Why I boo teams I root for

September 28th, 2007

When I’m rooting for a team, whether it be the Eagles, Seahawks, Phillies or Mariners to name a few, I cheer for the team when it does good and boo the team when it does bad.  What?!?! You boo at teams you root for?  Yes, I do.  I want them all to win, but I boo when a player does not perform or worse, when a player just does something absolutely stupid.  I feel they deserve a good lashing of boos.  We’re not in grade school, where everyone gets patted on the back for trying hard and expresses the “maybe you’ll get them next time” attitude.  This is the real world with professional athletes that are paid big $$ to perform.  So when Richie Sexson (Mariners’ first-baseman) bats .200 for two years in a row while collecting one of the largest salaries in the clubhouse, I feel I have earned the right to boo.  Or whenever Kenji Johjima (Mariners’ catcher) steps on the field, I do my best to express in the universal language (boo-ing) that I don’t appreciate him grounding into 21 double-plays this season (tied for most on the Mariners) and swinging at first pitches all the time. 

Philadelphia fans are known for our blue-collar mentality and short patience.  We applaud the outfielder that catches the ball and runs into the wall, and boo loudly when the Eagles go 3-and-out… heck, Philly fans boo-ed Santa Claus when he parachuted in during halftime of a Christmas Eagles game because the team was losing.  I’ve brought that same attitude here to Seattle… so when a Mariners pitcher walks a guy with the bases-loaded, I stand up and yell, “BOOOO, toss the bum out!” all for the purpose of trying to get someone in there that can help the team win. 

There’s a nice article by Bill Simmons from ESPN’s Page Two that explains the art of boo-ing in sports… my thought is that if you don’t boo when they stink, you must not care.

Capture the moment with a Twitter

September 17th, 2007

Twitter is a cool application that takes blogging in a new direction.  Instead of posting a whole entry onto the blog, I can just capture a moment, an activity, or a thought as it happens, through Twitter.  When I’m doing something, or have an interesting thought, or want to share a moment, I can send a short text message from my cell phone that appears on my Twitter page.  This seems somewhat random and vane, but you’d be surprised what things people share on twitter that sometimes don’t seem big enough for a whole blog post.  If you want to check it out, I’ve started twittering.  You can do it too… it’s really easy and others can keep up with the things you’re doing.  If you do start your own free twitter account, drop me a line so I can follow your goings on.

Bumbershoot weekend

September 7th, 2007

I know people always say they need a break after a busy weekend… but bumbershoot really means it.  The 3-day music & arts festival in Seattle had 10 continuous stages of various acts all weekend.  The big draw was Wu Tang, Fergie, John Legend and Joss Stone.  One cool thing about seeing some of the upcoming acts, like Rodrigo Y Gabriela, was a few days later they’re on the Tonight Show with Leno working their way down the west coast.  The 2 things that make bumbershoot less than fun are the large crowds of people…. it’s almost as if you want to see smaller acts just to get away from the big crowds.  The other negative is the cage-like beer gardens.  In other festivals and even at baseball games, you can buy a beer and walk around.  At bumbershoot, beer is only available in fenced off beer-gardens that are located in various areas around the Seattle center.  The kicker is that all beer must be finished before leaving the beer garden.  I guess that prevents giving beer to minors, but it also prevents many folks from getting beer at all…. since who wants to be in a caged-in area everytime you want a cold one?   Not me. 

This weekend also included a trip to SBK…. a.k.a. Seattle’s Best Karaoke.  Now the “best” probably is in there since I don’t know if there is another competitor, so by default, I guess they’re the best and the worst at the same time.  3 hours of questionable singing always makes for a fun night where everyone agrees that singing should be left to the professionals.  But it’s still fun to belt out any song…. wheter it’s Billy Joel or Avril Lavigne…. the latter was not my best moment.  My lone OTS representative Jen held her own all weekend and shouts go out to Jen’s buddies who also made the long trek from LAX to experience a bumber-raoke weekend of fun.

Grand Slam update: Michelle makes it to semi-finals

August 27th, 2007

This is an update for those who weren’t able to watch the Game Show Network this weekend.  My friend Michelle beat John Carpenter to advance to the semi-finals in the game show Grand Slam.  Carpenter received his fame by being the first person to win $1MM on “Who wants to be a Millionaire”…. in fact, he used his last “lifeline” on that show to call his father during the last question, not to ask for help on an answer, but to let him know that he already knew the answer and was about to win $1MM.  That cocky attitude soon disappeared once Michelle started beating him.  Michelle won the first 3 rounds to give herself a comfortable lead going into the last round.  A couple tough questions had her sweating a little, but she pulled off the win in easy fashion. 

