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Archive for February, 2009

Is Sobriety Killing My Social Life?

February 16, 2009 5 comments

It is a tough thing to say goodbye to.  I have had such a thriving social live for so long; to see the decrease in mine is kind of shocking, especially because of what I blame the majority of it on: sobriety.

Earlier this month, I graded myself on how I did on my 2009 goals for the month of January.  When writing about the ‘no drinking’ goal, I wrote: “and people are still willing to hang out with me!”  This is semi-true still; I just get this odd vibe that people do not know what to do if someone in their group is not drinking when they are.

People are used to me being a good chunk of the life of the party.  Whether it is just having a good ol’ drunken fun time, or if it’s just me being too drunk, annoying, and giving people something to talk about, all is good if I have a drink in my hand.

I was out last night with a couple college friends.  My main goal was to watch the NBA All-Star festivities, do some dinner, and possibly let my eyes wander for any single women out celebrating what people call ‘Singles Awareness Day’.  We went to Liquor Lyle’s based on a suggestion that they had very good wings.  Whoever told my friend that obviously was playing a joke on him.

All was good through the skills competition, dinner, the 3-point contest, and the dunk contest.  Drinks were consumed, laughs were plentiful, and there was talk ofpossibly meeting people at another location or having those people meet us where we were.  Then at 9:30, my friends became tired.   Then came 10pm; NBA All-Star Saturday Night festivities were done.  We got our check, paid, left, I dropped them off all by 10:10.  Was my night over at only 10:10pm?

I called another friend, and he was out on a date.  Despite this, both him and the lady he was with invited me to crash their date.  After a couple minutes of thought and being pitched on the idea, I met them downtown.  I was there for about a half hour and they decided they needed to get back home.  On ‘singles awareness day’, I was home before midnight.

This was kind of shocking at first glance.  I hope this is not the case, but when my friends became tired, it had the feel of ‘tired’ to it.  Am I that boring sober?

I then thought back to a couple weeks prior when a bunch of us went to Hooter’s to watch UFC 94.  Again, I was the sober guy and sober driver.  I was legitimately tired when the event ended at midnight.  When trying to figure out what to do, I left the decision up to everyone else.  I may have given off the vibe that I didn’t want to go out or do anything, which I regret if that is what I did, because I may have been the one that sent the signal saying ‘I’m sober, and I am not staying out late anymore.’  I am all about everyone having a good time.  Things just seemed to die down and I ended up dropping everyone off either at a bar nearer to their home, or at their home.  Maybe that was a product of people being downtown Minneapolis, where they’re not as into that scene as I am.

There is just something going on here that seems odd.  My friends are my age, in above average health, and just do not get tired at 9:30pm on a Saturday night.

The problems with this situation: I have over three months until I compete and complete a half-marathon.  Then I earn the priviledge to drink alcohol once again.  If I am that boring sober, it is going to be a while before that changes.  The other problem: are any of my friends only friends with me to see what I will do next?  How drunk will he get?  What will he do?  What can we tell him he did since he is obviously blacked out?  What story will be created because of this?

I hate that these thoughts are going through my head.  It is probably a bunch of paranoia all on my end.  If I am right, I need new friends.

~J

twitter: @jasondouglas

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Fake Amber Alerts: Welcome to 2009

February 12, 2009 Leave a comment

A couple days ago, a message on twitter was being retweeted repeatedly.

‘AMBER ALERT: 7yr old taken by man driving a newer silver truck. LP #*2*3*1′

I always get chills when an Amber Alert flashes across the television screen or is retweeted on Twitter.  Sometimes, there is a happy ending to the story as there was five days ago:

AMBER ALERT Hanna Renee McBride, 6 yo/3ft/blue eyes/brown hair with Matthew Dylan Davis, 28 yo/W/M/ 215 lb, Grey Pickup DFW’

They found your amber alert girl: http://is.gd/iHop

Sometimes, the ending is not so great.

The Amber Alert that was tweeted and texted to people was a fake.  Why someone would want to fake an Amber Alert is beyond me.  This person was playing people for who they are: caring individuals trying to help as best as they can.

One of the benefits of a site like twitter is how quickly word can spread throughout the twitter community.  From Carl Pohlad’s passing, to the Hudson River plane crash; those are both events that I found out about on twitter even before many news stations and sites were covering the story.  Amber Alerts do pass through twitter on occasion, because it is so easy to share with your followers by retweeting the message.   I honestly believe that people are more aware of their surroundings when they become aware of an Amber Alert.  We all want the kid to be safe and out of harms way.

