Thursday, February 23, 2012

And on the 4th Day...

Proctor's World
Three years in a row makes a tradition right?  Laura and I have caught a Pacers game the last couple of years and we decided it will now be a tradition.  So this past Tuesday I spent my fantasy football winnings on a "mental health break" for Laura and I.  I bought us some Pacers tickets and a room at the Courtyard in downtown Indy.  We drove up Tuesday afternoon, had a couple of drinks in the room and hailed a cab to the Rathskeller, a classic German beer hall in downtown Indianapolis.  After a good Samaritan saved us Taxi fare by dropping us at Banker's Life field house (formerly Conseco)  we enjoyed a very entertaining overtime victory over the New Orleans Hornets from our 8th row seats.  We strolled to Rock Bottom Brewery for a night cap then enjoyed a pleasant walk back to the hotel.  All in all a fun, safe, much-deserved night of laughs and unwinding.  Here are some pictures from the trip:
View from our room

Pre-game view from our seats
Those hotel room glasses are for Jagerbombs...right?
Bad Ass Bruhs
Quick Weight Watchers update: 2 pounds down, 14 total.

Our World
This week we play another edition of Over-Rated/Under-Rated/Right Where it should be. Recently I have had many requests for Proctor's Type to cover more Men's Fashion.  With this in mind I will rate some Men's shirt brands so my male readers do not go out on the town looking like a fool:

American Eagle
Ok guys, we are all becoming men now.  The last thing we need is to be caught wearing a shrinking, poorly designed, thin American Eagle shirt.  Even worse, American Eagle encourages its wearers to don 10-12 AE shirts at once.  It all starts with a faded T Shirt that says Eagle Ski Lodge or some shit on it, add a long sleeve thermal, a tight feminine polo shirt and a plaid long sleeve shirt and you are all sweat and look like an idiot.  Watch an American Eagle commercial, the majority show late teen boys and girls running around in the desert wearing layers of multi-colored clothing.  Is this something you often do?

Appropriately Rated
Polo Ralph Lauren
Whether you are going to Easter Dinner, to play polo or a frat party, you are going to be looking good in a Polo Ralph Lauren shirt.  Any time a man puts on a Polo Ralph Lauren shirt it says one of two things: either this guy got ripped off by paying $85 for a shirt at Macy's or he is a wannabe cheap ass who found a slightly irregular model at TJ Maxx.  Either way, it is Ralph Lauren and your false sense of superiority will more than off-set any inner questioning about whether or not you are wearing the appropriate shirt.

Eddie Bauer


If you do not play fantasy baseball skip this
Fantasy Baseball season is right around the corner and I am co-commissioner of the next great fantasy baseball league.  I called it How I Spend My Summer (do you like the name?) and it is our attempt at a dynasty league.  When you play a dynasty Fantasy Baseball league you have an initial draft and keep all of your players every year.  The only way to add players to your team is via free agency, your minor league players or a trade.  This is how Fantasy Baseball should be, like running a real team.  If it is August and you are out of it you may move a vet to a contender for a couple of prospects.  The league is locked and loaded.  If you are interested in playing, it is free and our only ask is that you stay active and do not auto-draft.  Let me know if you are interested, we need a few more.

Tool of the Week
Guy tailgating me on I65
On our way to Indianapolis I was driving 75 (speed limit 65) in the left hand lane.  All of the sudden I see a fast and the furious zoomer on my ass.  Before you ask, yes he was driving an Eclipse, yes he had a goatee, of course he had on Oakley's and I would estimate his age at 35.  Being a passive driver, I got over and let him pass.  I am sure it made his day when his barely street legal racing muffler roared and he blew by us accelerating to 80 or so.  He undoubtedly got a ticket within the next few minutes because we were in Indiana.  And if I had to bet, I would wager heavily that a copy of that ticket is framed next to the pink slips he has won in illegal street races.

Beer of the Week
Black and "Tan" (32 oz.)

While visiting the Rathskeller in Indianapolis I ordered a Black and "Tan" consisting of Guinness and Rathskeller Amber (made by Indy brewery Sun King).  Of course I chose the 32 oz. "large" version and it was delicious.  Upon the recommendation of the bartender, I went with the Amber as opposed to a more traditional tan to go with the Guinness.  Somebody get that bartender a metal!  The combination of the two was smooth and really got the party going.  

