Saturday, March 28, 2009
Now keep in mind, I am a college basketball fan for about one month of every year. My fanship begins with conference tournament week, reaches it's height during the NCAA tournament, and disappears immediately after the national title game. So with that said, understand that I did not watch a single college basketball game from November through February, so all of my insight comes from the games I have watched and followed since the tournament began. I am far from a college roundball expert, but here in no particular order is my magnificent seven list of college basketball players that have impressed me this month.
The Magnificent Seven:
Hasheem Thabeet - Center - University of Connecticut: At 7'3" at 263 pounds, he is quite a monster. He affects every shot on the inside even if he isn't around the bucket. He has perhaps the coolest name in college basketball, and he has gotten his team to the Final Four, so there's a lot to like. Although he plays for a team that is easy to dislike, he is compelling to watch. Although something has to be done about those dirty dishwater UConn uniforms, those are painful to watch they are so ugly.
DeJuan Blair - Forward - University of Pittsburgh: This guy has been my favorite player to watch in the tournament. His motor is amazing, he just keeps on trying and making plays even when they seem impossible. There were some rebounds he made and shots he got to go down in the sweet sixteen game against Xavier that were created with strength, power and will. I was impressed.
Cole Aldrich - Center - University of Kansas: I actually hadn't watched Kansas until they played against Michigan State in the sweet sixteen, but I had heard of Aldrich's triple double against Dayton in the second round. Thirteen points, twenty rebounds, and ten blocks is very impressive for any college player, but then when I was watching KU take on the Spartans, I realized for the first time that he was white. I know that shouldn't matter, but I would have bet any amount of money that he was a black guy when I heard people talk about him over the past week. That shocking revelation was enough to get me to put him in my magnificent seven.
Eric Maynor - Guard - Virginia Commonwealth University: This may seem like an odd choice. His team lost in the first round, and he missed the shot at the buzzer that would have won the game against UCLA. The way he led his team and the way he almost made it happen for VCU against a team that had been to the Final Four in each of the past three seasons stuck with me for some reason. I really liked him, and hoped he would win. His last second miss remains one of the most exciting moments of this tournament to me.
Blake Griffin - Forward - University of Oklahoma: Duh. This guy is the consensus choice for the number one overall pick in this year's NBA draft. There is a reason for that. This guy is ridiculous. He is averaging over 30 points a game, and he made an in air adjustment on a lob pass in the game against Michigan that was one of the most athletic things I have ever seen. He made it look easy. I love this guy, and I believe that some lucky NBA team is going to have something pretty special next year.
Lavance Fields - Guard - University of Pittsburgh: This guy is the perfect summary of the Pitt Panthers, he doesn't look quite right all the time, and yet somehow he gets the job done in the end. He is one of the chubbiest point guards I have ever seen in my life, which immediately makes me like him. That huge three he hit from way behind the line in the final minute against Xavier and then the steal at the end to salt away the game were impressive.
Leo Lyons - Forward - University of Missouri: This guy just seemed to epitomize the scrapiness of the Missouri Tigers. Their intense high pressure defense and the way that they play is so entertaining, and I thought this guy was the most entertaining player on a very fun team. Plus his name is freaking Leo Lyons yet he plays for the Tigers? That tidbit combined with the way he helped take down Memphis. (One of the teams I predicted to be in my Final Four) earn Leo the final spot in the magnificent seven.
Perhaps you've been forwarded this email that lists things you can do to spice up a boring day and prove that you're a little bit not right in the head, here are some of my favorites from the list...
-Write "For sensual massage" in the subject line of all your checks.
-While making presentations, occasionally bob your head like a parakeet.
-At the laundromat, use one dryer for each of your socks.
-Erect an elaborate network of ropes in your backyard, and tell the neighbors you are a "spider person."
-Follow a few paces behind someone, spraying everything they touch with Lysol.
-Mow your lawn with scissors.
-Sit in your front yard pointing a hair dryer at passing cars to see if they slow down.
Yes, all of these things are juvenile and stupid, however they also amuse me greatly. In this same vein I present this video that shares the same inane spirit. Enjoy.
