Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Cars, Coughing, and 'Crastination

Hello readers - - -

I have a made-up reason for not blogging recently (I wanted casual viewers to the page to see The Engagement Story as the title of the most recent post and read it) and a real reason (I've been really busy with school, work, and everything in between) but in the end, it's just the simple fact that blogging takes up time and I don't have a lot of that. . .

So why would I possibly choose nearly 0100 in the morning to start writing a blog after two weeks absence?

One word: Procrastination.

I officially have three weeks of school left and it's getting down to the nitty gritty. I have an insane amount of insecurity right now about my grades. With my classes right now, I have the potential of getting a 3.6 G.P.A. but it is also very possible for me to get a 2.4 - - that's how up in the air everything is right now. I believe fairly strongly that I'll end up with a 3.0 even (the most likeliest of scenarios would two A's, one B, and two C's) and I would be ecstatic if that indeed happens. If my one classes tails down into a D, however (which I never thought would be possible for me, but lo and behold, it is a possibility) then I have to turn that into three A's, one C, and one D for that desired 3.0 average. More updates to come as the semester winds down.

However, the one major reason that I have been struggling this semester is the fact that I have lost the passion for Journalism. I blame it two main things: 1) My Journalism 210 class on Fridays, which has caused me to have to delve into "Investigative Journalism" which is not an interest of mine in the least, but a mandatory lesson for future journalists of any kind and 2) I'm not writing what I like to write, namely opinion pieces, reviews, and editorials. This one has more to do with the fact that I'm not writing for a paper that I'm among the editorial staff on (I'm not even writing for a paper at all, to be honest) and have no reason to even write articles like that, except for my own betterment. Well, I haven't, and I'm beginning to forget how to write a movie review (not really, but it would take some time to get back into the swing of things) or even express my opinions in written form (well that's not really true, but you get my point). I'm struggling, to say the least, and I have decided that I'm not going to pursue something that I hate doing.

Because, you see, I hate school. The thought of dropping out has crossed my mind numerous times, but will not come to pass because so many people want to see me graduate and I suppose that I am one of those as well. A break is an option, sure, but I know me, and I don't think that I would ever return to school if I took even just one semester off. . .

So I have done the only thing that my rational mind could come up with:

I'm switching majors.

Yes, I am forgoing (potentially - anything is possible after I actually get that piece of paper down the line) the lifelong dream of calling NBA games for a living because I am not enjoying a single Journalism class that I am taking. And as Heather put it, "You should enjoy your major classes - they're your Major!" - - Smart lass, she is. . .

So what is taking its place? Well, it's kinda funny actually. Ever since I was little, my mom's mom (Grandma Pat, or GP) has always told me that she saw me teaching one day. Well that would be one potential occupation for me after I attempt to get a Bachelor's Degree in Family and Consumer Sciences. I looked at my classes this semester and the only one that had subject matter that interested me was my Marriage and Family Relations class, which was in the section of FCS. So, let's go with that, I guess. I do have a meeting with an adviser on December 3rd and my registration date is December 4th, so a final decision will be made quickly and soon, so keep in touch to find out what all goes down.

Other than school, work at the MW is going ok. I'm much more comfortable now selling suits, however there aren't any customers to sell suits to! We have been surprisingly slow (so I'm told) for this time of year and I've spent a lot of my time at work reading books and playing games on my cell phone. . . which is fine and all, but it doesn't make me any money! I'm still doing about the same that I would be doing at the FL, but I was promised more, so I'm really hoping for a whirlwind of customers over the month of December to make up for this initial month.

And with that hope of more money comes the very real possibility of me becoming the proud owner of a new car! I have been car shopping very seriously over the last two weeks and even went as far as to test drive a couple last Friday. . . I am actually poised to make a purchase this week (if all goes according to plan, it would be either Thursday or Friday) but I'm gonna keep the make and model a secret until it actually goes through. . . Just know that it is absolutely positively NOT another Volkswagen. . . no no friends. Not again. . .

