Monday, March 30, 2009

The Weekend That Was

I had a lot of plans for this past weekend, but my truck breaking down on me wasn't one of them. But then again as I was telling my sister when she picked my stranded butt up, "I guess there never is a really good time for your vehicle to die on you." Friday night I picked up my brother-in-law, Tim, and then headed to my brother, Dan's, house to watch the basketball games. Everything had been going splendidly, I was front and center in front of 61 inches of TV, I got in a couple games of pool, and saw some decent basketball. At what I thought was the end of the night, I started my truck to drop Tim off and head home, and my truck started shaking fairly violently. As I drove smoke poured out of the exhaust pipe. I easily could have been mistaken for driving the car from "Spy Hunter". But as I got halfway to Tim's house, my truck started performing normally. I dropped of Tim and headed for home. I was keeping an eye on the temperature gage and it continued to rise. I nearly got on the interstate, but decided to take the frontage road. My truck started acting up and was getting pretty hot. I pulled into a shopping mall and popped the hood. I will be honest, I am pretty smart guy, but I know nothing about vehicles. So here I am in a deserted parking lot at 11:30 at night looking under the hood and having no idea what I am looking at or for. I noticed that the antifreeze reservoir was bone dry. The closest gas station was closed so I call my sister up and had her come and pick me up. Saturday I spend the day car shopping. I got a price from the dealership, but I have decided to wait a little bit on making a decision. I am planning on buying basically the same truck that I have, just brand new.
I would like to take a moment to thank all of my family for their help. I realized how lucky I am to have the family that I have. I am a pretty independent person, and I really try not to ask people for help. However, it is nice to know that I have the safety net of my family no matter how bad I screw up. My parents are letting me keep my truck at their house until I decide what to do with it. My sister, Deb, picked me up at 11:30 at night and allowed me to sleep at her house Friday night. My brother, Jon, is allowing me to use his spare vehicle until I can purchase a new vehicle. My brother, Jeff, towed my truck to my parent's house and is looking into possibly fixing it up with a family friend. And my brother, Dan, well all Dan did was wipe the pool table with me Friday night.
As for the rest of the weekend, Saturday evening was my cousin, MKA's, football game. He is playing football with the Wisconsin Wolfpack out of Madison in the Continental Indoor Football League.(Iron League? Are there a lot of fights?) There game Saturday was against the Milwaukee Bonecrushers. The Wolfpack won 36-20, in front of 543 roaring fans. I actually don't know how many fans were there, but it wasn't too many. And that was fine with me. It was a good game and with so few people there, I could yell at MKA at anytime during the game, and I know he could hear every thing I said. Including Nate and Eric who showed up late (thanks Pickle for sneaking them in), our contingency consisted of 24 people. Here is a group shot that no one wanted to be part of before the game. It is so hard to stand together of 30 seconds isn't it? Pickle?Here is Erin at the game. I think Joey also had a good time.Here is some game action. As you can see by the stands on the other side, it was pretty empty.Here is MKA in action. Mike played very well. And for the most part, at least when the refs knew what they were doing, it was an enjoyable game to watch.I know, I know, it is almost embarrassing, but the ladies just can not leave me alone no matter where I go.After the game, as promised, there was a meet and greet with MKA at Buck Bradleys. But the only ones to show were, Nate, Eric, Katie, MKA and myself. Here is Eric taking care of the appetizers. "If you grab one nacho and they all stick together, that is still just one nacho." Look at Nate in the background.Quite a few of my loyal blog readers has experienced Nate when he is story mode. I feel partly responsible for it, but I nudged Nate into story mode on Katie and MKA. Nate pulled out two new stories that even I had not heard. I guess it is something you just have to experience. Just get about 5 or 6 drinks in Nate and he spins some incredible yarns. Around mid-night Nate, Eric and I headed to the south side to a bar by Eric's to get in some Golden Tee. Not a real big surprise that I took them both behind the woodshed.

Sunday, I did absolutely nothing. I hopefully took the snow blower out of the final spin around the sidewalks. I officially put my snow shovel away for the year, so it snows again, it is my fault. Otherwise, Sunday was filled with a touch of house cleaning and watching basketball.

Rodge, made a request for me to post MKA's football schedule.

