Thanks, Joker! (And some Random Ramblin’s.)

So my blog has been decidedly dormant due to my dedication to my daughters and my duties as Daddy.

No more! (Well, I’m not going to stop that stuff, but I will try to get back to bloggin’.)

And it’s thanks to several comments from a fellow blogger, Joker from Why Advertising Sucks. It’s amazing what some kind words from an unseen colleague can do…so thanks Joker!

Call the rest of this a mini-Random Ramblin’s…

If you’re not a baseball fan, skip down a few ‘graphs. This is about Roy Halladay, one of baseball’s best pitchers. He’s currently a Toronto Blue Jay, but they’ve pretty much decided to make him available for a trade. And my hometown Phillies are a great match, since they have plenty of good young prospects and the ability to take on his salary (now and in the future).

Reasons the Phillies need Halladay: He makes a good rotation GREAT. Especially in a short playoff series, when it could be Halladay, Hamels and whoever else they put out there. Heck, if Pedro Martinez has anything left in the tank, let him rip.

Heck, legendary baseball man Peter Gammons basically says the Phillies could be a World Series contender for two or three years if they did this. And although they’d be giving up some of their best prospects, that’s what they are right now – prospects. There is NO guarantee that these guys become solid contributors at the major league level – much less superstars.

There is no guarantee that Halladay gets them back to the World Series – but he improves their chances BIG time.

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Well, a case manager from HP was supposed to call me today about my Presario V6000 laptop, which refuses to turn on. Well, the lights come on for half a second, it gives a weak beep, then shuts down. But because this is a replacement unit – that’s right, this one was sent to us when the old 5101 died on us – we need to have a case manager validate our claim so they’ll repair it.

I’d go on a long rant about how sucky HP/Compaq is, but it’s been done.

I may do a pre-emptive call in a few minutes, and will keep you posted.

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So now I’m going off of Imuran completely. One less immunosuppressive drug. Yay! Now we being the countdown to Colonoscopy ’09, scheduled for Friday the 13th (of November). Yay?

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More important than anything else you’ve read here…the girls are doing well, thanks for asking!

Eating and pooping pretty normally.

But sleeping? They’re freakin’ Olympians already. We’re talking like 8, 9, maybe 10 hours overnight.

I think they’re setting us up, this is all a trick. When they’re two, they’ll sleep in half-hour shifts for four hours then demand we stay up with them watching Ni Hao Kailan or Jack’s Big Music Show! (Actually, they’re pretty good shows.)

We think that Alexandra is starting to look like me, and Norah like Shannon. Here’s a recent photo:

My girls

Alexandra & Norah, just chillin'.

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I’m in 4th place in fantasy baseball. This is unheard of, and I have now jinxed myself.

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We’re living in Little Elm, Texas, not far from the intersection of Eldorado Parkway and Route 423/Main Street. The latter is a horrendous road that gets crazy backed up during rush hour. The former is under massive construction that will probably continue until I retire at the ripe old age of 78.

I don’t know if this is deserving of an “oy” or a “meh.” Perhaps a new term should be made available…

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Shannon and I saw The Hangover. 86 out of 100. Laugh-out loud in parts, but man I was hoping for more gutbusting laughs.

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I hate that the scale at Medifast is usually 3 pounds heavier than my scale at home. I woke up all psyched that I was 160.8 on Saturday morning, until I get to the clinic and weigh in at 163.8. They’re both digital scales! How does that work?

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I can’t believe boxing lost Arturo Gatti and Vernon Forrest like two weeks apart. I truly enjoyed watching these warriors fight and grieve for them and their families.

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I hope you’re happy, Joker. You’ve unleashed the beats. A lame bloggin’ beast.

Random Ramblin’s: My Royal Return!

Sorry I’ve been so remiss in posting. (I know you care.)

July 4th was really cool. After the usual BBQ, we drove over to this spot in Frisco where we could see fireworks (albeit most were far away) in like five different towns at once. Of course, the ones at Pizza Hut Park – which claim to be the best in North Texas –  might have been just that.

Saw Incredible Hulk and Indiana Jones.  Loved the first, liked the second.