I have also been fighting a nice cough/congestion/runny nose/no voice cold thing since last Tuesday and it pretty much made Thanksgiving a forgettable one. Of course I am supremely thankful for Heather taking care of me on Thursday (even while cooking our turkey dinner all by herself - it was just her, me, and her mom, who worked most of the day - - my parents went up North to be with my Aunt and Uncle and cousins but since I had to work Wed. and Fri. I could not attend. . .) and the meal turned out great. I wish that I could have been more a part of Heather's first turn as a turkey cook and that we could have done things more together but I had to just lay on my ass all day and watch blowout football games because I didn't feel good. Heather took such great care of me though. . . It really does make me think about how much that she cares for me and how lucky I truly am when she makes me hot tea (with honey and lemon, her favorites) and goes to the store to get soup and cheese to make a Grilled Cheese sandwich (which I ate rather quickly!). If it hadn't been for me feeling like absolute crap, then I could have enjoyed all that she did even more, but she certainly made a difference on this so-so holiday.

Anyway, now that I've spent the last 20 minutes writing all this, I'm thinking I should get cracking on my three-page Media Critique on a website that is devoted solely to Men and their world (I'm choosing the oft-visited by me Ask Men) that is due in now thirteen hours. . .

But stay tuned this week. I'm hoping to put thought to type on a theory that I have been constructing in my mind over my last few journeys down to CSUN (there's only so many things you can think about when you drive long distances. . .) that I will merely tease you with in the form of a title:

The Justinian Theory of the Male Viewpoint of Sexuality

Intrigued? I know you are!!!

Anyway, I'll post again soon - - take care of yourselves!!!

Until later,

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Engagement Story


Ok well there are about twenty things that I should be doing right now (18 of them being homework) but instead, I'll post my version of the story of how this whole proposal thing went down (Heather's version can be found here). . .

And o yeah, we're engaged!!! (That's for those of you who didn't know and had no idea what I was talking about. . .)

And away we go. . .

So the back story of this whole thing begins in July, when I bought the ring. That's right - July! I had to get it because the one that I wanted was the last one in the entire company of Kevin's Jewelers! The last one! So I did it - - I bought an engagement ring (and for those wondering, yes it is beautiful, big - but not gaudy - and bought and paid for in one fell swoop). . .

But I had to have major self control. In my head I had always planned on proposing on a special, planned night and not on a whim or just because I felt like it. I have always been a helpless romantic (poetry, flowers - you name it, I've probably done it) and I have always known that my wonderful Heather enjoyed all of the things that I did for her.

Plus, as Heather's sister Chelsea told me when I requested her assistance, Heather has always wanted a special event come time for her engagement. Apparently when they were little (Chels is three years older than Heather) and were playing "house," Heather had to be the one playing the bride or was in the process of getting married. She wanted (deep-down, no matter what she says) a memorable engagement. Now sure, just the process of getting engaged is a big deal, but I wanted her to have a story to tell people when they asked what had happened.

So I planned it - - it wasn't going to be extravagant, but it would be memorable. I had requested off November 11th (for the significance of the date 11/11, check out the beginning of this post back in 2005) from the FL and then made it a requirement if the MW wanted to hire me, which they absolutely agreed to. This would be better than Christmas or her birthday (12/27) because I wanted to make this a special, separate occasion. This was not just a birthday present. This was forever.

So I planned to head down to her apartment on the 11th. I had talked to Chels and she was going to take Heather out to lunch while I went into her apartment with flowers and my ring. I would wait in her room til she got back and then when she walked in, I would present her with flowers and she would probably ask why I was there. I would then say that it was because it was 11/11 and then I would kneel down and propose, having the date be the biggest deal of the whole thing.

But then, something happened. . .

With the Veterans Day holiday causing us both to have no school on Monday the 12th, Heather suggested she come home for the three day weekend (after she got off work on Saturday). Well this set me back quite a bit, as you can imagine. So I was left with a work and school-filled week to come up with a better proposal plan than the one I had originally intended.

And boy did I ever. . .

