Monday, May 26, 2008

Back from another hiatus

I don't have much going on worth writing about, and thus haven't been writing much.

I've been working too many hours at Carpaccio. Fortunately, they pay double hours for overtime ($6 instead of $3 an hour, woooo). We finally got our paychecks for training a couple days ago, along with our wages since we opened. I'd like to be making more money there, though.

Today will be my last day at the Capital. Spring playoffs are wrapping up, and I won't be in Annapolis in the fall. I hope they find someone who can figure out the stats and the records books without me being there to train them. It was not a well thought out transition on their part. But...not really my problem at this point.

In other news, I've been doing my best to stay busy and enjoy the last few months of relative freedom. I took the day off to watch the Blue Angels last week during Naval Academy Commissioning Week (graduation). On Saturday, I went out boating and tubing with Joe and some of his new richy friends. Very good times. Unfortunately, I got dehydrated and rounded out the day with a killer headache.

The weather has been absolutely gorgeous recently. Yesterday, I went outside and threw a football around before work for a couple hours with Brad and Tony at Melissa/Brad's house. Worked on the ol' summer tan. I had to leave for work, while they all got to stay out and enjoy the day. I thought work would be packed, being the Sunday night before Memorial Day. So wrong. We were dead, as usual.

Arizona State news...I've decided buying a house is the best course of action for moving out there. I'm hoping to be able to do it before I leave in August, but I don't really know how realistic that is. I'm fairly ignorant to the whole process. I'm getting in touch with a real estate agent soon, and hopefully that should get the ball rolling in my direction. I'm nervous and excited. Buying a house is a huge responsibility, but also a big step towards financial stability (in a way). With the housing market dwelling in the basement right now, and with Tempe being an inexpensive place to live at the moment, I feel it's a great time to buy. Sooner the better. Tempe is rapidly growing, and housing costs should be going up shortly.

My plan is to get a four bedroom house as close to campus as possible. With three roommates, my mortgage should be just about covered without me paying too much out of my own pocket. Apparently, for tax purposes, it makes more sense to have roommates pay for utilities, because my mortgage payment is tax deductible, while my utilities are not, unless I'm using a home office. Bonus is the house has a pool (not tax bonus, but staying alive and not melting bonus) and I can afford the upkeep and maintenance. That will be on the long list of questions I have for the realtor.

I have today and tomorrow off at the restaurant. I don't know what to do with myself. I think I will try to get my affairs in order. Clean the room, wash the car, and get serious about plans for the fall. For now, I'm off to the paper for my final encore.

Monday, May 19, 2008

O'Reilly goes crazy

I don't usually get in to things like this, but Will sent me the link and I thought it was funny. If anyone can confirm that this is legit, or if the guy behind the camera is added in to a cut up, I'd appreciate it.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Preparing for the Journey

I'm beginning the initial preparations (mentally) for my journey across the country.

Against my better judgment, and inspired by my mother, I added a weather notifier to my google homepage set to Tempe. Current temperature, 87 degrees. High by Sunday: 99 degrees. Bad idea.

I also began browsing the website for information about the city. It is considered one of the smartest cities in the area, with 40% of people above 25 having a bachelor's degree, and another 14% on top of that with a graduate degree. The population is about 165,000, which quadruples what I'm used to. Oh well. If it doesn't kill me, it makes me stronger, right? That goes for the heat, too.

Next up: invest in heat gear that doesn't show sweat.

As far as looking for a place to live, I did a little research on neighborhoods around campus. They all look about the same, superficially. The good news: there are palm trees everywhere. Good times. I've never lived around palm trees. It's cheesy, but that's exciting to me. Very tropical and exotic. Maybe this will be like a three year vacation. Haha...

Wild Orchid Cafe

My Mom wanted to go to the Wild Orchid Cafe in Eastport on Mother's Day, but none of us--her children--had the foresight to make reservations in time, so we got Giolitti takeout instead (link was down when I posted, but that's their website).