I hope two things come of this: the person responsible for creating the fake Amber Alert is made an example and punished harshly for their actions; and that the people out there that do follow and trust the Amber Alerts they see do not change their perception on them.  All Amber Alerts need to be taken seriously.  The alert system has brought back countless children to safety because people were vigilant and took on a role of responsibility.  If the system is not trusted, the system will not work.

~Jason Douglas

twitter: @jasondouglas




Alex Rodriguez, You Still Have My Vote

February 11, 2009 2 comments

Yes, Alex Rodriguez was screwed by undisclosed sources, Selena Roberts of Sports Illustrated, and the MLBPA union on Saturday, February 7th, 2009.

That date will be considered by some as when baseball died.  How is this the case?  Is Alex Rodriguez the first player to admit steriod use?  Was he ever considered ‘the savior’ to the game?  Since Saturday, it seems like he was the first player to admit his usage, and he was the savior to baseball, a game that is thriving in this economy.

When Jose Canseco wrote his book , Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big, mentioning Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmiero, Ivan Rodriguez, Jason Giambi, and Juan Gonzalez; people thought he was nuts.  Giambi late admitted that he used steroids, Palmiero was caught and suspended for testing positive, McGwire is considered guilty in the court of public opinion, Gonzalez was listed in the Mitchell Report, and (Ivan) Rodriguez had denied all accusations.

That led the way for Vindicated, the sequel to Canseco’s first book.  This one implicated Alex Rodriguez and Albert Belle.  Vindication occurred this past Saturday.

Why should we care?

Only Palmiero ever tested for a banned substance.  The other players either tested positive or admitted use of substances that are now banned by MLB prior to the drugs being banned.  What these players did or are accused of doing was not wrong within MLB’s rules at the time.

Let’s mention one of the larger injustices of this story: the test that Alex Rodriguez was involved in was a ‘survey’ that MLB wanted done to see if there was a steroids issue within the game.   The players tested were promised complete anonimity.

In 2003, when the tests were given, assuming 25 players per team, there were 750 players in MLB; 104 tested positive for steroids.  This means 13.86% of baseball was ‘jucing’.   Does that sound like steroids were rampant throughout MLB?  This was a high enough number where MLB and the MLBPA decided to ban certain substances beginning in 2005.  Everyone in 2003 would be in the clear, since they were not doing anything wrong.

If no one was doing anything wrong, why are we treating people like Alex Rodriguez like criminals?

I can see why in an interview with Katie Couric, Rodriguez denies using steriods.  Yes, he was lying.  Who would have ever known that he was?  His positive test was sealed, confidential, to be destroyed, and never to be heard about again.  The test results were received by the union on November 11, 2003, finalized two days later, and players were notified the following day.

According to MLBPA union leader Donald Fehr, “promptly thereafter, the first steps were taken to begin the process of destruction of the testing materials and records.  On November 19, however, we leardned that the government had issued a subpoena.  Upon learning this, we concluded, of course, that it would be improper to proceed with the destruction of the materials.”  The government wanted the test results as part of the BALCO investigation into performance-enhancing drugs.

Fehr also said there was only an ‘eight-day span between receipt of the test results and notice that a federal grand jury was seeking the results’, which did not give the union enough time to destroy the test results.

How is eight days not enough time to destroy documents, test results, samples, and any other evidence that would implicate its players?

Because of the current fallout on Alex Rodriguez, and the potential fallout on the other 103 players that may follow, and the ‘guarantee’ of anonimity that was promised and not followed through on, good luck on getting the MLB players to agree to anything that is promised as anonymous ever again.

The whole steroids and PED fiasco that has been a part of baseball for the last decade, to some, has tainted the game.  Many Hall-of-Fame voters have said that they would not vote in anyone involved in the steroid cheating scandal.  Cheaters in the past have been punished: ‘Shoeless’ Joe Jackson and his ‘Black Sox’ teammates and Pete Rose are the most prominent names.  The glaring difference between the ‘Black Sox’ and Rose,  and Alex Rodriguez, the ‘Black Sox’ and Rose broke existing rules of MLB.  What do we do about players that admit using drugs/PED’s that are now banned?

Mike Schmidt, hall-of-fame third baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies is a member of the 500 hr club, and on the All-Century team.  Since his retirement in 1988, Schmidt has come out and admitted his use of ‘greenies’ otherwise known as amphetamines (speed).  A trial in the 1980’s implicated Willie Stargell (hall-of-famer), teammate Bill Madlock, and Willie Mays (hall-of-famer).  The use of amphetamines in baseball has been common for decades, and was made notorious in Jim Bouton’s 1970 tell-all “Ball Four,” in which Bouton described how players had easy access to the green-colored speed pills.  Greenies were banned by MLB in 2006, with the first positive test resulting in a warning ans the second positive test bringing a 25-game suspension.

What do amphetamines do for a baseball player?  MLB teams play 162 games in roughly 180 days.  No matter how in shape a player is, the body breaks down.  Some players felt that if they don’t play, they may lose their job.  The green pills keep the body going for short periods of time, allowing players to keep up with the demanding schedule.  And people wonder why Cal Ripken Junior’s consecutive games streak of 2,632 was so amazing.

If we are willing to punish players that tested positive for steroids or PED’s when they were not banned in MLB by not voting them into the Hall-of-Fame, shouldn’t we remove players that have admitted past use?  If that does not happen, people need to get over the last decade.  Do not add an asterisk to any records set in this era; we do not know what really happened in the 80’s, 70’s, 60’s, and prior.

I am still a fan of baseball, and still a fan of Alex Rodriguez.  If he breaks Bonds’ career homerun total of 762, he will be the rightful owner of that record.  After his career is done, hopefully he will join Barry Bonds, all the other greats with questionable backgrounds in the Hall-of-Fame.  Rodriguez has my vote… if I ever get one.

~Jason Douglas

twitter: @jasondouglas

A Lazy Weekend

February 7, 2009 Leave a comment

That what it has been for me so far, an absolutely lazy, low-key weekend.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.  Is there?

I have always had in my mind that if I stay in for an evening, that I am missing out on something.   I am one that loves to be active, out and about, see and be seen; so it makes sense why it drives me nuts to stay in once in a while.  There were things to do, to see, places to be seen at.  I chose to stay in and be lazy and completely unproductive on any level.

As I woke up today at 9am, I was happy that I slept well and stayed in last night, yet, still feel like I missed out on something ‘cool’.  Friends, please tell me what I missed out on last night.

~J

twitter: @jasondouglas

Categories: life

Digital Television (DTV) On Hold Once Again

February 4, 2009 1 comment

The moment we have all been waiting for; three years in the making.  The switch from analog to digital is coming up on February 17th.  I have my two ‘vouchers’ for converter boxes ready to go.  We are less than two weeks away from the….

I interrupt your blog reading for a breaking news announcement: Congress Delays DTV Switch. Why would this happen?  Is three years of warning, planning, and preparation not enough?

Some reaction from my twitter friends:

“Delaying the switch will accomplish nothing, there will still be people not ready when the new deadline comes.”
“It frustrates me! Now I have to listen to those commercials for another 4 months. It’s like pushin an election back!”
“DTV switch postponed…ugh.”


The people above most likely will not be affected by the DTV switch, whenever it happens.  The House passed the legislation 264-158 today, following the Senate’s passing last week, arguing that ‘the government had not properly warned poor, rural, and minority communities.’

If this is the case, this is just another failure by our government.  What seems like a realitvely simple task considering the decisions that are on their plate; how, in three years, is our government unable to inform all television owners about the upcoming change?  I guess change did not come soon enough.  Is this another thing that we can thank Bush for?

There is always two sides to a story.

Say this is not government’s fault; that the blame goes on you, me, all television owning citizens.  We heard the warnings everywhere we went; our house, our friends house, at a sports bar; the warnings were in magazines, online, newspapers.  Yet, here we are, whining, complaining, crying about how we are going to lose our precious television.   How are we supposed to raise out kids without television?  Let the pandemonium begin!

This quote from a White House statement says it all: “The passage of this bipartisan legislation means that millions of Americans will have the time they need to prepare for the conversion.  We will continue to work with Congress to improve the information and assistance available to American consumers in advance of June 12, especially those in the most vulnerable communities.”

Now, in the next four months, America will have the proper time to prepare?  The past three years was not enough?

How in the next four months will Congress improve the information available and improve the assistance available to American consumers?  Again, the last three years was not enough?

Regardless of who is at fault, the delay is happening.  Not until June 12 will we officially switch to DTV.  Until we realize we, on all ends of the spectrum, are still woefully unprepeared.

~J

twitter: @jasondouglas

Help, I can’t breathe!!

February 3, 2009 2 comments

Or is it something else?

This is becoming, again, a recurring theme.   I stretch, I walk for 5 minutes, I start running, and BOOM… sideaches join Team Jason.  I try running through it: FAIL.  I walk it out for another 3 minutes, attempt running again: FAIL.  I repeat the previous attempt; same result: FAIL.

What the crap is going on?

When I began my training and workouts a month ago, sideaches never happened.  I stretch, I eat somewhat well, I sleep like crap, I do a minimal amount of core training; nothing has changed from when I started.

My legs feel very good, my lungs are good as well.  My core is obviously garbage.

