Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Beer Review: Bell's Expedition Stout

Well I've had this one sitting around for a few weeks and decided it was a good night for it. Luckily, this big-bold stout ages well. Now the style of this one is a Russian Imperial Stout, which means it will have a much higher alcohol content, and have a lot more intense flavors than a normal stout. This guy has an ABV of 10.5%, so it's a slow sipper. Go time-

A- Rich and velvety briney black pour. This one definitly looks like old, old motor oil! A luscious brown head of foam rises to about 3/4 of an inch and holds...slooowly falls. Looks really creamy as well, like a chocolate dessert in a glass.

S- The nose on this beer is amazing. Deep smells of roasted cocoa beans, real chocolate, roasted almonds and malts. The smell is really pleasant and makes you want to start drinking it right away.

T- Wow, this is one big beer. On the front of the sip there is are a lot of rich flavors flowing around. Molasses, cocoa, dark chocolate. Then some of the roastiness comes through...roasted malts, dark breadiness...do I taste roasted almonds? A second sit reveals more complexity. Bourbon-soaked raisins come to mind. Be noted, don't serve this beer super cold. You need about 45-50 degrees, and let it warm just slightly as you drink it. That will pull out all of the flavors this one has to offer.

M- Well, it's a russian imperial stout. We've got a thick velvety texture. It's so smooth and mouth-coating you really think you're drinking some kind of a dessert! Excellent!

D- Well, all aspects of this one are perfect to me. You certainly need to slowly savor this beer, to do otherwise would be committing a crime against the beer! All you need is one over a nice period of time and you'll feel that 10.5% ABV. Be sure to mix in water as you drink.

Drink safe, drink smart, and as always respect the beer!

Beer Review: Bell's Rye Stout

Beer review time!

This is my first beer review on the blog, and I thought I should share it with you. I am a craft beer enthusiest and I enjoy sampling and discovering the thousands of kinds of beers out there.
For more information, refer to www.BeerAdvocate.com!

I have never had the chance to try Bell's Rye Stout before and I saw some at my local, so I grabbed a single to sample.

Appearance: Pours a simple, inky black. Definitly mysterious, with only the slightest hint of color coming in the very edges. No head, only a thin layer of foam that dissipates quickly. No lacing left down the glass.

Smell: Roasted barley and dark malts hit the nose immediatly. Dark cocoa notes waft in and out throughout. I can detect a toasted breadiness, that must be the rye talking to me!

Taste: Immediatly dark bread (pumpernickel???) and rye hit the palet. Noticable, but not super strong. Despite the bite the rye imparts, the beer is balanced quite well and tastes like a good American stout should. Nothing is too overpoweringly sweet and cloying, which is nice with a stout. Balance is key kids!

Mouthfeel: High quality, full bodied and mouth-coating. Again, it's not too cloying, but rather it's balance let's you know you're not drinking a cheap product.

Drinkability: Wonderful, I could have several of these over the course of a night. Only 6.7%, so it's a rather weak stout on the alcohol meter.

For future reference, when I review a beer, I'm going to use the letters A, S, T, M and D for:

This is for efficiency so there's your heads up.
Folks, there's a whole world of beer out there outside of Bud, Miller and Coors. Do your research and then start exploring. No sense in wasting your money on the big boys, so get the good stuff and support your local brewer and economy!

Number 40, celebrated with natural Vitamin D

So this is my 40th post on here, but it doesn't seem like much for having had this blog for several months now though. However, we all need to start somewhere, right?

So how do we celebrate? Well mother nature has decided to give me a hand in this department for the occassion. For the first time in quite a while we have clear, sunny skies here in West Michigan. As anyone who lives here knows we are one of the cloudiest states in the country, thanks in part to the convection from Lake Michigan. In the winter this is magnified due to the lake effect, which we've been under the past week.

When people talk about SAD (Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder? I might have it wrong) it can be directly related to things such as the amount of gloomy weather vs. sun. Sun provides highly needed natural vitamin D, and can provide a great mental lift. Someone prone to depression probably would not fare to well in a really cold-weather climate due to cabin fever.

When the sun comes out in winter in West Michigan I guess we tend to appreciate it a bit more than folks in a place like Colorado or Southern California.

Okay, enough with meteorologist Pete. It's already 3:15 in the afternoon, and I honestly do not know where the day goes! I'm outta here peoples.

Behave yourselves!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Monday, Monday

Morning Internet Dwellers!

I officially suck at updating this thing when I say I'm going to. I know I've said that before.

Well last night I headed out to Bdubs on Alpine to meet some friends for dinner. Good times had by all, and I got to see a friend for the last time until this summer most likely, as she's heading back to North Carolina.

Well, Christmas night my buddy Eric and his girlfriend Falon got engaged. I'm really happy for him, as he's absolutely and madly in love with her and they've been dating just over three years now. Now my buddy Eric is quite the popular and in-demand kind of person, see he's got a butt-load of friends and knows pretty much everybody. So, it came as quite the surprise and honor for him (well, his GF because he couldn't choke the words out) to ask me to stand up for them in their coming wedding next summer!

I've been friend with the guy for several years now, and he's had closer friends than me for a lot longer. Hence, my surprise. I don't really know if it's just that he's short on people to ask for groomsmen, or he actually considers me a close friend. I'm not sure what major or minor impact I've on him or Falon if any, but either way I'm more than happy to be there for them.

Well we're now onto Monday #2 of Christmas break, and man it's going by fast. By this point I'm feeling rather slackerish, and lacking any contribution to the world. I guess I should really just enjoy the next week as I don't know if I will ever get the chance to have this much time off work on the holidays again. I'll say this, I've royally screwed up my body clock this past week already! Staying up till 1am, sleeping in until 10am. I had it so I was getting up at 6 with or without an alarm, and going to bed at 1o. So much for that parade.

So, the Lions. Or Snoil's as some call them. People really pay money to this organization? Two wins is not progress over the only winless season in NFL history. Two wins to me means that you're still mired in the swamp management and coaching has put you in for over a decade. I'll cheer for the Packers thank you very much, and no, I'm not "hating" on my native Michigan. I just don't understand why you would support an organization that takes people's hard earned money and then doesn't give them a quality team in return...especially in THIS state!! I'm a very die-hard Red Wings and Tigers fan, but skip the Lions until they get better from top to bottom. I despise the NBA, so I don't even know if the Pistons still exist, lol.

So what to do today? I've already been out taking care of issues, but I don't want to sit around the house all day. My body is sore from working out yesterday, so I'm taking a day off from it today. I really ought to clean and organize...I think Ill probably head out to some stores and window-shop later. Who knows...again why I'm feeling slackerish!

Peace out Kiddo's.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Happy Sunday!

I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday weekend.

I am now fully in the vacation mode, sleeping in thoroughly everyday since last weekend. With one week to go in my vacation, and only 4.5 days to go until the new year, I thought I ought to get in here and throw something on.

I've seriously taken a mental vacation over the last 10 days, and getting back on track a week from now will be a monumental feat!

Not 100% sure what my New Years Eve plans are yet, but they might involve going out of town, I hope.

I'll try to get back on here later tonight when I get some brighter ideas.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Life: In Fast Forward

WOWZER. Sorry for the capslock but I feel it necessary. Lately I've felt life being a dragrace that keeps speeding up. Wasn't it just Friday the last time I posted on here?!

I got back about 2:30 this afternoon from a few days on the otherside of the Mitten. Well deserved, and looong overdue I might add. Good times had by all, it was time to venture back home to GR today. Well, since 2:30 it's been nothing but slacking. I guess I'm in "Christmas break" mindset, because I haven't so much as worked out today and it's ALREADY 10:30 pm??? C'mon man!!

Christmas is Friday, are you kidding me?! I swear it was just August 29th and I was watching the first GVSU football game of the year. Hell, I feel like sitting outside in shorts and a T-shirt was just last week!

As I sit here this evening, I am encountered by a dorky hobby that's been missing since the first week of September; Listening to air-traffic control frequencies from around the country. It's official, my college football season is pretty much over. Time to switch over to my beloved Red Wings and hope beyond hope we can make the post-season, despite our regular's being a triage unit and the bench made up of almost all Griffins we might have an outside shot at the 8th seed in the West this year. Quite a 180 from last year....eek.

Took a gander at some of the malls in the metro Detroit area Sunday. I'm again struck by the realization that as materialistic as we are over here in W. Michigan, we are a country mile away from how bad it is in suburban Detroit. A four-year old does not need Uggs!!! If you only have one child, you do not need a Yukon XL!! Oh, and WHY is your 10 year-old carrying her OWN cell phone!? It'd be laughable if it weren't so sad. People watching is always worth it.

It's going to be a low-key Christmas, especially with a winter storm moving in Christmas eve around these here parts.

On sad news, management at my townhouse complex decided to build an outdoor ice-rink this winter. Kickass of course, until some fooking vandals hit it on three occassions already and management decides to tear it down due to cost of repair. I hate people who do things like this, they ruined free winter fun and excercise for several hundred people. Your life must suck in the worst way to stoop to that level.

