Sunday, September 30, 2007

Stoked, Stunned, Steffy, Scores, Sacks

There will be two reactions to MD's great upset of then ranked #10 Rutgers:
Guess what the predominate storyline will be?

Anyways:


Maryland 34, Rutgers 24

Preview - Box Score - Recap






1
2
3
4
Total


Maryland 0 14 6 14 34 Final




(10) Rutgers 3 14 0 7 24




Last year, Rutgers games looked like -


And today?

MD pretty much did all the things they couldn't prior to this game in the season: they pressured the QB, they controlled the ball, they didn't make mistakes, they three it "vertically", and they had a great rushing game (2 great games in fact).

So what image am I left with?


Friday, September 28, 2007

How to get results? Go "Old School"

Even though I'm not that old (yet), I can still remember a time before email (B.E.). And back in the halcyon days of B.E., people developed these quirky methods for conversing with co-workers and customers. But in the new modern era of with email (W.E.) the seemingly simplest way to share info is to just send off a quick email.

There are lots of great pieces out there about using email in a productive and effective/efficient manner. Lifehack.org has a great piece 10 simple rules for using email. I recommend it to everyone.

But what are other B.E. methods to get results?

  • Pick up the phone. It's faster than actually walking (or driving) to another location, you can hear the tone of their voice etc. This is actually a more information and context rich method of communication. Go figure.
  • Talk to them in person. Now that has to be just plain rude right? I mean, you're getting in their space, it's so . . . in your face! Clearly this is even more information/context rich than email, and a step above the phone.
  • Send a memo/letter. Now THAT is old school! A great way of doing business that Jack Welch kept through his GE days was to send personal thank you letters to employees. This isn't like your "Thanks for that file" type of junk you send via email. This is for real, honest to goodness meaningful work.
And let's talk about those "Thanks!" emails we all get, and I begrudgingly send. Do I hate them? Yes. Do I send them? Quixotically, I do. Why? I feel like I'm a jerk if I don't, and that the dumb email is almost expected. Yet I'm pretty sure the bitter soon-to-be retiree who does Tech Support for my office deletes it while mutter about me. But I do it, and I do it because I'm a sucker.

What other options are out there?

Well, when in doubt, truly go "Old School" and threaten to go STREAKING!!!



What NOT to post on the internet

Here are some items you shouldn't post on the Internet:
  • Your Social Security Number - Should go without saying, but don't do it.
  • You Credit Card Number - I feel dumb for even writing that. But, if you do feel like sharing your credit info with someone, why not just help me out?
  • Your Phone Number - Weirdos will call you, it's that simple. But if you're into that, go for it.
  • Your Address - Weirdos will show up to your house. If that's your thing, there are websites for that stuff.
  • Copyrighted info you are making a profit from - You'll get sued, and going to court isn't fun.
  • Pictures of kids without information - Remember how there are weirdos on the internet? Don't enable them with pictures of kids if the parents don't want their images out there. And don't combine it with an address.
  • You naked (unless you are Heidi Klum)
  • Information about your employer - This may seem a bit confusing at first, but when you start writing about your company (or worse, a client/customer) you enter a very sticky legal situation. Avoid at all costs.
  • Pictures of you involved in illegal activity - This has been covered with numerous stories about MySpace. If you do this, you are a total moron. Yup, a moron.
  • Your stuff - This only really counts if you put up your location/address information (see above), but if you combine the an address with a picture of your new HDTV, and computers and jewelry etc, wow is that dumb.
There are so many inventive and unique ways to do stupid stuff on the internet (like Pam from "The Office" downloading porn at the office):



So let's not repeat the same mistakes, it's just boring.

155.4# 17.4%

I'm liking what I'm seeing, but the small improvements are really just from a slight improvement in my diet and making sure I take the stairs at work and squeeze in some push-ups, sit-ups and squats/lunges.

I need to do some aerobics.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

To flickr or Picassa?

