Friday, September 30, 2016

My Golf Game: Trending Down

 Thursday: I could’ve gone to the Braves game, but really didn’t need to leave work early. Opted for golf instead. Guy was taking his time on the first tee, hitting ball after ball with a long pre shot routine before each. I snuck over to the 10th hole behind a single and before two good golfers. I felt rushed the whole time, and my game just fell apart. Couldn’t hardly hit a thing. The only way I’m decent is to relax and swing easy. First two balls splashed into the lake, so I dropped near the hole and pitched it past the green. Didn’t get better. Lost ball after ball. Hit several balls and just couldn’t find them. Later two more into a lake.
 
Wore my adidas spikeless golf shoes to try them out. Don’t think I’ll wear them Monday. Not enough cushioning. I’ll go with the white Footjoys or adidas oxfords instead.
 
Never got untracked. The two guys behind me were playing as fast as I was. Wasn’t hitting my woods very well. Hit my six iron better than my seven, eight, or wedge. Hit my driver a few times, since I’ll be needing it on Monday. Decent tee shot on 17 and 18. Better than the slow guy, who had tracked right next to me on the front nine. He hit several shots on the 9th hole. One sliced right from the 9th tee box, across my 18th fairway, and into the lake. I stepped up and drove a low shot and bounced almost up to the green. Take that, slow guy! Good one to quit on.
 
Stopped by Wendy’s on the way home. Watched Chicago Med and some Ryder Cup previews, then the Braves Live postgame. Ceil’s still sick.
 
Friday. Brad and Wanda were out. Rodney and Rachel were in training most of the morning, so it was me and Darryl. Last day of the month and quarter, so there was tons to do with me being out three days next week.
 
Sunday I drive to Augusta. Probably will miss most of the final game at Turner Field. I’ll spend the night with W&MC. Early golf tourney in Aiken that will stretch out all day. Monday’s golf tourney: 54 foursomes = 216 golfers. 14 of the groups are completely made up of novice golfers (if they didn’t lie about their handicaps). Maybe we won’t come in last place (if people don’t cheat on their scorecards).
 
Shotgun start, hopefully using both 18 hole courses.
 
Tuesday we’ll take physical inventory at our customer, then attend a meeting in the afternoon. Won’t get home until late.  
 
Jeff Schultz picked Tech to lose, Georgia and the Falcons to win. We’ll see.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Braves: Trending Up

Since June 15th the Braves have played .500 ball. They’ve gotten better every month of the season. The Braves have put together a decent lineup. This offseason they’ll look for a catcher and starting pitcher, and deepen their bullpen. Third baseman Adonis Garcia has blossomed hitting in the two hole. If he isn’t good enough, young Rio Ruiz (above) is coming on strong. Dansby hit sixth last night, and second tonight.  
 
Freddie Freeman has the longest hitting streak in the majors this year: 30 games. Three away from Dan Uggla’s record. Freddie has reached base in what, 46 straight games. Dansby got three more hits, Inciarte two. Kemp hit number 34. Rookie Ruiz smashed his first MLB hit – a triple. Everyone hit except Mallex Smith. Trade him!
 
Some still rank the Braves as low as 28th in baseball. Not all ratings are created equal. No way the Braves full season record would ever look good after their horrendous start. It was remarkable they were able to rebound enough to avoid the 100 loss season. They’ve been one of the hottest teams in baseball over the past month, with one of the best offenses the past 2-3 months. Those bloggers ranking teams love the big city teams, and rank them higher that the rest. Doubt they look at the actual trending stats, just the standings. Same thing will happen this coming spring: they’ll be picked to finish last or next to last.
 
Earlier this year I predicted the Braves would finish ahead of the Phillies, and they came real close. Most predicted a 100 loss season. Most were wrong. The Braves are tracking up. The Phillies are treading water, with no plan no reason to think they’ll improve. The Marlins just lost their best player. The Mets haven’t locked up a wild card, despite their payroll and talent. The Nats won the division by default, but are no juggernaut. Look for a hot team to knock them off in the playoffs.
 
Next year the Braves could compete for a wild card, if all goes right. Lots of dead money coming off the payroll December 31, so look for a few free agent signings during the offseason – improving an already decent lineup. No one should expect a World Series Championship next year, but they will be improved for a second straight year. Better than many MLB teams.
 
