Monday, August 31, 2009

August 31, 2009

For those of you that read my posts on Big Brother, you will obviously have noticed my about-face with regards to Natalie. Based only on the first episode, I chose her as my pick to win the game, but it quickly became apparent that she was a follower, and didn’t really have much game play in her. Yes, she’s somewhat athletic, but it has become painfully obvious that being a trophy-winning tae kwon do fighter does not mean you can hang from a toilet seat, run on a greasy walkway with a leaky cup of hot chocolate, or swing around on a giant carousel…longer or faster than your opponents.

As I mentioned recently, Natalie has become one of those reprehensible Reality TV stars that every show needs. I mean, let’s be honest…how boring would Survivor Tocantins have been without Coach Wade? Jessie, Lydia, Chima, and Natalie have been the classless class of Summer 2009 for Big Brother 11. The astounding thing about these types of reality stars is their utter delusions about themselves. Natalie has spent two months in the Big Brother house, and made it to the final 5…without winning anything! But in last week’s marathon hot chocolate globe-filling race, when she gave up, and put it all on Kevin’s shoulder’s, she used her token line in the diary room, “I’m not going to show the rest of the house how strong of a competitor I am.”
There are only five of them left! If her ‘master plan’ is to hide this strength she claims to have in all of these challenges…well then, well done Natalie! Because that is the best job of concealing strength that I’ve ever seen…an untrained eye would just think that you sucked at everything. I can just imagine when she gets voted out, she’s going to turn to them as she’s leaving and say, “Ha! I fooled you all!” And run out and tell Julie how she was clearly the strongest player in the house, but chose to never win a challenge.

August 31, 2009

Are we really still in the midst of an economic crisis when:

A) 19,300 people paid between $40 and $85 in Calgary last week to watch a Red/White scrimmage featuring the 44 players who are ‘trying out’ for Team Canada for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Nineteen thousand people! To watch a makeshift game…that wasn’t really a game…and didn’t even feature another team! A glorified shirts vs. skins matchup with ticket prices upwards of $100? (On a side note, a shirts vs. skins hockey game would be hilarious.)

B) The Jonas Brothers played in front of 56,000 people at Skydome (oops…I mean Rogers Centre) last night, and there was an estimated two thousand scalpers outside the venue selling tickets, some for as much as $500.

C) Disney announced today that they are paying 4 billion dollars to buy Marvel. Which can only mean that in the future, we can expect Iron Man to have Pluto as a sidekick, and for the Marvel soundtracks to stop featuring bands like Snow Patrol, The Killers, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Dashboard Confessional, and now instead have Miley Cyrus and the aforementioned Jonas Brothers.

Economic crisis? You tell me.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

August 30, 2009

This week's Sunday music selection is Breathe Me by Sia. I had heard this song on the soundtrack to Six Feet Under before I saw the show itself, and I really liked it, but when I saw how they used it in the show, it became legendary. I highly recommend both soundtracks to the show.
Most of you know that I'm a TV junkie, and I can say without exception that the series finale of Six Feet Under is the greatest hour of television ever. This is the song that was used for the end of that episode.

I've embedded two options below for you to watch/listen. The first one is just an audio version of the song for those of you that have not watched Six Feet Under. I've also put a clip of the final 10 minutes of the series, including the song, below that for those of you that have seen it and would like to enjoy it again. Make sure you have your Kleenex nearby if you do. If you're ever planning on watching Six Feet Under, just watch the first one.

Friday, August 28, 2009

August 28, 2009

I was trying to hold off on writing about Quentin Tarantino’s new film Inglourious Basterds until I got a chance to see it again, but looking at my schedule, I’m not going to be able to go for a while. Since I promised to have something up this week for those of you that were waiting, I figured I would go ahead. Now, as with the ‘review’ on District 9, I’m going to refrain from talking about any major plot points or reveals, and trust me, that is going to be difficult. Once again, the conversation is fully open in the Comments section, so for those of you who want to discuss the movie fully, we’ll continue in the Comments section. I can’t stress this enough…If you haven’t seen the movie, do not UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES read the Comments section until you have.

In Random Thoughts format:

- To start off with, I’m listening to the soundtrack while I’m writing this. Great mix of instrumentals from Ennio Morricone along with some other tracks, like David Bowie’s Cat People. Fantastic soundtrack.
- I’ve always been a fan of Quentin Tarantino, so this was one of those movies that I was looking forward to for quite some time, and was accelerated even more after all of the buzz coming out the Cannes Film Festival this year. Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, and both Kill Bill movies are all high on my list of all-time favourites, and I think that after a second viewing and some more thought, Inglourious Basterds may top them all.
- I was never really a Brad Pitt fan until I saw him in Burn After Reading last year, and it really opened my eyes to how entertaining he can be. His turn as Lt. Aldo Raine in Inglourious Basterds is nothing short of spectacular, and he is definitely the comic highlight of the film. Perhaps the greatest horrible Italian accent in the history of film.
- I had a good conversation with my friend Caesar about the level of violence in the movie. It wasn’t over the top, but there are some things that stay with you. For me it was some of the sounds that came along with the visuals. You’ll understand more when you see it, I’ll expand in the Comments section. The violence isn’t necessarily cringe-worthy, like in Reservoir Dogs, or over-exaggerated, like in the Kill Bills, but it fits. And not because it’s a movie set during WWII. I can’t stress this enough…THIS IS NOT A WAR MOVIE.
- Christoph Waltz is going to win an Oscar for his role as Col. Hans Landa. Period. If you didn’t see the entire movie, you could argue that it was earned based on the opening scene alone, but throughout the film, you see a blend of comedy, drama, intelligence, sophistication, and pure, sadistic evil. All while being a character you will find yourself ‘liking’ while not rooting for.
- As with Pulp Fiction, a multitude of parallel storylines progress individually, culminating in a common resolution. I love the pacing of the film, broken into five chapters.
- Great cameo from Mike Myers. Not what you’re used to seeing from him.
- Newcomer MĂ©lanie Laurent shines as Shoshanna, an endearing survivor with (justified) malice in her heart. I love how Tarantino has filled his cast with relative unknowns from Europe, almost all of whom are fantastic in the film, and lend an authentic feel to the characters and story.

I’m gushing, I know. But Inglourious Basterds flat-out blew me away. Come along with me to the Comments section for a more in-depth discussion

Thursday, August 27, 2009

August 27, 2009

I saw the previews for District 9 when they started on TV a few weeks ago, and I didn’t really give them a second glance. But after the movie was released, I started hearing about the box office numbers (which generally don’t mean that much in terms of quality), and the spectacular reviews it was receiving. Next thing I know, I’m hearing from friends how good it was, and seeing comments from some of my friends on Facebook (whose opinions I respect) commenting on how amazing it was…so when Phil called me and asked me if I wanted to go see it, I said yes.

I went into the film knowing absolutely nothing other than the fact that there were aliens in it. That’s it. Not that it was set in South Africa, not that there were aliens living on earth, not that it was in a mock-documentary format (for some of the film)…nothing. It was great watching everything without having any expectations, and for those of you that haven’t seen it, I’ll do my best not to reveal anything major to you.

