Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Compendium II - NYE edition

I know I have a fondness for comparative listing.

I know several of my mates do as well and I can recall a time (circa 1987 you might guess if you're a faithful reader) when driving to various sporting events we'd pass the car ride by making lists of favorites or posing either/or questions to each other now more famously called 'would you rather' questions. Juvenile perhaps but it was still clean entertainment and made a four hour car ride go surprisingly quickly.

One listing that I've been logging in my head for years emerges this time of year and always adds one new contender. Actually there are only a few true contenders as I see little prospect of anything in the future coming close. "In the category for best New Year's Eve, the winner is..."

1. December 31, 1987 - Two college friends, who shall remain nameless, let's call them D and R, and I met up right after Christmas to travel to Florida for a nice winter break. Our plan was to drive non-stop to Ft. Lauderdale and spend a few days there, head out through the Keys to the southermost point in the US, and then back to Ft. Lauderdale for NYE. All went as well as possibly could right until I got (inadvertently?) shoved into a swimming pool at the bar, (Summers On The Beach, now long gone) we chose for NYE. I never saw who did it and neither did my compatriots. Hmm... January 1, 1988 - appx. 12:45 am - soaking wet, laughing hysterically, and knowing this would be one for the record books. Later that day we lounged by the pool and then watched The Orange Bowl game featuring #2 Miami Hurricanes and the #1 ranked Oklahoma Sooners. Two prolific college football schools in what many writers penned 'game of the century'. Miami won and all you would hear on the radio that night and into the next day were requests for The Scorpions' "Rock You Like A Hurricane". Not totally surprising since it was nearing the apex of the Hair Metal era anyway.

2. December 31, 1988 - D (again), J, and several other friends were in Chicago for NYE. Geno's pizza dinner and clubbing downtown were on the agenda (Mother's, I think it was called then). The afternoon of NYE we watched the Bears game on TV which now is famously known as 'The Fog Bowl'. The thickest pea soup fog you've ever seen decended upon Chicago in rapid fashion rendering TV cameras nearly useless in covering the game. It added quite a mystical element to this NYE in which two of our group had disappeared downtown, the temperature dropped some 25 degrees to near zero while we were in the club, and the two lost ones were later seen on local TV coverage as being in the first fight of the New Year. Apparently soon after midnight, some fracas developed which involved two of our group that we lost around 11PM. Approximately 4AM they were released from the city pokey and made their way back to the hotel. After that, NYE was really never the same for me. Thank goodness.

3. December 31, 1999 - In our current neighborhood, outdoors with a neighbor banging on pots and pans to ward off bad luck. While clearly unconventional, it sounded like an idea with little downside since Y2K mania (remember that?) was in full effect. It was almost as if we were waiting for the sky to fall in that night. The thought of that makes me laugh to this day.

Many other worthy and enjoyable times and places were had, but the above were the classics I'll remember for a looooong time. Things have changed quite a bit for me regarding this holiday and I wonder if I'll ever feel a weighty significance of the passing of a year again.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Compendium of DZ's All-Time Favorites, Part 1

There has been too, too much going on since my last post to even know where to begin, so I'll simplify the process by not posting any of it and getting on with other things.

I've dabbled with the 'favorites' themed post a few ago but now I thought it prudent to just give my list of all things favorite with no particular order or category. These are items that without question are indellibly etched into me as of this day, 2008.

Favorite Year of my life - 1987. I'm 19, turning 20 - ending sophomore, starting junior year of college. I've got college figured out. I've got the essentials of friendships, fun, cars, food, and females all figured out (what more could there be?). To this point, I've never had such a mature (read muscular) physique and I feel like any task physical, mental, or emotional is totally covered. IU wins the NCAA Basketball Championship. My favorite Indycar driver, Al Unser, wins his fourth Indy 500 in spectacular and legendary style. I meet my sports hero, Dr. J, in person and get a pic and an autograph. Oh, I could go on, but I won't... At that time, those sorts of events were paramount in my psyche.

