Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Rumors, Reminiscing,
Rewatchability, and Ridiculousness

Hello Hello Hello!!!

Wow a week goes by just like that (I'm not sure what "that" is, but the week went by like it)! It's crazy!

It is Wednesday night and I had a three hour nap this evening (from 5-8) so at the moment I am quite awake. So I'll get some thoughts off my chest, let you know how my weekend was (if I can even remember that far back), and also let you in on a few things.

So away we go. . .

First off, it would not be me without some sort of mention of all of the NBA trade rumors surrounding my beloved Phoenix Suns. With one of the deepest drafts in years being tomorrow, many teams are trying to position themselves to pick up a player that can help right away or be a part of a future plan. The other option is to make a blockbuster trade for a crafty veteran that can maybe put a team over the top. Well we have been rumored to do a little bit of both. . .

Apparently, the Suns worked out top-10 prospects Jeff Green, Joakim Noah, and Corey Brewer (the most perfect fit for our system!) even though they only have the 24th and 29th picks in the first round. I'm not a math whiz or anything but that makes no sense. However, the humdrum around the league is that we want to package some sort of collection of veterans (Kurt Thomas, most likely) and our two picks to someone in the top 10 (most likely Charlotte at 8).

However, the much bigger news was that The Big Ticket, Kevin Garnett, has requested to make a move to the warm weather city of Phoenix. As much as I love KG (and I always have!), I do not do not do not (hint: I DO NOT!) want to give up Amare in a potential trade. Why would we give up a 24-year-old future KG for a 31-year-old KG? People are saying that because our MVP is getting up there in age, that our window of opportunity to win is closing. Now, that might be true, but what about the 5-10 years after Nash retires? Amare is our future and he is who we will build our team around in the years A.N. (After Nash). The one trade rumor was us sending Amare to the Hawks who would send their Numbers 3 and 11 draft picks to Minnesota (who already own the number 7) who would send us KG (we would also send Kurt Thomas to Minny). This trade has apparently been thwarted, but not by us. . . Although we have apparently not even spoken to either of these teams, except to say, "Sure, we would like KG."

And that's the problem with all of this hustle and bustle. What is actually going to come to pass, and what is just plain crap that ESPN is feeding us to get us all excited? If I'm recently hired General Manager Steve Kerr, the only trade I make for KG is the one that sends the unhappy Shawn Marion, the old reliable Kurt Thomas, and those draft picks (maybe even our pick we get from Atlanta next year) to Minnesota (or a third team involved in the trade) for Mr. Garnett. If we can roll out a lineup of NASH, BELL, DIAW, GARNETT, and STOUDEMIRE with BARBOSA, JAMES JONES, and maybe COREY BREWER coming off the bench (if we make that Charlotte trade) then I think we are better off than last year. But that's just me. . . What do I know?

On to real life - - -

So my last week has been essentially made up of two things: Basketball and Work. I have begun working out again in the gym (not 24-Hour or anything like that) at my old stomping grounds, Desert Christian. My coach, Mr. Thomas, has graciously allowed me to utitilize the vacant basketball gym as my own personal house of basketball. Romique has been joining me, which is good, because he is better than I am (obviously) and playing against better players will only make me better. I have been spending almost two hours a day in the gym, taking shots, running laps, and working on triple-threat moves. It feels good, to be sure. I missed playing on a consistent basis, and now it is back in my life. I can't tell you how great it feels to actually feel myself improving and growing more confident. Two days ago, I hit 57 out of 100 three-pointers from the top of the key, my sweet spot. Granted, I was unguarded (Rome was not there that day), but that's still a great percentage. My moves are getting faster (I had certainly lost a step) and I'm trying to get back into some sort of shape. It is all in an effort to potentially try to walk on to the team at Cal State Northridge when I head there this Fall.

Here is the kicker: Say I somehow make the team. Even if I'm a bench warmer, how do I pass up the opportunity to play college basketball? Division I! How? I don't see myself saying no. . . So, how do I work? I guess I don't. So what of my promotion (less than two weeks from my interview)? I don't know. What of my living arrangement? There is no way that I drive down to CSUN every day for practice (plus my desired schedule is 4-10 on Monday and 2-10 on Tuesday so what if practice is at 5 pm every day. . .). It just sounds complicated and now I'm getting discouraged and nothing has even happened yet . . . Go figure

But it would be an absolute dream-come-true to play basketball at a higher level. Can you imagine playing in front of a packed house with thousands of cheering fans? I CAN! I have ever since I could throw a mini-basketball into my Phoenix Suns hamper! I'm just gonna take all this in stride. Whatever happens, happens. I'll make it work. Rome is actually more confident in me than I am at this point, but I'm getting there. I keep thinking "Hey, I'm a 5'8'' white guy with no true athletic abilities (it's all learned) and just a desire to be around a little orange ball and a 10-foot tall hoop."

