Monday, December 13, 2010

Chuck Norris Spit Here

Recently (in the last few months, anyway) I was with my honey near the library and I spotted this car:Notice that Chuck didn't punch the car. He didn't roundhouse kick the car. He just spit on it. Now that's some strong saliva.

Friday, December 10, 2010

October 27, 2010

She: It's white outside

Me: (groan)

I looked out the window, and what did I see? Nearly one month before Thanksgiving, our ground was already blanketed with snow. I guess that might be par for the course where I live. Anyway, the snow melted within a day, and it was a few weeks before we had snow again. And the November snow has since melted. It's actually been kind of nice out lately, considering it's December and all.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

NBA 2010-11: Stories, questions and awards

Every year around this date I put on a blindfold and throw some darts at a dartboard to help me make some NBA predictions. Who will win the championship? Who will win the individual awards? Will Shaquille O'Neal ever retire?

There are always some stories that fly under the radar. Of course, we know that the last two years saw the Lakers winning the championship and LeBron James earning the league's MVP award. But did you know that the Raptors' Jose Calderon set a major record two years ago -- a record that will probably never be broken!

In the 2008-09 season, Calderon made 151 of 154 free-throw attempts, good for 98.1% percent. The previous record of 95.8% was held by the Rockets Calvin Murphy and set back in the 1980-81 season. In other words, a record that lasted for 28 years was beaten by a pretty good margin. (keep in mind that a player must make at least 125 free throws in order to qualify for records or league-leader status).

In that same '08-'09 season, Rudy Fernandez made 159 3-pointers to set an NBA rookie record, one more than the previous record set by Kerry Kittles in 1996-97. In a neat coincidence, Fernandez and Calderon are teammates for the Spanish national team that won the 2006 World Championship and was runner-up to the U.S. in the 2008 Olympics.

So what will be the big questions this season? Obviously a lot of that focuses on the Miami Heat and their trio of stars. How will they do in their first season together?
Another team to watch would be the defending champs. Can L.A. three-peat?
I won't take the time to go into more detail, but ESPN has a pretty good post with 20 questions for the NBA season.

In keeping with tradition, I will unveil my picks for the NBA's regular-season individual awards.

Most Valuable Player -- the last couple of years I picked LeBron James and ended up being right. This year I am sticking with tradition by going with the safe pick again. That means Kevin Durant is my pick. KD became the league's youngest-ever scoring leader last season and is likely to make it two straight scoring titles. He is also coming off an MVP performance at the World Championships of Basketball, where he was the top player on the gold-medal winning team. While the game's best all-around player, LeBron James, may still be in the running despite playing with two perennial All-Stars, Durant looks to be leading the pack heading into the new season.
Rookie of the Year -- We have the last two No. 1 overall draft picks gunning for this award. Clippers forward Blake Griffin (drafted No. 1 in 2009) is back after missing all of last season because of injury. John Wall, this year's top overall draft pick, looks to lead the Wizards from the point guard position. I see this as a pretty good ROY race, but I will take Wall mainly because he should have an easier time getting opportunities to have the ball in his hands and make plays. While Griffin will likely have to share shots with Eric Gordon, Baron Davis and Chris Kaman, Wall will clearly be the featured player on the Wiz. Gilbert Arenas hasn't played much in recent years because of injuries and suspension, and Washington has cleaned house to start fresh. This means Wall will have the figurative keys to the Wizards' figurative car (sorry, Arenas, JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche).
Defensive Player of the Year -- Dwight Howard appears to be the safe pick. I will go with Superman even though history is technically not on his side. No player has won this award for three consecutive seasons. Dwight could become the first.
Sixth Man of the Year -- I could see a previous winner of this award duplicating the feat. Manu Ginobili apparently is beginning this season as a starter, so that eliminates him from consideration, unless Coach Popovich makes some lineup changes during the season (entirely possible). Jason Terry, Jamal Crawford and Leandro Barbosa are some of the other recent winners. I'll pick the Mavericks' guard.
Most Improved Player -- Ick. How do you predict this one? It usually goes to someone who has a big increase in the role they play for their team, which sometimes has less to do with improvement, and more to do with additional playing time and shot attempts. Whatever. I'll take Reggie Williams of the Warriors (not the one who played with Denver in the mid-'90s). He was called up from the D-League last year and put up some pretty good numbers for Golden State. If this pick is looking stupid at mid-season, feel free to laugh -- but not until then.
Coach of the Year -- This one is a shot in the dark (just like the MIP award), but I'll go with Tom Thibodeau of the Bulls. The first-year NBA head coach was credited as the mastermind of the Boston Celtics' recent defensive dominance when he was an assistant in Beantown. Will see how well he does as the head man of a team with a couple of young stars and some nice offseason additions.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