Ceil felt bad Tuesday night and Wednesday, but said she thought she was feeling better last night. Left work at 6:30 Wednesday night and drove home. M picked up PaPa John’s pizza. Wheel and Jeopardy, then the premiere of Designated Survivor. Very good. Then some Ryder Cup coverage, and the Braves recap.
 
Getting fed at lot at work over the next two weeks, starting tomorrow. I shouldn’t count my chickens before they hatch.
 
SEPT 30th lunch: Mellow Mushroom Pizza.
OCT 2nd: dinner in Augusta
OCT 3rd: all 3 meals in Augusta
OCT 4th: all 3 meals in Augusta
OCT 7th: lunch after stadium tour
OCT 10th: BBQ lunch meeting
 
Also went to lunch today to the Duluth Diner. Four of us had decent salads and one guy got a Philly Cheese that didn’t look that super great. The chicken philly I used to get was always good. Lots of good food at the Duluth Diner but the atmosphere is kinda plain.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Week 5 TQBR

Sports Illustrated put UCLA QB Josh Rosen on its College Football Preview West Coast edition. None of the QB’s out west are tearing it up, but at least UCLA wears nice uniforms.
 
1. 93.7 Lamar Jackson Louisville
4. 86.2 Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina
5. 85.5 Chad Kelly, Ole Miss
6. 84.8 Greg Ward, Houston
8. 84.2 DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame
 
10. 83.4 Jerod Evans, Virginia Tech
12. 83.0 Jesse Ertz, Kennesaw State
13. 80.7 Deondre Francois, Florida State
18. 79.5 Tommy Armstrong, Nebraska
19. 79.4 Wilton Speight, Michigan
 
20. 78.7 Austin Allen, Arkansas
21. 76.3 Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State
23. 75.4 Trevor Knight, Texas A&M
24. 75.1 Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
27. 72.9 Ryan Finley, NC State
 
30. 72.2 Jalen Hurts, Alabama
31. 71.7 Favian Upshaw, Georgia State
34. 70.0 Eric Dungey, Syracuse
37. 68.4 Sean White, Auburn
38. 67.5 Justin Thomas, Georgia Tech
39. 67.4 J.T. Barrett, Ohio State
 
40. 67.2 Drew Lock, Missouri
42. 67.0 Shane Buechele, Texas freshman
44. 66.6 Josh Rosen, UCLA (above)
45. 66.5 Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
46. 65.9 Brad Kaaya, Miami
48. 65.3 Seth Russell, Baylor
 
52. 63.5 Nathan Peterman, Pittsburgh
55. 62.5 Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee
57. 61.0 Taysom Hill, Brigham Young
58. 60.8 Deshaun Watson, Clemson
 
62. 59.1 Danny Etling, Louisiana State
63. 58.9 Daniel Jones, Duke
65. 57.7 Stephen Johnson, Kentucky
66. 57.6 Max Browne, Southern Cal
 
72. 55.3 Brett Rypien, Boise State
73. 55.2 Conner Manning, Georgia State
74. 54.6 Luke Del Rio, Florida
79. 53.1 Jacob Eason, Georgia freshman
 
81. 52.5 Kurt Benkert, Virginia
82. 52.3 Patrick Towles, Boston College
83. 51.3 Trace McSorley, Penn State
87. 49.1 John Wolford, Wake Forest
95. 43.2 Kyle Shumur, Vanderbilt
 
120. 28.1 Brandon McIlwain, South Carolina

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

White Coat Weekend

Arnie tribute day two: high praise from SI. Perhaps a little too high. Arnie was the king, but he would never compare himself to the King.
 
Discovered today that Willowbank, the Bermuda Christian retreat we stayed at on our honeymoon, was closed down in late 2011 due to declining business and the economy. Bob Marsh used to lead discussion groups there every year in return for the week’s vacation. Not sure if another hotel took over the Willowbank property, of if it was torn down. More to come.
 
Thursday night Ceil sent M out for PaPa John’s Pizza.
 
Friday I worked past 5:45. Cleaned up a little around the house while M was getting ready, then we left after 7 pm for Augusta. Stopped for gas, Moes, and one thrift store. Passed on some good looking Woodworm golf shoes from Australia. Made it to the hotel around 10:30.