MKA's home games are at the Dane County Coliseum. I would like to get a group to go to one of these home games. Here are the dates that would work for me. Let me know if you are interested. May 2nd, May 9th, May 30th.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Weekend Plans

Well you pretty much know my plans. It is all basketball. Tonight, I am headed to my brother, Dan's, to watch the games. Tomorrow is a little bit of work on the "Temple". Then more basketball, followed by MKA's game in the evening. Sunday is just more more work on the "Temple" and NCAA basketball. I have done some checking into my NCAA pool. I believe it is mathematically impossible for me to win my pool, but I do have a chance at second place.
I am also planning on finishing up this book that I started reading. Back when I was traveling a lot I used to read quite a bit. One of my favorite authors is Vince Flynn. I actually got Dan hooked on his books as well. Last time I was by Dan he gave a couple of books he had finished. I took one along with me on my trip to Colorado. I am reading Consent to Kill and I can't put the stupid thing down. But all of his books are that way, they are fast reads and are hard to put down.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

MKA Comes to Town

This coming Saturday at 6:00 p.m. MKA and the Wisconsin Wildcats will be taking on the Milwaukee Bonecrushers at the U.S. Cellular Arena. I will be in attendance and I invite any and all to join me. I was planning on having people meet at my house for a drink or two before hand. And if the mood strikes we could even grill out. The weather won't be great for grilling out but we could make it work. I am currently in negotiations with MKA to have a meet and greet with everyone's favorite offensive lineman at Buck Bradley's after the game. I am hoping to get MKA to sign some autographs and pose for pictures. Let me know if you are interested.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Skiing Update

Well I made it back from my trip to Colorado in one piece. It was a great vacation. The weather was just beautiful and everything went pretty much as planned. I got into Denver on Wednesday and on Thursday we headed out for some skiing. We (Russ, Pivovar, Rob and myself) went to Beaver Creek for some skiing. It was actually the best day of skiing. At the bottom of the mountain it was close to 50 degrees and sunny all day. Colorado hadn't gotten any snow lately which didn't make for the best snow. We showed up on the mountain around 11:00 a.m. just as the sun was baking the mountain and the snow was softening up. Perfect conditions. Here is a view from Beaver Creek.We went down the run that they used for the 1999 World Cup Championships. It was ridiculous, just a huge block of ice. I have always told myself that I could bomb a competition downhill course. But after being on one, no way. It was ridiculously steep and all ice.
Thursday after skiing we headed back to Denver. I stopped by my friend, Marty, and got to meet his new daughter, at least new to me, Nicolette. And I got to hang out with his other daughter, Chloe, who I met last year. Chloe is just an adorable little girl with a ton of energy. Here is Chloe. Friday and Saturday we stayed in Denver. It was a lot of couch time and watching basketball which was fine with me. Saturday night Russ and I drove to Glenwood Springs and stayed the night there. Then Sunday morning we drove to Aspen. This was on the drive to Aspen.
We got to Aspen and walked around town for a while to check things out and then got ready for some skiing. Here is the view looking up at Aspen.
I talked Russ into wearing the gorilla suit while I wore the chicken suit. I think Russ actually had a lot of fun as a gorilla. I doubt Russ and I will ski together again without both of us in costume. I have since also talked to Tree, who is also very receptive to dressing up for some skiing in the future. Here Russ and I are at the top of Aspen. As you can see just a beautiful day and a great view from the top of the mountain.
Here is another shot off of the back of Aspen.
While we were skiing, Russ and I took a run that went by a warming hut. There were a couple people outside that were yelling and cheering for us. Later we took a gondola and met this girl who asked us "Are you guys part of the costume party?" We said no, and then she explained that she was part of that group that was cheering for us and she invited us to stop by. I got this picture with a guy who was wearing this sweet circa 1985 body glove ski suit. Plus, they had Pabst, how great is that.
A view looking down on the town of Aspen.
After skiing Russ and I went to the bar at the base of the mountain. We came strolling in and everyone on the patio turned to check us out. For the first 15-20 minutes that we were at the bar we were getting our pictures taken. I would say that we were probably more of an annoyance, at least to the people working there, than anything else. But we got some free drinks out of it. I was talking to one lady who claimed to be the producer for the TV show The Simpsons. Here we are with a pride of cougars.
On Monday we skied at Snowmass which is also in Apsen. It was another great day of skiing. This is a picture we took at the entrance to one of the runs, the Long Shot. You actually had to take off your skis and hike a good 100 yards to the start of the run. Please note that the sign says "Back Country Risks Include Death".
I actually like the run quite a bit, it had quite a bit of trees to maneuver around on the top. Moguls through the mid section. But the bottom was pretty flat. The run was 3.5 miles long. It took us 20 minutes to ski it, with 2 breaks that were 3 minutes long. A good leg burn.
By the end of the day, I was having a lot of fun skiing through the trees. Here is a shot from the middle of the Long Shot Run while we were taking a break.
Here is one of the many unreal houses around the resort. We talked to one person on the chair lift that worked for a real estate company. She said that for a while, the houses in the Aspen area were going for $2000 a square foot.
Monday's drive home was a little rough. A snow storm was coming in and as we hit the Vail Pass they shut down I-70. So we took a detour around up through Leadville. All I can say about Leadville is that if you are in the area, stop at Doc Holiday's for a sandwich. Great grub. Now I wouldn't go out of my way to eat there, but like I said if you are in the area it is a must stop.
I want to thank Russ for inviting me out. I really appreciate Russ for always fitting me into his schedule for some skiing every year. And Russ is a great person to ski with. He is a very good snowboarder and he makes me a better skier by talking me into taking some more challenging runs.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Quick Sking Update

I am in Glenwood Springs, Colorado right now. It is 11:30 p.m. I got in Wednesday night. We skiied Thursday at Beaver Creek. It was great, 45 degrees on the mountain. We took Friday and Saturday off from skiing. Tomorrow we are skiing at Aspen. Then Sunday will be Snow Mass. It has been a good trip so far. Although I haven't gotten as many pictures as I would like. Tomorrow at Apsen, Russ is wearing the gorilla suit and I am wearing the chicken suit.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I Leaving On A Jet Plane

Don't know when I'll be back again. Actually, it won't be until next Tuesday afternoon. I am headed to Colorado to get in some spring skiing. I am pretty excited for the trip. I will talk to all of my faithful blog readers when I get back. Have a great weekend.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Weekend Update

It was a pretty good weekend. And how about the weather. I couldn't be more happy that things are warming up. Sadly I only got outside twice yesterday. I have heard highs in the 70s today in parts of Wisconsin.
On to my weekend. Friday I had nothing noteworthy going on. Check that, Preston did stop by to drop off his NCAA tourney money.
Saturday was the Blarney Run. 4 of you were right. I was the only one of our group (Me, Jody and Liz) that finished under 30 minutes. I would like to say that I was surprised that Liz didn't even show up, but the night before she started making up excuses. I ran the first 1/4 mile or so with Jody. But I knew that if we continued at that pace we wouldn't finish under 30 minutes. Jody eventually got sick of my nagging her to pick up the pace and she told me to go ahead. I crossed the finish line at 27:10. Jody made it in at 32:30. The last time I ran this run I finished in 25:55. So I am slipping a bit. Looks like I will have to get my butt in gear for the next one.
After the race we headed down to Leff's Luckytown for some green beer. I met up with Erin and Pretzel there, they always have a big group to join them there after the run. And I have to say, often times there group gets a little out of hand. Here they are doing the Shot Ski.

This is the beer slamming contest. I know it is shocking but I did not get involved in either the Shot Ski or the beer slamming contest. See how mature I am getting.

video

Later on Saturday evening I went out to dinner with Chris, Rebecca and company. We were celebrating Rebecca's 40th birthday even though she is only 36. Rebecca is just a couple months older than me, but I always give her a hard time because she is still older than me.

Rebecca with her birthday cake.We went to Fishbones in Delafield. I thought it was pretty good. Here are Ness and Rebecca.Rebecca, Jodi and Chris.

After dinner I stopped by my friend, Bob. Bob and Big Red were just hanging out, I joined them for a while and then we went to a bar for a couple of drinks. It was an action packed Saturday which left me to do nothing but lay on the couch all day Sunday and watch basketball. Just a reminder to my degenerate family and friends who are in my pool, get your picks and money into me by 5:00 Wednesday or sheets will be deleted.

And to add to my normal sign off, THE GENERAL IS A DEADBEAT and MKA handily beat me in the MKA Challenge.

