Dumb Things I Have Done Lately

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Feeling the Hand of Fate this Final Four

Shockingly, I'm currently in first place in my office NCAA pool. All of our brackets got savaged pretty badly (special thanks to Kansas and Kentucky), so no one has more than two of the Final Four, and I'm the only person (out of 40+ in our pool) who picked Duke to win it all.

Basically, my fate in the pool hangs on Duke: If Duke wins, I win. Which is the way it should be. (I'm not 100%, but I think if Duke beats West Virginia, I win.)

Speaking of fate, I kept hearing that this year's Final Four was going to be played in Lucas Oil Stadium, but I didn't realize it was in Indianapolis until a few days ago. I have a connection to the Final Four and Indianapolis...

My sophomore year at Duke, the Final Four was also in Indianapolis, and a bunch of us drove there from Durham. (As I recall, we had to make it through a snowstorm. Don't remember much more about the trip.)

Looking to kill some time (possibly between the win over UNLV and the Final), we had dinner at a Pizza Hut, which had been decorated with a big vinyl banner that kind of looked like this:


Okay, make that, looked exactly like that. (I think the statute of limitations is up.) Anyway, suffice it to say, after the first one, armed with the yellow pages, our group went around to all the Pizza Huts in the Indianapolis metro area until everyone had their own banner.

It wasn't exactly a subtle piece of work.

Anyway, I can't say that I've gotten a lot of use out of it, (although the 1992 Final Four was in Minneapolis, so I was able to reuse the banner, with some obvious edits), but I could never bring myself to toss it.


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Monday, April 06, 2009

I Rarely Go Deep Enough

I'm talking about during my squats, of course. Mostly because I'm lazy and out of shape; partly because, for a time, I kept jacking my back at inconvenient intervals due to poor technique; and lastly because my right knee often makes funny noises when I try.

I'm supposed to be doing 20-rep sets for the next few weeks, which is a chance to work on cleaning up my technique, but it seems that the lower the weight I use, the fewer reps I can do.

I'm hoping this means I'm actually going deep enough for a change.

After my work set (which was more of "hobby" set), I finished up with 3 sets of 20 squats using just the weight bar (45 pounds). It took a lot out of me, but I was able to finish the rest of my workout. Well, most of it -- my body thoughtfully gives me a splitting headache just before I'm on the verge of throwing up, which gives me a chance to stop and avoid making a mess.

NCAA Final Notes
Now despite my earlier Tweet, the gym didn't have the NCAA Final on any of the TVs. Apparently I didn't miss too much, though -- UNC seems to have things commandingly in hand, and Michigan keeps getting picked, chucking up 3-pointers, and missing free throws.

I'm kind of grudingly rooting for UNC, if only in the interest of ACC solidarity (outside of Duke and UNC, the ACC had another weak tournament showing).

I had been going on a working theory that if you're Duke or UNC, you're not going to win a national championship unless you beat the other team at least twice (and it'd be a prerequisite, not a guarantee) -- it works on the Duke side, though leave it to UNC to not cooperate.

Finally, I'd just like to say that the overhead arena cam gives me vertigo.

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

Halftime Notes From the Duke - UNC Hype Machine

It's halftime of the Duke - UNC game. Carolina is up by 12 right now, in a first half marked by a lot of dumb turnovers. Blame it on Senior Night nerves, and because ESPN has been hyping this game up like it's the end of the world.

I'd entertained the notion of going to Jimmy's or something to watch the game, but I've just been flat today. In fact, I sat on the couch and woke up about 3 hours later. (Missed an ebay auction I wanted to bid on, too). So now I'm drinking a few Blue Moons and just hanging out at home.

Anyway, Duke is down by 12. When I was in school, I didn't think we relied on the three-point shot nearly as much as we do now -- I'm troubled by the number of one-and-done quick threes we take, especially since we've never really been a strong rebounding team.

I also see that the Speedo Guy has returned. I have a VHS tape of one of the Duke - UNC game from 04 or 05, which I think was his introduction to the national viewing audience. He sits in the grad student section behind one of the baskets and tries to distract the opposing foul shooter. This new incarnation wasn't nearly as effective, probably because he wasn't nearly as... hairy.

Also, the ESPN commentators apologized for replaying Speedo Guy, because unlike the previous Speedo Guy who relied on funky dance moves, this version used some D-Generation-X-style crotch chops.