Got my “Heart Rate Monitor for Dummies” as part of the master plan to try interval training. My friend Charlie says it’s the latest thing – short bursts of maximum effort to get the heart rate up, which is basically anaerobic activity that gets you the benefits of aerobic activity.

(Or something like that.)

I don’t know what it is about Caffeine Free Pepsi. Maybe it’s sweeter than other soft drinks.  But we love it.

Finished my two-month, contract-to-hire-oh-never-mind gig. Do NOT want to talk about it here.

Currently freelancing on-site at a Dallas agency. Much better.

Interviewed last week at a major utility company for a client-side gig. Should hear something this week.

Fantasy baseball-wise, I’m pretty much craptabulously done. I’m starting to think I’m really a lousy competitor, even though so many trades I make work out better for me than my trading partner and I’m able to find great bargains and young talent.

I pretty much HAVE to get a haircut every four to five weeks, or it starts to look godawful (like it does now). See, the part that grows fine (sides and back) overtakes the growth of the super-slow top part of my head, and I end up looking a bit like a pumpkin without the green stump part.

Our forecast here is like 95 to 98 every day. Of course, we’re all indoors most of the time. And on the weekend, the closest pool is usually near-empty.

The Phillies are in first place. Wonder if it’ll last. Not likely if they don’t get better pitching.

The Summer story writing contest is coming up. (If you recall, I entered the Spring contest with horrendous results.) But now I’ve got a much better idea of how to approach it. And hey, it’s only $5 to enter.

Ad Campaign I’m Loving: The Dos Equis “Most Interesting Man in the World.” Heard a radio spot for it today and laughed out loud. THAT is saying something. Euro RSCG New  York, I salute you, you magnificent bastards! (And stay thirsty, my friends.) I actually went and bought a case just to support the company.

OK, time to brush my teeth and head to bed. Nightie-night.

Shocking upsets: A big reason I watch boxing.

Not because “I’m a bad man” and would love to punch somebody in the face. (I’m a lover, not a fighter.)

Tonight, I was flipping through the channels and saw that there was a fight on Showtime. Figured I’d check it out, as Saturday evening usually has the worst programming of any night of the week.

The main event (it was actually a co-feature, although the second fight was the less interesting one) was a match for the WBC super lightweight championship, held by 34-year-old Junior Witter of England. His opponent was an 24-year-old American named Tim Bradley, who really didn’t deserve a title shot based on his resume.

So what happened in the fight, which aired from Nottingham, England? It wasn’t a crushing knockout or dominating performance, but Bradley left U.S. soil a contender and will return a champion.

Witter seemed content to be on the defensive almost the whole time, barely throwing 10 punches a round. Bradley danced with him for the first five/six rounds, but seemed to have more energy and bounce in his step.

In the second half of the fight, Bradley got a very surprising knockdown on a big ol’ overhead right hand, which gave him momentum that carried him in dominating the rest of the fight.

And just when you thought boxing’s sometimes biased/corrupt?/ridiculous judging was going to ruin it (one apparently blind judge scored it 115-113 in favor of Witter), the other two got it right and Bradley won the belt.

Honestly, Bradley doesn’t appear to be an incredibly skilled fighter based on the sloppy fight that both of these guys put on, but he’s a world champion. Nice story, seems like a good guy.

Boxing: De la Hoya/Forbes

Last night, “The Golden Boy” Oscar de la Hoya took on Steve Forbes, best known to casual fans as a participant on “The Contender.”

Although Oscar won pretty easily, this was an interesting fight for several reasons:

1) It was the first of Oscar’s final three planned bouts.  He’s 35 or so, and although many think he could have/should have retired a couple years ago, he’s maximizing his opportunities to earn money like the brilliant businessman he is.

2) Forbes was a “tuneup” for a likely rematch with Floyd Mayweather, Jr., and brought a similar style and size so Oscar could practice his strategy for that fight.

3) This match was held in California, not far from Oscar’s East L.A. roots.  It was broadcast on HBO (and not pay-per-view), AND Oscar made sure there were plenty of affordable seats (by boxing standards) so his Mexican fans could be in attendance.