Favorite TV Show - Hmmm tough one, but I'll go with Seinfeld edging Friends in a photo finish. I could watch those shows anytime, anywhere, over and over, and still enjoy them immensely. As a kid, I rarely missed ZOOM, Mr. Rogers, and The Electric Company. Also, I think I may have every single punch line to Bugs Bunny cartoons memorized.

Favorite Food - Pizza. No questions asked.

Favorite Beverage - Again a tie, Milk and Fresca. Not together of course.

Favorite Movie - Caddyshack comes to the top of this sort of list quite often, but The Big Lebowski is often right there of the modern flicks.

Favorite Car - Hmmm, several come to mind... Porsche 911 - Mid 1980s with the 'whale tail'. Nothing else seemed to wrap performance, luxury, esteem, and function in a tighter package.

Favorite car I've ever driven - 2004 Panoz Indycar
(at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway no less).

Favorite Sports Event - Indianapolis 500. Another 'no questions asked' item.

Favorite Season - Spring. So much I like about what happens during Spring just edges out Summer.

Favorite Color - Blue.

Favorite Jelly Bean - Black.

I'll stop there for now. More to come later on this subject but for those who need extremely-last-minute Christmas gifts for me, here's your help. If Indy 500 tickets or an Indycar driving session is out of your budget, I'd gladly settle for a 1/2 pound of all black jelly beans. I'm not sharing either.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Blessed and Giving Thanks

I'm not the type who typically makes a fairly maudlin statement like this (and those who know me will understand how rare this particular sentiment is) but I can say lately that I feel blessed.

Not in any grandiose way mind you, just blessed enough recently to have slowed down my thoughts, recognized, and appreciated what we have and lost concern for what have not. The word 'blessed' is a tricky term I use very infrequently as I deem it something of truly highest value and only when something unusually special is afoot. I thank my parents for providing that significant clarification in my head.

Many people I hear use the word 'blessed' inappropriately in my opinion. Someone claiming to be blessed almost implies, with an air approaching arrogance, some sort holy favor has been given them. Sometimes it is also meant as a segue into a religious sentiment/diatribe meant to extend their 'goodness' upon you. I reject any notion that someone else's diety or beliefs are worthy of more concern than mine. I, likewise, do not believe my personal theological and philosophical inclinations are necessarily worthy of sharing in any way other than if inquired.

My blessing has come recently from the enlightenment that, despite the current economic mess becoming more sinkhole-ish every day, many people I know are trying willfully and stubbornly to remain positive which I believe is keeping a great many people afloat right now. Much of this seems to be a result of eschewing the unneccesary day-to-day distractions and focusing energies tighter and more locally on issues of immediate concern.

The geographic area in which we live is a fairly dense production-based manufacturing area surrounded by agriculture. Ag is not an industry that allows for one to just jump in and work, so the manufacturing sector is where most people in this area work. Needless to say the slumps in housing (manufactured), and gasoline based transportation vehicles (autos and RVs) really strike this area quite cruelly. The thing that is helpful to me is that, while many have been forced to quickly retool their lives and livelihood, many people I've encountered speak of how important a sense of community is and that we need to rely on each other in hard times.

Remembering the last major slump in this area would require someone aged enough to have a clear recollection of 1979, '80, and '81. I am very glad to hear the voices of today not being so pessimistic and eager to assign blame which typically serves only to extinguish what little goodwill exists to support each other. A cautiously positive and prudent tone is emerging and I, for one, am fairly surprised and quite thrilled to hear it.

It is for this positive sentiment, from people whose livelihoods is of more grave concern than mine, which has caused me to pause. That pause has allowed me to see all that I have - family, friends, community, small networks of people being good to each other and helping those in need. It is for that little (and equally enormous) pause that I am thankful.

During this pause, and maybe I'm breaking my own rule with this, I further wish for nothing but sweet and blessed times for you and yours.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Devolution aka A Big Steaming Bowl of Not Good

Only today have I felt able to spend a little time and return to the blogosphere, but I've come not with mirth and humor, but in all seriousness with a warning - our country is in a critically tight spot and no amount of hope or change will return us to the way it was. In fact, my generation (commmonly known as Generation X) as well as Generation Y, as predicted back in college, may be the first to actually recognize a drop in standard of living from the previous generation. A 'devolution' if you will.

