Tuesday, May 15, 2012

And High On Summer Time

Some bullet points for your Tuesday afternoon:

  • I thoroughly enjoy coaching the little league team.  Wish I didn't have to drive all the way down to Spanish Fork twice a week for it, but they're good kids and they like to play the game, so it's worth it.  We're 2-0 heading into this week's games and pretty stoked about it.  Came back from a 4 run, last inning deficit to win our first game, and put up a lot of runs to win the second game in a rout.  All the kids have fun, and seem to be improving, so it makes for a fun time.  And it gives me an excuse to be on a baseball field 2-3 times a week.
  • While I'm on baseball, and I'm going to be for a while, so you might want to skip down if you don't care about baseball, I despise Will Ohman.  He's a pitcher for the White Sox, and I'm not sure why they keep giving him the ball.  I was watching a game, and we were up by 2 I think in the seventh inning.  They bring in Ohman, and I turn the game off.  The Wife asked me why, and I told her, "If Ohman is in, we're going to lose the game.  It always happens."  Sure enough, we lost that game.  Is he really the last left handed pitcher left in the free world?  I'll take just about anyone else over him.  Oh, and he decided to give up four more runs today in a tied ball game.  I loathe this man.
  • On the upside, Adam Dunn remembered to be Adam Dunn this year.  All of his numbers are above career averages and it makes sense that he's getting paid $14 million this year.  Last year, $1.4 million would still have been grossly overpaying him.
  • This weekend also kicks off the summer travel season for The Wife and me.  We make a trip to Idaho Falls this weekend to visit her family.  Next weekend, it's a roadtrip down to California to see the area and figure out where we want to relocate.  The weekend after that it's a trip to Denver, mostly to celebrate our birthday, but also to catch a Rockies game, the lone stadium west of Texas that I have not been to.  I'm excited for all this, but it does make us a bit nomadic.  I'm meeting with my Elder's Quorum president tonight, and I don't know how to tell him "we'll be in the ward boundaries for the next two months, but only show up to church three more times."  In our defense, they haven't read our records in after over a month, so I don't think they've made plans around us being there.
  • Selling a car is harder than buying a car.  I guess when you're the one giving up the cash, there are more people ready to receive than vice versa.  We listed The Wife's old car earlier this week, as we've already bought her new car (a 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee) and now have three cars for two drivers.  So far, haven't had any inquiries.  Figure we'll see what turns out during the next week and a half, and then adjust the price accordingly.
  • Been watching a lot of "Friends" recently. The Wife loves it and owns the collector's box set of the series, so we've been watching a couple episode a night before bed.  One, that show is pretty funny. Two, they emasculated Chandler the moment he and Monica became an item.  Three, I still don't like Phoebe as a character, but realize she's necessary because her story line is never dramatic, so it always provides the necessary levity to keep the show from becoming a soap opera. Four, I hate that theme song now, and the fact that I know that is was done by The Rembrandts.  Five, I love the Monica "I know!" almost as much as just about anything Joey says.
  • It's finally starting to get warm, and I love it.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Final Countdown

2 Days to go.


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Snap Back to Reality

Yes, I realize that there wasn't a post noting the activities of Christmas or New Years' Eve, or Valentine's Day.  Fully aware.  Why hasn't there been ones for that?  Well, things for me have become quite busy.  Between wedding/honeymoon planning, work ramping up, Kaplan starting tomorrow night and all the road trips to square everything up in Florida and Idaho, I don't think I'll have a lot of free time between now and April.

But I do have a moment or two now to give you some quick hits/updates.  No, this will not be a smooth flowing tapestry, but a bullet list of things that have happened, are happening or will happen.  Everyone braced?  Good.

