Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Well folks, I have moved my Blog to a new home, leaving behind Ramblings on Blogger. This will be my final entry at Ramblings but I hope you will follow my rants and comments at my new blog site; Ramblings 2.0, hosted by WordPress.

Why the change? Well, I have come to think that the creativity and content management is a step or two above Blogger's. I have been reading some blogs lately hosted by WordPress and I have been impressed with what they have done.

As I am switching hosts for my blog I have come to realize that I need to get rid of some old stuff laying around that simply does not have a home at Ramblings 2.0. So if anybody would like to purchase some old posts off of me feel free to make an offer! There are some great classics to be owned folks, such as my declaration that NASCAR is not a sport (that fueled some comments), my step by step guide to creating a student section, and what I would do as Sports Emperor for a Day. Lots of great stuff here, and I haven't even brought up the numerous posts in which I blast Notre Dame. There are a few of thus spattered through out.

So I hope you update your bookmarks and start checking out the new Ramblings 2.0 as regularly as you check this one. Please be advised, that I am still in the process of modifying the look of the new blog until I get it just right. Comments will be much appreciated as to what you like and don't like at the new blog.

Or if it doesn't turn out nicely, I'll be back on Blogger in two weeks!


Irish Weekend

Friday, September 21, 2007

I'll be leaving today to spend the weekend in Wildwood, New Jersey for Irish Weekend! So have a good weekend everybody!

Blogged with Flock


Letter to Sports Illustrated: Update

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Well, I received a response today from Time Inc., responding to my letter to Sports Illustrated from yesterday. It seems to me that I'm getting the usual "We don't have time to read your e-mail but we'll pass it along to the editors" run around. Who knows.

Here is what I received;

"Dear Mr. McGuire:

Thank you for writing. While the editors wish they could reply individually to each person who writes, the volume of mail makes this impossible.

However, we wanted you to know that every letter is read by at least two editors, your views and opinions help shape the content of the magazine, and all editorial letters are considered for publication.

SI Letters Department"

If I get an actual response at anytime, I'll let you know about it.

Blogged with Flock


Touchdown Thursday

Am I obsessed with football? Possibly. The funny thing is I never regarded it as my favorite sport. That would be baseball. Oddly enough though, football consumes me like no other sport. I watch the Phillies and pay attention to other games in baseball. I do not play in any fantasy leagues, I never know when the draft is, and I'll casually watch the playoffs, unless the Phillies somehow make it in. Football is a different story.

This season I find myself in a pair of fantasy football leagues in addition to two separate football pools and a suicide pool. I have been to more football games this season than I have baseball. I make my football picks every week. I get more into football, but I still think baseball is my favorite sport.

I'm not exactly sure anymore. Am I fooling myself into thinking baseball is still my favorite sport? Am I holding on to sentimental reasons for liking baseball more? I have always said I love the fact that you can sit back, relax, and enjoy a baseball game. Football is a lot more stressful and on the edge, clearly. Perhaps it is my laid back style that prefers baseball to football.

Check back for status updates on my baseball vs. football love affair as the month goes (read: as the Phillies playoff door slams shut).

Let's talk football though. I will be away at the shore this weekend in Wildwood, New Jersey for Irish Weekend so I am getting my picks out there today. And because of that, let's pick a Thursday night game, shall we?

The Miami Hurricanes take on #20 Texas A&M tonight in the Orange Bowl. The Hurricanes are obviously on somewhat of a rebuilding level. So is Notre Dame but Charlie Weis won't admit it. But then again, Charlie Weis won't admit a lot of things. Miami enters the ESPN match up at 2-1 after beating cross town rival Florida International. Miami needed a fluff opponent after getting licked by Oklahoma 51-13 the week before. I believe that Miami, as young and inexperienced as they may be, is very capable of knocking off Texas A&M tonight. The ACC is hoping that Miami can do it though, because their conference is in desperate need of a quality win. With their neighbors the SEC soaking up all the buzz lately the ACC is way behind. In fact the Big East, the conference that was supposed to be left for dead after the ACC raided the top teams, has blown past the ACC in many people's views. I'm still a little reserved on the hype of the Big East, but I support the notion that they are better than the ACC op to bottom. The Aggies have a great rushing offense and they could wear down the Hurricanes as the game drags on. Add to that the fact that A&M has all the momentum going for them in this series, winning the last game 70-14 in 1944, and Texas A&M is the obvious pick. Miami will keep it close though. Besides, Miami is caught in a trap game between Florida International and Duke.

The game that has clearly been soaking up my nervous sweat since the week began is the Penn State-Michigan game. The last time Penn State beat Michigan, I was in high school. They should have a couple games since then but that should be another story. But it is the harsh memories of blown games, calls, and lack of talent that cause me to think that the #10 Nittany Lions are about to drop in the rankings while unranked Michigan is about to make believers out of the media again. Mike Hart scares me.


