Category Archives: Toby

Roundball Oracles – Year 14

I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that’s real
The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything
What have I become
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know
Goes away in the end
And you could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt
I wear this crown of thorns
Upon my liars chair
Full of broken thoughts
I cannot repair
Beneath the stains of time
The feelings disappear
You are someone else
I am still right here

It is done. College basketball is over for another season.

In 11 days Iowa State football will hold their Spring Game. After that, the only sports worth watching until college football kicks off in 5 months is the NBA Playoffs. I’m not sure what I’ll do with my spare time. Maybe I’ll clean my house. Now I’m really depressed.

Who isn’t depressed?

Paul Golden, that is who! For the second straight year, he is cutting down the nets for the Roundball Oracles. His name had been added to the List of Immortals:

The List of Immortals

2018 – Paul Golden
2017 – Paul Golden
2016 – Michelle Haupt
2015 – Derek Dohrman
2014 – Brandon Kahler
2013 – William McAlpine
2012 – Lowell Davis
2011 – Carrie Baier
2010 – Mark Wolfram
2009 – Mark Wolfram
2008 – Mark Wolfram
2007 – Tim Peterson
2006 – William McAlpine
2005 – William McAlpine

One more trophy and he will tie Willy and Mark for the most crowns ever!

I held onto Paul’s trophy from last year, when in became apparent he might win again, so I don’t have a picture of Paul with his trophy yet. But when I do, I’ll share it here.

I do however have a picture of last year’s The Sara winner:


Shannon with her
Shannon with The Sara

However, Shannon did not have the guts to come back and defend her The Sara Title. Therefore, there is a new The Sara “Winner” this year.

“Congrats” to Robert Henning for being the last place adult, that tried to win. I have went over his bracket with a fine tooth comb and even though he picked Kansas to win it all, it would seem he was trying to win in good faith. He joins the List of Mortals:

The List of Mortals

2018 – Robert Henning
2017 – Shannon Bardole
2016 – Laura Priest
2015 – Derrick Gorshe
2015 – Sara Lockner

There were 35 entrants this year. A slight dip from past years, but that was to be expected with the lack of any local teams in the tournament. Most of us adopted Loyola as our team, since they were powered by former Cyclone Clayton Custer.

However, it was a clean, close competition. Michigan’s defeat of Loyola in the Final Four left it down to just Rachel and Paul battling it out for the trophy. Villanova’s complete shellacking of Kansas gave Paul the repeat.

But you didn’t come here to listen to any of that tommyrot. You want to see the final standings:

1 Paul Golden 248
2 Dawn Krause 243
3 Yours Truly 243
4 tim peterson 232
5 Michelle Haupt 232
6 Nate Miller 230
7 Jordan Toot 224
8 Corey Faust 223
9 Angie DeWaard 221
10 Rachel Johnson 219
11 Lowell Davis 215
12 Benjamin Baier 213
13 Derek Dohrman 205
14 Cathie Raley 204
15 Bill Wentworth 200
16 Sean G. 198
17 Linda Bennett 195
18 Jesse Howard 195
19 Olivia Baier 188
20 Toby Sebring 185
21 Russ Kennerly 184
22 Jackson Faust 182
23 Sean Clubine 173
24 Jason Baier 173
25 Micky Augustin 167
26 Brandon Kahler 166
27 Nader Parsaei 166
28 Andree Jauhari 165
29 Liz Nordeen 165
30 Carrie Baier 162
31 Laura Priest 158
32 FHMeiners 156
33 Becky Perky 152
34 Will Baier 148
35 Robert Henning 141

The good news is that next year is that the state of Iowa won’t be shutout of the NCAA Tournament. If nothing else, the first two “real” rounds will be held in Des Moines. Plus Iowa has a lot of young talent that will be back next year. Admittedly, they still have the same sub-par coach, but they should be good enough to go dancing for a short while.

Iowa State on the other hand will be one of the most interesting teams in the country. This year’s team was very young and was decimated by injuries. The only major loss from last year’s team is Donovan Jackson, which Kansas fans know, is a major loss. However, assuming Lindell Wigginton comes back (and almost everybody assumes he will), they return a future first round pick in Wigginton and fellow freshman stud Cam Lard. Plus you bring Babb and Solomon back from injuries. Bring back a big time contributor down the stretch in Zoran Talley. A much improved Terrence Lewis will fight for playing time with super impact transfer Marial Shayok and impact transfer Michael Jacobson. Then add stud freshman Talen Horton-Tucker to the mix. One guy you don’t want to sleep on is Zion Griffin. Plus they are adding Tyrese Halliburton and George Conditt. I don’t expect those 2 to contribute next year, but they will be huge in the coming years.

This will be the most talented roster since Iowa State had 5 NBA players on the roster a few years back. That team lost in the first round of the tourney. I expect much bigger things from the Cyclones next year. The future is bright in the Cyclone State!

Roundball Oracles – Year 14

It is once again time for the Roundball Oracles NCAA Tournament Pool.

I want to start by saying that Paul and Shannon, your trophies for last years accomplishment and “accomplishment” are on order. They will be in your possession by the end of next week.

Here is the proof that I ordered the trophies:




The pool is your pretty standard pool. Pick the games. Pick the final score of the championship game. Win a trophy. This year, I’ll deliver on the trophy much earlier.

The pool doesn’t cost anything, but pride, but the winner gets a trophy and the last place adult (that tried) gets The Sara Trophy.

Here is a list of past champions.

The List of Immortals:

2017 – Paul Golden
2016 – Michelle Haupt
2015 – Derek Dohrman
2014 – Brandon Kahler
2013 – William McAlpine
2012 – Lowell Davis
2011 – Carrie Baier
2010 – Mark Wolfram
2009 – Mark Wolfram
2008 – Mark Wolfram
2007 – Tim Peterson
2006 – William McAlpine
2005 – William McAlpine

Last year 38 people took their shot at mortality. Paul Golden came home the winner. Shannon Bardole came home with The Sara.

Last Year’s Standings:

RANK TEAM NAME SCORE
1 Paul Golden 260
2 Frank Meiners 252
3 Angie DeWaard 247
4 Michelle Haupt 242
5 shawn lockner 238
6 Jen Ensley-Gorshe 231
7 Jorge Rios 231
8 Andree Jauhari 226
9 tim peterson 226
10 Jordan Toot 225
11 Carrie Baier 225
12 Toby Sebring 224
13 Lowell Davis 222
14 JJ Baier 221
15 Logan Kahler 220
16 Jason Baier 218
17 Dae Hee Yoon 213
18 Jackson Faust 211
19 Dawn Krause 209
20 Jon DeWaard 208
21 Nader Parsaei 204
22 Derek Dohrman 203
23 William Baier 202
24 Robert Henning 194
25 Christopher Bennett
26 Bill Wentworth 193
27 Rachel Johnson 192 36
28 Russell Kennerly 190
29 Nate Miller 189
30 Michael Augustin
31 Derrick Gorshe 181
32 Elizabeth Nordeen 164
33 Laura Priest 162
34 Corey Faust 160
35 Jill Gorshe 152
36 Shannon Bardole 149
37 Olivia Baier 143
38 Benjamin Baier 121

If you are interested in participating this year, drop me an email and I’ll get you hooked up.

