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I’m back…

I’m back…

On March 18th, 1995, Michael Jordan sent the above fax in response to questions about his future career plans…it simply said, “I’m back.”

Jordan, who retired from the NBA in October of 1993, was playing minor league baseball for the Birmingham Barons in March of 1995 when he decided to quit baseball (somewhat due to the ongoing Major League Baseball strike) and make his return to the NBA. In MJ’s first game back (wearing number 45) he scored 19 points as the Bulls lost to the Indiana Pacers 103-96 (I can still remember racing home from the WIAA State Basketball Tournament to watch that game).

 

Jordan would lead Chicago to a 13-4 record over the final 17 games (highlighted by a game-winning shot against the Atlanta Hawks in just his fourth game back and a 55 point effort in the very next game against the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden) and helped the Bulls advance to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Orlando Magic.

Did you know…at the end of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Orlando’s Nick Anderson stripped Jordan from behind, leading to the game-winning basket for the Magic. Anderson would later comment that Jordan “didn’t look like the old Michael Jordan” and that “No. 45 doesn’t explode like No. 23 used to.” Jordan then returned to wearing his old number in Game 2, and scored 38 points in a Bulls win. The Bulls were fined $30,000 for the game…$25,000 for failing to report the impromptu number change to the NBA and $5,000 for Jordan wearing different shoes.

Orlando would go on to win that series in six games, despite MJ averaging 31 points per game. Losing that series only motivated Jordan and the Bulls, as Chicago would win the next three NBA Championships (their second three-peat of the decade). Jordan would retire again on January 13th, 1999…only to return on September 25, 2001 as a member of the Washington Wizards. Jordan’s final NBA game would come on April 16th, 2003 in Philadelphia.

On July 11th, 2014, LeBron James announced, via an essay he co-wrote with Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated, that he was modifying his own career plans…the essay was titled, “I’m coming home.”

James, who was a free agent in the summer of 2010, announced on a live ESPN special (The Decision) that he was taking his talents to South Beach and would become a member of the Miami Heat (I remember watching that “special” at Leff’s Lucky Town). LeBron joined fellow free agents Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade in Miami and they would become known as the “Big Three.”

 

In his first season with Miami, James led the Heat to the NBA Finals, only to lose to the Dallas Mavericks in six games. The following season, James led Miami to their second-ever championship and his first championship when they beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games. LeBron and the Heat would go on to win their second straight NBA title when they defeated the San Antonio Spurs in seven games the next year. In his final season in Miami, James led the Heat to the Finals again, only to lose the Spurs in five games. That would be LeBron’s last game in Miami, as he opted out of his contract with the Heat and announced his return to Cleveland.

In LeBron’s first season back with Cleveland, he led the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals (his fifth straight Finals appearance) where Cleveland lost to the Golden State Warriors in six games. James averaged 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 8.8 assists per game for the series, as Cleveland played without starters Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. Just months ago, down three games to one in the Finals to that same Warriors team, LeBron helped mount an epic comeback and lead Cleveland (Believeland) to the city’s first professional sports title in 52 years, as James became the first player in league history to lead both teams in all five statistical categories for a playoff round, as James was named the unanimous Finals MVP.

So with ALL that being said…on this day, August 1st, 2016, Clara and I would like to announce that WE will be coming back home. I know, not as exciting as the Jordan and James announcements of their return to their respective cities/teams, but exciting news for our friends and family back in Wisconsin (we hope). We also can’t guarantee any championships upon our return…but there is always hope (Go Pack Go)!

Last July, we moved out to California, and while our stay here has been fun (and ending shorter than expected), it is time to make the change (again). In California, we were able to experience many new opportunities and explore many new places, all while enjoying a pretty successful stay in the process.

We will miss being that much closer to Theune…as a 4+ hour car ride (as long as there is no traffic) definitely beats a 4+ hour flight (and all the airport fun that goes along with that). We enjoyed hanging out with Dave (we love L.A.) and having him come visit us this past year…and we will always have a spare bedroom waiting for him when he visits Wisconsin.

What we are going to miss the most about California will be our friends Grant and Megan, and their children, Tristan and Addie (they’ve grown so much over the past year)…and not to be forgotten, their dog Gilly (the best dog around). While it would have been nice to move to Napa and be even closer to them, that just wasn’t in the cards (and no, I’m not talking about Hand and Foot). I know that we won’t be able to hang out as much in the coming year(s), but the friendship that we forged over the past year, will only make the times that we do get together in the future, all the more special. Besides, December will be here before you know it (flight booked)!

Leaving California friends behind will be tough, but we definitely won’t miss all the traffic (more on that here) and the ridiculous cost of living in the Bay Area…especially in terms of housing (as the median home price in Livermore is only $700,000). Just look at all these new homes going up in Livermore…and they’re going up everywhere! We thought traffic was bad now…just wait! I’m glad we won’t have to experience that.

So, as we pack things up over the next two weeks, we look forward to our return to Wisconsin (I hope this is our last move ever). It will be nice to be close to family and friends once again. I’m already looking forward to hanging with friends at the Wisconsin vs LSU game at Lambeau Field on September 3rd. Go Badgers!