I really need to get my hands on an extra steering wheel. I can totally see my buddy Doug and I doing this.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Sunday, March 22, 2009
If you're not a diehard Broncos fan, and even if you are, you may be wondering how exactly I've come up with this weird website name. Well, wonder no further. In 1960, the Broncos were born into the American Football League, a rival league to the NFL. At that time, there wasn't a ton of money in the AFL, so for the first two seasons the Broncos wore some of the ugliest uniforms in sports history. Their colors were Seal Brown and Mustard yellow, and from the few photos I have been able to find, the uniforms were just as ugly as they sound. Their helmets were actually sorta cool, though. They were brown with a single white stripe and the players number in white. The most remembered and easily the oddest part of their uniform were the socks. They were vertically striped with brown and yellow colors. Ugly? You bet! Kinda retro cool in a "So ugly they're awesome" way? Absolutely!!! Hence the new name of this blog.
Here are some pictures that I could find of the original Broncos uniforms and their crazy vertically striped socks. Enjoy!
In game action of the Broncos versus the Boston Patriots
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Yup, that's Ellie's foot.
You really haven't lived until you've had your appendages photographed at an NBA game.
Apparently, I was not the only person with small children who figured that the cheap seats were a good way to bring their little ones to an NBA game. I appeared to be sitting in the toddler zone, as there were little ones all over our section. This was another thing that might annoy me if I were there with my friends, but when you are there with your kiddos those children aren't potential annoyances, they are new friends. We shared our row with one other family who was attending with their little girl who was probably around two years old. Luke found her to be extremely interesting, and she was interested in Ellie. The three of them spent a good chunk of the second quarter walking up and down our aisle playing.
Ellie, Daddy, and another of our young, previously unknown friends behind us.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
One thing that I always believed to be true, but never could confirm was that boys toys were infinitely superior to girls toys. I always had this suspicion lurking in the back of my head, but due to the composition of my family as I was growing up, I could never confirm that I was correct in this notion. I was raised in a testosterone dominated family with my Brother, my Dad, and me. My mom was the only girl, and even she wasn’t a girly girl, so my history with all things pink is rather short. I never really felt like I was missing out on anything by not having girl toys in my life. I have come to discover that I was right.
You see, I now have a little girl. I am crazy about my little girl, and love her to pieces, but the thing is…she’s a girly girl. She loves princesses, sparkly things, getting her nails painted, and the color pink. Any clothing suggestion that alters the plan from a pink dress is met with a lengthy discussion and a healthy dose of four year old skepticism. Being a father of a child like this is somewhat like landing in a foreign country and discovering new customs and traditions that seem other worldly and bizarre. “You guys really eat that? You even eat the head? Eeeewwwww!!!!”
So I find myself adrift in this cross cultural sea of little girl-hood with nary a paddle, I’m grabbing at driftwood and trying to see how I can steer my life raft with little experience and no map. One thing I have discovered is that the color pink is my guide. Pink was never a major force in my life until my little girl entered the scene, now it is like a homing beacon to help find the items that will tickle her fancy. Did you know that there is an entire aisle in the toy store that is pink? I had no idea, or rather, I must have blocked out any such remembrances from my memory as a survival mechanism of being a boy. I am here to tell you as a father, that you do not need to fear the pink aisle. If you have a little girl, the pink aisle can be your friend. Don’t get me wrong, girl toys are mostly lame, but at least the pink aisle serves as a guide to help you find the right items for that just right Christmas or Birthday gift. However, I am writing to day to speak of the bane of the pink aisle. This is an item to avoid at all costs, you must discourage your own little girl from ever discovering this item for herself. The item of which I speak is (Cue ominous music) THE POTTY DOLL!!!!
