Sunday, December 30, 2007

Year In Review

2007 was a fun and challenging year for me. My new job got even busier and my performance schedule got pretty crazy at times but I managed to fit some sleep in when I could. On top of all that I spent a lot of time with Dee planning the wedding. Below are some highlights from my year:

Super Bowl Champs!
Even though it was the 2006 season, the Indianapolis Colts started their playoff run in 2007. After limping into the playoffs with what looked like the worst run defense in the history of the NFL, the Colts went into Baltimore on January 13th and beat the Ravens 15-6. The next week, they faced the Patriots in the RCA Dome and fell behind 21-3 before coming back to win 38-34. For the first time since they were in Baltimore, the Colts found themselves in the Super Bowl against the Bears. Devin Hester tried to make it interesting by returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown, but the Colts battled back and claimed the Lombardi Trophy by winning 29-17.

I was in Indianapolis watching the game with my brother and a host of other Colts fans. We jumped up and down. We screamed. We partied in the streets.

Vacation
Dee and I were feeling pretty burnt out at the beginning of the year and decided that we needed a vacation. Fortunately, Dee has a friend in Florida who lives right on the beach so we booked a flight and got away for a few days. It was a needed break for both of us and as a bonus we got to meet with Dee's friend.

Jerkology
Once Dee and I got back from our vacation, I put the finishing touches on the script for Jerkology. In April we had our first read-through and began rehearsing. This was the first show I had ever written and directed. Overall, I would call it a success because it was well-received by the audiences and the actors had a good time performing it. It wasn't a perfect show, but I learned a lot about how to put together a sketch show and I'm excited to do another one next year.

Providence Improv Festival
For the first time in about two years, I traveled with pH to an out-of-town festival in Providence, Rhode Island. The festival was scheduled for the end of June so the weather was beautiful and the people were extremely friendly. We did two really fun shows and the crowds loved us. I should go on these trips more often.

Kinda Promotion
The CIO at my company retired mid-year and the new CIO decided to do some restructuring. He decided to move me over to the Project Management Office. Now I can officially be called a Project Manager (my previous title was Implementation Coordinator). They also moved my cube to one by the window. Big time. Unfortunately, there was no raise - at least not yet.


And the lowlights:

Notre Dame Football
The Irish started off 2007 by losing in the Sugar Bowl to LSU. They hung around for the first half, then got blown out in the second. An ugly way to end a pretty good season for the Irish. The game was the last for most of Notre Dame's starters - including their quarterback, starting running back, leading wide receivers and most of the linemen. This meant that the 2007 season would rest heavily upon the shoulders of freshmen and sophomores since there were only about five juniors and seniors total left on the roster. Everyone knows that the Irish only won three games and looked absolutely terrible in nearly every single one of their losses. The only upside was that they finished strong by winning their final two games and did show some signs of progress.

Door County
At the end of October, Dee and I decided that we needed to get out of the city for a few days. We thought Door County sounded like a good idea. We were wrong. Maybe we went too late into the season because a lot of stuff was closed, but even if everything was open it still would have been pretty lame. I was imagining something more like the quaint little section of Colorado Springs that my roommates and I stumbled upon while camping on spring break in college. Unfortunately, it was more like visiting my hometown if it was next to a big lake. My hometown is great if you want to sit around and watch TV. We didn't really want to sit around and watch TV.

Pulling My Groin
Oh man, pulling your groin really hurts. I mean really bad. When it happened, I curled up in a little ball and dropped like a rock. I was fine so long as I was curled up in a ball. As soon as I tried to move, the pain came roaring back. I hobbled around for a while and eventually got back to walking normally but I wasn't able to do a full cardio workout until last week. I pulled my groin on November 10. I still have slight pain occasionally, but I'm pretty much back to normal. If you were thinking of pulling your groin in 2008, I strongly recommend against it.

That was my year. Some good, some bad. Mostly good. Hopefully, 2008 will be even better. I think it will be so long as I don't pull any muscles.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas

This year I wasn't able to make it back to Indiana for the holidays, so Dee and I spent Christmas with her family. On Monday, we went to her Nana's retirement home for what they called dinner and what we thought of as lunch. We arrived around 12:30pm because "dinner" was to be at 1pm.

We drove over with Dee's parents and found that her aunt and uncle had already arrived. At this point the party was in full swing. Soon the food arrived (Nana ordered from some Italian place) and we sat down for a nice little "dinner" - at 1pm. After dinner we did a White Elephant gift exchange. Dee and I managed to get rid of a cookie jar in the shape of Grimace and this horrible angel statue thing that she and her mom bought last year at Christmas to put in our house. I've hated that thing forever and have repeatedly tried to throw it out. In return, Dee got a bag of body lotion, body wash and a loofah and I got a "Bridget in the Buff" puzzle. Bridget is a plus-size woman with dirty feet who is posing nude for the puzzle. Everybody wins in a White Elephant.

We headed back to Dee's parents' place to spend the night and inquired about dinner plans on the ride home. Dee's parents were shocked that we might be hungry again since we had already had dinner. I reminded them that we ate at one o'clock which is lunch for normal humans. When Dee asked her mom what she was planning to have for dinner she replied, "I was just going to have some nuts." I informed her that nuts would not sate my hunger. We ordered a pizza. Delicious and satisfying. Eventually, Dee's parents wandered off to bed and Dee and I sat on the couch and watched Bloodsport and one of those dumbest criminal videos shows before we hit the sack. Before I closed my eyes, I read the first few chapters of Steve
Martin's new book Born Standing Up. (What the hell? Blogger doesn't offer an underline function? I'm totally editing the HTML. I win, Blogger.)

The next morning we woke up and opened gifts with Dee's parents. We got a set of four place settings of our everyday plates - which we desperately needed - and I got some nice leather gloves. Dee got a new pair of boots. Leather goods and plates. I had already given Dee one of her presents - a new North Face winter coat - and saved one for Christmas. She was very excited by the second gift - a super soft robe from Brookstone. I bought her a super soft blanket from there last year and it's probably the best gift I've ever given her based on how much she uses it. She's like Linus with that thing. Now she has a robe to match. Dee gave me the new Steve Martin book and an argyle sweater on Christmas Eve and she saved Guitar Hero III for Christmas. That's a pretty good haul, I'd say.

Soon we had to clean up because the rest of the family was coming over for "dinner." We got cleaned up and set up the dining tables and chairs and had the Christmas music going while Dee's mom worked on a delicious dinner. We had lasagna, pork, green beans, cheesy bacon mashed potatoes, apple pudding and sauerkraut. I didn't have any sauerkraut. The rest was delightful, however. After dinner there was another round of gifts for everyone. Dee and I mostly got checks and stuff from our registry. The registry makes gift buying pretty easy for us.

Once everyone started to leave, Dee and I did some dishes and then packed our things up to make our way home. We were both pretty exhausted from the day with her family and couldn't wait to get back to our bed. When we finally settled in to sleep, we realized that we had packed ourselves full of rich food that wasn't settling very well. We both squirmed around for a while and eventually fell asleep with visions of our offices dancing in our heads for we both had to work on Wednesday.

At some point in there, we also watched A Christmas Story. Doesn't everyone?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Dinnertime

Last night I decided to experiment a little bit in the kitchen. I've had an ahi tuna steak in the freezer for a while and I thought it was time to defrost it and see what I could make. I had looked up some recipes on the Internet but none of them were exactly what I was looking for or I didn't have all of the necessary ingredients. So I improvised.

After thawing out the tuna, I mixed some black pepper, chili powder and paprika on a plate and dipped the tuna in the spices. In the meantime, I had a pan on the stove on high heat. While I waited for the pan to heat up, I gathered ingredients together for a spicy mustard sauce. I didn't have any mustard powder, so I mixed some Dijon mustard with a little bit of white vinegar to thin it out. The mixture was still a little too spicy for me, so I put in a bit of lemon juice in the hopes of cutting the spice. Surprisingly, it worked. (Keep in mind, I know next to nothing about cooking.) Once the pan was ready, I put in a little oil and seared the tuna on each side for about 30 seconds. After searing the tuna I cut it into thin slices, arranged it on a plate and drizzled the mustard mixture (I won't call it a sauce) on top. It looked like this:


And this:

If I only had some nice looking plates to put this on, it might actually be impressive. By the way, it was delicious. Next time, I'll have the ingredients to make a proper sauce for the tuna, though. I think it could only be better with a proper sauce.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Logos in Sports

As most of you probably don't know, I read a blog every day called Uni Watch. Basically, it's a place where you can find any information on the minutiae of uniforms in just about every sport. I've always found sports uniforms interesting and wondered if anyone else ever felt the same way. Fortunately, someone does. His name is Paul Lukas and he posts about uniforms every day. On Thursday, he posted about one of his favorite - and often controversial - topics: logo creep. He despises the fact that apparel companies like Nike, Reebok and Adidas are plastering their logos all over team uniforms. I agree with him 100% and he made a fantastic argument against logo creep on Thursday. Give it a read.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Eggnog Party

Since I went all bah-humbug on your ass on Tuesday, I'll share something that I absolutely love about the Christmas season. Eggnog. Man, that shit is delicious. With rum, without rum - I don't care. I'll drink it down either way. I wish I could get eggnog all year 'round.

