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Monday, January 26, 2009

Gym Crap

Like to tell you 'bout my baby, you know she comes around,
Just 'bout five feet four a-from her head to the ground.

Crap List


1.  The old people at the gym

Maybe it's due to the fact that I'm the youngest person in the gym at 11am on a weekday or maybe it's because old people need something to do so they head over to the gym.  Either way the gym needs some sort of a cap because too many old people is a very bad thing.  Maybe a cap of only one person over 90, 2 over 80, and 4 over 70 at any one given time because they're only going to hurt themselves or someone else.

Take the track for example, there's always the one elderly man with a horrible limp walking and meandering down the center of the track.  Whenever I run by I have to do this crazy James Bond move in order to sneak ahead of them.  Then if them walking down the center is bad enough, they throw their arm out as if they're acting like some sort of gate keeper to the open track in front of them.  I did almost run over a small old woman one time when I came running around the corner and she stepped right in front of me.

I think this must be a old person thing because I remember trying to pass an elderly woman on the highway one time.  She was going about 30 mph as she was merging onto the highway from the onramp while other cars screamed by her.  I was the sorry ass who was going 60 when she decided to merge from the onramp and

does she look toward the road?  Nope
does she look toward any mirrors?  Nope
does she give any sort of hand signals to try and tell other drivers what she's doing?  Nope

What she did was put on her blinker and blindly steer into traffic making everyone else slow down or speed up to avoid her ignorant Buick LeSabre. 

ugh back to the gym,

So besides the slow ignorant old people on the track there's always the old people who like to pretend to lift weights.  Today I walked over to the hip sled and was amazed that there was 2-five pound weights dangling on the fabricated metal arms. 

Ten pounds.  On the hip sled.  This would actually make sense if someone weighed about...6 pounds and they wanted to try ten pounds on the hip sled but I actually know the guy who does this.  He's about 72 years old and hobbles around the gym.  He weights about 150 and probably lifts more with every step than the ten pounds he puts on the hip sled.  Not only that but the hip sled was not even pushed up all the way so whoever was using this was pumping ten whole pounds and then couldn't even push it to the top.

I remember when I was taking weight training in high school, we were figuring out our one rep max on the different weight lifting techniques.  I went to the hip sled and told the two spotters to put two-45 pound weights on per side.
Teacher:  What?  What the hell is this?
Tom:  What?
Teacher:  Guys, put another 45 on each side, come on.
Tom:  WHAT? 
Teacher:  You guys really need to start trying.

And as it turns out I did 15 reps with 270 pounds.  I kicked it in the ass so this dude should've had at least 35 pounds on either side in order to make it look like he was doing something. 

For the record I did try the hip sled with only ten pounds on there and I fake winced.  Sometimes I entertain myself at the gym.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

January Bits

I'm a dweller on the threshold
As I cross the burning ground
Let me go down to the water
Watch the great illusion


-Do you think this has ever happened to Barack Obama? 

"Hey Barack!  No not you, the other Barack."

I doubt it.

-Yesterday I had a meeting with a potential financial advisor.  The meeting was at 11am so I arrived with about 30 people standing in front of the receptionists desk.  It looked like they were in the middle of an important meeting so like a turtle I poked my head through and everyone was watching Biden/Obama take their oaths.  I hadn't seen that kind of impromptu gathering since 9/11.

-The only name that comes close to Barack is the character of Baraka in Mortal Kombat II.  Baraka was the one with these huge spears for hands and he would have the most gruesome moves ever.  He had the moves that would generate the most blood.  It was kinda cute that when you defeat someone you could either A: cut off their head or B: turn them into a baby and you go "aww look at the cute little baby" while playing Mortal Kombat II.


-I have always had a love of talk radio and I would actively listen to the radio since I was about 10.  Tuesday one of the shows that I listened to the most was completely taken off the ticket with the host and producer fired.  Chad Hartman was kind of a pompus dorky idiot but I loved the topics that he would get into.  Plus he would talk some quality baseball during baseball season which is much more than you can say for the other shows on KFAN.  When someone like PA tries to talk baseball you get to hear this kind of stuff,

"The Twins this year come into the season with plenty of left handed hitters so they should dominate the league-beedeep.  Mauer scored about 80 points last year and they should probably move him to third yadaat.  I can't believe they didn't move to sign Manny Ramirez to a long term deal because he is baseball immortality!"

I cringe whenever I hear that stuff. 

-I just found out today that someone passed away who would work out routinely at the gym.  I don't know anyone by name there so when I read the obituary taped up at the front desk I couldn't figure out who it was.  Apparently he worked out when I did and was a dentist which doesn't really narrow things down at all.

