Saturday, August 20, 2011

Hello Again

Hi. My name is Mike, in case you forgot. I know I did.

  • I saw Jonny X at Keith and Corrie's wedding. He didn't mention that my blog sucks. I am assuming that he had forgotten about it since the level of sucktitude has reached the Pittsburgh Pirates zone.
  • The NFL lockout is over. Thankfully, we will have football this year because the Rockies and Twins suck. Oh wait, the Broncos and Vikings will too? Fantastic. 
  • The political crap is starting up again. Gag. I have an idea that no one has considered when running for office - what if we did what's best for the country and not what's best to retain your voters? 
  • That probably won't happen.
  • Michelle Bachmann is crazy if she thinks that gas prices are dependent solely on the President of the United States. 
  • The Republicans did a terrific job of handing the White House to the Democrats last election. There was no way they could have botched it up worse. However, they are trying to do just that this election. 
  • Caveat - I am a centrist, a capitalist, and a center-leaning libertarian. I care about the future, the success, and the state of this country. Neither of the majority parties believe in this, which is why both majority parties disgust me. 
  • Perfection is seeing my two girls curled up on the bed, sleeping the morning away. 
  • Has the creation of Peanut Butter M&M's hurt the sales of Peanut M&M's?
  • We are looking into selling our house next year. When we were looking for our starter home, we knew of its short-term life, so we were not as picky as we could have been. Now that we are looking for a 'forever' (or damn near) home, locking down location and amenities is WAY more stressful. 
  • I am being cautiously optimistic about the firing of Bob Bradley and the hiring of Jurgen Klinsmann. I don't know enough about soccer to talk technically, but everything I read seemed to say that Bob Bradley's counterattack style was like the Billy Beane approach to baseball - good enough to be good, but not good enough to be great. I have heard that Klinsmann might be a lot of talk. I guess we shall see. 
  • A while back, I took some time at lunch and wandered around downtown with my N80. I happened to wander over to Union Station and snapped some shots of the tunnel that had all the old rail connections. I found out a couple months later that the Union Station redesign had actually wiped that entire area out. All that history - gone. I'm so thankful that I got over there before it disappeared forever. 
  • I developed a roll of B&W film that I have been sitting on for a while now. While there were some ok shots in there, I definitely could see that I have a long way to go to become a skilled photographer. If I didn't have any potential for improvements, what would be the point of doing it?
  • We braved the crowds and the Swedish meatballs and went to IKEA the other day with John, Vicki, and Riley. It was amazing how much stuff was in that building and how cheap everything was. I don't think I would ever buy furniture from them (maybe for my kid's dorm), but their accessories and stuff were incredible. It was my first adventure in an IKEA and with my wife and a potential new house next year, it won't be my last.
  • I should be working right now, but motivation is tough to find on a Saturday morning when your wife and daughter are sleeping, you have a laptop and a cup of coffee, and it is dark and quiet in the house.
  •  I am running the Warrior Dash up in Copper Mountain tomorrow. Deuce, Keith, Ninja, Jonny X, and Kristin are all running it as well. It should be a fun time. 
  • Every time I check the website, the number and type of obstacles change. Is this normal? 
  • I am not physically ready to run a 5k with a bunch of obstacles. I'm planning on adrenaline to power me through. And I don't plan on setting any land speed records. 
  • I have decided that I hate running. This might be an issue since I semi-trained for a running race. 
  • The Town is a really enjoyable movie. 
Life for the Flicks have been crazy, as one could expect with hectic work schedules and a 14 month old. Mackenzie is still in her brace at night and during naps, but her hips seem to be improving greatly. We go back to see the doctor in October. She is so close to walking on her own. She will go all over the place if you hold her hands or if she can support herself on a table or chair. I keep trying to let go, but she immediately plops down on her diaper butt. Sometime soon she will be all over the place on her own two feet instead of her current situation of being all over the place on all fours. 

