Sunday, March 30, 2008


"I loved her so. And she knew what I did. She knew all the fucking stupid things I'd done. But the love, was stronger than anything you can think of. The goddamn regret. The goddamn regret! Oh, and I'll die. Now I'll die, and I'll tell you what, the biggest regret of my life - I let my love go... And I'm ashamed.
A million years ago, the fucking regret and guilt, these things, don't ever let anyone ever say to you you shouldn't regret anything. Don't do that. Don't! You regret what you fucking want! Use that. Use that."

-Earl Partridge in Magnolia

Friday, March 28, 2008

I'm Not Down With The Sickness

You know that awful constriction of the throat that you sometimes get? The one that makes swallowing a little bit tougher and you know, you just know that you're going to be sick soon? Well, that hit me Tuesday night. I refused to acknowledge that sickness had arrived on Wednesday morning and proceeded to go to both jobs and then play in a men's league basketball game at the YMCA. As you can imagine, by the time this was over, I felt pretty awful.

Fortunately, the girl knows all about how to treat every illness and has the medication available to do so. She took excellent care of me and gave me everything I needed to get through the last couple of days. Plus, she was just downright compassionate. She's great.

Anyhow, I went to both jobs again yesterday, but after an hour the other baseball coach suggested I go home since I couldn't raise my voice much above a hoarse whisper. Today my players have a double-header so I took the day off from SPIE. I feel better now than I did yesterday, so hopefully it's coming to an end. Nonetheless, I feel bad about taking a day off from SPIE since I've only been there for five weeks.

On a lighter note, UNC continued to roll, blowing Washington State out of the tournament last night. And(!), the Mariners have their first game of the season this Monday. Things are looking up.

Ok, back to re-certifying myself for Basic Health coverage. I just realized that if I don't handle it now, I get cut off from Health Insurance for 12 months! Yikes.

For the kids:

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Another UNC Profile

If you haven't noticed yet, I really love these guys. Check out this piece on Tar Heels reserve Danny Green. Terrific story -- really makes you cheer for someone like Danny.

Care About Health?

If you're like me, you believe that health-care is important. If you're like me, you only have a vague idea of what health-care in America is all about and you're even less sure about what each presidential candidate is offering.

USA Today offers this article that attempts to clarify each candidate's plan for health-care as well as presenting potential benefits and pitfalls of each (note the bleak side-feature on the future of Medicare and Social Security. Yeesh).


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Icebox Where His Heart Used To Be

Clearly, my UNC-themed blogs of late have helped spur my Tar Heels through the latter part of this basketball season. They are playing the best basketball in the country right now and have crushed both of there opponents in the tourney.

Now, I'm goin to cheer for my favorite teams through good times and bad but it's always uplifting to know that the guys I'm cheering for are good people as well as good players. I happened across this story about Senior point-guard Quentin Thomas (w/ Omarion look-alike pic).

It's teamwork and camaraderie like this that make my Tar Heels so darn lovable. And the fact that they play really exciting, up-tempo ball.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


I think that almost everyone in the country has a messed-up bracket after the first weekend of March Madness, but I was happy to find that mine is surviving better than I thought. i currently have a higher score than anyone I know on Facebook, but I don't want to get too excited because that can all change very very quickly.

Random facts about myself (with an assist from the girl, who found the website):




$4500.00The Cadaver Calculator - Find out how much your body is worth.



Friday, March 21, 2008


The most exciting weekend in sports is upon us: the first and second rounds of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Those of us who follow the games are inundated with match-ups that will end the season of one of the teams. The drama is unbelievable.
Many of you have filled out brackets and may even be betting money on the games. We form allegiances on the spot based on who we've bet on, the plucky determination of an underdog, or, in some cases, which school has a funnier name.
Yesterday's games were curiously devoid of excitement, with the exception of Duke's near-gaffe against Belmont. Top seeds won almost every game and the "chalk" as they say, played out.
Today is off to a rollicking start. American University gave the #2 Seeded Tennessee team all they could handle. Stephen Curry scored 40(!) for Davidson to upset Gonzaga. But all of that paled in comparison to the insanely exciting finish between #5 Seeded Drake and #12 Western Kentucky. WOW!
My UNC boys play at 4:10 against enormous underdog Mount St. Mary's. here's hoping that one's not even close.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Grace Under Fire

I wasn't going to write on this, because I didn't know how to tackle it. However, I spoke with my mom about it today and our conversation was so productive that I decided to at least approach the issue...

