Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Second lines and jazz funerals

So I've had this on my Facebook for awhile and though it's time to switch things up over there, I really love this poem, I guess it is, and re-reading it now just made me really homesick. I absolutely cannot wait to go down and visit again, since that pesky Katrina ruined my last trip down there.

Give me a king cake smear
Give me a beignet kiss
Give me a French Quarter morning that looks like this

Give me the Endymion krewe
Give me the Times Picayune
Give me a drunk and lazy crawfish boil in muggy, sticky June

Give me a six-pack of Dixie
Give me assorted Abita beers
Give me a city where it snows once every ten years

Give me a green neutral ground
Give me a Mardi Gras ball
Give me a medium rare burger at my 'ol Port of Call

Give me a glittery drag show
Give me the streetcar line
Give me the House of the Rising Sun
Give me a Tchoupitoulas sign

Give me shrimp and oyster po boy
Give me a lovebug season in May

Illinois 66, Wisconsin 51

The Badgers were never expected to be a contender this year. The team graduated 5 seniors. It was supposed to be a rebuilding year. Then they upset Michigan State, lost to North Dakota State and have lost 4 of their last 5 games. It's hard to decide what to think about this season. On one hand I'm grateful that it hasn't been as godawful as many predicted. However, it's almost worse that they showed glimmers of hope only to completely shut down in January. It's not even a mid, or late season slump. It's just a crappy slump.

On the bright side, Illinois is the only Big Ten team to beat Wisconsin at home in Bo Ryan's 5 years as head coach. But the season's not over yet.

Wisconsin didn't score from about the 10:00 mark in the first half til under a minute. Illinois went on a 19-0 run, helped by four steals. Wisconsin held Illinois' top two scorers in check in the first half. Brown had four points and Augustine had two points, but Wisconsin had 14 turnovers and gave up an 11 point first half lead.

War Tiger

I stole this from Michigan Zone - don't tell anyone in Wisconsin I was there. Or that I enjoyed it.

These pics once and for all solve the age old Auburn problem of how to handle the double mascot situation.

War Eagle? Tiger? It's the best of both worlds.

Napoleon Dynamite would approve.

Check out the whole page here

Everybody needs a little Hasselhoff in their day...

Thank you so much Go Fug Yourself for pointing me to this, the happiest thing I've watched in a long, long time.

Presenting David Hasselhoff, Hooked on a Feeling.

All I'm saying is I'm not living in a shoe...

So in my ongoing mission to become as old and uncool as possible, I took a knitting class this weekend. Actually, it was like shorthand knitting for dummies. There are props. They make the knitting easier. It was knitting for dummies and I failed the first 4 attempts. I'm blaming the yarn. The knitting teacher said I could.

I absolutely and categorically refuse to learn how to knit for real in fear of becoming one of those ladies that carries around her knitting at all times and any time she has more than 3o seconds of free time she's whipping out the needles and clackety clacking away on an afghan.

NOT me

I made a scarf today. I felt very productive and simultaneously very ashamed.

All I need now are some cats. Lots and lots of cats. Or maybe I can just morph into a cat.

It could be worse though. I could have purchased this:

Or I could be the dude that wrote it. I point your attention to the green starburst. "Stop vacuuming and start knitting."

Words to live by.

Monday, January 30, 2006


I'm currently trying, rather unsuccessfully, to write a 4-6 page autobiography for an application.

It's really difficult to keep from getting bored, distracted and otherwise turned off from writing essays and completing an application you're not even sure you want to turn in.

I'm having problems not procrastinating and I still don't know who to have fill out one of my recommendations. The format in which one of the essays is asked is condusive to writing the exact opposite of an essay. In addition, these aren't the types of essays this application asked for just 2 years ago. Now it's about 6 times longer and much harder to answer. It's not that the essays are difficult, it's that they are awkwardly worded and asked so that I don't know how to go about accomplishing them.

And I'm a writer, dammit. This is the one thing that's supposed to come easy for me.

Back to the grind....
So I often wonder if the things that I believe in and the things that I am doing come across in my daily life. I want to be a good person and I think it's so easy to fail at that.

There's a person in my past that spent a lot of time reminding me of all the things I did wrong and not a lot of time helping me to be a better person. Since then, I've often wondered if they're right.

It's been really hard this past year trying to find good in people and in life and remembering that things aren't always as bad as they've been. It's been especially difficult to find a balance. I really do hate life here, in Milwaukee, doing mindless things and taking care of my mother. However, it is what it is and I have to live it no matter what. A lot of times I'm upset or angry or frustrated and I have to remind myself that things won't always be like this.

At the same time, I've learned a lot this year and I'm forever grateful for some of the changes that have occured because of the events of this year.

My friends reminded me this weekend why being here isn't so bad and why, after years and space and lots of trouble and hard times, they're still my friends. I miss my New Orleans friends desperately. I miss being able to sit around and do nothing and have the best time. Sometimes I wonder if Loyola was the right spot for me, but in the end, I'd do it all again if only to have met my best friend, Christine. She's the craziest, most ridiculous person I've ever met. She also happens to be the most caring, understanding, helpful and thoughtful person I've ever met. Rare that you find both in one person. She was there for me when my dad got sick, even when my boyfriend at the time wasn't. She drops whatever she's doing when I need a friend and I'm so lucky to have someone like that. Even though she's 1641.78 miles away.

It's so rare to find people like that, that you know will be your friend forever, through everything. She sent me a recommendation for the JVC and it's the nicest things anyone has ever said about me. And it shows me that the things I want to come across about myself do translate and others can see them.

And maybe I'm not that horrible person. Maybe life sucks and I'm not always positive and I'm really defensive and I don't know how to handle my mother and I complain about her a lot. But maybe, just maybe, I'm also the person who moved home to take care of a family, who puts everyone else's feelings before hers and who sincerely wants to make those who are important to her happy. Maybe I can be a bitch and that's not really all that bad. Because I've never, ever done anything to deliberately hurt someone. I forgive.

Maybe I don't have a clue what to do with myself or my life and maybe that's not the most horrible thing in the world. Because no matter what I do I have some fabulous people in my life who will support me no matter what, and it doesn't get much better than that.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Favre says he's leaning toward retirement

Brett Favre would like to wait until training camp to decide whether to retire or return to the Green Bay Packers for a 16th season.

But the quarterback realizes this amount of time is likely not a luxury he will be afforded.

"I wish I knew where I stood," Favre told Chris Mortensen in an interview that aired as ESPN's Sunday Conversation. "If I had to pick right now and make a decision, I would say I'm not coming back."

In the interview at his home in Mississippi, Favre told Mortensen he would like more time to decide whether to return for another NFL season. But he understands the Packers need to know soon to properly prepare for the NFL draft and other offseason personnel matters.

"I'd like to wait till training camp," Favre said with a laugh. "But I know I have to make the decision in the next month for their sake."

Favre said he's told Packers general manager Ted Thompson recently that if the team doesn't want to wait for him to commit to either playing the 2006 season or retiring, then he should be "cut loose."

"I love the game too much and I love my legacy too much to have that just be OK," Favre said, "and I don't want to be just OK. I want to be good, and I don't know if I'm committed enough [right now] to be good on an everyday basis."

Favre suggested to Mortensen it was not his physical shape that was complicating his decision, instead acknowledging a host of factors -- his daughter's upcoming high school graduation, off-field moves and whether at "crunch time, with two minutes left" in a game he would be able to say he wants the ball.

"It's a matter of how much I'm willing to give. I don't want to come back and three games into [the season] say, 'What am I doing?' "

As he's said in the past, Favre maintains he's physically capable of continuing his career, but the intangibles will ultimately decide whether he returns. He has suggested that his $10 million salary in 2006 might diminish the team's interest in retaining him.

"I still know I can play, I still love to play, but there's still much more to it. I never thought I'd give out mentally before I gave out physically," he said.

Favre has also hinted that the Packers' offseason moves would play a role in his decision and it isn't clear what impact the team's hiring of Mike McCarthy to succeed Mike Sherman as coach has had.

McCarthy met with Favre on Friday and Thompson traveled to Favre's home earlier in the week to talk to him, but would not offer details of the conversation.

Favre told Mortensen he has told Thompson he won't return for the money or records, saying, "It's not about me. ... I want to make the right decision for everyone involved."