As for our Wisconsin plans, Clara and I are closing in on a home in Whitefish Bay (thank you Closing Time)…we will refer to it as the house that Gallo bought or the San Lorenzo House (and yes, the Rau’s are only 1.1 miles away and Draft & Vessel is only 0.9 miles away). As for our jobs, I accepted a teaching position at John Long Middle School in the Grafton School District (thanks Deering) and Clara will go back to working for herself and doing a lot of consulting work for different wineries (Gallo included). So in a year, it has pretty much come full circle for the two of us, and to quote LeBron James, we are ready to accept the challenge.

On August 12th or 13th…we will be coming home. With an ETA of…August 15th or 16th.

See you soon Wisconsin!

SOH 14…

SOH 14…

Another school year is officially in the books…Summer of Hand 14 is finally upon us!

The following clip (from one of my all-time favorite movies) pretty much sums up how most students AND teachers looked as they left school this afternoon around 12:45.

 

 

Of course, the inspiration for the Summer of Hand came from none other than…George Louis Costanza.

 

So, while reading a book (from beginning to end…in that order) and Frisbee golf sound like really great ideas…I’m off to L.A. (because I love L.A.) to see the one and only Dave Theune (I can’t wait to see his show)…we’re also gonna purchase Blink 182 tickets…top priority of this summer!

This is gonna be my time!

Long weekends…

Long weekends…

Some weekends are better than others…and long weekends are simply the best! This past weekend was one of the most fun times I have had yet, here in California.

On Saturday and Sunday we attended BottleRock in Napa…and it did not disappoint. Saturday’s highlights from BottleRock were clearly Death Cab For Cutie and Florence + the Machine. Death Cab was very solid, but Florence stole the evening. Her energy during the show was fabulous (while her outfit was interesting)…but she had the stamina of a distance runner with all of her running around on stage. It was one of the best shows I’ve seen in a very long time…I was impressed!

BottleRock Line-up

2016 BottleRock Line-up

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Death Cab For Cutie

Florence + the Machine

 

Sunday’s highlights from BottleRock were The Lumineers and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The Lumineers were very good, but the Chili Peppers were AMAZING! I can’t believe that was my first time seeing them live in concert. They had so much fun on stage and brought tons of energy (and I did lots of jumping)…I already can’t wait to go see them again.

 

The Lumineers

Red Hot Chili Peppers

 

Then something called GAME 7 happened on Monday…and I was there (thanks Grant)! What. An. Experience. Another sports bucket list item fulfilled. I wish all Monday’s were like that…and I wish the Bucks would be that good just once in my lifetime.

 

Steph Curry after his 3-point dagger late in the 4th quarter (it was pandemonium in the Oracle)

 

 

2016 Western Conference Champions

 

It was quite the weekend indeed…definitely the first taste of summer! And then reality hit today…70 minutes to get to work this morning (there were two accidents…it’s like everyone forgot how to drive over the weekend) and another 70 minutes plus on the way home…and not to mention 100 degree temperatures today as well. So while it said Tuesday, it still felt like a Monday. But the good thing is…the weekend is already only three days away…and we’ve got more things to go do and see!

RIP Nike+ FuelBand…

RIP Nike+ FuelBand…

After 4,710,354 NikeFuel points, my Nike+ FuelBand has finally stopped working. It was a rather impressive run (as I only had to replace my FuelBand once…compared to my wife replacing her’s about four times). I purchased my FuelBand back in February of 2012 through a special online release. This product seemed to be the perfect tool in tracking my physical activity each and every day (plus I’m a total nerd when comes to technology like this). At the time, it seemed like a can’t miss product that Nike and Apple had collaborated on…

 

 

But there were flaws…and they became evident soon after my wife purchased a FuelBand for herself a couple of months down the road. We noticed when the two of us would go for a walk or run together, at the conclusion, she would have almost twice as much NikeFuel as myself. We would go for 25-30 mile bike rides at a pretty good clip and still not come close to achieving our daily activity goals as had we walked or ran 2-4 miles instead. And the most obvious flaw, I would golf 18 holes and use a cart (so, basically minimal walking) and end up with WAY more NikeFuel than I ever had before on a given day.

And then last summer, this arrived in my inbox…

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You can read the full settlement here. And yes, I’m still waiting for that $25 gift card.

So now that my arm feels completely naked without my FuelBand (and not to mention a massive tan line), I had to move on and find a different fitness tracker (call me a sucker, but I love keeping track of this type of stuff). After a little bit of research, I settled on the Fitbit Blaze (bonus points as I can use it for our insurance plan to save on our premium). After just a few days of wearing it, I am already thoroughly impressed…as I’ve noticed a big difference between the Blaze and the FuelBand. Here’s hoping the Blaze lasts as long or longer than my FuelBand…time will tell, but you can bet, I’ll be tracking it!

 

 

Masters week…

Masters week…

Hello Friends (Jim Nantz voice)…

It’s finally here…the greatest week of golf on the PGA Tour calendar! But before we can get into all of that…we have Opening Day and the NCAA National Championship to distract us on Monday.

The Brewers…I think this clip from Major League will sum them up appropriately this year…

 

EXACTLY!

I’ll actually be surprised if the Brewers don’t get no-hit on Opening Day by Madison Bumgarner. As for my season prediction…69-93 seems pretty realistic. Milwaukee has only lost 100 games ONCE in the history of their franchise, and with so many other bad National League teams (Atlanta, Cincinnati, Colorado, and Philadelphia)…the Crew could actually push their win total into the 70’s…but of course, they are already dealing with injuries to their pitching staff. Here’s hoping they surprise us a little bit…because the football season is a LONG ways off.

