Friday, February 29, 2008

You Only Thought It Was Over

Football season, that is. The season for game playing may be over, but there's still a lot going on in the NFL world.

Free agency began at midnight last night. This is the first year I've really kept up with much off season activity--other than the draft. I tell you something, this is almost as exciting as the game itself. Watching to see who releases who and who signs who. Teams trying to build up their weak spots. Cutting any players who just aren't what they need at the time. Picking up veterans released by other teams. All the while trying to stay under the salary cap, and still leave room for draftees.

Dallas gave Marion Barber the highest tender available. They also re-signed Flozell Adams, which brings a sigh of relief from every Cowboys fan, not to mention quarterback Tony Romo. Adams is the left tackle. He's the one who protects Tony's blind side. A Pro-Bowl left tackle is worth his weight in gold. Unless your quarterback is left handed, then it's the right tackle who is worth his weight in gold.

There are a lot of people who think pro football players are spoiled, over paid brats. But are they really? Let's look at this.

Now, as in any sport, you have your superstar players, who naturally are going to make more money. The 2007 salaries for professional quarterbacks range from Carson Palmer's $13 million, all the way down to DJ Shockley who draws a mere $224 thousand. For my purposes, I will just use the average player salary for the 2006-'07 season--the last complete season for all four sports.

Of the four most popular salaried sports (and by salaried, I mean you sign an contract and get paid a salary--not you win this event and earn this much money), NBA players drew the highest salaries, with an average of $5.215 million per player. That's almost twice as much as the next highest sport, baseball. MLB players earned an average $2.7 million in 2006. The next highest salaries went, not to the NFL, but the NHL. That's right, the National Hockey League, with an average salary of $1.46 million. Bringing up the rear, with a lowly $1.4 million average salary, are the "over paid, whining, demanding, steroid ridden freaks" of the NFL.

Gee, they make less than anybody. The question is, are they worth it? If you judge by popularity, they are. So how many Americans watched the 2006-2007 season championship series/games for these sports? Let's see:

The least watched championship for the four sports was the Stanley Cup finals, which drew only 2.3 million viewers. The NBA finals nearly quadrupled that amount of viewers, drawing 8.5 million of them. The next most popular championship was the World Series, with 10.1 million viewers.

And the Superbowl?

The Superbowl topped them all, drawing nearly twice as many viewers as the other three sports championships combined. That would be 41.6 million viewers, Gentle Reader.

Not a bad return on a middling $1.4 million investment.

Stats courtesy of Doc's Sports Service.

Happy Leap Day

Leap Year

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Carrying It A Little Too Far

From the "You've Got To Be Kidding Me" department:

You mean there are people who actually worry about this stuff? What is worse, someone actually researched and gave a legitimate sounding answer.

I believe in being a good steward of the planet God created for us, but this is carrying it just a bit too far.

Speaking of, the sky really did look like this. I have not doctored this photo in the slightest.

Have I mentioned how much fun I'm having with my new camera?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Of Dishcloths and Socks

After feeling so rushed yesterday, today ended up being a pretty laid back day--after work, that is. I didn't really do much of anything. I started a dishcloth, but only got this far

when I decided I'd really rather be working on Cody's socks.

So that's what I did while I watched the movie Becoming Jane, the biography of Jane Austen. It was pretty good, though not exactly accurate, if the Wikipedia article is to be believed.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Way Behind

I'm running way behind on blogging and everything else. In black belt class last night, we did more finding self defense moves in kata. This time, though, we partnered up and actually did drills with a partner. I was partnered with Josh at first, and we got some good, constructive work done. Then we switched partners and I was with the 13 year old ik-kyu. At that point, I switched into teacher mode, which meant I wasn't really getting much out of the drill.

Tonight's class was a learning class. Most of the kyu ranks will be testing Thursday, so we had an open work out for them. I spent most of the class working with two people on tokumine no kun bo kata.

After class, I stayed and went through all of my kata--well, the ones I hadn't done before class, that is. All told, I did all 12 of my kata: 8 empty hand and 4 weapons.

In knitting news, I worked a bit more on Cody's sock. The leg is up to 4" long. He wants them about 8", so I'm halfway there.

Just so this post isn't a total waste of your time, here is another picture taken with the new camera:

Ack! I hate getting behind! I feel so rushed! I'll answer comments tomorrow, so don't think I've forgotten you.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sorry, No Pictures

As you may have surmised due to the lack of lovely pictures in this post, I did not go to the lake yesterday. The weather simply did not cooperate. It was drizzly and cloudy all day. Instead, I stayed in, watched DVDs and knit. I used up the last little bit of the yarn I bought last month and made this:

It's meant to be a headband, but it could also work as a neck gaiter. I think that's what they're called. Pattern: K2 P2 rib, knit until you run out of yarn. Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver Gray Heather. Needles: US9 DPNs

Also, a picture of the charity scarf I started:

It is simply a garter stitch scarf made with Moda Dea TuTu in Pear Green.

I haven't been sleeping too well, so I think I'm going to follow Rylea's example:

and head for dreamland. It looks like half of my brain is asleep already.


h/t: Buck

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sports Car

I'm a Mazda Miata!

You like to soak up the sun, but your tastes are down to earth. Everyone thinks you're cute. Life is a winding road, and you like to take the curves in stride. Let other people compete in the rat race - you're just here to enjoy the ride.

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

Oscar Night

In honor of the Oscars tonight, which I will not be watching, I present the following movie meme:

A list of the Top 100 Films of all time. Bold the ones you've seen!

1. Citizen Kane (1941)
2. The Godfather
3. Casablanca (1942)
4. Raging Bull (1980)
5. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
6. Gone with the Wind (1939)
7. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
8. Schindler’s List (1993)
9. Vertigo (1958)
10. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
11. City Lights (1931)
12. The Searchers (1956)
13. Star Wars (1977)
14. Psycho (1960)
15. Sunset Blvd. (1950)
16. 2001 : A Space Odyssey (1968)
17. The Graduate (1967)
18. The General (1927)
19. On the Waterfront (1954)
20. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
21. Chinatown (1974)
22. Some Like It Hot (1959)
23. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
24. E.T. The Extraterrestrial (1982)
25. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
26. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
27. High Noon (1952)
28. All About Eve (1950)
29. Double Indemnity (1944)
30. Apocalypse Now (1979)
31. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
32. The Godfather Part II (1974)
33. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
34. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
35. Annie Hall (1977)
36. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
37. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
38. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
39. Dr. Strangelove (1964)--I fell asleep halfway through
40. The Sound of Music (1965)
41. King Kong (1933)*
42. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
43. Midnight Cowboy (1969)
44. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
45. Shane (1953)
46. It Happened One Night (1934)
47. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
48. Rear Window (1954)
49. Intolerance (1916)
50. Lord of the Rings : The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
51. West Side Story (1961)
52. Taxi Driver (1976)
53. Deer Hunter, The (1978)
54. M*A*S*H (1970)
55. North by Northwest (1959)
56. Jaws (1975)
57. Rocky (1976)
58. The Gold Rush (1925)
59. Nashville (1975)
60. Duck Soup (1933)
61. Sullivan’s Travels (1941)
62. American Graffiti (1973)
63. Cabaret (1972)
64. Network (1976)
65. The African Queen (1951)
66. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
67. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
68. Unforgiven (1992)
69. Tootsie (1982)
70. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
71. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
72. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
73. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
74. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
75. In the Heat of the Night (1967)
76. Forrest Gump (1994)
77. All the President’s Men (1976)
78. Modern Times (1936)
79. The Wild Bunch (1969)
80. The Apartment (1960)
81. Spartacus (1960)
82. Sunrise (1927)
83. Titanic (1997)
84. Easy Rider (1969)
85. A Night at the Opera (1935)
86. Platoon (1986)
87. 12 Angry Men (1957)
88. Bringing Up Baby (1938)
89. The Sixth Sense (1999)
90. Swing Time (1936)
91. Sophie’s Choice (1982)
92. Goodfellas (1990)
93. The French Connection (1971)
94. Pulp Fiction (1994)
95. The Last Picture Show (1971)
96. Do the Right Thing (1989)
97. Blade Runner (1982)
98. Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
99. Toy Story(1995)
100. Ben-Hur (1959)

Looks like my list is a bit thin. Netflix to the rescue!

h/t: Crafty Carole

Saturday, February 23, 2008

What Else I Did

Besides taking pictures, I mean. I finished the Pinwheel hat:

The top photo is the more accurate colorwise. This is a really fun little hat to make.

