Monthly Archives: June 2010

Lake Accotink – Morning of Geocaching

When I woke up this morning and turned on the news to see that it was 67 degrees outside I just knew I had to get outside and enjoy this weather.  After the last week of scorching temperatures, you could not have asked for a more perfect day than we are having today.  On Monday it was sauna outside….literally….when we had our afternoon OMGWTF Thunderstorm the steam was rising off the streets faster than the rain was coming down.  It was that nasty hot.  So today’s break in the weather was a welcome relief.

So I woke up and headed over to Lake Accotink.  I mapped out a route through the park that would have me hitting up 4 caches that should be right along the trails.  The first of these trails led me over the train tracks.

Bridge Crossing the Tracks

The bridge crossing over these tracks was definitely not my favorite type of bridge.  I hate looking down and seeing the ground about 50 feet below me.

hate. hate. hate.

Walking down the trail I decided to see if I could use the Panorama feature on my camera to take a picture of the trail as it wound down and around a little creek and it didn’t turn out half bad:

The trail winds around a creek

When the trail came around the little bend you could finally see the lake and the docks on the other side:

As I made my way around the lake I noticed that this didn’t seem to be the lake I remembered coming to as a teenager.  It really wasn’t much of a lake at all anymore.  We used to come out to this lake and rent a canoe or a paddleboat and spend hours out on water.  Now, there was hardly any water in the lake at all.

It was a pretty sad sight.  The water was mostly gone and nothing was left but a sea of mud and plastic bottles.  There were spots that were still nice around the lake though, like this:

and this:

or even the little wildflowers growing along the trail:

As long as you were on the trails that were away from “Lake” everything was nice though.  I found all 4 of the caches that I set out to find in the park and that was really nice.

Locke posing with a Letterbox Cache.

Every day that I have gone out Geocaching it has always been so freakin’ hot.  Today was the first day where the walk was actually enjoyable and I didn’t arrive back at my car drenched from head to toe in sweat.  It really made me wish that I had more time and that I had loaded up the GPS with a few more caches to seek out.

As I was walking back up the trail to the car I was already thinking about where I might go tomorrow since it is supposed to be even nicer.

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Summers in The Cornfield

Sandlot is pretty much The Cornfield

I grew up an army brat and our family traveled all over the world as we tagged along with Dad as he was moved from post to post. We lived in some great places over those early years and it always seemed like a new adventure when you would move from city to city or country to country. The one constant in my life was the summers spent in Bloomington, Illinois.

Bloomington is where my parents grew up and where just about every single member of my extended family has lived their entire lives. We would visit there in the summers and stay at my granparents house on Jackson Street. My granparents and my aunt and uncle lived right next to each other…so my sister and I had our two cousins to play with every day. And we played…all day…every day.

Bloomington is a medium sized town in the dead center of Illinois. A town that was full of hard working, baseball loving, middle-Americans. An oasis surrounded by corn. And in “The Cornfield” is where we spent most of our time during those summers.

The Cornfield wasn’t really a cornfield at all and, to tell you the truth, I never actually knew why we called it that. It was actually a vacant lot at the end of my grandparents street that we converted into our own little baseball diamond. The lot itself wasn’t much bigger than just the infield on a little league field so there was a ton of improvisation and “rule making” when we were playing. And the rules changed (as did the game) from summer to summer as we grew up.

When we started we were really young and our game was Wiffle ball. You can’t really hit a wiffle ball all that far so most of the rules were simple and the game was contained within The Cornfield. At this point there was still an old wooden fence surrounding the lot and hitting the ball over that fence was a homerun. Simple rules for a very simple version of the game.

As we started to grow up though we moved on to real bats and tennis balls. Now the field had to be extended. At first hitting a homerun meant you had to hit the ball out of the field and across Jackson Street. But that didn’t last long. Pretty soon you had to not only hit the ball across the street but you had to hit it either beyond or onto Jason’s house (he was the kid that lived across the street and my cousin Joe’s best friend). If you were standing at homeplate Jason’s house would have been pretty much dead center field.

Like every kid’s backyard version of sports there was a ton of arguing over our made up rules, about balls and strikes, about who was out or safe and about whether or not someone had hit an actual homerun. I think that more time was spent arguing than playing but that was just part of the game; part of the fun of those summers.