I stumbled across this abomination innocently enough; my daughter and I were watching Spongebob and the commercial came on for the Baby Alive “Learns to Potty” doll. These people who market things to small children are evil geniuses; all it took was watching one commercial and my daughter was hooked. Her girl toy radar alerted her to the fact that she desperately needed a doll that poops and pees. Actually, thanks to the marketing people who put commercials on Nickelodeon, she can be convinced that she needs any number of obnoxious toys. I usually throw a wet blanket on her enthusiasm, as many of the toys they are peddling are absolute crap, but alas, I could not dissuade her from the potty doll. It was meant to be.
I thought I’d try to wait it out to make sure that it was actually something that she really wanted and not just a flavor of the day. Weeks passed, and she continued to press for her potty doll. I figured by this time that she had already been pretty thoroughly potty trained herself, and that a doll that reinforced this concept wouldn’t be the worst thing ever. We told her during the holiday season that she would be getting some Christmas money from various family members, and that if she decided that she really wanted to spend some of it on a potty doll she could do so with our blessing.
Do not make this mistake! The potty doll is pure evil! First of all, it retails for forty bucks, which seemed excessive to me, but that isn’t even close to the worst part of it. The doll needs batteries which bring it to life when you press a button on it’s wrist. It has those creepy doll eyes that open and close, and it talks to you. It tells you that it is hungry or thirsty, and it is up to you to take care of your doll. The potty doll comes with a few packets of “food.” You mix that “food” powder (which they warn you is not for human consumption) with water to create a brownish green goo which you then feed to a creepy plastic doll who sucks it down along with water from her little baby bottle. A minute or two later it begins to say things like, “Uh oh, I have to go potty!” and if you don’t heed it’s warnings it starts to get urgent saying, “Hurry, Mommy, Hurry!!” The doll has some manner of mysterious sensor which knows when it is sitting on it’s potty, and if you get it to the potty on time, it gets all excited and poops the nasty green goo into the mini toilet and the celebrates like it just won the World Series. If you don’t get to the potty in time, the little shoot in the doll’s butt opens and green goo drops into the baby’s diaper and it says, “Uh Oh, I had an accident.” Of course, if you have the diaper off, but the baby is not yet on the tiny plastic toilet, the green goo will dispense it's disgusting load with no concern that it might be hovering over fine furnature or clean carpets. Yes, as a parent of two small kids, I need this drama in my life.
The doll is quite creepy, but to be fair, I find pretty much all dolls to be creepy. After you use up the few packets of “food” the Baby Alive company conveniently sells packages of “food” in separate packages. They also sell more of these toy disposable diapers, because it would be silly to have a reusable diaper. We are stuffing landfills with one time use diapers for dolls, America is truly brilliant.
Then of course, you have to keep feeding this monstrosity with batteries so that it can continue to eat fake uneatable “food” and then poop that fake food into a fake diaper. There is nothing about this process that I like. Feeding the doll is just as annoying as feeding an actual baby without the benefit of it being an actual child that you care about and that needs to be fed. After feeding the doll, you need to clean her face because she gets “food” all over her face, then a minute or two after the feeding is done, the doll starts to freak out, and you have to get her to the potty pronto to avoid having green goo soil a tiny non-reusable doll diaper or drop a mess on your clean carpet. The best case scenario is that the poop drops into a doll potty which you then have to clean up. Ladies and Gentlemen, I rest my case that boys toys are superior to girls toys. Not all girl toys are this annoying, but if I didn’t love my daughter as much as I do, I would gladly drop Baby Alive into a wood chipper without a hint of remorse.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
"I don't know about you, Connie. but I'd like to stick a Spider Monkey on Mountain Dew on this Jody."
This one line email was recieved by a woman in my company today. Problem is that the woman who recieved it is the Jody being spoken about in the email as the target of a Mountain Dew enhanced spider monkey attack.
Needless to say, Jody is not terribly pleased with the agent who sent her this email, and I can't help but think it is going to damage their business relationship. The moral to the story is, DO NOT WRITE AN EMAIL LIKE THIS. (Or if you REALLY need to express this type of opinion, make sure that the person you are talking about is not CC'd on the email.)