We went to Hollywood on Saturday night, the 10th (not before I supplied Heather with a beautiful collection of peach roses) to the AFI Festival at Arclight. We went to see CHRIS AND DON: A LOVE STORY, an independent feature directed by Guido Santi and Tina Mascara, two fantastic individuals whom I met back in April at an AVC function by way of my professor, Charles Hood. I also met Don Bachardy that night (I can't remember if I ever blogged about that night) - that night was one of my most memorable ever!

But anyway, their film was having its Hollywood premiere and since I had kept in touch with both the directors and the producer, James (Jim) White, I was invited to attend. I took Heather with me (we both got dressed up - me in a button-up underneath a nice sweater, nice blue jeans, and my new shoes; Heather in a beautiful blouse, black dressy pants, and some heels that pulled it all together) and we had a fantastic time. The movie was good and all, but I was more excited to be out and about with Heather on a Saturday night! After the film and the meet-and-greet (we met up with Prof. Hood to say hello and also Jim, and the star of the night, Mr. Bachardy) we headed outside.

Since I had wanted to get back to my house at midnight (thus making it the 11th) I needed to find a way to prolong our evening down below. As we walked out, we saw the newer restaurant Charcoal (at least we think it's newish), a club-like bar with some tables along the side. We went in, both being hungry and desiring a new experience. We enjoyed some $16 Baked Shrimp (for only four shrimp!) and a couple drinks (of course meaning a Sprite for Heather and an Arnold Palmer, like always, for me). We got out around 2215 and had nothing else to do but head home.

On the way home, Heather actually brought up the fact that we were going to be together on 11/11 and all I could do was nod and smile, knowing full well that Heather had absolutely no idea what was about to happen. . .

We got to my house around 2330 and Heather and I entered the house. Before I had left that morning, I had put a bunch of rose petals up my stairs and leading to my room. Heather saw this and was excited, and asked if she could go upstairs. I told her that of course she could and I waited downstairs. . .

When she got up the stairs, she found a note on my bed that read: "So here's what I need from you: - Sit on the edge of my bed.... - Press play on the remote... - And just listen...... I love you!" When she pushed play on the remote, "Come What May," a song from Moulin Rouge that has been one of our many songs along the road of our relationship, came on from my iTunes. As soon as I heard that the song had started, I began walking up the stairs with the box in my hand.

I got up to my room and there she was, sitting on the edge of my bed. Smiling. Oblivious to what was about to happen. I hugged her when she put her arms out for a hug, but with only one arm, the other being behind my back. She asked "What's behind your back?" and with that, I knelt down in front of her. I looked into the eyes of the most beautiful woman I have ever seen and calmly asked the question that sounded o so surreal coming out: "Will you marry me?"

When I said it, her jaw dropped. She covered her mouth and gasped. I'm pretty sure there was no oxygen left in the room immediately following my proposal. But anyway, she kept asking "Are you sure?" and exclaiming "O my God!" and crying . . . but was not giving me an affirmative response! I kept staring and waiting. . .

Once she asked me "Are you sure?" for what was probably the fifth time, I took off my glasses and said once again "Will you marry me?" And finally, (it's not that I was worried, but I just really expected a different response) she said "Of course" and I put the ring on her finger, and the shock slowly began to wear off. We began to smile and laugh. I kissed her and told her I loved her and when she asked if I was sure for what was probably the tenth time, I looked at her and told her I wanted to marry her and spend forever beside her.

Then it got crazy exciting! Heather started screaming excitedly and saying "We're engaged!" Then she started calling everyone in her phone book that was possibly awake at what was now 0030 on the 11th. . .

And as Heather said, we were ecstatic. We stayed up for quite awhile, calling people and reliving the past hour over and over. We finally went to bed around 0200, woke up around 0830, and had an entire Sunday together since I surprised her with my day off :) The Sunday included a trip to the movies to see BEE MOVIE (a big let-down - grade: C+) and a journey down to San Clemente to celebrate with a dinner with her dad and his wife Claudia. It all went well and it seems that everything will fall into place in the coming months. . .

And that's how it all happened. . . I'm now a Fiancé and Heather is now a Fiancée (Yes, there is a difference in the spelling, according to the all-knowing Wikipedia). . .