I’ve got to say, Oscar is a smart, smart dude.  He wants to be a billionaire, and with the way he’s running things in his boxing career and his management/promotions career, there’s no stopping him.

Although I’m not sure he can beat Mayweather.

Nothing like a good fight on a Tuesday afternoon.

A few years ago, I started getting into boxing.  Not actually fighting myself, but as a fan of the pugilistic arts.

It probably hearkens back to sleeping over my grandparents’ house and going through my grandfather’s “Ring Magazine” and hearing him talk about fighters like Larry Holmes and Joe Frazier coming into the Center City Philadelphia sporting goods store where he worked.

At any rate, I’ve been a pretty attentive fan the past several years–and my lovely wife puts up with it, even watches the occasional match with me.  Together, we enjoy The Contender on ESPN as well.  (If you didn’t know, that’s the “reality” show where they put a bunch of boxers in a house, they train together, but basically end up fighting for a big cash prize.)

Today, since I’m home, I’m catching up on stuff we’ve DVR’d.  And I watched the Pacquiao/Marquez fight from a couple weeks ago.  It was pretty much everything you want in a fight.  Two veteran warriors battling it out–some rounds were more “boxing,” some were them just slugging it out.  Each guy had a cut or two, and the one above Marquez’s eye threatened to end the fight–it was that ugly.

But blood and guts is what these two dudes are all about.  And the difference-maker, according to the judges, was Pacquiao’s knockdown of Marquez in Round 3.  So Pac-man ended up winning in a split decision (two judges to one), taking away Marquez’s championship belt.

[Note: My friend and former co-worker Andrei is from the Phillippines, and he told me that when Pacquiao fights, the entire country shuts down to watch.]

And there are some tremendous fights scheduled for the next few months that I’m psyched about (courtesy ESPN.com):

March 28
At Salamanca, N.Y. (ESPN2): Kassim Ouma vs. Cornelius Bundrage, 10 rounds, junior middleweights

Note: Bundrage was a scrappy competitor on a previous season of The Contender, and Shannon and I really rooted for him.  It’s good to see him getting exposure on Friday Night Fights.

April 12
At Atlantic City, N.J. (HBO): Miguel Cotto vs. Alfonso Gomez, 12 rounds, for Cotto’s WBA welterweight title; Kermit Cintron vs. Antonio Margarito, rematch, 12 rounds, for Cintron’s IBF welterweight title

Note: Alfonso Gomez is Shannon’s favorite…a good-looking, smart, “nice guy” from The Contender.  I like him because he’s got great heart and works very hard, and he even beat legendary warrior Arturo Gatti so badly he retired.  The Cintron/Margarito rematch is exciting for me because the last time I saw Cintron fight, he knocked out a guy in 29 seconds.

April 19
At Las Vegas (HBO): Bernard Hopkins vs. Joe Calzaghe, 12 rounds, for Hopkins’ Ring magazine light heavyweight title

Note: This is a huge one.  Bernard is a former convict from Philly, and has had an amazing championship career after turning his life around.  He’s currently the Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight Champion, after spending much of his career as a middleweight.

Calzaghe is a crazygood Welshman who first came to my attention (and pretty much the non-UK-world’s attention) when he pounded the poop out of much-heralded U.S. Olympian Jeff Lacy, just utterly dominating the young Yank.  Since then, Calzaghe basically crushed everybody else he faced, and he’s the first undisputed super middleweight champ.  Not to mention that he’s 44-0-0.

Can’t wait for this one, and the great thing is that it’s not a pay-per-view fight–it’ll be on regular HBO.  Sweet!

Back bloggin’ because of the public outcry (MySpace blog from 2.26.08)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Back bloggin’ because of the public outcry
Current mood: sweaty

Once more into the fray, or at least into the dank basement that is my mind.

Ralph Nader is back. Oh, Ralph. I feel bad for him. All of the groundswell of support that Obama is getting–that’s what Ralph needed four and eight years ago. I think it comes down to charisma. Ol’ Ralphie Boy has some great ideas that people should be passionate about, but his personality doesn’t inspire. Bummer.

