5 posts from November 2002

Oldies: Sunday, November 24 - Saturday, November 30, 2002...

Thursday, 28 November 2002: I'd like to say Happy Thanksgiving to all and Happy Birthday to my brother tomorrow (not that he'll ever read this to know that I said it). See y'all next week.

Wednesday, 27 November 2002: Does anybody else out there watch "8 Simple Rules"? I gotta say that it's my favorite new show now officially. Last night's episode had Patrick Warburton (Puddy from "Seinfeld") as Paul's new boss. The two are able to commiserate because they both have teenage daughters. Warburton was funny as hell. It's great to see this guy who is normally very stoic and deadpan seemingly cave in under the pressure of raising daughters. I loved it. I hope he's going to be at least a semi-regular character like Larry Miller has been as one of Paul's co-workers.

Also, Katie and I were able to catch up on this week's "Boston Public" last night. I still have to say that this is probably my favorite show on TV although I tend to teeter between this and the original "C.S.I." The writing on Boston Public, while it was not bad last year, has actually gotten better so far this year. I am upset that Harry Senate (Nicky Katt) and Lauren Davis (Jessalyn Gilsig) are off the show, but I love how they've developed on the character of Steven Harper (Chi McBride). They've given him emotional range that was never really attempted prior to this season and his character is all the better for it. If you're not already watching this show, you are missing out.

Tuesday, 26 November 2002: Good news for all of us "C.S.I." fans. Turns out the first season of the show will be released on DVD sometime next month. Kinda odd for a company to say that they will be releasing an entire DVD set and not give a specific date especially when the target month is only a week away. Hmmm... I'll have to keep y'all posted.

I got a kick out of this little note from the U.S. Government. Apparently, the good ole gov feels it is time for them to take advantage of our technological capabilities by using our cellphones, pagers, PDAs, etc. as an alert system. In cases of terrorist attack or deadly weather phenomenon like tornadoes, an alert would be sent automatically to whatever little electronic device we prefer. Not an entirely bad idea, I suppose. But how long will it take for someone else to figure out how to hack into this system and then sell the distribution method to some spammer so we can now get messages that read "enlarge your penis 25%" flashing across the screen of our cellphones? Oooh, I just can't wait.

Monday, 25 November 2002: There are times when I feel like a complete and utter loser. Today is one of those days. I say this because the Boston Red Sox just named their new general manager today. His name is Theo Epstein and he is officially the youngest GM in baseball history. He's 28 years old. I'm 27. I will be 28 in just a couple of weeks. My job is nothing compared to what he's going to spend his days and nights doing. I've been able to chalk off the idea of ever being paid what a pro athlete would make. I'm not even jealous of them and their contracts because I don't think I could ever do what they are paid to do. In some cases, I do envy actors and think... nay "know"... that I could do a better job than some of the crap actors that are out there today. But, how much fun would it be to run the day-to-day operations of a professional baseball team? And the Boston Red Sox at that. One of the most storied baseball teams in America and one with some of the greatest history ever (even if they are lacking in World Series wins of late). Yes, it would be tough. Yes, you would be the target for all complaints when things go wrong. Yes, you are likely to be hated by most of the players on the team. But, damn if it wouldn't be cool to see your name on a business card with the title "General Manager" underneath it and the Red Sox logo off to the side. I'm such a loser.

I've got way too much time on my hands, don't I?

Sunday, 24 November 2002: The Bears finally won today, breaking their eight-game skid. What makes it even better is that I was there to see it. And, yes, while I am glad that they did win, I can't say I'm happy about how it happened. It was ugly to say the very least. There are an easy 10 extra points we should have had in that flubbed first quarter field goal by Paul Edinger and that dropped touchdown pass by Marty Booker in the endzone. And I have one last complaint... why can't the Bears play like they did during that hurry-up, no-huddle offense more often? Jim Miller looked like a QB God while it also seemed that Leon Johnson and Dustin Lyman could do no wrong. Where are these plays during the rest of the game? The Bears were nearly unstoppable for two minutes near the end of the fourth quarter. C'mon guys, let's pick it up a notch. We've got the Pack to contend with this coming weekend.

