Apr 16

It’s been a while, eh…

Well,

I haven’t felt much inspiration to write over the last few months.  I guess that happens to many of us who blog or have a website.  I had started on a new project, Days Grow By, but after about 2 months I just lost interest in writing. I am not sure what caused it, but at the end of the day I just wasn’t passionate enough about the material I was focusing on I guess.  So I got rid of it and here I am, back home.  I am planning on writing more again.  Back to social interests and topics, faith, poker, sports, tv, and such.  I’ve noticed that people are still visiting me even after my layoff so I appreciate that.  Looking forward to connecting with everyone again.

-Nick

 

Dec 19

When the Bug attacks…

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Last weekend, My family and I ventured to Southern California to go to a baby shower. Normally, I would scoff at my attendance being required at an event that was so female oriented, but this was different. My wife’s older sister who is a bit north of 40, is having a baby. It was a surprise for her and her husband who have an adult son now. Of course, it was even more exciting for her sister because she is having a baby girl. In my wife’s family it was a boy dominated group of grandchildren, but that is starting to change now as the last 4 out of 5 grandkids are little princesses. Because the pregnancy was unexpected the baby shower became an event!

When we arrived at the Elks Lodge it was being held at, it was a typical scene. Cakes, music, presents, lots of well decorated tables and settings. They even had a cash bar for the event! (Remember, BABY SHOWER!) Needless to say this wasn’t your typical baby gifting ceremony. As the guests arrived and the chatter increased, my stomach was ready for fulfillment. Luckily for myself and the many others in attendance, they hired a taco guy. For the many of you who have not experienced the Mexican street taco stand you are missing out! Many types of meats to choose from, pork, beef, steak, chorizo, and sometimes a certain meat I probably won’t venture to try! They have mini tortillas that are soft and saturated from the meats cooking on the grill. I think it would be fair to say I had 6 tacos and 2 cheese quesadillas. After topping my tacos with cilantro, onion, and salsa with a side of rice and beans, I was content!

The party was great fun and all involved had a great time. The cake was super tasty and the cupcakes I kept sneaking were fantastic as well. After a long day and putting the kids down to sleep, I was ready to retire. Have you ever had one of those days when you didn’t get much sleep, drove a long distance, spent time with family all day, that by the time you hit the pillow you were out in about 10 seconds. That was me this night. I drifted away on my full tummy and into deep dream mode.

I still remember being in the midst of the dream when I heard the sounds of gushing waterfalls. That was of course until I came to and realized it’s wasn’t a pleasant waterfall, but the sounds of my youngest removing all remnants of the soda, food, and cake he had ate that day. I scurried to turn on a light on as my wife leapt out of the bed like a gazelle! As the light came on, round 2 of the stomach bug attacked my son and more of the previous nights activities came to visit. Before we could get him off of his blankets for a run to the bathroom, the bug attacked for it’s final round and proved itself victorious.

For anyone who has little kids we have all dealt with this, but the smell was something that makes me cringe as I think about it. After all of that, and nearly avoiding my oldest son rolling into the aftermath of the bug, we thought we were done. That was of course until the process of getting our youngest into the shower in his all-natural state, the reverse bug came for an attack. I’m going to let you figure out that one. Needless to say, it’s quite embarrassing when you aren’t at home when this happens. Luckily, there was blanket and towels that were strategically in the right place for quick “removal”.

The next day was filled with hoses and laundry and a trip back home. Unfortunately, the Bug had attacked our daughter over the next few days and some of our other friends and family members. Luckily for me I was spared because I am a complete train wreck when the bug attacks me..

The moral of the story, be careful how much fun you have, because you never know when the Bug will attack.