As far as science-fiction goes, it was fantastic, but it was a great movie on its own merits as well, without having to be classified as sci-fi. To find out that the budget for the film was only $30 Million was astounding to me, and I recently read a review with the star of the film, Sharlto Copley, who explained that most of his dialogue was improvised, and that he wasn’t working from a script.
Sharlto Copley was definitely one of the highlights of District 9, evolving from a nerdy office worker to a desperate hero (anti-hero?) in the span of 90 minutes. This is his first major performing role, but I would expect that you’ll see a lot more from him in the future. The parallels between humans living with aliens, and their reactions to them, is an obvious parallel with South Africa’s history of apartheid…you’d have to be borderline retarded not to see that…but I thought they did a good job of not bashing you over the head with it.

I don’t want to give to much of the movie away, so I’d like to continue the conversation in the Comments section for those of you that have seen the movie. I’ll add some additional thoughts to begin, and hopefully it will stimulate some discussion. If you haven’t seen the movie, and are planning to see it…stay away from the Comments section.

And to those of you that haven’t seen it, I highly recommend that you do.

August 27, 2009

I’m on a bit of a hot streak with movies lately. The last 3 I’ve watched on DVD were all quite good, as well as the last 3 I’ve seen at the theatres. It has inspired me to do a ‘review’ of each of them since I really enjoyed all of them, and can’t recall a time in the past where I’ve seen 6 consecutive movies that I would recommend to others. Now, I’m not planning on doing a traditional ‘review’, but rather a basic post on what I thought of the movie. Don’t expect Roger Ebert. But having said that, this post will cover the 3 movies I saw on DVD in the last couple of weeks.
Zack and Miri Make a Porno
I’m really hot and cold with Kevin Smith. I generally like him and his movies, but it’s hit or miss…love it or hate it. The previews and the press surrounding the release of this film made me want to see it when it was in theatres, but I ended up watching it on DVD 2 weeks ago. I’ve enjoyed Seth Rogen since I first saw him on the under-appreciated TV show Undeclared, and tend to enjoy the movies he’s been in. When you add in the fact that I have a mad crush on Elizabeth Banks from her role as Kim on Scrubs, then it seems like a pretty good combo.
I thought Zack and Miri Make A Porno was hilarious, and Rogen and Banks were a great team working together. Justin Long and Jason Mewes were highlights as well, and their scenes were very memorable. The movie itself was enjoyable, but I had the two-disc edition and watched most of the special features as well. With just the deleted and extended scenes, there was an extra 110 minutes…that’s essentially a whole other movie! Add to that the gag reel, the footage from the panel discussion at Comic-Con, and a documentary on how the film was made, and it was a lot to watch. But it was worth it. Interesting to hear Kevin Smith talk about his battle with the MPAA over the rating, and how he has successfully appealed in the past. If you want the laughs only, then just watch the movie, but if you liked it as much as I did, then watch the special features as well.
I Love You, Man
The previews made it look like a typical farcical comedy, but this was actually a pretty good movie, without being one of those silly yuk-fests. It was definitely funny, and the story was decent, but I really liked the characters. Paul Rudd initially seemed out of place as the straight man, since he’s proven he can be pretty spectacularly funny at times, like in Anchorman and The 40-Year-Old Virgin. He has definitely come a long way since I first saw him in Clueless and Romeo + Juliet, both of which were nearly 15 years ago! His awkwardness ended up being pretty endearing, though, and played well off of Sydney’s (Jason Segel) carefree attitude. I enjoyed the movie, and thought they both were great, although there was far too much Rush for my liking. No movie needs to feature that much Rush music…and a cameo of the band in concert.
Adventureland
I just watched this movie a couple of nights ago, based on a recommendation from a friend. We’ve jokingly (and accurately) referred to Jesse Eisenberg as ‘a Michael Cera clone’, and the only other thing I had ever seen him in was The Squid and The Whale. I had never seen Kristen Stewart in anything before, because I may be the only human being on the planet who hasn’t jumped on the Twilight bandwagon. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, it’s basically the story of Jim and Emily as they spend a summer working at an amusement park in Pittsburgh. The poster and the DVD packaging proclaims that it’s ‘from the director of Superbad’, and the artwork would lead you to believe that it’s another goofy comedy, but don’t be fooled. It’s a smart, coming-of-age story, with complex characters and relationships. I was impressed with Kristen Stewart, especially with all the press I had been hearing about Twilight, and how she is capable of so much more. I’m now looking forward to her role as Joan Jett in the upcoming biopic.

If any of you have seen these 3 movies, feel free to comment below. Did you like them too? Why or why not?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

August 26, 2009

For this week's mashup, I've chosen a track that mixes The Beatles with Nine Inch Nails. No, don't worry, you read that correctly. Closer meets Come Together.
Lyrics not suitable for work.

August 26, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

August 25, 2009

A follow-up story to the Roaming Wolverine of St. Agatha post from last week.

I was at Brantford and sitting with a friend at a table, along with Sean, one of our favourite dealers, who was dealing at the time. We were talking about the blog post from last week telling the story about when my friend and I saw a Wolverine at Foxwood golf course. Someone asked what we were talking about, so Sean said “Tell them the story”. So, I’m starting to tell the story about ‘the wolverine’, and this 19-year-old punk kid at our table starts laughing.

I say, “You’re going to start mocking the story before you even hear it?”

He says, “Please! Like that’s even a real animal!”

You could literally hear the crickets chirping as we all looked at each other and I said, “Um….what?”

“A Wolverine isn’t a real animal. That’s from the comic books”, he continues.

Well, needless to say, we had a bit of a field day with this kid from that point forward, and it led to a new game I introduced to him, called “Real Animal or Fake Animal?” I would name an animal, and he would tell me if it was real, or if I was making it up.
The very first one I ask him is Narwhal – real or fake? He asks what it is, and I tell him (truthfully) “It’s pretty much a cross between a dolphin and a unicorn, essentially a porpoise with a big spike coming out of its head.”

He points at me aggressively and shouts, “HA! That’s how I know you’re making it up! Because unicorns aren’t real!”

Oh…the innocence of youth. The look on his face was priceless when my friend Norm pulled up a picture of a narwhal on his blackberry.

To honour this future rocket scientist, please enjoy this classic Narwhal scene from Elf.

August 25, 2009

Every child should own one of these...

Monday, August 24, 2009

August 24, 2009

- Lucas’ birthday party was this past weekend and we held it at Laser Quest for him and 8 of his friends. They had a blast, but the oddest thing about the day was what I saw in the parking lot. There were three guys out there, probably 20-22 years old, smoking at their car and strategizing for when they would go in and play. What the best way to hold your laser gun is, how to cover one of your sensors while shooting, and how there are a bunch of really young kids that didn’t know what they were doing, so they should just follow them around and keep shooting them to rack up the points. If this is the highlight of your weekend, hunting 7-year-olds in a Laser Tag maze…you really need to re-evaluate your life.