But, again, who knows? . .

As I was at the park last week (Marie Kerr, to be exact) I sat and watched a young boy playing basketball with his dad. The kid was probably 8ish and they appeared to be playing 21, the ultimate 1-on-1 game. Essentially, it is just like playing 1-on-1 but after you make a basket you get up to 3 free throws. You make them all, you get the ball back. You miss one, the ball is live. First to 21 points wins. Simple, right? Well, my dad and I played hours and hours of this game back when I was that age and we still talk about some of the great clashes that we had back in the day (including my comeback to win after being down 19-2 :D ). I miss those games greatly actually. After I got to high school, we kinda stopped playing (both because my dad's knees often threatened to completely give out and both of our schedules were ridiculous). At this point, I don't know if we could still play against one another, if he even wanted. I am not cocky by any stretch, but I'm curious as to how that game would play out. . . I also wonder if Caleb will be able to enjoy similar memories. I think so. He will actually probably have double the memories because he will have the games against me as well - - -

Moving onto a couple things that I found interesting, ridiculous, or both - - -

- On tonight's episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, they ran a piece about two relatively new websites. One is called Conservapedia, an informational website exactly like the famous Wikipedia, except with a Conservative slant ("the conservative encyclopedia you can trust" - - is this anything like FoxNews? Fair AND Balanced, right?). Apparently they think that the world of average Joe is biased in ways that they don't like (I mean, really, why else would the site be created?). Consider the page for homosexuality - - - On Wikipedia, it is described as referring to "both sexual behavior and sexual attraction between people of the same gener or to a sexual orientation." True. Now on Conservapedia (besides the insanity of its existence, why that as a title!?!?) it is described as "an immoral sexual lifestyle between members of the same sex. It is more than simply a sexual act, it is going beyond the boundaries that God has setup for marriage; one man and one woman." Also true (mostly). Now whether or not you agree with homosexuality (I have delved into this issue before when Brokeback Mountain was released - PART ONE and PART TWO - but here I go again) will cause you to read this differently. My family will read this and nod in agreement. I know many of my friends will join in that response. I, on the other hand, have to shake my head. What is coming of things nowadays? Someone disagrees with a website's attempt at giving freedom of expression on all topics (literally - try to find something not covered by those Wiki Guys and Gals) and has to throw in religion. There is a religion section in the Wikipedia page on homosexuality where it discusses the viewpoints of several religions. That's not enough? These Republicans (of which I am not, but my entire family is - I'm a registered Independent) had to go 700 CLUB (ummm. . . .yeah. . .) on us all and throw out their two cents. . .

However. . .

I don't necessarily mind that site when compared to QUBETV, a “conservative version of YouTube." This website takes videos from YOUTUBE (a lot of the videos are actually links to the same video on YT) and also posts videos that are either direct slams of the Democratic party or praises of the Republican party and its hosts (such as the always cordial Ann Coulter. . .). This baffles me. Why on earth is this necessary? And more importantly (to use an old adage) why the hell cant we all just get along?!?! The 2008 Presidential Election (As well as the primaries leading up to the election) is just going to be one giant shit-flinging fest. Whoever can have the most shit flung on them without keeling over is the victor. That's it. (And a quick note on The Daily Show: I always hear conservative pundits claiming its bias towards the liberal Left. However, they mock the Demorcrats just as much when ridiculous things are said - which is often - or when incompetency rampages on - more often than not). And yes, most of the national media seems to lean towards a liberal bias - which apparently justifies FoxNews' ridculously far Right bias - but could that possibly be because the United States is leaning a little left after so many feel that this administration has failed them? I seriously cannot understand how divided this country is. . . Well I do, but I just don't know why it got that way.

The interesting thing is this: I believe that the only people who read this are members of my family and friends who are strong Republicans and will disagree mightily with my above dissertation. . . O how I yearn for a large audience. . .

On a lighter note (well, less political at least), I rewatched the first LORD OF THE RINGS movies with Aimee this week. She has never seen them and recently read The Hobbit, the prequel to the trilogy, and became more interested. So we watched the first film and she really seemed to enjoy it. . . And I think I enjoyed it more this time too. We watched it in two parts, stopping it at the halfway mark the first night. It works as two 90 minute films and the rewatchability rate on this film is quite high. The RINGS films are still not THE trilogy (to steal a line from Randal from CLERKS 2 "There is only one RETURN, and that is of the JEDI!") but they are certainly interesting films. True, they are just nine hours about walking (Randal again: "Even the trees in those movies walked!") but they work on that level.

