Monday, June 29, 2009


Sorry! Not sure why this didn't post last night as scheduled. Crazy.

After the whirlwind days on Wednesday and Thursday, Friday was going to be a welcome respite. We slept in a bit, but still had breakfast at Starbucks and then headed to the Detroit Zoo. You might think "Detroit Zoo! Why the hell go there??" Well, I find that it's comparable to the Brookfield Zoo if you've been there, and in most ways it's actually better. They do some smart things there like they donated their elephants to a preserve because that felt it was inhumane to keep them in a smallish space (even though their elephant exhibit was as big as any I've seen). There is also lots and lots of shade available at the Detroit Zoo. Big trees provide ample relief from the sun and misters are frequent for a little cool down. Our only complaint was that the beverages were too expensive for what you got and the 20 oz vending machines (which were reasonably priced) weren't working for the most part (one out of four were working).

All in all it was a good trip and we ended up being there for almost four hours.

Here's a peacock at one of the aforementioned vending machines. The poor guy kept seeing his reflection in the machine and would peck at it. Or maybe he was thirsty....I don't know.

You'll have to click on this one to see the Meerkat sitting up for a photo-op. Funny little fella.

Anteaters are always a favorite. This was one of the rare spans of time that one wasn't trying to hump the other. More than one family ushered away their kids hurriedly before they had to explain what was going on.

After the zoo, we headed back to the room for a shower and quick nap before meeting my childhood babysitter (from when I was about 1 til I was 6) and her husband for dinner. Their daughter, Katie, lives near me now and is a frequent blog reader. We had a fun dinner and thus ended a whirlwind trip to Detroit.

This sign was in the Starbucks bathroom in Troy. Nice of them to demonstrate CLEARLY how to properly wash your hands. I told LL about this and she had a surprise response. Apparently in her medical travels, she had dinner with the foremost expert on hand washing. I didn't even know there was an expert, but apparently there are and this guy was tops. He was, of course, French. "Friction is the key. Friction!"

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Pictures from Detroit part 1

Took a fair number of pictures on my trip to Detroit, mostly at Comerica Park and the Detroit Zoo. Here's what I snapped:

From the car with my IPhone, the Uniroyal Tire. It's off of 94 and always means to me that you're in Detroit. Our hotel was in Troy, just off of HWY 75 and Big Beaver Road, exit 69....I'm not even joking. You can't make shit like that up.

The reason we went to Detroit, in addition to seeing the Cubs play, was to have dinner with Hall of Famer Ernie Harwell. We had such a nice dinner with him and his wife, Lulu. One of the topics we discussed was how he (and all radio broadcasters back before TV) would recreate the game action over the radio, even though he wasn't at the game. For road games, the broadcasters wouldn't travel with the team and would get minimal information sent to them via teletype and then the broadcasters would have to make up what happened: where the ball was fouled, the pitch being high or low, etc. They were essentially actors. Ernie even did some play-by-play as an example for us. Very fun.

Here we are after the dinner. Ernie autographed two books for me and personalized a message on one page copies of his hall of fame induction speech I had made. He made one for me and one for my dad. Then I called my dad and handed the phone to Ernie and they chatted for a few minutes. Very fun!!

Here's the statue of Ernie Harwell just inside the main gate at Comerica. As Ernie said, "They made me 300 pounds and hollow."

Here's the main entrance at Comerica. Pretty cool.

Inside the stadium is a big courtyard area that has this ferris wheel and some big topiary baseball players.

Also inside are several daiquiri bars which have four flavors of daiquiris. Here, Laura mixed Dreamsicle orange with strawberry I believe and I had the same. The next day she had all orange and I went all strawberry. So good!!

Views from the seats for game one. Front row, upper deck, just to the right of home plate. A nice scoreboard view.

Lovely Laura in our front row seats.

Towards the end of the game, Detroit held their fireworks display down by the river. Ugh. It was nice to see, especially from our seats, but it was a traffic nightmare. We had to drink at Hockeytown, across the street from the stadium, for about 90 minutes or so. Not the worst thing!