Michelle competes against Ken Jennings in the semi’s this Saturday (4pm PDT).  Jennings is the guy that won something like 80 jeoardy games in a row.  To say he’s a nerd is like saying the sun is a little hot.  Michelle has a good chance though, so set your tivos and root Michelle on.

Mariners post-season ticket screwiness

August 17th, 2007

The Mariners don’t normally make it to the playoffs…. in fact, if Seattle is still mathematically in contention come September, that’s considered a good year.. heck, a GREAT year.  As of today, the Mariners are 3.5 games behind Anaheim in the AL West.  But, we are 1st place in the Wild Card standings (a half game above the NY Yankees).  This is good stuff.  The Mariners control their own fate and have a decent shot at making it to the post-season… which starts in 45 days. 

I’m also a Mariners season ticket holder.  Granted, I only have a 1/4 season, but still, I get all the rights of a full season ticket holder. The team just came out with post-season tickets.  Apparently, the league “authorized” them to sell post-season tickets since they were likely candidates to make it to the playoffs.  So, given that I have a quarter season ticket license, I assumed that the Mariners would enable me to purchase a quarter of playoff games in my regular seats.  Makes sense, right?  That if you have the rights to the seats during the season, those rights should extend to the post-season too.  Well that argument fell on deaf ears in the Mariners ticket office. 

I was offered the rights to purchase post-season tickets…. but not in my normal seats, or even seats close to it.  The way the Mariners ticket office explained it to me, was that I got the best available seats after fulfilling team and league requirements.  I’m sure that sounds very official and all, but really, I’ll translate it for you. What they’re really saying is, “We’re giving all our season-ticket holders worse seats in order to be able to sell the best seats in the house to higher-paying customers and give friends/sponsors of the team/league the seats near the field.”  As a customer-service based business, the Mariners need to realize that the season ticket holders are the ones that pay the team’s salaries during the good years and bad years.  We’re the ones that show up to games throughout the year…. and we should be rewarded with at least the seats we normally have.  The ticket execs may want to reward their friends/sponsors just because they have the power to…. but that’s wrong.  This equates to standing in a long line and watching someone cut in front of you just because they know someone. 

I think this builds bad customer relations and keeps the best fans from the best seats.  Really, would they want a bunch of team/league VIPs sitting down close to the field, who may not be avid fans?  Of course not… you want the die-hard crazy fans up close to show lots of spirit…. not some old executive who doesn’t get out of his seat to clap, or who can’t even name 3 players other than Ichiro.  Wake up Mariners, it’s time to reward those fans who’ve been there this whole season… it’s time to dance with the one who brought you…. it’s time to man-up and play fair with ticket allocations.  Otherwise, you’ll lose the true fans and be stuck with those VIPs who just want to show up in October.

My friend Michelle is on the Game Show Network

August 7th, 2007

The Game Show Network has started a new game show, called Grand Slam.  This game is like the all-star competition of past game show winners.  The contestants are top winners from other game shows.  They include Ken Jennings ($3 million winner from Jeopardy), John Carpenter ($1 million winner from “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”) and many other top winners from other shows. 

My friend Michelle was the top winner from the Weakest Link back a few years ago.  I knew Michelle back when I lived near Washington D.C. and we all knew she had won the Weakest Link, but never figured it would lead to additional game show opportunties.  This game show is a little bit different than others. 

Grand Slam pits two contestents against each other.  The first person is given a question to answer, and 1 minute on the clock.  As the clock ticks down, if the person answers the question correctly, the clock stops and the clock for the other person starts, and they must then answer a question correctly.  It reminds me of chess, where a player plays a move (answers a question correctly) and hits the timer so the other person’s clock starts.  When a player’s minute clock ticks down to zero, the other player with time still remaining wins.  This is a fast-paced game, where if you get flustered, time seems to fly by and you’re gone before you know it. 

Of the 16 contestants in the single-elimination tournament, Michelle is ranked 14th (based on career game show earnings).  This made her compete against the 3rd ranked player (who was a quiz bowl teacher that won on both Jeopardy and Millionaire).  It came down to the final few seconds, but Michelle ended up beating the 3rd ranked player with just 3 seconds to spare.  WOOHOO!  Now she advances to the next round to compete against either the 6th or 11th ranked players (based on who wins that match).

Here’s the short of it all.  Michelle’s next match is on Sunday Aug 19th.  If you have Tivo or a DVR, search for “Grand Slam” and record it.  Even though the entire tournament has already been taped, the results are kept secret, so I don’t know what’s going to happen on the 19th.  Root on for Michelle Kitt and hopefully she continues to win and advances to the final four and eventually becomes the Grand Slam Champion. 