Anyway, I'll stop whining. I hope you all have a nice night! I'm peacin' out.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Impromtu Christmas Break

Morning All! I wanted to add this earlier in the week but got tied up.

I learned this Monday that I would have the next two weeks off without work. I, of course, am a substitute teacher and it's time for Holiday/Christmas/Winter break for schools for two weeks. I was hoping to pick up some shifts at my seasonal job over these next two weeks to have some income, so there would be less of a disruption. All was going fine and dandy and looking like I'd be used over break.

Monday afternoon I was informed that due to budget and lower sales this time of year than summer (duh!), they would not be bringing any seasonal people in over the next couple weeks.


So now I have a lot of time on my hands, and I'm going to have a LOT less money next month. Trying to figure out what to do about the situation will be interesting to say the least.

I think this is a sign from God that I need to find a more steady form of income than two seasonal jobs while I search for something in my degree field, no matter how important to society the current one is.

Since regular teachers are not allowed to take today (the last day of school before break) off without penalty of income, there are no slots open. So today is my first day of break. I'm happy for the time, but I'd like the money more FYI.

Damn details.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Home from Alabma

I need to write in here more frequently, I'm becoming blog delinquent!

Well last night about 11pm I finally arrived home from my third trip to Alabama in the last 6 years for the NCAA Division II Football National Championship. Unfortunatly, my Lakers had a second half comeback fall short en-route to a 30-23 loss to the Bearcats from Northwest Missouri State University. Despite the loss, and occassional crummy weather the trip was enjoyed by almost everyone!

A little background before I give you the play-by-play.

I had taken Friday, December 11 off from work weeks in advance just in case, and sure enough we made the title game for the first time since 2006. It would be my first time back since 2005, and I was geeked to the max.

The plan was to leave my friend Eric's in Allendale at 3am Friday morning. I didn't get a lot of sleep that night, simply because another friend (who was going with our group) of mine was picking me up at my place at 1am on his way out there.

To preface, the weather in West Michigan was horrible, literally blizzard conditions with lake effect snow. Luckily we had his 4X4 Jeep and got through it slowly, but easily enough. Once arriving at around 1:30 Am and getting ripped on for once again being early, we started to get things around for a final check.

At exactly 3:15 am Friday morning we were on the road 'Bama bound. A quick stop downtown to pick up a passenger, and we were East-bound on I-96, then South on I-69. We stopped and grabbed our last passenger in Coldwater, Michigan. From there we began to escape the terrifying blizzard-ridden roads in Michigan and crossed the Indiana state line! By Fort Wayne the weather was gone and the roads clear and dry. Dawn was breaking as the Eastern sky began to grow lighter. We realized we'd have the sun Gods on our side today!

On the South side of Indianapolis we stopped at McD's for a fast-food breakfast. Despite the weather in MI, we were making awsome time. We joined I-465 to circle the outskirts of Indy and jumped on our main route I-65 after breakfast. Just two sun-drenched hours later we saw the skyline of Louisville, KY appear on the horizon...it was still mid-morning! One of my favorite views of the view of Louisville from the Ohio river. We plowed through Louisville traffic and flew past the University of Louisville and entered the hills.

By Bowling Green, KY we needed a fuel stop. By now, it was about noon and we were only 35 or so miles from Nashville. Bathroom breaks and taken, petrol pumped, gas pedal STOMPED. We realized this was the earliest we'd ever make it to Florence, Alabama when we crossed the Tennessee state line. We cruised through the Country Music Capital of the World and an hour later the exit for the Jack Daniel's distillery flew past. Next up: Sweet Home Alabama.

By 1:30-2pm CST we had hit the border of Alabama, making dust. Our exit at Athens, Ala appeared soon after and we curled off to cruise Westward for another 45 minutes. Winding through small-town Alabama is certainly nice, and soon enough we were greeted by the gates of Florence!! SWEET HOME ALABAMA!! We always stay at the Days Inn in Muscle Shoals, right across the Tennessee River. Through downtown Florence, and across the gorgous steel bridge spanning the Tennessee River Valley. We arrived at just after 3pm CST.

After relaxing for a while and having a couple beers, we headed out to hit our usual spots. Dinner at Outback was followed by a stop by the official GVSU Alumni party at The FIZZ inside the local Holiday Inn. Good times and lots of Lakers Alumni reunions later we decided to see if our old stomping grounds Cajun's had been taken over by NWMS fans. Indeed, we were sorely outnumbered. We split that awkward scene and rolled across town to Sidelines sports bar to meet some other GV and DII people. After a while, we decided it was time to call it a night. We had a noon kickoff Saturday, and an early wake-up call. I was in bed at 10pm.

We awoke at 7am, cleaned up and grabbed some continental breakfast in the hotel "lobby". We got to Braly Municipal Stadium by 8:30 am. Party-time. Loads of fun, free food and plenty of beverages of choice were followed by a rousing arrival of the team busses with police escort. My God how I missed this!

A furious second half come-back fell short and so did the Lakers, 30-23. NWMS brokethrough and won their first title in their 5th trip in a row this decade, addiing to their two from the 1990's. Luckily, the rain held off until 10:00 to go in the 4th quarter.

Post game was the season celebration at the Armory. Tons of free BBQ, sides, pie and pop (HA! Take THAT Southerners!!) and speeches from the coach, seniors on the team and the athletic director and GVSU president. By now it was only 5pm, so we stopped back at the hotel briefly before hitting Sidelines again. No one wanted to go anywhere after Sidelines except back to the hotel to have some beers.

7AM Wake-up. We departed at about 8:30, and made our way to Cracker Barrel in Florence for breakfast. After stuffing ourselves, the long, ardious journey home began. We followed the same route home, and encountered little resistance to progress. However, our 10am CST departure meant a late arrival home in the Eastern time zone. We stopped for gas in Southern Tennessee, in Louisville for Eric to "go" and didn't stop for food until Southern Indiana. After Burger King, it started to get dark. After what seemed like an eternity, we crossed into Michigan. We hit Lansing by 10pm, and I was home by 11pm.

I was in bed by 11:15. Work was early the next morning. I was happy to be out of that van depite the fun trip.

I count my blessings as a college football fan every day. Even though I am not financially blessed, I am blessed in so many other ways. I have a wonderful and supportive family and girlfriend whom I don't know where I'd be without them. I have great friends, and very successful sports teams to follow. In my eight years of being a Laker fan/alum, my team has gone to 5 title games, not counting the one before I was a student in 2001.
The whole GVSU athletic department is amazing. They do so much more with so much less money than any other school I can think of.

God Bless all of you, and in the un-dying spirit of kick-ass roadie's; GO LAKERS!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I'm tense...anxious obviously. I'm kind of on edge slightly. This is one of the negatives of being a substitute teacher.

Last Friday we had a snow day. Great you say!! Well, unless you were counting on the money. That's right, even though I had a job locked up, I don't get paid for snowdays. They are outside of my control entirely.

I was able to work four-full days last week, but really wanted the full. Currently this week I had a full day yesterday, and only could find a half-day today. I have a full day lined up tommorow and Thursday, with Friday being off for travel. Sadly however, a major winter storm is moving in tonight through Thursday...a MAJOR winter storm. I'd like to work one of those two days if possible, as the money is necessary. Especially seeing that Christmas break is almost one week away, and I'm not sure if I can pick up some time at my backup job or not. Or, how much subbing I'll get next week, the last week before break. It definitly has the ability to make one speculative.

Furthermore, I am scheduled to go to Alabama this weekend for the DII Football National Championship. Now, I have looked forward to possibly being able to go again for several years, and I don't know if I'll ever get to go again in my life. It does however still cost a bit high for my share of the hotel, van rental, gas and ticket. That's not counting food, which much of I will be on my own for. I'm really hoping for good news from my backup job in terms of getting some time in, that will make life A LOT easier.

Well, the weather is going to make travel Friday morning very iffy as well. I got a lot on the mind...as you can see.

God Bless....

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Playoff System and the NCAA

As if this topic hasn't been beaten to death already.

If you can't tell, or have been under a rock for the last decade and a half, I'm talking about the NCAA's Division I FBS system (Football Bowl Subdivision). In the last two decades, the wealth of the major DI-FBS programs in college football has grown to enormous proprtions. Ohio State leads the pack with an athletic budget of $105 million, while schools like Texas, Florida, Michigan and USC are right behind with $80-$95 million in their sports' treasuries. These numbers are absolutly mind-boggling on the spread sheets. However, only about two-dozen college athletic departments actually make a profit on their sports programs in Division I. All others operate on losses, and some operate in ghastly amounts of red-ink.