- The one-week Coke Zero trial is complete. The good news is that while I didn’t have a single Coke over the course of the week, I didn’t really miss or crave it that much. The bad news is that Coke Zero still tastes like Coke Zero, and is not a suitable replacement, despite what my friends suggested. I’ll keep going another week and see what happens.

- I saw two great movies in the past week, and felt rewarded after not being to the movies for over two months. District 9 and Inglourious Basterds are highly recommended and will both be featured in posts later this week.

- I was reading a news story about a teacher in Arizona who went to McDonald’s and picked up some breakfast, and in the bag with his Egg McMuffins, he found a scorpion! My favourite part of the story, however is the manager’s response, saying that it couldn’t have come from the restaurant, and that “he's willing to pay for the cost of the Egg McMuffins, or replace them.”

- The readers on the blog are steadily increasing, so thanks to all of you once again. An interesting thing is happening, though, and that is that people are commenting…but not here. When I post a link on Facebook, many people are coming here, reading the post, and then heading back to Facebook to leave a comment there. Feel free to comment here by clicking on the Comment link at the bottom of each post. You don’t need to register with Blogger to post, you can post anonymously, or even sign your name to an anonymously named comment if you like. Thanks to all of you who are commenting, it makes for some good discussion on here.

August 24, 2009

Big Brother is winding down, and as much as I couldn’t stand Chima and Lydia, everything is kind of boring without them. Aside from Natalie still being a whiny complainer, everyone else is somewhat likable. I’m hoping it’s an interesting final couple of weeks. I’m regretting that I didn’t choose my other potential pick for my Swiss Chalet bet with Cheryl, as I was considering Michelle. I think it’ll be her and Jeff at the end. The good news is that they have added a second hour to the Big Brother season finale, and will be doing a full reunion show with the cast. Expect fireworks…with or without Chima there. (I predict ‘without.’)

Let’s talk strategy for a moment. The prevailing thought this week is that Jeff is going to take out Russell, and I think this is a bad decision for him. If you think about it, the house is essentially broken into 3 pairs: Jeff and Jordan, Russell and Michelle, and Kevin and Natalie. Jeff and Jordan will remain intact next week due to Jeff being HoH, but one of those other couples will be cut in half. What that creates is 2 pairs, and a floater who is essentially an asset to either pair…that would give them a 3-2 advantage.

Think about it. If Russell is evicted, that tells Michelle that Jeff and Jordan has severed the ties on their Final Four alliance, and she would obviously side with Kevin and Natalie, putting them at a numbers advantage, and leaving Jeff and Jordan alone as a pair. If Jordan doesn’t win HoH on Thursday, they would obviously be nominated for eviction. However, if Kevin OR Natalie is eliminated, the surviving member of that pair would need to align with one of the other pairs. Neither Kevin nor Natalie would align themselves with Russell, so they would obviously attempt to attach to Jeff and Jordan.

So, in short, keeping Russell and eliminating one of Natalie and Kevin, gives Jeff and Jordan either a 4-1 advantage (if they keep their Final Four alliance intact), or a 3-2 advantage (if they split it up and gain Kevin/Natalie.) Both scenarios are good for them, while the other one puts them at a severe disadvantage if they choose to get rid of Russell. I know these two are likable while not being so bright…but I sure hope they’re not so dumb as to not see what a huge mistake it would be to get rid of Russell at this point.
Also, for you Big Brother fans, follow this link for a hilarious video from Dalton Ross and Josh Wolk at EW.com. Any Big Brother fan will enjoy this...it's hilarious.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

August 23, 2009

I was flipping around TV on a commercial tonight and came across this at the exact moment it happened. It was on the anniversary edition of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, and this guy is on the million dollar question. He decides to go for it and is wrong, but the reason I'm posting it here is because of the cocky way he answered the final question: "C - Final Answer. Give me a million dollars!"...to which Regis responded, "You just lost a lot of money."

I may be a jerk for posting it on here and taking pleasure in it, but I'm ok with that. Fast forward to 5:40 for the payoff.

August 23, 2009

Today's music selection is one of my all-time favourites, Danny Michel. From his days back with The Rhinos in the early 90's, to selling his first indie solo releases when I was still working at HMV, to his fantastic New Year's Eve concert at the Starlight in 2003, to now...he's still one of the best live shows you'll ever see, and all of his music is fantastic.
There's not a lot that I can post on here simply due to availability, but below is a music video of the title track from his last album, Feather, Fur And Fin. I highly recommend you check out his website at www.dannymichel.com for more info and more music. If you're not a fan now, you will be soon.

One of my favourite songs of Danny's is a live version of I Will Love You For Miles, which he performs at a much more upbeat tempo than the album version. There's a great video on YouTube, but the ability to embed it here has been disabled, so you can go here to see it. It's worth it.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

August 22, 2009

Lucas is eight years old today, so I have to take a moment to acknowledge my best friend in the whole world. Here is a picture of me walking with Lucas on his very first day of school in junior kindergarten, and another of us last month at the zoo. I love these two pictures together.

Happy Birthday, I can't believe how fast you're growing up!

August 22, 2009

I don't know why it's funny...I just know that it is.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

August 20, 2009

The Zehrs supermarket by my house has a bunch of signs up that advertise how they've reduced 3000 prices in the store, and there's a sign at the road that they've put up to mention it as well. It's one of those black stand-up signs with the neon letters, and when I drove by it the other day, the sign said:

"3000 Prices Reduced Because Your Important To Us"

I had to laugh because the 'Your' vs 'You're' mistake is one of my favourite spelling/grammatical errors. I went in the store, and was going to mention it to someone, but I figured I would just leave it and see how long it lasted.

Today I drove by the store and obviously someone had said something because it was amended to now read:

"3000 Prices Reduced Because Yo're Important To Us"

Seriously...I have to ask...just how dumb is the person doing the signs for them?
(P.S.- I just love how the apostrophe is in the wrong place in the picture above, thus creating a third, and even more idiotic example.)

August 20, 2009

Not many things make my jaw drop when I watch them, but I highly recommend you watch what this guy can do with his bike. Great choice of music, as well, Band of Horses' "The Funeral."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

August 19, 2009

A few weeks ago, I told you that the inspiration for Mashup Wednesdays here was the Girl Talk album, Feed The Animals. I figured I would feature one of the tracks from that album. Now keep in mind that the audio is from the album itself, but the video is a fan creation splicing all the original videos together, and a great job, I may add!

I like the transition from Ghetto Superstar to Donna Summer to The Carpenters, and then right into Metallica. Sweet.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

August 18, 2009

I just finished watching Big Brother, and I have to say that this season has the craziest cast by far. Apparently there is some sort of psychological evaluation that CBS uses when screening potential houseguests, but this season whatever they were using failed miserably.

