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Entries from May 2007

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Cup Finals: GO DUCKS


As usual I am late with my NHL picks as we're already two games in to the Stanley Cup Finals. So who am I picking? I have to say I am a little surprised at myself but I find myself rooting for The Anaheim Ducks over The Ottawa Senators.

I guess it's mainly because my friend Turtle is a big Ducks fan and I think it would be cool for him to get to see his team win The Stanley Cup. That would be awesome.

The Ducks are taking a 2-0 series lead and a ton of momentum into Ottawa. Last night the game was dominated by The Ducks, in shots on goal, smooshed faces against the glass and of course, the final score, 1-0.

The series now heads to Ottawa with The Sens needing some wins, big time, if they want to stay in this series. I have a feeling The Senators will bounce back on their home ice and I would not be surprised to see them take two at home to even things up.. We'll have to wait and see!

Note to self: Wait until a commercial to bring the laundry up from the basement. I ran down to get the laundry basket for my Wife and I just f-ing missed Pahlsson's shot, right between Sens defender Joe Corvo's legs. Yeah I saw the replay but it's just not the same dammit... That was a heck of a goal.

There's nothing like playoff hockey. The Stanley Cup is arguably the most difficult trophy to win in all of pro-sports.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Do not adjust your internests..

Hello faithful readers! Just a quick post to let you know I'm dicking around with the site name. The main thing this affects is the name that will show up for the site in an RSS Feed. So if you're subscribed to my feed, first off, THANKS and second, if you noticed the name of the feed changed and were wondering what happened, now you know.

Other than that, it's just the name that appears at the top of the browser window. No big deal.

I'm trying to come up with a new name for the site because I've never really liked 'mr. blackandwhite'. That was just supposed to be a temporary name till I thought up something better. Well, almost 4 years later, I think maybe I have, 'The Man Nook!' Totally stupid, or sheer genius? I don't know, but I kind of like it. I like it better than 'mr. blackandwhite' anyway.. so there you go.

Where in the world did I come up with this goofy new name, 'The Man Nook'? Well the name comes from the Man Nook that exists in my house...

(I'm sure those of you who are male and married with kids can relate to this..)

See, my Wife and Children basically own every room in the house. There is no space to be had for my stuff. I once suggested putting my Patriots Superbowl Footballs out on display on the fireplace mantle. Yes, I thought they would look nice there and add that 'special touch' to the living-room. This suggestion was met with quizzical looks, followed by hearty laughter by everyone in the house.

The exception to this ban on my personal decoration style is a little corner in the basement that I call The Man Nook. You might have heard other men refer to this space in their own homes as 'The Man Zone', 'The Man Cave' or 'Man Town'.

In this little nook I have a tall, circular, bar-room style Patriots table and some Patriots bar-stools set up and I have my autographed New England Patriots photos hanging on the wall and some Red Sox pennants and a shelf for my NASCAR die-cast cars and that sort of thing. It's a very sports oriented nook. There is a beer bottle opener conveniently located right there on the wall. That is my corner of the house and this is my corner on the interweb, so there you go. It's The Man Nook. Come on in, relax and let's shoot the shit. You can see the TV from here too. It's nice.

I'm not switching URL's or anything like that so no need to adjust any links, though I might get another domain if I find this name really sticks. Right now I really like it, but next week I might think it sucks, so I'll cross that bridge when I get there. In the meantime, even though the name is changing it's still the same B.S in the posts.

Thanks for reading! I do appreciate it!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Trot's back at Fenway...

It's good to see Trot Nixon back at Fenway. Even though he is wearing the wrong uniform, he's still got the super-messy ball cap and the wicked cool-manchu. I have always wished that I could grow one of those..

All the reasons that made Trot a favorite with so many people apply here as well. He truly deserves all of the cheers and standing ovations that he has gotten in his return to Fenway as a Cleveland Indian.

And as I watch J.D. Drew ground out to end the 7th inning in tonight's game (with the Sox leading 4-2), I have to say this: I don't like that Drew is wearing Trot's number 7. I have not liked it from the start. This is nothing against Drew himself. It's not that I don't like Drew and I don't have a problem with him per se, I just have a problem with him wearing Trot's number at this point in time.

The Sox should have let that number stand for a year or so before letting someone else wear it. Drew may be a good player and a decent guy but he's got a ways to go before he makes us forget that that 7 belongs to Trot Nixon.

R.I.P. Marquise Hill

I was saddened and dismayed to learn the news that Patriots defensive lineman Marquise Hill has died in an accident while jet-skiing on Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana.

Hill was only 24 years old.

According to news reports, Hill was able to help save his companion, who was a poor swimmer, after they had fallen off of the jet-ski by directing her to a pylon. Unfortunately, due to strong currents, Marquise was pulled away in a different direction.

Apparently, neither Hill nor his companion were wearing life jackets when the accident occurred, which makes no sense to me at all. What could have been going through their minds NOT to be wearing life jackets when jet skiing on a body of water the size of Lake Pontchartrain, especially considering that Hill's companion was reportedly not a good swimmer? Knowing that the loss of Hill's life probably could have been avoided with a simple safety precaution makes this story even more tragic.

There is not much else one can say about this unfortunate loss of a young life. It is a sad day in Patriot Nation. My condolences go out to the friends and family of Marquise Hill. R.I.P.

Monday, May 28, 2007

A sincere and heart felt thank you on Memorial Day

I know it's late in the day at this point but I wanted to send out a sincere and heart-felt THANK YOU on this Memorial Day to all the Men and Women in the U.S. Armed Forces, both past and present.

I have read a few posts here and there online asking if the average citizen remembers and appreciates the sacrifice that the Men and Women in our all volunteer Armed Forces are making on our behalf, and I just wanted to say that our family is truly grateful for everything that those Men and Women have done, and are doing for us right now at this very moment.

To all the Veterans, Thank You.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Rock, rock till you drop... (Some stone wall pics)

Hey everybody! I hope everyone out there is having an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend. Yesterday was a very good day. I got my stone retaining wall completed and I also removed a ton of dead branches and brush from an area of the yard we are going to fix up. I was done by around 3 PM so I got to spend the remainder of the day getting a little relaxing done, hanging out with the family, listening to some tunes and having a few Corona's. Nice.

