Sunday, March 30, 2008

Goal #5 done

I was able to catch part of the SLU vs Fordham game at SLU on Saturday. It was just Thomas & me, I wasn't able to talk Rose into coming. I barely talked Thomas into coming, he kept saying no till finally I just got him dressed & told him we would go grocery shopping afterward. We arrived in the 2nd inning and only stayed till the end of the 7th. Thomas didn't pay too much attention, but still seemed to have fun. The last inning we got up and walked around, even got a foul ball. I was going to return it but since the Billiken dugout has a large fence around it & I couldn't get anyone's attention & Thomas started acting up, I figured oh well, Thomas gets to keep it.

As far as the game itself, both teams looked a little sloppy, not executing bunts and too many walks probably stood out the most. The most memorable thing was probably a bad call by the 1st base ump. SLU had runners on 2nd & 3rd with 2 outs. The batter hits a ground ball to 3rd and is thrown out, the first baseball had to stretch to catch the ball--I don't think it hit the ground. Well the ump called out right away and then about 3 seconds later changed it to safe saying the 1st baseman bobbled the catch. Well Fordham's coach was out of the dugout and shortly after this the umps got together and reversed the call to out--again. I do think this was the correct call, but this certainly doesn't lend much confidence in the umps, especially the 1st base ump. Well one of the SLU coaches, maybe the head coach, came onto the field and started talking to the umps, well at this point the 1st base coach was talking to the 1st base ump and the rest of the coaches and umps kind of walk away. Well the SLU coach said something and the home plate ump was right there and tossed him. This of course leads the coach to get in his shots. I could hear something along the lines of, "You lost control of this game last night" and in general just chewing out the ump. I couldn't hear what the ump was saying, but it certainly looked like he was giving it back as well. This whole time the 1st base coach & ump are still arguing near 1st base and the SLU runner is still at 1st base as well. Once the coach leaves the field, the home plate ump tells SLU to take the field and no one moves. The home plate ump is just stamping mad at this point and says he will start tossing players if they do not get on the field. At this point the 3rd ump comes in to talk to the home plate ump, I think to get him to cool down and a couple of minutes later the SLU players take the field. Fun stuff at the ballpark and you get to see it up close. With Fordham at bat, the 2nd hitter up, goes deep into right field, where the wind was blowing out, for the go ahead HR. That was the last score we saw, making it 3-2 Fordham. I saw in today's paper, SLU lost that game, but won the nightcap. I guess with the weather forecast being rain all night and into Sunday, they decided on a doubleheader on Saturday to end the series. SLU won the series 3-1.

I know everyone says St. Louis is a baseball town, but I guess I don't quite see it yet. Here are free games that are fun and you get to be right up on the action and few people show up. I would guess the crowd was mostly parents and students along with a few Fordham fans/parents thrown into the mix as well. If you are frustrated about the cost of MLB baseball and salaries of players, PED usage, owners getting tax breaks, etc, check out college or high school baseball. I think you will learn to appeciate the sport and not just stars of MLB.

Before baseball on Saturday, I was able to get in about 4 miles of bike riding. It was around 2 miles to church for setup of our Holy Name breakfast which happened today and then the 2 miles back. I was winded after each ride. I am not in shape to think about riding to work, give me at least a couple of weeks yet.

Tonight, I got a little run in of 3.1 miles averaging around 12:30 a mile. Not very good, but I just need to get some miles in to start getting back into shape. I also caught opening day/night for baseball, watching the Braves & Nationals on ESPN. Since Zimmerman is on my fantasy team, I certainly enjoyed seeing him hit the HR to win it in the 9th.

The other things today were our HN breakfast that I worked and an off-road Hummer ride. The Hummer ride was an Albert Pujols Family Foundation event for families of kids with Down Syndrome. The had lunch there also, but since we had just eaten a late breakfast of sausage and pancakes, we skipped the lunch part. The kids all got their faces painted and then we all rode in a Hummer through an off-road route they have behind the dealership. It was kind of fun, the kids seemed to like it.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Hobbit--done

I finished up The Hobbit a couple of nights ago. What a fun and just overly enjoyable read. I had read it back in college, not quite 20 years ago and while I remember liking it then, I don't think I had the prespective to really enjoy it. I was often brought back to the fact that it was first a story he told to his children, what a special imagination and impression this must have given his kids. I know our kids have a love for books, I only could dream about telling a story something like this for them. Of course, I am also looking forward to when Rose is willing to read this book, I am pretty sure she will like it also.