We would wake up, eat breakfast and head over to The Cornfield to start playing. We would play until we were called in for lunch. We would scarf down our lunches and then head right back out to play some more. It was a very simple time with a very simple game with very complex rules.

Those were fun summers.

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World Cup of Boredom: USA vs. Algeria (and I watched the entire game)

Today I decided that I would try to watch an entire soccer game during this World Cup.  In previous games I have either fell asleep or just turned off the game with disgust.  I get so tired of the players pretending they are hurt or just doing everything they can to waste time and so very little to actually score.  But to make myself pay attention and watch the entire game I made the decision to keep a running log during the entire match.

I must admit that once the game hit extra time I was already planning what I would write about how soccer would fade from the collective memory of the entire country.  How the ratings for the rest of the World Cup would be absolutely dreadful.  How once again the World Cup would bring false hope to all those American soccer fans out there about their sport becoming more popular here.  But with a win and advancing to the round of 16 the sport may have a glimmer of hope.  I still think the sport is boring as hell to watch and the world is crazy for having this as the “world game” but who knows what will happen.  We love a winner…

9:53 AM 6/23/2010
Ok, so I just turned on ESPN because it is the USA playing.  Even though soccer bores me I am a sportsfan and this is a big deal so I have to watch.  The vuvuzelas are buzzing like crazy and the players are just walking out on the field.  I think that this is going to be a long 90 minutes.

9:55 AM 6/23/2010
The National anthem is being played.  I have noticed that so many of the other national anthems sound like polka music during this world cup.  Strange that I haven’t noticed that before.

9:57 AM 6/23/2010
Mmmm…cinammon toast and coffee while I wait for the Algerian anthem to end and the game to start.

9:59 AM 6/23/2010
Why is there a coin flip in soccer?  Doesn’t seem to make much sense…it is not like there is a huge advantage to starting with the ball. How many first posessions end in a goal?

10:00 AM 6/23/2010
WTF shade of green is that uniform, Algeria?

10:01 AM 6/23/2010
That algerian keeper is one scary lookin’ brutha…well, except for the girly star tatoo on his neck..

10:04 AM 6/23/2010
If the ref is gonna wear a mic, why don’t they have that feed on the broadcast so we can know why he calls what he does…sometimes the calls seem to be for absolutely nothing and I would love to know why he blew the whistle.

10:06 AM 6/23/2010
Wow…thank you crossbar.  Why can’t this team play for the first 5 minutes of a game?

10:07 AM 6/23/2010
I really am thankful that our country’s colors do not include green.  Hate green uniforms.

10:08 AM 6/23/2010
Players drilling the ball 10 yards above the crossbar on a freekick doesn’t make sense to me.  How could you, as a professional, be that far off on a free kick?  It seems to me that this is about like shooting the ball completely over the backboard during a free throw.

10:10 AM 6/23/2010

10 minutes into the game and not one player has laid on the ground pretending to be hurt.  I am impressed (so far) by the missing theatrics.

10:11 AM 6/23/2010
Just as i finished typing that, USA player is now laying on the ground like someone shot him in the leg.  But oh wait..the yellow card has been issued and sure enough he is back on his feet and fine.  Such sportsmanship in soccer.

10:17 AM 6/23/2010
Donovan shoots it a good 20 feet above the crossbar.  Keep the ball down and on net please.

10:19 AM 6/23/2010
Broadcasters just said that most of the players on the Algerian team are French.  Now I really dislike them.

10:20 AM 6/23/2010

YAY!  Oh wait…BOOOOO!  Another disallowed goal. Sure didn’t look like Dempsey was offsides.

10:22 AM 6/23/2010
England just scored on Slovenia.  😦

10:23 AM 6/23/2010
Yep, replay confirms, that should have been a goal.  Oh well.

10:24 AM 6/23/2010

Almost 25 minutes into the game and I now realize that I wish there were TV timeouts.  Really gotta recycle some of this coffee.

10:26 AM 6/23/2010
And the acting has started.  Get off the ground Dempsey.  If these players just put all that acting energy into actually trying to score these games would be a lot more interesting.

10:33 AM 6/23/2010
33 minutes into the game.  Boredom is starting to set in.

