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What I’m Thankful For This Year (New York Sports Edition)

11/27/08

A happy and healthy Thanksgiving to everyone out there.

On this day of thanks, I thought it would be fun to list the 10 things I’ve been thankful for in 2008 when it comes to New York sports.

As a fan of the Mets, Jets, Knicks, Rangers, and Syracuse basketball team, I tried focusing on my teams but had to stray to come up with 10, especially with the teams’ lack of success.

10. The Major League Baseball All Star Game

I was lucky enough to be in attendance at the final All Star Game ever at Yankee Stadium.  As I sat out in the left field bleachers, I couldn’t see everything, but I made sure I stuck around for all 15 innings and all five-plus hours in watching the American League pull out the victory and claim home field advantage in the World Series.

Seeing all the legends like Willie Mays and Hank Aaron was a once in a lifetime experience, and the whole night was as good as it gets for a baseball fan.

9. October Baseball without the Yankees

Now, the Mets weren’t part of the postseason either, so I know I’m opening myself up here for major criticism. However, after having to watch the Yankees extend their season for 12 years in a row, enough was enough.

The fact that the team wasn’t able to make the playoffs in the final season of their historic ballpark was icing on the cake.  It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving fanbase.

Of course it only made things sweeter seeing Joe Torre get his Dodgers into the NLCS.  However, his firing was still the correct decision, right George?

8. Henrik Lundqvist

I’ll admit it, I don’t watch a ton of hockey, but when I watch the Rangers, I can’t help but marvel at how dominant king Henry can be between the pipes.  He stands on his head night after night keeping the team in games when the offense struggles.

Back in the spring, when the Rangers were looking to earn a berth in the Eastern Conference Finals, Lundqvist was sensational against Pittsburgh. Lundqvist led the squad when they weren’t able to capitalize on power play opportunities.

Lundqvist is quietly one of the five best athletes this city has to offer.  Write it down.

7. Jonny Flynn

After two seasons of missing out on the NCAA tournament, the orange have jumped out to a 5-0 start, including road wins on back to back nights against Florida and Kansas.  The big reason behind their early success has been the play of sophomore point guard Jonny Flynn, who is making a case as one of the best one-guards in all of America. His name has been mentioned in the same breath as guards like Darren Collison and Ty Lawson.

Flynn forced overtime Tuesday night with a game tying three with 6.4 seconds left. His ability to create shots for his teammates and score the basketball will make Syracuse a contender throughout the year.  He’s the best pure basketball player Jim Boeheim has coached since Carmelo Anthony.

6. Leon Washington

The Jets’ most valuable player in my eyes, Washington makes something happen every game.  You can pencil him in for making at least one game-changing play, whether it’s a long touchdown run or taking a kickoff back to the house.

Leon has been important in spelling Thomas Jones, and the two have formed a dynamic rushing tandem that has helped put the Jets on top of the AFC East, and in contention for a possible postseason run.

The quarterback handing Washington the ball has been a pretty big reason for their success as well, but more on him later.

5. The Escape, the Catch, the Upset

I’m not a Giants fan, but unlike the Mets-Yankees hate I’ve developed growing up, I always root for the Giants unless they’re taking on my Jets.

While my Jets were nowhere to be found in January, the Giants’ playoff run last season was something that any sports fan could appreciate.  Going on the road and winning games in Tampa, Dallas, and Green Bay, when the wind chill was -20, and defeating the previously undefeated Patriots was all sorts of fun.

Of course the moment from that game that I, like everybody else, will think of first was the escape of Eli Manning and the throw and catch to David Tyree, who pinned the ball against his helmet on the Giants’ final touchdown drive, setting up the game-winning score.

The game was phenomenal, the Giants won a hard earned championship, and the Patriots were denied their piece of football immortality.

4. Johan Santana

While the Mets’ season ended up being a waste, the performance of Johan Santana was anything but that.  Santana was brilliant, winning 16 games and finishing third in National League Cy Young voting.

It was his final two performances of the season, including his complete game, a three-hit shutout on the second to last game of the season (a game I was at), that electrified Mets fans and gave them hope that they would be able to avoid a second consecutive late season collapse.

Of course they didn’t, but that was no fault of Santana, who was pitching with a torn ligament in his knee.  For all the prospects and money Omar Minaya and ownership gave up to bring him to Queens, and in the midst of a very disappointing season, Santana certainly shined.

3. Donnie Walsh

I could have given Isiah Thomas a spot and spoken about how I’m thankful for his removal, but I’m going to group that with Walsh. Since being hired by owner James Dolan, Walsh wasted little time in removing Thomas as coach.

Walsh not only was able to effectively end the dreadful Isiah Thomas era, but he hired a proven winner in Mike D’Antoni. He has already begun to clear cap space for when LeBron James, among others, becomes a free agent in 2010.

The trades of Jamal Crawford and Zach Randolph clear nearly $28 million of cap space going into the summer of 2010, when the Knicks will be primed to start a new era with James leading the way.

Walsh would have topped my list, but still hasn’t gotten rid of Stephon Marbury, although that probably isn’t too far off from happening.

2. Shea Goodbye

I’ve been going to Shea Stadium for nearly 15 years, and at 21 years old, aside from the places I’ve called home and the classrooms I’ve been in, there isn’t a place I’ve spent more time than the former home of the Mets.

Although the season didn’t end as planned, I was able to drive home from Syracuse to attend the final three regular season games in the history of the ballpark.  It was an emotional weekend, and it was great seeing the likes of Mike Piazza, Doc Gooden, and Tom Seaver one last time at Shea.

