in our first game was eliminated before we even played our second game! They lost Friday at 10 and again at 3, before our second game started at 4. Ha! We soooooo should have beat them. The team we lost to in our last game was beaten in their next game 15-2. Yikes, what a drubbing. That team was then beaten 3-2. Saturday is a tough day to play in Orlando.

Heavy dew on the early morning fields....

......where there was virtually no breeze.

The sponsoring organization, USSSA or U-Trip (short for u- triple-s-a) in softball lingo.

Look at those sweet fields! The grass was like a fairway in golf.

The Rook approaching the fields wearing his Tinker Bell backpack as part of his initiation. This is part of the half-mile walk to the fields.

A shot of the fence similar to the one Rook ran through to catch a ball on Friday.

Brewdogs dugout mid-game.

Brewdogs trying to stay cool in the air-conditioned annex to the All-Star Cafe called the Milk House. Yes, we did have some female fans there!!

I've never tried to upload video, but here goes. This video is of me leading off the last game we played. Yes, we got shorts solely for this tournament. I didn't wear them for any of the other games, but just couldn't take the heat anymore. Sorry Mr. Courtney for putting you on here as well!

Confidential to Joisey Ken, my thoughts and prayers are with you and Hoboken Dawn.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Potentially long Saturday!

Mixed bag today. We played at 4:00 on the fields at the Wide World of Disney complex. We were actually on the second set of fields, called Hess, which are still some of the best fields we’ve ever played on. Oddly though, these fields are set up for baseball and retrofitted for softball, which means a grass infield instead of the traditional dirt and lots of room in foul territory both behind home and behind the bases. The other fields we played at on Thursday were more traditional softball fields.

We were playing a team called Barely Legal from Louisiana. We were the home team, and we shut them out in the first. In the bottom half of the inning we put up a seven spot and the game was basically over. We ended up winning 10-1. Though I went 3-3 (now 7-8 in the tournament), I was moved over to play first base and wasn’t in the proper position for one ball. Ticked me off, but it ended up not costing us any runs. The fences in the outfield were temporary fences that “break away” if you hit them and they are only about 4’ high. The highlight of the game was when Rook, our left center fielder, ran through the fence as he caught a ball. A runner was on first who went back to tag up so he had to throw the ball to our left fielder to hold the guy on first from moving past second. Pretty amazing grab really.

Rook; I haven’t mentioned him before as he showed up late yesterday. He’s new to the team but has been playing on our B squad this year. As new players prove themselves on the B squad, we consider moving them up to play on the tournament team and Rook (AKA John) has done just that. In addition, we bought him a pink Tinker Bell back pack to wear for the weekend to carry some gear as sort of a hazing. He’s been sporting it like a champ and oddly enough it’s a huge hit with the ladies! Maybe I should get one!!!

Our second game was supposed to start at 8:50 p.m., but lighting followed by massive amounts of rain stopped the game before we could start. The game was rescheduled for 8 a.m. Saturday, so that’s going to push all the other games back. If we win at 8, we play our next few games at the REAL Disney complex. Should be fun if we can get it done. I think we could have anywhere from one to seven games: 8, 10:20, 12:40, 1:50, 3, 4:10 and 5:20. Then we play on Sunday. Those last five games we play back to back. Ouch. It would have been nice to get this game in and then have one less game on Saturday if we won it.

Disappointing start

The Brew Dogs lost our only game on Thursday in one of the most gut wrenching defeats in memory. Leading the whole game after scoring 4 in the first, we led 7-3 going into the bottom of the seventh. They scored 4 to tie it at seven and left the bases loaded in the process. In the top of the 8th, we started with two outs, followed by two hits (including yours truly who was 3-4 on the day) followed by yet another fly out. We actually had three strikeouts on our team (one for the other guys) and far too many fly outs. Ugh. They scored one in the 8th and that was it. Ugh.

Friday we have a game at 4 and, if we win, a game at 8. Hopefully we can go into Saturday and play 5-6 games then. Shoot. With this heat and 200 teams, it's important not to go into the losers bracket this early.

