Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Triad Stage

Maria and I went to our first production at Triad Stage this weekend. It was a little shocking to hear them talking about getting ready for their 5th season next year. I bought tickets for my parents once and had a free pass that I didn't use another time, but I think their initial foray into the Greensboro theatre scene left me w/ a bad taste. There was a lot of publicity about how theatre on this level had never been seen in Greensboro. All I could think about were the hard working people at the Broach Theatre and the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival. Even the UNCG theatre full timers had to feel a little insulted. However, I will say the Triad Stage has done their promotion on WUAG's Tuesday afternoon theatre presentation. And they seem to be promoting theatre in general rather than just their own theatre, so I won't make my first impression my only impression. As for the show itself, their theatre had the best scenery of any place around here by way way way way way far. It's a little hard to tell how great the costume crew is when the play is a depression era farm story. I mean that's how I dress, so obviously it's not as spectacular as Henry IV. I would guess they are capable of great things, but we'll have to go back to make sure. If Maria gets a blog can we review the play and deduct the tickets as a business expense?

No more nice things about the Panthers offensive line

I knew the Panthers were under the microscope about a steroid investigation w/ a SC doctor. Today they named names. I hardly think it's a coincidence that I show Jeff Mitchell some love, and the next day THE MAN® tries to bring him down. From now on like Sgt. Schultz I know nothing.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Panthers Offensive Line Strategy

I was reading Len Pasquarelli's tip sheet this week and saw an interesting bit about the Panthers. Former 1st round pick Jordan Gross is moving back to right tackle. The talking heads say he really struggled at left tackle last year after an excellent rookie season at right tackle. I watched a lot of Panthers games last year, and while I won't claim to be an expert on line play I know when things are going right. When rookie Travelle Wharton took over at left guard last year, the Panthers running game really took off. Sub 4th stringer Nick Goings put together a string of 100 yard games. It seemed like most of his running was going to the left side w/ center Jeff Mitchell, Wharton, and Gross establishing some good running lanes. I don't watch enough game film to tell you what Jordan Gross was doing right or wrong, but I think the guard play was a big factor in his struggles. The Panthers lost their 2 starting guards from 2003 and a starting tackle. And the right tackle position last year was crap. The only notable thing accomplished by regular starter Matt Willig was an abundance of untimely penalties. Not just lineman false starts and holds, there were also personal fouls that ruined drives. I know enough about offensive line play to say that he needs to be replaced. There were several problems including injuries and a retirement that caused the line play and thus the entire offense to suffer. However, by the end of the season I think the play of Nick Goings (5 games of 100 yards rushing in 7 starts) says the line was doing considerably better. I'll never complain about signing quality offensive linemen, but I think there could be a really good offensive line for the Panthers this year. I just don't know who will be in what position. I will bet that Jeff Mitchell starts at center again, but that was part of the problem last year (lack of consistency) (the other problem was a couple of stiffs mixed in w/ the good players). Let's hope they gel before their record is 1-7.

Final Four

I got 3 of the final four in my bracket. Unfortunately, I also got 3 of the final 8. That's not the way to win anything. If Carolina beats Illinois in the final, I'll end up in 15th out of 120ish. The worst I can do is about 40th. Since I can't win any money, my investment this weekend will be completely emotional. I will cry before Roy Williams. That's the only prediction I'm making.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Duke, State, Carolina: Can't we all just get along?

Well of course we can't. However, I was impressed w/ what the tv stations in NC did to accomodate the State and Duke games. I figured switching one of the games to another network would cost the CBS stations a lot of dough, but w/ the exception of Greensboro that is exactly what happened. Even the Greensboro situation of putting Duke on cable seems pretty reasonable. I'm a little surprised that only Raleigh and Greensboro are showing the State game on CBS. It's the biggest university in NC and Duke relies heavily on out of state students many of whom never grace our fair state again (I've now lived in NC longer than any other place so it is our state. I didn't renew my subscription to Our State, but I think I can still use that term.) Should I mention again that the president of CBS sports is a Duke grad? Or should I just attribute it to Duke's popularity after 3 NCAA championships and 10 final fours under Coach K? I think I'll stick w/ the Sean McManus thing.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Feed the world at a $200 level and get this handsome tote bag