Still reading away on The Drifters. Haven't gotten my next book picked out yet. I will probably take a few minutes tonight and find some candidates. In fact I am going now to look, be back in a second.

Alright I found a few that I will be looking at: The Partner-Grisham, Plague Dogs-Richard Adams, The Witches of Eastwick-Updike, The Memory Keepers Daughter-Edwards, Ten Thousand Lovers-Ravel and The Planet Wizard-Jakes. One of these is most likely to be the next book I start. I other question is once I finish The Drifters do I start up on The Lord of the Rings? I might because I am looking forward to it already, but don't want to be reading it along with another long book. The Drifters at 700 some pages does qualify as long for me also--in case anyone reads this and was wondering.

Well, I just did a quick look through them and picked The Planet Wizard. Of course this doesn't really mean much at this point--once I get 20 or so pages into it is when it becomes more official. The others were longer for the most part and seemed to have a little more thinking involved--maybe not Grisham though on the thinking part. The Planet Wizard is the book Rose wanted to read about a month ago & I told her okay but that I would read it with her. Well she has not gotten around to it and is instead reading her fairy books--probably more her age than this one anyway. Well time to get a little reading in before going to sleep.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Nothing really--Goals??

Don't really have much in mind to type about tonight, but want to get something down. I have sort of a goal to hit double digits in postings each month this year. That kind of follows along with my goal of averaging 2 books read for each month this year--or read at least 24 books this year.

I guess this is as good a time as any to write out some of these goals that I have stored away in my head for this year.

1. Have at least 10 entries every month in my blog.

2. Read at least 24 books this year. Will accept fewer books read if I decide to read a couple of the longer books considering. Lord of the Rings & re-read of War & Peace.

3. I would like to run a 50k or maybe another ultra type race. There is also a 6 hr & 12 hr run in Sept that I might consider doing also. Of course, my running lately has been slow and inconsistant so this goal is a big question mark right now. This might end up being a fall 1/2 or full marathon also, will just have to see how summer running goes this year.

4. Start riding my bike to & from work at least once a week. I think this is attainable. I am hoping after the first time or two it will turn into no big deal.

5. Go to a college baseball game. The SLU games are free and were kind of fun to see. I had looked at the schedule and thought it might be tough to get to one of these. Might look into Wash U or UMSL also though. I think the kids might have fun doing this also.

6. Teach and play tennis with my daughter Rose. She didn't want to play softball this year and instead wants to play tennis. This is really a must for me. Not sure if Debbie would want to do this with Rose or not, guessing mostly not.

7. Plant a garden. It has been a couple of years since I had a few tomato plants. Want to do a few tomato plants again and maybe some onions and something else, just not sure what yet.

8. Take Rose fishing a few times this year. This could be either me & her or Debbie & her or the whole family. Not sure much fishing would get done with Thomas & Angie around, but might have to give it a try at least once at a local park around here.

9. Paint the garage. It needs to be scraped and painted. I don't want to be getting any notices from the city on this. I don't think it is that bad, but I don't want it getting much worse than it is either.

10. Can't think of anything else right now so I am officially leaving #10 open at this point.

By the way, no PSR yesterday because of Spring Break. I did run after work though, I got 3 very slow and overall just bad feeling miles in. Somewhere around 12:20 or so pace--not very pretty. It was cold and windy, I thought it was supposed to have been warmer. These cold days are just wearing me out.

The Hobbit is getting closer to being done, should have it wrapped up tonight or tomorrow. I don't think Lord of the Rings will be next though. I will probably look for something short and quick so I can put more time/effort into The Drifters.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Can I bike to work??

With the rising gas prices, still over $3.00 here and much higher elsewhere in the US, I am seriously considering biking to work. I know that it is doable. The safest route is probably just under 6.5 miles, that would be around 13 miles roundtrip. I am in decent shape with my running even with me running very occasionally lately. I dug out bike Thursday and cleaned it up a bit and put air in the tires and it seemed to work. Yesterday I rode about 20 minutes with Rose and then about 1/2 hour by myself, somewhere around 5 miles maybe. Today I did a 4 mile run and when I got home I got on the bike and did 2.3 miles. It is all good so far. I am giving myself next week to get some more miles in on the bike and getting overall more confortable with biking and then setting a day to actually do it.