I would continue on about some recent customer troubles I've had at the FL (funny stories!), some thoughts on the soon-to-be-released IPHONE (no, I'm not getting out a loan for it), and also some Entertainment recommendations, but I've rambled enough for the night.

I have off tomorrow as well (my days off are usually back-to-back) so I'll try to post those odds and ends then. . .

Until then, sleep well and please please please please please please COMMENT! I'm talking more to friends than family (cuz family is all that comments - - ). . .

I would appreciate it :)

Thanks - - - And good night.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Live From Pomona. . .

Good morning everyone. . .

So the reason for the morning post is that I am in Pomona at Heather's apartment and she is out for the day at one of her many responsibilities (today it is the internship). I came down last night as to not deal with good ol' morning traffic and also to give us a little bit more time together (and Heather time has been at a minimum as of late).

The apartment is really nice - she now has her room all set up (including the desk and filing cabinet that we picked up at IKEA last week when I was down here) and she looks so happy here. This is now home for her. It will be so for the next two years (at least, I guess) and I'm happy that she likes it. She also really likes her roommate Sydney, a girl she met at Cal Poly Pomona who has very similar aspirations (veterinarian-wise). She's cool - we don't know each other very well as of now, but I'm sure that will change as we have two years of me visiting as much as I can in front of us. It's such a relief to just not be in that dorm anymore (is this me or Heather talking. . .). I love it and I'm stoked for her to have this opportunity. End of story.

On my living front, there is constant rumors (a lot like all those KG and Kobe trade rumors - - all of which are unlikely to occur) but nothing going. Yet. Apparently Chels is in dire need of moving out and is looking for apartments near the CSUN campus. She is looking at this moment, I believe. I'm absolutely interested, but it will require a little bit of immediate sacrifice. Since I have gotten the chance at the A.M. position at the FL, I will probably have to hang around my store for at least six months or so.

SO. . . .

If I do in fact get the position (I have completed my training and have two weeks to study the main material before I go have the interview thing with the GM at the Northridge store - after that I will get keys to my store and will be an official Assistant Manager) then I will have to drive to work five days a week or so I guess. So I will be both commuting and paying rent (which is the same thing as if I moved out into an apartment in the Antelope Valley) for the first semester or so. Once I get comfortable in the managerial shoes, I can request that transfer to a store down in the San Fernando Valley. It might be worth it to go through that first six months or so just to get that transfer eventually. I don't know. My goal I guess is to first get this promotion. After that, if it works out that I get to move out this summer, then great. If not, then I'll go through what I thought I would - which is commute to school and work at the FL the other days.

But, I guess time will tell. Time reveals everything - - -

So what else is new????

Well I had that academic advisement at CSUN on Monday and it went pretty well. All of my General Education units are completed save for my required 9 Upper Division G.E. units (three classes which I take at CSUN) and an Upper Division Writing Test that I have to take before I graduate. I got my schedule for the first semester figured out, but I just have to see if I can make it work in a straight, concise way. Also, my goal is to get them into two days. We'll see.

Not much more to report since I've been working every day since last Thursday (I worked seven straight days). . . Well I have six more hours to kill (it's now noon) until Heather gets back so I'll probably go work on my schedule thing, then I'll do some studying for my interview. I also brought some books that I have been working on and a few movies (CLERKS 2 has been playing while I have been posting). So I'll be fine. We'll probably go to dinner after she gets back and then I'm not sure what after that.

But again, time reveals everything. . .

Hope you enjoyed the post and I'll post again this weekend most likely. . .

Have a day - - -

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Week (Plus a Weekend) Grab-Bag:
The Nearing the Finish Line Version

What's new, Ramblees? (Yeah, I don't really like that title either - - sorry)

So a lot has gone on over the last week (and a weekend!), hence the non-blogging. I apologize. . .

But now I'll catch you up as best I can (plus, I'll throw in some good old fashioned Insightful Insights along the way. . .)