It's pledge time at UNC-TV, so that means they are dragging out the archival rock and roll footage. I watched the Live Aid special the other night. I knew the Led Zeppelin reunion wasn't on it, but that jones was already satisfied. To be honest, it looked really dated. I enjoyed Bob Geldof's primping and preening during I Don't Like Mondays. The thing that really bugged me was the regularity with which Phil Collins popped up. I remembered that he played in London, flew on the Concorde, and played for the reunited Led Zeppelin. I didn't remember that he played w/ every act in London before he left. He probably got them to hold the flight until he was finished jamming w/ Sting. It was like living in the 80s again. Every single song broadcasted featured Phil Collins. Maybe that's why I wasn't too keen on the whole thing. Give me Farm Aid any day.

Bracket Busted

Mathematically, I think I'm still in the running for the office pool. Right now I'm tied for 108 out of 120ish. I threw my bracket away on Sunday morning. I have picked the champion 2 out of the last 3 years. It may turn out like 3 years ago when I picked Maryland but finished last out of all the people who picked the Terps and behind many people who didn't pick either of the finalists. I could deal w/ that. If I had picked Duke for the final four, I'd be in good shape. However, I don't think I can stand another Duke/Carolina game this year. I'll have to get a home defibulator if that happens.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Tourney Update

I've seen the brackets for the office pool. If Carolina beats Illinois in the final and Louisville and Oklahoma are in the final four, I should be in pretty good shape. There are a couple of people who picked UNC over Illinois who have Louisville or Oklahoma in the final four, but I'm the only person w/ both. Thursday I lost 2 sweet 16 teams (LSU and Alabama), and Friday I lost 2 final 8 teams (Syracuse and Kansas). For some reason I picked every 10 seed. If I had noticed this before the games started, I would have changed one. Luckily I didn't b/c I would have picked Charlotte over NC State. I also picked at 12 over a 5, and a 14 over a 3. Too bad they were Old Dominion and Utah St. Carolina did look like the best team in the tournament yesterday, but they were playing the team w/ the worst record. I'll try to contain my excitement.

Culture Vulture

I'm trying to broaden my horizons especially since 311 speedway isn't open yet. We took the kids to the reenactment of the battle of Guilford Courthouse. Desmond liked the guns. He didn't complain about the noise, and those cannons are loud when you're only 20 feet away from them. This was on Sunday, so it was a beautiful day to get outside and watch people shoot at each other. I swear I was going to see the National Symphony Orchestra during their recent visit to North Carolina. I bought the cheapest tickets they were selling and had Maria convinced it would be a good night out. However, Maria started working again on Wednesday night, so we wanted to spend our last weeknight together at home doing nothing. I traded the tickets to my mom for more free babysitting. That puts me out $30 and her or dad out about a million hours. Finally, I took Desmond and Izabella to a night at the opera. Ok, I really just went b/c it was at the new baseball stadium, but there was an opportunity to be exposed to high society. The stadium is awesome. The kids playground wasn't open, but that will buy me a couple innings that I didn't used to get. The best deal looks like the bar in left field. It's cheaper to get in there, and the tables are a better place for conversation than the rows of reserved seats. I didn't actually stay for any of the opera, but I bought a couple of hot dogs, a pretzel, t-shirt, and a beer so they were happy we came. Also, Guilford the Grasshopper made an up close appearance for the kids. They were both enthralled. I wish he would babysit at the games.

So let me sum up the week in culture. We saw a bunch of guys shooting guns and a new baseball stadium. I'm sure the kids will turn out to be a couple of regular Rockefellers.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

tourney blog

I've watched a little bit this afternoon but not a lot. I had to call Time Warner to get the extra channels. I think it just involved them resetting my cable box, so it wasn't a big deal. The only issue I've run into is one of the 3 extra channels is the HD feed. I don't have HDTV. The main channel that is normally channel 2's HD feed on cable doesn't come in. The other 2 are ok. The customer service lady only asked me to check the other 2, so I'm not sweating it.

Of the 3 early games I got, I noticed a rather disturbing "coincidence." The 3 color commentators are Jay Bilas, Mike Gminski, and Jim Spanarkel. All 3 of them are Duke grads. Maybe that shouldn't be too surprising since the president of CBS sports is also a Duke grad. They'll probably get Coach K to be the special color commentator for the Carolina game tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Final Four Final Edition

I've picked Carolina to win it all. I think they can win it all, but realistically I'm probably going to pick my favorite team about 2 rounds too far. That at least means a Final Four. I was looking at a list of non Final Four Carolina teams since the last national championship and I noticed an interesting trend.