I haven't taken photos "seriously" in a long time, and I was never very serious. Maybe about as serious as Michael Vick is taking this whole "jail" thing. But I got some interesting stuff from time to time:




I'll be posting (hopefully) 1 pic a day for a while on Flickr. I greatly enjoy Picassa and all the Google services, but so far the social aspects of Flickr trump Picassa.

Here's my flickr account: http://flickr.com/photos/93538837@N00/

K is for contract

Bad spelling notwithstanding, we put a contract out tonight.

And guess what? They countered with a number REALLY close to ours!

I was told to have my phone close by "just in case", to which I replied "Yeah, right." Well no more than 20 minutes later we got a call, and learned the news.

This is amazing, and awesome, and more than a bit scary.

A house to tend to, a bit lawn to care for, a whole new family that we're creating (March 1st, here we come!), utilities, unexpected repairs, things that break that I could fix on the cheap if I knew how, decorating, moving our stuff in, decluttering, finishing off the basement, meeting the neighbors (!),



a new commute (!!), etc etc etc.

Nervous? Check. Excited? Check!

Now the questions are: Do we accept or counter? and if we counter, for how much?

They were asking for X. We offered X - $28k (which we'll call Y). They countered with Y + $10k. We're thinking we counter with Y - $5k.

My heart says to just accept, but we're going to play a bit of hardball. Basically, I need to improve my "intestinal fortitude" (my polite words, no one else's).

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

You down with OPP?

That has a different meaning back in the 90s, and I don't mean the Ontario Provincial Police:



I mean "Other People's Pictures".

Wha?

This should be one of the Golden Rules of the internet (especially blogging):

Don't post other peoples' picture on the internet, UNLESS you have their permission.

Why? Well for one, it's rude. B, everyone should own their own likeness and physical representation. You shouldn't be allowed to post my image without my consent.

See, TV shows have to explicitly get your permission to put your image on TV. They put big signs outside a club or venue where your image may get used. But why not a private citizen? Especially if they have Google's AdSense enabled?

ESPECIALLY if you are going to post libel or slander against someone, or their personal information (with great emphasis on their address, or any personal life conduct that an employer may find).

I'll cover other topics you should not include on the internet (guess what, don't post your credit card number!) soon.

And let's be very clear, NEVER EVER post the picture of a child without parental consent.

House?

Going to our Agent's office tonight to put together a contract. Yikes.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

157.2# + 18.3%

Despite a trip to Atlanta and more than two giant handfuls of peanut butter filled M&M's (http://flickr.com/photos/duesi/85186902/), I think that weight to body fat percentage is in the right direction.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Giant Choke Job

What a stinker of a second half (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/23/AR2007092300905.html), resulting in a loss leaving many to wonder where the football smarts of the coaches is hiding.

But hey, they did look snazzy in their pseudo throwback (Packers) unis:

I need help with a shovel

A shovel?Well, what I'm really trying to do is enable a Digg This button on each of my posts. Why? Cause I'm pretending like someone would ever read a post of mine and think "Wow, this is good, I'll share it with others." But I'll even take "This guy is an idiot, I gotta share this!"

If you have integrated Digg into your blog posts, please let me know how with a comment.

test

test of del.icio.us


Save This Page

MD Stunk

That's all that needs to be said.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

156.2 16.8%

Nice. But bring on the averages, as that is not very accurate.

Friday, September 21, 2007

157lbs / 18.0%

The goal is to get the body fat down to 15%.

At 157# and 18.0% I have 28.26# of fat on me, and to get down to 15%
body fat at my current weight I'd need to lose just under 5#. But
there's some more complicated math on this that is required, I think.

I think 0.1# of muscle a weak is more than feasible, as is 0.5# of
fat. So in 10 weeks I should hit my (conservative) goal.