Enjoy the as-always non-chronological goodness:

- So, the real Finish Line? Yeah, it's going pretty good. The training is going as planned and it looks like things can move forward in the next two weeks. The training is done through modules on the store computer and there are 40 or so to complete before you can go through the interview process for the A.M. position. The kicker is that you can only do six per day for some reason, so I have been doing six of these things every day that I work. It takes about an hour, so that is an easy hour at work, you could say. I have completed 30 I think (not sure off the top of my head) and I have three days' worth of 'em left over. I worked a lot this week (over 30 hours, actually) so I was able to get a bunch done. My GM (his name is Jose - now you know) told me that once I finish them all that he is gonna send me to the Northridge store (Future foreshadowing??? I hope!) to do my final training with the GM there. I'm crazy nervous about that, actually. I would hate to go through all this and then not be competent enough to be considered worthy of the job. . . Hmmm. I don't want to think about that. Well, anyway, I've been really tired this weekend cuz I was at work at 0600 on both Saturday and Sunday (yesterday and today) to prepare (Sat.) and do (Sun.) inventory. It happens quarterly I believe and it's quite a lengthy process, so I helped out with that. Busy week at the ol' FL. . .

- Heather is all moved in to her new apartment now. I was able to go down there Wednesday night and it's really nice. It is a two bedroom, two bath apartment with a washer/dryer, refrigerator, dishwasher, fireplace, two balconies, and more. It's great! It just makes me long for the day that either a) I can move out myself and/or b) I get to get an apartment with Heather. It's so far away!!! I'm being very impatient. I am so very jealous of Heather and her ability to live on her own. I am o so ready to try my hand at it, but I have no way to do it right now. The promotion will help, but I will still require a roommate and those are hard to come by, seeing that I will be extremely picky. I don't want just anyone from anywhere. I want someone I know and trust and won't kill me (or me kill them!). That's not that much to ask. . . Either way, I have even been considering moving out in the Antelope Valley. However, that wouldn't work so well with the whole "saving up money for the future" thing so that's kind of out the question too. Maybe. Who knows. . .

- I have seen a couple movies in the last week or so and one was a surprisingly fantastic comedy, while the other was a predictably overblown sequel. The latter was of course the third PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN film, which I absolutely hated. I think I would give it a D, which would place it just above GHOST RIDER and under TMNT on my 2007 rankings. I would call that a failure. . . I don't even want to talk about it any more. . . However, I got a chance to see a sneak preview down at ARCLIGHT last Wednesday for the upcoming (August 17th) comedy SUPERBAD, which was written by KNOCKED UP star Seth Rogen. It was HILARIOUS! I gave it an A. It was so immaturely mature, if that makes any sense whatsoever. I don't recommend it for any of my family (that is for damn sure!) but college guys are gonna love this film! A cool thing too was that the star of the film, Jonah Hill (he co-stars in KNOCKED UP as well) was just two rows in front of us (I went with Justin, Manny, and Jenn)! It was interesting to watch him laugh at the scenes that he acted in - he seemed like a pretty cool guy. Anyway, fantastic flick - you heard it here first (literally!).

- I have to mention this whole Kobe fiasco in the NBA. So he wants to be traded, huh? Well from talking to a few Laker fans, they want him to go with all the crap that he's relayed upon them through this offseason. So I've come up with 10 trade possibilities that work with salaries (and, I believe, for both teams potentially) thanks to the ESPN Trade Machine. . . (it's in order from least likely to most likely and the teams in bold are the three teams that Kobe himself has said that his list contains - - - it's true)


10. Kobe to Boston for Al Jefferson, Paul Pierce, and Gerald Green and the 5th Pick in the 2007 Draft

9. Kobe to Seattle for Ray Allen, Nick Collison and the 2nd Pick in the 2007 Draft

8. Kobe to Washington for Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, Darius Songalia, and the 16th Pick in the 2007 Draft

7. Kobe and the 19th Pick in the 2007 Draft to Portland for Zach Randolph, Jarrett Jack, Martell Webster, and the 1st Pick in the 2007 Draft

6. Kobe to Golden State for Monta Ellis, Stephen Jackson, Al Harrington, and the 18th Pick in the 2007 Draft

5. Kobe to Atlanta for Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, Josh Smith and the 11th Pick in the 2007 Draft

4. Kobe to New York for Channing Frye, David Lee, Jamal Crawford, and Quentin Richardson

3. A Three-Way Trade: Kobe and Troy Murphy to Chicago; Jermaine O'Neal, Luol Deng, and Ben Gordon to Los Angeles, and Ben Wallace, Kwame Brown, Vladimir Radmonovic, and the 9th Pick in the 2007 Draft to Indiana

2. Kobe and Vladimir Radmonovic to Phoenix for Shawn Marion, Boris Diaw, Marcus Banks, and an unprotected first round pick in the 2008 Draft

1. Kobe and Sasha Vujacic to Chicago for Luol Deng, Ben Gordon, Ben Wallace, and the 9th Pick in the 2007 Draft

What do you think? NBA execs, you heard them here first!!! (That three-way trade is the best all-around deal for all three teams - it's nearly perfect if I do say so myself)

- I'm off to CSUN tomorrow for my academic advisement, which is very exciting! Wish me luck!