"When you sit down and tell a GM, 'I don't know if I can give you everything' -- and I have -- that's usually the first ticket out of town," Favre said Sunday.

McCarthy had worked as a tutor to Favre while he was the Packers' quarterbacks coach in 1999. However, Favre's agent, James Cook, suggested his client might have been more likely to return to the team in 2006 if Green Bay had hired Steve Mariucci, a former Packers assistant who was later the head coach in San Francisco (1997-2002) and Detroit (2003-05).

Green Bay is coming off a 4-12 season, Favre's worst as a Packer, after winning its season finale 23-17 over Seattle.

Favre, who finished with a career-worst 29 interceptions, said the Packers' final game had been on his mind long before he took the field, relating a talk he had with his former coach, the Seahawks' Mike Holmgren, in the month preceding it.

"We had a good conversation in late November or early December and I told him, 'It might be my last game and that I was so thankful you'll be there for it.' He said, 'If it is, I'll be glad I was there for it, too.'"

"The game meant nothing," Favre said, "but in a lot of ways it meant a lot."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Saturday, January 28, 2006


So I watched the beginning of the Wisconsin Minnesota border battle hockey game last night. We turned it off when it was 5-1 Minnesota. Of course, Wisconsin came back and scored 3 goals in the final period. Further proof that if I don't watch, my team's will do much better.

However, it's Saturday, I have nothing else to do but hang out with my mother and she's an avid Marquette fan. Thus far, the Golden Eagles are leading #10 Pitt for most of the game. However, as I typed this, Dominic James just went down with what appears to be a broken collar bone.

I'm going to stop talking now.

Wisconsin-Michigan at 1:30.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Damn you!

I'm really not at all cool enough to pretend that I'm too cool to do this...

Four jobs you’ve had in your life:
Starbucks Barista
Lands' End Customer Service Associate
Freelance Journalist
Public Relations Account Coordinator

Four movies you could watch over and over:
So I Married an Axe Murderer
Shawshank Redemption
The Great Muppet Caper

Four television shows you love:
Grey's Anatomy
Gilmore Girls
The West Wing

Four Places you have lived:
Milwaukee, WI
New Orleans, LA
Glendale, WI
Metairie, LA

Four places you have been on vacation:
Tampa, FL
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Boston, MA

Four websites you visit daily:
Since two of mine are the same as Todd's, I'll add two more.
Every Day Should Be Saturday
Go Fug Yourself
SI On Campus
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online

Four places you would rather be right now:
New Orleans
Key West

Four bloggers you are tagging:
Besides those who already got tagged, there's Josie and Siel. That's about it.

They do exist!

Simple, clear, concise. Why can't they all be like this?


Does it say something about my mental state that I spent much of my afternoon watching the first season of Fraggle Rock on DVD? How about that I asked for it for Christmas? Hey, at least I waited like a month to watch it. Makes me look less eager.

Also, what does it say about me that the highlight of the noon hour for me is Stump the Schwab and that I actually have the entire "series" tivo'd so that I can't miss an episode. I don't even watch Jeopardy that obsessively. I can't even answer most of the questions. I think I watch it in hopes of getting smarter.

Finally, I applaud Espn.com for aiding and abetting my dreams..... *sigh*

Now I can go to sleep happy

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Wednesday Bball Goodness

The Wisconsin Badger's Men's Basketball redeemed themselves Tuesday night and helped to cement themselves alone atop the Big Ten Conference with a 72-43 win over the Penn State Nittany Lions tonight in Madison.

After the embarassingly abysmal performance last weekend, the Badgers had a lot to prove and did so early. Each team scored 5 within the first 1:30 and from there the game was over. The Badgers went on a 21-0 run over almost ten minutes of the first half and never looked back. Wisconsin took advantage of the space they were given behind the 3 point arc, shooting 8-16 in the first half. 26 of the first 44 shots the Badgers took were from 3 point range.

Penn State committed 18 turnovers. While the Badgers accounted for 7 steals, the Nittany Lions also just plain threw the ball away too many times for comfort. Geary Claxton accounted for all of Penn State's first 9 points and 11 of the first 14. He led the team with a total of 17 on the night.

It was 40-18 at half and freshman Ray Nixon was 3-3 from three point range. With two of Wisconsin's reserves declared academically ineligible for the rest of the season, there were doubts as to whether the Badgers could recover from the rough week.

The Badger's Ray Nixon celebrates after a 3. Photo from jsonline.com

With Michigan handing #12 Michigan State another loss, the Big Ten picture looks like this:
#21 Wisconsin 5-1 15-4
#7 Illinois 4-2 18-2
#16 Ohio State 4-2 14-2
Michigan 4-2 14-3
Iowa 4-2 15-5
#11 Indiana 4-2 12-4
#12 Michigan State 3-3 15-5
Northwestern 3-4 10-8
Penn State 2-4 10-7
Purdue 1-6 7-11
Minnesota 0-6 9-8

Now I know Conference standings aren't indicative of the overall landscape, but every time I look at this, the rankings make me laugh.

Up next Wisconsin plays at Michigan, who'll be pumped after tonight's upset and then hosts Indiana.

Also fun tonight....
Hack will be happy to note that the Gamecocks upset Florida, handing them their second straight loss. Conference losses at that. Also, South Carolina was 1-4 coming into this game, sitting on the bottom of the SEC East.

You know it's bad when your coach compares you to how bad you were in preseason.... "We're right back to where we were before the season started," Donovan said. "We've got to be able to prove ourselves. I think it's very, very evident, we're not a Top Five, Top 10, Top 15 team."

Though Florida went up 15-6 early on some nice 3s, South Carolina went on a 20-6 run, showing they weren't looking to pay for Florida's loss to Tennessee on Saturday.

We also had 7-9 Marshall beat the mighty Mountaineers of West Virigina for the second straight year and Seton Hall upset the NC State Wolfpack. Seton Hall led for all but the first two minutes and was up by as many as 23 at one point in the game.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Once upon a time...

I suppose I should warn that it's possible that this will be a really long post.

I got into an email discussion with Siel over at greenlagirl.com a few weeks ago about fair trade coffee and Starbucks. A long time ago, in my youth, I was a lowly barista (this was actually last year) Siel is concerned with Fair Trade Coffee and how the Bux says that is available any time, all you have to do is ask. That, of course, is the short version. Starbucks says that all of its coffee are fair trade, however only one of their coffees, Cafe Estima, is Fair Trade Certified. I emailed her because I enjoy playing devil's advocate, I wanted to learn about her encounters with the Green Aprons and because I was interested. I tried to offer her an "insiders" view of the situation and offer any help or suggestions I could.

Talking with her and reading her blog about her attempts at living a green lifestyle out in LA made me think about my days at Loyola, a Jesuit University.

When I went to Loyola, I had no idea what it meant to get a Jesuit education.

While there, I got very interested in the ideals of the Jesuits, especially Social Justice. However, ever since I've been out of school, I have not thought about things that mattered to me when I was there. The environment and the constant reminders and the people surrounding you doing good things and being involved really spurred me. But now that I'm in Milwaukee and none of my friends here even know what social justice is, I feel like I've lost sight of the things that were important to me while I was in school.

So does that mean that I don't (and didn't) really believe in them? Was I just pretending? Or have I just lost sight of things.

My graduation program lists that I was joining the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. I had the application all filled out. Twice. And I never mailed it in. It's still something I'm interested in and every few weeks the idea of it pops back into my head, but I'm still not sure if it's what I want to do. We're not just talking a year of volunteer work in a different city. I want to do Jesuit Volunteer International. I want to spend two years in Peru. I want to use the things I learned at Loyola, in and out of the classroom, to make a difference somewhere a lot less fortunate than here.

Now that I have no committments, I'm seriously considering applying again. But I'm scared and unsure. And I sure feel like this is something I should be certain about. I feel like it would be wrong to apply and then make the decision based on whether or not I got accepted.

But with so much uncertainty in my head, I feel like this might be the best thing I could do. I'm not happy with life as it is. I hate working stupid jobs just because I need to. I want to put my very expensive education to use. I don't know that my head is in the right place. Maybe this is exactly the sort of thing I need. But then I think that maybe this is too drastic. Maybe I should look into Teach America or teaching English abroad or Peace Corps or something else.