This Penn State defense is really good. Don't discredit them for the teams they have played (Florida International, Buffalo and the worst team in college football, Notre Dame). This defense has talent. What scares me though is the fact that they haven't really been tested. Buffalo put up 24 on them, but that doesn't really concern me either since 21 of those points were 4th quarter scores. Everything should be going Penn State's way heading into this game. But everything should have been going Penn State's way in 1997 (L 8-34), 1999 (L 27-31), 2002 (L 24-27), and 2005 (L 25-27). Penn State has the defense. Michigan has the injured started QB. Penn State has the top ten ranking. Michigan has washed away national title dreams (Let's be honest, all they had before App. State were dreams anyway). Part of me wishes Notre Dame was better so we could maybe better assess both Michigan and Penn State. Both teams destroyed the Irish, leaving us really nothing to determine what kind of teams we have going into this weekend.

My heart says Penn State. Then again, it always says Penn State. At the start of the week I knew Michigan would win this game. But today, Thursday, I'm starting to believe a little more in Joe Paterno's squad. Maybe it's blind faith, maybe it's the fact that all losing streaks have to end at some point, or maybe it's just from reading these two very well put together blogs - MGoBlog, a great Michigan blog, and Run Up the Score!, the Penn State equivalent. While I may be thinking that Penn State is very capable of winning the game against the Wolverines on Saturday, I am not 100% ready to say a poor offensive showing, a bewildered Anthony Morelli, a pair of Austin Scott fumbles, or a lackluster receiving performance won't show up. The defense will play well. Mike Hart will get his yards, and he'll probably notch 100 yards. The key will be making sure he gets those 100 yards in small doses throughout the game. If he gets his 100th yard in the 4th quarter, Penn State wins. If he gets 100th yard early in the third, Michigan wins.

Hate to say it, but I'm picking Michigan. I'll probably pick Michiagn every time until Penn State pulls one out. If ever there was a year to do so, THIS IS THE YEAR!

Whew. all of that Penn State-Michigan talk wore me out. But I still have a few more games to pick! As you know I always pick the Shippensburg game of the week to pay homage to all of my fans in Red Raider Nation. They let me down last week with their second half collapse against Kutztown, and I'm going to have to punish them this week for it. The #20 West Chester University Golden Rams are heading to the Cumberland Valley and I see nothing that tells me the Rams won't pick up their third win of the season while in town. The school and town of Shippensburg are actually taking a page out of the Phillies' playbook and promoting their own "Paint the Town Red" hype. How did that turn out for the Phills? They started the season out 0-3. That wraps up the college games, so let's head to the NFL for a brief look.

Will the Eagles really go 0-3? I don't think so. The Detroit Lions come to Philly with a 2-0 record and something they call a group of "wide receivers". Apparently these wide receivers have the ability to catch footballs thrown their way after they create separation from their defenders. This something we once saw in Philadelphia when the ogre known as Terrell Owens was wearing green. I usually back Donovan McNabb to all the haters, but right now he needs to get healthy. He is clearly not helping the team at this moment in time! The defense has been playing well though, much better than people expected. I don't see this Eagles team going 0-3. I just don't. Maybe 1-4, but not 0-3. Eagles beat the Lions.

My favorite NFL quarterback, Matt Schaub, had a nice article about him written in this week's Sports Illustrated. HE may not have been on the cover, but his 2-0 start is starting to grab some eyes around the league. You think the Indianapolis Colts have realized they are tied at the top of the NFC South with the Texans? After Sunday, Schaub will start leading the Texans to a wild card berth. Colts will win this one, but Schaub will pass for 476 yards, five touchdowns, and run for two more. And the other darling quarterback, Tony Romo, is going to have a very frustrating night in Chicago as the Bears rough him up. Final score; Bears 52, Cowboys -10.

So here's the Week Four Recap for Kevin's Six Pack of Picks for the Weekend...

Philadelphia Eagles (0-2) over Detroit Lions (2-0)
Indianapolis Colts (2-0) over Houston Texans (2-0)
Chicago Bears (1-1) over Dallas Cowboys (2-0)
Michigan (1-2) over #10 Penn State (3-0)
#20 West Chester (2-1) over Shippensburg (0-3)
#20 Texas A&M (3-0) over Miami (2-1)

I'll throw in my suicide pool pick too, just for kicks; Baltimore Ravens (home vs. Arizona Cardinals). I have already used Jacksonville (week two) and Dallas (week one)

This is a tough slate on hand. I hope I can turn around my downward slide. Week one I was 6-0. Week two I was 5-1. Week three I was 4-2. As if I wasn't nervous enough...


Letter to Sports Illustrated

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I have been getting increasingly frustrated with the coverage Sports Illustrated allots to college football. In the "The Week in Sports" section of Sports Illustrated, there is one page given to college football. That is as much as the WNBA receives. Same with soccer. High school football? Try a page and a half!

I wrote Sports Illustrated, much like my grandmother might, to let them know I am displeased with their coverage selection. Here is what I wrote;

"I find it alarming that your issues only feature one page of college football coverage, but one and a half pages of high school football in the “The Week in Sports” section. I understand that high school football is huge in some regions but on a national scale isn’t college football more worthy of the extra coverage? Personally, my interest in high school football starts and ends with my former high school and their league. I can get plenty of coverage on that in my local paper.

