Sunday, September 21, 2008

This Weekend in Sports

First of all, I have to recognize the catalyst for our sports karma for the last two weekends. Since the birth of my niece, Virginia Tech and the Redskins are a combined 4-0. In three of the four games, the wins have of the come-from-behind variety, and all four have been hard fought, and not necessarily expected wins. So, it has been good. Unfortunately for ASU, Addie's good luck does not stretch to the west coast. "My" Sun Devils are not doing so well, going 0-2, including an overtime loss to a horrible UNLV program.

However, I'm not really interested in talking about that. Most of you know that I don't much care for baseball. But today, I decided to switch off the Cowboys v. Packers Sunday night matchup in order to watch the Orioles and the Yankees close out Yankee Stadium. I've never been to Yankee Stadium. But I do know the recent trend in baseball hasn't been a very positive one. The majority of the games don't even fill the stadiums at half capacity. I believe the Marlins (could have my facts wrong) are lucky to get 1,000 people. Judging by the O's games I've been to, things aren't much better further up the cost.

But Yankee Stadium is electric right now. I can sense it through the TV (mind you, a pretty nice new HDTV I treated myself to). I think it's more impressive that I can sense the emotion in the fans and the players in a sport I never watch, nor care about. Just thought it was worth mentioning. With each Yankee who steps up to the plate, or on to the mound, the fans go wild. Cameras flash endlessly, capturing every last moment of history for the people who shelled out top dollar to attend this game.

Anyhow, here is my good-bye to the Yankee Stadium I never knew I'd miss.

(As an afterthought, it's unfortunate that the Oriole's are losing. But it seems fitting; I wouldn't want the Yankees to lose the last game in that stadium. And as I type this, the Yankees got the final out at first in the top of the 9th.)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Stealth Cat

Pay close attention to the cat's position each time.

EDIT: Embedded video doesn't appear to be is the link.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Adelina Sheehy Renaut

Born at 9am ET on Friday, September 12th, 2008.

Weight: 8 lbs. 2 oz.
Length: 21 1/2"

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Dinner at The 'Do

Location: The 'Do (my first attempt at a nickname for the condo has clearly failed, but no one stepped up with a better suggestion).

Time: One hour and thirty minutes ago.

Reason: Combination effect of hunger + dinner time.

Event: I cooked dinner.

Method: This is where the story gets complicated. Bear in mind, resources at The 'Do are limited at best. Week one, you may recall a household trip to CostCo for foods and (Oregon Trail allusion in 3...2...1...) other goods. We filled the wagon with packaged goods, caulked the wagon wheels and forded the Lakeshore River home. Among said goods was a large package of frozen chicken breasts, separated in twos, and a huge bag of organic wheat spaghetti, along with two giant bottles of Ragu pasta sauce.

After some lengthy conversations with Melissa about the methods for combining these ingredients, I settled on a simplistic approach to making dinner. The only seasonings and culinary accoutrements we have in the house are salt, pepper, garlic, Old Bay (thank you, Mel), butter, some Wendy's packets of bbq sauce and honey sauce (yea, honey sauce...ew), thousand island dressing, and real honey.

So, I had previously defrosted one packet of two chicken breasts. I sliced them in to manageable pieces, threw some butter in a frying pan and dropped in the chicken to grill it (possibly a little too much). In the meantime, I began boiling water with some salt (learned from Darrell) for the spaghetti. The coordination of timing was impeccable, and I patted myself on the back several times in the midst of cooking.

As the chicken approached bone white, I tossed in the noodles so that they could begin to soften up while I finished the chicken. Once I deemed the chicken "cooked", I poured out the grease and other unknown liquids via strainer and put the chicken back in the pan. Then, I added the Ragu (decent amount, but not the usual 'too much' I am known to use), a healthy portion of garlic and black pepper, and set the range top to medium so the sauce could simmer while the noodles cooked.

In one final, magical moment, everything was finished. I grabbed a piece of sourdough bread (not the best bread, nor is it a good flavor combination, nor do we have a toaster) and scooped out half of the pasta and half of the sauce and chicken on to my plate. I poured a tall glass of cold milk (not my usual, but again, limited offerings) and settled in to watch some TV. The other half went in some Tupperware for tomorrow's lunch. Much to my dismay, I discovered that Carl was watching Project Runway. Seriously. And giggling. I was appalled. So I ate quickly, cleaned up every pot, cutting board, knife, serving utensil, glass, plate, etc. and went upstairs. I make that cleaning point for one reason and one reason only: no one else in the house cleans.

I had to clean around all the other dishes in the sink. I now appreciate more than ever before what my parents went through in raising us. Thanks Mom and Dad.

Uncle Sam

I got the big text this evening in the midst of cooking dinner (blog on that to follow this).