Chima was an absolute nutcase, and it was clear that she needed to be removed from the house for her actions. I'm glad that they went back and showed the repeated offenses from earlier in the season, so that Chima's ridiculous claim that she quit the game instead of being removed from the house could be exposed as a lie. Kevin brought up the best point about her actions, though, that she was potentially screwing her friends left in the house out of the prize by being removed from the game, as her vote in the Jury house could mean the difference between winning and losing should Kevin, Lydia, or Natalie make it to the final.

Natalie is an infantile moron. The whole scene about how Chima's microphone 'dropped' into the hot tub showed what an idiot she really is, and her rant about how Michelle forced Chima;s actions is typical point-outward blame behaviour. It's always someone else's fault. I was so disgusted by Natalie in this episode that I have decided to forfeit my bet with Cheryl at work. Even if by some strange chance, Natalie outlasts Jeff, I don't want to win the bet. It's official...I forfeit...I lose. I couldn't in good conscience accept a prize that I won on behalf of someone as reprehensible as her.

Lydia is insane. Flat out insane. The whole scene with Jordan at the HoH competition was idiotic, and her drunken ranting just made no sense. I won't even waste any more words on her.

Jeff is proving to be a real class act. He keeps his word, and he pretty much handed HoH reigns to Russell and Jordan so far. He has put his trust in them, and I don't think it will backfire. He's playing the game really well, and if he makes the Final Two, he can't not be voted the winner.

I'll be interested to see Chima's next press release after watching the show tonight. More fireworks I'm sure.

August 18, 2009

Before Lucas was born, I used to golf about 25-30 rounds a year, and was really enjoying the game. My friend Phil and I used to try and take off early from work at least twice a month in the summer and go golfing somewhere around town. One day about eight or nine years ago, we had taken the afternoon off and headed out to Foxwood Golf Course, near St. Agatha, just outside of Waterloo. We were able to golf alone that day without being paired up with other golfers, and had just completed the front nine on the white course. The first hole on the blue course is a par four with a forest/woods along the right side of the fairway, and a pond near the green with a tiny creek in front. We were both in the fairway, and as I stood above my shot ready to hit, I heard Phil exclaim, “What the hell is that!?” I look up and he’s pointing towards the green with his club.

Coming out of the creek about 200 yards away is some sort of animal. It’s big, probably coming up to mid-thigh if you were standing beside it. It’s brown, with what appeared to be a horizontal stripe along its side, thick legs and feet that appear to be very hairy as well, a pointed nose, and a long bushy tail. It starts to move towards the woods, and then begins to run. Well, ‘lumber’ is probably a more appropriate word, because it looked like this thing was moving in slow motion. In short, it essentially looked like a small bear with fox-like features. It clearly wasn’t a bear because of the long tail, but we couldn’t identify what it was. So it heads off into the woods, and Phil says “let’s go after it.” I said, “Are you nuts!? Did you see the size of that thing?” He says it’ll be fine if take a club with us, and I told him that as bad as I wanted to know what it was, there was no way I was going anywhere near those woods looking for it.

So we play our shots and head to the hole, stopping to look at where the animal came out of the creek. There’s a small culvert going under the walkway over the creek, and that’s where it came from. It was too big to be actually inside the culvert, so we guessed it was just taking a drink in the creek, which is why we wouldn’t have seen it until it came up out of the ditch. Not much else to really examine, so we continued on our way playing the back nine, talking the whole time about what it might have been. We have no idea. At the end of the round, I mentioned it to the guy in the pro shop, and ask if there are any large animals that have been seen around the area, and he says that it’s pretty much foxes and raccoons and the occasional deer. It clearly wasn’t any of those things.

As I mentioned, this was 8 or 9 years ago, and it wasn’t yet the norm to just hop on the computer and Google something, so we headed back to work, where we knew we had an encyclopedia of animals that was going out to a library later that week. We searched through the mammals, trying to find out what it was, explaining to our co-workers what had happened. And then we saw the picture, and both agreed “That’s it!”
Yes indeed, folks…that’s a wolverine. Needless to say, we were both a little shocked, but all the features were exactly what we saw, and described. I looked at the map of where they are found, and Southern Ontario was a little out of the range, but not much, so it seemed like something was amiss. Well, to be blunt, if I saw a wolverine in St. Agatha, then something was definitely amiss!

We decided to call the University of Guelph, which has a Veterinary College and a School of Zoology. I spoke to someone about what we saw, and they said if it was a wolverine, it was indeed out of place. They asked me a bunch of questions, including if we were drinking on the course (we weren’t, but I suppose it was a fair question considering what I was telling them.) They said they would send someone out to the golf course to check it out.

Pat, one of our co-workers said that his dad golfs at Foxwood all the time, so he would ask him if he had ever seen anything like that or heard about it. The next day when Pat came in to work, he said to me, “My dad says that there is a family of minks that lives in that culvert.” I said, “Pat, please tell your dad that I’m not retarded, and while I didn’t know yesterday what a wolverine looked like, I’m pretty sure I can tell the difference between a wolverine and a mink.”

We never heard anything back from the University of Guelph, and we never saw it again. Our friends tend to scoff at us (as I’m sure many of you readers will, as well) when we tell the story, but I know what we saw. It was 100% what we saw in that picture.

Beware the roaming wolverine of St. Agatha.

Monday, August 17, 2009

August 17, 2009

The last time I was at Brantford, we had an interesting character at our table. This guy was wearing a St. Louis Cardinals ballcap and looked like one of the animated players from the classic RBI Baseball game for Nintendo (see pic below) I was seated next to him at first, and it was clear from the first few minutes at the table that this guy was never going to shut up. Now, if I’m at a poker table, and I’m not the one talking the most, something is seriously wrong. But this guy was annoying for so many reasons. The first thing that jumped out to me was that, despite the fact that he appeared to be approximately thirty years old, his voice was constantly cracking as if he was in a suspended state of puberty. Within 5 minutes, I had my hood up trying to block his Rosie Perez-ish grating voice, and I immediately took the first seat that opened up at the other end of the table.
Down at the other end, my friend Dwayne was sitting there as well, along with another friend named Rob, who I play with regularly at Brantford. We quickly realized that this guy had something to say about everything, so when my gutshot straight on the turn cracked his set of Kings, he was very critical. I tongue-in-cheek exaggerated that I was getting 21-1 to call his raise, so it made sense, and he went on and on about how I didn’t know math, when it was evident to everyone else that I was being sarcastic (and for the record, it was 16.5-1, so I still should have called). After a while, I pointed out to Rob and Dwayne that this little troll was a Conversation Hijacker, who would interject something into anything that anyone was talking about at the table. For instance, I mentioned something to Dwayne about Shane Victorino getting ejected last week, and he jumped in to finish the story from the other end of the table before I could even get it all out. Someone was talking about UFC, and he jumped in to talk about Brock Lesnar’s amateur career.

So I say to Rob and Dwayne, “Watch this, I’m going to start talking about anything at random, and he’s going to jump in every time.” And they both said that they knew it would happen, but it was going to be fun to watch. I waited a few minutes, and then I said to Tyler, our dealer. “Hey Tyler, (I addressed him by name so that the Conversation Hijacker knew I wasn’t talking to him) have you seen Zack and Miri Make a Porno?”