It's very exciting - - - But really, that word does not say enough about what it is that we feel. We are both ready to make the next steps towards becoming a married couple and all that that entails. This is just the first of many. . . And I couldn't be more ready to get the ball rolling!

For those wanting dates for the wedding, well, we just aren't that sure yet. But our goal is to be married over the summer of 2009 and most likely either the end of June or the beginning of July. But we'll see. . . it's a long time til then, but it will most assuredly fly by!!!

Thanks to everyone who knew and didn't say anything to Heather. Thanks to everyone who didn't know and is now offering their congratulations. Thanks to all those who are just as excited as we are - you being excited for us just helps us know that we're doing things right.

But most of all, thanks to Heather for saying yes. . . I love you!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Two Words: Steve. Nash.

Check out a new NIKE tv commercial starring the BEST point guard in all the lands. . .

GO SUNS!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Gears Are A-Gunnin'

I'm going to bed here shortly because I have a long day tomorrow, but I wanted to post a couple quick thoughts from my ever-going mind about everything that has been going on recently. . .

- I have now been at the Men's Wearhouse (which, as stated before, will be forever known as the MW) for a full week and I feel more comfortable now than I did last week at this time. Over my first five days there, I sold a total of $7000, including over $2500 on Saturday alone (one sale alone was $1100!!!). I'm not sure what my paycheck will look like, but as long as it's more than what I would have made at the FL, then I will be happy (which it most assuredly will be). Every day I learn something more and I get more comfy in my role as the clock ticks. So come and see me, buy some suits (or sports coats. . . or casual wear. . . or shoes!) and add to my check!

- I went 12-2 this week in my football picks, only missing the Minnesota upset over San Diego and Tampa Bay beating Arizona (went for the upset on that one). I think I might have won the week, but I won't know til either tomorrow or even Wednesday, but I'll keep you posted. I'm also in first overall, which is an awesome development. More on that as the weeks progress.

- I finished INTO THE WILD, the book, and am now looking forward to seeing the film because I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I also went and saw SAW IV this morning with my friend Alex (another DC alumni) and we both agreed that it was entertaining but nothing special. Fun to watch, but also extremely gross (in the words of Alex: "I now know how to perform an autopsy."). Overall, if you have seen and enjoyed the first three, you won't be disappointed by the fourth installment, but newbies should avoid it all costs. GRADE: C+

- My favorite movie of the year comes out on DVD tomorrow: it's RATATOUILLE!!!!!

- I'll give a SUNS update every Thursday (since that was the day that our season started) but I do have to react to all you Laker fans out there: Congrats. You won an early season game against us yet again. But consider the facts of the game. . . The Lakers shot 60% for the ENTIRE GAME. You can't compete with that. The Lakers just happened to play the game of their lives against a tired SUNS team that had gotten home at 0400 in the morning after their lackluster performance in Seattle. We're just off to a slow start again. But more on that on Thursday.

- Some interesting reads on the internet:

Waiting Room Sex by Dan Neil
Random Thoughts by Mallory Roseborough

- Also, I've been bugging Heather to post something on here in a so-called RAMBLERETTE'S RAMBLING, but she does not like to talk about herself. Well not that much. . . However, on Myspace, she recently posted a brief update about herself and how things are going in Pomona. . . So here it is:

I haven't blogged in months, and I thought enough has happened that it's finally time for an update. First of all, I switched jobs from the Pet Resort to Claremont Veterinary Hospital. I'm currently working as a receptionist there, however I intend to become a Vet Assistant after some time (a vet assistant is a step below a vet tech, which is still a step behind a registered vet tech). When I transferred to Cal Poly, I was certain I wanted to become a registered vet tech (RVT), and I jumped right into the classes and loved what I was learning. I loved learning about animals so much that I thought, why in the world would I NOT try to apply to Vet school? I knew that would be something I would think about for the rest of my life...why I didn't even try! I was doing well in my classes and I had made several friends in the AHS program and the PreVet program...and I decided I would do it. I would change majors and apply to vet school. So I did! And now I'm a prevet major planning for the long years ahead at vet school. I would love to get into Western University, a new Vet school right here in Pomona, but since you can't put all your eggs in one basket, I plan on applying to Davis, Oregon State, and Colorado State as well. The idea of become a vet is so exciting, but it's scary at the same time, financially and for mine and Justin's relationship. I know everything will work out for the best though, no matter what happens.
The last several months have been difficult for my family...we've lost three grandparents in the last 6 months. We're sure to miss them as the holidays come and go..
Speaking of the holidays, this was my first Halloween that I actually dressed up in years! I had so much fun, thanks to all my friends here. I can't wait til Christmas rolls around.....It will be my 21st birthday! AHHHHH!!! I'll be going to Vegas with Chels and my mom for a weekend, and then I'll probably celebrate here with my friends once school starts again in January. I love everything about the Holidays, from Thanksgiving through New Years. It definitely the best time of the year!!!
I'm still amazed at how fast time has gone since I've moved to Pomona. And at how fast I know it's going to keep flying! I've mapped out the rest of my quarters here, and I can't wait to see what the next few years have in store for me. A wedding? Vet school? A career?? You just never know what is around the corner, and that's the way it should be. It keeps things exciting and keeps me motivated to be ready for anything.
Since its November 1st, I feel like it's a new page...I fresh start in the middle of a chaotic quarter. I hope to stay organized, start exercising more, and ace all my classes. It's like New Years haha, but New Month instead. We'll see how it all goes.
Anyway, just a quick update. I hope to blog more often than I have been. Thanks for reading!

- O and I got my speeding ticket in the mail and it came out to $273 plus $39 for traffic school and then another charge for traffic school from the actual school. This sucks. . .

- I have exactly 15 days of actual school left. . . not that I'm counting.

Ok, well that's it for now. But thanks to all those readers who sent me comments after the NBA Preview - - the fact that some people are reading what I write makes me want to keep going!

Thanks everyone!

Until later,

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The 2007-2008 NBA Season Preview
The Western Conference

The 2008 NBA champion will come from the Western Conference. And I'm torn, to be honest. The safest bet to win the title is the San Antonio Spurs. . . (I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. . .).

But I don't subscribe to logic when it comes the National Basketball Association. The most appropriate or probable event never happens. Like right now. The Seattle Supersonics, coming off of a loss last night to the Denver Nuggets are up on my beloved, supposed-to-be rested Phoenix Suns halfway through the third quarters. We look rusty, slow, and just plain troubled. . . Is that the way it was supposed to go tonight? No, I don't think so. (A strong fourth quarter was enough to put us ahead for the win, but it was not pretty in the least)

But just wait for it. . .

It's a long season and I believe strongly that we are built for it this year. But I'll get to the SUNS in a minute. . . here is the rest of the Western Conference in the same manner as yesterday's Eastern Conference Preview:

Northwest Division

Denver Nuggets (3)

This team is going to be dangerous. I don't know why more so-called experts aren't raving about these guys. AI and Carmelo are together now for a full year and you better believe they are plenty comfortable with one another. Throw in Marcus Camby, a beast in the paint, and a finally healthy Kenyon Martin, and this team scares me a whole lot more than Dallas or Houston and I think that given a 7-game series, the Nuggets could beat any time in the entire league. I think this is the true dark horse in the league this year that could very well win it all if they stay healthy.

Utah Jazz (6)

Carlos Boozer is an animal. Deron Williams is the future of point guards with Chris Paul of the Hornets and the rest of the team is not so shabby either (Kirilenko, Okur, Millsap, etc.). They won't make a lot of noise come playoff time but they are among the best 6 in the elite conference. Given the right opportunities, they could make a return to the second round of the playoffs, but certainly not the Conference Finals like last season (that just worked out for them perfect with the stupid way that the NBA playoffs are positioned. . . see this post for what it should have looked like).

Seattle Supersonics (10)

Kevin Durant will win the rookie of the year for sure and this team will be better than expected. I think Nick Collison will play well this year and Chris Wilcox (who always gives the SUNS fits) will be much improved as well. They need a good effort from other rookie Jeff Green and the newly acquired Delonte West to make a real push to the playoffs, but give this team a couple years, maybe some more young talent (or a savvy veteran scorer), and they could be playing into May and June in the near future.