Here are some pics of the wall in case you are interested to see how it turned out.

Here is before. I had already dug out the side of the hill at this point.
Before: Very muddy and messy

And here is after:
Much nicer..

Next we will put some mulch on the hill and then my Wife is going to do some planting up there. That is her department, flowers and plants. I do the grunt work, she does the details. Believe it or not, every one of those rocks I dug up from my own yard. We have a lot of rocks here. You can't stick a shovel in the ground without hitting one.

Over the next few weeks we are going to work on fixing up that dirt area behind the wall and make it nice. If you compare the two pictures, you'll see all the rocks are gone, because they are now a wall, and I got rid of all the old logs and junk in the back too. That whole area used to be the 'construction zone', where I would pile all the rocks and dirt and other stuff from all the yard-work. We are going to turn it from a construction zone into a fun zone. Because we like fun.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Should I bother trying to get Pats tix today? F YEAH (by the way I didn't get any tix...)

So Patriots tix will go on sale in just a few minutes and I will be once again flailing away on ticketmaster.com, in what will assuredly be a futile attempt to get tickets to a Pats game. Every year I try, every year I'm denied. But, I still keep trying. Cuz I'm stubborn like that and I really love going to Pats games.

Normally Pats tickets sell out in about 2 seconds, if that, which I never understand, but that's how it is.

Here's my plan of attack. This is what I do every year. I log in to ticketmaster and I navigate to the game I am targeting. At the stroke of 10 AM, I refresh the page for the game and start to look for 2 tickets, any price, best seats available. I do this literally at the stroke of 10 AM. And yet, somehow, incredibly, the tickets are somehow gone, almost instantaneously. I'm talking like 15 seconds after 10 AM and the tickets are gone. I don't get it...

This year I'm going for a two pronged attack. My Dad will go for some Jets tix in December and I will go after some Browns tickets in October. We'll see how we do, but I expect failure. Yes, I know that's kind of lame, expecting failure, but ticketmaster has crushed my ticket acquisition optimism...

Here we go...

Update 10:15 AM:
Well as expected, things went pretty much as I described. At 10 AM, on the f-ing DOT I refreshed my page for the Cleveland Browns game. The page became active and I selected 2 tickets, any price, best seats available. Ticketmaster went into search mode and came back with a 'no tickets available' screen.

It was not even 10:01 yet and the tickets for the Browns game, which, next to the Redskins game is probably the game that the least amount of people are interested in, are gone. No tickets available. HOW CAN THAT BE??

At this point I knew in my heart that I was screwed but my stubborn brain decided to keep trying anyway. I tried for another Browns ticket and got the ticketmaster equivalent of the Heisman. At that point, despite the knowledge that this was now an exercise in futility, I tried for some more games. I tried for The J-E-T-S, The Dolphins, The Redskins and The Eagles games. There were no tickets available for any game. Keep in mind this all took place in a matter of minutes. By 10:05 I had thrown in the towel and given up. My Dad had no luck either.

SYNOPSIS:
I have come to the conclusion that this whole Pats tickets on sale to the general public thing is a great big scam. As I said to my Dad after we unsuccessfully tried getting some tickets this morning, I truly believe that there are no tickets available and that The Patriots are simply going through the motions of telling people that there are, when in reality, there is not a single ticket available for Joe Pats Fan. It's an illusion. It's not real.

It's like how when you see an ad in the paper for a job, even though that job has actually already been filled, but the company is required to post the job anyway. It's like that. This ticketmaster / Pats tickets situation is the same exact thing. Even though there are no tickets to be had, The Pats have to tell people that there are game tickets available for the average fans. Then we all go through this little charade of trying to get these imaginary tickets that don't really exist, just like when you saw that job in the paper that looked so cool but in reality had already been filled by the boss' cousin two weeks ago. You are fucked going in.

But I'm not bitter... I'll just have to watch The Pats 19-0 season from the comfort of my living room I guess..

Monday, May 21, 2007

It's Faster Than The World's First Birthday!

This week marks the 1st birthday of my favorite interweb hangout, Faster Than The World. FTTW is almost a toddler now! Pretty soon it'll be up on both feet, rambling around, pulling all the cd's out of the cd rack, and generally climbing on and getting into everything.

Time to baby-proof. What? Oh, you say that we don't need to do that because it's a website? Hmmm. Have you seen what it's gotten into lately?

There's always something interesting going on over at Faster Than The World. You never know what you're going to get that's for sure. Every day is different so head over there this week and check it out. To celebrate the big birthday there's going to be contests AND prizes! Wow! Yes you can actually win a lap-dance with one of FTTW's writers. Or a t-shirt. Maybe.

While you're over there, check out the new addition to FTTW, Faster Than The Blog. Yes, FTTW now has a blog. Or blarg as I like to call it. Because I hate the word 'blog', as you may know. Think of it as a spill-over site for all the extra.. 'stuff'. It's all about having fun over there so head on over and enjoy!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Updates from last week...

Well I still am chained to the desk until I get a new wireless router. I'm thinking of getting the Airport Express.

In the mean time, chained to the desk for updates.

Last week I did the following:

- Went to a Red Sox game (Tue night game. The Sox lost 7-2. Rats.) courtesy of Iain of The Baseball Desert, who had an extra ticket for the game.

- Met Iain from The Baseball Desert.

- Met Beth's Dad.

- Met Beth's Fiance'.

- Met Jerry Remy and got his autograph.

- Had a Rem-Dog for the first time. My god. This was the most biggest hot-dog I had ever seen in my life. It was the size of a keilbassa. Good thing I like hot-dogs.

- Did not meet Beth. Supposedly she was in Chicago for work but I think she is avoiding me. We were supposed to meet at a Pats game once too. Hmmm. (If you read this, just kidding Beth!) So now I know everybody in Beth's family except for Beth, which is kind of funny.