The final season at Shea also included Billy Joel as the last entertainer of the stadium, and I was lucky enough to be there when Paul McCartney came out.

All in all, some of my best memories were at Shea, and knowing I’ll never be there again to watch baseball is something that probably won’t sink in until I’m watching games at Citi Field.

1. Brett Favre

I can’t think of anything greater than one of your favorite players joining one of your favorite teams.  Such was the case when, in early August, the New York Jets acquired one of the greatest to ever play the game to be their quarterback.  Brett Favre was the centerpiece to an offseason makeover following a disastrous 4-12 season.

Bringing his one of a kind skills and child-like exuberance, the Jets find themselves at 8-3 and in contention for a division championship.  Favre has completely changed the culture in the Jets locker room.  Over the course of the season the group has come together as a unit and played the type of winning football Jets fans aren’t all accustomed used to.

Favre is easy to like and easier to root for, especially when he’s getting his team victories.

November 27, 2008 Posted by | Personal, Sports, Thoughts | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Goodnight, TRL”

11/17/08

Those were the last words ever uttered on MTV’s Total Request Live by it’s beloved former host Carson Daly last night as the network laid to rest one of it’s longest running shows Sunday night with it’s “Total Finale Live” tribute show, and provided me with yet another sign that even at the ripe old age of just 21 time keeps flying by and I’m getting too old to keep up with it.

After 10 years of bringing us music videos, pop stars, rock stars, movie stars and any and everybody in between, MTV has figuratively and literally pulled the curtain down over that famous window that faces New York City’s Times Square.

When thinking back to all of those afternoons I would get home from school and flip on MTV, the first thing that comes to mind is that as a 12 year old back in 1999, watching Carson Daly (who at the time was probably as cool to a 12 year old as any professional athlete) countdown the top ten music videos was as important if not more than doing homework or chores.

For all the nonsense MTV has and continues to orchestrate, the station provided my generation with a way to virtually interact with the musicians we became (at times disturbingly) infatuated with.

A pop-culture Icon of it’s time, TRL actually started way back in 1998, when MTV decided to merge two shows, MTV Live and Total Request (the ladder hosted by Daly) and formed the mega-hit TRL which went on to be a staple of MTV’s day time line up. (information courtesy of the always reliable Wikipedia)

You may not have always liked the music or the personalities the show had on (I know I didn’t), but watching and waiting for the unexpected made the show fun, and the show itself was responsible for reintroducing pop music.

From boy-bands to Britney Spears, from Kid Rock to Korn, from Cristina Aguilera to Beyonce, from Diddy to Blink 182, from Eminem to Miley Cyrus, popular music and the many genres which it encompasses were given a platform to reach their target audiences and a way to give fans a chance to get up close and personal with their favorite performers.

Speaking of that up close and personal experience, one I unfortunately never got around to doing, the imagines of seeing Times Square completely shut down was always something to behold, as thousands upon thousands of screaming fans would line 42nd and Broadway just hoping for a chance to catch a glimpse of Justin Timberlake or Mariah Carey walk over to that now infamous window waving down to them. The musicians became idols worthy of worship, and TRL became their pyramids.

Amazingly, the show has run its course after a decade, as MTV continues to distance itself farther and farther from the very thing the network was designed to promote: music.

Focusing primarily on realty television (very little of it any good), combined with the fact that access to music videos is now possible through the internet formed the perfect storm to wash away one of the few programs which through all the craziness it experienced, gave MTV a small sense of integrity.

The final show tonight was a trip down memory lane, as they were able to bring back Carson who hadn’t hosted the show regularly since back in 2003 when he left to start his own talk-show which follows Conan on NBC.

The guest list was massive, as members of both N’SYNC and the Backstreet Boys showed up, as BSB actually performed “I Want It That Way”, which I would be flat out lying to say I didn’t enjoy hearing on TRL one final time.

Snoop, Diddy, 50 Cent, Beyonce, Fall Out Boy, Hillary Duff, Nelly, Kid Rock were among the many in attendance, while Christina and Eminem were among those who called in.

And although she wasn’t there, Britney Spears, the Princess of Pop herself, took the honors of being the final video ever to be played on TRL, as it was ranked as the number 1 song on TRL’s list of All-Time most influential videos with her classic “Hit Me Baby One More Time”.

The guests were only part of the attraction, as those who performed were great, however it was also a reunion of sorts of all of the people who have VJ’ed over the years, including people like Damien Fahey, the current host (or I guess, last host), Vanessa Minnillo, Hilarie Burton (One Tree Hill), Quddus, Sway, La-La and more.

Amazing how times have changed since TRL’s beginnings, and while I haven’t watched the show in at least five years if not more, getting a chance to turn back the clock and see Carson and the set and the crowd was very nostalgic, and surprisingly enjoyable.

Sadly, as we move further into the depths of the 21st century, MTV, which has covered everything from Super Bowl’s to Super Sweet Sixteen’s, the Real World and real life (woo MTV News!), for anybody at or around my age, MTV will always be synonymous with Total Request Live, and while I can’t say I’ll miss the show considering how long it’s been since I watched it, I certainly miss the days in which I was obsessed watching it.

Gone are the days of refusing to admit you enjoyed the Backstreet Boys and Britney, or that when they retired an NSYNC music video a small part of you was sad to see it go.

And gone is my youth, which TRL seems to have taken with it the very end of my youth.

Believe it or not, I’ll miss them both.