Friday, February 17, 2012

In Defense of Peyton Siva

I cannot believe I feel the need to write a blog entry in defense of a amateur athlete who is being killed in local media and social media sites by adults who claim to be fans.  Am I defending him after he was caught with three teammates in a huge drug bust?  No, that happened to the TCU football team.  Am I defending him because he has been suspended for "conduct detrimental to the team" that we hear about so often?  No, by all accounts he is a great teammate and a good guy off of the court as well.

I am defending Peyton Siva because he made a couple of bad plays in a one point loss to the 2nd ranked team in the country.  Sure I was disappointed that we lost and in some of Peyton's decision making down the stretch, I am sure a lot of people are, none more so than Peyton himself.  The problem is not with being disappointed, the problem is with grownups singling out and tearing this young kid apart because they are disappointed the team lost the game.  These reactions are over the top, lack perspective and are oftentimes downright rude.

There is no better example of this than in the online Courier Journal.  Apparently there is a "guest blogger" on their payroll named Tom Heiser who writes about U of L sports.  He claims to be a "life-long fan" and he is wearing a red shirt in his picture so I guess he meets whatever criteria it takes.  Check out this excerpt from his otherwise boring, rambling "take"(here) on the Syracuse loss:

Needless to say, my antipathy toward Siva hasn’t abated — and probably won’t. If this were a pro team, he would be traded (or cut). It’s a shame that Pitino doesn’t have the muscle anymore to pressure guys into leaving with the shadow of limited playing time on the horizon as a new superstar waited to ink his name to a commitment. Unfortunately we’re stuck with Siva. We have to go to the dance with what we have. Doesn’t look like it will be too far. I feel no compunction in saying that Siva’s senior day can’t come too soon.

Wait a second, this guy is a fan?  So obviously he remembers how elated Cards fans were when we landed Siva and how often fans screamed to give him more playing time his freshman year.  Surely he has the perspective to think back to all of the games, a few of which were this season, that we would have lost without Siva on the court  Being a lifelong fan and a current guest blogger, he must be aware that Pitino says Siva is the nicest kid he has ever coached and an extremely hard worker.  I am positive he sees Peyton's faith and positive energy on display when he points skyward after every free throw, including the misses.  But I guess all of that does not matter in our ridiculous "what have you done for me lately" sports landscape.  We should "muscle out" guys after they have a bad game, to hell with their education or sportsmanship in general.  We simply cannot have guys running around out there, making bad plays, losing a few games and ruining our evening!  

Do you see how ridiculous this sounds?  Unfortunately this unending complaining about the bad stuff and accepting positives as givens is the standard for fans now.  One day you love this guy you have never met and the next day he "sucks".  I say let us cheer for the Cardinals as hard as we possibly can in wins and losses, act like adults and insert a little perspective into our emotions after tough games.  This year we have a solid, competitive and improving team.  We should celebrate them, all of them.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

And on the 4th Day...

Proctor's World
I often use this section to keep my reader's posted on going-ons within the Proctor family.  This week I am going to look into my ever-evolving relationship with our youngest cat Ichiro.  Ichiro has begun to sleep on my feet every night and has started seeking more petting attention.  Obviously I enjoy the new found closeness with my feline daughter but it makes me wonder what brought it about.
Could it be she has finally forgiven me for dropping her feminine name "Olivia" in favor of "Ichiro" (one of my favorite baseball players) upon her adoption?  Maybe she has seen all of the benefits Carl receives for being in our face all the time.  It could even be something as simple as I have been doing a better job of cleaning the litter box.  Whatever the reason, the affection is appreciated...most of the time.

Sure, it is comforting that Ichiro sleeps by my feet but why does this six pound cat feel three times her weight after 10 PM?  How is she so adept at keeping her balance while avoiding my gentle kicks when I want to stretch my legs?  She is also relentless in that the rare occasion she does fall or jump off of the bed she pops right back up, talk about overstaying your welcome!  And why when I pause petting her does she hit me with the "wet nose" in an effort to resume?  I imagine Ichiro now feels on equal footing with her siblings Carl and Bagheera seeing that she now gets everything she wants as well.