Before Tyler can answer me, and about a nanosecond after it’s out of my mouth, of course the CH jumps in, “Oh, I saw it. It was awesome. I loved it.”

A minute or two later, I say to Tyler, “I also watched I Love You, Man, and it was…”

“Oh, that one was great too! Really, really funny. And I have a thing about Paul Rudd, too. Can’t stand him, so I was really surprised.” he interjects.

I look over and Rob and Dwayne are both looking down at the table trying not to burst out laughing. Tyler knows what I’m doing, but this moron has absolutely no idea.

Later on, our table busts up, and we move to another table, and Dwayne gets stuck sitting beside him, so he got an earful of whatever was on this guy’s mind. I made a joke at one point based on the loose play at our table that I was raising with a strong hand and sure to lose to something spectacular like deuce-4. Sure enough, I lose to deuce-4, and the CH proceeds to tell me that I said it would happen…as if I’ve forgotten that I said it 90 seconds earlier. I say “I know”, and for some reason, he just repeated it again, to which I responded again, “Yes, I know.” But when he decided to say the same thing again for a third time, I snapped back at him “Yes, I get it. You can stop talking now!”

I watched Dwayne and Rob stifle their laughter as the Conversation Hijacker shut up and finally stopped. He didn’t say a peep from that point on until we left.

August 17, 2009

It’s difficult for me to explain how much I love that picture.

Look at it, the pure, unbridled emotion of Y.E. Yang and the somber resigned-ness of Tiger Woods. Many of you know that I am not a Tiger Woods fan in the least. I respect his skills, ability, drive, and dedication, but I’m not a fan of the man in general. That’s probably a post for another day, but let it be known that I root for whoever is playing against him.

Yesterday’s final round of the PGA Championship was one for the ages. You can talk about all the firsts that happened: first time Tiger led after 3 rounds in a major and lost, first this, first that…blah blah blah. The bottom line is that he lost.

Period.

He blew it.

And you know what? That’s fine. People lose. In every sport, there are those that lose. How you handle it defines the character of a person. Tiger Woods storms off the final green and refuses an interview with CBS at the end of the final round. Classy, huh? Tom Watson suffers perhaps the most heartbreaking loss of his career at the end of the British Open last month, but as disappointed as he was, he still did his interviews, held a press conference, and gave Stewart Cink all the credit.

I know the whole world loves Tiger Woods, but how can you not recognize that what happened this weekend was great for golf? I heard from two people on Monday that they didn’t tune in to the final round, because it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Tiger would win. You can only see the same shot of the red shirt and fist pump so many times before it gets repetitive. Competition is good for the sport, and that’s not to say that Y.E. Yang is the next big challenger to Tiger Woods’ dominance of the game. I’m not saying he’s the next Phil Mickelson, or David Duval, or Ernie Els, or Anthony Kim. But this tournament proved that Tiger Woods is fallible…that anyone can beat him on the right day, with the right circumstances.

Trust me, going forward, you’ll all be glad this happened…Tiger Woods fan or not.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

August 16, 2009

Music Selection Sunday, and this week it's a band from New Zealand called The Feelers. A few years ago, my friend Kim from New Zealand made me a bunch of CDs of Kiwi artists that he thought I would like, and these guys really stood out. I've been a fan ever since, and I'm still waiting for them to tour North America. You'll probably see more songs from them on future Sunday posts here, but if you want more of them, check out their MySpace page.

August 16, 2009

SPOILER ALERT!

Yesterday Chima was removed from the Big Brother house and in a statement from CBS, it was revealed that she will not be part of the jury, and that her eviction will be addressed on an upcoming show. It will assuredly be tonight because there is already a new HoH and no more double eviction this Thursday. It will be interesting to see who they will choose to be the 7th member of the jury now.

And just before she was evicted, I finally realized who she reminded me of...

Peace out, crazy lady.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

August 15, 2009

This weekend is Kidspark, a children's festival in Kitchener. Lucas and I have gone a few times and he's always had fun, but this year, we'll be going on Sunday since The Silly People are performing.
I highly recommend you come to Victoria Park to see their show. If you've never seen it, you'll love it. And if you have seen it, you're probably already coming!

The Silly People perform at 2:00 pm on the main stage at Victoria Park tomorrow. See you there.

Friday, August 14, 2009

August 14, 2009

The 200th Post
Well, here we are...200 posts and counting. I decided to take a look back and see how far this has come since post #1, and when I looked back all the way to the first post, I saw that it was exactly one year ago yesterday. That's right, the one-year anniversary of Sean's Random Thoughts passed with nary a mention, and the only commemorative post being a photo of Sam Cassell being apparently molested by his trainer.

Looking back and seeing the evolution from Random bullet points to actual posts on specific topics has been an interesting progression. Who knows where we'll be next year at this time, or at post #300, or #400? I have lots of stuff I'm planning on writing about. Hope you enjoy it. I'm enjoying writing it. Thanks again for a great year.

But on that note...some Random Thoughts:

- I enjoyed last night's episode of Big Brother. Nice to see someone make a ballsy move for once. I give credit to Jeff, but can't wait to see the drama that is sure to come from Chima in the aftermath. I smell a penalty nomination coming.
- We went to Ethel's patio on Tuesday night and had a great time, which is interesting, because the Ethel's patio was mentioned in Post #1 (seriously...take a look). We went uptown for gelato afterwards and I tried a new flavour, which was fantastic...blood orange. Yum!
- How does The Phillies' Shane Victorino make my blog twice in one week? Well, first of all for getting ejected from center field last week, and then the other night he was making a play in the outfield at Wrigley Park and a fan threw a beer at him and hit him right in the face. Awesome that he still made the catch.
- I was on the 401 yesterday, and I saw a HUGE wild turkey fly out of the brush at the side of the road near Guelph and right into the front/side of an 18-wheeler doing 120. It was an explosion of feathers followed by a big thump on the side of the road. Very weird to see.
- 6 years ago today was the big blackout of 2003. The Record ran a quick story today, but their math isn't so great. 2009 minus 2003 is still six, right? See pic below.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

August 13, 2009

Sam Cassell loves his pre-game stretches.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

August 12, 2009

Snow Patrol meets The Police in this mashup of two of my favourite bands...and two great songs.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

August 11, 2009

This is the second in an ongoing series of the Poker Room ‘regulars’ at the Brantford Casino. Today’s featured player is Tom, who goes by a number of different nicknames in the room, but I simply refer to him as Rounder Tom. Tom is a portly, bear-ish individual who can be found in the poker room almost daily, and virtually exclusively at the 2-5 Limit tables. He’s unmistakable with his bushy moustache and ball cap with hair (but not really a mullet) hanging out the back. You’ll generally see him roaming about the room in track pants and perhaps his ratty PokerStars windbreaker. In short, he looks like he got lost on his way to the Larry the Cable Guy concert.

Rounder Tom is an interesting creature. A character who claims to be well-educated in the poker world, and one of the top players and strategists you’ll find. Just ask him, he’ll tell you. I’m not sure what he does outside of the poker room, but to the untrained eye, you would have to think he spends most of his time in the casino, ‘Rounding’ at the 2-5 table, raking in $20 and $30-dollar pots. Hence the nickname ‘Rounder Tom.’

The first time I ever played at Brantford was about 5 years ago, when I went with my brother one night. I had played a lot of live poker, but this was my first time playing in a casino. I remember that he was at my table as I sat down at 2-5, and I won a couple of pots in the first hour. About an hour in, I called him to the river with pocket 8’s, and hit my set on the river to win the pot. He went on and on about what a bad play I made, and how bad a player I was. I took it for a minute since I was new, but when he went on again, I stood up for myself and said, “Listen, I don’t recall signing up for any lessons or asking you to be my coach.” He pretty much shut up after that.

So, in the five years since then, I’ve seen him try the same thing with new players and regulars alike, giving free lessons while being critical of their play. The one main thing, though, is that any time anyone stands up to him, he backs down. Typical timid bully behaviour…attack until someone fights back, then run away. Lately he has been seen periodically at the 5/10 tables, which is a bit of a shock, but he generally just sits there and folds while he gets credit for an hour of rated play (woo-hoo, 41 cents in food credit!) while he’s waiting for his 2-5 seat. Or he misses his blind and gets up and wanders the casino while he gets rated.

I’ve heard a number of stories about Rounder Tom from some of the players and dealers there, from humourous to unethical, but he’s a staple there. In his mind, he’s clearly the best player in the room, but he doesn’t understand the irony that if he was as good as he says he is, he would probably be playing at a higher level.

Instead, he’ll continue to round it up at the 2-5 table in his track pants.

But if you need a poker coach, he’s probably the guy to ask

Monday, August 10, 2009

August 10, 2009

Who doesn’t love fireworks? As a child, we all loved the thrill of waving a sparkler around, and the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ of watching an old-fashioned fireworks show on some holiday weekend. As a kid for me, it was always driving out to Rockwood to see the fireworks, or down to Riverside Park in Guelph to see the show. Sometimes, I would climb up the antenna ladder on the side of our house and just sit on the roof, where I had a great view for miles and miles around Guelph, and could see all of the neighbourhood backyards shooting up their own fireworks. As a teen, you learn about the fireworks you couldn’t get at home…the ‘secret’ ones that one of your friends would bring back after a trip to the States…bottle rockets and Black Cats and M-80’s. That sure beat the shit out of pinwheels and smoke bombs and carbon snakes and snap bangs. As an adult, some of the mystique is gone for the most part, but there’s still that small part of everyone that loves to watch fireworks. Of course, some people never outgrow it.

I was visiting my friend Dwayne earlier this summer on a long weekend, and when I went down to see him in the basement when I got there, he was working on what can only be described as a small arsenal of fireworks. He had a LOT of fireworks, and a system that he implemented so that they all weren’t one-off shots. He was taping them together with extra-strong industrial tape, so that he was making super-bombs that would ignite each other once one of them was lit, and then all shoot off together in one big show. He took a lot of care to sizing, and what each piece actually did. (You wouldn’t want 2 gold fountains at the same time, for instance.) It was a two-to-three person job, as he needed help from someone to hold the fireworks bundle tightly together while he wrapped the tape around it. So, after about an hour of maintenance, and a full roll of tape, it was all pretty much done and I innocently asked if the tape wouldn’t just melt once they were ignited. He smiled and whipped out a bundle of plastic ties and said “That’s what these are for!”

That’s dedication.

About 10 years ago, my wife and I had just built a house in a new neighbourhood, and our street was about half filled with houses. We were all young couples, some with kids, and we got along really well, having street parties and Halloween and Christmas events. For one holiday weekend, we decided that the 7 houses were all going to chip in and get a bunch of fireworks for the Sunday night, and we would all gather together and light them off in one of the empty lots for the whole neighbourhood. I was in the group of 4 guys who went off to the Fireworks Trailer just outside of town to pick out our artillery. We got a selection of great stuff, a bunch of sparklers, and then I said, “We should get a Burning Schoolhouse.”
We all remember the Burning Schoolhouse, right? The lame little box that we always got growing up, that was part of any fireworks bundle that you purchased. It didn’t do anything but fizzle at the beginning, and then settle into a steady flame, which burned the cardboard housing that looked like a school. It was lame, but as kids, we liked it because who doesn’t like the image of your school burning down when you’re 5 years old? Our street had a lot of small kids, so I suggested we get a Burning Schoolhouse so that they could all sit close and watch one instead of having to be 30 feet away all the time. We all agreed that it was a good idea, and looked for one, but they didn’t have the traditional blue and red Burning Schoolhouse. Instead, they had something called the School On Fire. We assumed this would be the same, but with a different name. It was shaped the same, a small little box with a candle fuse on top like a chimney, with the box painted to look like a brick schoolhouse. It was yellow and brown instead of blue and red, but other than that, looked exactly the same.

As we would soon learn, School on Fire is definitely not the same as the Burning Schoolhouse.

We all gathered with our lawnchairs and coolers in an empty lot across the road at dusk, and then started with the fireworks show. We were about halfway through and we decided it was time for the School on Fire. So we gathered all the kids around the little box, and while they were significantly closer, they were still a safe distance away. Some of the kids were hesitant, and some of the parents were asking if it was safe, and we (me included) were explaining that it just fizzles and burns, and you have to be up close to see it. It’s wasted if you’re not up close, so we were insistent that the kids need to get closer. “Come on guys, you can go right up. It’s ok. It’s safe.”

So we finally get the kids all settled so that they’re about 4 or 5 feet away, all in a circle around the School on Fire…and then we light it. There were 4 of us standing off behind the kids watching as everything went according to plan…a soft fizzle of sparks that quickly subsided, and then a flame that lit the cardboard on fire. Everything was going according to plan, when all of a sudden…
The School On Fire exploded in what can only be described as a sound akin to a gunshot. Every kid started screaming, moms were scooping up their kids and running away as the kids were crying. It was horrible. The looks on the 4 of our faces must have been quite a picture, with all of our jaws on the ground simultaneously. I was looking directly at the kids when it happened, and the looks of horror on their faces, and the hair being blown back out of one girl’s face still stick with me 10 years later. We spent the rest of the night apologizing over and over.