So that was Wednesday night, right after we go to Detroit. Thursday was a day game and our seats are pictured below. We had dinner with Ernie on Thursday evening.

Yep, one row off the field. At the end of an inning, the Tigers right fielder flipped a ball towards Laura which I tried to catch for her. It hit off my hand as the throng of people behind me tried to grab it and fell harmless to a couple in the front row. Dammit!!! So close. Oh well.

It was so hot at the game that they ran out of water! At $3.75 a pop, they lost some money. There was a line for every drinking fountain at the stadium. We left in the ninth inning to make sure we could get home in time to shower and get to dinner.

I saw this sign outside of the stadium on Wednesday and thought it was funny. No Standing. Ha!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

They always go in threes

For most of my life, I've heard one recurring theme: famous people die in threes. Odd, but then it happens often enough to reinforce that apparent truth. While I was in Detroit, we lost Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. So if you're and old famous person, you're good to go for some time.

Pictures from the latter part of the week are on their way. The trip went really well and Lovely Laura and I had a grand time. We were on the go most of the time though and didn't get to relax and chill as much as I would have liked. We arrived on Wednesday and then headed down to the stadium for the night game. Due to fireworks along the river, we avoided traffic by drinking at Hockey Town until after midnight. That was followed by a day game starting at 1:05. It was 93 degrees and boiling hot with no relief from the sun anywhere near our second row off the field seats. During the game I headed for the shade where the vendors were just to get a brake. Lovely Laura spent more time in the seats than I did!! Part of her incentive to stay was that she was learning how to keep score and didn't want to miss batters. I was just trying to stay conscious for my dinner with Hall of Famer Ernie Harwell and his wife.

Dinner was fantastic, more later, and then we hit the sack early, being exhausted from the games. Friday brought the Detroit zoo, a stop by the house I spent my early years (1-7), and then dinner with my babysitter from when I was a kid. We've kept in touch through the years and her daughter, Katie, lives in my hood an even posts on the my blog periodically. We had a great dinner with Katie's folks (right across the street from our hotel) and were able to hit the jacuzzi and swimming pool before bed. We were up and at'em and checked out by 8 a.m. this morning.

So I do have pictures and stories to tell and will start relaying them tomorrow!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Alive in Detroit

Sorry about the lack of postings this week. Though I got a great rate on a nice hotel (off Priceline), they do charge an exhorbitant fee for internet access ($13-$14 I think, which is the same price as a in-room movie). We're sitting at a Starbucks now though before hitting the Detroit Zoo (always fun), and their internet access is free and pretty good.

The Cubs games were good games, but we lost both of them. In fact, the Cubs were swept out of town. At one point we were 1-27 with runners in scoring position; that after getting shutout by the Braves stranding 12 runners on base. Not a whole lot of timely hitting going on. More on the games over the weekend.

We had a wonderful dinner with Hall of Famer Ernie Harwell and his wife Lulu. More on that later as well.

A bright, sunny, not too warm day in Detroit today. It's beautiful!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Motor City thought

With all the hub-bub about GM, Chrysler, etc and I think maybe because I'm going to Detroit Wednesday, I've been thinking more about cars. Maybe too because my very reliable Toyota Camry, 2002, has 87,000 miles on it and at SOME point I'll have to replace it. Mind you, that day is not near in my mind, but it is out there.

My thought was, if you bought a $30,000 car, for how long could you RENT a car instead? At 3% interest and a 5 year payment schedule, your payments would be $540 a month and you'd pay $2,343 in interest, which sounds pretty reasonable to me. Anyway, I'm wondering if you couldn't rent a car for $25 a day if you committed to an entire year's worth of rental at one shot. If you could, you'd pay on average $750 a month for the car and $9,125 a year. So that's much more than buying one, which is to be expected.

Now let's say you spend $40k on the car instead of $30k. Now you're almost equal in monthly payments!! Granted, the type of car probably won't be the same, but you could still get a car of some sort.

By the way, if you only spend $20k on a car, then your payments are only $360 a month.