It is not just the gas prices forcing this but also the fact that I want more exercise as well. I like to run and for me at least it certainly seems harder than biking, but these last couple of days have been a nice diversion from running. I am waiting to see how sore my rear gets once I start putting more serious miles in, that was something I really didn't like last time I rode my bike. That brings me to trying to remember when I did last ride my bike. My wife & I bought our bikes when we bought our house, now nearly 12 years ago. Both bikes were WalMart specials, I think they cost something like $100 each maybe just a little more. I need to look but I think mine is something like a Roadmaster?? and my wife's was something I had heard of maybe Huffy??. Neither one got used much at all so basically no wear other than just sitting in a garage for year after year. My wife's actually was put to use one summer by her sister, but other than that we are talking about probably under 70 miles in total. Not sure if I should take my bike somewhere to get it looked at or not, I will probably see how it does getting ridden a few times and see if any problems come up.

I did my 4 miles at Stacey Park in Olivette, I had been there once before with the kids on the playground and saw the running path. I was looking to go somewhere a little different today and remember this park. Not a bad little path, I took a deadend route off the path each time around to add .2 to each lap, making the laps .95 instead of .75. Kind of a short route so I don't think it will be going on my regular running places. Of course it isn't far from work, so if I get back into lunchtime running, it will be a candidate. It was cold today, after 2 very nice days, Spring had to go away. It also sounds like tomorrow will be cold. I guess that is what we get for having Easter in March.

Not much else, still reading my 2 books. Don't know if I will finish either of them by the end of the month or not. The Hobbit is probably has the better chance, being shorter, but I am still trying to split my time on both pretty evenly.

Baseball starts Tuesday, very early in the morning in Japan or China--not really sure where but one of those countries. With our DVR, I think I will be setting it and checking out these games. With Creighton getting bounced by Florida in the NIT and Drake losing on a last second shot in the NCAAs, college basketball is basically over for me. I have a sheet in with the family with North Carolinaa winning it. I will find out tomorrow how my chances are on that. Debbie has OK winning it on her sheet, not likely but I guess possible. Like I said I am very glad baseball is starting up, nothing like being able to check the stats and box scores each day.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Fantasy Baseball

I had my fantasy baseball draft last night. I picked 8th out of 10 and was able to get Albert Pujols in the 1st round. I think most were worried about his elbow and if he would shut it down at some point this year. He has been kind of banged up each year and still manages to play just about every day. I think this year he will have a little more protection in the lineup with Troy Glaus and Ankiel basically replacing Rolen & Edmonds. Rolen had lost all power and Edmonds was too injured and too inconsistant. I am expecting a nice bounceback year from Albert if he stays healthy.

I don't have the sheet with my roster--I left it at work today. I know I have Sizemore, Cano & Manny Ramierez, Varitek, Webb--all players I had last year also. I also have Mike Young, Glaus, Izzy, Jenks, Thome, Posada, Fukudome, Hamilton, Pedroia, Lackey, Felix Hernandez and a couple of others that I am drawing a blank on right now. Zimmerman at 3rd also. I am pretty happy with my roster. I will have to put Lackey on the DL for a month or so and will have to pick up another starter in the first week. Just doing a quick look at it I probably am looking at last or close to it in steals again. This will probably be something I will have to address as the season goes on. I have a few more older players than I would like, so I am hoping on bounceback years probably more than I should. It is just kind of how the draft shook out. Maine I think is my last pitcher--that should be everyone then.

I am off work tomorrow and my wife is going shopping with the oldest. That means I will be home with the other two. I guess I will just have to keep them busy with their shows while I catch a little NCAA basketball. In years past I always wished I had this day off. This year I am really not very interested though. I know a large part of that is because the large conference schools are edging out the smaller conferences--especially my MVC. While I have to agree that Illinois State didn't have any big signature wins this year, their RPI of around 38 with a good SOS, finishing 2nd in the conference by themselves--should have been enough to get them a spot. I wasn't too surprised they were left on the outside though, that is just back to business as usual for the NCAA. I know that I have watched much much less college football lately than in past and the same can be said for college basketball. The exceptions to college basketball are for MVC or A10 games. To me there is just something unfair about how the NCAA runs itself--the large conferences run the show and I just don't like it or think it is fair.

Well, I am starting to fall asleep, but I want to get some pages in first. I didn't read last night because of my baseball draft so really need a few minutes at least tonight.

Monday, March 17, 2008

PSR Night run

It is Monday night so that means PSR and a run for me. PSR is Parish School of Relgion, Catholic studies for kids in public school basically. Our 2 oldest kids go to this most Monday nights during the school year. It is 1 hour & 15 minutes, so I can get 3 to 5 miles in depending upon how good of shape I am in and how inspired I am.

Tonight there wasn't much of either in shape or inspiration. Instead this was a kind of mope through it so I get a few miles in this week. It was an ugly 3 miles, somewhere around 12:40 average. I got the miles in so for that I am happy. I will have to work on getting quality miles done in the coming weeks but for today this worked.