2010-11 Early NBA Playoff predictions

Based on the rankings from my previous post, here is how I think the playoffs would play out.

1st Round
East: (1) Miami defeats (8) Charlotte
(2) Orlando defeats (7) New York
(3) Boston defeats (6) Milwaukee
(4) Chicago defeats (5) Atlanta

West: (1) L.A. Lakers defeat (8) Phoenix
(2) Oklahoma City defeats (7) Houston
(3) San Antonio defeats (6) Portland
(5) Utah defeats (4) Dallas

Conference Semifinals
East: (1) Miami defeats (4) Chicago
(3) Boston defeats (2) Orlando

West: (1) L.A. Lakers defeat (5) Utah
(3) San Antonio defeats (2) Oklahoma City

Conference Finals
East: (1) Miami defeats (3) Boston
West: (1) L.A. Lakers defeat (3) San Antonio





VS.





NBA Finals: So it comes down to these teams. The super-talented SuperFriends vs. the champs from Hollywood. Will the Heat get enough support from their role players? Can they matchup with the Lakers big men? Can the Heat gel in time to win a title in their first season with the current roster? Will injuries play a factor in who wins? How about home court?
This could go either way, but here is my pick:
Miami defeats L.A. Lakers

Monday, October 25, 2010

2010-11 NBA Predictions

Yes, folks, it's that time again. I'm rolling out my predictions for how this season will go. This post will list the teams in order of their division standings, with playoff seeding in parentheses.

Atlantic Division
Boston Celtics (3) – Aging unit still has what it takes to make a good run. But can they go all the way?
New York Knicks (7) – New additions, including Amar’e Stoudemire, Raymond Felton and Anthony Randolph, look to turn the ship around. STAT Apostrophe reunites with former Suns coach Mike D’Antoni in hopes of giving the Big Apple its first winning record in a decade.
Philadelphia 76ers – They have a lot of talent, but the pieces don’t seem to fit together (several scores, very few passers – only one basketball). Doubters say No. 2 pick Evan Turner, who struggled in summer league and preseason, could be a bust.
New Jersey Nets - Should win more than the 12 games they won a year ago, but they’re still a lottery team barring a major trade.
Toronto Raptors – Andrea Bargnani, Jose Calderon and Leandro Barbosa will be among the team’s top players. I think I’ve made my point.

Central Division
Chicago Bulls
(4) – Had a nice offseason, unofficially branding themselves as a Utah Jazz reunion tour by signing free agents Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer. Can the Bulls win their first division title since the Jordan/Pippen/Rodman era?
Milwaukee Bucks (6) – Andrew Bogut took a nasty spill and broke his arm late last season. If – and this may be a big IF – the Aussie can stay healthy, the Bucks should be a solid playoff team.
Indiana Pacers – Their biggest move of the offseason was likely the four-team deal that landed them Darren Collison and James Posey, while costing them the services of Troy Murphy.
Cleveland Cavaliers – They still have Antawn Jamison, Mo Williams, Anderson Varejao and J.J. Hickson. They’re not too much different from last season, right? ... Right?
Detroit Pistons – I think they have way too much talent to be placed so low, and yet this is a classic case of a team that will likely play below their talent because the pieces don’t fit well together. Much like Philly, they don’t really have a passing team, they have some injury prone players and they’re coming off a lottery season.

