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Friday, October 28, 2005
If you're looking for the personal blog of, well me, check out the new Billfer blog. Zesty will remain for archiving purposes, but new content will be found at the new site.

Monday, December 06, 2004
At Costco you can know get a defibrilator. Conveniently enough, if it doesn't work, you can also get caskets.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004
If you've never put Fritos in your chili, it's about time you started.

Friday, November 12, 2004
Parenting challenges

So the other day Billy, who's now 3 1/2 was throwing a ball at his sister Kaitlyn who is 1 1/2. It was a very soft/light ball that wasn't hurting Kaitlyn, and she didn't seem to mind. However, as a responsible parent I felt the need to discourage this type of behavior. When I asked Billy to stop he had the following explanation of why it was okay to throw stuff at his sister:

"But Daddy, Kaitlyn is a Spartan and I'm a Michigan guy...I'm Marlin Jackson #3...and Michigan guys beat the Spartans and that's why I'm beating her and throwing the ball at her."

Wow. I didn't know what to say. On one hand he can't throw stuff at other people, especially his sister. On the other hand, he was right, Michigan does beat the Spartans. Plus I didn't want to stifle his creativity, and if he wanted to pretend to be someone, Marlin Jackson is a pretty good guy for him to be. This is where it's important to think quick if you're a parent. After pausing a moment, it seemed like the only appropriate thing to say was "Billy, Katy isn't a Spartan and it's not nice to throw things at people or call them names."

Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Maurice Clarrett and the OSU allegations

Now I don't know if all of what Maurie Clarrett has said about The Ohio State University is true, but I'm damn sure that some of it is true. While Andy Geiger can say the the NCAA has already performed their investigation and found nothing, Michigan basketball fans can tell you that it doesn't mean a whole lot. NCAA investigators can't force people to talk. Clarett clearly stonewalled the first time, as did UM basketball players. It was only when the Grand Jury got involved that substantive proof came out. With a more cooperative Clarrett, the NCAA will have more information.

While there are a ton of pretty damning charges, the one that may hurt OSU the most are the academic related ones. Specifically, I'm talking about the joke of a curriculum that is available for football players. While not as horrible as paying players, it is more documentable. The transcripts and course catalogs make up the paper trail. It is similar to busting Al Capone for tax evasion, but it may be the easiest to prove.

As a Michigan fan I'm not gloating about this. I'm just happy that UM isn't under the microscope.

When it comes to holidays, I'm not the most festive guy around. This is especially true at Halloween. Aside from eating too much candy, I don't really participate. I don't do costume parties, mostly because I don't like coming up with costumes. This disappoints the wife greatly because she really gets into every holiday. And now with the kids, I know she really wanted me to get more interested in this sort of stuff.

That's why this year I decided to try do something fancy pumpkin carving. The result is this: mickey pumpkin

I got the pattern from The Pumpkin Wizard which has oodles of patterns for free. I really enjoyed doing this, and while it was time consuming (about 3 hours) it wasn't especially difficult. The kids thought it was really cool. I think each year that will be my way of contributing to the holiday

Tuesday, November 02, 2004
The Big Ten Championship Game er... I mean the Rose Bowl.

Now how is this for a great BCS scenario:

1. Oklahoma, Auburn, and Utah lose at some point
2. Michigan and Wisconsin win out.
3. Cal remains ahead of the other one loss teams in BCS rankings(they're currently #4 ahead of undefeated Wisconsin)

Then you would be looking at a scenario where USC would meet Cal in the Orange Bowl for the National Championship. The Big XII champ would be in the Fiesta bowl, probably against the Big East champ. The SEC champ would probably be playing the ACC champ in the Sugar Bowl. That would leave Wisconsin to face an at large team in the Rose Bowl.

Now of the candidates for at large teams that Wisconsin could face, you'd have Texas or Oklahoma (one would probably be conf. champ), Auburn or Tennessee or Georgia (depending on how things shake out in the SEC), Miami, and Michigan. Of those teams, what would be the most compelling opponent for Wisconsin? I know I'm biased, but I think the chance to have these two teams match up would be spectacular.