Joisey Ken and I were talking about this today. JK has a truck with 108,000 miles on it, which he bought with (I think) 11,000 miles on it. We both marveled at why anyone would buy a new car when they could buy a slightly used one at a greatly reduced price. My Camry had 1,700 miles on it when I bought it.

So my entry isn't the most coherent and not all apples to apples, but the message is, don't buy a new car. Buy a lightly used one, from a dealer, and you should still get the full warranty. And don't spend $30k on a car if one for $20k will do just fine. It's just a car, it's not your house. It will eventually be worth nothing. Guaranteed.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Too much going on

The days leading up to any trip are usually pretty hectic and the last few days have been no exception for me. Though I guess Saturday was really just about softball, so it's been more about yesterday and today. Ok, maybe just today and the anticipation of what still has to be done before Wednesday.

Sunday was a fun day that started off like many Sundays, with me going to church. Then it took a drastic turn as I headed downtown for the Nordstrom's 1/2 Yearly Men's Sale. Several years ago I went to one of these sales and found a lot of good deals and have wanted to go back, but missed them, usually due to softball. For some reason I never hear about the OTHER 1/2 yearly sale. Maybe they don't even have one. Anyway, I went in hopes of finding some nice casual shirts and shorts. And find them I did. Four pairs of shorts and five shirts......all for a lot of money.

It was interesting in that I would NEVER pay the price Nordstrom's charges for any article of men's clothing. Tommy Bahama shirts for $125. Insane. But lower the price to $75 and I think I should buy it. Of course, try to sell me a $75 shirt at Eddie Bauer and I'll tell you to go to hell. There just aren't a lot of shirts worth that my mind. So I found myself in that trite comic-like situation that is usually reserved for the Blondies of the world where they are carrying bags of stuff and telling their husband how much they saved. All he sees is how much she spent. I was both people!!

Hopefully I'll be able to post while I'm in Detroit. I'm not going to bring my computer, but I'm sure they have the internet there......ok, I'm not THAT sure, but I'm hopeful. Tuesday is going to be packed with work, packing and softball in the evening, but I'll work in a post before I go.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Breach in Fort Knox!!

Summer arrived in Chicago on Friday with a flurry and a lot of rain. It was the 20th wettest day on record (or so I heard on the radio) with about 4 inches of rain falling at O'Hare. As you know, I've had trouble with flooding in my basement during such downpours. To recap what I've done to combat the water: re-routed the roof water out of the cistern and into the back yard, regularly root out the drain pipes, and most significantly I had a four inch "step" built up outside my door where the rain comes in.

Well, it didn't work. It sort of worked though, so all is not lost. While I was on the phone with a plumber of all people, I swiveled on my exercise ball and saw water streaming in from the door. Ugh. After getting towels to control the water already inside, I went out and cleared away the top of the drain. It rained so hard that the water brought debris with it down to the drain and clogged the screen. The water backed up until it came in over the top of the step.

So a couple of positives: 1) I was home when it happened 2) the new carpet hasn't been laid yet 3) it wasn't that much water 4) the dam actually worked 5) I now know that I need to get a screen with bigger holes or remove the screen entirely. The debris will go down the drain, but that pipe goes straight to the main city pipe, so it doesn't really matter.

Friday then was obviously a bit hectic for me as you can imagine and that's why I didn't post. Saturday we had a softball tournament down in Crete Illinois where we came in third out of eight teams and had a lead in the last inning of the game we lost that would have gotten us second and a shot at first. The team played pretty well, but I hit like crap. This isn't the "main" team that I play on, but it's a lot of the same guys, though we play with different rules. One of them is the amount of arc allowed on the pitch and I'm having trouble identifying the strike zone. In several at bats on Saturday, in our four games in pretty warm weather, I swung at really bad pitches. Not sure how to solve this problem quickly......but I'm going to try and figure something out.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Calling out the coffee man

Today the rain held off long enough for Bill the Bear, Smitty and I to go golfing up in Glencoe and we had good fun, especially on the 18th hole around 8:20 as we were trying to follow our shots after the sun had set. We finished though! My putting still sucks: 38 strokes out of my 84. Ugh.

Found out from Softball Sponsor Paul, that there is no Disney trip this year for our level and organization (USSSA). So the World Series in Detroit is it for us. No Super World Series. No Disney. A little disappointing, but also good to know that we met at least one goal: get to the World Series. Now we have to focus on improving so we can win there.

DJF commented on my entry from a few days ago and noted that the Cubs had gone to Detroit for interleague play in 1998 and 2001. Booo. I must have been otherwise distracted those years.

At golf today, Smitty brought up that he read my blog and had an issue of some sort with it. He almost seemed apologetic or embarrassed or something about bringing it up. It made me think that I should mention to all my readers that anything I put out here on my blog is fair game. If you disagree with something or think I'm full of shit, feel free to call me out. Hell, DJF does it almost every day. The entries on my impending dictatorship are clearly controversial and that's just fine! Whether it's the minimum age for marriage, testing for being a parent or making icing in hockey automatic, feel free to open a dialogue about it when I see you or here on the site. No worries!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Last Fall, many people were amazed when I announced that I had purchased a new IPhone. The purchase was the result of losing my second cell phone, a pay as you go phone from Virgin Mobile. For several months, I didn't have a phone at all. Prior to my Virgin Mobile phone, I also went a long stretch without a cell phone. Even when I had one in my possession or on my person, it was usually off and I was generally not reachable.

I miss those days to some degree....I think.

Today I went to see the Cubs/Sox game with Morris Doug Jr., his girlfriend and her father. MD Jr.'s dad has four seats right by the visiting team's bullpen along the first baseline. Very good seats and we had a lot of fun. During the Bears season, they sit right next to me, which is how I know them.

About half-way to the stadium though, I realized I had forgotten my cell phone at home. Several ramifications popped into my head about this act. First was that Lovely Laura would not be able to reach me to plan coming over/going out AFTER the game (no, I don't have her number memorized....all I have to do is press "Laura" and the phone dials her). It also meant that any of the 30-50 people I emailed about the extra ticket I had who may have wanted to go out afterwards or were going to be at the game, also could not reach me. It also meant the guy I emailed about tickets to the Cubs/Tigers game next week would probably think I'm blowing him off. None of those things were good.

What it did mean was that I missed little of the game since I couldn't check messages, texts or emails. It also meant that I didn't have to worry about whether the phone was properly protected in my pocket or elsewhere. It meant I didn't have to worry about the ringer going off, though that isn't a huge issue at a stadium. And finally it meant that I was going to be unintentionally rude by checking messages and such.

Even so, I felt disconnected while I was at the game, like I was missing vital info. And I was indeed missing some information that I could have acted on and could have impacted the rest of my night. The longer I have my phone and the more I use it, the more important it becomes to me........sigh.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Crazy-ass summer already shaping up

With playing competitive softball and the traveling it requires, my summer can be relatively hectic. There is a bit of unpredictability with the softball tournament schedule as we qualify for events or miss qualifying. If we miss qualifying, then we might have to schedule another tournament to give us another chance. If we do qualify, then other weekends might free up. So almost the whole summer is up for grabs, which can cause some speed bumps in a relationship without a doubt. It's something I'm aware of, but have tried to manage over the years. Most of the guys on the team are either married or have girlfriends (and many have kids!), so clearly it's not an impossible task. It isn't easy though. The craziness starts next week, even though summer isn't even here yet!

Next week I'm heading to Detroit with Lovely Laura to see the Cubs play in Detroit for the first time since 1945. The game tickets have been bought (front row upper deck and second row by the Cubs dugout) and I just got the hotel tonight. For the first time ever, I used It worked pretty well. Got a room at a hotel that on was going for $170 a night for only $75 a night. Pretty sweet.

Ten days or so ago, I sent a letter to legendary Detroit Tiger broadcaster and Hall of Famer, Ernie Harwell, to see if he would be free to go to one of the games or have dinner. He called me yesterday and agreed to have dinner with me!! He remembered our dinner from four years ago and was more than happy to get together again. He's such an incredibly nice guy....I'm really looking forward to it.

The Fourth of July is only a few weeks away, and that will involve another trip (also to Michigan). As in years past though, I will be able to hit Ribfest in Naperville and we'll be joined by Naperville Greg and Kleveland Kim. Should be a good time.

Then ESDNM comes to town after which I go to D.C. Those trips are followed by a trip to Albuquerque. Then August finally gets here. Wow. I'm going to be exhausted.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Movies and Nudity

In addition to playing softball all weekend, Lovely Laura and I took in two movies (LL came down for all five of my games this weekend by the way so we always had at least one fan!). The first movie we saw was The Hangover and it was just hysterical!! Run, don't just walk, to go see this movie. Loved every minute of it....though a little less when this naked Asian guy was running around. On the way to the theater, we ran into one of my teammates, Jack, and his GF, who was going to see the very same movie, so we all saw the movie together. The next day, Jack would hit the two run homer to win the final game and secure our World Series bid.

On the drive home, LL and I got stuck in the middle of the naked bike ride. Though it seemed like an hour, it was probably only 10 minutes or so. Now as you know, I'm no prude. The Naked Bike Ride though is a bit more than I was looking for, especially when taken by surprise. Lots of naked people and I'm betting mostly gay and lesbians. Yes, I'm stereotyping, but stereotypes aren't always wrong. It was quite the scene and frankly one I could have done without.....even the Smurf.

Then we rented Taken last night with Liam Neeson and it was also a pretty good movie. Two very different flicks though both are worth seeing.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Weird Weekend

As I mentioned on Friday, we had an interesting format for a softball tournament this weekend. Friday night we played another D level team, similar to us (we're actually D-Elite). It was a tight game which found us down 3-0 before a three run homer tied it up. Then we went down 4-3, only to tie it up in the top of the 7th and last inning. The first guy up in the bottom of the 7th hit a walk-off home run. Ugh. That meant we had to play Saturday morning at 8. Double ugh.

Unfortunately, I slept very, very poorly on Friday night(because of the loss, to which I contributed) and getting up early on Saturday didn't help. We got beat pretty bad on Saturday morning, 21-9, to a team (Fury) that we usually beat under different rules (homeruns and type of ball being used mostly). So it SEEMS like our tournament would be over, but no! This particular tournament holds a mini-tournament on Sunday for D teams that went 0-2 or 1-2 (due to the possibility of playing much higher level teams both games). On the line? A World Series birth (in Sterling Heights Michigan, not the Super World Series in Disney)

The tournament today was single elimination at started at 10. Fortunately that allowed me to get plenty of sleep after taking two hour long naps during the day on Saturday. Mind you, all three days had games down in Joliet, so I had to drive the 50-60 miles each day. This year, more than past seasons, things like sleep, alcohol, eating right and minor injuries have more of an impact on my game than they have in the past. Getting old is a bitch, but it beats the alternative.

The rules changed for our tournament on Sunday, back to the normal rules we play by (one hour run only and a much more "dead" ball). So we won our first game 14-13 in extra innings, coming from behind to tie it. In game two against Road Dawgs, we pretty much dominated in a 10-4 win. Road Dawgs had beaten Fury 8-5 in their first game. So you can see that the rules altered Fury's scoring from 21 runs to 5. Much, much different. In our final game, we hit a two run home run in the top of the seventh to take a one run lead 8-7. After recording the first two outs in the bottom of the seventh on outstanding plays by our shortstop, our usually very reliable pitcher lost it a bit and badly walked two batters. He was tiring. The next batter hit a ball into the hole between myself and the shortstop, so I headed to the bag at third after realizing I couldn't get the ball. The shortstop dove, grabbed the ball, it squirted out of his glove, he grabbed it barehanded and threw the ball into the dirt to me at third. I scooped it out and recorded the final out. We won!!!

So we've gained a birth into the World Series and we'll have a great chance to qualify again for the Super WS in Disney. Sunday I reversed my bad fielding and had a pretty good day at fact I don't think I made an error. Hitting-wise I think I ended up about .500 on Sunday. Unfortunately I was 2-6 on Friday and Saturday. Not awful, but not great.