November 17, 2008 Posted by | Personal, Television, Thoughts | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The First Day of the Rest Of My Life: Remembering September 11th, 2001

9/11/08

“Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind”

-Nathaniel Hawthorne

Seven years.

Today marks seven years since that fateful September morning.

I’m not sure why, but seven years later, and for the first time in a number years since that tragic day I’ve been unable to get 9/11 off my mind.

It’s sort of scary how fast time has flown, but at least in my lifetime, and I’m sure this holds true for almost everybody else old enough to appreciate it, September 11th, 2001 will forever be a day nobody forgets.

You’ll never forget where were you when you first heard or saw what had happened.

You’ll never forget any of those heart wrenching images that have been forever etched into our minds.

You’ll never forget the feelings of helplessness and shock, accompanied by devastation and fear.

You’ll never forget the outpouring of spirit and resolve this country showed in the days, weeks and months following.

You’ll never forget the heroism and reaffirmed respect for the everyday people many of us to that point had taken for granted.

No, seven years later, we’ll never forget a day that in one way or another changed us for the rest of our lives.

Following the events that day in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, American citizens were given a collective wake up call, shook to their very cores and foundations, aware, perhaps for the first time, that the freedoms and liberties we’ve always overlooked were being threatened.

Personally, I was only 14, and starting my high school career.

I live in Queens, and I was on my way to school at around 9:30 (late for a city public school, but thanks to 4,500 students, I was on a split schedule which had my first class starting at 9:50).

I bring that up because when the first plane hit Tower 1 at 8:46, I was unknowingly sitting in my living room, watching SportsCenter.

I left about a half hour later to catch the bus, completely unaware of what was going on only miles away from where I live, and prepared for just another day.

I’ll never forget, nor do I think anybody else will, how stunningly perfect the weather was that day.

I can’t remember ever seeing a sky so clearly blue, and I remember pointing out to a friend of mine how gorgeous it happened to be that Tuesday morning.

Waiting for the bus, another friend of mine who was himself just arriving at the bus stop, asked me if I

had heard about what was going on at the World Trade Center, to which I naively replied no.

The bus stop happened to be at the bottom of a hill, the top of which gave (and still gives) anybody a picturesque view of Manhattan’s skyline.

We walked no more than half way up that hill, and looking out, I took what would end up being one final look at the Twin Towers.

Thick, billowing black smoke stained the cloudless sky, and for the first time in my life I was overcome by indescribable emotions.

Without knowing anything more than one of the most symbolic images I had come to know was up in flames, my friends and I got to school, where there was a surprising sense of calm, or perhaps just a widespread unawareness.

Whatever it was didn’t last long, as rumors fly through high school faster than light travels, and I can’t begin to tell you some of the absurd things students were saying.

Teachers had radios on, and there was a heightened sense of panic that began to spread.

I went to my first two classes of the day, the first of which was gym which consisted of nothing more than listening to the radio.  After that was math, and for whatever reason, one of the things about that day that stands out personally was just writing the date on my page.

At that moment, scribbling 9/11/01 on the upper left hand side of my notebook page, it all sort of hit me that what was going on today was going to make this date pretty darn important.

Among the few things about that day I don’t remember was whether or not I took notes that period, although I do remember asking my teacher if he had heard anything new by the time I got there.

After that second class, my best friend Joe and I made one of those in the moment decisions I doubt either of us will ever forget.  At only 14 years old, and in only our very first week in a new school, we agreed there was no way we could stay in school, completely left out in the dark with everything going on.

Both of our fathers worked in Manhattan, and his was a high ranking city government official who ended up being called down to the scene to set up a command post.

(While everybody we knew ended up being ok, we knew many others weren’t as fortunate.)

With the uncertainty on both of our minds, we walked out of school, without telling any teachers or more importantly, getting in touch with our parents, which in hindsight probably was among the dumbest decisions we could have made, especially considering his mother showed up less than an hour after we left to pick up both up.

Regardless, we walked home, and I’m typical, immature high school freshman form, I started cracking jokes, both because of how immature I know I was but also because with everything going on I figured it wouldn’t kill either of us to smile, even for a minute.

Walking from our high school to his house was anything but a short stroll, and under the circumstances that 20 minute walk felt like hours.

By the time we finally got home, only one network television station was coming in, as the antennas on top of the World Trade Center towers was used to send out those signals.

The headline running along the bottom of the screen was short but profound.

“World Trade Center Destroyed”

If you step back for a second and just think about that, seven years later it still gives you chills.

Nobody in their wildest dreams when seeing those buildings- whether it was up close visiting, noticing it from a distance or simply recognizing them as the symbolic columns of freedom they were- could have ever fathomed that in the span of less than 2 hours, they could be taken away from us.

Of course as symbolic as they were, they were merely buildings when putting in perspective the massive loss of life that day.

2,974 deaths which have been accounted for, with 24 names still considered missing (hijackers excluded).  More than 6,000 injured.

Thousands more who knew these people, and millions around the world who, to this day, who had the proverbial “first day of the rest of their lives” start that morning.

In the midst of one of the most historic Presidential campaigns going on- and let me join those, particularly New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg, in saying that neither Barack Obama or John McCain belong at the site today as regardless of how united they may appear (I’ll even be bold enough to say the current President has more of a right to be there than either of them)- this country deserves a day to remind itself how united WE are, and how despite the differences we have, the one thing we have in common is our privilege to call this country our own.

Seven years later, I can’t figure out why this seems to be hitting me harder than it usually does on this anniversary, but for what its worth, I stood proudly for the moment of silence my school had this morning.

I stood there remembering a day when thousands of innocent lives were lost, and millions more changed forever.

I stood there remembering the first day of the rest of my life.

September 11, 2008 Posted by | Personal, Thoughts | , , , | Leave a comment

21

6/4/08

In honor of my day of birth, 21 years ago today, I thought it would be fun to come up with some sort of list comprising 21 items.

Problem was I couldn’t figure out exactly what I wanted to make up a list of.

Before revealing the list I finally decided on, here are some of the ideas I had…

-21 things I can do now that I’m 21.

Problem here was that the first 20 all consisted of me trying 20 different drinks that end in ‘tini’, with the 21st being to walk into a strip club with a 20, asking for singles, and subsequently leaving immediately after.

-21 reasons I don’t want to be turning 21.

I guess that would have sort have put a damper on an occasion most young people usually look forward
to, plus the only thing I thought of was I’m now officially closer to 30 years old than I am 10.  No thanks.

-21 places I’d love to go to celebrate my 21st

Problem here is all I could come up with is a bar, a restaurant, a strip club (for monetary reasons only), and Disney World.  Of course had Disney opened up a Gentleman’s Club in EPCOT, I’d have booked my ticket months ago.

-21 things I’ve never done before that I’ve always wanted to

Easier said than done, because all I could think of are the fact that I’ve never been to the top of Mount Everest, I’ve never jumped out of an airplane and I’ve never eaten a burger with Tomatoes on it.  Then, of course, I realized I had no desire to do any of those.

-21 People I’d love to meet or see in person one day

I saw Bill Clinton once at a Mets game, I’ve seen Michael Jordan Play and the only concert I’ve ever been to was Sarah Mclachlan.  I figure I’m destined to run into Carrot Top at some point and I’ll be all set.

-21 things I’d love to eat right now

I could list 21 things but a slice of pizza and a churro would get the job done.

-21 places I’d love to spend my birthday money

I could probably list 51 places I’d love to spend the money I get, except after I treat myself to that slice of pizza and churro, I’ll probably blow the rest of it at the Gap, buying a dozen different color combinations of the same 3 products they sell.

-21 ways I’d like to change the world

Lock Tila Tequilla and Flava Flav up in a room, forever.  Force Sylvester Stalone to stop making movies.  Ban Bluetooth headsets outside of cars.  Start with those and get back to me.

-21 songs I never want to hear again

Instead of a particular song, how about they discontinue the kidz bop series.

-21 things I would tell Britney Spears if I ever ran into her

Keep the hair, lose the kids and the idea you have a shred of talent.  Oh, and marry me?
OK, so some of the idea’s were better than others, and while I was writing that I actually started to tempt myself into just coming up with a list of 21 ideas for a list, which halfway through just got boring.

Plus, I have a birthday to celebrate-

…and a Chocolatini to get my hands on

June 4, 2008 Posted by | Personal | 2 Comments

April Fools: Spring Hits Syracuse

4/1/08

syracuse.jpg

I put some seriously thought into writing a long entry about something completely fictional, you know, like I found out I’m passing math (which to date I actually am) or I woke up realizing I’ve had a secret love for the Yankees all my life, but I couldn’t come up with anything worthwhile.

I actually tried to have a little bit of April Fool’s fun in school this morning. When one of my students walked in, I told him he needed to clear his desk and prepare for a pop quiz, however his general lack of interest (which the entire class seems to share) made it tough to surprise them or ‘fool’ them, so that plan was quickly aborted.

I could have sworn weather.com was messing with me when I woke up, because the temperatures outside in Syracuse were expected to approach 60 degrees.

Considering today is the first day of April, that probably doesn’t sound like anything special, however let me put this into some context for you:

Syracuse, located in the very lovely geographic location of Central New York, gets two types of seasonal weather, along with a week here and there of something else.

In relation to the school year, the end of August through early October is very hot, and very much summer. For maybe a week or two in October, we get something that resembles fall, with temperatures dropping into the somewhat comfortable 50’s. From The end of October through the end of March (and even into April), the bitterly cold Winter descends upon us, and it’s generally rather unforgiving.

Last year for example, the middle of April brought us a foot of snow.

This past winter, which the calendar would claim ended two weeks ago, gave us a reasonable amount of snow (winter last year was worse in terms of snowfall), however temperatures were consistently hovering below 0, and waking up before the sun came up and driving my icebox of a car to school for the last month was always an adventure.

When April rolls around, the expectation is warmer temperatures and the disappearance of snow comes as sort of a prerequisite.

However that’s rarely been the case since I’ve been a student here.

In three years here, I can count on one hand the number of beautiful spring days I’ve been able to experience.

I’m talking about a 65 degree day, with the sun out, no rain or humidity.

I’m talking about wearing shorts and long sleeves, and having a breeze blowing just strong enough to make you think twice about MAYBE throwing on a sweatshirt.

Not in Syracuse.

Today, as I said, the forecast called for temperatures in the high 50’s.

Now on the plus side, at noon, my computer was telling me that it was actually 61 degrees outside.

Unfortunately, those 60 degree temperatures were accompanied with overcast skies and humidity that screamed “rain is on the way”.

Making it worse, the forecast for tomorrow calls for the temperatures to drop back down to around 40, with *GET THIS*, early morning snow.

So while I was unable to really make anything of this April Fools day, Mother nature clearly did her best to take advantage of it.

Walking around campus without a jacket on for the first time since baseball season ended is something I don’t plan on getting used to.

It’s April, it’s Syracuse, and the only fool today would be me for thinking I haven’t seen the last of winter.

Oh the joys of upstate New York.