How guilty do you think we felt after forcing the kids to get closer, only to see this thing explode in their faces? Rest assured, no one was hurt, but it was quite the scene. But in the future, I’ll make sure to stick to the original Burning Schoolhouse.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

August 9, 2009

Just some old-school Random Thoughts:

- For those of you waiting for a response on my July 20th post (the $10 chip post), I'm still waiting to hear from Teach on his response. He assures me that it's coming, so to those of you that have asked about, hopefully it will be posted soon.
- Man, was it ever hot today. 43 degrees with the humidex. Not a fun day to be outside, so I locked myself in the house with the A/C on. Such a recluse. Although the thunderstorm this morning was mind-blowing. Pitch-black and lightning out of nowhere, then blue skies and no clouds 20 minutes later.
- I just watched Shane Victorino of the Philadelphia Phillies get ejected for arguing balls and strikes...from CENTER FIELD! Awesome...
- Padraig Harrington was leading Tiger Woods by one stroke with 3 holes to go, and I changed the channel, only to come back 15 minutes later to see Tiger Woods up by three strokes, and Harrington carding a triple bogey 8! What a crappy time to channel surf.
- Don't forget to check out the new feature of the hidden photo captions, just mouse over any picture to see them. I've about halfway through the archived posts.
- This week should see the 200th post on here. On that note, since Sean's Random Thoughts keeps growing, let's have your input. What would you like to see more of, or less of? Do you like the Sunday Music Selections, or the mashups on Wednesday? Let;s hear your thoughts and suggestions.

August 9, 2009

I just watched a new poker show on NBC called Face The Ace. The premise of the show is that an online qualifier comes to Las Vegas and plays a random professional poker player heads up. If they win, they get $40,000. If they choose, they can go on and play a second match, where if they win, they now get $200,000. They can then choose to play a third match, where if they win, they get a million dollars. If they lose, at any point, they get nothing.

Sounds interesting on paper, doesn't it? David vs. Goliath?

But I'm confused as to what the motivation is for the pro player. What is in it for them? What can they possibly gain other than being the one who cost this amateur all this potential money. Is it that important that you show the world how great a player you are...we already know, that's why you're one of the pros on the show.

I'm not saying it's ego for them...far from it. But seriously, what is the motivation to play against someone to try and prevent them from winning life-changing money? The logic of the show just doesn't make sense.

The show last night featured a guy who had already won two matches, and had decided to go for the million against our very own Guelphite, Gavin Smith. Gavin, of course, beat him, and this guy walked away with nothing. If you're Gavin Smith, how do you feel? It's a lose-lose situation for the pro: either you look like an idiot getting beat by some amateur who doesn't know how to play, or you crush their dreams. Why would anyone agree to this?

August 9, 2009

Music Selection Sunday, and this week you get a song from a great Canadian band who you probably know as Pilot Speed, but who I still (and always will) refer to as their original name, Pilate. Don't get me started on Bush X and the Rainbow Butt Monkeys...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

August 8, 2009


Time for more thoughts on Big Brother:

- I was happy to see Ronnie get evicted on Thursday night. He was definitely a rat that had an inflated idea of his intelligence in the game. His speech to Michelle was completely undeserved and uncalled for, and only proves what a reprehensible individual he really is. It's been interesting doing some reading after the fact and finding out that Ronnie is a know cyber-bully, and his wife was trying to create a computer program to rig the online voting for Ronnie. Real class acts.
- Michelle handled that ridiculous speech well, but she is rapidly becoming a power player in this game. It's good to see that she's aligning with the Russell-Jeff-Jordan side, because I think they're going to go far.
- Glad to see that Jeff won the Coup D'Etat (even if he doesn't know how to say it), especially since Chima won the HoH this week. As long as Jessie or Natalie don't win the PoV, I would expect to see the two of them on the block come Thursday night. They'll never see it coming. This is going to be awesome, especially if Jeff himself is on the block...it will be that much more dramatic.
- I'm liking Russell more, since he's actually begun to put some thought into how he plays the game. His paranoia may get the best of him, eventually.
- Chima is a hyena. I can't stand to look at her or listen to her ridiculous laugh.

Friday, August 7, 2009

August 7, 2009

Tonight, the Blue Jays honoured the back-to-back World Series Championship teams of 1992 and 1993. There was a ceremony which was held prior to the game vs. the Baltimore Orioles where they introduced the alumni; former players, coaches, and administration. I could take a humourous approach and talk about how it looks like Juan Guzman had been eating for 16 years, or how Kelly Gruber's mullet was spectacular, but what struck me most, was right after they introduced Jerry Howarth...and then followed it up with introducing Shirley Cheek, the wife of Tom Cheek.

I thought it was a wonderful gesture on the part of the Blue Jays to include her (and him) in the ceremony, seeing as he is such an integral part of the team's history, and their World Series championships. No Blue Jay fan will ever forget Tom's legendary call to end the 1993 World Series, "Touch' em all, Joe! You'll never hit a bigger home run in your life!" I still get goosebumps every time I hear it, and even thinking about it.
Tom Cheek was the voice of my childhood, and one of the primary reasons I wanted to become a sports broadcaster. I remember curling up in bed when I was 13 or 14 years old, when the Blue Jays were on a Western road trip, and turning my clock radio on just loud enough so I could hear it, but my mom couldn't, and listening to the 10:35 games from Oakland, or Anaheim, or Seattle. Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth were my bedtime story...and I would fall asleep listening to them call the game.

It was great seeing a callback to those wonderful memories of the 1992 and 1993 Blue Jays. I was at each of those World Series--Game 4 in 1992, and Game 1 in 1993--and those are memories I'll have forever (and probably a future post on here.) As a matter of fact, had the Blue Jays not won in Atlanta in Game 6 in 1992, I was going to be going to Game 7. But as great as those memories are, they are bittersweet for the reminder that Tom Cheek is no longer with us.

I looked everywhere to find a clip from that Joe Carter home run call, and I couldn't find it. What I did find was a collection of some of Tom's greatest calls, and his speech from the day he was inducted into the Blue Jays' Level of Excellence. It is emotional listening to him speak candidly about his brain tumour, which would take him a year later. I urge you to take 6 minutes and 37 seconds out of your life and watch the clip embedded below. Make sure you watch along for some classic photos as well. And yes...you will hear that classic call from the World Series at the end.

You are missed, Tom.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

August 5, 2009

A few months ago, my friend Nicki gave me a copy of Girl Talk’s Feed The Animals CD, and I’ve been listening to it non-stop ever since. I’m hooked. It’s a great album of mashups featuring over 300 samples. I’ve since become obsessed with finding interesting mashups and layered dual versions of music, so I’m going to start featuring some of them on here. Just as I’m featuring a musical selection every Sunday, now I will also be featuring a musical mashup every Wednesday. Sometimes they’ll be ridiculously unexpected, sometimes you’ll see the comparisons, and sometimes I’ll just feature a track from Girl Talk, since that’s what got me started.

Normally I would build up to a crescendo for something like this, but I figure I’ll do the opposite and start off strong with what I truly believe is the best one out there. Enjoy.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

August 4, 2009

When we were visiting my brother and his family last week, one of the things we did was go to watch my nephew’s baseball game. He's 8 years old, 4 months older than Lucas, and he is the youngest player on his team, which ranges from 8-12 years old. My brother had given me a heads-up that what I was about to see was pretty out of the ordinary, but even that advance warning couldn’t prepare me for what I saw.