Kevin McGuire
Souderton, PA"

We'll see what kind of response I get on this issue, if anything.

On the bright side, there was a nice feature article on Matt Schaub in this week's issue. Matt Schaub; Pride of West Chester East High School.

Blogged with Flock


Showtime Preview on Comcast

I rarely, if ever, read the messages Comcast sends me through my cable box. But today I did and learned that Comcast customers are getting a free preview of Showtime On Demand during the last weekend of the month (9/28 - 10/1). In addition I'll also be getting a Showtime Free Preview on digital cable October 19 - October 21!

I'll be sure to load up the DVR that weekend, but when is the HBO preview???

Blogged with Flock


Tuesday Afternoon Rants, Accolades, Thoughts and Worries

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

So yesterday I wasted my afternoon with Grand Slam Events, who turned out to be a prospective employer that was nothing like what I thought. I was lead to believe they were a public relations company promoting events such as conventions, fairs, and sports teams. Boy was that ever wrong. Turns out they are one of those pyramid scheme companies in which they fund raise outside of drug and grocery stores, selling t-shirts, mugs, Crayola products in an effort to raise money to fund non-profit groups such as D.A.R.E.

Now, I'm all for supporting D.A.R.E. and other programs such as Toys for Tots, another of the big programs supported through Grand Slam Events. However, if I want to sell Crayola products, I'll stick with my job with Staples.

I didn't sleep very much Sunday night, thanks in part to a mistake 40 minute nap after 7pm. I would have much preferred taking a nap after work on Monday afternoon, knowing that I was going to be up late watching the Eagles on Monday Night Football.

While we are on the topics of valuable time wasted, I watched the entire Eagles game last night and in having opposite feelings I was feeling during the Phillies game in St. Louis, I could have sworn the Eagles were going to pull it out. Meanwhile in St. Louis, once Charlie Manuel got scared that Kyle Kendrick gave up 3 runs, cutting the Phillies lead to a mere 8 runs, he went to his shut down, end-the-game-right-now, automatic bullpen. So much for resting your bullpen.

Final score; Phills - 13, Cardinals - 11.

Aaron Rowand, you are the savior for your likely game saving catch in the 8th and following it up with an insurance home run.

But the Phillies remain in the playoff hunt, but the schedule is not their friend. If only we could play the Mets for the rest of the season...

Comcast DVR is great. Since getting it I have been able to record shows I normally missed. I have now seen shows such as It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Joe Paterno press conferences, The Penn State Football Story, Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares (the BBC version), as well as saving some movies that I would like to watch when there is time. The best part yet was last night.

In years past if there were two shows on that I like at the same time, the VCR would have to be set to tape one while I watch the other, and I'll watch the taped show the next day or so. Eventually the VCR was replaced by Microsoft Windows Media Center Edition. Last night Windows was replaced by DVR. Prison Break debuted last night, and about a half hour into the show the Eagles would play on Monday Night. Rather than divide my attention and flip back and forth, I recorded the Eagles game with the DVR and watched Prison Break uninterrupted, except for commercials when I would flip to the Phillies. Once Prison Break was over, I would load up my saved recordings and select the Eagles game and start watching it as if it were live. The game was still recording while I was watching the same recording. Thus I could fast forward through commercials and lulls in the broadcast until I caught up to the live action.


As for Prison Break, I am having doubts about how the third season will go. I have been loyal to the show since the beginning but fear that recycling the storyline of having a brother in prison needing to find a way out with his brother's aide may suffer a little bit. Theodore has already put himself in position of prison bitch to the man who seems to be widely considered the leader in the prison, who also has an issue with Michael. Let's face it, Scofield always had problems making friends. But I know his old enemies are soon going to be his strongest allies in the Panama prison. Mahoney saved Scofield once already after giving him fight advice and I'm sure he will be an important asset for Michael as the season unfolds. I kind of feel sorry for Billick, although we were always supposed to not like him. I felt bad for him once before when he was at his mother's house and had just been sent home from Fox River. But then he went and became a bad guy again fast so all sorry feelings went down the drain.

Next week will be interesting when Fernando Sucre returns. I have a feeling that he is going to do something wrong in Panama and become the next inmate at Sona. Maybe not in his first episode, but in the next couple weeks. We all know Michael needs Sucre.

I covered a lot of ground today I think. Time to close this with one final thought.

It is Tuesday and I am already dreading Saturday's Penn State game at Michigan. I am not alone either.


War Without Death; a book review

Monday, September 17, 2007

Few divisions in all of sports are as storied as the National Football League's NFC East Division. The Dallas Cowboys. The New York (football) Giants. The Washington Redskins. The Philadelphia Eagles. Together they own a quarter of the NFL's Super Bowl championships (ten) and have been the team of many legendary football players. The competition in the division is highly regarded as the toughest not only in the NFL, but in all of sports. Mark Maske took the opportunity to chronicle a year in the life of the NFC East in the book, War Without Death.

