Olympic Fever

11 08 2008

Since Friday night, when the television has been on it has been tuned to an NBC channel covering the Olympics.  I have always enjoyed watching the Olympics, but this year I have to admit it has gone a bit overboard.  Even Laura has gotten in on the action, flipping between volleyball matches and swimming in order to maximize our sportage.

The biggest reason we have been avid views was the opening ceremonies.  Anyone who saw it has to admit it was pretty cool.  Although Laura’s comment that a dictatorial communist regime can force its people to do anything no matter the cost was pretty entertaining as well.  In order to celebrate the opening ceremonies, Laura brought home fried won tons and spring rolls while I whipped up my signature stir-fry.  Nothing like a mega dose of MSG to get a night off to a good start.

Favorite Olympic Things so far:

  • Direct TV’s interactive menu with detailed event listing and medal count
  • NBC’s online video.  I can pick four different events to watch at once in addition to my television!  I am pretty sure it is impossible to enjoy that much sport at once, but I like the fact that I could enjoy it.
  • Men’s 400m Freestyle Relay.  I almost felt sorry for the French. Almost.  If you missed this one, you have to find the video online and watch it.
  • Just watched the Men’s Team Gymnastics, and I hate to admit it. . .but it was pretty intense. The USA surprised everyone and got a hard earned bronze.

Being Hawkeye’s Roomate

7 08 2008

One of my favorite things about having cable is TV Land.  For some reason whenever I turn on the TV,  I see this show is on and I can’t help but tune in.  It has been my favorite sitcom for a few years now in spite of the look I get from people my own age when I tell them this.  Not to mention it has always been the only show which has made me laugh out loud and get “a little verklempt.”

It hasn’t always been my favorite show.  When I was in middle and high school I thought it was the worst show on television.  I never understood why my Dad always seemed to be watching it.  There were clues, however, that I would one day see the light and admit the comic genius of Hawkeye and crew.  My Mom has told anyone who would listen that as a baby, whenever I would hear the tune “Suicide is Painless” (the theme song the M*A*S*H) I would settle down and eventually fall asleep.

Even though I know each of the characters in this show always complain about how much they hate being there, I decided long ago that if I had to be a character in a TV show, it would be M*A*S*H.  I have never watched a show with characters who are more likable and do something meaningful at the same time.  As much as I liked watching Seinfeld of The Simpson’s, the character’s lives always seemed incomplete at best and depressing the rest of time.  It begs the question, though: if you had to choose any television show to become a character in which one would it be.  It should be noted that you are not taking the place of a character, but being added to the ensemble.

Curious to know what you think. . .

Veritas Wine & Bistro

8 06 2008

This week Laura and I celebrated our fourth anniversary with a fine meal. After reading reviews about some of the new fine dinning establishments in town I choose Veritas because. . . .I am not sure why. I guess their menu sounded the most interesting.

I think what I liked most about Veritas is that it wasn’t trying to be like any of the other “nice” restaurants in town. There is more of an asian theme at Veritas than Christopher’s or Maddens, but what sticks out is the wine. After we had sat down for a few minutes at our table, the sommelier (wine steward) came over to offer suggestions. He seemed to know what he was talking about, and didn’t make me feel like tasteless idiot–which is a plus.

My humble suggestion for anyone not a wine expert (speaking from experience here) would be to order a “wine flight.” This gets you three smaller glasses of wine set up by the sommelier (there’s that word again) to help you find what your looking for. When he brings the wines, you also get an explanation about the differences and some things to look for in the taste.

And now a word of warning.  This is not the place to go if searching for hints of oak and boysenberry in your pino grigio is not your cup of tea.  The entire place is geared toward waxing poetic about grape juice.  Also, the portions are much smaller than what you might find at a place like Cheddar’s.  In the end I actually enjoyed this part, because even though I cleaned my plate I didn’t have that overly full feeling for the next four hours.

So, overall I give Veritas my endorsement if you are looking for a special night out.

A Slippery Slope

2 04 2008

One of the shows my wife has liked to watch over the last few months is “Jon & Kate Plus 8.”  She started off watching some of the other shows about crazy large families–the Duggars, et al–but settled on this family.  At first I rolled my eyes and would leave the couch to find a book to read instead, but eventually I found myself watching to show too.  Only when Laura first tuned the channel there, of course.

I think last week I past the point of no return when I found myself flipping to the show on my own late at night after finishing my lesson for the next day.  At first I think it was an unconscious decision.  There is not much to watch at night anyway at 10:30, right? When I realized it was one I had not seen (the family’s trip to the Crayola Factory) I did not notice how excited I was, how I sat up a little straighter wondering what crazy things are going to happen.  Nor did I pick up on my own inventory of how much bigger the sextuplets are starting to look.  None of these things triggered my awareness of being a “fan” of the show.  No, it was when I saw that Kate was using a new camera to take pictures of the boys, and was happy for her (because we all know how much she hated her other camera).  No one ever mentioned that it was new, but I could tell.

That was when it happened.  It hit me like a bolt of lightning hard enough to make me drop the remote–I liked watching Jon & Kate.

How to Treat Your Sports Addiction

26 03 2008

I have been ruminating on the subject of this post for a while now. Laura can attest that I have a love/hate relationship with my television whenever there is a sporting event on. I can’t wait to watch some games, and then find myself unable to enjoy them because my team is performing so badly. My wise wife sees this as complete insanity and is always willing to put ONE of our copies of Pride and Prejudice in the DVD instead of the game. The sad thing is I have turned control of the remote over to her when the game becomes too much to handle.

The worst example of my sports enthusiasm run amok would be my inability to watch the Mavericks play for the last two seasons. Ever since the Mavs blew their 3-0 lead in the finals to the Heat, I can’t get onboard with the NBA at all (some might call that a blessing). After the Heat won their championship, I refused to watch ESPN for about a week just so I wouldn’t hear anyone talk about it. My only consolation was that none of my friends or co-workers were from Miami.

Much of this came to a head a few months ago when I found myself shocked at the Patriot’s defeat in the Super Bowl. I realized how much I really wanted to see them win. At the same time I witnessed the shear joy of my friend, Andrew, as his team came out of nowhere in the playoffs to win it all. The problem with fan-dom is the vast differences between the highs and lows of cheering on your team. If only there was a way to even things out, to take the edge off winning or losing.

After a while the answer hit me: gambling! All you have to do is put a price tag on the joy you would feel if your team wins, and wager that amount against your team. Now, let me point out that this strategy might not work for some people. I am competitive enough as it is, and the idea of loosing money on top of a game has always been unsavory. Even a $5 buy-in poker game makes me uneasy, so the thought of a $5 side bet on UCLA to beat Texas A&M the other night would have evened my anxiety pretty well. I don’t think I would have had to stand up in front of the television once.

When I announced this plan to our Easter dinner hosts and fellow guests as a conversation starter, I felt pleased with my cleverness. It seemed like a well-reasoned and thought-out solution to my problem. I don’t know the exact chain of thought that brought me from the Easter Sermon to how sinful my cleaver new plan was, but it happened as I drove home that afternoon.

Putting the ethical question of gambling aside (which would make a good post), using money to make you feel better is pretty hard to defend morally. And placing my happiness in the outcome of a game is as big an idol as any golden calf. So rather than dull the effects of one sin with more sin, I guess I need to focus on what should be my hope and happiness in this life. So much for good ideas, or bad ones.

Fantasy American Idol

24 02 2008

Last year we joined with a few of our closest friends to take part in some good, clean, family fun.  We had a draft, picked our favorites, and came up with a complicated system of scoring in order to make watching American Idol fun.  We had two point tallies going during the competition:  one which was agreed on by the people involved, and another which I came up with and only I understood.  I came to call this alternative scoring system “renegade” Fantasy American Idol (FAI).

It is a new year, and therefore a new chance to prove you can predict what millions of teenage girls think.  We may even have been able to entice a new family or two into joining our venture.  A quick search of google reveals others have had the same idea too.

After a few conversations, I think I have come up with a new and improved (though less complicated) scoring system for this year’s FAI.

  •  Beginning with the final 12, a person picks the three people they think will be in the bottom two for the week.  Each contestant they have correctly identified will earn you a number of points dependent on the week of competition.
  • A person may earn double the points by “doubling down” on the contestant they think will be eliminated from the competition that week.  If the contestant is eliminated, the person will earn twice the week’s points.  If however, this person is not eliminated from competition, the person has effectively lost this contestant from their roster for the remainder of the season. “Doubling Down” is optional.
  • The point values for each week will be as follows (“doubling down” will double the listed value)
    • Week of 12: 24
    • Week of 11: 22
    • Week of 10: 20
    • Week of 9: 18
    • Week of 8: 16
    • Week of 7: 14
    • Week of 6: 12
    • Week of 5: 13
    • Week of 4: 14
    • Week of 3: 15
    • Final: 20

The point totals for each week might be subject to change.  There is also the possibility that more than one person is eliminated or nobody is eliminated at all! I am also thinking of adding some sort of added point bonus for picking the final winner from the start of competition. Other suggestions would be much appreciated.

Slackerman out!

Here’s a radical church idea. . . .

18 02 2008

. . . .try not to sin.  I have to give credit to Mr. Lee for linking this story on his blog.  Take a minute to read the article. . . .

I can’t tell if the idiocy is limited to just the reporter or extends to the pastor as well.  Allow me to point out the absurdity:

  1. A professional reporter wrote this?  I have seen better writing from my 8th graders.
  2.  Wirth has found biblical references that he says suggest Jesus disapproved of pre-marital sex and promoted sex in marriage.–I wasn’t aware that this issue was really up for debate.  It sounds more like he has uncovered evidence for the exact location of Atlantis.
  3. How about “challenging” single members of the congregation to not ever have sex until they are married?  You could call it a commandment.
  4. “If you look at studies, studies say in 30 days you can develop a habit,” said Pastor Paul Wirth.  Aside from the redundancy and horrible writing style, isn’t doing something for 30 days straight the very definition of a habit.
  5. Relevant Church Website