It all started off innocently enough, in a humourous way, as I watched the opposing team take infield practice. Yes, that’s right, infield practice for 8-to-12 year olds. The opposing coach, who looked remarkably like Bruce Willis, was all Softball Pimped Out in his cleats, and batting glove, and designer sunglasses. So, he’s up at the plate barking instructions to the players on who’s going to field the ball and where it’s going, and this guy is tossing the ball up with his left hand and hitting the ball with the bat one-handed with his right hand every single time. We get it pal, you can hit the ball with one hand, who are you trying to impress? But he continues to do it every time, and then I realize that the hand he is wearing the batting glove on, is the hand he’s not using to swing the bat. That’s right, he’s tossing the ball up in the air with his ‘batting glove’ hand, and swinging one-handed with no batting glove. Awesome.

So, the game starts, and keep in mind that they are playing with a softball, and pitching underhand to the opposing team. These are young kids, so it’s pretty much a lot of walks, as well as “stealing” bases on balls that get by the catcher. They all call it “stealing”, but it’s really “advancing on a wild pitch”, but that’s just 10 years as an official scorer talking. Now, on my nephew’s team, there are FIVE coaches, all with COACH in big block letters emblazoned on the back of their shirts, in case you mistook them for players. The head coach also coaches third base, and another guy coaches first base, but here’s the crazy thing: with all of these coaches (who are supposed to be teaching these young kids how to play the game), they refuse to tell the kids when to run and when to stay on base. This is what base coaches do! You never outgrow this! In the major leagues, players still get instructions from their base coaches on when to run and when to stay, but these coaches have determined that the kids should make the decisions on their own. I’m not just surmising based on what I saw, this is the actual coaching strategy. They started the season off telling them when to go, and then explained that they wouldn’t be doing it anymore, and that the kids had to decide on their own.

Can we all please shake our heads in confusion at the same time?

Invariably, kids are getting thrown out trying to get to the next base because they take too long to decide, and then the coaches just shake their head at the kid. How hard is it to yell “Go, go, go!” when a ball gets away from the catcher, or “No!” when it looks like it’s not a good situation? One time, a kid was on third, and when the ball got away from the catcher, he started to run, and then stopped and decided to come back. The whole time, the coach said nothing, and then blasted the kid when he got back to the base, saying “You can’t hesitate, you have to decide right away!” Sure enough, on the next pitch, the ball squirts away and the kid takes off, and is out by a mile at home plate. The coach then makes a demonstrative act as if he’s pulling his hair out in frustration.

That’s just one of many things that shocked me about this game, but the overall theme is that these coaches provided no actual coaching or mentoring, and absolutely zero positive reinforcement to these kids. There were even times when the kids themselves were trying to be positive and the coach sabotaged that. They were losing, and were on a big losing streak, and one kid said to the others on the bench, “Remember back at the beginning of the season when we were in first place?”, and the coach turns and snaps at him “Are you out of your mind, Parker?! When was the last time we won a game!?”

Heading into the last inning, our team was down 7-3, and their pitcher was struggling. He had walked 7 batters already in the inning, and the other team just kept scoring. The max for the other team to score is 7 runs, and then they just switch sides. So, they’ve scored 5 runs already, and the poor kid pitching can’t hit the plate. The other team is up 12-3, which means that our team can’t even win the game in the bottom of the inning since they too can only score a maximum of 7 runs. They have already won, but Bruce Willis, who is coaching third base (but has now taken his batting glove off) is still coaching his kids to steal home when the catcher misses the ball. Way to teach them class and respect, Coach.

So, the pitcher can’t pitch a strike, and I see that he’s now crying on the mound. Does the coach go out and do anything? Nope. Maybe a new pitcher would have been a good idea, but at the very least call time and go out for a comforting word. Nothing. So the kid keeps crying and walking players until the seventh run is scored, and as he is coming off the field, only THEN does the head coach go out to him and put his arm around him to comfort him…and it’s then that I see that the kid pitching is his own son!

Seriously, I’m not making that up.

Your own son is out there struggling, and crying on the mound, and you don’t go out to try to do something as a coach, as a teacher…as a dad? I just don’t get it. Then, after the game, and the team has lost and shaken hands with Bruce Willis’ team, the coach barks at all the kids to meet him over by third base, where he proceeds to blast them for sloppy play and explain that they’ll never win in the playoffs if they play like that.

I was horrified by the whole experience, and it would have been magnified even more if I hadn’t seen how much fun my nephew had playing the game, but he was the only one who seemed to be enjoying himself. Everyone else was just a somber kid doing what he or she was told. It’s a shame that these kids on this team will never learn anything from these coaches, from a sports standpoint, or from a team standpoint.

And it’s a tragedy that this is the frame of reference that all of these kids will have in terms of team sports.

August 4, 2009

By now you've all seen the JK Wedding Entrance video. If you're not one of the 15 million views on YouTube, then check out my July 23 post.

The parody video was inevitable. Enjoy.

Monday, August 3, 2009

August 3, 2009

New Feature!

Just a quick note to let you know of a new feature here on the blog. Pictures that are in the posts will now contain captions that can be revealed by mousing over the picture itself. I was inspired by Erika Olson's hilarious captions on her blogs, so I decided to try it myself. Unfortunately, Mr. Tech-Illiterate (that's me) had no idea how to do it, and couldn't find any instructions anywhere. Lucky, Erika provided with a brief email lesson which was easy to follow, so I'm now ready to get started.

All future posts will have photo captions, and I will be going back on most of the older posts adding captions, so be sure to browse the archive if you're interested.

Thanks to Erika, and another reminder to you all to make sure you visit both of her blogs: According To E, and Long Live Locke. They're great...much better than this one. If you can only read one...read one of hers.

August 3, 2009

I have some more pictures from Las Vegas and the World Series of Poker, so I've gone back into the old posts and added some where they belong, but here's a few more, along with a funny story that somehow didn't make it into one of my Vegas posts.

It was the second day of Event 54, and we were all getting ready to head over to the Rio. Dave had already left to play at a tournament at Caesar's Palace, so it was just me getting ready in our room and Tony and Jer across the hall. Generally what we had done for the week was to just prop the 2 doors open to our rooms and walk back and forth across the hall when we were all there.

I had just finished my shower and was getting dressed. As I was putting my shirt on, I thought that I should pack a second shirt to change into later in the day because it can get pretty hot with my Gryphons sweater overtop. So I grabbed a shirt and was bringing it across the hall to ask Jer to put into his knapsack, and as I walked out into the hall, I heard the door click behind me. I hadn't propped it open.

"Yeah, yeah, Sean." you're all saying, "We've all locked ourselves out of our hotel room before. Great story....yawn."

Except that I wasn't wearing any pants.

So Tony jumps up as soon as he realizes what's happened and points "No Pants!" and (rightfully) can't stop laughing. I just had on a T-shirt and boxer shorts. The boys give me some grief as I beg for a pair of shorts to go down and get a new key. Finally they give me one, and I head down to the front desk. I'm explaining what happened to the clerk, and I have no I.D. either, and she tells me that she can't give me a new key. This is Las Vegas. I can't be the first guy to lock myself out of my room with no pants. She ends up getting security to come up to my room and let me in, and then I have to get my I.D. to show him that it really is my room.

Here's some more pics from Vegas.




August 3, 2009