Colorado Here I Come

I am pretty excited, Wednesday night I fly out to Colorado to get in some spring skiing. I just love spring skiing, the snow usually isn't that great, but the weather is unbelievable. When you get off the ski lift at the top of the mountain it is a little cold, but by the time you ski down to the bottom and get in line for the lift again, you are sweating bullets. I am skiing with Russ, and last he told me the plans were to ski Aspen (yes I know what they say about the French) and Wolf Creek. The only down side is that I am going to miss seeing a lot of the basketball games. But I would rather ski anyhow.
MKA handily beat me in the MKA Challenge.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Soccer Update

Wednesday was my last game for this indoor session. It was a challenging session. They combined the "B" League (the league we just won) and the "A" League from last session. So the quality of opponents went up. We started the session with a big loss then won our next two games. Feeling like we had recovered we tore off 4 loses in a row. But our last game of the session was Wednesday and that resulted in a victory. We played against a decent team and played well for a change. I had 4 prime scoring opportunities and managed to not connect on any of them. We did walk away with 4-2 win and that is all that really counts. I told the guys after the game that the next day the air will seem clearer, food with taste better, the sun will shine brighter. It is amazing how much better your outlook is when you are winning. After losing 4 in the row I was almost dreading going to soccer. Plus nearly all of our games were at 11:00 p.m. that doesn't do much for morale. But after winning our last game, I am lamenting the fact that we don't have any more games.

By the way, MKA handily beat me in the MKA Challenge.

Blarney Run

Tomorrow is the Blarney Run. It looks like no one else wanted to join the party. No one wants to even give an excuse. That is OK. My sister in law, Jody, and my friend, Liz, are doing it with me. My goal is to get them both across the finish line in under 30 minutes. That translates into 9:40 minute miles. That shouldn't be too hard, well at least for me to finish in under 30 minutes, I am not so sure about Liz and Jody. Last night I ran 2 miles in under 18 minutes. Which was the most I have run in 6 months. So what will the results be:
Which will happen at the run?
All 3 of you finish under 30 minutes.
None of you finish under 30 minutes.
Just you finish under 30 minutes.
Just you and Jody finish under 30 minutes.
Just you and Liz finish under 30 minutes.
Just Jody and Liz finished under 30 minutes.
Free polls from Pollhost.com

MKA handily beat me in the MKA Challenge.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Trebuchet Update

I finally completed my trebuchet. I finished painting it this past weekend. I was going to get some video of it in action but the weather wasn't all that great. I am currently working on a design for a trebuchet on a much larger scale. I would like to build one that I could take camping on the Mississippi. It would need to launch a golf ball or potato a good 250 yards. So that we could hit a barge. The other issue is that it needs to be light weight in order to get it out to the island. I plan on using humans as the counterweight. This is a pretty cruel drawing of what I am envisioning.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Late Show

Last week I got back on board with the Late Show with David Letterman. In high school I used to watch Late Night with David Letterman all of the time, well at least during the summer when I really didn't have to be up too early the next day. Then in college I would watch it every once in a while. Obviously now there is no way I can stay up that late to watch the show, it is on at 10:30 p.m. and I am usually up by 6:00 a.m. and we all know, I need to get as much beauty sleep as possible. But last week U2 was performing every night. Since U2 has a new album out, I figured this was a great way to hear the new songs. I DVRed the show every night. Since my company has moved offices, and the new office is a short 3 minute drive from my house, I drive home everyday for lunch. My lunch time routine consists of making a quick meal and then watching the Late Show on DVR. I had forgotten how good the show was. Dave still gets me to laugh out loud every once in a while. Who do you think has the best late night show?
Who has the best late night show?
David Letterman
Jimmy Kimmel
Jimmy Fallon
Jay Leno
Conan O'Brien
I wouldn't know, I am always asleep when they come on
Free polls from Pollhost.com

MKA handily beat me in the MKA Challenge.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Roundabouts