That said, man am I happy that she sent the email, because it was a source of amusement around the office on an otherwise typically dull Wednesday.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
No Line on the Horizon:
Much like how they used "Vertigo" to start "How to assemble an Atomic Bomb" with a song about having a hard time finding your balance in a crazy world, U2 opens NLOTH with the title track about having trouble finding balance and a steady way in a nutty world with this song. I liked the music better to Vertigo, but I have a feeling this song will grow on me with time. My favorite line in this song is:
I’m a traffic cop, Rue du Marais.
The sirens are wailing
I like this line. He is a cop in the heat of the action, but rather than chasing he feels like he's being chased. He can't make sense of the world, everything is topsy turvy and he can't even find the line on the horizon. Not sure it's the perfect song to open the album with, but it does a good job setting the tone for the album.
Wow. Powerful worship song of love for God. This song is both lyrically and musically amazing.
I was born to be with you
Knowing what and who you were made for, but not having a clue about anything else. Man, Can I relate!
I was born to sing for you
I don't even have the words to express how beautiful I find this song. If this isn't my favorite song on the album, it's awfully close.
Moment of Surrender:
This song has so many layers and so much depth that I am not entirely sure I get it all, but I am drawn to it. I like the basic idea of it as far as I do understand it. I hear this song as saying that love is something that you give yourself to entirely and it may spit you up a bit and it will change you, and you won't always know what's going on, but once you're there, you surrender to it.
It’s not if I believe in love
At the moment of surrender
When it works, you only notice what you've given yourself up for.
I was speeding on the subway
When you forget how it works, you forget who you are and what's important. You've forgotten to surrender and you still feel the pain without remembering why.
At the moment of surrender
Then when you get over how stupid you are and remember what's important and begin to surrender again you may be broken again but in a good way. However, most people around you won't even notice the difference.
Again, I don't even claim to think I completely get this song, but I this is kind of how I am hearing and feeling it right now. Pretty solid. (And this is going to be the hugest blog post in history if I keep this up.) (Edit: Yup, I was right)
I may once again be totally off on my interpretation of this song, but I see it as a guy late at night unable to sleep and uncomfortable with either his life or who he is, then in the middle of the darkest part of the night he finds the "Sunshine." He connects with God who tells him to shut up and listen
I was lost between the midnight and the dawning
Go, shout it out, rise up
He does the smart thing and shuts up and interfaces with the almighty and reboots himself and remembers who he is and who he isn't.
I was right there at the top of the bottom
I like that God tells him to shout for joy if he gets the chance.
I'll Go Crazy if I Don't Go Crazy Tonight:
Yet another song that I really like, I hear this one as a call to action. A call to be bold and to be bold now. We have to live, we have to love, we have to listen. We can't hold on to old ideas without embracing new ones. We have to do crazy things now to change the world. If we don't act now, we will lose out on the chance which would be more crazy than going a little crazy right now. I also like how the song acknowledges that going out on that limb isn't easy. "It's not a hill, it's a mountain."
Everybody needs to cry or needs to spit
It’s not a hill, it’s a mountain
Every generation gets a chance to change the world
Get on your Boots:
This is their first big single off of the album. I actually find it to be one of the weaker songs on the record, but it's still pretty good. Here's how I hear it.
The world is pretty screwed up, and everyone is scared and talking about the fear, but the world is more beautiful than this temporary fear only not everyone remembers or understands that. It's a return to what's important. Love and community. In this particular instance, love between the singer and his girl whom he refers to as "Sexy Boots"
Night is falling everywhere
You free me from the dark dream
Here’s where we gotta be
Stand up Comedy:
Awesome. I dig the message of this song a lot. (Again the disclaimer that I love the message as I understand it.)
I hear this song as both a call to stand up for what is right, but also as a call to realize who you are in the light of who God is. A lot of times people who are taking a stand for an issue start to think that they are bigger and more important than they actually are. It's a call to stand up for what's right, but not because you are amazing, but because what is right is what's important and because God is a God of justice and wants you to help. Don't get confused and start thinking justice is your issue, it's just God's issue and you've co-opted it. God's the big one here, not you. This song may have my favorite line in the whole album. "Stop helping God across the road like a little old lady." The title almost seems like a play on words that it's funny how self-important people get when they "Stand Up" therefore it's "Stand up Comedy."