10:34 AM 6/23/2010
While they were moving the ball down the field one of the Algerian players just stopped to adjust his socks.  Seriously.

10:35 AM 6/23/2010
We are definitely getting our chances to score.  We should have at least 3 goals right now.

10:36 AM 6/23/2010
Just tap the ball in ffs.  Donovan just burned the keeper with a beautiful pass to Altidore who had a completely wide open net and be blasts it about 30 yards up over the goal.

10:45 AM 6/23/2010
The most exciting thing to happen to this game is about to happen….Halftime!  Smokes, coffee and bathroom break.

10:46 AM 6/23/2010

11:00 AM 6/23/2010
Ok, second half about to begin.  I pray that this half has more to keep me awake than the first.

11:08 AM 6/23/2010
Dempsey just get up and play.  You need to take lessons from hockey players.  Like Eric Belanger from the Capitals.  He lost half a dozen teeth in a shot to the mouth..left the game…got what was essentially a root canal on all of those teeth and returned in the third period.  Unless you are really hurt…get up and play the game.

11:14 AM 6/23/2010
How do you miss not just once, but twice on the same attack with wide open nets? First shot off the post, rebound and second (with a wide open net and the goalie down) up and over the crossbar. Way to go Dempsey.

11:15 AM 6/23/2010
Alergia is playing a lot in the US end of the field this half.  Not good.

11:19 AM 6/23/2010
A yellow card for Altidore for running next to the Algerian player that decided to turn on the theatrics.  Oscar worthy.

11:25 AM 6/23/2010
So many chances that the USA team just keep blowing.  Really do feel like this is going to end in a draw.  Which brings to mind the fact that these tournament games can end in a tie.  There is no way that should happen.  Again, I go back to hockey.  These games should be like Stanley Cup tournament games.  You play until someone wins.  No ties.

11:35 AM 6/23/2010
Another free kick for USA just outside the box…they are threatening to add some excitement to my morning.

11:36 AM 6/23/2010
With such a big goal, how do you kick it directly at the keeper who could have made the save with his eyes closed?

11:38 AM 6/23/2010
And Dempsey is down…yet again.  Ok, at least this time the Nancyboy is at least bleeding a little and not just playacting.

11:40 AM 6/23/2010
Ok, soccer players are the pussies of the sports world.

11:48 AM 6/23/2010
Are you shitting me?  Goal in extra time and the US will move on to the round of 16.  Wow, took over 90 minutes but finally some excitement.

11:50 AM 6/23/2010
Sucks to get that second yellow for arguing with the ref.  So long Yahia.

11:51 AM 6/23/2010
And it is over and USA gets the win.  I actually cheered a bit there at the end and I stayed awake throughtout the whole game.  On to the round of 16.

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Woke up early to beat the heat….

Last night I decided that I would get up early in the morning and try to get out and find a couple of caches in my local area before it was just too hot to do anything more than melt into a puddle.  If you know me at all you know that I am not exactly what you would call a “morning person” so getting up and motivated early is a feat all by itself.  But I did get up, pack the back and headed out the door before 7:30am this morning…so Yay me!

The first cache I went for was only about 3 or 4 blocks from my place.  It was hidden back in a complete cluster of thorns and other leg grabbing foliage.  I walked around the area for about 10 minutes just trying to decide which way to try and enter the man eating bushes.  Eventually I found a pretty easy way in to the cache.

Gnome is Where the Heart is Cache

Today was the first day of trying something a bit different.  Over the weekend I decided that I would bring along a little friend with me to help document my finds.  After a rough couple of years on an island of chaos…this guy just needed a break.  So he is gonna be hanging with me a bit this summer and making some new friends along the way:

Locke, on Walkabout and making friends.

Wow, I just noticed that Locke really looks like he is about to slit that little gnomes throat in that pic.  Definitely not intended. 🙂  i am keeping a photojournal of all his visits to different hatches this summer.  You can find that here.  So far, at least after one day of hitting a few caches…this has been fun.  Unfortunately I have a couple of the shakiest hands ever and a lot of my pics come out blurry.