(Side note: No one knows what caused the issue. I ate all of the same foods as my kids and so did my wife. I’m not sure where it came from. To be honest, I’m ok with pleading ignorance on this one…)

Dec 11

Oh, how the old body aches…

I don’t remember when it happened, but it’s started. I played in my weekly basketball game last night and let me just say this.. I felt old. The truth is I have to be careful when I say this, so as not to offend my friends who are actually…. Old.. But I really felt “OLD” yesterday. There is one person you can’t beat athletically, and his name is father time. I’ve been dealing with a wobbly knee for a long time now and that doesn’t help. But that’s almost a side note at this point. I went to get out of my car last night to get gas after a spirited night of hoops, when I stepped out and put my foot down I felt shooting pain. I literally hobbled into the store. I was thinking to myself, OH NO! I’m getting older. I woke up this morning with an achy shoulder, knee, back, ankle and neck. At least I still had my dashing good looks. (Ok, maybe that’s a stretch) The truth is I wonder how many more years I will have that I can play pickup hoops with the youngsters. I am usually the old guy at 39. The average age of players I play with is about 28. A decade does make a difference. I guess I will play until the enjoyment is gone or I can’t score or rebound anymore.

All I know is as I am typing right now, I feel a ting of pain every keystroke I make…

I know. I know…

Man up..

Dec 09

Maybe tanking isn’t the solution…

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I wrote a while back about the Boston Celtics and tanking this season. I wrote about the pros and cons of doing so. I fully expected that the Celtics would have a terrible year. After watching the first few games, I was looking forward to get Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins. But something happened. Something that I didn’t expect. Brad Stevens. Brad Stevens in the new head coach of the Boston Celtics. He is slightly younger than me and is a basketball genius. That may be a good or bad thing.. The reason it is good is because the Celtics could make the playoffs again this year. Bad, because they may make the playoffs this year and miss out of a great draft. Right now, the Celtics have played a quarter of the season. They are on pace to finish around 40-42. That will probably get them in the playoffs. They have played inspired team basketball, even drubbing a dysfunctional Knicks team by 41 yesterday.

Here is the thing. They have good young talent right now. Here’s what their lineup could look like in a couple weeks or so.

G Rondo
G Bradley
F Green
F Sullinger
C Bass

Bench:
G Crawford
F Wallace
F Faverini
F Olynk
F Humphries
G Pressey

Is this a championship team? No.. But they have pieces and flexibility. They could make a big trade for a quality player. They have the Nets pick next year which is going to be terrible unless they can turn it around. They have options to make a run or to fall flat in the upcoming months. This team can do a lot.

Lets look at both options:

Winning –

No one has any idea how great Rondo is. He has always been an important piece but always surrounded by Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. How will he do when he is the MAN? That’s a big question. He is a great player and is overshadowed by other point guards right now because he’s been out with injury. If the Celtics move a pick and some pieces they could find him a quality running mate. This could be an interesting few months. We haven’t gotten to see what the Celtics can do with a Top 5 point guard running things, with a great coach. They could be an interesting story come April with some quality moves.

Losing –

The Celtics could do the opposite. They have lots of trade pieces and expiring deals. They can move players and acquire picks and more cap space. It is not completely unrealistic that they could have 2 top ten picks in this years draft and one later in the first round. They have a lot of excellent options.

Either way, the Celtics are in a transition year, but the future looks bright either way. The good news is they might not have to hit rock bottom to start climbing back to the top.

Dec 04

Why Fantasy Football is the greatest thing EVER invented…

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Ok, maybe I am getting a little bit too excited. But I mean come on.. Fantasy sports, especially, Fantasy Football is awesome. Why do people love fantasy football so much? Well, I can sum it up quite easily..

1. Your team stinks. If you have been a Jacksonville Jaguar fan or an Oakland Raider fan for the last few years, watching football is not fun.. At all..

2. You get to be a General Manager! Well, sort of. You make all of the decisions. Who you draft, who you trade, manage your lineups, scour the waiver wire for that perfect fit. You get to be in the action!