I also cast on a new scarf for charity. Just a plain garter stitch scarf with some green novelty yarn. I'll get pictures once it gets a little longer.

I spent much of the day walking around the yard taking pictures, trying to figure out the new camera. I suppose reading the manual might help, but what's the fun in that? I think this is the favorite of what I took today:

Tomorrow, if the weather cooperates, we are going to the lake.

Saturday Sky With The New Camera

Ain't it purty?

More to come...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Thursday Karate

Thursday's class was really good. We started off doing our speed drills. Sensei said we don't do them enough in class, and probably on our own as well. After that, we did various basic combinations from our fighting stance, both punches and kicks. We did a few self defense drills, then took a water break.

I know some dojos don't allow water breaks, but down here in the South, even in winter, we kind of need them.

After the break, we went through all our empty hand kata--up through kusanku. Everyone knew seisan, so the entire class was out for it. But as we went higher in the kata, fewer and fewer students were left on the floor. That's the way we do it. You step off the floor when we get to a kata you don't know. By the time we got to kusanku, it was just me and Mrs. W left. Josh and Barrett weren't there.

That was fun. I always enjoy doing kata.

We finished the class by doing a blocking drill. We divided into groups of four (except my group--which only had three) and one person stands next to the wall in seiunchin stance. The other three throw techniques at him, and have to leave them out until he blocks them. The purpose is to develop karate vision--focusing on everything and nothing at the same time. It's a really good drill. I told sensei that I wished we would do it more often since I can't block worth a flip.

That was it for class, but afterwards, I stayed and did sunsu kata. It was the only one I hadn't done yet. By that time, I'd actually worked up a sweat. I don't sweat easily, so that's kind of how I gauge if I've gotten a good workout or not.

It was pretty good, but my hair wasn't curling. When I sweat so much my hair that's a good workout.

I Did It!

I got my tax return back today and went straight out and bought a digital SLR. It is a Canon Digital Rebel XT, and I've been very pleased with it so far. I'm still trying to figure out how to work the thing, but here are a few pictures I took in idiot mode. That's digital SLR lingo for "fully automatic."






Ok, I didn't really take that last picture, but we can dream, right?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lunar Eclipse, Again

Lucky for me, I was able to watch the eclipse from my front door. The clouds obscured most of it, but every so often there would be a break in them through which I could see the moon. I managed to get just a few pictures. Finally, shortly after 9 PM local, the clouds moved off and the sky was clear. I watched until the shadow just began to move off, but since 5 AM is still 5 AM, eclipse or not, I went on to bed.

This experience left me more frustrated than ever with my cheap little point and shoot camera. Oh, it's ok for snapping birthday parties and the like, but for the kind of pictures I want to take, it bites.

The one advantage to being flat busted broke is that I am getting a rather large tax refund this year. I know I should put it into savings, and that is where most of it will go. However, some of it will go towards buying myself a digital SLR camera. Now, I won't be getting my dream camera--14 megapixel, professional quality camera, but there are decent digital SLRs out there for less than a grand.

If the weather co-operates, that is what our weekend mission will be.

Oh boy! Oh boy! Oh boy!

P. S. I am amazed at how many people still think the moon makes its own light.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Ya Knew It Couldn't Last

Nope, it couldn't last. This afternoon I cast on a Pinwheel Hat.

The pattern is similar to Coronet, but is worked in short rows. Pinwheel actually predates Coronet by almost three years. There are plusses and minuses to each pattern. In Coronet, the cabled band is knit first, then stitches are picked up for the rest of the hat. I suppose if you like picking up stitches, this is no problem, but most people I know think it is a pain. Pinwheel is worked in one piece with short row shaping. However, it must be seamed up the back. All in all, I prefer Pinwheel, which is why I am knitting it.

I'm still working on Cody's sock. Progress is slow, but I am making a little.

I haven't done a karate post in quite a while. Well, in a week. There wasn't much to report on Thursday's class. We did basics the first half of the class--as always, then I helped a san kyu finish learning Chinto kata. He was almost to the end, and I taught him the last four or five steps.

Last night in Black belt class, we worked on bo kata--both tokumine and urashi. I had forgotten some of urashi, but going through it a few times brought it back to me. We also worked on finding self defense moves in kata. That is, we picked out defenses from different kata for the same move. After class, sensei asked me if I was learning anything from it. I said that it was really hard for me to learn just by standing there listening to him talk, and almost as hard to learn just by watching. I have to be doing the stuff to really learn it. He said he's going to try to incorporate more drills into class. I hope I don't end up partnered with one particular student. She never does the drills the way sensei tells us to. It's really hard for me to get any learning done when I have to pair up with her.

Tonight's class was basics with a twist. We went through a few upper body basics as normal, but when we did the kicks, we did them slow motion first. Then we did them normal speed. Doing kicks in slow motion is really good, not only for checking your form, but for working on balance as well. After that, we did some stance work, followed by seisan by the numbers. Sensei would count, and we would to a step of the kata and all the techniques that go with that step.

Finally, we partnered up and did some kumite drills. That was it for tonight's class.

The bad thing is that one of the little kids moved up to the adult class this week. You almost have to feel sorry for this kid. Nobody likes him, but he brings it on himself because he is soooooo obnoxious.

There is supposed to be a lunar eclipse tomorrow (Wednesday). I'm off to research it.

Monday, February 18, 2008

I Laughed So Hard

I don't usually watch Oprah. Sometimes I do, depending on who she has on or what she is talking about. Today I watched Oprah. Her guests were Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, and Carol Burnett. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. I grew up watching The Carol Burnett Show. It has got to be the funniest show that ever there was. Who could forget Carol's portrayal of the Queen, Tim Conway as the Little Old Man, Harvey Korman being unable to stop laughing, and Mrs. Whiggins. Oh, how I miss that show.

I finished my socks last night.

Pattern: Roundabout Socks by The Yarnarian
Yarn: Fortissima Socka mit Bamboo
Colorway: 0006
Needles: Knitpicks nickel plated size 2/75 mm.

This afternoon, I cast on Cody's black socks:

Can you believe I still only have one project on the needles? I can't. But it's true.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Photo Safari

Sort of.

Don't let this sky fool you. It is windy and pretty chilly outside.

So instead of going out to the lake like I'd planned, I just walked around the yard.

More daffodils were blooming.

They have been blooming just a bit early these last couple of years. I think the mild winters have confused them. We usually don't get them until the first part of March.

I think technically, these are jonquils.

I think jonquil is my absolute favorite word in the entire English language. I just love saying it. Jonquil. Jonquil.

Buds are coming out on some of the trees already.

"What's this thing?"

"OK, mama. Take my picture. See how pretty I pose?"

What has got me so freaked out?

The birds are back.

Click to see them better...if you dare!

P.S. Ignore the bloodshot state of my eyes. I have not been drinking. They are just always like that. My eyes have been bloodshot for as long as I can remember. I think it's from my allergies going untreated for so long. Or maybe from getting slapped upside the head by my mother so much.

P.P.S. Also ignore the makeupless state of my face. I corrected that soon after that picture was taken.

P.P.P.S. Jonquil.

He he he...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Rainy Saturday

The plan was to go on a photo safari, but when I got up, the sky looked like this:

Soon after I took this picture, a slow, drizzly rain began to fall and it continued to rain for the rest of the day. Before it started, though, I managed to go out into the yard and get some shots of the spring flowers that are just beginning to bloom.

I don't know what these are, but I've had a devil of a time trying to get decent shots of them.

They are so white, they confuse my camera.

The daffodils are always very photogenic:

I don't know what these are either, but they're pretty.

I'm not much of a botanist, am I?

I took a break from sock knitting today to finish off two dishcloths. These are from the Monthly Dishcloth KAL. I wasn't sure I was going to do the KAL again this year, but I really liked these two patterns.

Red always seems to confuse my camera also.

That's pretty much all I did, other than some house work. Spring is getting close. I'm starting to get restless. I feel a road trip coming on.

A short one.

Like to the Memphis Zoo maybe.



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