Breakfast at the hotel, then the drive downtown on River Watch Parkway for Will’s White Coat Ceremony. It had been a busy week and I had a million things on my mind, but the words spoken by the faculty were interesting, if not necessary. Will is one of 41 students in his class: 31 girls and ten buys. Mostly white with a few minorities mixed in. After recieving their coats the class stood and recited a pledge/creed with several noble goals and admonitions all applying to the medical provision – except for one clearly added as a sign of the times. Based on the makeup of the class and faculty, this outlying oath was clearly not being followed (that that it should be).
 
The Medical College campus is across the railroad tracks from the Lucy Laney High School football stadium I had played in 40 years ago. For lunch Will had cooked BBQ and spicy mac & cheese. M drove C and Joan home. I dropped off a box at EZGo, bought cheap gas, and headed home. Listened to the UGA postgame and Braves pregame. Met C, J, and M at Moxie, which was packed. Saw the end of Tennessee/Florida at the restaurant and all of SC/Kentucky when we got home.
 
Anna had driven home Friday night, then rode to Hawkinsville for the Walton wedding out in a gnat infested field. She and Emily made it back by 11:30.

Sunday morning I cleaned upstairs, then took Anna to her car in Roswell. Gassed up her Jeep and the CRV. She headed back to Athens. M went to band practice. C cooked a chicken casserole while I topped off my car and got gas for the lawnmower. After lunch I cut the grass and later blew the drive. Said I’d trim the hedges after the last four holes of the Tour Championship, which turned into seven holes with the sudden death. Wanted my man Ryan Moore to win, but Rory edged him out. At least Moore made the Ryder Cup team, which means I’ll watch more. More Moore.
 
M came home needing gas. When he filled up I got a text from the credit card company: our seventh fill-up/top-off in three days, for four cars. Killing me.     
 
Better watch those burgers and fries. September 11 we went to that burger place at the Avalon in Alpharetta. Seven days later I had long forgot that meal when I suggested we cash in on the free burger for National Cheeseburger Day at Cheeseburger Bobby’s, but Ceil remembered. This past Friday night as M and I were driving to Augusta, Ceil, Joan, Will, MC, and Regina ate at a burger place in Augusta. Then Saturday night Joan wanted to go to Moxie Burger. Monday for lunch I ate Joan’s Moxie leftovers.   

Heartwarming moment in the Mets/Marlins game when Dee Gordon first wore Jose Fernandez’s batting helmet, then imitated Fernandez’s batting style – and proceeded to hit a leadoff home run. Gordon said it was the best hit he’d hit all year. Normally Gordon wears his pant legs pulled up high, but last night wore them low in memory of Fernandez. Below the caring Gordon checks on an elderly fan struck by a ball.

Spaghetti casserole. Wheel and Jeopardy. Washed dishes. Had the debate on while playing on my laptop. Went to bed shortly after ten.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Week 4 Football Recap

RIP Arnold Palmer.

Losing is painful, but goodness gracious, Georgia's loss at Ole Miss Saturday afternoon wasn't the end of the world like so many Dawg fans are making it out to be. Any knowledgeable fan knew beforehand, if not long before the season began, that this would be a loss. Sure it hurts, but if you learned something from that game that you didn't already know, then you're not paying close attention. Callers to sports talk radio are showing their lack of knowledge.

While falling behind big in the first quarter was frustrating, what galled me was the lack of effort in the second quarter. Georgia players quit giving it their all. Two or three Dawg defenders would stop the ballcarrier's forward motion, but the other defenders would just stand around instead of joining the scrum, Had the ballcarrier broke free, the other defenders weren't ready to make the tackle.
After the three straight dropped passes turned the ball over on downs to Ole Miss, later on at least three more Bulldog receivers made halfhearted efforts to catch quite catchable passes. Had they gone all out and dived for the ball they could've made the catch, and probably inspired their teammates to give more effort as well. Look for Jacob Eason's TQBR to drop - thanks to his teammates. Hope he's not the transferring type.
How can any self-respecting defensive back let a white quarterback run for a 43 yard touchdown? Perhaps at halftime the UGA coaches persuaded the players to give more effort in the second half. The Rebels may have taken their foot off the gas, pulling Chad Kelly late in the third quarter, but the Dawgs played Ole Miss even in the second half.