And here's the team!! We only take a team photo if we win or do really well, so it's nice to be lining up again.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Another Joliet Weekend

This weekend I'm going to a unique softball tournament. Once a year, our team plays in a "major" tournament, which does not mean a big or important tournament. Rather the term relates to a rank of teams called "majors" who are the elite of the elite softball players in the country, are sponsored and paid (with real contracts) and routinely can hit home runs out of major league baseball stadiums (i.e. over 350 ft). All level of teams can play and the highest finishing team at each level will receive a world series bid in Florida. That's what we're after. We know we're not likely to beat a Major, A or even B team, but we could be the highest finishing D team.

Tonight we play a team at our level first at 7:00 with the winner playing a B team at 8. Either way we come back tomorrow morning early to play another good team no doubt. Sunday would be a tournament for just our level of teams if there is no clear cut highest finishing team. Should be an interesting weekend.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Heart checks out.

Turns out the reason why the doctor hasn't called me is because I had an appointment with him on Friday. Unfortunately, I was not aware of said appointment, so I had to cancel. The next available appointment is in late July! I told the nurse that called me about the appointment that I could be dead by then!! She chuckled, but not heartily enough and it left me a bit uncomfortable regarding the conversation's direction. However, the nurse told me that everything is fine and that there were no parts of my heart not getting sufficient blood.

Unfortunately, there's not much else to report. The nurse iterated that the next step, should I decide to go further, would be to start taking beta blockers. Short of taking the beta blockers, there isn't much for me to do. The abnormal firing could go away on its own, or something could possibly make it worse. If that happens, then I should make another appointment.

So there you go, a lot testing and not much in the way of answers, other than eliminating some things.

Went golfing today and played terribly in the rain......and when it wasn't raining. I did putt a little better though, so I'm hanging my hat on that positive. We were playing at a country club down south called Midlothian Country Club. Very nice place and I would have taken pictures, but it was raining.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Satisfying small accomplishments

First, I did call my doctor as well as my heart doctor and did not hear back from either of them. Not sure why, but let's hope that if something was seriously wrong that they would have called by now. Alternatively, it could be such a rare problem that they don't even know how to describe what's wrong with much less plan treatment. I don't really like that latter option!

Did lots of things today, but nothing huge. Paid bills, estimated tax payments, laundry, some communication with clients, business calls, put my new car parking sticker on, all sorts of things. Nothing huge, but it was a good day.

Went with Lovely Laura, her cousin and his wife to a southern style cuisine restaurant called Chuck's down by Midway. We got the last table when we showed up at 7:30 and the last spot in the parking lot. Though acoustically a little loud and the wait staff were awesome at triggering my pet peeve (coming up and rudely interrupting you while you're in the middle of a conversation), the food was pretty darn good and they actually had micro brews on the menu. Worth the trip. I had half a rack of ribs, along with pulled pork and two sides for $15. That's pretty good. No corn bread for some crazy reason. And why is cole slaw a side? It should just come free!!

My core class today kicked my ass. The instructor is 4 foot nothing, 80 pounds and flexible like a rubber band. At one point she went through this sequence:
"Ok, bend at the waist and put your hands on the floor in front of you."
"Now pick up your left leg and stretch it back. Pick up your right hand and lift it forward in front of you."
"To make it a little more challenging, pick up your left hand and lift that over your head as well."
"Now pick up your right leg." The chick was levitating.
My core was still a bit sore from Monday's class and softball last night didn't help. For some reason I thought I could tough my way through it, which I did, but I could only do about 75% of the workout. I certainly worked my core to exhaustion though!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Guess I'm not stressed about my stress test

On my way to softball this evening, I was stuck in traffic so I got on my hands-free device as I often do and called up Joisey Ken. After I picked Ken on my contact list and the number dialed, I realized he was going to want an update on my heart situation (good friend that he is). Unfortunately I also realized that I hadn't even THOUGHT about calling my doctor today for an update. My bad. Wednesday I'll definitely call my doctor. I promise!