The NCAA National Championship…while I predicted North Carolina to win it all…it looks like I will still finish just outside of the money in my pool. With that being said, I’ll probably pull for Villanova to win instead of a Roy Williams’ led North Carolina on Monday night. I don’t think I can stomach Williams winning another championship…especially with the NCAA currently investigating the Tar Heels. Villanova and Jay Wright are due…now go take care of business!

As for One Shining Moment…I’m glad someone came to their senses. This tournament has botched enough of their past traditions…don’t EVER mess this one up!

 

Side note…I really wish Wisconsin had won the National Championship last year (especially since I was at the game). And I must admit, it felt very strange watching the Final Four on Saturday without the Badgers in it. Here’s hoping they are back next year…and finish things off! Phoenix, anyone?!

The Masters…a tradition unlike any other…

 

I could listen to that theme song over and over…actually I did (and too many times to count)!

The 80th edition of The Masters starts on Wednesday (for TV viewing) with the Par 3 Contest and concludes on Sunday with the greatest back nine of golf…I already can’t wait to assume the position on my couch Sunday afternoon…and last year’s intro already has me super excited!

 

As for my winner…I’m going with Jason Day. Meanwhile, I’m going to waste away the rest of this day by watching the conclusion of the 1986 Masters…thanks Jack Nicklaus!

Now…I just need to find my way to The Masters one of these years…I really want to try a pimento cheese sandwich.

U.S.-AUGUSTA-GOLF-2013 MASTERS

 

Duck Fuke…

Duck Fuke…

I HATE DUKE!!!

Over the weekend, I was reminded (AGAIN) why I hate Duke so much. In this play, Grayson Allen CLEARLY travels, but no call from the officials (typical Duke). Shockingly, Duke fans were clamoring for a foul on the play…WHERE?! And Speaking of Allen, maybe he shouldn’t have been playing in Saturday’s game to begin with…as this is what he did in the previous game…looks pretty intentional to me (again, typical Duke)…even Jay Bilas, who went to Duke, AGREED!

My hatred for Duke began on March 30th, 1991…when Duke knocked off defending National Champion UNLV (who was undefeated at 34-0) in the 1991 NCAA National Semifinal. At that time, I loved the Runnin’ Rebels with Larry Johnson, Stacey Augmon, Greg Anthony, Anderson Hunt, and George Ackles. My hatred for Duke increased the following season…when Duke took down Kentucky in double overtime in the East Regional Final (f’ing Laettner) and went on to beat Michigan’s Fab Five (another team I absolutely loved with Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson) in the 1992 NCAA National Championship.

Some people say…I Hate Christian Laettner.

Well, I also hate…

Bobby Hurley, Grant Hill, Thomas Hill, Brian Davis, Cherokee Parks, Marty Clark, Chris Collins, Antonio Lang, Jeff Capel, Trajon Langdon, Erik Meek, Ricky Price, Steve Wojciechowski, Greg Newton, Chris Carrawell, Roshown McLeod, William Avery, Elton Brand, Shane Battier, Chris Burgess, Corey Maggette, Nate James, Jason Williams, Carlos Boozer, Mike Dunleavy, Chris Duhon, Dahntay Jones, Daniel Ewing, J.J. Redick, Shelden Williams, Shavlik Randolph, Luol Deng, Sean Dockery, DeMarcus Nelson, Josh McRoberts, Greg Paulus, Lee Melchionni, Jon Scheyer, Gerald Henderson, Brian Zoubek, Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith, Lance Thomas, Miles Plumlee, Mason Plumlee, Ryan Kelly, Seth Curry, Andre Dawkins, Kyrie Irving, Austin Rivers, Jabari Parker, Rodney Hood, and the entire 2014-15 team (Jahlil Okafor, Quinn Cook, Justise Winslow, Tyus Jones, Amile Jefferson, Matt Jones, Grayson Allen, Rasheed Sulaimon, Marshall Plumlee, Semi Ojeleye, Nick Pagliuca, and Sean Kelly)!

And welcome to the hate club…2015-16 members, Brandon Ingram, Luke Kennard, and Derryck Thornton.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t miss anyone…as how can you forget some of those douchebags. Also, I’m not bitter…I’m not jealous…I just hate Duke! I think this almost four-year old parody sums things up about Dook…I mean Duke.

Here's hoping we see this look again come tournament time.

Here’s hoping we see this look again come tournament time.

So yeah, FUCK DUKE!!!

 

UPDATE: This is a fun little game…

 

The Big Game…

The Big Game…

Super Bowl L (I mean 50), is SLOWLY creeping its way here. I say slowly, because living in the Bay Area has been constant Super Bowl coverage on just about every network for well over a week. Between the countdowns and the live shots from downtown San Francisco and Levi’s Stadium, I simply CANNOT take any more coverage of this game (and don’t get me started on this song). Even if the Packers were in the Super Bowl, it wouldn’t matter that much (okay, it would be slightly more tolerable)…because all the stories being told by these “reporters” are nothing new to the average sports fan…it’s all fluff!

With all that being said…I still would love to go to the game. I have never been to a Super Bowl or even lived so close to one…I feel that it is my duty to find a way into this game (as I may never have this opportunity again). So, with a budget of $500, I took to StubHub to find a single seat for the “big” game.

