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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

bookrenter.com

For all those college students stressing about whether or not they can afford this semesters worth of books, I found a great site. It is called bookrenter.com. The name of the site tells the story, rent your books for the semester instead of buying them and getting screwed by the bookstore for a low buyback price, or a new edition all together. I paid $321 for $680 worth of books. I made sure I couldnt buy them anywhere for cheaper than I was renting them and they all turned out to be very new books so it was hard to find cheap copies. This site doesnt let you write or highlight in the book, but chegg.com, another rental site, allows that but it is a bit more expensive. I will return at the end of the semester and report on how well this site works!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Nada Mais - Hateen

I got this from Lindsey and liked it, so I will do it myself!

Directions:
Put your iPod, iTunes, Windows Media Player, etc. on shuffle.
For each question, press the "next" button to get your answer.
YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER HOW SILLY OR NON-SENSICAL IT SOUNDS.
Try it if you want to, I'm anti-tagging.
Well, here we go!

1. IF SOMEONE SAYS "IS THIS OKAY" YOU SAY?
Never a Better Hero - Greg Hansen

2. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF?
Now - Pat McGee Band

3. WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A GUY/GIRL?
Skin - Rascal Flatts

4. HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY?
An Oak Tree Stand Behind a Lindon - I Can Make a Mess Like Nobodys Business

5. WHAT IS YOUR LIFE PURPOSE?
Hundred - The Fray

6. WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?
Boombox Generation - Motion City Soundtrack

7. WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU?
Let It Happen - Jimmy Eat World

8. WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU?
Motto - Less Than Jake

9. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN?
Why Don't You Leave? - Homegrown

10. WHAT IS 2 + 2?
Wonderful - Wicked Soundtrack

11. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIEND?
All I Ask of You - The Phantom of the Opera

12. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
Pages - There For Tomorrow

13. WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY?
It's Gotta Be You - Backstreet Boys

14. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO WHEN YOU GROW UP?
That Spirit of Christmas - Ray Charles

15. WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
Better With You - Five Times August

16. WHAT WILL YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING?
On Your Wings - Iron and Wine

17. WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST?
Tired All the Time - Treaty of Paris (This would better fit Alyssa or my mom)

18. WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST FEAR?
Bastard - Ben Folds

19. WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SECRET?
Come Together - The Beatles

20. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS?
Leave You Traveling - Steel Train

21. SONG THEY WILL PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL?
The Saddest Song - The Ataris

22. WHAT WILL YOU POST THIS AS?
Nada Mais - Hateen

That didnt turn out as cool as Lindsey's but I urge all to try it!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Video Chat

Since Alec and Tiff got a mac, we have tried multiple times to talk through iChat. For some reason, we were never successful. After another unsuccessful attempt tonight, I remembered that Gmail had recently introduced video chatting. We decided to try that instead. Alec made a gmail address and we downloaded the necessary stuff. Finally, we got it working! Quickly we discovered one problem, my microphone wasnt working. For a few minutes, as I tried to figure out the problem, I felt like a mute. Alec was asking me questions, but I had to type out answers. Now I know how it feels to not be able to talk. I figured out what was wrong and we enjoyed the amazingness of technology!

Monday, December 15, 2008

What a Tribute

This is an excerpt of todays SI Peter King column.

The Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks set off on a six-game, 12-day road trip on Nov. 18 -- to, in order, Phoenix, Dallas, Toronto, San Jose, Anaheim and Los Angeles. (Who thinks of these itineraries? Magellan?) In between a Saturday night date with the Maple Leafs and a Tuesday noon flight to San Jose, the players were going to have their one day off on the trip, a Sunday, back home with family in Chicago.
But the day before they played Toronto, the players learned that Stan Tallon, the father of Chicago general manager Dale Tallon, had died after a long battle with Parkinson's Disease in a rural Ontario town, Gravenhurst, two hours north of Toronto. The director of team services, Tony Ommen, told the captains that he could try to arrange a team trip to the Sunday night wake in Gravenhurst if they wanted to go. But if they did, of course, they'd be giving up their only day off on a grueling trip in a two-week period. It was a day most of the players had plans to do something, if only to watch football on TV, sleep all day, Christmas-shop, hang with family.
"Guys like their time off, that's for sure,'' Patrick Sharp, an assistant captain, said via cell phone. "But this was something, when we got together, we felt we had to do. Dale's a part of us.''
The team meeting was brief and to the point, and there was no objection from a single player: The players would stay over in Toronto, surrender the day off, and bus up to the wake in mid-afternoon on country roads with a fresh blanket of snow. Ommen arranged two buses, one for the coaches and staff, and one for the 23 players on the trip. In all, about 50 members of the Blackhawk traveling party made it to the W.J. Cavill Funeral Home in Gravenhurst, and when they walked quietly through the side door of the place, Dale Tallon couldn't believe his eyes. He tried to say something.
"I couldn't talk,'' he said. "I just started bawling.''
The players and staff all filed past the open casket and paid their respects to the family, including Tallon's 80-year-old mom, whose mood brightened tremendously. She knew the players from watching the games on satellite TV. Now here they were, her heroes! She had a little crush on the big star, Patrick Kane, whom her son had drafted first overall last year. "Patrick Kane!'' she said, and hugged him and kissed him on the cheek.
"I'm sorry for your loss, Mrs. Tallon,'' Sharp said.
"Ooooh,'' she said. "I enjoy watching you play.''
And then the players sat respectfully among the townspeople for a while, and then they went into a side room to look at the photo display of Stan Tallon's family, which could have been any hockey family in Canada, with shots of Dale as a tyke and moving up through the years 'til he thrilled the family by making the NHL. Before the players left, Dale Tallon told them how touched the family was that they'd make this trip for him.
Last week, Dale Tallon tried to explain why this happened. "I think hockey's unique,'' he said. "In every Canadian town, the hockey rink seems to be the center of the community. Families do so much for their kids and sacrifice for them so they can play. You rise up through different levels, but you never forget how you got there. With these kids on our team, I scouted, recruited and drafted so many of them. Watching them walk through that door made me feel so good about the type of people -- not just the kind of players -- we drafted. I hear so many people talking negatively about the youth of today, but don't underestimate these kids. They're good kids. My mother is there. Her husband of 59 years is laying in a casket next to her. And these kids walked in and she was just on Cloud Nine ...'' And then Dale Tallon got a little misty over the phone.
"I've played for different teams in juniors and the pros,'' said the 26-year-old Sharp, from the Ontario hockey hotbed of Thunder Bay. "And you walk into every locker room and you become brothers. Maybe it's rare in pro sports, but it's not rare in hockey, I don't think. We're all in this together. It goes back to growing up in hockey. My older brother played, I played, and my parents made huge sacrifices to drive us everywhere we had to go. Everyone in this game knows how much family means.''
Said Ommen: "The culture of hockey revolves around family.''
The team boarded the buses to return to Toronto and the charter flight home. But on the way out of town, as happens with two dozen premier athletes who have not eaten in some time, the players saw a McDonald's. They got the buses to stop. Inside, as the Chicago Blackhawks walked en masse into a sleepy McDonald's in rural Canada long after the dinner crowd was gone, a teenage kid behind the register figured out who he was looking at. "Coooooool!'' he said.
"So on the wall there's this big billboard,'' Sharp said. "I guess McDonald's in Canada has hockey cards, and we're looking at this, and there's [teammates] Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, looking at this. They had cards in this McDonald's series. We all had no idea. So a few of the guys bought the Happy Meals, or whatever, trying to get their cards.''
A couple of weeks have passed. The Blackhawks lost all three games on the last leg of the trip, but no one was blaming the Gravenhurst detour. I asked Sharp if the team had any regrets about attending the wake.
"None,'' he said. "No complaints. We were where we should have been. We'd do it again, 100 times.''
And that's my good news story of the week. Be proud, Canada. You've raised some nice boys

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Superman

This is either the funniest, or the most depressing, editorial cartoon I have ever seen.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Jimmy V Week