Well that's it for right now - - -

I'll post more this week - - -

Until then,


Friday, June 08, 2007

The 2007 NBA Playoffs:
The Way It Should Have Been

So I was at the park shooting around this afternoon with Leshin and we were talking about everything from the upcoming NBA draft to potential off-season trades (sorry Leshin - I don't think JO will put you over the top haha). We also started talking about the way that the NBA Playoffs could have been fixed. . .

You see, the playoffs have been absolute crap ever since the Warriors got bounced and the Suns/Spurs series was ended thanks to certain circumstances (I'll refrain from my biased Suns fan rant). We were left with a plain awful Pistons/Cavs series (except for Lebron's take-over game 5) and a cakewalk Spurs/Jazz series. Now it is an easy Finals victory for the Spurs (for those of you who think the Cavs have a chance, well, you're just plain wrong), and NBA fans like myself are left to despise the Finals and watch with one eye closed and the other one halfway so.

So, here is our solution:

We decided that the excitement level would be increased if you put all sixteen playoff teams in one bracket, much like the NCAA tournament. The first round would be a best-of-three (possibly best-of-five) and the second round would be best-of-five. The third round and the Finals would be best-of-seven like always. The set-up would be decided strictly by records. In the words of Leshin, "You win a division, you get a banner - now you gotta win." True statement. I don't like this whole division winner gets top 4 status just because they won a bad division (See: Utah, Miami).

So here is how it would be set-up:

1. DALLAS (67-15)

16. ORLANDO (40-42)

8. CHICAGO (49-33)

9. TORONTO (47-35)

5. HOUSTON (52-30)

12. L.A. LAKERS (42-40)

4. DETROIT (53-29)

13. GOLDEN ST. (42-40)

6. UTAH (51-31)

11. MIAMI (44-38)

3. SAN ANTONIO (58-24)

14. NEW JERSEY (41-41)

7. CLEVELAND (50-32)

10. DENVER (45-37)

2. PHOENIX (61-21)

15. WASHINGTON (41-41)

What first round matchups!!! Detroit and Golden State! Cleveland and Denver! And look at these potential second round matchups: Dallas and Chicago, Phoenix and Cleveland (or Denver for that matter) and more! If Golden State caught fire like they did this year, they could hypothetically make a Finals run! It's amazing!

I still believe that the Spurs would win the whole thing if they could get past the SUNS (again, very biased - - -) but things would be different this time around. . .

SO. . . . . . .

Any thoughts?

I like it!!!

What about you?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Easy as 1-2-3

Well it's a Thursday night after 2300, and I am not even the least bit tired. I am registered for a play money tournament on PartyPoker at midnight and I'm tired of playing Blast Billiards (by the way, my high score is 3124 - just try to beat it!). Just thought I would lay out a few new/interesting/exciting things for you this evening.

One: I'm beginning training for Assistant Manager (not Assisstant TO the Regional Manager like my friend Dwight Shrute haha) at the FL. I'm very excited! Me - a Manager! I'm looking forward to the challenge, cuz it definitely will be one. The rumor at the store is that the GM wants to run the store with just four managers (the two existing ones and then the two of us who are training now) and a rare appearance by a Sales Associate. We would run the store (even though the four of us already kinda do - plus all of us have the best numbers in our sales) and do that well, I'm sure. . .

More as more comes around - but I'm excited!

Two: Aimee's injury update. It turns out the injury is just a hairline fracture (I use just for the forthcoming reasons) and that's actually a good thing. Well this means that she can slowly begin dancing next week and be ready for her recital in four weeks. She's walking around the house without crutches and she's happier, that's for sure. I'm happy for her because I know how much she loves the dancing. It seems that some things actually do work out. . .

Three: The world of frugal purchasing has been hovering around me. The first was this Tuesday when I bought seasons 7 and 8 of SEINFELD with the remainder of my gift cards from my birthday. I also bought the new CD by a fantastic Australian band (Guess where I heard about them???) called the John Butler Trio. The CD is great! The seasons are great - I've been watching SEINFELD nonstop! I only spent $30 of my own money on all three things, so I thank those who got me the gift cards, because they paid off very well! The other exciting purchase is one that I have been looking forward to for several months now. Realize that my goal out of this purchase is two-fold; one is for the joy of owning something I really want and find very very cool (and I might wear one. . . I'm still not sure). The second reason is that in a couple years' time, I could resell these items for potentially ten times what I bought them for. . . Now what are these items? Meet my two new best friends, Alpha and Omega!