In these same two decades, the money being made by corporations, the NCAA and the major college football programs who get invited to the big bowl games as grown equally obese. In recent history the BCS bowl payouts have been sickeningly wild. The Sugar Bowl, Rose Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl and Citi BCS National Championship each pay out $17 million! Countless others pay out several million dollars. What is shocking is that the $17 million pay out for one of the BCS bowls is more than the whole athletic budget of some MAC or SunBelt Conference schools. The economic disparity in the FBS is alrarming.

Furthermore, not all schools who play in Division I FBS even have the RIGHT to play for the BCS national championship. Schools in the MAC and Sunbelt conferences are not "BCS" conferences according to the NCAA. With this logic, if Central Michigan in the MAC, or North Texas in the Sunbelt went completely undefeated, they would still be doomed to their little bowl game, and probably not even ranked in the top 5 in any poll. This is one of the most mind-boggling aspects to me. If you can not play for the national championship, then what are you playing for!? A conference championship??

This brings me to my point. All level of football except DI-FBS have a true playoff to decide the real national champion; the NFL, NCAA DI-AA (FCS), DII, DIII, NAIA, and high school. Even NCAA DI basketball has a true playoff system which is extremely profitable and allows cindarella's like George Mason to have a true shot at the title!

As it stands tonight, there are six undefeated teams in the top ten spots in the BCS standings. No surprise that the top two are Florida and Alabama, perrenial SEC powerhouses. Behind them at #3 is Texas. After that is where we get into the meat of the arguement. We have TCU @ #4, Cincinnatti @ #5, and Boise State @#6...all unbleamished. Save for Boise State for the past several years, the other two horses are new-comers to this part of the poll. The reality is that several undefeated's are going to be left out of the BCS national championship with an arguement and an army behind them as to their worthiness. TCU, BSU and Cincy are being held back from the very top by a system so biased, even it's creators readily admit such. This fact alone, in my eyes, should be grounds for storming the NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis with pitchforks and torches.

The whole system is run by super-wealthy organizations who are making way too much money in the current system to want to see a change. Change to them means lost profits. Their symapthizers have a multitude of excuses:

1. It wouldn't work - Crap, it works wonderfully for everyone else.

2. It would cause student athletes to miss too much class - Like you've ever cared about that before. It works fine in all other NCAA football levels, the NCAA basketball tourney and in high school, it just requires a balance in life!

3. It would render the regular season meaningless - Well then I guess that means that every regular season game played in DI-FCS, DII, DIII and the NFL is meaningless.

See a pattern? If not, you're one of the millions of minions who devour the crap on a daily basis in the veiled belief that this is the best college football.

The truth is that with a playoff system, say a 24 team field like in DII and DI-FCS, small programs would have a legitimate shot at the crown. the MAC and SunBelt could send their conference champions, etc. Have a four-region setup, and the top 6 programs in each regions get a bid based ONLY on being conference champion or mathmatical strength of schedule. The days of the good ole' boys club behind closed doors deciding who gets what scraps should be ripped apart as fast as possible.

Further truth? The BCS National Championship doesn't crown a TRUE national champion. They do not have to play the other top teams as they would in a playoff, nor do they allow several conferences a shot to play in the game. This exclusion alone rips the veil off this paper tiger. The sham it is inside can be made clear for all, and DI-FBS, in my eyes at least, will never have a real national champion until a true playoff is implemented.

Unfortunatly, there's far too much money being shared between only a few of the richest programs, the NCAA and the sponsors for it to be implemented in the forseeable future.

If you wanted to know how it lays out, there are the facts. I dare you to argue with them.

God Speed and GO LAKERS!!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

December...and the first snows of the year!

Good Evening All!

I'm way too wound up for it being this late on a work night! It's December 3rd, a Wednesday. Tonight and tommorow Grand Rapids is set to see the first real snow of the season. Waaayyy late on our usual schedule, about a month late, and I'm not talking about your girlfriend!! Snow showers tommorow, lake effect snow kicking in tommorow night through Saturday.

The best news, I am sooo geeked for, Laker football in the snow Saturday LIVE in HD on ESPN!

Let's hope these next two days go by smoothly, as I am quite excited if you can't tell.

In other news, Tiger Woods this...Tiger Woods this. Maybe ESPN will interrupt the broadcast of our football game if Tiger passes gas. Instant analysis of what he might have eaten and how it will affect his career. Good God, I know the guy get's paid hundred of millions of dollars. However, that does NOT mean I want to hear about him every two minutes.

So folks, a quick mid-week update for you all. Happy Hump Day to everyone!!

I hope to update tommorow night, if not, Friday!

Peace to the world...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Duluth and Back plus a football game...in 31 Hours.

Good Evening internet-users.

About 4:30 this morning I returned home from what may the most unique trip I have ever taken. Some friends of mine were making the trip to Duluth, MN for a NCAA DII Football Quarterfinal game, and I decided to tag along for the experience.

The trip started from Allendale, MI at exactly 9:30 pm Friday night. From there were travelled to Zeeland, then South on I-96 to Chicago. Once in the Chicago metro area we kept to the outside of town, following 355 to 88, and then North on 39/90. We cut through the dark, flat emptiness that is central/upper Illinois and into Wisconsin, a state I have flown over a lot, but had never driven in. We cut through Beloit, up around Madison and past the Dells. We stopped in Eau Claire to switch drivers at 4:30 am CST. After a brief, unplanned delay we kept surging North, a little road-weary by this time.

Around 7:00 am CST, as the morning sky was beginning to lighten, we spotted the lights of Superior, Wisconsin on the horizon from our elevated vantage point. Soon, the ridge/hill that Duluth is built into came into sight. We crossed the causeway bridge and explored a little bit before catching breakfast downtown about 8am CST. A nice tailgate at the University of Minnesotta-Duluth and then the game. We beat UMD 24-10 in a great defensive effort.

About 4:30 pm CST, we pulled out of town and started back South into Wisconsin. That's when the three of us who were not driving passed out for an hour. We were pretty tired and the cold, sunny weather had exposed our weariness. As we plowed South through the Badger state, darkness fell. About 6pm CST we pulled into Eau Claire and went into town. We searched for good food in Eau Claire online and found Mogie's boasted a nice looking menu and tap list. My are they good at what they do. One of the best burgers I have ever had, including a nice craft beer. Small, quiet, old-fashioned smoke-free sports bar. Very nice work Mogie's!

Just after 7 pm CST, we got back in the car with me at the wheel. I took us down close to the Dells before someone else wanted to drive. After we got to Madison I know I fell asleep until we hit the suburbs of Chicago. I awoken to find we had missed the turn for 355, and would need to get on 294 South. We were hoping to avoid the heavier inner-ring traffic, but oh well. We rolled through Chicago metro about midnight, and re-joined I-94 into Indiana, and back into Michigan. Just before 4am EST, we pulled back into a foggy Allendale. I didn't get back to my home in GR until about 4:30 or a little after. I promptly stumbled in (on 2 hours sleep in 1.5 days) and fell into my bed.

A great roadtrip with driven undertaken mostly at night. We got out really cheap due to our schedule and not needing a hotel, but it really gives you a beating. If you have a few people who can rotate driving, it's good, esp. when you have a laptop with power connection in the car for interactive navigation. I'm not good at sleeping in a vehicle unless I am reeaally tired, so plan in advance if that sounds like you. Also plan on caffine and energy drinks.

We also almost learned the hard way that freeway speeding tickets in Wisconsin START at $200. A kind, understanding state trooper in the dark, emptiness of Northern Wisconsin just wanted to give us a reminder.

The Lakers of GVSU now face Carson-Newman (Tenn.) in an NCAA Semi-Final game this coming Saturday, Dec. 5th at 3:30 pm EST, in Allendale, MI (Lubbers Stadium). I HIGHLY encourage you to go to the game, although if you can not make the contest you can catch all the action in lovely HD live on ESPN!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I wanted to take a minute after gorging myself on turkey, stuffing, yams, sprouts, and cranberry sauce to make sure we are all reflecting on what is really important and how blessed we truly are.

We are reminded again that there are hordes of people in our country who do not have a place to go today or stay tonight, nor do they have a meal. This is not confined to the holidays, need knows no season. With the continual economic issues, more and more families and children are in poverty in this country than ever before.

If you're reading this, it means you obviously have some shelter, and probably are well enough off to own a computer and afford the internet. That then tells me that you obviously have enough to eat.

So our career's might not be where we want them to be, or we may want a better income. We all have things we can complain about and be dissatisfied with. My point is that I think when we look at the big picture, we've got it better than we think.

My deepest wishes to you and yours this season, and I hope you are able to spend this day with loved ones. Let's remember to keep those men and women overseas who put themselves in harms way, a long way from their families, to protect us. May they experience peace today, have a good meal, and hopefully return home safely for good soon.

God Bless-
P. James

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Good People, Good Times

What a great day yesterday. The weather could not have been better for late November in Michigan. It seems the later we go in the season, the better the weather gets. If you can get a little sun in Michigan in late November, it's a good thing.