We need to realize that a new reality already exists and the sooner we accept and deal with it, the sooner we can get beyond the tough times coming. You may wonder if this view is accurate or if I've succumbed to panic. You are allowed to hold your opinions just as I, but as a friend, I feel the urgent need to tell you that we are going to need our friends, families, and communities more than ever. To think things will ever be able as good as they were six, four, or even just two years ago will prove to be a tragic waste of your valuable time. I don't mean to create or foster panic, but the alarms are going off everywhere and I'm looking to government for anyone who appears to know what to do.

You may or may not know that my collegiate schooling left me with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. It also included minors in Economics and Marketing. Economics at it's best is dry and relatively lacking in vitality and passion. That's because, as you would note from my degree, it is a science. The science which studies the creation, production, and maintenance of material wealth. This includes how business and government interacts with material wealth.

While some people may be simply put off by the term 'economics', I see it as a vital science and very much akin to how the laws of Physics affect the physical world in which we live. This science is fairly rigid and no amount of tweaking or bending of the rules seems to be tolerated (at least not permanently). From the early 1980s through the 1990s, a new attempt at economic growth in this country (supply-side economics a.k.a. ... anyone? anyone? "something-D-O-O economics... voodoo economics.") attempted to defy some long-standing truths held by traditional (Keynesian) economics and actually with some relative success. Studying this in college as it was happening, my concerns were then focused on the next step.

While supply-side economics focused on incentives to produce goods and services (largely via tax rate reductions for those with wealth to invest in a growing economy), it had the effect of jump-starting the economy from recession, but a shift to more traditional economics did not come once the economy had seen the intended effects of reduced inflation, investment, and job growth. This economic model was just allowed to keep on spinning and soon, the spurred economy began to produce increasing tax revenues to which the government had quickly spent on the defense budget and impending Savings and Loan bailout (sound familiar?)...

Now, a contraction in the economy is happening and at a quicker rate than what has been seen previous due to the unanticipated and rapidly changing commodities prices (oil, fuels, foods, etc.) coupled with dropping equity in real estate (land, home values, etc.), and over-zealous lenders in credit markets. With the ever-thinning skin with which we are financially able to protect ourselves, I am trying to show how we are ill-equipped to go through this again and how we (each and every one of us) need to become more responsible consumers. It is apparent that this country and its government cannot dutifully manage the economy without allowing or failing to see circumstances which continue to pillage the gains of efficiencies and prosperity. We must support congressional candidates who are fiscally responsible, whose spending will fall in line with the most conservative estimates of revenues, not inflated targets. Only when spending is moderated can we consider providing added services.

I also believe we can best weather the storm by developing a 'we together' attitude. Supporting local economies and markets, buying locally, spending locally, supporting locally as much as possible. If buying an auto, look at domestic solutions first before considering imports. If buying a home, buy what fits your immediate needs and not what panders to your desires. When buying clothes, look for locally produced goods or resales. When buying food, shop local or fresh markets whenever possible. Eliminate the unneccessary items and those from whom our nation's trade balance is unfairly skewed, specifically with regard to those whose labor laws are significantly less than ours (#1 offender importer many would say is China - household goods, toys, games, clothing)

What I've said may sound like protectionism. It is a term that may conjure images of xenophobic isolationist beliefs, but the plain fact is this country is in economic trouble and we must rely on ourselves to forge ahead. Believe not that any country is sympathetic to our downfall. We have the abililty to survive and thrive. We cannot rely on others to help us. It will be, and always has been, up to us to survive. We can do it, we must do it, and we must learn from our mistakes to pave a better path for tomorrow.

Friday, September 26, 2008

This boy's dream come true

You'll pardon me while I tell a long story, won't you?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008 is a day I won't forget and I'll get back to it, but first...

To understand what growing up a boy in the 1970s in Indiana meant, you have to imagine a time before all the daily hustle and bustle, before all the distractions, before all internet, satellite, DSL, DVD, VCR, and cable TV (5 channels on the dial), when there were fewer and simpler pleasures. I would consider myself a fairly typical Indiana boy then as we marked the passing of time by the major sporting mileposts which primarily revolved around basketball season and the once-a-year spectacle that is the Indy 500.