This assumes I eat a healthy diet (thanks to the building manager who
today put out free apples), and exercise. As long as moving furniture
and boxes counts as exercise, I'm set. I need to establish a routine
to at least do sit ups, squats and push-ups in the morning. 20 of each
is at least enough to help me out.

Doing the same at night would be easy and helpful as well.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Does the carpet match the drapes?


vs.


No, no they don't.

I have really old drapes, and I have old carpet over top theoretically nice hardwood floors. And I have old walls that need painting.

Wait for the painting before removing the carpet? Have the painters or carpeters [is that a word? nope, so (c) I just created it, boom!] remove it for me?

NO! I'm doing it myself. I have three bedrooms that need the carpet removed. I think the plan is to leave the tack board around the edges in case the floors are not in good condition. Throw rugs may fix that to an extent, but if it's bad:



Thank goodness for bulk trash pickups!

Skins win?

(2-0)




1
2
3
4
Total



Washington 3 7 3 7 20 Final




Philadelphia 0 6 3 3 12


It all boils down to us scoring TDs, and they didn't. Skins D came up big, their's didn't.

And McNabb? Yeesh. Not a lot of scrambling there, he's now a pocket passer with a not so great O line.

And does anyone know why the "Iggles" (or here or here) went away from Westbrook? Good decision there.

No pass rush from the Skins, and very minimal blitzes.

Gibbs is playing it close to the vest, and still getting results (against weak opponents). If we were losing and he was still letting the Offense be so timid, it would be a bad situation in DC.

WaPo covers here. Meanwhile the Nats won!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

How to buy a crappy house

Buying a bad house involves several factors, so here are a few:
  1. Pay too much - That's a no brainer, you simply need to pay them more than the house is worth. In this market, it's pretty easy as house prices are dropping.
  2. Buy a house in need of TLC - Why buy an immediately livable space when you can get something that needs a total rehaul?? Here are some other great options of suckiness
    • Mold - smells bad AND causes disease, double bonus!
    • 30+ year old wall paper - hard to remove, horrific looking, and highlights your lack of taste
    • Odors - why settle for one odor that makes you recoil when you can get 5?
    • Rusty appliances - I want my fridge old, rusty, smelly and very very costly for energy bills
    • Serious decay - Sure, bad smells and mold aren't fun, but to the extra mile and find a house that has cracked walls, or even a leaking foundation with water damage. If you want to wrack up those tax write-offs for fix-ups, here's your gold mine
    • Many many cats - why settle for a house that smells good and has no damage, when you can get one that has an odor you can't remove? Any animal that will soak the walls and floors with urine is a double bonus.
    • Neighbors - this is an extremely easy way to ruin the resale value of your house. Don't just limit yourself to hillbillies, expand your horizons with the multi-family house, the "enviro-friendly" lawn with 2 foot high grass, the Mr. Fix it with his carS in the front lawn, or pull a very "Brady Bunch" front yard sporting fake grass


So in short, make sure to optimize the negative features of your future home. Lots of upgrades, lots of money to be spent, etc....

House hunting - Blah

Weekend #2 of serious house hunting, and it didn't go well.

Is that an accurate statement? Narrowing down your possible field of options is a positive, so removing options is clearly "good". However, it's a pain and feels like a major waste of time.

We have a solid set of criteria for reviewing options:

  1. Ease of commute: I go west of DC, she goes downtown
  2. 3BR & 2BA+: We want to make sure it will accommodate us as we grow into an actual family, so having enough space for little people (not "midgets", duh) is necessary
Uh yeah, that's about it. Ok, sure, price is always a consideration. Everyone always has to be within their budget, and given the recent sub-prime market crisis you need to really make sure you have a solid and affordable loan.


But this weekend? DUDS!!! Every house needed near three-digit upgrades/fixes to make it livable, which put us near or over our first choice house. And that house, had everything we want/need.

Hmmmm.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Slip Slop Dan and the Hallelujah Gang

For a couple of years, me and two of my best friends would always joke about a "band" we were going to start.