I made a listing last week about the lack of support from GVSU fans, particularly students, during the football playoffs. Well I don't know whether it was the nice weather, or a big effort to get them out, but they just about filled the student section! A capacity of about 3,000 in the student section was 85% full. I was quite impressed as a LOT of them stayed until the 4th quarter even though the halftime score was a 37-0 blowout by our Lakers.

A great day at the game was capped by a nice, quiet evening at home to wind down. I could have easily taken a long nap when I got home at 5, but I decided against screwing with my sleep cycle.

Now today is another lazy one. Finished a work out and cleaned out my car. I need to find a sub job for tommorow, already have one for Tuesday, and then it's a five-day weekend!

In other news, I think I am getting old. I can't stay up as late as I could this summer. Over the summer I could easily stay up till 2am or so. Nowadays, like yesterday, I'm cooked by 11:30.
I think a lot of it has to do with my work schedule and it's affects on my sleep schedule. We'll see if we can't screw that up some over Christmas break.

Alright, enough chit-chat. Go enjoy your Sunday!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Quiet Evening, Crazy Tommorow

Ahh yes, the calm before the storm.

Enjoying a nice, quiet evening tonight watching tv, having a couple Sierra Nevada Celebration Ales with some sharp cheddar cheese. It's nice having a relaxing time after a long week of work.

I've got an early morning tommorow. I've got a big day tommorow, heading to the GVSU-Hillsdale football game. This second round NCAA playoff game has been much anticipated since the Chargers handed the Lakers their only loss of the season back on October 10th in Hillsdale.
The upstart Chargers got here by securing the 6th and final regional seed at the end of the season which gave them the last playoff spot. They beat the Mavericks of Minnesotta State 27-24 in overtime last Saturday to set up this tilt.

Hillsdale, a college of only 1,400-some students in the middle of nowhere, is bringing over 1,500 fans to this game, as it's their first real DII playoff experience since joining this level in the early 1990's.

This one should be good, tailgating starts at 10am, so with everything else said, LET'S DO THIS.


See you on the other side.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fickle GVSU Fanbase

We all have heard the term "Fair-weather fan". This usually refers to someone who will cheer for a team when they are winning and experiencing good fortunes.

My alma-mater has had fickle fans for a few years now, especially the students. I could call them "phantom" fans. Now you see them....now you don't. Has the GVSU football program fallen from grace? No, it's still winning games. However it appears a lot of people have become dissillusioned and complacent with the success this decade and have possibly gotten bored with it?

Here's the issue at hand. For years now, we pack our stadium to the brim in the regular season, averaging 150% capacity, with 4-6,000 students per game. However, when we make the playoffs and get a home playoff game, the fans dissapear. Our students don't seem to care that the games now mean life or death, and despite a free ticket, don't show. No one can seem to figure out the mental barrier with the student-body, and we've got the best minds in the business in the athletic department marketing team.

Now, West Michigan doesn't really seem to support the team much, especially during the playoffs. Whether it be the Whitecaps, Griffins or Lakers, the fans in West Michigan seem to dissapear during the post-season. Some have dubbed it the "West Michigan Mindset".

This has all finally culminated in what is going to occur this Saturday. GVSU will play Hillsdale at Lubbers stadium, and there will be more Hillsdale fans present than GVSU faithful, even student included. The numbers aren't lying and Hillsdale has begun to purchase tickets on our HOME side....the unthinkable is happening whether we believe it or not and there's nothing I can do.
As a true-blue Laker alum and supporter, this shame's me to my core. My school's spirit seems to really lack, and I think the issue needs to be addressed with the student body. How, I am not sure, but the issue needs to be pursued.

God Speed Laker Football, you'll need it Saturday on your home field.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I Got Heart! You do too!

Hey guys and gals. So let's be real here, even if YOU might have a great job in your degree field, we all know at least one person our age who hasn't been able to find something, no matter how many internships they may have. We all probably know someone our age who unemployed, and we all know plenty of college grads our age who aren't working in their chosen degree field at the moment.

I've been fortunate enough to know an organization that is all about helping young people make the most of their lives and help them accomplish their goals. IGotHeartOnline.org gives young people the inspiration and advice and tips to do better in school and have better results with their job or internship search, even in this economy.

What's even better is that they advocate public service and community work amongst our age group. We're the one's that will be inheriting this earth, so why not start now in making it a better place to live?!

No matter if you have already graduated from college, are still a student, or even if you know a high school student who is looking at college, IGotHeart can be a huge help in answering questions and securing confidence to go bodly in the direction of your dreams.

Recently the IGotHeart staff have been analyzing the benefits and drawbacks between choosing a standard four-year university, or a two-year or trade school when it comes to your employability post-graduation. They look at points such as how much money will you spend, how much time you will invest in comparison to what your job-income prospects will be post-graduation.

Visit IGotHeartOnline.org, check them out and tell them I sent you. They're doing some great work so spread the word!

Until next time, keep your head up and your stick on the ice.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Is This Really Mid-November?

It has been waaay too nice for waaay too long for this time of year in this state.

Last weekend it was sunny and about 70 both days. A couple days this week got a little chilly, but overall it has been quite sunny.

Today was sunny and in the 60's, I mean I wore shorts all day!

Thanksgiving is only two weeks away...what?! Man it's hard to believe how fast time goes by. I hope everyone got the chance to get outside today here in Michigan and enjoy this weather. It will most likely be the last of it we have.

This is the first weekend since September that I've had to just sit-around my place and vegetate. I've either been out of town or out with friends at football games all day.

I'm sure you've realized by now that this entry lacks the depth of the previous. My bad, I'll work on that for ya.

Take it easy!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Detroit's Metamorphasis

So once again this morning while watching the morning news, there was a snippet about Detroit. While only about 1 minute in length and lacking any real economic substance, it was the opening introduction the reporter gave to the story (and the city) that made me laugh out loud.

Obviously going for a type of Fox'esque edginess, the reporter stated; "Economic, urban and social decay; it's what this city is all about these days." I laughed simply because it occurred to me that the way the situation was reported was more like they were touring a freak show instead of a disaster site. The attitude from the country is, and seems to have always been 'Gee, someone ought to do something about that'. Wildfires threatening the homes of wealthy Southern Californians is deemed a national disaster, while a city bleeding to death seems to be the country's sick version of reality television.

Let me move on to what I hoped this piece would be all about:

How this all came about and what will the "new" Detroit look like when the metamorphasis is complete.

Now, what we all see on television are the absolute worst areas of the city. Journalists want to find the most exaggerated image to further the impact of the story. True, there are scores of areas in Wayne County that are desolate, abandonned and in ruins. There are also still regular looking middle class neighborhoods though. Remember, 800,000 people still live in the city limits and 5 million in the greater metropolitan area.

At it's zenith in the start of the 1950's, the city of Detroit had a population of over 2 million residents. Over a half-century later, Detroit is an un-recognizable gjost of the gleaming city of the 1950's. The city's boundaries are sized for over 2 million residents, yet only 800,000 remain inside them, and even that number is questionable these days. The infrastructure was built for a city of that size as well obviously. With so much of the population gone, the majority has been abandonned and/or bulldozed. Virtually all major manufacturing has long ago left, leaving giant, forboding industrial parks rotting back into the earth. Whole acres of neighborhoods have been erased from the earth, turned back into praire land with only empty streets, sidewalks and streetlights to guide no one. Still furthermore countless homes and commerical buildings lay abondonned in a state of collapse and rot reminiscent of a post-war Europe.

First, Detroit had the misfortune of being one of the centers of racial tension in the 20th century. The ensuing maelstrom that occured has been like none other in the United States. The results of racism and ignorance can only be matched by that of South Africa. It really was, and still is, THAT bad. If you were white, you fled the city. Most African American's were not "allowed" to leave the city. A form a segregation so hideous and glaring was created that it still exists today. If I were a man of color in the 1960's, I probably would not be allowed to buy a house outside of the city of Detroit. This is a practice called "redlining". Banks tooks maps of the city and suburbs and outlined in red the areas where they would not grant loans. These areas were by far minority populated. While this practice was used by financial institutions around the country, it's effects are most devastatingly seen in Detroit.

Second, Detroit put all of her eggs into one basket; the auto and manufacturing industry which supported it. What were once tens of thousands of auto-jobs that spurred hundred of thousands of other jobs, has dwindled to only a tiny fraction. When the auto industry found cheaper (non-union) labor overseas, it moved jobs. Then, the imports came. Toyota and Honda started the trend. The big three had no previous competition and were wholly unprepared for what happened next. Declining marketshare and sales left Chryster, GM and Ford what they are today. Only now are they recognizing the competitiveness of the market. Ford has realized it can't only sell F150's and GM has hopefully realized it cannot only sell Tahoe's and Suburban's. It might be too little, too late. Most of us are not economists or MBA's, but the fatal flaws of their past business model can be seen to anyone. Furthermore, one could also state that the industry that built the city, also destroyed it. It started with the city ridding itself of all public transportation to appease the auto industry. Today, Detroit is the only "major" US city with no major public rail system. Instead, freeways were installed by ripping out whole neighborhoods.