On a positive note, not only was my Dad's cataract surgery successful, but he can see out of the eye without the use of his coke-bottle-esque glasses!!! Amazing. Truly amazing. He's totally jacked since he's had thick glasses for the last 65 years or so.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Follow along live

Our tournament results should be updated real-time as they have already updated games. Check out the brackets here. We're the Brew Dogs down near the bottom quarter of the bracket. We've beaten Dynasty, Hooters/Zimmerman, Westchester Buzz, and some others that are playing in the tournament, but they are in the other end of the bracket.

Too much baggage?

Have to write this in Word and copy it over to my blog because the wifi connection down here in Orlando logs you out after about 30 seconds on the same page. Ugh. Funny how you can take those little things for granted.

Baggage. As I walked through the airport with way too much baggage, I thought to myself, is this a not-all-that subtle metaphor for my dating life? Do I have too much baggage? We all have baggage of some kind right? At some point though, it’s overwhelming. If it makes you bitter or closed to new opportunities, that’s at least a large carry-on in the baggage department. Kids can be considered baggage, if you’re dating at least. Guess they would have to fall into that oversized carry-on category too. I thought maybe they would be bags that were checked, but they require ongoing maintenance, not something you just give to someone and forget.

Past marriages should be checked baggage, right? Unless you’re bitter about it of course. Same with past long-term relationships. Checked baggage should be out of sight and out of mind. It’s those damn carry-ons that can bring a relationship down.

It’s hot and humid here. We had practice this morning and are heading down to the pool now before we grab some lunch. Then a little nap and game time at 7.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Made it to Orlando!!

Unfortunately it's really freaking late here and I'm dead tired. I actually have a fun post idea, but not the energy to put it up on the site. Tomorrow should be better.

My Pop had successful cataract surgery on one of his eyes. Yay!! The other eye will be done in a few weeks.

More stuff Thursday!!!

Monday, September 10, 2007

On to less controversial topics......

Ok, so dating topics seem to rile everyone's feathers (as defined by more comments for any topic in some time), so let's move on to some less controversial topics (plus I don't have anything to add).

What little thing in your house right now bothers you? You know what I'm talking about: that pile of papers that you need to go through, those paintings you want to hang, that light bulb that needs to be changed, that loose screw, that squeaky hinge, that stuff under your bed that needs to be put away or into storage, maybe your Brita filter needs to be changed. Well here you go. Stop reading. Right now. Stop reading and go fix/change just one of those things. I'll wait for you to get back................if you actually did something, you'd feel at least a little better!! You're welcome.

Friday, at the German Fest (not sure if they actually called it Oktoberfest or not), two people from my past emerged. The first was a woman who used to work for me at Morningstar and she was a bit of a slacker and not all that pleasant to work with. She worked there probably 10 years ago now, so I didn't feel the need to run over and say hi (couldn't remember her name anyway though I'm convinced it starts with a "J"). Plus, with my new goatee, I feel like I can turn invisible to people from my past.....sort of Secret Squirrelish!!

The other person was my RA (Resident Advisor) from my freshman year in college about 23 years ago (is that right....holy shit). I even remembered that his name is Kirk Markus. How crazy is that? Most of the time I can't remember what I did last week and I remember this guy's name from 23 years ago. Probably about 10 years ago or so I ran into him on my way to my martial arts classes and found out he lives in the neighborhood of the German fest. This time he was about 50 yards away and outside of the festival grounds.

Time to finish packing for my trip now. Thanks for all the well wishes folks. Oh, almost forgot to mention that my Pops is going into the doctor tomorrow (Wednesday) for cataract surgery. My mother had a similar procedure done last year and she sees great now. Hopefully my Pops will have a similar result.

Busy Week Before Orlando Tournament

First, Mom's tests came back and she's 100% in the clear. Yay!!!! Big relief for me, Pops and the sisters as well I'm sure (Bee comments sometimes).