A quick Weight Watchers update:  up 1.8 pounds this week.  So six weeks in I have had large loss, small gain, large loss, small gain, large loss, small gain...I think a see a pattern emerging here.  I intend to hit the gym more this week to ensure a large loss this week.

Our World
I love Pandora radio.  I have been told that I am a tad behind the times with my recent infatuation with Pandora, apparently Pandora began in 2010 or something.  With this in mind I ask that you forgive my next few questions if the answers are obvious:
What is the algorithm  for what songs Pandora plays and when it decides to play them?  I think that sometimes I am giving Pandora too much credit.  Sometimes I find myself thinking that Pandora somehow listens to certain words or notes of music or something and matches them to my mind and soul.  Then the pessimist in me says that if you like a certain Artist or song it plays songs by artists it considers similar.  But how do they determine what is similar?  Is it based on other users thumbs ups or a generic list?  UGH so many questions and so few answers.  Pandora feels like the JFK assassination.

Has anyone else noticed that Pandora plays music in segments?  I will get Peter Gabriel, the Police, Heart etc. for a 6-7 song stretch then it goes to the singer-songwriter where I have to skip a bunch of Ben Harper songs.  For some reason even though I never officially liked Neil Young, OneRepublic (or is it 1republik, I do not know, some shit like that) or Norah Jones, they come on ALL THE TIME!  Then I go and Thumbs Up one Silver Creek song and I get bluegrass hour every session.  Also, what is Keane, is that a band or a singer?  I am sure some of Pandora's developers are reading this blog, please fill me in on what in the hell is going on here.

We are nearly to the halfway point of this abbreviated NBA season.  Let us take a look at Proctor's 5 most important things to watch for in the 2nd half heading towards the playoffs:

5.  Are the Pacers for Real?
Ok, so maybe this is not the 5th most important thing to watch for concerning the average NBA fan but this is my blog so here we go.  As I type this my Pacers are mired in a 5 game losing streak and have been playing terribly.  All is not lost but the Pacers playoff seeding has been affected and their defenses lapses are astounding.  I think getting George Hill and Danny Granger back to full strength will help but the most important thing is getting Psycho T's confidence back so that he can get back to being a huge energy/rebounding force off of the bench.  Starting tonight the next 6 games are lowly New Jersey, even worse Charlotte, New Orleans (I will be at this one), @ Charlotte, Golden State, @New Orleans.  How about a 6 winner to erase this ugly 5 loser?

4.  Durant/Westbrook
The young, uber-talented Thunder have the best record in the West and a never ending saga of whether or not Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook can win an NBA championship together.  They are both all NBA talents and have a solid supporting cast, but who gets that all important last shot?  Can they play off of each other when the playoff level defenses clamp down and they cannot alternate isolation plays?  OKC is on the brim but I do not see a championship until this situation is closer to being resolved.

3.  Will the Lakers make a move?  
If the playoffs began today the Lakers would be the 5 seed in the West going against the defending champion Mavs who swept them  out of the playoffs last year.  To say this is concerning would be quite an understatement.  So what is wrong?  Bynum is healthy and playing great, Kobe is still Kobe and Pau Gasol is 80% Pau Gasol so the pieces still seem to be in place.  D Fish is a great leader and a serviceable player in spurts but I believe his days as a championship level starting NBA PG are over.   Let us not forget the Lakers had Chris Paul but...well do not even get me started on that....

Here are a few moves that I believe would put the Lakers right back in championship contention THIS year:
Steve Nash-  The Lakers trading picks to Phoenix for Steve Nash would help both teams immensely.  Phoenix is being selfish with Nash and he has too much pride to demand a trade so there he sits with the vultures circling.  Part of the Laker's problem is that Bynum and Gasol do not get enough shots, Steve Nash could immediately fix that problem.

Rajon Rondo-  Despite Boston's recent success I do not think anyone really believes they can compete for a championship at this point.  They have also shown a reluctance (for some reason) to build around Rondo, maybe they would rather build around Bynum?  Bynum for Rondo helps both teams and puts the Lakers in a better spot if they were to get through the West wherein they would most likely be playing the Heat.  Guarding D Wade and LeBron is impossible but having Rondo and Kobe playing perimeter defense would certainly help.

