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4am

Dec. 22nd, 2008 | 05:26 am
mood: chipperchipper

This was a conversation that was heard in my house at 4am.  The scene is the master bedroom. 

4:00am - Daughter:  Mommy get up
4:01 - Deanna:  Honey, go back to bed
4:02 - Daughter:  I'm not tired
4:03 - Deanna:  Go to sleep
4:04- Daughter:  I am going to wake up Bubba
4:05 - Deanna:  Don't wake up Bubba
4:06 - Daughter:  ok
4:10- Daughter:  I am going to wake up Bubba
4:11 - Deanna:  Don't wake up Bubba
4:12 - Daughter:  ok
4:15- Daughter:  I am going to wake up Bubba
4:16 - Deanna:  Don't wake up Bubba
4:17 - Daughter:  ok
4:18 - Deanna:  go back to bed
4:19 - Daughter:  I'm not tired
4:20 - Daughter: I need my sippy cup
4:21 - Deanna:  (goes and gets sippy cup and milk)
4:25- Daughter:  I am going to wake up Bubba
4:26 - Deanna:  Don't wake up Bubba
4:27 - Daughter:  ok
4:28 - Deanna:  Go to bed
4:29 - Daughter:  I'm not tired
4:30 - Deanna:  (takes daughter to her room)
4:40- Daughter:  (running back into the room)
4:41- Daughter:  I am going to wake up Bubba
4:42 - Deanna:  Don't wake up Bubba
4:43 - Daughter:  ok
4:50- Daughter:  Mommy get up
4:51 - Deanna:  No..go back to bed
4:52 - Daughter:  Mommy, I need you
4:53 - Deanna:  No..go back to bed
4:54 - Daughter:  I'm not tired
4:56- Daughter:  I am going to wake up Bubba
4:57 - Deanna:  Don't wake up Bubba
4:58 - Daughter:  ok

This goes on for another 2 hours..just like this.  I found it rather funny, but Deanna did not share my sense of humor on this.

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Homecoming

Dec. 20th, 2008 | 04:33 am
mood: tiredtired


We are back from China, and it is good to be home.

Comments on traveling

The actual trip is always long.  Going from the US to China is about 2 hours longer than coming from China to the US.  Jet lag is always tough.  The kids had a rough night, and they were up early.  Our daughter at 4am in the morning told us that she was not tired any more and wanted us to get up.  Hopefully tonight she will be back on track.

Our house

Coming back to a house that you have not lived in for 6 months is always interesting.  Considering the house survived a hurricane, things are not too bad.  Deanna found a dead rat next to our heater that she was not very happy about.  Today the "bug guy" came and carried it out.  He shared with us that this is the 6th rat today that he had to take care of.  Its good to know that we are not the only ones with rodent issues.  Of course that is the problem with living in a wild area - lots of critters.  Of course I am using the term very broadly to include anything with more legs than me.

On another note, the internet was not working when we arrived back.  I called Comcast today several times, and they sent out a tech to our house.  Now I have to say that the Tech was very prompt.  They said that he would be out between 2pm - 5pm, and he was here at 2:05.  He ended up swapping out the modem, as ours was not working.  The new modem appears to be working well. 

Other than that, things are good.   Looking forward to catching some football this weekend!



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Need to Pack

Dec. 16th, 2008 | 07:59 pm
mood: tiredtired

Pizza

We probably order pizza once a week, usually on the weekends when our ayi is not cooking for use. I will say that it is nice to come home to dinner on the table. I will probably have to reset my expectations on this when I get back to the US. We usually end up ordering from Papa John's as that is close, and their pizza is usually very good. Now there have been several occasions when what we have received was a little different from what we ordered. In particular, they seem to have a hard time understanding potato skins. Their potato skins are very good, as it is a half of a small potato with BBQ sauce, cheese and pepperoni - very yummy! There have been the occasions when we have received french fries in stead of potato skins. Their french fries are ok, but they are not as good as the potato skins. There has also been the times when we have ordered soda and received a salad. It is always interesting to see what will be brought.

Traveling

Tomorrow is our big packing day, as we head back to the US on Thursday. As a result, this will probably be my last blog entry until Friday. Hopefully everything will go smoothly on the trip, and I look forward to seeing our house again.


