Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wedding Update - Honeymoon

I could spend this entire post writing about how one should not use a travel agent. Instead I will just use a paragraph to express my frustration with the one that M and I hired. She was not easy to work with, quoted us too expensive of prices and didn't really seem to understand what we wanted. It was clear she wasn't as interested as we were in planning a great trip at a great price. After many, many emails back and forth we finally were able to get her to match the price that we had looked up on orbitz.com. My advice to anyone with even just a little experience with the travel websites is to cut out the middleman and just book the trip yourself.

Now that I have written that it is on to the good news and the official announcement. Our honeymoon over the 4th of July will be spent in Spain. Specifically we will be spending 3 days on an island of the coast of Spain called Majorca (or Mallorca) soaking up the sun and then 3 days in Barcelona. Some interesting tidbits of the trip revolve around a sport that I didn't even think of when booking the trip.
  • They are crazy about soccer in Spain and according to my coworker from Germany they get even more excited about the sport in Mallorca. Well we will be there when the semifinals of a little tournament called the World Cup are going on.
  • Spain's national team are the current UEFA European champions in soccer.
  • They are the number 1 ranked team in the FIFA World Rankings.
  • They never have won a World Cup.
  • Conclusion - It will be crazy if Spain makes it to the semifinals.

Anyway, we are both really excited for the trip. Neither of us has been to Spain and I have only been to Europe once. Finally my 7 years of learning Spanish courtesy of St. Andrew's Episcopal School will come in handy. Adios amigios.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Wedding Update - Bachelor Party

The whole idea of a Bachelor Party for me seems weird. Not that it isn't fun to go out with guys have a few cocktails, watch a game and have a cigar. I enjoy all of those activities. The weird thing is having part of the focus on me. I would prefer the trip to just be a guy's weekend, but in order to rally the troops I was willing to use the brand equity of it being "bachelor party." Anyway, without further ado the guys weekend/bachelor party will take place in Kansas City, MO. For anyone who consistently reads this blog they might understand my affection for Kansas City after reading posts like this "Missouri baseball trip."

Why do I like Kansas City and why would I pick such a random place for a guy's weekend? Well, it comes down to a few things:
  1. Great barbecue - breakfast, lunch and dinner. If that doesn't scream guy's weekend then I don't know what else would.

  2. Power and Light District

  3. Twins - Royals at the K. I have always wanted to go to a Twins series down in Kansas City and now I have the perfect excuse. It will be great to see the defending AL Central champs in action on the road.

The details of the trip are still being worked out by the best man, but all in all it should be a fun time.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


This past Sunday was the Super Bowl. For those of you who know me that is one of my favorite days of the year. I love the game, the storylines, the commercials, the food and the great excuse to get friends together. It doesn't matter the weather, the financial situation or whatever because it is the Super Bowl. There doesn't need to be any other reason to get excited and celebrate by hanging out with people. As tradition has it I invited a few people over to M and I's small (quaint?) duplex to watch the game. I would rather have invited more people, but I knew that there was only so much food and seating. I didn't want to have half of the people having to stand to watch the game. Because of that M and I invited only 7 people.

I contacted these 7 people individually and for the most part all of them were excited about the Super Bowl. I didn't think all of them would come over, but my expectations was that at least 5 of them would be there. Sunday rolls around and before I know it my cell phone was full of rejections to the party. One person who had previously let me know she was definitely in texted me to let me know that she couldn't make it to the game because of work. Another person who was 50/50 on coming didn't call or show up. One couple was tentative decided against coming for whatever reason. Finally, there was another friend who didn't want to inconvenience us since we would have had to pick her up. So to recap there were three tentatives and two sure things didn't end up coming.

That left our place filled with only 4 people, plenty of seats and food for a small army. It also annoyed me to no end since I don't understand why otherwise wonderful, nice people can be so difficult when it comes to invitations. People who reply tentative to parties almost never come and there is a good chance that people who say they will come will then back out. This makes parities very difficult to plan and as a host it can create a lot of frustration. Why do people act like that? Just make up your mind on a party and stick with it. If you can't come then say you can't come and if you like the person who invited you then provide a reason why you can't come. If you really want to be nice and show how you appreciate the invitation then ask about another time you can meet up and show the initiative to make sure that happens.

The reason for this long diatribe on invitations is that it relates to M and I's wedding coming up in 4 months. This is the next step for us in our wedding planning. We are finalizing who gets invited and then we cast out our net and see who we get. This is worrisome for us since we don't want to exclude anyone, but we also don't want to have a wedding of more than 150 people. It is hard to predict who from MS, MN and OH will be able to make to Columbus for the June 5th weekend. With so many out of town guests it can be hard to tell who will make the long, expensive trip.

