Assignment is 1/3 complete
In case you haven’t checked out Assignment: America recently, I thought I would give a progress report. Nearly one year after staring the project after graduation, I am exactly one third of the way to visiting all 50 states and their capitols. I didn’t even realize I was a third completed until I started updating some of the pages last night. I have most of the pictures uploaded, but I still need to complete the blurbs.The good news is that I am way ahead of where I thought I would be in a year. The bad news is that most of the remaining states are too far to be reached by a road trip from Ann Arbor, so I will have to fly to a city and then drive to nearby capitals.So I’ve been happy with all the trips so far and it has been a great experience. While some doubted I would take this seriously, I think that notion has been put to bed. Still others maintain that I’m crazy and I won’t come near completion. While the first part may be true, I won’t give up easily. But moving into a new apartment will probably slow down the pace of future trips, so I doubt to be two-thirds completed a year from now...
How quickly the tide can turn. After six straight wins for my Sharks in the playoffs, I was convinced growing a playoff beard was the key to their success. I even began to think about this being the thing that would get them over the hump and into the Cup finals for the first time in franchise history. Perhaps a tad optimistic (or crazy, depending on who you talk to), but two years removed from a Western Conference finals berth and the Nos. 1-4 seeds already out, I thought the chances looked good for the Sharks to make a run.But after last night’s loss, San Jose lost four straight to Edmonton and now finds itself in the offseason. I didn’t see last night’s game because I was flying to DC for vacation, but I saw the result on ESPNEWS and I was glad I didn’t watch. It seems that the comeback in game 4 to tie the series and the infamous booing of “O Canada” game that resulted in a 6-3 loss were their undoing.Sidenote: I was really disappointed to see Sharks fans booing the Canadian national anthem. I’m sure they thought they were trying to show support for the team, but about 10 guys on the Sharks roster were born in Canada, including fan favorites like Marleau, Cheechoo, Hannan and both Thorntons. San Jose has always prided itself on having some of the most passionate, knowledgeable and committed fans in the country, and this has forever tarnished that reputation.So after seeing the result, I immediately shaved the stupid thing off. I grew it out for nearly a month, and below is the final result. I guess a part of me is happy that I no longer have to explain why I was doing it at work any more…Photo: All this for nothing?
For some bizarre reason, Tommy Amaker was selected to be the coach of the Big Ten Exhibition Tour last week. The team is made up of players from all the Big Ten schools that travel to Australia to play some exhibition games against foreign teams in August. I guess either the Big Ten is clueless or no one else wanted to do it, since Tommy isn’t the guy you want representing the conference right now. I hope he doesn’t get any kind of monetary reward for this, since he pretty much ran Michigan’s tournament chances into the ground, and now he gets a free trip to Australia out of it. If I was a player chosen to play on this team, I would head for the hills. And if I was one of the other Big Ten coaches, I would tell my guys not to listen to anything Amaker has to say, since it ain’t working in Ann Arbor. It shouldn’t be too hard for the players, since he doesn’t make his team run plays on offense or sets on defense.So thank you Big Ten conference, for rewarding our fearless leader Tommy Amaker on a bang-up job this past season and showing that you want him to be the face of the conference to the rest of the world. Hopefully he’ll like Australia so much he won’t come back...
Things are finally starting to come together. A month after being hired full time, I’m in the process of moving into a new apartment. This one is so much nicer than my old one on campus, just because of the fact it IS off-campus. It’s also nice not to have to share an apartment with someone else, especially bathroom time in the morning.
As soon as I saw the place, I knew it was one of the best in Ann Arbor. The complex is near Briarwood Mall, but it only has about 300 units. I picked a third floor apartment, since I really don’t want to hear people walking on my ceilings all night long. It’s just a standard one-bedroom unit, but it does have some nice perks. Probably the thing that sold me about the place was the in-house washer and dryer, since I hate having to save quarters for the laundromat. It also has a half bathroom along the entry hall, but I’m convinced I’ll never use it.
Moving this weekend was pretty exhausting. I’m really thankful Pa Schick was in town to help, or else I would still be bringing stuff upstairs. He helped move some of the bigger items, like my mattress, dresser and desk. I had never driven a U-Haul before Saturday, and I would never want to drive one of those across the country, since I rely heavily on a rear-view mirror when I drive. Plus, you don’t realize how bad Michigan roads are until you drive in a truck with worn shocks.
So last night was the first night I slept in the new pad and I’m probably about 80% done. I just need to get some stuff out of storage, as well as find a TV stand, and I’ll probably be done by the end of the week. I’ve added some pictures I took on Thursday after I signed the lease. I wanted to take some during the move and driving the U-Haul, but Dad and I were in no mood to pose for pictures. I’ll post some new ones once everything is in place.
Photo: Standing in the doorway
Photo: Living room
Photo:Kitchen (probably the cleanest it will ever be)
Bye bye Hockeytown
Well, this is shaping up to be an interesting playoff for Lord Stanley’s cup, at least in the western conference. San Jose never had too much trouble with Nashville, finishing them off in five. I think had regular staring goalie Tomas Vokoun been in net for the Predators, this series would still be going, but I think the Sharks would have pulled it out in seven nonetheless. San Jose is awaiting the outcome of the Calgary/Anaheim series to see whether they will play Edmonton or Colorado in the second round (and if Anaheim wins, the Sharks will be the highest remaining seed in the west).Probably the most shocking event of the first round was the Presidents Trophy winner Detroit going out to the eight-seed Edmonton Oilers in six. All season long I’ve heard about how great this Wings team is and no one was going to stop them in their path to the cup. I never listen to Detroit sports radio, but I had to turn it on this morning to hear all the fans crying about how they were robbed in this series. I love that the callers rip guys like Shanahan and Chelios for being too old now, but they were silent during the regular season.I’ve bashed the nickname “Hockeytown” for Detroit before, and this further proves how it’s a joke; real fans would just accept they were beaten by the better team in this series and not complain about officiating and the like. San Jose might not have the hockey tradition that Detroit does, but Sharks fans go absolutely crazy during the playoffs. Take 1995, when the Sharks lost in the second round and they city threw the team a parade.A little bit of trivia: Detroit becomes the seventh No. 1 seed to lose in the opening round, the second time in team history. The other time? 1994, when San Jose upset the Wings in seven games.
No more Mr. Tony at work
Today marks the first day Tony Kornheiser’s radio show is on hiatus until he is done with Monday Night Football. As a big fan, I’m pretty disappointed, since now I won’t have anything to listen to get me going in the morning. Mornings at the office are tough, so not hearing his takes on the day’s sports news, as well as pop culture, will be missed.I said earlier that he will do a great job on MNF and will fill a void for casual fans that aren’t interested in the Xs and Os of football. I am one of his fans that knows he will succeed, but part of me wants him to fail so he will be back on the radio as soon as possible. I’ll just have to make sure I catch PTI from now on...