The start of basketball season was always exciting (basketball was truly king then around here) as was the end of the season for both high school and college had tournaments which commanded the utmost attention. The movie Hoosiers actually captures much of the spirit of how basketball was appreciated even into the late 70s. Soon after basketball season ended, thoughts turned from the bleak Indiana winters to fleeting hopes of spring. With spring meant one thing - soon school would be out for the summer, the Indy 500 would take place, and summer begins it's full charge.

I grew up following basketball and the Indy 500 as if it was my duty as a Hoosier. The Indy 500 was particularly special since it was the only truly world class event to be held in this state each and every year. I didn't fully realize what that meant until later in life. Annually, my father and I would make time to watch the race on TV together which I thoroughly enjoyed. He also told me stories of his many trips to the races in the mid-60s through his last trip in 1975. I was getting to the age when I would beg him to go every year and felt I was old enough to enjoy it completely. In May of 1979, my father relented and my chance came to see it in person.

In an instant that day, this 12 year-old was forever hooked. The traditional ceremonial build-up heard annually on the radio so many times now gave way to the overwhelming attack on all senses when the cars came by for the first race lap. One moment so powerful that even today I cannot fully describe the experience.

Flash forward to two days ago. Through a series of fortunate incidents, I was able to participate in the Indy Racing Experience single-seater program which meant I was strapped into a genuine Indycar, given the command to start the engine, and allowed to drive as fast as I dare around the famous speedway for 4 laps (albeit following an actual Indycar driver in a lead car who gave the visual driving line and with the car given only fourth gear for running). When the engine fired and I released the clutch, pulling away from the pits under my own command, I was in a place I would've never believed and only dreamed about as a kid.

I am driving an Indycar at the most famous racecourse in the world - the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

I'll spare the many details of how it felt, sounded, smelled, and looked. Suffice to say it was simply one of the best days of my life. I was doing something I had imagined as a kid on a bike, in a wagon, in a go-kart, in anything with wheels, but was certain could never happen. To take the wheel that beautiful morning in Indianapolis and drive, was truly this boy's dream come true.

I've attached a picture below which they took immediately after getting out of the seat. If you look at my face, you can almost see that 12 year-old boy inside, gleaming with delight.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fave Sports Moments II

Tom Watson - 1982 - chip in at the 17th, final round, US Open at Pebble Beach

As a young man with much interest in golf at the time, watching live this day brought another moment where one player inspired many with a display of guts, guile, and faith despite playing a ragged-edged final round of Major Championship golf.

Nicklaus started the final day mid-pack, but with birdies on 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 and finished his round in 69 and took the clubhouse lead while Watson had 3 holes remaining. Watson's back 9 was something to behold, both for the terrible predicaments he was getting into every hole and for the amazing plays and putts to save pars and bogeys. The par 4 16th which empties near Carmel Bay on the Pacific Ocean gave Watson trouble as he made a miracle bogey after pitching sideways from a fairway bunker, barely making the green in 3, and two-putting from over 60 feet on a treacherous, multiple-breaking green.

The 17th is the first of the course's two famous finishing holes - a 200 yard par 3 with a devilishly narrow green that hugs the ocean and is battered by coastal winds. Watson's 2-iron was slightly left and deep of the pin in the thick Open rough. A misplay from here would've almost guaranteed bogey or worse, making his shrinking lead totally evaporate. His caddy was reported to have said, "Get it close", to which Watson replied, "Get it close? Hell, I'm going to make it." A few tense moments later, his chopping stroke found the ball which pitched forward from the fringe and then quickly curled to the right and into the hole like a scared rabbit.

The crowd roar deafened the TV microphones and he promptly stepped to the 18th and birdied that famous par 5 which follows the coastline. He beat Nicklaus by 2 that day, but with his gutsy display, won the hearts of many who still weren't yet ready to see Nicklaus begin to fade from prominence.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Fave Sports Moments I


Maybe it's the advent of the NFL season or that summer is winding down or because I typically eat quiet lunches alone, but recently I've had these odd recollections of sports moments pop into my head. I'm not sure why they've started showing up, but it made me think of several that are my favorites.