At the beginning of December, ESPN does "Jimmy V Week" to solicit donations to the Jimmy Fund to fight cancer. Jim Valvano was a college basketball coach who won the 1983 NCAA title with NC State. The video of him running around the court looking for someone to hug is ageless. In 1992 he was diagnosed with bone cancer which advanced very quickly. In March of 1993, he accepted the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian award at the ESPN awards show, the ESPYs. His acceptance speech is one that I watch every year at this time. It is very moving and heartfelt, with the love that he had of helping others plainly evident. I have embedded the video below and encourage everyone to take the 10 minutes and watch it. Less than two months after the speech, he passed away. The foundation is set up with ESPN, which pays all administrators and employees to control the fund, so every penny donated is used for cancer research. I hope it moves you as much as it does me.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


null - Watch more free videos

Monday, November 10, 2008

Another New Beginning




A few weeks ago I expressed my excitement for the opening of the NBA season...that does not even compare with how excited I am for College Basketball. Today marks the day that teams can start playing real games, although many will play an exhibition game early in the week then start the regular season this weekend. If I had to choose one sport to watch and that was it, NCAA basketball would be my choice. The middle of November each year is when I really appreciate satellite TV, since there is usually a game every night and that only increases once football ends. In the next day or two, I am going to do a UNLV and NCAA season preview. In the mean time, USA Today said this Saturday's UNLV-USD game is the best game of opening week. Hopefully that means that after the Rebs win, they will jump into the top 25!


This pic is not a dig at Mike, but when I googled Wink Adams, it came up 3 times on the first page so I had to put it on here!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Suggestions

This article is in todays New York Times, written by Greg Mankiw, a Harvard Economist who was an adviser to President Bush and in charge of economic policy to Mitt Romney during his campaign. He updates his blog very often and provides a level-headed view of politics from a very well respected economist.

Congratulations, Senator Obama. You ran a good campaign, and you racked up an historic victory. As you get ready for your new responsibilities, let me suggest four ways for you to become a reliable steward of the economy:

Listen to your economists. During the campaign you assembled an impressive team of economic advisers from the nation’s top universities, including Austan Goolsbee from University of Chicago and David Cutler and Jeff Liebman from Harvard. Your campaign’s director of economic policy, Jason Furman, is a smart, sensible, and well-trained policy economist. I know: He is a former student of mine.

Pay close attention to what they have to say. They will often give you advice quite different from what you will hear from congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. To make sure you hear the views of your economists, put them in offices close to yours. Tell your chief of staff to invite them to all the relevant meetings.

Embrace some Republican ideas. No party has a monopoly on truth. Be ready to take the best Republican policy proposals and make them your own, as Bill Clinton did with welfare reform in 1996.

Health policy is a case in point. Over the past several months, you lambasted McCain’s proposal to reform the tax code to include a refundable health insurance tax credit. Did you know that long before McCain ever proposed this idea, it was advanced by Mr. Furman, your campaign’s policy director? He can explain to you why the Furman-McCain plan makes a lot of sense.

Now you may decide that this plan does not go far enough. You may want a more generously funded social safety net to help the less fortunate get health care. Fair enough, but in pursuing that goal, you run into the next issue.

Pay attention to the government’s budget constraint. The nation faces a long-term imbalance between government spending and tax revenue. The fundamental problem is that the federal government has promised the elderly more benefits than the tax system can support. This fiscal imbalance will become acute as more baby boomers retire and start collecting Social Security and Medicare.

Yet during the campaign, you promised that you would cut taxes for 95 percent of Americans, that you would vastly expand health insurance coverage, and that you would never cut Social Security benefits or raise the retirement age. You will almost surely have to renege on some of these promises. As your economic team will often remind you, even if the laws of arithmetic are ignored during campaigns, they provide a real constraint when making actual policy.

Recognize your past mistakes. As a new senator, you voted along predictable left-wing lines. As president, you will need a more eclectic, nuanced approach.

Take trade policy, for example. In the senate, you voted against the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement. You opposed free trade agreements with Colombia and South Korea. You supported Senators Charles Schumer and Lindsey Graham in their quest to put tariffs on Chinese goods if China failed to revalue its exchange rate. You supported the Byrd Amendment, which encouraged domestic companies to file anti-dumping suits against foreign competitors. You supported subsidies for domestic producers of corn-based ethanol and tariffs on imports of more efficient sugar-based ethanol.

Your economists can explain to you why these positions were wrong-headed. Economic isolationism is not in the national interest. A high point of the Clinton presidency was the enactment of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which passed both the House and Senate with a majority of Republicans and a minority of Democrats.

This past Tuesday, many people voted for you hoping you would achieve the kind of economic success that Bill Clinton enjoyed in the 1990s. Your best chance of delivering what they want requires that you abandon some of your past positions and pursue a more moderate, bipartisan course.

Friday, November 7, 2008

"To those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security: We support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright: Tonight, we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope."
-- Barack Obama, Nov. 4, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Picturing the future

I thought this was a cool picture.

Acceptance Letter

Dear President Obama,

I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know that I accept you as the next President of the United States. Even though I did not vote for you, I understand that by casting a vote, I am expressing my willingness to support my elected leaders, whether or not I choose them. Your leadership and oratorical skills are very impressive, skills which I hope you use to strengthen this beautiful country. I would like to offer some advice; keep exercising, eating right and quit smoking...this should keep Joe Biden in the Naval Conservatory as Vice President.

The next four years will be interesting for this whole nation, especially for you. I am ready to support you 100% and I am sure I will be willing to offer constructive criticism whenever you need it. You have already made history, dont let that be the last time it happens. If I can ask one favor, it would be to create a College Football Playoff. I know that may seem trivial compared to the problems facing the economy, or our foreign relations, but it would really make me happy. Think about it, no President in the history of our nation has been able to accomplish that, while many have been able to win wars, or create new jobs. I think that is the way you can leave your true legacy on Main Street!

President, good luck and God speed.

Sincerely,

Dixon Leavitt

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

election day

As I drove to school this morning I was filled with emotion over how blessed I am to live in this country. There has been so much negativity surronding the elections but how lucky am I to not have to worry about a coup by the democrats if Obama loses? I have the choice of whether or not I want to vote, then if I do choose to vote, I can support those who I feel best represent my way of life. Even in a time of economic hardship, I have a job which allows me to provide for my family and fill my car with gas. Not only that but I can watch people make fun of our leaders on tv, without them fearing for their lives for being so outspoken! Even those being made fun of want to participate in the joke!
Around 10 or 11 tonight when I am finding out who will be the leader of my country for the next four years, I will remember all of the many blessings that I enjoy now and will continue to enjoy through his presidency, although I may have to share more of those blessings if the "quasi-socialist" is elected! Life can't get much better than it is now and a 40 year old black man or a 72 year old angry white man can't change that.

Monday, November 3, 2008

College

Where if the homework is too hard, the answer in the back of the book must be wrong!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Where Grown Men Crying Happens

I have never been so excited about the start of the NBA season! Turning on TNT after work yesterday, I witnessed Paul Pierce crying like he had just been stabbed 11 times (wait, that happened) as he received his championship ring. Usually these guys just grab it, wave to the crowd and go get ready for the game. Everyone of the Celtics looked like they truly appreciated what was happening, except for Brian Scalabrine but he never knows whats going on as long as he can pick up his check every two weeks. It almost caused my eyes to water and I wasnt even a Celtics fan. Upon further reflection I made a decision to do something I have never done...jump on a bandwagon. Last season, I hoped the Celtics would win it all so my favorite player of all time, Kevin Garnett, could finally get a ring after carrying the Timberwolves for so many years. After seeing that Paul Pierce and Ray Allen care too, I am on the bandwagon. Call me a Celtics fan...for now at least. I have always been the one making fun of people for jumping on, but I feel as if I had no choice with this one.