I am kind of tired so will probably be going to sleep soon. I do want to get a few pages in though first. I have been pretty good about at least reading a little each night with some nights doing very well. I am pretty happy with my 2 books right now so all is good.

It is Holy Week, so everyone have a good Holy Week and reflect on the life of Jesus and the history of the Church. This is just a good week for reflection and understanding.

Friday, March 14, 2008

5 Miles

I was able to get a good run in today of 5 miles. I went to McDonnell Park in St Louis County and ran the path there that is 1.3 miles long. It is a pretty hilly path and I really wasn't in shape to be attacking hills, but I got through it. Overall I think I was out there for around 1hr 2 minutes or something in that ballpark, so not as bad as I thought it would be time wise at least. My body is holding up good also, no real soreness or anything, but I will have to see about tomorrow. It was a beautiful day out for a run, or just about anything I guess.

Got started on The Hobbit tonight, only about 40 pages in and it is just enjoyable. Makes me wonder why it has taken me so long to do a re-read and then get into the Lord of the Rings series next. I have also forced myself to read somemore in The Drifters, I don't want it to be forgotten. I also am kind of enjoying it. In the back of my mind I kind of wonder what Michener will say about the whole '60's culture and if he makes any kind of predictions for the future. The book was published in 1971, so too early to know about how the '60s turned into the '70s. I think I am on the last person being introduced into the group, Gretchen, because the chapter names change to something else besides persons names. The characters are kind of falling into the similar Michener characters I have read in the past, people that perfectly fit the idea or grouping he is describing. While I am getting a little bored with these characters in that sense, the information he provides on each page more than makes up for any shortcomings. This type of information is what makes his books so much fun to read

With the gas prices over $3.00 now and looking like they are going to stay there for a while, I was kicking around the idea of digging out my bike. I am only 5.5 miles from my work, or 6.2 going a safer route. I did run home once last year from work, unfortunately that was a very hot & humid day so I didn't try repeating it. Now I am kind of considering trying to bike to work and back home. Also maybe looking at biking to work and then running home at night followed by running to work the next morning and biking home then. It has been somewhere around 5 years or so since I have ridden a bike, so I will need some practice before this can become a series idea. Of course lunches, change of cloths and washing up are also things to be figured out too, but they can wait until I know if I can actually ride a bike anymore.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Phantom of the Opera - Done

It took longer than I thought it would or should, but I finally wrapped up the Phantom. Good read, it makes me want to see the play or one of the movies also. Some of the descriptions of the rooms and the whole Opera building were hard to grasp and follow, this is where I think seeing a movie would have been helpful before reading. Of course like any movie it would also depend on how well the movie actually sticks to the actual book as well.

I am thinking the Phantom kind of falls into where I consider Wuthering Heights, a book that I am glad that I have now read, but certainly not among my favorites. Unlike Wuthering Heights though, the Phantom has given me a good understanding of the storyline for when I see the play or a movie.

The Hobbit is now on deck. I don't think I will get started on it tonight, instead I will try to spend a few minutes with The Drifters getting reaquainted with it once more. I also might be starting a 3rd book, The Planet Wizard by John Jakes. It is one of those books that has been hanging around on my bookshelves for years. I think I read it before, like somewhere after or during college, but am not sure about that. Rose found the book after many got knocked off of some of my shelves--Thomas being Destructo Boy again. Since it is about wizards and stuff, she became interested. She asked if she could read it and I said yes, but that I would also read it so I could help answer questions she might have. While I think I would rather she read The Hobbit or maybe the Harry Potter books, she has a kind of independent streak in her so I figured if The Planet Wizard is where she wants to start on Sci Fi well so be it.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Catching Up

It has been a few day since I last checked in around here. Let me run down a few things.

1. The very good weather on Sat & Sunday ended with a bang. Monday was cold & sleeting by the evening with the weather reports saying bad stuff on the way. Tuesday starting around 8:30 till 3:00 we got hit with somewhere around 10+ inches at our house & at my work. There is still snow on the ground today where it was piled the highest. It was also mostly cold all week as well. I think the highs are supposed to be in the 40's this week and maybe higher for a couple of days. I really just want winter & snow over.