Over the next few weeks, I'll be smattering in a few moments that have stood out to me. Not sure why anyone would really care about them except for me, but I'm still going to post them. Ah, narcissism.

Without further adieu and in no particular order...

Julius Erving - circa 1982: The moment when Dr. J appeared to defy gravity
It strikes me as odd how many are not familiar with Dr. J or his style of basketball (likely a factor of how time passes). Many things he did were incredible for their time and in the attached YouTube link at approximately 2:40 into the video, what may be his most famous move is shown from 3 different angles.

I can remember watching this game live and remember talking about it with my friends with whom I played basketball in junior high. I was totally dumbfounded when it occurred live and still to this day find the move amazing. I remember thinking there was no way anyone could emulate that move in the gym the next week.

I also recall thinking that it wasn't anything remotely close to what our coaches taught us or even showed any admiration for, making me understand that just because a particular method has success, doesn't mean that it can't be made better or more beautiful. It also made me aware that to get to a higher place, means first mastering the fundamentals, then allowing your creativity to guide you from there.

Watching Dr. J and how he played, made me for the first time, consider athletics as a possible physical and moving artform, and giving freeform play as credible a place in learning as rigid schooling of the fundamentals.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

For Tea Won


Yep, two days ago was my birthday. 41 as the title alludes to.

The title reminds me of the phonetic cipher-type of righting I oh-kay-shun-alley like two yous.

Hear gose,

For tea won. Knot a tree-men-does numb-her, butt won that is plant-he big form-hee. Eye guest-hat Eye half know choice, buh-tit seams a caws four paws. War-and-tee has run out Eye sup-hose sew it's kare-full may-ten-ants from hear awn out. Know two much drink-hee, or eat-hee, or play-hee an-heem-ore. 'Eye had m-eye fun and now my tie-him is dun' as the sawn-glee-rick goes. Oke-hay, Eye am ghett-hing tie-erd oft-his. Baah-k two sum nor-mull righting.

Ah, that's muuuch easier. And easier is welcomed in my advancing age. Junior geezer, is the name I've given the age range beyond 40 and below 50. Hope you don't walk on my lawn or you'll get the wrath of me - the newest junior geezer.

Till necks tie-hm...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Onion skins

While I very much enjoy the absurdity of The Onion, I'm fairly certain I could also write these stories. Maybe everyone thinks they are gifted with the requisite sardonic wit as well, but I really think if someone actually gets paid and makes a satisfactory living from it, I'm quite sure I've got a potential career path change just waiting for me. Here are some sample headlines I've just created in the last 4 minutes:

Gingivitis Rampant Among Shark Population
Sao Paulo Mental Health Center to Remove Brazil Nuts from Menu
Airlines Says Oxygen Mask Deployment Still Free of Charge
Nike Debuts new Ultra-wide Shoes named Air Gout

I'm quite sure a fabricated story could be written by me within about 10 minutes for any of these headlines.

I'm not trying to sound conceited - the question I'm trying to pose is, how hard can working for The Onion really be? Sounds like fun don't it?

Since my last name begins with a 'Z', I was always relegated to the back of the seating chart from elementary through high school and even some college classes. I surmise that, in a double-stroke of fortune, I also had quite good eyesight which allowed me the ability to learn from a distance and the freedom to goof around in the back row. I'm guessing many of the Onion staffers may have similar educational experiences.

Here's one more faux headline before I sign off:

New Onion Staffer Writes Story Bereft of Humour, Gets Fired, Returns to Blogging

Friday, July 18, 2008

2 Qs - quantity and quality..

Ahhhh, well, so anyway, back to life...

Neither a post to complete the holiday weekend passed nor a vacation summary. I thank you for not judging my lack of persistence with the previous posts.

Suffice to say both were quite enjoyable, well-paced, and the details of which are too numerous and minute to make for good reading (I'd like to think no matter the writing talent).

The chief result that seems to be most noticeable by my friends is that I have a nice tan, my hair got even more blonde, and my most recent facial hairstyle has returned albeit in the warmth of summer, not in the dead of winter.

