Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Twins-White Sox

Why are they playing in Chicago today? In the season series the Twins were 10-8 against the White Sox this year. Some could make the case that the Twins should win the division based on that stat above. At least the Twins should have tonight's tiebreaker game played in the Metrodome. There is no way that that the White Sox should be rewarded due to a coinflip. If the White Sox wanted to play at the Cell for a playoff game then they should have won one of the last three games they played at the Dome.

I am behind on posts. I need to do a review of the Nationals Park. Also, I haven't touched on any of the weddings M and I went to or this past weekend when Ben and Laurie came to Minneapolis.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Twins win again

Coming home tonight I walked into my building and saw something I don't remember ever seeing in that place before. I am sure it has always been there, but again it was never something I noticed. The object made me smile and think back to the truly remarkable game I just saw. The object was a broom.

I normally don't like to use the word unbelievable because for the most part that word is overused. Unpredictable or unlikely usually would be a better fit. However, I am making an exception now. The way the Twins swept (thus the broom reference for those non-baseball fans) the White Sox was unbelievable. After the game I found myself (in between many, many high fives exchanged with strangers) muttering to myself "I can't believe what I just saw." I felt like Jimmy V after the 1983 NCAA championship game. I had never seen a game like that before and I don't know when I will ever see one quite like that again.

To recap for those who didn't see the game: The Twins went up 1-0 and were cruising into the 4th inning. Then Murphy's Law struck the Twins and when the dust settled they found themselves down 6-1 and had gone from the starter having a perfect game to the bullpen. Then slowly they started chipping away. Through the course of the day the Twins had 15 hits (compared to only 7 hits for the White Sox) and they scored in 5 of the 10 innings. The most exciting part of the whole evening (besides the end) was in the bottom of the 8th. Harris doubled. Gomez singled him in with 1 out. Span then hit a triple in which Gomez came around and scored the 6th run to tie the game. After two disappointing at bats by Casilla and Mauer the game went to the 9th tied at 6-6. Nathan and Jenks battled through that inning and into the 10th inning. It then came down to Casilla with runners on 1st (Span) and 3rd (Punto). Casilla made up for his previous at bat in the 8th (when all he needed was a sac fly or a bunt) by coming through with a single over short to win the game 7-6.

Above is just the play by play recap, but in no way describes the emotions of the moments. Everyone was up and more into the game then I have ever seen before. The Twins gave the fans a game that nobody there will soon forget. Gardy said it was the loudest he had ever heard the Dome and tipped his hat to us. That is nice, but all we did was come and cheer. We didn't come back from 6-1 to sweep a series that required them to win every game. The Twins players deserve this credit and as a fan I thank them for that.

After Casilla's winning hit everyone in the Metrodome lost it. The fans stayed and cheered. When people finally left there was the happiest mob you could possibly imagine. Everyone was chanting, cheering, and basically going crazy. For a night there was nowhere anyone would rather be then the beautiful, quirky, much maligned Metrodome. For a night the fans saw the Twins take sole possession of 1st place in the Central Division.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Twins win

As I sit here right now I am still basking in the glory of the Twins 2nd straight win in as many days against the White Sox.   Tomorrow they have a chance for the sweep and that would mean they would lead the division.   I had already planned on going to the game on Friday, but now I am definitely going to go tomorrow.    

Just this past Saturday I spent $190 on 2 tickets (row 6 lower level) to the first 2 games (so 4 overall) of the division series.  At the time I didn't there is was much of a chance that I was actually going to be able to use those tickets.   Now it looks like I might have to adjust my budget accordingly because that $190 charge might not be going away.   According to espn.com there is a 50% chance of the Twins making the playoffs.  A coin flip right now, but definitely not a coin flip after tomorrow night's game.


Monday, September 22, 2008

West Virginia and small town values

I think I might now know what Republican politicians are talking about when they talk about small town values. I made this revelation in *Charles Town, West Virginia. Now, the reason I was in Charles Town, West Virginia was because of my lifetime goal of getting my picture with all 5o state signs and Charles Town just happened to be the closest West Virginian city to my hotel in Virginia. Also, I had 5 hours to spare thanks to M being rushed away for bridesmaid pre-wedding duties. What better way to spend 5 hours than searching for a state sign?

*Charles Town, WV is a city of "historic interest, natural beauty, and wide range of human endeavor" that was named after George Washington's less accomplished brother Charles. Also, it is the place where abolitionist John Brown eventually was hung in 1859.

Anyway, I was able to get the state sign (see below):

Then for no particular reason I kept going 7 miles to Charles Town despite the fact that I had accomplished my goal of getting the state sign. If I had to guess a reason I might say that I wanted to see the city that was on the signs I had been following for the past 15 miles. Maybe it was just dumb luck.

Anyway, I arrived in Charles Town for Heritage Day Celebration. This meant that the downtown streets were blocked off and street vendors had set up shop selling things from oil candles to steaks. In my rush to get to West Virginia (and to buy Twins playoff tickets) I had not had any breakfast, so I decided to stop by the local coffee shop and pick up a sandwich. The young (approx. a high school junior) waitress named Debbie took my order and I went to a nearby seat to wait for my egg sandwich.

This is where things start getting weird.

Debbie came over to with a strange smile on her face and asked me what I was doing the rest of the day. Now being a guy that doesn't normally (i.e. ever) get hit on by girls I thought that this might be the real deal. In my head I thought about how I was going to have to crush this poor girl's heart by saying that 1) I have a girlfriend and 2) I am not a high schooler.

She then pulled out two $20 bills and proceeded to ask me if I would go to the grocery story to buy milk. Apparently the coffee shop had run out of milk and even though I was a "perfect stranger" she thought I looked like a *trustworthy guy. I said yes that I would do her that favor, but (cliched line coming up) that "I wasn't from around here." She was not dissuaded by this and gave me (inaccurate) directions to a grocery store with the $4o and the reminder that she wanted 3 gallons of 2% milk and 3 gallons of skim milk.

*I used to think people thought I looked like "someone they know" at a better than average rate. Sometimes I would even get comparison with public figures like Prince William. That has now been replaced by being someone who looks "trustworthy" or "not a creep" to complete strangers. I guess that is a good change.

Now, am I crazy to think this is a weird request. Does this happen in other areas of the country? Is this what small town values mean? You can ask perfect strangers to run an errand for you, give them money, and expect them to come back.

Of course I like to think I am not an unethical jerk, so I found a gas station and bought 4 gallons of milk. My thought was that 4 gallons was about the max I could carry (not because of the weight, but because of how cumbersome it is to carry milk), and it also happened to be all the milk the gas station had. I then drove back to downtown Charles Town and proceeded to walk through the Heritage Festival with 2 gallons of milk in both hand. I dropped off the milk at the coffee shop with my new friend Debbie, gave her back $20, and then went back to the car with a "thanks for doing that here is a free hot tea w/honey" that she made for me in a to-go cup.

Maybe when Republicans are talking about true small town values (and not just using small town values as code for something else) they are talking about people like those you would find in Charles Town, WV? Now, it probably isn't smart to give $40 to a stranger and hope he comes back with what you need, but Debbie did and it worked out well for her (she got the milk) and for me (I got a strange story and also the previously mentioned state sign).

Friday, September 19, 2008


This post is coming to you live from our Nation's Capital.   M's friend is getting married in the DC are, so we are here for a long weekend.   Last night our flight got in at 11pm and we decided on the fly to go see part of the National Mall at night.  We spent 2+ hours walking around, but it was such a nice night and a cool experience that it definitely was well worth it.  One of the best things about our impromptu night tour is that there weren't many people out at midnight on a Thursday night, so it was almost like we had our own private tour.  Below are three pictures from the evening:

Anyway, after the night tour we met up with one of my friends from the old Target days.    She now lives near Dupont Circle, which if I remember correctly is close to wear my sister and brother-in-law lived.   Also, if I correctly remember there are about 3 Ethiopian restaurants per block in that area.    It was a fun but long night that unfortunately meant that M and I didn't make it back to the hotel till 3am (feel free to sing along to that stupid Matchbox 20 song).  

Today consisted of seeing DC in the light and then going the rehearsal dinner for the wedding.  

Quick thoughts on the trip:
  • I vehemently dislike driving in DC.    There is tons of traffic everywhere, nobody (including M and I) really knows where they are going, and traffic laws are similar to China in that they are merly suggestions and not really laws.  (Actually let me rephrase that; They are a watered down version of China, since nothing can compare to the drivers in China.)
  • M and I went down by the water and had some of the better seafood I can remember.   Now mind you we are used to MN seafood (which not surprisingly we don't get that often), so take the above comment for what it is worth.  The place was called Jimmy's and the 1/2 pound baked shrimp, 4 crab balls, and strawberry shortcake were nothing short of amazing.                                                The whole water scene environment seemed like it could have been a scene from the Wire...minus the fact that I could understand at least 75% of what was being said.
  • Catering BBQ for a rehearsal dinner is not a bad idea.  In fact I would say that is a great idea and I applaud the Krogh family.
  • I was surrounded by New England sports fans tonight and it took all my power not to mention how the Dolphins were going to destroy Matty Cassel and the Pats on Sunday.   Maybe if I would have had some more to drink then I would said that?   And maybe if I would have had way even more to drink then I might have actually believed that?
  • Twins playoff tickets go on sale tomorrow morning.  I don't even know why I am going to bother trying to get those tickets.  I might as well put down a deposit for Twolves playoff tickets since they stand more of a chance of making the playoffs then the Twins.

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Election Issues

I was planning on writing this post yesterday, but instead I spent the entire day watching football*. It was a great day filled with lots of meats, cheeses, cocktails and comebacks. Of course the Dolphins weren't one of teams that made any sort of comeback, but at least they forced Kurt Warner to throw 5 incompletions.

*The Vikings really snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. In a way it is depressing being around Vikings fans. They have been to 4 Super Bowls, but have 0 Super Bowl wins. They have seen one of the best passing attacks in the league when they had Cris Carter, Jake Reed, and Randy Moss. At the time they could throw any QB into the system and get a career year. Now they have one of the best rushing attacks in the league led by Adrian Peterson. The only problem is that never seem to have a complete team and because of that they have been running 2nd fiddle to the other upper Midwestern team in green and yellow for close to 50 years now.

Anyway, I have digressed into a sports rant, which is not the main reason for the post. The main reason for the post is to point out what my two most important issues are on for the 2008 election. I don't care about troopergate, lipstick jokes, teenage pregnancy, celebrities, Vietnam, experience, $400 glasses, or small town values. The majority of what I care about is what the next President is going to do in terms of our economy and our energy crisis. I care about what Thomas Friedman cares about in his "Making America Stupid" article from this past Sunday's NY Times. Along with that article, I would vote for nearly anyone who would enact what Gregg Easterbrook writes about in his TMQ football column under "Hold Your Horsepower." I encourage you to read the entire section on Horsepower (not the entire article unless you are a huge football fan), but here are two exerts in italics:

Like weight, horsepower depresses fuel economy. Simply knocking a third off the horsepower of new U.S. passenger vehicles would, in about a decade -- as efficient new vehicles replace wasteful old ones -- eliminate approximately the amount of oil the United States imports from the Middle East. Yes, it's that simple. Race cars need lots of horsepower; suburban family cars do not. Excessive horsepower causes the United States to be dependent on Middle East dictatorships, engages military commitments to those dictatorships, drives up the price of oil and pushes down the value of the dollar.


Federal legislation to regulate the horsepower of passenger vehicles, perhaps by establishing a power-to-weight standard, would reduce petroleum consumption, cut greenhouse gas emissions, lower U.S. oil imports, strengthen the dollar, and take some of the road-rage stress out of driving. So what are we waiting for? Whatever your answer, don't reply, "No one can tell me what I can drive." Courts consistently rule that vehicles using public roads may be regulated for public purposes, such as safety and energy efficiency. NASCAR races occur on private property -- there, horsepower is nobody's business. On public roads, horsepower is very much everybody's business. You'd be laughed at if you asserted a "right" to drive a locomotive down the freeway. Where is it written we have the "right" to operate an overpowered car that wastes oil and pollutes the sky?