It was great to meet all those guys as I had never met anybody from the mysterious web-o-sphere before, so that was cool. It was great fun having a few beers, getting some Rem-Dogs and going to the game. The Sox lost but we stayed right to the last out. There is always hope, after all.

- Had to go on a trip for work. That was not fun. It was only one day but it was a long day. 20 hours total. On the flight home the plane got delayed for an hour but I'm not complaining because it almost got canceled and that would have been the suckiest of suck-ness had that happened. But it didn't so I lucked out.

- This weekend I started building the third and as far as I know, to my knowledge, unless there's something my Wife is not telling me, final retaining wall in my back yard. Actually this one was all my idea. Despite the rain I've got it 90% done this weekend. I just have to find a couple nice flat cap-stones and back fill it and it is done. Look for before and after pics some time in the next week once it's been completed.

I miss my wireless interents.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Ron Borges retires. High fives all around...

I just read the news that Ron Borges is 'retiring' from the Boston Globe. WOOOP!!

Goodbye, good luck, and good riddance to you Borges. For the love of God I hope this means I will never have to hear your shit on The New England Patriots Pre-Game radio show ever again. Because, quite frankly, you suck. And that's putting it nicely.

I may just be some stupid blooger, but unlike Ron Borges, at least I can say I write my own stories...

That's no moon, it's a base-station

Hey what's up blog? Long time no speak! Where have I been? Well ya see, the problem is that my wireless network is broken and it looks like it can't be fixed by conventional methods. Yeah, I do have the land-line plugged in to the computer so I am not completely offline, but who wants to sit at a desk to write? Not me, that's for sure.

The problem is with my wireless router, which is an Apple Airport Base-Station, circa 2001 (a.k.a the 'Snow' base-station). I can't get a signal on either of the two laptops that we have, the Mac or the PC. I've tried doing all the normal sofware re-set stuff on the router but none of that has worked. Thinking the dang thing is just plain fried, I called Apple to see what it would cost to potentially get it fixed. They told me that my base-station is so old that it's been end of life'd, meaning, no service, no parts, no nothing. I'm basically shit out of luck, time for a new base-station.

Great.

So, since the thing is basically a paper weight at this point, I figured what the heck I may as well try and fix it myself, so took it apart and fiddled with some do-dads and messed with a thing-a-ma-bobber and un-plugged some wires and plugged them back in again and then I put it all back together. I was not expecting any improvement but lo and behold, I actually got a signal after plugging it back in and I thought to myself, 'Wow! I am the MAN!' My kids were psyched. 'HOORAY! WE CAN PLAY WEB-KINS AGAIN!!'

At that point I thought I was good to go and back in action but unfortunately that only lasted about 30 min and then the signal was gone again. I then tried the tried and true repair method of punching the base-station and whacking it with the side of my hand several times but that did not fix the problem either. Still no signal, still no love from the base-station. And I had always treated it so nicely, too, keeping it hidden away underneath my Wife's dresser, where nobody could bother it or do it any harm... Sigh.

I'm going to try taking it apart one more time just for the heck of it. If that doesn't work I'll have to suck it up and buy a new wireless router. That blows.

The people at the Apple Store that I had spoken with earlier had tried to make me feel better by telling me that after 6 years I had gotten my money's worth out of this base-station but that does not make me feel better at all. This sucks! Rotten base-station...

Monday, May 14, 2007

Sox make Moms everywhere happy... Dice goes full 9..

Hey what's up everybody! Hope all the Moms out there had a great Mother's Day yesterday. We had the Moms up to our house for a little Mother's Day brunch. Nothing fancy. It was bagels, muffins, that sort of thing. My Sister-In-Law made some super-good smoothies and also some super, SUPER good guacamole salsa dip, which I ate way too much of. We had a nice sunny day, though it was a little cool, but it was nice enough to go spend some time in the afternoon out in the yard.

After everyone went home, I listened to The Red Sox game on the radio as the kids were outside playing. It was not sounding good for The Sox as the O's had the lead for most of the game, until the 9th inning. I have to be honest, in the bottom of the 9th, I was not expecting much. If the Sox could tack on a run or two to prevent the shut-out, that would be cool, but I did not have a lot of hope in the Sox pulling out a win being down by 5 in the 9th. Still, I continued listening, as there is always hope, however small the amount.

As the bottom of the 9th inning started, it looked like the Sox were going to get something going, and boy did they ever, as they amazingly erased the 5 run deficit and eventually came back to win the game in the bottom of the 9th.

As the inning started and the Sox were advancing around the bases, I began to get a little antsy. I could not just sit and listen so I got up and got a broom and started to sweep around the patio to help relieve the tension. I am not good at just sitting and relaxing anyway. I can usually sit down for about 5 min, then I feel the need to get up and be doing something.

So I swept the patio and listened to the game. As Tek came to the plate with the bases loaded I went to the shed and put the broom away. For some reason I felt that if I listened too closely or with too much... enthusiasm, I might break the spell. I had to let The Baseball Gods know that I was not overly worried about this 9th inning rally. So I put the broom away and nonchalantly came back to the radio, quietly saying, 'Come on..' Next thing you know, after a double by Tek, the Sox were were within striking distance.

The Red Sox batters continued to find ways to get on base as Lugo's turn came up and he came to the plate. 'Come on, Lugo...' As the play unfolded I listened to Joe Castiglione's exciting call on the radio. Lugo got a hit and reached first on a slide as the feed from former Sox fave Kevin Millar was bouncing off the glove of O's pitcher, Chris Ray, who was covering first.

With Joe Castiglione yelling 'The Red Sox WIN' in the background, I was jumping up and down in the back yard yelling 'The Sox WIN!' myself, as my Wife and Kids looked on as if I had lost my mind. 'The Sox win 6-5!!'

Wow. That was awesome.

And as I write this, tonight's game has turned out pretty good too. I only caught bits and pieces of it between commercials during '24', but Diceman avoided the meltdown and went the full 9 for the win tonight. My Sister-In-Law was at the game tonight and it was a good one to see. Nice.