War Without Death: A Year of Extreme Competition in Pro Football's NFC East is exactly what the title says it is. The storyline of the 2006 calendar year for the NFC East is divided into three sections. And instead of giving you just the game recaps from the NFL season, the reader is put right in the thick of things from the coach's office, to the owner's box, to the draft rooms, and the player's homes. You start off right in Oakland at the end of the 2005 NFL season, where the New York Giants had clinched the 2005 NFC East division in January. Stories of the legendary Mara family, owners of the Giants, are told and signify how special things were in the organization, as well as documenting the emotions of the Cowboys, Redskins, and Eagles.

Maske tells the story more from the angle of the owners of the clubs than anyone else. Dan Snyder comes off as a rich man who is looking for his next buck. Jerry Jones comes off as a man wanting his Cowboys to be "America's Team". John Mara comes off as a man who wants to respect the history of the Giants and NFL, as well as wanting to ensure the Giants mean something in the league. And Jeffery Lurie comes off as the owner who wants to be successful but wants to do it smartly, rather than being the over spender. Each personality is represented just as they appear to be in real life.

The three sections of the book are "The Planning", "The Build Up", and "The Payoff". Each section progresses through the year starting with the end of the 2005 season. In the first section the reader learns what each club is thinking coming off the end of the 2005 NFL season, coaching changes, free agents, and looking forward to the draft. "The Build Up" is all about the second half of the off season as the reader learns how the draft unfolds, the legacies of the owners and general managers that are defined by free agency and drafts, and the wonderful world of training camps.
"The Payoff" takes the reader through the up and down 2006 season, all of the division lead changes, the national exposure games, and the eventual playoff match-ups.

There are so many plot lines that are followed through out the entire book. One to pay attention too is the story of Adam Archuleta, a free agent who decided to sign with the Redskins for more money as opposed to going to Chicago, where he could play in a system that better suited him and was close to his old home. Archuleta tells Maske just how feels as he makes the decision and how his feelings turn bitter as the season unfolds. By the end you want to feel sorry for Archuleta, but at the same time you may feel like saying "Told ya so!"

Among the other story lines that are detailed more accurately and without bias is the Terrell Owens sage, which moved form Philadelphia to Dallas. Owens' image issues, coach Parcels battles, and overdose episode are discussed, as well as his road from Philadelphia to Dallas. Also detailed throughout the book is what happens above the club level.

A owners' meetings are discussed in an important year for the NFL. A new collective bargaining agreement was put in place, as was a new commissioner. Stadium deals are passed, coaches are scrutinized, and players are revived and dismantled.

Every topic thinkable is covered in War Without Death. I bought it a while ago and finally finished it over the weekend. If you are a football fan, especially of either of the NFC East teams, this is a must read when you get a chance. You will undoubtedly come away with a higher appreciation for the inner workings of the NFL and its teams, owners, general managers, coaches, and players.


Two Weeks of Schaub

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Matt Schaub, starting quarterback for the Houston Texans and former quarterback for West Chester East High School, is off to a good start. The first two games have been good to Schaub. Texans are 2-0, but take a glimpse at his stats;

36-50 (72% completion)
452 yards
3 touchdowns
1 interception
2 sacks

Two sacks is more important than you might think. His predecessor in Houston, David Carr (now with the Carolina Panthers) was sacked 249 times in four years in Houston. 41 times in 2005. Now, the offensive line may be improved, or maybe Schaub is just smarter and able to get rid of the ball more effectively. Take your pick.

Houston Texans are 2-0. Next up? The Colts.

Blogged with Flock


R.I.P. Aunt Helen

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I'll warn you that I may ramble in this post more than in others, because I'm not sure how to structure what I'm about to say yet. I hope you understand.

So today was the funeral services for my Aunt Helen, my grandmother's older sister. I was able to rework my schedule to get down to Chester for most of the memorial activities, something I wasn't able to do when my Uncle Vaughn, Aunt Helen's husband, had passed away my freshman year at Shippensburg. Having missed that previous service I felt it necessary to make it down for this one. My cousins Lee and Evan were mourning the loss of another grandparent, and I have been fortunate enough not to have had to deal with such a loss yet.

The last time I went to a viewing was for my Aunt Donna's mother a couple years ago. Before that was for Bill Dean's son. Before that my friend's grandfather. Before that and it starts to get hazy. It's hard not to hate these services, but always remember that the family and close friends are thankful. Even if you just show up, you are showing your support for the family and their loss.

Earlier this week my best friend had gone through a similar situation earlier this week with his fiance's mother. Throw in the anniversary of September 11 and we have on our hands what seems to be a down week. I can't speak for what happened at the services my friend had to go through, and I'm not sure how everybody reacts to September 11 anymore, but what I witnessed at the services for my Aunt Helen was somewhat remarkable.

What I found remarkable was the good spirits many seemed to be in. People laughed as they exchanged stories and I suppose that is also the reason for these services. Remember the good times. I hope I have a long happy life in front of me, but I hope that whenever the day comes that there are many people who will come and share a happy story about me. I'm not a religious person but I can appreciate the symbolism that is demonstrated and the lessons that are taught and the importance they serve in many people's lives. The pastor for today ended his service with an anecdote about a ship.