So even though I've had several palpitations (for lack of a better word) just while I've been sitting here typing this message, it isn't something that I necessarily always notice.

Tonight I tried to make a Skype call to ESDNM and it worked! Sort of. I could see him and he could HEAR me, but my camera wasn't working. Turns out that I didn't have a "video call" button on my Skype page, so I just made a regular call. After rebooting however, the video call button showed up and I was good to go, but ESDNM wasn't picking up anymore. Dammit!!!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Big news, no news and some news.

Ahh, back to work Monday. Somehow I woke up before 7 a.m. completely refreshed so.....I just got up. Normally I'd force myself to go back to sleep realizing that I would fall asleep before dinner if I didn't. But today I opted for staying up. As a result, I took a 15 minute power nap in the afternoon.

No news on the heart front today. The doctor who called me last week was suppose to call today, but she did not. So hopefully tomorrow I'll have an update. Stay tuned!!

The White Sox are now OFF my shit list. Because of their ridiculous ticket policy, I was either going to have to waste my tickets to a rain out makeup game on Monday afternoon (during a recession), go alone (because I can actually) or write a letter and voice my opinion as well as threaten to take my issue to the media. Of course, I opted for the latter. My email was responded to by someone in the ticket sales department with "Thank you for your email. Our weather policy is explained on the back of every game ticket." Mind you, it's not that I didn't know about the policy, though you would need a magnifying glass to read the back of a Sox ticket, but my issue was with the policy itself. It's just so easy to make the fans happy (which they have done in the past themselves, not to mention the Cubs, Tigers and even minor league teams). But the ticket person offered me upper deck seats or 1/2 off voucher for box seats if I sent the tickets in, which is what I'm going to do. Good for them!

This afternoon I went down to MicroCenter, a place I used to visit extensively, and bought a webcam for my computer!! Homemade porn here I come!! Actually, I downloaded Skype so I'm all set up for all of those international callers.....ok, I have no f#$%king idea to whom I'm going to talk or when I'll use this camera, but I'm ready!! The camera was pretty simple to set up, includes a built-in microphone and only cost $50. They had cheaper ones as well, but I wanted one with good resolution, used a USB connector and was simple to install. This one worked perfectly. Logitech Quickcam. Highly recommend it.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Delayed reporting

Hi all. Sorry about mentioning the stress test and then telling you about it. Friday I was at a bachelor party for Aussie Rick which started at about 4 and ended after midnight. As you can imagine, I was in no shape to blog. Saturday came and found me laying on the sofa most of the day. Fortunately there were plenty of good sporting events on TV to watch, including USA vs. Honduras in CONCACAF soccer, the Cubs/Reds and the Stanley Cup playoffs with the Wings and Penguins. Just what the doctor ordered.

So this stress test gets my ass up at 6:30, no coffee and no breakfast. I'm definitely stressed. Upon my arrival, a nurse checks me in and tells me everything that's going to happen. Managing my expectations is a VERY good thing. I can be incredibly patient (pardon the pun) if I know what's going on. She told me it was a NUCLEAR stress test. So they are going to hook me up to an IV, shoot some nuclear waste into me (ok, they called it something else), take some pictures of my heart using an MRI type machine, get me on the treadmill, then take some more pictures after shooting more nuclear waste into my body. The whole thing will take roughly three hours!

Now I'm thinking, maybe this isn't such a good idea. I thought they were just going to hook me up to some sensors and have me run for a bit. This was a bit more than that. IV's, gamma radiation, three hours....yikes. But, I'm there now, so what the hell??

It all went pretty much as planned. A nurse brought out the nuclear material in a special (I assume lead lined) box and a special metal syringe (also I assume lead lined). That's a little scary. On the treadmill, they wanted me to get my heartbeat up to 157 beats a minute, which, according to the elliptical machine at the gym, I do fairly regularly anyway. Twelve and a half minutes later and the "tough" part of the day was over.