I will be at tomorrow's game and it is going to be extra cool as I will be meeting up with internationally famous Red Sox writer, Iain of The Baseball Desert for a few pre-game brews and maybe a Red Dawg or two. I have never met another Red Sox blawger, or any other blawger for that matter, so this should be a lot of fun. I am looking forward to it.

Not only that, but when I told Iain I'd be interested in having a beer with him during his trip out to Boston, he informed me that he had an extra game ticket, and would I be interested in taking it?

'Um. Hmm. Let me think about it for a.. OKI'LLTAKEIT!!'

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Tagged again

Tagged again. Here it is:

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

1. Every Friday I have a thing I do called 'Reward Friday'. I get a Dunkins sandwich and coffee on my way to work. If I don't get my reward Friday Dunkins, it throws off the whole day.. Wed is Mini-Reward day. I sneak out of the office and get a Dunkins coffee. Iced in the Summer, hot in the Winter. I think Dunkins should be paying me for all the promotion I give them.

2. I have been playing the guitar since I was 15. When I listen to music I like to listen to that 'awful acid-rock' (as my Mom refers to it). I also like country music, and by country I am referring to like, Johnny Cash and George Strait, NOT The Dixie Chicks, and I also enjoy classical music.

3. I have a hard time thinking of 8 random facts. Dude I suck at this. I'm at 3 and I've already run dry! I root for The Pats, The Sox, The B's and The C's. I also watch NASCAR. I guess you could say I like sports.

4. My first time attending a live Pats game in Foxboro was Pete Carroll's last game. My 2nd time attending a live Pats game in Foxboro was Bill Belichick's first game. I got to meet Jonathan Kraft at that game but I was too awestruck to say anything to him. I really wanted to say something like, 'Tell your Dad thanks for saving my team' but all I could do was smile at him. What a dweeb.

5. Hey ok. Check it out. I'm at 5. More than halfway there now! Ok now what next... I am not a very materialistic person. I don't want a lot of 'things', but there are a few things that I do want. Unfortunately those things are sports cars, pickup trucks, motorcycles and fishing boats. Dammit.

6. Despite the fact that I live in Massachusetts, I hate Winter. I think that there are only two good things about winter: New England Patriots Football and pond hockey.

7. I was doing good but now I am losing steam. I went back to Angela's site for ideas... For work I spend all day working on computers. Oh, by the way. I hate computers and computer related stuff. The other day, some geeks were outside my cube arguing about which is better, Mac or Windows. I seriously wanted to strangle them. If your arguments sound something like this, 'Dude the C shell is sooo much better than the korn shell...' you seriously need to get a life. Also, FUCK OFF and get away from me! Thank you.

8. Hey! I'm at 8! Ok. Hmmm. I am somewhat obsessed with my lawn. I want my lawn to look like the field at Fenway Park. Weeds are my enemy and I show them no mercy. Dave Mellor is like a god to me (Mellor is the head greens-keeper at Fenway Park). Nitrogen. Katydids... A lot of people don't even know what that is.

Ok that's it!

I'm not tagging anybody else because rules were made to be broken. Heh heh heh.. BUT I will give you a bonus 9th fact!

9. I am a lifelong Red Sox fan, though oddly I did not actually start following baseball until I was about 21 years old. That one is too long to explain.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Jr. should be allowed to keep the 8

Well by now everybody knows that Dale Jr. is leaving DEI in 2008. As I had written earlier, as a fan of his, I will follow him and cheer for him no matter where he winds up, what he is driving, what the color of the car is or what the number on the side is. I root for the Man, not the car.

I find this whole situation to be sad, that Jr. felt that for the good of his driving career he had to leave the company that his father built. If Dale goes to another team, one thing that won't go with him is the number 8. Teresa Earnhardt has said that the #8 will stay with DEI.

I feel that this is really a shame and it does not elevate my opinion of Teresa Earnhardt. I am not going to say anything bad about her, but I feel that she is doing the wrong thing by keeping the #8 at DEI and not letting Jr. drive with that number.

"I know what my father went through and did to get the number (8) so I could drive it in the Winston Cup Series, so I am going to hang onto it"
~Dale Jr.

Stuff I was thinking about while eating my Dunkins sammitch..

Doh!I think Curt Shilling is great and of course I think his blawg, 38 Pitches, where he talks straight to the fans and anybody else who cares to read his opinions, totally rocks, but there have been a few recent occasions where I bet Shilling wishes he had just kept quiet.

His reaction to Gary Thorne's idiotic suggestion that 'The Bloody Sock' was a fake a few weeks ago and now his recent Barry Bonds 'cheating' comments and subsequent public apology are a couple classic, open mouth, insert foot, moments.

If these comments were from any other 'normal' person, who cares? It's just another fool and their opinion and it's no big deal. Nobody's going to get offended if Joe Baseball Fan says that he thinks Barry Bonds is a cheater on some sports-talk radio show, but that rule obviously does not apply to someone with a high profile like Curt Shilling. When someone of Shilling's stature says that kind of thing on the radio, it causes a bit of a stir.

Personally I really don't care about Shilling's recent public flubs. To me it's not as big a deal as the media is trying to blow it up to be (there's a shock). As someone who has had more than my share of embarrassment caused by my own dumb-ass comments, I do kind of feel sorry for Shil, but at the same time, what he says on the radio or writes on his site does nothing to hurt or sway my opinion of him one way or the other. All I care about is what he does on the mound every 5th day.

I did find Terry Francona's reaction to Curt's shenanigans to be quite funny. 'Zip it.'

--

This recent comment about my favorite hockey player, Ray Bourque, by The Pats newly acquired receiver, Wes Welker, made me feel old:

"We've gotten to know each other a bit; Ray is a great guy," Welker said. "He's a legend around Boston, which I'm learning more and more since I've been here. I knew of him growing up, because I used to play Sega Genesis, the ice hockey game. I was always the Bruins, and it was Ray Bourque and Cam Neely. That's who I always played with."

Welker KNEW OF HIM growing up because he used to always play as the Bruins on his SEGA GENESIS ice hockey game? Oy...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Dale Jr. to leave DEI. Will be a free agent in 2008...