These are the newest Jordan releases and they came out a week ago. I wanted to get them, but I couldn't because our store did not carry them (most unfortunately). I could have driven to Northridge to get them, but I did not feel like driving 100 miles roundtrip for shoes. Well today at work, we got two cases of them from the Fox Hills Mall store, since they had too many (they initially got something like 400 pairs!). Well I can't pass them up now (we actually just got the Alphas - the Carolina blue ones) and especially for the price I get them for. This is how it is going down. . .

I'm going to buy two pairs of the Alphas (retail $110) and one pair of the Omegas (retail $175). The total for your average joe would be $430 but I will get them for $300 even after my discount. That's $100 a pair! I will take one pair of each (the only pair of Omegas then) and keep them in their box and leave them in perfect condition. I will maintain them and make sure they stay in mint condition. I was told by a big shoe head (the term used to describe a shoe collector) that in as few as two or three years that these shoes could be as much as $1000 each! And just think about five years after that! Or when Jordan dies in 30 years or something. . . Let me put it to you this way: This guy I was talking to today told me that he has a friend who sold his entire collection of Original Jordans, 1-21 (all original pairs in a size 9.5) for 2.5 million dollars! He sold them to a Japanese businessman. . . It's unbelievable how the shoe business works!

Well the other pair of Alphas are for me. I can do whatever I want with them. First off, I love the shoes. I would definitely wear them. And I could. . . I think I would be the only white boy around that would be rocking these shoes (ha - that's the truth though!). So how am I paying for these? There are two parts to this as well: One is that my parents are giving me $100 towards them, partially as a gift for graduating AVC - - Two is that I just got paid, I already made my car payment for the month, and I am definitely starting to make some more money.

. . .

So I'm excited. . .


And a few more things, but in a more rapid fire nature:

- Heather is home for the weekend and then moving into her new apartment in Pomona on Monday. Also very exciting!

- Monday is both Chelsea and Pop's birthday - Happy Birthday to both!

- Probably finally going to see the long-ass PIRATES movie this weekend. I'm not that excited. . . But I guess I have to see it since I'm so involved already.

- And finally, an NBA Finals prediction. Yes, I'm aware GAME ONE was tonight (a SPURS victory) but ask anyone around that I said SPURS in six games since last week. It very well might go five games actually, unless the refs bail the CAVS out twice at home. We'll see. . . Either way, I don't care. At all. I hate both teams. Very much. . .

Well have a good Friday - - -

Goodnight all!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Joy of Tivo, The Pain of Death
and a Really Bad Day Car-Wise

Well today was the first official day that I felt like I was done with school. You see, today was a Tuesday and that usually means school. But not today. Allow me to pause a second to relish in the joy that is summer vacation. . .

. . .

. . .

Wow. I am SO very excited!!! Even though I will be working a lot (I got my manager to finally give me more hours - - next week I have 27), my time is going to be spent doing a lot of nothing. And that makes me happy. Of course, I plan on reading some books, catching up on my TIVO'd shows (more on that later), and being active, but I will not be doing homework, or reading any Shakespeare, and certainly not venturing to AVC anytime soon. That makes me happy.

On a work-related note, I have gotten the green light to begin doing the prepatory learning modules (our training at the FL) to become an Associate Manager. It is vey exciting! It would not only mean a raise (to at least $9.50 an hour - I know it's not that great, but it IS better than minimum wage) but mucho mas horas (that means "much more hours" for you unolingual individuals. . .) as well. I'll let you know how that goest when more begins to fall into place. . .

Back to TIVO. Have I mentioned how wonderful TIVO is? When I move out (God-willing by next summer) I will be putting the price of one in my budget. I don't want to think about life without it. Yes, it is that ridiculously fantastic! Well I caught up on a few shows tonight, seeing that I had nothing else on my plate for the evening. I watched two episodes of STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP, which is airing its final episodes this summer. I am still broken up over the quick deletion of this show from NBC's schedule, but whatever. The only season has been great thus far, and I look forward to how it will end. I also sped through the last two episodes of the new FOX reality show ON THE LOT, where a bunch of aspiring filmmakers try to earn a lucrative prize that includes a million dollar movie deal. The bummer part is that the show has gotten extremely blahish - - I think I'm done with it. Yes. Yes, I am.