In fact, I'm having an eggnog party right now. My fiancée is at a party with her friends doing their yearly Christmas gift exchange party. Meanwhile, I'm at home having my own party. An eggnog party. I poured some eggnog in an over-sized coffee mug, sliced off a little rum and dropped it right in and mixed it up. Delicious. So now I'm just sitting here with my good buddies Bryant Gumbel, Deion Sanders and Marshall Faulk watching the Steelers-Rams on the NFL Network. On second thought, I think I'm going to fire up my iTunes and keep the game on mute which means I won't be enjoying the company of Bryant, Deion and Marshall. Now it's just an eggnog party of one - but it's a rockin' eggnog party. A rockin' and delicious eggnog party.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Fight Clubbed

Remember in Fight Club when they replaced all of the regular flight safety brochures with other flight safety brochures with pictures of flames and screaming people on them?

As I was sitting on the Red Line train tonight after work, I noticed that someone had tampered with the safety procedures sign posted by the door. This is the second time I've seen this in the past month or so. I snapped a few quick pictures. Unfortunately they are not of the best quality because I was on a moving train. Anyway, here are the pictures.

Here is what the safety procedures sign is supposed to look like:


In all of the examples I've seen, the top item on the poster has been left untouched. It's the last three that the "vandals" have tampered with. The picture below covered the "Move to another car" item.


The adapted "Remain on train" image:


Here are a few of the "Exit as instructed" overlays:


And finally, the "Danger, high voltage" changes:


Obviously, they had the most fun with the "Exit as instructed" portion of the poster, though I do enjoy the final photo quite a bit. Keep your eye out the next time you're on the train and see if your safety poster has been tampered with.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Decorations

Get ready, I'm about to go all bah-humbug on your ass.

I hate holiday decorations. I'm not just talking about Christmas decorations. I'm talking about any holiday decorations. Why? I don't see the point. Why should I buy a bunch of chintzy shit every time some damn holiday rolls around and put it up in my place only to take it down a few weeks later? It seems ridiculous. I can't justify it.

Everyone tells me that decorations put them in the mood for the season. A ceramic pumpkin puts you in the Halloween mood? A cut-out turkey with a movable head makes you want to give thanks? Car sales make you want to celebrate our dead Presidents? Okay, car sales aren't decorations, but you get my point.

Meanwhile, I'm sitting here staring at our Christmas tree. Every time I see it, I think about what a pain in the ass it was to get set up (it's artificial - and fiber optic, but that's for another post). I think about how it has forced us to rearrange our furniture and how it is in my way every time I want to do laundry. I think about how I'm going to have to decorate that thing instead of doing something I actually enjoy. I think about what a pain in the ass that thing is going to be to take down. I also think about how no one besides me and Dee is going to see it. So what is the point? I don't know. I just don't know.

I'm not saying that I hate people who love decorating for holidays or that I hate their decorations, it's just that I don't see the point. The only time I could justify putting up any decorations is during Christmas when you have children. I suppose it's nice for them to have a place for their gifts to gather during the season.

Bottom line: holiday decorations are a pain in my ass

Monday, December 17, 2007

Random Thoughts

No, I'm not participating in the writers' strike. I'm just lazy.

Man, I am busy. I don't mean the "gettin'" kind of busy. I'm even too busy for that. Between the holidays and the wedding and the weather, I've barely had time to think. All of the changes at work have made things a bit more hectic as well. It all adds up to me being pretty freaking tired and completely missing a bunch of fun things to post about. I'll do that now.

-How about that Mitchell Report? It's basically the equivalent of US magazine for steroids. A whole lot of "he said this, he said that" stuff. Not much evidence except for the expanding head of Barry Bonds and the unlikely resurgence of Roger Clements. Not to mention Brady Anderson suddenly hitting 500 home runs in one season after hitting only 2 up to that point in his career.

-Aside from the steroids, Sammy Sosa still thought he needed more of an edge with a corked bat.

-Now I'm just slinging unfounded accusations.

-Guess what? Baseball is still boring.

-Our Christmas tree is really ugly.

-Did you realize that they're playing basketball already? Didn't anyone tell them it's still football season?

-Is Kobe Bryant still playing for the Charlotte Hornets?

-The Patriots are going to win every one of their regular season games. Unfortunately, I don't think the Colts are going to be healthy enough to beat them in the playoffs.

-Remember how Bill Belicheck cheated in the very first game of the season? Why wasn't that game forfeited by the Patriots? I'm going to keep asking this question.

-There's nothing quite as entertaining as seeing a bunch of your workmates get wasted at the company holiday party.

-Especially if you're getting wasted, too.

-The Atlanta Falcons fans deserve everything they've gotten this season. I mean, they've been living large for so long they need to be knocked off their perch.

-I got my passport today. Look out Paraguay!

-The winter weather kept me from seeing my adorable niece and nephew. Stupid weather.

-There are a whole lot of stupid traditions and rules that go along with every single little thing you do when planning a wedding. Who do I talk to to fix this?

-I'm pretty sure our upstairs neighbors re-enact the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade every night at 10pm.

-For the first time in four weeks, I felt good enough to do some cardio. A groin pull is a nasty injury.

-The Bears are going to get whipped tonight so long as the Vikings remember to not kick it to Hester.

-However, they'll look much better than the Vikings.

-Time for my weekly steroid injection. Later.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

St. Nicholas

I left my shoes outside my bedroom door for Saint Nicholas last night and he left me some delicious candy treats. Thank you, Saint Nick!

Train Rides & Crosswords

Every morning before I get on the train to go to work, I pick up a RedEye so that I can do the crossword puzzle. It's usually not very hard and I have it done by the time the Red Line heads underground.

Today, the guy standing next to my seat saw my progress on the crossword and was very impressed. Sure, he was missing a few teeth and smelled like booze, but he was so impressed that he asked me if he could have it after I completed it. He wanted to take it home to his wife and convince her that he did it so that "he could get some laughs." He then added, "It will be even more funny because my wife will say, 'You can't even read." I had no choice but to give him the paper. Who am I to deny a couple a good laugh in the morning?

Monday, December 03, 2007

Thoughts on the BCS

Here is the current BCS bowl lineup:

BCS National Championship Game
Jan. 7, New Orleans
No. 1 Ohio State (11-1) vs. No. 2 LSU (11-2)

Orange Bowl
Jan. 3, Miami
Virginia Tech (11-2) vs. Kansas (11-1)

Fiesta Bowl
Jan. 2, Tempe, Ariz.
Oklahoma (11-2) vs. West Virginia (10-2)

Sugar Bowl
Jan. 1, New Orleans
Georgia (10-2) vs. Hawaii (12-0)

Rose Bowl
Jan. 1, Pasadena, Calif.
USC (10-2) vs. Illinois (9-3)

College football fans everywhere are going nuts and calling for the system to be trashed. Of course, that's nothing new for college football fans because they've been calling for the system (BCS or not) to be trashed ever since I can remember. Did the BCS fail us?

The BCS was created for the sole reason of guaranteeing a matchup between the number one and number two teams in the nation. The BCS did that. There are plenty of people who can make arguments for other teams to be in the National Championship game, but I think that LSU and Ohio St. have the strongest cases for being in the title game. I'll spare you the reasoning since you can go to any sports news site and get the reasoning there.

I may not like the rest of the matchups or the fact that Missouri got left out, but the BCS isn't meant to put all of the best teams in the nation in those bowls. All it is meant to do is to create a National Championship game with the top two teams and then let the rest of the bowls choose the matchups they think can make the most money. That's exactly what happened.

Even so, here are the things I like and dislike about these BCS matchups:

-Illinois in the Rose Bowl? Ugh. By the way, they are the first three loss team to get a BCS bowl bid. Not even Notre Dame has pulled that off.

-Is there anyone outside of Georgia rooting for the Bulldogs? There would be nothing better than a Hawaii upset in this game.

-LSU and Ohio St. are the last two teams ND has faced in bowl games. I don't know what it means, but it's an interesting coincidence.

-Missouri beat two of the teams that received BCS bids (Kansas and Illinois) but is not in a BCS game because they lost to another BCS team (Oklahoma) twice.

-Do I think the BCS is flawed? Yes. Do I think we need a playoff? No. Plus one game? Maybe. I like the controversy, debates and the fact that you can end all of the debate if you just take care of business (and play a reasonable schedule).

-Ten of the twelve teams Notre Dame played this year are going to bowl games. The only two teams not going? Stanford and Duke.