Next is a shout out to wife of Ricardo who is celebrating her birthday today. If not for wife of Ricardo, Ricardo and I would never have met. She and I worked together at Morningstar for several years and that's where we met. She has changed my life forever (how many people can say that?), now we'll just see if it's for the better or for the worse. Ha!!

Britney?!? Really? I mean, REALLY?? Good Lord woman, get new handlers if they let you go out there like that and put on that pathetic showing. Normally this type of thing doesn't make my blog, but c'mon, that was absurd. The poor woman barely has any talent to begin with and now she's out of shape, apparently high most of the time AND doesn't have talent. Lip syncing on the MTV Music Awards?? Really? Didn't think anyone would notice? Geesh.

Currently I'm listening to Mike and Mike and Mike (Greenberg, Golic and Ditka) doing Monday Night Football. It's still the first quarter and I already want to kill Greenberg. Golic isn't much better. When Ditka is your "skilled" announcer, you're in a world of hurt.

Wednesday evening I head down to Orlando and I still really have no idea where I'm going, except to a hotel in Kissimmee. Guess I better get that straightened out. Our first game is Thursday night. Where is the closest Starbucks to the hotel???

So I guess the dating thing comes down to several factors. First, there are unilateral accepted norms (norms that women have accepted but have not put in a handbook for men). Then there is the pursued/pursuer role. Apparently, men are suppose to like the pursuer role. Now, I'm not a relationship anarchist (I don't think), I just think that a relationship is, in part, a partnership. Would anyone disagree that a marriage requires work by both partners?? Why would it be different when dating? Shouldn't both parties have emotions and ego at risk equally (or close to it)? Ok, I'm done commenting on the dating scene.....for now at least.

After getting a bunch of work done tomorrow, I'll be having dinner with a friend and her husband who are moving to Rhode Island next month. They are great folks, some of the nicest people you'd ever care to meet, but they are East coasters and are returning home. I'm happy for them, but sad to lose seeing such good people.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Dating First, Then Sports.

So in the last week or so I've been abnormally busy on the dating front. It seems they come in bunches, but I have no idea why. Some have gone well, some not so well. Some from eHarmony and some from friends of friends. They have led me to some decisions about dating though. If we set up a date (which usually requires some impetus from me), we have a good time and I pay for the evening (assuming that it's more than a Starbucks meeting Alexis), am I wrong in waiting for a phone call from them or email saying, "Hey, I had a great time. Thanks for the evening." ?? I mean, isn't that polite thing for them to do? Maybe women don't feel the need to be polite in dating situations. Huh. Well, without that call, the chances of a second date are pretty small in my mind.

I've also decided that it really doesn't matter whether we go out for a fancy meal, drinks after work or Starbucks in the morning. If you're meeting someone for the first time, it's really about talking to them and getting to know them. The rest can even interfere with that process.

My frequent readers know that I'm leaving on Wednesday for Orlando (Disney) for a truly national softball tournament. What you don't know is that it's a 200 team tournament!!! Yeah, Holy Crap!!! I think the biggest tournament I've ever been in has been 60 (St. Louis last year). We placed seventh in that one. The brackets are already out and we play a team from Puyallup Washington on Thursday. The team we beat twice last weekend (Hooters/Zimmerman) somehow managed to get a bye the first game. Doesn't quite seem fair, but whatever. We're thinking it's just more incentive for us to do well. We then would play two games on Friday if we win. If we lose, we COULD play two games on Friday, but if we lose one more after Thursday we'd be done. Saturday is the big day either way with one to six games. Wow. Hope we stay in the winners' bracket!!!