  • Turns out, you need to know a lot of stuff to be a legitimate med school candidate.  I know this because I've spent the past two months relearning two years worth of physics, chemistry, biology, organic chemistry, genetics, biochem and physiology.  Believe me when I tell you that I had forgotten far more than I cared to remember.  I have two more classes to go.  I'm practically counting down the hours.  I spend more time prepping for that class than actually teaching it.  The teaching is fun, but the prep is brutal.  Won't miss that one bit.
  • Wedding is in 24 days.  It's coming up real quick.  Thankfully, everything is, more or less, all set to go.  Have to pick up a couple other items to make the receptions look good, and make sure my suit gets properly altered, but beyond that, it's make sure we're there on time.  We can do that. It's getting pretty exciting.
  • The honeymoon is all locked down.  Flights are booked, reservations made, and by next week, groceries will be ordered.  They have this service where you can have the room pre-stocked with whatever you want before you get there.  Something are more expensive than what they are in the states, but that's to be expected, and the items are generally worth it.  $10 for a watermelon?  I would never do that home, but to have one already delivered to my room before I get there, it's worth it.
  • I applied to six business schools this year.  Five said yes.  UCLA said no, but that wasn't a surprise given that they are top ten, and my work experience isn't the best.  Now I'm in the process of deciding between BYU and USC.  I'm leaning pretty heavily towards USC, as they give me more and better opportunities for the long-term.  The short-term for them will likely be a little rougher than BYU, but nothing impossible.  Oh, and it's much warmer there.  Year round warm there.  Big, big fan.  Almost as big a fan as The Betrothed.  If we do go there, she'll be able to find a job because there a number of hospitals in the area.  Turns out, there are a lot of people in LA, and they like to make babies.  Shouldn't be hard for her to find a place where she can help out.
  • Baseball season it ramping up again.  Pitchers and catchers have already reported and we're a week or so away from spring training ball.  Regular season is just over a month out.  Very excited.  Yes, I will be defending my three time title during my annual "Rick Russell know more about baseball than I do" tournament.  Haven't decided if I'm going to tweak things from last year or not.  I liked the simplicity, but it didn't leave a lot of variance.  Sad part about all this, not even I am willing to pick the White Sox to make the the playoffs, much less win their division.  It's going to be a dark year on the South Side.
  • I do really like "Fringe".  This season has been great, and seems to be pushing to finish even stronger. I would tell you that you must watch it, but if you tried to start now, you'd be more confused than a 2 year old with a lemon wedge. But if you have the time to start from the beginning, I highly recommend it.
I'm sure I'm forgetting something, given the large gap of time that I didn't post anything, but that's what I've got for now.  Enjoy.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cost of Livings High, And Going Up

I blame my Dad.  I really do.  For my looks, my mannerisms, and my vocal rhythms.  However, today I blame him for my activities last Saturday.  During my pre-teen and early teen years, every now and then my father would wake me up around 6:45 am and only say "We're leaving in ten minutes.  Be ready."  Thankfully, we were never heading to a speed-dating convention or a social gathering where looks or smell mattered, because 10 minutes to get ready meant 7 more minutes of sleep and three minutes of changing my clothes, finding a hat and brushing my teeth.  Shower?  Yeah, that wasn't happening.  I was gross, but I was young and not interested in dating, so I feel it can be overlooked.  I might be wrong about that.

Regardless, by 6:55 am we were in the car.  More often then not we would go to an auction.  Not like a Sotheby's auction of fine art or exotic real estate.  I mean an auction where they sold folding chairs by the dozen.  Where you both loose wrenches by the box.  Where you could buy an industrial safe and the forklift to carry it away.  That type of auction.  It combined my Dad's job - running a business - with his hobby - finding a good deal.  He would bring me along mostly to spend time with him, but I think to also show me that you can save money on any purchase, if you kept your eyes open.

Case in point: At one auction they had a lot of 8 sport-style walkman's.  Not discman's.  Walkman's.  This was about a year before the cassette completely died, so the writing was clearly on the wall.  The lot came up and no one was bidding on it.  My dad threw a $10 bill at it, and took it home.  That next Christmas, a number of cousins received these under their trees.  At least they had a built-in radio, so they weren't completely useless.  We had a half full box of these walkman's sitting in my dad's office for at least 3 years.  To this day, I'm not sure what happened to the remainder of them.  It doesn't really matter because he paid $10 for Christmas gifts to like 4 or 5 cousins.  That's a bargain.  He could have used the rest for skeet, or donated them to the Smithsonian's collection of antiquated technologies, and it would have still been a steal.

This all leads me to Saturday.  Saturday morning, I informed the Betrothed (yep, she's no longer the Girlfriend, she has been promoted, and I simply don't like saying the word 'Fiance', so it's Bethrothed) that we were going to meet some of Provo's finest.  We were heading to a storage auction.  Remember how I said that I would only spend three minutes getting ready?  I feel like that was 2 minutes more than anyone else who showed up to those events.  This morning was no different.  If you weren't wearing at least 2 pieces of denim, or one piece of camo, you were over dressed.  If you didn't urinate beside your car, you were fancy.  If you showed up in anything other than a suburban or truck, you were putting on airs.  I brought the Betrothed.  I had also showered and I think shaved.  We were like two ice cubes in a sand pit.