Congratulations are in order for my brother and his wife. Barb is going in to labor. For the sake of avoiding a freedom baby (9/11 birthday), they decided to go to sleep for a bit before heading over to the birthing center.

Still no word on the sex of the baby. I'm on the edge of my seat waiting to find out. They expect the birth to happen sometime Friday (today for east coasters, tomorrow for me).

So, I'm finally going to be an uncle! And...they're going to be parents, yeah yeah.

The Weekend

I had to put the blog down for a bit. Melissa was here all weekend (Thur-Mon), so I didn't spend much time on the computer.

We had a great weekend. Couldn't have asked for anything more, except maybe an extra few Saturdays, another couple Sundays, and a much longer Monday morning.

Thursday, we met some of the 1L's at Four Peaks Brewing Co. for the weekly ASU Bar Review Happy Hour. We got there kind of late, 'cause her flight didn't get in until a little later in the evening. But there were still 10 or so law kids there, so we all mingled. Mel got to meet some of the people I've been suffering through law school with. We went to Mill Ave. after Four Peaks, to a club called Zuma. It was really crowded, but it was fun. The DJ was playing good music, and there were lot more law kids there.

Friday, I had class, so I left Melissa near a bus stop (her choice) and let her fend for herself in Tempe. She made it to Tempe Marketplace and spent a couple hours shopping while I was in class. I met her there, and we ran in to Diane (family we stayed with over the summer) and several of her family members at Target. We spent the next few hours shopping around the Marketplace, relatively unproductively, before leaving to get cleaned up for dinner.

Lyn recommended a restaurant in Tempe, calling it the best kept secret of the city. It is called House of Tricks, and it deserves its title as the best date restaurant in Tempe. It is a bit off the beaten path and sort of hard to find. We made it in time for our 7:30 reservation and were seated immediately. We opted to sit outside under the water misters. It was a bit hot, but we managed well enough. We ordered a ton of food and finished all of it. For appetizers, we got the fire roasted poblano stuffed with sweet corn, Monterey Jack, cilantro, and sweet red pepper coulis, as well as a fruit and cheese plate with grapes, apples, strawberries, toasted French bread, crackers, and all sorts of cheeses that I can't name. I know it had brie, parmesan, and blue cheese, but there were maybe three others we liked but didn't recognize.

For dinner, Mel got the the seared duck breast with goat cheese gnocchi, watercress, and blackberry vinaigrette. I had the Australian grass-fed filet mignon (asked for medium rare, but it was closer to medium) with asiago mashed potatoes, oyster mushroom demi, and pepita aioli. Mine was phenomenal, hers was decent. The duck was a little fattier than we would have liked (I know duck is generally fattier).

Dessert was a tough decision, so we went with two. I don't remember their names, and the dessert menu isn't on the web site to check. The one we didn't like was an angel food cake with berries and a berry glaze reduction on it. The cake was not the right consistency, and the glaze was a little too sweet and processed. We also got a cappuccino torte with whip cream and caramel that was very good. It had a strong enough flavor, but it wasn't overwhelmingly rich.

All in all, the restaurant was a great spot, and we definitely plan on coming back sometime.

After dinner, I took her to the Big Bang, a local piano bar that I have grown quite fond of. There are dueling pianos, and the regular entertainers are very talented (as piano players, as singers, and as entertainers). We met some law kids there for a bit, then retired, exhausted, for the night.

Saturday, we did lots more shopping at Arizona Mills, which was incredible. I got all sorts of shorts, shirts, boxers, and ties from designer names, and the most expensive thing we got was a $30 pair of sandals. The deals at Arizona Mills are outrageously good. I will be going back there any time I need clothes.

ASU football hosted Stanford Saturday night, and after shopping we went home to be picked up by the Haiks for tailgating. That was a good time, but the game was too hot and muggy. We didn't make it through the third quarter. Exhausted again (the heat drains you here), I was falling asleep in the stands. Poor form, I know, but it's no Lane Stadium, and it doesn't keep my attention. We went home and went to bed after the game.

Sunday, we got a late start before getting lunch at Tempe Marketplace. We wandered around there for awhile before coming home. I bought a new TV for my room (very excited, 32" LCD HDTV) that has no cable (faulty cable outlet) until hopefully tomorrow when Cox comes back for the third time to fix it.

We did a late dinner at Ra and stayed there talking for awhile. We got lots of different sushi rolls and a very good dessert: it was a chocolate stuffed fried banana with Kahlua caramel sauce and chocolate ice cream.

We enjoyed a relaxing night of drinks there and then wandered around Mill Ave. before a night cap at Mill Cue Club (not so classy, but fun). We went home around midnight, despite needing to get up at 4am to get Melissa to the airport. Poor planning, maybe, but we wanted to maximize our time. No regrets.