Anyhow, we took a rain check on Wild Orchid and went today for lunch. The menu is small, and just about everything has either crab or some derivation of pork/ham, which made it tough for a Kosher-keeping mother to find something to eat. We each got the butternut squash soup, mine with crab meat, Mom's without. It was decent. The lump crab meat was tasty. There was nothing else in the soup, though.

For lunch, Mom got the chicken salad sandwich, which I didn't taste, but it looked good and she finished it (minus the kaiser roll). I ordered a bison burger with smoked Gouda and hickory smoked bacon, cooked medium. Mid-rare might have been a better option. Strangely, they didn't offer any kind of sauce like ketchup with the burger. In fact, there is no ketchup in house. So I ate the burger sans sauce. Both dishes came with a salad with mixed greens, strawberries, blue cheese, and a sweet vinaigrette dressing. They also came with a chopped fruit salad that had apple, pineapple, grapes, and a number of other ambiguous fruits that I could have identified had I not horsed them all down. Side salads were very good. The burger was good, too, but a little overcooked for my liking. Note to others wishing to try bison, it is very lean, high in protein, and gets a little tough when it is overcooked, but has more flavor than beef. Recommendation: try it medium-rare.

The iced tea was unique, in that it might have had a little too much lemon, not enough tea. It was refreshing, though, if you like lemon.

Dessert, while limited in options, was delicious. I tried the vanilla creme brulee. Mom had the mocha creme brulee. The mocha was definitely the way to go. I have been making creme brulee for my loyal faithfuls at Carpaccio every night for the past two weeks, and haven't gotten to taste it, so I thought I should take advantage. Worth the price, whatever it was. The mocha came out heated. The texture was a little runnier than it should be, and the sugar on top was a little over-bruleed (flambeed). But the taste was fantastic. The vanilla was very good, exactly what I would expect from a creme brulee. If anything, my sugar may have been under-bruleed.

Food rating: B-.
Experience: A-, thanks to good company and a relatively friendly server.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

How to spend the day off

Today was my first day off since about a week before Carpaccio opened. We had training almost every day leading up to our soft open two Sundays ago. I worked every day, sometimes doubles, until today. While I thoroughly enjoyed having a job and making good money again, it was definitely wearing on me. I feel bad for my coworkers who haven't gotten their days off yet. However, there is a certain employee who has already had several days off. I believe this person is not in good graces with management, and has been given several mini-vacations to keep them out of the way.

My initial plan for the day was to wake up relatively early and get back in the gym for the first time since I injured my thumb about a month ago. I ended up being sucked in to late night social hour at Brad and Melissa's, and then slept until noon. I have been sleeping later and later every morning for the past couple weeks, and it's starting to upset me. I haven't slept past 9 consistently in years. I feel very unproductive and wasteful if I'm not awake by 9:30 or so.

Nevertheless, I didn't get to the gym because I had told Brad I'd go get lunch at Jalapenos. We thought other people would join us, but no one did. Good times, regardless. Spent more money than I wanted to, though, since we decided to have a few drinks with food.

I got home and went on with the day's plan, which included cleaning my room and doing my laundry. The room is not only spotless, but I finally broke down the dog crate I had been using as a night stand while maintaining a small amount of false hope that maybe my dog would be brought back to me. I have now conceded that he's not coming back, nor will I likely get to see him again. I guess those are the breaks in custody issues. Maybe I'll get pictures from time to time.

But Erin and Darrell were nice enough to give me a little wooden furniture item that can function as a night stand to replace the aesthetically damaging dog crate that now lives in the basement.

I finally framed and hung the Easton coat of arms that I got for Christmas. After months of sporadic checks at Bed Bath and Beyond to see if the frame I was given with the shield was in stock in black (to match all the other frames in my room), I decided to just frame it with the brown and hope that no one cared. I doubt anyone will say anything/notice who doesn't read my confession here.

After my room was cleansed to a satisfactory level, I took a nap. The drinks had taken their toll. I woke up a little while ago and turned on some NBA playoffs (Detroit vs Orlando). Detroit makes NBA basketball even more boring. Orlando, facing elimination, doesn't have much fire in their eyes.

Maybe I'll go to Blockbuster and rent a movie to enjoy with a little take out for dinner. I was craving Chinese food, but feel odd eating that alone. Chinese carry out is a social event, not to be enjoyed solo-ly.

If I get a good night's sleep tonight and wake up really early, I'll go to the gym before my 10am opening shift tomorrow. Not extremely likely.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Phrase Debunking

One of the "Life in the 1500s" phrases has officially been debunked. Thought I'd share this, too, since I found the rest interesting. It wouldn't be fair not to give you all both sides of the story.

Raining cats and dogs


Raining very heavily.


Raining cats and dogs. This is an interesting phrase in that, although there's no definitive origin, there is a likely derivation. Before we get to that, let's get some of the fanciful proposed derivations out of the way.

The phrase isn't related to the well-known antipathy between dogs and cats, which is exemplified in the phrase 'fight like cat and dog'. Nor is the phrase in any sense literal, i.e. it doesn't record an incident where cats and dogs fell from the sky. Small creatures, of the size of frogs or fish, do occasionally get carried skywards in freak weather. Impromptu involuntary flight must also happen to dogs or cats from time to time, but there's no record of groups of them being scooped up in that way and causing this phrase to be coined. Not that we need to study English meteorological records for that - it's plainly implausible.

One supposed origin is that the phrase derives from mythology. Dogs and wolves were attendants to Odin, the god of storms, and sailors associated them with rain. Witches, who often took the form of their familiars - cats, are supposed to have ridden the wind. Well, some evidence would be nice. There doesn't appear to be any to support this notion.

It has also been suggested that cats and dogs were washed from roofs during heavy weather. This is a widely repeated tale. It got a new lease of life with the e-mail message "Life in the 1500s", which began circulating on the Internet in 1999. Here's the relevant part of that:

I'll describe their houses a little. You've heard of thatch roofs, well that's all they were. Thick straw, piled high, with no wood underneath. They were the only place for the little animals to get warm. So all the pets; dogs, cats and other small animals, mice, rats, bugs, all lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery so sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Thus the saying, "it's raining cats and dogs."

This is nonsense of course. It hardly needs debunking but, lest there be any doubt, let's do that anyway. In order to believe this tale we would have to accept that dogs lived in thatched roofs, which, of course, they didn't. Even accepting that bizarre idea, for dogs to have slipped off when it rained they would have needed to be sitting on the outside of the thatch - hardly the place an animal would head for as shelter in bad weather.

Another suggestion is that 'raining cats and dogs' comes from a version of the French word 'catadoupe', meaning waterfall. Again, no evidence. If the phrase were just 'raining cats', or even if there also existed a French word 'dogadoupe', we might be going somewhere with this one. As there isn't, let's pass this by.

There's a similar phrase originating from the North of England - 'raining stair-rods'. No one has gone to the effort of speculating that this is from mythic reports of stairs being carried into the air in storms and falling on gullible peasants. Its just a rather expressive phrase giving a graphic impression of heavy rain - as is 'rai8ning cats and dogs'.

The much more probable source of 'raining cats and dogs' is the prosaic fact that, in the filthy streets of 17th/18th century England, heavy rain would occasionally carry along dead animals and other debris. The animals didn't fall from the sky, but the sight of dead cats and dogs floating by in storms could well have caused the coining of this colourful phrase. Jonathan Swift described such an event in his satirical poem 'A Description of a City Shower', first published in the 1710 collection of the Tatler magazine. The poem was a denunciation of contemporary London society and its meaning has been much debated. While the poem is metaphorical and doesn't describe a specific flood, it seems that, in describing water-borne animal corpses, Swift was referring to an occurrence that his readers would have been well familiar with:

