The Daily Bongo

June 2010

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 -- Evening

Return of Big Brother
Big Brother returns on July 8, and the new house guests have finally been announced. It is interesting to notice that the cast is NOT predominately early 20s. Now the question is if that will give us more or less drama. One of the house guests is supposed to be a saboteur, as the new twist for the season. The saboteur will be different than the America's choice contestant because he or she will be in the game not to win in the end, but to screw around with people and the game. Will America get to vote on the saboteur's actions? That is yet to be revealed. The house guests are:

Thursday, June 24, 2010 -- Evening

Movin' On Up!
I haven't been keeping up to my promise to blog more. All the best intentioned plans usually go awry! The reason behind my silence has been moving to a new house. I closed on a new house last month, and after redoing the kitchen, removing wallpaper, painting, and refinishing the floors, it's time to move in. Tomorrow is the big move day, and I think that I have everything ready after much work with packing and moving fragile items. My back is achy, but once I move, I can just slowly move out of boxes. The rush is in getting ready, not in acclimating to the new place.
Don't Use Lowes' Contractors
One thing that I learned from the house renovation is that you should not use Lowes' contractors if you can help it. We went to Lowes for the kitchen remodeling. The woman who sold us the cabinets, countertops, appliances, and other items was very nice and competent. When the contractor came out, I thought that he seemed okay because he was very friendly. Then I noticed that his work hours were incredibly short compared to the other contractors who were painting and refinishing the floors. We were lucky if he showed up by 10, and he was usually gone by 2 or 3 at the latest. Then he called to tell us that the radiator (we have steam heat) in the kitchen was leaking and must have been for a long time. He claimed that he had to drain it and take it out immediately. "Fortunately" he had a plumber on call who could fix it. The problem is that we didn't see the leak, and we don't know if the leak started because he knocked something loose. I'm not saying the house wasn't old, and the radiator connections weren't old, but it was just awfully suspicious. When we got to the house in the evening, there were no wet spots. Then came the problem with deliveries. The contractor scheduled the deliveries. When the cabinets arrived, I got a call at work that the truck with the cabinets was at my house. If I wasn't there in 1/2 hour, they would take the cabinets back, and wouldn't return for another two weeks. I called the contractor, but it was almost 2 p.m. so he wasn't at the house anymore. I had to rush out from work to the house to accept the cabinets. The contractor claimed it was Lowes screwup, bu then the same thing happened with the refrigerator and stove, and then I had to go an get the faucet and sink because he "forgot" them at the store. The straw that broke my camel's back came right after Memorial Day. The Thursday before the Memorial Day weekend, the contractor told me there was only one day's worth of work left. He would be out again the next Wednesday or Thursday. On Thursday, I called to see how things were progressing, and he told me he "forgot" to come to our house, but would be there the following Wednesday. Guess what? Yep, he didn't make it because something else came up. He said that he would be out for sure last Tuesday. Guess what happened? Yeah, you get a gold star! He didn't show up then either. Finally, after I talked to Lowes Installation services, he agreed to come out last Friday. I was bound and determined to not let him leave without finishing everything. I left a list with my boyfriend who had to take the day off to babysit the contractor. This time, he showed up at 9 a.m. and worked until 4 p.m. Everything was finished. Goodness knows what the quality is because I haven't been living there to use it. The kicker came when the contractor asked my boyfriend for $400 to repair the radiator. As if my boyfriend just carries $400 around with him! We asked for an itemized invoice, which we didn't get, and I talked to Lowes about it. They said the contractor would call to talk to me about the charge, but it never happened. All I know is that this experience left a bad taste in my mouth, and I would not use Lowes again for any additional work. I think private contractors might be the way to go. They might not be as "cheap" as the labor is with Lowes, but in this case, you get what you pay for.
There's an Award for That
Last night, the NHL held its annual awards show in Las Vegas. I had it on in the background as I packed for the big move. The winners are:
Here are the list of winners for the 2009-2010 season:

Award for outstanding rookie
Tyler Myers, Buffalo Sabres

Award for outstanding defensive forward
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings

Awarded to most valuable player to his team
Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks

Award for outstanding coach
Dave Tippett, Colorado Avalanche

Award for outstanding defenseman
Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks

Awarded to player that displays sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct
Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning

Awarded to the most outstanding player as voted by fellow NHLPA members
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

Award for outstanding goaltender
Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres

Award for the player who exhibits perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey
Jose Theodore, Washington Capitals

Awarded to the goalkeeper(s) having played a minimum of 25 games for the team with the fewest goals scored against it in the regular season
Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils

Awarded to the player who leads the league in total points at the end of the regular season
Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks

Awarded to the top goal scorer in the regular season
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning

Award for player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and who has made a significant humanitarian contribution to his community
Shane Doan, Phoenix Coyotes

Awarded to the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice, during the regular season
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

Award for outstanding goaltender
Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres

Award to the goaltender who has played a minimum of 25 games and finished the season with the best save percentage in the National Hockey League
Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins

The biggest news from the show, IMHO, was when Ovechkin wasn't finished his speech for the Lindsay Award. The producers cut him off, but Ovechkin just raised his hand and made it obvious that he wasn't leaving. The producers turned Ovechkin's mike back on, and Ovechkin finished his speech as if nothing had happened. Ovechkin mentioned his brother's death, and I know I thought that something must have happened recently that I hadn't heard of. But it was actually an older brother who died in a car accident when Ovechkin was 10 years old. It seems to have made a strong impact on him, and Ovechkin wasn't able to talk about it until very recently.

Thursday, June 10, 2010 -- Evening

The Fat Lady Sings
The Fat Lady sang last night in Philadelphia when the Blackhawks beat the Flyers in overtime to win the Stanley Cup. The Flyers tied the game in the last three minutes of the game, and I was starting to get nervous about the outcome. But Patrick Kane kept his cool and scored the winning goal four minutes into overtime. Jonathan Toews got the Cup first as Captain, and he passed it off to Marian Hossa. Although I'm not a Hossa fan, I'm glad that he finally got the Cup. Anything is better than the Flyers getting the Cup. Finally, after 49 years, the Blackhawks have another Stanley Cup.
Marian Hossa with Cup

Monday, June 7, 2010 -- Evening

Home Ice Holds
The Blackhawks came out to play last night when they returned to Chicago. They quickly took a lead that they did not relinquish to the Flyers. The game was a scoring fest for both sides with a final score of Blackhawks 7 - Flyers 4. The game moves back to Philly tomorrow, and if the Blackhawks win, they get the Cup. I'm imaging that the Flyers will put up a fight tomorrow, and the deciding game will be in Chicago on Thursday.
Mark Your Calendars!
Finally, that time of year that we all enjoy, summer and Big Brother on TV. Big Brother 12 will be returning to CBS on July 8. The show starts that Thursday at 8 p.m. After that, Big Brother will be on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. As usual, the producers are promising new surprises. No news on the houseguests yet, but they have all been notified. I can't wait for July.

Saturday, June 5, 2010 -- Evening

How to Improve the Triple Crown
The biggest discussion about the Belmont Stakes this year has been how irrelevant it is. Over the past 30 years, there hasn't been a Triple Crown winner. Personally, I think that the biggest reason is that the Kentucky Derby is just overrun with horses. Any horse that makes a certain amount of money goes for the Derby. Quality horses that might not have the winnings to make it into the Derby, make it to the Preakness or Belmont, and run the Derby winner into the ground. The announcers on ESPN and ABC mostly talked about how to get a Triple Crown winner. Cutting the Derby field to 14 was the one that I liked. I didn't like the idea of having the Preakness on Memorial Day weekend and the Belmont on the Fourth of July weekend (or on the day).
Drosselmeyer Wins the Belmont
Ice Box was the favorite in 142nd running of the Belmont. I really didn't have a favorite because the field seemed wide open to me. I haven't been impressed with the quality of the three year colts this year. ABC's coverage of the Belmont was extremely crappy. They showed the start of the race with a head on shot of the running. There was no way to tell who was in what position, then as the race progressed, they showed it from the grandstand (or that's how distant it looked). Then they showed it from the Blimp. Meanwhile, the guy calling the race sucked. He did a crappy job of saying who was winning the race as they headed down the homestretch. In the end, Drosselmeyer won by 3/4th's of a length. Fly Down was second, and early leader, First Dude, finished third. Ice Box finished in sixth place. First Dude did not set a blistering pace, and he still had something left in the end, but not enough to win. The best thing about Drosselmeyer winning was that it gave Mike Smith, his jockey, his first win in thirteen tries. Trainer Bill Mott got his first Triple Crown race win too. The time for the mile and a half was an extremely slow 2:31.57.
Series Tied!
The Flyers tied the series with another win over the Blackhawks. Things are definitely starting to look bad for the Blackhawks. Maybe when things are back in Chicago, they may get another win, but the Flyers really do seem to have momentum on their side. The final score in yesterday's Flyers' win was Flyers 5 - Blackhawks 3. The next game is tomorrow evening.