Portland Trailblazers (12)

They could have made a push for the 8th spot had Greg Oden played this season, and not because he is that good, but because other people will THINK he is that good. But he's not playing and the offense is going to go through Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge, which is fine, but it's not good enough to make the playoffs in the West. But think about this: the Blazers will get a healthy Oden back next year and if they do finish in the lower half of the West, they could very easily get another top 10 pick in next year's draft! They would then have a very young team, but one filled with potential and that in itself is scary for us older teams.

Minnesota Timberwolves (15)

Sigh. . . This team might not win 20 games this year. Al Jefferson will show that he is good, but he is not KG, and no one will ever fill those giant shoes in Minny. They can hope to get that number one pick next year and that's about it. Not much to hope for the T'wolves this year. . . and not much to watch either.

Southwest Division

San Antonio Spurs (2)

For the record: I hate this team. I cannot stand a single player on this team that is not named Tim Duncan (who I tolerate simply because of his brilliance - you cannot deny his skills as a basketball player no matter who you are!). But you know what? They're good. They always are. They are a year older, but they were a year older last year too and that didn't stop them at all. Like I said earlier, this is the safe bet for the NBA champion, and are certainly capable of winning it all again. BUT, as you will see in the coming playoff predictions, I don't believe that they will. It's too hard to repeat in the NBA and the Spurs won't be doing it.

Houston Rockets (4)

Another trendy pick for the dark horse contender, I feel that T-Mac and Yao need to get out of the first round one year before we can say they will win it all. It's true that they are better this year. Steve Francis (AKA Stevie Franchise back when he was Rocket some years ago) might contribute a little, but it will be big man Luis Scola who makes the biggest mark on this team. They will win more games than the overrated Mavericks, largely because T-Mac WILL stay healthy (God I hope so, just for his sake!) and Yao is going to have an MVP type year, but won't win it because the voters won't give it to him until he has accomplished something (or gotten past the first round!).

Dallas Mavericks (5)

If there is a team that I despise as much as the Spurs, it's a close tie between the always-hated Lakers and this so-called team from Dallas. Dirk is a good player, but he's not a closer. Josh Howard is ridiculously overrated and the guard combo of Jason Terry and Devin Harris was exploited last year in the Warriors series and will continue to be torn down all year. Plus, they aren't deep! Once you get past Stackhouse (who always seems to come through in the clutch), you get to Diop (no good) and newly acquired Eddie Jones (ooh, an almost 40-year-old swingman!). I actually see them bowing out in the first round again this year, but this time it won't be such a surprise.

Memphis Grizzlies (7)

Sleeper pick alert! The West is really strong in the top 6, but after that, it pretty much tapers off. With new head coach Marc Iavaroni, (former SUNS assistant) I think that with a healthy Pau Gasol, an improved Rudy Gay, recently acquired Darko Milicic (who STILL has something to prove), rookie Mike Conley Jr. backing up veteran point guard Damon Stoudamire, and Pau's best friend, one Juan Carlos Navarro, the Grizz will put it all together in a hurry and get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2005-2006 (not a long time, but after last year's debacle, it will be a big deal!). And they might just win their first playoff game while they're at it!

New Orleans Hornets (8)

When you have the best young point guard (Chris Paul), an athletic beast in the paint (Tyson Chandler), a scoring machine (David West) and a veteran three-ball shooter (Peja Stojakovic), I think that's enough to get the final playoff spot ahead of the likes of Golden State and the Lakers. If they make a trade in the next year or two for another top-of-the-line scorer, or even sign a big name free agent over a summer, this team could really make some noise in the future. But not just yet.