Dwight Howard-  Bynum and two first rounders for Dwight Howard.  Win, win, the Magic have building blocks as opposed to nothing when Howard walks and the Lake Show are Western Conference favorites.

2.  Linsanity
Jeremy Lin is not a flash in the pan and he has transformed the Knicks from big name pretenders into legitimate contenders.  I believe Carmelo when he says he will share the ball when he gets back from injury.  Part of the greatness with Linsanity is that NBA fans can just sit back, watch, and enjoy.  Despite ESPN's great attempts there is not deep analysis needed.  The only questions is what other potential stars are buried on someone's bench (Terrance Williams anyone?)?  If the playoffs started today the Knicks would be the 8 seed butting heads with the top-seeded Bulls.  How about J Lin up against D Rose?  Can you get anything better than that?

1.  Can anyone play with the Heat?
In the preseason I picked the Heat to beat the Mavs 4-1 to win the NBA championship.  The only tweaks I would make now (barring a major trade) would be changing the Mavs to the Clippers and the 4-1 to a sweep.  LeBron is having an all-time top 10 season and his greatness has never shined more.  I picked him for the NBA MVP and the Finals MVP and I am still confident he will win both.

Tool of the Week
Yahoo Commenters (99% of them)
If you ever start feeling too positive about our society please go to any Yahoo article and read the disgusting bile that is the comment section.  For every insightful, positive or decent comment there are 99 disgraceful, hateful and pathetic "comments".  What is wrong with these people?  Many say that people will say anything due to the anonymity of the internet.  If true, I find this more concerning than comforting, is this what people really think/feel?  I am going to throw out a few examples just from this week just to drive the Tool of the Week honor home:

In a ridiculous article about Jennifer Aniston proving she is not pregnant by displaying her solid abs in GQ, one commenter said "that is what having a personal chef and personal trainer will do for you".  Sure thing dumbass, I am sure the hours of daily exercise with the personal trainer and eating only the healthy meals prepared by the personal chef had nothing to do with it.  Merely having a personal trainer and chef are the ticket to being in great shape, just ask Oprah (not intended to be a dig at Oprah).  

In an article about a man having a heart attack after eating a triple-bypass burger in Las Vegas some of the "hilarious" comments included "he should get his name on the wall" and "bet he got a diet coke with that".  What if that guy was one of the commenters father, brother or friend?  I doubt those comments would not have been as "funny" then.

In a absurd piece about some guy ordering an expensive Starbuck's drink and getting it free on his birthday a very astute user said "Starbuck's sucks, its just a coffee shop".  As to Starbuck's "sucking", that is your opinion and not backed by anything.  As to it being "just a coffee shop"...No shit!  What does this even mean?  It is an article about coffee being ordered from a coffee shop.  Does Starbuck's suck because it is just  a coffee shop?  What do you want it to be?  Can I say Mercedes Benz sucks because it is just an automobile manufacturer? 

Beer of the Week
In my continuing noble pursuit of educating myself on British beer in anticipation for our upcoming European honeymoon... I drank some Boddington's this week.  I had never had Boddington's until a few weeks ago and now I cannot seem to get enough.  The creamy goodness goes down oh so easy and the widget makes the 16 oz. can the optimal choice.  Only 3.8% abv so make sure you get  a couple extra if you plan on partying.  

Thursday, February 9, 2012

And on the 4th Day...

Proctor's World
There is no substantial personal news to report at this juncture other than I was down 5.8 lbs at my weight watchers weigh-in this week.  If you have not noticed I tend to write early on big loss weeks as opposed to the side note at the end of Proctor's World on small loss or gain weeks.  The 5.8 number cancels out the 2.2 gain from last week for a net two week loss of 3.6.  In the past I have lost weight faster than this, but the weight came right back on as soon as I broke one of my diet's rigid rules and gave up.  Having lost almost 14 pounds to this point, I am trending in the right direction and excited to see the weight continue to drop.  As always any tips or words of encouragement are appreciated.