My work is keeping me extremely busy. The time spent in the office just flies by because so much stuff is going on and so much is required of everyone. The team is fantastic, though, and I have been enjoying it immensely. It still is below retirement in my 2012 depth chart. Come on, Powerball!! 

This year, my softball team decided we needed a change of pace. We have been playing on Mondays and against the same group of teams for years and years now. So we moved from D-Rec Mondays to D-Rec Tuesdays. Nobody expected the level of talent to drop that much, but it did. We finished the summer league tournament while having a 19-0 record overall (spring and summer). We have 10-run-ruled probably 80% of our games. Needless to say, we are moving up a division for fall. At least we got two shirts this year before we start getting throttled by some good comp teams. 

Only a few more months until I get Mackenzie up on the slopes. Right, Sarah?

Until the next post in 2014,

Monday, April 04, 2011

If There is a Chair 1 In Heaven, It's Yours

We all have teachers, professors, and coaches whose impact on our lives has left an imprint on us more than the average educator. As a 7th and 8th grader at All Souls, I was privileged to encounter one such teacher. She taught English and speech, coached the speech team, and was named Ms. Miles. Ms. Miles died this past week.

In the hallway, Trudy Jo Miles was intimidating and imposing. In the classroom, that intensity was multiplied by three. You learned quickly that there was no messing around on her watch. You got there on time, you paid attention, and you did your homework. Nothing else was acceptable. After a few short months, the intimidation factor wore off and you saw her as what she truly was: a fantastic woman and teacher. She knew the material she was teaching and she knew exactly how to cram it into your wandering, preteen, ADHD brain. 

Her most effective teaching tools were the chairs. A portion of your grade was determined by where you sat in the room. The classroom seats were numbered from 1 to 30. The smaller your daily average of seat position for the term, the better your seat grade. Seat upgrades were earned by correctly answering questions. For example, let's say there was a homework assignment from those friendly orange vocabulary books. The person in Chair One would say the answer to question one. The person in Chair Two would verify that Chair One's answer was correct. If Chair One's answer was correct and Chair Two confirmed it, Chair One would stay and Chair Two would answer question number two. If Chair One was incorrect and Chair Two caught the mistake, Chair Two would take Chair One's space. If Chair One was incorrect and Chair Two did not catch the mistake, the question continued to move back seat by seat until the right answer was given. The correct respondent got to claim their new position while every moved back one space. This continued until all the homework questions were answered. If you forgot your homework, you were automatically shuffled to the back of the room.

Every once in a while, Ms. Miles would call for a Jumble Up. This was her Chair version of high stakes poker. On those days, if you got a question wrong you did not just move one chair backwards; you moved to the back of the room. It was stressful and fun and always entertaining to see people move all over the room.

As a person, she was caring and thoughtful. She attended numerous sporting events being played by her students. She always had time for questions and extra assistance when needed. The few instances I returned to All Souls after graduation, she was on the list of people I made sure I stopped in to see.

Under her instruction and guidance, I established what I would consider to be a solid understanding of the English language. Because of her, I can still diagram sentences. Because of her, there is an MLA Handbook in my house. Because of her, I use correct grammar even when limited by 140 characters on Twitter. Because of her, I still cringe when I read emails and proposals written by engineers. Because of her, I still get into arguments about the necessity of the Oxford comma. (Seriously people, you need the comma! There is a huge difference between "I went for a walk with my dogs, Sarah and Mackenzie." and "I went for a walk with my dogs, Sarah, and Mackenzie.") Because of her, I love Faulkner, Hemingway, and To Kill a Mockingbird. Because of her, I feel comfortable speaking in front of people, even without a prepared speech.

Ms. Miles has influenced more than just this wayward student. I'm confident than hundreds upon hundreds of All Souls students share my sentiments. Thank you, Ms. Miles, for all that you did for me and the countless others you touched in your life. You will be missed.