Oldies: Sunday, November 17 - Saturday, November 23, 2002...

Friday, 22 November 2002: Today marks Katie's final day as a student of calculus. She could not possibly be happier. She just left my office about five minutes ago to go and take her final exam. Good luck, hon. I know you're going to be fine.

In case any of you are wondering... no, I did not seek out Brian Urlacher's John Hancock yesterday evening. Around 3:30, our printer Brad came in to our office and told me he just drove by and there were at least a hundred people outside the store waiting already. That was at only 3 p.m. with four hours of wait time left. By the time I drove by a little after 5 p.m., there were easily 400-500 people waiting outside (they wouldn't let all the autograph hounds plug up the shopping area inside the store) and the line stretched from one end of the plaza all the way down the sidewalk to the far end. It was nuts. The parking lot was filled up so much that people were parking around the back of the plaza in the service spaces. I just kept on driving. No autograph is worth that headache. I think you're a great linebacker, Brian, but I ain't about to fight my way through that human smorgasbord (sp?) to get stuff signed. I'll just have to wait.

Thursday, 21 November 2002: I was listening to the radio on the way in to work today and a commercial came on announcing the grand opening of the new Circuit City in Batavia. I knew it was open because the banners were up outside it yesterday as I was driving home. This is a good thing because now our local Best Buy has competition (kitty corner, no less). The other reason I mention this is because they announced that today, from 6-7 p.m., Mr. Bear Brian Urlacher will be there signing autographs. Very cool, indeed. I might just have to show up and get my McFarlane Toys Urlacher figure signed. Katie said she would head over there straight from work and jump in line and, hopefully, get our recalled McDonald's Urlacher bobblehead signed as well.

When I was a kid, I was big into getting autographs from pro athletes and most of them were really receptive to it (save for George Brett and Bo Jackson, that is). I'm not as fanatical now as I once was. But, having those two figures signed would be very cool. But, if the line is too long, I may pass on it. If we do stick around, I may have to take a bucket along to hold under Katie's chin when she finally comes face-to-face with her "big little boy." She's a diehard Urlacher freak. I like the guy a lot and can respect a guy who can lay down a great hit, but I'm not about to start drooling. I'll leave that to Katie. If there is one thing that a year of marriage has taught me, it's that my wife does love me, but I better never deny her that Urlacher fix.

Tuesday, 19 November 2002: Although it has not yet been officially announced (due to the fact that one of the teams in the conference is still in the playoffs), I would like to congratulate my brother-in-law Steve for being named to the Fox Valley Conference All-Conference Team as a kicker. He is the first kicker ever from McHenry High School to be given this honor. Way to go Stevie! Once it is officially announced, I may link up some online newspaper articles that mention it. Gotta find them all first, though.

Monday, 18 November 2002: I guess it's time for me to bone up on the Chicago Cubs. Most of you know that I am a lifelong Yankees fan. Well, it's just no fun to root for the Yanks anymore because they have returned to their perennial winning ways. For over a decade before that, I had to justify why I wore a Yankees hat or jacket in Cubs/White Sox country. Because they couldn't win jack, rooting for the Yanks was a very unpopular stance to take. Then they started winning World Series after World Series. Even when they didn't win the series, they still had a relatively strong playoff presence. Now, suddenly everyone's a Yankee fan. So, I stopped a couple of years ago. They don't need me rooting for them anymore. They've got their bandwagon. I'm going independent.

So, two years ago, I started rooting for the Diamondbacks solely because I wanted to see Mark Grace finally get a ring. He did. This past season, I rooted for the Twins. They made it to the playoffs but didn't win it all. They still did incredibly well though and I will continue to root for them this coming season. However, I told Katie that if the Cubs managed to sign Dusty Baker (whom I have the utmost respect for) as their new manager, I would go Cubby all this season. They did, so now I am. Time to start learning the lineup. Go Cubbies.

Oh, yeah... I need a Cubs hat.

Oldies: Sunday, November 10 - Saturday, November 16, 2002...

Saturday, 16 November 2002: Wanna talk about a "long day?" Well, that's exactly what Katie and I had today. We woke up at 5 a.m. to high-tail it into Chicago for her 8 a.m. Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam at Loyola University. I've never driven into the city while it's actually been too dark to see anything around me. But seeing the sunrise behind the city's skyline was pretty damned cool. I was sitting there talking to another guy the whole time whose wife was also taking the exam. Pretty good conversation there. Managed to get a parking ticket because I missed feeding the meter by a whopping ten minutes. I swear those parking police just lurk in the shadows and have some sort of alert system letting them know when a meter has run out. Bastards.

I don't understand this, either. According to the law, you cannot do what is known as "feeding" the meter which means you cannot put in coins for more time on the meter while there is already time still on it. But, if you run out of time, that's when you get nailed. So, no matter what you do, you're screwed. Why is feeding a meter such a bad thing? That really makes no sense whatsoever. Now, I'm stuck here with a $50 ticket for letting my meter run out and not being there waiting for that exact moment when the meter craps out on me. I'm sure that if I were standing there waiting for it, the cop would have been there as well and would have ticketed me anyway just because the meter was unfed for the whopping five seconds that it takes for me to get the coin in the meter and for the meter to register that it's sucking away my lifeblood.

Anyway, we returned home after our time served and money spent in Chicago and cleaned the apartment to get together with our friends Nate and Cathy and go see Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Beforehand, we had dinner at our apartment and rewatched Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone since Katie and I hadn't seen it since last November with Nate and Cathy. I don't care what anyone else may say, this new film is far superior to the original flick. None of the issues I had with The Sorceror's Stone's special effects exist any more. The Quidditch flying sequences were much better. The "magic" effects were better. And the creatures were far more convincing (sorry, but I hated the troll in the last flick). Plus, I just gotta say that I love Dobby. See the film and you'll know what I mean.

After the movie, we went out to Steak & Shake for dessert. Bear in mind that we had just watched two 2 1/2 hour movies back to back and the second one had an 8:30 showtime. So, by the time all was said and done, we were in bed by a little after 1 a.m. Nice 20-hour day. I haven't had one of these since I was in college and I don't think I ever want one again. In the immortal words of Danny Glover, "I'm getting too old for this s&*t."

Friday, 15 November 2002: Why didn't anyone tell me that I was still filling in the month on this page as "October"? Just as I started typing today's entry, I realized, "holy hell, I've been typing October this whole time instead of November. I feel like a putz." What's worse is that none of you out there bothered to tell me either. I can't tell if that makes you all too lazy to take the time to e-mail me (please refer to the bright yellow "E-Mail Me" link at the bottom of the left column) or just clueless like me. Who's to say for sure? Not that any of you would admit to it.

Anyway, here's something to take home with you. Please "Bear" in mind that I truly am a Bears fan. But, you've just gotta have a sense of humor about how badly they're doing this season (please see the entry on 7 November) or you'll just wind up a stark raving mad lunatic. Plus, while I will admit that the job done on this picture is rough, at best, it's still cute. It was sent to me by one of my coworkers and was entitled "New Bears Helmet Logo." Enjoy...

[image lost somewhere or other]

Thursday, 14 November 2002:
Is anybody else out there just sick to death of reading about Russell Crowe and all the fights he constantly gets in? I say this because everyone's favorite jackass got himself in a bit of a scuffle at a "trendy" London restaurant called Zuma last night with a guy he had already had a fight with a couple of years ago. Supposedly, the two of them were talking relatively amicably for some of the night, then they started to box it up in the men's room. When one of Crowe's security guards (asleep on the job?) heard the fight break out, he ran to the bathroom to find Crowe on his back on the ground with his opponent on top clubbing his face. I think the only way this jag is going to learn any kind of lesson is if someone just lays into him without being stopped. Crowe's security guards should just let someone go to town on him. I'd love it. This guy just strikes me as such an arrogant asshole. He needs to be taught a lesson.

Monday, 11 November 2002: What the hell happened yesterday? The Bears' offense propelled the team to its second 20+ point lead this season only to have it blown... for the second time this season. I don't understand it. Why is it, especially after losing our lead to the Saints in week three, that the Bears feel it necessary to start playing conservative offense and defense once they obtain such a big lead? Shouldn't we know by now that no lead is concrete? We should be playing hard-nose football for a full four quarters. I am so disgusted right now because we should have had this one in the bag. I didn't go into the game expecting the Bears to win. But once that miraculous third quarter started to kick in, I thought we might actually break our losing streak. C'mon guys, your fans are getting ulcers here. I seriously want John Shoop's head on a platter and, despite my previous support of him, I'm ready to say that I also want Greg Blache's head as well after how the defense performed in the fourth quarter.

This is football guys... so start playing it.

Oldies: Sunday, November 3 - Saturday, November 9, 2002...

Thursday, 7 November 2002: I heard this joke from my friend Frank when we went to the Bears v. Eagles game this past Sunday. I couldn't remember all the details until my brother-in-law Scott sent me the joke in an e-mail. So a co-credit goes out to both for this little gem...

Anthrax Scare at Bears Practice
CHICAGO (AP) -- Chicago Bears football practice was delayed nearly two hours today after a player reported finding an unknown white powdery substance on the practice field. Head Coach Dick Jauron immediately suspended practice while police and federal investigators were called to investigate. After a complete analysis, FBI forensic experts determined that the white substance unknown to players was the goal line. Practice was resumed after special agents decided the team was unlikely to encounter the substance ever again.

You gotta love that one.

Wednesday, 6 November 2002: I just gotta say that I'm impressed by the jury in Winona Ryder's grand theft trial. They actually found her guilty. Well, on two out of three counts at least. Today, Ryder's jury found her guilty of grand theft and vandalism, but she was found not guilty of burglary. That's fine with me. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Ryder. In fact, I'm a fan of some of her acting gigs, particularly The Age of Innocence. However, I am sick and tired of Hollywoodites being able to "get away with murder," per se. Yes, I do mean that both literally and figuratively taking into consideration my steadfast belief that O.J. did do it. I realize that Ryder is not going to serve any jailtime, but it's nice to see a jury that's not blinded by her celebrity. My faith in the American legal system has moved up out of the quagmire... barely, but it's out.

Monday, 4 November 2002: Well, I went with my friends Wiggy and Frank to the Bears sixth-straight defeat yesterday. This week, it was a much-closer-than-usual game against the Philadelphia Eagles in which the Bears actually held the lead going into the second half. The thing is, it was actually snowing before the game started and the remainder of the day was marked with the typically crappy, inclimate weather that usually gives the Bears and edge over their opponents. Guess we should've been playing a team from further south if we really hoped to take advantage of the weather. Frank said it best before the game started when he noted that the Eagles were practicing placekicking while the Bears were practicing punting. Seemingly typical of the Bears gameday strategy, eh?

Oldies: Sunday, October 27 - Saturday, November 2, 2002...

Thursday, 31 October 2002: First and foremost... Happy Halloween! Nope, Katie and I are not dressing up and going out trick or treating. We don't even have costumes. We have bought pumpkins but have yet to carve them. C'est la vie. We're just too damned busy.

In other news, I'd like to extend my condolences to the family of NBC 5 Chicago Sports Anchor and Director Darrian Chapman who died yesterday morning after suffering a heart attack. He was a class act and had a personality and voice that are entirely unforgettable. His replacement is going to have a tough time filling his skates. And I've got to say that the most moving moment during the tribute to him on last night's broadcast was when Amy Jacobson nearly broke down in tears while talking about him. At least she wasn't afraid to show her emotions. I give her props for that.