In other NBA news, Greg Oden is hurt again. I almost feel bad for the guy, but then I realize ive never liked him in the first place and thought Durant should have been the #1 pick. To dominate in high school and then against a few decent big men once a week in college is much different than 82 NBA games. I would like to see him stay healthy enough so this Portland team can reach their full potential (Rudy Fernandez will be ROY), but I just dont see that happening. Between a surgically repaired wrist and knee, things will go downhill. I think it is interesting that no one has said anything about the impact of his knee surgery. It was the same one that Amare Stoudamire had a few seasons ago and he was out, no bball at all, for over a year, and it wasnt until about 2 years after the surgery that he was back to full strength. Oden only had the surgery a year ago and is already back trying to play 25-30 minutes a night. That doesnt sound like it is going to work out very well, if you ask me.

Tonight, the rest of the teams get going. Quick predictions:
Finals: Utah/Boston
Winner: Utah
MVP: LeBron
ROY: Rudy Fernandez
Best Record: Lakers
Most Disappointing: Detroit

Friday, October 24, 2008

Irresponsible Blogger

Sorry about the lack of posts lately. Over the past two weeks I have had tests in 4 of my 5 classes and have the 5th one on wednesday. Throw in the fact I still cant figure out how to solve the type of problems that are going to be on that test and school is definitely stressing my out more than usual. The good news is my average on those four tests is 81%, and that includes on VERY bad score. Throw out the outlier and it jumps up to an 88% average. Alec, I challenge you to figure out what that other score was and post it in the comments. It will be embarrassing, but also show what a geek my best friend is! :)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Raising the Bar



I dont know how many of you have watch the new TNT show, "Raising the Bar", but it is awesome! The main character is Zack Morris (not his real name) from "Saved By the Bell". He plays a lawyer in the New York Public Defender's office. The main cast all comes from the Public Defender's and DA's offices, plus a judge mixed in there. It comes on Monday nights, but the episodes are replayed many times throughout the week. The few episodes weren't great, but the last two have been amazing. The stories they tell are very interesting. I recommend it to all!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Wal-Mart Hypocrites

I am in class right now and the annoying student (every class has one) out of the blue said the economy is bad because of Wal-Mart. Then, her, the professor, and many others went on a 10 minute rant of why Wal-Mart is bad. When I looked at the girl who started this I noticed:
1. Her backpack is from Wal-mart.
2. She is eating the Wal-mart off brand fruit snacks.
3. Her coffee mug is from Wal-Mart.
4. Her shoes are from Wal-Mart.

I would bet next months tuition that 80% of the people complaining are regular Wal-Mart shoppers. If you really believe Wal-Mart is evil, STOP SHOPPING THERE!

Personally, I only go to Wal-Mart when I cant get things on sale somewhere else. This is nothing against Wal-Mart, but more to support the other places that are trying to stay in business, thus providing jobs to our small town.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Google Game Tag

Destiny tagged me to do the 8 things, but show obviously doesnt know how I feel about being tagged! Instead, I saw a cool thing that Elizabeth did on her blog and decided it would be a good compromise with Destiny.
This is how the game works: Use Google image search to answer each question. Then, out of ONLY the first page of results, choose your favorite or most random image. You are supposed to tag people after, but I dont do that, so if you think its a cool idea, do it yourself!

My Age:


Place I have been to:

(Be careful when you google brazil images!)

Place I Want to Visit:


Favorite Place:


Favorite Object:


Favorite Food:


Favorite Animal:


Favorite Color:

(I put in scarlet, like UNLV's scarlet and gray!)

Birthplace:


Pets:


Past Love:


Best Friend:


Nickname:


First Name:


Middle Name:


Last Name:

(Does it surprise you that we have a diamond named after our family?)

Bad Habit:


First Job:


Grandmother's Name:


College Degree:


What I am Doing Right Now:


I urge all to try this out. It is rather amusing!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The House that Ruth Built

It has taken me a while to blog about the main reason we went to New York, because it is one of those experiences that most people wont really appreciate or understand how great an opportunity it was. I don't want to come off as bragging or anything like that, so don't take it that way. To better understand how lucky we were, read this Sports Illustrated article from a few weeks ago. I am not even a Yankees fan and I think it was one of the best article ever written by SI.

On Saturday, September 20, we boarded the D train uptown to the Bronx. We had been out late the night before, but the anticipation of the days events fought off the heavy eyelids. It was a quick 20 minute ride to 161st street. We got off the train and headed for the stairs back to the street. My first look at her was not what I imagined. Here stood a big concrete bowl, showing every one of her 85 years. I expected the corner made famous on Seinfeld! Across the street was the new, chique replacement. With "Yankee Stadium" scripted in gold and a roman architecture facade, the new girl was much better looking, but we weren't here for her. Under the tracks of the 4 train, which runs almost right through center field, stood all the vendors. White and blue pinstripes could be seen in dozens of storefronts. Even though the first pitch was 3+ hours away, people were already lined up outside of her. We didn't wake up early to stand in line, that's not how we roll. At dinner the night before Jeremy Guthrie offered to introduce us to Yankee Stadium. We met up with him and headed around the concrete bowl, headed for the players tunnel. I was nervous, like what you feel before a first date. There was one huge difference; she is a celebrity, not Jessica Simpson, but Anne Hathaway, a girl with looks and substance.

We arrived at the entrance, it felt like an out-of-body experience. My first time with her, her last time hosting someone under the afternoon sun. With all that has happened inside her walls, she will never remember me, but I will remember that first glimpse of the blue seats and green grass for a long time. There I was, among 20 or so people, about to experience something 10 million New Yorkers would give up their first born to experience. We stopped and took a picture from behind home plate, the perfectly manicured grass sparkling in the background. I would have been happy to leave then, but our date was just getting started...


She led me down the aisles, where I noticed there was a metal bar going through the middle of each section which was odd, through the box seats and onto the field. She was letting me on the field on our first date! I did not know how to react...should I walk over to the dugout, reach down and touch the grass, or just continue to stand there with my chin hanging down? I walked down into the visitors dugout, think of all the legends that have sat there! I didn't care about her past relationships, she was mine for now.


Again, we took pictures in the dugout and standing right outside of it. Then, another surprise. Jeremy had brought a few plastic bags for us to get some infield dirt. I walked across the grass to third base. Rather timidly, I reached down and let the soil run through my fingers. How could she have such a unique gift for me? More pictures were taken around third base, then we headed to left field, where I would really get to know her past flings.

In Monument Park, I found out this girl has a bit of stalker in her. Out here between the left field fence and the visitors bullpen is where she keeps Shrines to her exes that meant a lot to her. Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle; legends who bowed down to my date. She commemorates big events that she has hosted, like Papal Visits and other people who have been influential in who she has become. Not being a Yankee fan, this was the part of our date that meant the least to her, but I was excited that she was willing to open up to me about these things so close to her. It was also in left field where we were able to walk up to the visitors bullpen and look down into the home bullpen.

Again, it struck me how many greats had spent time with her here on these mounds. Before ending the first part of our day together, she let us walk out into left field. My dad tried to impress her by saying he could make a home run robbing catch over the wall, but she saw right through him. After 85 years, she has a pretty good eye for what she wants.


That was it for our private time. We walked back out through the players tunnel, and who happened to be walking in at that same time but Derek Jeter. He is one of the guys she keeps going back to; unable to let go, even when he batting average dips under .250. He will probably end up in Monument Park one day...jerk.

A few hours later, we returned, this time to take in the final game Yankee Stadium will host on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. It was a perfect day, I didn't expect anything less. We made our way back inside, this time with the street folk :), and found our seats. We were at the top of the lowest deck, right behind home plate. Best of all, we were in the shade.

It was different being with her when there were another 55,000 people there. It actually added to the magic. We witnessed a great game, the last walk-off victory at Yankee Stadium. During the 7th inning stretch, she asked us to sing "God Bless America" with her before "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." This tradition started after 9/11, I hope it lives on in the new place. Once the final run crossed the plate, Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" played over the loudspeakers at least ten times. Once everyone cleared out, I had a little bit more personal time with her. She had me come back down the front row box seats, where I witnessed something I never expected. The Yankees manager, Joe Girardi, and their center fielder, Johnny Damon, brought their kids out to hit and pitch. 5 or 6 kids were running the bases and fielding grounders on this piece of history. That is something I will never forget. After a few minutes, she told me that our date needed to end.