Unfortunately, there are a bunch of reasons why this probably won't happen. First, a lot of chips have to fall the right way to set up the scenario in the first place. Second, would the Rose Bowl take two teams from the same conference? I know that they love Michigan and that the Wolverine alumni travel well. But it would be an unconventional move. Also, given the lack of strength in the Big Ten this year, it would be hard to justify an at large spot to a weak conference, when there are probably more deserving teams in the other conferences (specifically SEC and Big XII). Also, Michigan is currently 11 in the BCS. You have to be in the top 12 to be considered. The computers don't love Michigan because of the weak schedule, and it's possible that they could continue to win, and still drop in the computers without a big game left. (So pull for ND to beat Tenn Michigan fans.)

Lawn campaign signs
I don't get people who put signs in their yard indicating which candidate they are supporting - especially for presidential elections. What is the intention? Are they hoping to sway people? What really is the net effect, except to create work for the sign people. Have you ever voted for somebody because your neighbor had a sign in their yard?

Now I know that my neighbors realize they probably aren't going to sway the way people vote. Maybe it's just a show of support, similar to the way I put up my Michigan flag on every gameday Saturday. I know that I'm not going to make more people become U of M fans. However, if that is the case, shouldn't these campaign signs then stay up throughout the president's term (for the winner at least). Did you suddenly stop supporting your candidate now that he won?

I do have to give the green party credit. You just don't see the unnecessary signs from them. They know that the signs will just end up in a landfill someplace, and as they decompose the ink will leach into the soil and contaminate the groundwater. Either that or they just haven't found anybody who wants their signs.

Okay, so it's been a whole year. Frankly, I just got tired of having to think of stuff to write about on a daily basis. However, over the last couple of weeks I've felt the need to editorialize. With that, I'm back. But I don't know how long this will last. It could just be this week, or it could be for the long haul. I'll just have to see.

Thursday, November 13, 2003
I saw this story about people becoming addicted to Tivo and I checked it out because I'm a ReplayTV owner. Now I love my ReplayTV, and if you talk to me for any length of time I will tell you how wonderful it is, and that you should get one too. However, some of these people are a little screwed up. They get stressed out about how much TV they have to catch up on: "I get to the point now where I skip going to the gym so I can keep up with watching "Dawson's Creek (news - Y! TV)" reruns," which are broadcast for two hours each day, he said. "I look forward to when they end so I won't be stressed."

Now the point of Tivo or ReplayTV is that you are no longer a slave to TV schedules (which one should probably argue you shouldn't be a slave to TV schedules in the first place). Instead, these people are becoming a slave to Tivo.

I too find myself with a lot of shows to catch up with sometimes. However, it is nothing to get stressed about. Instead, just be more selective about what you watch.

Friday, November 07, 2003
In my last post I mentioned the Steve Martin/Father of the Bride "some big shot at the hot dog factory...." quote. That got me thinking about how often I use that (way too much actually). I started thinking about other quotes that I use for a variety of contexts. Now even though the quote may have meant one thing in the show/movie, I apply these to various situations.

Kramer-I'm out there Jerry, and I'm loving every minute of it
Cheers-Not everyone likes fondue (when somebody is bitching about something, or doesn't like a food)
Homer-mmm(insert anything here)
Homer-You tried and failed, the important thing to learn is never try
Die Hard-And the quarterback is toast
George Clooney on Friends-God bless the chick pea

I'm sure there's more that I use, those are just some that come to mind quickly. What are some quotes that you interject into conversation on a regular basis?

My buddy Mike and I often mock advertising and branding strategies. I guess we're more traditional and we just aren't receptive to being sold an "image". I prefer the advertisements that inform me of something (like a sale or new product). I like funny beer ads, but while I remember the jokes I don't always remember which beer it was-and it's never caused me to buy that brand of beer (one exception here is the Coors light ads with the twins, I almost bought Coors light). I also think way too much analysis goes into ads and logos and all that other stuff.

