Monday, October 25, 2004

You too can try for second place

Yesterday, over 180 of my closest friends and I participated in the 5th Annual People4People Games (, the fundraising event for the People's Community Clinic, a non-profit clinic providing quality, affordable healthcare for under- and uninsured adults and children in the Austin area. The P4P Games blend corporate morale and community goodwill into a tapestry of obstacle courses, bull horns, and dillo dirt. (Yes, I got that from their website.) One hundred percent of the money raised through P4P events goes directly to benefit People's Community Clinic.

I am proud to announce that after a three year hiatus, Team BMC has once again returned to its rightful place atop the standings, which coincidentally happened the first time I participated on the BMC team. (Four other players were also on the team for the first time, but this is about me!) The team, led by me ... uh, I mean, led by our team captain Gus, finished in the top 4 after the main events were done (2nd or 3rd, I can't remember), which qualified us for the winner-take-all final relay event. And we took all.

In the individual events, Team BMC won the basketball event for the 5th year in a row. No other team has ever won this event, although it was a lot closer this year. One guy on our team was the only one who made a significant number of shots, which was enough to carry us. Personally, I stunk on ice! I probably could have made more shots with my eyes closed. I think the balls were over-inflated, and I believe we all know how painful that can be.

But, I made up for my poor shooting skills in the Brain Teaser event, which Team BMC also won. Brain Teaser consisted of a set of true/false questions, a set of Mensa-caliber brain teasers (most of which couldn't be answered in the time allotted), and a set of trivia questions. I earned my keep during the trivia portion ... who knew that no social life and watching lots of TV would come in handy. :)

So that's it for this year's event. For those of you in the Austin area that would like to have a team participate next year, check out their website for contact numbers and e-mail addresses. You'll need at least 2 girls and 4 guys, although it's a good idea to have a few extra people as alternates, because you'll get tired if you try to do every event. Please remember, you will be aiming for second place. :)

Monday, October 04, 2004

Soccer, Home Runs, and Exclusive Gold Toast (tm) technology!

Last week, my reliable old toaster gave up the ghost. For the past 10+ years, Old Goldie had been performing the one job it was designed to do with precision and skill: toasting bread. Up until last week, that is. Part of the elements stopped working on one side, and the other side seemed to ignore the heat settings, so if you wanted one piece of bread toasted to perfection on only one side, and the other piece burned to a crisp, then this was the toaster for you.

So I needed a new toaster. I'm a simple man ... all I want is a toaster to toast bread, maybe even an occasional bagel. Good luck finding one of those. Each toaster contained features that I didn't know anyone would want or need, including the Oster toasters which featured the "Exclusive Gold Toast (tm) Technology!". First, I find it hard to believe that a feature like that would be exclusive to the Oster brand, and second, do you really need to trademark the phrase "Gold Toast"?

Since I didn't feel like spending $40 or more on a toaster, I went with a much cheaper model, although it still has more buttons than I think a toaster should, including a Cancel button. I thought lifting the handle would stop the toasting process, but apparently, that's much too complicated for some people. I opted for the stainless steel model over the red model, because eventhough red is my favorite color (helpful hint for those of you still shopping for my birthday present ... coming this Thursday!), it clashed with my kitchen. The model I chose included a 20+ page instruction manual and a cookbook ... I guess for people who don't know how to work the oven.

A couple of other notes: on Saturday my soccer team ( played one of their finest games, beating a team who had previously not lost before. And last Monday in my softball game, after starting out the game 0 for 3, I hit an in-the-park homerun in my final at bat, helping my team come from behind and score 12 runs in the final inning. Granted, I also made an error in the outfield earlier in the game which cost us a run, but I'll let that part fade into history. The homerun was my first since I was 9 or 10 playing Little League. Not bad for someone about to turn 37 on Thursday! I told my softball team that I was going to milk this for a little while, because it probably won't happen again.

NOTE: Yes, my thinly-veiled agenda for this post was to mention that my birthday was coming up. This Thursday! :)