I've had more compliments on my appearance in the past 48 hours than in the previous 4 months combined. Hate to say it, but having a tan, while detrimental to skin life (or in worst cases even life in general), makes a difference in how people see you. White and pasty is apparently no way to go through life.

It begs the questions about quality of life versus quantity. I think it fair to say that everyone would obviously love to maximize both variables, but in practice the two are frequently inversely related. Think of your basic XY graph - where the X-axis (vertical) is Quality, the Y-axis (horizontal) is Quantity, and the line charted on the graph represents at what levels the two variables meet. I imagine for the 96% of people who fall in the first two standard deviations of a typical Bell Curve, the measurements would look something like this:

An example of this would be the use of sunscreen. My instinct and knowledge insist that, given my genetics, I need to wear sunscreen if I plan on being in the sun for more than about 30 minutes with no base tan of any sort. I followed through on that during the first 3 of the 6 days of vacation. The last 3 I opted for shade or clothing as a screen, albeit only after having actively participated in pool and beach activities for over 3 hours. I wasn't quite burnt, but mildly tender to the touch. If a bad sunburn (peeling/blistering possible) could be called 'well-done', let's say I was somewhere between 'medium' and 'medium rare'.

Even at the time, I noted my own guilt for being averse to the heavily-fragranced, time-consuming, and partner-requiring lotion applications, although for my kids, I made it a priority. So much for modeling good behavior, eh? The guilt was washed away, however, by the desire to enjoy myself without the concern for personal skin health. To me, I guess a vacation must include an amount of release from worry and fears at a potential cost down the road.

That's just what I did, and I enjoyed it. Quality 1 - Quantity 0. Since Quantity is a constant unknown, but Quality is frequently measured and monitored, I'd say that for the first two standard deviations of American folk, Quality will continue to be more heavily-weighed in decision making.

On an aside, I noticed that the curve also has similarities with the profile of a roller-coaster drop. Coincedence? Life is not a highway Mr. Cochran, it's a roller-coaster.

(Edit: Okay, so privately I've just been made aware that the x-axis is the horizontal and the y-axis is the vertical, not switched as I have them above. I totally knew that too and was surprised I had made that error as most people have an understanding that my brain contains wayyyy too much trivia such as the specific labels of an XY graph. Damn failing memory parts.)

Saturday, July 12, 2008


OK so I'm going to forego the boring details of Part II of the previous weekend to bring you this important announcement:

I'm on vacation and hoping to have something good for you to read very soon (with pics).

PS: I may or may not follow through.


Monday, July 7, 2008

Small town, nuthin' ta do? Part 1

This recently passed holiday weekend was quite fun. For me, anyway. Can't speak for the rest of me clan.

Our little town has quite a group of 'to-dos' during the Fourth, and this year, since the actual holiday was on Friday, the celebrating in earnest started Thursday night and ran right up to Sunday evening. While the music rocks at Rothbury, the family fun rolls all weekend long in Goshen.

Thursday - Many neighbors and friends gathered for a impromptu fireworks session which is typically held in the middle of our in-town, residential street, much to the chagrin of local thru traffikers. Highlight: One unwitting traffic 'co-ordinator' had the pleasure of directing one of the local boys in blue around our little celebration. The gracious officer was attending to another neighbor, not responding to our ruckus and smiled as he politely followed our signaler's direction. Our signaler, however, was chagrinned to find that, at the range of approximately 30', the white Chevy Impala approaching was actually a squad car. Fortunately for me, my 5 year-old son, despite the fun being had, was wise enough to know that he was tired and ready to go home around 10:00pm. I gratefully joined him in heading for bed.