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9

Dec. 15th, 2008 | 05:09 pm
mood: contentcontent


9 is a good number. Its not quite 10, but it will do for the moment.

I woke up to day with a mixed bag of news. The Dolphins won in their last home game. The 49ers were starting to pick up speed, but they were not able to convert on the opportunities that they were given. When I was looking at the stats, it looked like the 49ers dominated the statistics, but they just could not find the end zone. The Dolphins in their last 3 games have not allowed a touchdown. After giving up 48 to New England, they have been set up a water barrier that the opposition can not seem to break through. I would also say that their offense has not exactly been stellar, and its been the defense which has carried the day. I am hoping that the offense picks up in these next two games, as they are going to need a balanced team to make the playoffs. Still the Dolphins are in a good spot.

On the other side of the table, both the Jets and the Pats won their games. What is disappointing is that Buffalo really should have beaten the Jets. To give them free points at the end of the game is inexcusable. With two minutes left, and the lead, you run the ball. At 2nd and 5, I am not sure what Buffalo was thinking. It just seems like in this situation, you continue to run the ball, especially considering how successful you have been doing that all day long. Terrible play call. NE also rolled over their opponent, but that was to be expected as they were playing the Raiders, and the Raiders stink right now. I am not sure who they could beat at the moment. As an aside, Baltimore lost today. That was a bit unexpected, and that might come back to haunt them. I still think they win one more game, and that will put them in. Indy has the other spot sown up.

Next week, The Dolphins play the Chiefs, and that should put them at 10 wins going into NY to face the Jets. My prediction is that all 3 teams win next week, and the winner of the Dolphins and Jets game goes on to the playoffs. I like the Dolphins' chances. The Jets have not been playing good ball recently. There is a high probability that the Dolphins could win the final two games. With two more wins, the Dolphins advance to the playoffs. Win and they are in. Just the way I like it.

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Sunday ramblings

Dec. 14th, 2008 | 07:52 pm
mood: hopefulhopeful


I think we have the world's smallest garabage can in our kitchen. On the bright side, at least garabage does not pile up, as we have to take it out all the time.

Odds & ends

Today was a packing day, and we will be getting ready for our trip that is scheduled for later in the week. I probably will not be blogging that much this week, as there is a lot that needs to be done between now and then.

Christmas

You know its Christmas time when all the Christmas specials come on. In China we have to break out the VHS and DVD specials. Tonight we are watching "A Christmas Carol," starring Patrick Stewart, who has to be one of my favorite actors.

Football

Today the Dolphins will play the 49ers at Dolphin stadium. Hopefully I will awake to good news! I will blog more on this tomorrow after the game is finished.

Late edit

I just spoke to my sister in New York and it appears that upstate NY was hit by a terrible ice storm on Thursday and they are still without power as of Sunday.  Yikes!  Hopefully they will get the power on soon.

 Quote of the Day

Today's quote comes from one of my co-workers from last Monday.

I think we are following the wrong car.  Ting

Just to provide some background to this quote.  We were all suppose to follow my boss, Tim, to his house for some snacks and such before heading out to dinner.  Apparently Ting's car was following a silver mini-van, that she thought was ours, that was headed in the opposite direction.  After about 15 minutes or so, she called me to ask why we were going to wrong direction.  It quickly became clear that silver mini-van that she was following was not ours (do you have a mickey mouse sticker on the back of your car?  Uumm no).  Needless to say, they were a good 30 minnutes late in arriving at Tim's place, and then they ended up at the wrong apartment once they arrived at the complex.  Opps...


All in all, it was quite funny.
 

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Ramblings on the BCS Bowls

Dec. 13th, 2008 | 06:19 pm
mood: busybusy

China update

Christmas is in the air in China, which means its time for shopping. There is this one Santa Clause poster that is up everywhere. Shanghai is very aware of Christmas and the holidays, so they are making maximum effort to encourage shopping. So for today, Deanna & I went out to face the crowds. The Shanghai local markets, not the big Super Brand Mall, are filled with small retail shops that sell basically the same things. There is the leather bag place, the luggage place, the silk stores, the electronic stores, the DVD stores, and the tourist stuff stores. The mall we went to had many versions of these stores packed very tightly together. The square footage of each of the stores is very small, but the sheer number of stores in the mall make up for the lack of area in the individual stores. My gut feel is that all these stores are feed by a central warehouse, as the goods being sold are the same from store to store. I suspect that even though the store names are different, they may be controlled by the same management team. It is interesting in that if you go to a store and they do not have exactly what you want, they will run off and return shortly with some different, yet similar items.