Did it matter none of us play an instrument? Did it matter none of us can sing? (though I do think I can do ok if needed) Heck no! It was fun, and thinking about songs and silly lyrics and album covers were what it was all about!

In High School we called ourselves "Slip Slop Dan and the Hallelujah Gang", but later in life (when we were much more mature) we became Big Guy Painting.

During one of my many bouts of boredom at work I put "pen to paper" and developed some album covers, album art, and even some lyrics:



Oh yeah, see that "Big Guy Music" at the bottom? We were going to start a company, "Big Guy Amalgamated" which would be the parent company of our various companies. The first was of course "Big Guy Painting", shockingly a painting "company" between myself and the handsome gentleman above.

This was the back of the CD, complete with the list of songs:



Here's an example of one of the songs, and the horrible lyrics:




For 5 minutes of thinking, not thaaaaaaat bad I don't think.

House Hunt - part 1

I've written before about the joys of trying to sell a house (1, 2 and 3), but tonight is about trying to buy.

Given the market conditions, and the increasing glut of houses coming online:




Thursday I met with a professional "stager". This ladies job is to tell the seller how to display the house for maximum value. Bottomline? She tells you to spend money, lots.

Recommendations for the house were to redo the floor in the kitchen, put in a new oven, possibly a new fridge, and paint the cabinets. Then to paint the dining/living room, and find a way to bring in a dining room table. Paint the entire downstairs, and to bring in my couch at my place.

Upstairs things got easier, we're only painting 3 of the 4 bedrooms. But I do need to bring my bed over, and the master bath is just a mess (think circa 1975 styling).

All of this adds time to the process, with more houses coming on to the market, prices potentially dropping, etc. Plus, you know, spending money and the headaches of all the work.


Let's hope it doesn't get to this:

Mountaineers Mangle Maryland

Uh, here's the final tally:

It was close for the first half, and MD totally blew a great chance with the clock winding down at the end of the 2nd quarter. COULD have gotten a FG to take it to 10-14, and that is after the first play fumble that lead to an easy WVU score.

But then they blew us out of the water.

I thought the fans were well behaved considering the assumed alcohol consumption. But there were way too many of them:



It got so bad that I even had to leave with 3:00 left, it was just such an ugly game.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Kill 'em with Crest!

(adaptation of "Kill 'em with kindness")

Well I warned you, but here they come.

Yup, the Hill Billies.

They are hitching up their covered wagons and making the trek towards the bright lights of the big city for a 40 year old rivalry.

The rivalry takes at least a 2 year hiatus as MD replaces WVU with the Cal Bears. Fridge is saying he wants to reup with WVU, but that would require a signature . . . I guess we can just take their "mark."





One thing to look forward to the next time we play at WVU? Their humdinger of a half-time show:



How do I feel about MD?

Yup, that about covers it.

So bring on the Terps!


Sunday, September 9, 2007

MD wins, but here come the hillbillies

MD beats FIU, but look poor in doing so. This seems to be the trend
with new MD QB's, a slooooow offense limited in plays & STILL no sight
of the option.

Both RB's are looking good - Lattimore on the run & Ball on catches.
Heyward-Bey is trying given the few balls he's getting.

For Thursday I predict a much lower IQ & teeth for those in
attendance, plus lot's more Jack Daniels.

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Car

Well, this isn't the exact picture of the Camry I'm trying to dispose of, but it's pretty dang close.

I have a 1996 Camry that is in great mechanical condition, but not perfect aesthetics, that I have to dispose of soon. Selling it is nice, I get some cash, bu then there's the IRS implication.

So presently, I'm pursuing a donation of the vehicle to the Purple Heart organization, along with a number of clothes, so I get the write-off and can benefit some US veterans.

I think that is how this will turn out, but boy, even just donating the car has been a pain and difficulty.

I used to love the car though, that's for sure...

Squirrels

Oh, those freaky animals continue to bedevil me.


