Sunday, February 28, 2010

We're Back!!!

Our trip was great, pretty much from start to finish.

There was only one small hiccup on the way back with one of our carry on bags, but even that couldn't really make a dent in the overall awesomeness that was our third trip to Vegas.

We spent lots of time hanging out at a bar in the hotel this time, just people watching, which was amazing.

Lance Burton's show was spectacular. We also did the Tournament of Kings dinner show which was great.

Even though this was our third trip in less than 18 months, we still ended up doing a bunch of things that we hadn't done yet. The only thing that we've done twice now since we've been there are go up in the Eiffel Tower and go to the Shark Reef Aquarium in Mandalay Bay. I don't really count the Eiffel Tower as being done twice, because it's really just like going anywhere else in town...but the Aquarium is one attraction that we've been to twice now.

We went to Circus Circus and had a ton of fun in the Adventure Dome. We did a CSI Experience thing in MGM Grand. But most of all, this trip was a bit more relaxing. We spent more time hanging out in the room and at the bar.

What was really nice was the fact that we've gotten pictures of almost everything there is to get pictures of, so we weren't having to constantly stop and take pictures or video. It was nice to not have to worry about this.

I'm glad that I spent my bonus money on the trip. It was definitely fun, and I look forward to getting back out there. I love that town!!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010


...we head out to Vegas!!

My parents are coming down tomorrow to get the dogs and the cat, we'll be leaving the house around 8:30 AM. Our flight leaves Detroit at noon. We get to Vegas at about 1:30.

If we get there on time, we should end up being at the hotel by about 2:30, which should be just in time to check in and check out our room.

The Lance Burton show is Tuesday night. It's supposed to rain Monday so we'll probably be going to Circus Circus to hang out at the indoor amusement park.

Other than that, everything else is pretty much up in the air!!!

Should be a great time!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New Shoes!!!

I don't like to spend much money on shoes. I probably should, because they are probably pretty important to daily comfort and health, but I simply can't see spending money on shoes when the ones that I have still LOOK like they should be just fine.

So, I basically go years at a time without buying any shoes for myself. I currently have been wearing a pair of Converse since sometime in 2007. Yah, at least 2 years.

I also own a pair of Reeboks that have literally been worn twice. They don't really fit me very well. If I remember correctly, I only got them because they were like $5 when I bought my of those buy one get one type of sales.

I also own a pair of K-Swiss, but those I don't really wear at all, either. They are all white and I really like them, but they are a bit nicer than "daily" shoes, so I don't get to wear them.

Of course I have work shoes, but even those I tend to hold onto for way too the point that they are getting uncomfortable.

After all of this...I bought my first new pair of shoes in a good long while yesterday. Of course, I didn't spend much money on them. I got some Airwalk skateboard shoes from PayLess. They cost like $30. I really like the way they look, though, so I figure it's money well spent. They will probably replace my Converse as my daily wearing shoes. They are comfy and the type of shoe that will work with just about any outfit.

I may end up looking for another pair of them this spring to use when I'm land paddling this summer. But, for the time being, I think that my Converse might be heading for yard work duty...I don't really have very nice shoes for working in the lawn, and the Converse would be perfect for that!!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Olympic Hockey...

I just wanted to take a quick moment to mention that Olympic Hockey is much better to watch than NHL hockey.

The more wide open style of play flows so much better and makes for a more interesting product to watch.

It probably helps that Team USA is beating Switzerland right now 2-0...but even if that weren't so the fact that the game just seems smoother simply makes it better.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Olympic Update...

I've been watching closely, and so far it's been a pretty entertaining games.

As I watched Alexandre Bilodeau win the first gold medal for Canada in a Home Olympics, something dawned on me.

What I love about the Olympics so much is watching people cheer on athletes...not just their own home country athletes, but all of the athletes. Even as the crowd waited for the final score in the mogul even that Bilodeau was trying to win, they were still cheering for the competitor that was currently skiing.

It's refreshing to see people just cheering on athletes, instead of cheering on only their favorite athletes. It's refreshing to not hear any boos echoing from the crowd.

I'm Tired...

...of being slightly overweight, having stomach issues, and always being tired.

So I'm going to try and do something about it. It's time for me to start eating better. It's also time for me to start getting serious about getting some exercise going.

As for the eating part, here are my goals.

1. I want to drastically cut back (if not completely eliminate) soda. It's just empty calories and I've read that large amounts of high fructose corn syrup can contribute to stomach problems. The caffeine also contributes to stomach issues. So cutting back on soda should help me drastically with my stomach.

2. I want to cut back on junk food. Things like potato chips, candy, and other sweets. I'll be trying to replace those with some more healthy stuff. Fruits, granola type bars, and maybe even some vegetables like carrots or celery. These things will help me cut back on calorie intake and provide me with more vitamins and such than I am getting right now.

3. I want to really increase the amount of water that I drink. I currently don't drink nearly enough water. By increasing my water intake, I'm sure that will help with overall health all around.

As for the exercise part, I'm not really sure about that. I was doing really well on my land paddling last year until it started to get dark too early to do it. I will be doing that and some bicycle riding this spring, summer, and fall. I'm thinking that for the winter months (like right now) the exercise bicycle that sits in the basement would be the best bet. I just need to get around to actually doing it.

So, hopefully these goals will help me drop a few pounds and feel all around better. Hopefully I can stick with them.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Tragedy Before It Even Began...

Today an athlete died. Before he even got to perform at his sport's highest stage.

Nodar Kumaritashvili, a 21 year old from the country of Georgia died this morning during a training run for the luge, which has caused some to question the safety of the track that has been built.

Is it possible that we have gone too far with our attempts to "be better?" I know that Olympic venues are almost always built with new world records in mind. We build tracks faster, we build pools faster, we build ice rinks faster. We keep building things that are designed to break records because that's what we want to see. But at what expense??

Maybe this unfortunate tragedy will cause us to look around and realize that some things are more important than breaking another record. Some things are more important than going faster.

Let's just hope that this isn't a sign of things to come at these Games. The Olympics are supposed to be about happiness and success. About people living their dreams and competing at the highest level possible. Things like this aren't supposed to happen.

My thoughts go out to the family of Nodar Kumaritashvili.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


...10 days and counting.

In 10 days we'll be heading back to Vegas.

Should be a good time to go. It'll be in the 20s and 30s here...and in the 60s and 70s there. That sounds like a nice fair trade to me!!!


The snow that came on Tuesday fell for pretty much the entire day.

I got the snowblower out and used it late Tuesday afternoon. Then I got it out and used it again early Wednesday afternoon because it really looked like I hadn't done anything at all the day before.

When it was all said and done, we ended up with 8-9 inches on the ground, with drifts going up about twice that high in certain parts of the yard.

I'm actually kind of glad we only ended up with that much. Other parts of the country have gotten it much worse this winter than we have.

With that said...8-9 inches is still 8-9 inches MORE than what I actually want on the ground!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Great Commercial...

After all the stuff for the Super Bowl, I found this to be the absolute best commercial I've seen in quite a while. It was on USA last night while I was watching a movie.

I haven't been feeling very good at all, but despite that this commercial had me absolutely cracking up. Amazingly awesome.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Bittersweet Year of Sports...

Today I was off of work and waiting to go to a doctor's appointment.

I had been thinking about the past 365 days of sports and the teams that I follow regularly.

A majority of them had VERY successful seasons. But the catch?? They ALL came up just short of winning the ultimate goal.

I'll start with the one that happened the longest ago.

Michigan State's basketball team ended a magical run in the NCAA Tournament by facing the North Carolina Tarheels in the Final in Detroit, Michigan. It had been a wonderful season followed by an amazing tournament run. I really didn't expect them to make it to the Final. I knew that they could, but I didn't think that they would.

However, early on in the game it was fairly clear that the Tarheels and their "Pre-NBA" team was a bit too much for the Spartans. Michigan State ended up losing pretty badly. Second place is VERY respectable in NCAA hoops...but they were so close. Bittersweet.

Next up are the Detroit Red Wings.
The Wings worked to their second straight Stanley Cup Finals berth against the Pittsburgh Penguins by playing superb hockey in the playoffs. They took a 2-0 lead into Pittsburgh and came home with a 2-2 tie. No worries. They handled business in game 5 to take a 3-2 lead with two games to play. They followed that up with two poor efforts and ultimately lost the series in a lackluster performance in Game 7. Penguins win.

Again, second place isn't anything to be sorry about. There are 28 other teams that would have been happy to get a chance at the Cup. But for a team like the Red Wings, that's just not good enough. So close. Bittersweet.

Next up are the Colts.

The Colts are the football team that I have followed most closely for the better part of about 10 years now. I like Peyton Manning, and I like what the organization is all about.

However, last night they went into the second half of the Super Bowl leading 10-6...and managed to get crushed over the next 30 minutes by a score of 25-7, and ended up losing their second championship in 4 years by a final score of 31-17.

Basically, this game came down to two things. First off, the Colts played way too conservatively. Second off, they had the only turnover of the game at the worst possible time.

They were on their way to tying the game up at 24 when Manning threw a Pick Six that sealed the outcome.

So close...yet so far. Bittersweet.

BioShock 2...

In about 36 hours I will be picking up "BioShock 2" for my Xbox 360.

It's been one of those games that I've been waiting for quite literally since the moment I finished the first game.

I can't wait to begin exploring the halls of Rapture once again...this time as a Big Daddy!!! Should be awesome.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Undercover Boss

Tonight after the Super Bowl CBS debuted a brand new show..."Undercover Boss."

It's a reality show about executives of major companies who go undercover to work as one of the "regular" workers.

The series premier has the CEO of Waste Management, a $13 billion waste removal company, going undercover and doing the work that the people on the front line do. He works on a line picking trash off of a conveyor belt. He works picking up trash at the landfill. He works cleaning up outhouses. Basically, he does several jobs that the people he employs have to do everyday.

I am thoroughly enjoying this first episode of the show. It's been entertaining and it's cool to see some billionaire getting down and dirty. The best part is that the people that he's working with have no clue that he's the CEO of the company, so they treat him just like they would treat any other everyday worker. It's cool to see them interact with him in natural ways...not faking it to suck up to the boss.

I don't watch any TV at all on CBS...but this show might be the first thing that makes me tune in to this channel for anything other than sports.

Who Dat??

Well, if any team had to beat the Colts in the Super Bowl, I guess I can say that I'm happy it was the Saints.

I think the Colts playcalling was a bit too conservative, and it didn't match the playcalling by the Saints. But that's neither here nor there, because the game is over and done.

New Orleans Saints...2010 NFL Super Bowl Champions!!!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

It's Almost Time!!!

I have tomorrow off...which means that I'll be able to watch the Super Bowl without having to worry about getting off of work early, or setting it up to record, or any of that kind of stuff.

I had invited a co-worker to come watch it, but I don't think he's going to come. Alex also mentioned something about stopping by. Unfortunately, I'm not really feeling all that well, so I don't know. I may end up watching it just all by myself. I guess I'm glad that the other co-worker isn't going to end up showing up.

I'm kind of thinking right now that I'll just order a pizza or some chicken wings and sit at home and watch it by myself. That's how I've done most of my football watching this year, and I can't really think of a much better way of finishing off the season!!!

Blu-Ray Update...Up and Running!!!

Tonight we finally got the Blu-Ray player up and running. I should say that Cathy got it up and running.

My new cable from Amazon showed up and I plugged it in, and didn't get anything. I was trying to figure out if I needed some kind of special HDMI cable or something so I went to grab the manual for the player.

When I got back it was playing just fine. Cathy said that she came over to it and basically just touched the plug and it turned on. She's now claiming that she has "The Magic Touch."

Even without the 5.1 surround sound, I was still really impressed with the thing. The picture is absolutely stunning. 1080p images off of a Blu-Ray DVD make 720p images from the cable box look boring.

I watched the last 40 minutes or so of "District 9" simply to marvel at the picture.

I have long said that I didn't think an HD version of a DVD movie would be that much different than a standard one. I will gladly admit that I was wrong. get to work on getting that new soundbar...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Another Watch??

I have really enjoyed the watch that I got a couple of weeks ago from Amazon. I wear it almost everywhere except to work, and I like having it on.

With that said, I'm thinking about maybe getting one that I could wear to work. The Russian Diver is a bit large for something that I would want to wear at work. The other day I got an e-mail from Amazon telling me about the weekly Invicta Watch Deal.

It's got an ostrich leather strap and is a bit smaller than the Russian Diver, which would make it better for wearing to work. Less noticeable and more "watch-like."

It's also on sale this week for $60 from what I would gather would be about $120 as a normal selling price on Amazon, and a $200 price point in stores.

This is the watch right here...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Blu-Ray Update...

Tonight I hooked up the new Blu-Ray Disc player.

Well, I guess I should say I tried to hook up the Blu-Ray Disc player.

Let me start by saying that it seems like everything electronic that I touch lately ends up costing a ton more money than you would initially have thought. Updating the firmware on the router?? Ended up spending an extra $100 plus countless hours of time getting the computer back up and running. Get a free Xbox from my best friend to hook up in the basement?? Ended up spending $120 on cables and adapters to get it hooked up to the network in the house. Get a great deal on a Blu-Ray Disc player?? Spend another $60 on cables and accessories to hook it up.

So anyways...

I hooked it up tonight, only to find out that the HDMI cable I purchased at Target today doesn't work. So tomorrow I'll be taking that back and getting my money back. I'll order one from Amazon and pay for the overnight shipping...that will still end up costing $15 less than what I paid at Target.

Well, I ended up grabbing the HDMI cable from the cable box...I knew that one worked...and hooked the player up. Only to find out that my surround sound receiver is too old to support the audio that the Blu-Ray player produces.

Sure, it plays audio at menus and on older movies. It even plays the audio perfectly on a standard DVD. But on the two newer movies we purchased, the audio didn't play at all. Of course I was able to find a work around by just listening to the audio basically through the TV...but that isn't in 5.1 surround sound and isn't really taking advantage of the system that I have.

From quite a bit of research, it appears that I simply don't have the correct receiver for the job.

Which leaves me with one of two options.
1. Buy a new receiver to work with the Blu-Ray player.
2. Just deal with it in Pro Logic II instead of 5.1.

Right now I'm leaning towards just going with Pro Logic II. For my audio setup it's probably just fine and I won't really notice much of a difference.

It's just a bit disheartening to think you're going to have this awesome setup, only to find out that one of the key components doesn't really work with it. The only good thing is I THINK I'll be able to return pretty much all of the stuff I purchased to make it work with the system. I don't need either of the optical cables I bought, or the optical switch. I also don't need the broken HDMI cable. I'll probably end up returning all of it and just paying $10 for the new HDMI cable from Amazon. That will end up saving me $50 overall. Not too bad.

I'm actually thinking more and more that when I do eventually upgrade the receiver for the TV, I may just go with a nice soundbar. The rear speakers are such a pain to work with and they just don't really "fit" in the room that we have them in. The soundbar would be sleeker and a bit more minimalist...and I think it would look GREAT with the setup we have now. Plus...we could move the 5.1 setup we have now down into the basement with Cathy's Xbox down that she could have some awesome sound for her Netflix!!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Tax Update...


Both of our tax returns were accepted by their respective governments. The federal one was accepted about 24 hours after I submitted it, and the Michigan one took about 12 hours.

We should get our federal return back on February 12th. Our Michigan one?? I'm not really sure when that one will get back into my account.

I'm really hoping that both of them get there before we go to Las Vegas. That extra little bit of money would be great for the trip!!