Saturday, July 23, 2005

It's been a long time comin'...

Okay. Another extended hiatus from the blogging world has created an uproar amongst my three loyal readers (and by loyal, I mean the people who resort to reading my blog when they've exhausted all other anti-boredom options while perusing the internet at work).

I've had so many blog post ideas, but a combination of school, work and traveling has severely cut into my blogging time. I'll try to hit everything. And away we go...

First and foremost, Friday, July 22, 2005 was my last official day of class. Sure, I step into class next month to do my semester of student teaching. Sure, that constitutes me going to school everyday. And certainly, if I am a teacher, more classwork remains, not to mention those plans in the back of my head to someday get a doctorate. But don't rain on my parade. It was a good feeling. Like a combo of 20 years worth of "It's the last day of school!" Fantastic.

A few weeks back, Kenny Rogers attacked a cameraman in one of the all-time great athlete meltdowns. I cannot look at that clip without envisioning Coach Rod. The glasses. The face. The attacking helpless people. It's eerily similar.

OJ Mayo - one of the most highly-regarded prep basketball players in the past couple years - visited Morgantown recently to participate in an amateur hoops extravaganza. I only watched Mayo for one game, and I must say, he's pretty talented. The LeBron comparisions are more than a stretch, but the kid has a sweet stroke once he gets a rhythm going, and his passing skills are certainlly reminiscent of King James. Chris Paul is a better comparison, although he seems like a little more likeable fellow.

My good friend Rob got married today in South Carolina. I wish I could've been there. I'm anxious to see him and his new wife (whom I've never met) in a week on my way to the beach.

My younger sister gets married a week from today. That's scary. VERY scary.

I'm not sure why Capri Sun isn't marketed better. There's not a better drink out there.

Speaking of which, why did Orange Slice change its name to Tropicana Twister? Isn't that more difficult? Why rebuild name recognition? Fanta already pulled this garbage with Minute Maid a few years back - and they lost a loyal customer. Now Slice, which was my favorite orange drink. I have nothing against Sunkist, but this disappoints me. This is why you never fall in love with a carbonated beverage.

In baseball news, Jason Giambi has suddenly found a power surge that conjures up images of his MVP days with the Oakland A's. After hitting five homers in his past 170 at bats, he's hit 10 in his last 69. Unfortunately, Giambi created his own cloud of suspicion by admitting to steroid use in the past, which in large part, discredited his achievements with the A's (he hasn't produced to the same level with the Yankees).

I'll admit, I've never been a Giambi fan. In his hey day, I thought he was a tremendous hitter, all-around. But it's hard to not suspect him of using something right now, considering his back was against the wall in the past few months.

Major League Baseball does not test for HGH, although it is on their banned substances list. My friend Andy stated that it would be a huge health risk for Giambi to take HGH - considering his health history. But I couldn't help but be reminded of a story that Tony Gwynn told a couple years back.

Gwynn - the Greatest Hitter of All Time! - said that he wasn't sure if he would've used steroids or not in order to aid his playing career. It was a surprising comment from one of the games ultimate good guys, but an honest and telling statement. Gwynn said that his job was always safe. Always secure. He wasn't a power hitter, and relied upon his hand-eye coordination and fundamental hitting abiility to earn his keep. He was a .330-.350 hitter for over a decade, so he never had a threat to his job, or his paycheck, or his family.

Gwynn said that if he was ever put in the situation of being a fringe player who just needed a boost, or was in competition with another player who was using and benefiting, that steroids might have been an option. After all, it was survive and support his family, or sink and be out of baseball.

Sure, Giambi's got more money than he knows what to do with, but during a week-long home run binge by Tino Martinez in early May, Giambi was riding the pine, perhaps for good. There was talk of sending him to the minors, and the Yankees were contemplating making a settlement for the remaining $80 million on his contract and releasing him.

The new steroid policy has failed to expose any big names, and as my friend Andy pointed out, MLB was "forced" into action regarding a policy, so it wouldn't be surprising if the baseball bigwigs are still using every option to protect the game and its players.

I'm not saying he's using or not. For his sake, I hope he's not. He's never proved to himself or fans that he can produce without the aid of an illegal supplement. With the giant loophole MLB has created in its testing policy, Giambi has the opportunity to excel again.

Are his numbers legit this time?

Are we seeing the real Giambi, supplement-free?

Until MLB takes its testing more seriously, we will never know.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Is NCAA 2006 coming out a week early?

Sitting for hours on end gives me the opportunity to scour the internet for anything that has the slightest chance to entertain me.

Today, I ran across a couple of message boards that are speculating about NCAA Football 2006 - which was scheduled to be released on Tuesday, July 12.

The much-anticipated release may be moved up due to CompUSA, specifically the stores located in Northern Kentucky.

Apparently CompUSA began selling copies of NCAA 2006 on July 2, a full 10 days ahead of schedule. While it may not seem like a big deal at first glance, this has wreaked havoc within the industry and EA Sports has landed itself in quite a pickle.

As a result of CompUSA's actions - who now list the game as a sell-out on its web site - patrons were going to Electronics Boutique, GameSpot, FYE, etc., and cancelling their pre-orders so they could go and purchase the game from CompUSA. Obviously - this is a big problem.

Some other stores joined the fray, following CompUSA's lead and breaking the release date. This is, afterall, one of the biggest gaming releases of the entire year, and missing out on the craze would short companies huge profits.

EASports ordered all companies to stop selling the video game ahead of the release date, but now may be forced to release the game in the next 24 hours. At the very worst, by Tuesday, July 5, a week early.

Many customers - both pre-orders through EA's web site and through other companies - are clamoring for their game. Distributors are irate because of the advanced release and lost profits. All companies from coast-to-coast already have the game in stock, therefore, giving a green light to begin selling the game to the public wouldn't be difficult.

Upon conducting a quick search of web sites, the games release date has been changed to "current" on EA's web site at Additionally, Target has changed its release date from 7/12/05 to 7/06/05. The internet buzz, combined with these changes, lead me to believe there's substantial merit to these rumors.

As someone mired in the mundaneness of the dog days of summer - and someone with a tremendous amount of spare time on my hands at work - this would be a fantastic development.

Stay tuned.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Welcome to July

Today is the first day of July. Wow.

Everytime I go to the grocery store, the same thing happens. I go inside, grab a shopping cart, do my shopping where I purchase a couple cans of Cheez Whiz and a pack of double stuf Oreos. After checkout, I head back to my car. Then, it happens. Every single time, it happens. After unloading my groceries out of my car, I turn to take the cart back to the "corral." You know, these ill-placed metal contraptions whose sole purpose is to contain the dozens of carts that dot the parking lot. The thing is, no matter where you park when you visit the grocery store, you always end up 3 long miles away from these corrals. I've tested this theory many times...and even at fine establishments such as Wal Mart and KMart, it still holds true. Unload the bags, close the trunk and turn around. I guarantee you will be exasperated when you see the distance you have to walk to take the cart back.

George W. Bush is coming to Morgantown on July 4th. As in a couple days from now July 4th. He'll be speaking in front of Woodburn Hall. It's the third time in four years he's spent the 4th in West Virginia. The thing is - I could not care less. He's a dispicable human being who will spend eternity burning in hell. Ah, who am I to judge? I'm not perfect. I'm just glad I'm not him.

Want to talk about something that is worthwhile, how about an awesome remake of one of the greatest movies of all-time? The Bad News Bears hits theatres three weeks from today. The trailer has me giddy with anticipation. Billy Bob Thorton has been brilliantly cast as Buttermaker. I can't wait to see his drunk ass passed out on the mound. I'll be there on July 22 sporting my Chico's Bail Bonds shirt. Good times.

I can't wait to quit working.

I also can't wait to quit going to school. Speaking of which, I took my final in-class exam on Thursday. Screw school. I'm almost I can then go and spend the rest of my life in school. But at least I'll be getting paid the big bucks! Wait...

Tetris might be the greatest game of all-time.

Speaking of games, one of the greatest video games series hits the shelves next week with its 2006 edition. NCAA Football should be in my hands by midnight, July 10. The game looks sweet. I've watched about a half-dozen video clips, including some of WVU. The jersey's still are not adequate, as WVU only has the blue-on-blue for home games, but the gameplay has been enhanced and the little "bugs" from the 2005 version have been fixed. From the looks of things, this game might earn a 10, just as long as the in-season recruiting didn't mess up the glory that is the off-season.

I have to pee, so that means no more typing.

Go yell things at Bush on Monday.