Third, the citizens of Detroit have continually elected corrupt, impotent and apathetic city leadership. I now believe there are some serious corrupt political forces in that city who do not want change or improvement, as they are in some sick way profiting from the despair. City resources are put toward having giant casinos built in the city as if that in some way will make it all better. New ballparks are great, but the city is like a car. If the engine is not running, no amount of paint or polish will help.

Fourth, is a complete lack of responsibility by the public and the goverment. Fueled by racism and greed, millions of whites fled to the suburbs. They continue to flee today, to new "exurbs" even further out. Only a generation or two later, those with the financial means to do something about the problem are continuing to run. It makes a grave statement to the American idea of disposability. Turn, walk away, shed all responsibility and turn a blind eye to the suffering and despair. Whats worse, is those who like to make fun of the situation. What a worse statement of morality than to laugh, and even kick, those who are down. A famous quote from history reads; "If we can not save the many who are poor, we cannot save the few who are rich".

So what will become of this stricken city in future and in the meantime?

State and city officials seems to living on the empty dream that it will return to it's former glory of 2 million inhabitants with the auto industry being a giant, profitable employer and economic powerhouse again. They have pushed legislation that run in-line with those beliefs. However until they are able to move on from the past, the city will never be able to move forward, forever living through the former glory of itself. On the contrary, Detroit will more than likely become the most unique urbanized area in the country when recovery has been completed. It will look nothing like it's 20th century self.

In reality, I expect the city's population to continue to fall, and keep falling for a few more decades. In the end, there may only be 100,000 inhabitants left inside the old city limits. With the massive swaths of land already abandonned in the city, some have brought up truly unique and forward ideas such as turning that land into farmland, or simple re-forestation of some areas. A recent CBC report on the city also brought up the idea of Detroit becoming a "super-green" city. What about using massive open areas as energy producers? Large wind turbines lining parts of the freeways (The Lodge, I-75, 94, etc.). What about industrial rooftops being fitted with solar panels? The possibilities of becoming a clean energy exporter are endless, and that's assuming that not a single other soul leaves the city!

I'd like to get to Detroit with a large group of people to document some of the city's historical ruins before they go the way of Tiger Stadium or the Hudson's Building.

There will always be millions of people living in what is now suburban Detroit. However, it will be those hearty few souls, those with visionary plans and the ability to think outside of the box that will eventually re-create Detroit. Will we see it in our lifetime? Only if we begin to take a bit of responsibility for the situation, offer up our intellect, and pick up a shovel.

Remember, we're talking about human beings here. We are ALL made in Detroit.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Another Marvelous Weekend

Had a great weekend once again.

Not only because of the activities involved, but because the weather Mother Nature and the Good Lord bestowed on us for it! Both Saturday and Sunday were completely sunny with temps in the mid-upper 60's! Okay you say, that's nice. No, this is Michigan in November, those stats are awsome!!

So Saturday we headed out to GVSU at 9am for the Laker's last regular season home football game of 2009 against the Warriors of Wayne State. A beautiful morning of tailgating was capped off by a nice 59-28 victory ensuring a 5th consecutive Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletics Conference title, and yet another NCAA playoff berth.

The evening was filled with a marvelous bonfire at CowboyEric's 10 acres of land in Western Allendale. The evening included multiple trips deep into the woods to manually retrieve and haul large timbers back to the yard for the fire. I'm definitly getting old, because hauling massive timbers 10 acres last night has my body tired today.

Speaking of today, today was filled with a whole lot of nothing but relaxation. The most streniuous activities were heading to Meijer and doing laundry. Once again, wonderful weather gave us the opportunity to open all the windows in the house and get fresh air in this joint.

Not much else to report. Adrienne is doing well, and so is her family. Her alma-mater, the Dewitt Panthers are undefeated and rolling in the MHSAA playoffs! Go Panthers! I am currently watching the NY Giants take back the game from San Diego as I type this. Perhaps tommorow I can fill you all in on some more exciting stuff. Back to teaching 3rd grade tommorow. Love those kids!

Until then, keep your stick on the ice!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Invasive Species in the Beer Aisle

So the other day I was on a routine trip to my local Meijer superstore in search of groceries for the week. The shopping excursion began like any other with me quickly grabbing some of the usual suspects I can't go a week without: cereal, milk, bread, apples and bananas, sandwich meat and so on. After a few other necessities go in my cart, I begin to explore what else might be on sale or new on the shelf this week. This is where the zenith of my story comes in into focus.

Being a craft beer enthusiast I wander over to the extensive beer aisle to see what new seasonal offerings might have been brought in over the weekend. Now, in the past several years Meijer has really impressed me with their thorough and rather enthusiastic effort in having an excellent craft beer selection. They stock the full line of locals, Founders, Bells, New Holland and Arcadia, but they also carry a respectable variety from around the country as well. Meijer usually sets aside around 1/3 (+ or -) of the large beer aisle for the craft selection, leaving the BMC (Bud, Miller, Coors and the like) to the other side. This makes it pretty clean cut to the consumer where the quality products are.

So as I peruse the aisle up and down, I come face to face with what at the time I felt was a royal insult. As I looked up, right there in front of my eyes and within arms reach was a six-pack of the new Bud Light Golden Wheat...in the craft beer section. My first thought was one of "Someone must have misplaced it on this side." While looking closer, I realize that wasn't the case at all. The merchandiser had clearly given that shelf space to that product. So what gives?? Just because Anheuiser Busch is as big as they are, they get to have that spot and push a much more deserving craft brewer out? "They dare put THAT in with the highly respectable likes of Flying Dog, Great Lakes Brewery, Brooklyn Brewery, and Dogfish Head!? Do they even understand the difference??"

A Trojan Horse of the beer industry! Strategically placed so that the uninformed (and/or apathetic) consumer might not tell the difference. Blasphemy! So Anhuiser Busch wants to play dirty now, eh? I left with this thought brooding in my mind.

At this point, you're probably thinking "Why the hell do you care?" Well, Budweiser's first swing at the growing craft segment was Budweiser American Ale. Now, this product too was placed right in the heart of the craft beer section. I didn't give much of a hoot because it was marketed as a full blown regular ale, and ale (opposed to lager) is what makes up the majority of the craft beer segment. Bud Light Golden Wheat is something different. It's a light beer simply brewed with spices and orange peel. From what I can tell there is no real "wheat beer" characterisitics about it, other than marketing.

After giving it some thought, this might not be such a bad thing afterall. Does this mean all the wonderful craft beer we love will dissapear? No. While it is still in my mind's eye complete corporate bullying to get that shelf space when AB already has 1/3 of it to themselves pushing out a small brewery, time and our efforts I hope, can rectify that.

This is however, a sign that the industry giants are starting to get uneasy. While the overall beer sales numbers of beer have dropped the last several years, the craft beer segment has continually experienced growth in sales and product output of 5% to 10% each year for more than a decade. That means they are starting to "infringe" upon the big three's market share in a rather stagnant beverage segment. The brewing giants are sensing their first real competition from anyone other than themselves since before prohibition! You'd be pissed too! How dare they offer something different and get away with it! Truth be told, they almost did it too. For decades there was only one choice of beer in this country and it was a yellow, fizzy, bland concoction brewed with the cheapest and fewest ingredients available. A consumer-driven economy eventually will force this into reversal and demand choice and quality. Luckily, that process has begun in ernest here in the United States.

To further the impact, the craft beer industry in the United States is united together in collaboration to further the diversification of the beer industry in America and promote choice to the consumer. While the big three still fight and squabble against each other, they're facing a small, but growing and united front that gains momentum each passing day. So let's raise to a toast to beers that were collaboratively brewed with local concern in mind!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

True Fall Food

Had a great fall culinary experience tonight, so I thought I'd share it.

I had some homemade pot roast with roasted carrots and potatoes and cabbage. Oh my word, oh my word. So few words can describe the sheer simple, hearty deliciousness of such a meal on a late-fall evening. If you have someone who knows how to slow-roast beef with all kinds of spices and other good bits and pieces of edible awsomeness, plead with them to cook for you one day. All credit goes to Big J on this one, thanks Madre!!

The food itself is warm, aromatic and the epitome of comfort food. Such a meal can actually make you appreciate the season or weather in which the meal is enjoyed during. You dig in and...BOOM! Especially if the meal is something you've enjoyed since you were young, this will always take you to a warm, comforting place.

What social lubricant can add immessurable pleasure to your dining experience? Soft drinks can't touch it, and don't even bring juice into this conversation, that's for the kiddy table.
Wine? Well wine can certainly be an excellent compliment to certain foods in the right situation, it's not really very versatile, especially with the hearty late-season fare we're enjoying tonight.
What about a crispy yet bland and ricey light beer from a major international corporation?
While those have their place, I would put those closer to the soft drink category with a 3% abv. level.

