Category:General
Posted on: March 21, 2010 2:44 pm
Edited on: March 21, 2010 2:45 pm
 

R.I.P. Sir Lancelot, 1998-2010

Amidst all the hoopla of March Madness, they daily grind of life goes on. And on Saturday, that grind had me burying a good friend.

Sir Lancelot, better know as Lance, was a Welsh Corgi mix that my wife (girlfriend at the time) and I adopted from the humane society in 1999. If I recall correctly, he was about eight months old.

Like many young boys, I had always wanted a dog growing up, but things just never quite worked out. Finally as I transitioned out of college into the real world and had a steady job, the timing seemed to be right.

A German Shephard or a Doberman was my desire, but living in a small apartment that just wasn't going to happen. I also didn't want a pup as I didn't have the time to properly break him in. For me, adoption through the Humane Society was the way to go.

We had a 25-pound weight limit for the apartment complex I was living in, so I had to take that into account. But I also didn't want anything too small -- like a chiuaua. Upon initial inspection at the humane society, there were a couple I liked, but they didn't make the weight cut. As we were set to leave, in a small cage off to the side this one caught our eyes, looking up at us with his puppy dog eyes.

Facially, he sort of had the profile of a German Shephard, but at 1/4 the size. Perfect.

He came to us as Stephen. We christened him Sir Lancelot. My wife and I graduated from UCF where the nickname is the Knights (Golden Knights at the time we were there), so that's sort of where we were coming from when choosing his name.

Lance was far from the perfect dog, just as I was far from the perfect owner. There were many times over the years I thought about turning him back in.

There was the early adjustment period when he'd poop and pee in the apartment, but chalked that up to adjusting to a new place. He eventually got over that.

When I got the job with SportsLine (now CBSSports.com), we had to move away from my girlfriend for about six months until we were married. I think there was a bit of separation anxiety as he began to destroy things in our new apartment. One day I came home to find a whole mess of destroyed CDs and video games. It was about that time I wasn't sure I could keep him any longer. I just felt I couldn't devote enough time to him. My wife talked me out of it.

Things were a little better once we married and she joined us. But there was still the time he pooped in one of my shoes. It was the middle of the night and I got this whiff of you know what. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out where it was coming from. And then I made the discovery. Let's just say it wasn't the well-formed kind. Needless to say I wanted to ring his neck.

But we still stuck with him. For better or worse, we were in this for the long haul.

Our first child came into the world in 2004 and that meant Lance sharing the spotlight for the first time. In 2007 we added a couple more kids. I think he adjusted OK, though none of my children ever really bonded with him. More white a grey hairs sprouted around his muzzle. I guess the kids stressed him out as much as they do us.

I don't know what his first owners did to him, but he always was a bit prickly. He took a nip out of everybody in the family as well as a few others. Those nips usually came when he felt backed in a corner or if people tried to take food (or crayons, he had a bad habit of eating crayons when they fell to the floor) away from him. I don't think he particularly liked children as they were too rambunctious and loud for his tastes.

He'd snag food off the table when nobody was looking. Two or three times a year we'd have to take him to the vet for ear infections. He seemed to shed all the time, leaving hair balls all over the place.

You'd think with all these issues, I'd be relieved that he's gone.

Despite all his faults, he was an integral part of my world. He was small in stature, but had the heart and courage of a lion. We used to take him to the dog park and if the big dogs tried to mess with him, he had no qualms about taking them on. He had the bark of a 100-pound dog. I have no doubt that if anyone tried to break in or attack us, he'd have mauled them.

He was also a great vacuum. My kids drop an awful lot of food on the floor and he was gladly there to eat it all up.

And he was so danged cute. On a bad day, spending a little time with him would always ease the tension. Unlike a kid, he couldn't yell and scream and talk back.

It was only a couple of weeks ago I came home and discovered he wasn't breathing normally. My wife took him to the vet the next day and the diagnosis wasn't good -- lung cancer, heart failure or possibly an infection. Best case scenario was an infection, but unfortunately in turned out to be the cancer. His condition deteriorated day by day. His breathing became more labored and he wasn't eating.