I gotta stand up to ego but my ego’s not really the enemy
Love love love love love
In High School my teacher tried to convince me that William Carlos Williams' poem, "The Red Wheelbarrow" is an amazing piece of literature that I should let wash over me and I would be overwhelmed by it's beauty and amazingness. I think to this day that she and everyone who gushes over this poem are full of crap. Here is the poem:
a red wheelbarrow
glazed with rainwater
Apparently this poem is a pretty big deal, as tons of literature freaks hail it as a magnum opus, I just don't see it. I didn't get it then, and I don't get it now. I bring up this random piece of history from my High School Literature class at this time because this song gives me the same "Red Wheelbarrow" feeling. I should probably appreciate it more, but I just don't get it.
It is beautiful to listen to, it mentions Africa, it uses verbal imagery, but it leaves me feeling nothing. I'll still listen to it when I peruse the album, because it does sound nice, but I don't get the message I feel that I'm supposed to get from it. This is the only song on the album that does zero for me.
Once I knew there was a love divine
As boys we would go hunting in the woods
I really dislike salesmen. It's an irrational hatred. This song makes me happy because it equates salespeople to Satan, selling you a bag of goods, telling you to buy the lies of what is important rather than focus on what is really important. Grace. I've found the one thing I need, and I can breathe. Fantastic. I love this album.
We are people borne of sound
Walk out, into the sunburst street
This is kind of a haunting song. I feels like a song of regret. Missing a girl from his past, possibly present, but he's too tied up in the dreary life he's leading in a war torn area. He feels like he fighting and wants to get back to when things were simpler, but he still believes in the cause too much. He wonders if he regrets beginning the fight, he wonders if he's chosen his battle wisely. He thinks so, but isn't sure, and regrets that he doesn't have certainty. This is a haunting song that is perfect to sum up the album, lack of certainty but faith in belief.
Choose your enemies carefully ‘cos they will define you
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
I come to you as we are facing a low point in our city’s sports history, but I am not without hope. The hits have been plentiful and painful of late, however I am not ready to give in to despair and the bottom of the standings. I will continue to cheer. Here is a quick rundown of our teams and the panic level on a scale of one to ten Big Blue Convention Center Bears.
Yes, it is true, the Broncos are somewhat in disarray. After three seasons of .500 football, our great leader Mr. Shanahan was surprisingly dismissed from his post and replaced with a young man who may or may not be of legal drinking age, Josh McDaniels. Then, as his first major move, Coach McD alienated his best player and got into a bit of a war of words through the newspaper. I say to you, though, that it could have been worse. Jay Cutler could have been traded and we could be entering the Matt Cassell era. Not that Cassell is a terrible quarterback, but I don’t believe his ceiling is anywhere near as high as Cutler’s. I believe that the Broncos will rise again, and one day they will be great again. (Of course, I think we are looking at a 6-10 season ahead, but I'm thinking long term. I also hope (but don’t necessarily believe) that McDaniels was the right man for the job. Of course, when you have a coach that has won two Super Bowls but you have a chance to get a 32 year old unproven assistant, you have to make that move.
For you conspiracy theorists out there, is it entirely nuts to think that Bill Belichick initiated trade talks with the Broncos for a Cutler-Cassell trade and then leaked it to the media that Cutler was being discussed in order to cause problems for one of his former assistants and now his competition in the AFC? I say no, it's not nuts. If for no other reason than it makes it easier for me to dislike an already very dislikable Belichick.
I remain a Broncos fan, although dark days may be ahead, I believe that we will make it through this time as stronger, better fans. (And with fewer bandwagon jumpers than ever amongst our ranks.)