After the first cache, I headed over to a shopping center in my area for a quick “cache n dash”.  This was the first nano-cache that I have found.  I couldn’t believe how small this was either.  Not much bigger than the eraser on the end of a pencil.  Luckily the GPS coordinates were pretty spot on and I just had to poke around a bit with my fingers until i felt the little magnetized cache.  Inside this tiny little nano-cache was a rolled up piece of, what looked like, ticker tape that was the log.  I had to completely unravel the paper to find a clean spot to sign.

Seriously tiny cache.

After logging the find I moved on to the next cache on my list that was supposed to be located off of a Park and Ride near my place.  The coordinates led me to a small wooded area towards the back of the parking lot.  Once I arrive there I started to duck behind a fence that seemed to be right in the general area that the GPS was sending me.  Unfortunately, on the other side of the fence, I didn’t find the cache.  Instead I found two homeless guys sprawled out amongst a bunch of trash snoring away.  I decided that I was going to let these guy continue sleeping and not try to climb over them to move in and grab the cache.  Think I will just head back for this one on another day.

So I headed back to the car and headed over to Hidden Pond to see if I could grab a cache I didn’t get to the last time I was there.  This cache was located on the far side of the park so I headed off on the trail into the trees to follow the GPS to the hidden treasure:

Trail to the "Ponder This" cache

The trail led me along the banks of a creek that made for a very enjoyable hike.  Along the way I almost walked right into a Blue Heron that was resting along the banks.  It flew up and sat on a tree branch staring at me just long enough to allow me to get my camera out of my pack….but not long enough to allow me to snap a shot.  But the walk along the creek was really nice.

Hiking along the creek

Still hiking along the creek

After following the directions and the hint from the Geocaching site we found the cache pretty easily.

Locke finds a new hatch

There is another example of my shaky hands on my sensitive camera getting a blurry shot.  So again…Yay me.

By now it was almost 10 am and I was getting hungry for a little breakfast and the temperature was already up around 90.  I decided to call it a day and head home for some breakfast and a shower.

Not a bad way to start the day

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World Cup of Boredom: Chile Wins…

….now lets go break some shit.  Nice going.  Way to go nuts and riot over a first round game folks.  Shouldn’t your first win in 48 years be celebrated in a less destructive way?   I wish I could beat some sense into you, as a whole, with a vuvuzela.  I would actually try if I wasn’t paralyzed with boredom over this entire world cup.  I could even wrap my mind around it if you all were rioting after your team won the actual Cup…but a first round game?  Really?  Better lock all your shit up and board up those windows down in Santiago just in case your team beats the Swiss.

I bet that had the riot been televised it would have been more interesting than anything that has been broadcast from South Africa over the last week….and would have been easier on the ears too.  I wonder how much of the stuff listed for sale here was obtained during the riot.

So far the only interesting thing to happen during these games were these chicks:

I salute you….you Dutch bastards.

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Geocaching Saturday Excursion: Burke Lake

Deb at Burke Lake

Welcome to Burke Lake

Last weekend, Deb and I woke up early and continued on our Geocaching adventure by heading out to Burke Lake.  Getting up and motivated before 8am on a Saturday is difficult for both of us so just accomplishing this was a feat for which to be proud.  We packed up the backpack with bottles of water, some breakfast bars, some trinkets to exchange in a cache or two, the camera and the GPS and jumped into the car.  Of course we had to make that stop at the Starbucks first to get our heads on straight before stepping one foot on the trails around the park.   Mmmmm…coffee.  So with a little caffeine in out system we were ready to start the day.

Starting the day

Getting ready to hit the trails

We arrived at the park a few minutes after 9am and it was already above 80° so we knew it was going to be a scorcher.   The weatherman was calling for temperatures in the upper 90s and late afternoon thunderstorms so we wanted to get here early and hopefully be on the road before the crappy weather kicked in.

Still being new to this sport we had a few issues finding our first cache.  The GPS was spinning us around in the tall trees and we walked back and forth around a small inlet a couple times trying to zero in on our goal.  We did eventually stumble on the object of our search after a bit of poking around every dead log and pile of sticks.  The GPS coordinates were a bit off from where we were supposed to be looking and the hint from the website didn’t help us at all…so we just kept looking until we found it.  There were a few “muggles” on the path nearby so we moved away from the cache’s hiding place to examine the cache and see what goodies were inside.   We picked through the toys and other trinkets and decided on taking a keychain and replacing it with a small Wolfman fingerpuppet that I picked up at a local Dollar store earlier in the week.  We signed the log and replaced the cache just as we found it and left our first find with a sense of accomplishment.

Pirate Deb finds her buried treasure

Part of what I am really loving about Geocaching is that sense of accomplishment when you find the object of your search.  Stumbling around in the woods without a purpose was a lot of fun when I was twelve but I am pretty sure it just wouldn’t have the same draw without that carrot out there on the end of the stick.  That little adrenaline rush you get, after several minutes of searching under every rock, is a great feeling.  It also is pretty cool seeing the beaming smile on Deb’s face when she is holding her “pirate’s booty” from the treasure we just unearthed.

After making our initial find we moved on to the next cache on the list.  The night before I had looked up the area around the lake and plotted our course from cache to cache so that we would constantly be heading in the same direction around the lake and not be doubling back over and over for the caches that we missed.


Things started out well too as we found our second and then third cache of the day with little problem.  But we then hit a string of a couple where we spent about 30-45 minutes searching the areas and not having anything to show for it.  That adrenaline rush from finding what you are looking for has its evil twin brother that sets upon you when you fail.  It is pretty frustrating when you are about 98% sure you are standing in the exact spot where the hidden container has to be but you just can’t find it.   Both Deb and I really hate giving up and we probably stay in these areas longer than we should have before sucking it up and moving on but it is just so hard to let it go.  It feels like the person that hid that damn tupperware container beat me and I am not the best loser in the world.   I hate failure.

But, as tough as it is to do, we do eventually give up on those fruitless searches and move on to the next on the list.  We kept moving on around the lake and every so often ducking off the path to search for our next little hidden gem.  There were a few times when we climbed out of the bushes and jumped back on the path when we received some startled glances from some joggers and bike riders.  Just gotta wonder what is going through their heads when two people climb out of the thick brambles and emerge on the path in front of them. especially when we are on the far side of the lake…the side that is not quite so traveled.

Deb signing the log

Deb signs a logbook

By sometime around 1pm we were starting to drag and the heat was really trying to drive us into the ground.  When we were in amongst the trees it wasn’t that bad but as soon as we emerged into the sun it was stifling.  We were both sucking down the last of our water when we realized that we were only about halfway around the lake.  We had made a bunch of finds but the weather was really starting to get to us.  I was completely drenched with sweat and Deb was starting to look terribly uncomfortable.  But there wasn’t much we could do but keep going…so that is what we did.

We did eventually make it all the way around Burke Lake and back to the car.  We were both sweaty, itchy and exhausted but pretty happy about our day at the lake.  We made a bunch of finds and placed our first travel bug along the way.  We are looking forward to tracking its progress over the summer and seeing all the places the bug travels.  And even as tired and footsore as we were….we spent a bit of the car ride home talking about where we would go next weekend.

I think we are both hooked.

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2010 FIFA World Cup of the Unwatchable

Half of the BK Soccer team '86

Before I get into this let me start off by saying that I grew up playing soccer.  From the moment I could play organized sports until I was out of high school I played the game.  I was even halfway decent at it.  When I lived in Germany I had a couple of really fun years playing the game.  My freshman year of high school we had a team that was so good we beat a team 20-3 (it should have been 20-2 but I actually scored a goal for the other team…that is another story altogether) and the only reason we didn’t win the European championships that year was because we all partied a bit too much the night before the final game of the tournament (I don’t think there was a player on our team that wasn’t hungover to the point of sickness when the game started).  And I was All Conference during my sophomore year where we weren’t quite as good but we had a lot of fun traveling around Germany for our games.

So I do have a lot of great memories of playing soccer and I will readily admit that playing the game is really a lot of fun.  But watching the game on TV is so dreadfully boring that I just can’t stand it.  Every four years I try to give the game another shot.  I get excited as the World Cup draws near and get ready to watch the game I grew up playing and trying so hard to get into it.  I just can’t do it.

There are several reasons why the game of soccer is just unwatchable for me.  First is the pace of the game which is just so incredibly slow.  Pretty much the entire game is spent passing the ball back and forth across this enormous field (If the field was about half the size I think the game would be so much more fun to watch) with the sporadic runs and attempts at scoring.  It always seems like the teams aren’t playing to win but instead are just playing to put me to sleep.  It just drives me crazy when a team gets down towards the other side’s box and then passes the ball all the way back beyond midfield to move the ball to the other side of the field to only drive down the field and start the process over again.  Snorefest.

The second issues is the scoring.  0-0 and 1-1 ties are just unacceptable to me as a sportsfan.  Score some freakin’ goals already.  The fact that teams can even be allowed to tie is just pointless to me.  This should be like playoff hockey and you just keep playing until everyone drops dead or someone scores.  There should always be a winner in every game.  Seeing a game end in a 0-0 tie just makes me feel like I have completely wasted 2 hours of my life watching this game when I could have been watching something more exciting…like WNBA basketball.

I have seen better acting in a Pauly Shore movie

The third issue I have with soccer is the amount of terrible acting that goes on during every game.  Watch the players…when they are out there it is like you are watching an old silent movie.  Every gesture is so exaggerated when they are complaining to the referee.  The soundtrack to all soccer games should be that cheesy piano music that you always hear playing when you see a silent film on TV.  And god forbid another player touches someone.  They are down on the ground writhing around like they have a compound fracture until either a.) the ref blows the whistle and issues a booking to the other player or b.) the player on the ground realizes that no whistle is going to be blown because it wasn’t actually a foul or his team has the advantage.  When either a or b happens the player that was just on the verge of a trip to the emergency room is back on his feet and right back into the action like nothing happened.  I really think that the player on the ground should either be penalized with a yellow card for his ridiculous acting or made to sit out to nurse his “injury” for a few minutes making his team play with a man down while he is sitting on the sideline.

The fourth reason I just can’t get into the games are the announcers that both ESPN and ABC are using during the games.  Seriously, we have no American announcers that are competent enough to be our play-by-play and color analysts for these games?  I spend half of the time watching trying to figure out what that guy is saying.  I know he is speaking english but I just can’t understand half of what these guys are saying.  I should just watch the games on Univision and be completely certain that I didn’t understand them as they are speaking Spanish.   Or maybe I should make this a game within the game and try to decipher what these guys are talking about….maybe then I would not be quite so bored out of my skull by the time halftime rolls around.

A Vuvuzela

The fifth reason is new to this World Cup:  Vuvuzelas.  The vuvuzela is the cheap plastic horn that has been around forever at sporting events in the States but is something of a tradition in South Africa.  From what I understand this horn will make the same sound no matter how hard you blow on it.  And these South Africans never stop blowing on them.  So no matter what is happening during the game the crowd always sounds exactly the same.  There is no roar of the crowd as a player is streaking towards the net…just more of the horns.  There is no singing like you would hear at pretty much every soccer game…just more horns.  From some of the reports I have read the sound in the stadiums from the horns is pretty much at a constant 144 decibels which is the equivalent of a passenger jet.  That is pretty crazy loud.

How I feel watching the World Cup

But it isn’t the volume of the stupid horns that drives me crazy because you can’t really tell how loud they are when you are watching on TV.  What drives me crazy is that it sounds like a swarm of bees is surrounding my head during the entire game.  I spent most of Saturday hiking around in the woods and the most annoying thing that happened to me during that time was when some little flying insect would buzz into my ear.  That sound and feeling when a bug is right there in your ear…the loud humming of the wings that makes you instantly thrash at your head to remove it….Yeah, that is pretty much the same feeling I get watching the World Cup.   Between the announcers that I can’t understand half the time and the constant buzzing of a swarm of bees around my head I have to watch the games with the sound muted just to be able to get through the game without downing half a bottle of Advil.

Every four years I try to give soccer another chance to make me even a casual fan….and every four years the game just drives me further and further away.  I honestly don’t know why this is the world’s game.  Why is this sport so popular everywhere?  Is it just because it is the least expensive sport to play and even the poorest kid in the poorest country on the planet can play and compete?  I just don’t get it.

Maybe one day someone will be able to explain it to me in a way that makes sense.  Until then I am just gonna be bored and turn off the games before halftime every four years.

When South Africans blow their Vuvuzelas.

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Karate Kid…did we really need a remake?

Done properly, none can defense!

Was there really a reason to remake this movie other than Will and Jada Smith wanting to have a way to showcase their son’s Jean-Claude Van Damme kicking skills?  The first movie was about as perfect in it’s cheesieness as it could get and I don’t believe there could even be any room for improvement.  I mean really, is there a person over the age of 30 that can hear the following line and not be able to pretty much quote the entire thing from memory?

Wax on, right hand. Wax off, left hand. Wax on, wax off. Breathe in through nose, out the mouth. Wax on, wax off. Don’t forget to breathe, very important.


Where is your javelin?

That first Karate Kid movie is such a classic.  The poor but charming outsider taking on the richer, meaner and cooler bullies and gaining a much needed father figure along the way.  Sure, Ponyboy had about as much athletic ability as my laptop.  And sure, Mr. Myagi was way believable taking on all those Kobra Kai skeletons at once without breaking his hip.  And sure, the biggest and baddest dojo in town..where they do not train to be merciful… has Lamar from Revenge of the Nerds as one of it’s students (which has always tripped me out a bit).  And sure, I wanted to kick Daniel-san’s ass about halfway through the movie for being a whiny little bitch…dude complained all the time and he was getting free karate lessons and a pretty bad ass ride out of the deal.  So you had to wax a few cars, paint a fence and a house and sand a freakin’ deck…buck up Mary…you got some cool shit out of the deal.  But all that aside…the movie is still a classic.

Jaden Smith

I pulled something just looking at this.

Seriously, weren’t the other 3 sequels bad enough.  One of those freakin’ movies had Hillary Swank as the Karate Kid for Christ’s sake.  Now we have the Midget Fresh Prince being the Karate Kid…in China?  And Jackie “Do you understand the words that are comin’ outta my mouf” Chan is Mr. Myagi?  Grrrrr…. China?  Shouldn’t that make this Kung-fu Kid at least?

And this Smith kid is only 11.  The original movie was all about beating the odds and getting the girl.  I really hope they don’t keep that with this movie…who wants to watch an 11 year old with a love interest?   I actually saw the kid on one of the morning shows today where they were talking about this movie being his first on-screen kiss.  Ewww. Besides Jesus Quintana (that creep can roll), does anyone else really want to see two 11 year olds making out?

Anyway… Since the movie is coming out today I thought I would share two Karate Kid themed videos.  First, one of my all time music videos that has pretty much the entire cast of the original movie in it…from No More Kings (If you haven’t seen this before…watch…if you have…watch it never gets old):

Just loved the ending on that one.

And finally this little preview of a mockumentary about Ralph Macchio being all grown up and unable to shake the nice guy image.  Some of the funniest stuff I have seen in quite a while.

***Edit…since this video is no longer hosted on Youtube, you can click the link in the VodPod widget to the left or you can just click here to go see the video on Funny or Die.

Soooo…Happy Karate Kid Day!   GET HIM A BODY BAG!

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Filed under Movies, Rant

Stephen Strasburg. Ok, so he did live up to the hype…



What a debut Stephen Strasburg had last night  in front of 40,000+ at Nationals Park.  I have to admit that I was a non-believer.  I really thought that with all the hype surrounding this kid and with his lightning quick tour of the minor leagues that he would be a disappointment last night.  I really thought that, even though he was facing the Pirates, he was going to get shelled.  Not much in this world actually does live up to its hype.

Strasburg has been the talk of the town lately and you really couldn’t talk to another sports fan without the subject of this young phenom coming up.  i promised myself that there was no way I was going to get invested in this guy before I saw him throw a single pitch to a player standing in a Major League batter’s box.  So over the last couple weeks I have been quite vocal to my friends and family about how I thought that Strasburg wouldn’t make it through 3 innings because the kid would be serving up beachballs that would be getting knocked all around the park.  The pressure and the nerves…there was no way that this 21 year old would be able to contain his emotions and get the ball over the plate with any consistency.  I was happy to be wrong.

The kid has an incredible arm.  The 4-seamer broke the three digit mark a couple times.   His breaking ball was buckling the knees of a few of the right handed hitters like they had never seen a curveball before.  And his offspeed pitch is just unfair when the hitter has just had his tower buzzed by the 97 mph cheese the pitch before.  I know I wouldn’t have wanted to be in the batter’s box facing this guy last night that is for sure.

14 Ks

14 Strikeouts

I started to become a believer at the end of the 2nd inning when 4 of the 6 recorded outs were already strikeouts.  I was definitely hooked and reeled in when he left the game with 14 strikeouts on 94 pitches (65 for strikes) after 7 innings.  The kid retired the last 10 straight batters and the last 7 were strikeouts.  Pretty amazing stuff right there.

To make it to “the show” is the dream of every little kid that has played little league baseball.  But to make it and set franchise records on your very first night in the league is beyond even the wild imaginings of those same kids.  He set a franchise record for strikeouts in a single game for the Nationals last night.  He was also just one off the MLB record for strikeouts by a pitcher in his debut and no one in the modern era has been close (the 15 strikeout record is held by two pitchers, Richard in ’71 and Spooner in ’54).

I think this kid is going to be something special for a very long time.  The only question I have rattling around in my brain is how long until he is playing for the Red Sox or Yankees?

photos by Mudflapdc

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Filed under Sports

An Afternoon of Finds, Frustration and Totally Unnecessary Fear

Hidden Pond

Hidden Pond

After the past weekend of 90+ degree days, thunderstorms and tornado warnings it was gorgeous today.  Too gorgeous to stay inside all day so I packed up a bag and headed out to a nearby park for some Geocaching.  I picked Hidden Pond today because there were just a few caches hidden around the park and because I hadn’t been there for over 10 years easily.

Hidden Pond is a pretty little park in Springfield, VA that has a pond (duh), some great little trails and a stream or two to follow along.  A great little park nestled in among all the suburban sprawl where you can spend an afternoon enjoying a fun little walk.  We used to go here all the time back in high school and I couldn’t help but think of the crazy stuff that used to go on back in that park when I was younger.

My purpose today was to hit up 3 of the caches in the park and then just bug out home.  I thought it would be relatively quick but, like with everything else in life, I hit a snag or two along the way.  The first snag came in the form of a deer crashing through the bushes and bounding in front of me.  The freakin’ thing landed about 5 feet in front of me on the path and scared the shit out of me.  Then the thing just stood behind a tree about 20 feet away and stared at me.  I stood there for a couple of seconds wondering if the thing was going to turn and attack.

Hidden Pond Deer

The Hellbeast

The first thing that came to mind was how embarrassing this was going to be if it did turn and attack.  First off, the dear was a doe and I was now acutely aware of the fact that I have zero knowledge of wildlife.  Are these seemingly docile creatures even known to attack anyone?  Shit, I just didn’t know.  I started thinking about all kinds of things…like how I didn’t tell anyone I was even coming out here today.  I also worried that if it did start bounding back toward me that I would turn and run…screaming like a little girl.  Should I just stand still?  Should I walk away?  Should I call out to it and see if it is friendly?  Yeah, all that was going through my mind in the span of about 2 seconds.

And the deer just stood there staring at me.

After just staring at each other for a couple more seconds I pulled out my camera and snapped a pic…maybe when someone found my body they could see the last thing I took a picture of and hunt that rabid Bambi down to exact vengeance.  As soon as the picture was snapped the deer bounded off deeper into the woods in a flash.  Apparently the sound of my camera was all it took to scare it off.

I am such a wuss.

But seriously, in my defense, I am a total indoor cat and nature freaks me out.

I know…i am just a wuss.

Turtles Sunbathing at Hidden Pond

After I stopped acting like a 7 year old girl I did actually get to those caches.  I only found 2 of the 3 I set out to find because the GPS was acting really squirrely.  It is really frustrating when you are pretty sure you are standing in the exact location of the cache and you still can’t find it.  It is even more frustrating when you look at the logs other people have posted on the website and the last person to find it…which just happened to be yesterday…was a mother and her 6 year old daughter.   As if the deer thing wasn’t enough of a blow to the ego.

But after searching the area over and over with no luck I just finally threw in the towel.  I hate to give up but I was getting no where fast.

Maybe, if I keep this up, I will get over my fear of the outdoors….but if you saw the way I flailed about when walking through that spiderweb today…that is probably just wishful thinking on my part.

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