-A team I hate is going to win the National Championship again this year. Charlie can't get the Irish back on track soon enough.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Crock Pot

One of the many gifts that Dee and I received at our shower was a crock pot. I had a crock pot once before but never used it so I gave it away. I was never quite sold on the idea of registering for one but everyone told us that we needed it and that we would never buy one for ourselves. I knew that was true, and it was pretty darn easy to scan the bar code so we did.

Today we decided to put our new crock pot to work. We took about a pound and a half of ground beef and mixed it with some onions and bread crumbs (and a few other things) and molded it into a nice loaf and dropped it into the crock pot for about four hours. We timed it to be done around dinner time and it was. I wasn't sure what to expect but it certainly did smell good. We sliced off a couple pieces and it was juicy and delicious. We didn't even need to drown it in ketchup like you usually do with meatloaf. It was a successful and satisfying dinner and I'm looking forward to the next time that we decide to slow cook ourselves a delicious meal.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Catch They Took Away

First of all, I know I owe you a story about Eric. That's coming soon. I'll also post about my thoughts on the entire Notre Dame season as well. However, there is a more pressing issue I'd like to address.

Last Saturday during the Notre Dame-Stanford game, David Grimes made an incredible catch in the end zone that appeared to put the Irish up 20-14. However, the replay booth took a look at the film, overturned the call and took away the touchdown. Things like this happen all the time in college (and pro) football and replay is there to help the referees get it right. In this case, they got it wrong.

In college football the call that is made on the field is the baseline from which you review a play. In this case, the pass was ruled complete and because it happened in the end zone, a touchdown. In order for the call to be overturned by replay, the replay official must see indisputable evidence that the on-field call was incorrect. In this case, Grimes' catch. Indisputable. The replay officials only have access to the shots by the cameras televising the game and, as you can see below, there is no indisputable evidence that Grimes did not catch the ball. Watch the clip. Even the announcers are convinced that it's a catch. And those announcers are terrible - trust me, I watched the whole game.



Did you see it? Did you see the indisputable evidence? No, you didn't. There isn't any indisputable evidence. The kid was robbed. The team was robbed. The Notre Dame fans were robbed. Want proof?


Look closely. You see that little gray thing covering the point of the ball? That's his little finger. That's what hit the ground, not the ball. Therefore, touchdown. The official in the booth could see nothing to prove that the ball hit the ground and should never have overturned the play because he did not have sufficient evidence. He did not have this photo. By making a guess - which he is not allowed to do - he robbed David Grimes of the best catch of his career and the Irish of a touchdown. This officiating crew needs to be reprimanded for this error.

I have no idea if the officials at Notre Dame have lodged a complaint, but I sure hope they have. Sure, we still won the game, but this is just another incident in a long line of incidents like this that happen when Notre Dame travels to the west coast to play USC and Stanford. Plus, Notre Dame needs to stand up for its students when they are wronged by someone outside of the University.

Touchdown, Grimes!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sean Kelley

It seems fitting that the person who started this whole "I'll post a story about you" thing is the first person to get a story.

I first met Sean Kelley when we were both placed on the same Playground Incubator team, Space Robbers. Sean was new to the Chicago improv scene; I had already been performing in the area for about four years. I was finishing up with classes at iO and he was just getting started. In the early rehearsals for the Robbers he was the quiet guy who typically played low energy characters and let other people lead the scenes. By the end of my time with the Space Robbers, he had completely evolved into one of the best improvisers I know. He is not afraid to play any character or take any chance. Every time I played with him I felt like I saw him do something new each time.

My favorite Sean Kelley moments came just before we went on to do a Robbers show. We used to do a warm-up where someone would start with a character, movement and line and pass it to someone in the circle by walking over to that person. Each person would then have to take that same character, movement and line and amp it up to the next level until it could no longer be amped up any more. Every time it was Sean's turn to amp up the character, he would absolutely blow everyone out of the water with how far he could take the character. It killed and amazed me every time. Man, that kid is good.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

NFL Network

I'm watching the Colts-Falcons game on the NFL Network right now. Aside from the fact that the Colts look like crap right now, this has been the worst production of a football game I've ever seen. Bryant Gumbel is calling play-by-play and has already mispronounced two player names and misidentified a couple others. Plus, the camera work has been terrible. On an early running play for the Falcons, the camera lagged behind then continued past the play only to jerk back. Later the cameras were still focused on a close-up of a Falcons linebacker as the play started and we only caught the very end of the play. Add to all of this that a good portion of the nation can't get the NFL Network and you've got a poorly run television station.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Celebrate by dressing up like a slutty turkey.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Updates and Random Thoughts

Unfortunately, this blog has devolved into periodic updates and random thoughts. I don't really have any excuse. I just haven't set any goals for posting on here for a while. I guess you six readers will have to just deal with it for now.

Hang on, I just had an idea. A couple ideas and neither one is original. However, they may just help me get back on the blogging horse. I know that there are at least three people who consistently read this (Dee is not one of those people) so I want you to tell me what you want me to write about. It can be anything. Anything. Also, I'll borrow Sean's idea and write a story (true or fictional, but probably true) about you right here on this blog. Apologies to Sean, but I need a kick in the butt. Help me out, folks. Put your ideas in the comments.

Now for the random updates:
1) Irish win! Irish win! Irish win!

2) I should never be this happy about a Notre Dame win over Duke on the gridiron. Unfortunately, this is how low this team has sunk. A win over Stanford and we win the Highest Player Graduation Rate Trophy for Division I football.

3) The Colts have looked bad the past couple weeks. The injuries aren't helping. Neither is the fact that Adam Vinatieri has Vanderjagt Disease all of the sudden. Note: I'm not blaming the injuries and Vinatieri for the losses, but they're the easiest to pick on.

4) Except for Aaron Moorehead. Man, that guy looks lost out there.

5) Remember when I asked for more Robert Hughes? Well, we got him on Saturday and he looked good.

6) Dee absolutely loves the commercial for T Mobile (I think) where the guy keeps interrupting the store employee by saying, "Smart, smart, so smart." She says that all the time now. In fact, I find ways to say "smart" so that she can do her bit.

7) Remember a year ago when all of the cell phone commercials were crappy and stupid? Now there are at least three to four good ones out there. The best has to be the one where the butcher calls up to order meat and the other guy tells him they're out and he responds with, "What, did your wife eat all of it for breakfast?" Then the call drops and they cut back to the butcher trying to talk his way out of it. Fantastically awkward.

8) pH had its five year anniversary party last Monday (the 12th) and it went really well. We had a good crowd and the shows went really well. I gave a little speech about our place in the improv community and thanked the people who helped us. I was also slated to perform the dances from the three sketch shows that we've done, but I pulled my groin the Saturday before and was unable to dance. That sucked. I was really looking forward to doing that. However, the party still rocked.

9) I pulled my groin playing touch football. pH got involved in a theater touch football league and I volunteered to play. I hadn't played football in a long time and was worried about being rusty. I was a little rusty, but found my game again pretty quickly and made some nice plays before I very painfully pulled my groin while playing defense. Man, that hurts. I'm still healing.

10) Dee and I took a dance lesson last night. We learned a few steps and spins and the instructor seemed really impressed at how quickly we picked it up. We're due for another one in January.

11) I got a kinda promotion at work. I was moved from one team to another and the way I was told and the announcement made it sound like a promotion, but I didn't get a raise or anything. I have a new boss, a new job title and a window seat. So, there's that.

12) I think part of the reason that I haven't been blogging much is because I have been in a creative rut. I haven't written anything funny in a long time - since Jerkology.

13) A pretty girl winked at me on the train on Monday. I still got it, folks.

14) I really like bread pudding.

15) Dee and I had our wedding shower on Saturday. We got a ton of shit. Mostly kitchen stuff which we desperately need. I'm excited about it. I want to start cooking with it. Maybe I'll make bread pudding. I hear it's pretty easy.

16) It just feels way too early to get into the Presidential election. I just can't stomach it right now.

17) I'm pretty sure I have extra powerful flavor absorption abilities. I can't chew gum for more than ten minutes before I need to throw it out because all the flavor is gone. This is with any kind of gum.

18) Jeff: How are you feeling?
Dee: Did you eat pepperoni ice cream?

19) My groin still hurts. I'm beginning to worry about a tear.

20) I failed miserably at the RedEye crossword today. That makes me feel stupid.

21) I started this post at 11:38am and it is now 9:57pm, but the time stamp on this post will still read 11:38am.

22) Don't worry, I wasn't sitting at my computer the whole time.

23) Touch football isn't as sexy as it sounds.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Random Updates

A few things that have happened to me recently:

1) I got an iPhone. Yes, I love it. I've had it for about three weeks and I've figured out how to make it do my bidding. I'll be saving the world soon.

2) The Irish made me very angry this weekend by losing to Navy for the first time in 43 games. Charlie lost a lot of fans' confidence after some of his calls during that game. There's a very real chance this team could lose the last three games of the season. Or they could rebound and save a little face.

3) The Colts managed to give away a winnable game against the Pats. They gave away a 10 point lead with eight minutes left. It was almost as upsetting as the Irish loss. However, the Colts were down two wide receivers, a left tackle and two starting linebackers. If they can get - and stay - healthy I like their chances in a second meeting in the playoffs.