Absolutely…NO DICE! At last check…the lowest ticket price was…$3,000! Maybe it’s a good thing that the Packers didn’t make it to the Super Bowl. At that price, a Super Bowl ticket would have hurt the old pocket book…just a little bit.

Well, since I (obviously) can’t afford a ticket to the game…maybe I could check out a cool Super Bowl party…I’m sure that would be a lot of fun (maybe even more fun than the game itself).

Here is a list of ticket prices (according to StubHub) to Super Bowl parties being promoted (heavily) in the Bay Area:

  • Super Bowl Playboy Party with DJ Alesso ($875)
  • Maxim Super Bowl Party with A$AP Rocky and Lil Wayne ($1,080)
  • Leather and Laces Super Bowl Party ($825)
  • Rolling Stone Super Bowl Party with Avicii, Elle King, and Travis Scott ($800)

Priced out…again!

I did happen to find a couple Super Bowl parties in my price range though…

  • Live Taping of the 17th Annual Super Bowl Gospel Celebration ($100)
  • Ne-Yo and T.I. Super Bowl Friday ($130)
  • Sean Diddy Combs Friday Super Bowl 50 Party ($100)
  • Golden Anniversary Concert with 50 Cent and more Hosted by Chris Brown ($56)
  • Super Bowl 50 Launch Party featuring Travis Scott ($56)

Do I roll the dice on one of the above events…or should I save my money for the single most affordable Super Bowl 50 ticket on StubHub…

A PARKING PASS to Super Bowl 50 ($50)!

Nothing like a Sunday drive to Santa Clara (there will still be traffic) and abiding by these rules…TAILGATING WILL NOT BE ALLOWED IN  SUPER BOWL 50 PARKING LOTS. Are you kidding me?!

As for the game itself…sports are often (usually) against me. The teams that I want to win, usually don’t win (it’s actually quite painful). In this case, the Denver defense will probably make Cam Newton do things that he hasn’t done all season long (they did it to Tom Brady…so I’m a believer), and HGH neck (I mean Peyton Manning), will do just enough to allow himself to ride off into the sunset…a two-time Super Bowl champion. Just the thought of this makes me sick…and that’s why I’m (mentally) getting myself ready now. Sports are cruel, and yet, they are still the greatest reality show on television. Broncos 24, Panthers 20.

 

 

Who’s the band…

Who’s the band…

Last Thursday, at my wife’s urging (Happy Birthday!), we saw Josh Ritter perform at The Fillmore in San Francisco. Although I didn’t know any of Josh Ritter’s songs (not really my style) going into the evening…I must admit, I had a really great time at the show and enjoyed seeing a concert in a smaller venue like the Fillmore (capacity is only 1,150 people).

The Fillmore has TONS of history behind it, but one of the aspects that I found rather interesting (and that my wife pointed out) was that the Fillmore is also well known for its concert posters by artists. Copies of the night’s poster are given to fans free of charge as they exit shows (for some reason, I didn’t take a Josh Ritter poster on my way out of the show…and my wife let me hear all about it).

A collection of all these posters (thousands) is also on display in the auditorium today…we tried to view the collection after the show, but to no avail (this will be a must on our next trip). Other quirky traditions that are carried on at the Fillmore is a large tub of free apples for concert goers positioned near the entrance along with a greeter who welcomes each guest as they enter…Welcome to the Fillmore!

While waiting for Josh Ritter to go on stage, my mind started to race. The following picture that I captured reminded me of something…

Who's the band?

Who’s the band?

Back in the late 1990’s/early 2000’s, Miller Genuine Draft had a Blind Date promotion going on in which bands that typically played in large stadiums would now perform for small audiences in intimate club settings (Large Bands – Small Clubs – Big Mystery…was the slogan). These Blind Date promotions took place in cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago. While MGD ran an exhaustive slate of national TV, print, and radio ads, as well as tie-ins with bars and restaurants…I can’t for the life of me (or the Internet, which I find hard to believe) find any of these ads. But the quote…who’s the band?…I remember being all over radio and television (mainly because I wanted to be one of those lucky people).

On our drive home, I got to thinking (again, scary)…was the Fillmore used for this MGD Blind Date promotion? Well, look what I found here (this time, the Internet does win)…

The Foo Fighters!

The Foo Fighters!

Yes, the Foo Fighters (relative new comers at the time) performed at the Fillmore as part of the MGD Blind Date promotion…and of course, here’s the poster from that July 18th, 1997 evening (it was a Friday). That had to be one of the coolest moments in any concert goers overall music experience (the lucky few that actually saw it)…but, as always, there is someone that is tough to please…and in this case, a Dave Matthews fan strikes again!

Other MGD Blind Date gigs that I could find (through exhaustive research) included: Bush, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Creed (come on, really?!), David Bowie (RIP), Incubus, Third Eye Blind, and Stone Temple Pilots (also RIP).

Please, Miller Genuine Draft, bring this promotion back! And an MGD sounds like the beverage of choice this evening. Cheers!

 

 

Blind QB Resume…

Blind QB Resume…

It’s time for America’s favorite game…Blind Quarterback Resume! The following 8 quarterbacks will be competing in this weekend’s Wild Card games. See if you can figure out who each quarterback is…as the numbers are based off the 2nd half of the season (8 games).

 

              Cmp/Att         Cmp%          Yards         TD/Int        Rating

QB 1:     173/235          73.62            2,212          19/2            126.1

QB 2:     168/249          67.47            2,146          25/2            124.3

QB 3:     137/202          67.82            1,517          11/4             99.8

QB 4:     79/119            66.39             854             6/2              97.1

QB 5:     143/215          66.51            1,561           8/3              94.4

QB 6:     224/335          66.87            2,764          16/11           94.4

QB 7:     95/154            61.69            1,025           6/4              83.4

QB 8:     184/320          57.50            1,884          12/5             80.5

 

And the answers are….

 

 

 

QB 1 – Kirk Cousins (ranked 1st in the league over the final 8 games), QB 2 – Russell Wilson (ranked 2nd), QB 3 – Alex Smith (ranked 6th), QB 4 – A.J. McCarron (ranked 8th), QB 5 – Teddy Bridgewater (ranked 12th), QB 6 – Ben Roethlisberger (ranked 13th), QB 7 – Brian Hoyer (ranked 26th), and QB 8 is…Aaron Rodgers (the 27th ranked quarterback over the final eight games of the season).

And if you want to dig even deeper…Aaron Rodgers hasn’t had a quarterback rating in the 100’s since week 6 versus San Diego (107.7). But hey, according to Aaron…he’s still confident…and proud that they kept it together and didn’t create any distractions. Talk about cryptic…

Anyways, I would like to have the Sun back (as Steve “The Homer” True has dubbed Rodgers)…

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 4.55.52 PM

And also…THE REAL SUN!

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Winter in California has officially gotten old…

But as Puddy, I mean Mike McCarthy (follow @McPackersBot) would say…it’s time to showcase who the hell we are. So, please sunS…start showcasing! Because I need some Good Day Sunshine!

 

Christmas Vacation…

Christmas Vacation…

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is one of my all-time favorite movies! I cannot wait to sit down some day next week (I am off ALL week) and watch it over and over (traditionally Clara and I do this on Christmas Eve and Christmas, but we’ll see what Theune has in store for us).

Christmas Vacation is my go-to movie to get me in the Christmas spirit…and not to mention, all of the Christmas music I have been playing each day during PE (the kids love it, as they are super-hyper this time of year).

While there are SO MANY good scenes in Christmas Vacation…one of my favorites is the light scene. While I have seen many impressive light displays over the years in Wisconsin…none of them, can compare to the one we have here…right in Livermore, California. (On a side note, I’ve been equally impressed by many of the light displays in and around Livermore…people sure like their yard inflatables…they are everywhere!)

Deacon Dave’s Christmas Lights makes Clark Griswold’s light display look like the work of a child (even with the drumroll). When my dad mentioned something about a light display in Livermore that was on the news back in Wisconsin, I did a little bit of research and found out that Casa del Pomba – House of the Dove was located less than two miles from our place. So we followed the glow of the lights and let’s just say…

It. Did. Not. Disappoint.

Panoramic shot...it doesn't do justice how amazing it is.

Panoramic shot…it doesn’t do justice how amazing the display really is in person.

I can't even imagine have this house as a neighbor...CA blocks are a lot tighter than WI.

I can’t even imagine having this house as a neighbor…CA city blocks are a lot more compact than WI.

Year 33...where are the lights stored?

Year 33…where are all the lights stored?

Proposal 59 happened earlier in the evening.

Proposal 59 happened earlier in the evening, before we arrived.

Only 470,890 more lights than Clark Griswold!

Only 470,890 more twinkle lights than Clark Griswold!

Merry Christmas!!! #nofilter

Merry Christmas!!! #nofilter

 

Charlie Wills Award…

Charlie Wills Award…

Otherwise known as…the least favorite Badger. Going back to my college days, Wisconsin has always had a player on their roster (that played major minutes) that my friends and I really did not like. The first such player that my friends and I absolutely despised was none other than Charlie Wills (hence the award’s name).

Charlie Wills was the type of player that just didn’t look like he belonged playing college basketball (especially at the Division I level)…and Wills played during an era where Wisconsin basketball was just starting to make a name for itself. The early 2000’s were not like the 1980’s and 1990’s where Wills would have been just another guy on a really bad team. Charlie Wills actually played 19 freaking minutes in the Final Four as a sophomore (finishing with 2 points and 1 rebound). That fact…still amazes me to this day!

So, this year’s least favorite Badger is…Vitto Brown. So why is Vitto Bad (I mean Brown) this year’s selection? Case in point…during Wednesday night’s home loss to UWM (simply inexcusable), the 6-8 forward pulls down a rebound and decides to awkwardly (key word) dribble three quarters of the court with the basketball (there’s little over a minute left in the game, mind you), only to pick-up (you guessed it) a CHARGE! Not smart, and just one, of many reasons (Vitto was also 1 for 9 from the field vs UWM) why Brown is the recipient of this year’s Charlie Wills Award…and a heavy favorite to repeat next year (he wouldn’t be the first).

Here is a look back at past winners of the Charlie Wills Award during the Bo Ryan era…

2015-16: Vitto Brown
2014-15: Traevon Jackson
2013-14: Traevon Jackson
2012-13: Ryan Evans
2011-12: Ryan Evans
2010-11: Tim Jarmusz
2009-10: Tim Jarmusz
2008-09: Jordan Taylor
2007-08: Greg Stiemsma
2006-07: Jason Chappell
2005-06: Jason Chappell
2004-05: Andreas Helmigk
2003-04: Dave Mader
2002-03: Dave Mader
2001-02: Charlie Wills

As you can see, there have been many repeat winners, and only two players…Jordan Taylor (who later became a 2nd team All-American) and Greg Stiemsma (who is currently in his fourth year in the NBA) were able to recover from winning the Wills Award. Today, Charlie is doing just fine, and the good news for Vitto…at least he can sing.

Go Badgers! #BeatMarquette

Must See TV…

Must See TV…

Tonight is the 2015 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, airing on CBS. This show is quite possibly CBS’s finest hour of programming all year long…outside of sports, of course. I look forward to this show every-single-year…and I won’t even attempt to describe what this show is really all about…because there are simply – no words!

In the meantime…take a moment and browse the list of all-time Victoria’s Secret models and try to pick out your top 3 (I dare you)…it’s not that easy.

My top 3 are as follows…

#3.

Heidi Klum

Heidi Klum

#2.

Gisele Bunchen...otherwise known as Mrs. Brady.

Gisele Bundchen (Mrs. Tom Brady)

#1.

Marisa Miller

Marisa Miller

I guess you can call me a little old school. Well, enjoy tonight’s show…and don’t forget to set your DVR!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank You…

Thank You…

I’m often asked, where do you come up with the material for your blog? Most days, it comes to me rather easy…and today, it came to me even easier than most. Today’s post is simply…THANK YOU! No rant about the Green Bay Packers struggles, the silliness of the College Football Playoff rankings, or the legalities of FanDuel and DraftKings is that important today. Today is about thanking ALL who have and will continue to fight for, protect, and sacrifice for our freedom. While I won’t be able to attend the usual Veterans Day program like in past school years (there is no school in California today), I will make the most of this beautiful California day…hitting some golf balls and logging some miles on my bicycle. Thank you Veterans…for making this possible!

More…the SC Featured: Going Home says it the best…kudos ESPN!

Who’s gonna win it…

Who’s gonna win it…

The Bucks! The Bucks! I am SO excited for the 2015-16 Milwaukee Bucks basketball season. Although I am always excited about Bucks basketball, this is probably the most excitement I have had since that 2000-01 season (and we all know that the Eastern Conference Finals were fixed that year). I really wish I could attend tonight’s season opener in person (Pat, I want a towel). It feels like yesterday that I attended last season’s home opener on Halloween night…the energy that night in the BC was amazing! The bars afterward in MKE…let’s just say never go as Jordy Nelson for Halloween.

Here are a few things that I am looking forward to this Bucks season…

  • New uniforms (it was about time…the Christmas colors had grown stale)…plus alternate black uniforms (I would liked to have seen throwback uniforms of some kind, but maybe in time…the new owners seem to know what they’re doing).
  • New court design (while I liked the last design, the new design is even better and fresher)…plus the NBA’s first alternate court to be used during the four alternate jersey dates. Very cool idea!
  • New players…Greg Monroe, Greivis Vasquez, Chris Copeland, and the Rook…Rashad Vaughn (I can’t wait to see these four in action).
  • New announcers…GUS (need I say more) and Marques Johnson. While I wish Paschke and McGlocklin were completely out of the picture…this is a good start (at least Moncrief is gone).
  • New arena…while a shovel hasn’t hit the ground yet and it likely won’t be ready until the 2018-19 season…this is definitely something to look forward to. Hopefully the Bucks will be at their peak when the new arena opens.

I am really going to miss attending Bucks games this year (remember, I saw 26 games (it really was amazing) during the worst season in franchise history in 2013-14…and I saw 9 of the 15 overall wins). I will now have to wait until December 18th to check out the Bucks in person. On that date, the Bucks travel to Oakland to take on the World Champion, Golden State Warriors (a team I won’t mind being forced to watch in the Bay Area…they are so fun to watch). Also, if things work out, I would like to head to Sacramento in February to see the Bucks take on the Kings. And hopefully, the Bucks will live up to expectations, and I will be able to take in a couple of key games in March when I am back in Wisconsin for…Spring Break. Either way, I’ll be watching the Bucks all season long thanks to the Fox Sports GO app…it will be my lifesaver (special shoutout to my parents for letting me steal their TWC password).

Obviously with this new season, there are new expectations. The Bucks will not sneak up on anyone this season…they will be the hunted at times. With that being said, I am predicting a 4-6 seed in the Eastern Conference (44-48 wins) and the Bucks WILL win a playoff series for the first time since 2001. I still believe the Bucks are a season or two (maybe three) away from really contending in the East. Remember, the Bucks are still Green and Growing!

So…#FearTheDeer and #OwnTheFuture

As for my NBA Finals prediction (I know you all care)…I am going to go out on a limb and predict Cleveland over Golden State. Come on LeBron, do it for Cleveland…end the championship drought for the city of Cleveland (50+ years has been long enough).

Missing education…

Missing education…

After 13+ plus years of teaching, I came across two situations today that I never learned about back at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. One would think, having spent SIX YEARS of my life at UW-0, I would have learned everything there is to know about teaching. Well, think again…

Situation #1

Politically…things are not going so well in the district that I am currently teaching in. The teachers union (yes, California still has teachers unions) has just declared an impasse. From what I’ve read…bargaining began in earnest last March. Since May, the district has made NO improvements on issues such as salaries, benefits, or class sizes. So today, before school, we had an informational picket just off the school grounds. Next Tuesday, there will be a community rally to show support for the teachers when the school board meets (some kind of fireworks are expected). Hopefully, some progress will be made in the near future because the word STRIKE (yikes!) has been thrown around rather loosely. This type of situation was never discussed while I sat in classes in Clow, Halsey, or Nursing/Education.

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My picket sign I held in support of my fellow teachers. Festive…or a little CG?

Situation #2

Today was the Great California ShakeOut. Yes, we had earthquake drill practice. Drop! Cover! Hold On! More than 10 million Californians (is that a word?) participated…event organizers said it was the largest earthquake drill ever this morning (can I put this on my resume?). The Great California ShakeOut was held at 10:15 AM, as people throughout the state participated in simultaneous earthquake drills…practicing safety and learning ways to prepare in the event of a major earthquake. Thankfully, my class already meets outside (as Mike McCarthy would say…pawsitive) so we didn’t have much to do. While I have yet to feel an actual earthquake here in California…I don’t need my first to be like this. Again, Oshkosh, did you expect all of us to teach in just Wisconsin?

Just like Florence + The Machine...Shake It Out¡

Just like Florence + The Machine…Shake It Out¡

It’s a good thing I have off tomorrow, because after today’s unique events, I’m gonna need the extra day to recover. And Oshkosh, I want some of my money back…NO ONE mentioned strikes or earthquakes during those six glorious years…but if you’re looking for a guest speaker, I think I could help you out (for the right price, of course).

U-W-O! U-W-O! U-W-O! (hey, it’s Homecoming week).

Field of dreams…

Field of dreams…

If you remember this post, you will remember my love for grass. In California, there is absolutely no such grass like that…unless you are at a very high end golf course or a professional sports organization’s stadium…and even they – Levi’s Stadium in particular (host of Super Bowl L) – has had there own grass issues.

So imagine teaching PE in this “great state of California” without the use of a gymnasium (it’s like asking a classroom teacher to teach without desks or chairs for their students…good luck!”), AND without adequate green space (weed grass doesn’t count). Let’s just say, this PE teaching experience is turning into quite the sh_t show! No, I’m serious…and I have the pictures to prove it.

Sh_t happens...the geese have taken over!

Sh_t happens…the geese have taken over the weed grass field!

Just the type of grass you want kids playing around on.

Just the type of “play area” you want younger children playing on…if I had a dollar every time I heard the word “poop.”

Geese don't discriminate...they even managed to hit most of the blacktop area.

Geese don’t discriminate…they even managed to bomb most of the blacktop area.

While I tried to put on my best face for this colossal sh_t show, I just couldn’t help but feel that these are NOT appropriate teaching conditions (I said something to my princiPAL…he was going to mention something to grounds, but I’m not expecting a quick fix anytime soon). Whenever grounds has come by to take “care” of the weed grass, it usually takes the guy almost 2 hours to mow (and dust bomb the rest of us)…a job that could easily be done in 30 minutes.

Oh, and did I mention the amount of garbage that is usually left on the “prickly, sh_tty, weed grass” field…

A outdoor garbage can would be nice on the school grounds.

An outdoor garbage can would be nice to have (somewhere) on the school grounds.

And yes, Heineken is served after hours here…

Top shelf in San Lorenzo.

Top shelf in the San Lorenzo area.

So, you can imagine how excited I am to be putting in my first FULL week…yes, five days straight of teaching (maybe I need to schedule another trip back to Wisconsin). I’m sure it is going to be a fantastic week…especially after my K-2 SPARK training on Friday¡ Thankfully, there is no rain in the forecast this week (that blog post will be coming soon…especially with the talk of El Niño this winter…and no gym space).

On the bright side, I will be able to proudly wear the Green & Gold all week long…suck it Niners fans!

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Guys Weekend 12…

Guys Weekend 12…

Was a major SUCCESS (dare I say it was the best ever, but then again…I’m biased)! Thank you to all my friends and family for helping me pull off the greatest Wisconsin football weekend (plus golf!). This was the first time in my life that I was able to attend a Badgers and Packers game on the same weekend (the Monday night game really helped with this…Sunday would have been tough AND rough). It just won’t be the same watching the Badgers and Packers from afar for the rest of the football season…so I’ll just keep that February 7th date open here in California for all you Packer fans (book now!).

Here’s a quick recap of the Badgers and Packers games and festivities.

Saturday…We golfed at Ironwood thanks to Greg’s connections…I shot your everyday 50 on the front nine and 39 (best ever) on the back nine (by the way Greg, I’m not sure we did all SIX shots for your birdies that day). Drove to Madison for lunch/dinner (linner?) at Blue Moon. Pregame CaptainS at Bucks(inghams)…no lip gloss (I’m disappointed)! Regent Street Liquor (hopefully someday Camp Randall will sell beer and this stop won’t be necessary). Jump Around! Badgers win 28-0 (thanks again for the seats Mike)! Postgame celebrations at Mondays (really?) and Whiskey Jacks. And who could forget, Greg’s $98 Uber to McDonalds (why did La Bambas have to be closed).

Monday…Tailgated on Potts Avenue (otherwise known as Puddy Pass…I mean McCarthy Way) in the rain (Brian Gotter really blew that forecast…and twice he tried to crash our weekend). Outdoor club seats on the 50-yard line (thanks again Greg). Halftime on the rooftop. Unfortunately, we couldn’t celebrate the Packers win (38-28) due to work and flights the next day…but Ryan did crack the code (no more waiting in traffic after Packer games…we’ve found the secret route).