In most places, and there are a few exceptions, there is no price that is marked on the item. We have been told that a good deal is about 30% of their initial offer. It is funny in that they all say the same thing. They all claim that we are their special friends so we get a special price. No matter what price they quote you, there is still some room for a better price. Some folks really enjoy the back and forth negotiations, but I am not one of them. My wife can shop for hours. I run out of steam at 90 minutes. Today we shopped for 6 hours. In some ways, it does not matter what country you are in, some things never change.

As a final thought on our shopping experience, we had Dim Sum at one of the nicer Chinese restaurants that was very good.  The won ton soup, which is one of my favorite soups, was excellent!

Last week the BCS guys announced the bowl line up, which I will review here.

1. FEDEX ORANGE BOWL: Cincinnati (12) vs. Virginia Tech (19).

Quite simply, this is a rather bland bowl game. While I can appreciate the fact that Cincinnati and Virginia Tech won their divisions, both teams were very lack luster this season. I do agree that this is a decent match up, there is nothing here that I am very excited about.

Overall rating - Blah.

2. THE ROSE BOWL GAME PRESENTED BY CITI: Penn State (8) vs. No. 5 USC (5).

My first comment on this game is that the title is too long. I think we can drop the presented by Citi, as I am sure that we will be reminded multiple times throughout the game that Citi is sponsoring the game. The Rose Bowl (I am going to drop the presented by nonsense, and hope my good readers forgive me on this one) is traditionally the match up between the Big 10 and Pac 10. While this game has a lot of tradition, I would appreciate it more if the Big 10 and Pac 10 had a conference championship game with the winners advancing to the Rose Bowl. Now I do agree that in this case Penn and USC are the best in their respected divisions, I think the match loses some of its appeal without the conference championship games prior to this. USC actually had a good season, outside the loss to Oregon State. That basically knocked them out of the running for the National Championship Game. I think if I was Pete Carroll I would be pushing very hard for a playoff system for the National Championship, as they may have advanced to that game. Their team is very good, but we might never really know how they would have stacked up against the Big 12 or SEC. Penn State had a good season. I am not convinced that they are that good. I am expecting USC to roll over them in a convincing fashion.

Prediction USC 38 Penn 17. Overall rating - 3 stars. Good but not great.  The more I think about this game the more I think I am being generous with the 3 star rating.

3. ALLSTATE SUGAR BOWL: Utah (6) vs. Alabama (4)

At least Allstate had the good sense to keep the name short. Even though I am a bit critical of the Fiesta match up, this match up, at least on paper, is not that bad. A 4 v 6 pairing is a solid match. However, I still have bad memories from last year's Hawaii and Georgia match up, which was a disaster. Now I will go back a few years to Utah's last BCS game against Pitt, where they chewed up Pitt and rolled them out of the stadium. That was a terrible match up, and Utah proved that they deserved better competition that day. I would have rather have seen Auburn and Utah duke it out, and I would not have surprised if Utah had beaten Auburn that day. Auburn did not play that great in their bowl game. So let's fast forward to this year. I do suspect that this game could surprise folks. Alabama had a good season, but I could not help but think that they were over rated all year. They are a solid team, but I do not think they are really a #4 team. Utah was undefeated in the weaker Mountain West Conference, so to be honest, I have no idea on how good they really are. To go undefeated is a great accomplishment, but their division is not the SEC or Big 12. However, I am still calling for the upset in this game.

Prediction Utah 31 Alabama 24. Overall rating - 4 stars. This game will surprise some folks, as I think Utah will beat Alabama.

