Saturday, August 26, 2006


Wedding. It's on a boat, so I guess that's cool. I am going to try and sneak in some climbing befor eI come back, so look for that post.


Friday, August 25, 2006


process went well. We will hear back Tuesday. Several things can still go wrong, but at least this phase is done.

Meanwhile, this week at work was lame, so I had to go get some guiness. And now, bad movie night.


Thursday, August 24, 2006


So, we are trying to buy a house. In fact, we will know tomorrow if said trying was in vain. No matter, though, to the post below, claiming real estate agents are sharks.

We found a buyers agent, Jim Jayson. He showed us several properties, and we found one we liked. Still like. As it turns out, one of Carly's friends knew the seller's agent, so we got in touch with him same day, and tried to fast track an offer. No problems so far.

Eddie Dittewiler, the seller's agent, had me come in and sing an offer. During the signing, he went super quick through all the fine print. No worries, it is all boiler plate. BUt he asked if we had an agent. I said yes, Jim Jayson. End of discussion. Then he said it was all ready, and he just needed to show us the house, legally. We had already seen the house, but he insisted. So we went to see it.

That night Jim called, asking us if we had picked a house. Yes, I told him, we have, and he should have known about it. See, I assumed Eddie would contact Jim, and that's why he asked me about him. Jim said no one had contacted him, but not to worry, we would still write up an offer sheet. I told him Eddie already did. See what's happening yet?

Eddie was not supposed to do any of that. By "showing us" the house, he had assumed status as buyer's agent. That meant he was getting BOTH commissions. And cutting Jim out of his EARNED piece of the pie.

Now, none of this means dick to our price. But what it does is throw a wrench in the gears, and slows down the process as these two work out who gets what percent. And we have an ever smaller window to buy this house.

Hence, real estate agents are sharks.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006


are sharks. More to come.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006


So, obviously, sports topics come up at work A LOT. It is just the nature of a sports store. And, since I live in Northern Minnesota, the topic is usually hockey.

I don't like hockey. I don't like what it has become. But hockey represents 3/4 of the yearly sales at my store. So I sell hockey. And I do it well, for a guy who has never played.

But that doesn't mean I have to defend it against basketball. NO WAY, NO HOW. There is a rivalry between the two sports, because they are played at the same time of the year. So Ken and Woody decided to start this debate yesterday: Hockey players are better athletes than basketball players.

The bullet points:

1) Hockey is a harder sport to "pick up"- the average joe can more readily succeed at a pick up game of basketball.

2) Hockey players have more crossover success in other sports.

3) Hockey is more physically demanding.

Now, I cannot argue with number 1. But I am not sure if athleticism is the factor, or if it is skill, or technical proficiency. That is to say (and I pointed this out) it is very hard to just go golf, if you have never swung a club. But golf is far less physically demanding than weight lifting, which anyone can go do, first try. (No one would accuse John Daly of being an athlete) What makes hockey so hard to do at the start is the act of skating, not the rules or the general gameplay, which basically mirror soccer in most respects. And most people can go out and play a pick up game of soccer with the same amount of success as they can play basketball.

Of number two, I cannot think of one Pro hockey player who is a pro in another sport. But I did mention (to many laughs) that Wilt Chamberlain was a professional volleyball player, too. They did not think volleyball was on the same level. "All he has to do is stand there, he is so tall" Wilt could also run a sub 4 forty, but I guess his legs were just long. (Shaq has longer legs, as does KG, and neither can clock that speed). However, I don't know if this proves athletic ability, or sports aptitude. Since the two sports are played at the same time, you won't see a Bo Jackson or Deion Sanders (both of whom played two professional sports-Baseball and Football-at a high level). But one could argue that if LeBron James would have grown up in Canada, we would not be talking about Sidney Crosby right now.

The third one is really the bone of contention. How can you measure that? Honestly, I need help on this one. At the highest level, both sports are terribly demanding. Is it harder for a person skating his whole life to skate, or for a person jumping his whole life to jump? Is a 15 inch vertical on skates more impressive than a 50 inch vertical over another player (see the 2000 Vince Carter olympics)? Is it harder to skate up and down a shorter field, gliding half the way, or run up and down a larger field walking half the time? This is the real meat of the question, and it is comparing apples to watermelons (yes, that is a racist joke, but it happens to be funny, too).

But here is all I know. If I took Crosby and James and put them in a decathlon, James would WASTE Crosby. Wouldn't even be close.

For a bonus, just before Ken decided we shouldn't talk bad about hockey in front of the customers (meaning I shouldn't talk) He said if he and a friend played two basketball players in basketball, and those same two players played him in hockey, the margin of victory for his game would be larger that the margin for their game. That may be true of the average player. Maybe (although if Mike and I played those two in hockey, we WOULD score a few, and we WOULD check their asses to the boards, and those two 5-8 guys would not score two buckets on us, and that's not bragging) But if the two best hockey players played the two best basketball players, those hockey players would not score ONCE, and the basketball players would get a couple open net scores.

Again, though, crossover success means little. Lebron James could wrestle a high school heavy wieght and he would get his ass handed to him. That doesn't make the high school heavy wieght more athletic.


Monday, August 21, 2006


because I was asked not to.

So, I know it is easy to be a Tiger Woods fan. And it is easy for me to say I was a fan during his struggles, when he was (once again) reinventing his swing. That doesn't mean it's not true, it just is easy to say.

But the guy has now won his 12th major. He is also 12-0 at the majors when he leads entering the final round. 21-0 when he leads entering the final round at ANY event.

Jack Nickolas has 18 career major wins. Tiger has played golf less than half the amount Jack has. He is 2/3 the way there.

But the way he does it is so fucking spectacular. He is methodical. He is calculating. He knew if he redid his swing he could win on any course at any time. He saw that the field was catching his length, so he outdid them on the greens. When his putter was not working, he won with his short game. He went through the masters hitting only one driver in four days.

No one can predict the future. But we have seen "rivals" come and go, and Tiger still sits atop the leaderboard. Vijay tried to outpace him, and fained. Mickelson tried to outthink him, and failed. Old or young, foreign or domestic, no one can play with Tiger. He is the best.


I went caching in Moorhead. Took my nephew, my sister, and my friend (whom my sister is dating). We found four caches before my nephew's little legs gave out on him. Really, though, my sister was not far behind. Still, four caches and about as many miles hiked is not bad for one day.


I fully expect to put an offer on that house today. Then it is just a big stack of paperwork, some waiting, signing, and more waiting, and maybe we will have a place to call our own.


My sister in law is getting married. We will be staying in Stillwater for the wedding. That measn one more trip to Taylor's Falls for climbing this season. I will have pictures posted, and hopefully some of them will be top view (I know you are all sick of staring at my ass).


Sunday, August 20, 2006


So, it has been a long time since my last post. I make no apology for this: just an excuse. I was working two jobs, trying to stay fit, and still trying to spend time with my new wife. All of that meant something had to suffer, and this space was the easiest.

But enough "stuff" has happened from then til now that I feel compelled to write about it. Let's start at the begining:

I took a new job at Play it Again Sports. I am the manager. The idea of starting so low again was a bit frightening, but it turned out to be the right choice. Already I feel like I am doing more, getting more from it, than I did in the two years at GOAL.

And I got to go to Chicago! We had a buy show in Chicago and my owner (or rather the owner of the store) thought it would be smart for me to jump in feet first, and get some management experience right away. And I got to go to Chicago!

So the buy show was two days long, and I had a third day in town. I arrived (VERY early) and went straight to a meeting on market possibilities. I know how fun that sounds, but really, it was. We had just been talking about going heavy into fitness gear for the winter, and lo and behold, that was what the marketing seminar was about. It was nice to know we were one step ahead of corporate (this will be a theme throughout my working tenure). Then there was a 6 hour lecture from the bowflex people. We thought it would be about the new product line, and how to use it/sell it. It was more of a health and fitness seminar. Not that I am complaining: free advice froma top trainer is better for me than telling me how to use a product I already use.

Then the free food and booze started flowing, and there was a HOT SHOW. All that means is a bunch of product discounts on stuff people probably don't want. We found a few things, but mostly it was junk. I think that's why all the free booze. We weren't fooled.

But the next day was awesome. Literally an event center filled with sporting goods. Not only did I get to play with every bit of next year's sports toys, I got to see the inside process of purchasing, and speculating on the year to come. It is a lot like the stock market, in that you are investing with the hope that the return will grow. We took last year's sales, and the trends we thought we saw int he industry, and planned accordingly. Hence going heavy into fitness: there is an 83% growth in the industry amongst women, and it just looks to get better and better.

I can't talk about the products, what we paid, or any of that. But I will say it was fun to find all that out. And the first products are arriving in the store now, meaning I am starting to see my hard work pay off.

Of course, I had the rest of the night to wander the streets of Chicago. I ended up, much like last year, at Buddy Guy's. The same band was playing, and the same bouncer greeted me. I stayed through a set, met some nurses from a nursing conference, and left. Don't worry, they were old ladies, not hot nurses.

There was a dance in the park, so I spent awhile there, watching people, writing down bits of conversation I heard, and drawing shapes of people. Terribly nerdy, I know, but it gave me some way to take in the city (I forgot my camera). I met a lot of people that way, actually, proving that the mysterious is always the curious.

Then I got back, skip a few days, and found out I was being fired from GOAL. Long, horrible story short Linda did not like me, that did not improve when I reduced my hours (voluntarily, I might add), and she kept harping on it until Laurie said it wasn't worth having to defend me. THat all sounds horrid, because it is. I have never been fired from anything in my life, and this was bad. I know I was fixing to leave, but it is like being dumped before you have a chance to do the dumping.

The good news is, we are buying ahouse now. Being that the apartment is provided by GOAL, a fire was lit straight under my ass to finally buy a house. And we now qualify for a first time homebuyers loan (with two jobs, I made too much before). That means we will pay zero out of pocket to move, instead of 20%. It also means we get a better rate. SO things have a way of working out (maybe, I don't want to jinx it, we still have not signed a house, meaning we cannot process our paperwork for the loan, meaning we can still be turned down).

We might have found the house, but I won't post pictures or details until we sign an offer sheet. Maybe not until we close.

Anyway, that's that for now. Next time I hope to talk about Team USA, and what I think fo their chances. But, of course, I don't want to jinx THAT, either.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006


OK, so Floyd Landis might end up an American "hero" or the biggest fraud of all time. He can't be both (like Barry Bonds). Here's a primer on the doping scandal, so you don't have to read through all of it on espn.com.

After Landis got rocked on the stage 16 climb, and went from 1st place to 11th place, everyone counted him out. Then, the very next day, he beat the shit out of everyone on the final, and most difficult, climb of the tour, and was in second. A time trial (at which Landis is indisputably the leader this year) later and he was the Tour Champion, and the third American to win in the last 20 years. That meant we had 11 victories in that span. Tour de America, they should be calling it!

BUT WAIT!!! A few days later the story broke that Landis's testosterone levels were high. Too high to be normal.

Of course, that wasn't the truth, the whole truth, and all that jazz. Really, what the test shows is the ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone. But that's just splitting hairs, or picking nits: I can never really decide which.

Anyway, the problem with that is, in the public's eye it looked like he cheated. But in order to enhance performance using testosterone boosters you would have to take it OVER A PERIOD OF TIME. A one day dose would be stupid. Everyone who knows 'roids knows that. Right?

Well, maybe not Floyd Landis. We have been force fed this Mennonite BS since he had a chance to win. Really pushing the ALL NATURAL Landis, trying to distance him from all the other allegations in cycling (even Armstrong). Maybe because of this upbringing he didn't learn what every couch potato watching sportscenter knows. Because the new leak says the TESTOSTERONE FOUND WAS SYNTHETIC.

So the idiot (or perhaps I should call him a dope, ehh ehh? whatever) may have ruined his career, and good name, as well as the last hopes for American viewers and sponsors, for absolutely nothing. Let me make this clear: he did not test positive the day before or the day after that stage. That means if the synthetic report turns out to be correct, he did NOTHING to help his chances of winning. Nadda, Zip, Zilch, you get the idea. All this can do is hurt him, by making a positive test.

And if he didn't dope? Well, no one will know. Most people have already made up their minds one way or the other. The court of public opinion has already spoken, and he will have to test everyday for the rest of his life to gain back a fraction of the fanbase he lost.

But already, THIS report asks a good question. Who cares? Who should care? Should WE care? I am a cycling fan, so I watched and hoped another American could pull it off. I invested some of my emotion (not even enough to last half a basketball game). Should I care? The problem is this sport is so far on our periphery, especially since we don't have Lance, that the collective WE, the American WE, doesn't need it. (Just look at soccer after Pele, or baseball after the strike--I would say hockey, but that has been in the red for some time)

We have football, and basketball, which are both ahead of the other national passtime in the ratings. ESPN is branching out into darts, poker, bowling, fishing, chess, wake boarding, skiing, skateboards, motocross, ping pong, luge, the list goes on and on. We have so much else to fill our plates, we don't need to dwell on this "scandal" the way the last generation is with baseball (they are failing, by the way).

And perhaps the biggest truth is, EVERYONE has ridden a bike. "How hard can it be?" we ask ourselves, "to pedal a bike in a race a few days." We just can't understand how someone would need steroids to win.

And we never will, until we pedal 1500 miles in their shoes.