Southeast Division
Miami Heat (1) – The NBA hasn’t seen a free agent bonanza like this since … well, probably ever.
Orlando Magic (2) – They entered into the conversation of elite teams a couple of years ago, but don’t quite seem able to get over the hump to win it all.
Atlanta Hawks (5) – The squad that basically used to be “the Clippers of the East” should make their fourth consecutive playoff appearance.
Charlotte Bobcats (8) – Made their first-ever playoff appearance (in their sixth season) in 2010. Can they make a repeat performance?
Washington Wizards – On paper, there is some good young talent, plus Gilbert Arenas. However, something always seems to derail this team, whether it’s injuries, bad defense or bringing firearms to the locker room.

Southwest Division
San Antonio Spurs
(3) – Tony Parker has said he thinks this is the last chance for Tim/Tony/Manu to get another ring.
Dallas Mavericks (4) – They have won 50 or more games for 10 straight seasons. On the other hand, they have only won a total of one playoff series in the past four years.
Houston Rockets (7) – I actually think this team has the talent, work ethic and chemistry to be really good if they are healthy. It’s just a bit difficult to place the non-Laker playoff teams in a proper order out West.
New Orleans Hornets - They have arguably the game’s best point guard in Chris Paul (with Deron Williams as his main competition), a recent All-Star in David West, a not-so-recent All-Star (Peja), a starter from a championship team (Trevor Ariza, ’09 Lakers), the No. 2 overall draft pick from 2004 (Emeka Okafor) and a burgeoning second-year scorer (Marcus Thornton), yet somehow I still find it hard to make room for them to be in the playoffs.
Memphis Grizzlies – I could make a list here (Zach Randolph, Rudy Gay, Marc Gasol, O.J. Mayo) like the one I did for the Hornets, and the same thing would apply.

Northwest Division
Oklahoma City Thunder (2) – Everyone is on the Zombie Sonics’ bandwagon. I am not completely convinced they will finish this high, but they certainly could. They will rely heavily on Kevin Durant and other young, perimeter players for scoring (Westbrook, Green, Harden), but will be complemented by big men who will do the dirty work (Aldrich, Ibaka, Collison, Krstic).
Utah Jazz (5) – Out with Boozer, Matthews and Korver. In with Al Jefferson, Gordon Hayward and Raja Bell. They seem to have replaced the recently departed players very well and are hoping the new blood will mix well with their holdovers.
Portland Trail Blazers (6) – The Blazers have some very nice talent and enviable depth. They also have a major injury history with Greg Oden and, to a lesser extent, Brandon Roy, Rudy Fernandez and Joel Przybilla.
Denver Nuggets – In all seven years of the ’Melo regime, Denver has made its way to the postseason. They could make it eight for eight, but I am skeptical about their chances of keeping their star for the entire season. If he’s traded, he may only yield young assets who might not contribute immediately. So, for now I’m saying their season will end mid-April.
Minnesota Timberwolves – Their roster is a scrapheap to rival the one in Toronto.

Pacific Division
Los Angeles Lakers (1) – The two-time defending champs look for a fourth straight conference championship – and the fourth three-peat of coach Phil Jackson’s career.
Phoenix Suns (8) – Without Amar’e, is the Fun ’N Gun over? At least they have Nash and a nice mix of shooters.
Los Angeles Clippers - I think Blake Griffin has a chance to become a Stoudemire-like explosive big man. Baron Davis can be great or awful; the Clips need him to at least be closer to the former than he is to the latter. Eric Gordon and Chris Kaman help give the team a chance at respectability.
Sacramento Kings - Reigning rookie of the year Tyreke Evans leads a young squad that could make some strides this season. Top 5 draft pick DeMarcus Cousins could be a beast inside.
Golden State Warriors - Expect a lot of scoring from the Dubs, but all those points won't necessarily translate into a lot of wins. However, they should be clearly ahead of the bottom-feeding teams like Toronto and Minny.


Guest Post: 2010-11 NBA Predictions

Editor's Note: The post below is written by my buddy and co-worker, Devin. His predictions are going up first because he is less lazy than I am, and therefore, got his done first.
West:

1. Lakers-Haven’t done anything to get dethroned. Unless Kobe AND Pau go down, there is no way they will lose the top seed.
2. Thunder-Everyone’s new crush. Not sure if I feel comfortable putting them here, but no one else stands out enough to change my mind.
3. Spurs-Please bless they take the Southwest Division back from the Mavericks…please!
4. Jazz-As a Jazz fan, I know they get as little love as possible. Although a doomsday mentality started creeping in at the end of last year’s playoffs, the BIG changes this past offseason will end up working out for the better. I think the Jazz will surprise a lot of people.
5. Mavericks-Overrated. Period. Cuban will try a couple more big trades this year in another attempt to fix a lineup that will never win a title.
6. Blazers- They need to buy disaster insurance for Greg Oden. Feel bad dropping the Blazers to 6, but until they can survive a season without losing 1 or 2 major players in the first month, I can’t put them any higher.
7. Hornets-My sleeper pick. Chris Paul alone could keep this team pretty close to .500. If he stays healthy and finally gets a little more help from everyone else, they may be able to survive long enough to lose in the first round.
8. Rockets-Honestly, my shot in the dark. I am sure we are in for another crazy season in the Wild West. There will be at least a team or two who will end up missing the playoffs because of the last week of the regular season.

East:
1. Heat-Obvious number one pick. Although Dwyane Wade and his sidekicks have played about 3 minutes together, I can’t go against them.
2. Magic-They may struggle winning when teams figure out how to shut down Superman…but who cares in an East where anything below the 6 seed BLOWS!
3. Celtics-Oldies but (semi)Goodies. Easiest division in the league will give them the 3 seed. That being said, there is no way they get back to the finals this year…or the foreseeable future.
4. Bucks-A bit of a surprise in the East. They may be able to slide in under the radar and beat out a good, but fragile Bulls team. In the end a lot hinges on whether or not Bogut can get healthy again.
5. Bulls-I have one thing to say to Bulls fans…enjoy the illusions of hope and possibility Carlos Boozer intermittently brings and the frustration each new injury brings.
6. Hawks-Ladies and gentlemen…Joe Johnson! Really?!
7. 76ers-I have them making the playoffs based on the coaching change they made this past summer. Doug Collins alone can make them decent enough to make the playoffs (does decent enough mean they are over .500? Doubt it.)
8. Knicks-We should have a competition in the east for the last spot called “Who Can Suck the Least?” Winner gets the honor of serving as practice for the Heat as they prepare for bigger and better things. My winner this year…the Knicks!


Champions: Los Angeles Lakers-Overall, I like the idea of the Heat on paper, but until they actually DO something I cannot go against the Lakers. Especially with how easily they have manhandled my Jazz in the past couple of years. Kobe is too clutch, Gasol is too good, and Artest is too psychotic!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The thrills of working at a college football game

A close friend of mine started working security at his university's football games. He told about getting paid to watch the game from the press box, and he made it sound like a cush job. So the next time his school had a home game I asked him the following:

Hey were you at the football game yesterdee? I saw that it was delayed for a while b/c of lightning. Then the "Visiting Team" kicked "Your Team's" bottom.

(NOTE: misspellings -- intentional and otherwise -- from the email will be preserved for hilarity)

Friend's response:
Yeah dude I was at the game yesterday. One of the worst jobs I've ever had. I stood in the same position on the field for about 7 hours except for the lighting break and having to tell people on the field to stand behind the orange line that is about 5 feet from the edge of the field. I constantly had to ask these people with field passes to step back from the line but lots of them would insist on having one foot over it. Then I had to stare blankly at thousands of people in the crowd and watch to see if anyone was about to jump onto the field. My job was to tackle them if they did and I don't know how to tackle anybody. I was not allowed to look at the game and I never looked at the scoreboard to prevent myself from getting involved. The crowd would go wild and I would just stare blankly straight ahead. It was comical and embarrassing. I was so miserable that I was happy we lost because I wanted the entire crowd to be misearble too. It really really sucked man. But thanks for asking! :)

My response: Welp, glad to find you in good spirits.

Friend:
Thanks. the worst part I think was the staring at about 10,000 people in my corner of the stadium. It was embarrassing having to give a solid blank face while they are cheering. The second worst part was standing in one place for about 7 hours. The third worst part was the anticipation, every moment expecting somebody from the crowd to bolt onto the field and then me making a spectacle of myself trying to tackle them on national tv. The forth worstest part was having to pester people about not crossing the line (like hearding sheep). The next worstest part was the rain and the last worstestest part was having my bosses come around and chew me out every few minutes in a military fashion. Oh yeah and I made about $X but the company kept $X/2 to pay for my security clearance.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Utah Valley Preps magazine

The exciting first issue of Utah Valley Preps magazine -- a magazine that I helped create -- came out last week. The magazine covers all sports from 15 high schools within Utah County. The current issue details the fall sports teams and has some interesting additional feature stories. Let me know if you'd be interested in getting a copy (I've got connections, you know!).

We're looking to get the word out about the magazine and we hope to watch it grow. We've already distributed many issues at football games (some copies, unfortunately, got soaked in the downpour of rainfall at last Friday's games), doctors' and dentists' offices, etc.

Anyway, the magazine looks great, and it seems to be the first of its kind in the area. All things considered, it's probably the Sports Illustrated of Utah County sports publications. Maybe we can trademark/copyright that saying.

"Utah Valley Preps: the Sports Illustrated of Utah County sports publications™."
There.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Our first live taste of Major League Soccer

On the Saturday before last, which was a state holiday called "Pioneer Day" (July 24), my wife and I made the trek to Sandy to watch Real Salt Lake take on Chivas USA. It was the first MLS game we had watched (not counting some scattered minutes of viewing on the tube). We are generally not really big soccer fans -- in spite of Patricia's nationality -- but we did watch quite a bit of the World Cup. Watching live, however, would be a first.
Thanks are in order to some friends who got us the tickets (plus concessions vouchers) through their work. Thanks, guys!
So how was it? Let's recap:
The action on the field was OK, and although we are not soccer aficionados, the talent level is clearly not the same as what you would see at the Cup or in many European leagues. But it's fun to go to a game in person at least once in a while. The game ended in a 1-1 tie. RSL seem to play better and get more chances at goals, but they ended up even (Update: Curiosity led me to stumble upon some stats, and I can now confirm RSL outshot Chivas, 17-4, and 4-2 on goal). No overtime, no shootout. I guess that could be a downside to soccer sometimes: no winner. On the other hand, the team stretched their home unbeaten streak to 19 games, which I believe was announced as the longest such active streak in the MLS, and one of the longest in the league's relatively short history. By the way, the RSL goal was impressive, accurately described in an ESPN game recap as "a stunning left-footed volley," whereas the somewhat-cheap Chivas goal (and I say this not being a real fan of either team) was "knocked down from chest level (by the goalkeeper), only to have it bounce under him and into the goal."
What stood out the most, though, was the cheering and singing from the section of Chivas fans in the deck above us. It didn't just go on when their team did something good; it was nonstop. They only rested their vocal cords at halftime. It makes sense, right? When the players rest, the fans get to rest. But the truth is I had never seen anything like it in person. Even the college football and basketball games I've been to, which had some good crowds, weren't like this.
Chivas fans threw a LOT of streamers and confetti a few minutes after their team's goal (The picture doesn't do the scene justice, but you might get some idea of how it was)
video
The singing from the video above included the words "Yo soy de Chivas"--"I am from Chivas," or "I am a fan of Chivas." Other than that it mentioned the "sentimiento" or "feeling" they have for the team, and they said "ole" a lot. I don't remember much else from the singing. But they did have a sign that said "Los capos del tablero"--"The bosses/studs of the standings." RSL fans had their own version calling themselves "kings of the standings" ("Siempre seremos los reyes del tablero").
By the way, many of the MLS teams are named after famous European clubs, e.g. Real Salt Lake/Real Madrid, and Chivas USA, based in L.A., is named after a famous Mexican team. Randon thought: do a lot of Chivas fans automatically become Chivas USA fans if they live in the states or follow MLS?
Because it was a holiday, the festivities didn't stop when the game ended. Area performers sang some contemporary hits, after which there was a massive fireworks show. All in all, it was a good night of entertainment. And that's not to mention some earlier events in the day that included parks and grub.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

A fast/prayer for Uncle Terry

Apologies for the late notice here, but I just wanted to get the word out to anyone who might see this blog (intentionally or otherwise). My Uncle Terry is having some health issues, and we are wanting to fast and pray on his behalf. Anyone who would like to participate in this in their own way, please feel free to do so. You can see frequent updates on Terry's family's blog here.

This is from my mom (Terry's sister):
(Terry) is having a few issues that the Drs have never dealt with before. There is a mass on his adrenal gland. They have seen this with other transplant patients but not with stem cell transplant patients. There are 100 Drs and medical persons involved in studying the situation and trying to come up with a treatment. One problem is that Terry is allergic to the RX that they would automatically recommend.

Anyway, again I ask that you put his needs in your fasting and prayers this Sunday, and often in your prayers.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Reasons why LeBron should stay in Cleveland

As LeBron James prepares to announce where he will play in the near future, rumors are coming from everywhere about which team will be his employer. Some say he is staying with the Cavaliers. Others think he will play in Michael Jordan's old digs in Chicago. New Yorkers want him to be in an Empire State of Mind. Recently, the Miami rumors are gaining steam, which would mean a triumvirate of Team USA and Eastern Conference All-Star teammates -- James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh -- sharing the shores of South Beach.
I can't even say I am a Cavaliers fan (I like them better than the average team, but they are not my favorite team), but I think it would be fitting for him to stay home. In somewhat of an open letter format, here are some reasons why I think James should remain with the Cavs.

Legacy - If you leave, LeBron, you won't be viewed throughout history in the same way as, say, Michael Jordan is viewed. Jordan's team's initially struggled, but he stayed with the Bulls, his teammates developed their skills, and Chicago won six titles. Leaving the Cavs is a way of saying you (LeBron) don't think you can win a championship there. Whether this is true or not, you will be seen as a quitter who couldn't finish the job -- unless he took the easy way out and joined a better team.

Home Team - LeBron, you can bring a championship to your home area city. Would that mean more than winning somewhere else?

Fans - You know as well as anybody that Cleveland sports fans would adore you for bringing home the Larry O'Brien Trophy. And you know as well as anybody that these fans have suffered greatly.


"He is the happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home."
Please stay in Cleveland, LeBron. Thanks.

Drama King James

After at least two years of mainstream speculation among media and fans alike, coveted NBA free agent LeBron James is set to announce which team he will sign with. In fact, he has decided to go through with a televised one-hour special to make his official declaration, with advertising revenue going to the Boys & Girls Club. While the charity work is a nice gesture, LeBron is really building the drama to bring attention to himself.
The only way James comes out a winner -- in the minds of most fans and pundits, anyway -- is to stay in Cleveland. Imagine if he leaves: he will be leaving his hometown (he was born and raised in Akron, less than one hour away from Cleveland) team after having lifted them from the doldrums of the league to somewhere near the top of it. He wouldn't be finishing what he started (does that make him a "quitter?"). He would also be delivering a gut punch to the Cleveland fans who have dealt with Earnest Byner's fumble, Michael Jordan's game-winning shot, John Elway's drive and the Indians falling short in the World Series. Remember, this is virtually his hometown.
If he stays in Cleveland, he will continue to be revered by the Cavs faithful, as Cleveland lets out a collective sigh of relief.
Would he really make a big ESPN presentation just to say he is staying with his team? On the other hand, if he is switching teams, would he really announce it on national television with so many Clevelanders watching? Wouldn't this making his departure more painful?
One thing is certain: King James is certainly letting the drama build.
Drama King James, that is.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Enter to learn, go forth to serve

A major milestone has been reached in the family. In late April, Patricia graduated from BYU with a bachelor's degree in Latin American Studies, as well as a business minor. I'd just like to say it was a job well done on her part; she worked hard and did extremely well.
The Graduate


The Marriott Center (and a picture of a guy taking a picture)

Oh, and by the way, her GPA for her last semester was 3.93. But I like dealing with whole numbers, so that means she got a 4 -- and a cumulative GPA of 4! (Hooray for rounding!).

Mission Reunion

In early April I had my first mission reunion in several years -- and President and Sister Vazquez were there. It was the first time I had seen them since leaving Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2003.
It was cool to see some of my missionary companions and los Vazquez, and to take some pictures.

Hermana Vazquez, Patricia, Sam and President Vazquez
(we must have been breathing out!)

Bert & Ernie, Stockton and Malone, Scorup and Miller...

Sunday, January 31, 2010

When you're good, you're good


But it's time once again to heap some praise upon a special someone for the successful completion of another successful semester.

Taking classes in the fields of both Business and Latin American Studies, Patricia pulled off two A grades and one A-minus in her three classes in the fall. The people who calculate some newfangled thing called "GPA" say that amounts to a cool 3.9 on the four-point scale. Phew, that's high! If only the economy/government/Hollywood movies were so good.

That's the look of a happy camper

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My first eBay sell

In the last few months I had the opportunity to make my first eBay sell. It was a re-sell of some books that my wife had acquired from eBay, read once, and didn't need any more.

So how did it go? Let's just say I made less than what we paid for the books. In fact, I paid more to ship the books than the buyer paid for the books -- including their shipping cost!

You see, when I posted the book lot online, eBay -- for some reason -- didn't let me charge more than $4 for shipping. Even though it was something like 15 books (maybe only 13)! I am wondering if it is because I marked a category such as "books" or "novels" in addition to "book lots." Maybe the category that was not for "book lots" assumes you are only selling one book and doesn't allow for any big shipping charges. Additionally, when I checked price estimates for shipping, there was very little difference between the costs for Priority Mail and other services. So I chose Priority. When I went to the Post Office, however, there was a BIG difference between Priority and Media Mail. Regardless, I shipped it Priority because that's what I said I would do when I put the item up for sale. It seems I made a mistake when getting the shipping estimates because I used a local or nearby zip code to calculate the costs.

In the end, I got less than $9 (including shipping) after my PayPal and sellers fees, while forking out $13 to send the item. Oh, well. Maybe I am meant to be more of a buyer than a seller :-)
...But this doesn't mean I will never make an eBay sell again. Perhaps I just need a little change in "strategery." Maybe I need more of those positive rating "stars" to get more bidders. Maybe it's simply a matter of finding an in-demand product to sell.

I guess I should have asked Dr. Dre to blow his nose for me.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cash for Clunkers in the style of Comedy Sportz

Chances are you heard about the "Cash for Clunkers" event the government instituted to try to jumpstart the flagging auto industry. It's a little less likely that you have heard of Comedy Sportz. Comedy Sportz is an improv comedy group with several locations across the United States. It is not about sports, but rather is comedy as a sport. Two teams -- wearing red and blue baseball uniforms -- challenge each other to improv contests where they invent songs and skits using things mentioned by the audience (this is somewhat like the TV show "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"). Whichever team gets more cheers from the audience will receive more points ...

Anyway, what I am trying to do here is write a post that merges one of the Comedy Sportz skits, "Boo-Yay," with "Cash for Clunkers." In "Boo-Yay," a hypothetical character in the skit goes through both positive and negative experiences, thus eliciting a "boo" or "yay/yeah" from the crowd.

Here goes....

The government made it easier to get a new car ... YAAAAY!
But only certain people will qualify ... BOOOO!

You can save $4,500 on a brand-new car ... YAAAAY!
But to get this discount, you have to buy a car that gets 10 MPG more than your current auto ... BOOOO!

But you can still get the $3,500 discount ... YAAAAY!
However, this would still require trading in a car that gets 18 MGP or worse (combined highway/city), and buying a car that is at least 4 MPG more efficient than the "clunker." ... BOOOO!

But this will get some environmentally unfriendly cars off the road ... YAAAAY!

Look: the economy -- and the auto industry -- needs a helping hand. This may just be the proverbial "shot in the arm" to get businesses going again ... YAAAAY!
But the money for this has to come from somewhere. Hello, tax $$$ ... BOOOO!
But imagine trading in a clunker for a BRAND-NEW CAR ... YAAAAY!
But imagine, most people driving the clunkers still can't afford a new car, even with the discount ... BOOOO!