April Showers

As we kick off Michael’s birthday month, we go back over a year, to the last sporting event I attended in February of 2020 before the corona virus shut down everything a few weeks later.  After the Boilermakers made a late run to hold off Northwestern at Welsh-Ryan arena, Michael and I got our picture taken by the court as we were walking out.  Little did I know that this would be the last live event I would attend.

The Sweet Sixteen

We enter the Sweet 16 with upsets galore. leaving me without my champion pick, An Ohio State University, who lost to a 15 seed in the opening round.  My Boilermakers also crapped out in the first round, making my trip to Indianapolis last weekend a questionable decision.

Gonzaga, the overall #1 seed, has to be even more of a favorite to win the whole thing at this point.

The Big Ten did me wrong in this region, as both Purdue and Ohio State were upset in the first round.   Continue reading →

Fitbit VII – Week 8

As we kick off our second year of working remotely, a little good news as, thanks to a March Madness step challenge at work, I managed to finish the week over goal for the first time since early August.  The week got off to a good start on Sunday, where I managed to pick up 9100 steps, my highest single day total since my vacation to Michigan in early September.  Monday fell off, coming in 7 steps shy of 5800 as the weather turned bad.  Tuesday bounced back, as I managed to get back over goal with 7600 steps.  Wednesday went back down again, but to a still respectable 6,666 steps.  Thursday saw another big increase, jumping all the way up to 9100 steps.  Friday was a bit of an adventure, as I drove down to Purdue to pick up Danny before heading to Indianapolis to see Purdue disappoint in the NCAA Tournament, ending up with 9600 steps, although I think I lost a few along the way as I relived the 11 PM hour thanks to the time change between EDT and CDT.  Saturday, despite being sore as all get-out from Friday, I still managed to get 7500 steps.

Total steps: 55,581

Daily average: 7940.1

Socially Distanced Dancing

Because money is more important than the health of their so-called student athletes, the NCAA tournament returns after a year break caused by the outbreak of the corona virus.  For reasons that I’m sure make some sort of sense, games this year will be Friday through Monday instead of Thursday through Sunday.  As the nation’s attention is grabbed for the next few weeks, let’s take a look at my picks for this year’s tournament.

A few minor upsets, but the overall #1 seed, Gonzaga, makes it out on their way to the Final Four.

Purdue finds themselves the #4 seed, playing tomorrow night at Lucas Oil Stadium.  Again, there’s a few minor upsets early in the going, but I have things chalk in the Elite Eight, where Ohio State, the #2 seed, gets through. Continue reading →

College Basketball Tipoff

The Purdue Boilermakers kick of the 2020-2021 season today, meaning it’s time to take our third ever look at the results of the now whopping 16 college basketball games I have attended in my lifetime. You’d think it would be more, since I was a big fan and we had a great team while I was in school, but for some reason I only made it to 2 games while enrolled in college. The other 14 have been post-graduation, including two new games last season at Illinois and Northwestern.  Anyway, without further ado, here are the standings for those 16 games.

All-Time Team Records
Team Won Loss Winning Pctg
Virginia Commonwealth Rams 1 0 1.000
Butler Bulldogs 1 0 1.000
Purdue Boilermakers 10 5 0.667
Northwestern Wildcats 2 3 0.400
Illinois Fighting Illini 2 3 0.400
Vermont Catamounts 0 1 0.000
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders 0 1 0.000
Long Beach State 49ers 0 1 0.000
Iowa State Cyclones 0 1 0.000
Houston Cougars 0 1 0.000

Doomsday Scenario

The Big Ten announced yesterday it was postponing its fall sports season, including football, because of concerns about competing during the COVID-19 pandemic.  It becomes the first Power Five conference to postpone and follows the MAC, who postponed their season last week, and the Mountain West conference, as well as Massachusetts and Connecticut, both football independents, who canceled their falls seasons this week.

Illinois recently announced it had 23 athletes, including 18 football players, test positive since June.  Northwestern paused workouts earlier this month after one player tested positive and 37 players were quarantined, until it was determined the test was a false positive.  Michigan State quarantined its entire team after 16 players tested positive, and Rutgers halted workouts after players reportedly contracted COVID-19 while attending a party, raising the team’s positive cases to 28.  A dozen Big Ten football players had previously opted out, including Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons and Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore.

The conference hopes to move the fall sports to the spring, assuming the pandemic lightens up and allows for it.

You Ought To Be In (10) Pictures

Movie_Reel_22

Many years ago, using the weekly TV guide that came with the Sunday Chicago Tribune, I started keeping track of all of the movies I had seen over the course of my lifetime.  The guide would list the two main stars for each movie, and that is a tradition that I’ve carried on in my database ever since.  So, given those guidelines, and thanks to a corona virus inspired uptick to my movie watching this year, it is time to look at the 100 actors that have starred in at least 10 films that I have seen, as of July 1.

Today, we start with the 27 actors that have starred in 10 movies that I have seen, a slight increase from the 22 at this level 3 years ago.

Jessica Alba

After a string of 8 films in 6 years in the mid 2000s, there has been nothing new for Jessica Alba since I saw her in 2010’s Valentine’s Day in 2011.

Dan Aykroyd

No change in Aykroyd’s total, with it going on 18 years since I last saw one of his starring roles.

Elizabeth Banks

Our first new entry, Banks first graced my screen in a starring role in 2006 thanks to The Baxter.  After a dry spell in the early 2010s, she bounced back with 7 films in 5 years, finishing up with 2018’s The Happytime Murders, which I saw in 2019.

Kate Beckinsale

It’s been a quiet 3 years for Beckinsale, who I last saw in Underworld: Blood Wars in early 2017.

Halle Berry

Another newcomer, who has racked up starring roles in 4 different decades now.  I first saw Berry in 1992’s Boomerang, which I saw in a screening at Stewart Center at school.  After notching 5 films during the 2000’s, she had been pretty quiet until returning to my screen earlier this year in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum.

Chevy Chase Continue reading →

iTunes Top 200: #11 – 19

itunes_image4 years ago, we last counted down the Top 200 songs in my iTunes library. Since my iTunes stats are still intact, across multiple PCs, iPods, iPads, and iPhones, I figured it was time to take another look at my most listened to songs, based on number of plays as of January 1, 2020.

We break in to the the top 20 today, with the last batch of songs that scored less than 100 listens since my stats began in late 2007.

#19: Metallica – Harvester Of Sorrow
iTunes stats: 59 plays, most recently on 10/10/2019
Previous ranking: #15

Released as the first single from the band’s fourth studio album, it was used as the at-bat music for former White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko for the majority of his career.

#19: Foo Fighters – My Hero
iTunes stats: 59 plays, most recently on 10/14/2019
Previous ranking: #21

The highest ranking tune from the Foo Fighters, up 2 spots from four years ago, is this live version from their previously mentioned concert in London’s Hyde Park.

#18: Nancy Faust – Take Me Out To The Ballgame
iTunes stats: 60 plays, most recently on 3/28/2019
Previous ranking: #14

A slight decrease for the final 7th inning stretch performance of Nancy Faust’s career as White Sox organist.

#17: The Lonely Island – Natalie’s Rap (ft. Natalie Portman & Chris Parnell)
iTunes stats: 63 plays, most recently on 2/14/2019
Previous ranking: #15

A slight drop for the second digital short from The Lonely Island, which featured Natalie Portman playing against type as a lewd gangsta.

#16: Purdue “All-American” Marching Band – Hail, Purdue!
iTunes stats: 71 plays, most recently on 10/25/2019
Previous ranking: #17

A slight increase for this older version of the Purdue fight song, used during my time at the school.

#15: Purdue “All-American” Marching Band – Hail Purdue
Continue reading →

200 Things To Do In Illinois – Fighting Illini Basketball

Illinois celebrated its bicentennial as a state in December of 2018. To celebrate, the Chicago Tribune published the Bicentennial Bucket List: 200 Things To Do In Illinois, celebrating the best the state has to offer in history, food, architecture, culture, sports, nature, drink, and oddities. With the state still shut down due to the corona virus outbreak, I figured this was the second-best time to look through this collection and cover the ones I’ve done/eaten/seen.

We kick things off with one of the entries from the Sports category: Fighting Illini Basketball, from Champaign, IL.

Get swept up in Big 10 school spirit at the University of Illinois’ recently renovated State Farm Center.  The space-shiplike dome contains an intense student section, the Orange Krush, created at the urging of former coach Lou Henson in the mid-1970s.

Decades later, the Krush conyinues to put the squeeze on opposing teams with an intimidating sea of orange and trademark cheers.

I’ve attended 2 Fighting Illini home basketball games, one in 2016 and the second this past January.  In both cases, I’ve left the State Farm Center disappointed as the Illini managed to defeat my beloved Purdue Boilermakers.  With Danny now committed to Purdue, there probably isn’t a reason why I’d need to go back to Champaign to see another game.