There was the grumpy old guy who would change all three televisions to fox news and when you insist he not change one of the side tvs he'd snear at ya. 

There was also the guy who wore the toupee and would always talk gopher sports with me.  One day he came in completely bald and then the next day he wore his toupee.

Then there were the two fat guys who would talk non stop about baseball.  These guys knew there stuff but they really didn't like when I interjected things.  Still they seemed kinda nice.

I can't forget the super creepy dude who would seemingly follow me around the gym.  I would go up to the track to run and he would come shortly after.  I would go to lift weights and he would follow shortly after.  I would even shoot some hoops and he would do that in no time.  Of course he had some pretty bad teeth so I doubt it's him. 

It could've been the well dressed old man who would be eating his lunch at the table right up in front.  He was always very out going and would ask me how I am doing.  I don't think it's him but it would certainly suck if it was.

-I remember seeing this skyway hanging out in a lot just outside the U of M east bank and I was wondering why the hell this skyway was left outside.  I think it would cool to build something containing it's own skyway.  It wouldn't be needed but you could have floor 5 be cut in half with the people having to go through a skyway to enter the west side of the building.  Or maybe I could build a house and get to know my neighbor really well and then build this skyway to our houses.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

After Years of Frustration...

Sorry is the fool who trades his love for hi-rise rent.
Seems the more you make equals the loneliness you get.


Last week the owner of the Twins, Carl Pohlad passed away at the age of 94.  I've saved this entry for about a week (actually for about six years if you want to be technical about it) because I wanted to show some semblance of class and not rip into a guy while his family waits for the funeral. 

It's been a week so I'm just going to let it all out.

On Monday when the local media started reporting the death, they would use a headline like,

"Carl Pohlad, the man who saved the Twins, dead at 94".  Nearly every outlet used some sort of that title for their front page or intro to the story.  I bit my lip long and hard until it started bleeding because it was just too early to rip into the guy.  Afterall, for all I know he was a great family man and a dear friend.  I didn't know him personally at all except when I accidentally tried to take his seat at the metrodome when I was about 15.  He sounded like a person who was decent to his staff and actually showed some sort of loyalty to his own staff.  My qualms about him come as a Minnesota Twins fan.

The man who saved the Twins eh?  I agree however the scope of that sentence is so misleading that I would guess that Sid Hartman was the one responsible for writing it.  Actually Hartman did write such a story (two as a matter of fact) and while Pohlad probably saved the Twins in 1984 he tried his absolute hardest to rid the state of the Twins from 1997-2006.  I would like to say that last sentence was drenched in hyperbole but I can honestly say it isn't. 

This man was hell bent on moving this team and soaking the taxpayers out of whatever he could for so many years.  Say what  you want about how cheap he is as an owner, he's been considered the cheapest owner in all of sports, but as and owner he's been horrific to deal with in a fan-to-franchise type of way.  For years I was honestly worried about losing my favorite baseball team because a billionaire owner couldn't squeeze enough money out of taxpayers. 

Some would argue that he was the owner during both Twins World Championship seasons and he certainly was, and he deserves some credit but the love fest ended shortly after those runs.  I remember in the mid 90's when the team was struggling and fan support was low (wow imagine that correlation) he tried to sell the team to Don Beaver in Charlotte.  If it hadn't been for the disinterested fans in Charlotte the team would've probably moved.

Then when that didn't work he tried to up the value of the team by raising the flag for a new ballpark.  He had a plan and was willing to contribute $80M (about a third) towards the cause.  It was a good plan until someone noticed that in the fine print of the deal, the $80M was to be paid back to Pohlad by the State thus making it a $80M loan instead of a rightful contribution. 

When that didn't work and the state of baseball was reeling from bad baseball economic times his buddy, and baseball Commissioner Bud Selig asked for two teams to contract.  One team was the Montreal Expos who Major League Baseball ended up purchasing and the other was left to an owner who was to volunteer his club.  Carl Pohlad apparently was the owner to volunteer to contract the Twins so he could pocket $150M.  If it wasn't for a court order for the Twins to acknowledge their lease until it was up then the team and all it's 100 year history (because it is the original Senators team) would've been history.

The man who saved baseball!?  Really? 