I can't wait until fall break when she comes back and we get lots of free time to explore, maybe camp in Sedona, and relax.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

My girlfriend is a swimsuit model

I've always wanted to say that. Now I can. Hopefully, this is the start of a beautiful (and lucrative) long as that's okay with her.

Photography by Nina K. Going to be used by Conexion, which is a tanning salon, but I'm not sure what rights are reserved and all that. So this photo is not for distribution. Private use only, but really not even that. Please don't sue. Don't even save it to your computer, if you feel so compelled. It is for my personal blog use only.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Life in Tempe, as requested

I've been getting several requests to stop writing about sports and start writing about life in general. People want to hear about Tempe.

I guess everything here seems really ordinary to me. I don't want to disappoint anyone with boring anecdotes about the hours I spend in class and at home studying. On the other hand, I feel guilty that I don't have more work to do. I see all these people around me complaining endlessly about the amount of reading they have. Even people in my group are tired of the work load. But it's not getting to me. There is plenty of reading, but it's not nearly to the extent that I expected law school to assault me with.

As I write this, I am finished with all my reading through Monday, and most of Tuesday's reading as well. I have about 20 pages of Civil Procedure due Tuesday, but we are so far behind the syllabus that I am actually about 30 pages ahead of class. I have 16 pages of Legal Method and Writing to read for Tuesday, and I will probably at least read over the material for our first office memo assignment that is due in two weeks. I have briefed every single case that I have come across, so I'm not slacking there. I don't feel like I'm a genius, leaving everyone behind me, either. I have not been participating in class much, feeling a little lost at times. It's an unfamiliar and uncomfortable feeling, so this week I vowed to change that. Yesterday, I felt confident that I could have participated, but did not for whatever reason raise my hand. Today, however, I raised my hand, was called on, and engaged in a discussion with my Torts teacher. A classmate told me after class they appreciated a comment that was actually relevant and intelligent. So that was a good start. I will press onwards to more participation. Healthy discussion leads to a better understanding of the material, without a doubt.

As for the non-law school related happenings in Tempe, I'm afraid I don't have much to say. Melissa is coming tomorrow night through early Monday morning. We are both very excited about the visit.

I am getting cable and internet installed (fiiiiiinalllllyy) just in time for the Redskins NFL opener tomorrow afternoon (night, for you poor Eastern Time saps).

ASU football hosts Stanford this weekend, so we will most likely go to at least part of the game. Melissa has never experienced a big time college football game. I'd much rather bring her to Blacksburg for this experience, but you have to take what you can get. As for football and Blacksburg, I am looking forward to the start of the season this Saturday against Furman. Yep, start of the season. First game. No other games have been played yet, as far as I can recollect.

Settling in has sort of plateaued. I don't feel at home yet. It's the tiniest things that make me feel like a stranger in a new place still. I couldn't find a legitimate post office today to get stamps. I found one that was so ghetto it didn't have a stamp vending machine, and the 20-person queue looked like an unemployment office line. I don't know where to go to buy stamps. How sad is that?

I'm heading to the gym, which has been one great thing I started here. Feels really good to be working out. It's the only real activity we get here, what with each class being 2 hours long, and having hours of reading to do every day.

Hope this satisfied your curiosities. I will try to be more broad in my range of topics in the future.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Ocho Cinco

Don't bother reading this if you aren't familiar with the enigma that is Chad Johnson.

But in his latest news, he legally changed his name to "Chad Javon Ocho Cinco" in Florida.

I guess there is no reason he shouldn't be able to do this, but it just seems absurd to me.

From -
CINCINNATI -- Maybe receiver Chad Johnson can go by the name that his head coach hates.

The Cincinnati Bengals receiver has legally changed his name to Chad Javon Ocho Cinco in Broward County, Fla., a switch that became official this week. Johnson, who lives in Miami, didn't return a message left on his cell phone Friday night.

"It's something I don't think anyone has ever done before," he told the team's Web site. "Have I ever had a reason for why I do what I do? I'm having fun."

Two years ago, Johnson gave himself the moniker -- a reference in Spanish to his No. 85 -- and put it on the back of his uniform before a game. Quarterback Carson Palmer ripped it off before the kickoff. After the season, coach Marvin Lewis -- who dislikes Johnson's attention-getting stunts -- referred to the receiver as "Ocho Psycho."

Bengals spokesman Jack Brennan said the Bengals had no comment on the matter.

Johnson has been a concern for the Bengals this season. He unsuccessfully lobbied for a trade in the offseason, threatening to sit out if he didn't get his way. When the Bengals refused, he relented and showed up for minicamp, but complained that his right ankle was bothering him.

He had bone spurs removed from the ankle and was limited at the start of training camp. In the second preseason game, he landed awkwardly and temporarily dislocated his left shoulder. Johnson is wearing a harness and expects to play in the season opener against Baltimore.