5-20-11: Notes

Hello again everybody...

Throwing together a quick post before work today. It's a rainy, dreary Friday here in Minnesota, but I'm feelin fine.

Why's that you ask?

I've got a 3-day weekend coming (vacation day on Monday - ballgame) and I've also just joined the modern era of high-speed cable internet.

I was on the DSL bandwagon, but the phone lines in my building are so archaic that the modem kept getting overloaded and crapping out. Finally I'd had enough.

The speed is a little intimidating. I have to make extra-sure I pause and review my Tweets before I send them! But all in all, it's a good thing and I'm excited to take advantage of it.

My plan? White Sox/Dodgers is tonight's free game on MLB.TV. Sounds like a good use of bandwidth to me!

Moving on...

I've got some notes to catch up on before the weekend officially begins. And I'll get to those...

Right after the quote!

“No human thing is of serious importance.”
- Plato (427 BC - 347 BC), Greek philosopher

Keeps with the “it's Friday, let's not be too serious here” theme today, no?



5-16-11: Forgetting Friday...

Hello again everybody...

Boy I wish I had something more pleasant to write about. I warned you all a couple of weeks ago when I returned to writing that my work may not be as regular as it had been in the past; that I was more inclined to write “when the spirit moved me” rather than sticking to a set schedule.

I'm still not sure how that's all going to play out. For all I know, I may end up writing every Monday, Wednesday and Friday as I've done in the past. But for now, I'm posting when I feel like I've got something to say.

I just wish what I had to say today wasn't so damned depressing.

Maybe it'll be cathartic for me. Perhaps I even dare to dream that reading it will be cathartic for someone else. Either way, I figure it's worth writing.

So I'll get to it,

Right after the quote...

“There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval. The dark background which death supplies brings out the tender colors of life in all their purity.”
- George Santayana (1863 - 1952), American philosopher and poet

I'm really trying to find some positives in all of this, but it's not easy. Those “tender colors” are eluding me at the moment...

Forgetting Friday...

By now, I'm sure most of you have heard about the sad news from Friday. I'll briefly recap things, but mostly this is going to be about trying to wrap my head around it and finding a way to accept things and move forward.

5-9-11: While I Was Away, Pt. 2...

Hello again everybody...

Allow me to begin the week with this caveat: I've got no clue what's coming after today.

So far, my return to regular blogging has been far more regular than I had anticipated. That's because I had a couple of ideas in the bank (one of which turned into this two-parter) and then a no-hitter dropped out of the sky.

But as I sit here penning this particular column, I've got no earthly idea what form the next one will take, or when it's going to get published.

So be forewarned. I hope you enjoy today's missive and have patience with me, should I fail to produce something for Wednesday... or for Friday... or for... well, you get the idea!

One other quick note before I get things going today. A lot of people wondered why I didn't include a Kentucky Derby pick on Friday. The truth is, I didn't have one. I started looking at the stats on Wednesday after the post-draw, but by Friday I still hadn't settled on a horse. By the time Saturday came around, I couldn't narrow down my choices to the point where I felt comfortable making a wager. And I'm glad I didn't.

In the end, I could've made arguments for at least half-a-dozen horses, and the winner, Animal Kingdom, wasn't any of them. Sometimes you get surprise winners because of track conditions, or because a favorite falters. In this year's Derby, we got a surprise winner because the field was just that lousy. The favorite was only a favorite by default, and the two horses whose betting lines moved the most were a very mediocre horse ridden by Calvin Borel which took action simply because he'd won three of the last four Derbys - one on a 50-1 long shot - and a decent horse ridden by a 23-year-old woman which took action because she was trying to become the first female jockey ever to win the Derby. When those factors are the ones moving the needle? Yeah, you've got a lousy race on your hands.

Truthfully, I have no clue what's going to happen in the Preakness. I assume Animal Kingdom will run in it, but as lousy as the Derby was, I'm not expecting great things.

Okay, moving on.

When we left things on Friday, the Giants had won the pennant, the Giants had won the pennant, the Giants had won the... okay, well they won the World Series actually. But I love that call of Bobby Thompson's home run as much as any other baseball rube, so there you go.

The Giants won the series, the Vikings imploded and the Badgers lost the Rose Bowl. So what else happened while I was on my blogging hiatus?

I'm so glad you asked! I've got three more topics to discuss, and I'll get to them...

Right after the quote!

“Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.”
- Will Rogers (1879 - 1935), American cowboy, comedian, humorist, social commentator, vaudeville performer and actor.

Ever forward, my friends. Ever forward! ...unless you're taking a look back at things, such as in this little column, which I like to call...

While I Was Away, Part 2...


5-6-11: While I Was Away, Part 1...

Hello again everybody...

I hate to keep starting blogs with cautions, warnings and explanations, but I also don't want to raise people's expectations too high as I get back into the swing of things here.

Just because I managed to crank out three blogs this week doesn't mean I'll be doing that every week. At least not the in early goings of getting back to writing. After all, there likely would've only been two this week, except for the fact that we had a no-hitter dropped into our midst.

The truth is I'm battling between a couple of writing theories. One says that you should set a schedule and stick to it. Even if you don't have much to say on a given day, sticking to a schedule forces you to stay in the habit of cranking out material on a regular basis, which - according to the theory - helps you get better as a writer.

My own history bears that out to a degree. There have been a number of times where I've sat down in front of a blank screen with no earthly idea what I was going to write about, only to crank out a column that got a lot of positive reaction.

That being said, the second theory encourages a writer to be more organic with their writing. Wait until the spirit moves you and then really focus and crank out something worth reading. Producing nothing, under this premise, is better than producing crap just to say you did something.

It certainly seems to me that there's something to be said here as well. As often as I've managed to crank out something readable after starting with nothing in mind, I've also started columns with a loose idea of what I wanted to do and managed to get sidetracked and ramble off in several nonsensical directions.

Basically I'd like to get more focused in my writing, but I also don't want to get out of the habit and disappear for long stretches of time. So if any of you have thoughts, opinions, or suggestions on how to reconcile these two seemingly opposed notions, please pass them along. I can use all the perspective I can get on this.

But enough of my esoteric babbling. It's time for sports, sports and more sports!

There were plenty of notable sports occurrences over my hiatus. So many in fact, that while I intended to get to them all in a single column, I decided I'll have to break them up into two columns.

I'll get to part one...

Right after the quote!

“When we ask for advice, we are usually looking for an accomplice.”
- Marquis de la Grange (1639-1692), French writer

Whoops! Maybe I should've shared this before asking for “ thoughts, opinions, or suggestions”? Though in that case I would say I'm not looking so much for an accomplice, as a scapegoat, right?!

Time to talk about what happened...

While I Was Away...


5-4-11: The No-No-Ness Of It All...

Hello again everybody...

Regular readers will recall the number of times I announced a plan for a future column only to have it blown out of the water by circumstances entirely beyond my control.

Today's column is yet another example of one I never planned to write.

I had every intention of waiting until today to pen a “While I Was Gone” column for publication on Thursday. That may not happen until Friday now. We'll see...

I say that because the way these things go, I'll get it all written out and there'll end up being three perfect games thrown Thursday night, or something equally as unlikely.

You just never know!

So what happened to blow up my initial plans? Well if you don't already know, I'm a little disappointed in you... but only a little.

I'll tell you all about it...

Right after the quote!

“If I knew he was gonna pitch a no-hitter, I'd a thrown one too.”
- Dizzy Dean, after his brother Daffy pitched a no-hitter in 1934 for the St. Louis Cardinals

They're nicknames people... it's baseball, what can I say?!

The No-No-Ness Of It All...


5-2-11: I'm Baaaaaaaack...

Hello again everybody...

Wow, does it feel good to type those words again!

I actually debated between two separate titles for this post. It was either what you see above, or “Where The Hell Have I Been?!”

Both accomplished the task of announcing my return to writing, and while the latter did a better job of portending a pending explanation of why it's been so long since I've written, I decided the former was the way to go because it just sounded more positive to me.

That's really what the point of this post is going to be all about: positivity.

And I'll get to said positivity...

Right after the quote...

“My blogging might be spotty at best. At least for the foreseeable future...”
*- Dan Cook (1974 - ), written October 29th, 2010

I wrote that (or something to that effect) in the email I sent out announcing why there was not going to be a post that day, over six months ago. What you're reading today is the first thing I've written since then.

Why? Well I'm glad you asked. Because that's the point of a column I like to call...

I'm Baaaaaaaack

As I mentioned earlier, the subtitle to today's column is: “Where The Hell Have I Been?”