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playoff hockey

May 2, 2009

hockey is a great sport.  it’s intense.  it’s exciting.  it’s quick paced.  it’s fan friendly.  it has attitude and tradition.  it is a sport where both young boys (18) and old men (45) can play — and be competitive — in the same game.  if you haven’t tried hockey, try it.  go to a game.  if you can’t make it to an nhl game, try a minor league or amateur league game.  it’s totally worth it.  even little girl z loves it.  we’ve been to a regular season game and a playoff game this year.  she can’t get enough!

so i’m listening to the blackhawks game through nhl.com’s gamecast which includes radio feeds from both teams.  the hawks just won 6-3 in a very exciting game.  the last eight minutes were as exciting as any 8 minute stretch that i can recall.  i want to give props to the hawks radio play by play man, john wiedeman.  dude has a great radio voice and is rediculously passionate about what he does without being obnoxious.  he is descriptive in his call giving as detailed accounts as possible of the fast action and uses his voice to relax the excitement and tension on the ice.  if you can’t be at the game or watch the game live, it’s not a consolation to listen to it on the radio.

cheers to you dave wiedeman!  thanks for doing what you do and doing it so well!

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conversation with a customer

March 17, 2009

i worked my second to last shift today at bn.  sometimes customers can be the worst part of the day.  anyone who has worked in retail knows exactly what i’m talking about.  i don’t need a lecture about how the customers are the reason i’m there in the first place, or anything similar.  i am well aware that without customers retailers have no job.  i’m not talking about all customers, but every retailers knows what it’s like to have that one person who comes in, has had a bad day (or life), and decides that it’s his purpose in life to ruin the day of those he comes into contact with.

normally for every jerk like that there is the customer who catches you off guard and instead of being the customer mentioned above, they become the highlight of your day.  i had one of these today.  our conversation follows.

brad:  thank you for calling barnes and noble.  this is brad.  how can i help you?

older woman:  i’m looking for two books.  the first is “self improvement title a” and the second is “self improvement title b.”

brad:  it looks like i would have to order the second title, but the first title may be on hand.  let me put you on hold real quick and i’ll walk over to verify.

brad:  thanks for holding, i do have tha…

older woman:  no, thank YOU for picking up.  that music was horrible!

brad:  i’m sorry.  you didn’t like the music that was playing while you were on hold?

older woman:  no.  [with a hint of a smile in her voice] i didn’t like it, but i don’t like anything.  that’s why i need these books!

good times.

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the worthless bastard award

March 15, 2009

my freshman year of college we (somewhat lovingly) gave out the worthless bastard of the week award. this award was normally given to one of the guys on the floor when they did something stupid. it was done out of fun and everyone who received it took it in stride.

a showed me an article this afternoon that has prompted me to break out the award again. this time it’s not given in jest. it’s not funny. it’s not awarded lovingly. i am awarding this again because the recipient is, as proven by their actions this week, a worthless bastard.

and the award goes to [insert drum roll here]

…edward m. liddy, the government-appointed chairman of aig. this week aig revealed that they were contractually obligated to pay out $165 million in bonuses to executives within the company even thought they had to accept $170 billion from you and i just to stay afloat.  i know i’m not the only person who is incensed by this.  according to the nyt article, the agreements for the bonuses were agreed upon before all the poo hit the fan and that lawyers have looked at it and said that the company must pay out.  many average joe’s (not joe the plumber) are having their pay frozen or losing their jobs completely, but these bums who almost ran the company into the ground and helped cause this wonderful recession are raking in the cash that you and i paid for.

really, this isn’t all mr liddy’s fault.  there are so many more who he can accept this award on the behalf of, but as the head of the company, everything that happens under his watch is his responsibility.

congratulations mr. edward m. liddy.  you are this week’s worthless bastard.