Now, the Bears. They had four turnovers, which I bet if you ran the numbers means that you lose 85% of the time. It wasn't just the turnovers though. The Bears offense looked as inept as their defense looked dominating. Holding San Diego to 14 points, both touchdowns off of turnovers, was pretty impressive. With the score 3-0 Chicago, we stopped the Chargers and forced them to punt. The punt was terrible, but unfortunately a Bears player (Brandon McGowan) was blocking with his head down instead of finding the ball first and the ball hit him making it live for San Diego to recover, which they did. It was only about 25 yards or so, but it was emotionally deflating for the Bears defense. Plus, with the inept offense pulling another Super Bowl shitty performance, the defense seemed to always have to be on the field. Benson was absolutely miserable in running tentatively and fumbling. His backup, Adrian Peterson, at least ran hard and seemed to find holes that Benson couldn't find. Unfortunately, right at the height of his success when it genuinely looked like he would supplant Benson as next week's starter, he too fumbled. Ugh.

Grossman was bad again, but at least he did SOME things well. He actually did hit a few guys in stride which is something I didn't see in the preseason. But I also saw him continue to throw off his back foot causing him to miss wide-open receivers. He also, I guess because he was staring down his receivers in their patterns, couldn't see blitzers even though they were coming from his non-blind side (right at his face). Sure SD's defense is awesome and talented. Sure he had Benson as his runningback. Sure the line missed assignments repeatedly. But a good quarterback steps up and makes things happen. Grossman couldn't do that.

To cap it all off, Mike Brown (starting safety) suffered from yet another case of vaginitis and is probably going to miss the rest of the season. That guy is like tissue paper. Dusty Dvorcek, the starting defensive tackle, also got hurt and may miss significant time. Great; a reduced pass rush AND less coverage down field. That should work well for us in the future. Ugh.

Kudos to Joisey Ken's Vikings who had a great game from Adrian Peterson, their touted rookie runningback (not the same guy we have but the same name).

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Vlad The Impaler

Interesting day today which started off with a coffee meeting at 9:00 a.m. Went from there to softball practice in the burbs and then to see my folks in Naperville. Thanks for all of your concerns and well wishes. Mom seems to be doing fine and Pops is hanging in there as well (he has cataract surgery on Wednesday). Finished off the day with an eHarmony date with a Romanian! Yes, I'm very international. Ok, I didn't know that she was from Romania in advance, but interesting none-the-less.

While being single has it's ups and downs (frankly 2+ years of not being in a relationship is quite enough for me thank-you-very-much), one of the positives is the interesting people you CAN meet and the stories that can come out of those meetings/dates. Tonight we actually talked about life in Romania from when she lived there prior to 1991 or so. Pretty interesting stuff about how the leader of the country decided to try to pay off the country's debt at the expense of the livelihood of the citizens. Wikipedia has the history organized pretty well so you can look at just that period of time if you like. We didn't talk about the SovRom agreements which were in place during the Soviet occupation/control. The Soviet Union basically looted the country using sham businesses to funnel funds to the mother country. Ugh.

As I'm sure my very intelligent readers know, Romania is the home of Transylvania and Vlad the Impaler, AKA Vlad Dracula, who later became the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula. The other week I actually saw a show (on the Travel Channel I believe) about Vlad, his life and his fortress. As a kid, his father gave him to The Ottoman Empire in exchange for them not invading. Can you imagine?? Your own dad selling you out like that? The Ottoman's kept him in prison, beat him and treated him like crap for much of his childhood. During that time, the show indicated, is when Vlad developed a fondness for impaling rats on pieces of timber stripped from his prison. Later in life after again being imprisoned, he relied on this "distraction" to help him get through his term. He impaled people of course too and Wikipedia describes one method pretty well. At one point, according to legend at least, the Ottomans were going to invade, but they were repulsed by the sight of 20,000 people impaled on stakes outside Vlad's castle and they turned away. Some of those impaled were his own countrymen (and women and children) of course, but many were from a previous war with the Turks. The dude was insane!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Intoxicated again.

Ok, I'm drunk again, I admit it. Today was German Fest up in Lincoln Square and I met Ricardo and Manual Labor Mike up there and started drinking around 5. Unlike the Mayfest, this event was catered by different folks who decided the two types of beer that should be served were Labatts and Hoffbrauhaus lager. Neither beer was anywhere close to amber in color and really defeats the purpose of Oktoberfest, which celebrates the last brew of the season that is normally darker and more alcoholic than the normal brew.