With my high level of frustration, I was able to dominate my weight training tonight.   A small amount of redemption flowed through my body.

I expect more out of myself in absolutely everything I do.  To me, success is the greatest high I can experience.  I am not high at all right now; tonight was an absolute failure, and a big wake-up call.  In less than four months, I have a half-marathon to run.  I was unable to make it a mile before quitting due to some sideaches.  What a joke.

Since I am incapable of fixing this problem on my own, I need help from you.

What am I doing wrong?  What can I do to get rid of these sideaches?  What I am doing is not good enough, and it is as frustrating as anything I have experienced in recent memory.  I don’t need anything else to help me not sleep at night.

I am sick of FAILING.

Let us see what tomorrow will bring.  Let us see what I will bring to tomorrow.

~J

@jasondouglas

Categories: life Tags: ,

UFC 94, Super Bowl XVIII, biting through bones, the usual weekend

February 2, 2009 2 comments

This weekend brought UFC 94 – Penn/St. Pierre and the final NFL game of the 2008 season, Super Bowl XVIII pitting the Arizona Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers.

Sunday led me to a place in Maple Grove, MN called ‘Curry Up’, an Indian food establishment.  Suggested by my friend Mike, I went in there with an open mind.  With their buffet reasonably priced, I was starting to gain excitement in my taking a chance on something different.  When I think buffet, I think chinese buffets, or an Old Country Buffet type of place that has a wide selection of various foods.  This buffet had six items to choose from, along with a very weak salad bar.  Despite the small selection, I kept the positive attitude, the open mind as it were while scooping up my rice, ‘peas and cheese’, and some chicken thing.  Then things went the wrong direction.

I sit down with Mike (not eating), we look at the plate that I had created, and had that unspoken understanding that this was not going to end well.  I mixed the rice and ‘peas and cheese’ which was edible, above average.  Then came the chicken thing: red on the outside, white on the inside.  It was a bit dry, and crunchy for some reason.  Bite one was interesting.  Bite two, something else was crunchy; a bone.  Not thinking there would be bones in my chicken, I bit into it with normal force, which ended up strong enough to have me bite through the bone.  I did not know that was possible for a human to bite through a bone.  Maybe I am uneducated in bone consumption.   Regardless of that, Mike and I left immediately.  That is what you get for taking a chance on your lunch!

The rest of the day was spent at home, away from everyone except for the roommate.  I had very little interest in the acutal Super Bowl game for the first time in my adult life.  I held out hope that the commercials would satisfy me; that was dumb of me.

The game turned out to be a classic ending in what I consider a huge controversy.  No one else is picking up on this.  The game winning catch by Santonio Holmes should not have counted.  There was a question of whether or not Holmes got both feet down in bounds.  No question does he get his left foot in; no question does he NOT get his right foot in.  Despite my instant thoughts on that play, AND a review of the play, the referees managed to screw up that call, which played a huge role in the Cardinals losing.   I will gladly debate this play with anyone.  It was such a shame for the game to be partially determined by that play, along with the ‘fumble’ at the end of the game by Kurt Warner.  I felt his arm was moving forward, which would result in an incomplete pass.  Again, what was called versus what should have been called are two different things.  This may have been the most poorly refereed Super Bowl in recent memory, with the referees seeming to call in favor of the Steelers (Arizona has 11 penalties for 106 yards, Pittsburgh had 7 for 56).  Ken Wisenhunt had to challenge two plays that were called in favor of the Steelers.  Lucky for him, he won both challenges, one nullifying a touchdown.

The big difference, other than the biased officiating, was hte big turnover.  James Harrison intercepted Warner on the goal line before halftime and ran it for a record setting 100 yard touchdown, longest in Super Bowl history.  Those seven points proved pivotal in the end.

Overall, it was a very good game with the drama that Super Bowls have lacked in the past.

A quick note about UFC 94: Georges St. Pierre is amazing.  His dismantling of B.J. Penn was something to be in awe of.  to get a fighter like Penn to have his corner not let him go out for the fifth round says something about the overall dominance of St. Pierre.  One has to wonder if he may choose to move up a weightclass or two.  He is only 5’10” and 170, but ripped beyone belief.  He is definitely worth the price of admission.

A bunch of friends and myself went to Hooters in Block E to watch the event.  If the Penn/St. Pierre fight wasn’t so jam packed, the event would have sucked overall.  There was a sweet knockout in the Machida/Silva fight, the rest of the televised bouts were split decisions and lacking high octane action.  Here is a recap of the event from espn.com

That was the weekend, another success.  Here’s to the new week; oh what will you bring to me, what will I bring to you?

~J

twitter: @jasondouglas