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lessons learned

March 13, 2009

so i’m starting my last week in my current job and counting down the days until i start the new one (10). to be truthful, i can’t wait until i get the chance to be intellectually stimulated again. my current job has many positive aspects, but i don’t get much of a chance to think, to strategize, or to plan. unfortunately that is what i need to keep my brain happy, fulfilled, sharp, and out of trouble. anyways…

why do we always wait until we are saying goodbye to tell people things we should have told them a long time ago? i have talked to several people over the last week and let them know just how important they are the the organization. these are people that i have worked with for several years, have written and delivered annual reviews for, and have spent long nights and busy nights and all nights and holidays with. i know them all well. they are my friends. if i think someone does a great job day in and day out, why do i wait until i have submitted my resignation to tell them how great and integral they are? why didn’t i tell them earlier? lesson learned. next time i will do better, letting people know that i appreciate them before i leave.

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random thoughts

February 19, 2009
  • golden domei am not, by any stretch of imagination, an architecture critic.  i can, however, admire a beautiful building as well as the next person.   yesterday i was in south bend and was able to drive past the notre dame campus.  even on a dull, dreary, gray day, the golden dome still shines.




  • touchdown_jesusit’s not the most beautiful painting i’ve ever seen, but as an irish football fan touchdown jesus is just as beautiful as the golden dome.




  • frozen cokes are delicious
  • a loves jimmy johns, but i just don’t think there are very good.  they’re not bad, just not good.  if i want a sub from a chain i’ll get subway, quizno’s, or (most likely) penn station.
  • chrysler asks for another $2 billion.  gm asks for another $16.6 billion!  i don’t think we need to give gm another dime.  they have already been given $13.3 billion.  to request that the american government more than double what they have already offered is ludicrous.  besides the $29.9 billion that they have been given/requested from the us, they have also requested bailout money from canada, sweeden, germany, the uk, and thailand.  enough is enough.  let them fail.  yes, it will be painful and yes, it will put hundreds of thousands out of work, but there has to be a limit.  the beauty of capitalism is that when tough times hit, the system weeds out the weak.  it you drag your company’s good name through the mud and aren’t capable of surviving a recession, then see ya later.  instead of  handing away $29.9 billion to a failure of a company, offer that as seed money to entreprenuers to invent/create newer and better automobiles and other modes of personal transportation.  there are other ways to spur the economy other than to put a dying company on life support.  in the end, they’re still going to have to pull the plug.  better to do it now then to spend all our resources trying to delay the inevitable.
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musings of a stay-at-home dad

February 5, 2009

10 years ago if you would have told me that i was going to do a guest post on a friends blog about being a stay-at-home dad and the post was going to be about a good recipe to prepare with a three year old, i would have told you that you were CRAZY!

alas, if you would have told me this, you would have been correct.  here it is. thanks for the space jon.  readers, enjoy.

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the hoosiers won!!!

February 5, 2009

we have been getting closer the last several games, but still I AM TOTALLY STOKED ABOUT IT!!!  this year has been rough.  that’s not a surprise.  i knew it would be difficult and that we would have lower our expectations, but still i wasn’t ready for how difficult it would be.  now that i am almost used to it (read: expecting it), it is absolutely thrilling to win a game!

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super bowl commercials

February 3, 2009

i am a sports purist. i hate big games if only because of all the drama and pageantry.  i don’t see the point of pre-game, half-time, and post-game concerts.  i find the need for having half of the former players and every photographer in the u.s. at midfield for the coin toss asinine.  i loathe the crowd that is brought on to the field to jump around for the concert-dejour in hopes that i’ll be fooled into thinking that i am at a concert instead of a football game.  generally speaking, i just can’t stand anything that consumes your attention and detracts from the significance of the game.  i understand that the nfl does all of this to try to bring and capture the attention of those who otherwise would not care about the game.  i understand that there are millions that watch the game just for everything else besides the game.  i also understand that i’m never going to be able to change it, but i just want a game.  give me a good game (and i got one this year!).  if the millions that would rather be at a broadway show don’t watch it, so what?  it’s a football game.  if they don’t want to watch it, fine.  they don’t have to.

rant aside, there is one non-football aspect to the super bowl i enjoy:  the commercials.  before i go on i have to be clear about something.  commercial time is time to go to the bathroom or reload my plate/bowl/drink.  as great as the super bowl commercials are, they still take a backseat to gluttony (and that’s what dvr and hulu.com are for).  assuming my bladder is relatively empty and my plate is full, i truly enjoy most commercials.  the last several years have had a few good ones and a few bad ones.  this year was no exception.  my thoughts on some of the individual commercials follow.

