29 October 2007

Four and done

Well, that was fun. Colorado wins 21 of their last 22 (prior to the WS) and then goes 0-4. How futile does the National League look? Can't win the All-star game (which determines home field advantage...not that it would have helped) and continues to put weaker teams forward in the series. Save for the Cardinals, it's been pretty weak.

Congrats Boston. Okay, we get it, you've broken your curse. I could only hope another team could do the same (hint).

I love how they took time during the night to "break" the news that A-Rod isn't going to take his option with the Yankees. Nothing better than during a Red Sox triumph to point out that the guy that snubbed them for the Evil Empire screwed over the Yankees. Sox fans everywhere were smiling, but I bet it was from the excessive amount of alcohol in their system. I really really really hope the Cubs don't think they need him. We have him, his name is Alfonso Soriano.

28 October 2007

Technical Workshop, part deux

For the last 2 weeks I've been putting together "baby stuff" around my house. With BabyLo just 42 days away from arriving, I've been in fourth gear putting together:
  • A glider (rocking chair)
  • Stroller
  • Papasan swing
  • Pack and Play
  • Car seats
  • Nightstands

They actually are making this stuff easier to put together in the 21st century, so I really don't have too many complaints, other than some of the manuals now have to be distributed with four languages and it seems that, to save on the translations, they are just providing a lot of pictures. If they are going to do this, I strongly suggest making the pictures either bigger, OR, stop making them desktop drawings that some artist did and take actual pictures. There's been a few times I've been left scratching my head wondering what in the hell I've missed when I really haven't, I just haven't been able to see the picture very well.

I'm so frustrated with Customer Service as of late that I'd rather just struggle and step away for a minute than call an 800# to ask someone for advice. They couldn't see what I had in front of me anyway and I highly doubt they could explain to me, over the phone, what I need to do. Thsi is why I do believe that we're going to become a world of wireless computers with web cams attached. If I could show the Customer Service people what's going on, maybe they could show me back how it should go?? Just my wishful thinking.

Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey

Goodbye Colorado Rockies. Sox now up 3-0 with Game 4 this evening. I'm not sure what Colorado was thinking, but they surely aren't living up to the "Rocktober" moniker they want. I actually am impressed with Boston in this series. Everyone is hitting and like sharks, when they smell the blood in the water, the attack in a huge flurry.

Up 6-0 and letting the lead slip away allowing Colorado to score 5, they lit it up and came right back in the next inning to bury the hopes of the Rockies faithful. 10-5 final score. Done and dusted.

On another note of "goodbye", the Bears stunk to high hell today. Favored by everyone (including the idiots on the Fox pre-game), the offense didn't bother to show up. For the most part, the defense looked poor, but the Lions had massive trouble punching the ball into the endzone which is why it only ended, 16-7. The Bears, now 3-5 and headed to their bye week, can pretty much write it off. They are 1-3 in the division and so unless they can run the table, they just won't unseat the Pack or the Lions or the Vikings for a Wild Card spot this year. Benson remains uninspiring as a running back, Griese continues to under throw or over throw the receivers, Tight End Olsen seems to be the only guy willing to catch the ball and take a hit.

Humorous to me today was the fact that the NY Giants played the Miami Dolphins in Wembley Stadium. A defensive 13-10 game was played and they probably ripped up the pitch so bad that it'll need to go unplayed on until the FA Cup to recover. What the hell is the NFL thinking? The rest of the world really doesn't care about the NFL. If they did, why did the NFL fold NFL Europe after this last season. Clearly the people aren't fans, but yet, we'll still try to shove it down their throats. I guess the NFL is taking it's lead from George W. Bush and figures that if we just keep telling people the product is the best in the world and that they really really need it, they'll be stupid enough to bite. It's working well for "W". Good job Roger Goodell! I see that Buffalo is asking to play in Toronto for next year......... zzzzzzzzzz. Canada ALREADY HAS FOOTBALL you morons!

26 October 2007

Go Go Red Sox

Sox up 2-0 now. 8 days of rest, not so good for the Rockies. But frankly now, I hope the Rockies get swept. Did you hear that the Rockies were trying to trademark "Rocktober"?

Are they dense? I mean, I've been rockin' to Rocktober as part of WLUP's (97.9FM, Chicago) format for years. Before WLUP, it was WMET (94.7FM since dead and gone) or for that matter ANY FREAKIN' AOR STATION IN AMERICA!!!

Hello, maybe the mile high air is getting to those Coors Light filled brains out there, but you've got to be kidding me!

Go away Colorado. You're the latest flash-in-the-pan franchise to get to the World Series (see Arizona, Florida, the White Sox....I kid!!) but for you to have the gall to try to trademark this, means you actually believe you're going to be playing in the month of October for many years to come. You are not a dynasty, there are no more dynasties in sport. Why don't you find the next "rally monkey" and go away? Or just wear Purple shirts since that's the latest rage (even amongst NBA teams. Remember the "white hot Miami heat" fans??....yechhhhhhh)

(these views definitely reflect a bitter Cubs fan's 41 year drought of World Series appearances. If you don't like them, tough)

Good or Evil? I don't care, I like them

I realize that Google is the host of this blog and that I use Google's many services every day (search, email, etc). So this might sound like a suck-up statement, but I noticed that in the last week or so, they've upped the amount of email storage you get from 2.7GB to almost 4.4GB.

Sure I bet people can point out to me that there's 42,000 other email services that allow for more, but frankly, that's more space than I will ever need for email. I'm just thankful that they continue to increase storage. Now, if I could use that storage to back-up pictures and music, it'd get better (hint, hint)

Storage has gotten so cheap that I only spent something like $120 on 750GB and I back up my home computer once a week now off of it.

Google gets portrayed as evil sometimes. I dunno, they aren't any more evil than Bill Gates when it comes to megalomaniacal behavior.

24 October 2007

Gettin' hammered

Boston is killing Colorado tonight. 13-1 is the final score. Let's make it 4 and done, okay?

So today started day one of our basement construction project. The framing, walls, electrical, hvac, phone and cable are to be done in 15-18 days (business) so let's see how that goes. We definitely are paying enough for this first step which will leave us still without carpeting/tile and the bathroom, but we'll see how this goes.

They arrived at 7:30 this morning, had all materials loaded in within an hour and then the foreman stayed until 5:30 this evening putting in the initial studding and floor framing. Here's a picture.

The angled wall you see is where the flat screen is going to reside. This way you'll be able to see the game from any part of the basement. Where I'm standing will be the wet bar down the road. I think our main goal is to get this part done before BabyLo is born and then afterwards, we'll work on the bathroom and the bar and all the other stuff we'll need to do. You can see the air hockey table, and of course, my foosball table is down there as well.

Stay tuned. Day 1 and it's restored the little faith I have left in Customer Service (they were on time, worked quickly for the load in and worked all day to start).

Hell has frozen over, can you feel it?

Okay, so Hell hath frozen over when:
  • The Eagles got back together
  • Van Halen got back together w/DLR (but not Michael Anthony)
  • The Cubs made the playoffs in '03 and '07
  • Boston won the World Series in 2004

But now, Satan (not THIS Satan) better zip up the parka because Chicago Blackhawk home hockey games may finally be coming to a Comcast Sports Net near you. "Near you" being defined as anywhere in the 60 mile radius of Chicago proper.

Well, if Rocky Wirtz wants to try to change the support for this organization around, he's definitely firing the first shots. He has a young team who is playing some decent damn hockey as of late and NOW we might be able to see all games on TV in Chicago.

Now Rocky, you've gotten your Brother Peter to leave and you've moved Bob Pulford out of the way. People in the organization should be worried that someone is finally going to do something (for the first time since 1961) to get this franchise back to respectable fashion and hopefully back to Stanley Cup glory.

Keep up the good work, and I look forward to the changes.

23 October 2007

Customer Service (part tre)

Got a call from my buddy "Mike" at CompuBiz in Van Nuys, CA today. He said that even though they haven't received the returned printer from FedEx yet, they are going to be shipping out another one today to me.

Of course, I don't have a tracking number just yet, so I'll believe it when I see it.

22 October 2007

Customer Service (update)

So the saga with my printer and CompuBiz continues. I FINALLY got a call back from them on Friday and they let me know that when they get it back in their office, they will inspect and then determine whether or not they give me a refund or a replacement.

I let them know I'd prefer the refund. Anyway, the printer was picked up from my house on Monday the 15th, and 4+ days later it still hadn't arrived back. So these cheap-asses had it shipped back to them FedEx Ground just as they sent it to me.

Today marks 21 days since I first ordered the printer and I'm still without one. I called FedEx to chase this thing down and they told me it was scheduled to be delivered today. I'll be calling CompuBiz tomorrow if I don't hear from them. I'll let you know how it goes.

Don't forget to check out my restaurant reviews at Yelp.

15 October 2007

Customer NON Service

I think I understand why the United States economy is really just one of consumption and NOT of actual production of anything anymore. Over the last month, I've had the misfortune to deal with a lot of people in the service industry as well as the retail industry.

The service I have gotten is putrid. About four weeks ago, I took a week off of work so that I could get a lot of things done around the house prior to the arrival of "BabyLo". I had lined up a large variety of service industry professionals to come to the house to give quotes or provide services for things like finishing our basement, fixing our powder room, installing cabinets in our utility room, doing that cool textured finish on the garage floor and other types of things.

Between missed appointments, "running lates", scheduling cock-ups and every excuse known to man, only ONE of the tradesmen I worked with was on-time, billed me accurately and took the care with my house as he'd take with his. That was Bernie the plumber. Bernie earned my business for life with that.

For a week that I had perfectly scheduled out (for MY life) that left me plenty of open pockets to do errands, work on projects in the house that only _I_ could do and basically just be ME, I was left hurried and rushed to get the things done that I felt I had to get done.

This horrible service issue has continued over the last four weeks with the most recent being CompuBiz, from whom I bought a new color printer/scanner. I ordered from them because they had an excellent rating from Mysimon.com and they also had the lowest price. The printer arrived damaged (the inks had exploded within the printer and there was ink everywhere). I called and actually was responded to on the next business morning by CompuBiz. They took a day to tell me how they wanted me to ship the product back to them and then told me that FedEx would just be stopping by our house to pick it up either Wed or Thurs. Both days went by and FedEx never showed (for some reason I doubted CompuBiz because frankly, FedEx is always here when I need them to be). When I called back to CompuBiz on Thursday night, I was told that my contact there had left for the day. This was 20 minutes prior to when they supposedly closed. I asked to speak to his manager, and was rudely dumped into his voicemail. I left a nasty message and then called back because I wanted to talk to the receptionist who was rude, and instead a male answered the phone. I asked to speak to a manager and he stated that they were closed. I asked him what time they closed and he said 5:00. It was 4:50.

Americans want to know why so many companies outsource or offshore their customer service and frankly a LOT of pieces of business. It seems that service in this country has basically gone to shit, so why not go somewhere where it at least costs less and frankly is better at times. Canadians are pretty reliable people and also rather intelligent because they have education guaranteed to them. Indian people are really intelligent and when they can understand and work with the cultural differences between the US and India, they too provide amazing service at a high quality level.

Folks, if my random sampling of the service industry is any bell weather of what the rest of America is experiencing, no wonder why our economy is in the shitter.

10 October 2007

Miscellaneous post 10/10/07

I have no idea how to put a title to this post, so I'm leaving it as this generic one.

Topic 1: I've taken up restaurant review writing now as a new hobby. I've placed links here on this site and also put a nifty little graphic thingy on the lower right side. Yelp.com is a website where "real people" write reviews for restaurant or for any sort of business or service that one can use. I put "real people" in quotes because I haven't quite figured out yet if there's "professionals" lurking in here or not. There's people that have 500+ reviews. I guess that's possible, but it sure seems fishy.

Anyway, I'm gonna try this out for awhile. I would have never found this but for my friend Heidi (link to her blog to the right as well).

Topic 2: I'm actually now afraid that I'm fully over the Cubs loss (2 days total). I think the dismal performance in the desert prepped me for the eventuality back home. 2003 took me WEEKS to get over. Since the Cubs had home field advantage for the series against the Marlins, I made it to three of the four games including games six (Bartman game) and game seven, the closer. It WAS my single days and so I lived it and unfortunately died with it. It took just a little bit of my heart with it along the way. Of course the good news is always that it's also the reason I met my wife since my online ad at Match.com had the intro line, "Did the Cubs break your heart too"? Let's face it, if I ever was going to get married, it was going to have to be a girl who understood this part of me.

Topic 3: We're officially now only 60 days from the due date of "Baby Lo" and I couldn't be more excited. We were back at Babies R Us tonight to inspect the hutch and glider and had the pleasant surprise of finding out that the night stand was there also. We've also ordered the last piece which is the ottoman for the glider which is also available. Hopefully all is delivered within the next 1-2 weeks. That'll complete the baby's room and allow us to focus on other things yet to be finished. I also took the liberty of registering 2 domain names through Network Solutions. Since we are now officially down to fighting over 2 baby names, it was worth the $19/piece to lock them up for the future. Who knows what our kid will want to do, but I imagine that websites will still be around as he grows up. At least this way, if he wants to create his own website, he'll have it already in his name. I don't think the combinations of names we're coming up with are THAT common, but since I was floored to find 3 other Brian LoCicero's in the world, I can only imagine that somewhere there might be babies being born who have similar names to what we're thinking.

Topic 4: Work has been quite nice as of late. Other than the normal daily "emergency" that seems to pop up I am making progress on several initiatives that I have under my belt and as I get them finished, new ones tend to show up. But for the first time in years, I see closure to things that I start or am working on. It actually is nice, that's all, to be in this position finally.

That's it for now. This is a late-night post, so it's all over the place. Go Tony Stewart!

08 October 2007

Bad news, Good news, Bad news

So the Cubs continue on the path of ridiculousness and now enter their 100th year since their last World Series crown, and I happily renew my season tickets yet again. I know I'm part of the problem, and I've actually admitted that, but the odds are getting better as time goes on.

Bad news done. So nothing takes the bitter taste of failure out of your mouth other than a Bears victory over the Green Bay Packers. As has been said for 86 years, our season could be in the crapper, but if you beat Green Bay, it was all worth it. Just when Chicago is getting ready to ignore sports again, those darn Bears show up at Lambeau and restore faith that they truly are the same team with only a few changes from last year's Superbowl attendee.

I imagine that most of Chicago turned off the game by halftime. Although the score wasn't ugly, the play on the field surely was but I didn't. Green Bay was extremely dominant and but for some timely fumbles lost by them, they could have been up 31 to 7 likely. Instead it's only 17-7 and the Bears are weirdly still "in it" but needing a hell of a turnaround in the 2nd half. And a hell of a turnaround it was. For once the Bears offense looked like it had a purpose and knew what it was doing. The final scoring drive by the Bears was almost an homage to Brett Favre as Brian Griese fooled all with the play action to hit a wide open Desmond Clark for a 34-yard touchdown down the left hand hash marks.

After weathering the drive by Green Bay which frankly looked lackluster and not "typical" of a Favre charge to the end zone of old, a last-second interception of a Favre floater killed off the perfect season for the Bay, and kept hope alive for awhile that the Bears can still make something of this season.

Next week brings the Viqueens to Soldier Field and a hungry fan base, so lets see how this victory turns itself into momentum.

Good news done, so back to the last bit of bad news for the weekend. It's reported late tonight that the Tribune Corp may NOT have the Cubs totally sold off by Opening Day 2008. The debate is whether to sell the Cubs lock, stock and two stinking barrels, or to parcel it off as the team, the merchandise, Wrigley Field, the scalping business they have, the cash cow of the revenue from the rooftops, etc., etc. Nothing like these bastards who are so in debt to now dick around with the franchise thinking they can get more for it in pieces than as a whole. I don't know, if your business is in the crapper, don't you cut bait and run? Then again, I'm forgetting that this Corporation doesn't have any good business sense at all, so why would the get this last piece of it right for the fans?

07 October 2007

"Baby Lo" Update

So, enough of this baseball disappointment, I haven't done a baby update for awhile.

About three weeks ago, Mary Kay found out she had Gestational Diabetes. This means she needs to test her blood sugars four times a day, change her diet to include MORE carbohydrates spread out across the day, and report her levels to the doctors at least once a week.

After the three weeks, the doctors actually have her on medication now to help control the blood sugars as her "fasting level" (first one taken in the morning) stayed higher than 100, which isn't good. The upshot is that she's only taking pills and doesn't have to do insulin shots.

We had another ultrasound this past week and everything is looking great. He's still a little bigger than he should be for this time of his incubation, but that's understood as part of the Gestational Diabetes having an impact. If the GD doesn't get under control, what happens is that the baby grows too fast and then comes early, however his lungs and other internal organs might not be ready and that'll mean some hospital time. Additionally, if he gets too big, that means we need to go C-Section. So we need to watch this and make sure everything works out just fine.

Baby's room is basically done. I need to go through it with a fine tooth comb and make sure everything is ready to go, but the Glider/Rocker is now in and to be delivered soon, which means we're done.

Everyone was very generous at the shower last weekend. Just amazing stuff from amazing people. We're very blessed to have such good friends and family.

We're down to NINE weeks left now, (due date is still around 12/10/07), so the countdown is on. Still lots to do and not much time to do it in, but it'll work out.

Mary Kay is a trooper as her body is going through so many changes that she never knows if it's supposed to feel like that or not. She's been having a lot of pelvic pains as it starts to widen to allow a decent birth canal for the baby to come through.

OH at the last ultrasound he was 3 lbs., 11 oz. so he's going to sprout a bunch over the next nine weeks and Mary Kay will probably feel even WORSE.

Thanks again for all well wishes.

05 October 2007

99 Years of Futility on the Wall, 99 Years on the Wall

I think most people thought I'd post after each Cub game. Well, given the times of night that they ended and the fact that my brain just aches so much after watching the decisions and plays that unfold before me, it's just been impossible.

So here we are on travel day with the Cubs coming home down two games to the D-bags. I have the tickets for the Game 4 (if necessary) game on Sunday when, as Lou already told us after Game 1, Zambrano will go on 3 days rest and be ready for Game 4. Of course that was Lou who thought that they'd come back to win Game 2 to ensure that. I doubt he thought we'd be down two.

Where to start? Well Game 1 is pretty easy to sum up. Zambrano was fantastic and the first 5 batters in our order were futile. Now, to the decision of Lou to pull Z after the 6th inning. Anyone who knows me knows that I watch Z as closely as anyone. For the money we're paying, we should be hoping he's the next coming of god. But I've said it 100 times, after the 6th inning and/or after his 100th pitch, he turns to crap. So although he's rocking along, Lou got defensive and made the decision he PROBABLY should have made during regular season play several times. We might have had a few more wins and maybe home field advantage for the first round. Last point on Game 1, Soriano. All year he swings wildly at the first pitch with it paying off many many times. But now he watches the first pitch (almost every time it was a fastball down the middle), and then ends up swinging at all the breaking sliders and curveballs. Go figure! Surely he figured out what he was doing wrong and has fixed it (irony)

Game 2 was a disaster. Ted Lilly couldn't find his rhythm, pitches or attitude. 50 pitches by the end of the 2nd inning and the Danica Patrick footstomp/slam glove into the mound after giving up the 3-run shot. Good thing he was keeping his cool last night. The first 5, now with only Theriot in it as a change continues to not bother show up leaving all the heavy lifting to the back end of the order. Geovany Soto has pretty much solidified his opening day 2008 starting position behind the plate. Hart also looked good out of the pen, although he was getting hit hard, he's the future and frankly, at this point, that's where we're ending up (again) talking about "next year".

Game 3 tomorrow brings us Livan Hernandez v Rich Hill. At this point the Cubs have nothing to lose so they can literally throw the book at the D-bags. If they win, I get to go to the (if necessary) game to see Z pitch again, this time to just tie up the series. But why get that far ahead of myself?

DK if I'll write much if they lose tomorrow win or lose, but then again, we're Chicago Cubs fans and we'll overanalyze the crap out of this to the point of blood dripping from our eyes.

01 October 2007


Well, the Cubs have won the N.L. Central and now face the Arizona Diamondbacks for the N.L.D.S. in a best of five shoot-out.

But first, can every Chicago Cub fan please take a moment to breathe and then laugh your collective asses off at the total, catastrophic collapse of the New York Mets? I mean, we haven't seen a collapse of a playoff bound team like that since maybe, what.....1969?!!! Thanks Mets for replacing the painful memories of us giving it up to you in '69, for blowing a 7-game lead with 17 games to go in 2007.

So Game 1 starts on Wednesday in Arizona with ace Carlos Zambrano taking the mound. I think Carlos learned some valuable lessons this year (well I HOPE he has) in keeping his cool in the big games and how much the fans can get behind you when you just do your job. He needs to come out of the gate firing heat on Wednesday, so I hope the pressure doesn't get to him. Looking back at the 2003 Cubs, there's only 3 of them left on this year's team in Aramis Ramirez, Kerry Wood and Carlos Zambrano. I'm sure the pain is still there for those three guys and they can share it with those who have joined the team.

Looking at our squad, we've might just have the most previous World Series winners on our team and so the experience has to be just natural. No one believes the Cubs can do this, which makes them the PERFECT team TO do it. In 2003, we scratched our heads at the Marlins and I still wonder how the hell they pulled it off, but I think the Cubs are at the point that everyone thought they'd be back in April and May, dominant!!

Probably a lot of posts this week and next and hopefully the next as my emotional rollercoaster will be fun to handle.

For those who don't understand the title of this post, it refers to a sign over the Right Field wall and it's debated a lot except by true Cub fans. It WAS 036198 until this week, so the 00 is now the number of years since the Cubs won a Division Championship. Cub fans know what 61 and 98 mean.