The topic that is on the front pages of all the newspapers, in the lead for every newscast, and saturating the AM airwaves right now is the controversy raised by Barack Obama's pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright.
Rev. Wright recently spoke out about race, politics, and Jesus. His sermon was provocative, to be sure, but it was certainly inflammatory as well. This is not the first time someone has said what Rev. Wright did. The feelings expressed by Rev. Wright have been felt and expressed by many people before him. The things he said are notable, but clearly would not be as newsworthy if he was not so closely affiliated with Barack Obama.
As I noted a few posts ago, the people in candidates' lives are cause for scrutiny. Candidates know this and I respect all who run for office for being willing to be publicly identified with everyone in their lives. This scrutiny is a good thing. The girl and I spoke on the phone about this tonight and she astutely pointed out that we need to be critical of everyone who is involved with the candidates because the candidates are running for one of the most influential offices in the entire world.
This controversy has stirred up a lot of anger and many people are offended. Various polls I've read have shown that people across the political spectrum now view Obama less favorably since hearing Rev. Wright's comments.
Whether or not that sermon makes you angry, it is serving a purpose that I believe is a very good one. For the duration of Democratic primary elections, both Obama's and Clinton's camps have avoided the issue of race. It was the elephant in the room that no one wanted to acknowledge. Neither seemed as though they wanted to risk their campaign on a topic that is still a big hot-button in our culture. Jokes and allusions to the racial element of the Democratic nomination process have been made by various media outlets, but neither candidate has confronted it head-on. Now it's unavoidable.
Decades after Martin Luther King Jr. led the Civil Rights Movement, race is still a major issue in America. Many don't want to acknowledge the role that race and our views of it play in our lives, but I believe that it's undeniable.
I believe that one of the most damaging things that can be done to any civil rights issue (race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.) is to say that it's no longer an issue. Denying the impact that assumptions about race have only serves to perpetuate the biases that we all have. Race relations need to remain part of an open dialog in this country. Racism and prejudice didn't end when this country stopped legislating it. If you don't believe me, read the dozens of message boards online that refer to Rev. Wright, his sermon, and Barack Obama.
I was deeply saddened, although not surprised, to read lots of messages that include declarative statements about people of certain races. Lots and lots of people are asserting sentiments akin to "Black people are such and such" or "White people are such and such" or "see, this shows that Blacks are all alike" etc, etc.
I've long since come to realize that we're all largely products of our environments and as a result, we all form certain prejudices along the way. Many of us hear "liberal" or "conservative" or "Jew" or "Muslim" or "male" or "female" or "gay" or "lesbian" or a hundred other terms and we have an initial emotional reaction to them. The same is true for racial labels, in this case "Black" and "White."
That we have a reaction to these things is not the issue so much as the effect they have on our behavior is. I have prejudices -- what matters is how much weight I lend them in regards to what I say and do. The second I let racial biases or stereotypes affect the way I talk or behave is the second that I've messed up.
All of these biases lay somewhere below our surfaces. Some of us have them buried closer to the exterior than others and all it takes is an incident like this to uncover them. If we say that we don't have any prejudices, I think we are lying to ourselves and seriously hindering the effort to reduce the impact that arbitrary things like race have on our interactions with each other.
As any politician in his position would, Barack responded to questions about Rev. Wright and the peripheral issues that surround him. His speech was elegant and beautiful. It was honest. It was human.
I will not attempt to sum it up for you, but I have posted the transcript and video below. I hope you all enjoy and I would love to hear your thoughts on the speech and/or anything else discussed in this post!

Here is the transcript of Obama's Speech.

Here is the video.

I've also included an article about the speech from the New York Times

Monday, March 17, 2008

Educated Voting

Let me first say that Lindsay Budzier is terrific. She's a spectacular girl and I'm so fortunate to have her in my life. She and I have made it through a trying two-week stretch and her willingness to communicate and trust were crucial. I'm crazy about this girl.

On another note...
As I explained in my previous post, I'm doing my best to be as informed of a voting citizen as I possibly can. I think Americans have a wonderful privilege with regards to voting and the least I can do is attempt to truly understand what and who I might vote for. The inspiration for this post stems from a video I saw recently of my new favorite guy ever.
His specific political leanings aside, his eloquence and knowledge of the issues are remarkable. Not to mention his willingness to engage the aggressive interviewer long after I would have given in to the temptation to sock him.
I hope I get to meet the guy sometime.