What else my friends, than a gorgous, carefully and lovingly created local craft beer?? Eureka!!
When you pair the right food with the right craft beer in the right season, you my friend reach a special level of meal enjoyment that few are lucky enough to reach. Tonight, we paired a delicious and highly-seasonal Bell's brew from Kalamazoo, Michigan with our roast. Bell's Octoberfest beer has just enough maltiness to swim in harmonious symphony with the rich, carmelization of our roast. A brown ale would also have fit the meal perfectly, but I had some of this excellent beer sitting around for a couple weeks and I wanted to have some of it while still fresh.

A good craft beer is a culinary experience in itself, so sit back and enjoy. All you need is one.

Here's to good eating and slowing down to enjoy the little things in life once in a while!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Waiting for the Good Stuff!

Yes, yes, I know it's been a few days since I've updated. I'd been waiting for the weekend as I knew I'd have the good stuff to post!

So, let's begin Friday night. My friend's Dan, Eric and I decide to join the Grand Rapids Griffins for their 14th season opener. For the 14th year, it's a sell out. For the first time in those 14 years, it happens to be a $1 beer and hot-dog night...SCORE.

A wonderful back and fourth game saw the home-team coming away with a 5-3 win.

Switching gears momentarily, the Griffins decided to give out 5,000 glow-in-the-dark plastic mugs at the game. They looked great during the intro, glowing all over the stands. But with 4 seconds to go in the game, as the Griffins scored an empty-net goal, almost all 5,000 mugs rained down upon the ice, most of them breaking spilling their glow-in-the-dark liguid all over the ice. Bottom line: Embarrassing yet entertaining. Management MUST see these things coming in the future. Keep the $1 beer, be more head-up about what night you have what giveaway.

Now on to today, Saturday. At 7 am EST my friends Erica, Eric S. and I travelled to Ashland, Ohio to follow our alma-mater, the GVSU Lakers play the Eagles of Ashland University. Less-than-desireable weather conditions could not stimey the Lakers, as they drove for a 34-7 week 9 win to pull their record to 8-1 on the year. After spending a quite chilly 2.5 hours in wind and moderate rain, we piled back into the Saturn Aura to head home. First stop was a small and VERY old cemetary in the middle of no-where we noticed on the way down. Eric wanted pictures and we both wanted to explore for a few minutes. Very old, (mid-early 1800's!!) and creepy to boot! I want to share some pictures with you as soon as I have them!

The drive home continued through Ann Arbor just as the UofM game was getting out, so traffic on 23 was heavy, with many, many major accidents making the drive a tense one. Shortly after 9pm EST, we arrived safely back in Grand Rapids.

Aside from a lazy day tommorow, this hopefully concludes the major excitement for the weekend.

Take care all and I hope to have some phot'o's for you soon!

Monday, October 19, 2009

People of Walmart dot Com

I don't know what took me so long to wander on to this GEM!

For all of us despise Walmart and it's business practices, all of us who do whatever we can to avoid going in there, this website is for you!

Now I know you can people watch anywhere, anytime. But is there any other business establishment so widely popular where you are guarenteed to find such rarities?! It's shocking...maybe it's just it's stereotypical association that has us thinking we see the most "cool kids" there. Maybe, however, it's not. I think one gets one's image for a reason.

Waste some time here, really. It's soooo good.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Weekend Randomness

Well we're winding down the weekend here, and I've got a few thoughts from the past few days.

Incidentally had Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of last week off from work, which included a little road trip for a wonderful change of scenery for several days. Hard to believe that it's already Sunday evening! Weekends go by too fast, even extended ones.

Had a great day yesterday, went out to Allendale and helped a friend work on a fence before heading over to campus to tailgate for the homecoming football game.

Today: Quite lazy and unproductive to start, then I decided to get off my rear and go running around 5pm. It always amazes me how much better one can feel after getting in even some light excercise. I really ought to make a concerted effort to excercise more. I had a great regiment in college and I really got away from it.

So, if you're reading this, you likely are familiar with Facebook. With that made apparent, what the HELL is the deal with all the moronic games on Facebook?! For example, there is one called Farmville. I have no clue how you play, but I assume it is somewhat along the lines of SimCity, where you have to maintain your farm with all that is entailed. So why does the game have graphics designed for 11 year old girls while the writing matches that of kindergarten level story books? Here however is the most maddening part. Why do they show up in my news feed?! I sure as hell don't want to know about a "Lonely brown cow or black sheep" on your stupid farm!!

I can understand updating your personal status with what you are doing, but this is simply a waste. Next question; does the game automatically send and show these "updates" or does the player need to choose an option to, say, "show updates in news feed"? It has gotten out of control in my eyes and taken away from the enjoyment that Facebook provides. Maybe I'm an "old timer" in Gen Y, but it's not necessary.

One thing I can assure you of, is that the creators are quite wealthy because of it.

Thanks for letting me rant tonight and until next time, keep your stick on the ice!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Slow Down Rush!

Yesterday the NFL made a very wise business decision.

It wasn't something they started, but something they stopped from happening.

The whole topic has become as widely controversial as the main character involved in the story.

Recently, the popular and divisive talk radio host Rush Limbaugh made a bid to become partial owner of the St. Louis Rams of the National Football League. As a very, very successful and subsequentially wealthy man, Rush has every right in the world to pursue membership in one of the most exclusive clubs in America; becoming an NFL owner and shareholder. If I had his money, there would be a few things I might pursue as well.

Since finding his first radio gig, Rush has created his multitudes of wealth and legions of loyal followers by doing one thing and doing it well; being extraordinarily controversial and saying whatever was on his mind at the time. I guess you could say that is one of his endearing points, is that you never have to be unsure of what side of the topic he'll be on. He's brash, insulting, divisive, loud, rough on all edges and likes to cause a stir. He also happens to be one of America's most radical politically and socially right wing activists.

Much like other media counterparts of his such as Michael Moore, Bill O'Reily, and shock-jocks Howard Stern and Imus, he lives on the edge of political correctness and often crosses way over the edge, resulting in major public uproar.

This off-the-appropriate-path approach has won these individuals fame, fortune and millions of fans. However, just as many if not millions more people have a severe dislike for men like Rush Limbaugh due to that exact style.

Here is one example where "Rush" hurt Rush in his bid for partial team ownership. He has been quoted on his blog as stating that, "...All too often the NFL looks like a game between the Crips and Bloods without weapons...". Now, the team Mr. Limbaugh was interested in becoming part-owner of was located in a metropolitan area with a major African American population. I don't see his association with that frnachise as having gone over very well at all in the eyes of St. Louis-area residents.

Now if you were in charge of protecting the image of world's biggest and most successful sports league, would you sign on the dotted line? The answer came yesterday in a resounding "NO" from NFL top-brass. It's clear to see that in this case the league has nothing to gain from Rush and everything to lose. They don't need his money, and they certainly don't need to alienate fans, employees or advertising partners. Not in these economic conditions, not ever.

Contrary to what Rush went off the hook about on his show yesterday, the decision has nothing to do with politics. The majority or NFL owners political contributions go to Republican party causes. The decision was not political, his "peers" saw a bad apple when it showed up at the doorstep and slammed the door.

Sports is a business unlike any other, but a business none-the-less. Divisiveness is very bad for business and therefore precludes men like Rush Limbaugh, Michael Moore, Bill O'Reily and Howard Stern from team ownership in any respectable league in the United States. Fame and fortune have their drawbacks, and so does upsetting the public. In the end, the football-loving masses are better off for it.

What are your reactions? Speak up!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

GVSU Football and the end of The Streak

Almost 5 years ago, 1,813 days to be exact, was the last in-conference loss the Lakers of Grand Valley State had suffered. That loss came on home turf on October 23, 2004 at the hands of Northwood University.

Yesterday, October 10, 2009, the Lakers walked into Muddy Waters Stadium on the campus of Hillsdale College. Hillsdale is a very small private college that continues to compete at a high level in division II athletics. Despite having only around 1,300 students, they apparently have great funding. As the clock ticked to zero at the end of the 4th quarter, a last-second field goal attempt by the Lakers sailed wide-right, sending all of Hillsdale College into a frenzy with a 27-24 win over the then #1 ranked team from Allendale.

The upset win is just one bright example of a multitude of others this season throughout college football at all levels. A lot of schools who had let football fall by the way-side are now putting the necessary resources into their programs to make them competitive, some for the very first time.
This is the the third straight year the historic and tradition-rich Hillsdale program is looking to have a winning record. This win, and possibly a playoff birth come November, could be the culmination of some great recruiting done by the Hillsdale staff. A young Joe Glendenning from East Grand Rapids is a freshman on the Hillsdale squad. Glendenning set the all-time rushing record at the powerhouse program that is East Grand Rapids. Look for him in the coming year(s).

This all sets up a crucial match up next weekend at GVSU's Homecoming against the other leader in the GLIAC, the University of Findlay (Ohio) Oilers. The Oilers beat these very same Hillsdale Chargers 42-10 the previous week.