She apologized for how much her age was showing, but it was hardly noticeable through all the history oozing out of each crack. We said our goodbyes, and made our way back out to 161st.

They say she has ghosts living inside of her. I don't know if that is true, but if they aren't living there, she at least lets them rent on occasion. I would have been happy to fly out Saturday morning for this date, then fly right back home afterwards. Lucky for me, I was able to experience more of New York, but this date with Yankee Stadium was far and away the highlight of my trip.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Great Speeches in History

Last week I found a great podcast called Great Speeches in History. Obviously, what they are is self-explanatory. I downloaded a few for the trip to NY, listening to them has caused me to reflect. I got through Ronald Reagan's "Tear Down this Wall", Winston Churchill's First Speech as Prime Minister, Malcolm X's "The Ballot or the Bullet" and JFK's democratic nomination speech. I had heard parts of all these before, but it was so interesting to hear them all in their entirety. All day I have been thinking about two things: 1. Why is it that all of these are more than 20 years old? and 2. What would be something could cause such a speech to happen today? As to the first question, I could not think of an answer, but I have spent a lot of time thinking about the second question and have come up with an answer of my own that I would like to share.

One of the main themes of all the speeches was the unification of people for the greater good. I loved how Malcolm X talked about how we let religion seep into too many conversations/debates, when really there are many things that effect our daily lives no matter what religion we are. He also acknowledged his enemies and wasn't afraid to confront their opposing views without attacking them. Ronald Reagan gave a stirring speech to the people of Berlin, pointing out that the very people protesting his presence there would not be able to protest if they got their way. He never spoke bad about the communist people, just about the regime that forced them to live that different lifestyle. Even though I have very little respect and no admiration for JFK, his acceptance speech had nothing of the jabs and twisting of words that accompanies political speeches today.

Barack Obama has been hailed by many as a great orator, which he very much is. Malcolm X was not very eloquent, stumbling over his words and repeating simple phrases over and over, but he spoke from his heart. There is a simple way to explain why these great speeches have survived the test of time, compared to the rhetoric filled "word vomit" we hear all to often; these men were not presenting ideas, but ideals. They all understood we live in a world where there will always be hate and discord, but their understanding of opposition in all things allowed them to present the other side of hate and discord. Malcolm X spoke about building up the economy of black communities, Reagan spoke about reuniting a continent, Churchill expressed his true faith that good would overcome evil and JFK absorbed the religious bigotry to unite his party. None of them said things like, "living in a perfect world" or "a world without hate." They all expressed well thought out plans and desires to make the world better. I was so impressed by some of the things Malcolm X said about differences between religion. He is so right, many times we allow differences in religion cloud the similarities that exist between two people.


After putting these thoughts together, I tried to answer my second question from above; What would be something could cause such a speech to happen today? What Malcolm X spoke about regarding religion caused me to make a comparison to how political party affiliation effects relationships and conversations with those around us, not to mention the decisions made by our elected officials. Regardless of party affiliation, I believe it is easy to see that the political system is not what our fore-fathers intended it to be. It is time to overlook our differences on abortion laws and gay marriage and be united to change a tired system.

It was announced last week that Obama spent over $60 million in August, while John McCain spent over $40 million. That is $100 million spent in one month, while the two argue over who has the best plan to fix the economy. Maybe by allowing that $100 million dollars to go back into the communities it came from? Campaign reform has the possibility to evoke the same lasting speeches as generations before us. It is something anybody can have a basic understanding of. How hard must it be for a father who works 60 hours a week to make ends meet see a millionaire presidential candidate getting off a private jet paid for not out of his own pocket, but by someone who could have used that $2500 to buy something in his community? According to opensecrets.org, a site that tracks where campaign donations come from and how they are spent, the two main candidates have already raised a combined $700 million dollars! Combine that with the $600 million raised by candidates who have already dropped out of the race and that makes $1.3 billion used to campaign for the office of President. Where does all that money go? TV ads, charter planes, meals, campaign buses, salaries, etc. There has to be a better way and that is something everyone, regardless of race, religion, party, can agree on.

At dinner a few weeks ago, we talked about the appeal of a candidate that would not respond to each little jabs and planted rumor from opponents. Take that a few steps further and imagine a candidate who refused to charter a plane to travel from each "swing state", which has to include enough room for all the journalists that track his every move. Or a candidate who doesn't run inflammatory ads during the other party's convention. Instead of traveling with dozens of "advisers", he convinces an airline executive to donate a few seats on a commercial flight instead of money to the campaign. If a candidate could prove to the public they were that committed to improving the economy, then I could start to believe that they truly care about all the people they shake hands with. These ideas should not make people laugh, but should reflect how a campaign works.

Wouldn't it be great to turn on the TV tonight and witness a world changing speech? I am 22 years old and have not experienced that, but I hope my life doesn't pass without that experience. With the technical resources we have at our disposal, Malcolm X wouldn't have to speak to a few thousand people in a Detroit church. It could be broadcast around the country and the world. I hope one day we can experience that and be united in ideals, not broken apart by the empty promises that seem to dominate the nightly news.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Football Frenzy

I dove/dived in head first to football over the last 3 weeks and have not been disappointed. The most amazing part of that sentence is understood by UNLV football fans and "not disappointed" in the same sentence. Yes, I was frustrated when they bent over and got their butts spanked in the second half against Utah, but the other 5 halves they have played made up for it. Sitting with my dad in our living room on saturday still seems as if it was a dream. Coming from 10 points down in the fourth quarter? Still no turnovers this season? A one-handed catch in the end zone? By a freshman? From Las Vegas?...I could go on for a while on how surprised I was to even be in that game, much less win! Here are a few highlights.



The Colts almost got off to a 0-2 start, which may have caused me to go into depression. Even though they ended up winning yesterday's stinker against Minny, I had dreams last night of Greg Gumble saying, "Peterson, still on his feet" while I was being dragged by Adrian Peterson for 5 extra yards. That bent but dont break defense will not work against the big guns! I am not worried about the offense. Peyton should be rusty after knee surgery and no snaps in the preseason. Add to him losing half of his offensive line, including the rock Jeff Saturday, and his favorite check down receiver, Dallas Clark, the rocky start is not a big surprise. They looked a lot better in the second half yesterday, hopefully they can put it all together in the coming weeks. I am a bit worried about the defense. Adrian Peterson is good, but I dont know that he was ever tackled for a loss. Bob Sanders needs to step it up!

I am very excited for the Monday Night game. Philly-Dallas. Shay got lucky this weekend that Keith has been taking his meds, or else her questions of, "What city do the eagles play in?" may have led to a homicide in the Las Vegas area. After the boring Sunday Night game, the boys and eagles should provide enough fireworks for the whole weekend.

One thing to think about. With the way Aaron Rodgers has started, do you think the browns are in any hurry to get Pretty Boy Brady Quinn off the bench? They were in similar situations coming out of college, possible lottery pick, but slid to late in the first round. Hopefully teams will start to see the value of a young qb sitting on the sidelines for a few years soaking up information before throwing him into the fire. I think this is a major reason the NFL needs a rookie pay scale, so teams dont feel bad about letting a guy develop instead of having to guarantee 30 mil, only to see him bust out because of the pressure.

Well, thats about it for the first few weeks of football. We planned our flights to and from NY on Jetblue, enabling us to watch the thursday night college game on the flight out there and the nfl games on the way home...thats dedication, homes.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dear Old Shiz

Ya, the title of this blog comes directly from Wicked. I am listening to it right now, which is odd because I have never been enamored with the music (the play itself was fabulous but i never fell for the music), but when one of the songs came on while my ipod was on shuffle, it seemed to fit my mood.