Friday, March 14, 2008

American Responsibility

I've paid closer attention to politics during the current election season than I ever have before. I'm learning a lot about the process, the candidates, and just how we end up with the politicians that we do in this country.
The more I learn, surprisingly, the more I appreciate the country we live in. We get to support, mock, hate, love, or refuse to care about our candidates and can say anything we feel about them and their policies. That is a great privilege and it's one that i haven't appreciated enough.
I've also learned to respect politicians that run for office - especially those who run for President - because every sin, real or imagined, is made public and they have to account for them in front of national media. Could you imagine being questioned about every misspoken word, every regrettable action, every time you did someone wrong? I mean, there are entire campaigns made up of hundreds of people whose objective is to find dirt on the opposing candidates. Yikes.
I also am learning to appreciate the rules that our country has set up to preserve the election process. Part of this process is the agreement between all states to abide by election rules. When Michigan and Florida ignored the rules regarding their Democratic Party primaries, their delegates were stripped from the nomination process.
Now, with the Democratic nomination likely coming down to a difference of just a handful of delegates, MI and FL want their votes back.
I came across this article from Glenn Beck and thought I'd pass it along:

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Magic of Baseball

The high school team that I coach played it's very first game of the season yesterday. We lost 7-6 in a hard-fought game that featured lots of excitement and more than its share of first-game jitters. I was proud of my players, performing so well against a more-talented team but the feeling that stands out is the thrill that comes from being involved in baseball.

Then this morning, I came across this article. I love this game.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Andy Dufresne?

A real-life 'Shawshank Redemption?'

Curious about all y'all's thoughts on the story.

An '08 Upturn?

Watched the aforementioned UNC-Duke game yesterday. The girl came over and cheered for Duke (yecch!). I'm not sure if it was because she just wanted to cheer for the other team or not (she claims it was because she like Duke's crowd) but either way, it made watching the game pretty darn fun. Thanks to the DizzoDreams momentum, my Tar Heels won out and all but clinched a #1 Seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.

With UNC doing so well, it got me to thinking about the 2008 sports year. 2007 was one of the worst sports years of my life with regards to my favorite teams. A recap:

MLB - Seattle Mariners -- Become baseball's biggest surprise as they earn the third-best in the Majors through the first four months of the season. Then a managerial switch from Hell (Mike Hargrove out, John McLaren in) happened a little over halfway through the year and the baffling decisions that resulted made for a sleep-robbingly painful collapse in late-August. The Mariners missed the playoffs but kept Bill Bavasi (the GM) and John McLaren on board. Also, RICK WHITE!

NFL - Seattle Seahawks -- 10 of 11 starters on offense got hurt during the season, but the team fought through and has a pleasant run in the playoffs (thanks to Tony Romo's gaffe They were the one bright spot in my sports year.

NBA - Portland Trailblazers -- Have one of the worst records in the NBA and the worst season in team history. Then, amazingly, they beat all odds in the draft and win the rights to pick superstar-in-waiting-and-savior-of-basketball Greg Oden. Then, this:
Remember, the Blazers are the ones who infamously drafted Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan in 1984.

NCAA Football - Notre Dame Fighting Irish -- My Golden-Domed favorites, the most storied program in college football, had an all-time worst season. Going 3-9, they became the punchline of the sporting world. They lost badly and to bad teams.

NCAA Basketball - North Carolina Tar Heels -- Despite earning a #1 Seed in the NCAA Tournament, UNC lost in heart-breaking fashion to Georgetown in the Elite Eight Round. Holding a lead late into the game, the Tar Heels went ice-cold down the stretch and shot themselves right out of a chance at the National Championship.

Nevertheless, after spending a calender year getting kicked in the gut, 2008 is signaling bright new hope. If you're still reading this, let me show you why I'm excited:

MLB - Seattle Mariners -- Building off of the momentum from their surprising record last year, the M's made the Erik Bedard deal that i mentioned a few posts ago. While this may be a long-term detriment, it stands to improve the Mariners hopes this season ( On top of that, many of their key players are looking great in Spring Training.

NFL - Seattle Seahawks -- After revamping the defense and keeping the offense intact, Seattle made another run to the second round of the playoffs. A wild first-round playoff game was clinched by Marcus Trufant in the 4th quarter.
*Not filmed at my house, but a similar reaction!

NBA - Portland Trailblazers -- Showing remarkable team chemistry despite losing Oden for the season, the Blazers are compiling a winning record that included a shockingly long winning streak.

NCAA Football - Notre Dame Fighting Irish -- In an impressive show of the program's resilience, the Irish recruited the heck out the country this off-season. Bringing in so many elite prospects (2nd-best class in the country) bodes well for the near and distant future of Notre Dame football.

NCAA Basketball - North Carolina Tar Heels -- Currently ranked #1 in the nation. The Tar Heels asserted themselves against arch-rival Duke and all but assured that they will be the favorites headed into the NCAA Tournament this year.