 4. TOSTITOS FIESTA BOWL: Ohio State (10) vs. Texas (3)

Again, Tostitos had the good sense not to get carried away with the naming convention. This is another decent match up. Texas had a great season, with just the one loss to Tech in the closing minutes of the game. That was one of the games that I am actually very sorry I missed. Very disappointing for me. While Texas has a good claim to be in the National Championship game, I think the BCS goons had it right in the end. As we do live in Texas, I feel that I have to support Texas to some extent, and my son really likes the Longhorns. However, I think the #3 ranking is about right in this case. Now the match up with Ohio State leaves me a bit cold. They had two losses and ended up at #10. A match up between the #3 and the #10 team does not feel like an epic match by any stretch. I would have much rather seen the #3 team matched up against the #4 team. In fact, I would even go as far as to say I would rather have seen a USC - Texas match up, than this one (now I realize that it would have messed up the Rose Bowl pairing, but that is another story). I am rather disappointed with this matchup. I am expecting Ohio to come up short, and Texas should win this one.

Prediction Texas 24 Ohio 17. Overall rating - 3 stars. Another good but not great game.

5. FEDEX BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: Florida (2) vs. Oklahoma (1)

While the name is a bit long for me, it is the National Championship game, so I will give FedEx some slack on this one. This game features Florida and Oklahoma in a winner takes all match up, which is just the way I like it. Both teams had great seasons, with each team having one loss. Florida's loss was a bit embarrassing as they lost at home to a much weaker Ole Miss team. I have to give Florida props from coming on strong since, and they have been playing great ever since. Oklahoma at least had the good sense to win their home games. Now, my memory goes back a few years to back to back embarrassing performances by Oklahoma in the National Championship games. Truly dreadful performances. I also remember the loss to Boise State in a game to remember. Looking back at history, we can safely conclude that Oklahoma does not play well in the big games. In fact I would say that their performance has been terrible at best. Florida on the other hand, has actually performed rather well with their most notable win coming against Ohio State for the National Title. Florida punished Ohio in that game and left no doubt on who was better. Let's now fast forward to this game. Without a doubt, this will be a great game, however in the end, Florida beats Oklahoma for the title.

Prediction Florida 35 Oklahoma 24. Overall rating - 5 stars. While this might not be the epic that was Texas and USC, this should be a very enjoyable game to watch.

 Quote of the Day

Today's quote comes from my wife after she read my blog:

Who is Cincinnati?

Exactly.  Priceless.

 

Thoughts on the BCS

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Appreciation Part 2

Dec. 12th, 2008 | 10:44 pm
mood: tiredtired


It was a nice surprise to see my other blog -http://grumblingrognard.blogspot.com/ be awarded the Superior Scribbler Award. I wrote a fairly lengthy entry on appreciation, and I want to continue on this theme for a moment or two longer. I do spend a fair bit of time reading blogs and message boards. I really appreciate the folks that take the time out to not just write about what they did or to disagree with someone's post on the message board, but rather to write an essay on something that they found interesting, or to provide detailed analysis on something that they felt was important. It is those blogs and message board posts that I find truly interesting and worth of further reading. I think all to often we do not take the time to appreciate the works of others, and I think that is an opportunity lost. The busy bustle of the day seems to push us through, and we forget to stop and appreciate the contributions of others around us.

One of the rules of winning the award is to recognize other blogs that the winner finds interesting. I have them listed out on my other blog, Grumblin' Grognard, and one can take a look at them. There is one in particular that I do want to call out. This is pulled from my other blog for reference.

http://thesilverkey.blogspot.com/. I have only recently discovered this blog, and I found his analysis and commentary of The Lord of the Rings to be outstanding. This is one of my all time favorite books, and it is very enjoyable to read an essay from someone that shares a similar passion.

Brian is the author of this blog, and he provides commentary and analysis on books and a number of other topics. I read his Lord of the Ring analysis, and it was amazing. Just an excellent read. I need to find some time to read the rest of his blog, as it is very well written. I highly recommend that folks add this to there must read blogs of the day.

At the moment I am going to leave it at that. I knew this week was going to be busy, and it was. I was meaning to get my college football review posted, but that will have to wait until tomorrow.

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Tied for 1st

Dec. 8th, 2008 | 10:41 pm
mood: hopefulhopeful


I will be rather busy this week, as we have a number of folks in from the US, and I will be tied up with them. I suspect the focus of my blogs this week will be on sports, as these next two months or so are the conclusion of both the college football season and the profootball season. Bowl games were announced last night, and the playoff picture is getting a little clearer with 3 games remaining.