There has not been much excitement in my life lately, just the everyday habits of schooling and working, but all that is about to change. This weekend we are going to Vegas for Justin's farewell. It is weird that he is finally leaving, he had a long wait. Since Hannah made honor roll last year, we are going to Love on Friday night. I cant express my excitement! The Beatles, Cirque du Soleil and CPK all in one night are rumored to cause seizures, I hope that is a false rumor. Also, our friends Trevor and Lauren are coming down to spend the weekend in Vegas also. Trevor and I will be golfing on Saturday, hopefully the girls can figure out something to do while we are enjoying a beautiful day at TPC.

As if all that wasn't enough, we are finally making my "bachelor" trip to New York next weekend. At the beginning of the year, I realized Yankee Stadium was about to go into its last season and neither me, chase nor my dad had ever been there. After discussing this with my dad, we decided this needed to change. The trip had originally been planned for a few weeks before the wedding, hence the bachelor trip name, but due to unforeseen circumstances (or a crazy Spanish teacher at BHS) we had to postpone the trip. We ended up hitting the jackpot. Now, we will be attending the final day game in the history of Yankee Stadium I.

I have spent all of 8 hours in NY, so I am beyond excited for the trip. Food, baseball, booing the Yankees, food, Broadway and 30 rock all in a few days? Sounds like one of my dreams! If anyone has suggestions for New York activities, let me know in the comments. You don't have to tell us the obvious things, those are taken care of, but I like to find something off the beaten path on every vacation.

I am enjoying the Wicked music way too much. I think this more accurately explains my current mental state than any adjectives I could use. Remember, no one mourns the wicked.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Albert Einstein

A few quotes from Albert Einstein to start off the week.
"If A is a success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut."

One of my favorites:
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
I first heard this one from my mission president. It pops into my head everytime I talk to friends who dont know why life isnt going the way they want it to, when they have never made any drastic changes to who they hang around or how they treat people.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Jay Leno and Arsenio

Last night I turned on Jay Leno, which I dont do very often. It ended up being the greatest Late Night television that I have ever seen. Arsenio Hall was the main guest and it basically just turned into him doing a stand up routine. My favorite part was when he said no matter who gets elected there is going to be a hot first lady! Shawn Johnson came on after that and I think Jay could have said Im hungry and she would have laughed. She definitely acted like a 16 year old, but you could tell she loved being there. Luckily for all who missed it, you can watch it on Hulu. It is definitely worth the time!

It is not up yet, but I will post the link when it goes up.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Our Future Leaders

I am watching Barack Obama's acceptance speech at the DNC. Five minutes into it, all he has said is Thank You. Michele just smiled!!! Anyways, just a few thoughts on him and his running mate, Joe Biden.

Obama decided he was ready to run for President after 142 days as a senator. He must have a lot of confidence in himself! After 142 days as a new employee, he thought, "I can run this place." Not only that, but he has convinced democrats across the nation that 142 days is enough experience to become POTUS.

Where is the money for change going to come from? He wants to cut taxes, but increase welfare, government health care, etc. States are already cutting budgets and still not finding the necessary resources to function properly. How will he reduce the national debt when all he plans to do is expand government programs? Why dont voters think of these things before casting their votes?!?

He is speaking tonight in front of 80000 people at Mile High Stadium. It reminds me of the videos of Adolph Hitler speaking. Not that I think Obama is Hitler, but his speaking ability is amazing. While McCain is hoping 15,000 people show up to the rally where he will announce his VP, 80,000 pack themselves in to hear Mr. Change. How many of these people have sat down and weighed the pros and cons of each candidate? In this day and age, it is almost impossible to agree on every stance that a politician has, so one must choose the one that most closely resembles them.

I wish i was recording this speech, so I could go back and write down every promise he has made. So many of them are contradictory. Not that this is something that only Obama does, almost all politicians do that, but it is chilling that all these people are cheering the impossible.

If Obama is elected, his VP will be Joe Biden. This is a man who in a 1988 speech while campaigning for president, said he had 3 bachelor degrees, received a full scholarship to Law School and graduated in the top third of his class. After further research, it was discovered that he had not 3, not 2, but 1 bachelor degree. Received less than a half scholarship to Law School and graduated in the bottom 10% of his class. Later, it came out that the reason he graduated so low was because he plagarised papers, then, used a speech by a British politician without disclosing it wasnt his own. He was willing to lie in 1988 to get to the White House, why wouldnt he do it again?

I am not convinced that John McCain is the best man to be President of the US, but he might be the best of two bad choices. When his opponents make a big deal of him not knowing how many houses he and his wife own, he is doing pretty good! I am sure any democrat would love to be in a position where he his wife could buy all the houses she wanted to, using her own money! I honor him for the service he has provided to our nation, but he failed in 2000 and I feel he will fail again.

At a time when our nation is bruised and beaten, I feel we as a nation have not chosen the two best possible Presidents. I hope and pray that whomever is elected will take advantage of what the Lord has offered to elected officials in the Doctrine and Covenants, because neither of them are anywhere close to being strong enough to pick our nation back up on his own. I am scared to death of what will become of our nation if a Obama is elected with a Democratic congress. The thought of Harry Reid and Obama as the most powerful men in government shakes me to the core. Make sure that you take a look at every candidate and how they feel compared to how you feel. Dont vote for someone because he can fill an 80,000 seat stadium.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Priceless advice from the geniuses at SNL

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sobrepujamos!!!

The US Womens Soccer team won the Gold Medal this morning! They beat Marta and the mighty brazilians in a hard fought game that was very entertaining. It is considered an upset, since Brazil beat the US in the the World Cup last year and the top US scorer was injured right before the olympics. I was happy to see Hope Solo get some redemption for being held out of the World Cup game. The save she made in the second half on Marta, the best player in the world, was beautiful!

Friday, August 15, 2008

United States Domination

The world is back in the correct order of power after last night's gymnastics competition. Shay gets mad at me when the Chinese start their routines, as I cheer for them to fall. Then, when they actually do, I cheer even louder! What can I say? I want my country to be the best! If the other countries cant handle the heat, get out of the kitchen.

It was great to see Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson go 1-2 in the all-around. Now, if only the US can take Gold in every individual apparatus, wouldnt that be great?
If you want to see a similar reaction to the one I had this morning (I was tired last night so I had to finish this morning via Tivo) watch Bela karolyi in this clip.

Go USA!!!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Diversity Training

So, it seems like the same three or four people are always commenting on the blog, and I would like to connect with other readers. As a little experiment, every once in a while I will post about interesting things about random people I meet. This experiment will be titled "Diversity Training."

In the first installment of "Diversity Training" I am going to mention the hometowns of a few people I have met over the past few weeks. I dont know the names of most of these people, but where they came from was either interesting, new to me, or both.

1. Dillon, MT. This is a town of about 2000 in the northwest corner of Montana. I met this person while standing in line at the post office, she was a nice lady who had moved to Cedar to live with her eldest son.

2. Cedar Valley, UT. The reason for this one is obvious. I didnt know there was a town named Cedar Valley. I hear people from Enoch, Beaver or Parowan say they are from the Cedar Valley, so when I was talking to the girl who helped me with my residency application the other day, I assumed she was from one of those places. Then she said something about home up north so I did some detective work. It is a city west of Lehi in UT County. Interesting.

3. Virginia Beach, VA. I am interested in any town with the word beach in it. I dont know much about this place, so if anyone has any interesting anecdotes about it, let me know!

There you have it for the first installment of "Diversity Training." Since I thought of this concept, I have tried to talk more to random strangers, hoping to discover a hidden gem in their life. If you have anything to add about these places, or any ideas for a future installment of "Diversity Training" let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympic Thoughts

The following are a view thought about the olympics so far.

-Dwayne Wade is so close to being back to 2005-2006 form. The way he is slashing down the baseline and skying for rebounds over guys 6 inches bigger than him has to be very promising to the Heat. Then, consider they have two former rebels also starting for them, which means I may have to make them my early pick for the NBA title!