I rise and fall with each of my teams - often a torturous journey - but that's the life of a die-hard fan. Here's hoping that there will be a lot more rising in '08!

Friday, March 7, 2008

UNC Love

My North Carolina Tar Heels are ranked #1 in the country in college basketball and have a HUGE rivalry game against #5 Duke tomorrow. In order to give them some momentum, I've changed the blog colors to those of my beloved Tar Heels.

If you've never watched Tyler Hansbrough before, tune into ESPN at 6:00 Saturday night.

Trying To Sleep When Things Don't Seem Right Is Difficult

I really hate going to bed if I don't feel like the relationships I have with the people in my life are as they should be. The girl and I have not spent as much time together recently as either of us would like. This has led to her feeling neglected and as a result, me feeling selfish.

The decreased time together has bred some tension and it came to a head tonight. Almost every time that she and I have had an issue come up in our relationship (which, thankfully, doesn't happen much), we've been able to work all the way through it with one conversation. It's the beauty of having two honest people in a relationship. Tonight, however, I don't feel like much was resolved.

I feel bad because the last thing I want is for her to feel neglected and I do try very hard to love on her as much as I can. My new schedule and a bevy of social engagements have combined to form a tourniquet that has cut off a lot of our alone time, although we both have been able to go to most of these parties and get-togethers. Nevertheless, as she has astutely pointed out, we used to arrive to them together much more often than we have in the last couple of weeks.

I think she feels like that means we (or at least I) have settled into a rut. I can see why she feels that way but it's not how I see it. I love spending time with Lindsay and I am still as crazy about her as I've ever been. I also know, however, that I have not held up my end of a lot of friendships recently and am making a concerted effort to remain strongly connected to everyone. Maybe I can't have it both ways all the time.

I just want her to see that the thought of settling into a rut sounds awful to me and I'd be horrified if we ever allowed that to happen with us. I've told her more than once that I enjoy spending my time with her but I'm not sure how much she believes me. Anyhow, my behavior will carry a lot more weight with her than any words I say or type will.

Unfortunately, none of this changes the uneasiness I feel as I lay down to sleep. I'm going to read my Bible for a while. I've definitely neglected that book recently and I usually feel much better after spending some time with the Gospels.

Here's to me not screwing up a great thing.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Watch Out Blogosphere, Dizzo Has Arrived (and he's delightfully Post-Modern)

Thanks to some gentle nudging, I have thrown my lot in with the trendy bloggers that the kids are so crazy about these days. With any luck, it will, at the very least, be an enjoyable read.

You know, I was almost instantly paralyzed by all of the options I had with regards to the layout of this thing. I finally decided to stay in my comfort zone and set it up with the colors of the Notre Dame football team. Subject to change.

Ok, real stuff. I work two jobs right now. My schedule adds up to about 60 hours a week (plus 1 hour of drive-time a day) and I'm always on the move. My average weekday looks like this:

--Wake up at 7:45 (after setting my alarm for 6:12 so I can have the glorious feeling of waking up and then falling back asleep).

-- Pick up the Big Humble on my way to the shipping warehouse for the Society of Photo-Optic Instrumentation Engineers.

-- Work at SPIE until 1:30.

-- Go home and change into baseball stuff. Maybe grab a bite to eat.

--Drive out to Mt. Baker High School at 2:00 and coach the baseball team there until 6:00 or 6:30.

--Drive to Bellingham Health and Fitness to work out.

--Come home around 7:30, eat dinner, BS with my housemates, and then get dressed and head out to spend time with friends or the girl.

--Go to bed between midnight and 2:00.

I like this schedule. It's crazy busy, but it's enjoyable. I like being on the move and getting to see Lindsay and/or my friends and family is like a rejuvenation at the end of the day.

At SPIE, I get to work hard while still having some goof-off time. Currently, I'm engaged in a Cold War-styled Arms Race with my co-worker Chris. We're making our desks into fortresses with ramparts and troops and weapons and a moat. Also, I made a transmogrifier just like the one Calvin made. The settings are for Calvin, Tiger, Elephant, and Dinosaur but I left plenty of space around the dial to write in something else -- you know, in case I feel like spending an afternoon as a dolphin... or an F-16.

Also, my co-workers really like good coffee so we buy good coffee and then make it every morning at work. Then we listen to Jim Rome on the radio, which is my favorite. Today, we shut down the warehouse for 45 minutes and the five of us that work there went to Cicchitti's for lunch and played Trivial Pursuit. I like this job.

