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September 30, 2005
The Last Juror

This was the second audio book that I have finished. I actually finished it about a month ago, and am just getting to writing about it, but that is the advantage of being the chief editor of your own website...you get to make the Deadlines. Anyways, the narrator (a.k.a. reader) wasn't nearly as good as the guy from the previous audio book, so it took a while for me to get into the book. Actually, to be honest, I never fully got into at all. I don't think it was so much the narrator's fault, as it was that the book just didn't have "it". You know, the infamous "it" that every writer, actor, singer, future CEO wannabe, etc. are looking for. I haven't read a ton of Grisham books, only 'The Firm', 'The Pelican Brief', and most of 'A Time to Kill', but in each the book seems to get progressively worse. I absolutely loved 'The Firm', but the rest were so-so, and the 'The Last Juror' was just boring to me. I am going to give Grisham the benefit of the doubt for now based on my new theory that it is hard to get really excited or revved up when listening to a book while driving. The only other book I have listened to was a non-fiction book, so perhaps audio fiction books just don't work for me.
OK...enough about why I didn't find the book good or great. Let me just tell what it is about. It's basically about a young, mid 20's (oh how my perception has changed about the young and the old), guy who moves to a small town and takes over the local newspaper. Like me with this site, he is the boss, and makes all the decisions. After a while, a woman is murdered, and the suspect is a guy by the name of Danny Padgett, who comes from a family that is notorious for dealing and running the shady side of things...ie. drugs, moonshine, etc. Of course, as any other Grisham book does, this ends up in court, and there is a trial, and (stop here if you don't want to know the ending) Danny is found guilty. However, a few years later, there is some killings going and all the people that are being killed, and they are all from the Jury that put Danny Padgett away. Ok...I won't say who is doing the killing, but I will say that it wasn't a very exciting read during this time. The highlight for me of the book was of course how the young guy is able to take a small local newspaper, and transform it a highly successful business for himself, and eventually is able to sell it for over a million dollars after just about 10 years. Sounds like a good idea to me, although I don't think I could convince Barbie to move to the middle of nowhere in Mississippi so I could start up a small local newspaper. I'll stick to convincing her to move to Miami! :)

Posted by Don at 02:00 AM
September 29, 2005
It's Go Time

This past weekend was one of the more eventful weekends since moving back. Not because we did some travelling, but just b/c there seemed to be things to do and places to go. The festivities started on Friday night with a surprise Birthday party for DT. A bunch of us, probably about 20-30 people, met at T.G.I. Friday's, where DT showed up about 15 minutes later. He apparantely had no idea about it, because the look of shock was definitely evident. After a drink or two we all headed over to Bay Meadows, which is a horse track. It's probably been about 3-4 years since I was last there, but everything is pretty much the same, including my inability to win. I did get two winners, but not enough to cover the costs of the losses. Although you can't really complain when you only $15.

Saturday was the day for doing stuff around the house, although I really don't remember getting much done. What I do remember is watching about 3 college football games and ton of episodes from last years tv show "24", starring Kiefer Sutherland. A&E did a marathon showing of last years season, so we Tivo'd it, and are now trying to catch up so that when the new season starts we are ready to go. If you've never seen the show, start with Season 1, because it is the best one out there of the 4 we have watched. Although, this 4th season that we are watching is fairly decent.

Sunday was Go-Game. What is Go-Game, well it is basically a high tech scavenger hunt using cell phones and digital cameras to record your answers and places you've been. Our friend Blake was having all of us up in San Francisco, again about 30 people, split into 5 teams. We basically ran around the shady side of Mission St. by Dolores Park (not really a famous park, but if you know the area it may help), gathering information and basically making fools of ourselves. After the game ended, all teams met up at where else, a bar, and then got to see and vote on other teams photos and 'mini'-movies. Unfortunately, just like at the Decashathon, my team wasn't able to get 1st place, but we did manage 2nd. You've got to let the B-day win! :)

Another great thing about Sunday was the fact that Fins won again! I actually had to Tivo that also and watch it the following day, but it was still good to see despite knowing the result. I don't know how long they can keep it up, but Go Fins!

