Thursday, July 30, 2009

Seeing this picture of Ted made me pee a little bit....

Yes, that's little Ted in his baseball pants in the background. I remember playing Ted in little league...


Good work, Miss Vancil. Even though I don't know you.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Here's a question, and then some comments on what's happening in my life...

I know very little about bidets. I've used one maybe once or twice in my life, and it made me uncomfortable to say the least.
That being said, I don't understand bidet etiquette. Here is the basic problem I have: drying. How do you dry? What do you do? Do you have a special towel for that? Now, let's say you're invited to a party at a house in France. All they have is a bidet, no toilet paper. What do you do??? I really don't know!

Now some quick updates on what's up in my life:
-I'm in the midst of writing the Zook Zone for the station. It is currently the bane of my existance. I do not enjoy it much. But it is what it is. Two weeks of this, and we're all good.
-I am running in the Chicago Half Marathon. If you would like text updates on my progress during the race, please let me know. I'm signing up for a texting program so interested friends and family can know my time. I think I'll be able to finish, as I got through 10 on Saturday, and felt like I probably could have done at least a couple more.
-Our softball team had another odd game last night. We had a player who knocked knees with an opposing player in a close play at second base. They accused Scot of doing it intentionally. Anyone who knows Scot knows that's not who he is. Now there appear to be some very hard feelings between two teams that had previously been friendly, and that's really unfortunate. I've enjoyed this Crackmonkeys season less than most in the past. But I really enjoy the postgame dining and drinks more than anything.
-Julia's parents met my mother on Saturday night over dinner. Everything went fine.
-Also, Julia's parents came to the softball game. I proceeded to slide in to third, scraping the hell out of my leg, producing blood. Then they saw the injury and the discussion that followed. Welcome to Crackmonkey softball!
-Also on that point, we lost Holly this year from the team, but gained lil' D, who cracks me "the eff" up.
-We have the circus coming in to town this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I despise clowns. I really, truly despise clowns. I have to work at this circus. It is a recipe for disaster.
-My friend Amber has a blog that you can link to on the right hand side of this page...she is currently moving out of her apartment in the Wrigleyville area as she switches jobs, and goes back to school. Her writing about it in recent weeks has been really emotional and well done, so if you have a second, give it a read.
-Also, Glenn had a really well put together blog post about race, and the Cambridge, Mass arrest. So hope over there if you have a second.

That's all for now.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Well I'll be darned.....

I surprised even myself, with an 89 on the course on Saturday. Now, granted, it was a shorter course, which is quite helpful for me...but I played shockingly like I used to. Steady drives, decent irons to get me in position to make a putt for par, and just hitting 2 or 3 of them. It was really fun. With a special thanks to Zack, Chris, and Pat, my cousins, for making it enjoyable.
We also had some time with my mom's side of the family on Saturday and Sunday as well, along with visits with Leigh and Louis, and my Dad and brothers. It felt like an awful lot packed in to about 30 hours. And as a result, I'm still worn out.
I think I'm doing well on my diet, as I feel much better. I haven't actually weighed myself in about 5 days. One thing that is helping is that I'm obviously running much more, with the half marathon about 12 days out. I have severe doubts about whether I'll be able to finish that thing. I got through seven yesterday, but it was a struggle. I have to do at least 9 this weekend in order to have any confidence in myself.
There is a slight chance I will be attending my first Cubs game of the year on Friday. Slight.
Julia's parents come in to town on Wednesday for an extended weekend. They are definitely going to the Cubs game. Along with taking a full day or so up in the city.
My new favorite for lunch is a turkey wrap with avocado. It's delicious. I wish, however, that I could buy the frozen half avocado packs from Trader Joes.

What else, kids. What am I missing?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Trouble is around the bend....or should I say, dogleg...

Yep, for the first time since last year, I'm returning to the golf course on Saturday as part of a family outing celebrating my Aunt Margi's 50th birthday. I'm expecting mass hysteria, and some sort of death. Likely a chipmunk or something, as I scald another ball along the ground.

As my Dad's side of the family knows, I used to be a quite excitable and cursing golfer who could shoot in the mid 80s on really good days, and was generally right around bogey golf at 90. But the game is just so incredibly expensive that I can't afford to play at a level necessary to maintain that pace. At this point, I know that I can hit the shots...I just can't hit them with any consistency. It's so frustrating.

Also tonight, I'm playing a little poker at the invitation of my friend David. They're playing Omaha, which is a game I'm not quite familiar with, but I'm going to try and learn on the fly. We'll see, but I'm not getting my hopes up.

I also would like to post some pics on here at some point from Australia. The entire catalog is up at facebook, for all of my facebook friends. I should really put them on flickr or something, shouldn't I.

Good weekends to you all.

Monday, July 13, 2009 sleep schedule be trippin!

First, let me just say that Glenn's idea for a 30 bar bar crawl was horrible, and I'm sorry for anything that may have happened after 7PM on Saturday night.

Now, that being said, let me just say that I'm looking for any suggestions on how to recover from my jet lag. I'm really struggling with it right now. Again this morning, I woke up at 2:30, and just sat there. I did that last week too. On Saturday morning, knowing a long day was ahead of me, I took some nyquil to go back to sleep after waking up promptly at 4. Sunday, despite staying up until 3:30, I woke up at 6:30. ARGH! I've never had to deal with this before. I probably need a weekend to just get things back in order, but I don't see that happening any time soon.

I have had the suggestion of getting back to a normal exercise routine, and hopefully I'll be able to get to that over the next few days. Today will be a nice day at the gym, and then some golf and a run tomorrow, if everything works out correctly.

Outside of that, things appear OK. I'm just hoping to get back to normal this week. That would be very nice.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Random note

I'm going to try and drop about 10 pounds, and get to 160. I don't have a date when I want to get this done, but I'm really hoping losing some weight will greatly help the stress on my knees.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Well....if anyone is looking for a birthday present for yours truly....

Remember that Tauntaun sleeping bag that was supposedly for sale on Think Geek but wasn't, because it was April Fools and they were only kidding? So many people wanted it and got angry that it wasn't available. The company has now decided to try to bring it to life for real--if the suits at Lucasfilms will grant them a license.
Think Geek has done great April Fools prank products before (caffeinated meatloaf, anyone?), but this one was exceptional. It had the head of a Tauntaun, a fur outer lining, an inner lining with an intestine pattern, and a tiny light saber on the zipper to simulate the slicing action Han Solo performed to open the animal up so he could stuff Luke into it.

Think Geek's PR guy, Shane Peterman, talked with me on the record about the perils of Tauntaun sleeping bag pranks.
Will you ever sell the Tauntaun sleeping bag for real?

We are definitely trying to make it in to an actual item to be sold 
on our site. As of right now, it's still an "if," but it's turning in
to more of a "when." Things are looking pretty good, we just don't want 
to get too far ahead of ourselves. There's certainly been enough of a
demand, both from customers and from those of us that work here. Right now, we're aiming to have it available 
for the holidays, or at the latest, the 30th anniversary of The Empire 
Strikes Back next spring.

The joke price was $39 bucks. Is that how much it will really cost?

The price will very likely go up a bit once we actually make the
sleeping bag. Since we haven't gotten to the production stage yet, it's hard to say what the price will be, unfortunately. I think it's safe to assume that the kids size will be at a lower cost than the adult size, that much I'm pretty sure of. The cost of material and the actual production of it will dictate what the retail cost will be.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

.....and we're back.
In la. Sadly, not for the memorial for billy mays.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Hello auckland. You look quite pretty from up above. Preparing for papeete. Wtf is papeete?

It's truly hard to express

how I feel on this last night in Australia.

I think over the last year or so, I've been doing really well of staying in the moment, and focusing on what is at hand, not getting ahead of myself, or looking back too much.

After an experience like this, it is impossible not to do both.

I have truly experienced two major cities half a world away. I have lived as largely as my means will allow (maybe too much so), and experienced culture quite different from mine. I never believed I would be at a park, feeding wild kangaroos. I never really thought I'd get to see the Sydney Opera House. I never would have guessed I'd be letting the waves of Bondi Beach rush over my feet. I never could have imagined being able to walk in the bowels of Rod Laver Arena.

I am so thankful for the opportunity. I've said it multiple times here, but I really am so happy my mom was able to give me this chance. I hope that I've done enough to live up to it.

At the same time, it is hard for me to think about the fact that this might be the one time I ever get to do this. I do not regret much of anything on this trip, except that I did get tired too early some days from doing too much! That's a good problem. I just wish I could say that I KNOW I'll be back in 10 years. In 15. That's part of the beauty of life, however, that you have to experience and make sure to live each moment, no matter where it may be. Tomorrow, for me, it will be Auckland, Papeete, LA, Dallas, and home. I hope I will be able to focus on what that experience will be like.

I am also so thankful to have friends like Ali and Craig Tiley. Despite tragic and deeply saddening circumstances that shortened our time together, I think we made the best of it, and they provided me with experiences in those 40 hours that I would not have been able to do on my own. And they also trusted me with their house and their wonderful cat for 5 days on my own. I can't express how lucky I am to have friends like that. Ali has been one of the closest friends i've had over the past 13 years or so, and I'm so glad that it has been able to endure the last 4 years that she's been here. Craig has is the person who taught me what it meant to be successful. To be a leader. I don't always succeed the way I'd like to, but there are so many moments when I think of the lessons he's taught me over the past 10 years, and realize how lucky that makes me. So to both of you, and Maks, thank you. Very, very much.

So I will keep my chin up for the next 38 hours, and hopefully get home safely, and remember that I'm lucky to have all of these people in my life, no matter where I may be. And thankful that I have so many other loving, caring people in my life, who I haven't mentioned in this post, including the family and friends that read this blog.

Sorry I'm being so sentimental today. I tend to get quite emotional when I have experiences like this. It's been an amazing one.

I hope that once I get home, where I have real internet, I will post a slew of pictures. There are some great ones.

Til I get to the US.....


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Sorry....I'm not getting great internet connections.

You know, Ali and Craig have the crappiest internet ever. It's like dialup! :)

Seriously, it is slow.

I'm going to try and put one picture here, but it'll probably take 5 minutes to upload. Literally.

Things have been well. I've been trying to relax a bit the last couple of days. I've played a little bit of poker (not as good...couple of bad beats, and a couple of times I just got beat), shopped a bit, walked around the city quite a lot, and watched more Arrested Development. I'm having a very good time, and enjoying some time away from work and all, for sure.

Craig and Ali arrive back in a half hour or so. Its 7PM here in Melbourne.

This afternoon, I made it to the Melbourne-West Coast Australian Rules Football Game. I love the game. I think it's continuously exciting. Unfortunately, the team I was cheering for, West Coast, lost by 20. Their midfielders, if that's what you call them, were terrible. They just gave up possession after possession. ANd too many hand passes!
Also of note, they gave away free red bull. And I liked it. Who knew?!

The thing that strikes me most about Australia is that people are so much more polite here than they are in the states. I realize I'm saying that on the 4th of July, but it is true. Everyone is courteous, respectful, and just kind to each other. Its fascinating to watch.

Maksim and I have had some nice time together over the last couple of days. I hope he still talks to me once Ali and CT get here.

Hopefully, tomorrow, I'll get to see the tennis center. Then, I head back to Sydney on Monday, and back to the states on Tuesday.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Observations about this trip and myself....

Alright, we're through Wednesday in Melbourne. Highlights of the day include a not so great Aquarium, attending the Queen Victoria Markets, which were closed, watching a 1-2 hour wait at the Melbourne Museum, winning $55 at the Crown Casino, and eating both a GF cheese burger, and a GF pizza.
Now indulge me on some of the things I've learned, both about myself, and culturally about Australia. Again, some of these are merely about myself, and they are what they are.

1) I travel better alone. I can certainly get better at this, but when I'm in a city, I do very well when flying solo. I am under no restrictions to anyone, and I can just do my thing. Sorry.
2) Australia has a ridiculous amount of gluten free options. It is unbelievable how much more aware of things they are. I mean, a cheeseburger and a pizza, at different restaurants, on the same day?!?
3) I am good enough to play poker at a casino. Having played and watched at two different places today, I certainly have the ability to play well enough to do OK. There's always luck, and sometimes you get outplayed, but yeah, I've got enough talent now, for sure.
4) It is expensive here. Seriously flipping expensive.
5) I've been through several days here, and still can't remember to look the correct way when crossing the street. It is a good thing I'm not driving.
6) What the hell is going on in cricket. Seriously, I mean, I think I get the very, very basics, but come on.
7) On a similar note. Rugby? Yeah, again, I get it, but I don't.
8) On the other hand, I absolutely love Australian Rules Football. I look forward to going to a game on Saturday.
9) People appear to be much more friendly in Australia than they do in the US
10) I have made fun of the people in US casinos, because they sit on their stools, mindlessly, and chubbily. Which probably isn't a word. It is the exact same in Australian Casinos, except more of them are Asians.
11) Another big difference is the lack of "themed" slot machines, like the Star Wars and Star Trek
12) Another big difference is the huge amount of Baccarat tables. Good lord.
13) I have seriously watched cricket for the last 90 minutes. I have NO clue what's happening.
14) I have gotten more tired as the week has gone on. I've made it to 9PM tonight, but I'm completely spent, and longing for my bed.

I think that's all for now. Feel free to email with any questions, or leave your comments here.