top three:

1.  bud light – swedish conan.  quite simply, anything with conan is destined to be hilarious.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

2.  pepsi max – “i’m good.”  pain is funny.  pain several times is several times funnier.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

3a. monster.com – moose desk.  the guy is sitting in between the moose’s legs.  hilarious.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

3b. e-trade – baby with the golden pipes.  the baby pretty funny.  add another baby and use the phrase “golden pipes” and you’re in business.  good stuff.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

the bz honorable mention (in no particular order):

now for the commericals that were failures in my eyes:

  • castrol – grease monkeys.  i just don’t get it.  it wasn’t funny.  i’ve watched it several times and it’s just not funny.
  • coke commercials.  i thought these were mildly clever at best, but not overly entertaining or relevant.  a guy napping on a spring/summer day while bugs take his coke bottle airing while the midwest is stuck under a foot of snow and ice and most of the country is very cold.  it just doesn’t seem like the right time to air a summer time ad.
  • godaddy.com.  okay.  here’s the deal.  danica patrick is NOT hot!  she’s not.  period.  end of discussion.  here’s why people are sometimes fooled into thinking she’s hot.  sandwich her in between aj foyt iv and tony kanaan and yeah she looks pretty good.  but sandwich her in between heidi klum and marisa miller and she’s just another pretender.

pick the hot one and danica gets picked every time (except by mrs. foyt iv and mrs. kanaan)

pick the hot one and danica never gets picked.  ever.

danica is not hot.  please go daddy (and sports illustrated and the irl), stop trying to make her hot.

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i’m a rock star!

January 13, 2009

little girl zurcher was eating lunch.  i had already finished so i was doing some dishes while waiting for the slowest eating three year old in the world to finish her food.  i’m putting a dish in the dishwasher and she says, “dad look!  i’m a rock star!”  as she says this she is doing her best air guitar.

it was one of those moments in a parent’s life where you wish you could keep a video camera trained on her 100% of her life just so that you can catch these things.  not only was it funny, but there was no music on and we haven’t played rock band in a long time.  where she came up with it i have no idea.

every day i love this girl more and more.

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new years resolution: going green

January 8, 2009

ah…

the holidays are over and it’s time to get back to life as usual.

you did indeed read the title correctly, i’m going green.  it’s time for me to jump on the green bandwagon and do my part to help save the planet.  i’ve resolved not only to live in a greener fashion, but to help promote green living to all my readers as well.  so here is lesson one:

SAVE THE EARTH!  DON’T SEND HOLIDAY CARDS AND LETTERS!

chances are that if you are reading this you spend a decent amount of time on the internet.  i’m betting that you’ve seen e-cards, e-mail, and v-mail.  studies* show that pictures of children, families, and pets dressed in holiday outfits are just as cute through a digital format as they are when ink is wasted and trees are killed to place an identical image on a piece of paper.  the tragic truth is that your christmas letter, the one that you spent three nights writing instead of spending time with your loved ones; the one that you sent out to everyone else that you love – but not enough to talk to more than once a year – each letter/card is read and then tossed right in the circular file.  just like that.  right in the trash.  if the recipient “really” loves you, they will put your letter on the refrigerator and wait until january 3 to throw it away.  it’s hard to read.  i know.  i’m sorry, but the truth must be told.

try as best as you can for just a second to stop your crying, rid yourself of the intense emotions i have just evoked and think about this logically.  if your clever letter and cute pooch are going to be added to the top of a giant heap of holiday hogwash, couldn’t you just send an electronic version of it?  if your electronic letter is going to be trashed, at least it won’t take up space in the landfill.  furthermore, if you send an electronic holiday greeting there is a better chance that your greeting will be saved to the recipient’s hard drive or saved in their email account.  if your letter is going to take up space, shouldn’t it be junking up someone’s hard drive or server than an actual junk heap?

i beseech you.  please follow my advise and help our dying planet by sending your holiday greetings through an electronic medium.  mother earth (and future generations) will thank you.


*  i asked three people and they agreed with my “pictures of …are just as cute…” comment.  for this blog, that is as good as “studies.”