Not good when you have to go for it on fourth down because your kicking game is so unreliable. Still, Blankenship's wide right miss of the 36 yard field goal (at an angle) wasn't that bad. No use complaining about the kicking any more - what can change in the middle of the season? A kicker may be worth at least one or two scholarships every four years, but maybe this year with a bare cupboard Kirby didn't have that luxury. He had to load up on position players and hope a walk-on kicker could get him by. Might've backfired this season, but it wasn't like the Dawgs were expected to go undefeated anyway (except in the minds of the rabid, unthinking fan base).

My own revisionist history: take away the pick six and the long TD pass (that should've been a sack - or more brutal pass interference). Make the field goal and catch the touchdown pass, and the score is a much more palatable 31-24. The score could have been 10-10 with 6 minutes remaining in the second quarter.


Tiger fans like to point out that Clemson just like last year, Clemson scored 134 points in winning their first four games without a loss. But things are not the same. If the Tigers were as good as last year they would've scored more points against weaker teams. Last year Clemson's first four games included hard fought wins at Louisville and at home in the rain against Notre Dame. The first four opponents in 2015 were ranked higher than the first four this year (not sure how Auburn was ranked as high as they were). Much more impressive than this year's games: moribund Auburn, a tough Troy team, woeful SC State, and a weak Georgia Tech team

Last year Louisville was far less dangerous. Last year Deshaun Watson was playing much more impressively, ranked near the top of the Total QB Ratings. This year he's ranked much lower, and missing receiver after receiver. Some throws are too high, others down at their feet. He'll have to be on target for Clemson to have a chance. Spin it any way you want, but the numbers won't mean a thing when a much improved Louisville team takes the field Saturday night.

2016 avg opp rank = 43 or 58
1 Auburn 19-13 (15)
2. Troy 30-24 (64)
3. SC State 59-0 (100)
4. Georgia Tech 26-7 (51)

2015 avg opp rank = 34 or 51
1. Wofford 49-10 (100)
2. App State 41-10 (57)
3. Louisville 20-17 (35)
4. Notre Dame 24-22 (11)

Keep winning games, not matter how close or ugly, and at the end of the year you'll get a spot in the playoff. But in 2015 the Tigers were trending up, now they're almost treading water. The Tiger defense contained the Tech running game Thursday night, but Louisville's passing game is much better than Tech's. Can Clemson defend the run AND pass at the same time? Can Deshaun and the offense outscore the Cardinals? After comparing 2016 to 2015, my confidence in a Clemson win Saturday continues to erode.

North Carolina lost a close one to Pitt. The Panthers might be good (look out GT) but maybe the Heels ain't so hot.

Tennessee did the unlikely: coming back to beat Florida. Perhaps the Vols will ride this emotional high into Sanford Stadium next week and get hit by a Bulldog sledgehammer.

South Carolina lost to Kentucky. Bodes well for the Dawgs, except the Wildcats are no slouch.

Duke beat Notre Dame. Bad news for the Jackets - and the Notre Dame defensive coordinator who was fired after the loss.

LSU head coach Les Miles didn't survive the weekend either. Some think the Auburn coach won't last the season either.

Unlike Georgia State, Michigan State wrapped the game with a bow and gave it to Wisconsin. With LSU struggling, perhaps the Badgers aren't that good as everyone thinks.

NFL: Carolina Panthers lose to Sam Bradford and the Vikings, bring Minnesota to 17-3 against the spread. Dak Prescott continues to impress in Dallas. No way the Falcons win on a Monday Night in New Orleans.

At least I didn't hear of anyone dropping the ball before they got to the end zone this week.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Things We Hate about Co-Workers

Things we hate about our co-workers, by young whipper-snapper Bernard Marr, a “keynote speaker and leading business and data expert.” We can’t choose our families, and in most cases we don’t get to choose our work colleagues either – and many of us spend more time with co-workers than we do our families.
 
A study shows one in five office employees say they hate one or more of their coworkers. A third dislike their colleagues so much they would never even consider socializing with them outside of work
 
ME: as I do with all these work-related lists, I re-type and post in an effort to learn and internalize, as I can be just as guilty as anyone.  
 