Maybe I don't actually have a clue.
Maybe that's the smartest thing I've said in awhile.

But seriously, how does one go about making such a decision?

Alright, I apologize for the existencial crisis. Next post, I promise, back to the wide world of sports.

Step up or step down?

Jim Haslett hired as Rams defensive coordinator

I'm so confused and conflicted that I don't really know what to say. The guy got the short end of the stick in N.O. Did his stock drop that much? Or is this a good move for him? Serioulsy not sure.
The Auburn Kentucky game didn't hold my attention and the only other thing on tonight is American Idol auditions. Since, like Todd, I'm suffering from some major headaches, I'm pretty low key tonight. While mine aren't mingraines, they are connected to the fact that I haven't gotten a decent nights sleep in a few weeks. There's really no good reason for that either. It's not like I'm going out and partying.

The most exciting thing I've done this week is .... I fully expected to have something to say there, but I couldn't think of anything. How sad is that? Problem with being low key is that I'm already bored to tears. Being forced to "relax" when that's all I've done for awhile is making me extremely stir-crazy.

Man, have my posts gotten boring. Maybe I should go back to posting pics of my dream man.
Unfortunate side effect of joblessness: insomnia

And nobody's around to come out and play.

Monday, January 23, 2006

I suppose I could try writing about sports...

After the crazy upsets of Saturday, Appleton, Wisconsin's Lawrence University, a D3 team, is the lone unbeaten left in Men's Basketball.

"You never think that you're going to be the only undefeated team; Lawrence University, for God's sake," said Lawrence coach John Tharp, in his 12th season at the school. "Are you kidding me?"

The whole story is here and makes for some randomly interesting reading. Also allows you to sound smart in bars. Ok, maybe I'm the only chick that would be impressed if you used that info on me.

Onto hockey...

For the first time in 10 weeks, the Badgers are not the #1 in team in the country. It was an abysmal weekend in the Kohl Center, as Wisconsin hockey dropped two straight to Denver. In fact, the only team that won in the Kohl Center this weekend was the women's hockey team, who retained their #1 ranking.

Minnesota comes to town this weekend for the men's hockey border battle. This is huge and the Badgers need to pick it up after last weekends losses and prove that they deserve to be atop the rankings once again.

Some more UW Bball...

So I lamented the Badgers horrible play against NDSU, but I failed to mention the shooting percentage for UW. I would have said "horrific" "pathetic" or "monumental failure of a" before the words shooting percentage, but they didn't seem strong enough...

From the Boxscore
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 5-29 17.2% 2nd Half: 11-43 25.6% Game: 22.2% DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 1-10 10.0% 2nd Half: 3-17 17.6% Game: 14.8% REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 5-7 71.4% 2nd Half: 14-19 73.7% Game: 73.1% 3,1

Stewart Mandel and Andy Katz say this was the Biggest Upset of the Season

Some Katz "highlights":
The Bison beat the Badgers with a starting lineup of four redshirt freshmen and a junior college transfer.
The reality is that the Badgers can lose to a North Dakota State and still win the Big Ten.
On the other side of the court, the win for the Bison won't get them into the NCAAs because they're not eligible.
NDSU landed the game with Wisconsin because Phillips had been an assistant coach under Bo Ryan. The Bison got their $35,000 guaranteed check for the game, Miles said, a game that was scheduled this week because the Badgers had a bye week in the Big Ten.

Mandel adds:

Forget Georgetown over Duke, St. John's over Pittsburgh, or Tennessee over Florida (at least until later in this column). The upset of the weekend, the season, and many, many seasons before that, took place on Saturday in Madison, Wis. Consider:
• Wisconsin reached the NCAA Elite Eight last season; North Dakota State, in the midst of a transition from Division II, isn't even eligible for the Tourney until 2009.
• Wisconsin had won 68 of its previous 71 home games under head coach Bo Ryan, with the losses to Illinois, Wake Forest and Temple. North Dakota State had lost 18 of its past 24 road games, its most recent wins coming against Florida Gulf Coast, Minnesota-Crookston and Southwest Minnesota State.
• Less than 48 hours before facing the No. 3 team in the RPI ratings in front of 17,142 spectators at the Kohl Center, the Bison were in Orem, Utah, facing the No. 303 team, Utah Valley State, in front of an announced crowd of 702. "And that was an exaggeration of great proportions," said North Dakota State coach Tim Miles of the attendance figure. They lost, 67-65 on a last-second tip-in.
• Finally, according to research by Wisconsin-Green Bay's sports information department, the Bison took the court Saturday with the youngest team in the country: 13 freshmen or sophomores, including four redshirt-freshman starters, one junior and one senior

I'm not big into just posting other's comments, but I'm far from unbiased in this situation and I really don't have the words to describe what I witnessed Saturday morning.

Look, we all know Alando Tucker is a bad shooter. (Check out the Big Ten Wonk for more explanation on that.) We expect it. But the entire team looked like they were shooting into the oval rims at a state fair. No matter how squared or set they were, no matter how much arc they did or didn't put on the ball, the shots wouldn't fall. An easy layup and six tips and the ball still won't roll in. I feel like the law of averages is the only thing that allowed the Badgers to score any points.

Sitting in the Kohl Center was literally surreal. I have never experienced anything like it. It's not like you saw the game slip away. It was never the Badgers'. And the whole time you're in complete and utter disbelief, you just keep telling yourself that this is frickin' NORTH DAKOTA STATE and they'll come out of this time out, or halftime, and be riled up and start playing.

But it never happened. And every shot went into and then right back out of the hoop. And conversely, on the other end of the court, it seemed that no matter what NDSU put up, it went straight in the hole. That's not to say that NDSU doesn't deserve props. On the end of a horrific road trip, they live in ND for chrissakes and they're still fighting for D1 status. They technically have nothing to play for. No tournament possible.

That about covers it for now.

Sweet, sweet Fark

The photoshop contests at fark are always good times. Today's is especially hilarious.

My absolute favorite: Tasteless, but entertaining. And sports related too!

Disclaimer: Not meant to offend. All in good fun. If you don't like it, blame Fark, it wasn't my doing.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Mayor Ray Nagin everybody...

Some friends in New Orleans sent me this link. You have to check it out:


Also, as another alum of our school paper put it:

"I think we should go back to being Rocky Road – mostly chocolate, a good bit of white, and chock full of nuts."

College Bball Mayhem

Yesterday was one hell of a day in college hoops and it makes me happy that so many big teams were upset. Not only does it overshadow the Badgers' horrible loss (selfish, selfish) but also, it makes things so much more interesting.

The thing I love about college bball above all other sports is that there is the highest quotient for anything happening on any given day. Sure, upsets happen in every sport, but in college hoops, they're a given. At least once a week there's a big game worth watching with 2 teams you know nothing about. Plus, I feel like no bigger dichotomy exists between college and pro than does in basketball. And I love college basketball for it.

I found this interesting, very brief, piece on ESPN. It will be interesting to see what the explanation is and where this story leads.
Sometimes it's just nice to get out of town and hang out with friends and never once think about all the crappy stuff that may be going on back at home.

I headed up to Madison this weekend and true to my form, both the basketball and hockey teams somehow were made aware of my presence in the Kohl Center and so of course they both lost. The hockey team at least lost to the two time defending national champions. The basketball team, however, did nothing to help their street cred by losing to possibly the only state more cracker than we are, North Dakota. And not even the U-ND, but North Dakota State. Who's ever heard of North Dakota State? The mighty Bison!?

I'm seriously no longer allowed to go to games.

In my extreme intelligence, I forgot to take the digital camera with me, so all you get is this fabulous camera phone shot:

In between games we went to the Auto Show. Not really up my alley to begin with, but I can handle it by checking out the extra specially cool cars. But this is Madison. There are no cool cars. My friend Carrie and I found ways to make it entertaining. Exhibits A and B:

Also, she kept trying out the backseats to find their feasibility for extra curricular activities, if you know what I mean. She also made some country men collapse into giggling little school girls as she discussed the merits of different door handles when one has just gotten a manicure.

Also, Todd was right: Saturday made the pain all that more tangible. LSU 68, Alabama 57

Friday, January 20, 2006

It's snowing!