If you're not fired up about those last three paragraphs then read this by Sid Hartman,

Selig recalls Pohlad as an All-Star owner

There are so many things in this column that boil my blood that I can barely contain myself.  Selig, calling Pohlad the best owner in baseball is so ludicrous that I can't help but looking on to their questionable relationship.  Bud Selig, whose family owned the Milwaukee Brewers and who accepted a loan from Pohlad which raises many conflict of interest exclamations, called Pohlad the best owner in baseball.  Selig whose family would've benefited the most from a Twins contraction by being the closest team in the upper Midwest was wondering why his legacy was stained with bad blood from the fans.  Bud Selig who would seemingly "cook the books" to show congress that Major League Baseball was losing money.  He also brought up the idea of contraction just a couple years of adding two expansion teams which probably shouldn't have been added in the first place.  This is the guy that said Carl Pohlad was one of the best owners in baseball.

The Metrodome is a crappy place for baseball and they averaged about 12,000 fans a game in the nineties.  These are 12,000 fans who would forgo a beautiful sunny day to come inside a sterile environment and watch a game on fake grass in a state where we do whatever we can to be outside no matter what conditions are outside.  These fans were watching players like Scott Stahoviak, Pat Mears, Butch Husky, and Denny Hocking.  It's amazing that even 5,000 came to watch those lousy teams.

When the Pohlad and the Twins were begging for state legislature to foot most of the bill for a new ballpark I understood both sides of the argument.  I am as pro ballpark as they come but I could understand taxpayers not wanting to help out a scummy billionaire who would seemingly would sell his soul for an extra dollar.  The guy tried to swindle us in the past so why should we do anything for him?  If he really wanted the ballpark to pass so badly then he could've foot half of the bill.  The extra money would've came back to him 2 fold with the value of the team skyrocketing.

I love the Twins, many people all over Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, the Dakotas, and even Montana love the Twins.  Carl Pohlad was a man who didn't care about the fan base in my opinion.  This is a man who tried to sell this team for a quick $150M and stick a big middle finger to the state and all the fans.  I'm sick of hearing about how he saved the team because that does not justify holding the state and fanbase hostage.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Pinochle Crap

And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

Crap List

1.  Learning new games.

I'm not much of a board game/card player person.  I like the few games that I like because I understand them and I actually know some sort of strategy.  When it comes to new games, I'm about as dumb as a my dad playing Contra.  Over the break I visited my special lady friend in North Dakota and thus hung out with her family for about a week.  I've never visited a special lady friend's parents before let alone had much of a special lady friend to begin with so I really didn't know what I was up against.

I wanted to, at the very least, show that I was a competent person who only drools by accident about once a month and can say three syllable words at relative ease.  I mean, I don't want to come off as an idiot.  I would rather they wait and find out my idiocracy in time.  You see, my idiocracy is like a slow blooming flower which finally blooms after about 6 weeks.

As it turns out this family is very much into games and I tried to be as much of a sport as I could.  The first game was Yahtzee which I haven't played since I played the handheld style when I was dropping a duece during someone's house party about 6 years ago.  Even then I didn't really understand it then but I liked pressing buttons so I wasted some time.  Now I was playing with the sisters and the mother.  I know what a "yahtzee" is but other than that it takes me about two minutes to look at my paper, figure out what to cross off (and not before a bunch of head scratching), and finally I hand the cup off to the next person.

Amount of time the sisters and mom take per turn:  about 4 seconds

Amount of time Boof takes per turn:  about 3 minutes (and I usually get that wrong)

Then came the game that the family grew up on: Pinochle

I have never played pinochle before.  My gf briefly (and I mean briefly) showed me the basics of the game but it was more of a warning than a briefing.  Pinochle is one of those games that I have tried to avoid throughout most of my life in a mild protest to my dad and uncles who would sit and play cards throughout every Christmas party.  They wouldn't do anything but play 500 for about 6 hours.  No snowball fights, no catch with the football, no golf, nothing.  My dad offered to teach me 500 once but I pretty much blew him off because the only time I would ever play cards would be at these Christmas parties....

...and evidently at the gf's parents house in front of her entire family. 

Amount of time the sisters and mom take per pinochle turn:  .3 sec

Amount of time Boof takes per pinochle turn:  4 minutes

It works like this, I'm dealt all 16 cards and I look at all of them with the biggest frown I can muster.  As I frown I send out the dignified signals of "uh, hmm, uh, weeelll, I uh, I need bigger hands".  The mother meanwhile is trying her best not to tower over me and say, "Perhaps Pinochle isn't your strong suit.  Here's a ball though, perhaps you'd like to bounce it!

What was even more deflating was when the father came and helped me after many "uh's".  When the father wasn't there the mother would be like,

"okay, lay your cards down and lets see what you have." 

Somehow it felt like I was getting a diaper change strangely enough.

I finally started to kinda figure it out.  I still have a very hard time with the "10's" being a higher card than Kings but I wont have to deal with Pinochle for awhile.  That's for sure.