The study showed the most vicious fields to work in were media, accounting, IT, and sales. Here are some reasons why:
 
Disregard for shared spaces. Every office has the office slob. Their messy desk could offend others, especially when they can’t find what they need when they need it.
 
Lack of email etiquette: employees should not only not send cat videos to office mates, but also should not habitually hit “reply all” on emails where everyone does not need the reply, or uses all caps or no punctuation at all, or habitually sends novels when a single sentence or two will do (I may be guilty of that last one, though I’m careful to state the problem/question in the first sentence for those with short attention spans. My pet peeve: using a long email trail but changing the subject – without changing the subject line).
 
Know-it-all. Clearly there are some people who are simply the smartest person in any room, but no one else wants to be reminded of that (or how many hours they’re working a day). Some have been so busy being right that they fail to notice they’ve completely alienated the entire team, and no one wants to implement their ideas just to spite them. Rather than having the answer for everything, why not let someone else have a go (or get a word in edgewise)?
 
TMI: sharing too much is a tricky line to walk. Many share personal information about family, kids, hobbies, pets, etc., which is great and adds to a positive work environment. But it may cross the line to discuss embarrassing medical problems, sharing photos and stories of drunken weekend debauchery, or kiss and tell. And this doesn’t include the things people tell their co-workers directly, but also the things others can easily overhear from the private phone calls of others (not to mention vulgar language, politics, and religion – people often forget that everyone may not agree with their viewpoint. Or want to hear your life history on every subject everyone happens to tell a story about – just listen sometime, for goodness sakes!).      
 
Laziness: no one likes people who don’t the guy not pulling his weight – not finishing projects, taking long lunches, napping at their desk, doing the bare minimum to get by – especially those who constantly must pick up their slack. People also get tired of co-workers being constantly late – to work, to meetings, etc. (I couldn’t have said this better myself).
 
Complaining: if someone is constantly moaning about work load, the hours, management, the customer, you can bet their co-workers are tired of hearing it. Make a formal complaint to someone who do can something about it. Otherwise, no one wants to hear about it every day (everyone else has too much to do as well, including management. Most just shut up and work. Makes the day go by quicker).
 
Gossip: someone always takes it too far. Best to remember to mind your own business and let everyone else get on with theirs.
 
Too competitive: competition can be healthy, motivating, and fun. But when someone acts as if work is a war and there can only be one victor, they’re probably taking things too seriously and almost certainly making enemies.  
 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

ARod vs Junior


With the apparent retirement of Alex Rodriquez, his career numbers can be compared to those of the greats. His numbers do not quite compare to Hank Aaron, but they in line with Willie Mays. But ARod’s statistics surpass those of 2016 hall of fame inductee Ken Griffey Junior.
 
games.runs.hits..2B..3B…HR…RBI….SB….BB….K
2784 2021 3115 548 031 696 2086 329 1338 2287 ARod
2671 1662 2781 524 038 630 1836 184 1312 1779 Griffey Jr
3298 2174 3771 624 098 755 2297 240 1402 1383 Aaron
2992 2062 3283 523 140 660 1903 338 1464 1526 Mays
 
AVG.OBP.SLG.OPS.total bases.games/year
295 .380 .550 930 5813 ARod    127
284 .370 .538 907 5271 Griffey 121
305 .374 .555 928 6856 Aaron   143
302 .384 .557 941 6066 Mays    136
 
Tuesday night Ceil was attending a women’s event at her school. M had a doctor’s appointment, then attended Joel Norman’s church in Brookhaven with his friends. Joel leads music on Tuesday nights. With nobody to go home to, I left work at six and played golf.
 
Parred several par threes. Hit some good shots and some bad. I just can’t hit the ball very far, which will probably render me ineffective in the upcoming tournament. Hit my driver on two or three par three holes. Instead of talking about my good shots, here’s a few of my bad ones: hitting my tee shot into the water – directly behind me, teeing off from the back tee, my shot did not advance past the middle tee box. Three tee shots landed on or near the tee boxes of adjacent holes. I only had to yell “FORE!” once.
 
The front nine greens had been aerated earlier in the day, so I played the longer back nine, then the sandy first hole, then 11-15 again. The darkness made it hard to find my shots, so I called it a day after that. Still haven’t recovered from my soreness and exhaustion.