When a ship goes out to see, one might think that once it disappears on the horizon that it is gone. Gone where? Somebody waiting on the other coast may be saying "Here comes the ship!" When one person passes on, they may be leaving our lives, but there are old friends, family and loved ones waiting for that person on the other side that will be just as happy to see them.

I hope that my Aunt Helen has found her husband and other friends and family as she has now left our lives on this planet.

Blogged with Flock


West Chester East High School Cavalcade

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Just thought I would throw this out there for all of you marching band enthusiasts. My high school, West Chester East, will be hosting their second annual marching band festival as part of the Cavalcade of Bands Association's performance schedule. The date is September 29 and the cost is $8 ($6 for senior citizens and children ten and under). First band performs at 6pm!

Here is the tentative lineup:

Fugett Middle School Band (exhibition)
Archbishop Ryan
Burlington City, NJ
Delsea Regional, NJ
Kingsway Regional, NJ
Marple Newtown
Oakcrest, NJ
Penns Grove, NJ
Southern Regional, NJ
Sun Valley
Upper Dublin
William Penn, DE
West Chester East High School (exhibition)

I'll be there helping out in some unknown capacity as of yet. Hope to see you there supporting high school bands!


I Remember

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The day started just as every day in the halls of Naugle Hall had for me. It was a Tuesday and I had woken up to my 9am alarm a little more than groggy. Like had happened many nights with my friends at Shippensburg University, we had decided to go to the Late Night meal at the union building. Every night at 11pm, going to get pizza, ice cream, or pepperoni sticks and a soda was about as much as any under 21 year old in college could look forward too. To my friends and I, this was our Happy Hour.

We had gone the night before and stayed there until the building closed at midnight. From there we went back to Naugle Hall for some late night television, but would soon call it a night. Some of our friends went back to their dorm or their rooms, and I went to bed. I had a sociology class to get rested up for the next morning at 9:30 am, my earliest class of the week. And after that I had a psychology class. It was my least favorite day of classes, but it was still early in the semester so I looked forward to going to my new classes.

After climbing down form the top bunk while my roommate kept on sleeping (I believe he was usually up for hours after I went to bed), I went through my morning routine, although slightly abbreviated. I first went to my computer and checked the National League playoff standings as the Phillies were battling with the Atlanta Braves for the National League East division as well as jockeying for position in the wild card spot. I wanted to know what happened on the west coast while I slept. Other than that I was looking forward to Thursday night's game Penn State would be playing down in Virginia against my former high school quarterback, Matt Schaub, and the Virginia Cavaliers. After checking the west coast scores I got my clothes for the day together, as well as my toothbrush and made my way down the hallway towards the bathroom for my morning shower. I saw no need to shave this day, as I was already in a rush to get ready for my class. I wanted to stop by the CUB and grab a breakfast sandwich too.

Normally when I made the walk down the hallway there were a couple people with their doors open. I would typically see a couple people heading back from their 8am classes, or getting ready for their 9:30 classes. Some would have their TVs on, others would just be on their computer. I noticed some more people had their TVs on today but thought nothing of it. I went and showered and got dressed in the bathroom, and brushed my teeth. From there I walked back to my room.

About two doors from my room somebody had greeted me from behind, Jon Rotz, who lived a couple doors down from me. He was coming back form an 8am class. Jon had lived in the same hallway, as I did, last year so we had come to know each other and talked more than some other people in the hallway. I always admired his and his roommates' room too as they had a big screen TV, a slab of marble that they laid across their school provided desks which they used to create a wall long desk for the two of them, and a plethora of lights, as well as the nicest futon in the hallway. He and his roommates were also owners of an original Nintendo so I had something in common with those guys.

"Have you seen it?" Jon asked me.

"Seen what?" I replied. I had no clue what he was talking about. I figured maybe he was talking about some kind of prank somebody pulled in the hallway, but immediately turned that thought down by the look on his face.

"The World Trade Center. It was hit by a couple planes."


"Come here," Jon said and I followed him to his room. His roommate was already up, getting ready for his 9:30 class and he was watching their TV intently with a blank stare on his face. I fixated my eyes on their TV and was amazed as we saw the World Trade Center burning and spewing smoke like I had never seen. It was then that I saw for the first time a video clip of the second plane flying into the tower. The three of us were stunned. We didn't know what to think. Was it an accident? Immediately after seeing the clip of the plane, we knew it was not an accident. I told them I had to get back to my room and excused myself. I entered my room and didn't care that my roommate was sleeping. I turned our TV on as I finished getting ready for class.

I was ready for class, but just had to get my books together. I couldn't though. I was too mesmerized by the news I was watching unfold before my eyes. I don't remember what channel I was watching. It didn't matter though. Everybody I'm sure was showing exactly the same thing. Thoughts about that Phillies game I was excited for that night were an afterthought. Class was an afterthought. I then realized I had five minutes to make a 10 minute walk across campus.