4) I just bought a version of the Notre Dame Victory March. This one is better than the one I had before - it's played by the Notre Dame Band. The other one was played by the Florida State Marching Band. They half-assed it. Plus, I had to do something to combat the negativity flying around the ND Nation (I hate that term) and in my head. That song always makes me feel better.

5) Wedding stuff. Lots of wedding stuff. Tuxes and rehearsal dinners and flowers and invitations and websites all sorts of other shit.

6) I just read the article in Sports Illustrated about Terry Hoeppner and Ben Roethlisberger. I don't root for the Steelers or even the Hoosiers, but it sounds like Hoeppner was a great coach and a great man.

7) I haven't yet figured out how to get my iPhone to make the Irish winners again, but I'm working on it.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Too Early

93.9 WLIT is currently playing Christmas music here in Chicago. Don't believe me? Check it out yourself.

Navy vs. Notre Dame

Many fans and media types give Notre Dame a hard time for scheduling Navy every year - especially since we currently have a 43 game winning streak against them (which is very much in jeopardy this Saturday). Almost every single one of these people fail to understand why Notre Dame reserves a spot on its schedule for Navy every season.

Want to know why? Read this article posted on a Navy Football blog and then you'll understand why playing Navy every year is more important than tailoring a schedule to get into a BCS bowl game.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

All Saints Day

Happy All Saints Day!

Celebrate by dressing up like a slutty version of your favorite Saint.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

Jeff TV

Thanks to the magic of TiVo, I'm able to watch a shitload of TV. Here are the programs I watch and even a few that I don't. Enjoy. You're suggestions are welcome in the comments.

Shows I Watch and Like

Prison Break (Fox)
I started watching this show from the very beginning. The premise drew me in and the intense twists and turns kept me along for the ride. The great thing about this show is that they consistently kept everything moving forward and they weren't afraid to live up to the show's name. The first season ended with them breaking out of prison and for the entire second season we didn't see a prison at all. It still rocked.

The first two seasons were awesome and intense. It was probably my favorite show on television for those two years. The third season has been a bit of a let down, though. It's still good; just not as good as it used to be.

House (Fox)
I've often heard this show called "the best show on television" and it just might be true. I came a little late to the party but I've enjoyed the past couple seasons quite a bit. They had a bit of a rough patch when they tried to interject that cop who was trying to bust House for his abuse of painkillers, but quickly resolved it and went back to doing what they do best.

Boston Legal (ABC)
Interesting, clever, quirky, intelligent, hilarious and poignant - in every single episode. The characters are quirky and interesting while still being believable and they've managed to continually rotate people in and out of the show with great success. The relationship between William Shatner and James Spader's characters may be the most interesting relationship on TV.

Drawn Together (Comedy Central)
This is another show that I feel has lost its mojo a little bit. The first couple of seasons were hilarious almost without fail, but this season has been just okay. Don't get me wrong, it's still funny. If you've never seen the show, I recommend renting the first season to get a real feel for what this show is about.

Law & Order: SVU (NBC)
I love the whole Law & Order series of shows, but this has to be the most consistently great of the three. Each week they have clever and interesting cases and there is always a twist and turn that you never expect. Great drama.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FX)
This is another show that I didn't discover until recently despite repeated recommendations by some of my most twisted friends. Prior to this season I bought the first two seasons on DVD and was not disappointed. The first two seasons are some of the most original and clever television episodes I have ever seen. My favorite episode has to be "Dennis and Dee Go on Welfare". Also check out "Charlie Has Cancer".

South Park (Comedy Central)
This show just keeps trucking on. They are always at their best when they have an issue to address - the Scientology episode, for example - and continue to be funny while making a point. You know all about this show so I'll move on.

SNL (NBC)
SNL has been up and down over the years but they always come back. Right now they are in one of their upswings, but haven't yet reached the top. Every week they have about one or two really funny sketches and most of the rest kind of fall flat. Weekend Update is pretty consistently funny and the Digital Shorts have been a lifesaver. The most frustrating thing about this show is that they get the first crack at writing sketches for everything and I've had to scrap a bunch of sketch ideas because they got to them first.

The Office (NBC)
The funniest show on television. If you don't agree, you don't have a sense of humor. Or you are an idiot. It's been hilarious from the beginning and it continues to be hilarious. I've never been disappointed by this show.

30 Rock (NBC)
This show is becoming the Arrested Development of the past two years. The critics love it but it doesn't seem to be getting the viewers that it deserves. Alec Baldwin is hilarious and the writing is great. I'd say that this show is underrated, but everyone says that so I don't think it's overrated anymore. It's properly rated and hilarious.

Dirty Sexy Money (ABC)
A brand new show this season and it's my favorite of the new shows that I've seen. I love the premise of a guy working for a rich and famous family while trying to figure out who killed his dad (who used to work for the same family). This is another show that manages to span genres and be dramatic, funny and intense all at once. The first three (or four, I don't remember) episodes have been great and shown all of the different places this show can go.

Nip/Tuck (FX)
Dee got me hooked on this show. I remember originally seeing the ads for this show and thinking that it would probably be terrible. However, I immediately got hooked. It's dark and twisted and they constantly find a way to get hot chicks on the show. They really know how to write a good drama.

Family Guy (Fox)
Family Guy has become a bit of a cultural phenomenon and everyone has seen at least one or two episodes of this show. Funny and clever and random. It's at its best when Brian and Stewie are playing off each other.

Simpsons (Fox)
The grandfather to all the cartoon comedies that are on TV right now. I've only seen one or two of the new episodes this season, but they've still got it. This season's episode where Homer and Mr. Burns fly to Chicago was very funny.

Lost (ABC)
I have a love-hate relationship with this show. The second season drove me crazy because they didn't move anything forward and it felt like a big waste of my time. After that they sucked be back in with some really great episodes where they actually resolved a few things and treated us like intelligent viewers. I liked the way last season ended but I'm going to reserve judgement until I see a new episode.

My Name is Earl (NBC)
I don't actually TiVo this show but I usually end up catching it because I'm watching the shows before or after. It's a show that definitely has its moments and I've laughed out loud a few times, but it's not so good that I'm willing to add it to my TiVo list. I do love the show's style, however. It feels like nothing else on TV.

Entourage (HBO)
Every time this show ends Dee always says, "It's too short!" I agree. I'm always left wanting more which is a good thing. Ari and Johnny Drama are the real stars of the show even though most of the action focuses around Vince and E. Even the worst Entourage episodes always have some laugh-out-loud funny moments. This last season wasn't up to par with the standard they set, but I have every confidence that they'll recover next season.

Flight of the Conchords (HBO)
I didn't get to see the first two or three episodes of this show, but once I did I fell in love. I hadn't heard anything about this show prior to seeing it, but once they broke into song I was hooked. Sometimes the show drags a bit, but they always recover with one of their hilarious songs. I even bought their mini-album on iTunes. Check it out.

Psych (USA)
I applaud USA for running their original programming during the summer when everything else is in reruns. It gives me something to watch when I'm outside. Anyway, Psych is another funny and clever show in a long list of funny and clever shows that I like to watch. I enjoy James Roday and Dule Hill and think they have good chemistry. I could see how Roday could annoy people, but he doesn't annoy me. Probably because the show is well written.

The 4400 (USA)
This show is a cross between X-Men and Heroes. Actually, I shouldn't compare The 4400 to Heroes since The 4400 came first. There is no doubt in my mind that Heroes got the go-ahead because of the success of The 4400. Anyway, the premise is that 4400 people suddenly appear in a ball of light on the shore of a lake in Seattle. These 4400 had been "missing" from various times since 1950. Of course, they are all returned at the same age as they were when they were abducted. They also have special powers. You can guess how it goes from there. It's pretty cool and clever.

Project Runway (BRVO)
This is my one reality show guilty pleasure. I really enjoy seeing the stuff that the designers come up with and they do a good job of focusing mostly on the work the people are doing and not just the drama. My favorite part is when they give them a challenge like making a dress out of trash.


Shows Don't Watch but Probably Should

Heroes (NBC)
I watch and enjoy The 4400 and it seems like I would like this show, too. However, I just haven't set my TiVo and I feel like I need to rent the DVDs of the first season before I can watch this season. Maybe I'll Netflix it soon.

Pushing Daisies (ABC)
I have a couple of friends who are very high on this show. They tell me it has a Tim Burton look to it. The only Tim Burton movie I've seen is the one Batman movie that he did. I haven't seen any of his other animated movies but certain people seem to love them. I saw part of an episode of this show but didn't see enough to get a good feel for it. Maybe I'll give it a try.

Chuck (NBC)
The promos I've seen for this seem like it would be a fun show. I always get sucked in by spy-type shows, plus it seems like it has a decent amount of humor.