Friday - As scheduled, Myro and I played golf with another player and this day's fun began at 6:20am with the tee balls flying. Is those who know me can attest, me up and out the door by 6:00am without a house fire or some other emergency is surprising in the extreme. Golfing early in the morning has distinct advantages which far outweigh the negatives:
1. There is nearly no one on the course (I can't emphasize the greatness of this one alone).
2. Seeing the sun come up and setting fresh tracks in the dew-laden grass is truly special for me. Hearing mowers and seeing the rooster-tails of dew from my putts reminds me of my wonderful, youthful mornings of junior golf.
3. We're done before the throngs arrive and the heat gets oppressive.
Also on Friday was a client meeting (yes, for work) which came after a quick shower and change into my work attire. This client is a friend so exceptions (though rare) can be made when necessary. Friday's PM found me with the kids and naps around 4:00pm were the result of active mornings by all. Following naps, we headed downtown for First Fridays (a local event celebrating our downtown and community). Walking, shopping, eating, and seeing friends were on the agenda there. After a 'best pizza in town' as judged by me, we made our way home to find the pajamas and beds. Truly a gratifying day.

Saturday and Sunday to come...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Itchy at Sam's Club...

I call 'No Fair'.

OK, so there they are. Right in front.

All the bighugegorgeousbrightshinynew flat screen TVs right there in the front of Sam's Club just calling to you, singing to you, pleading with you to pull the trigger with that stimulus check and call that buddy with a pickup truck to come help you bring home your new purchase. The once proud and famous 'free-food-sampler' ladies in the back have never been so lonely.

I've been picturing the day when my Dish HD-DVR and new TV will be sitting in my living room but when, OH WHEN, may that day come? Problem is, I'm quite sure there are more important things to do with that money than buy a new bighugegorgeousbrightshinynew flat screen TV, which makes my standing there staring at those behemoths of entertainment output strictly a guilty pleasure... for now.

I've done some research (as I'm quite prone to), and am inclined to limit myself to a slightly smaller than recommended, but higher-quality set of parameters. Instead of the intentionally-way-too-easy-to-remember rule of 1:4 for sizing your new purchase (and briskly shoving budgetary talk aside) I've reduced that formula to more easily accomodate my budget.

For those who may not have heard this masterpiece of sales science, the 1:4 ratio is simply a way to approximately size your new TV for the room it's to be viewed in. For every 1' of distance from the screen that the viewers will be seated, 4" of TV (diagonal screen size). In the example of a room that people will be seated 10' away from the screen, a 40" TV would be the minimal size 'necessary'.

In the case of my living room, I would normally be about 12' away from the screen, meaning that I 'need' to buy a 48" TV at a minimum. HAH! I consider it budget-wise to buy, say something in the 37" range and spend a pittance of the difference on bean-bag chairs and situate myself 4' closer on the floor. Then it will look enormous.

Still, time marches on and I have to be content with knowing that every day is a day closer to HD and flat screen entertainment nirvana. Until then, I'll just have to itch some more. Right now, I'm off to pay the bills. Calamine to that itch perhaps.

Here's a place for good basic LCD TV info:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

To Harumpf and Beyond.

Ok, so here I am now a full 4 months removed from my first post and 3 months, 2 weeks from my most recent. Yeah, I guess the time flew, juices done flowed, and various other what-have-you signaling that my venture into bloggin' was clearly nothing more than another part-time hobby. I could have cared less about it when the spring and all it's distractions showed up a knockin' all at the same time. I apologize for nothing.

That line, my friends, is one of my absolute favorite moments in cinematic history by the way. The scene is from 'Hoosiers' when Gene Hackman's character (Norman Dale) is about to be voted out as coach in the town hall meeting...

"...when I came here, I was hired to teach the boys the game of basketball and I believe I did that to the best of my ability. I apologize for nothing."

Unabashed and pure 'come-what-may' self-confidence in face of his tormentors. Standing up to be counted. It takes a person of great courage to do so with the opposition staring you down. That is something I wish I had more than the trifle currently.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

3 words - In, dy, Car (or, unless you are a serious Indycar geek like me, please skip to next post)

OK peeps, springtime on this ol marble is looking much, much brighter for me.

IndyCar has mended its rift and more cars than I can remember will be on the grid this season driving what amounts to the fastest and most competitive formula in all of autoracing.

For all of you who are also race fans with me will say "I know", but stop for a minute and think about that.

Fastest AND Most Competitive.

