The Daily Bongo

June 2007

Thursday, June 28, 2007 -- Evening

The Pens are no longer accepting offers for full season ticket orders. 13,500 packages were sold so far. Part of the reason is that half-season ticket holders were being told they would have to upgrade to full season to retain their seating locations. The Pens wanted to keep some seats open for individual tickets and smaller plans like the six and 12 game plans. Also, the Pens said they want to keep some seats open for student rush. That's admirable, and shows that the Pens are thinking of the young fans who cant afford the expensive tickets.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007 -- Evening

Georges Laraque is actually okay, and will be ready for training camp. The MRI done today didn't show any damage. I think that Laraque was just being a big sissy.

I am getting excited about Big Brother this summer. For the past two summers I have been a huge addict to Big Brother--partly because I had foot injuries both years. First came the bunion surgery. Then last summer, I broke a bone in the same foot. The thing that made it interesting is that alot of the same contestants were involved in both years, especially my favorites Kaysar and Janelle. This year, it will be all new contestants. It does seem like it is going to be an interesting year, and TV Guide released some pictures of the inside of the house. It seems that the theme is going to involve fantasy. The house looks like it was created by Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland. I definitely can't wait. The show starts in eight days!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007 -- Evening

I took the GRE exam today, and I did fairly well on the verbal and quantitative sections. I got 720 on both--which correlates to 98 percentile on verbal and only 74 percentile on quantitative. Now I have only to wait to see if I get accepted to the program. My plan is to beef up my GRE page, and make it a list of resources that would be helpful to any person studying for the GRE. I'll be working on that over the next few days.

In Pens news, the rookies got together for a training at Southpointe today. They will be returning for the rookie camp in September. Also, Georges Laraque injured his shoulder while doing some off season training. The rumor is that the injury occurred while Laraque was doing some weight training. Laraque is headed to Pittsburgh for evaluation by the team doctors. I was underimpressed with Laraque's performance with the Pens last season. After all, he was brought in to be an enforcer, and he didn't seem to enforce anything.

Monday, June 25, 2007 -- Evening

The Pens have made qualifying offers to the following players: Colby Armstrong, Ryan Whitney, Erik Christensen, and Maxime Talbot. No offers were made to Michel Ouellet, and he will become a free agent on July 1. I am so glad that Maxime Talbot is staying with my team because he is one of my favorites.

Saturday, June 23, 2007 -- Evening

I've been intensifying my study for the GRE because the test is only three days away, so I haven't been quick on commenting on the Pens draft yesterday. The Pens got another center Angelo Esposito as the 20th overall pick. Even though we really don't need another center, Esposito may have been a really good pick. Originally, he was slated to be one of the top picks in the draft, but Esposito didn't have a good rookie season in the Juniors. That brought him down abit, and put him within reach of the Pens. I believe that Ray Shero's philosophy is to take the best available, and then see how things develop, and that's what he did with Esposito. The kid does seem like a really good pick, so I'm not complaining. Also, Chris Thorburn was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers for a third round draft pick. Heres the complete list of list of Pens' picks. There were four centers and three defensemen in the mix with only one left winger.

Friday, June 22, 2007 -- Evening

Mark Recchi and Gary Roberts have signed on year deals with the Pens. Their deals are rumored to be $2 million and $2.5 million respectively. Both would have been free agents if they didn't sign by July 1.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007 -- Afternoon

As you can see, I have been really bad about posting any updates. However, that does mean that I have been diligent in my GRE studies. My exam is next Tueday afternoon. After that, I hope to post more often.

I have been started something new. I have started to review mystery manga for Gumshoe. I still have a couple of manga to work on, but I did post one review for Kamen Tantei 2, and you can check it out here.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have created one of the funniest commercials that I have seen in a long time. They made a Sopranos spoof with the Pirate Parrot, the Jolly Roger guy, and two of the racing Pieroghies. It is hilarious!

Thursday, June 14, 2007 -- Evening

I hate Versus, and the NHL should be hanging its head in shame. Why? Because here in the US, Versus was supposed to carry the NHL Awards show starting at 7 p.m. Well, it wasn't on. A fighting show was on instead. Finally at 8 p.m., a scroll eent across the bottom of the screen saying that the show was being rescheduled for 11 p.m. What the heck! This is why folks here in the US are losing interest in hockey. Hockey is only available here on crappy Versus--and they can't even show the Awards show live. How absolutely ridiculous! For shame NHL and Versus.

So to find out who won what, I have to resort to refreshing the TSN Hockey page. The Pens had some bad news when Michel Therrien lost the Jack Adams Award for Outstanding Coach. However things picked up when Evgeni Malkin won the Calder Memorial Trophy for Outstanding Rookie. Sidney Crosby won the Lester B. Pearson Award AND the Hart Trophy. I was whooping it up for Crosby when I read it on TSN. It seems that the vote wasn't even close. Crosby had 91 first place votes and 1,225 points. Roberto Luongo was second with 25 first place votes and 801 points. Martin Brodeur was third with 21 first place votes and 763 points. What a great night for Crosby and the Pens!

Here are the list of winners:

Award for outstanding rookie
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins

Award for outstanding defensive forward
Rod Brind'Amour, Carolina Hurricanes

Awarded to most valuable player to his team
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

Award for outstanding coach
Alain Vigneault, Vancouver Canucks

Award for outstanding defenseman
Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings

Awarded to player that displays sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings

Awarded to the most outstanding player as voted by fellow NHLPA members)
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

Award for outstanding goaltender
(For the first time since the inception of the NHL awards in 1983, there are more than three finalists in a category; There was a third-place tie in balloting for the Vezina, resulting in four finalists.)
Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils

(For the player who exhibits perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey)
Phil Kessel, Boston Bruins

Wednesday, June 13, 2007 -- Evening

Sad news for Mr. Wizard fans. Don Herbert, Mr. Wizard himself, died today at the age of 89 from bone cancer. The Science Channel has had Mr. Wizard marathons in recent years, and watching the shows has made me a fan of Mr. Wizard. My sympanthies go out to his family.

Thirteen days till the GRE. My studies seem to be progressing slowly. I have yet to take a full practice test, but plan on doing so tomorrow. So far, I've only taken the small practice exams for verbal or quantitative. I only hope that I do well on the exam--and get into grad school!

Monday, June 11, 2007 -- Evening

I have been studying for my GRE, but I have to admit that I am starting to become extremely worried that I just will not be ready in time. My exam is in two weeks. In all the books, the constant theme is to visualize sucess and to not be overcome with anxiety. I suppose that all I can do is practice, practice and hope that something sticks.

Last night was the final episode of The Sopranos. I just watched it a few minutes ago as a treat for studying for two hours. I was disappointed in the show. Yes, there was some action with Phil Leotardo met a gruesome end at a gas station, ending with the SUV running over his head. The disappointing bit was the ending. The series ends with Tony, Carmella, and AJ in a restaurant waiting for Meadow, who is outside trying to park her car. The Journey song, Don't Stop Believing is playing, and the bell over the restaurant door jingles. The screen goes blank, the music ends abruptly. After a few seconds, the credits start to roll. We are all left to wonder what happened to Tony Soprano. Was he killed by someone in the restaurant? Was everything fine in the restaurant? Does Tony live to only go to jail? What I got out of it was that Tony is killed. Someone on one of the radio shows today suggested that earlier in the series, Tony said that when you die, you don't see it coming. Everything goes black, and you don't hear anything. It would have been good though to have a definite end. It was just such a let down because you don't know what happens to the others. Are Carmella and AJ killed at the same time? Perhaps I need to do a marathon of the series after the GRE and see if ending makes more sense.

Saturday, June 9, 2007 -- Evening

Today's Belmont Stakes was one of the most exciting races that I have seen in a long time. The field was comprised of only seven horses, but the big story was that one of the horses was the filly, Rags to Riches. She's been chewing up the track in her races against other fillies, and her trainer, Todd Pletcher, thought that she would be a contender against the colts at a mile and a half. Distance racing is in her blood, with her sire, A. P. Indy, and her half brother, Jazel, won the Belmont Stakes. Of course, the last time a filly won the race was in 1905. When the horses broke from the gate, Rags to Riches stumbled. Through most of the race, she was back in fifth place, but the pace was extremely slow with the first half in 50 seconds. It looked like Rags to Riches and Curlin were in great position. As they turned into the homestretch, both Curlin and Rags to Riches took off from the rest of the field and battled down the stretch. Rags to Riches finished with her nose in front of Curlin. Tiago finished in third with Hard Spun in fourth followed by C P West, Imawildandrazyguy, and one of the early leaders, Slew's Tizzy, trailing. Final time for the mile and a half was 2:28 3/5. It was such an exciting race. I was screaming for Rags to Riches to win. Great race! The funniest part was how the race announcer commented on Imawildandrazyguy lumbering along behind all the other horses. The sad part was that the usual jockey for Rags to Riches, Garrett Gomez, had committed to riding Hard Spun. So he was out, and John Velazquez on his first ride on Rags to Riches won the Belmont. Gomez must really be kicking himself this evening.

Thursday, June 7, 2007 -- Afternoon

The Anaheim Ducks won their first Stanley Cup last night. It was a pitiful display on the part of the Ottawa Senators. The really sad part was when Chris Phillips was coming around from behind the Senators net, mishandled the puck, and shot it into his own goal. It's as if the Senators are jinxed. Now I have to find some other sport to watch until hockey season restarts.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007 -- Evening

The post postitions were drawn today for the Belmont Stakes. Both Curlin and Hard Spun have returned to the fight with five other horses. Curlin and Hard Spun are early favorites, along with Rags to Riches. With only seven in the field, there shouldn't be crowd to get in the way.

I have really been enjoying my manga breaks. I've been trying to get in as much studying as possible over the past few weeks because my GRE is fast approaching---less than three weeks. As I get ready for bed, I read some manga. Right now, I am working on the InuYasha series. I noticed that Cartoon Network has some anime on late at night, so I have been recording the InuYasha series and Shin Chan. Because of this recent manga/anime addiction, I'm going to start studying Japanese with my boyfriend. You have to use your brain to keep in nimble!

Monday, June 4, 2007 -- Evening

I had a chance to watch yesteday's episode of The Sopranos. If you have yet to see the episode, stop reading now. Yesterday's episode was, by far, one of the best episodes in the past two seasons. Tubby teddy-bear, Bobby "Bacala" Baccalieri, and Silvio Dante were gunned down in the episode. The show closes with Tony Soprano going to the mattresses with a few faithful followers, including Paulie Walnuts. Originally, David Chase planned on the episode being the last of the series. We see Tony Soprano, alone on a bare-mattress in what looked like either his mother's old house or Uncle Junior's house, holding a gun, pondering his fate. That would have been a great ending, leaving us wondering if Tony makes it nor not. It definitely looks like Tony is going to either be done in by Phil Leotardo, or somehow turning stoolie and getting into the witness protection program. I think that Tony is going to wind up be sprayed with bullets at the end of this coming Sunday's episode. The sure thing is that this is the end. With Christopher, Silvio, and Bobby Bacala dead, it's not likely that there will be a movie option or a return of the series.

Sunday, June 3, 2007 -- Evening

All viewers of yesterday's hockey game knew that it was bound to happen. Chris Pronger was given a one game suspension. Obviously the officals are leary of giving someone of Pronger's status a stiffer penalty, but I think that his continued thugishness needs to be addressed.

Some news on the Pens front. Stephane Dube was fired yesterday. Ray Shero said that Dube didn't do anything "wrong", but that Michel Therrien was supportive of the move. I wonder if the firing was because Dube either wanted more money or that the Pens weren't as happy with the conditioning of the team. I have to admit that I thought the team was stronger than the previous season. This past year, the Pens had strong third periods and overtimes. That wasn't the case just a year earlier, and I think that had alot to do with conditioning. The Pens are searching for a replacement.

Saturday, June 2, 2007 -- Late Evening

Chris Pronger was back to his thuggish ways in the Ottawa Senators and Anaheim Ducks Stanley Cup game this evening. Pronger elbowed Dean McAmmond in the head, knocking McAmmond to the ice. McAmmond's head banged off the ice, and then he slid into the boards head first. After a few minutes, McAmmond was helped off the ice. Pronger didn't get a penalty, but the play should be reviewed (as all plays are reviewed by the officials), and Pronger should get some sort of penalty. Unfortunately, the ref claimed that he didn't see the play so he couldn't call a penalty. Pronger's action illustrates why I don't care for the Ducks. They play rough and loose with the rules, and try their darndest to commit dirty acts. Fortunately Ottawa won this evening with a final score of 5-3.

Saturday, June 2, 2007 -- Evening

One of my favorite shows is returning to the airwaves this summer. Yes, Big Brother is returning on July 5. The original producer, Arnold Shapiro, has left the show, but the new producers are promising interesting characters, lots of action, and new twists. I'm looking forward to spending yet another summer immersed in the world of Big Brother.

I just read an interesting story in USA Today. It seems that the Nielsen folks are claiming that DVR users aren't fast-forwarding through commercials during recorded shows. My question would be how to the Nielsen folks really know that. I know that as a DVR user, I will record shows that I want to want just so I can fast forward through the commercials. Or in the case of American Idol, I just it to fast-forward through the boring parts of the show. The networks are using this information to raise ad rates. I can not believe that anyone who understands how to use a DVR would watch commercials. With that said, if I am zooming through a commercial and something catches my eye, I will stop to watch the commercial. My favorites are the Mac commercials.

Sidney Crosby was at the Ottawa Senators and Anaheim Ducks game. Crosby is really a mature kid. He said that he was getting over not being in the Stanley Cup finals until he was there to see the game this evening. I think that Crosby will make a great captain. He is mature beyond his years, and he's a great ambassador for the NHL.