Friday Night Lights (NBC)
Everyone on every sports site raves about this show, but it's another one of those shows that almost got cancelled. I love me some football but I'm always skeptical of any football movie or TV show because it's hard to pull off realistically. I don't care how much people tell me to watch this show, I'll probably never see it. Unless someone lends me the DVDs.

Scrubs (NBC)
I've only ever seen this show in syndication and I've always enjoyed it. I had no idea that they had still been making new episodes until I went to the NBC website. That's probably why I've never tuned in.

How I Met Your Mother (CBS)
I've been told by quite a few people that this is a show I would enjoy. My response is always, "Would I?" Then I forget about it by the time I get back home.

Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC)
I like his sense of humor and the stuff I've seen on Youtube is pretty clever. However, I'm never up late so I don't see it.

Big Shots (ABC)
I've read about this show and it seems like this is the TV version of Jerkology.

The Wire (HBO)
Everyone says this is best show on television. Some people have even said that it is the best show of all time. I'll watch it on DVD.

Rescue Me (FX)
Another show that gets rave reviews. I just forget to tune in.

24 (Fox)
I watched the first season and loved it. I saw the second and third seasons on DVD but haven't seen anything since. I'll have to Netflix this as well.

Weeds (SHO)
I watched my first episode of this last night. It was good, but I was a little confused by what was going on. I don't think I'll ever really get into this.

Dexter (SHO)
The premise of this is pretty cool - a serial killer who only kills criminals - and it's getting good reviews. Seems like a dark, twisted show I'll enjoy.

Californication (HBO)
I've heard good things and had many people say, "You'd really enjoy Californication." Oh yeah?

The Sarah Silverman Program (CC)
I've always enjoyed her sense of humor, so it follows that I would enjoy her show.


Shows I've Seen Once or Twice

Las Vegas (NBC)
This show has an interesting style because it seems to go back and forth between serious drama and light-hearted comedy but never in the same episode. I can't make my mind up about this show.

The Daily Show (Comedy Central)
Okay, I've seen this more than once or twice and I always enjoy it. One of my favorite TV moments of all time was when they did the report on the New York Councilman who was trying to get the n-word banned. Hilarious.

Monk (USA)
Another great show by USA. A fantastic character from which they can mine endless comedic possibilities. I'm pissed at myself for not TiVo-ing this.


Shows That I've Seen That Suck

Private Practice (ABC)
Holy shit. They created a spin-off of one of the most overrated TV shows of all time. And it sucks. Wow does it suck. Nothing interesting happens and you don't give a shit about any of the characters - especially Kate Walsh's character. Ugh. I hate it so much.

Grey's Anatomy (ABC)
Quick, name me a likable character on this show. Meredith Grey is a miserable, whiny bitch. Izzy is a pitiful, self-absorbed idiot. George is a spineless little twit and everyone else is just good-looking and boring. Someone cancel this show. Please.

Dancing with the Stars (ABC)
Booooooor-ing. I hate that Dee loves this show. I have to find something else to do while she watches it. Like stabbing myself with a pencil.

The Bachelor (ABC)
They are still making this fucking show? There are enough vapid idiots on TV already. The last thing we need is another dumb hot guy trying to pick from a bunch of dumb hot girls.

ER (NBC)
This show is like Johnny Carson. When people mention it, you're not sure if it's dead or not. Luckily, I think this is the final season.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Semi-Random Thoughts on Notre Dame Football

In no particular order:

1) I know I'm fooling myself when I think that an upset this weekend is possible, but I just can't help it.

2) I don't care who plays quarterback for the Irish so long as the guy on the field gives us the best chance to win that day.

3) No matter the outcome against USC this Saturday, Charlie absolutely has to win the next four games to keep people from calling for his head.

4) Even if they lose one of the last four games Charlie won't be fired.

5) I don't think any of the transfers that have happened this season are cause for alarm. In fact, I think it's a sign of a healthy program that talented players are leaving because they can't beat out other talented players. Look at USC the past few years. It happens all the time.

6) I hope James Aldridge isn't injury prone. He had a knee injury last year and now has a high-ankle sprain.

7) More Robert Hughes, please.

8) Robert Hughes sounds like he should be one of those old-timey southern blues guys who played with Leadbelly.

9) Charlie has very little margin for error with his recruiting classes. Given the poor performance of the team this year, we can't expect the team to be great next year - only better. In order to be competing for a National Championship two years from now he need to have almost every last one of his highly-touted recruits live up to their potential and get a few guys who exceed expectations. Otherwise, he'll be looking for a job.

10) Next year's schedule will be a refreshing change from this year's.

11) I bet I still won't get any tickets in the Alumni Lottery.

12) I hope the young guys are learning from Trevor Laws and Pat Kuntz. These guys don't know how to quit and play their butts off on every down. Talent will win you the easy games but you need heart to be a champion.

13) I'm starting to sound like Lou Holtz.

14) Have I mentioned that I love Lou Holtz?

15) It's encouraging to see that Charlie is learning from his mistakes. This team will be more prepared for the opening game next year.

16) I think Duval Kamara is going to be very good.

17) I worry about Darrin Walls. He has flashes of brilliance, but teams are obviously picking on him. Hopefully this will only make him better.

18) Kerry Neal and Brian Smith (both Freshmen) are going to be studs.

19) I do not condone the wearing of the green jerseys this Saturday. Even if it wasn't predetermined by Adidas that they would be worn in honor of the 1977 team that beat USC, the green jerseys should be nowhere near this game.

20) By no means does that mean that I don't think we can beat USC.

21) In fact, I'm predicting an upset.

22) No, I'm not.

23) I'm a big fan of guys over at The Blue-Gray Sky but I'm embarrassed by their pre-season predictions.

24) Regardless, The Blue-Gray Sky is required reading for ND fans.

25) Go Irish!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Baseball and Technology

I tuned in to Fox at 8pm CDT tonight expecting to see Prison Break. Unfortunately, I found the Red Sox-Indians baseball game. Did someone forget to tell these guys it's football season? Why are they still playing? Seriously. Didn't they start playing in April? Time to hang it up, fellas.

Anyway, I didn't change the channel because the other television option is Laming with the Lames (Dancing with the Stars). So I caught pieces of the game as I was folding my laundry and saw the manager of one of the teams come out and argue a call. While he was arguing with the ump, they showed the replay of the play and it was clear that the runner was safe. This led me to wonder why baseball hasn't yet instituted the use of instant replay review on close calls. Why hasn't this happened yet? (Aside from the fact that baseball is run by a bunch of idiots. See: Steroids, everyone.) I can't think of any arguments against it. First, you get all of your calls right. Second, it will have absolutely zero effect on the pace of the game since baseball is the slowest game in the world. If you try to argue that it will destroy the purity of the game, you are insinuating that there is still some purity left. Steroids, remember?

Once again, I'm smarter than baseball.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

My Other Football Team

Since the Irish getting off to a 1-5 start is a pretty rare thing, it's been getting most of my attention here on the ol' blogaroo. In the meantime the Defending Super Bowl Champion Indianapolis Colts are off to another 5-0 start. In fact, they look even better than the Colts team that won the Super Bowl last season. Of course, the 2005 Colts team looked better than just about every team in NFL history until they met the Steelers in the playoffs. I'm excited but I'm not counting my Lombardi Trophies just yet. There's always the Patriots. Especially this year. They look pretty invincible. We'll see. The Colts looked pretty invincible in 2005.

The end.

5 Years of pH

On November 14, 2002 I performed in pH's very first pHrenzy at what was formerly known as Frankie J's (now The Spot). It was pH's first show of any kind and we played to a sold out house - in fact, we set an attendance record at the time. pH had been in existence for about two months at that point, but we had just been rehearsing. This performance was our first true test.

The show was a spectacular success and pH was officially a theater company in Chicago. We had to wait until January to do our second show and eventually found a home at Wing & Groove Theater in Bucktown. Since then we have done shows at a number of venues around Chicago and we've done shows for folks in New York, Toronto, Miami, Providence, Austin, Milwaukee and a few others I'm sure I've forgotten. Now we call Stage Left Theater home and it will be our home as we celebrate our fifth anniversary.

To mark our fifth year in existence, we will be holding a pH Birthday Bash that will be open to the public. The ticket price is free, though we do hope you'll kindly make a donation (we're a not-for-profit corporation) to help us survive another five years. We'll be doing small bits of our shows, handing out awards and thanking everyone who has ever helped us. Plus, there will be booze. So clear your calendars on November 12 from 7-10pm and come join us at the Lakeshore Theater (Broadway and Belmont) to help us celebrate our 5th year.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Finally, a Win

For the first time in a very long while, I had to worry about how I was going to get to see a Notre Dame game. When the Irish are it home, it's no problem; they're always on NBC. Their road games are usually televised on ABC or ESPN, but they are also usually playing decent football. Since they were 0-5 and playing UCLA in the Rose Bowl, the game was only being telecast to the west coast and South Bend. Fortunately, the Internet stepped in and saved the day. I was able to watch the game on ESPN360.com. For streaming video is was surprisingly good quality and there were little to no issues with the feed. I think it may have skipped once or twice, but never during a play so I didn't miss a thing - even the same crappy commercials over and over.