Posted by Don at 01:15 AM
September 20, 2005
Decashathon


This past weekend was the annual Decashathon weekend. Unfortunately, last year I wasn't able to make the inaugaral event due to the fact I wasn't even in the country, but this year I was primed and ready. The Decashathon consisted of 16 guys broken up in teams of 4 competing in 7 different events. The events were Billiards, Darts, Horseshoes, Golf, Poker, Casino and Bowling. Depending on how your team does in each event, you get a certain number of points, and the team with the best score at the end wins. Well, this year's event was held up in Lake Tahoe, and was the first time I had been there since probably 2002 when Barbie and I went up for the Celebrity Golf Tournament. We all arrived on Thursday, and of course the cards, beers, billiards and trash talking all began immediately. Thursday night progressed into Friday morning, and eventually we all crashed around 3am or so b/c golf started at 11am the next morning.

We arrived at the golf course Friday morning about 30-45 before our tee time, but the course was running late, and we didn't tee off until about an hour and a half later. Needless to say, we were looking at a 5 hour round of golf, but somehow in the end we managed to get out of there in 4.5 hours. Anyways, the golf was cool...very windy, so our lips dried out like prunes, but the views were great. Unfortunately, our team didn't play too well, and ended up taking 3rd place. We just didn't make any long putts or great chip shots during the day, which is what you need when playing best ball. I think our final score was actually +9, and the winner was +3.

Friday evening was Darts and Poker. Somehow Tom managed to get 4 electronic dart boards set up in the one car garage, and we all were able to squeeze in a get our games played. We basically played 3 games of 301, each dart board consisting of randomly drawn players from each team. I managed a 3rd, 1st, and 4th finish...so I was about average. Blake was the big ringer though, managing 1st in all 3 rounds.
After Darts, it was time for the Texas Hold'em Poker tournament. Same as you see on the TV, except that we're playing as teams. Well, 2 of our teammates went down early, and another team was already done, which meant we were basically guaranteed 3rd, no matter what we did. Therefore, I pushed in an all in bet when I probably normally wouldn't have, but what the heck...oh well...I got 8th overall, and our team got 3rd.
After all of this (now about 3am), somehow I was talked into heading to the Casino for some late gambling. I basically blame Zach for this as he convinced me the craps tables were calling, and thank goodness he did. Once at the Casino, we basically took over a $5 craps table, and played for the next couple of hours. Tom started off by rolling for a 1/2 hour, and the rest of followed suit. After about an hour, we were all a good deal, and decided to go one more round. The 2nd round of rolling wasn't as successful, so we lost some of our winnings, but in the end, we were all up for the evening.

Saturday was Horseshoes, finishing off any Billiards, Bowling and then Casino night. Our team was horrible at Horseshoes, and we only managed 1 win out of 12 matches. Luckily, we ended up taking 1st in Billards to even it out, so by the time Bowling and Casino came around, we were tied for 2nd. My first game bowling I took the world by storm by bowling a 175 with like 6 or 7 strikes. The only problem was, I don't think I had one spare. In the end, after 3 games of bowling, I was able to manage to take 1st place overall, but as a team we only got third place. :(
Heading into Casino night, which was basically giving every team X amount of dollars to spend for 1.5 hours, and the team with the highest money returned wins. Unfortunately, 1st place and Last place were pretty much sealed up, so there wasn't much incentive to fight for 2nd and 3rd place. Therefore, Casino night was kind of a bust and everyone went and did their own thing. I personally left the craps tables alone as they were at $10, and headed to the Pai Gow table, where I somehow managed to break even or a little bit ahead after about 3 hours of playing. This combined with the winnings for the first night, made me up for the weekend, which is all that can be asked.

So...as you have read, we ended up getting 3rd place as a team, and I got 5th overall in the indidual events...taking 1st in Bowling and Billiards (5-1 record), although Kurt was a great partner in Billiards. All in all, a great weekend, and here some pictures from the DECASHATHON WEEKEND!!

Posted by Don at 10:45 PM
September 09, 2005
FSU 10 Miami 7

This was by no means a game for the ages, despite the fact that FSU managed to get the Win. The offense was completely inept, and thanks to Miami's special teams being even more inept, FSU escaped with a much needed victory, despite the fact it is only the first game of the season. A loss here, and who knows what the rest of the season will bring with two red-shirt freshmen battling for the top QB spot. We didn't get to see much of Xavier Lee, but the one pass he did throw was about 15 yards in the opposite direction of the receiver, so that can't be a good sign. But in the end, the Defense was our saviour. Sure, they gave up a long 4th quarter drive when they originally had them pinned down at the 3 yard line, but results speak volumes, and the fact that Miami only scored 7 points shows how good this 'D' could be and/or already is. Either way, I'm ecstatic about the results, and no more having to listen to Hurricane fans talk trash, now all I will hear is "we should have won"...which may be true, but they've gotten enough breaks in the past to warrant this one not going there way. Miami's head coach Larry Coker summed it best with the following quote:

"When the law of averages goes against us, I don't like the law," Coker said. "I think it was just poor execution on our parts. Maybe it was just Florida State's time."