April 1, 2008 Posted by | Personal, Student Teaching, Thoughts | 1 Comment

My Homemade Spring Break

3/25/08

I’ll admit, I’ve gotten lazy of late, however I actually sat down last night, and drew up an essay-like outline for things I want to write about, and some changes/additions I want to make to the blog.

Last week was tough, as I was pretty overwhelmed with school work (a rarity for me, not because I generally don’t get a lot of work- I do…but because I rarely spend a lot of time doing/caring about it).

That being said, I had a handful of really long, really pointless education assignments to complete, so I took care of them with my usual minimal effort, the difference being all of my education work is tedious, and because I probably have ADD, I couldn’t spend the time getting it done quickly.

Anyway, after the education department here took away my spring break, I decided that with Good Friday became a good opportunity to take a ride home for 3 days.

Let me point out that it should have been 4 days, however my professor who runs the university end of my student teaching placement, decided that because the public schools up here were off yesterday, it provided a great chance for my class to meet at our regularly scheduled time (8:25-10:25), something nobody in my class was all too pleased with.

I even took the time to write my professor a pity email asking to be excused from class so I could spend some time with my family- and those of you know me knows that requires more than just a day- because the lack of a spring break prevented me from doing so.

Well, apparently i failed to strike an emotional chord with her, as she told me because seeing my family wasn’t a legal excuse, I wouldn’t be excused from class.

The ironic part of all of this is that the same professor preached to us that for the 6 and a half weeks we are student teaching, we are supposed to follow the schedule of our schools, however she felt justified in making us come in anyway.

So my 4 day weekend was a 3 day weekend, and I did what I could to make the best of it.

I had great company on my rides to and from, as my friend Laura tagged along.

Laura had been an education major up until this semester, when that lovely school of edcuation here told her at the very last minute- after placing her in a city school- that her grades weren’t enough to student teach.

So I hadn’t seen much of her this semester, which sucked because Laura is like the sister I never had- she loves sports, watches a lot of the same garbage TV I, eats like no other human being I’ve ever met, has the same disregard for being “politically correct” I have, so naturally we became friends right off the bat freshman year.

Our rides were great, both of them quick as the 4 hours of each flew by.

We had great music, courtesy of my ex girlfriend’s CD’s I hadn’t touched since breaking up, however I forgot how enjoyable 80’s music is, so blasting songs like Karma Chameleon had us singing and probably causing fellow drivers to assume we were mentally challenged.

We made pit stops at Subway and Wendy’s (which like the commercial says, really is “wayyyy better than fast food”), and so before we knew it we were home and back at school Thursday night and Sunday night.

Being home for some reason is a bigger adjustment for me than returning to school.

It takes longer to get reacquainted with my bed and bathroom at home, yet when I get back up to school it feels like I never left.

Upon getting home, I was informed that a registered sex offender has been living in the apartment directly above us.

Apparently the guy was convicted 12 years of inappropriately touching an 8 year old girl (I guess I don’t tickle his fancy).

Unfortunately, thew strange noises I’ve been hearing from the apartment above mine since moving in now officially creep me out.

One of the plus sides of making a quick trip home is being spoiled with great food, whether it was the best pizza and bagels on the planet, to a fancy steak dinner Friday night with my Dad and that half of fam, to Cheesecake Factory, First Edition (best wings in Queens) and the North Shore Diner all did the job.

Of course the standard trip to Applebees took place late Friday night as we celebrating the 21st birthday of my favorite triplets (Andrew and McLaufin).

I got back to the gym for the first time in a few months, yet somehow I continue to shed the lbs. (down to an even 170 for the first time since Freshman year or maybe even high school).   Ran 2 miles, played basketball and then met up with Joe and played baseball for a few hours in the afternoon, making it the most active day I’ve had since field day in 5th grade.

I saw plenty of Joe and any time we’re both home from school it seems we always- without fail- manage to eat like garbage and get out to the mall, which was accomplished.

Other than that, I watched a lot of the tournament, although not having my Orange participate for the 2nd straight year leaves me pretty uninterested in the results.

I did fill out brackets, and entering the sweet 16 I have 7 of 8 Elite 8 teams standing, and my Final Four is very much intact.

Sunday morning, after getting 10 hours of sleep for the first time since….honestly can’t remember when…I had back to back fantasy baseball drafts, which only got me more excited for the Mets getting back to business on Monday.

And so, I got back up to school Sunday night, having had a vacation far too short, only to have to wake up early the next day (yesterday) and sit through 2 hours of absolutely uselessness.

There was a bright spot, and I mention this only to get this quote in…when a fellow student teaching buddy of mine shared something his host teacher said to a student asking how long an essay needed to be…

The teacher replied:

“About as long as a girl’s skirt…long enough to cover the topic, but short enough to keep it interesting”.

And that my friends, is why the Syracuse City School District is as poor as it.

Gotta love it, though.

March 25, 2008 Posted by | Personal | 2 Comments

My Spring Break

3/16/08

It never came, but now it’s gone.

My Spring Break 2008 that wasn’t actually a Spring Break at all has come to a close, and I gotta be honest, it wasn’t bad at all.

Last Thursday night, my roommates packed up and headed home, unofficially beginning 10 nights and 9 days of solitude in my suite, and while Mike and Matt were hopefully enjoying the comforts of being home, I actually enjoyed sticking around.

The highlights from my “Spring Break” include:

  • Syracuse basketball game last Saturday against Marquette, which we won.
  • Prime Steakhouse, the fanciest restaurant of any kind I’ve been to up here in Syracuse, was the spot for dinner later that night with Rossy, his girlfriend and his dad. Easily one of the best meals I’ve head in my 2 and half-plus years going here.
  • 5 very solid days of student teaching, including being observed by mt professor which went as good as it could have, as well as having my host teacher miss a day being sick, leaving me completely in charge of both my classes that day.
  • Watched “No Country For Old Men”, winner of the Academy Award this year for best picture.
  • Cleaned my entire suite including a much needed vaccumning of the living room and a scrubbing of the bathroom.
  • Got to watch both nights of American Idol undisturbed, which was more important than you can imagine.
  • Finally spent some quality time with some of the other education majors, including two really fun nights of shenanigans.
  • Those nights including Frank and myself literally “running the table” last night, going a perfect 5-0 on the pong table.
  • Took pictures of my big, beautiful campus, and rediscovered how much I really do love it up here (at least when its not snowing outside)
  • Amazingly got some actual school work done, marking the first time in 3 years I so much as looked at any sort of educational material for any subject during the week of Spring Break. Not proud of it, but certainly helped.
  • Was able to keep my morning and evening television routines very much intact, which include watching back to back episodes of “Will and Grace” from 11 to 12 in the morning, and watching back to back episodes of “Two and a Half Men”. I don’t know why but I have become obsessed with both, although that shouldn’t be much of a surprise when you consider how much television I actually watch.
  • Successfully cooked myself at least one meal a day, and avoided fast food for all but one meal this week, when I ordered Chinese for lunch on Wednesday. I currently weigh less than I have in since first semester freshman year, and have lost roughly 20 pounds since the beginning of camp last summer. (Thank you Diet Pepsi).

The week wasn’t bad at all, and the only thing which bothered me of course was not getting the chance to go home and see the family. But had I gone home, most of my friends didn’t have the same Spring Break as I did, so I would have ended up spending a lot of time by myself at home, as opposed to by myself here.

And thinking about it, staying here allowed me to have some pretty good times (the last 2 nights for sure) and hang out with some people from my education classes I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to hang out with. We got some crazy but seriously fun people who will soon be teaching the children of this country. Look out.

And so, my Spring Break up in Syracuse probably went about as well as it could have when you consider that nearly all of the students were home, leaving campus alone to the Education majors student teaching as well as the fact that while the weather was probably warm and sunny down in Mexico, we had our usual fair share of snow and cold.

With everybody returning today, things should be be returning pretty much back to normal around here, which after 9 days of being master of my domain (Seinfeld reference anyone?), I feel like I’m about as excited about that as I was initially to be alone.

I think I’m actually going to miss my Spring Break, even though I never really had it to begin with.

Go figure.

March 16, 2008 Posted by | Personal | Leave a comment

Update

Hey everyone-

Firstly, thanks for the support- In the first week I had the new site open to viewing I got over 200 visits so thanks and keep on checking in!

Secondly, I changed the movie review section completely, and i’m still working on it, but check it out if you get a chance.

I added more quotes to the Scrubs page, and I’m constantly searching the web and episodes for more.

I already have some crazy ideas for more top 10 lists like the my TV character list and also with the Super Bowl less than a week away expect a big post later in the week with my prediction and thoughts

Lastly, dont be shy and comment on a post or one of the pages and even feel free to make suggestions or to argue with something I said.

Your opinion is no less important than mine, although mine are published on a blog so maybe they are slightly louder.

Thanks again!

Love you all-

Adam

January 29, 2008 Posted by | Personal | Leave a comment

A Distrubing New Trend In My Life

1/26/08

diet-pepsi.jpg

There are a few things which have always been synonymous with Adam Fier.

The Mets. Sports. Watching too much television. Underachieving in school. McDonald’s and the #2 extra value meal (2 cheeseburgers). And possibly the one thing that you could always associate with me which without fail could always be found in my refrigerator was Coca Cola.

My best friend Joe and I, throughout all of middle and high school and even into college probably consumed enough Coke to earn stock in the company. I’m talking about multiple cans a day when we were home, and then the largest sizes conceivable when going out to the mall or a restaurant or baseball game, etc.

I honestly cannot come up with a metaphor which would accurately describe just how much Coca-Cola I used to drink, and continued to drink up until about 2 months ago.

At first, I tried cutting back, which basically meant limiting myself to a can a day or attempting to only order the smaller sizes while resisting the always tempting free refill. Is there anybody out there who doesn’t rank the free-refill among the greatest decisions the restaurant business has ever come up with?

The problem with Coke is how addictive it is, and how dependent you can become on the caffeine (I didn’t know thats how it was spelled either).

And while you can make all the clever connections to the drug, I can tell you first hand that the headaches I started to get when I first stopped drinking Coke were similar to the headaches I get when my mother starts asking me how to use the computer in our house thats been sitting there for over two years now.

However in going along with my efforts to revolutionize my diet, the first big step I took was cutting out Coke all together.

Now this was during Thanksgiving break 2 months ago, and to this day I can say with 100% honesty, I have not had a single sip of regular soda since the day I got back to school this past November.

Initially, my first ideas were to just stop drinking all soda, and replace them with water and a variety of juices. Little did I know that Juices, for all the nuritional value they offer you, contain almost as many calories as soda. So my Juicy Juice I started getting hooked on (fruit punch flavored, just like back in the day when it was center piece of my brown bagged lunches) was actually not all that much better for me than Soda, as far as trying to shed some pounds were concerned.

I had flirted in the past with trying diet soda’s, however I had become so used to the exceptionally sweet taste of regular soda that I was just unable to adjust to the alien-like tastes of a diet beverage. And if you you think Coke Zero had a chance, the after taste it gives you made me miss the morning breathe I worked so hard to brush away earlier in the morning.

I finally decided that after 6 or 7 weeks of being soda free to give diet soda another chance, hoping that since it had been so long since I had a sip of a cola of any kind, my tastes would have changed enough to tolerate a change.

Starting with Sprite zero, which I can tell you tastes an awful lot like Sprite, was a good way to get my feet wet in this whole process. However the biggest and most shocking transition took place less than 2 weeks ago, when I was at the dining hall and decided to give Diet Pepsi a second go around.

There were two main problems I had with Diet Pepsi. The first and most obvious was the fact that it was a diet drink with an awful after taste I couldn’t stand. The second problem was my loyalty to Coca-Cola brand products (which is why I only drink Dasani water if I have a choice), and even though Syracuse is a Pepsi campus, I always used to make sure my fridge was stocked with Coke.

However on this night, a shift was made and a new era begun, as I legitimately enjoyed that watered down sampling of Diet Pepsi, so much so I considered getting a refill (but ultimately declined because I was too lazy to get back up).

And maybe you’re thinking, “we’ll thats ok Adam, it was a one-time deal, what are the chances it will stick?”

Well the very next day, I went to the vending Machine and spent $1.50 on a Diet Pepsi for the first time in my existence. Never before has money from my pocket been spent towards a diet beverage of any kind, yet there I was, willingly succumbing to the power which was taking over me, known as Diet Pepsi.

Since then, I have been back to the dining hall where I again got myself some DP and then went food shopping the other day and bough a 12 pack, officially marking the beginning of a new age in my life.

I can’t say I’m proud of myself, because Diet Pepsi goes against everything I stand for, not to mention the fact that all I keep hearing about is how Diet soda leaves you at a higher risk of getting cancer thanks to the Nutrasweet. However as I sit here right now, slightly parched and in need of a cold, refreshing beverage to quench my thirst, all I can think about (no, not the chemotherapy I probably am now destined for), but that small little baby blue can of goodness, known as Diet Pepsi.

While Coke will forever hold a very special place in my heart, I no longer dream about those cute, computer generated polar bears at the North Pole, guzzling down a icey cold Coke.

In fact the more I think about it, maybe the reason those guys are slowly becoming extinct has nothing at all to do with Global Warming.

Maybe its time they, like me, made the switch to the dark side. And of course when I say dark side…

dp-can.jpg…I mean beautiful baby blue side.

January 26, 2008 Posted by | Personal | 1 Comment

My Potpourri

1/19/08

The first bit of exciting news I would like to point out is that my roommate and good friend Matt Bravmann admitted to me last night he occasionally dabbles in reading my blog. So while my other roommate Mike continues to be an unsupportive bastard, at least I got one of them hooked. And by hooked I mean mildly interested when he has absolutely nothing else to do with his time. Either way, I’ll take it.

I got back to school last Sunday and with classes beginning for me at 8:25 Monday morning, there was no time for me to readjust. And so the week began with a 2 hour education class I have already deemed utterly worthless, as we are treated like 3rd graders by my professor who is downright out of her mind. In the 2 hours of class, we get 120 minutes of straight nonsense, without a break, and without anything meaningful being absorbed by anybody in the classroom.

In addition, we were treated with the standard first day ice breakers, and the ice breaker which I enjoyed the most was having a student pick a card out of a box with a random question on it. The three questions selected were:

-If you had one picture left on a camera and good take a picture of anything or anyone in the world, past or present, what would you take a picture of?
-If you were stranded on an island and could have only one book with you, what would it be?
-If you could meet and spend time with one person or a group of people, past or present, who would it be?

My way of dealing with these ridiculous attempts to have uninterested, half-sleeping 20 year olds get to know each other is by not taking the activity seriously and coming up with answers which if nothing else will get a few laughs from the audience. And with that in mind, these were my answers:

Picture- Gerry McNamara (most people chose things like their family or a picture from the top of Mount Everest while I chose a former Syracuse University basketball player)

Book- Goosebumps Night of the Living Dummy (most people again chose something like a bible, or catcher in the rye- noteworthy literature. I chose the first and only book I have read and enjoyed cover to cover)

Person- Jesus Christ. While some people in the class took my answer seriously, they clearly were unaware of my Jewish heritage and accompanying belief that Jesus means as much to me as keeping Kosher meant to Hitler. The other answers in the class ranged from famous musicians or people like the Pope or Mother Theresa.

It was a good time, and you had to be there to appreciate it.

The rest of my week as far as classes were concerned was more or less uneventful. I went to Math and was reminded why I dropped it a year ago. I was lost within the first 10 minutes, and despite taking notes and paying attention, asking me to tell you what I learned would be speechless. I have no idea what I learned, or how im pulling off a C in this class.

My schedule breaks down as such- 3 education classes and a math class (I dropped my history class after the first day because my professor was having us write a 3 page paper for every class we missed, regardless of reason. I also had 18 credits on my schedule, and with student teaching this semester I wasn’t in the mood to work that hard for a class I didn’t care about.

And speaking of student teaching, I went to my placement school and met the teacher I will be working with for 7 weeks, and he is a really nice, down to earth, laid back guy who seems to be exactly the kind of teacher I want to be. I’ll stop short of hoping he becomes a sort of mentor of mine (yes, another Scrubs reference, get used to them) but he definitely has the style and demeanor I want to have, and the kids seemed to really like him.

The best part of student teaching is that while it is 5 days a week for 3 hours in the morning, it takes the place of my 8:25 class 3 days a week, and despite the extra 2 days a week, its a move I am ecstatic to make.

Overall being back at school has gone about as well as I could have hoped, so hopefully things continue to progress accordingly.

And just when you thought I was wrapping up this post, I’m just getting started.

The weather this week has been miserable, and while I realize I go to Syracuse, the cold weather and snow is difficult to get used to. Combine that with the fact that before i got back up here I had 2 weeks of temps anywhere from the high 30s to 60, having constant 20s with snow and wind has forced me back into hibernation mode.

The plus side to that is the additional TV I get to watch, but thanks to the ongoing writers strike that has taken a hit.

As i pointed out a few posts ago, 24 was supposed to have debuted last Sunday, but instead Fox premiered the Sarah Connor Chronicles, which is as appealing to me as eating cold stone without my lactaid pills. Yea, you do the math.

And while I was left without 24, I was reminded why Fox is still my go-to network in the spring, because the 7th season of American Idol started up this past week. And nobody was happier than I was, because over the past two years I have transformed into a complete die-hard Idol fan, and so getting 4 hours over 2 nights of Ryan, Randy, Paula and Simon was music to my ears, literally and figuratively.

My early thoughts are that Simon seems to be in as good a mood as he has ever been, and the talent itself has yet to really blow me way. I think the judges feel some pressure after the Sanjaya debacle last year, then again with what they are making I doubt they honestly care. That being said, while the 2 nights provided the usual freaks and nut-jobs, not to mention a memorable performance by the Asian guy the 2nd night at the end singing to Simon about being Brothers forever (check it out on youtube if they have it), Idol seemed to lack the punch it has had in the past. Its only the first week, and I’m sure between now and the finale and June, there will be plenty to talk about.

At this point I know 24 wont be on for a long, long time and while shows like American Idol are unaffected, this writers strike continues to be a pain in the ass, and with new Scrubs episodes airing this Thursday, I am getting more and more concerned the final season of this show is going to be ruined somehow. It also shows you how dependent I am on television, as most people could probably care less when it comes to how long this strike will continue.

Has anybody else noticed the assortment of crap playing at the movies these days? At the top of my list is Cloverfield, which actually got a handful of good reviews looks absolutely dreadful, and after hearing the credits roll only just over 70 minutes in, the Godzilla-Independence Day combination of garbage that is Cloverfield is one movie I’ll be missing out on. Elsewhere, 27 Dresses looked like it had potential after the first preview I saw, but the more I saw the more it looks like the most stereotypical romantic comedy with predictable dialogue and an ending we can all assume is happily ever after. Other movies out right now I wont be wasting my money on: One Missed Call (why was this movie made), First Sunday (I have nothing against a good black comedy- Barbershop was awesome- but this looks painfully bad), and even though its no longer age appropriate- Alvin and Chipmunks, which is certainly a questionable career choice for the very talented Jason Lee.

Finishing off with some random thoughts:

-doing laundry at school compared to having my mother do it for me at home is a harder transition than waking up at 7:30 in the morning.
-The Knicks actually won 3 games in a row
-I still don’t care, and fans still need to stop showing up
-Dining hall food here at Syracuse might be the biggest rip off in the $40,000+ we pay to go here. The biggest insult is that I am being FORCED to pay for a 5 meal a week plan despite the fact I have a kitchen on my floor and no desire to step foot in another dining hall between now and the time I graduate.
-I spent last Sunday in the house I will be living in next year, and I am counting down the days until I can call it my own (even if its only for 10 months)
-Being an education major is a joke, and anybody capable of reading a textbook and writing the English language on a blackboard is qualified to teach.

Last but not least, my NFL Championship Sunday picks..

Through the first two rounds of the Playoffs, I have a combined record of 7-1. And while I am a Jets fan at heart, I am also biased towards the Giants and root for them game in, game out with the lone exception being the one time every 4 years the Jets and Giants meet.

That being said, I did not take my rooting interest into picking them 2 weeks in a row, and I will continue to pick according to my gut.

The Championship games come loaded with great story lines.

The first and biggest of course is the now 17-0 Patriots looking to continue their run of perfection into Super Sunday against a Chargers team who is coming off an upset of the Peyton Manning led Colts. The Chargers have been running their mouthes and talking a big game, but the status of starters Phillip Rivers and Ladanian Tomlinson is up in the air, although I would be shocked if both don’t play.

The Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field will be exactly that tomorrow, with Temperatures expected to be below zero. The crusty old veteran Brett Favre looks to continue his magically season with a 3rd Super Bowl appearance, while little bro Manning looks to match big bro’s heroics last season. Eli, after all the criticism he has taken, has Big Blue on the verge of one of the more unlikely Super Bowl runs in history.

And so without further adieu, the picks:

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS @ NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
SUNDAY 3:00, CBS

Pats over Chargers, final score 31-21

NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
NEW YORK GIANTS @ GREEN BAY PACKERS
SUNDAY 6:30, FOX

Packers over Giants, final score 17-14

I would be surprised if the Patriots don’t take care of business, however anything can happen in negative 12 degree Green Bay, and with the Giants making it as far as they have, I hope my prediction is wrong, and Eli and the Giants get a second chance to put an end to New England’s pursuit of perfection, while doing it on the biggest stage of them all.

Regardless of what happens, one way or the other, it should be a great day of football i’m sure will be one of the more memorable in recent history.

January 18, 2008 Posted by | Movies, Personal, Sports, Television, Thoughts | Leave a comment