Once again, the GVSU program tastes defeat in the conference and with injuries mounting, the team must rally and pull together. This is the first time any of these players have tasted an in-conference loss in their college careers.

I encourage all who can to make it to the game next weekend in Allendale to show and wear some blue. Kick off is at 7pm, and tickets are as low as $6. Now is when we separate the contenders from the pretenders. I guarentee you won't see better football anywhere.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

It's Hockey Season - Cue up Mr. Cherry!

The 2009-2010 NHL season is underway as I have the Red Wings home opener on the tube as I write this. Weren't we just finishing last year's NHL Finals two weeks ago?

At any rate or length of season, it certainly is nice to have the one Detroit sports team back that you can be sure will be competitive, if not down right dominating.

I think Red Wings fan needs a sense of closure as well, a chance to move on and close the wound left by Pittsburgh and their league-appointed golden boy. Had we been swept quickly, it might not have hurt so bad. Instead, it was a grad-down, slug-fest that went all seven games. Fully emotionally involved with pride on the line. Red Wings fans, as well as many around the league, have had some ill-will toward Mr. Crosby before the start of last year's finals. During the playoffs, we learned it wasn't just fans. The NHL players overwhelmingly voted Crosby as the biggest complainer in the league.

During the decisive game 7, Crosby went out with a major injury. While his team went on to win the game 2-1, Sydney re-joined his team on the ice to celebrate a Stanley Cup win, disgracing the sacred Joe Louis Arena ice. While the Red Wings lined up to shake hands, and the Wings fans obliging Pittsburgh's effort and accomplishment with clapping, instead of booing, Crosby seemingly forgot about the handshake. The sacred, gentlemanly gesture under taken by players at the end of a series in the NHL. With the whole Red Wings team and coaches waiting at center ice, Sydney went on celebrating. A move which will never be forgotten by Wings players and fans.

The wound had salt rubbed into it when we all witnessed the "chosen one" lifting the Stanley Cup. He remembered to do that much.

Now, I am not sure about you, but I can never in my wildest dreams imagine Steve Yzerman, Nicklas Lidstrom, Mark Messier, Joe Sakic, or any other team captain worth his own weight pulling such a stunt. As the Red Wings players retreated to their locker room to allow Pittsburgh their glory, they turned their cheek and took the high road. Kris Draper reminded us all of the code of behavior expected amongst players in hockey in his post-game comments on the issue.

Mr. Crosby might want to heed the words of Mr. Draper. Karma can come in many forms, and we shall see if Sydney has his in the pipeline.

On other notes, there is now an organ and organist at the Joe Louis Arena! I, for one, approve of the addition!

Until next time, keep your head up and stick on the ice kids!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tigers: Exit Stage Left.

Well that's it my friends.

Two weeks ago we were all speculating the playoffs, and now here we sit.

As I stated a couple days ago, this team didn't deserve to go to the playoffs, and now they won't. They however, have ripped the core out of their fan's hearts in the worst economically hit city in the United States. The people of Detroit didn't deserve this. The people of Michigan didn't deserve this. Yet, it's the Tigers who still have a paycheck.

Screw the healthy perspective of the past. Let's not be rational right now. What the Tigers displayed this past month was not rational, so I refuse to be at this moment.
Any momentary flashes of passion and emotion the players showed last night was heavily padded by a dumb-founded, hallowness of urgency.

Was it the players fault? Not entirely. Was it Leyland's fault? Not entirely. Was it Dombrowski's fault? Not entirely. They all however contributed to this end result.
What did the fans contribute? Piles of our money, in tickets, concessions and gear. Piles of our own money which is becoming even more scarce in this stricken state each day.
Sooner of later major athletes may have to answer to those that ultimately write their checks. We can only hope.

Now we turn our attention fully to college football, with an eye to the NHL season which has arrived once more sooner than expected.

Keep your receipts Tigers fans.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

How do ya like me now, Packers?

Could Brett Favre have made any bigger of a statement last night? Sure, he's won a SuperBowl, sure he passed for almost 400 yards the day after his father passed away. This was as hyped an event as any of them.

Whether you agree with his actions lately or not, and I generally do not, one can not look away from what he did to his former team last night. The last time the Metrodome was that loud must have been back when the Twins were in the World Series and they had hockey glass on the outfield fences.

Even though Rodgers out threw Favre 384 yards to 271, Favre tossed 3 touchdown passes to his counterpart's 2. Favre had too many weapons, and Rodgers had too little protection. He's an old fart, but with weapons, he's still here.

Look out for the Vik's kids. They've got an old man on board who's out to prove something.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Facebook and more...

We now have a Facebook group! Search "Finding my Calling" and join up!

Now on to something on the minds of Detroit Tiger fans everywhere. The one game playoff with the Twins tommorow night in the giant Hefty bag that is the Metrodome.
My first question is, how on earth did we get here? A month ago, we had a 7 game lead in the division. Last week we had a 3 game lead! I don't know that I have ever seen a team in any sport so un-motivated to make the post-season. So un-motivated to win the Tiger's first division title since the 1980's. So un-motivated to get back to the promised land and finish what they started in 2006. There was a recent article on ESPN.com about the Tiger players and coaches feeling a need to uplift the spirits of the people of Detroit and Michigan. I'm not so sure, usually teams that are truly driven by such divinity of spirit show much more desire. You have to have a give-a-damn, a fire in your eyes.
Want to see an inspiriring run to up-lift down-trodden hearts? Look no further than the 2008-'09 Michigan State Spartans run to the National Championship game in the very city of Detroit. Even with their slaughter at the end, they puched themselves to the limit. There was no lack of give-a-damn, and you could see it.
What am I trying to get to? I'm trying to say that the Tigers don't deserve the one-game playoff, let alone a trip to the post-season if they do happen to pull off a win in the deafening Hefty-bag for which they seem cursed in. I hate to say it, being a life-long Tiger fan, but the expectations they groomed and cultivated throughout the season were no where reminiscent of their current actions.
Let's however get some perspective in the midst of all this tension and frustration. If you're my age, and had even a mild interest in the Tigers as a kid, you can remember the dismal 90's. Being able to walk up to the Tiger Stadium box office window at game-time and buy a box-seat behind home for under $50. How about the early 2003. Remember 119 losses, and a Kansas City Royals team that actually had a winning record?
Back then, we would have KILLED to have a team that was merely competitive and not painful to watch. In 2003 to think that we would have the lead in the division for almost the whole season and would have a chance to go to the playoffs would have made us go nuts. 2006 Ruined our perspective, and the dissapointment of 2008 jaded us. So, if we lose tommorow night, and there is a big probability we will, feel free to be as dissapointed as the next fan. However, keep in mind that 2003 season when spewing hatred Wednesday morning around the water-cooler.
Humility, and remembering how far this organization has actually come is important.


Sunday, October 4, 2009


Hey all,

Once again before we know it, we're back to October. Wasn't it just July?!?

I had the great honor or standing up for two of my best friends yesterday in their wedding. Two people truly cut out for each other. Crazy to think of all of us from college starting up our lives in one way or another. Had a ton of fun and I need today to just recover!

On to the randomness. I haven't drank coffee in about a year, but the last few days I have found myself drinking it. Maybe it's the colder weather?? I don't know, either way it's odd.
Last week I really slacked off in my job searching, I need to get back on that this week and hit it hard. As nice as it can be, subbing isn't a career choice and it's definitly not enough money to live on, let alone have your own place! Anyone hiring 20-somethings??

The previous weekend I got to spend with my beloved GF. What a great time to just enjoy some downtown. Got out to a really cool (not to mention huge and busy) cider mill North of St. Johns, MI. Great donuts and gourmet carmel apples! Let's not forget the free wine tasting, that was a first for me. Good times had by all.

College football is in full swing, and as it always does this time of year, it makes me go crazy. I don't know what it is, but I love it. Grand Valley is once again on it's way to a great season, and my Notre Dame Fighting Irish are 4-1!

Well, not a whole lot of substance in this post, but I needed to update. I'll try to stick to this better this week.

Until then, peace!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My geeky interests!!

I guess by now I ought to lay these out. For loving sports and being such a "guy" I'm quite a dork. Trust me, dorks have more fun.

1. Sports: More specifically hockey, college football!!! I grew up playing hockey, and I think it might one of the few "real" sports left (we just have to get rid of Sidney Crosby). If you can't tell, I'm a life-long diehard Red Wings fan. I'll take it to my grave! I live in Michigan, the heart of the Great Lakes and a hockey hot bed.
Now onto college football. I just LOVE the whole aura and atmosphere. I like the NFL, but the college game is where it's at! Student sections, bands, tailgating on campus...do it. There is just a sense you get at a college game that can not be matched anywhere...the real America...a united heartbeat. I can't explain it...maybe I'll write a book someday trying to express the intriqacies one day.
I am a graduate of THE Grand Valley State University, and our athletic program is NCAA Division II. While I was in school our football team won 4, yes FOUR national championships. I am spoiled rotten. I will bleed Laker Blue and Black till I die.