Posted by Don at 12:26 AM
September 03, 2005
The word "Kinda"

Last night I experienced something I don't think has ever happened to me in sports. Growing up playing sports, you have to deal with your fair share of bad calls made by referees or umpire or official or whatever you want to call them, but never have I had one admit to me at that they made a bad call literally seconds after making the call. Sure, having done my fair share of officiating at FSU, I would admit that a call was bad, but never during the actual game, much less within moments of making the call. So, now you are asking yourself what in the world happened to me...so here goes.

We were playing softball, and I came up to bat in around the 3rd or 4th inning. Our team is up by a few runs, not enough to consider it a blowout, but enough to be comfortable. Anyways, the count is 3 balls and 1 strike. The pitcher pitches the ball, which ends up being fairly high and deep, and the umpire calls out "STRIKE...kinda?" I wasn't quite sure I had heard that right, so I stepped out of the batter's box and looked at him, and he just smiled and said "Well, that was kinda a strike." Are you kidding me? Here is an ump who is unsure about the call, and is admitting to it. He then proceeds to say "That is definitely the worst Strike I have called all night." This guy is basically digging his own grave for the rest of the game. Sure enough, I couldn't help but laugh, but I made sure to question every call of his for the rest of the game with the word "kinda". It was all done in good tast I assure you...but it's great being able to say things like "Was he out, or just 'kinda' out?" The Umpire got a good laugh about it, and we ended up winning the game, so it didn't matter too much, except for the fact that I ended up getting out instead of getting a walk at that at bat. So, the moral of the story is this, never use the word "kinda" as an Umpire, it will be your undoing!

Posted by Don at 01:09 AM
September 01, 2005
Poker and Draft

This weekend, actually Friday night and the first half of Saturday, was the long awaited Poker night followed by Fantasy Football Draft Saturday. What this basically entails is a long night of poker, followed by sleep for some, and golf for others, then ending with a fantasy football draft. If you didn't catch that, some people didn't sleep, but instead played an early round of 9 holes of golf. However, these were the people who paid the price a few hours later.

So, Friday night kicks off around 8pm with some BBQ on the new grill. There were only actually 5 of us there at the time, two of which were Barbie and her friend Lisa, but they still count. :) Anyways, around 10 or so we are into the full swing of things with about 7 guys all trying to bluff our way into temporary riches. Unfortunately for some us, including myself, those riches were never found and we were left with empty pockets. The big story of the night though was the unfathomable occurrence that two people won 3-5-7 on the first hand dealt. 3-5-7 is a game where you are first dealt 3 cards, then 2 more for a total of 5, then 2 more for a final total of 7...betting before each of the extra 2 cards are dealt. 3's are wild on the first hand b/c you have 3 cards, 5's wild the next, and 7's wild on the last. Well...there are definitely more details, but you get the gist of it. However, there is a special rule that if on the 3 card hand you have a 3, 5 and 7, you automatically win and take the pot. This happens so rarely, that we actually take a picture of the winner with their winning card and pot to go into the "3-5-7 Hall of Fame". So, on Friday night, not only did this happen twice, but it happened on the opening hand each time. The odds of this (as calculated by DT) is about once every 1250 hands. So, assuming we play cards every week, and play 3-5-7 five times per night, it will take approximately another 5 years for this to happen. Needless to say, you can see why I mentioned it.

So, Friday night and Saturday morning pretty much blended together as I didn't go to sleep until around 4:30am. As I mentioned before, for others, the days really did blend together since they didn't sleep. The draft started around 10am Saturday morning, and after 3 computer failures at my house, we finally got things going with a nice "draft board" being projected from a computer to a wall in the living room so that everyone knew who they had, and those online could keep up as well since it was all hosted on dgraver.com. My team is of course solid and I will take home the title like I did a couple of years ago, but I don't want to toot my own horn. :)

All in all it was a good, but tiring weekend. The pictures on the right of Jeremy and I winning the 3-5-7 hands on the first deal. Unfortunately mine is somewhat blurry, but what can you expect at 3am.

Posted by Don at 01:45 AM