Random endorsement: Twix Java. This is one of the greatest things that ever went into my mouth. You can’t go wrong with a chocolate cookie covered with coffee caramel and milk chocolate. You just can’t.

I hate 95% of all Lexus drivers. I think that when you purchase a Lexus (which, from what I hear, is just a souped-up top-of-the-line Toyota sedan), that “I paid an exorbitant amount for a car, so now I own the road and can drive like sh*t” feeling is a freebie they throw in at the dealership. To paraphrase David Cross: You don’t have to be a Lexus driver to be an a$$hole, but you do have to be an asshole to be a Lexus driver.

Random endorsement: “We Need Girlfriends” on YouTube. A DIY sitcom that NBC allegedly bought and will produce.

I’ve been jotting down notes for another spam-focused blog. Just waiting for the furor over my last one dies down before writing it.

Once again, I have contracted Fantasy Baseball Fever. The only cure? Geeking out and making up extensive lists of players to prepare for the annual drafts of my two leagues. Luckily, Shannon is very cool about this hobby/obsession.

Random endorsement: Board-certified doctors. They’re the only ones I will go to or recommend. And yes, I do become a bit of an academic snob when researching a new physician. I’m not 100% keen on seeing someone from the Universidad de Tijuana or Southeastern Montana College of Medicine.

Over the past several years, I’ve become a boxing fan. And although last Saturday’s Klitschko/Ibragimov heavyweight bout was an incredible snore, I really like how Klitschko (who won) is trying to unify the FOUR different heavyweight belts. For non-boxing fans, there are at least four major sanctioning organizations within the sport, all of whom have title belts. Not to mention the “unofficial” Ring Magazine championships. Klitschko’s win gave him two belts. I really hope his matches for the other two actually happen, and are infinitely more interesting than this first match.

Yesterday it was 80 degrees and sunny here. We even did some brainstorming outside in the courtyard at work this afternoon. Today, it’s like 54 and sunny. Some might cringe at the thought of a 26-degree drop. But I’ll take it any day over snow, slush, ice and temps in the 20s or 30s.

I had my every-eight-week Remicade treatment yesterday. Basically, I sit there for three hours or so while this monoclonal antibody is infused via IV. I’ve been going for these infusions for several years, and it’s usually fine. Sometimes I’ll sleep, or watch TV if they have it, or read, or pretend to do work that I’ve brought. Sometimes, I’ll share illness stories with the other patients (if there are any). Yesterday’s companions were both Rheumatoid Arthritis patients–one very nice 70-year-old lady with more metal joint replacements than she could count, the other a 50ish woman who used to live in Hawaii but was driven away by the humid climate (and its effects on her physically).

Speaking of medicine, I’m switching gastroenterologists. I do like the guy I’ve been seeing since I moved to Texas, but two straight horrible “customer service” issues have sent me packing. When you call in a prescription refill, you don’t get a nurse or the doctor. You get a receptionist or one of the various customer service reps at this large practice. And twice in the past several months, I’ve had to make multiple calls to both the pharmacy and the office (who was to blame) and basically missed doses of my medication because the promise that “we called it in” was either a lie or accidentally untrue. I need my meds, and I need a direct line to somebody who says they’ll do something and gets it done. So goodbye, G.I.

Enough serious crap. How about “The Moment of Truth” on Fox? Last night, I didn’t see the whole thing, but apparently a contestant admitted (right in front of her husband) that she would leave him if her ex-boyfriend would take her back. Which brings up the ultimate question: what’s worth more, your marriage or the $25,000 she stood to lose by just quitting? Apparently for her, it was the cash.
[Editor’s Note: Hi, Editor here. I just Wikipedia’d up the show, and it seems that she did admit that she’d leave her hubby for the ex. In a fun twist, she ended up losing $100,000 because she lied when she said that yes, she thought she was a good person. Awesome.]

Tonight is American Idol, which is nowhere near as fun without all the crazy people.

End transmission. Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it. If not, you can get your money back by calling 1-900-GET-A-LIF.