I can't focus on anything else to write, but I'm sure I have lots of great things to say. It'll have to wait until the weekend.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Joe the Taco

If you were a taco, what kind of taco would you be? Last night, after my fantasy football draft and writing my blog entry, I tried to sleep in my newly painted (and not completed) bedroom. The paint we used was suppose to not smell as bad as regular paint and it probably didn't, but it smelled enough to make me think about it. Mix that in with my mom, a past relationship issue that popped up as well and my fantasy football draft, and the sleep thing just wasn't happening. So I took my comforter and headed downstairs to the sofa. My comforter is big enough so I could lay on it AND have it wrap around me as well: sort of like a soft taco shell!! Joe the Taco. Actually it worked out really well and I fell asleep pretty quickly.

Here's a picture of the draft board from my fantasy football draft. Twelve of us got together in my office, ordered pizza, drank beer and talk football while making fun of each other's picks for 2 1/2 hours. It's normally one of the best days of my year, but my mother's procedure weighed on my mind more than just a bit.

The color coded stickers indicate the different positions that are chosen. We used a one minute timer on my computer this year and the alarm sound was the Chumba-Wumba "I get knocked down" song (Tub-Thumping I think?). Pretty much everyone hated the song by the end of the draft. Ha!!

They finally updated the softball website from the tournament. Unfortunately the picture isn't too good, but I'm fourth from the left standing up.

What's everyone's thoughts on wearing white after Labor Day? I was going to do it today and that thought popped into my head. Then, down at Starbucks, a woman with a white dress was in line ahead of me and she had a similar conversation with a female barista. They determined that it didn't matter anymore. She was very attractive and seemed to have her stuff together, so I thought I was onto something. Then I see her riding off on her bike, ala the old lady in the Wizard of Oz. Then I wasn't so sure!!

How about this: several people wrote me checks for the fantasy football league and I had some other checks to deposit. Here's a list of them: 68.27, 140, 140, 130, 140 and 615.73. Guess what those checks add up to? $1234 how cool is that?! What are the odds?!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Tough Day, Difficult Night Foreseen

Today was the day that my mom was going into the doctor to have a minimally invasive procedure done, but the results of which could have very serious consequences or be fairly innocuous. As I understood it, she was going to have the procedure done at around 10:00 a.m. While I went to the office and attempted to do some work, the amount and quality of work that I could do was pretty limited.

After lunch, I called to see how it all went and the prognosis. Nobody was home.

Around 3 I called again, surely they were home now. Nope.

I tried again around 5, no answer. Members of my fantasy football league started showing up then as the draft was scheduled to begin promptly at 6. Great. So I ordered the pizzas and started the draft.

Finally, about three rounds into the draft, my parents called with an update, just as I was on the clock to make my pick. Obviously the draft came to a screeching halt while I received the update. What a coincidence though that they would call just then.

Apparently my mother wasn't scheduled for her procedure until 3, not 10, and didn't actually have it done until 4, hence the mistimed calls on my part. Fortunately, the procedure went well and the doctor is 95% certain that there will be no complications. Whew. We actually have to wait until Monday to for the final results though.

Manual Labor Mike painted my master bedroom today, so if I want to sleep in my room (which I do) it may be kind of painty smelling. I could sleep in the guest room, but since that room was just painted itself, I haven't had time to wash the sheets since my last guest. Damn, bad planning on my part. Well, hopefully I'll be able to get a good night's sleep regardless.

Monday, September 03, 2007

The Three, no Four, no Five, no Six, Shit Seven-C's

In the short news blurbs section:

You read it here first. I warned you and this kid didn't listen. Just avoid the sand. Swim with sharks instead.

Biggest waste of money EVER. Look at this study. Good Lord.