That's why I was pretty peeved to find out that my bank was changing it's logo-not it's name, it's logo. Standard Federal recently switched to the logo of it's parent company ABN Amro. I actually don't care what the logo is. What frustrates me is that they sent a 8.5 X 11 four page, full color pamphlet, along with a letter, to tell me that while the logo is changing, nothing else is. So why change the logo? Why bear the expense of the stupid mailer telling me nothing else is changing? Why nickel and dime me in bank charges when you can afford the mailer, new ATM cards, and new signs at all the branches? I actually had to go to a branch (this only happens about once a year). As we were pulling into the parking lot I said to the wife-"Good thing we got that big mailer, or else I would have kept driving even though the name is the same, and building is the same."

So it's not so much the logo that bothers me, it's all the cost that goes into changing the logo when there is no reason to do it. It is situations like this that remind me of Father of the Bride when Steve Martin goes on his rant about the disparity between the number of buns in a package, and the number of hot dogs in a package. "Because some big shot at the branding strategy company, got together with some big shot at the bank..."

Wow-Two and a half months away from blogging. The time has really flown. What kept me away? A bunch of stuff really. Both of my jobs got really busy about the same time. Therefore, less free time to goof around. Another reason is I just ran out of stuff to say-or maybe I became more selective about what to say. This was kind of coming for a while, as evidenced by about 5 posts all summer. It used to be that if I had any thought/observation/witty remark, I'd instantly blog it. Now, that has become less of a priority, which is really a shame because I've had several relevant thoughts. Unfortunately, by not capturing them in any way they are now gone. Trust me, I'm more disappointed about that than you are.

That being said, I've had several people come up to me and ask for some blog entries, so I figured I'd get back into this. Since I last blogged a lot of family stuff has been going on. My sister Kristin got married, which is awesome. Best of luck to you guys. Billy was the ring bearer at the wedding, and he looked really cute on the big day. He nailed the ring bearing at rehearsal, but had a tough time on the big day.

Katilyn is seven months and doesn't hate me anymore. That makes life around the house much more enjoyable. She's on the brink of crawling, and like most 6-7 months old can grab anything in site and have it in her mouth instantly. She's much harder to keep entertained than Billy was...or maybe I'm not as entertaining as I used to be.

Billy is two and a half, and some days life is rough (for everyone). At least I've become desensitized to "I don't like you." It was brutal the first couple times hearing it, but now I'm used to it. Luckily, he's generally a happy guy, and the happy times are much more plentiful than the sad ones.

In October we took a quick trip up to Frankenmuth and stayed at the Bavarian Inn Lodge. It's a great place to spend a night with the kids. It was a nice get away. We didn't spend too much at Birch Run, it didn't rain, and we ate a lot of chicken. The next day we went to visit with Great Grandma. (well, Billy and Kaitlyn's great grandma)

Other than that, the weekends have been filled with watching football, and not a lot of home improvement projects.

Well, that's a quick update. Maybe I'll get back into doing this more often.

Thursday, August 21, 2003
At what point, if ever, do you stop yearning to be an undergrad again? I was on the UM campus yesterday. Man, I miss it. Now that I'm coming to the end of my 20's, I figured I'd be growing out of it, but nope. It's still there. Especially this time of year when it's "back to school" time. That first couple weeks was always the best. School hadn't started yet, you had very few responsiblities, the weather was beautiful, football season was kicking off, you got to catch up with old friends. So much fun, or as Bill Simmons would say, "good times." Part of what made going up to school each year so fun, is that every year there was something new to look forward to. Freshman year is a new experience. Sophmore year you knew the ropes and what you were doing, plus you got to catch up with people you hadn't seen for awhile. My Junior year was my first year living off campus in an apartment, and senior year 1 was the first year I could frequent bars.

Man, I miss it, or did I say that already.

Friday, June 27, 2003

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