Go Pack Go!

Go Pack Go!

Best seat in the house

Best seat in the house

Again, just a tremendous weekend…I got to see family and friends and I was able enjoy all the things I miss most about Wisconsin. Thank you all for making this happen and we’ll see everyone again in 2016…unless any of you are planning any trips out West (come on, you know you want to).

Okay California, the ball is now in your court. What do you got?

 

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y…

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y…

NIGHT! Camp Randall. Guys Weekend 12. The first night game since Utah State in 2012 (#unbielemable). I wish there was more on the line (really, Hawaii?)…like this memorable game versus #1 Ohio State in 2010…possibly the earliest we have ever been into a Badger game (we just knew Ohio State was going down that night). Either way, I can’t wait to see the Badgers under the lights, a little Jump Around, and then a whole lot of State Street. Throw in the Packers game (thanks Greg) on Monday night and it is a gonna be the most epic Wisconsin sports weekend. I can’t wait to take it all in! I’ve got goosebumps.

On Wisconsin!

Go Pack Go!

These boots are made for walkin’…

These boots are made for walkin’…

It’s bad enough that the Wisconsin Badgers will open the season against the Alabama Crimson Tide (Roll Tide¡) in the Advocare Classic at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (the house that Jerrah built…the 8th wonder of the world¡). Throw in having to start Joel Stave (really…no one else is better?!) at quarterback with an unproven line in front of him (also see below), and the lack of a serviceable wide receiver (Alex Erickson is okay, I guess…but a no. 1?) or tight end, and having no proven backup to Corey Clement at running back (the backup was a reserve CB at this time last year)…and you have a recipe for disaster (big time)! How is the spread only 10.5 (seriously)?!

Well…things are only getting worse for new head coach Paul Chryst. The Badgers are only two weeks into practice and the injuries are starting to pile up (and a scrimmage is set for this Saturday). The following players (17!) are injured and/or have missed practice in the last couple of days (in no particular order):

Jacob Maxwell (shoulder), Jon Dietzen (ankle…also nice hair¡), Hayden Biegel (head), Beau Benzschawel (knee), Arthur Goldberg (foot), Zack Baun (head…saw in T&F what a stud athlete he is), Austin Ramesh (hamstring), TJ Edwards (shoulder), Leon Jacobs (toe), Jeremy Patterson (knee), Jake Keefer (hip), Arrington Farrar (mono), Eric Steffes (back), Jason Erdmann (ankle), Caleb Kinlaw (groin), Jake Whalen (knee), and Ty DeForest (abdominal).

That is quite the lengthy list! Some of these players are starters or potential starters and need the valuable reps in practice. Others are backups, that will likely be needed at some point and/or are contributors on special teams. With all the injures, one has to wonder what it going on in terms of conditioning at Madison?! Granted, injures are a part of football and some injuries just can’t be avoided, but it is very disconcerting at this point of the preseason (16 days until the Alabama game). Hopefully, most injuries are just minor and the Badgers will be as close to full strength as possible September 5th against the Crimson Tide…because they are going to need every possible body to win that game…or to keep it within three touchdowns (because there is no longer a Melvin Gordon around to bail this team out).

On Wisconsin

It was Nuts…

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The Modesto Nuts!

Well, I survived my first trip to Modesto (The Death Star…yes, George Lucas is from there)…barely. Let’s just put it this way, if Clara had made us live in Modesto…I’d already be back living in Wisconsin (and I’m being dead serious). I’d compare Modesto to a Wisconsin city, but I don’t want to offend any cities there (just think of your least favorite city in Wisconsin and times that by 10, and you’ll have Modesto). When one of your most popular bars is in a strip mall…you know you have problems (major problems). Thankfully, the Modesto Nuts game was fun (very similiar to a Lakeshore Chinooks game, but with less people). It was also Barefoot Tasting Night at the game (very refreshing¡)…I guess that was probably why we got free tickets (plus almost half of the entire crowd were Gallo employees…we also could have gotten a free Nuts hat). We even spent the night in Modesto at the Best Western Palm Court Inn…nothing like staying in a motel (Pitbull wasn’t there). Today, I got the much anticipated E&J Gallo tour (nothing like getting a tour from a recent college graduate). It was nice, but nothing too amazing (the history and production were impressive though…more of that please). I guess you could say, been there done that (when you’ve been on as many brewery tours as I have…you become desensitized to it all). Well, I survived, and safe to say, I probably won’t be going be back to Modesto anytime soon…maybe a Nuts game (I guess).

More: Special shout-out to our little buddy, Ari. Five years ago today (time flies), we went to the Wisconsin Humane Society just to look for a cat…and lo and behold, we came home with Ari. It’s been a blast having Ari in our family the last five years…he has definitely changed our lives (Ari has no trouble waking us up super early every morning…he’s like a kid), and more impressively he made it to California no problem at all (where he is living the life in our fenced in yard). Ari, enjoy an extra scoop of food on us tonight…hopefully the food coma will help you sleep an extra hour or two.

Ari's (or Moo Moo's) adoption photo.

Ari’s (or Moo Moo’s) adoption photo.

Even more: Tomorrow we are making the trek to Russian River Brewing Company. There are no words that I can use to give this place the proper recognition it deserves. So, let’s just put it this way…it is going to be AWESOME! (I got the cooler all ready).