Dale Jr has just announced that he is leaving Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) and will be a free agent driver in 2008. This is a very interesting situation. Jr. is one of my favorite drivers and I was (and still am) a big fan of The Intimidator, the late Dale Earnhardt Sr.

It is too bad that Jr. could not work things out with DEI as I would have preferred to see him continue to drive for the company that was founded by his Dad. However, Jr.'s results on the track have been inconsistent at best over the last few seasons and he obviously has his own ideas on how to improve that situation. Unfortunately those ideas apparently do not match up with what the people at DEI want to do. Obviously both parties want to win races, but there is a disagreement about how to go about getting back on the winning track.

On thing to note is that DEI owner Teresa Earnhardt has said that she wants to keep the '8' at DEI. Hmmm...

So what's going to happen next? Only time will tell.

My best case scenario for 2008? Dale Jr. in a Budweiser sponsored Richard Childress Racing car, sporting the '3'.

Now THAT would be cool.

NHL Conference Finals Picks and other awesome things...

With the NHL Conference Championships starting tonight, here are my picks, (i.e., who I want to win).

West:
Detroit Red Wingers vs. Anaheim Ducks - Ducks. Ok I am fully disappointed that The Sharks did not make it into the Conference Finals. Plus I hate the Red Wings and thus, hate to see them advance. I can't give you a reason why I hate the Wings so much. It is a completely irrational hate, especially considering they don't even play in my main team's (The B's) conference, though I think it might stem from their consistently preventing my favorites in the West from making the Cup finals several years ago. Plus I hate their red uniforms. So there.

Like I said, totally irrational.

It's kind of lame that I'm really rooting against The Wings more than I am rooting for The Ducks, but it is what it is. There's some kinda love and there's some kinda hate.

East:
Buffalo Sab-Rays (That's how I pronounce Sabres) vs Ottawa Senators: Ottawa - Ottawa has been my 'team' in the East since the Playoffs started, so I'm sticking with them. Plus, have you ever seen that movie with Jim Carey where The Sabes win The Stanley Cup and there is rioting in the streets of Buffalo? I would hate to see that happen in Buffalo. Rioting, rubber bullets, explosions... it's no fun.. except maybe if you are watching a Jim Carey flick... What is that movie called again? Jim Carey is like a TV reporter or something who goes to cookie baking contests and stuff and makes weird faces... Oh well I can't remember. So ya. Go Sens!

In other news, things that are awesome:

The Weather:
The Weather has been SOOO awesome the last few days and I so forgive Mother Nature for that rotten weather we had earlier this Spring. It's shorts and t-shirt weather and everything is coming alive outside. I love seeing all the green popping out on the trees and hearing the bird's chirping and watching the plants beginning to grow in my Wife's garden. Totally awesome. We put out some bird feeders and kids love them, though my wild-boy Son likes to chase the birds away, laughing devilishly the whole time. But the birds seem to have a thing for free bird seed so they keep coming back. It's all good.

The Sox:
Josh Beckett is awesome right now. Totally awesome. I had expectations that he would be a better pitcher this year, but I never expected this. 7-0, 2.51 ERA. WOW. Incredibly WOW.

Also awesome has been the Red Sox play in general. They are consistently winning series after series. It's great to see. Even though technically 'it's still early', this sets us (I like to include myself in with the team) up for the rest of the season. And hey, no meltdown for The Diceman last night. Next thing you know, Wake will be getting insane amounts of run support. That would be nice, especially since he's facing Halladay tonight in Toronto.

What else... hmm.

Well, I have to say, life has been a lot better recently. For the first time in I don't know when, I don't have any life sucking projects looming in front of me. The basement is done, the yard is pretty much squared away. I've got jobs to do here and there, that is never going to end, but there's nothing that is going to take every weekend of the summer and turn my life into a grouchy, all I ever do is work, hell. It's a really cool feeling! I had forgotten what it was like to have a weekend arrive and NOT HAVE TO DO ANYTHING and have my Wife ask, 'What's on the agenda this weekend? and my reply be, 'Well, I'd like to mow the grass.. other than that, nothing! You want barbeque chicken and margaritas for dinner?'

Oh yeah I like it.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Run Support request...

The Wife and Kids are off visiting the in-laws and I am left alone at home to my own devices. It's Friday night baby. What does that mean? I don't know but it's Friday.

I'm spending the evening practicing my guitar and watching the Red Sox / Twins. I'm spending some quality time with my bro, Les. Les Paul. We're best buds, don'tcha know? Through thick and thin, I can always count on good ol' Les. He fully kicks ass and he's never let me down.

Meanwhile, can we please get some run support for our man Tim Wakefield? Please??

That would be nice. No. strike that. That would be awesome... So let's make it happen people.

I've got the correct Sox cap on tonight and I'm just putting it in rally mode right from the start. Let's go you guys, Tim deserves a win... Because Wake is the MAN. Yeah, you know it.

GO SOX

You don't know 'cause you don't know...

I was thinking about the Patriots and the Randy Moss trade the other day and I happened to read this article by Mike Reiss. This Belichick quote really jumped out at me and it brought exactly what was on my mind to the forefront. From the article:

Do you consult with players on your team before you make a deal like this?
"Through the course of the year, you talk to a lot of players on the team about a lot of things. I talk to our players pretty much every day that they're here. We talked about that last week, talking about the players who played with some of the players who came out in this draft over the weekend. There are always conversations like that that go on. It wasn't any big specific one, especially with somebody like that who hadn't played with him. To be honest with you, I probably learned as much about Randy Moss from Doug Gabriel as I've learned from anybody."

When you work in an industry, any industry, for a long enough period of time, you learn who's who. Who's a person you want to work with? Who's a person you would never want to work with? Who's lazy? Who's committed? Who digs in and gets shit done? Who let's shit slide? This happens in every line of work and in every industry. Everybody knows everybody and if you don't know a person, you probably know somebody who knows somebody.

The point I'm trying to make here, is that The NFL is a VERY small industry. The coaches all know each other and the players all know each other, and as Belichick alluded to above, if he does not know somebody on another team personally, there are people that he can talk to that do, and he can get the full scoop, or at least get an accurate idea of what a person is like from those people.