Big, huge, fluffy, pretty snowflakes. And it's supposed to stop before there's enough to necessitate me shoveling.


Good times

Today is the kind of day I missed when I worked 10 hour days. I was up by 9 and it's not 3 yet and I feel like I've accomplished so much. The homemade manicotti are made and already cooking in the oven. I watched part of the Man. U/Man. City game on Fox Sports. I did some drawing. I took the dog outside to play for awhile. I vacuumed and cleaned my car. And now I'm blaring streaming music out of my crappy computer speakers and dancing around. Today is a day that it doesn't suck to be not working. I think that's a good sign.


The newest brackets on ESPN have Wisconsin hanging out at a 2 seed in the Atlanta Bracket. UW-Milwaukee is an 11 seed in the D.C. bracket. Marquette is nowhere to be found.

Other happy notes: LSU is a 7 seed in the Oakland Bracket and if McNeese State holds on to the Southland conference, they'll pull themselves a 16 seed in the D.C. bracket and a first round matchup with Duke. Good times. The Cowboys finally make it to a tournament and they get matched up with Duke. In D.C., the favorite settling ground for Duke alums. Give 'em hell Cowboys!

you know, or not...


To the far right: Dingle Peninsula
To the right: Cliffs of Moher

Blarney Castle

Like I said, there are 300+ of these. But I do have an online album. You can email me if you want access to it.

Suffering for my art

And by that I mean my back really hurts from hunching over while trying to create things while sitting in bed.

Once upon a time I had an art desk and an easel, and they totally went unused because just as my parents got them for me, I stopped doing anything arty. I go in phases, really, and now seems to be a particularly creative phase. Though if my friend Carrie hadn't commissioned me to create things for her house, I'd probably have spent the last few hours doing nothing instead of making some really cool martini prints for her kitchen.

It's nice to have a purpose as well as an outlet. Being unemployed has left me feeling like more of a loser every day. Sure, sleeping in is great. Even watching midday soap operas hasn't gotten old yet. But by 7 the post-supper blues have set in. Tonight I tivo'd everything I would have watched and meandered through hours of crappy other TV so that I could watch the good stuff later. Like now. The crappy other stuff that's on in primetime is infinitely superior to the crappy stuff that's on after the 10 o'clock news. And I don't have to suffer through commercials.

I never really did anything creative to decorate my own places. Funny how now that I have some free time I'm going buck wild with ideas for Carrie's place. I have four fairly bare walls in my room now. You'd think I'd make myself something. Not so much. Instead I bought a few travel posters and put them up. Now I can look at all the exciting places I'll never get to go.

There is however the Ireland wall. Formerly filled with just plain posters. But since I picked up hard copies of all 300 pics I took in Ireland, I can now find ways to plaster some of my fabulous postcard-esque pics around the place. ... Maybe I'll do that now!

Thursday, January 19, 2006


Works of immense genius? Or just some oil paint mashed together? Probably a bit of both.

A third is on the way, which will hang on the right of the two pictured. The colors continue from one to the next, though that's too much detail to capture with my crappy digital. But hey, this is better than nothing.

Doing my research...

Checking out the LSU Men's Basketball team and I have to say that what I've found so far is a bit befuddling.

Losses to Houston, a 10-5 middle of the pack Conf. USA team, and Northern Iowa, though this team leads the MVC and has a win over then #13 Iowa as well.

They've also lost nail-biters to Ohio State, Cincinnati, and UConn. All 3 of those games lost by a total of 6 points. In the UConn game, however, LSU let the Huskies come back from 14 down to steal that game.

True, LSU has played a tough, varied non-conference schedule, with 3 ACC powers and Big 10 contender on there. And LSU is young, starting 3 freshman and a sophomore.

From what I can tell from my short research, looks like the Tigers' season hinges on how well their young guys pull it together. 7 of their 16 games have been decided by 5 points or less. Luck, good or bad, looks like it will be the deciding factor in LSU's fate. Thus far, with so many close losses and the season-ending injury to Tack Minor, it's a wonder that LSU has a share of the West lead with Ole Miss. But with a home and away still scheduled with Ole Miss, as well as Kentucky at home and #2 Florida in Gainesville, it will be interesting to see how long LSU can keep luck on their side.
Just for my newfound Alabaman friends:

LSU 79, Alabama 43

"The Lady Tigers (15-1, 4-0) dominated the game with its defense. The Crimson Tide made just 35 percent of its field-goal attempts and committed a season-high 31 turnovers. The 36-point defeat was Alabama's largest of the season." Ok, ok, it's women's basketball, no one really cares. But I felt like rubbing it in anyway.

Besides, as far as women's basketball goes, it doesn't get much better than this:

I wouldn't mind having her hoop skills any day of the week.

Big Ten

After being leaked the score of the Wisconsin game, as well as the disheartening news that we've lost 2 players that have played in every game this season, one to a temporary leave of absence and one for academic ineligibility, I decided I was too depressed to watch the Tivo'd Wisconsin game.

We lost to Ohio State and now the Big Ten standings look like this:

Big Ten Conference
Wisconsin 4-1 14-3
Indiana 3-1 11-3
Iowa 3-1 14-4
Ohio State 3-2 13-2
Illinois 2-2 16-2
Michigan 2-2 12-3
State 2-2 14-4
Penn State 2-2 10-5
Northwestern 2-3 9-7
Purdue 1-4 7-9
Minnesota 0-4 9-6

After a random game vs. ND State this Saturday, the Badgers have a 2 week stretch with Penn State on the 25th, at Michigan on the 28th, Illinois on the 31st, at Purdue on the 4th and Indiana on the 8th.

A few weeks ago I would have said that Illinois would be the scariest game, but now it look like Indiana is the team to beat. Thankfully both games are at home. The scariest part, actually, is the down games in between the big matchups. Wisconsin needs to make sure they don't overlook Penn State and Purdue in expectation of the Illinois and Indiana games. It would be heartbreaking to take down two big teams and lose to a bottom feeder.

On a completely different note, the embarassing highlight of my night has been watching Master P, owner of a sprawling compound in that metropolis of Baton Rouge, do the jive on Dancing with the Stars.

What can I say, I needed something to watch until The O.C. and Beauty and the Geek started.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


UWM is on TV right now. Wisconsin is on ESPN 2 at 7:30. I'm going to see Glory Road, so I'm DVRing the UW game. Thank god Illinois lost last night.

Check back tomorrow for a Big Ten update

Recipe Time..

Today's culinary feat includes Manicotti and Tomato Basil Salad


2 cups spaghetti sauce
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 3/4 cups Ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzerella
1/2 parmesan
1/4 Basil Pesto Sauce (optional)
12 manicotti shells, cooked, rinsed in cold water

preheat over to 350
Spread 3/4 cup spaghetti sauce on bottom of 13x9 inch baking dish
Mix egg, cheeses and pesto sauce until well blended
Spoon cheese mixture into large, resealable plastic bag
Cut off a small corner of bag

Fill Manicotti shells, squeezing cheese mixture into both ends of the shell
Place manicotti over sauce in dish.
Pour remaining spaghetti sauce over manicotti.
Cover with foil

Bake 40 mins

Tomato Basil Salad

4 large tomatoes, sliced
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 cucumber, sliced
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup Mozzerella cheese
1/2 cup Sundried Tomato Vinaigrette
greens of your choosing

Mix together and serve

Very easy, very tasty

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Not too exciting..

See, you'd think this jobless thing would have some perks for at least a few days. You'd think that you could enjoy the sleeping and the lack of places to be or things to do and you'd think that you would love having the house to yourself. If you think all these things, you'd be thinking logically.

So why am I tangled in a den of illogicality? I'm totally bored and out of my mind with wanting something to do. I really have nothing to say, I'm just posting out of a misguided thought that I should.

I haven't really posted anything sports related in awhile, so let me say that I'm way stoked for my sportsrific weekend. The only day all year that Wisconsin Hockey and Basketball play on the same day and yours truly will be there for the sports nerd orgasm.

There's really nothing I could imagine doing this Saturday that would be better than seeing a Wisconsin basketball game at noon and a hockey game at 7. The hockey team's still #1 ranked and this will be my second game in a month. I guess living in Wisco and being unemployed do have their perks. I will attempt to have some pics to upload and info to impart by Sunday. Though likely not til later in the day, because as soon as I get home I'll be needing a nap.