While we're on the topic of death, in a more metaphorical sense, here's the latest tally of new TV shows to bite the bullet. ABC axed "Push, Nevada" and "That Was Then" about a week or so ago, so that's old news. However, CBS pulled the plug on "Bram and Alice" with Alfred Molina and Traylor Howard after four episodes and FOX just nixed "girls club" after a mere two episodes. Katie and I were starting to watch "girls club" but I think we were gonna bail after the so-so writing of the first two episodes. Guess we don't have to worry about missing out on anything, eh?

Tuesday, 29 October 2002: I suddenly remembered one of the things I was planning on writing about last week. The upcoming holiday film season. To me, the holiday films really start in the beginning of November. Apparently, at least some Hollywood bigwigs agree with me. How else can you explain the November 1 release date for The Santa Clause 2?

So, taking that start date into consideration and figuring that it roughly ends about the weekend after New Year's Day, I would have to say that there really isn't a whole helluva lot that I'm truly looking forward to this season. We've got the obvious choices like The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Both of these are obvious fan favorites and I would be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to LOTR. I am also curious about the new Harry Potter flick, but not looking forward to it, per se. I was a bit disappointed by the first flick and the second one has a lot of work ahead of it to make me a believer. I'm not saying it's impossible, after all Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones reaffirmed my faith after Episode I left me wondering what the hell was going through Lucas' mind when he wrote it. I guess what I'm saying is that there is still a chance for the Harry Potter series.

Then, of course, there is the Spielberg-helmed Catch Me If You Can with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks. I read the book and loved it and can't wait to see how the flick turns out. I'm not a Leo fan, but I think he's very well cast in this film. Check out the book while you still can before the previews have a chance to ruin the plot too terribly. I would also like to see the new Bond flick Die Another Day mostly because this is the first time I know of that Katie has actually been excited about seeing a James Bond movie so I've gotta take advantage of this.

Oddly enough, though, aside from LOTR, the movie I'm most looking forward to this season is 8 Mile starring Eminem and Brittany Murphy. I'm not a huge Eminem fan, but I do own his most recent album and I like it a lot. If you can get past the violent nature of it all (which many people seem to have trouble doing), his songwriting ability is second to none. Yes, you heard me right, Eminem can write a damn good song. Maybe it's this new-found respect for "Eminem the Artist" that makes me want to see this movie. Maybe it's the desire to see another Curtis Hanson-directed movie. I dunno. The really odd aspect of all this is the fact that I was loathing the idea of an Eminem movie only a year ago. I could not believe that Hanson was sinking to the level of directing a movie "loosely based" on Eminem's life. Now, it's the only thing I want to see. Strange how things work out, isn't it?

Monday, 28 October 2002: For some reason, I would've sworn I had updated this page sometime between last Wednesday and today. Guess not, though, eh? Well, here goes.

Suffice it to say that I am thoroughly disappointed with how the Bears season has been going so far. They have played like absolute crap. Add their 2-5 record to the possibility that they might have to resort to a third-string quarterback next week and you'll have to agree that the season ain't looking too great so far. Ouch. I'm no less of a Bears fan, just a very unhappy one.

My second loathsome moment came when Mr. Ego himself broke Walter Payton's record for rushing yards in a career. I'm sorry, I cannot stand Emmitt Smith... I never could... and I never will have any sort of respect for that sorry excuse for a record holder. Not that I won't acknowledge that he holds the record. I just don't have to be happy for him nor acknowledge that he deserves it. Smith isn't even half the man that Walter Payton is. Nor will he ever be. Payton was an incredible athlete as well as being one of the greatest human beings who ever lived. To me, Smith is nothing more than the football equivalent of Barry Bonds (okay, maybe he's not quite that bad, but he's bad in his own right). He's arrogant, self serving, disinterested in the fans... you name it. Payton is still the epitome of a professional athlete and all-around humanitarian.

But, hey, at least I had one good thing happen in sports yesterday. The Angels beat up on the Giants. No, I did not pick the Angels from the start. You all know I was rooting for the Twins. But there was no way I was pulling for the Giants. If you read the above paragraph, you should be able to figure out why. The Angels turned in a miracle season this year and deserved all the good that came their way. Do you think Disney will still be trying to sell them now? Or will they just use this as a reason to up the asking price?