Sure, it was cute when I was little when I called them "squeeeerels".

But when they find a random hole in the underside of your roofing, and then sneak in, and make "messes" in your attick, and burrow under your insulation, well that's just not cool!

So I attempted to put some sort of a contraption up there tonight to hold them at bay. I'm very concerned about the implications of this finding with respect to selling the house.

So hopefully I can come up with a solution that is both simple and permanent.

But as this goes, it reminds me of all the things (issues) I may find with the house, and how much it may benefit me to sell the place "as-is". Still not sure on that yet.

Plus I have to meet with the fancy pants "stager" who will tell me what to remove from the house.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Poop!

Literally.
 
Heard a squirrel in the attic last night (after discovering hordes of ants going into the refrigerator and a pool of a soda that exploded in the freezer and seeped down many many months ago). I went up to look around and found an alarming amount of poop on the insulation. There had been racoons previously, and it looks too big to be a squirrel.

The question is: do I just pick up and remove the poop, or do I remove the insulation as well?
 
I might be better off removing the insulation, despite the logistical complexities.

Pack 'em up

Finally beginning the process of packing up the hosue in earnest. ALL the books in the basement have to be packed, ideally I'd like to donate at least half of them before truly moving. It's about 9-10 bookshelves worth down there alone. Then another 4+ in the spare bedroom, 4 in the study, 2-3 in the family room, and half a bookshelf in the office (plus others sprinkled throughout the house).
 
In addition, I have a good bit of Steve's stuff left over, which I have to get to Ben/Jake/Tim. And, I also have a bit of Tim's stuff.
 
And then there's my old toys my Mom dutifully kept. I'm hoping some can be sold? I hate to just throw them away, but I guess at worst I can keep them and figure out what to do with them at a house we buy.
 
I'd love to get all the big items packed as well (beds, bookcases, etc), but they are needed in the house when it is shown so that the places looks livable. Which means I'll have to move all that stuff separately from the stuff I pack in the PODS container.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Micro Nats?

If this works, I'm "micro blogging" the Nats/Fish game. Lopez just
squeaked an IF single.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Terps win, but...

Terps win against a much weaker opponent, the Villanova whatevers, who are very much NOT a "league formerly known as I-AA" powerhouse (witness the App State upset of Michigan).

Overall, I'd give the Terps a C+. They at least executed against a weaker team. However, unless they spend the rest of the season playing Duke or Towson, things need to improve. Jordan Steffy, finally making a substantive appearance for MD was so-so. Fridge had some modest raves on his performance, but I thought he wasn't that great. He hit his receivers, made a few reads etc. However, 'Nova is much slower than anything else he'll see all season.


Overall, they didn't stink up the joint, plus I got some tasty funnel cake. (not my picture)

Next up? FIU!

Date Opponent / Event Location Time
09/01/07 vs. Villanova TV College Park, Md. W, 31-14
09/08/07 at Florida International TV Miami, Fla. 7:00 p.m. ET
09/13/07 vs. West Virginia TV College Park, Md. 7:45 p.m. ET
09/22/07 at Wake Forest Winston-Salem, N.C. TBA
09/29/07 at Rutgers Piscataway, N.J. TBA
10/06/07 vs. Georgia Tech College Park, Md. TBA
10/20/07 vs. Virginia (Homecoming) College Park, Md. TBA
10/27/07 vs. Clemson College Park, Md. TBA
11/03/07 at North Carolina Chapel Hill, N.C. TBA
11/10/07 vs. Boston College (Letterwinners Day) College Park, Md. TBA
11/17/07 at Florida State Tallahassee, Fla. TBA
11/24/07 at North Carolina State Raleigh, N.C. TBA

http://umterps.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/sched/md-m-footbl-sched.html

Things jump up a notch against WVU. Yes, I will be at the 9/13 game, and I will be on my best behavior less a hillbilly throws a Jack Daniels bottle at me.
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