And then I watched this week's season premiere of HELL'S KITCHEN, which is back for its third season!!! I'm so giddy about the return of this show! I love everything about it and this season is going to be incredible - I just know it!

The TIVO was good for me tonight because I had a rough day car-wise. First off, I kissed back bumpers with a Suburban in the Mall parking lot as I left work today. He was parked behind me and to the right (smack dab in my blind spot) and we both backed up right into each other. A completely mutual 5 MPH accident. His car was fine (Being a beast of a Suburban) and mine was left with only scratches and a tiny dent near the trunk - I figured it was fine. We agreed to just leave it and not worry about info or anything like that. Well when I got home and opened my trunk just to see what had happened, I could not close it! It did not latch. Apparently, in the light tapping, the bumper was moved enough so that the latch would not engage or something like that. My dad, being the savvy body-repair man that he is, did tinker with it and got it to close - however, if I am to open it (which I will avoid at all costs) then I am going to have to slam/manipulate it into shutting again.

While he was inspecting the trunk, he also checked the air pressure on my tires. Turns out, I had a tiny nail in my front right tire and it was causing a small leak. So I hurried over to American Tire Co. before they closed at 1800. I got there around 1700 and my mom had told me it might take 10 minutes to do. That was fine with me seeing that I had not eaten all day and dinner was not quite ready anyway. So I went and I ended up being there until a little after 1800 because of the business of this place. I was pretty flustered, especially since I had not brought anything to entertain myself with (e.g. IPOD, book). I ended up talking to Heather for about twenty minutes on the phone (which was nice) and staring off into the distance for the remainder of the time. But, they fixed it, and now that's better.

Here's a new goal: I want a different car by the end of the year. I presently owe about $5500 on my car and it is worth a little bit more than that (not much, mind you). I'll be down to about $4500 by the end of 2007 and if I could somehow get $6000 for it, then I could have a nice down payment on something newer. I have had the car for almost three years now (Seems longer, though) and I certainly would not mind something newer and better (and with fewer miles!). So we'll see how that goes. . .

And now on to more bad news: on Monday morning, my mom received a call from a business colleague who informed her that her long-time associate John Brooks (I mentioned him in this post back in April 2006) had passed away from a major heart attack. I am still in shock over this. I don't know how old he was, but he could not have been older than 60. He was a brilliant and caring man who did everything he could to help those whom he liked. He is the one who gave my dad and me tickets to the Easter Sunday Lakers/Suns game (very expensive tickets just given to us). It was John and his wife who took me to my first NBA game back when I was like eight or so. He drove me down to see the Lakers and Rockets play at the old Great Western Forum. I actually don't remember anything about the game (who won, the players, any plays) but I will always remember going with them and then to the Cheesecake Factory for food. His wealth (I would say he was a multi-millionaire. . . multi-multi even!) was not obvious, as he carried himself with a humility that is rivaled by few. John gave a start to many people in this valley (and to Ed, my mom's boss) and was many people's safety blankets. It is hard to imagine him not being around anymore, even though we have not talked in a very long time. But we used to. And his role in my mom's life (through their businesses) caused her to take it very hard as well. It just sucks. I hate death.

A quick bowling note before I head out for the night: I averaged 180 over ten games last night, which is very exciting. I'm starting to learn my new ball and all the things that it does. 200 average, here I come!!!

No work for me tomorrow, but I will be there on Thursday and Friday both. . . come stop by!

Have a good Wednesday!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Weekend Grab-Bag:
The Things That Suck Version

As much fun as it has been being off of school (and believe me, it has been FANTASTIC not to have to turn anything into any type of teacher!) there are a few things that are irking me. And I just have to let you know about each of them. . .

So here we go, with another installment of the GRAB-BAG series that runs back o so far (by the way, the two year anniversary of A RAMBLER'S RAMBLING is in just two months and I can't believe it!).

So enjoy the as-always non-chronological goodness:

- In ALL honesty, one thing that everyone can agree on as sucking is diarrhea. And in ALL honesty, I have been suffering from said terrible problem the last two days. Not that you really needed to know that, but you gotta KNOW that it sucks. Seriously, why is it that the waste product feels the need to rush out so damn fast? Does it really desire to go from inside me to outside of me in such a hurry that it does not get to know my intestines even a little? Seriously guys, you should meet. Exchange pleasantries. Tell life stories. Whatever. Just hang out a bit longer and maybe band together before you decide to depart from me next time, ok? Thanks.