-It was awesome to see the USA rack up medals last night in swimming. People are talking about how China could overtake us in the medal count this year, but they forget to mention the US Rule that was instituted for this year. In the past, each country could send 3 swimmers in each race, but they got tired of seeing three americans on the medal stand, so now each country can only send two. Americans have said the trials races were more competitive than some olympic finals...that is proof of US dominance in the pool.

-When the French relay team said they would crush us, that quote came from a guy named Alaine. Why would anyone take a guy named Alaine seriously?

-As much as I am cheering against the Chinese, I couldnt help but smile while hearing the crowd go crazy for their Mens Gymnastics. Had they lost, the guy who stepped out of bounds on the floor exercise would have returned home to discover his family had died due to mysterious circumstances.

-Sticking with gymnastics, how could anyone not have a huge smile on thier face watching the reactions of the american men? When Johnathan Horton and Justin Spring threw down the gauntlet on the High Bar I was thoroughly convinced they were going to pull out a win.

-On a final gymanstics note, I am very against the new scoring system. I understand why it was instituted, to take power from the judges, but the difficulty score is way too important. A guy shouldnt be able to improve his teams score after getting an 8.8, but with a high difficulty score that can cover up the mistakes. There should be some reward for difficulty, but the execution of the routine needs to be 90% of the overall score!

-I am going to have to disagree with Alec and Keith. I agree with what they said about Trampoline and Rhythmic Gymnastics, and equestrian but for sports like sailing, shooting and all the swimming and track events, let them have their glory every four years. We worship basketball, football and baseball players all day everyday, when most of the them are overpaid jerks. I have no problem with the guy who only works so he can afford the best equipment and training.

-I am so proud to be an American. Even though I cant stand Michael Phelps, I still cheer for him. When the National Anthem plays as he in on the medal stand, tears appear in my eyes. Another reason to not like Phelps, he doesnt even mouth the words to the National Anthem. I doubt he values Gold Medals anymore, as long as they bring more endorsements...but he better get all 8, or I am gonna pull a Chinese on his family.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Barry Bonds and Almost Witnessing History

This summer I have been in an English class called Writing About Baseball. As the title shows, we have read a few baseball novels and I have had to write about different baseball related experiences. One of the papers had to be about my baseball conversion. As I am not really a baseball fan, just a sports fan, I thought it would be difficult, but then I remembered this experience from last summer. This paper was probably my favorite one that I have ever written, I hope you enjoy it!

Lying underneath the bright California sun, my mind is not lost in thought, as is usually the case while on the beach; instead, it is focused on what I am going to experience later in the day. While the country is split over what to think of Barry Bonds and his chase for 755, my imagination runs away with the thought that I could see him hit the record tying home run. My family___ and a few friends were headed to Petco Park in Downtown San Diego on the evening of August 3, 2007 for a game between the San Diego Padres and my San Francisco Giants. This had become a family tradition in recent years, signaling the beginning of our Beach Week. Little did we know 4 months earlier when tickets were purchased that we had a chance to witness history.

Technically, this story begins on Labor Day weekend of 1998. Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire were battling for the single season home run record, then 60, held by Roger Maris. Four years earlier, Major League Baseball lost many fans because of the labor stopping strike. This home run chase was exactly what the league needed to regain pre-strike popularity. As a 10 year-old boy, I followed this story very closely. Each night I would watch Sportscenter, hoping to hear that McGuire still had the lead. To this day, almost 10 years later, I remember being on the trampoline in our backyard when my dad came out and told me McGuire was at-bat with the record on the line. I cheered and ran around the house when the ball sailed over the wall; my baseball conversion had begun.

On July 27, 2007, Barry Bonds hit home run number 754. I was a bit nervous; he had a whole week of games to play before the game we were going to. Then, as if the gods were intervening on our behalf, it was announced he would not play in the Giants’ series against the Dodgers in L.A. Those two teams are fierce rivals and Barry did not want to break the record while being booed constantly. I arrived in San Diego on July 31, the last day of the Giants’ series in L.A. After a day off, they started a three-game series with the Padres. Thursday, we spent the day on the beach, enjoying the sun and sand. Usually, we stay out on the beach until the sun starts setting, but we had to change our routine around when Barry Bonds would be at bat. We would head inside right as the game started, anxiously anticipating that moment he would stand at the plate, elbow and shin pads on tight, waiting to jump on the first good pitch. My family comes from the Bay Area. Barry Bonds was the first athlete I ever idolized. We don’t understand the fuss about him and steroids, we just accept that he did use them and keep cheering. This understanding allowed all of us to really enjoy the moment each time he was at bat, while the rest of the sports world constantly debated whether records should be valid or not. To our excitement, no record tying or breaking home runs were hit that Thursday night, setting up perfectly for our family trek to the ballpark.

Friday morning, my cousin Jake, our friend AJ and I headed out to the beach. We knew it was only a few hours until we would take the train from Oceanside to the Gaslamp District to meet up with my parents for the game. The word excited would not even begin to describe how we were feeling. The night before, we watched the newscasters talk about all press frenzy happening at the park, knowing we would be a part of it. At about 3 p.m., we got all cleaned up and headed for the train station. As a Giants fan, my black and orange hat stood out among all the Padres shirts and hats that slowly packed the train. Padres fans have always been very courteous, but they seemed to be just as excited as me to possibly witness history. In my mind, it was a near perfect situation for Bonds. Other than not playing in his home stadium, he was close to his childhood home, Southern California, in a beautiful ballpark, amongst fans who really understood what could happen that night. We arrived safely in front of Petco Park and proceeded to find my parents and head into the park. The atmosphere and electricity of the game was evident immediately upon entrance. Food and drink vendors seemed to be yelling just a bit louder and every usher ready to help create a perfect ballpark experience for each fan; they did not want to take away from the historic moment each fan was praying to experience.

Finally, the game started. We were seated directly between 1st base and the right field wall, about 10 rows up. Since the Giants were the away team, there was a chance Bonds would be up right in the top of the 1st inning. Once Dave Roberts bunted for a single, we knew the first opportunity for Bonds would be coming soon. After two quick outs, it was time. Everyone in the stadium stood in unison, like there was a choir conductor leading us on the big screen. Flashbulbs started exploding throughout the crowd, adding to the already electric atmosphere. Much to my satisfaction, the majority of the Padres crowd were cheering Bonds, with only a smattering of boos heard. Each pitch brought the crowd to a quick silence, only to exhale with a missed swing. Bonds ended up striking out on a called third strike, leaving the crowd to wait a few more innings for his next at-bat.

When the top of the order came up again in the top of the 3rd, we knew Bonds was just two hits away. Dave Roberts and Randy Winn provided those hits and after a Ray Durham groundout, it was history time again. The crowd reacted the same way as the previous at-bat. Everyone on their feet, knowing that a home run would provide them with a story their grandkids would ask to hear over and over again. Just like before, Bonds did not come through. He grounded out on the second pitch to end the inning. It would not be until the 6th inning that Bonds would get another at-bat, this time fooling the crowd with a long, deep fly ball that was caught easily by Mike Cameron. Three at-bats, three outs. Never did I think we would be let down. In my mind, he was just waiting until his final at-bat to provide the fireworks. It was a close game and what a better way to win than on a history making home run?

That time came in the top of the 8th inning. Bonds was due up second and the Giants were winning 3-0 after a 2 run 7th. This was it! Again, crowd on its feet, cameras flashing in all directions; frankly, it was hard for me to focus on Bonds through all the flashes. All of the hoopla was for nothing, as Bonds grounded out to the first baseman. In the bottom of the 8th, he was replaced by Fred Lewis, manager Bruce Bochy assuming the Giants would take care of business and win the game. The Padres went on to score 3 runs in the bottom of the 8th, which would lead to extra innings. Of course, the Giants had gone through enough batters in the 9th that would have made it possible for Bonds to hit again in the 10th, had he stayed in the game. This switch would prove to be important our minds, considering how the next day’s game played out.