Panic Level - 7 of 10 Big Blue Convention Center Bears
Let us move to our strongest team, the Nuggets. True they are (barely) in first place in the Northwest division, but there are definitely cracks in the foundation. Melo was just suspended for refusing to leave a game when George Karl told him to come out, and it’s never a good thing when your coach and best player are playing the feud. Plus, they have hit a cold stretch losing five of their last seven games. That said, every NBA team goes through bad stretches during the course of the season. I’m not ready to completely panic, although it would be nice if Carmelo would stop adding to his considerable baggage. I love the guy, but he definitely has trouble staying out of trouble. This season will be defined by how the Nuggets do in the first round of the playoffs, if they can get to the second round, I consider this season a success. I’m not sure they can do it, but it’s definitely not time to panic.
Panic Level - 2 of 10 Big Blue Convention Center Bears
Spring training has started, but apparently the Rockies have not. As I write this, they are yet to win a spring training game. That’s no big deal, as spring training games are about as meaningless as figure skating results, but it is symptomatic of something that I worry about with the Rockies. After losing Matt Holliday over the offseason, it appears that the Rockies are returning to their losing and not caring about it tradition. After a brief season of glory that amazingly launched them into the 2007 World Series, they seemingly haven’t made a good move since, and the talk is that Clint Hurdle is on his last legs as Rockies manager. No one around these parts seems to feel the Rockies have much hope at all, which is sad since it was only a year and a half ago that they were four wins away from a championship.
Panic Level - 5 of 10 Big Blue Convention Center Bears
Now for the saddest of the sad, The 2009 Colorado Avalanche; The Avs are having their most pathetic season in Denver. They have dropped their last five games, and not even a matchup with the Red Wings can drum up interest. It’s not even anger that people in Denver feel towards this team, It’s even worse, it’s complete apathy. They aren’t any good, but no one around town even cares right now. What a precipitous drop for a team that has been the best run team in town for most of the past decade and a half. We are finding out how well the NHL will do in this market when the team stinks, and the answer is…not very well.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
For Valentines Day this year I took Jen to Ceramics in the City, a paint your own pottery store near downtown Denver. Valentines day has always been my least favorite holiday, but as far as V-Days go, this was a pretty good one. If you're looking for a good idea of something to do for a romantic evening with your girl, you can do worse than going to a pottery place and painting something. It's actually a lot of fun, and you can unleash your inner creative genius, which is always interesting. Another plus is that you'll have some pottery when all is said and done, and unless you're extremely klutzy, the pottery should last longer than flowers or chocolates.
The three coats of orange were already applied and I was ready to move forward with the light blue. That initial step had me feeling cocky that I would be done soon, and would perhaps need to paint a second item with my newfound talent. I moved forward to the light blue which I was going to place alongside my orange zigzags. This proved to be slightly more difficult, as I had to align the paint against a different color of paint and try not to cover over the orange with the light blue but still get an even coat of color on the mug. It was harder, and took a bit longer to get the three coats down, but I eventually got there. There were a few smudges and my lines were less refined that I hoped, but it was getting there. My design wasn't quite as crisp as I had hoped when I started, but I was still hopeful. Jen was pretty much finished by now with her two bowls and was putting the finishing touches on them, I figured I was two colors down, and one to go, so I was over halfway done, I thought.
Navy blue was when it really started to go wrong. Navy blue was the darkest color, so one wrong brush stroke could seriously alter my artistic vision. Plus, I failed to take into account as I was applying my first two colors that I was holding onto the mug handle while I painted which gave me more control to get the design painted smoothly and evenly, now I needed to paint the rest of the entire mug...including the handle. My smooth even strokes were turning into wild and crazy mug altering splatters. My ability to control my brushstrokes was waning and I felt as if I had broken my right arm and was trying to write a caligraphy love letter with my left hand, perhaps a noble idea, but the excecution left a little something to be desired.
Okay, so the final result was better than I expected for my mug. It doesn't look entirely terrible, and Jen's bowls came out amazing. I thought it was funny how similar our pottery matched our general styles.
Jen: She went simple but classy. Very attractive, very usable, didn't get too fancy with her scheme, just a solid execution of a solid idea.
Craig: Wild and flashy and a bit messy, at times hopeless, but in the end it turns out slightly better than my horrible fears, but far short of the glorious idea I have in my head.