Think about the last time you watched a car race, ANY car race, where:
  • the cars can average over 225 mph on oval tracks,
  • top-ending around 235 mph on straightaways,
  • turn both left AND right,
  • in highly-competitive and scary-close wheel-to-(open)wheel racing,
  • with (likely) over 25 cars and world-class caliber drivers in most of them.
  • and the cars looked sexy as hell.
I can't remember when that was. Even in the halcyon days of the early-90s when CART was peaking, the caliber of driver was there, but great divides in equipment quality meant that approximately 65% of those cars were also-rans with next to no hope of winning a single race, let alone even be within 5 laps of the leader at the end. That won't be the case now.

The quality of teams coming over to the IRL this year from ChampCar will raise the new pool average greatly. The league is increasing it's car count by nearly 75% and much of that will be race-winner-contending quality. That means in all likelihood a typical IndyCar race will now have around 16-20 cars on the lead lap at speeds that frighten the senses. Those of you who've been there, you know what I mean.

Traffic just got a lot heavier at many of the best American race tracks and, I for one, LOVE IT!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Four little words from my Doctor that really hurt

Let's check your prostate.

I know he's probably got the worst end of the deal, but really, what's with the phrases they use in this situation like, "Let me know if something doesn't feel right" or "Try to relax".

Yeah. That's one that's far from helping me relax. I don't mind saying that I'm tight as a drum and you're going to have to work a bit down there. I apologize for nothing Herr Docktor.

When he did invade that specific orifice, I rue not having begun a chorus from Moooooon Riiiveeeer. Those of you who know me, almost certainly will know that movie quote.

Ah, turning 40 just keeps on presenting wonderful little events that signal you've just taken the field for the second half, and son, it likely won't be pretty.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Results from last night's test

OK, so those of you who called your bookie last night and put a sawbuck down on me feeling better after tennis last night, you win! So at 4:1, you may now reap the great $40 reward.

I am actually feeling better. Even up to the moment I had to set foot in my vehicle to drive to the tennis facility, I was sure I'd better served (no pun intended) to stay on the couch or even in bed at 7:00pm.

After moving around a bit and having some early success, I forgot about my aches and queasiness. I'm sure the two Aleve I took right before leaving helped.

Oh, and on my way, I picked up a VitaminWater for breaks between sets. Maybe the catalytic effect of all these sugars, vitamins, polypeptides, and analgesics was just the thing I needed.

Anyway, off I go today feeling better than the day before. Vaya con dios, mi amigos.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Aches n pains

OK, so despite the potential for whinyness this post's title may contain, you ventured in.

Good for you.

Good for you because not only were you bold, but you were also correct. If you're the type of person who's thrilled at being right, or more specifically one who delights in being a problem-solver, read no further. You will not enjoy it. As the pop bottle top often reads, 'Thanks and Try Again'.

I woke up today feeling just a bit more flu-like than yesterday. It's that vague, mid-back, shoulderbladey-type of non-muscular ache and chilled feeling that typically for me precludes a bout with the flu. Based on a local, non-scientific sampling, I have concluded that I don't 'feel right'.

I'm scheduled to play in my local, mixed-doubles tennis league tonight and, although willing, I am not sure if it's wise to do so. Problem is, we have only one substitute to call on and knowing others in the group are feeling worse than I am, I feel obligated to play, all the while risking a further decline in my general health. The other possibility would be that my enjoyment of this physical activity could raise my endorphin levels, yielding a therapuetic result.

I'm laying even odds on the outcome, so we'll roll the dice and see. Tell you how it goes next time.

Wait a minute. Upon further consideration, I'm going to say that odds are 4:1 I acutally feel better afterwards. Odds are even I lose multiple bodily fluids after this exercise. Come on, endorphins, you can do it!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Initial Post

OK, like I need another distraction, right? I just can't not think that something I say may be of value and to post it somehow validates that fact. Sort of a self-fulfilling theory really, but being the seeker of control that I am, this blog allows me a slice of space where I can just be. DZ's Place 2B. I like that.

Also, this is a test to see how things look. Don't be alarmed by font changes and the like. It only means I'm attempting to, as go the lyrics in 'Hey Jude', take a sad song and make it better.

Thanks for reading this and be assured that posts which follow this initial one will be of varying interest and skill, but largely better than this one. At least that's the plan.