Not wanting to see him whither into nothing and possibly in pain, we made the agonizing call to put him to sleep. Many tears have been shed. He has been a part of our life almost as long as me and my wife have been together. Even with three screaming kids, it's odd and empty not to have him around anymore.

He was one of a kind and will be missed.

Category: General
Posted on: November 13, 2008 4:04 pm
 

Kids do the darndest things

So in addition to being the college basketball and auto racing producer here at CBSSports.com, I'm also the father of a 4 1/2-year-old boy and 1 1/2-year-old twins -- boy and girl.

Well, last night I leave the eldest at the dining room table coloring a book, with his little brother sitting next to him. I return a few minutes later and can you guess what I find? He's coloring his little brother's face!!!! Thankfully it was just crayons and not markers.

Ahhh, the joys of parenthood

Category: General
Posted on: July 23, 2008 4:37 pm
 

How I spent my summer vacation

Well, I won't detail all the aspects of my break, but I did manage to catch a couple of movies, one kid friendly (Wall-E) and one of the adult variety (get your head out of the gutter, not that kind of adult variety -- The Dark Knight).

Let me start off by saying that I thorougly enjoyed and recommend both films, but TDK is now among my top 10 all-time favorites.

But first up, Wall-E

I've seen all the Disney-Pixar movies and can't say I've ever been disappointed. Wall-E was no exception. But I wouldn't go so far as to say it deserves a Best Picture nomination as some critics have asserted. Critics love artsy type films and I think this movie sort of falls into that category as it's able to tell a story with so little dialogue. I think it's great how the animators were able to convey emotions from the robots, but I felt the story itself was somewhat weak.

At the top of my Disney-Pixar favorites are the two Toy Story movies. After those two, I couldn't really separate the rest of the Disney-Pixar library, I pretty much like them all. The only one that I don't particularly care for is Ratatouille.

Now on to TDK. In my eyes it definitely lived up to the hype. From beginning to end I was riveted (at the expense of a much-needed bathroom break). 

I wasn't a big fan of Batman Begins. It was just so-so for me, but TDK was a different story. I felt the story compelling and Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker was phenomenal and his part well written.

THE FOLLOWING SENTENCE MAY BE CONSIDERED A MILD SPOILER, SO SKIP IT IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE FILM

My only complaint was that they might have saved part of the Harvey Dent story arc for the next movie and that might have shaved about 30 minutes from the run time.

SPOILER OVER

Anyhow, I now move TDK to the front of the line of the Batman move franchise. I still like the original Batman, but Tim Burton's version now rings somewhat campy to me, with current director Christopher Nolan's vision more based in reality. It's the comic book version Batman vs. the graphic novel Batman if you get my drift.

Michael Keaton remains my favorite actor who played Batman however. I remember thinking how ridiculous it was when it was first announced that he had been chosen to play Batman. Mr. Mom as Batman how ridiculous. But he pulled it off.

I never liked Val Kilmer or George Clooney as Batman. Maybe it's because the movies stunk. Christian Bale does a solid job and probably is the best at portraying "playboy" Bruce Wayne. It we could meld Bale's Wayne and Keaton's Batman it would be perfect.

The two Jokers are written so differently. Jack' Nicholson's is practically mean to chew the scenery, while Ledger's is written in a more demented manner (picture Nicholson in The Shining). So I wouldn't pick one's portrayal. They were perfect performances for how they were written.

Batman favs:

1. TDK; 2. Batman; 3. Batman Returns and 4. Batman Begins

I prefer to pretend as if Batman Forever and Batman & Robin never existed.

And that is how I spent (part of) my summer vacation.

Category: General
Posted on: February 8, 2008 11:39 am
 

Crossing the line

I don't get it.

I have my favorite teams, but I've never felt the need to do harm or deride somebody simply because they have an allegiance dissimilar to mine.

Last night at the Illinois game, Illini fans were shouting all types of derogatory remarks toward Indiana's Eric Gordon, all because he reneged on his commitment to the school.

Toward the end of the 2OT game, some unruly fans began throwing things. A cup of water struck his mother. So sad.

http://www.sportsline.com/collegeba
sketball/story/10626903

Umm, he's a teenageer people. He changed his mind. Get over it. Simply ridiculous that  that much vitriol would be directed toward the kid. Would the Illini be better with Gordon? Sure, but in the big scheme of things what difference does it really make. Whether your team wins or loses shouldn't alter your life.

I've been a diehard Dolphins fan for more than 20 years. None of those seasons have ended in a championship. But I've seen the rival Bills go to four straight Super Bowls and the hated Pats go to five Super Bowls, winning thrice. Strangely enough, even when the Pats won their first Super Bowl, my life went on the next day. I rooted for the Giants in this past Super Bowl as if they were the Dolphins themselves. I wanted the Dolphins to remain alone in NFL lore as the lone unbeaten team. The Giants won and I was happy. Good for me.

And if the Pats had won? I'd have shrugged my shoulders and gone about business as usual, just as I did after Giants won, just a bit happier.

I'm still hoping that one day one of my cruddy teams will win a championship. Obviously winning feels better than losing. But you know what? It's not going to change my life one bit. I'll be extra happy for a day or two and then life's trials and tribulations will set in again. I'll have bragging rights among my friends, perhaps I'll even get a shirt that says champion on it -- but that's about the extent of it.

A few year's back, I went to a Cubs-Marlins game at Dolphins Stadium. Some jerk started throwing peanut shells at me and my wife -- and why? Because I had the gall to where a Cubs jersey to the game. Really? I wasn't doing anything in particular to draw attention to myself, cheering when the Cubs managed to do something good in the game. Isn't that what a fan is supposed to do. But this jerk had to go ahead and ruin things.

So here's a little advice. It's a GAME. It's ENTERTAINMENT. There's nothing that's going to happen in any game that's personally going to change your life. Just sit back and try to enjoy. Certainly try to get into the spirit of the game, but don't be so angry about every little thing. 

To paraphrase the wise and all-knowing Yoda:

“Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

 

Posted on: January 15, 2008 6:26 pm
 

Open Water 2

OK, I don't know how often I'm going to post in this blog, but what I do know is that when I do, it won't always be about sports.

This entry, for instance, is about a cruddy movie I stumbled across on while struggling to fall asleep the other night -- Open Water 2.

The premise was interesting enough, a group of people get trapped off a yacht because the owner (who wasn't really the owner, though it was never explained how he got the ship) failed to put the ladder out before he and his friends jumped into the water for a swim.

That's the quick synop at least.

Warning, there be spoilers ahead for anybody else who wants to watch this monstrosity.

3/4ths of it was OK, but the ending was atrocious. Those who haven't seen it, which I have to imagine is 99.9% of you, will have no idea what I'm talking about, but of the six people that end up in the water, only two survive before figuring a way back up. So the woman, who's had a infant baby trapped on the boat all alone for a rough guesstimation 12-14 hours, gets back on the yacht and lowers the ladder for the other guy who remains alive. However, he was the dummy who failed to lower the ladder in the first place and so he decides, he too must pay with his life for all the other lost lives and decides not to climb back on the boat and drifts out to sea.

This is where it just totally loses all credibility

After lowering the ladder, the mother immediately goes to check on her baby, who no doubt has to be all poopy and cranky and hungry and she's eventually shown falling asleep with her baby. Now to be able to change, feed, comfort and fall asleep with the baby has to take some amount of time -- at least an hour, though as a father of three, I know it would take hell of a lot longer that that. Anyhoo, she wakes up and wonders where her friend is so she goes up to take a look around -- in a pouring storm mind you -- and discovers he's not around. Somehow she's able to spot him in the ocean and after much thought decides to go in after him. Simply ridiculous.

And so what happens next? Good question, because we're shown what appears to be two endings. First a small tugboat comes across the yacht which appears to be empty except for a crying baby. Then it cuts to the mother back on the ship, with the guy either dead or passed out. And then credits.

So there you go. If you haven't seen this movie, DON'T. If you have, I feel your pain.

Category: General
 
 
 
 
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