Our World
A couple of days ago I received an invitation to my sister's annual Oscar party.  It is this time of the year when I realize I need to cram some serious movie watching in so that I can say I have seen the majority of the nominated pictures.  I love movies but tend to be selective with what I will invest two hours into watching and this year's nominees have me seriously wondering how many are worth it.  Typically the Oscar type of film is my favorite and I will take the Best Picture nominees over the top 10 box office any day of the week.  For this reason I am shaking my head at 2011's crop, let us take a look at couple of favorites:
The Artist

I have not seen this movie and I can undoubtedly tell you there is no chance in the world this movie is that good.  There is no dialogue.  Get it?  It is like an old movie, how genius!  Seriously, is this all it takes to become an Academy Award favorite?  Can we say for sure this movie would not have been as good if it had words?  There is a reason 99.9% of modern movies have dialogue.  What other gimmicky tricks can we use to make a picture "unique"?  Maybe we could make a movie about the life of a cat and have the camera view coming from underneath the litter box.  How about a movie with the dialogue of a western but with the camera showing a still shot of a cactus for the film's entirety?
Who needs a crazed De Niro talking to himself in a mirror when you could have Hugo playing with toys?

You guessed it, I have not seen this either.  Here is what I know about this movie: it is a period piece set in 1930s Paris, it is about a kid and it is directed by Martin Scorsese.  Wait...what?!?  You mean to tell me that Scorsese has a chance to win a Best Picture Oscar for this BS?  Have we reached a point that after screwing Scorsese over for Raging Bull and Goodfellas we just give him an Oscar for anything?  He finally received his Oscar for The Departed (his 4th best movie) and now he might get one for this?

The Patriots lost the Superbowl, no fun, but it happens.  Still a great season for my Pats and I have so much to look forward to in the world of sports.  Baseball, my favorite sport, is just around the corner.  The Tigers are locked and loaded and my collegiate Cardinals are ranked and ready to roll.  In basketball the Pacers are becoming the team no one wants to play in the postseason and the Lake Show will soon have Dwight Howard.  U of L is getting hot at the right time and are working towards a double bye in the Big East tourney.  And what is that I hear?  It sounds like a distant purr now but come April it will be a ferocious RRRROOOOAAAARRRRRR in Augusta.  THERE IS A TIGER ON THE PROWL!

Tool of the Week
He is the big black thing

Now do not get me wrong, I love my adopted son-cat Bagheera.  Bagheera is part of the reason I knew I loved Laura when I met her and I even had Bagheera over to the bachelor pad for a weekend.  Bagheera does funny stuff and is a fantastic cat, but this has not been a good week for him.  He has taken his demands for drinking only from the shower faucet to all new levels.  Starting around 5 or 6 every morning we are awoken by a half scream/meow noise that only Bagheera can make.  One of us then wakes up to turn a slow drizzle on for him to drink from and he will sometimes be quiet.  Today he started screaming for me to turn the water on and it was already on!  This sound is indescribable and when I asked Laura why Bagheera makes it she said "because he knows it is annoying".  

Beer of the Week
Schlafly Extra Stout

I took a sixer of these to our friend's Superbowl party and, other than the outcome of the game, had a great time.  I am not sure the word extra has ever been used more appropriately than with this beast of a beer.  8.0 ABV and you can taste it, even with the delicious notes of coffee and chocolate (somewhat) masking the alcohol.  Definitely a sipper, which means you will not need more than 6, which ran me $12.    

Thursday, February 2, 2012

And on the 4th Day...

Proctor's World
Flights are purchased, three different hotels are booked, and we have our Europass tickets.  What does this mean?  We are going to Europe!  Laura and I have been planning and saving for our delayed honeymoon for more than two years and we are finally 100% headed that way in late March.  The plan is to fly into London for five nights, take the underground to Paris for four nights then back to London for three more nights.  We will eat fantastic food, drink French wine, see the world's best art museums and finally reunite with our cruise friends Mike and Jo.  This is shaping up to be the trip of a lifetime and the timing could not be better, who knows when we will be able to get to Europe again?  My ask of my readers is to clue me in on some fun stuff to do.  What is a must see in London or Paris?  Is there anything that is not worth it?

We have also book-ended a couple much shorter trips around our honeymoon.  I am spending my fantasy football winnings on Pacer's tickets, a downtown hotel and dinner at the Rathskeller in Indianapolis.  Laura and I are also going to finally see Spingsteen together in Detroit with the added bonus of my parents going too.  My dad introduced me to Springsteen and getting to see the Boss together will be an awesome experience.  My mom can also cross Michigan off of her states list, 25 down, 25 to go.

