Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

LightsaberHRBy now, you should have seen Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Nearly the whole universe bought tickets in advance, and the movie broke opening weekend box office records with ease. There’s nothing quite like seeing a Star Wars film on opening night, surrounded by cheering fans in a packed theater. If you haven’t had the pleasure, I strongly suggest you do so for the next movie.

In the aftermath of opening weekend, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie have such a polarizing effect on people. Everyone either loved it, or vehemently loathed it. There seemed to be very little in between. Personally, I thought it was excellent, but it was not without its flaws.

Some things I did enjoy: Continue reading

Tamriel Unlimited Starts Today!

Updating2TamrielUnlimitedAll rejoice! If you were a previous subscriber to Elder Scrolls Online, that means that you bought the game. If you bought the game, that means you can now play it it even if you don’t have a subscription! I loved the game, but the group of guys I game with were swayed back to Warcraft. Don’t get me wrong, I love Warcraft too, but I won’t pay for 2 subscriptions at once. Well problem solved! I can now go back and continue my playing in ESO and not have to pay any more for it.

I started playing ESO the day it released, and from what I’ve read there are a lot of things that have changed since then. I’m anxious to get home from work and give it a whirl. See you on the field of battle!

Dave, weren’t you supposed to…

Yes. Yes I was supposed to do a lot of things. Like keep my site more up to date than this for starters. Oh, and run a marathon a couple months ago. My goal of running a marathon had to get postponed until 2015 for medical reasons. My lack of site updates… well I have no good excuse. That’s just plain laziness.

However in an attempt to not appear to be a total looser, here are some things that  I have accomplished in the past 4 months (in no particular order)

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For $20k, You Can Die in Game of Thrones


For a cool $20,000, Martin will name a character after you, let you choose that character’s station in life, and brutally murder that character in a manner befitting one of the most gruesome, blood-lustful series ever.

Yep, I had to share this article after reading that one line. Read the rest of the article here.

I Won The Lottery!

Chicago Marathon LogoNo, I didn’t win the kind of lottery that would let me quit my job. I did, however, get selected for one of the 33,000 public lottery slots in the Chicago Marathon! Come Sunday October 12th, I’ll be running my ass off in an attempt to prove to myself that spontaneity, insanity and months upon months of physical training can be fun and painful! That reminds me, I’d better put in for a vacation day on October 13th. I think I’ll have earned a day of rest by then.

In the meantime, I have 180 days to kick my training into high gear and get ready for the most physically challenging event I’ve ever undertaken.

The Year So Far

I could sum it all up in one word. Cold. But that’s not very interesting, so I’ll think of a few other words to add to it.

The year started off with a bang! Well more accurately, last year ended with a bang. Fortunately, (after a 2nd trip to the body shop) the damage has been repaired and my truck has been restored to it’s former glory. I had my truck repaired at Riverdale Body Shop in Schererville. According to their website, their repair process involves disassembling the affected area and determining if there is any “hidden damage.” Well, they didn’t do that. When I picked it up the first time, I got about 100 yards down route 41 before I noticed that the alignment was still off. Hmmm…. the impact tore out the fender liner and obviously hit the front wheel. Why on earth would they have thought to check the alignment? I called them right away, but was told that they’d have to call me back to schedule the alignment. I was disappointed to say the least that they would have missed something so obvious. At least the cosmetic work was done well.

Training for the Chicago Marathon continues Continue reading

Some Things Need to Remain American

I’m all for a global market, don’t get me wrong… but there’s just some iconic things that really should remain rooted in their original habitat. The list could get pretty lengthy, but I’m going to pin it to one thing today, and that’s Bourbon.

As a connoisseur of whiskys, let me pause for a brief clarification to the benefit of the less spirit-wise. All Bourbons are whisky, but not all whiskys are Bourbon. Bourbon is a legal term requiring that the so-called spirit adhere to these standards:

  • Produced in the United States
  • made from a grain mixture that is at least 51% corn
  • aged in new, charred-oak barrels
  • distilled to no more than 160 (U.S.) proof (80% alcohol by volume)
  • entered into the barrel for aging at no more than 125 proof (62.5% alcohol by volume)
  • bottled (like other whiskeys) at 80 proof or more (40% alcohol by volume)

MakersmarkSo why bother bringing this up? Well it just so happens that my favorite brand of Bourbon has recently been acquired by a Japanese company. Like I said, I’m all for a global market. I even work for an American steel company formerly owned by Greeks that is now owned by Russians. However, I think this is just a bit different. It would be like Samuel Adams purchasing a Scottish distillery and distributing their whisky to Scots and still calling it Scotch. That shit just ain’t right.

So the question that plagues me: Should I replace this nearly empty bottle of Maker’s Mark with another, considering that the profits from my next purchase will be sent overseas? Or shall I endeavour to find another Bourbon producer whose profits remain in this great (however misguided under the current commander in chief) nation of ours? These are the enigmas that keep me up at night.

Well fuck me, if this bottle hasn’t managed to descend into emptiness whilst I debate my dillema. I guess I’ll just have to go find another brand to replenish my shelves tomorrow. Oh, but I can’t do that in Indiana… but that’s a rant for another day.

So… any suggestions as to which brand I should invest my liquor loyalty in now?

Johnny Walker BlackFuck it… I’ll just go back to drinking Scotch. Johnnie Black, I know you’ve missed me, but I’m back! At least it’s obvious which country my profits are going to now!

I’ll toast to this all year long:

Here’s tae us;
wha’s like us?
Gey few, and they’re a’ deid.

28,510 Paces Next Year

Long RoadI’ve toyed with the idea in my head for a while now. About a month ago, I started telling friends and family of my plans (many of which just thought I was drunk). Yesterday, I began my training, and on October 12th 2014 I will put my year long commitment to the test. I intend to run the Chicago Marathon in 2014.

It has been nearly a year since I have been to the gym, so going there after work last night seemed strange yet vaguely familiar. I wasn’t as far behind physically as I thought I would be. I was able to keep up a brisk walk on the treadmill (3.6 mph) for an hour without the heart rate monitor telling me to stop and call an ambulance. As unimpressive as that sounds, it’s better than what I expected. I’m not a fan of tread mills (or stationary bikes for that matter) but the consistency and control they offer over my pace at the beginning stages of my training are definitely welcome. I’ll stay indoors on the treadmill until spring, and then transition to actual pavement once the weather is a bit more cooperative.

Road-Race-Online-Sports-RegistrationBut wait, there’s more! So Jenn had been discussing my plans to run a Marathon with one of her co-workers, and he said that he ran a Marathon once too. He also said that “it’s one of those things that you do once, and then never need to do again. Twenty-six point two miles is a very long distance to run.” I thought about that, and decided to amend my plans. Not only do I plan to run the Chicago Marathon in 2014, but I vow to continue my training and improve upon my time in the Chicago Marathon in 2015. Yep, I’m going to at least run it twice. Don’t ever let it be said that I do anything half-way.

And just in case you were wondering, a pace is an actual measurement from Roman times equating to approximately 1.48 meters. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

It’s another one of those multi-subject, catch-up posts because I’ve been lax about updating the site. So in no particular order:

Something New

Here's the Avatar at the bottom of my stack

Here’s the Avatar at the bottom of my stack

I picked up an Avatar 4×12 speaker cabinet for my guitar rig last week. I’ve been keeping an eye out for one of these for a while now. They’re pretty highly regarded in the guitarist community. They’re well built, and loaded with the right speakers they have some killer tone! I frequently keep an eye on the used inventory of my local Guitar Center. I saw this one pop up and had to have a look at it. I grabbed an amp head and a couple other speaker cabinets and just had a field day swapping between cabinets to compare the sounds of each. This thing sounded better than any other cabinet by far. And to top it off, it looks like it’s brand new! Not even a dent in the tolex! So after a little price negotiating, I walked out of there with my new speaker cabinet for a fraction of what it would have cost to purchase it new.

Joe Orange Belt TestAnd just this past Friday, my son Joe tested for and advanced to Purple Belt in Tae Kwon Do! During the test, you have to break a board while demonstrating proper technique for a particular kick or punch. Last time Joe advanced, that part of the test gave him the most trouble. He was a little nervous about it. Despite his apprehension, he was able to break the board on his first attempt. Go Joe!
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Finally Getting the Hang of This

Dave Surfing No Rope - July 2013
Finally, after being frustrated and disappointed that I couldn’t throw the rope in by the end of last season, I’m starting to get the hang of wake surfing. I was able to throw the rope in on Sunday and ride nearly the entire length of Cedar Lake before getting cocky and loosing it. I was a little concerned that maybe it was only a one off incident, but my fears were put to rest on Wednesday when I got a couple good rides in without the rope.

Seriously, you have to try this!

Habanero Hellfire Vodka

So what do you get when you take 55 habanero peppers, a half gallon of Tito’s Handmade Vodka and an empty beer growler and put them all within my reach? You get the makings of some wicked-ass vodka with a kick! This is going to sit for at least 6 months to a year so that the vodka can pick up as much essence of the peppers as possible. I expect to have something so incredibly potent, that only the most insane pepper enthusiasts would dare imbibe.

55 habanero peppers taking a nice, long soak in vodka