All I'm saying is that the female sports nerd is an underappreciated artform.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Glory Road

I'm very excited to go see this movie on Wednesday. Not only have I been waiting for weeks for this to come out, but I also have friends in the movie. It was filmed in New Orleans and most of the basketball players I went to school with are in it. In fact, in the preview as the two teams are lining up at center court before the championship a short, white guy leans forward, ostensibly to take a look at his opponents. That guy is Jonathan Hernandez. Silly, I know, but my good friend Pete is also prominently featured, so I can't wait to see it. Plus, it's just a good story that needed to be told. I'm glad that so many more people know about Texas Western now.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

I've got it!

Tonight, it's a Polamalu sandwich

My hero...

Hmmm, which Polamalu shall I dream about tonight?
Should it be semi-winking, fro-ed, USC Polamalu?

Or how about ultra-creppy Polamalu?

Maybe lusty Polamalu hair?

College Coach Wrestling...

EDSBS has an interesting discussion going that should lead to plenty of off-season entertainment. Definitely the funniest thing I've read in awhile.

Budding (and by that we mean Starving) artist...

My friend bought a house last summer and has yet to decorate it. So she's enlisted my assistance as interior decorate to make the place a little less just-moved-in. First, I have to get over the fact that I have a friend with a mortgage. Second, I have to get over the fact that I'm beyond jealous that she has her own house and I live at home.

Once I passed those, she and I met last weekend in Madison and did some window shopping and this weekend she was here in Milwaukee. She likes abstract art, which isn't really my thing, but hey, it's all about personal taste. So she's looking at all these prints and posters of blocks of color and heming and hawing and finally I was like "I can make that" Now she was extremely skeptical, but she came down this weekend and let me create. And if I do say so myself, the results were rather good.

Unfortunately I am pictureless at this point, but only because it's still a work in progress. I made two canvases and she decided she wants a third. When the project is completed I promise to upload them in all their glory.

Really, this so-called project involved 3 colors of oil paint, blotches of color and some blending. Not exactly artistic genius, but she says she's happy, so what can I say? I'll take all the accolades and pretend like it was magnificent amounts of difficult work.

She is a wine and vodka freak, so I found some martini prints online that I'm going to shamelessly copy for her with some calligraphy pens and watercolors and see how they turn out.

My inner nerd is officially out and playing, displaying its multi-faceted nerd-dom. Lament not seeing the football game while creating art with a calligraphy pen and scented ink.

What can I say, I'm a complicated geek!

Spiritual (well, bedroom) cleansing...

So I'm not really an overly obsessive cleaner. Things can go for weeks being fairly messy and I'm totally ok with it. Let me clarify that I mean dirty like clothes all over the place, papers piling up. I do not mean mold growing, garbage strewn about dirty. Anyway, I'm ok with my mess for days at a stretch and then one day, poof, I can't take it anymore. And then I clean like a mad fool, no matter what else I have going on or what time it is. Suddenly the mess just bothers me and feels like it's growing and multiplying and then I can't take it anymore.

Today was one of those days. In addition, I decided that since I am stuck in this hellhole for a while longer, I need to find a way to make it more livable.

There's a little backstory involved here. My dad was diagnosed with leukemia in May. I was living in New Orleans doing a lot of nothing with myself. So when I found out, I decided there was no reason not to come home and be with my family. I made this decision, packed and was out of New Orleans in a week. I had lived there for 6 years. So I have a lot of crap, most of which was thrown into Rubbermaids, thrown into a U-Haul and dragged home to Milwaukee. An aside to the story that doesn't have much to do with my point is that on my last night in New Orleans, my then boyfriend of 3 years went ballistic. I won't elaborate, but trust me, it was crazy. So as if leaving a place I had made home as well as my best friends, learning about my dad and moving cross country in a week weren't difficult enough, I got to add crazy, out of control EX boyfriend to the mix.

When I got here I put tons of pictures up and things all over my very tiny room to make me less homesick and to make the whole thing seem less traumatic and abrupt. Seemed like a good idea at the time, but now, months later, I realize that I have a ton of crap populating a room not much larger than a refrigerator box. So tonight I packed it all up and tomorrow the whole room is getting rearranged. I'm hoping that my zenlike cleaning and rearranging will help to make the walls feel a little less like they're closing in on me.

Also, I would post about the football games today, but I DIDNT SEE THEM. You may ask, Nicole, why didn't you watch today's playoff games and I would have to reply that I was out taking my mother shopping for literally the entire day. I left at 10am and returned after 4 pm. I woke up and left shortly thereafter and returned at dark. My whole day, gone. And in the process I missed a Colts game that apparently defies description and am now completely out of the loop. Balls, I tell you. Balls.

The only positive to all of this was finding my absolute favorite wine. I first drank it in Puerto Rico and could find it at the grocery store in New Orleans, but a thorough search of every grocery and liquor store in the area had me empty handed. But thank you, Cost Plus World Market, for having my Rene Barber. Thank you so much. So it's wino night tonight, while I pack, dust and read. Good thing it doesn't matter whether or not I wake up with a hangover.

If anyone feels like they can give an apt description of the playoff mayhem I missed, I'd greatly appreciate it!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Some weeks suck more than others...

and this is one of those weeks that sucks a lot. I have a lot I want to ramble about because I've had nothing to do but think about why I'm angry and frustrated and why everything in the world is making me mad, but frankly I don't think you people want to hear about that so I'm doing my best to restrain myself.

The thing is, I didn't like my job, it was just comfortable. I made decent money and I had a good insurance package. As I type this I realize how sad my life has become. Who knew that at 24 I'd be so worried about quality insurance packages.

Anyway, I'm excited to distance myself from that job and be able to go out there and apply for jobs that I actually want and that may have just an inkling or two of connection to my degrees. They were expensive degrees. I'd like to put them to use.

No, the frustrating thing is that I was less than 12 hours away from signing a lease to rid myself of the evilness that is living at home and that has been unceremoniously snatched away from me. Seriously, I feel like a prisoner who was led to the exit just to be told "that's what you can't have" Reminds me of the movie Circle of Friends. "I don't know why you let me go to University. It's like taking me to the top of the mountain and showing me the world, and then marching me back down, and saying, 'That's what you can't have Benny, you silly great fat article. Here's what you can have: Knockglen for the rest of your life and married to Sean bloody Walsh!' I'd rather be married to a bloody lizard!"

But seriously, I feel like my boss (and my mom) said pretty much those exact words. And it's seriously depressing. And everyone (but my mom) is trying to be super supportive but I feel like most of them think less of me now and I hate that.

But alas, I'm rambling like I said I wouldn't. The moral of the story is that this seems to have turned me into a mass of uncertainty and self counsciousness and has led to a whole lot of introspection. And that whole self-doubt thing.

I'm supposed to hang out with friends tomorrow and do some oil paintings for my friend to decorate her house with, but mostly I feel like laying in bed with my stuffed eeyore, acting like I'm about 5 years old and pretending that this week didn't happen. Clearly I'm in full on denial and wallow mode.
Forgive me.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Multiple Expletives

I lost my job today. Not only does this suck in the I don't have any money kind of way, but it also means that I won't be moving out. Jesus hates me even more than he hates Sharon.

I'm pissy, I want to swear a lot, cry a little and hit things, not necessarily in that order.

Don't be surprised if this means I don't post for a bit or that I'll be posting every 10 minutes.

For lack of a better non-swear word.....BALLS!

Holy Crap, it's warm and sunny out!

Seriously, the weather channel says its 53 degrees and sunny. Considering we just had a record number of days without sun .. I think it was like 17... this is like a late Christmas present. Or just a fabulous little gift. Clearly, it's been a long day at work and I blew up one of my computers. So when I escaped for lunch it was a great surprise to actually need my sunglasses and open windows.

Plus, in about 3 hours I get to start my 4 day weekend.

Packers to announce new coach...

Looks like the Packers have decided on 49s offensive coordinator Mike McCarthy as new coach. Seems to me that this is a positive sign for Favre's return. McCarthy was Quarterback's coach in GB a few years ago and is a life student of the West Coast offense. If ever Ted Thompson was making a move to keep Brett here and playing, this was it.