Quick Weight Watchers update: Up 2.2 pounds, ouch, these PM weigh-ins are killing me.  Luckily I will be able to attend my normal morning weigh-ins for the next five weeks and will obtain more consistent results.

Our World
When did it become such commonplace to use a Facebook status update as an opportunity to write a brief, often snide "letter"?  I am sure when this was done for the first time ten years ago it was clever and received plenty of chuckles.   Since then the practice has taken on a life all of its own and one out of every two posts on Facebook seems to be one of these "Dear so and sos".  I will admit that some of these are funny or clever but the majority are just obnoxious and petty.  For those of you who do not know what I am talking about or for those who are fans of the genre, I have decided to create some examples for you:

They can range from the serious...
Dear reckless criminal,
I hope they catch you and the prosecutor seeks the maximum possible sentence for your crime.  Being caught in your crossfire has caused me many sleepless hospital nights.
-Your Random Victim

To the rather mundane...
Dear guy who stole my parking spot at the mall,
I hope you are not upside down after financing that Hummer.  I bet you only get 12 miles to the gallon.  Do you know how much gas is going to go up to?!?
-Guy who gets 35 MPG

They can be written to other mammals...
Dear squirrel,
I put those seeds out for the beautiful song birds in the back yard.  Keep your filthy paws out of there!
-Bird lady

Or to inanimate objects...
Dear toaster,
The medium setting is supposed to leave a slightly crisp texture and a brownish coloring.  I am not sure what in the hell this is supposed to be.  I should make you eat this moist, gross toaster strudel.
-Getting a toaster oven SOON

Occasionally they make you question whether Facebook is the best place to voice frustrations... 
Dear Global Warming,
I liked it a lot more when we had four seasons.  I hope I do not die from heat stroke this summer.  Thanks for nothing.
-Sweating in winter

and whether or not the poster is sane...
Dear pineapple boy,
I can see you!  Just try listening to my calls now that I have thrown my cell phone in the toilet and flushed it.  I wish you would just go down in the sewer and search for it.  I hear it stinks down there, just like you!  I know that is not you on your bike in front of my window.
-I am going to check anyway

On second thought, these are pretty fun.

I am going to throw out my predictions for the Super Bowl:
Passing Yards:
Brady 325 Manning 345
Passing Interceptions:
Brady 1 Manning 2
Passing Touchdowns:
Brady 3 Manning 2
Hernandez 2 Branch 1 Manningham 1 Ballard 1
Rushing Yards:
Green-Ellis 52 Woodhead 35 Bradshaw 70 Jacobs 35
Coin flip:
Heads, NE wins and defers
Final Score:
New England 24 NY Giants 20

I hope I am right.

Tool of the Week 
Mitt Romney
"I'm not concerned about the very poor."
Fresh off of his Florida primary victory, Mitt decided to throw out this gem.  Oh do not worry there is more to it, there is a "safety net" there.  Oh thank God, a safety net!  That means we will (supposedly) provide the absolute bare essentials to allow fellow Americans to live.  He further describes that his lack of concern for the "very poor" is due to his great concern for the "middle class".  

Seriously how out of touch can this jackass be?  I understand the middle class is not having the best go of it but they are not living on the streets or hungry.  If they were, they would not be the middle class, they would be the "very poor" that Mitt is completely disregarding.  Casting off the huge problem that is severe poverty in America to focus on the middle class is akin to getting a paint job for a broken down car.  I sincerely hope that Mitt is simply pandering to target voters and not morally void enough to lack concern for the "very poor".

Beer of the Week
Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale

One of the great deals in Louisville in $2 pint night at Fox and Hound.  Among the excellent draft selection is Stone's classic Arrogant Bastard Ale.  Stone ABA is the first micro brew I remember because my dad bought some a long time ago because he liked the name and the bottle.  The beer itself is not bad either, in fact it is delicious.  A deep, deep red color that one could almost define as brown is accented with plenty of hops and a fruity taste up front. It goes down pretty easily for a 7.2% abv.  Also look for its double, dry-hopped and oak-aged variants.