Friday, April 27, 2007

Billy Joel

We went to see Billy Joel in concert in St. Louis on Wednesday night. It was AWESOME!!!!

I've loved his music my whole life, I remember when I was young pulling out the two album records that my mom had and playing them over and over and over. I used to read the lyrics that were inside the cover and memorize them. It was the first time that I got into learning the words of the music I was listening to. I still have those same albums, but now they are on CD, and they are still just as awesome as they were then.

Billy Joel has been a part of my life for a long time, it's almost been more than music. I never thought I'd get to see him in concert. I never thought I'd get to see anyone particular in concert and I've never tried (other than Toby Keith). But if there was any one person that would have been the most coveted concert for me to go to, it would have been Billy Joel. (Keith Hampton is probably second).

Monday, April 23, 2007

A-Rod

I'm surprised at how often I'm reading that A-Rod will leave New York at the end of this year. Here's why I think he will stay.

1. He's on fire and gaining favor with the New York fans.
2. Even though he's the best paid player in baseball, he's been that way for 5 years. Until some team starts paying high enough that he'll get a raise, it's not worth it.
3. Leaving New York, is an admission of failure. A-Rod is not a failure, and will do everything within his power to make sure that's the case. He's an awesome player that gets the overrated tag put on him when it shouldn't be. He's rather give New York fans a big "I told you I'm this good" (or I told you so) instead of leaving.
4. A-Rod is already pretty much guaranteed a Hall of Fame spot, what he doesn't have is a ring. There's no place that he can go that's more likely to earn him one than the perennial power house Yankees. Boston is always competing to keep up with the Yankees, it's never the other way around.
5. A-Rod's best chance to set even more hall of fame records is to maintain his amazing ability among other great players. The more protection he has in the lineup, the better pitches he'll see. The more people that are on base in front of him, the more RBIs he'll get. Staying in New York helps his Hall of Fame chances even more.

That's why I think A-Rod will finish his contract with the Yankees. And why he'll talk seriously with them about extending his contract when the time comes.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Godmother passed away

Yesterday I received an email from my Cousin letting me know that his mom died. I immediately felt sorry for him. I hope that he and his brother were both able to mentally prepare for this moment. Their mom had been sick with cancer for a while now and this was not a surprise.

All of my sorrow is for my cousins though. I did not know their mom. She and my uncle were both my godparents, which as a catholic is supposed to mean a lot, but after their divorce years and years ago I never saw her again. I only occasionally saw my uncle and was never close to him at all.

Nonetheless, I do hope that Mike and Brian are both able to deal with their grief in a healthy fashion, and know that I am here for them, for anything that they would need.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Ceiling Fan fixed

A few weeks ago the pull cord on the ceiling fan in the living room broke. Thankfully it broke when the light turned on so we could still use the switch to turn the light on and off.

Last week when it got up to 80 degrees this was a problem. We had to have the light on in order to have the fan on.

I took it apart this week to fix it, thinking I'd just be able to shimmy the pull chord somehow and it would work again.

I was wrong. I couldn't figure out how to get it all apart, so I was just going to buy a new light. My dad talked me out of it and I ended up just buying a new switch. Heck, $2.50 to fix the light instead of $30 sounded pretty good. However the new one didn't quit fit the way it needed to. It turned out I had not taken the light all the way apart yet. I was able to disassemble it even more and finally get it put back together. We again have a pull chord on the ceiling fan. Cost $2.50, labor 3 hours. Cost of figuring out how to change the pull chord. 3 hours of time I could have been doing something else (and you thought I was going to say priceless).

Cheap solutions

I love solving problems. I left my little corner closet that a group of us are working in right now and notice a Supervisor with yarn taped to a white board and a little 2 inch square in his hand tracing squares on the board. Why would a supervisor be taking a lot of time to do something like that, surely there is someone who is paid less that could do that. I walked up and asked him "With what you get paid, how much has this track of squares cost us?" He answered , "Honestly, x" (I don't want to reveal the amount).

Anyway I said, you have the outline of the track with the yarn, why don't you just trace the outline then draw across to get your divisions?

"Where were you an hour ago when I started this?"

Yeah, I was busy working in the corner. At least I saved another half hour of wasted square tracing.

I love solving problems.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Battle of the MLB Game Trackers

I'm in heaven, it's baseball season again, and like early every spring there seems to be more daytime games now than later in the year. The past several years have been good to me because I can track any game I want pitch by pitch and do it using one of many different trackers. The ones that I know of and have used are:

MLB.com - MLB Gameday
Sports.Yahoo.com/MLB - Game Channel
cbs.sportsline.com/mlb - Game Center
espn.com/mlb - GameCast

My favorite again this year, by far is ESPN GameCast. I haven't had any problems this year with it refreshing quickly. I prefer the more simplistic layout with less information than the other ones, plus when a pitch comes and goes a little ball moves on the screen, it doesn't just say batter flied out to center, it shows a popup.

Just about the only thing that I would like to see changed with it, is balls pitched outside the strikezone, I would like to see show up on the pitching chart more accurately as outside the strike zone. Many times I've seen a game while watching and the ball is a good foot off the plate, but GameCast has it on the edge of the zone called a ball. It would be more understandable why with 2 strikes a batter is laying off a pitch a foot outside the strikezone instead of one on the edge.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter morning run

Easter ended up being a good day for my running. Wih my marathon still 6 months away, I feel like I have forever to prepare. The training program looks like I should be able to follow it, especially when it starts to warm up and I don't feel cold going out for my run in the morning during the week.

This week I ran 5.75 miles. I thought that the distance from my house to Aunt Shel's house was 6 miles, but it comes up just short at 5.75. I love the tools at RunningAhead.com They have piggybacked on Google's map data and display the altitude for my runs. I went up 194 ft and down 172 ft. But it wasn't a lot of rolling hills I ended with a huge hil of just over 100 ft. I'm impressed that I could handle that kind of hill after the distance. When I get into my longer runs I plan on finishing with this as my last 6 miles because the hill will end each of my runs with a challenge.

I was worried that only adding 10% to each run wouldn't be enough to get me up to a marathon, but according to my calculations with running 5.75 miles this week, if I do add 10% to each long run every week until the marathon, that day I'll be running 82.9 miles. It will only take 16 weeks to increase my distance to 26.4 miles 10% at a time.

I love the run/walk program from Jeff Galloway so far. I ran part of this same route a few weeks ago and at that time (just before having purchased his book) I was trying to run 10 minutes and walk 1. This time though I was running 4 minutes and walking 1. This time at 10 minutes and 20 minutes I had covered more ground than last time, and I was at the exact same spot at 31 minutes. Last time I turned around at that point. This time I kept going. However the distance to keep going was more than the distance home, and I finished stronger than I did last time over a more difficult course.

Now my goal is to drop some weight while training. I will speed up and put less strain on my knees if I drop some weight.