2. The MVC basketball tourney has come & gone. Creighton won their first game against Bradley and lost the 2nd against Drake. Drake was the story of the tourney, they are a very good, solid team. I am expecting a sweet sixteen showing from them unless they get screwed in seeding or matchups on the bracket. For Creighton it means most likely the NIT. While not the best, it is post-season play and more practice and experience for the very young roster. Barry Hinson at MO St was fired shortly after the tourney. I have mixed thoughts about this. I think his team MO St was screwed out of the NCAA tourney twice in the last few years. This is important because not making the NCAA tourney is the reason mostly given for him being fired. Also the fact that attendance was down and they are opening a new arena next year so the school thought it needed a new coach to energize the program. While I am generally a stay the course type on coaches (unless you are going to make a significant effort to really upgrade), I think this firing is justified. Hinson had some very good talent at MO St through the last few years but he just wasn't able to put it together to get a top finish in the league. It is too bad because Hinson really represented MO St & the MVC very well. I wish him the best and hope he gets another head coaching opportunity soon.

3. My parents and one of my brothers & his wife were in town for the MVC tourney also. My parents stayed with us--that is part of the reason for the delay in posting--I just didn't have access to the computer late at night as normal. Our kids were really excited about seeing everyone. I just wish the weather had been nicer to do more with them though.

4. No running last week with the snow, getting the house ready and then with all of the basketball. I did get 3 miles in tonight while the kids were at PSR. I then also got .75 in later tonight. Our van had to be dropped off the the safety & emissions checks so I just walked/jogged it back home.

5. With everything going on this weekend, I got in very little reading. I am close to finishing Phantom and was hoping I would do so tonight, but instead goofed off on the computer too much. It will have to wait for tomorrow now. I haven't touch Drifters in about a week I guess either.

I am sure there are other things I should be thinking about but that is all I got for now.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


It was a great day here in St Louis. I heard it made in into the 70s today. The kids got out and played for a couple hours this afternoon. They really needed a shot of fresh air. No run for me today though, just a lot of pushing Thomas on a swing.

No PSR tomorrow either, it is a parish retreat this week with a Mass tomorrow that is supposed to be for the kids. Not sure yet if I am going to fight Thomas through another Mass or not. Sunday wasn't much fun, but also just about normal.

I read a little in The Drifters today, good stuff, like most Michener books. I am under 100 pages left in Phantom, but I forced myself today to not ignore The Drifters either. Will probaby put some time in yet tonight, might try to read a little in both before going to sleep.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

State Day - NE

Today is the day NE became a state, I think the year was 1861, but should probably check on that before quoting me. One of those things that has stuck in my brain since learning all about NE from growing up there.

Speaking of NE, Creighton won a big game tonight against Bradley, a double overtime thriller. This puts Creighton at 20 wins and 10 wins in conference for the season, continuing the streak that Altman & Creighton are on. The MVC tourney is coming up quick. I am not sure if this is the 10th or 11th straight year I will be at all of the games except for the 2 play-in games. The MVC tourney is just a lot of fun, you get to see good basketball, good coaching and lots of it. Can't wait.

I got 4 miles in today. I noticed that it was the first time I used my Garmin since Jan 26th. I only ran twice in Feb and both were inside at the Community Center. That was a sad month for running. I am looking forward to getting back into some consistant running now. Hopefully the weather will stay away from the cold, snow, freezing rain, etc that we have had all winter it seems.

I took my oldest, Rose to Borders today. She received some books for her birthday that she already had, so we went to exchange. She ended up returning 3 but was able to get 4, good deal for her. I also bought Bowerman and the Men of Oregon. This book was on my Christmas list but didn't get. I then figured I would use my old birthday money that I didn't spend on it and today was the day I finally did so. This means I now of the Hobbit as lined up next with a whole slew of other books just waiting for an opening.

I think I forgot to mention that we are now a 2 TV household, with 2 TVs hooked up to our dish. We had to change to Direct TV in order to get the deal we wanted, yes we got TIVO or DVR, I guess it is called. It was kind of funny that for 2 days after we cancelled DishNetwork, they called us about switching back. We told them we had called 3 times or so about what we wanted changed & how we wanted no charge or very minimum. Each time they said they couldn't do that, it would cost us upgrade fees and extra per month charges. After we quit them, now they can give us the deal we wanted and help with cancelling from Direct TV. Unfortunately, my wife talked to them both times, I wish I could have just laughed at them. Their customer service rep in India just didn't do the job they needed and they lost a customer. By the way we also got the movie channels for a couple of months thrown in as well. Only channel I know we aren't getting is CSTV, College Sports TV, not a big deal. SLU had a couple of games on it this year that I watched and I might have occasionally caught something else as well, but losing it is no big deal. I know we have extra channels also like Hist Int & VS for instance that I have already been checking up on.