Ok, now on to my main topic. Last week when I had lunch with two lady friends and their kids, the topic of my dating life of course came up. One of the women's husband was there too and he said while he was dating (he's about my age I think if not older and they met only two years ago) he said that women look for the three C's: Confidence, Control and Comedy. Now I didn't ask for this bit of advice, nor do I partake in this Dr. Phil type of crap, but his statement was fairly obvious if not overly generalizing. Of course you have to have confidence and not just the guy, but the woman too. Really whether it's a loving relationship or a work relationship or just about any kind of relationship you need to exude confidence. Not very helpful.

Comedy. Have a sense of humor. Women love a guy with a sense of humor. Yeah? Well I have a great sense of humor and I know plenty of women wouldn't mind taking a 2 by 4 to my noggin. Still, who doesn't like someone with a sense of humor? Male, female, tranny? Everyone likes someone with a sense of humor. Thanks Dr. Phil you mope.

Control. This is actually very debatable. Women like a guy who takes control. SOME women like a guy who takes control. Other women, let's call, let's not go there because it's a double to control men. You can't argue this point because I know of several women like this. I've seen them in action. Friends of mine have married them. Other friends have dated them. I've gone on first dates with them (I'd never go on a second date).

So these three C's made me think of OTHER C's that women want in their man.

Currency. Yes, women would prefer a man (and vice versa) who has money or prospects of making money. Don't tell me it isn't part of the equation because you're just embarrassing yourself if you believe that. If you really think it isn't important and you're single, I know some really nice male baristas, janitors, Subway employees and even homeless guys that you should meet. Ok, I don't know any nice homeless guys. They actually tend to be crazy. Hey, there's another C!!

Crazy. Don't be. Works both ways.

Color Coordinated. Be. Does this count as two C's? Again, works both ways.

Rooster. It's the only unilateral C. Think about it.

Da Champs!!!

What an outstanding weekend of softball for the Brewdogs!! We went into the tournament with little success in this organizations style of play (USSSA) and not a ton of success in August. Our gutsy squad of 16 players headed west to Rockford, Illinois to participate in the Great Lakes Region National Tournament against 31 other teams from three states.

As I wrote yesterday, we went 3-0 on Saturday which meant that Sunday we didn't have to start playing until noon. Four of the top five teams at the Illinois state tournament were in our bracket, a decidedly tough draw. We were going to have to play three of them to get through the winners bracket and had already beaten two of them on Saturday.

Our first game was against Dynasty, a team from the suburbs that we haven't played before but who a left-handed lead-off hitter who was fast as the wind. His first time up, he slapped the ball to our shortstop who couldn't get a handle on the ball because he was rushing to throw the guy out. I started off the day at third base, but after a few more booted balls by our shortstop, I was moved over to replace him. Playing short and third are very different and I'm much more comfortable at short, but the reality is on a day in and day out basis, we have three guys who can play the position as well or better than me. One of them started this game and, like I said, struggled. One of the others wasn't at the tournament because he just had a baby and the third was playing first base instead because he's been struggling with ground balls for the past three weeks or so.

So in I jumped at short and played a flawless game as we came from behind to pull off the victory. I'm not sure what the score was, but it was close. The usually prompt USSSA website hasn't been updated with the scores yet.

After an hour break, we played another 4-0 team, Team Hooters from Davenport Iowa. They had some really fast guys playing the outfield who could cover ground and were fast on the bases as well. We pulled off a seventh inning comeback on them to win 10-9 I think and included me playing shortstop again and again without making any errors. Their fast outfielders could get to anything in the air, but if you hit the ball past the infield, you could take an extra base on their outfielders weak arms, something we exploited often.