Read the local story here. Thus far it wasn't posted on ESPN.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

I can barely afford my apartment and I'm still going to donate to this.

I got a house!

I get to move out this weekend and I got a fabulous house right on a river all to myself. Happy doesn't begin to describe me. I did a little jig in the middle of my office.

it's been one of those days

Wisconsin beats Minnesota

Wisconsin upped their Big 10 record with a narrow win over Minnesota last night, 64-62 . The win was the third over a Big 10 opponent in the last six days, with previous home wins against Iowa and Michigan State, a preseason Final Four favorite.

Alando Tucker, who was so mad in the final minutes he ripped off his face guard, a precaution left over from a nose injury at the end of November, ended the game with 22 point and 10 boards, including the go ahead layup with a minute to play. He then came up with a big defensive stop that allowed the Badgers to hold on to the game.

Wisconsin (13-2, 3-0), led by as many as 19 points in the first half, amassing a 25-6 lead after 17 minutes of play, and by 14 early in the second before letting the Gophers close the gap and nearly steal the game.

Minnesota's full court defense as well as 22 turnovers that led to 28 Gopher points gave the Badgers a difficult time in the second half.

The Gophers made just 3 field goals the entire first half and were 1-21 to start the game. Wisconsin shot just below 30% from the field, but with Minnesota's poor showing even that was enough to go up by 19.

The Big 10 conference standings are almost comical at this point:

#17 Wisconsin 3-0, 13-2
#8 Indiana 2-0, 10-2
Northwestern 2-0, 9-4
#6 Illinois 1-1, 15-1
#16 Ohio State 1-1, 11-1
Michigan 1-1, 11-2
Iowa 1-1, 12-4
Penn State 0-1, 8-4
#15 Michigan State 0-2, 12-4
Minnesota 0-2, 9-4
Purdue 0-2, 6-7

That's Wisconsin atop a conference with 5 Top 25 teams and every team below them in the conference is ranked above them in the polls.

Looks like it's going to be good times in the Big 10 this year.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Page 2 gets it right...

Absolutely, positively the smartest, most articulate thing I've read on Page 2 in a very long time:

2. New Orleans SaintsForgive us for going off on a rant here, but if the NFL has so much damn money, shouldn't commissioner Paul Tagliabue take some responsibility, show some true leadership and really show a united way for the NFL? Hey, it's nice to promote charitable causes with those tear-jerking commercials, but how about actually doing something that really makes a difference? After fleecing communities of literally billions to build unnecessary stadiums, the NFL should do its part to rebuild New Orleans by paying for every dime of a new stadium. Then either subsidize Tom Benson enough money to shut him up about moving the Saints, or buy him out and have the league run the team until it's ready for another owner. New Orleans has suffered enough -- it doesn't need the richest and most controlling league in the world adding to its problems.
Then again, based on the Saints' history -- just seven winning seasons, only one playoff victory, and that ESPN The Magazine cover of Ricky Williams in a wedding dress -- perhaps the most charitable thing would be moving the team to Los Angeles.

Happy thought for the morning...

If Matt Leinart ends up with the New Orleans Saints, the probability of me running into him is greatly increased and thus so does the opportunity for me to punch him in the face.

This makes me happier than it should.

Calhoun decides to go pro...

In a fabulously confusing turn of events, Wisconsin's Brian Calhoun announced yesterday that he would announce Thursday that he will be skipping his senior season and entering the NFL draft.

Sad times for Badger fans, but I think it will be interesting to see where he ends up, how high he's drafted and if he can compete in the NFL.

In other Badger news, Joe Thomas definitely tore his ACL, but thus far all reports are saying that he fully expects to be ready to play at the beginning of next season. Sounds like they're going to push his rehab and recovery pretty hard core. Poor guy, he was thinking about entering the draft himself and go injured playing both ways in a bowl game.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Taking a cue from Breadchik and Todd, I present my most recent culinary success, care of an Emeril cookbook:

2 cups root beer
2 cups reduced veal stock
4 (16-ounce) double-cut bone-in pork chops
4 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 recipe Bourbon-Mashed Sweet Potatoes, recipe follows
1 recipe Caramelized Onions, recipe follows

To make the glaze, combine the root beer and stock in a medium heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced to a thick syrup, about 1 cup, about 50 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from the heat.

Preheat a grill to medium-high. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Season each chop on both sides with 1 teaspoon of the Essence. Place on the grill and cook for 3 minutes. Turn each chop 1/4 turn to make grill marks and cook an additional 2 minutes. Turn and cook on the second side for 5 minutes.

Transfer to a baking sheet. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of the olive oil over each chop. Roast until cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reaches 150 degrees F, 12 to 15 minutes.

Place the chops on four serving plates and drizzle with the glaze. Spoon the sweet potatoes and caramelized onions onto the plates, and serve.

Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast): 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika 2 tablespoons salt 2 tablespoons garlic powder 1 tablespoon black pepper 1 tablespoon onion powder 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper 1 tablespoon dried oregano 1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
Yield: 2/3 cup

Bourbon Mashed Sweet Potatoes:
1 3/4 to 2 pounds sweet potatoes
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup bourbon whiskey
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the potatoes on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake until tender and starting to ooze sugary syrup, about 1 hour and 15 minutes, depending on their size. Remove from the oven and let sit until cool enough to handle.

Cut a slit down each potato and scoop the flesh into a large bowl. Discard the skins. Add the cream, bourbon, brown sugar, molasses, and salt and beat on high speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Cover to keep warm, or gently reheat before serving.

Yield: 4 cups

Caramelized Onions:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 pounds yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and caramelized, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from the heat and serve hot.

Yield: 2 cups, 4 to 6 servings

The only thing I can say about this is that the potatoes were very strong. We used 2 large sweet potatoes and it was not enough to cut the strength of the bourbon. So I'd either make more potatoes or use less of the liquor. I love bourbon, but they ended up just tasting like alcohol, not having a distinct flavor.


Sunday, January 08, 2006

The apt. hunt continues...

There needs to be some sort of mathematic formula for deciding between apartments. Does a killer yard and view make up for the tiniest bedroom I've ever seen (and I lived in the dorms for 5 years!) How do you decide between living by yourself and living with roommates? How great does the house you're going to share have to be before it overruns having to live with other people? How much nicer does an upper apartment have to be to make up for having to move all your stuff upstairs?

I've never been very good at math.

Jesus hates Carson Palmer...

Ok, I say that not in a crazy Pat Robertson way, but more in the Carson Palmer was just smote and it sucks big time kind of way...

Wisconsin 82, Michigan State 63

AP Photo

The Badgers smashed not only a Big 10 opponent, but the #7 ranked team in the nation.

Up by as many as 23 in the second half, the Badgers rolled the Spartans thanks to 19 points off 14 Michigan State turnover, a 27 point performance by Chris Tucker look a like Kammron Taylor and 54% shooting from the floor.

Bo Ryan's squad kept Michigan State's vaunted "3 Big Men" down and rendering both Maurice Iger and Paul Davis basically useless in this game.

For fan fun, midget former team manager (and kid I went to high school with) Tanner Bronson got into the game for the final two minutes. The kid's a cult favorite. Apparently there was a story on him in the NYTimes this morning. I was unable to find it in a quick search, but never fear, I'll post it up later, when I can track it down.

See, I can handle football season being over when both my teams are fielding viable basketball teams.

Is it March yet?

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Fed up...

does not even begin to aptly describe how I'm feeling right now. In a non-sports related rant, I'd like to categorically say that moving back in with your mother is the single worst thing a 24 year old could think to do. Seriously, if you're considering this, run, run far far away. Live in your car. Or under a bridge. Your sanity will thank you.

So the apartment search begins in earnest tomorrow. I already saw one crappy apartment tonight and I have a bunch lined up for tomorrow. I may not be able to financially afford to move out, but I cannot emotionally afford to stay. So it's the Ramen Noodles and tap water diet from here on out.

(Consequently, the pathetic thought process of the day was one where I was thinking about what bills I'd have to pay and realized that I could get away without cable for awhile, since football season just ended and I have quite a few months before there's a necessity of Espn and Espn 2 in my life.)

Once again, I ruin it all...

Of course, all it takes is my mere presence to force my team to blow a 10 point second half lead, continuously have the smallest guy on the court attempt to drive the lane and unceremoniously get jacked under the basket numerous times and turn over the ball more times than they score in the second half. This is why I'm not allowed to attend sporting events. I always ruin it.

Friday, January 06, 2006

What day is it?

So it's great to not work Fridays. It makes my 10 hour work days seem worthwhile. But since I didn't have to work today I drove out to Madison to spend some time with my friend Carrie before she heads off to ski for the weekend. Now I'm home, it's Friday night, and I'm exhausted like it's a Sunday. Now I have a full weekend to fill and I've got nothing.

In addition, I am taking my mother to a college basketball game at 11 tomorrow morning. While I am excited to see Marquette take on Cincinnati, I am NOT, I repeat NOT excited to get up that early or spend the time with my mom. This is what I get for being the good child. Sure, at the time, it seemed like moving home to take care of my mom was the right thing to do. But right about now Milwaukee's not looking so appealing and, well,...my mom never has.

On the upside, I have a new (to me) Eddie Izzard DVD to watch tonight and I purchased my ticket for the return trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. We're calling it the Reunion Tour. I am officially that creepy old alum who returns to get drunk for a few days and pretend they're still in school. I swore it would never happen, and here it is 2 years later and I've already failed. Moving back in with your mother leads you to desperate measures.

Actually, It's less about going to Mardi Gras than it is about seeing my friends, but I'm definitely not going to turn my nose up at Mardi Gras. Besides, the last time I went back to visit and say my goodbyes, that bitch Katrina showed up. This time I'm ready for some hurricanes, but only the alcoholic kind!

I promise, the end of Marquette/UConn madness

From ESPN's college hoops report card:


Speaking of friendship ... Marquette's Steve Novak has some pretty high-profile friends -- like Dwyane Wade and Travis Diener. Those two were Marquette's top players in 2002-03, when the Golden Eagles flew all the way to the Final Four.

Novak was just a freshman then, coming off the bench. But he came up huge in Marquette's tourney run. He went 3-for-3 from 3-point range in overtime in Marquette's second-round win over Missouri. He knocked down three more 3s against Pittsburgh in the next round. And he drilled five treys against Kentucky in the regional final.

Novak's next two seasons didn't go as well. Wade made the leap to the NBA after the Final Four. And Marquette has had to settle for two straight NITs. Now Diener's in the NBA, too, and it's Novak's team. He has some young talent around him. But Marquette just joined the Big East, the deepest conference in the country, and the Golden Eagles were picked to finish 12th out of 16 teams in the league coaches' preseason poll.

So what did Marquette do in its first-ever Big East game Tuesday night? Oh, just blew out the No. 2 team in the country, undefeated UConn, 94-79. And what did Novak do in his first-ever Big East game? Oh, just put up 41 points and 16 rebounds.

41 points and 16 rebounds. No wonder he got a call from Diener right after the game. That performance deserves an A+, doesn't it?

Novak, despite his size (6-foot-10) is one of the best pure shooters in the country. Last season, he was sixth in the nation in 3-point percentage (46.1). And he has made 63 consecutive free throws, dating back to year. "I've never had a kid work harder than Steve, particularly on shooting," Marquette coach Tom Crean says.

UConn simply couldn't handle Steve Novak.But Novak also has a knack for coming up big when it counts the most. Besides the games already mentioned, he scored 28 points in the championship game of the Great Alaska Shootout against South Carolina earlier this season and was named the tourney's MVP. And his previous career high, before the UConn game? Thirty points in a huge road win vs. Louisville his sophomore year.

But Novak played at an even higher level against the Huskies on Tuesday. He was all over the glass. He was extremely aggressive looking for his shots. And he connected on so many. He finished 12-for-20 from the field, including six 3s.

Why does Novak play so well in big games? "Steve's got a good balance of focus and intensity, yet he has a certain calmness about him," Crean says. "When he's really locked in, he can play with just about anybody."

"When I have my best games, I don't even really think about my shot," Novak says. "I'm just so focused."

Novak's main focus is getting back to the Big Dance. If he can lead the Golden Eagles there, he'll have all the friends he could ever want around Marquette.

But no matter what, Novak should get a chance to join his friends Travis and Dwyane in the NBA next year.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

I just liked this AP pic.

Texas Wins!

I could not be happier that Texas won last night. And as much as I dislike the entire state of Texas, that's saying something.

As much as I hate Matt Leinart and USC and especially the Pac 10, I have to say that last night was a bit of a toss up for me.
If USC won we'd be subjected to no end of 3 peat nonsense - most annoying since they didn't so much win the BCS in 2003. In addition, they're just loudmouthed. Check out Leinart's post game quote: "I still think we're a better football team. They just made the plays in the end."

Having to listen to endless posturing from them would have been near unbearable.
The problem is that Texas is going to be no different. I just hate them less.

Texans are obnoxiously, fiercely, ridiculously proud of just being from Texas. Now they've actually got things to be excited about proud of. Makes me happy to not be down in the South, near many Texans.

That being said, Thank the lord that Texas won. I despise the Pac 10 and their posturing and pretending to be a real, competitive conference.

Top 25 ...

Someone explain this to me...
College Football Rankings - Week 17
Week 17 AP Top 25
1. Texas (65) 13-0 1,625
2. USC 12-1 1,560
3. Penn State 11-1 1,484
4. Ohio State 10-2 1,428
5. West Virginia 11-1 1,325
6. LSU 11-2 1,314
7. Virginia Tech 11-2 1,197
8. Alabama 10-2 1,081
9. Notre Dame 9-3 1,019
10. Georgia 10-3 994
11. TCU 11-1 937
12. Florida 9-3 817
12. Oregon 10-2 817
14. Auburn 9-3 799 <<<<<<
15. Wisconsin 10-3 786<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
16. UCLA 10-2 778
17. Miami 9-3 589
18. Boston College 9-3 545
19. Louisville 9-3 410
20. Texas Tech 9-3 359
21. Clemson 8-4 339
22. Oklahoma 8-4 329
23. Florida State 8-5 232
24. Nebraska 8-4 128
25. California 8-4 45

Seriously, this exists on a plane I'm unfamiliar with and I need someone to hold my hand and give me some sound reasoning for this crap.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Capital One Bowl

Ok, If I don't take care of this now, I never will. Especially with this whole National Championship thing they've got going on tonight.

The first thing I noticed in all the coverage is the lack of respect Wisconsin was getting. Not only were we consitantly told by Herbstreit and Corso that Auburn was going to kick our ass, but we were also told that the only reason we'd even be IN the game was because of the emotion that went with it being Barry's last game.

In fact, I'd like to suggest that the College GameDay idiots get a thesauraus, because I heard the word emotion too many damn times in the pregame show. We'd play well and could maybe keep it close because of the emotion involved. Emotions were running high because of Barry. It must be an emotional time.

I wanted to shove the emotion up Lee Corso's Orange Botoxed nose.

I'll tell you what that emotion was all about.
Brian Calhoun rushed for 213 yards ... basically equivalent to the entire offensive output of the Auburn Tigers.
The 236 yards of total offense Auburn put up was well below the 425.6 yards they averaged per game this season. This against a Wisconsin defense that was so bad and so depleted that we had a guy playing Ironman because we had no one else to play at that position.
With his 213 yards, Calhoun became only the 2nd player in NCAA D1 history to record 1,500 yards rushing and 500 yards receiving.

See, what was overlooked by basically everyone this year is that the Wisconsin Badgers weren't even supposed to contend, much less spend most of the season in the Top 25. This was a rebuilding year. The Badgers lost the entire Defensive line to the NFL.

The number one reason that Brian Calhoun should have won the Heisman (or at least have been a serious option) this year is that he single handedly made his team a contender. If USC didn't have Reggie Bush, they'd still be a great team. Lendale White would just have more carries. Brian Calhoun carried an entire team to a top 20 ranking in a year they shouldn't have even been able to be in the top half of their conference.

Wisconsin posted 548 yards of total offense. Brandon Williams notched 173 yards and John Stocco threw for 301 yards. Stocco for the past two years has been mostly a punchline here instate. We've never been known for our outstanding QBs. But of course, in a year where Brooks Bollinger became not only a starter, but a viable one at that, I suppose it meant anything could happen for Wisconsin QBs.