The topic of roundabouts came up recently. I have been told that when Highway 83 in front of my parents house gets reconstructed in 2012 or 2013, a roundabout will be constructed at the intersection of Highways 18 & 83. Here is a little back ground I found on roundabouts that some may find interesting.Introduction to Roundabouts
Each year, cities receive numerous requests to reduce the traffic congestion on their streets. Citizens also express concerns about the safety of the streets on which they live. In an effort to find appropriate ways to deal with these concerns, reduce traffic congestion and improve safety, many cities have begun considering the use of "roundabouts."
Roundabouts are used extensively throughout Europe, and in many other places around the world, to reduce accidents, traffic delays, fuel consumption, air pollution and construction costs, while increasing capacity and enhancing intersection beauty. They have been successfully used to control traffic speeds in residential neighborhoods and are accepted as one of the safest types of intersection design.
Why Use a Roundabout?
Safety--Roundabouts have been shown to reduce fatal and injury accidents as much as 76% in the USA, 75% in Australia and 86% in Great Britain. The reduction in accidents is attributed to slower speeds and reduced number of conflict points.
Pedestrian Safety--All research suggests that modern roundabouts are safer than signalized intersections for pedestrians. This safety advantage has been attributed to the slower traffic speed at roundabouts and the division of the pedestrian crossing into two stages, from the near-side wheelchair ramp out to the splitter island, and then from the splitter island to the far-side wheelchair ramp. In each stage the pedestrian has to look in only one direction to cross a one-way traffic stream. Pedestrian refuges are provided in the areas within the splitter islands.

Low Maintenance--Eliminates maintenance costs associated with traffic signals which amount to approximately $3,500 per year per intersection. In addition, electricity costs are reduced with a savings of approximately $1,500 per year per intersection.

Reduced Delay--By yielding at the entry rather than stopping and waiting for a green light, delay is significantly reduced.

Capacity--Intersections with a high volume of left turns are better handled by a roundabout than a multi-phased traffic signal.
Aesthetics--A reduction in delay corresponds to a decrease in fuel consumption and air pollution. In addition, the central island provides an opportunity to provide landscaping. How to Drive a Roundabout
As you approach a roundabout there will be a YIELD sign and dashed yield limit line. Slow down, watch for pedestrians and bicyclists, and be prepared to stop if necessary.

When you enter, yield to circulating traffic on the left, but do not stop if the way is clear.

A conventional roundabout will have ONE-WAY signs mounted in the center island. They help guide traffic and indicate that you must drive to the right of the center island.

Upon passing the street prior to your exit, turn on your right turn signal and watch for pedestrians and bicyclists as you exit.

Left turns are completed by traveling around the central island.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Daddy Daycare

As mentioned previously, I had told my nieces and nephews that on Saturday night they could all sleep over at my house. They are all pretty good kids and they usually listen to me because at my house there is no crying, yelling or whining. So dealing with these 7 kids wasn't a problem at all. It was just that it was never quiet and there was always something I had to be doing, showing them how to change out video games, or making them something to eat, or trying to find the remote control, or telling them not to sit so close to the TV, or pumping up the air mattress. But it was fun. Saturday night we had pizzas, with cookies and candy as appetizers. Sunday morning breakfast was eggs, waffles, cinnamon rolls, smoothies and oddly enough cookies and candy were again appetizers. Weird. I have no idea what time the kids all went to bed, but I went to sleep at 11:00. And when I did there was one movie playing the spare bedroom and another movie showing in the family room. Here are the pictures. Nick and Ethan were the first ones to show up. After Pickle made a rather lackadaisical effort to put together a race track, I improved upon the one he made.Pickle enjoy one of the appetizers.
Here is Auggie just being Auggie.I took this at 6 in the morning when I woke up to go to the bathroom. The only time the house was quiet. Before we left for bowling, we took some Hulk Hands Pictures. Erin.J.W.Crusher.Boomer.Princess.And the biggest kid of them all.J.W. bowling.Boomer.Princess. She won the first game. Crusher. Who probably has the best form of all the kids.Erin.The 5 kids that I took bowling.And we finished the day off at McDonalds.
I got all of the kids happy meals at McDonalds. Since I have boycotted McDonalds for a couple years now, I didn't eat anything. But it was really hard. I was sitting there watching them eat cheeseburgers and McNuggets. And not only did it look good, but it smelled great. But I managed to resist the temptation. After watching these kids for a day I have a new appreciation for what my parents dealt with. It wasn't that it was difficult to watch all of these kids. It is just that there is always something to be doing. And you never get a chance to just sit down and relax. I honestly do not know how my parents did it. Plus I know that as kids we got in much more trouble than these kids do. So mom and dad, it took me 35 years to realize, but thank you and you did a great job raising us kids.

MKA handily beat me in the MKA Challenge.