NFL

The Dolphins continue to win, and are 6-1 in the last 7 games. With 3 left to go, they really control their own destiny. If they can win all three, they are in. If they win 2, there is a good shot that they cold be in. If they only win 1 and go 9-7, I do not think they make it, although one would have to mark the season as a success. Without a doubt, the Dolphins are benefiting from a weak schedule, and they are beating the teams that they are suppose to beat. Their next two opponents are in the bottom half of the league, so there is a very good possibility that they win the next two. The last game is against Jets, and that could be for the division champion. The Jets have lost their last two games against weaker opponents, so that is cause for some concern. I think that they are very beatable, and I would not be surprised to see them slump at the end. Brett Farve is an older QB, and has a tendency to force the ball. It does feel like the team is starting to lose focus, so that could end up being a good thing for the Dolphins. I suspect that the Dolphins go 2-1 in their final three games, and 10-6 may not be good enough to make the playoffs. We may see a situation where all three AFC teams are 10-6 at the end, and the score of the last game may be the deciding factor. This is a far cry from last year.

College Football

Looks like the BCS has it right with Oklahoma and Florida playing for the National Championship. At the moment, that's all I am going to say. I will be posting more on this topic this week.

 

 

Not quite Dan-da-man, but I will take Chad for this season!

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Count down to January

Dec. 7th, 2008 | 07:59 pm
mood: tiredtired


This will be a short blog entry today.

I am writing this before the BCS bowl bids are out. With wins by Florida and Oklahoma, the National Championship game should be a no brainer. I suspect that this will be the case after the bowl games are announced, which I believe will happen this Sunday. However, there is the possibility that this will not be the case. Without a definite playoff system, there is the possibility that another option will be chosen by the BCS computer. That is the problem a system that relies on votes rather than a playoff system. I hope they get it right, but there is always the possibility that another matchup will be chosen instead. I do not think any other option makes sense though. I hope this sends a message to the Big10 & Pac10 that their teams will play second to the teams that play in the big divisions. In my mind, teams that play in conferences without a conference championship game do not belong in the final game. The conference championship games create something of a playoff system. Again, I think that any scenario that has a team that did not play in a conference championship game jump into the final game does not make sense. Texas is out of luck this year. If Oklahoma lost the final game, Texas jumping into the final does not feel right. Only the winners should have that right to jump into the final game.

With all that said, I will be looking for the match ups come Monday
 
Army v. Navy

While it is not the game it once was, it is still a very special game.

Make it seven in a row for Navy!

Navy has won 13 straight times against Air Force and Army since 2002, outscoring the programs 441-205 during the streak. The Commander-in-Chief's Trophy remains docked with Navy.

Quote of the day:

This one comes from the Midshipmen of Navy:

"You don't want to be the class that drops the ball"   Shun White (RB Navy)

 




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Scrappy Doo!

Dec. 5th, 2008 | 07:59 pm
mood: tiredtired

I was out at Wujiang today. I feel like I spend half my time in Shanghai in a car or taxi going from one end of Shanghai to the other end and beyond. Traffic today was actually not that bad.

HP News

Today, HP launched the new Vivienne Tam mini notebook.   While not exactly what I would throw in my backpack, I suspect that for the target audience this will do quite well. In our CEO's quarterly review press release, this was mentioned as one of our hot new products that we are launching.  On our web site, www.hpshoppping.com, one can check it out.  If red with purple flowers is not your style, check out the standard black mini notebook.  Actually the black looks very sharp.  My boss is thinking about buying a couple for his kids!


Mini VT cover






Scrappy Doo!

I really hated the mutt.  When I was growing up, I thought it totally wrecked a great cartoon.  I was a big fan of Scoobie Doo.  When Scrappy came along, I felt that it destroyed the chemistry of the show.  As it turns out, Scoobie Doo was on the verge of being cancelled, and Scrappy Doo was what saved the show.  Scrappy actually proved to be very popular, and the show continued for several more years.  Go figure!

Mark Evanier, Scoobie's head writer, wrote a four part story about the events leading up to the first episode.  Enclosed are the links to the entire story, which is really very amusing.

Links:


http://www.newsfromme.com/archives/2007_02_14.html#012936
http://www.newsfromme.com/archives/2007_03_16.html#013108
http://www.newsfromme.com/archives/2007_05_04.html#013405
http://www.newsfromme.com/archives/2007_10_02.html#014111

Quote of the day:

Puppy Power!  Scrappy Doo

Gads!  That was terrible!


 

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