Now in contiguous Drops the Flood comes down,
Threat'ning with Deluge this devoted Town.
Now from all Parts the swelling Kennels flow,
And bear their Trophies with them as they go:
Filth of all Hues and Odours seem to tell
What Street they sail'd from, by their Sight and Smell.
They, as each Torrent drives, with rapid Force,
From Smithfield or St. Pulchre's shape their Course,
And in huge Confluent join'd at Snow-Hill Ridge,
Fall from the Conduit, prone to Holbourn-Bridge.
Sweeping from Butchers Stalls, Dung, Guts, and Blood,
Drown'd Puppies, stinking Sprats, all drench'd in Mud,
Dead Cats and Turnip-Tops come tumbling down the Flood.

We do know that the phrase was in use in a modified form in 1653, when Richard Brome's comedy The City Wit or The Woman Wears the Breeches referred to stormy weather with the line:

"It shall raine... Dogs and Polecats".

Polecats aren't cats as such but the jump between them in linguistic rather than veterinary terms isn't large and it seems clear that Broome's version was essentially the same phrase. The first appearance of the currently used version is in Jonathan Swift’s A Complete Collection of Polite and Ingenious Conversation in 1738:

"I know Sir John will go, though he was sure it would rain cats and dogs".

The fact that Swift had alluded to the streets flowing with dead cats and dogs some years earlier and now used 'rain cats and dogs' explicitly is good evidence that poor sanitation was the source of the phrase as we now use it.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

History of Terms

My mom just e-mailed this to me. Thought it was interesting, though I'm not sure if it's all really true.

** LIFE IN THE 1500'S ***
The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be.

Here are some facts about the1500s:

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water.The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the Bath water."

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof.

Hence the saying. It's raining cats and dogs.

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house.This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, Dirt poor. The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entranceway. Hence the saying a thresh hold.

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme, Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old..

Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, bring home the bacon. They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and chew the fat.

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the upper crust.

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up.

Hence the custom of holding a wake.

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift.) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be, saved by the bell or was considered a ...dead ringer.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Boring you with more of the 'Pacc...

But wait, there's more.

I woke up this morning with a mysterious fat lip. I have no idea why, but the left side of my lower lip is extremely puffy and swollen. I haven't been drinking, and I haven't gotten in any fights. It's just puffy. The last time I remember anything happening to my face was getting knocked in the jaw at our football game last Saturday. But there is no reason my lip would swell up from that five days later.

My next guess is that I'm having a delayed allergic reaction to something. I really hope that's not the case. I have never been allergic to anything. If I developed an allergy recently I will be very upset. I have enough trouble controlling my eating habits as is. If I have to knock out certain items completely from my diet, I'm going to have issues. I've tried icing it to no avail. The puffiness is staying through work, most likely. Everyone is going to laugh at me.

As for the 'Pacc, things are getting much better. My brother came in to see me and eat last night with his wife and some old friends. They all seemed to enjoy everything, despite the obnoxious size of the plates our restaurant uses. The food was satisfactory, and the wine was enjoyed as far as I could tell.

The moneys have gotten much better since the first night, too. And I'm getting the hang of working under Italians. With all due respect, and no offense intended, they are a different breed of people. They run things in a very unique way, and it's been an interesting learning process to figure them out. So far, my best bet has been to fly relatively low under the radar, remain incognito as much as possible. And it's working fine.

Now if I can just learn this wine list, I'll be all systems go in mini-Tuscany.

Today marks our grand opening to the public. I didn't get the nod to open lunch, thankfully, because as of last night, our lunch menus weren't even in. It would have been a hectic scramble to get everything together for lunch, and to learn the menus, which we haven't even seen yet.

Sorry to not write about anything but work lately, but as you can tell, it has clearly taken over my life for the time being. I can't wait until it feels routine again, and I can just enjoy life while working. This being my first full time work since January, it's going to take some getting used to.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Carpaccio Opens!

We finally opened to friends and family on Sunday. Each night this week through Wednesday has been/will be part of our soft open. Grand opening to the public is on Thursday. So far I've been enjoying only working nights, since that's the restaurant life I'm used to. Working days is not going to be fun. Especially if we have to pull doubles. That is going to be an extremely long day.

After our initial disappointing menu tasting before we opened, things have gotten much better. The food is getting better each night as the kitchen finds its rhythm. The pesce spada (sword fish) is really good, and I don't usually like fish much. The calamari is incredibly good. I've gotten rave reviews on our polpettine di granchio (I think that's how you spell it), which are little crab balls. I had two born and raised Annapolitans say they were the best crab balls they had ever had. I had the bruschetta last night and was very impressed. All three of the pizzas I've tried (Amalfi, Sorrento, and Caprese) were delicious, especially the Sorrento, which has an assortment of Italian meats--sausage, prosciutto, etc--on it.

I am excited to try the bistecca fiorentina, which is our 18 oz. New York strip steak with garlic and mushrooms and other goodies, with our fantastic tuscan potatoes on the side.

It's a much better feeling to be excited about the food now, since none of us were at first.

I haven't gotten to try any of our specialty drinks, and may not get a chance to any time soon. They have been strict about not letting us taste any of the alcohol, except for the wines at some of our tastings.

I had a guy come in while I was standing up front and talk at me for a few minutes while he browsed the menu. He hated the wine list and was happy to tell me the restaurant was going to fail as a result. While I don't know wines well enough to argue it one way or another, I was a little disappointed in the size of the list. For a restaurant that has 'wine bar' in its name, I thought we'd have a more extensive collection. Maybe in time they'll add to it as things smooth out in the daily operations department.

So far, all of us--servers and bartenders--are struggling to find our grooves. Each of the first two nights we have had every owner and every manager in house, as well as managers imported from other Monte restaurants (Four Seasons, Pomo Grille, Squisito). Waiting on their families and close friends is a little stressful with them breathing down our necks.

Here's to sticking it out for a few more months.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Happy Birthday, Liz!

See subject.

Today is my sister's birthday. We have dinner at Chris' Charcoal Pit (best gyros in Annapolis, and I love their cannolis) to celebrate her day and my brother's, since he's back from Paris now.

That will follow my Carpaccio training, where we finally get to taste some food.

Training follows the Flag Monkeys game vs. the Bombers.

After dinner, I'm heading to Baltimore with Melissa for an office birthday party at an architecture firm in Power Plant. Should be nice and classy. Open bar?

I'm a Sun Devil

I got a rejection from UCLA today, which was equal parts expected and disappointing. I think it's for the best. Phoenix looks like it would be a much better fit for me, whether UCLA is a better school or not. I was never sure if I was ready for the LA lifestyle. I'm confident I could have fit in fine, but it would have taken a serious learning curve. Phoenix is going to be different, too, but fortunately I'll be in Tempe, which is sort of part of Phoenix, but isn't quite in the city, which makes it smaller and easier to handle. I grew up in Annapolis, and have only lived in Blacksburg aside from here, so I'm not exactly a big city fish.

Now I have to get my head in to the Arizona State mindset.

Things to do:
1. Dislike Arizona Wildcats.
2. Try to gain for respect Pac-10 football while disliking its other member schools.
3. Become Arizona Cardinals fan (don't worry, the Redskins will always be my team).
4. Dislike the remainder of the NFC West. This includes the Seahawks (sorry Darryl Tapp), the 49ers (sorry Josh Morgan), and the Rams (sorry Vince and Josh Hyman). I'll still cheer for you all individually, but you need to leave me and my Matt Leinart alone.
5. Become a Diamondbacks fan.
6. Become a Suns fan.
7. Find a place to live.
8. Learn about all the great things Phoenix and the surrounding area has to offer.
9. Force all of my friends and family to come visit once I get settled in.
10. Attend class/earn Juris Doctor.
11. Get out of debt.
12. Build my empire.

I'm going to miss a lot of things on the East Coast. Particularly all my friends and family. I'm going to miss the birth of my first nephew/niece. I'll be back for Matt's wedding and for my sister's. I'll miss being a part of the Flag Monkeys. I'll miss Blacksburg being a drive away. I'll miss Annapolis as a whole, and being on the water. Camping in Shenandoah. Sailing on the Bay. Spring nights in the hammock on the back deck, sipping homemade Mojitos. Cool weather. My current house, and the homes I grew up in. Knowing that my best friends (most of them) are right around the corner (and maybe down the highway, some further than others). Floods downtown, and the occasional snowfall. Green trees everywhere. Ocean City, New York, DC, Baltimore, Philly, and Boston all being a drive away. Summers in Nantucket.

I don't want or expect the things to come to outweigh or outnumber the things I'll miss. But they had better be worth the trip.

I uprooted myself completely to go to Virginia Tech and it was probably the best decision I ever made. Sure, the Hokies will be endlessly frustrating in the sports world. We may never get over the hump and win a National Championship in football. Or in basketball, for that matter, though I think we have a shot. We are dominating in the non-revenue sports right now, but who really cares about that? But, the point is, I picked up and left everything I knew to go to Blacksburg. I made a new life for myself and loved (almost) every minute of it. I can only hope I have a similar experience in Tempe, only more schooling, and more on the line.

Guess we'll just have to wait and see. For now, I want to enjoy my last summer as a free man. Anyone who wants to join me, I'm up for anything. Throw some ideas my way, and if it's worth it, I'm there. This will be my summer of spontaneity (job permitting).

Update on the Carpaccio, and other unrelated things

We are officially opening (to friends and family) on Sunday. It's actually going to happen. Open to the public on Thursday most likely. Finally going to have some income again, and hopefully a lot of it.

We have spent several hours over the last few days setting things up, and it finally looks like a real restaurant with tables and place settings and a stocked bar and a functional kitchen. No turning back now.

Brad, Melissa, and I volunteered our entire Friday today to do extra helping work. We were slightly abused and unappreciated by most of the upper management openly, but I'm sure inwardly they really appreciated it. Feels good to be extra helpful, even if you're not well acknowledged.

Not much else worth mentioning at the moment. I think I might be getting sick--at the worst possible time with the 'Pacc ("potch" - our nickname for Carpaccio) opening--with a cold. Getting that blech feeling that accompanies illness.

Recent movies worth seeing...

Forgetting Sarah Marshall = hilarious. Well worth seeing. It got better and better as the movie went on. I can't remember if I've already posted about this movie or not. If I have, sorry to repeat. If not, I give it two thumbs way up.

Harold and Kumar = hilariouser. Barely stopped laughing. I liked it more than the first one. Much more subtle and clever comedy woven in, which are my favorite kinds of funny. Must see.

I find it hard to root for the Wizards against Cleveland. They have been playing kinda dirty all series, and I'd like to see LeBron get a championship while he's still young. I'm still pulling for the Celtics. Don't call it a bandwagon. I have to cheer for a team that imports two of my favorite players in the league (KG and Ray Allen, who has the prettiest jump shot in basketball). I like Paul Pierce, too, even though he's goofy and duck-footed. But I like the Hawks, especially their young guys. My only question to the Hawks is this: Mike Bibby, what are you?

Flag Monkeys are at it again tomorrow. Hoping for a win against our league rivals, the Bombers, formerly known as the Ballyhoo Bombers, who used to run Oklahoma drills to warm up for games, and who were caught filming our practices before facing them in the playoffs a few seasons ago. We hate them, so we would really like to win. Maybe I'll get a shot at quarterback again, where I'm undefeated on the season.

For now, I'm resting up for an 8am wake up call to head to DC. I have to return immediately from the game to get to the 'Pacc for some menu tasting before we open. What has two thumbs and is excited to start making money again?