Luckily, I was distracted enough with just figuring out how to watch the game, that I didn't spend a lot of time worrying about how well the Irish were going to play. UCLA was a 21 point favorite and the Bruins' players were trash-talking all week about how they were going to destroy the Irish. I didn't really have much hope that Notre Dame would be able to do much to keep that from happening.

The offense came out and struggled once again, but the defense looked fired up and was making the UCLA offense look a lot like ours. At halftime the Irish trailed 6-3 but they had knocked out UCLA's quarterback leaving them with a walk-on taking the snaps. In the second half, the defense stepped it up a notch and forced about 55 turnovers - Maurice Crum was personally responsible for 50 of those. The Irish scored 17 points in the third quarter - one touchdown scored by the defense, the other set up by an interception deep in UCLA territory - and put away the Bruins for good. In the fourth quarter the offense went into clock-killing mode and pretty much ran the ball on every play. Unfortunately, this didn't result in much yardage but the Irish never turned the ball over and just played a field position game to hang on.

Final score Notre Dame 20, UCLA 6.

All I have to say is: 'Bout damn time! We knew going into this season that the Irish had a brutal opening schedule (Georgia Tech, at Michigan, at Penn St.) and would probably start out with more losses than wins, but everyone pointed to the Michigan State and Purdue games as ones we could win before we got past USC on October 20th. When we didn't win those, 0-8 became a distinct possibility. I even began to discuss the possibility of losing to one (or more) of the last four teams on our schedule (Navy, Air Force, Duke, at Stanford). The season looked to be worse than we could have possibly imagined. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. A very, very dim light, but it's there. The Irish managed to pull together to win a game they weren't supposed to and gain a little confidence in the process. I'm not saying that the Irish have saved their season - because there's nothing to be saved at this point - but I do believe this is a sign that this team still has life and can rack up a few more wins before the season is over.

Next week the Irish face #4 Boston College in South Bend, followed by #10 (really?!) USC. The last time Notre Dame was #1, BC managed to stroll into South Bend and knock the Irish off of their perch. Maybe the Irish can return the favor on Saturday. USC just got beat at home by Stanford (suddenly that final game doesn't look so easy) and definitely has it's flaws. Plus, the last time a heavily favored USC team came to Notre Dame, they needed the Bush Push to beat the Irish. Sure, both of these games could turn into three touchdown blowouts but if the breaks go the right way the Irish could keep them close enough to pull out a miracle - especially if the defense is able to play the way they did against UCLA.

Of course, I'm probably just on a high from the win. Or maybe the win just gave me hope. That's all we really have, right?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

There Goes the Irish

I've sat through two of Notre Dame's four blowout losses in person. At Michigan I had absolutely nothing to cheer about. Not one single play. Everything went wrong from the very first snap and I sat there and took it. Last Saturday I sat in a scorching stadium and watched as the Irish put together one serious drive the entire game - though they did score their first offensive touchdowns of the season. Both games were extremely painful to sit through and I sat there until the Alma Mater played.

I sat there hoping that the Irish would do something good. That I would see a spark of what this team could be. That they would finally stay in the game long enough to pull out a win. That's the beauty of being a Notre Dame fan. There's always hope. There's always the feeling that the Irish could pull out another one of their miracle games that would add another legend to the story. The hope is quickly fading, though.

At this point, all we can hope for is to see improvement in each game for the rest of the season. I don't think anyone expects to beat Purdue, UCLA, Boston College or USC but the last four games (Navy, Air Force, Duke, Stanford) are definitely winnable. Especially if they manage to improve every week - and I think they will. I think Charlie is now starting to figure out how to coach a bunch a guys who've never played college football. He's never had to do that before. It's a learning experience for the coach and the players. The Irish won't be good this year, but they'll be better by the end of the season. And then next year? Well, there will be hope.

Monday, September 24, 2007

ND Weekends

The past two weeks have been busy for Dee and me. Two Saturday's ago we traveled to Ann Arbor, Michigan to see the Notre Dame-Michigan game. This past Saturday, we went to South Bend to see the Notre Dame-Michigan State game. It's been all Notre Dame all the time.

The trip to Ann Arbor did not turn out well as the Irish got whipped 38-0. Dee and I sat and took the lumps with the team. We stayed to the very end. We even stayed to listen to the band play the Alma Mater and the Fight Song after the game. Of course, the Michigan fans looked at us like we were crazy, but I guess they just don't understand what it's like to be part of the Notre Dame Family. You stand with them even when they struggle. Judging by the fact that every single Michigan fan around me bitched about every single call that Lloyd Carr made all game - even when they were gaining big yards and leading 31-0 - they have no idea what it means to stand behind your team. Anyway, I took some pictures of the debacle and surrounding ceremony.

With Dee's first Notre Dame game behind her, we again piled into the car to see a Notre Dame game this weekend. This time we were headed to South Bend. Dee had never seen the campus before so I was excited to show her around. We drove in on Friday night and crashed at my friend Brian's house. A fairly large group of my ND friends were in for the weekend and we had planned a tailgater. After briefly catching up with Brian and his wife, we hit the sack so that we could get and early start on the day.

Once we got our stuff together we headed over to the parking lot and got settled. I promptly took Dee on a tour of the campus, showing her my old dorms, the Administration Building (the Golden Dome), the Basilica and the Grotto. I managed to make my way into my old dorm and show her a picture of me and the rest of the first residents of O'Neill Hall. She laughed at my hair.

We headed back to the tailgater and got some lunch and a few beers. We still had plenty of time before game time so we hung out, drank and ate. You know, typical tailgate stuff. Once game time rolled around, Dee and I found our seats and got settled. I didn't give her much prep on the typical stadium traditions choosing to fill her in as things happened. The first half provided a little hope as the Irish went into the locker room only down three. However, the second half was ugly and the Irish eventually lost 31-14. I also took pictures of that trip.

Dee and I had fun both weekends - though not as much fun as we would have had the Irish won - but we are both very tired right now. I'm looking forward to sitting on my own couch to watch the ND-Purdue game this Saturday.

I don't have the time or energy right now to get into more depth on the season the Irish are having right now, but I will soon enough.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Number 200

This is my 200th post on this blog. My first post was on 7/21/05 when no one was watching. On that first day I had no real direction for this blog and I still don't. Though, I guess there are a few patterns that have developed. I write about my weekends, post about the Colts and Irish and occasionally rip into a celebrity that says something stupid. I got a lot of mileage out of Jerkology and the other shows that I'm in. There was also the "Pros and Cons" phase.

Maybe someday I'll find some direction and this blog will find it's way, but probably not. In the meantime I'll just keep posting exactly what I post for the three people that actually bother to read it.

Aww, Poor Baby

Kanye West has declared that he will never be on MTV again since he didn't win any awards at the VMAs on Sunday. Two things:

1) Grow the fuck up.
2) Take some of your own advice: "That that don't kill you only makes you stronger."

How long until we see Kanye on MTV again? One week? Two days?

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Weekend

On Friday I left work early so that Dee and I could travel down to Bloomington, Indiana for a wedding. Strangely, the wedding wasn't for one of my friends or family, but for one of Dee's former co-workers. Dee swung down to my office to pick me up around 1pm and we headed off to Bloomington. After hitting some rush hour traffic around Indianapolis, we arrived around 6pm.

We checked into the hotel on the campus of Indiana University - the Indiana Memorial Union. According to my father, it is a tough place to get a room. Probably because it's right in the middle of campus. We got settled and set out to find some dinner. We took a short walk to the nearest strip of bars and found a place called Nick's. After a tasty mix of chicken quesadillas, chicken fingers and a huge bucket of fries we headed upstairs to meet the wedding party who decided to have a few drinks after the rehearsal. We said hello and quickly went back to the hotel because we were dead ass tired.

On Saturday we got up around 10am and went for a run around the campus. Indiana University has a beautiful campus. It also has an inordinate number of red vehicles. I was also shocked at the number of student-aged individuals I saw wearing a shirt, hat, jersey or some other article of clothing that promoted another university. That never happened at Notre Dame. In fact, I know people who would give you a pretty serious tongue-lashing for wearing any type of non-ND university clothing. Of course, those guys were pretty intense and we made fun of them for the ridiculous things they would hand out tongue-lashings for.

ANYWAY, we did some other things and then got ready for the wedding. The wedding was pretty much like any other wedding you've been to. Two people got married. One of them wore a white dress. The usual. The reception was in a very nice and very old university-ish looking room. We sat down at our table and got acquainted with our table-mates. I quickly learned that one of the guys at the table was a huge Michigan fan. Once he found out I went to Notre Dame, he immediately began talking trash about Tom Zbikowski and the rest of the Irish - but mostly Zbikowski. I respectfully disagreed thinking that my unwillingness to talk trash at the dinner table would end the conversation. It did not. He continued to take mean-spirited jabs and me and the Irish for the rest of the night. Even after I informed him that Michigan was down 32-7 at halftime. I tried my best to not engage him in conversation of any kind, but he insisted on causing trouble with just about anyone because he was so miserable. In a number a separate conversations, the rest of the table agreed with me that this guy was a huge jackass.

Once the music started, he pretty much disappeared and I busied myself by dancing with fun people - such as my fiancée. The DJ was good - even if he didn't fill our request for "Beat It" - and the reception was fun. Afterwards we went back to Nick's and played a game that I'm going to assume originated there. It's called Sink the Biz. Basically, they give you a bucket of beer and a large shot glass. You float the shot glass in the bucket and everyone takes turns pouring beer from their cup into the shot glass. The person who manages to sink the glass has to remove the glass from the bucket and drink it. Then the process starts over again. Good times. After a few rounds Dee and I decided to call it a night and headed back to the hotel to get some shuteye.

Dee and I slept in and then drove back home. I watched most of the Bears game. Good luck winning the Super Bowl with Grossman, fellas. Yikes. I discovered that our bedroom TV was broken, typed a blog that overused the f-word and went to bed.

Next week we head off to Ann Arbor for the ND-Michigan game.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Are You Fucking Kidding Me?

I'm sitting in my bedroom right now staring at a dark TV while Dee is in the living room watching some stupid shit on MTV that I can't tolerate. All I want to do is watch a fucking football game but this TV has apparently shit the fucking bed. Nothing. No response. It just sits there and stares at me like I'm some kind of fucking asshole. I'm this close to putting my fist through the fucking screen. I want to break something.

Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Vick Defenders

Recently, both Whoopi Goldberg and Jamie Foxx have defended Michael Vick's involvement in dogfighting by calling it a "cultural thing." What they're saying is, "Everyone else does it, so what do you expect him to do?" Usually our parents respond to that argument by saying, "If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?" While not grammatically correct, it's still effective.

Sometimes our cultures do stupid things out of tradition or ignorance. For example, there are cultures in Africa where female circumcision is the norm. Just because it's part of their culture doesn't mean that it isn't cruel, inhumane and wrong. Or how about the Nazi culture? Do we excuse the killing of millions of Jewish people by saying it was just part of the Nazi culture? As intelligent human beings we have the responsibility to think rationally about the traditions and rituals of our culture and reject the ones that are harmful or outdated. It's called progress. It's something the human race has done very little of, it seems.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Mail

What's up with all this mail I'm getting? People keep sending me mail. I don't want your mail. I don't want your sporting goods catalogues. I don't want to by tickets to this season's shows at the Steppenwolf. I don't want your electric bills. Seriously. Stop sending me the electric bill. Time to go paperless already, ComEd.

So much shit to shred.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Labor Day Thoughts

A day off work is always a good thing.

The beating the Irish took makes it a lot harder to enjoy the Michigan upset.

I took the Chicago Architectural Tour today. Pretty cool.

I forgot to bring my camera. Not cool.

Watched a lot of tennis this weekend. Great match between Haas and Blake.

Charlie is the first to take responsibility for ND's losses. At some point we're going to have to start calling him on it.

Navy Pier is strange, strange place.

I have new workout clothes.

I'm ready for the weather to cool off.

Man, the Irish stunk.

At least the Colts Super Bowl title defense begins on Thursday.

My gas bill is due in a few days.

For being out in the sun a lot, I managed to avoid a sunburn.

Monsters, Inc. is a great movie.

Hearing about the Chicago River really makes you want to stay far away from the water there.

Dee is currently watching the Justin Timberlake special on HBO right now.

I'm going to go into the bedroom and play NCAA Football '08 - where the Irish are actually good.

Ugh.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Halftime

Well, it's halftime and the Irish look terrible. The defense has actually done a pretty good job keeping Georgia Tech out of the end zone given that GT has had great field position all day. Unfortunately, the offense can't block anyone and Demetrius Jones has fumbled twice. Of course, the coaches aren't doing much to help the line. Tech is blitzing on almost every down and we have yet to run a draw or screen all day.

This is ugly and it's only going to get worse unless Charlie can pull something out of his ass.

Tennis

This morning, Dee and I woke up early to play a little tennis. We've been watching a bit of the U.S. Open and we were inspired to get out and knock the ball around a bit ourselves. We had the court to ourselves for as long as we wanted. We were both a little rusty at the beginning, but managed to play some good tennis by the end. This is something we need to do more often.

By the way, I won: 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.

FOOTBALL!

Today is the day. The Irish kick off against Georgia Tech today. We'll get to see who the new starter is at QB (looks like it's going to be Demetrius Jones). I was very close to getting tickets for today's game, but it didn't work out so I'll be watching the game here at home.

Right now Dee and I are watching Michigan getting beat by Appalachian St. As much as I love to see Michigan get beat, I'm torn on them losing right away. I'd rather they wait to lose until Dee and I make our way to the Big House to see the Irish take them out.

I think that I may be more excited about the Irish this season than I was last year. Somehow, I knew the Irish wouldn't live up to the expectations last season. This year the Irish aren't expected to do anything because all of their big stars graduated and they'll be relying on a bunch of youngsters. However, I like the new bunch of guys and the new defensive coordinator's attitude. I'm cautiously optimistic.

Go Irish!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Corwin Brown

The South Bend Tribune has a great profile of Notre Dame's new defensive coordinator, Corwin Brown. I highly recommend checking it out. This is the kind of guy you want coaching your kids. He's the kind of guy kids will want to play their heart out for.

He's already proven to be a great recruiter in his short time at ND and we'll get to see on Saturday if he's as effective once the players get on the field.

Monday, August 27, 2007

My Diary

Dear Diary,
I am very angry with you right now. You are so selfish. I write in you everyday, but you never respond. You totally suck. For real. I mean, seriously, I totally pour my heart out to you every day and you give nothing back. You just sit there. Okay, maybe your pages turn a little yellow but that's not even close to what I've done for you. I mean, I like totally tell you all of my deepest, darkest secrets. Like remember when I had that huge crush on Clay Stephenson? I told you all about it. I told you how he used to wear that rugby shirt that totally made his blue eyes sparkle. Especially when he looked at me. I even told you about how he kissed me and tried to go up my shirt but I wouldn't let him even though I totally wanted to. I'm not a slut.

Anyway, my point is that I give and give and give and all you do is take and take and take. Kinda like Clay. He never told me how he felt. He just wanted to make out all the time. He wouldn't even hold my hand in public. But he didn't have any problems trying to touch my boobs when we were alone. By the way, Diary, I did eventually let him touch my boobs (over my bra) but I didn't tell you because I was waiting for you to share some of your secrets with me but you never did. So I never told you about it. See what happens when you don't put effort into our relationship? Secrets. Secrets happen. True friends should never have secrets.

If you want to save this relationship and ever hear any more of my secrets - and I have some big ones. Like how I let Clay's best friend Brad totally finger-fuck me after like the second time we made out just to piss Clay off for being such a jerk. That's the first time I ever let anyone do that. I'm not a slut. That's a pretty big secret, huh? You won't get any more secrets like that if you don't start sharing. It doesn't have to be anything big at first, maybe just who you have a crush on. I swear I won't tell. Not even Brad - and I'm thinking about giving him a handjob. See?! There's another big secret. C'mon, just share a little something with me. If you care about me, you will.

Oooh, Clay just called. He's totally jealous, I can tell. I know that Brad totally told him everything we did together because they are best friends and guys like to talk about what they get to do to girls. Clay was all, "I'm sorry about the way I treated you," and I was like, "Yeah? Well, it's too late. I'm totally going out with Brad now." He said that he knows but that he just really wanted to call and apologize. He also said that he feels bad for apologizing over the phone and that he would rather do it in person and that I should come over right now because his parents aren't home and we could have a serious conversation without being interrupted. He's so sweet. I think I'm going to go over there after I finish this. I wonder what I should wear?

For reals, Diary. You need to start giving back. I'm feeling extremely unsatisfied because I'm the only one giving anything up and it totally feels like you're taking advantage of me. I expect to hear some juicy stuff soon.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Grossman

Rex Grossman, "quarterback" of the Chicago Bears recently said:
"He's come in and specifically worked on the things I didn't do so well
last year. Stepping up in the pocket, making sure I have two hands of the ball,
going through my reads and staying balanced at the top of my drop. To not have
to do that on your own or try to make someone help you with something is just
unbelievable."

Let me count the number of things wrong with this quote. First, this is not something that the leader of a team would ever say. That may be the biggest issue we have here. Just like everyone else in society, nothing is his fault. Second, stepping up in the pocket, keeping two hands on the ball, going through reads and staying balanced is something that you learn to do in high school. If you're not doing these things as an NFL quarterback, you should be working on them on your own.

Don't get your hopes up, Bears fans. This guy isn't leading you to a championship.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

New Toys

I want new toys. Unfortunately, I don't have the cash to buy all of the cool new items that I want. I want an iPhone and I want a new gaming system - probably an Xbox 360, maybe a Wii. Of course, I'm also tempted to get Dee a new iMac to replace her current computer.

I can't afford all of these things. I can't even afford one of these things right now since I just bought two new TVs. Someday I'll find that money tree and I'll have all the cool toys I want. Until then I'll just have to settle for looking at them on the Internet.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Rehearsal and Football

We had another rehearsal for Marty's show last night (it's now called Sex, Cubs and Rock and Roll). We went over four scenes - four of the sillier scenes. There was a lot of singing and dancing and a whole lot of laughing. I'll be surprised if I ever make it through one of my scenes without laughing. Tristan and I play a couple that is at a crucial point in their relationship and between the ridiculous things I have to say and Tristan being hilarious, it's going to be really hard not to break.

The Colts and Bears played last night in a pre-season game. The Bears won 27-24 and the Chicago papers claimed "Sweet revenge". Really? Do they realize it's pre-season? The games don't count. Can Bears fans possibly be so desperate as to think that this win constitutes revenge? Probably not, but you wouldn't guess it from reading the newspapers.

Nine days until the Irish face off against Georgia Tech.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Pros and Cons of Pros and Cons

Pros:
1) The easy to read list format.
2) It is concise.
3) Ensures that you don't actually have to think about consequences.

Cons:
1) Oversimplification.
2) Nobody actually thinks this way.
3) The negative points are the last thing you read, leaving a bad taste in your mouth.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Batman Begins

Dee is out at a bachelorette party right now and I'm at home flipping through the channels on the TV.

Batman Begins is playing on one of the movie channels. I can't tell you how much I love this movie. This movie has taken the super-hero/comic book genre and raised it to a new level. With Batman Begins, they found a way to make a super-hero movie real. It helps that the hero in the movie is simply an extraordinary man and not some kind of genetic freak, alien or otherwise enhanced superhuman. However, it's not just the idea that Batman is the most possible of super-heroes, but that the movie has found a way to take something that was once only able to be expressed in comic or cartoon form and make it real.

By the way, TiVo is awesome. It's allowing me to pause Pan's Labyrinth so that I can type this.

Unfortunately, Batman Begins has raised my expectations of what these kind of movies should be. It's Batman Begins' fault that I hated Transformers. It's Batman Begins' fault that I was disappointed in Spiderman 2 & 3. It's Batman Begins' fault that I'll probably hate the new Iron Man movie (if I ever see it). And it's Batman Begins' fault that I'll forever cringe at cheesy and wink-at-the-camera lines in every movie in the genre that I'll ever see again.

Damn you, Batman Begins. I love you Batman Begins.

Friday, August 17, 2007

More Vick

Great article today by Don Banks over on SI.com about Mike Vick's future in the NFL if he goes to prison. The last few paragraphs are fantastic.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Thunderbirds

I went out for lunch today around 12:30 and immediately heard the sound of military jets roaring overhead. I flinched and looked around for a second before I realized that is was the USAF Thunderbirds. Today they began practice over the city in preparation for the Air & Water Show this weekend in Chicago.

My friend Eric and I ate our lunch outdoors and caught glimpses of them between the buildings around us. We then headed up to the 37th floor balcony of our building and watched from there. Eric even snapped a few good pictures of the jets swooping between the buildings.

Tomorrow, I'll try to get some of my own pictures and post them here.

Six Months To Go

Six months from today Dee and I will be getting married. It will be our third anniversary.

Immediately after the engagement, we scheduled the church and the reception hall. Since then Dee has picked out the bridesmaids dresses and found her dress as well. Of course, we've picked and asked all of the wedding party. Now we have to buckle down and really start getting into the rest of the planning. I have been tasked with scheduling the rehearsal dinner and the honeymoon. My original hook up for the honeymoon looks like it is going to fall through, so I'll have to branch out and schedule it just like the common folk. Having a rehearsal dinner in the city is looking to be quite pricey. We originally wanted to go to a tapas place, but it looks like it's going to be more than we really want to spend. Dee has suggested pizza and beer as a possibility, but I'm not sold on the idea. I've never been to a rehearsal dinner like that before.

Last night we worked on figuring out what will be on the website. We have the basic idea for the site, I just need to gather the content before I send it off to our web designer. I think we have to start going to food tastings soon, but I'm not sure - that's on Dee's list.

One thing that Dee didn't put on my list is finding tuxedos for the groomsmen. I'm going to assume that's my job.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A New Show

Last night I attended the first rehearsal for the new sketch show I will be in. It is called Rock Out With Your Clock Out and is written and directed by Marty Gangler. He wrote another very successful sketch show that I was in called Sick/Personal Day. This show - as you can probably guess by the title - is about rocking out. Sort of. There are some random sketches that don't necessarily tie into the theme, but that's just what happens sometimes.

Marty gave us our scripts and we spent our time reading through them last night. He had all of the music prepared and we sang a little, but mostly listened. I've got a couple scenes that I'm really excited about - one where I sing and one where I rap. I can't say much more than that without ruining it for you.

Overall, I think this show will be fun. It's the usual cast of me, Jason, Tristan, Molly and Marty with the addition of Alaina this time. We had fun just reading the scripts last night and giving Marty a hard time for his typos. I'm sure that fun will spill over into the shows.

Time to start memorizing.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Directv Clarification

It has occurred to me that many of you may be thinking, "Why doesn't he just go with Comcast or RCN instead of fighting with Directv?" Well, I'll tell you. Directv is the only provider that offers NFL Sunday Ticket. You see, I'm not a Bears fan. I'm a Colts fan. If I don't get NFL Sunday Ticket then I can't watch all of the Colts games. Sure, they play a few Sunday and Monday nighters that I would be able to see, but I wouldn't get to see their Sunday afternoon games. As any football fan knows, two to three games a year isn't enough.

That's why I'm fighting this ridiculous battle with my building and Directv. For the Colts. The defending Super Bowl Champion Indianapolis Colts.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

It's Not Over Yet

The Directv guy was scheduled to come today at 4pm. He called at 10am and said he could stop by early. When he showed up, he proceeded to tell us that we wouldn't be able to get the proper HD setup with the way our condo is set up. The conduit from the roof can't accommodate the number of cables that need to be run into our place.

Now I have to figure out how to get this resolved with my building. In the meantime I've got two new HD TVs and no HD service.

What a pain in the ass.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Saturday

Another busy Saturday for me. Dee and I got up and headed out to her parents' place for her family reunion. We had some delicious burgers off the grill, beers and a ton of delicious desserts. I also met some family members I had never met before. Most of them had to introduce themselves to Dee as well. I guess they haven't seen each other in a while. The food was good and the people were nice. I gave her Nana a hard time and Nana sassed me right back. That's how we roll. She's my favorite. Next to Dee, of course.

Dee and I are now home for a short break in our party hopping. We had every intention of taking a quick nap so that we would be rested up for the housewarming party we are to attend tonight. However, Dee found "Little Miss Sunshine" playing on one of the movie channels. I watched that instead of napping. Dee dozed in and out. Man, I love that movie. I alternate between laughing and crying at the end. I'm a sap - and I guess I don't care who knows it since I'm posting it for the world to see. Not that the whole world will see it. Just you.

Time for another party.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Random Thoughts

Football:
I'm sitting here watching the Bills-Saints pre-season game. I'm excited that football is back. Oh, how I've missed you, football.

I'm worried about the Colts this season. The defense has been decimated by free agency and injury. We've still got Freeney, though. And Dungy has been able to patch together defenses in the past. You know, like last year. When the Colts won the Super Bowl.

The Irish aren't going to be anywhere near a championship game this year. Almost all of the big stars graduated. We're going to see a lot of Charlie's recruits get some real playing time this season. The big question is who will be starting at quarterback. There are three guys in contention and Charlie isn't tipping his hand just yet.

Notre Dame has a very, very tough opening schedule. Georgia Tech at home, at Penn State, at Michigan (which I have tickets for), Michigan State at home, at Purdue, at UCLA, BC at home and at USC. They finish up with Navy, Air Force, Duke and Stanford. It could get ugly this year, but I wouldn't count on it. That's just not something Charlie will let happen.

Shows:
I have a show tonight. I'm completely wiped out from the week. I need to catch a nap before or I'll be worthless. Although, I usually do best when I'm dead ass tired.

Computers:
Man, Apple keeps putting out stuff that I want. The new iMac is pretty sweet. The new iPhone is pretty sweet. Apple TV is pretty cool.

Work:
I could use a vacation.

Crying:
Dick Vermeil is crying about Bill Walsh right now.

Phones:
I hate my cell phone. I hate it. Verizon sucks. 100% sucks. Can you hear me now?

Trains:
People on the train smell bad. Especially when it's hot.

Commercials:
Most commercials are stupid. However I love this one. "What the french, toast?!"

Redundancy:
I think I've posted that before.

Dinner:
I had pizza.

Closing:
Good day.