Pacific Division

Phoenix Suns (1)

Ok. . . I love my team. This you all knew very well already. But I really love them this year. And here's why:

Our starting five is top-notch. We have the best point guard in the league (Mr. MVP, Steve Nash) and one of the best defenders in the league at the 2 (everyone's favorite, Raja Bell). The always unhappy, but always trying to prove himself, Shawn Marion at the power forward and the big off-season pick-up, the finally healthy Grant Hill (in an interview this summer, he said that this was the first off-season since 1999 that he was not in rehab - - he's ready!). Throw in a rarin' to go Amare Stoudemire and there is not a better top 5 in the league. Coming off the bench we have the returning 6th Man of the Year, Leandro Barbosa and a hopefully returning to form Boris Diaw. The once hated (passionately, at that) by me Marcus Banks worked hard this summer and appears ready to finally listen to the coaches and do as told. We lost Kurt Thomas, but picked up Brian Skinner, a less offensive Kurt, and Sean Marks has improved and may see some time as well (but probably not). And look for the two rookies, Alando Tucker (from Wisconsin) and D.J. Strawberry (from Maryland) to struggle for minutes, but expect Strawberry to actually get some good playing time at some point - he was a steal for us in the second round. I love our chances to finally bring the first title ever to the Valley of the Sun and if we don't well, I guess that's not really an option. It's really Now or Never for us this year, and here's hoping that it's NOW!

Golden State Warriors (9)

They had a nice run into the second round of the playoffs last year (the big upset of the Mavs and then the heartbreak against the Jazz) as the eighth seed, but they won't be able to even try this year. They will miss Jason Richardson, but they will miss Baron Davis more, as he is bound to hit some injury patches this season. I think they might make a deal around February, but it won't be enough to put them over the hump this year (they'll start out 15-30 or something like that and that will be too far down).

Los Angeles Lakers (11)

It gives me great pleasure to announce that the Lakers will not make the playoffs this year. The whole Kobe fiasco right now is just too much for them. Not only will they get off to a bad start (I'm thinking 3-13 through November with wins over Minnesota, either Indiana or Milwaukee on the road, and maybe the home game against Seattle), but they will end up under .500 for only the second time in seven years. They might make a push if they unload Kobe before the trade deadline, but I think it's gonna be a tough year for ol' Jack Nicholson and company. Hollywood and its team: Beware.

Los Angeles Clippers (13)

I read something about a month ago that told me everything I needed to know about the upcoming Clippers season: Elton Brand would not be playing. Well, he might be back post-All Star break, but it won't matter because the Clips will be back to their losing ways without their anchor in the middle. Sorry alien Chris Kaman, you just aren't the same. And neither are you Mr. Tim Thomas. . . Their hopes are again in the lottery and the hope of a better year next year. Ahh, just like the good ol' days. . .

Sacramento Kings (14)

Mike Bibby is hurt. Ron Artest might be on his way out. Brad Miller is old. And Kevin Martin is all alone on a team that if it weren't for the terrible T'wolves, would absolutely be the worst team in the entire conference, and maybe even the league. I hope Martin has another good year (I have him on my fantasy team) but it won't matter in the long run as the once Western heavyweight will completely fall off the map this year and into obscurity. And if they don't make a big change soon, they should just go ahead and make themselves comfortable in the Pacific Division cellar, because they will be there for many years to come.



(1) Phoenix over (8) New Orleans (4-1)
(2) San Antonio over (7) Memphis (4-1)
(3) Denver over (3) Utah (4-2)
(4) Houston over (5) Dallas (4-3)



(1) Phoenix over (4) Houston (4-1)
(3) Denver over (2) San Antonio (4-3)



(1) Phoenix over (3) Denver (4-2)



(1) Phoenix over (1) Detroit (4-2)

I know that by picking my team to win it all AGAIN is just going to cause all sorts of problems with people calling me a homer or whatever, but it's now or never (like I said earlier) for my beloved SUNS and it all comes down to two number 3's: Grant Hill (who wears number 33). If he can stay healthy and contribute like he did in the first game of the year against Seattle (13 points, six rebounds and five assists - although he needs to cut back on the 3-point attempts; he was 1-7 from behind the arc), then it's ours. It has to be. Steve Nash will not go his entire career without winning a title - he won't allow it! The man wants it too much and that heart is going to put us over the top when all is said and done.

GO SUNS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There you go - - the predictions are in!

Let's just hope I'm right this time. . .

Until later,