- Reason Number 86 why my faith in the goodness of anything around here exists: My ever-dancing sister Aimee was at dance practice last week and did a move resulting in her rolling her ankle. Turns out, after an X-ray, that she fractured a bone in her foot and she has to be fitted for one of those walking boot things tomorrow. Not only is her year-end pageant in four weeks (which she will possibly miss - - I think she should try to dance on it that week and see if she can go - she worked too hard all year to just not be able to participate) but she was going to take summer school dance classes at AVC and those begin in just two weeks. It's just ridiculous. The last person on this Earth that deserves to miss out on her passion is my sister. She works too damn hard and wants so much to be a dancer (plus, she is REALLY good!) that I have had to watch her fight back tears all weekend whenever the topic is brought up. Meanwhile, she crutches around the house and is basically playing the waiting game. As a dancer, she was bound to get this injury (or a similar one), but why now? It's just not right, and no one can convince me othewise.

- Death. It sucks. Heather's grandmother Shirley unfortunately passed away last Sunday. I only met her five times (or so) but she was such a wonderful woman. I grew to love her and her fantastic personality after the first lunch I had with her. I was a junior in high school and in over my head in my relationship with Heather. We went to Olive Garden with both Shirley and her husband Bill and the first question I was asked once we sat down was "So what do you want to do with your future?" Bill was already grilling me and I was scared shitless (too bad I cant have that condition now. . .). At the time (and seriously, name me a HS junior who knows exactly what he or she wants to do!) I wanted to be a film critic and so I went with that. Mistake #1. I was told how I should attempt more secure employment opportunities and the like. Bill was looking out for me (and subsequently, his granddaughter) but was also being kinda scary. . . But I remember Shirley smiling at me from across the table and even giving me a wink or two to let me know it was going to be ok and that I was doing ok. . . I hugged her goodbye that day and thanked her again for lunch. She smiled and said anytime and I felt like I had been victorious that day. Not because I had somehow won her gparents over or anything, but because I had met a phenomenal woman. Over the course of our three years together (now almost 3 1/2. . . wow!) we were able to to see them occasionally, but Shirley had been sick the last six to eight months off and on and was the type of lady who had to have everything perfect for a guest to see her or her house. Thus, I did not get to see her. I believe the last time I saw her was after Heather returned from Australia last August. . . But I'm not sure. I had the chance to see her in the hospital the week before she passed away but I couldn't do it. I couldn't stand the thought of seeing this strong, independent woman weak and living through machines. So I passed. Do I regret it? Kinda. But not really. I would rather think of Shirley as the winking, strong, wonderful woman that she was and be thankful for the few meetings that we had. So I guess that makes me a lucky son-of-a-gun. I met Shirley Ann Acuff. And that was an honor.

Shirley Ann Acuff: 11/20/28 - 5/27/07

- Movies that aren't KNOCKED UP. Well, I don't know about that exactly, but what I do know is that the aforementioned movie is freakin' awesome. Maybe I'll write a formal review (just to keep my writing skills sharp) later on this week, but for now, just know that it is not only ridiculously funny, but it is also very sweet and endearing. . . Another success for Judd Apatow and Company. . .

(Grade: A)

- Distance. Heather's last finals are tomorrow, but it doesn't really matter. She lives in Pomona now, and even if we are able to somehow see each other more than once a week because we are both out of school, it will be under not only quick (not always, but often) but gas-guzzling circumstances (being 90 miles apart is a bit of a problem for cars too). Bleh. I hate being so far apart. . . Summer 2009 is only two years away, but you know what, it is also two freakin' years away! It's so far, yet so close. . .


- The NBA Playoffs. I'm so fed up with how the playoffs played out. Not only are the evil San Antonio Spurs in the Finals (they coasted against the Jazz of course) but the god-awful Cleveland Cavaliers are their opponents. My Phoenix Suns would have destroyed the Cavs (just like the Spurs are going to do) and it just means that its another wasted opportunity to bring a championship back to the desert. . . And now, we lost an assistant coach to a head coaching position in Memphis (good for Iavaroni, though) and are also ready to hire Steve Kerr as our new General Manager (replacing Head Coach Mike D'Antoni so he can focus on coaching). I don't know. . . I just have no idea what is going to play out this summer in the NBA. So many players are going to be wearing new colors next year, and it is going to be VERY interesting how it all ends up going down. . . More to come at a later date on all of this.

But that's it for right now - - -

Hope your Monday is better than a usual one (I'm speculating, of course). . .