They had three units going for sale.  Being that I had spent months going to these things in Florida, I developed a game called "How much will it go for?"  Additionally, I would play "How much am I willing to pay for it?", but the first number always exceeded the second number.  The first unit was empty except 2 20" rims and some old car batteries. I said I'd throw $20 at it.  Someone else got it for $20.  The next one had a table and some chairs, a mannikin and an old TV.  I said it would go for $150, but I wouldn't pay more than $125.  Sure enough, went for $150.  The last one looked like a garage vomited into a storage locker.  Two fridges, some assorted furniture and miscellaneous items.  I thought it would go for $450.  Dude jumped the bid from $50 to $400 and everyone else backed off.  And that was the end of it.  I was thoroughly entertained the whole time.  The Betrothed laughed herself to tears (no, literally tears came out of her eyes) at the guy who bought the last one.  Between his track pants with the vented legs, in case he worked up a sweat, or the sweatshirt barely covering his tremendous girth, or the U of U beanie with fake, white, spikey hair coming out of the top, this guy was a class act.  Just a sight to behold.

That was the morning.  Later that evening the Betrothed's ward had a Christmas party and auction to raise funds for a sub-for-Santa-esque program.  Good food and a show?  Don't mind if I do.  One of the items up for bids was a wedding/birthday cake from one of the Stake Relief Society leaders.  I'm pretty sure I was the only engaged person in the room, so I bid on it.  A couple other people bid, but when I went to $40, it was just me and the second counselor in the bishopric.  He went to $45, so I went to $50.  He then went to $60, and I thought, "it's for a good cause" and went to $75, thinking that would end things.  He then bid $90.  I backed off.  Now, at the time, I didn't realize that wedding cakes go for like $300.  I thought they went for like $100-$150.  Had I know that, I probably would have kept going.  But instead, I stopped and he won it at $90.  His wife turned back to us from across the room and mouthed "We're buying it for your wedding."  Turns out, that was their plan from the start.  And I ran the guy up another $30.  Thanks.

We called the baker, who the Betrothed has known for a while and she informed us to just pick out whatever cake we wanted.  Just send her a picture and she'll make it.  The Betrothed asked what I wanted the cake to be like.  I said "Tasty".  I stand by that.  Make it look like whatever you want, but make sure I enjoy eating it.  I'm sure we'll have a tasting of some sort down the road.  The big day is still more than 3 months off, so we have a lot of stuff to line up between now and then. But things are starting to get busy.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

If You Like It Then You Shoulda Put A Ring On It

So, Monday night, I asked a very important question to a very special girl.  To let her know I was serious, I gave her something shiny:

She said yes, and there you have it.  


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

You Can Pull All The Cards But I Won't Back Down

Eat Tootsie Rolls
Play Tetris
Take Standardized Tests
Predict Baseball Seasons

Those are four things that I do really well.  With the announcement of Ryan Braun getting the NL MVP award (yes, Matt Kemp was most certainly robbed, especially when you factor in the protection Ryan Braun had batting in front of Prince Fielder), the 2011 Baseball Season has finally come to a close.  Accompanying this is the close of the 3rd Annual Rick Russell Knows More About Baseball Than I Do contest.  And in case you were wondering, yours truly was once more victorious over all-comers.

This was closer than most, as I relied on my MVP picks to carry the day for me, but a 6 point victory over the next nearest competitor is still a win.  For those of you playing, please prepare a $1 bill with the following script:
"Rick Russell knows more about baseball than I do - 2011"

If I have not received these by Christmas Day, expect a phone call.  I have a wall to fill.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

What I Don't Know, I Catch On Real Quick

I have to admit, I've wasted titles twice in a row now.  Both of the previous two titles could have been better used on the subsequent post, as opposed to the ones that they currently head.

Either way, I just got back from a trip to Seattle this past weekend.  I've been fortunate to spend roughly 2 weeks in the Seattle/Northwestern Washington area in my life, and out of that time, it has rained only a day and a half.  For all this talk about being a rainy city, I'm throwing out my BS flag.  The Girlfriend and I flew in on Friday, and it was drizzling a bit that afternoon and early evening.  However, all Saturday and Sunday it was clear and sunny skies.  Monday morning had a slight drizzle before we boarded the plan back to SLC, but that was it.  For that, Seattle, I thank you.

Now you're asking yourself, why did I go to Seattle.  Because I can.  Well, that and The Girlfriend's friend went and moved there a couple months ago and has been asking The Girlfriend to make a visit ever since.  I came along because, well, I can, and because I had met the friend and her husband and found them both to be enjoyable.  To give things a more tangible impression, here's a picture of the four of us.  If you can tell me where that photo was taken, I will award you five tootsie rolls.  Note: none of the four people in the picture qualify for the tootsie roll reward.