If this post seems kind of low energy, don’t worry, Iowa State and my passion for the tournament will be back again next year!

ROUNDBALL ORACLES – YEAR 12

I recently presented The Trophy for winning the 12th year of the Roundball Oracles to this year’s champion… Michelle Haupt

It was an exciting NCAA Tournament and an equally exciting Roundball Oracles NCAA Tournament Pool. If North Carolina would’ve won the NCAA Championship Game, Sara Lockner would’ve come home with the trophy this year. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Congratulations Michelle! May your reign be short.


Roundball Oracles - Year 12 Champion - Michelle Haupt
Michelle Haupt – Newest Immortal (Pictured with Lily)
Past Roundball Oracles Champions (The List of Immortals)

2005 – William McAlpine
2006 – William McAlpine
2007 – Tim Peterson
2008 – Mark Wolfram
2009 – Mark Wolfram
2010 – Mark Wolfram
2011 – Carrie Baier
2012 – Lowell Davis
2013 – William McAlpine
2014 – Brandon Kahler
2015 – Derek Dohrman
2016 – Michelle Haupt

Here be the final standings.
1.  Michelle Haupt –  275
2.  Sean Clubine –  270
3.  sara lockner – 259
4. Yours Truly 255
5. Micky Augustin 245
6.  Angie DeWaard 241
7.  Jackson Faust 241
8.  Derek Dohrman 237
9.  Frank Meiners 233
10.  Toby Sebring 230
11,  Lowell Davis 230
12,  Mark Wolfram 228
13.  Jason Baier 227
14,  Corey Faust 221
15,  Paul Golden 220
16,  Wily McAlpine 218
17, Jordan Toot 217
18.  Jesse Howard 216
19.  Shannon Bardole 215
20.  Benjamin Baier 214
21.  Liz Nordeen 214
21. Jill Gorshe 214
23 . Jon DeWaard 207
24. JJ Baier 204
25.  Dawn Krause 203
26.  Nader Parsaei 202
27,  Brandon Kahler 201
28.  Carrie Baier 197
29.  Jorge Rios 197
30.  shawn lockner 194
31.  Jen Gorshe 193
32.  Derrick Gorshe 193
33.  Andree Jauhari 193
34.  tim peterson 192
35.  Bill Wentworth 183
36.  Olivia Baier 180
37.  Russ Kennerly 180
38.  Carla Stensland 175
39.  William Baier 170
40.  Rachel Johnson 167
41.  Robert Henning 162
42.  Joe Lynch 156
43.  Laura Priest 152

Laura (Miller) Priest won the 3rd Annual “The Sara” for last place adult that tried. Joining the trophy’s namesake Sara Lockner and Derrick Gorshe as past winners. I don’t have a picture of Laura with her new trophy yet, but I will as soon as I get “The Sara” in the mail, it arrives in Manhattan, and she sends me a picture with her new pride and joy.

Roundball Oracles – Year 9

March Madness is upon us once again. Which means it is that time of year when I call upon all would-be-basketball-prognosticators to compete in an NCAA tourney bracket pool for the chance at everlasting glory, immortality, and a trophy.

As always, the Roundball Oracles is open to all interested parties, and yes to even uninterested parties as well. Regardless of basketball knowledge or basketball ignorance. Heck, I might even let my dog enter this year. After all, there is a tremendous amount of luck involved in this competition, so there is no reason for you to be intimidated by how well versed I am in the motion offense. You should only be intimidated by me on an actual basketball court. Even though I’ve admittedly lost a step, but I’m spending the offseason getting that step back, but that is an entirely different story…

As always, there is no entrance fee, but pride and my research indicates that pride is a low calorie snack, so swallow it and get in the game.

The champion will be given a trophy. I would normally at this time insert a picture of last year’s champion hoisting last year’s trophy, but I admittedly, still owe him a trophy.

Last year we had a record 29 prognosticators (as of this writing, 9 people have already signed up). I don’t think it would be too crazy to hope to break that record this year.

2012 Final Standings

1. Lowell Davis
2. Corey Faust
3. Jason Baier
4. Angie DeWaard
5. Robert Henning
6. William McAlpine
7. Mark Wolfram
8. Jason Stensland
9. Dawn Krause
10. Jesse Howard
11. Jon DeWaard
12. Derrick Gorshe
13. Nader Parsaei
14. Jackson Faust
15. Bill Wentworth
16. Tim Peterson
17. Mike Donner
18. Jen Ensley-Gorshe
19. Michael Augustin
20. Carrie Baier
21. Shawn Lockner
22. Russell Kennerly
23. Shaun Kirsch
24. Teresa Kahler
25. Your Humble Narrator
26. Toby Sebring
27. Brandon Kahler
28. Jordan Toot
29. Becky Perkovich

Lowell was able to chisel his place amongst the other basketball immortals that have managed to hoist the Roundball Oracles Trophy.*

Past Roundball Oracles Champions

2012 – Lowell Davis
2011 – Carrie Baier
2010 – Mark Wolfram
2009 – Mark Wolfram
2008 – Mark Wolfram
2007 – Tim Peterson
2006 – William McAlpine
2005 – William McAlpine

So the metaphorical ball is now in your court. There are no guidelines for participation. This contest is open to all competitors: men, women, small children and the elderly.

If you are interested and I need the information, you know how to contact me!

Oh… the deadline for filling out your bracket is tip-off of the first game on Thursday morning.

*Technically he has yet to hoist the trophy.

Sadness Ensues

It is the time of year that is filled with sadness. Another college basketball season has come to an end. But despite the gloom that will set upon the land for many more months, it is a time of joy as well. We get to crown a new King of the Roundball Oracles. A new name goes on the plaque of immortals with these past champions:

Roundball Oracles Past Champions.

2011 – Carrie Baier
2010 – Mark Wolfram
2009 – Mark Wolfram
2008 – Mark Wolfram
2007 – Tim Peterson
2006 – William McAlpine
2005 – William McAlpine

The latest immortal is…

Lowell Davis

In the closes Roundball Oracle competition ever, Lowell beat Corey Faust on the tiebreaker.

I will be ordering Lowell’s trophy soon and will be presenting it to him in the very near future. I’m sure there will be photographic evidence to back this up presented in this forum in due time.

Another reason why it was a good year for the Roundball Oracles is that we set a new record with 29 combatants. Shattering the previous participation mark by several people.

Without further adieu, here are the final standings of the 8th Roundball Oracles Challenge:

Rank/Name/Points/National Title Choice/Last Year’s Finish

1. Lowell Davis – 275 – Kentucky – 13th
2. Corey Faust – 275 – Kentucky – 6th
3. Jason Baier – 265 – Kentucky – 5th
4. Angie DeWaard – 255 – Kentucky – DNP
5. Robert Henning – 245 – Kentucky – 8th
6. William McAlpine – 236 – Kentucky – DNP
7. Mark Wolfram – 235 – Ohio State – 15th
8. Jason Stensland – 229 – Ohio State – DNP
9. Dawn Krause – 228 – Kentucky – 4th
10. Jesse Howard – 225 – Kentucky – 2nd
11. Jon DeWaard – 222 – Kentucky – DNP
12. Derrick Gorshe – 220 – Kentucky – DNP
13. Nader Parsaei – 216 – Connecticut – 14th
14. Jackson Faust – 214 – Michigan State – DNP
15. Bill Wentworth – 211 – North Carolina – DNP
16. Tim Peterson – 209 – Kansas – 11th
17. Mike Donner – 206 – Michigan State – DNP
18. Jen Ensley-Gorshe – 199 – North Carolina – DNP
19. Michael Augustin – 196 – North Carolina – DNP
20. Carrie Baier – 194 – Michigan State – 1st
21. Shawn Lockner – 189 – Baylor – DNP
22. Russell Kennerly – 176 – North Carolina – 9th
23. Shaun Kirsch – 175 – Iowa State – 16th
24. Teresa Kahler – 173 – Iowa State – DNP
25. Yours Truly – 164 – North Carolina – 7th
26. Toby Sebring – 157 – North Carolina – DNP
27. Brandon Kahler – 142 – Kansas State – DNP
28. Jordan Toot – 119 – North Carolina – DNP
29. Becky Perkovich – 0 – Undecided – DNP

Some people might think that I need to explain why somebody with my nearly infinite basketball knowledge could have fared so poorly, but I will not defend my lowly ranking. Truth is that my goal is just to beat Russell and the fact that I didn’t this year means that I will have to try harder next year. I cannot let RMK get the best of me two years in a row!

Even though the dust has barely settled on this year’s NCAA tournament, I am already very excited for next year’s season. I think that the Cyclones will be even better next season and I can’t wait to see them prove me right. I guess until the season begins anew, I will look forward to the Spring Football Game that is only days away!

Vacation Journal

Here is a copy of the journal I kept while I was on vacation last week.  It covers parts of 10 days and over 1300 miles.  While I doubt anybody reads this whole thing, it was an important exercise for me.

There are no pictures, but I will post some pictures from my vacation at some point in the futre.

Friday
17:33 – Put up my hard hat.  Clocked out. Left the Computer Mine.  Vacation officially started.
17:53 – Check mail.  Brandi Carlile tickets have not arrived.
18:45 – “Cleaned” living room for the arrival of the Gorshes.  Sat on Clockwork Couch. Fell asleep.
19:15 – Gorshes arrive.  Order Casey’s Taco and Hot Sausage pizza.
19:16 – Realize my house is not really clean enough for Evie.  I hate it when my Mom is right.
20:00 – While enjoying Casey’s pizza, determine that Evie enjoys Miles Davis. Not such a fan of live Led Zeppelin.
21:00 – Finish the 6/6 Gorshes Photo Project.
21:45 – Evie makes an incredibly loud sound.
23:57 – Bid the Gorshes a fond adieu and sleep the good sleep.

Saturday
8:45 – Wake up in time to watch Game Day. Might be the last time I get to watch Game Day for a few weeks.  This saddens me.
10:58 – Lee Corso picks Wisconsin to beat Ohio State.
11:47 – Mail arrives.  Assorted bills and political advertisements. No Brandi Carlile tickets.
11:48 – Call UNI ticket office to ask: “What the Hades?”  I am told that for some reason they just decided to never mail me the tickets.  But they will be waiting for me at the Will Call Window.  “Thanks UNI Ticket Office”. This statement is a mixture of sarcasm and gratitude.  About 60% sarcasm.  40% gratitude.
12:47 – Clean out Foster Bunny’s cage and let him roam the back porch while I clean the back porch.
14:48 – Clean the fridge.  After the “Great Cleansing” the follow items remain in my fridge.  8 different types of jelly, 5 different types of salsa, 3 different types of barbecue sauce, 3 different types of pickles, 3 different types of mustard, 3 different types of root beers, about 24 cans of pop (7 different varieties),  6 bottles of bottled water ( 2 different varieties), 10 slices of processed American cheese, 1 jar of Miracle Whip, 1 jar of pickled beets that I bought due to a miscommunication with Derrick, 1 tub of butter, 3 sticks of margarine and a bag of baby carrots.
16:35 – Meet Sara in the Computer Mine Parking lot for trip to Cedar Falls for Brandi Carlile concert.
17:45 – Stop in Wellsburg, Iowa to try the award winning tenderloin of the Town House Supper Club. When we can’t find the restaurant we stop at the local Casey’s.  They have scorpions in shadow boxes for sale as “art”.  Kid behind cash register tells me that that the Town House Supper Club is closed for remodeling.  I thought I was only cursed by old timey ice cream parlors. I am not pleased. Sara buys me a Fig Newton to assuage my pain.
18:30 – We arrive on “The Hill”. I had contacted my Cedar Falls “expert” earlier in the week to find out a restaurant to eat at besides Sub City.  The response came back: “There are other restaurants in Cedar Falls?”  But what I heard was “I’ve criticized my parents for not wanting to try new restaurants, but perhaps that was hypocrisy.”  We try Great Wall Chinese Restaurant. This experience is similar to when Jill and I ate at Jade 88 back in February.  We are the only people in the restaurant.  The food is tasty though.  Not to the level of Chinese Homestyle Cooking, but not bad. They have cool fish lamps on their walls. I don’t feel that Sara appreciates them at an appropriate level.
19:20 – We arrive at Gallagher-Bluedorn.  It is not what I’m expecting.  Although the auditorium itself is beautiful, it is “designed” to make it as extremely difficult as possible to find your seats. After picking up tickets at Will Call, we approach Volunteer #1 looking for assistance.  She tells us that we have to go up the elevator.  Volunteer #2 walks us to the elevator.  After getting off the elevator we hand our tickets to Volunteers #3 and #4 that are standing right outside the elevator. They tell us to go to Door 5.  Door 5 is 10 feet away.  We walk the 10 feet and give our tickets to Volunteers #5 and #6 that are standing outside of Door 5. They tell us to go into Door 5. Inside Door 5 Volunteer #7 points out our seats.  There are two of us. There is 1 open seat. We point this out to him. He tells us that they will “make room”.  We get near “our” seats. People have made room.  We sit down.  Sara notes that the height of the wall that prevents you from falling 150 feet to your death is about 2 feet tall.
19:30 – Opening act Pieta Brown takes the stage.  She plays about 5 songs.  She isn’t bad.
20:15 – Brandi Carlile and her band take the stage.  They play a set without the Cedar Falls-Waterloo Symphony.  It is amazing.
20:45 – Volunteer #8 approaches me and asks to see our tickets.  I give them to him.  He tells me that these aren’t our seats and points in kind of a general direction of where we are supposed to be sitting. He is not friendly or jovial.
20:47 – We give our tickets to Volunteer #9 who points out our seats to us.  They aren’t really seats.  They are more like chairs that overlook the two foot wall.  I actually love this because it means legroom!
20:52 – There are only two other people sitting in this “section”, so rather than sitting in our assigned chairs, we sit next to them and strike up a conversation.  Volunteer #9 doesn’t seem pleased about this, but she doesn’t do anything about it. I ask them: besides Sub City, where is a good place to eat in Cedar Falls? She recommends Beck’s or Pablo’s. An exact quote from the lady: “There is more to Cedar Falls than Sub City.” I feel I should text this to my Cedar Falls expert, but I fear she might drive up to Cedar Falls and slap this poor lady.  Decide I will tell her about this swipe at Sub City in an indirect passive aggressive manner.  Hi Shannon! While Sara goes out to the hallway to drink a Diet Pepsi I learn that the male in this couple moved from California for the female in the couple. He is “looking forward” to his first Iowa Winter.  My Aunt Sherrie would think he moved here because he had “no options”.  The less cynical side of me would ask “are there options to love”?
21:00 – Brandi Carlile comes back on stage and kills it in the 2nd set.  I had thought maybe it was foolish for me to go see Brandi Carlile for a 3rd time this year.  But all told, I spent about $100 dollars on 3 shows. I will find out later in the week that there are people willing to spend quite a bit more than 100 smackers to see just 1 show.  So maybe I am cheap.  Brandi plays many of her best songs: “Dreams”, “The Story”, “Oh Dear”, “Closer to You” and “Turpentine” to name just a few. But perhaps the highlights of this show for me were two covers I’ve never heard her play before. I’ve always felt that her voice is reminiscent of Patsy Cline, but I’ve never heard her play a Patsy Cline song.  She played “Crazy” and nailed it!  Near the end of her set she played a cover of Lenard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”.  With the beauty of her voice and the majesty of the backing symphony orchestra, I’m not ashamed to say that I got goosebumps.
22:00 – After the show, (Brandi included her traditional Johnny Cash cover of “Folsom Prison Blues” in her encore) Sara tells me “I want to be Brandi Carlile.”  She did this with an inflection that only Sara can do that makes you think that it actually might be a possibility.

Sunday
8:50 – I’m surprisingly up for Church, despite the lateness of the previous evening, when Mom arrives to pick me up.
9:40 – Andrea gives an awesome (truly awe inspiring) sermon about superheroes and how the greatest superhero the world has and ever will see is a Christian.  At the end of the sermon Andrea and Phil take off their robes to reveal that they are wearing Batman shirts underneath. I have a sinking suspicion that they didn’t have to go out and buy those shirts special for this sermon.
10:05 – The combined choirs of 4 churches perform a song to conclude our worship service. I’m disappointed to see that my Grandma isn’t in the choir, but excited to see a choir with lots of men in it.  Our church choir is a little light on the men.  Of course that is partially my fault for keeping my angelic voice under wraps.

10:15 – Josh tells me that Wesley’s hair color must have come from the Schwan’s man.  I assure him that I was born with red hair.  Then the red went away.  Then the hair went away. Mom tells him the story about how my Grandma (Paternal) knew I would be born with red hair because I “visited her in a dream” before I was born.  I’ve always doubted the veracity of this tale because I don’t remember visiting anybody before I was born.  However, Josh thinks it is a great story.  I am reminded that I should really make an extra effort to make it to Taize Worship next November.

13:00 – Angie, Jon and Alice arrive for Alice’s 3 month photo shoot.  I don’t really know how to take baby pictures, but Angie has ideas.  I give them a tour of the house that consists mostly of the phrase: “This room is too dirty to go into…” and “someday this will be different”.  Alice photography goes seemingly well.
17:30 – Meet the Howards near a private pond for the Howard family photo shoot.  The light wanes quickly and Jesse limping around on his crutches doesn’t help the speed of the event, but I think good work is accomplished.
19:30 – I show up at the Howards for supper.  Kelly makes a very good Shepherd’s Pie.  We watch the Phillies-Giants game.
21:00 – Willy shows up because he is a social butterfly and needs to be around other people.
21:30 – I realize that I was supposed to go to the Mehtodist Men Steak Fry tonight. Whoops!

Monday
9:00 – I wake up with one goal: to stay in my pajamas as long as is humanly possible.
10:00 – I thaw out hamburger to make Hamburger Helper.  I have friends who look down their long noses of judgment at me because I occasionally eat Hamburger Helper.  I don’t have the ambition to cook anything better on this day.
11:00 – I think about cleaning my living room.
11:03 – I email my weekly picks to Andree, Russell and Baier.  Upset: Baylor over Kansas State Lock: Oklahoma over Missouri.
12:00 – I realize I don’t have any milk to make my Cheesy Enchilada Hamburger Helper.  If I go to the store I would have to put on nonsleeping attire. I go down to my Mom’s to borrow milk. Instead, she makes me homemade chicken noodles.
13:23 – I think about cleaning my living room.
16:30 – I dust some stuff.
16:42 – I put the hamburger away. I’ll make Hamburger Helper later this week.
18:00 – Show up at my Mom’s for supper.
20:15 – I put on real clothes and leave for the bowling alley.
22:47 – The Patio Pros enter the night in first place, but get handled by C&B Drywall 18-6. I personally have a decent night.  Winning 3 out of 4 personal points, but it isn’t enough.

Tuesday
8:30 – Depart for Kalona with Mom.
10:45 – Buy Buttermilk Cookies at the Bakery.  I love these cookies. I refrain from buying any more jelly.  I have 8 jars at home in the fridge.
11:02 – Community Store is closed on Tuesdays.
11:11 – Stringtown Grocery Store is closed on Tuesdays.
11:17 – Jackpot! Cheese factory is open.  I buy two pounds of cheese curds, in case any friends drop by the rest of the week.  I also buy, Smoked Swiss, 2 Year Old Cheddar and Chocolate Cheese. I need to buy some crackers when I get a chance.
12:17 – Mom wants to go by Riverside Casino to see what it looks like. I take her to the Future Birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk.  I text a picture to a few people to let them know that this guy doesn’t waste his vacation time.
13:15 – Don’t find the casino, but decide to go to Iowa City to eat at Steak’n’Shake for lunch. This is despite the fact that both Sara and Jesse have tried to shoot down my dreams of eating at a Steak’n’Shake in the past.

13:37 – Turns out I don’t know where the Steak’n’Shake in Iowa City is located even though I KNOW I’ve driven by it many a time. Aimlessly driving around Iowa City.
13:47 – Call Sara for directions. She doesn’t answer.  Call Toby for directions.  He doesn’t answer. Call Jesse for directions.  He answers.  Apparently we drove by it about 5 miles back. Nice!
14:02 – The joyride works to our favor.  2-4 is Shake Happy Hour at Steak’n’Shake.  Steak’n’Shake isn’t anywhere near as bad as Sara and Jesse hyped it to be.  In fact, it was actually on the enjoyable side.  I wouldn’t go out of my way for one again, but it certainly beats the offerings of the Evil Clown Empire, Burger King and Wendy’s. Plus, to my knowledge, none of those places have a Shake Happy Hour. Game, Set, Match. Steak’n’Shake.
15:37 – Arrive at what is left of the Czech Village in Cedar Rapids.  They have a “Speed Hump” sign that is moderately amusing.  We stop in a bakery and buy some stuff.
17:17 – Stop at an abandoned gas station on Highway 30 to photograph it.
18:22 – Stop in Tama to photograph historic Lincoln Highway Bridge.
19:02 – Stop at Country House Family Restaurant in Colo for supper.  I love this restaurant. I have the fried chicken dinner and it is great. Order raisin cream pie to go.
21:30 – Sitting at home. Eat raisin cream pie.  Some cheese curds as well.

Wednesday
8:30 – Watch Prospect Place episode of Ghost Adventures on On Demand.
9:15 – Watch Waverly Hills episode of Ghost Adventures on On Demand.
10:00 – Watch Stanley Hotel episode of Ghost Adventures on  On Demand. Text Jill.  Find out she has been by the Stanley Hotel on an Orchestra trip. Color me with the colors of jealousy. I think they are green.  I decide to watch The Shining later that night in honor of my Ghost Adventures marathon.
10:45 – Watch Return to Bobby Mackey’s episode of Ghost Adventures on On Demand. This is an episode I’ve never seen before, but Jill spoke very highly of it.  By watching this episode I learn that Bobby Mackey’s is in Wilder, Kentucky.  I decide that if I go with Teresa to visit Ernie in Kentucky next year, Bobby Mackey’s is definitely one place we are visiting.  That list now consists of Lambert’s, Beale Street and Bobby Mackey’s.  I don’t believe in ghosts, but I’m willing to believe in the possibility of ghosts. That must make me a ghost agnostic.  Episode is as good as Jill advertised. I leave the epidosde confused as to why anybody would turn a slaughterhouse into a music club.

12:00 – Mom and I pick up Vi for lunch.  Since I get to pick the restaurant, I pick Pickles Pub in Kamrar.  I’m not sure that they are open for lunch, but there pizza is so good it is worth the risk. If not, Webster City probably has a restaurant or two that serve edible food.
12:47 – We are in Kamrar. At this point I tell Mom and Vi that I’m not sure that they are open during the day. I had eaten here once with Shannon during the day, but that was a Sunday.
12:53 – They are open, but they don’t serve pizza during the day.
12:57 – Mom asks the waitress if they will serve us pizza.  The waitress says it will be a little wait, but they will turn on the pizza oven.  Big points for Pickles! We order Fried Pickles because Vi has never had Fried Pickles.
14:00 – Pizza was excellent, as always.  We leave a large tip because they turned on the pizza oven and it looks like our waitress has been crying.
14:30 – Stop at Stanhope Meat Locker.  I don’t buy anything, but Mom does.
15:15 – Home cleaning living room.  It is spotless and I can finally get under my entertainment center to hook up the switch that makes it possible for me to sign up for Netflix.
15:20 – I sign up for Netflix.
15:25 – Watch Food, Inc. on Netflix.
18:00 – Eat pastries from Czech Village bakery. They are terrible. I spit some out. I think about giving some to Foster Bunny, but decide not to be cruel.
20:00 – Pop some popcorn and open up some ice cold Pepsi Cola.  It is time for The Shining on Blu-Ray!
22:30 – I love Stanley Kubrick!

Thursday
7:30 – I’m up. I rearrange my bedroom.  I theorize that this new arrangement will help me keep my bedroom cleaner.  I have lots of theories on cleaning. However, I don’t actually do much cleaning. Cleaning is more of a theoretical activity for me.
11:30 – I’m cleaning my office. The goal is to clean out the Hat Closet and make it a second Frame Closet.  I also want to be able to see the floor again.
11:47 – I get an email from Russell that he is “vetoing” my upset pick of Baylor over Kansas State because he doesn’t “feel” that it is an upset.
11:48 – I point out that Kansas State is a 6.5 point favorite and ranked.  Baylor is not ranked.
13:30 – Russell emails that it technically might be an upset, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Baylor won.
13:33 – Of course, I’m wouldn’t be surprised. That is why I made the pick.  I change my upset pick to Texas over Iowa State.
14:22 – Russell refers to the belief that Iowa State could beat Texas as a “fantasy”.  I don’t respond. I shut off my computer. I believe I won’t touch a computer again until Monday.
3:30 – I can see the floor again.  I am a cleaning god.
16:37 – Teresa calls me to tell me she is in my driveway. I tell her that she might as well come inside. We aren’t leaving until my show is over, even though the show is on Netflix and I can watch it at any time.
16:56 – We leave for Trostel’s Dish.
17:30 – I get a text from Vest at the Computer Mine. He has a question about the Microsoft eOpen website. It is good to be needed.
17:47 – We arrive at Trostel’s Dish.  I can smell Yuppie all over this place, but despite being under the weather, I give it a shot.
17:48 – This is a sharing restaurant. I wasn’t prepared for that.
17:57 – Teresa orders Arancini and a Taco Pizza. I order Beef & Shrooms and Pomme Frites.
18:30 – The Pomme Frites were kind of average, but the Arancini is incredible.  The Beef & Shrooms and Taco Pizza are also above average, but the Arancini really steals the show. If I were to come back I would just order 4 orders of it and call it a night.
18:31 – Teresa asks me if I would come back. I tell her I would, but since it is a sharing restaurant I would come with a larger group of people (like when I went to Chino Latino back in April). Teresa is somewhat offended by this statement, but I tell her that I would let her come along.
20:02 – I’m standing in Sara’s garage.  She has offered to give me a mirror that is roughly the size of a twin bed.  I’m hoping that Teresa’s Murano is the perfect vessel to convey my new prize home. I have been eying the Gorshe Forrester behind their back for about a month now, but I’m hoping I won’t need it any longer.  Teresa says she doesn’t know if she can help lift the mirror because of her bad neck. I give her a pep talk and she’s willing to give it the old college try.
20:06 – By the slimmest of margins the mirror fits in the Murano!  Oh bliss! Heaven and bliss!
20:22 – Standing in the Beaverdale Walgreen’s. I am out of acetaminophen. They are having a sale on it. Buy 1 get 1 Free.  They are completely sold out of all sizes except for the Super Jumbo bottle. I now have enough acetaminophen to ease the aches and pains of a small village.
21:03 – At the Casey’s in Madrid.  They are selling scorpions in shadow boxes as art. Did I miss something?
21:30 – Leave giant mirror in my garage because Teresa can’t carry it to basement due to bad neck. Start thinking about strong friends that will be able to help me move the mirror to the basement.

Friday
10:45 – Stop at the Computer Mine to answer a Microsoft Eopen website question.  This seems to be my expertise at work.  Some would call it job security.  I call it reason #345 why I hate Microsoft.
11:00 – On the Interstate.
12:22 – Drivers from Wisconsin are stupid.
1:17 – Drivers from Nebraska are stupid.
2:00 – Wheels down. Eagan, Minnesota. The Promised Land. Nate and I go to lunch.
2:08 – Lunching at Genghis Grill.  There are small differences between Genghis Grill and HuHot.  They are as follows: Steak is marinated, seasonings, eggs, sauce is thicker, sauce is put in a separate bowl and cooks mix rice in for you.
2:25 – Genghis Grill is a winner.
2:32 – Nate and Bethany have canceled cable. There goes Plan A for watching Iowa State-Texas game.
17:00 – Nate has left for work. I’m heading to Minneapolis to see Becca and Gelli’s new apartment.
17:07 – On 77. Becca’s directions say to take 62 East. GPS says 62 West.  Trusting Becca.
17:15 – GPS was right.
17:28 – Arrive at the new apartment.  It is nice.  Get to meet Ponyo who is cute. Becca and Gelli don’t have cable. There goes Plan B for watching Iowa State-Texas game.
18:02 – On the way to a tea house we drive by the Uptown Theater. I still long to see a movie at this theater.  Their midnight movie this weekend is The Lost Boys. I am reminded that The Lost Boys terrified Bethany when she was young. I don’t think I could talk her into going to see it.  Then my thoughts are stopped cold.  I see an advertisement that lists their next several midnight movies. In a couple of weeks they are showing The Shining. If that wasn’t such a terrible weekend for it, I would come up to Minnesota just for that. I’m still miffed about missing A Clockwork Orange at the Uptown a few months back.
18:15 – At a tea house called Tea Garden.  The baristas look like cliché hipsters, but the clientele looks decidedly normal. I wonder if the baristas secretly wish to work at a more hip tea house.
18:32 – Becca tells me that she was willing to pay 600 dollars for a ticket to see Shakira in concert in Chicago. I’m flabbergasted. I’ve seen my favorite band in concert and it cost me 38 bucks. I’d be willing to pay more, but not 562 bucks more.
18:48 – Back at the apartment awaiting Bethany’s arrival.  We are deciding between two locations. Hard Times Café and Mac’s Industrial Sports Bar.  We decide on Mac’s Industrial based on the fact that their menu includes a Fried Plate of Death.
20:37 – I am face to face with the Fried Plate of Death.  It is a good distraction because despite the fact this is a sports bar, all that is on their televisions is stupid hockey. I secretly hate this state.  Saint Cloud State is embarrassing Minnesota. 1 billion chinamen and this American could care less.  Fried Plate of Death is good, but not great.  It pales in comparison to the appetizer combo plate at The Open Flame.  Now I am longing for The Open Flame.
22:28 – Make plan with Becca to go to the Sculpture Garden at 1 PM on Saturday.
23:13 – Watching Weeds with Nate back in Eagan.

Saturday
11:00 – Search in vain for a way to watch Iowa State-Texas game. Ends with me staring at Bethany’s computer watch Gamecast on ESPN.com.
11:04 – Bethany calls from work. Suggests I go over to John’s to watch football. That would be awesome, but I already have plans with Becca to go to the Sculpture Garden.
12:28 – Halftime: Iowa State 14 Texas 3. Really wish I could watch this game.
13:00 – Arrive at Becca and Gelli’s.  I watch Iowa State-Texas game on Gamecast on my phone.
13:14 – Becca and I head for lunch at Hard Times Café.
13:26 – Becca thinks Hard Times Café is in Dinkytown. We end up in a traffic jam. Minnesota must have a football game at 2:30.  Look at all these people headed to the stadium.
13:43 – We drive past Minnesota Stadium.  All these people aren’t driving to the stadium. They are leaving the stadium! There is 5 minutes left in the game and there is maybe 10,000 people left in the stadium. I text Jesse to find out the score of the Minnesota-Penn State game. Minnesota is down by 9.  They are down by 9 and their stadium is empty.
14:11 – We find Hard Times Café. It is in a Somalian neighborhood. That is code for ghetto in Minnesotan.
14:16 – This is a true hipster place.  Vegan and vegetarian food. The baristas AND the clientele scream cliché hipster. Who am I to judge though? They probably look at me and think I look like a cliché badass and it is true, but badass is who I am. I can’t run from it.
14:18 – Hard Times Café has an interesting way to order. You write down your food order on a piece of paper and hand it to the barista. But for the drink, you can actually talk to the barista. I order an Eden Omelet and Organic Grape Juice.
14:22 – Derrick calls me. Iowa State has officially beat Texas for the first time in school history. We discuss how proud we are to be Cyclones.
14:25 – I text Russell to ask him if he believes in fantasies. I still haven’t heard from him. Andree and Jesse both text me to celebrate the victory. I had received texts from Baier earlier in the day, but surprisingly he does not text me after the game.  Perhaps he was still in shock.
14:27 – Our food is up.  It is very good. I try some of Becca’s biscuits and gravy. It is surprisingly good for not having any meat in it.
15:03 – We arrive at The Sculpture Garden.  Although they have moved some sculptures around, I don’t think there are any new sculptures from the time I visited it with Bethany a couple of years back.
15:05 – Lots of wedding parties here getting their pictures taken with a giant cherry. Little weird Minnesotans.
15:27 – The flower garden hear is amazing!
16:47 – At Jamba Juice.  This is my first lifetime visit to a Whole Foods.  I order Banana Berry Smoothie without a boost. I don’t believe in performance enhancers.
17:00 – Hug Becca goodbye.  Going to Bloomington to meet Bethany and John at John’s place to take some pictures.
17:03 – The quickest route between Minneapolis and Bloomington involves 35W South.  The police have closed this road because Obama is in town.  I appreciate the meaningful health care reform. I appreciate Wall Street reform. I appreciate removing combat troops from Iraq. I don’t appreciate this Obama!  It will be a long 8 mile drive down Nicollet, with the sunlight wasting away.
17:22 – Arrive at John’s. Bethany still isn’t ready. Sorry for the angry words Obama.
17:47 – Arrive at Century Park. It is pretty dark, but we take some good pictures.  At least I hope they are good.
20:27 – At The Park Tavern Bowling & Entertainment Center in St. Louis Park.  For years I’ve listened to Bethany praise the green chicken wings served here.  Here with John, Bethany and John’s friend Ryan.  Hostess asks us if we want a table near the karaoke or far from the karaoke.  We ask if they can just “not do karaoke”.  She responds, “I wish.  Believe me. I wish.” Her eyes glaze over as she seems to be remembering a traumatic experience from the past.  Then in an instant she is back with us.  She seats us around a corner and far from the karaoke.
20:33 – Some guys is killing Journey on stage. Not in the Brandi Carlile way, this is literally musical homicide.  Hatred for karaoke is reinforced.
20:47 – The green chicken wings arrive.  They are excellent!  They are also very spicy and very large.  They are least 4 times the size of normal chicken wings.  Also interesting is rather than celery, the “side dish” is cucumber slices.  Tasty, but I think it actually makes the burning sensation on my lips worse.
20:52 – Woman who actually belongs a stage is doing a serviceable job on Janis Joplin. As it turns out, serviceable is as good as it gets on this night.
20:55 – Nate calls and says to order for him in 15 minutes.
21:10 – We order for him.
21:14 – The guy that murdered Journey is now murdering Survivor.  Fantastic!
21:20 – Nate’s wings arrive.
21:40 – Nate arrives.
23:23 – On the way back to John’s I hear my first legendary John-Hardcore-Right-Wing-Rant.  Ryan holds his own as his Yes Man!  Some of my favorite phrases include, “Back in the 70s” and “I heard a scientist say once.”  Okay, my real favorite phrase was when Bethany says, “I’ve asked you to show me documentation of that claim before and you can’t find any!”
23:42 – Back at John’s watching Jim Gaffigan clips on YouTube.

Sunday
00:47 – I hug Bethany goodbye.
1:13 – Nate is already asleep.  I read several website reports of Iowa State’s historic victory over Texas.
8:45 – This is the 4th Sunday of the year that I have missed Church.  I missed Super Bowl Sunday, the Sunday after my Birthday Barbecue and Swell Season Sunday.  Now this Sunday.  Based on the Shorty Peterson Church Credit Theory, I still have perfect attendance.  I have missed 4 services, but I also went on Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.  I also once stopped in on a Contemporary Service. However, that is partial credit at best.  I should really go to the Taize Worship in November. I know I’ll also go to the bonus Christmas Eve service. If they don’t cancel the midnight service this year, I might hit two services on Christmas Eve. I might end up with better than perfect attendance before the year is over.
10:02 – Nate wakes up.
10:15 – I say goodbye to Nate. No hug. Get in the car to head to Oakdale.
10:45 – I knock on the door to Jill’s apartment.  There is a small amount of time before we have to leave to make it to Hell’s Kitchen.  Our reservation is for 11:30.  Jill is watching the Travel Channel’s all day marathon of Ghost Adventures.
10:52 – I make an effort to be friends with Kitty Baby. The other encounters I’ve had with her have not gone particularly well.  This time she doesn’t hiss or run away from me. This is known as progress.
10:58 – Jill is going to see Maroon 5 in concert on Thursday. I already know this, but you probably don’t.
10:59 – Standing in the parking lot trying to decide who will drive. Jill says, “Don’t you want to ride in the Poor Man’s Porsche?” Truth is that I never miss a chance to ride in the Poor Man’s Porsche.
11:04 – Jill tells me that when she made our reservation, they told her that Hell’s Kitchen has a jazz band playing during brunch.  Considerable improvement over karaoke.  In fact, it is nearly impossible to quantify the breadth of that improvement.
11:06 – Jill asks if “How” is still my favorite song from Maroon 5’s new album.  I tell her it is, but the acoustic versions of “Never Gonna Leave This Bed” and “Misery” along with the cover of Alicia Keys “If I Ain’t Got You” are closing the gap.  She plays for me the iTunes Bonus Track “The Air That I Breathe”. She tells me she’s excited for Thursday.
11:11 – Jill tells me she’s excited for Thursday.
11:16 – Jill tells me she’s excited for Thursday.
11:20 – Jill tells me she’s excited for Thursday.
11:28 – We arrive at Hell’s Kitchen. The hostess asks us if we want a table near or far away from the jazz band.  We give the exact opposite answer that we gave the hostess from last night.
11:48 – This is a really cool restaurant.  Live jazz band. The servers are wearing pajamas. The art on the wall is cool without being contrived. There is an awesome angel statue on the stage behind the jazz trio.
11:52 – Our food arrives.  We ordered Sweet Potato Fries as an appetizer. Jill ordered Shrimp & Crab Cake with Poached Egg. I order Bison Benedict.
11:57 – I’m not a huge fan of breakfast at a restaurant, but this is phenomenal.  This definitely goes on the list of the best restaurants I’ve ever eaten at.
12:22 – The jazz trio announce when they will be playing Hell’s Kitchen again.  On the list of their future appearances is a night when they will be playing Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy. I wish I could be here for that.
12:28 – While paying the bill we discuss whether or not we could steal the sweet pen our server brought her to sign the check.  We do this in front of the waiter. He tells us to go ahead and steal it. He says he sometimes brings stuff to people for them to steal. We decide not to steal the pen.
13:30 – We are at the Carmike Cinema in Oakdale. The original plan was to go see “Hereafter”. That isn’t actually true. The original plan was to see “Life As We Know It”, but after Jill’s most recent trip home, I showed her the trailer for “Hereafter” and “The Fighter”.  She decided that she would rather see “Hereafter” and we made very soft plans to see “The Fighter” when it comes out. However, we didn’t make it back from Hell’s Kitchen in time, so we are back to the original plan of seeing “Life As We Know It”.
15:30 – It is a fair but predictable movie. Most romantic comedies are predictable, so I don’t hold that against it.  I can deal with predictable as long as it is well done.
16:15 – Hug Jill goodbye. Wish her luck at darts.
18:30 – Stop in Albert Lea for gas and fast food at Burger King.
20:00 – Home. Foster Bunny survived my absence, but I swear he looks lonely. A trick of the eye.
21:00 – Start of first Computer Mine basketball game of the season. 9 players here. This is promising. Played a couple games last year with 5 or less players.  Still haven’t recovered from cold completely and am feeling the aches of being in car for 3.5 hours. I decide to play as little as I can in this game.
21:15 – First extended playing time in this game. I feel like I’m going to vomit. Burger King was a big mistake.
22:00 – We kept it close for most of the game, but lose by a final score of 66-45. Although that sounds bad, this is actually very promising.
22:22 – Ha! Ha! Brett Favre loses to the Packers!

Monday
8:58 – Back at Computer Mine. Vacation officially over.

Vacation Day 2 – The Tub

On Day 2 of my vacation, 1 of my major accomplishments was getting Willy and Derrick together and moving a tub.

We borrowed my uncle Butch’s truck and picked up the tub from Toby’s backyard. The tub used to be a planter and since it was raining all day, the dirt had turned into mud.

We picked up the tub and dumped all the dirt out of it. We took it to a carwash and sprayed it down. This resulted in my person being almost completely mud covered.

It was worth it, because now I have a sweet tub to use as a beverage trough for the barbecue and perhaps as a dog tub in the future.



Later that night Derrick, Jen and I went down to The Machine Shed for dinner. On the way down to Des Moines, Derrick dropped a little bomb on me.

He asked me if I had heard that Creighton was interested in hiring Greg McDermott.

Really?

It isn’t even my birthday… yet!

3Peat

“This is the end,

Beautiful friend,

This is the end,

Of our elaborate plans, the end,

Of everything that stands, the end,

No safety or surprise, the end.”

– The Doors (The End)

Another college basketball season has come to an end. It is a sad, sad day. At least it is only 11 days to Iowa State’s Spring Football Game. 11 long days!

The end of another college basketball season means it is time to crown the champion of year 6 of the Roundball Oracles tournament pool.

This is beginning to sound like a broken record, but a few years back Pat Riley was man enough to patent the word 3peat.  What he wasn’t man enough to do is actually 3peat. He came up woefully short in his attempt to win a 3rd straight championship.

Mark Wolfram is not Pat Riley. Mark Wolfram was man enough to be crowned the Roundball Oracles Champion for the 3rd straight year.  It was a little embarrassing when a guy living in Taiwan won the first time.  Even more embarrassing when he repeated last year. I’m not sure if there are words to express how embarrassing it is that he won for a third straight year.

Hopefully next year somebody will step up and snatch that crown off of his head.  Could be you! Could be me! Although I’ll have to rebound from an extremely pathetic performance this year. At least I finished third and won ten bucks in the pool at work.

The Final Standings

1. Mark Wolfram (Taiwan Hoops) – 81 points

2. Nader Parsaei (Charlie Chaplin) – 79 points

3. Dawn Krause (Dawn’s Dunkin’ Dribblers) – 75 points

4. Frank Meiners (Frank’s Picks) – 73 points

4. Corey Faust (Always Go Top Shelf) – 73 points

6. Dan Dill (dan) – 71 points

7. Jason Baier (JLB) – 70 points

8. Robert Henning (Shot In The Dark) – 67 points

9. Nate Buckingham (Wade Lookingbill Allstars) – 65 points

9. Tim Peterson (Dominate Monkey) – 65 points

9. Linda Toot (JWB) – 65 points

12 – Derrick Gorshe (Derrick) – 63 points

13 – Jesse Howard (ISU Yes McDermott No) – 62 points

14 – Becky Perkovich (A169032477) – 61 points

15 – Corey Schmidt (TakeIt2ThaHole) – 58 points

15. Toby Sebring (Lickliter Is Out!) – 58 points

17. Russell Kennerly (i’m also transferring greg) 57 points

18. Christopher D. Bennett (I See Things) – 56 points

19. Jon DeWaard (Lono’s bracket) – 54 points

20. Bill Wentworth (Bill’s Bracket) – 53 points

21. Carrie Baier (Couragers) – 52 points

21 competitors was a new Roundball Oracles record for participants.  4 female competitors was a record for female competitors!

I am hopeful that next year, both of those records will be broken.

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

I’ve often heard that the saddest thing in the world is unrequited love. Unsolicited love on the other hand…

I’ve never been a Christmas card person. My thoughts on cards is that when somebody sends you a card, what they are really saying (with apologies to Mitch Hedberg) is: “here, throw this away for me.”*

Apparently my bah humbuggery has gotten around and this year I think I hit a new low for Christmas cards received.



However, even though I don’t participate in the tradition I took Christmas card photos for 4 sets of people. That made me think that maybe I should get into the act.

But I don’t know how far I want to take it. I could certainly send a picture card of me that says, “Merry Christmas! Please, throw this away for me.” But I began to wonder if I have it in me to write the perfunctory Christmas letter.

You know, the whitewashed version of people’s lives that some people put in their cards. I didn’t think I was capable of this level of lying, but then I opened the theme Christmas letter from Geri D.

It was inspiring in its creativity. Maybe inspiring enough that some of you might just get something in the mail from me in December of 2010.

Since I have already covered the Christmas card photo shoot for the Howards, I am going to spend the next few days covering the other 3 photo shoots.

The other thing I want to cover today is a new photo project I am entering into with Mike Vest of Waxen Media. (Jesse Howard has also agreed to participate, but did not submit a photo for this week.) It is the type of photo project that I hope some of you choose to also participate in.

We came up with 52 photo “subjects” and entered them into a random generator. Every week on Monday we will randomly be given a new subject to photograph.

On Mondays I will post the previous week’s photos and that week’s subject. Anybody that would like to participate can. You can participate as many or as few weeks as you want. The photos don’t have to be taken with a fancy camera or have to be high art. Pictures with a camera phone are perfectly acceptable. The only rule is that the picture has to be taken that week.

Just email me your picture before noon each Monday.

Last week’s subject was “Use of Space”. Here are our pictures:



Christopher D. Bennett


Michael Vest

The subject for next week is “SOOTHING”. I know this to be short notice, but snap something off and email it to me at bennett@photography139.com.

This weekly random photo subject should NOT be confused with my ongoing Personal Photo Project of the Week that is one of my goals for 2010. I should hopefully start publishing some of that work next week. After I cover the other 3 Christmas Card Photo Shoots.

Of course there is one last subject that needs to be covered. It has been exactly 1 week since my old friend college football left me until next September.

The Gridiron Bowl Prophets made many wild predictions and this time, Yours Truly came out as the Champ.

Gridiron Bowl Prophets Final Standings:

  1. Christopher D. Bennett – The Insight – 23 of 34 – 429 Points
  2. Corey Faust – In It To Beat Bennett – 20 of 34 – 393 Points
  3. Jason Baier – Hokies – 21 of 34 – 367 Points
  4. Jesse Howard – Bowl Prophet – 20 of 34 – 341 Points
  5. Toby Sebring – I Love Lamp – 17 of 34 – 323 Points
  6. Lowell Davis – AC000000 – 0 of 34 – 0 Points

It is only my incredible modesty that prevents me from pointing out the thorough dominance of my performance.

*Despite my bravado, I don’t really throw anything away. If I’m ever on Hoarders, it will be because of the boxes and boxes of cards I have in my basement.

Gridiron Prophets Year 4

“You know, my dear, the moment I looked into your eyes I knew that you did not have the mind for the noble art of Divination. See? Right here. You may be young in years but the heart that beats beneath your bosom is as shriveled as an old maid’s, your soul as dry as the pages of the books to which you so desperately cleave”

-Professor Trelawney

Saturday marked the beginning of the bowl season and the end of another year of regular season competition for the Gridiron Prophets. The winner of this years competition was Robert Henning.

The Final Standings

  1. Robert Henning – Bob’s Pick ‘Em – 2349 Points – 206-55
  2. Toby Sebring – Iowa City Spider Pigs – 2323 Points – 209-52
  3. Lowell Davis – AC000000 – 2313 Points – 208-53
  4. Jason Baier – Beamer Ball – 2312 Points – 211-50
  5. Christopher D. Bennett – Bennetdamus – 2262 Points – 207-54
  6. Corey Faust – Ricky Stanzi’s Beard – 2201 Points – 209-52
  7. Mark Wolfram – Taiwan Football – 1206 Points – 109-152
  8. Jesse Howard – Mayor Cy McWinner – 548 Points – 50-211
  9. Bill Wentworth – Cyguy2333 – 91 Points – 14-230

Past Champions
2006 – Toby Sebring
2007 – Toby Sebring
2008 – Lowell Davis

Robert had finished 2nd the last two years. Robert is no longer the bridesmaid. I will have to get his trophy in the mail. Come to think of it, I never gave Lowell his trophy from last year. I better get on that.