I've read a lot of, well, bitching about the Moss trade lately about how he's a bad person, poor character, this and that. If you have not learned to trust Belichick and his staff by now, then I don't know what to say to you. Obviously, again, referencing the quote above, Belichick and his staff did due diligence (fucking corporate term) before they brought in 'problem' characters Moss and 1st round pick, Brandon Meriweather. If Belichick and Pioli did not think these guys would be able to fit in as Patriots, they would not be here.

Contrary to popular reporting these days, the Pats are not trying to build the all-jackass team. As far as I know, Terrell Owens is still not a Patriot. They are, however, trying to build a Superbowl Championship caliber team, and they are doing a fantastic job as far as this narrow-minded Pats fan is concerned.

So chill out Patriots Nation and have some faith in the people running this team. I think they have things under control and know what they are doing, despite what some people in the press might have you believe... (How ridiculous is it that I have to say that?)

--

The dates for mini-camp were announced recently. New England: May 12-14 (rookies); June 5-7. I can't wait to start getting some news out of the rookie mini-camp, in just a few short weeks.

--

I could not believe the number of sites that latched onto this 'story' but it seems that our hero, Tom Brady, likes The NY Yankees and was even spotted in New York City wearing a NY Yankees cap. GASP!! OH MY GOD CAN YOU BELIEVE IT??

What was Tom thinking, not wearing his bright, red, Red Sox cap while walking around in NY City? What's he trying to do, avoid attention or something? Remain inconspicuous? How dare he. HOW DARE HE!

Seriously, this is a front page story? How ridiculous is that? Anything to sell a newspaper I guess. ppht. Even more ridiculous, this 'story' actually elicited a response from a Red Sox spokesperson defending Tom for wearing a MFY cap.

But wait, could it be that Brady actually comes from somewhere outside of Boston and might actually root for different baseball teams? Teams other than The Red Sox? And that he might even (shock!) like The Yankees? Possibly!!

[rolls eyes]

Stop being obnoxious and focus on what Brady does on the field, not off of it. Oh yea by the way: awesome. I love The Dugout.

GO PATS

Honk if you Honky-Tonk: George Strait at Mohegan Sun...

Last week my Wife and I had a rare night out with just the two of us as we traveled to the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT to see Ronnie Milsap and George Strait. This event also featured the equally rare occurrence of me attending a concert with someone other than myself.

After enjoying a quick, and, with no children present, oddly quiet and peaceful dinner, we headed South on I-395 to Uncasville, CT. The ride was about two hours though a stretch of Connecticut farm country.

Ronnie Milsap was the opener for George Strait. The show was scheduled to start at 8PM and we arrived shortly thereafter.

When we got into the arena, Ronnie had started his set and he was just beginning one of his great songs, ‘Houston Solution’. We found our seats and sat down to enjoy the rest of the show.

Ronnie Milsap still has a great voice after many years and the crowd was very appreciative of his work, giving him a loud round of applause as each tune came to an end. There is something about Ronnie’s voice and they way it carries, it has a strength to it and a purity that sticks with you. I’ve still got several of the songs he played that night stuck in my head a week after the show.

One of the nice things about this show was that the stage was setup 'in the round' in the middle of the arena, so that you could get a good view of Ronnie and his band as they moved around to different parts of the stage. Ronnie's piano's were set up on our side of the stage so we were able to get a good, direct view of him for most of the show as he played. They also had big screens set up overhead as well, but I try to focus on the stage, not the screens, otherwise I feel like I'm just watching a TV show in an arena.

Ronnie did a some songs off of his latest cd, ‘My Life,’ including the song, ‘You Don’t Know My Love’ and the title track itself, ‘My Life,’ as well as several old faves. He ended the night with one of his most memorable songs and one of my personal favorites, 'Smoky Mountain Rain'. When the song was over he and his band headed off the stage, but, after a big round of applause, he came back out for one more song, a cover of the Stones' 'Honky-Tonk Women'. At the end of Ronnie's set he exited the stage to loud cheers and he seemed to truly appreciate the response. Ronnie Milsap is a living country legend and I am pretty glad that I can now say I got to see him live.

As the stage-crew began setting up for George Strait, my Wife and I decided to walk around a little and check the arena out. This was our first time coming to Mohegan Sun and I have to say, it is a really nice place to see a concert. Unlike some venues, where the performers are so far away they look like ants on stage and you need a set of binoculars to see what's happening from the upper levels, the arena at Mohegan Sun is small enough that there is not a bad seat in the place. Even in our seats which, of course, were in the upper levels, we could see everything on stage with no problem and could see the expressions on the musicians faces as they played..

It did not take long for the stage crew to setup for George Strait and just as we got to our seats, the lights came down to the enthusiastic applause of the crowd.

This was my third time seeing George Strait live. The previous times I had seem him were awesome shows so I had high expectations. George did not let me down. He walked onto the stage in his usual Wrangler blue jeans, button down shirt and large white cowboy hat.

George Strait

He got things going up-tempo right off the bat and started off the show with the song, 'Honk If You Honky-Tonk'. At each corner of the stage was a microphone and George worked his way around the stage between songs, so that each part of the arena could get a good view of him as he sang. He had a great, friendly demeanor with the crowd, stopping to shake hands with fans and let them take pictures.

George Strait has about 54 people in his band, 'The Ace In The Hole Band'. Ok, maybe not that many, but there are a lot of people on stage with him. There's bass, drums, fiddle, steel guitar, piano, keyboards, and multiple guitar players, who also do double duty with the fiddle and steel guitar as well, not to mention male and female backup vocals. For all those musicians, the band does not miss a beat. They were very tight and sounded great.

George did a great mix of new and old material, with songs such as, 'Check Yes or No', 'Amarillo By Morning', 'The Fireman', 'It Just Comes Natural', 'The Chair', 'I Can Still Make Cheyenne' and 'Unwound'. He played for a good two hours and sang close to 30 songs and his clear, clean vocals seemed to get stronger and richer as the night went on.