Thursday, June 3, 2010 -- Evening

Flyers Win One
The Blackhawks and Flyers game last night was a thrilling one. Teh game was tied in regulation, and the Flyers won in overtime. So now the series is 2-1. I'm not a huge Flyers fan, and I hope that the Blackhawks take the next two games so they can win the Cup at home. My fingers will be crossed. Meanwhile, in games one and two, Chris Pronger grabbed the puck at the end of the game. Usually the winning team takes the puck, but Pronger got it, and claims that he "threw it in the trash where it belonged." I think Pronger was just being an ass, and if I were on the Blackhawks, I'd tell Pronger to keep the pucks because I'll take the Cup.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010 -- Evening

How Does Caribou Coffee Do It?
I have become a huge fan of Caribou Coffee. Their Northern Lite drinks (both latte and cooler) are much lower in calories in then Starbucks and cheaper! I wonder how they do the calorie part because a Caribou Coffee small is around 16 ounces which is equivalent to a Starbucks "Grande" or medium. The drinks are extremely tasty too. It makes you wonder if there is truth in advertising, but I'm sure they aren't lying. All I know is that I have become a Northern Lite addict. My favorite is the Turtle, which is a combo of caramel and chocolate. How can you beat that? Maybe with a Dulce de Leche or a Raspberry. All at 90 calories for a small, be it cooler or latte!
Crosby Nominated for Messier Leadership Award
Sidney Crosby was nominated for the Mark Messier Leadership Award today. The award goes to a player who is a superior leader in hockey and involved in the community. The award recognizes the individual who is a positive influence both an and off the ice: motivating the team and contributing to charities. Also up for the award is the Phoenix Coyotes' Shane Doan, and the Buffalo Sabres' Ryan Miller. The winner will be announced at the NHL Awards show on June 23.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010 -- Evening

Kill the Noise!
Over the past few months, I have really started to notice how noisy the world around me is. It seems that I can't get away from loud, unwanted noise. For example, as I walk down the street, listening to my iPod, I find that at times, I have to turn the volume up to ear-blasting or rewind because the outside world is so danged noisy. You have the lawn guys who are blowing leaves, running lawn mowers, or powersawing trees. Then you have the buses with noisy engines, cars revving their engines. I have the noises assailing my ears every day. Of course, you can say the iPod is also a noise maker, but it's a noise maker that only I can hear, not those surrounding me. Or at least they shouldn't. I didn't notice how noisy the world was until I realized that I couldn't hear my iPod on practically its highest setting. Then there are the noises in the office place. Unfortunately, I sit in a cube farm, right next to a guy who loves to loudly slurp his coffee. He slurps through at least three cups of coffee. Each drink is a slurp. At times, he takes several slurps in a row. I would love to ask this guy if he never learned common courtesy. Does he really think that the rest of us want to his sloppy, slurping? Does he really think that he's a Hoover, and the only way to get the liquid into his mouth is from trying to suck it into his mouth instead of pouring it in? As I sit at my desk, I have to turn up the volume of the iPod yet again. If I didn't, you might read about the woman who killed her co-worker because his incessant, loud slurping drove her over the edge.
Hossa Can Feel the Cup
The Chicago Blackhawks won last night with a final score of 2-1 to take a 2-0 game lead over the Philadelphia Flyers. Marian Hossa has finally shown up for the games, and he got the first goal for Chicago last night. I have to say after sitting through almost two periods of no score, I was getting rather bored. I was just voicing my complaint when Hossa scored. I think this is going to be the year when Hossa finally gets to lift the Cup. Unlike the last game where neither goalie showed up, both Antti Niemi and Michael Leighton both had decent games. Now it moves on to Philadelphia on Wednesday. I would be surprised if the series goes to seven games.
Obama at Carnegie Mellon University
Barak Obama will be visiting Carnegie Mellon University on Wednesday. The event will be at noon at Weigand Gymnasium in the University Center. Other details are vague, but I suppose that has to be the case to ensure the President's security. "No Parking" signs have been placed all around the University Center for the time period between 7 am to 4 pm Wednesday. Hopefully, I won't have any problems walking in to work tomorrow.
Flush It Down the Drain
One of the coolest contests that I've heard of recently comes from the Pens. They are looking for 250 students to help them with a flush test at the new arena. Several years ago, there was a problem with the water system at a stadium because they didn't do a flush test, have all the toilets flushed simultaneously. To avoid any problems in the bathroom, the Pens have opened up a contest to find the students who will help them with the June 10 event, titled "Student Flush." (A play on words for the Student Rush campaign where students get cheap seats to games.)