As to the whole pre-game hype -- when was the last time you saw them playing the National Anthem for a regular season college game? And then that whole thing about the support for Eve Carson, the UNC student body president who was found murdered a few days ago.

Look, I'm glad the Duke fans wore ribbons and did a moment of silence in honor of her, instead of trying to do some tasteless cheers about it. But come on -- how many Durham residents (not so much the Chapel Hill) will get murdered near the campus and just get another item in the crime briefs of the newspaper -- without the full-court media press and the candlelight vigils and the Facebook memorials?

Yeah, she was a pretty blonde co-ed and it's a shame she died a violent death, but come on.

OK, game on.

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Super Bowl XLII: Great Game, Lousy Commercials

At the Super Bowl viewing party I was at, pro-underdog and anti-Boston sentiment was in full effect. Outside of a smattering of Patriot fans (and not counting those with a strictly financial stake in the matter), most of us were pulling for the Giants.

It was probably the best game I can recall in recent memory -- looking at previous Super Bowls, I see that New England has had more than its fair share of 3-point margin games, though they've usually been on the other side of things.

As to the commercials (for which MySpace was the official online partner, though AOL's page is still good) -- the best were okay -- mostly for fizzy, sweetened, or alcoholic drinks -- the worst were horrible, and the rest were bleh:

* Sales Leads Are for Closers!
They could be peddling the Glengarry leads for all I know, but those horrible, horrible animated Sales Genie "100 free sales leads" commercials inexplicably employed unfunny, edge-of-racist ethnic stereotypes for no apparent reason.

And the fact that there were two of them gave me a horrifying flashback to the worst of the dotcom bubble 1.0's burn rate excesses.

* For Your Next Supercar Purchase: The Godfather parody ad for the Audi R8 was okay (though they might as well have gone the whole way and done a shot-for-shot remake) -- but it was for a US$100,000+ supercar. Yes, yes: Halo effect and all that. But come on.

* Women Loved Temple of Doom, Right? Careerbuilder chose poorly with the gruesome images of the heart jumping out, Alien-like, from the woman's chest. I felt like shouting, "Indy, cover your heart!"

* Guilty Pleasures: With shame, I have to say that I liked the Tide talking stain (the nonsense syllables put it over the edge for me), and people (I'm not saying I was one of them) did laugh at the commercial for the Adam Sandler movie. Though it's still not enough to make me want to go see an Adam Sandler movie.

* Last Words:
Overheard outside a Harris Teeter after the game: "There's no difference between a foreigner and someone who just doesn't watch football."

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Go to a Caps Game, Get a Flu Shot!

I went to the Caps vs. Panthers game on Monday, tickets courtesy of Uncle Ted (Leonsis, natch), who blogged about the game -- a loss -- and acknowledged the fans' unhappiness (as evidenced by the chants of "Fire Hanlon" and "Please Don't Suck.")

Me, I don't care about any of that stuff.

Anyway, as might be expected from a Monday night game on Thanksgiving week, the crowd was pretty thin, even filled out with AOL employees holding complementary tickets.

On the plus side, there wasn't any line if you wanted to get a flu shot:

Our seats were really good -- Section 105, Row L, just behind the goal:

Between periods, one of the AIM product managers, Ryan, was a contestant in the Fan Announcer Challenge:
She won. Funny how that works.

I saw more than a few familiar faces on the big screen and in the stands.

I have to admit, though: I was an ungracious guest -- every time the announcer mentioned AOL, I booed. Loudly (just being playfully contrary, or something):
"The Caps would like to welcome all AOL employees (and ungracious involuntary alumni) for [sic?] tonight's game."

Like I said, the seats were really good. Since we were behind the goal, we had a clear view of four goals. Of course, only 2 of them were Caps goals (we'd started out at RFD and got to the game when it was 1-1). Here's a save:

Afterwards, we hung out at Fado for a bit, where there was a somewhat-resentful trivia night crowd, then packed it in.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Good Free Throw Shooting Does NOT Prove Character

Just heard this bit of sports wisdom during the Louisville vs. Texas A&M game, about Edgar Sosa, who was perfect from the free throw line (10 for 10 at the time, 13 for 13 now):

"Now that really shows his character."

No, it does fucking not show his character. I don't know anything about the kid, but whether he's a thug or a perfect gentleman, going 10 for 10 from the foul line may show any number of things: athletic prowess, consistency, composure -- but that's not his character. That's his skill. It's not who he is as a person.

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