A new twist on a barber shop

July 30th, 2007

The average guy probably goes to a barber shop to get his hair cut. Why a barber shop? Well because it’s a place where sports is talked about, it has little frills, and it doesn’t smell like a flowery perfume shop. Most guys don’t go to salons or to a “stylist”… since we’re not looking for a new dew, we’re looking for a chop…. so we don’t have to fuss with it in the morning. I was looking for a new barber shop the other day, since the one I usually go to has inconvenient hours. And I found a place called “Sports Clips”.

Sports Clips is a franchise haircut shop that caters to guys. The same reason why most guys get drawn to the tool and television departments in Sears, Sports Clips has found a formula that seems to work. As you can probably imagine, the decor is sports-themed. Jerseys, helmets, and memorabilia line the walls and the high-school locker fashioned cabinets store the haircutting supplies. When you sit in the chair, instead of pointing you to the mirror to watch yourself (like every other hair cutting shop), you face a personal tv showing ESPN, or whatever local sports program is on. Nice touch. After a typical barber haircut, the barber would brush your neck…. but all those little hairs would still make your neck itch. At Sports Clips, they wash your newly cut hair and get rid of all those pesky loose hairs.

While your hair is drying, a clean hot towel is placed on your face and it makes you feel like you’re at a spa…. without the smelly scented oils that can make you smell like potpourri. After a minute or two with the hot towel, they use one of those hand-held vibrating back massagers that you’d find at the Sharper Image. Very nice and totally needed after a long day at work.

If you get the chance, I recommend trying this place…. if anything, to tell your barber that he’s got competition.

How to pick a Presidential candidate

July 10th, 2007

There are 219 days till the Iowa caucus, which means it’s getting into prime political campaigning time.  The question though is, how do I learn about the different candidates and find one to support?  I guess you could watch the many different talking head programs to hear sound bytes on each candidate…. or you could read transcripts of speeches to learn about candidate views….

Instead of doing all that work, just go to www.MyElectionChoices.com.  This site will allow you to select the national issues that are most important to you.  For each issue, you will then review a series of statements or opinions made by various candidates and determine which ones you agree with.  The candidate identities for each statement is withheld to remove all artificial biases toward specific candidates.  After determining the statements you agree with, the site then tells you which candidates you have most in common with.
The results may shock you…. even point you to a different political party…. but it provides a launching pad to learn about candidates you may have ignorantly overlooked.

I think if people use this site to really find out about candidate positions, it will educate voters to think for themselves and not just vote for who the media tells them to vote for.  Try it and see if you truly agree with the candidate you intend to vote for.

Inspecting bridges in Hawaii

June 12th, 2007

When I saw the news headline, “Half of state’s bridges fall short of standards“, it reminded me of my first college internship, working for the Hawaii State Dept of Transportation. One of my duties as an engineering intern was to perform high-level bridge inspections. Basically, we weren’t trained bridge inspectors, but we could provide structural insight on areas of failure or gross neglect. This article talks about how Hawaii bridges are not meeting federal standards… and how they haven’t been meeting standards for years. I think that’s a little overblown though. The bridges aren’t going to fall down, but apparently they aren’t as good as they should be. When I was inspecting those bridges in 1997, what I most remember was that there were cracks everywhere in the concrete…. which is expected from a 50 year old bridge. I’m sure the federal inspectors are finding some of the same cracks I saw…. which is probably what caused them to get a failing grade, since you can’t expect concrete to not have some stress cracks in it. It’s a tough job inspecting bridges, with the unknown people, rodents, and other things found in the dark, damp underworld of concrete crevasses. I wouldn’t want to do it again, but for one summer, it was a fun experience.

Junk mail finds you

May 15th, 2007

It’s amazing how fast junk mail finds you.  After moving into my new place in March, it didn’t take more than 7 days for new junk mail with my name on it to show up in my mailbox.  I purposefully did not fill out a NCOA (National Change of Address) at the post office… since after working at a credit card company, I know about how databases are updated with NCOA info.  NCOA updates are usually considered the most reliable addresses for marketers, so even businesses with small marketing budgets will target NCOA folks.  I’m guessing that my name was found by recording my property deed with the county.  Either that, or my mortgage/escrow company sold my new address.  If you do move, one good thing is getting a bunch of coupons for local businesses…. so if you are planning on buying something from a hardware store, or crate & barrel, or any other housewares store, update your name/address at your local county recorder or NCOA (even changing your middle initial) and you should get a bunch of “welcome to the neighborhood” coupons.  At least junk mail comes with coupons… spam email on the other hand is just crap.