One of the things that makes George so great is that he does not need a lot of lights, props and stage effects to put on a great show. It's just him and his band performing, seemingly without effort, and his music is all that you need to enjoy the show.

There's a reason that I always refer to George as 'Pure Country' and it's not because that was the title of his movie back in the 90's (which was awesome by the way). Unlike so many of today's manufactured 'pop country music' singers, there are no gimmicks with George and his music. There is nothing fake about George Strait. He is the real thing, as real as it gets. A real-life signing cowboy who runs his own ranch and who not only hosts, but competes in the George Strait Team Roping Classic.

George ended the night with an extended version of 'The Cowboy Rides Away', as he made several rounds around the perimeter of the stage to shake hands and make contact with his fans. Even while the arena started to empty out, as many of the attendees were heading for the exits, the band continued playing and George was still going around and shaking hands with people. Awesome.

What a great night for my Wife and I. That show will be one that I will remember for a long time.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Thank goodness I switched caps in time!

I was watching Diceman have his normal 4th inning melt-down a little early tonight, in the 1st inning. It was 5-0 Mariners by the end of the 1st and things were not looking good. Then I realized what the problem was. I was wearing the WRONG Red Sox cap!

When the season started, I had been wearing one of those pre-faded Sox caps with the hanging Sox logo on the back that you can get at any number of stands outside of Fenway. The Sox started the season at .500.

Before the first home-stand, I realized something had to be done. Obviously, a big part of the problem was the fact that I was wearing the wrong Red Sox cap. I immediately switched over to the Official MLB 2004 Red Sox World Series game cap, the one that was just like the ones that were worn on the field during the '04 World Series.

I wore the 04 World Series cap every day and the improvement was immediate as the Sox went on a tear for the rest of the month of April.

As I was walking out the door for work this morning, I grabbed the faded 'un-official' cap and headed on my way, completely oblivious to the potential danger that I was causing. I arrived home from work, still wearing the wrong cap, and it was not until the end of the 1st inning that I realized what I had done. IDIOT!!

I quickly switched hats for the 2nd inning and once again, the improvement was immediate. The Sox scored 5 runs of their own to tie things up in the bottom of the 2nd and eventually went on to win a wild roller-coaster of a game, 8-7.

Whew. Good thing I put the correct Sox cap on when I did, and thank God I'm not superstitious or anything...

GO SOX

George Strait set list from last week's show...

My Wife and I went to see George Strait a week ago today. What a great show! What can you say about George Strait? He is the best. The absolute best. 'Pure Country'.

George did a ton of songs and there were only about three of them that I didn't know, which was great. It helps that I have almost all of his albums..

The day after the show I tried to write down all the songs that George sang before I forgot them. Here is the list below. It's not in order and I'm missing a few songs that I just could not remember, plus I started to get mixed up the harder I thought about it. I started thinking, 'was this song one of the ones we listened to on the way home from the show, or was that one that he actually sang during the show?' but, in any case, this is most of them...

George started the night with 'Honk If You Honky-Tonk' and ended the night with 'The Cowboy Rides Away'. I wrote a review of the show that I'll have up here and also at Faster Than The World on Friday.

In the meantime, here's the list of the songs as best as I could remember them...

Honk If You Honky-Tonk
Check Yes or No
I Just Want to Dance With You
Run
Amarillo By Morning
The Fireman
The Chair
How 'Bout Them Cowgirls
Somewhere Down in Texas
Wrapped
Give It Away
I Can Still Make Cheyenne
Take Me Back To Tulsa
Milk Cow Blues
I Ain't Her Cowboy Anymore
The Seashores of Old Mexico
Texas
It Just Comes Natural
Cowboys Like Us
A Better Rain
I Hate Everything
Unwound
She'll Leave You With a Smile
Heartland
The Cowboy Rides Away

The only song he did not do that my Wife and I both missed was 'I Cross My Heart', which was our wedding song, but, we have seen him do that song before so no big deal. We had a great time.

I should mention that Ronnie Milsap opened for George and he was awesome. He still has a great voice and his songs are so good. I've had 'Houston Solution' and 'Smokey Mountain Rain' stuck in my head for a week now.

Check back for the review tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Paps turns out to be human after all... 1st blown save

The Sox had a 4-2 lead against Oakland heading into the 9th but Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon was not able to hold onto that lead. He gave up two runs in the 9th to tie the score 4-4.

The Sox still had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the ninth, but with 2 outs and a man at 3rd, Coco Crisp grounded out to end the inning.

The A's tacked on another run off Sox reliever Brendan Donnelley to take the lead in the 10th. Then, in the bottom of the inning, Youk had us holding our breath with a long out that was looking like it might reach The Monster but ended up falling just short for an inning ending fly ball as The Sox were unable to come back in the bottom of the 10th inning.

For his part, Shilling pitched a good game, throwing over 100 pitches, no walks, 7 K's. Reliever Okajima was effective in the 8th. Unfortunate, but it had to happen eventually, Paps showed that he's occasionally just like the rest of us, imperfect. But, he's still THE BALLS and we know this blown save will be a rare occurrence for our 9th Inning Ace.

GO SOX

Rocky Balboa DVD won't play in my DVD player... One last update.

I've been getting a lot of hits from people looking for information on the 'Rocky Balboa' DVD not playing. When this problem first happened to me, I called the manufacturer of my DVD player, Kenwood, and told them what was happening. I had received 3 'Rocky Balboa' DVDs from Netflix and none of them played. The problem did not affect any other DVDs.

They told me they had gotten a few reports about this problem and that they would look into it and get back to me if they came up with any answers.

To be honest I was skeptical about ever hearing from them again, but to their credit, they actually called me back a few days later with some information. It turns out that there is indeed a problem with the DVDs themselves and it is not a problem with the players. The problem is caused by the copy protection on the DVDs.

They pointed me to this site which has some more detail about the issue as well as a phone number to call if you are having the problem.

So there you go, if you have a Sony Pictures DVD that won't play, it's probably due to a defect with the DVD itself, not your player. Good luck!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Now a few thoughts on The Pats draft...