Again, we all left the beach earlier than normal that night to catch Bonds’ first at-bat. My dad did not think he would hit one that night and stayed out on the beach. I went up to Jake and AJ’s room to watch the game with them and my Uncle Keith. The Giants batters went 1-2-3 in the top of the 1st and the Padres scored one run in the opposite half of the inning. After what seemed like the longest commercial break in history, Barry Bonds was at the plate. There is no doubt in my mind that the stadium reacted the same way we had reacted the day before for each of his at-bats. With the count at 2-1, Clay Hensley of the Padres threw the pitch. Bonds connected and sent it to the opposite field and out to tie Hank Aaron’s record of 755. We ran out onto the balcony of our condo that overlooked the ocean. My dad and his sister were still sitting out there, having missed what just happened. We started screaming to them what had happened like we were 10 years old and our favorite team had just won a championship. The other 100 or so people between us and them must have thought we had lost our minds, but they didn’t understand how we felt about that moment. About five minutes later I realized we should have seen that home run. If the Giants manager had left Bonds in for extra innings, he would have had that at-bat to break the record, instead of waiting until his first at-bat the next day. I was disappointed, but satisfied that he had finally tied the record. Three days later, with the whole family around the TV this time, we watched as Mike Bascik gave up home run number 756, knowing we had come so close to being eyewitnesses to history.

While Barry Bonds walked from the on-deck circle to the batter’s box, as the crowd rose to its feet and the first of many flashes went off, I knew my journey from a 10 year-old jumping on the trampoline waiting for my dad to tell me to come witness history, to putting myself in position to witness it first hand, had completed the transformation from sports fan to baseball fan. It took a long time, but the wait was well worth it. I was born with Giants blood, so it was going to take a Giant to bring those feelings out into the open. I hope this is not the climax of my experience as a fan, but just the experience that will start me on a journey to something bigger and better. If it is the climax, I will always be able to tell my children about the time their dad almost witnessed history. One at-bat later…

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Blog funk

Havent had much to blog about lately. I have a lot to say about Brett Favre, but there has been such an overload of stuff about him that I cant bring myself to add to that. Lately I have just been working and getting stuff done for my english class, nothing too fun. The beach is coming up quick, shay and I are driving to vegas on wednesday night and then we will head down to San Diego on thursday. Hopefully things will happen worth blogging about!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mick, Derek and George


I have been in a picture posting mood lately, here is another one.
Notice Mickey Mantle in the dugout, taking a few warmup swings. My favorite part has to be Dubya in the stands. The best part about this card...its real. Topps actually printed it like this and will not issue a reprint.

Monday, July 14, 2008

My Middle Name is Hussein



Gotta love it. One newspaper said, "While The New Yorker subscribers will surely appreciate and understand this cover, the general public will go into an uproar."

Isn't a magazine supposed to please those who pay the bills?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Out of this World

I was glad to see Twitch in the bottom 3 last night on SYTYCD, since we had yet to see his solo. If he is gonna do something like this every week, people need to stop voting for him! How someone can move their hands and feet like that at the same time is unreal.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Madge and A-Rod

Stuart Scott read a quote from Madonna on Sportscenter last night. He literally had to pause for a second before he read the intro to the quote. What is the world coming to when a response by Madonna to gossip column reports is read on the World Wide Leader? Why is A-Rod's wife finally filing for divorce? What, the picture of him coming out of a strip club with a $900 an hour stripper didnt do enough damage? Im sure she was just waiting until he signed a new deal, more money for her to fight for!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Random Observations

-Shay and I saw Hancock last night, it was very good. I had seen a lot of negative reviews, but it is a perfect Will Smith 4th of July movie. I would highly recommend it, but watch out for the little ones, there is a lot of language.

-It was fun to watch a lot of the dancers struggle last night on SYTYCD. When they have to perform two dances, it leaves a lot less time to brush up on each little detail. The "Dreaming With a Broken Heart" dance from Twitch and Kherington was awesome, although I might be a little biased as that is my favorite John Mayer song.

-Why is baseball season so long? Luckily ESPN is smart and airs the My Wish stories on sportscenter during the dog days of summer, in the middle of all those baseball "highlights" that seem to run together.

-4th of July is going to be very different this year. With my dad and janae out of the country and the fact that Shay and I are going to her parents house, means no all-day pool parties and illegal firework shows! Usually I am one who embraces change, but this is my favorite holiday of the year and am nervous that I will be disappointed...but I am still VERY excited for Hannah Montana. :)

-College basketball season cannot come fast enough. After the Australia tour, it seems like the rebels are in the middle of their season. This "teaser" was worth it though.

Just a few things I wanted to get out of my head. Once I can find a good youtube video of it, I will post my favorite SYTYCD routine of this week. (You know you secretly like all the dancing Steve)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Chelsie and Mark

Best dance of the season so far!



Shay and I watched it a few times last night and we got chills everytime. Freaking amazing!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I Can't Handle It!

Are politicians just 5 year old kids in 50 year old bodies (or in McCain's case, 110)? Why cant they just present their viewpoints without bashing what their opponent has to say? Things have gotten so petty, and there is still 4 months until the election! Obama was in Vegas yesterday and said some outrageous things about McCain's energy plans, while he himself was making outrageous promises. Where does it end? I think President Bush should secretly set up hidden cameras in all the places the candidates go when they are not in public...houses, buses, planes, etc. I mean, Bush has nothing to lose now, people bash him constantly, why not do something like this to show the American people just who these two really are? I know thats a crazy idea, but I want to hear what Barack says when it is just him and his wife flying another 1000 miles, deciding if they should bash McCain's immigration policy or his Iraq policy!

Honestly, I think Michelle Obama is the biggest threat to the United States.

I have seen her on a few different shows, from the Colbert Report to the View (just highlights on the news, i dont watch the view), and still have never seen her smile. The First Lady is the mother of america! If you want to see what type of mother someone who doesnt smile becomes, watch John and Kate Plus 8...do we want someone like that going to bed each night with our President? The guy will go crazy! Can we please get a reprieve from these two until October?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

EURO 2008

As most of you know, I am what you would call an avid sports fan. Outside of regular season baseball, put a sporting event on tv and I will watch it. I have been very excited about this years European Championships, known as The EURO's, which is arguably the toughest tournament in the world to win...yes, even tougher than the World Cup. There was no clear cut favorite this year, but the majority of people thought Portugal would have the best chance. They have two great offensive player, Deco and Cristiano Ronaldo. Cristiano Ronaldo is different from the other Ronaldo many have heard of. CR is a 23 year old who is the best player in the world. Not only that, but I have heard from many he is stunningly good looking. Last month, he led his club team, Manchester United, to the Champions League title, which is the like winning an NBA title, it is the best club league in the world.

I have been enthralled by the tournament thus far. Since we moved back to Cedar, I have gotten a lot done around the house with the games on. The ones I cant watch, I have tivoed, but that usually doesnt go well because I dont have enough self control to not find out who won. The quarterfinals started a few days ago, and 3 of the 4 matches went to extra time, OT for you yanks. Two of those three went to penalty kicks, which the players hate, but the audience loves. I didnt get to see the pk's between Italy and Spain today, but the Turkey/Croatia game was one for the ages. After going 118 minutes tied at 0, Croatia scored. Since extra time only goes to the 120th minute, things looked bleak for Turkey. On a long free kick by the turkey goalie, one of the forwards turned and shot, rifling a ball into the back of the net...on to pk's. The croatians were stunned and only one guy even made his penalty kick. Two didnt even hit the net and one was saved. The turks score 3 of 4 and won that game.

There are many out there who dont appreciate soccer, but games like this make watching it so satisfying!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!!!



KG, The Big Ticket, Member of the Boston Three Party

He finally won a championship! Even though I am not a Celtics fan, I am definitely a Kevin Garnett fan. Since the NBA started advertising their league has a players league instead of a team league 15 years ago, I have not had a favorite NBA team. Instead, I have linked myself to certain players. KG was the first that I latched onto. For too many years, he played on not good enough teams in Minnesota. I died each year as they failed to get out of the first round. Then, in 2005, it seemed as if they had finally gotten over the hump, only to be knocked out in the conference finals.

When I heard about KG possibly being traded this past summer, I hoped it would be to the Suns, who were the closest team in the league to being my team. When he ended up going to the Celtics, I found myself in a hard place. I couldnt cheer for the celtics!!!! The first half of the year, I was enforcing my ban on watching the NBA, hearing about the amazing year it was turning into. I need to thank Jake for bartering a deal that allowed me to resume my NBA fanhood when he left on his mission; basically taking over what he had started.

It did not take long for me to get back into the game. Shay and I started dating and I used her love for the Jazz as an opportunity for me to sharpen up my NBA knowledge. We spent many nights over the past few months listening to the horrible KJZZ announcers! I was back...and so was the NBA.

For the Celtics to blow out the Lakers to clinch the championship was only fitting. Kobe was finally named MVP in a year where two or three other player had valid claims for the trophy. Also, he seemed to disappear after the first quarter in each game. I could not bask enough in the scene of Kobe trying to make his way to the locker room with confetti falling and reporters mauling KG, Ray and The Truth.

The journey of those three, plus the journey of the Celtics franchise back to the top, mirrors my own journey back to being an NBA fan. We all took different routes and had our reasons for our actions, but in the end, everyone won.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

New Blog and New Dog

First off, Shay and I started a new blog for the two of us, which you can get to by clicking here. It will be more of an update on our lives.

Second, we got a dog! Some of you who know me may have fainted when you read that sentence. It was something I have been talking myself into over the last few months, knowing that Shay would really want one. When we were on our honeymoon, I told her, "I have a question for you, but you have to answer it thinking of yourself, not what you think I would want." When I asked her if she would want a dog, she didnt even hesitate before responding "YES!"

We got a little yorkshire terrier, or yorkie. Shay knew from the first time she held her that was the one. While we were looking at a few others, another girl started playing with "our" yorkie. Shay came over to me and said, "That girl is playing with our dog!" Luckily, the girl could not pay for it and we were able to get our Lyla.

I will post a few pictures below. She is only 2.5 pounds and wont get bigger than 4-5. Shay gets jealous because Lyla likes to lay on my lap when we are watching tv...




Thursday, June 12, 2008

So You Think You Can Dance

It is finally that time of the year! So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) is down to the top 20 and my dance critiquing is happening twice a week. SYTYCD is my favorite reality show. You may ask, Dixon, you hate American Idol, isnt SYTYCD the same thing? That is a very valid question, but let me present a few personal reasons why this show consumes my summers.

1. Dancers arent born, they are made.
On AI, you get many people who have grown up singing, but have never recieved proper training. These people have advanced far in the competition in the past. Dancing is a different story. One may be born with a "dancing body" (as I have heard about me before) but without taking classes and a lot of practice, there is no way you can be a competitive dancer. This was evident many times this season, when good dancers advanced to the choreography round but looked as if they had two left feet trying to understand even the basic moves.

2. Participants have personalities.
Yes, American Idol people have personalities, but some of them consist of, I cant believe people actually think I am a good singer so I will cry after every performance. Dancers may be weird sometimes, but at least they know how to act in front of an audience. Plus, you get to see some very entertaining victory/happy dances.

3. Judges make a lot more sense
SYTYCD judges actually critique the dancing, not song choice or choreographer choice. Also, every judge brings something to the table, unlike Paula who they prop up with a cleavage heavy dress on and she only has three or four lines to use the whole season. Many people dont like Lynita Nelson, I mean Mary Murphy, one of the two regular judges, because she never opens her mouth, but at least she knows a thing or two about dancing. Paula knows a thing or two about taking provacative pictures and hiring a good producer (which most AI contestants need to even have a chance of salvaging a singing career).

Anyways, those are a few reasons I am stuck to the couch on Wednesdays and Thursdays during the summer.

Last night was the first non-audition episode. The top 20 we randomly placed into pairs and drew different types of dances out of a hat. Every dance was aboslutely great. This season is going to be very competitive. My top three are Chelsie, Kourtni and twitch. Chelsie has been my pick to win since her first audition. As long as she doesnt get partnered with a weak guy, she should cruise to the top 10.

Tonight is the first elimination. The bottom three couples will all have a chance to perform solos. Then, the judges will send one guy and one girl home. I LOVE THIS SHOW!!!!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Stop Giving Me a Hard Time

I know I have been a horrible blogger over the past two months, but that is about to change. Not only will I update my personal blog more often, but Shay and I have set up a "together" blog which I will post the address for it once we get it all done.

The rebels have started Australia prep, which means we get mid-season like coverage in June!!!! It is an early birthday present for me.

Dont lose faith, I am committed to becoming a better blogger.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Dreaming of Jessica

I rarely remember dreaming during the night. It is an exciting event when I wake up and realize that I actually had a dream the night before, even though I cant recall what it was about. So, when I awake remembering that I had a dream and specifics about what happened in the dream, Hell is on the verge of freezing over!

A few days ago, I woke up from one of those dreams that seems real. It was probably the weirdest/funniest dream I have ever had in my life. Since I am writing this a few days later, I may have forgotten or mixed up some of the details, but the story is still very entertaining.

It was my wedding day. For some reason, everyone was on a bus waiting to go to the temple for the sealing. We were just waiting on Shay. I was sitting in the front of the bus, saving a seat for Shay when another girl got on and sat down next to me. I looked over to her and said, “Sorry, but I am saving this seat for my fiancĂ©e, she should be here any second.” When I looked over at her, I recognized her immediately…it was Jessica Alba. She responded, “I was walking by this bus, when I felt that if I got on, I would find the man of my dreams. That man is you.

(No, this is not a made up story to provide a valid excuse to put a picture of Jessica Alba on my blog!)

I was completely shocked by that and had nothing to say. Next thing I know, she tells the bus driver everyone is on and we head off to the wedding. She sits back down and says, “We are getting married right now,” and nothing else.

What happened between now and the next part I don’t remember, but we were married in some form or another.

Next, I remember being done with all the events for the day. Instead of going to our hotel then heading out on our honeymoon, we stayed our first night at my parents house. It wasn’t the house we live in now, but it was still a very nice house. We were going to stay in a room in the attic. It was decorated very nicely, but you could tell no one had been in there in a while. There was a lot of clutter, but not dirty. We brought all of our stuff up to the room, then headed back downstairs to figure out what to do about our honeymoon.

Since the plane ticket was in Shaylee’s name, we could not leave the next morning. We talked it over with my parents and decided to push back our reservations to Saturday, giving us plenty of time to get everything ready. The weird thing is my parents decided not to move back the open house. They said we didn’t need to be there and they would take care of it.

We headed back upstairs to turn in for the night. Even though it was our wedding night, we stayed up late just talking and ended up sleeping in separate beds. Even though I recognized her as Jessica Alba, in the dream I don’t think she was famous or rich. Since we had only met earlier that day, I didn’t know anything about her. What her finances were like, what her personality was like, etc. When I asked her how much money she had saved her response was, “My parents gave me a US Savings Bond when I was a girl.” That was it!

There was a second day to the dream but I don’t remember anything about it. The worst part about the dream was my conflicting feelings about the whole situation with Shay. On one hand, everything felt right with Jessica Alba, but on the other hand, Shay never found out what happened! She would have come out to the bus and it was gone. I wanted to call her and explain, but I figured her parents would be really mad at me and not let her talk. It was a horrible feeling! Also, I don’t know where Jessica Alba came from. If I made a list of 20 famous people I would want to date, she would not make the list. That was very random.

When I woke up, I was so relieved the whole thing was a dream. Both Lindsey and Shay thought it was very funny, but I was still a little worked up over the whole thing. When I got home from work, the whole thing got a bit weirder. I was on the Yahoo homepage and the main headline was this, Jessica Alba gets married in Secret ceremony last night. WEIRD!!!!! I had a dream that I was marrying Jessica Alba the same night she secretly got married. I cant lie, it kinda freaked me out. Maybe it is a sign that I need to be some kind of psychic, I don’t know, but it definitely provided me with a funny story to tell for years to come!