I showed up five minutes late, but it didn't matter. Sociology class had turned into an open forum about what happened. There were classmates hearing the news for the first time. Not everybody turned on a TV as they got ready for their morning, or checked anything more than their e-mail on their computer. Our professor was already there joining in on the open discussion that had nothing to do with sociology. After only five minutes our professor said that holding class today was going to be useless if we weren't going to actually have class and he ended class right there after taking attendance. He urged us all to go back to our rooms and such and watch the news. I bolted out of there and went right back to my room. I had an hour and and fifteen minutes to kill before my next class would start.

That time was spent watching the TV in my room as my roommate was still sleeping. I had the door open because I was so focused on just getting to the TV. I sat there in my folding chair, the staple of dorm furniture, with my bag sitting in the middle of the floor, watching the story develop. Jon had walked by my room again and saw me.

"Did you go to your class?" he asked.

"Sure did. Prof sent us home," I replied.

"I bet," Rotz said as he continued on.

I continued to watch the TV, but started to work my way around the room, removing the sociology book form my bag and back to my self. I started to do the things I would normally do. I grabbed a drink from the fridge, started browsing some websites, checking my e-mail when I turned to watch some more TV. The south tower was collapsing. Unreal.

In a matter of time I would be seeing the clip of the South tower collapsing over and over, and over and over again. Soon enough the North Tower would collapse. Even more unreal. How could that have happened? Two structures that took seven years to construct, had collapsed and been totally demolished in a span of just under 30 minutes. In a sense it reminded me of my Lego building days. I would spend a large chunk of time constructing a large vehicle or building, but when it came time to clean things up it took me five seconds to destroy the item and place it back in the box. And there was still more to come.

Soon I would learn of the news of a plane hitting the Pentagon, and another crashing in Shanksville, PA. Still at this point I had no clue they were all part of a related attack. I was still confused as to what was happening in New York. Yet there I was, in Shippensburg, in the middle of the triangle. I still had fears as to what else could happen.

My thoughts were that I was safe in Shippensburg despite the new uncertainty I was feeling on American soil that I never thought I would feel. I loved the city Philadelphia and knew that something was going to happen there next, if it hadn't happened already. If Philadelphia wasn't next, then surely Boston or Los Angeles would be. To my relief, nothing more happened that day.

I never made it to my psychology class. Sorry Mom and Dad. That day there was no way I was doing anything but watch the news. I could make up a day's worth of psychology. I later learned that the class was canceled anyway so I didn't feel bad. In all honesty, I didn't feel bad anyway. I spent the day watching the news, flipping between all the networks. ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, FOXNews, ESPN, QVC, Home Shopping Network, Univision, Cartoon Network. It didn't matter what channel you turned on, they were all showing the same thing.

Word was spreading about canceled classes for everybody, but word was also spreading about marching band practice. It was still on. I had no problems with that. The feeling around the nation was quickly forming that we a as nation needed to come together and show that we will continue on. That was the message being delivered at band practice that day. We gathered as usual, talked about the news as we met each other. We warmed up and then played Amazing Grace. I couldn't help but break out into tears as we played. I knew a high school friend of mine who was in Washington D.C. as they had just transferred down to American University from Shippensburg that year. I had no idea how she was doing. I had left her a message on AOL's Instant Messenger but eagerly awaited for response. I didn't get a response when I had left for practice. I was sure she was alright but I just wanted to know.

Band practice went smoothly. We all found something to drive our focus away form the attacks as we prepared our show for our weekend game against Millersville. When all was said and done it was dinner time with friends.

That evening was a good time to call home. My dad picked up and we talked about everything that had happened that day. He said his coworkers were all focused on the events of the day just as my classmates and I were. Not much work got done at his office that day. I asked to make sure that nobody we knew was directly affected by the attacks in any of the locations. Thankfully he said no. We talked for a few minutes more before I got off the phone. Everything was safe at home. Why I didn't call earlier is beyond me. I wanted to call home the whole day but never peeled myself away form the TV or computer. While I was on the phone I got a reply on my instant messenger. It was from my friend in D.C. She was safe and OK. She even put the message in her away message. More relief on a day that tore emotions every which way.

Confusion. Sadness. Anger. Relief. Repeat.

That evening our usual group of friends gathered. There would be no late night meals. There would be no watching TV, as every station had the news on. We wanted something to take our mind off of the day's events, and we just wanted to sit, relax, and maybe even laugh a little bit. Too soon? Not for us.

There was nothing better that night than being able to sit and laugh with our friends that night as we watched Spaceballs The DVD. I have watched many movies with my friends and I have seen Spaceballs enough times to recite many of the scenes form memory. But at one point during the Mr. Radar scene, I looked around the room and found myself smiling for the first time since checking the National League playoff race. I was safe, even away from my family. I had some of the best friends in the world surrounding me. Tomorrow I would surely read more about everything that had happened that day, September 11, 2001.

I remember that day, and I will never forget it.

I hope the same holds true for you.


Monday Afternoon Kicker

Monday, September 10, 2007

I always figured if I were a football player I would be a kicker. Trust me, I'd be most suited for that position if I worked at it.

So the first weekend of full football action is all but two Monday night NFL games away from being complete. For the first week since the beginning of January we had a full slate of college and pro football. If you were like me you even took in some high school action.