So they had me hooked up to the heart monitor almost the whole time and I could see on the printout when my lower ventrical was firing early. The crazy thing: it never happened while I was on the treadmill. It only happened while at rest or in recovery. Very odd. Hopefully the test will lead them to some conclusions about how to fix it or at least that the rest of my heart is just fine. Some time on Monday I should get the results, but it could be delayed until Tuesday. One good thing about taking the test now is that it establishes a baseline for the future while I'm relatively healthy.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Getting Stressed

Most of you know, or could deduce, that I usually write my entry at the end of the day, prior to hitting the sack. Tomorrow morning I have a stress test as the "final exam" for my heart issue and along with the physical test, there's a lot of other things to stress me out. First, it's at 8 a.m. down at the University of Chicago. I don't even want to think about what time I have to get up. Then, they said no caffeine for 24 hours. Yeah, right. I won't have it in the morning...that's as good as they're going to get out of me. And finally, no food for two hours before the test, which means no food in the morning because I'm not getting up before 6!

So that's it from me today. I do want to say that my summer calendar is filling up!! Good Lord. With softball every other weekend and that crazy ESDNM dominating my July, the summer is going to fly by!! Just means the football season will start sooner. :-)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Latest on my shit list

The Chicago White Sox. Their May 6th night game, to which I had four tickets, was rained out. No problem, I thought, I'll just exchange them for another available game. Nope. The tickets are ONLY GOOD for the make up game on Monday June 8th......during the day!! Yep, a 1:05 start. Nice. Any other time I've had a rainout to a sporting event you've always had the option of a refund or exchanging the tickets for another day. Not with the White Sox apparently. Unbelievable. So now I have to find two other people to go to a day baseball game with on a Monday (one of my guests lost their ticket). That shouldn't be too hard right? F*$#ing idiot Sox.

On a positive note, I downloaded a pretty cool app for my iPhone. It allows me to set my DVR through my phone!! Awesome. And I have two DVRs, so I can program either of them with the phone. That things gets better and more indispensable every day I own it.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Blah day

Driving yesterday and the trip on the weekend finally took its toll on me today. Lethargy ruled the day and if my cleaning lady wasn't over being productive, most of the day would have been a waste. My softball league play reflected my lack of energy. Ben and I couldn't wait for it to be over so we could get out of the cold, damp weather, go to our respective homes and try to recover. Benny Baseball had more reason that me though as he got up at 5 a.m. Ugh.

On a positive note, Joisey Ken and Hoboken Dawn received my baby gift for their baby girl Stella. Ken's a big Vikings fan......and I'm sure Stella will be too!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Uneventful/very eventful day

Continuing my theme of contradictory titles, I submit my day of nothing, in which a lot happened.

Through out my blog, there are many references to Benny Baseball. He's 26, plays on my softball team, goes to about half the Bears game with me, and has been a friend since he was 18. Along Andy the Sausage King, they are two of the better people I know. Benny organized the team that went down to Troy this weekend (about a 5 hour drive). After our last game on Saturday, he also organized the trip to the St. Louis bars, of which Lovely Laura and I opted out.

Unfortunately, Benny lost his keys somewhere along the way. Not good. Five hours away and no car keys AND it's Sunday. His insurance agent tried to reach a locksmith for 45 minutes, but couldn't get one to pick up the phone, much less meet Benny. Since he had a spare key at home, he thought he could at least save the $250 new car key fee by heading home in someone else's car. So he did. And he couldn't find the spare key.

So now he's five hours away from his car with no key to get into it. Of course now he's wishing he just stayed down there another day for $90 at the hotel and got a locksmith to make a new key....but that wasn't an option anymore. After checking into buses (a 15 hour mess of driving) and an expensive/time consuming/unreachable train to St. Louis, he was pretty well screwed.

Monday morning he went to the dealership and got a replacement key. Half of the problem solved. Then we confirmed, which I had mentioned Sunday night, that I would be willing to drive him down if he needed me to. And so we did. I left this morning just before 10 and got back home slightly after 8. Ten hours of driving and 575 miles.....I'm pretty tired now. That's a long trip after just having driven it on Friday and Sunday.

So not much really happened today, but I drove a lot!