3. You have bragging rights or are the laughing stock of your league. I have been both, just not really in football. I play in a paid fantasy baseball league. The last two years I have finished near the bottom of the standings. I honestly feel like I was robbed at gun point when I had to make my season ending payments. I haven’t decided if I will take another shot at glory this summer. At one point my team was 6-34. Yeah, that’s not a misprint. Luckily my team went on a nice streak and finish around 26-40 and not in dead last…

Here’s the thing. In my own personal league, I have been a solid playoff contender. I have made the playoffs every year except 2 in the last 7. I have come close to winning it all but have fallen short. My team this year is loaded. I scored more points than anyone else but still finished 4th!!! Bad teams just had their best weeks. This is MY year though. I think I have a real shot at winning it all. I can’t tell you how full of excitement I am. I have NEVER won a fantasy football league. 2nd a couple of times, and some final fours.. I am hoping that Peyton Manning (gulp) leads me to a title and then loses to the Patriots in the fake NFL PLAYOFFs… (Ok, it’s not fake, but it’s my fantasy so piss off!)

One other thing I love about fantasy football is how it can corrupt you cheering for your team. When the Broncos played the Patriots a few weeks ago I had Manning, D. Thomas, their kicker and defense. When they lead 24-0, I wasn’t even mad!! Not one bit. I was thinking to myself, “Well, this stinks, but I’m going to clinch a playoff berth BABY!”

Luckily the Patriots won and my fantasy team took it down to lock up a playoff spot.

Players in the NFL don’t like fantasy football much either. The team they are on can win but a fan will complain, “Oh come on, Adrian Peterson, you’re killing me!” It’s another wrinkle in the fan experience.

So this weekend I will sit down and hope the Redeye Express defeats the Stoned Raiderz and my journey to glory will only be 2 more wins from happening.

I love you, Fantasy Football…

Dec 01

Black Friday has got to go..

Ok…

Enough is enough… This is getting completely out of hand. Why are we as a country demanding stores to do this? Wait a second you say… WE as consumers are to blame for this craziness? Yes, yes you are you. At what point will we place any value on holidays again? Thanksgiving used to be everything was closed. It was a time for families to be able to stay home and not have to work. WHAT A NOVEL IDEA! But now it is getting out of hand. The 8am Friday opening? Fine.. The 6am ? Ok. The midnight open? I guess that’s not completely horrible. THE 6pm OPEN on TURKEY DAY!!!!! ENOUGH!

I understand that retailers make most of their money during the next 4 weeks of the year. I also realize that Black Friday is a big part of this. With the Walmarts, Targets, and Best Buys of the world trying to hit annual goals. But seriously, this is the one time I wish the Federal Government would step in. Make a federal law that on Thanksgiving and Christmas all retail outlets must be closed. Why not? They are the two most important holidays to the vast majority of residents of this country. You can still have all of these deals starting at 9am on Friday after Thanksgiving. If people really want to go after deals, open up online deals on Thanksgiving at 8pm. This way people can go after deals while people spend time with their families.

That’s the first part. Keep the playing field even. But here’s the second part. Bad Behavior.

I mean what is going on people. I am dumbfounded how people can act so crazy because they want to get a deal on a TV. Or in the case of the guy in this video, two or three TVS! These big box retailers need to do something to crowd control better. For example, have multiple security personnel monitoring lines and have staff pass out the merchandise instead of mad dashes and riots. It’s going to get to the point where someone gets killed in these melees.

So if you are shopping, be the courteous one, be the helper and please don’t be like all of these people. Aren’t we better than this?

Nov 27

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well, it’s that time of year when everyone is able to relax and enjoy turkey with all of the fixings. I still can picture my grandparents house on Thanksgiving. The main table with all the nice plates and glasses reserved for that time of year. I remember being at the kids table hanging out with cousins and enjoying all of my grandmother’s awesome array of food. Then there was my Grandfather always stately reciting the Lord’s prayer and cutting the turkey. I still can smell the room and remember being a child to this day. For me personally, the highlight of that day was getting to eat my Grandma’s pumpkin pie. It was the best pie anyone has ever made in anytime in my humble opinion. I remember after she passed, a few years ago, I refused to touch pumpkin pie during the holidays because it would never be good enough. I also knew that would be the last time I would see them when I was a kid. Every year, they would make their yearly drive to Florida the Monday after Thanksgiving, before my grandpa had to, “deal with wintah!” he would say in a brisk Maine accent. I would have to wait until May to have them back. Now, I celebrate the memories of our once close knit family with a toast to them and those who have departed, “Happy Thanksgiving, and may we cherish another year together!”