A few worthless thoughts about the Pats draft this past weekend...

First off, I like the Randy Moss trade. We got a receiver with first round talent for the cost of a fourth round pick. Moss has restructured his contract to come to New England, reportedly the only team that he was willing to do this for, and it seems to me that he is looking for a fresh start. He appears to be genuinely pleased to be here in New England and so far he is saying all the right things. Personally, I think he is sincere. I think some of Moss' problems in the past have stemmed from the fact that at the time he was playing for bad teams and that alone was major source of his frustration. Making matters worse, there was no one in place on those teams to set him straight when he got out of line.

Moss is on The Patriots now. Nothing is guaranteed, (Football Gods: Please note my humbleness here. Thank you O Wise, Glorious and Sexy Football Gods.) but hopefully that alone eliminates the issues that were involved with playing for a loser. Moss is going to be catching passes from arguably the best quarterback in the league and that has got to make him happy. Furthermore, and, perhaps most importantly, he is now part a team that is run by a no-nonsense coach in Bill Belichick and will be in a locker-room controlled by guys like Tedy Bruschi, Rodney Harrison, Richard Seymour, Troy Brown (hopefully!), Tom Brady... The list goes on. Do you really think Moss is going to get out of line with these guys around? I doubt it. Moss is going to find out very quickly that it's 'WE' and not 'ME' around here.

Add all that up and you can see why I find it hard to believe that Moss will be up to the antics he has been known for in the past. When these Randy Moss rumors started to swirl around a few months ago, I was skeptical about it coming to fruition, but I always said that if there was one team that would be able to set Moss straight, it was The Patriots.

I'm not trying to gloss over Moss' past. I know the guy has caused problems with his old teams. Would I prefer that Moss have a spotless past? Of course I would. But then again, if he did have a spotless past, he wouldn't have been available for a 4th round pick. The bottom line here is, it's a no-lose situation for The Pats. If things work out and Moss performs to his abilities and stays out of trouble, The Pats got a game-breakingly (is that a word?) good receiver at a steal. If he tries to pull any of his old shit, he's gone, plain and simple. If Moss causes problems, The Pats cut him and that's the end of it.

The Patriots are incredibly deep at receiver right now and if turns out they have to get rid of Moss, they've still got a great set of receivers for Brady to throw to. On most teams, letting a guy of Moss' talent walk would be a big deal. Not here. Not after the off-season The Patriots have had and the additions they have made at the receiver position. We've gone from Reche Caldwell as our number one, to having Donte Stallworth, Wes Welker, and now, Randy Moss. This does not even factor in the pass catching abilities of our running backs and tight-ends. Tom Brady has got to have Reche Caldwell eyes when he thinks about all the potential targets he is going to have to throw to this season. Now all we need is to get Troy Brown back.

Hopefully Moss will seize the opportunity that is in front of him and the trouble that everyone in the press is hoping for will never materialize.

By the way I love this recent quote:

"I've always considered myself to be the second best receiver to come out of Marshall,"
~ Randy Moss when asked about Troy Brown

That's how you get off to a good start.

On a side note, as I touched on above, just as they did with Corey Dillon, expect the local press to go out of it's way to taunt Moss and do everything it possibly can to try and get him to slip up in front of a microphone or a TV camera. Hopefully Moss will be prepared for the idiotic questions that he will soon be hearing, geared soley to create problems and sell newspapers.

As far as the rookie, Saftey Brandon Meriweather, and his troubled past, I feel very similar to the way I do about Moss. The guy had some pretty high profile problems in the past, but unlike Moss, this is a rookie we are talking about. This kid is not the big man on campus anymore.. Now he's just another rookie on one of the best teams in the league. He may be a first round pick, but he's still a nobody here until he shows what he can do. He's got to earn his respect as well as his spot on this team. I expect Meriweather to come in, watch, learn and keep his mouth shut. This guy's NFL tutor is going to be Rodney Harrison. To me, that is the end of the story right there. And we don't have to worry about any instigating from the press in this case because, remember, rookies don't talk to the press.

Finally, to wrap things up, as things are getting kind of long here, I love that The Pats traded many of their picks for the future in this year's draft. Obviously The Patriots did not see a lot of value at the positions that they were picking at this year. Rather than make a pick just to make a pick, they traded them for future picks in 2008 and now will once again have the flexibility to get the players that they want in 2008. To me that is smart, that is awesome and that is what I have come to expect from The New England Patriots.

That's right, pour me another pitcher of The Patriots kool-aid because I'm ready to do some chugging baby.

In Belichick We Trust.

Update:
I just learned via Angela that Tom Brady re-structured his contract to make room for Moss. Think he's happy about the trade? Ah, ya.

I appear to be having an early bout of mid-life crisis...

I want a bike. A motorcycle. I want one. I've never wanted one before, but now I do. And not because people I know ride them or are buying them, because that's not what it is. I want one because I want to feel the freedom and enjoyment that riding a motorcycle represents. The wind, the acceleration, the speed. The escape... The JOY.

And I don't want a bike so I can pass cars going 110 down the middle lane of the highway. I am not an idiot. I know better. You don't have to go fast to enjoy riding. Other people dump their bikes. That would never happen to me. Because I would be a careful driver. And the weather is getting so damn nice. Perfect for taking a little ride on a Saturday or taking the bike to work instead of the lame-mobile that I drive around in.

Plus, look at that thing. That is fucking cool dude! And I would look cool riding it, having fun, free from all constraint, except for the minor detail of obeying traffic laws.
GSX-R

Never mind that I don't know how to ride a motorcycle, or have any money, for anything at all, especially an expensive vroom vroom toy...

And where would I put it? I don't have a garage, and there's no room in the shed. I'd have to build something.

Details. Just details.

There's a bike just like that one sitting on the side of the road with a for sale sign on it that I drive past every day on my way home from work. Yesterday I stopped and wrote down the phone number. I'm thinking of calling just to find out what the going price is.

I want a bike. I know I can't have one. But I still want one anyway.

(Image Suzukicycles.com)

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