One of my concerns is that people will either be late with their replies or not reply at all. Maybe this isn't a rational concern since you would think most people would understand the importance of replying to a wedding invite. Still I am concerned. If you would like to do me a favor just tell me if you are planning on coming to the wedding. I know the social norm on this is to send out invites and wait for a response, but if you are friends with me then don't worry about that.

Anyway, that is a wedding update for those of you who were interested.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Duke - UNC: ESPN un-Classic

Burn the tapes. Duke is an average team this year and they played their worst game of the year. They shot 32% from the field and 61% from the line. Until garbage time minutes they had shot fewer free throws than UNC. Most of the game they looked like they wanted to see how many 2 point shots they could either miss or get blocked. It was as if they were trying to set a record for how badly a team could shoot. And they won...on the road...by double digits.

The final score 64-54 has to tell you how far things have fallen for UNC. They are terrible. Make no mistake about it they are one of the worst basketball teams on Duke's schedule this year. They might have been good back in the 1960s when teams couldn't shoot 3 pointers, but this year's team is not set up to succeed in the current college basketball environment. All it takes is two decent guards and a some outside shooting and you will beat UNC. They have no perimeter defense and rely on opponents taking the ball inside so that they can challenge (foul?) and block (goaltend?) their shots. It will be a surprise if they make it out of the first weekend...in the NIT.

That isn't to say UNC won't get better and won't beat Duke next year. They have a great recruiting class coming in and will have enough talent coming back. They will be motivated and probably pretty good. That combined with the fact that Duke is losing Jon Scheyer makes me worried about next year. This year's Duke team might be in the same situation as UNC if they didn't have Scheyer. He played every minute tonight and led UNC with 24 points including some clutch baskets at the end. This is not an anomaly as he is clearly the best player on the team. Nolan Smith is a good complimentary player, but there is a reason why he is no longer the point guard. Kyle Singler shows bursts of greatness, but he also seems to be a volume shooter who just doesn't make a high enough percentage of shots. Scheyer is the "straw who stirs the drink" even though he would never make that Reggie Jackson type of statement. Next year's Duke team will be at a lost (with many losses) if they can't figure out some way of replacing Scheyer.

Am I happy that Duke won? Yes. However, the better answer would be that I am relieved and glad that I never have to watch that game again. Duke won and I still want ESPN to burn the tapes. What would have I have written if Duke would have lost?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Quick hits and Super Bowl Prediciton

I know I owe a few wedding related posts, but I haven't had much time lately to sit down and organize my thoughts into a semi-coherent post. There are some things that I need to write down though, so I am going with the quick hits format. From this point on it will just be links, opinions and my Super Bowl prediction.
  • At the beginning of the year I had my friend Brian place a small bet that the Jazz would win the NBA title. Odds: 20-1. Right now the Jazz have won 7 straight and according to John Hollinger's playoff odds have a 16% chance of winning the title. Here is a good article from Henry Abbott about the Jazz recent success.
  • Also, the Jazz own the Knicks first round pick next year, which according to the standings right now would be the 9th pick in the draft.
  • I don't know what it is about my favorite basketball teams, but the rankings based on stats really seem to favor them. I wish I could be as confident in the Hollinger's playoff odds for the Jazz and also I wish I could be as confident in the fact that Duke is 3rd in the RPI rankings. It is too bad that I don't believe that Duke is the 3rd best team in the nation.
  • Just in case you wondering UNC is 77th in the RPI rankings...in between Arizona St and Western Carolina.
  • I am thrilled with the Twins offseason. First Thome and now Orlando Hudson. It will be a shock to me if they aren't picked to win the division in every preseason magazine.
  • Who knew that the Cradle of Coaches (Miami University) extended to the Saints? After reading this article there is even less doubt about who I am cheering for.
  • Why can't I believe all the talking heads who think that the Colts are going to win? I know they haven't lost a game they tried to win, but I still don't think they are a great team.
  • The problem with the Colts is that I don't think they played many teams with a really great QB. The teams that did have a good QB were the Texans, Patriots and Cardinals with Schaub, Brady and Warner. They blew out the Cardinals, but were very lucky to beat the Patriots (4th and 2) and Texans.
  • The Saints on the other hand beat McNabb, Brady, Eli Manning, Warner and Favre. All of those games except the Vikings game was a Saints blowout.
  • Both the Colts and the Saints played the AFC East. The Saints were 4-0 without any of the games besides the Dolphins game being that close. The Colts on the other hand were very fortunate to win the Patriots and Dolphins game and they lost (even though they didn't try) to the Bills and Jets.
  • It all seems to point to a Saints win. Official prediction is 31-27 Saints.

Countdown to Duke - UNC: 4 days. We should know a lot more about both teams after that game.