If the United States started looking for new alternative energy sources then the hope would be that this would not only improve our energy dependence situation, but also as a huge side effect help our economy. There should be other steps taken to improve our economy and I am curious to hear from both candidates on their ideas. Anyway, as a warning to both candidates they should take my opinion seriously since I still might be able to vote in Bulter County, Ohio like I did back in 2004.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Vikings game

Not to sound like a girl, but I don't know what to wear.   In 10 minutes I leave with two of my friends to go see the Colts-Vikings game at the Metrodome.   One of my friends is a semi-Vikings fan and the other friend is a Colts fan.  I don't really care much about either team besides fantasy purposes.  Anyway, it is kind of tough to pick out a casual outfit that doesn't lean towards one team or another.  I finally settled on my 2004 Pac Rim shirt as probably the most neutral shirt in my closet.   

As a freshmen in college I used to get in long arguments with my Calculus professor on whether the SEC was a better conference than the Big Ten.  I couldn't imagine anyone would think the slow, boring Big Ten was better from top to bottom than the SEC.  The reason I write this is because last night I was probably more sympathetic towards the Big Ten than ever before in my life.  I wanted Ohio St to win (or at least put up a big game) and I also actually found myself rooting for Wisconsin over Fresno St.   Maybe 7 years of living in Big Ten country (wow that seems like a long time) has finally softened me up a little bit?  Don't get me wrong I still think the SEC (or a few other conferences) are better than the Big Ten, but again  I am just a little more sympathetic to the Big Ten.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September updates

It has been awhile since my last post and for my loyal readers I apologize. The reason for the delay was due to a week long family vacation in Florida and then a busy week at work trying to catch up on the work I missed while I was gone. Also, there has been the distraction of fantasy football. Not that any of you care, but here are my teams as the currently sit:

College league (12 teams) - Starting lineups listed with backups in parenthesis.

  • Brian Griese (Chad Pennington)
  • Michael Turner (Kenny Watson), Ronnie Brown (DeAngelo Williams)
  • Reggie Wayne (Vincent Jackson), Torry Holt (Matt Jones), Eddie Royal
  • Tony Gonzalez (Tony Scheffler)
  • Neil Rackers
  • Seattle's D

Honeywell league (12 teams) - Starting lineups listed with backups in parenthesis.

  • Jon Kitna (Derek Anderson)
  • Marshawn Lynch (Matt Forte)
  • Brandon Jacobs (Kenny Watson)
  • Randy Moss (Eddie Royal)
  • Santonio Holmes (Anthony Gonzalez)
  • Santana Moss (Kevin Walter)
  • Matt Prater
  • Tennessee's D.
Now, in the Honeywell league I have a trade on the table where I would give up Randy Moss, Brandon Jacobs, and Matt Forte for LaDanian Tomlinson, Darren McFadden, and Tony Scheffler. I think I will take it for no other reason then but to have a backfield of Lynch and LT for the fantasy playoffs.

Oh yeah my sleeper pick Eddie Royal looked pretty good in his first game.

Quick updates:
  1. The Florida trip went well. M was missed, but overall it was great seeing the family (especially Henry).

  2. The Twins are currently 1.5 games back from the Division leading White Sox. They would be up at least 3 games if their bullpen wasn't so terrible this past month. How does Joe Nathan blow 3 saves during my week and a half vacation? All I am hoping for is that they are in the race by the end of this month when they have a 3 game series against the White Sox at the Metrodome.
  3. All you need to watch in keeping up with politics is the Daily Show. Check out John McCain: Reformed Maverick. John McCain's Big Acceptance Speech.
  4. If you care about the issues (crazy thought) then check out the Issues section from cnn.com and read what interests you. Seriously, it shouldn't be that difficult of a decision in November.
  5. One of my coworkers just joined facebook and is trying to figure out what to do with it. I sent her the following article from the NY Times magazine. It is a good in-depth look at the culture behind social sites like facebook.

Off to softball tonight. Then this later this weekend I have tickets to the Colts-Vikings game thanks to one of my friends up here. We will be taking advantage of VIP treatment of a buffet and free drinks two hours before the game. There will be pictures, so stay tuned.