That's right, I was an NFL game away from the Triple Dip. Friday night Stef and I went out to Owen J. Roberts High School to meet up with our friends Mike and Heather, as well as Erica. Mike and Heather work with the West Chester East High School marching band, and Erica helps out with the OJR band. Yep, band nerds are always friends with fellow band nerds; what can I say. If you're reading this chances are you are or once were considered a "band nerd".

Anyway, East lost the game against OJR, unable to hold a 14-6 lead in the final minute of the fourth quarter, and losing 20-13 in the overtime session. East is not supposed to be very good this year but I felt like I witnessed a fun high school football game anyway. From there it was out to State College, Pennsylvania.

Penn State was all about revenge on Notre Dame after the 2006 clash left the Nittany Lions leaving South Bend without very much luck in a 41-17 drubbing. But Penn State was dominant on defense, not yielding an opposing offensive touchdown for the second straight week to start the season. Penn State would welcome the "phenom" freshman Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame's much-hyped starting quarterback, and it was obvious that a couple things happened;

  • Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis skimmed down the playbook, relying largely on the familiar half back screen pass and dump passes to the outside that killed the Eagles in the 2005 Super Bowl.
  • Clausen was getting frustrated and bewildered
  • Anthony Morelli needs to aplay a lot better, but...
  • ...Penn State's defense is very capable of winning a lot of games by themselves.
The atmosphere from section WAU was great, although not quite Ohio State great. That could be expected though, as Notre Dame is not nearly the quality opponent Ohio State was. Still, even after the interception returned for a touchdown put Notre Dame up 7-0 early, the fans were in the game the whole time and the first ever stadium wide White Out was a success. Notre Dame fans were easy to pick out.

I would have uploaded the pictures I took form both days to my Flickr account, but I left my camera dock at my parents' house, and for some reason this computer does not recognize my SD card, so until I get my dock back I am unable to do so.

The Eagles atrted their season yesterday, and yesterday was a great day to sit on the futon and veg out in front of the tv watching football (we didn't get home from State College until 4:30am). Unfortuneately, the Eagles lost the season opener to the Packers in dissappointing fashion. Special teams, a unit that used to be the most solid on the team a few years back, was atrocious and literally muffed a shot at victory for the Eagles. McNabb had a number of poor passes that were low or deflected, and I felt Briwn Westbrook was underused, but Andy Reid's coaching career has a losing record on opening day, so I am not one of those fans who is ready to jump all over the team or coaches, as I'm sure a number of Philadelphia fans are. Sure, they ruined my second straight perfect week in my picks, but it's a long season anyway.

On a side note, I am in strong contention to win two separate football pools this week, although one doesn't award a monetary prize. So tonight, go Ravens and 49ers!

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Project Updates

Friday, September 07, 2007

I was slacking on my Project 365 this week, but I caught up this morning before heading to work. Here are a couple shots...

...and you can check out the rest!

As for some of my other random projects going on there is not much to report.

Operation Free Wii - Everybody seems to think I'm participating in a pyramid scam or something because I have gotten little support. Jackie, who now lives in San Diego, is the only person that has signed up for it, but she hasn't completed any offers. Apparently I don't receive credit until my seven referrals complete their offers. So I still need six referrals, but seven referrals that need to complete offers. I'm holding out hope that somebody will find some free offers to help me out. They change them from time to time so maybe you will check it out!

The Great Scan Project
is going along slowly and surely. Since I started doing the project I have scanned 249 pictures and started sorting them by year and then sort by appropriate categories. I have college years broken down, and high school as well. I have even come across pictures form my Ireland, Germany, Austria, and AMA trips. None of the pictures are uploaded yet, but they won't be until everything is scanned and edited accordingly.

LOST - We are currently on disc five of season two. The group just figured out that "Henry Gale" is not rally Henry Gale. Jack and Kate also just found Michael in the jungle. I'm picking up season two of Prison Break on DVD this afternoon as well, which will probably have enough time to be watched before the season premiere.


Kevin's Six Pack of Picks for the Weekend

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Here is a quick recap of how I did last week in my season opener;

#17 Penn State over Florida International CORRECT!
#8 Shepherd over Shippensburg CORRECT!
Connecticut over Duke CORRECT!
Georgia Tech over Notre Dame CORRECT!
#12 California over #15 Tennessee CORRECT!
#1 USC over Idaho CORRECT!
That would be a record of 6-0 heading into an exciting week two. With the start of the NFL season tonight in Indianapolis and the Eagles getting started on Sunday, along with a couple high profile games in the college football world, this week proves to be a tough slate to pick.

But I must.

Seeing as tonight the defending Super Bowl champion Colts open up the season against last year's feel good story, and a lot of people's trendy NFC pick for this season, the New Orleans Saints, I feel I must pick this game. And it will be tough. Tough because the Colts have a lot of new faces on their team. I still question whether the defense righted themselves at the end of last season or if they will be the same old Colts; all offense, no defense in the regular season. I have never been a Peyton Manning, or any Manning, fan for a long time but have come to respect his performance in the regular season, especially at home. I was initially thinking the Saints would go in, un-rattled by the Colts' home environment. After all, they play in a dome as well and have probably the most efficient quarterback in their conference, Drew Brees. Reggie Bush is the center of attention for the Saints these days, as he should be, but the Saints defense is nothing special and that bodes well for the Colts. I think what we'll see in this game is two of the most efficient and precise, and patient quarterbacks picking apart the opposing defense.

The offenses are two different styles too. The Colts are more of a bland, pass the ball up field style while they are implementing a running attack with Joseph Addai coming into his own. The Saints are more flashy with Reggie Bush being able to do what Brian Westbrook and LaDainian Tomlinson do for their teams. I have questions though about aspects of their team that nobody else seems to point out. Will Marques Colston be as prominent this year now that defenses know who he is? Will Deuce McCallister stay healthy?

This is a case where I am picking the home team. I think the Colts will be able to out duel the Saints.

Have you seen the commercial for the game?

Now you have.

On the college side of the football spectrum, we are entering week two. I have thought for the past couple seasons that week two is the true start of the season. There are generally more games that are attractive than opening weekend featuring the higher profile schools. Look at these match-ups;
#14 Penn State vs. Notre Dame
# 5 Oklahoma vs. Miami
#2 LSU vs. #9 Virginia Tech
Michigan vs. Oregon
#7 Texas vs. #19 TCU
#1 Appalachian State vs. Lenoir-Rhyne

Those are some great match-ups indeed. The reason we get better games in week two is because these big programs tend to schedule a tune up opponent (Florida International, Western Kentucky, Appalachian State...oh, wait) so they can get some game action against opposing players and thus refine their skills before they take on the next opponent, who will likely help them out later in the season with the polls. Now, as we saw in Ann Arbor, nothing is guaranteed. This is why Michigan's national title dream is done. I feel for the Michigan fans who will have to fight and claw their way back towards the top and they will have nothing to combat the constant Appalachian State critics. This season will be a lost cause for the Wolverines, because they won't beat Wisconsin anyway, and they could lose to Notre Dame, Penn State, Ohio State....or even, Oregon? I am very tempted to take the Ducks in the game but my gut tells me that Michigan, at home, will come out and show that they are better than what they did last week. Still though, the Pac-10 is continuing to demonstrate their dominance over the Big Ten and Oregon is a team that could beat the Wolverines again. If Michigan had won last week I would have taken Oregon this week. But this game, to me, is too risky to pick so I'm staying away form it all together. Go Ducks!

How about that for a Sports Illustrated cover jinx? Also, on the USC cover, one of their running backs that was on the cover trasferred to Florida just hours after the issue came out! Kudos Sports Illustrated!

I am clearly picking Penn State to throttle Notre Dame and I expect a a polar opposite result of the meeting last year when Notre Dame ran up the score on Penn State. Let's look at the game, Why wouldn't you pick Penn State in this one?
  1. Penn State is a 17 point favorite
  2. Penn State's defense was a beast last week, although against Florida International. PSU's defense was good last year and despite the weak opposition against FIU, there is still something to be said for -3 net rushing yards for FIU, 117 passing yards yielded, six forced fumbles (five recovered), FIU going 1-15 on 3rd down, no red zone scores, and seven sacks. It's not a fluke and it's not just FIU's level of play. This defense is hungry.
  3. Notre Dame will start freshman Jimmy Clausen. Clausen may be all he is hyped to be down the road but...
  4. ...there will be a sold out Beaver Stadium making noise he has never heard before. When Beaver Stadium is rocking it is one of the toughest places to play in college football. Just ask Ohio State.
  5. Not only will there be an overflow crowd on hand for the much anticipated game, over 90% of them are out to do whatever they can to get revenge for last season's atrocity in South Bend, where the Irish put a hurting on the Nittany Lions. Charlie Weis decided to run up the score as well when he put in a fake punt run when he already had a comfortable lead. You don't think Joe Paterno remembers that? Paterno has a history of making sure his team gets redemption the following season. Go back to 1997 when Paterno's #4 Nittany Lions lost 49-14 in East Lansing. The following season Penn State won 51-28. Do you think that's a coincidence? I do not.
Penn State wins this game easy. I'll be there so I'll get some photos up and a recap of the day at hand sometime Sunday or Monday. I don't know if I'll get around to it on Sunday though because the Philadelphia Eagles get their season started that afternoon at 1pm. Now that the Phillies blew yet another game I am ready to go into a full football mindset. Well, I guess 85% football, 15% baseball until the Phills are officially eliminated.

So enough babble, here are my picks for this week.

Kevin's Six Pack of Picks for the Weekend - Week 2
Philadelphia Eagles over Green Bay Packers
Indianapolis Colts over New Orleans Saints
Pittsburgh Steelers over Cleveland Browns
#14 Penn State over Notre Dame
Liberty over Shippensburg
#2 LSU over #9 Virginia Tech

Last week: 6-0
Overall: 6-0


It's Been a While...

Wednesday, September 05, 2007 here's a post!

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