1994 2nd round Boston College - I watched it at Bub's in Chapel Hill. One of the few times I went there after I was old enough to get in legitimately.

1996 2nd round Texas Tech - I watched it at some bar in the Atlanta suburbs w/ the Reichs and Weber and C-line. Very anti-Carolina crowd out there. Maybe they considered them Yankees.

1999 1st round Weber State - I watched it at a bar in Charlotte w/ Steve Politi. He was in town covering the next night's NCAA games, and I worked down there. We went to a place close to the apartment I lived in so technically it was Pineville. If I get to call the place in 1996 "Atlanta", then this was definitely Charlotte.

2001 2nd round Penn State - I watched this at my parents house. It was Sunday dinner w/ the extended family and my dad asked God to be w/ the Tar Heels during the pre-meal prayer. I think the Duke crowd in the family is a little tighter w/ God.

2004 2nd round Texas - I watched it at Hugo's here in Greensboro. Not much to say except Texas and the Frank Erwin Center rank number 2 on the all time attendance list for games I've been to. UNCG will probably pass them if they ever play games on weekend afternoons or my kids get old enough that they can stay out until 9 o'clock.

Don't worry, I went to Total Wine today and bought a case of beer. I should be holed up in my house until Monday. Go Heels!

Final Four

Of course I picked Carolina to win it all this year. And I picked Illinois to play them in the final. I figured that would be a pretty popular pick office pick 1)we are in NC 2)you get the people who pick the favorites. So I threw in 2 not as popular picks for my other 2 Final Four teams b/c I can't win anything based on picking the other games I have to depend on the Final Four points. I've seen Louisville picked in a few places, and I also went w/ Oklahoma. Well the guy in the News and Record picked the exact same Final Four. I hope he's not in my pool.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Fantasy NASCAR

My 10 race fantasy NASCAR season is going ok. I'm disappointed that Dave's team (I Eat My Boogers) has fallen out of the top 100, but only b/c I laughed every time I saw "I Eat My Boogers" on the score sheet. I really want to crush him. I'd be doing a lot better if I wasn't in love w/ Kasey Kahne. Although since the "ladies" section is at the top of his web store, I'm guessing that my reason to dig him (he always takes the high line) is different than other people.

Getting my money's worth

I only pay $168 a month to Time Warner, so the bonus NCAA games this week makes me feel good. I have to work on Thursday and Friday b/c the other 2 guys at work aren't going to be there (although neither absence is NCAA related so I don't see why I should be penalized). I do plan on sneaking out to watch the Heels on Friday. And there are plenty of games to watch in the evening, so Duke/whoever can be replaced by Syracuse/Vermont. Cool.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Scaring the kids w/ music

I recently bought the Pavement Major Leagues EP. Mainly b/c I liked the Killing Moon cover, but right after that is a cover of The Fall's The Classical which is a big bonus. Anyway, I was playing it on the radio in Izabella's room and despite her screaming, yelling, and crying I'm pretty sure she liked it. I had to leave the room and came out to the living room where I could hear it through the baby monitor. It didn't just sound like The Fall through the baby monitor. It was The Fall somehow transformed through this magic box. It didn't work w/ the Raffi record though.

Not to be outdone, I was driving Desmond to school when the song Blood Embrace from the new Bonnie Prince Billy album came on the radio. It's a good song, but kind of haunting and repetitive. It ended as we got to school and when I looked back at Desmond in his seat he had this look of defeat on his face. He's still young enough that he won't remember that it was at that moment his ability to have meaningful adult relationships was ruined. Please don't clue him in when he's older.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Newest Smith

Maria had me feed Izabella chicken the other night. While most baby food is disgusting (carrots I like), babies don't know the difference. She definitely liked the chicken, but I could tell she knew it would taste better fried rather than pureéd. Soon enough we'll be at Bojangles.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

King of the Sissies

I was driving down Bryan Boulevard (4 lane divided hwy 55mph) today when I looked over and saw my 66 year old mother zooming past me. I don't have any excuses. I am the new king of the sissies.