When I'm done SPIE-ing, I don my baseball cap and knee-high socks and drive out to forgettable Deming, WA to coach the high-schoolers. I love this job even more. The pay is decent (although the drive-time takes an alligator-bite out of my paycheck), the kids are great, and most importantly, I'm on a baseball field. Few are the times when I feel as at-home or peaceful as when I'm walking on a newly-mowed infield and listening to the sound of a 9-inch, 5-ounce cork-centered leather sphere slapping against the palm of a kangaroo-skin glove. This is my fourth season as a coach and doing this job gives me a greater appreciation for the coaches I had when I played.

I think that one of the most underrated qualities in a vocation is the atmosphere while at work. Both of my jobs are comfortable, fun, energetic places to work and I often leave them feeling more energized than when I arrived. I am very grateful for this.

On a related note, I'm worried about the Mariners. I love them. I love sports and I have favorite teams at just about every level of every sport in this country but I love the Mariners the most. Griffey scoring from first on Edgar Martinez's double in the '95 Divisional Series is still one of the ten greatest moments of my life and the day Griffey was traded is still one of the ten worst. Don't laugh. So here's my dilemma:

A few years ago, the Mariners hired Bill Bavasi as General Manager. He has since spent his time trading away the prospects from the Mariners' farm system (which a couple of years ago Baseball America considered the best in the game) for marginal Major League veterans. Last year was one of the most egregious display of future-mortgaging I've ever seen.

Consider these moves:
-Signed Jeff Weaver for over $8 million (for one year).
-Traded super-stud reliever Rafael Soriano for Horacio Ramirez and then signed Ramirez to a one-year contract worth about $7 million.
-Traded outfield prospect and crowd-favorite Chris Snelling for Jose Vidro.
-Didn't trade Richie Sexson.
-Picked up Rick &#!%@ White. Rick White!!!

This is all in one season. Here's how these moves played out:
-Jeff Weaver's first three starts resulted in an 0-3 record with an ERA over 14! Statistically, it is the worst three-game opening in the HISTORY OF MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL. I'm not making that up. Guess $8 mil doesn't get you what it used to.
-Ramirez's $7 million ERA: 7.16! And he allowed 1.85 runners to reach base PER INNING. Those are tee-ball numbers. (Side note: Soriano has since become a lights-out closer for the Atlanta Braves)
-Jose Vidro was signed to be the designated hitter for the M's. Yes, that Jose Vidro. All he had to do all season was hit. Not play defense, not do anything else. Just hit. The result: 6 home runs and 59 runs batted in.
-Sexson (who coincidentally makes something like $16 million dollars a year) had a .205 batting average, more strikeouts than hits, and was benched by August.
-Don't make me revisit Rick White. I didn't eat for a week after his three-game suck-fest took the life out of an inspiring playoff run. That's on you, John McLaren. Oh yeah, Bavasi made John McLaren the manager. And then KEPT him after he tanked the season.

Ok, my blood-pressure is lowering. Anyhow, despite the GM's best efforts, the Mariners exceeded everyone's expectations last season and went 88-74. This is a problem, though. I'll tell you why:

The Mariners ownership has essentially told Bavasi that his job is in jeopardy and that he's being evaluated on a year-by-year basis. Consequently, Bavasi is trading away the future of the franchise (some of our best minor-leaguers and young players) for players that he thinks will help the Mariners win more games now. This sucks because the Mariners won all those games last year on the backs of their exciting young players, not the schleps that Bavasi brought in.

88 wins was not enough to make the playoffs, but unfortunately it's enough to give Bavasi another year. Keeping a GM on a year-by-year is problematic because the General Managers job is to ensure long-term success. I once heard someone say that the second you can't see your current GM still being there in 5 years, you have to fire him. i believe this is true. Otherwise you get guys like Fire-Sale Bill trading away the next ten years worth of talent for minor improvements now.

The latest move was to trade Adam Jones and his drool-worthy abilities (as well as the best set-up pitcher and three more of the top-six prospects in the Mariners system) to Baltimore for Erik Bedard.

I was SO excited to watch Adam Jones spend his promising career with the Mariners and am sad to see him go. I'm also sad to see set-up extraordinaire George Sherill leave. The good news is that Erik Bedard is a stud. A true ace. A proven pitcher with a hell of an upside. I can't wait to watch him throw at pitcher-friendly Safeco Field this year.

My hesitation with this move is that you just don't trade away your best players (a 5-for-1 deal if you're keeping score) unless you think you're one player away from winning it all. The Mariners, I assure you, are much more than Erik Bedard away from winning the World Series or even contending for it. I think. I hope I'm wrong. If nothing else, watching Bedard and King-in-waiting Felix Hernandez pitch on back-to-back nights will be exciting.

For the kids: