In late August I began to feel like I had bruised my right heel. I was playing soccer 4 to 5 times a week and I had bruised a heel before. But after a month of still having a sharp pain in my heel I thought I should investigate it more. When I got out of bed in the morning, it was very painful to walk on it. Playing soccer was also very painful until the foot muscules got warmed up. Turns out, through overuse I guess, I have developed plantar fasciitis in that foot. Basically its where the muscle linking the heel to the ball of the foot, begins to actually tear away a little from the bone. Ouch, yes. Ive learned how to tape my foot up so it provides support for it while I play soccer. And it allows me to run without being in total pain. The only real cure for it is taking it easy on the foot and time. Ive been doing both. I cut back on the amount of soccer per week and when I do play im sure to tape it up best I can. It seems to be getting better and less painful with each passing week. Thank goodness!
October 28th Emily and I hosted our first Halloween Costume Party. It was a big hit with lots of people turning up! We had food, music and decorations and everything went smoothly. Thanks to everyone who came out! Im already looking forward to next years party.
To see more pictures from the event, check out www.thorpeland.com/hp2006
I was "working the phones" today at work and by the time lunch rolled around, I needed to get out of the building. My first craving was for sushi, but after consulting with good buddy Craigadiah, he suggested a new place to try called Thai Ocha. Needless to say, it was Thai food. Ive never really had Thai food now that I think about it. Plenty of chinese food buffet's but not Thai. So, being the versatile, up for something new kinda guy I am... that's where we were headed. We walk in and are seated by the hostesss and I begin scanning the menu. Ok, none of this made any sense. So I ask Craig for a recommendation for this round-eye's first time at a Thai restaraunt. He suggests the Pad-Thai. So that's what I order, but with chicken. He orders the same with Tofu. (Blah!) First we each recieved an egg roll, pictured above. It was your run of the mill egg role, but still good. Our food comes a short time later and I dig in. I'll have to admit, I have a new favorite dish. It was really good! So we're done and the bill comes. He and I each put our credit cards on the tray and our Thai waitress takes them away. She comes back a few moments later and holds out my card pointing to my picture on the card and asks in her broken English "is this you?". I was a little puzzled and said, "um.. well ... yes." Then she says Ok, and hurries off. I turned to Craig and said, "I wonder if we all look the same to her?" lol I found her question so humorous because Craig has blondish hair and light complextion and I have black hair and are a bit more tan. There's no way she could have confused us! Anyhow, we pay and leave and now I have a new lunch spot to choose from in the future. Good stuff!
That's what I have lost since this past May. The next question I usually get asked is, "how did you do it?". Atkins? Nope. Miami Beach Diet? Negative! Another fad, fly by night diet scam? Nope. The day I stepped on the scale and I saw 190 pounds, I about flipped. Id never weighed that much in my life. I knew I had to make changes. But a diet? Diets don't work. You change your eating or whatever, lose the weight... then gain it back after you stop dieting. So I decided I needed changes, but not a diet. So, I made the changes. But I didn't go on a diet, I simply changed the way I ate, just a little. I looked at what was causing me to gain this recent weight. It was clear. While at work, I would snack on whatever was in front of me. Candy, chips... and an occational soft drink filled the gaps between breakfast and dinner. So despite playing soccer 3 and 4 times a week, I was eating back the calories 3 fold during my workday. So first step, cut out un-healthy snacking and eliminate the soda pop drinks. I replaced the candy and chips with a mid-morning yogurt fruit dink and dried apple slices and replaced the soda drinks with bottled water.
After the first week I already noticed the weight dropping. I lost 2 or 3 pounds in the first week. I knew my plan was working. I picked up my soccer playing to 4 days a week when possible. I also switched from eating cereal for breakfast to drinking a chocolate Slimfast or eating a bowl of cottage cheese and fruit. For lunch I stuck with eating a Lean Cuisine meal. Then for dinner I ate normally, having whatever Emily had cooked or whatever we wanted to do. The only rule was I now had water to dink thru-out the day or when we went out to eat and while sitting around the house. This was all paying off and quicker than I expected. Soon I noticed the notch on my belt that I had always used, and was getting a little snug, was no longer fitting good. So I started using the next smaller hole in my belt! Which is over an inch smaller on my waist!
This weight loss has continued through the summer and into the fall. Now, here we are in October and im down to 168 pounds, down from 190. Weekly I get people at work that had not seen me in a few weeks ask if Ive lost weight. In soccer, Im quicker, faster and scoring more goals. Something that had dropped off a bit as my weight had climbed. And as icing on the cake, I actually have ab muscles i can see again! Ha! Now that I know the key to getting to the weight I want to be at, I can't ever see myself being overweight (in my personal opinion) again.
Well my Bears go to 6-0 this week after squeezing out a 24-23 victory on the road against the Cardinals. This game truly showed how amazing this Bears team is. With the offense playing the worst game of their careers, the defense and special teams scores 21 points to get the win. But let's just hope this doesn't happen again to them this season.
My men's team won a tough game tonight, but in a way I'd never had happen before. One minute left and the game was tied 5-5 after they had just scored. We're pushing to win the game. One of our guys goes for the ball against one of the other teams players near the wall and they collide. The other teams guy bounces off our guy and falls, hitting his head on the wall on the way down. He tries to get up, but staggers back down to his knees. He had cut the back of his head and was begining to bleed pretty good. Our guy who collided with him quickly signals for the ref to stop the game and get help for the guy. The other teams bench went bezerk! They demanded our guy get thrown out with a red card. So they all storm onto the field in protest. This was their mistake. The ref suddenly blows the whistle and says "Thats it, game over!!" And he gave us the win! Ha! That was definatly a first. Oh well, we'll take it I guess.
My Friday Coed soccer team opened the season with an 11-3 win tonight. I got a goal and our girls scored practically at will. Really makes it easy to get the win cause they score so frequently. Im finally getting over a series of injuries that have stricken me this season. So far these past couple seasons I have had pulled left groin, deep bruised right quad muscle, strained left foot and bruised right heel. As Ive healed up, ive been more effective on the field. Which is something ive been missing. So, the season has started and we're out to defend our 3rd league title and hopefully win another!
I know, this is turning into a Chicago Bears blog. But I can't help it, my Bears are now 5-0 and looking by far to be the best team in the NFL! The last few seasons they had a great defense. But now, they have the defense and one of the best offenses in the league. They aren't just beating teams, they're killing them! It's too soon to start singing the Super Bowl Shuffle, but one can't help but think this could be the year they head back to the big game. All of my Anti-Bear friends have suddenly become silent. They have absolutely NOTHING negative to say about my Bears. So, Dallas Cowgirl fans, just thank your lucky Texas stars you don't have to play the Bears this season. Your season is already going downhill on it's own without a pounding dished out by Chicago. hehe
My Chicago Bears continue to roll. Destroying last years Super Bowl runner-up's, the Seattle Seahawks 37-6!! If anyone doubted what the Bears are capable of, see the highlights above to be quickly corrected. Chicago now has offensive power to compliment their brick wall like defense. If this keeps up, the Super Bowl wont be an unrealistic thought! :)
Tonight my mens outdoor team, Blackhawks, won our first game of the season! We now hold a record of 1 win, 1 tie and 1 loss. So we're still in ok shape. We had an away game tonight in a city just south of Denton. Im still healing up from a series of injuries, so I could really only play at about 85%. We got on the scoreboard first. Our midfielder crossed the ball in from near the touchline. But it was headed too close to their goalie. Me and a defender went for the ball at the near post. In a panic, he just cleared it away. But he kicked it right into the center, where my other striker was standing. He easily shot it into the back of the net giving us a 1-0 lead. It was a fairly even game, with both teams controlling play for most of the 2nd half. Then they got a quick one on one break and shot it low to the right of Ken our goalkeeper. All tied up, 1-1. I was getting a little frustrated because my team wasn't getting me the ball to give me too many scoring chance. But I stayed patient. Just minutes later, the other striker Tro, broke down the left sideline with the ball. I ran to the backside of the goal waiting for his cross. He crosses it but its headed close to their goalie again. The keeper lunges for the ball but only gets his finger tips on it, trying to tip it way from me. Instead, he tips it almost right to me! I rush ahead of the defender covering me and jump slightly into the air to meet the bouncing ball to volley it into the net from about 6 yards out. We go up 2-1 and thats where it ends after a few more minutes of play. We're in the win column and I get my 2nd goal of the season but my first game winning goal!
Sunday my Chicago Bears started the season with a 26-0 whipping of the sorry Greenbay Packers. This was an awesome day. I hope there will be many more like these highlights this NFL Bears season! GO BEARS!!
I recently upgraded my Sidekick 2 phone to a new slick Sidekick 3! This phone packs a ton of features such as, web surfing, text messaging, AIM-MSN-Yahoo chat clients, ToDo lists, Notes, Calendar, Address book, MP3 player, Bluetooth, 1.3MP camera and a few other bells and whistles. One of the coolest things about this Sidekick is the ability to customize the background with different themes. Or, create your own. I created this one from screenshots from the game Battlefield 2, which I enjoy playing. I think it looks much better than the default Tmobile theme. http://hiptop.com/
My Friday night coed indoor team continued our winning streak this past Friday by beating a league rival 11-5. I was really proud of my team for coming back from a 5-4 half time deficit to win. I got 2 goals, but our girls really came to play.. scoring time and time again. They really put the other team away. It was a good game. Thanks to Mandy for coming out to take some pictures. In the photo above, I scored my first of the two goals on that shot. Go me!
Saturday was spent out on the lake with Jimmy and his buddy Steve. Jimmy had bought a new wake board and wanted to test it out. As you can see above, he got up and going but crashed a number of times when we took him back over the boats wake. It was kinda funny watching him wipe out. But he did do good at getting up and going out of the water. Which is not easy. It was a fun,relaxing afternoon. We stopped to swim at party cove and got the boat up to near top speed in the open area of the lake. Fun times!
Today I had lunch with my good buddy, EVP. I talked him into trying out sushi with me at a local place I enjoy eating at about once a month. Now, EVP is normally steak and potatos type eater. Nothing really out of the ordinary. So getting him to even agree to have sushi for lunch was an accomplishment.
We arrived and began browsing the menu. So many types of sushi, so many choices! I could see EVP was overwelmed. He began asking the waitress what she recommends because he was such a noob and couldn't make up his own mind. She pointed out a lunch special which included 6 shrimp cali style rolls, plus 4 sushi of his choice. Again, he couldn't make up his mind so he told her to pick. She chose two salmon sushi and two tuna sushi. The plate arrived and I could see EVP's face. He looks up at me and say's "man I don't even know what to bite into first". This was all so new to him, he had no idea what to expect. I told him start with a cali-roll and see what he thought. He wrestled a bit with the chopsticks but mananged to pick one up, dip it in soy sauce and fit the whole thing into his mouth. He chewed and chewed, then chewed some more. I starred at him awaiting his answer. He said "well, its different". HA! Next he wanted to try the actual real sushi. But he didn't want the rice, just the slice of fish off the top. He didn't seem to mind it and continued to eat all four fish slices leaving the rice ball on this plate. He then went on to peel the rice layer off the cali-rolls and eat the rest of them piece by piece. When he was done, he almost had cleaned his plate, except for the rice from the rolls. I was impressed. For a guy who was terrified walking in, he did some damage to his lunch! But then EVP lets me down. On the way home, he confesses he will never eat sushi or there again. Too funny, I think he actually didn't mind it but he can't bring himself to admit it. That's ok, I accomplished my mission. Getting him to try sushi. One sushi hating friend down, dozens to go!
The San Fran 49ers may have beat my Bears 28-14 in their first preseason game last weekend. But let the video above be a reminder of what "Da Bears" can and will do to them once the real NFL season starts up in a few weeks. I hope they have not forgotten about this NFL record setting kick return against them last season. I see a great season ahead, barring any big injuries. Its too bad my Bears don't play the Dallas cowgirls. It would be quite ugly for them! LOL
Powered by this AMD X2 4800+ dual core CPU, my new power gaming PC rig is up and running nicely. Im very impressed in this processors speed so far. Despite only being 2.4Ghz per core, its clearly faster than my Pentium 4, 3Ghz Intel CPU. I look forward to pushing this thing thru a gauntlet of tests soon. One of the first tests I ran the new PC thru was the 3DMark06 Benchmark. The industry standard in PC benchmarking. It scored very nicely as you can see my results below!
I come home today to find out my homes air conditioner has malfunctioned and is not working. Its about 86F inside the house. We have fans going which are helping. But its still very warm. Luckily we are having some cloudy skies with scattered showers to help keep the outdoor temps under 100. Ive sent in a home warrenty request to the builders, so they should contact me soon about fixing it. Hopefully tomorrow! If it gets up to 100 again, its going to be very hot in the house! Blah, this sucks!
This screen shots are from an upcoming PC game called Armed Assault. This is one to keep an eye out for if your a gamer and a fan of FPS (first person shooters). Battlefields are over 400 Sq kilometers, you can walk, drive or fly anywhere and its based on realism. Meaning you can't hop around like a bunny and if you get shot once you can die. With my new power PC almost ready, I can hardly wait to get my hands on this game. For more information check out www.armedassault.com .
At least this past Friday night I did, while playing in my co-ed soccer teams season opener. A bit of history which let up to this big game. Four of our top players from last seasons championship team, defected to the team we met in that final game. A team who was already very skilled and could have beaten us. Now, they had these four players from our team and were set to get an easy win in this first game. During warm-up's my teammate Gregg really boosted confidence by saying "Im dreading this game. We're gonna get killed!". Have some faith in us Greggy! I thought we had a chance, but it was going to be very tough to win. So the game starts and within the first five minutes, they are up 2-0. I then sub in for one of our guys, but the other team didn't see me come onto the field, so no one marked up to defend me. We had a corner kick and my teammate saw me come onto the field. He gave me a great pass and I hit a perfect left foot rocket of a shot into the far upper right corner of the goal. 2-1. This turned the entire game. A couple minutes later, I get the ball in the left corner and hit a perfect pass to Brittney, who volley's the ball into the net at close range for a nice 2 point girl goal. In the second half I stole the ball from their keeper just outside the goal box and shot it into the corner above a defenders head. Then, a few minutes later, I picked off a bad pass and had a break away. But at mid-field I noticed their goalie was way out of his goal box. I lobbed it high into the air and into the open net as he dived in vain to get to it. The buzzer sounds finally and we win it 6-4. I had 3 goals and an assist to a girl for her 2 points. With our toughest oppenent out of the way, we can now focus on the weaker teams and building up some points in the standings. We're off to a great start!
Congrats to my good friends Craig and Becci. Last night in a small cerimony they were married. As you can see from my dim phone-cam pic, it was an outdoor event over looking downtown dallas. It included a small group of family and friends, followed by a reception with cake, food and drinks. They are off today for New York and their honeymoon. Congrats again guys! We're happy for you both.
Recently one of my favorite friends came back to Denton Texas for a short visit. My old friend Becca (Becca's on my right, Emily on my left) made time to come by and grab a bit to eat with me, Emily and my other buddy Dan who was in town. It was so good to see Becca again. She moved to Colorado about a year ago and resumed her life there she had left when she first moved to Texas. She is so much fun to hang out with. Always quick with a witty remark or funny comment to put me in my place. Ha!
Becca, it was very nice to see you again. I had a lot of fun and glad you got to stop by our house during your short stay! I wish you were still around in Texas, but Im happy you're enjoying Colorado. Be sure to visit again some day buddy! We miss ya!
I was up in my parents town this past weekend briefly. As I was driving down a road which ran parallel to some train tracks, I noticed the passing train was carrying dozens of massive propellers. Each of these propellers were larger than a single train flatbed car! They are the kind used in those giant windmills out in West Texas to generate power. I quickly whipped out my phone and snapped this little pic of the massive blades. I just found this interesting.
Since Early May of 2006, Ive been planning to build a new high end PC. With each week that passed, I shopped wisely, buying each piece as the right deal came along on the particular part I wanted. This is going to be a PC that has to last me for a few years to come. A PC with the power to run any application, video game or program with ease. But yet, still offer some upgradability for the future. But to buy top-of-the-line everything, would have cost me near $10K! Through smart shopping and deal hunting, i've been able to build an awesome system for $1080 after my mail in rebates all come back. That is FAR cheaper than the $2000 I originally calculated. The final piece of the puzzle came earlier than I expected. The CPU, or processor, which I had my eye on retailed for $632. Ouch, I cringe just looking at that number! But then it as announced AMD, the maker of this CPU, was about to slash prices on all models to compete with Intel's release of their new Conroe CPU. To my delight, this past Monday, the CPU which was $632 dropped to $309! I couldn't click "Add To Cart" fast enough! It wont even ship till next week, but at least I have one in my name now. Its the final piece I need before I can power it on for its first BIOS test and configuring. So far, I have to highly recommend the CoolMaster 530 PC case. Its completly tooless. Meaning you can pretty much put every part into your pc without needing a screwdriver. Only the motherboard mounts with small screws. After that, its all slide tracks and clamps that hold everything in place. Its great! Well I will update my blog in a couple weeks concerning the new PC. I'll try to include some benchmarks and speed tests. Stay tuned!
A quick rundown of what's inside this beast: Motherboard- MSI K8N Diamond Plus RAM - 2GB CORSAIR XMS Dual channel memory Video - 2 GeForce 7900GT 256MB PCI-E vid cards in SLi mode Power Supply - Rosewill 600W Power Supply Case - COOLER MASTER Centurion 532 CPU - Athlon 64 X2 4800+ (w/dual core 1MB L2)
Last night was the championship game for my Co-ed indoor soccer team. We were going into the game with an undefeated 7-0 record against another very good team with a 5-2 record. They had some good players but I knew it would be a challenge. Well after a tough 45 minutes of play we were the champions! This is our 3rd title in a row. But this was probably the toughest to win against this particular team. Normally we blow out the teams we play against. This game we pulled off a 5-4 win. I had an excepionally good game, scoring two goals... the second being the game winner! On the first goal, I received the ball at the top of end of the field. I dribbled in fast towards goal. A defender came from my right to stop me so I pushed the ball out to my left. As soon as I had space, I took a shot. It hit the wall just outside the goal, low on the left. But the ball bounced back and up. I was still running and followed up my shot. I leaped into the air and headed the ball past the goal keeper still getting up from diving for the first shot. Goal! This goal put us even at 1-1 after we gave up a quick early half goal. The second goal was just great timing on a subsitution. Tyler was playing forward and was clearly tired from running hard. He called for a sub and trotted towards the bench. As he did, the 2 defenders coving him, turned their attention upfield to the action and pushed up. They totally ignored me coming onto the field for Tyler. Our goalie Andrew was quick to see me, now wide open and calling for the ball, and threw it over the players heads right to me. The ball bounced once, I controlled it and it was one on one with thier goalie. He stepped towards me and I tried to flick it fast to his left, low. But he dove and blocked the shot. The rebound came right back to me! I pulled the ball away from his diving arms with my left and drove in a low, hard right footed shot. Goal! After that, the other team went on the attack scoring 2 goals, making the score 5-4. We defended and held on till the buzzer, winning the championship!! I was nice to get some goals in the big game which we really needed them in. Funny thing was my buddy Greg who plays on this team was jokingly taunting me all week about if I was ready to watch him score all the goals in this game. He didn't get any goals. Ha! Maybe next season buddy.
Well next week Im being shipped off to a week long tech training course in Dallas. Its actually a Novell Zenworks course. These are kinda fun cause its a break from the norm. I get to drive down to North Dallas, and sit in a classroom and learn some new stuff. I dont have to listen to any of our users cry and whine for help. No deadlines, projects... stress. Just sit and learn. Plus my buddy Top Jimmy works just down the street, so I have a lunch buddy. About the only down side of the entire week will be the drive through traffic to get to the class and the two toll boothes I have to pass through. Luckily work will reimburse me for gas and tolls, which is nice because I actually come out slightly ahead after it all adds up. So, its Friday, the weekend is about to start... then im off to the Novell classroom!
Well that's at least what it feels like. Outdoor soccer in Texas is always a warming experience. Which is why for the past 3 years I have avoided getting myself into an outdoor season. I don't know if it was all the World Cup soccer I had been watching or if I just missed the pain and suffering of playing outdoor soccer, but I've committed myself to a new team. My buddy Ken approached me last week and said they needed a striker (forward) for a Men's Over 30 4th division team. I had never played in the Over 30 division before. Normally I played in the "Open" division because of better competition. But I decided to come out and see how they looked. Also, another factor in this was this team was gearing up for the Fall season. Which meant about half our games would be in cooler, more barable weather. So Sunday rolls around and I show up for their training session to get signed up. The coach gets me and Ken's information and we join the group in warming up. I notice there are a lot of guys there and some look pretty old. Then one of the guys tells me this is a combined practice between the Over 30 team and the Over 40 squad. That would explain the older, heavier guys. They split the group up into two teams, light shirts vs dark shirts. I was wearing white so i got put on the team with the majority being the Over 40 group. It didn't bother me much because this would give me a chance to play against my future teamates and see what skill level they are.
The scrimage kicked off and we were playing. Many of these guys knew eachother from previous practices. So I was just going to play it low key and not go 100% until I got the feel for the pace and how to play with this group. I started out in midfield, just recieving some short passes... knocking the ball around.. not playing too hard. I noticed our outside midfielder was getting the ball a lot, so I moved to the left inside midfield position near him. He received a pass along the side line and looked up for help since a defender was already covering him. I made a run to him and he layed the ball off to me. I quickly one-touched the ball behind the defender and into the large open space behind him down the field. My player who just gave me the ball sprinted down the line and got to my pass. He crossed it to the center and our forward shot it wide. But we had sucessfully put together an attack. Now, I was getting the ball much more frequently. I guess I had earned some trust or something. I noticed our forwards were becoming exhausted, so I moved from midfield into a forward position. I pushed up the field to their last defender, staying on-sides even though there were no linesmen to call offsides. Suddenly, one of our midfielders steals the ball from theirs. I look at him and put my arm up, calling for the ball. He see's me and sends a perfect pass over the head of the defender next to me. I pour on the speed to meet the ball about 10 yards out from the goal and its 1 on 1 with their keeper. The ball bounces once and the keeper starts to come out. I jumped into the air and with the outside of my right foot, calmly flick the ball by the charging keeper and into the right side of the net. Goal! Immediatly, guys on the Under30 team began coming up to me and asking me my name and which team I was on. It was funny. I soon learned they were so happy to see that because the one thing they were missing last season was a forward with a scoring touch. Defense has always been their strength. Which I did learn there are a couple very good defenders on this team. Lots of good hustle and mental toughness. These are good signs to see in my new teamates.
So today during my lunch hour, I took a trip down to a local sporting good store to look at some new outdoor soccer cleats. I didn't expect to find anything I liked really, since local stores are known for carrying only 1 or 2 types of shoes and not very good quality ones at that. I was pleasantly surprised to find several decent pair to choose from. But one pair of Adidas cleats caught my eye. They had a good cleat design for hard ground, good colors to go with most any uniform, seemed well built and most impressivly they were feather light. I mean so light, it didn't even feel like i was holding a soccer cleat. This was an important factor since by the second half my legs feel like 2 cement bags tied to me. Light is good! So I found my size and bought them. Im looking forward to getting them broke in. This is the first time in 12 years I have worn another brand of shoe besides Kelme. I feel bad about being a traitor and not buying them. Kelme's are such high quality boots I hope these $50 Adidas can compare to them. Don't be fooled by the price though. The Kelme's I usually wear run $100, double what I paid for the Adidas. But the Kelme shoe's are imported and all imported soccer shoes carry a bit higher price tag. Maybe these USA made cleats can win me over. We'll see as the outdoor soccer action pics up!
Besure to check in on my main website, thorpeland.com in the coming days. A total transformation is about to take place. Changes have already begun. A new look, a new webhost and some new features! Oh, the excitement. I know... I know.
After being gone for the past week, Emily and I have returned from Puerta Vallarta Mexico! What a blast we had. We arrived Wednesday, July 5th at 8:30 in the morning. We got checked into the hotel and began to explore the area, eat and hit the beach. That evening I was able to take a bunch of pretty good pictures as the sun set.
Thursday morning, we were up early and on our way outside of town to the jungle for the Canopy Zip-line tour. A network of 13 tree-top platforms with cables running to each. They suit us up in our harness gear and we fly through the canopy along these cables at high speeds. Fun! We returned to town that afternoon to relax and hit the beach. Since our trip was an all-inclusive package, our meals were included and we could eat as many times as we wanted. Surprisingly, we didn't gorge ourselves as much as the average toursist might have. Which is probably good, since we had so many things planned.
Friday was another early morning out of bed. This time we had to be at the Marina to catch a boat. We were headed down the coast for some snorkeling and exploring. After about an hours ride on the catamaran, we stopped at a small cove and everyone suited up with our masks, snorkels and life vests. As we hopped into the water, we were handed a dinner roll by the tour guides. This was to feed the fish underwater. What I did not expect was the ferocity of the little buggers when they saw the food! I looked down and saw one colorful sunfish coming out of the coral and seaweed at the bottom. Suddenly, I was caught in what best could be described as a pirranha like frenzy. I could feel fish all over me and they churned the waters around me. I struggled to quickly take out my waterproof camera, and I think I got some decent pictures. I still have to get them developed. A bit later while swimming, Emily tells me she lost one of her swimming fins! I look down and its sitting on the coral floor about 15 feet down. So, I wiggled out of my vest and gave it to Emily to hold on to. I took a deep breath and began my decent. About half way down I began to think, "what if i get down here and there is a barracuda in these rocks?". Ha! Well there wasn't and I returned to the surface safely. We all got back onto the boat shortly after that and got served a good lunch. Emily wasn't able to enjoy it as much because she was getting a bit motion sick from the rocking boat. But she kept her eye on the level horizon and never threw up. A few minutes later we arrived at our second stop, the remote village of Yelapa. This is a town only accessible by boat and which only recieve electricity five years ago. Our tour guide gave us a walk thru tour of the small village then lead us down to a picturesque beach. We stayed there for about an hour, relaxing and swimming. Then we all boarded the boat for the return trip back to Puerta Vallarta. Our tour guide Jovani was a real comedian and kept everyone entertained the whole way.
Saturday was another day of getting up early. We had to catch a ride to the airport at 7am, even though our flight wasnt until 9:40. Emily took a little fall at the airport on some stairs. But she was alright. Just slipped on a couple stairs, bruising her backside a bit. We got on our plane and landed in Dallas by 12:30 in the afternoon. Home in time to unpack, relax and still enjoy the weekend before returning to work Monday.
On Sunday, I was able to meet up with Dan (who was in town for work from L.A.) and Kirk at Hooters to watch the World Cup Final. It was a great time and a very entertaining game. The French scored first on a penalty kick, but a short time later, Italy got the equalizer off a corner kick header. Very nice! The game went into extra time, then into a penalty shootout. Italy won it 5-3 to claim the World Cup trophy! It was a great time since both teams played some decent attacking soccer. And being able to watch the game with my old college buddies made it even more fun.
I took a TON of pictures while in Mexico. Check them out at HERE!
Few things in this world that are truly fun are, well... truly free. There's always a cost... somehow. Right? Well I've come across something that is very fun and very free. My buddy Barmy pointed to towards a game called TrackMania Nations. Its a PC game that is free to download, but has the quality of a game you'd pay $50 for at the store. Its a car racing game. Its simple to play and tremendous fun. I spent about 3 or 4 hours this weekend racing against my buddies online. And a nice thing about it is you do not have to have a high end gaming pc to play it. It will run on most older computers. And its some crazy fun. The tracks have jumps, loops and insane turns you'd almost have to see to believe. Not to mention all the mods and skins there are for the cars, created by players all over the world. This game is truly a great find in a sea full of crappy $50 retail games. Check it out at http://www.trackmanianations.com See you on the track!
Yesterday, my friends Gregg and Stacey came out with me, Top Jimmy and his friend Steve. Jimmy had his boat and I brought out my jetski. We hit the lake at noon but it was cool and cloudy. There was even a light rain coming down. Within the hour, the clouds broke and it was 100% sun! We had fun pulling the tube behind the boat and blasting the waves on the jetski. About half way thru the day, my jetski's main tank ran out of gas and I had to switch to the reserve line. I drove it over to local marina and bought some gas there. They charged a whopping $3.59 a gallon! I guess they figure if you need gas, you don't have many choices so they can charge as much as they want. It was a great day on the lake and we hope to get more people out with us in the coming weekends. I'll have to take some pictures to post.
In preparing for this past Friday's Coed game, I learned two things. One, this was a new team made up of all great players, girls and guys, they would be very tough. And two, someone on their team told our team they wanted to beat us so badly this Friday that we'd not want to play in the Friday night league anymore. Well, those is fightin' words!! Our team was definatly fired up by that statement and came ready to play. Apparently, they weren't quite as ready. We won the match 11-4. They put up a fight early in the game, but we wore them down with constant attacking pressure and solid defense. I'm sure this is a team we will face in the final championship game. I'll look forward to beating them again.
Things are going well on my soccer front. My coed team has been blowing away everyone in our division so far this season. Our last win was something like 23-1. And the team looked very good in warmup. I thought we were in for a battle. Not so. I scored our second goal and then resorted to just passing the ball to our girls, trying to set them up for a score. Suposedly this coming friday, we play a team that could really give us a run for our money. I'll update with what happens.
On the men's team front, we're doing ok. Currently at 2-2, we won last Tuesday 6-2. I scored 2 goals, the last one being on a penalty shot. We have some tough games ahead so im not sure how we'll end up this season.
Is it just me or this week just crawling by? It's only Tuesday but it feels like it should be Thursday at least. I guess that because I dont really have anthing happening this week. Well anything very interesting. Took the jetski out last Saturday with Emily and met Top Jimmy at the lake. It was a blast getting back out there again. The water was nice, although a bit lower because of our drought. But we still had fun. The jetski ran great after coming out of its winter hibernation. Im looking forward to getting back out there this saturday. Ah yes... fun times ahead.
Last weekend Emily and I drove down to Galveston (TX) for our good friends Mike and Cheryl's wedding. But not only were we attending their wedding, we were in it! Emily was the maid of honor and I was a groomsman. We hit the road early Friday morning and had made great time on the normally 6 hour drive, making it in about 5 hours. Just in time for lunch with our hosts. They took everyone out to a BBQ place. Which is probably the last place I would have chosen to eat at, but oh well. I had a burger and fries, its all good.
That night came and it was time for the Bachalor and Bachalorette parties. Emily had spent the past month planning Cheryl's and the best man Aaron had evertything arranged for Mike's. The girls were getting to gether to play odd games like "pin the penis on the man" and later have a stripper show up acting as a doctor, since Cheryl is down there for med school. Our plan was to take Mikey boy out to a strip club and make him think twice about this whole marriage thing. Ha! Well without divulging too many details, they both had fun at their respective events and still wanted to get married the next day. The wedding went off without a hitch. No one tripped or forgot their lines or went the wrong direction. The reception was a lot of fun. They had rented out a building in The Strand (tourist area of Galveston). Food was catered and they had a good DJ for the tunes.
Our drive back seemed longer than going down, but was uneventful. No traffic jams or problems. We took my new car and it was smooth riding the entire trip. I cringed at the fact I was putting almost 1000 miles on my new ride! haha I guess thats what I got it for. Oh yeah, the day after the wedding Mike and Cheryl headed off for the Bahamas for a 7 day vacation. I bet they had a blast! Congrats guys!! We're all happy for you!
So the time has come for me to begin building a new powerful home pc for multi-media and gaming use. Unlike my last rig, where I merely built it to run the current app of the day, I wanted to build this one to handle whatever the next 3 or 4 years may throw at it. By that I mean it doesn't necessarily have to have the power currently to run everything that will come out over the next four years, but be capable of upgrading with the latest technology as needed. Of course, I want to build it powerful enough to not need any upgrades for as long as possible. In the ever changing world of computers, this is a tough chore.
I started planning out what I now refer to as "The Beast" by hitting the web to do my research. After all, it has been at least a year since I upgraded my current PC and so much has changed since then! I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing out on any cool new tech that would give me an edge. One of the best places to start out with research, price comparing and buying is the website NewEgg.com. What makes this site so great is first off, their low prices. Few sites can beat their discounts. They also offer cheap or free shipping on items and often sizable mail in rebates. After weeks of planning, Ive mapped out my new rig. Below is the parts list, which Ive begun buying peice by piece over the past few and next few months.
RAM - 2GB of Corsair DDR400, Dual channel Hard Drive - 120GB 720RPM W/8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s MoBo - MSI K8N Diamond Plus Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 SLI X16 ATX AMD PSU - Rosewill 600W Power Supply, W/SLi support CPU - AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ Toledo 2000MHz HT 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket 939 Dual Core Video - DUAL Geforce 7900GT 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16, Running in 16X SLi Mode Case - COOLER MASTER Centurion 532
So far i have recieved my RAM, MoBo, PSU and the Case. I havent started assembling anything yet. Waiting till i get it all ordered and in. Im salvaging a CD/DVD burner drive from my current pc. So I did not have to purchase another. The last thing on the list I will be buying is the CPU. Currently the 4800+ is one of AMD's top processors. And of course the top dual core CPU's currently out fetch a high price. Right now the price sits at $683. Ouch, I know. That's why im holding off for a couple more months to see what the price does as Intel gets closer to releasing its new "Conroe" line of CPU's which are claiming to be the fastest around. That normally starts a domino effect of prices falling. I plan to make updated posts, with pictures as I assemble "The Beast". I'll then post performace results and some benchmarks. Oh, the excitement!!
My Coed Indoor soccer team finished the season a perfect 10-0, winning the championship last Friday night. We pulled off a rather close 9-3 victory. I say close because we beat most teams by double digit margins. Im looking forward to next season, so we can "Threepeat" as they say in pro sports. If we keep the same team together, there is a good chance we can do it again!
After nearly a 2 year wait, Verizon FiOS has been installed! For those who aren't in "the know", FiOS is a fiber optic connection directly to the home. This gives internet connection speeds which make DSl or Cable internet look like the days of dial-up. After it was set up I did some tweaking and was able to get my speeds to 15.33MB Down/2.38MB UP. That's darned fast! These speed are important to me because I don't just check email and surf the web from my home pc. I host video game servers, upload video's and download a lot of large software installs. This is definatly a good day in Thorpeland. :) Above is a picture of the Verizon installers patching the fiber line into the side of my house.
Many of my friends despise sushi. To me, this is an extremly tasty and fulfilling lunch! I highly recommend trying various types of "cali-rolls" if you get the chance. So many are so delicious! Don't be a wuss and be scared because it has some type of raw fish on it. Consider it a healthy break from the deep fried everything topped off with a loaded hamburger that you usually get for lunch.
Both my Tuesday men's and Friday Coed soccer teams had their first round playoff games this past week. And both ended in wins for both my squads! Tuesday we played the badly outmatched "Average Joe's", beating them easily 11-3. This puts my men's team, Menace FC, in the B division championship match next Tuesday. We could have been playing for the A championship, but lost the our last game of the season, putting the top championship game out of reach according to our points standing. On Friday night, my coed team finished off our first round oppenent 9-5. This puts us into the final championship match and a chance to finish the season with a perfect 10-0 record! I see no reason why we should lose that game!
Last night was the 8th and final regular season game of my co-ed soccer teams indoor season. We finished a perfect 8-0 and head into the playoffs next week. We overwelmed practically every team we faced this season, scoring a total of 73 goals and only giving up 21 goals. We did something funny las night. With 3 minutes left in the game, we pulled all our guys off the field(3)and replaced them with the girls on our team who were still subs on the bench. So we had an all girl team playing against the other coed team. We were up 8-3 so it didnt matter. They held the ball at our opponents side for practically the entire 3 minutes and almost scored once! In the last seconds, we passed it back to our keeper and he made a bad pass out of the goal to one of their girls who scored making the final 8-5. Oh well. Fun game and we're on to the playoffs. I fully expect we will win it all fairly easily. This is the best coed team ive ever played on.
I haven't really had the chance to blog much this past month. Each week fly's by and the weekends become packed with stuff going on! About 3 weeks ago, Emily and I took a trip down to the Dallas Arboritum. Pretty cool place for photography and to walk around and explore. I suppose that place would be a gardners dream. It was a fun afternoon, I still need to process the pics I took that day so I can post them.
Last weekend I met up with my jetski buddy, Jimmy, at Lake Lewisville. He was out there with his new boat. Nice boat, about 27feet long with an inboard motor. Seats about 12 people and has a canopy for shade. Which is nice so you can just park out in Party Cove and relax without baking. The water was still way too chilly for me to jump in. I heard it was 67F. That didn't stop a lot of people though. It was sad to see how low the lake had become with the lack of rain we've had. Even after gaining almost 2 feet after our last major rain storm, it was still about 6 feet lower than normal. Hopefully it will fill up more before June and the official start of our jetskiing season.
On the home upgrade front, we broke down and had ceramic tile installed to replace ALL of the original linolium tile in the house. Sure it was a good chunk of money spent. But it looks great, is much more durable and raises the value of the house nicely. We are very happy with how it all looks now. It took the work crew 2 full days of work to finish. If I had tried this by myself, it would have been 2 months of trial and error. A disaster! But its done and it looks great!
On the friend front, my buddies are biting the dust left and right. By that I mean getting married!! Steve and Monica.. getting married. Cheryl and Mike, yup... getting married. Doug and Jennifer, getting married. And now even Craig and Bex have announce the M word. Wow, is there something in the water? Not that them getting married is a bad thing. But everyone at once!? Well, I guess its bound to happen to everyonee eventually. haha
What's next? Ah yes, the computer front. In gaming news, Ghost Recon 3 or "GRAW" (Ghost Recon Advanced Warrior) is set to come out in May. This one is long awaited and really looks like a great game. We'll see when the reviewers get ahold of it. On the Battlefield 2 front, Tour 3 over at www.bf2combat.net has started up today. I played the first half of our battleday and we weren't doing so well against the dreaded 2MC. But the day isn't over! Im also in the early stages of planning my next PC. Its almost time for a major upgrade and later this year it will be time to do it. So far, I should be able to build it for around $1800. Unfortunalty, technology has changed so much since I built the one I have now, that I am not even able to take any parts from this one to use in the next one and save me money. The new one is from scratch. But it will be SWEET. Dual PCI-Express cards, DDR2 3200 mem, SATA drives, Dual core AMD CPU... the focus with this PC being on speed, power and upgradability for the future.
The weather is getting warm, we are finally getting rain again and that means its time to get the yard ready for spring. Ive been in the house just over a year now and the lawn finally lost its newly sodded look. Last week a fertilized and began regular watering and I think its already paying off. I got green stuff sticking up thru all the brown winter grass. Woo Whoo! A small setback has been the front of the yard where Verizon dug some holes and trenches to lay the fiber lines for the upcomming FIOS. But since Im anxiously awaiting that service, I will forgive them for tearing up the small area of my lawn. This weekend Im going to get some grass seed and replant the area. Also on a good note, the front hedge bushes which I thought were killed by the ice we got this winter, are spinging back to life with lots of new leaves and branches. Good stuff. To brighten things up, Emily and I bought a new glass storm door for the front entrance. Now we can leave the solid front door open and let light in. It really brightens the living room nicely. Now that we have had some time to really get settled in the house (a year). Im going to take some pictures to post soon.
There are few motor sports as exciting to watch as Rally Racing. Big in Europe, this awesome race type has yet to really catch on in the USA. I wish it would. Watch this clip as this team races through a dirt road course at 70mph!
Its been almost a month since my last blog post. On Saturday, January 21st my older brother Steve passed away after a 2 year battle with cancer. That would be his picture above. Steve was only 48 years old. Techincally, he was my half-brother. But he was always around my entire life, so to me, he was just my brother. Steve was a great guy. A comedian, a dedicated bass fisherman, a Harley rider and a guy who could fix, upgrade, or modify anything. He was very creative. When I was a kid he would play a game with me. He called it, "make Thorpe laugh till he can't breathe". Steve was never short on jokes and wisecracks. One of the funniest guys I ever knew. I found out just over a year ago about his cancer. He had wanted to keep it a secret and just take care of his treatments in private. I guess he just didn't want us to worry or be burdened finacially with him. I'll never really know. I do know I'll miss the guy. I still find myself out somewhere and I'll see or hear something and I think, "oh, I gotta show Steve this!". Then I remember. We had a small funeral for Steve on January 25th, a Wednesday night. It was attended by me and Emily, my family, his girlfriend Flo and her family and about 25 others from his work and circle of friends. He was cremated and the small urn sat on the table at the head of the ceremony. It was all so very strange to see his hat which he always wore and his leather riding jacket laying out on the table, knowing I just saw him in them a couple months back. At the funeral, my dad told me when he was with Steve in his final hour, Steve told my dad he had no regrets about his life. Knowing that,I supose, is at least some consolation to bring out of such a sad event.
Now that I've found the words to post about my brother Steve and his passing, I can begin updating my blog on a regular basis again. I just didn't feel it was right to continue posting about my daily trivial events until I talked about Steve in the way I wanted to .
It was finally here! Last Friday, I was off to Las Vegas, Nevada to meet up with a few of my buddies for our friend Kirk's bachaelor party. We had this planned for about 3 months and everyone was looking forward to it.
I arrived at DFW airport around 7:30AM for my 8:40AM flight. I was to meet Kirk there so we could try to get seats together on the plane. A quick cell call later, I had found him just inside the baggage check area and we were off to our gate. That's when he turns to me and says, "there has been a change in plans". I look at him puzzled and ask what in the world he's talking about. He then say's, "Jennifer and I got into a big fight last night and the wedding is off". My response is, "dude, im still going to Vegas". I tell him to hold off telling Dan this news until we unite with him at the Vegas airport. I just had to see his face when he told him.
So we board the flight and lift off. I manage to talk the kid sitting next to me, to allow kirk to sit there instead. Kirk takes the seat next to me and within 10 minutes he's doing the head bob as he falls alseep. Why bother switching seats? On top of that, Kirk is a rather furry guy and his Wookie left arm is brushing up against mine on the arm rest the entire flight. Akward.
We land, finally get off the plane and trek thru the airport to find Dan. We meet up at the baggage claim and now we are three. Dan then tells me that one of our planned group, Mark, was M.I.A. and was an assumed no-show for this trip. Oh... bummer. I don't have to listen to 3 days of trash talk, bragging and exagerations. This trip just got better. LOL So now, we were just missing one more guy... Ziggy.
I found out Ziggy had flown into Vegas on Thursday, the night before. He was already at the hotel casino awaiting us. So to the cab and off we went, headed for the Monte Carlo. We get there and no sign of Ziggy. The hotel check in counter couldnt find record of him in their system. Not good. He's not answering his phone either. So we decide to walk the casino floor to find him. Within 15 minutes we find him, sitting at a "Texas Hold'em" table. Turns out there was some confusion with names and reservations and he had already checked in. We pull him away from our table and go to get our rooms.
The rooms were basic hotel rooms, 2 beds, a TV and bathroom. But it was clean and comfy. We were on the 17th floor over looking the New York, New York hotel and a few others. It was a nice view! We spent most the day down in the hotel's casino. I played a few slot machines while the other guys went into a poker tourny room. This lasted until evening and dinner time.
Dan had dinner plans and reservations already set. Although Kirk had already announced the wedding was off, we still wanted to have a nice dinner as a group. Everyone got cleaned and dressed up and met in the sports bar downstairs. That's when Ziggy tells us he's lost almost $5000 in the casino. But then he add's that he's been given the card of the casino manager and to call them if we need anything. So he whips out his cell phone and gives the guy a call. Fifteen minutes later, we have a limo to use for the evening. We all jump in and head to a restaraunt called "El Frisco's". Its a very unusual feeling to pull up to a restaraunt and have open your door. Then when you step out everyone else waiting to eat turn and stares to see who's in the limo. That was a new one for me! We go in and it turns out this is a VERY nice place. I felt a bit underdressed, but oh well. We get seated, order and then the food arrives. Wow! I'm not a huge steak fan, but this had to be some of the best steak I've ever tasted. The meal was delicious and I was stuffed. But I should be for $60.
Saturday was a normal tourist day in Vegas. Well, except for breakfast. Dan recommended we head over to the Wynn Hotel. The Wynn Hotel's rooms average around $400 to $500 a night. Not a cheap place. But their breakfast buffett is nothing short of amazing! For about $28, you get to choose from literally hundreds of different types of food. Everything from waffles, pancakes, eggs and bacon... to king crab legs, fillet minion and chef prepared omletts while you wait. Every corner I turned, I found a new type of food. This was truly a dangerous buffett. I could eat myself into a comma if not careful. Six plates later, I had almost done that. I had our waiter bring me some coffee, hoping to bring me out of the deep sleep I felt coming over me. We finally left the buffett and decided to walk off our food.
First stop, the Ferrari dealership inside the hotel. This place was pretty amazing. First off, it costs $10 just to walk around inside it... unless you are a prospective buyer. This was a showroom like nothing ive seen before. Each car, sits on a rotating pedestal with its doors and engine hood open. Prices ranges from $100K to $1.2 million. Yes... that's for a car. Of course they had ropes around everything so there was no sitting and taking pictures in the cars. And I had forgot to bring my digital cam on the trip to the Wynn Hotel, so I had to use my cell phone camera. Not the greatest but i can at least show some pictures of the day. The dealership has an upstairs main show room then a downstairs repair shop and museum. The repair shop reminded me of an operating room. It was spotless, clean and very sterile looking. You could probably eat off the floor. It was all very amazing. But hey, when you spend hundreds of thousands on a car I guess you want to give it the best money can buy. We learned a Ferrari oil change and basic service runs $3000. Holly crap!
From there we headed out to walk the strip. Its always fun to people watch out there. We'd walk for a bit then stop off at a hotel to check it out, the guys would gamble some then we'd hit the sidewalks again. We probably walked 5 miles that day. My feet were killing me. One of the things that really gave me a chuckle last time I was in Vegas was the guys who stand on every street corner handing out what looks like baseball trading cards. But if you look at them, you'll see they are escort calling cards. The card usually has a risque picture on it with the girls "name" and number. I started joking with dan that I was going to collect the whole deck of cards this trip out. So as we walked down the stip, I accepted every card each of these people were handing out. By day two, I had probably 60 "trading" cards. I guess its nothing more than a humorous souvenier from Vegas for me to look back on.
Sunday was quite a bit slower. Dan's flight left at 8am. Kirk and I were flying out that night and Ziggy's flight left Monday morning. I spent the day watching the NFL playoff games down in the casino. Unfortunatly, my Bears decided not to play much defense in the biggest game of their season. They allowed the weak Panthers to score early and they never quite caught up, losing 28-21. Close but not enough. Oh well, next year. It was a memorable game to watch in Vegas. I was surrounded by Bears fans, which was pretty cool. Everytime they made a big play or scored a touchdown, we all cheered loudly.
Our flight home was a beating, in true Las Vegas tradition. My 8:40pm flight got delayed by 30 minutes. So after a 3 hour flight, then the 2 hour jump ahead in time zones, I got home at 2:45AM local time. I hit the bed and was out... quick. Fun trip, guys. Lots of good memories from this one. Yes Dan, you'll get you're hot wings next trip to Dallas.
My Tuesday "A" division team played a new team last night. I dont think this new team did their homework before signing up, because they should have easily been placed in the C or even D division. We had no problem beating them 7-0. And their season will only get worse, because we're probably the 3rd or 4th best team in the division right now. I finished with 1 goal and 1 assist. The assist was especially nice because I beat two defenders on the dribble, and made a no-look pass to the back post of the goal, where my teammate Thomas was standing un-marked. He had an easy tap in for the goal. The score should have been higher than 7-0. We missed several easy chances. Im not sure if I like these kind of games because it doesn't make our team any better or sharpen us up for the tough teams that lay ahead in the schedule.
Well the Bears have won the NFC North and a first round bye into the playoffs! I won my lunch bet with Brotha James, although he has yet to pay up. He's completely disgusted that the cowgirls didn't make the playoffs and the Bears did. HA!! So, I'm hoping the Bears will play the Buc's in their first game at home. They should, and better, beat them! Then it's off to a real game. The NFC Championship against the Seattle Seahawks. Tough game! But its just amazing that just 2 winnable games stand between the Bears and the Superbowl! Im not predicting a SB appearance yet, but hey, they've got a better chance than some of the other NFC teams also playing for it. This has been such a great season, considering they looked like a college team the past couple years. With the return of Rex Grossman to the offense (pictured above), they are now a real threat to anyone they play. GO BEARS!!