2. I like...no love, commercial aviation. Should I have been a pilot??? I am sooo geeky about planes and airports it's scary. I can spend all day at a major international airport walking around, people watching, plane spotting, watching the tarmac operations, etc. I am just fascinated with the whole thing. Less then 100 years ago, people would have laughed if you tried to describe a place like O'hare or LAX or NY-JFK. Furthermore, major airports are cities within a city. They employ thousands on their own, and support employment for tens of thousands more in the city in which they reside.
Flying....flying, that says it all. Something that by nature man was not meant to do...we do! Give me a trans-con and a window seat and I am an entertained man for 5 hours, a kid in a candy store. Sitting at 38,000 feet, high enough where everything seems so small. I can be over Lake Michigan, see Wisconsin and almost all the way to Detroit. Wow, that puts things in perspective. Then, you look up. From the Concorde, you could see the curvature of the earth, and the black of space (they flew at 55,000 ft.), from flight level 380,(38,000) you can almost see that edge of space and the curvature of earth is almost there! I think another thing is that I love travelling, which makes flying so enjoyable.

3. Craft Beer. I like a tall glass of the good stuff! I guess I just got intrigued when around the age of 23 I stumbled upon an amazing craft beer store I lived near. I never looked back. I love the flavors, the variety, the culinary adventure of trying new and different beers, as well as enjoying the awsome mainstays that are my favorites (shout out to my locals, Founder's and Bell's!!).
I often cruise and peruse sites like Beeradvocate.com, check them out if you're interested, it will open up your eyes beyond Bud, Miller and Coors. Flavor exists, that's why I like craft!
Now, I feel every beer has it's place and time, even the aforementioned (I try to avoid AB products out of principle), and I never turn down a beer when offered, I feel that such a thing is offensive and snobish. However, when spending my own money, I will often go for the craft or ale variety.

4. I thoroughly enjoy exploring large cities and urban areas. I have not been to NYC, that and it's outer boroughs would be awsome to check out for a few days. I looovvveee Chicago, and I am fascinated with the "ruins" of poor Detroit. I am also fascinated with Los Angeles, even though it's a very poorly designed urban area in terms of sustainability, it's sheer size and "density" IS fascinating.
Now to the opinion side of things. I support density, mass transit and smart, environmental, long-term urban planning. I really dislike ex-urbs, I feel they just don't have any fore-thought into their planning. I mean, in most cases, they even bull-doze all the trees!! They have no sidewalks which limits the safety and accessibility of walkers, runners, bikers, everyone who wants to venture outside of their subdivision without a car. They are car-centric, meaning that to get groceries or go to work you need to drive. They are very racially bland...all white people. Sometimes I analyze the setup and it eerily seems like they were designed that way...wait, what's that you say?? White-flight?? Noooo....enough said. I think this is a socio-economic statement of exclusion and segregation, sickening actually.

Anyway, these are just several of my interests. I think most people are dorkier than they admit. You just need to accept your fascination and embrace the world!

Until next time, keep your stick on the ice!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Not holding up my end of the bargain!

Wow, I'm really sucking at this consistancy thing aren't I?

Finished a full six-day stretch of teaching at the same elementary school last week. Some great experiences, some horrific. I don't get it, so much variance in behavior and personality between classrooms. Even at the tender age of 7 or 8, there are some kids don't care in the classroom. When I say don't care, I mean does-not-care. They are worry-free of the consequences of their rude, insulting and disruptive behavior, to say nothing of wanting to learn and do well in school.

It all begins at home, that is where children gather their opinions and perceptions and purposes of school and life before they reach school. Parental influence is huge. Does anyone actually read to their kids anymore?? How about helping them with their homework at night?
News-flash: the TV is NOT A BABYSITTER.

Another point, which I should elaborate on, this is in an urban school district. The urban school district from which I received my education. Now, I came from an very educated and socially active family background, where good grades and a college education were the expectation. There are plenty of those students in this school district. However unfortunatly, there are even more who are from the opposite background, increasingly so. So it can stand to reason that if one's parent's don't have a higher education, the chances of the offspring not seeing the value of an education is higher than usual. Again, however, there are wonderful exceptions to this rule! I happen to know one of these exceptions. Parents had no college education, but she graduated top in her class and she was the first of her family to attend college and is on the verge of graduating. The quintisential American story.

What I am really trying to boil my point down to is to the worst factor. The parents who have no interest in their child's life or advancement, and it results in an absent-minded young person. As sad as it is, it exists. The real victims here are the kids. By the time school starts, they are disadvantaged. By the time middle school comes around, they have no concept of the value of an education, let alone respect for peers, adults, or authority figures. By the time they are in high school, no one gives them any hope or chance. They are already failures in the eyes of others, and worst of all, in their own. The mindset is "It doesn't matter so why care or try?".

Where is the intervention? There's no money for it. The challenge ahead is so daunting that the current system can not even begin to touch the issue. We need massive reform and funding to help this situation. But apparently we'd rather spend $10 Billion a month to fight a pointless war in Iraq than help educate our youth.

We can't babysit everyone's children and raise them for you. The mindset of parenting in these situations has to be changed....and how do we do THAT?!?!

God Bless and fight the good fight...

Monday, September 14, 2009


Hey again non-existent readers! Been a bit too long, apologizes for the absence.

Previous week has been a lazy and busy one. Got the first college football tailgating under my beslt at the GVSu home opener Saturday. GREAT time, it always is. Nothing better than a gorgous fall day with friends, beverage of choice in hand, coolin' in a bag chair. Great win over the hated Sagnasty Valley State Cardinals, great bonfire afterwards in Allendale.

Started substitute teaching again last week after a summer off. My re-introduction was easy enough. A simple afternoon with 1st graders, the teacher assistant/student teacher in the classroom was doing all the lessons, so it was really a breeze. This week will not be such a vacation however. I have a full week at a very difficult elementary school, and today proved just that. You can't help what environment these kids have at home, what values they're taught. It just really bites the dirt when they don't care no matter the consequence. Especially at that young of an age. We just do the best we can with what we are given.

More news of interest, I officially signed up for Linkedin this morning! I don't yet have a full understanding of the website, or everything I want to have on there yet, but it's great for making connections! Employers are all over it right now, so there's the "hot tip" of the day, even if I am a few months late on the bandwagon.

Stay safe kids! Play hard-play fair. Remember, always keep your stick on the ice!


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Four Wonderful Years!

It's been four wonderful years since I met my wonderful girlfriend at college and I wouldn't trade a single day of it for anything! I am truly blessed to have such an amazing person to share my life with.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Memo: I am NOT in Sales!

This is a little memo to all the job search engines out there. On behalf of my fellow Advertising and Public Relations professionals, WE ARE NOT SALES REPRESENTATIVES.

Why does it think that "Media Planner", means "telemarketer"?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Summer's almost over...

Well the summer adventure is almost over. Back to subbing in the next few days.

Still searching for something in my field that fits me. I'm tired of applying for openings that have nothing to do with my major, are something that I have no interest in doing, and/or have no chance at landing because I am only "entry-level" out of college.

I'm sure there are many others out there like me, in my situation, but it sure doesn't feel that way. Five years of tireless effort, thousands of dollars, and I can't land the job I want in my field. At this point, I'm not sure it exists.

I'm not looking for pity, I'm looking for chance. I think doing everything right and everything I was told I needed to do I've earned a chance.

Ok, rant done. It's too nice outside to sit in here any longer.

Peace and chicken grease kids!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Facebook | Meagen Spillane

Facebook Meagen Spillane: "What is a Laker? It’s walking the Little Mac and knowing where to find the only color copier on campus. It’s being placed in the “old dorms” on campus, and having the best stories to tell. It’s eating Yesterdogs at 2 in the morning after spending your last $10 on your favorite band playing at The Intersection. It’s “off campus living” in the middle of a cornfield and scouring RentGR.com for an old downtown duplex with your best friends for next year. It's not knowing the cost of gas or insurance because the '50' can take you where you need to be. It’s throwing a dollar in the can at Mojo’s to hear your fight song, and throwing your arms in the air fighting for the national championship title. It’s throwing down on the best of Founder’s beers, and throwing some caps with Natty. It’s 10-cent drafts at BFE, knowing it’s not in BFE, and knowing what the Pink Drink and Hairy Buffalo is. It’s going to class with a wind chill of ten-below, and laying out in Grand Haven before the first football game of the year. It's taking exams, taking your college years for granted, and taking your degree around the world... Only to find yourself missing the mitten.

It’s about being a part of a place in its youth, in your youth. Growing with it. Growing around it. Growing because of it.

Missing you, GV."

The Beginning

Whoever stumbles across this, this is the beginning. I've always wanted to create a blog, and until now, never followed-through with it. We'll see how long I can keep with this.

I hope to post and link some fun stuff as I go, as well as voice my opinions on this crazy world we live in.

As Kenny Chesney said so rightly, "God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy."