Friday, March 29, 2013

Brian Urlacher

I’ve been going back and forth on how I feel about the situation with Urlacher in Chicago. For years Brian Urlacher has been the true face of the franchise. Coaches have come and gone. Quarterbacks have really come and gone, but good ol’ number 54 has stayed the same. The immovable object in the middle of the Bears defense. The heart and soul of the team. “Quarterback” of one of the best defenses in the NFL. Ask most any Bears fan or player and if they could, they’d keep it that way forever.

Unfortunately, the hands of time are not so kind in football. Good ol’ 54 has started to replace that apostrophe with the “d” to still be good, but also getting old. In most places, 34 is not considered old, but in the NFL, it is. Now I’m not so involved in watching defenses to see that he’s truly lost a step or two in his on the field speed. What I do see is that he’s been out for several games the last few seasons due to injuries. It’s sad to say, but he’s not the monster in the middle of the field that he once was. His instinct and intuition are as sharp as ever, but if he’s not able to stay on the field, it doesn’t do much.

I’m sorry to say that I let his comments towards the end of the season tarnish my view of him. I’m trying not to. He made a comment that the fans and the media are two of the people that he doesn’t care about. Media, I agree with him completely, but the including the fans in that statement stung. I’m trying to remind myself that this was in response to a comment that fans and the media were calling for Lovie Smith’s job. It also came right after a tough home loss and he was in a bad mood. I know I’ve said things I didn’t mean and regretted saying when I was in a bad mood. Thankfully, I don’t have the media following me around to record every little thing I say and use it against me later. So again, I’m trying to let that one go especially since everything I’ve heard about how he does interact with fans that request autographs or just want to say hi is always very positive. Off the field, he sounds like one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. He just had a bad day and was sick of hearing people insult someone he respects.

How his departure from the Bears went down was…confusing. When you hear it from Urlacher’s camp, it sounds like the Bears blindsided him. He made a high offer to start and expected to haggle back and forth a bit. The Bears made a counter offer. When he said no, the Bears announced that they were parting ways with Brian because a deal couldn’t be reached. The parts where this gets confusing are twofold.

The first is how quickly the Bears organization announced that they were parting ways with Brian. It seems like the Bears knew that he wouldn’t accept their offer and that they had no intentions of haggling. That’s the only explanation I can offer for the rapid press releases and quotes they had prepared regarding their parting ways from the long-time face of the franchise. This could be because they had already decided they didn’t want him on the team and just wanted to save face by saying that they made him an offer. It could also be that they had a good idea that he was going to want a lot more money than they thought he was worth and didn’t want to waste time haggling only to come to the same result. Instead they wanted to spend their money on getting some decent replacements before they were picked up by other teams. The only ones who know the answer to that are in the organization. All I can do is speculate.

The second confusing part about the situation is Urlacher’s reaction to their offer and their announcement. The news was flying in quickly, but I got three things out of it. The Bears had announced that Brian Urlacher was not going to be playing for them next year, the news came as a bit of a shock to Brian, and he was calling their offer an ultimatum. The last two are the parts that have me wondering how things happened. If he thought their offer was an ultimatum and they actually said, “this is it, take it or leave it”, then why would he be confused that he was no longer on the team if he said no? Or is the timing of the quotes a bit muddled because of how quickly they came in and he didn’t realize that their offer was an ultimatum until after the announcement? Again, I can’t know. I wasn’t in the room for the contract discussions.

The bottom line in all of this is simply that football is a business. I would have liked to see Brian in a Bears jersey for at least one more year and then gracefully retiring (hopefully after a Superbowl ring), but often that’s not the way things go. It is a business. The market value of a player is whatever a team is willing to pay him. So far, that $2 million deal that the Bears offered to him is the best offer he’s gotten. Now, it has only been a week since the parting, but so far it sounds like there hasn’t been much interest anywhere else. That leads me to believe that Urlacher’s agent (and therefore Urlacher) didn’t have a good understanding of what his market value truly was. That brings me back to what I said earlier about the Bears or more specifically Phil Emery knowing in advance that Brian wasn’t going to accept the deal they offered, one way or the other.

Brian Urlacher, number 54 was one of the greatest middle linebackers to ever play the game. He was fun to watch and cheer for. When he was in the game, opposing quarterbacks knew that they were in for a tough game of cat and mouse. I will be extremely happy for him WHEN he is inducted into the hall of fame. Brian Urlacher truly represented the phrase “Monsters of the Midway”. Thanks for 13 years of great memories.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Communication and Language

So, I have a reputation as something of a grammar nazi. I think it's partially because I just naturally focus on that nitty-gritty sort of stuff, and also because I'm much more comfortable communicating via written text than I am speaking, so I'm constantly putting all these rules into practice. I really do try not to be obnoxious about calling people out on their mistakes, but I can't help but notice them. And in my own head, and to like-minded individuals, I'm continually astounded by the level of ignorance and/or laziness out there.

"Well, you know what I meant," is always the excuse, especially when it comes to using "your" instead of "you're" and the like. And yes, chances are I do know what you meant. But when you start compounding those kinds of mistakes, eventually I'll decide the effort to decode your thoughts just isn't worth it. Yes, I know some people have learning disabilities, and no, English isn't everyone's first language. I get that. This is the internet, and there are all types of people, all communicating together. But I know a lot of what I'm seeing is just laziness, and the more I see it, the less patience I have left for those who truly deserve it.

Hmm, I seem to have gotten off track.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Yup, still here!

I know it's been a while since I've been posting regularly. There just hasn't been a whole heck of a lot going on lately. So, I thought I'd grace you :) with an update on all the little stuff that's been going on.

I've been checking out NCIS DVDs from the local library and am now as caught up as I'm going to be for a while. I've watched the first episode of Season 10 (the current season). I enjoy watching the episodes without commercials and with all the special features so I'll probably wait until the library gets the 10th season on DVD to continue watching. It's a very good show. If you like any shows relating to criminal investigations or enjoy good ensemble comedies/dramas, I highly recommend it.

Whoever came up with the virtual console idea on the Nintendo Wii was an absolute genius. We had bought a couple of the special online Wiiware games like Dr. Mario and Tetris, but I've started looking through some of the old games that they have and I will definitely be purchasing some of them. So far I've gotten Super Metroid and Ocarina of Time. We'll probably purchase a couple of the older Marios, Zeldas, and maybe a Sonic or two. It's a pretty cool concept and is also transferable to the new Nintendo system. This adds a whole new meaning to the term backwards compatibility.

Yesterday we took our bikes in to the shop to get their spring tune up. Last year we waited too long and then were without our bikes for about a week since everyone had their bikes in at the same time. We decided to be proactive this year. While we were there, I found out about a really neat pedal. I've been thinking about buying clip-in pedals for a while now, but one of the guys in the shop pointed out this neat little guy to me. It's both a clip in pedal and a regular pedal all in one. I'm still debating it since since the pedals and shoes together aren't exactly cheap, but I'll probably be buying these in the near future.

Other than that, I'm just in my usual spring routine. Going a bit stir-crazy waiting for the weather to stop doing this!!! ------------------>
Yeah, this was what happened over night last night. Seriously, someone needs to tell Mother Nature that it's the 5th day of Spring! NO MORE SNOW!!!

And yeah, that's about it. Once the weather finally turns, I'll probably be doing a lot of bike riding this year. Then maybe I'll start writing some updates about that.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cheap Thrills

Well, the long-awaited (by me, anyway) day is finally here. This morning, my new book blog went live!

Okay, this is a bookstore, not my blog,
but it looks so inviting, doesn't it?

Why did I start this? Well, it just seemed like it was time. I've been on Goodreads for years, sharing my thoughts on the books I read. And I've blogged about them here from time to time as well. I just wanted a place where I could focus on that part of my life, without it taking over here.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

One Day Left...

We are only one day away from SPRING! I know, you can't really tell from all the snow we got yesterday, or the fact that the windchill is currently below zero, but it's true.

As I mentioned last time, it's also one day until I reveal my super-secret project. I chose the day specifically, not because my super-secret project has anything to do with spring, but just because I don't like starting things haphazardly, I like there to be some meaning to it, even if it only has meaning to me. This is part of my problem when it comes to getting back on the diet and exercise horse. Some people say, "I'll start on Monday," as an excuse to continue their bad habits. I say it mostly because I really don't like the idea of starting a meaningful lifestyle change on any random day (and maybe like 20% as an excuse).

At any rate, here are some clues:
  • It combines two of my biggest interests.

Um . . . that's all I can think of. Clearly, I'm not very good at this. Guess you'll just have to find out the rest tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


If you caught my stealth update a few weeks ago, you may remember my mentioning a super secret project that I was working on. (And if you don't remember, or didn't read the post in the first place . . . I've been working on a super secret project. There, now you're caught up.)

Well, it's just about time for my grand unveiling. One week from today is the first day of spring. I decided to also make it the first day of something else. Some of you may have an idea of what. It's something I've mentioned in passing, in comments on other blogs I follow, on Twitter when I was first toying with the idea. But it's nothing I've discussed here (at least, not to my recollection).

Anyway, you can have fun guessing for the next few days; I'm not ready to make my big announcement just yet. I will say this, though: it's been a long time coming.

And until then, have some '80s music:

DISCLAIMER: My announcement will not be nearly as cool as this song sets it up to be.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Weapon Terminology and Information

Due to all of the recent attention in the news and the fact that I work with several hunters, I've been trying to educate myself on guns just a little bit so that I can converse intelligently about these current events. I'm still trying to form an opinion on what can be done to effectively reduce the amount of school shootings and all out massacres that have been popping up around the country, but I thought I'd share some interesting facts that I came across in some of my research.

Automatic vs. Semi-Automatic

I'm not sure where I got the idea from originally, but for a long time, I thought a semi-automatic weapon was one that would shoot more than one, but a limited number of shots per trigger pull. Like say 1 trigger pull, 3 bullets, and in order to fire any more, you needed to release the trigger and pull again for 3 more bullets. Again, not sure where I got that idea, but it was completely wrong. The concept above is actually known as burst fire.

A semi-automatic gun is one that fires one bullet for one trigger pull and automatically reloads. That's it. So...basically most handguns and rifles that you see today. I figured since they had their own term, they would not be as widespread, but most guns today are semi-automatic.

An automatic weapon, also known as a machine gun, is a weapon that has the capability to fire multiple rounds with one squeeze of the trigger. Most of these weapons can be switched between automatic and semi-automatic, but the capability to fire multiple rounds by holding down the trigger is what makes them automatic weapons.

Assault Rifle =/= Assault Weapon

This is a BIG one. I know these are thrown around somewhat interchangeably, but from what I've been able to research. There is a big difference. Assault Rifles are rifles that are capable of automatic fire. Also known as machine guns. An Assault Weapon is a term developed in the late 1980s to describe a wide range of weapons. Mostly it covers weapons that look like military weapons due to cosmetic or ergonomic features. It can also cover some handguns. Many of these weapons have the same capabilities as weapons that are not considered assault weapons.

Automatic weapons have been banned for sale to individual owners since 1986, however this only applies to weapons made after this date. It is still legal to buy, sell, and own a machine gun made before 1986. But since it's been 27 years since the last one has been made for sale, the demand from new collectors and enthusiasts makes them very expensive. From what I've heard, is sounds like the cheapest one you'd find is around ten thousand dollars.

Misinformation is King

This is the internet and anything on the internet has to be true, right? Now, people who know me well can practically see the sarcasm dripping off that last sentence, but for the uninitiated, that was a joke. There’s a lot of misleading and even blatantly false information floating around out there, and this is probably my biggest problem with politics. There’s one side that wants you to think that assault weapons are the same as assault rifles and that the kids in America are in constant danger of being gunned down by machine guns at any time unless we act now. Then there’s the other side that says that congress is on the verge of coming into each and every home in America and taking all guns ever made right out of our hands unless we act now. Both evoke strong emotional responses, and both are completely false.

Vague Information is Also Rampant

What is the picture above saying? My first thought when looking at it is that it's saying that hammers killed more people in 2011 than guns did. Now take a look at the next picture.

Now this picture paints a vastly different picture. It screams that handguns were waaaaaaay more deadly than knives, or hands and feet, or miscellaneous weapons. Blunt objects for 2010 came in at 600 deaths. One tenth that of handguns...but wait a minute. See that column over on the left? Rifles 358. Doesn't that look awfully similar to the 323 number in the first picture? So what that first picture is actually saying is that blunt objects killed more people than rifles in 2011. Bottom line is don't take easy to read charts and graphs for granted. They can easily misrepresent what they're actually saying.

Fact check note: You'll have to forgive me, I couldn't find 2 graphs that were both from the exact same year, but if you want to fact check me, here's a link to the FBI database that shows that 2010 and 2011 numbers are fairly similar. FBI Data

Thanks for reading. Sorry it was so long, hopefully it was informative.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Approaching 30

I'm going to be turning 30 in three months, and I'm not really sure how to feel about it.

It isn't the age. I do kind of feel like time is going too fast, and I give a little groan when I realize that I graduated from high school twelve years ago, and that "the '90s" were more like 15-20 years ago, rather than the "ten or so" figure in my head. But as far as actually getting older, PHYSICALLY getting older, it doesn't bother me. Besides, I'll be healthier at 30 than I was at 25, probably than I was at 20. And it will be nice to finally be able to tell my age again without wondering if people think I'm lying. So, as far as that all goes, I'm not dreading it. You could even say I'm looking forward to it.