The defense held RB Kenny Irons to 88 yards rushing and held QB Brandon Cox to 137 yards passing. That accounts for all by 11 of Auburn's offensive yards.

Every fan of an SEC team other than Auburn saw this game and gave a little middle finger action to the War Tigers. Hell, they didn't even show up.

The worst part was listening to the announcers, who, instead of crediting Wisconsin with showing up and playing one hell of a game, continuously made excuses for Auburn's lack football prowess. Just once it would have been nice to hear them say something about how Wisconsin flat-out played what was supposed to be a damn good team.

Further proof that bowls prove nothing...

In our ever reaching plot to completely discredit bowls and to show that this has been the strangest bowl season in awhile, I give you exhibit A:

West Virginia beat Georgia (and rushed for about 400 yards on Georgia's defense)

Georgia beat LSU in the SEC Championship game

LSU kicked the living crap out of Miami

Miami beat Virginia Tech (and that skanky, no good otherVick)

and VTech beat...West Virginia

Oh, what a vicious Cycle.

Also, eat that Oregon, you didn't deserve a BCS berth.

More Marquette...

Ok, so another link, but only because this one contains a first hand account of last night's game.

Secondly, I got to work today and who is in my elevator but Steve Novak. This isn't too unusual because I work at the hospital right next to Marquette's campus and the hospital has the top sports medicine clinic in the area.

But honestly, what are the odds of this happening after the kid had a career game? I didn't say anything, mostly because he got off on the next floor and also because I just never want to be that person. I suppose I could have said something like "phenomenal game last night" but since that would have been the extent of the conversation, I decided it better to just leave him alone. I suppose he's gotten enough random strangers annoying him today.

There is a mitigating circumstance to my not saying anything. I have embarassed myself before to Steve Novak, and though I'm absolutely sure he doesn't remember me, I felt the need not to repeat the experience.

Let me take you way back to March 2003. Marquette has made an unexpected run, toppling such teams as Kentucky, and has landed in the Final Four. In New Orleans. Being the sports editor of my school's paper, I received a press pass and had full access to Media Day. We watched shoot arounds, we went to press conferences, we got to visit the teams in the locker rooms. Aside from my Super Bowl Experience, seriously the coolest thing I've ever done. Texas, Kansas and Syracuse were the other 3 teams. I interviewed Carmelo and Nick Collison and Kirk Hinrich. But mostly, I stuck around Marquette. I'm in the transcript from Diener, Wade and Crean's press conference. I interviewed each of them individually. It was fabulous.

So to set the scene, I've done all these things and there's about 15 minutes left before they kick all the press out of the Marquette locker room and I'm looking to see who's free and Steve Novak is standing by himself. So he's like 7 feet and I'm barely 5 feet. Awkward enough interview. Plus, I dont really know what I want to ask the kid. I just saw he was free and went for it. So we're talking and he's from the suburb next to mine and went to school with a bunch of my friends. Brown Deer High. So I ask him about what it's like to be a hometown kid and so young and being the surprise in the Final Four and being in New Orleans and I actually ask him what it's like to come from BD ... what everyone around here calls Brown Deer. The kid looked at me like I had horns. So I quickly explain that I went to a rival high school. You'd think this would establish a comfort level or repartee. No way. The kid looked like I was an alien. I wrapped that interview up so quick my head was spinning. Extremely strange.

I suppose it's not a very good story, but you have to remember I was a 20 year old with a notebook standing next to ESPN cameras most of the day. I was a bit overwhelmed and felt pretty novice. I was nervous as hell and also trying not to waste such a great opportunity. And this kid who was younger than I was looked at me like "who the hell are you?"

So that's my Steve Novak story.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


In their first ever Big East game, Marquette hands UConn their first loss of the season. Steve Novak led all scorers with 41 points. He also posted 16 boards.

Novak's performance was not only a personal best in both points and rebounds, but it was the best performance ever by a player playing their first Big East game. Two other's had scored 30 in their inauguaral performance: Allen Iverson and Troy Murphy.

Novak's 11-11 from the free throw line made 64 straight, dating back to last January.

Rashad Anderson didn't surpass 20 points until less than 2 minuts left in the game. Rudy Gay, who is averaging 17 points on the season, fouled out of the game and finished with only 8 points.

Preseason Big East polls put UConn at #2in the league, behind Villanova. Marquette was ranked 12th - of 16 teams.

Ok, enough technicality. This was a great game, one I was supposed to attend. Of course, the Flu kept me home, but it was pretty damn great to watch on TV as well. Novak was absolutely unbelievable. UConn was beyond poor from the free throw line and seemed unable to handle Marquette's offense. Marquette's agression was surprising, but a welcome site. An extremely uptempo game, I didn't expect the Golden Eagles to hang in. But they took the lead early and never looked back - going up by as many as 23 at some points. Unbelievable. Looks like I may want to pay more than passing attention before March this year.

10 minutes to go...

Marquette is up by 20! 67-47. UConn is 12-27 from the charity stripe, whereas Steve Novak has made something like 60 straight FT's, dating back to last season. He also leads all scorers with 29, surpassing his season high. The next closest is Jerel McNeal, also of Marquette, at 14. Rashad Anderson leads UConn with 11.
Marquette 50 - 37 with 16 minutes left in the half.

Marquette Welcomes Itself to the Big East

Opening conference play, in a new conference, against the #2 team in the nation might faze some undersized, underdog teams. Especially those who are led by a freshman guard. Not so for the Marquette Golden Eagles, who took the lead with 10 minutes left in the half, holding UConn scoreless for a 4 minute stretch on the way to a 39-33 halftime lead.

Not only should Marquette not be leading this game, they shouldn't even be in it. Stellar outside shooting from Steve Novak and an ability to keep up with UConn's fast pace have allowed Marquette to take a six point lead into half.


Very sick times here at cutesports central. Lots to update about, but I'll get to that when I feel I can stay vertical for more than a few minutes at a time. Future coverage with include the Wisconsin - Auburn Capital One Bowl that we absolutely weren't supposed to win. The Manchester United - Arsenal draw I just watched. And full coverage of Bloody Monday as I've decided to call yesterday due to all the coaching changes.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Ding dong the witch is dead...

Allelujia, we finally made a smart move this season.

I'll try to avoid just posting links as much as possible, but honestly, I was so happy to see this this morning that I don't have a whole lot to add.

Packers fire Sherman

from the local paper .... http://www.jsonline.com/packer/news/jan06/382192.asp

Look, I could have dealt with the horrible season. The list on injuries was unfathomable. But he's made nothing but bad decisions as the time has gone on. I don't know that the new GM is any better, but having Sherman as coach and GM was a scary scary time. In addition, he had the most inexplicable off season, picking up none of what we needed to fill the holes. He let a lot of really good players leave and, while I can begin to understand the drafting of Rodgers, what I can't understand is never letting the kid play. We're 4-12, put the kid in and let him gain some real experience. If Favre does retire, we've got a greenhorn with no field time to replace him.

More on Favre's future in a subsequent post.

Wisconsin Hockey

Not too many observations from the Hockey games. Clearly, there's a reason Wisconsin is #1 in the nation. Goalie Brian Elliot allowed one goal per game and was named tournament MVP, notching 19 saves in the Championship game. The kid is stellar and was very enjoyable to watch.

The Badgers proved their versatility as 5 different players scored in the 5-1 victory over Northern Michigan to win the Showdown.

Despite being winter break, plenty of student along with the Alumni Band were their to taunt, Sieve and bash the opposing teams. There's nothing quite like an entire stadium standing up, whipping their hand around above their head and simultaneously yelling sieve at the goalie. My highlight was the row of white haired ladies participating in the demeaning of the goalie.

Students also got points when in the final 4 minutes, they stood up and started chanting Stand Up Old People. clap.clap. clapclapclap. Hilarious and effective, as the entire place was on it's feet shortly thereafter.

I'm currently switching between the Cotton and Outback Bowls, but I haven't been much attention to either.

In pregame blathering, Corso and Herbstreit basically denounced any chance Wisconsin had of stopping Auburn's offense, though did say that maybe the emotion of Alvarez's last game would allow us to keep the game close. The word emotion came up a record number of times between two guys who clearly have none.