After another hour break, we were back playing Team Hooters who had beaten another team from Illinois to come back out of the loser's bracket. In a double elimination tournament, they were going to have to beat us twice since we hadn't lost and they had lost once (when we beat them). They jumped on us with after the first inning to take a 7-2 lead. We were visitors in this game and would be the home team in a second game if necessary. The sun started to lower on the horizon and was right in the batters' face so it was tough to hit any pitch coming in over 4' high. Why they chose this field to play on under these conditions is beyond me. Down 8-2, I came up to bat with two outs and runners on second and third in the third or fourth inning. I roped a single to center to score both runners and make it 8-4. It really seemed to lift the team to know that we could come back and win this game. We went on to take a 13-8 lead going into the seventh inning and won 13-11. We're National Champions!!!!

The first, second, third and fourth place team gets to name players to the All-Tournament team. In total there's about 10 to 12 players selected. Guess who was named to the team!!

That's right!! Yours truly was named to the team for my defense and some timely hitting. It was quite an honor and the first time I've been named.

With this win, we EARNED a bid to the World Series in Disney in two weeks, a tournament to which we had received and at large bid already. Now we have the confidence to know that we can beat some of the best teams out there. Go Dawgs!!!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Weekend in Rockford.....not quite like Manilow's Weekend in New England

Many of my fine, fine readers are going to be on vacation and away from their computers for the holiday (or at least they won't want to check up on my blog if the MAN isn't paying them to do so), so I'll save some of my better topics for Monday/Tuesday ("That's gold Jerry! Gold!!)".

Last night I saw about 60 seconds of Snakes on a Plane and that's all it took for me to realize that this is possibly the worst movie ever made outside of India (they make some bad stuff there). The snakes were just getting out of whatever they were in on the plane and killing people left and right. One woman saw someone get killed or was disturbed by the plane going down at a rapid pace and reached for the air sickness bag (while people are dying left and right and the plane is going all means, let's be neat about your vomit), opened her mouth to be sick and a snake in the bag (that she's holding mind you) jumped out and bit her in the mouth. You've got to be kidding me. You're not going to notice that a snake is in the air sickness bag??

Today I woke up at 4:30 a.m., not by choice though. I wasn't supposed to get up until almost 6, but something woke me up and I couldn't get back to sleep. Fortunately I only had a 90 minute drive to Rockford and a softball tournament to play. Ugh. Imagine the shock of the Starbucks baristas when I showed up at 6:15 a.m.! They guessed that I was going golfing, but a softball tournament was the second choice.

Our first game was at 9 a.m., but we had to check in at 8 and warm up with some batting practice. We played a team from Iowa called Henry's Tap and won 10-9 in a come-from-behind seventh inning victory. At about 2 p.m., we played the state champs from the tournament a few weeks ago where we got our butts kicked, Aurora Turners. After only pinch hitting in the first game, I played shortstop in this game and played pretty well. We won 11-6.

As you know about the level of softball in which my team plays, there are restrictive home run rules. In this organization, if you hit a home run, not only is it an out, but every time thereafter that your position in the batting order comes up (regardless of whether you are in the lineup or not) it's an automatic out. In the game against Aurora Turners, one of our outfielders hit a home run in the first inning and we had to fight through the automatic out in the lineup. Mind you, the fences are 300 feet, that's a football field, so it's not that hard to keep the ball in the park.

One more game today and it started around 5:30 p.m. against a team called Infinity. I was moved over to third for this game and made about six or seven putouts including a diving stab. A quick reminder that for the last few weeks I've been struggling with my at bats, but I felt like I figured it out this week and did better in the game against Turners. So in this game I came up to bat in the top of the seventh and last inning. We had started the inning with a hit, then an out, then a walk and then an out. So with two outs, runners on first and second and us ahead 5-3 (having not scored a run since the second inning), my at bat was going to be a huge momentum at bat. I took a ball and then laced a foul down the first base line that would have been a double if fair. Damn. But I dug in and ripped a single to left scoring the guy on second and then the guy from first as the ball skipped away from the left fielder!! I ended up on second and the team was jacked up. The next five guys got hits and we scored four more runs to take an 11-3 lead into the bottom of the seventh where Infinity went quietly. Whoo-hoo!! We went 3-0 on day one and head back tomorrow for some more. Here's the link if you want to follow along on our progress.