These people are some fun people.  They found this thing called CityPass which got us into the major area attractions for a little less than half the retail price.  Science Center, Aquarium, Zoo, Space Needle, EMP, Harbor Tour.  Yep, did all of them for less than what we spent on hot chocolate the weekend. (Got to the point that we just decided to buy a gallon milk, a box of mix and just load canteens before we left for the day.  Have I told you that I hate being cold, as does The Girlfriend.  I brought two jackets and three sweaters for a three and half day trip.  And a hoodie.)

Everything was great except for the Ye Olde Curiosity shop after the Harbor Tour.  They're going to make a comment about it because it's right on the pier.  For future reference, you can skip this place.  It's a souvenir shop with a wall of not-so-curious things.  In their cabinet, they have an Ichiro baseball card.  Not even a rookie card, just and Ichiro card.  Now, you can make the argument that while the card itself is not curious, its inclusion certainly is, but you should not have to go to that level to qualify a Curiosity shop.  Boo on the Ye Olde Curiosity shop.  Boo.

Ok, now I need to preface this.  Growing up in coastal Florida, I was always near the water and the wild-life that it had.  However, I never saw a fish, or a stingray, or even a manatee and thought, "I want to touch that."  Nope.  I figured they were doing their thing, I'm going to just do mine.  And then when I found out about things like stinging coral or anenomees during scuba certification, well that just reinforced my bias.  So, when we stroll into the aquarium and they have this large exhibit where you can touch starfish or anenomees or urchins, I wanted no part in it.  The other three comrades thought this was an opportunity not to be missed, so they kept petting them and letting the tentacles attach to or close around their fingers.  Me?  I petted the immobile starfish that looked/felt like a football.  That's good enough for me.  Thanks.  Next exhibit please.  Oh, and a dry towel would be great as well.

I remember when the Experience Music Project (EMP) opened back in 2000 because I was in Seattle when it happened.  I was there for EFY (Why Seattle?  Florida didn't have one that year.  The closest was in Atlanta.  I figured if I had to fly anyway, might as well go as far as I can.) and arriving a day early, had the chance to read a newspaper that told me about it's opening.  I thought it was amazing and wanted to go ever since.  Hearing that it was on the CityPass, well that sealed it for me.  For a museum, it is unlike any other museum I have been to.  A lot of the exhibits are interactive or video-screen based, and I can only watch so many of those before I get bored.  Give me a cool piece and then an even better story behind it and I'm enthralled for hours.  It's a little embarrassing, but I can't help not read the plaques accompanying stuff that I generally don't care about.   I now know the back-story of Battlestar Galactica.  Not that I've ever seen an episode, or even want to, but because there was a large description of it on a wall.  Because of this, the Nirvana exhibit was great.  I like Nirvana, but I don't thing I've ever owned an album of theirs, and I'm almost certain I've never paid money for a song of theirs. (Notice how I left a loophole regarding napster-esque downloading.  Intentional.)  However, their exhibit was great.  I had no clue that Dave Grohl didn't join the band until 1990, or that Kurt would collect the pickups and other parts of the recently smashed guitars to reuse for repairs.  Now, I do.

Oh, and an inverted tree of guitars and other instruments is always cool.

We ended the trip by first heading out to Snoqualmie Falls.  Want to know the best part about these falls, aside from the view?  The lack of hiking required to see them.  Big fan right there.  Just park, stroll over a skybridge and there you are.  Very pitcturesque setting.  From there we trekked over to the Freemont Troll.  No, it did not have neon hair that stuck straight up.  No, it was not actually a goblin, despite the name.  And no, it slowly move across water while we fished.  It was however a large sculpture of a troll that resides under a bridge.  It's a city monument and is well respected and taken care of.  How well respected, you ask? They are currently doing work on the bridge, renovating it and bolstering it against the ever increasing load it bears.  Instead of blocking off everything under the bridge, they have left a path leading up the troll, as well as the troll itself, accessible.  Now, if you step one yard left of the troll, you are in a hard-hat required area.  However, feel free to climb up the troll without any protection, because the workers are all off to one side.  

All in all, I love hot chocolate, and thoroughly enjoyed the vacation.  Big thanks go out to The Girlfriend's friend and her husband for putting us up/ chauffeuring us around for the weekend.  And a bigger thanks go out to The Girlfriend for letting me tag along.