All Souls will never be the same again.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mike's Annual

BASEBALL! BASEBALL! BASEBALL!! BASEBALL!!! BASEBBBBBAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!! if you have not gathered, baseball starts tomorrow. Someone is mostly excited. Completely. I am freaking pumped. I don't have time to do a full blown analysis of each division, so you only get the brief version this year. Not like my analysis mattered at all. Every year, my picks are so fubared by the second week of the season. Moral of the story, if you are planning on putting money on baseball this year, just look at my choices and pick another team. Let's get on to the picks. . .

AL East
1. Red Sox
2. Yankees
3. Rays
4. Orioles
5. Blue Jays

AL Central
1. White Sox
2. Twins
3. Tigers
4. Royals
5. Indians

AL West
1. A's
2. Rangers
3. Angels
4. Mariners

NL East
1. Braves
2. Phillies
3. Marlins
4. Mets
5. Nationals

NL Central
1. Reds
2. Cardinals
3. Brewers
4. Cubs
5. Astros
6. Pirates

NL West
1. Rockies
2. Dodgers
3. Giants
4. Padres
5. Diamondbacks

Red Sox over A's
White Sox over Yankees

Red Sox over White Sox

Rockies over Reds
Dodgers over Braves

Dodgers over Rockies

World Series
Red Sox over Dodgers

We'll check back in November to see how ridiculously wrong I am!!

Let's go Rockies and Twins!!

Til the next post,

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I Don't Care If You Think Your Music Is Better

Several weeks ago, I was like most people in that I did not watch the Grammy's. Award shows bore me, especially their endless and pointless drivel being spewed after anyone wins an award. I did, however, enjoy checking out the performances the few days following the show. The one performance that stuck out (for a couple reasons) was the combination of Mumford and Sons, The Avett Brothers, and Bob Dylan. My first thought when Mumford and Sons started playing was "When did Alec Baldwin start a folk-rock band?" Once I was able to get past this resemblance, I was able to enjoy the rest of the performance. While Bob Dylan was horrendous and The Avett Brothers were very, very good, Mumford and Sons' rendition of The Cave was absolutely amazing. The energy, the sound, the look, the music, everything impressed me. After enjoying their song, it was only natural to wander over to YouTube to listen to more of their work.

It was there that the musical elitists showed their mangy, dirty, ugly faces yet again. . .

A majority of the comments on the Mumford and Sons videos stated that they knew about the band before the Grammy's. These sages' prior knowledge made them musically superior to us schmucks who happened to be introduced to them more recently.

Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize that discovering bands had a time limit. I truly apologize. I will push their exceptional performance into the recesses of my mind and immediately stop learning anything more about these talented folks because you, far superior musical listeners, have already filled the Mumford and Sons fan quota.

Their perspective blew me away, despite having seen this vitriol being directed toward newly-added fan bases in the past. The comment sections for videos of any up-and-coming band are littered with similar sentiment; only fans since the beginning allowed. Logically this makes no sense. When I am a fan of a band, I would like as many people as possible to enjoy them as well. More exposure and more positive responses mean more music being created by that band. It is a simple concept. A exceptional band with little following is forgotten about quickly, has less accessibility to their music over time, and has much less staying power than a pretty good band with a rabid following. Think about this situation outside of music. The Boston Red Sox, prior to 2004, had not won the World Series since 1918. The Chicago Cubs have not won the World Series since 1908. Every year, their seasons ended with disappointment. Despite this ineptitude, the fanatical fan bases have keep these teams consistently two of the three most popular teams in baseball. (Who had the 5th in the "Which paragraph will Mike make an unnecessary reference to baseball?" pool?)

Back in the music world, think about what happened with Green Day in the 90's. They were considered sellouts when their albums starting going mainstream. Their popularity drove the punk world into a punkish frenzy. Years later, Green Day is one of the most successful bands of our time. They are 50 years old and still dropping punk records that sell like crazy. I would argue that their success was the impetus to the today's punk popularity. Prior to Green Day's supposed sellout, how many punk bands were in the regular rotation of mainstream radio stations? It wasn't many, if there were any at all. Perhaps the Mumford and Sons Grammy performance will do to folk rock what "Dookie" did for punk, pull their style of music from the fringes and to a wider audience. For that reason alone, those original and elitist Mumford and Sons fans should embrace these new additions to their club and look forward to years and years of banjo rocking.

In the grand scheme of things, why should anyone care how or when people unearth music they enjoy? I discovered Mumford and Sons from the 2011 Grammy's. My love of classic rock bands like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd stems from my middle school friends. I was exposed to Rise Against through friends in college. I learned about Muse through Guitar Hero. I was turned on to Oasis because someone told me they were going to be the biggest thing out of the UK since the Beatles. I started liking Radiohead as I listened to and bantered about their music with my coworker Alex while we ran Atterberg limit tests. I listened to George Strait because my mom loved him when I was growing up. I found David Hasselhoff because I love freedom and light-up suits. And I was blessed with The Darkness because their awesomeness revealed itself to me in a beam of heavenly light. The various ways I found these bands doesn't make my love for each particular band more or less authentic. To all you musical elitist with your superiority complex - take a quick look at how ridiculous you sound and get the heck over yourself.

Until the next post,

Friday, January 07, 2011

An Official "It Is Time to Put Fingers to Keys" Blog

Let's just have some brain dump here:
  • Since I am not actually putting pen to paper (that is soooooo 1995), I guess "fingers to keys" works. Still, it just doesn't have the same effect. 
  • Christmas has come and gone. Sarah and I took Mackenzie on her first Black Friday shopping extravaganza. She slept through the whole thing. As always, Sarah and I got more stuff for ourselves than Christmas presents. Such is life on a Black Friday. Just as we got home and were gearing up for a nap, Mackenzie decided she was ready to attack the day. Brutal. 
  • Speaking of Christmas, the holiday became 1000 times more magical when you have a little human in your lives. We met the John, Vicki, Riley, Jack, Natalie, Robert, Emerson, Keith, Corrie, Travis, Traci, Charlie, Calvin, Jaime, and Jason downtown at the Parade of Lights. It was awesome to watch Mackenzie as she stared at all the light floats. She loved it so much that the parade wasn't over more than 2 minutes and she had already crashed hard. Looking at all those lights is exhausting. We also took her to the North Pole down outside of Colorado Springs. She loved the carousel. She kicked and laughed and petted the reindeer the entire time. 
  • We took a page from Andrew and Jessica's book and got our Christmas tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving. 
  • The outside lights are another story. . . 
  • Sarah's friend Jaime from PA school brought her husband out to Colorado to check out possible new homes. While they were here, I was forced to take Jason up to Winter Park. Poor me. I was absolutely amazed at the coverage on the mountain for that early in the season. That is a good sign for a great ski season. Naturally, this is the first year in many years that I did not purchase a pass. Dang. 
  • Completely related: Kenzie needs to learn how to ski. Soon.
  • Troy Tulowitzki signed a big contract extension with the Rockies. His deal picked up his 2014 club option, then added an additional 6 years onto it. Basically, this sets him up to be in the purple pinstripes for life. Tulo repeated over and over during his press conference that he was determined to be a Derek Jeter or Cal Ripken Jr. for the Rockies. He wants to retire a Rocky and he is not even 30 years old. I am teetering on the fence right now about this deal. On the positive side, they just locked up the best shortstop in baseball for the bulk of his prime production years. On the negative side, it could be Todd Helton Part Deux. Let's hope that (a) Tulo's health stays with him, (b) his production stays up, and (c) the Rockies management keeps enough talent around Tulo to make this team competitive for a long, long while.
  • Just a few weeks later, it was announced that CarGo had signed a deal as well, his supposedly for $80 million over 7 years. The amazing thing is that CarGo is a Scott Boras client and the new contract defies a lot of the standard Boras contract details. The most shocking was the elimination of three free agent years from CarGo's future. Boras is notorious for getting maximum money out of his superstar players in their free agent years. He does not give those up because those are the money making years. The rumors coming through Twitter and other media outlets is that Boras advised CarGo of the pros and cons of signing the deal and he allowed CarGo and his family time to make the decision. The decision was to take the deal and give up those free agent years. The sabermetric people are estimating (using projections) that CarGo's true value will be closer to $98 to $112 million dollars over the life of the contract. Now he just needs to keep his numbers up. . .
  • The Rockies ownership has done a great job of getting themselves set up for the future. They took their two most marketable stars and locked them up long term. Now they are set up to build a competitive team around their two cornerstones. 
  • On the other side of the money coin, apparently Carmelo Anthony wants to sign his extension. If the Nuggets promise to trade him to the Knicks. My biggest problem with this situation? Who do the Knicks have to send back to the Nuggets to make the deal worthwhile? Let's just say that they better be throwing in lots and lots of high draft picks. The Nets have also been rumored to be chasing Melo as well. At least they have a few players that might be worth grabbing, but again, show us those draft picks!
  • The Avs started the season hot and have cooled significantly as of late. I have not watched too many games, but every time I turn them on, I am amazed by something that Duchene or Stastny does. Those two are absolute hockey studs. 
  • I'm not sure if I want to cover the Broncos here. What a joke of a team. I'm sorry, Pat Bowlen. Your once proud franchise has turned into one of the crappiest organizations around. And Tim Tebow will not part the Orange and Blue Sea to get us to the promise land. They are going to have to start rebuilding from the ground up. My blood is starting to boil just thinking about this. 
  • On a positive note, the Vikings finally got rid of Brad Childress. That dumbass was the WORST head coach in the NFL. Yep, even worse than McIdiot. Thanks to Brad Childress, they are two years behind where they should be. Instead of dragging Brett "Throwing Pics and Textin' Chicks" Favre out of retirement after his stint with the Jets, Childress should have drafted a young stud QB and developed him into a badass NFL player. Can you imagine a young stud QB with Peterson, Harvin, and Rice? I wish I could, but Childress ruined it. 
  • After continuously having issues with speed on my old phone, I finally upgraded to a new piece of technology. I went with what basically is the newer version of my old phone: the T-Mobile/HTC G2. The screen is amazing, the keyboard is great, Android Froyo is so user friendly. The biggest complaints thus far? The regular phone speaker is pretty weak. I have a hard time hearing people talking if I am in my car or in a loud place. The worst part about the phone is the fact that it drops internet coverage a lot. I'm not sure if it is a phone issue or a service issue, but we constantly lose the internet in our house. Luckily, I have the WiFi set up so I usually just sync to that when I am home. Still a pain in the ass. 
  • I am convinced that Drew Soicher is the most annoying person on television. And I don't even watch local news. I just think about "Drew or False" and I want to hurl. 
  • Since I am working on a new big project, I moved out of our regular office into a window cube on the 34th floor of 1670 Broadway downtown. For about three weeks I had a serious headache every day. It was so excruciating that I was downing ibuprofen like they were M&M's. I finally switched my monitors around so that I was not sitting with my back to the window. No more headaches. Now I sit and stare out at my beautiful view of Commerce City as it slowly burns. 
  • If you haven't seen the video of the Metrodome collapse, go watch it now. I'll wait.
  • Wasn't that amazing? Absolutely incredible. 
  • My favorite book when I was really little was "Cars and Trucks and Things That Go". We have that book for Kenzie, but I am working on getting all the way through it. Apparently she has some of her daddy's attention issues.
  • And yes, I still remember where Goldbug is on every page. 
  • My biggest focus in my career right now? Figuring out a way I can retire at 30. 
Think that was enough information for you all? Those words had been jammed in my brain for a long time now. My head just shrunk 3 hat sizes because of that dump. It is now a size 8. God damn.

Sorry this post lacks some color and creativity. The post has been sitting here too long to put THAT much effort into it. 

Til the next post,