Monday, October 31, 2011

On Pins and Needles

On this Halloween night an omen presented itself, as omens will, in sudden and mysterious fashion.

In anticipation of the birth of our son, the McBonerito's four grandparents are gathered in one house for the first time since our wedding day, 11 years ago.  The due date looms tomorrow, but dates and predictions don't mean much to the little guy in utero.  So we wait.  And while we wait, we feast.  My father, in a desperate search for a lemon to garnish his happy hour martini, removed entirely one of the bottom drawers of the refrigerator.  Unable to replace the drawer, he left the task to me.  What I found upon opening the door would shock me:

Frequent McBoners may remember posts of yore, when an equally frantic search for coffee earned me a similar reward.

Bear in mind that in preparation for the arrival of guests, I had scoured that fridge--every shelf and tray removed, cleaned and replaced.  Not a speck of anything foreign could be found.

What can it mean, then, this SECOND pearl-headed refrigerator pin?  A portend of things to come?  A puckish spirit run amok of our sewing kit?  Nay!  We own no such pins.  My sometimes-popular wife, ever the optimist, embraced the message as positive, of course, and ordered the pin placed in the child's room.

I, the atheist, am shook at the foundations.  Once more I must question what I believe.  I turn to you, gentle McBoners, in my search for meaning, of pins in fridges, of life, of the universe and its all mad workings.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Tryout Part II, Final Piece

On Saturday, after the first session I woke up at about 2pm after a very brief nap on the couch in my mom and dads living room.  The couch has always been my spot, in fact you can often times find me sleeping on mine in my living room.  I don't know what it is, but I can sleep on the couch just as easily as on a bed, and often times I prefer it.

It was literally the perfect nap.  I slept for the perfect amount of time that allowed me to wake up re energized.  So many times you can doze off and when you wake up from a nap you're actually more tired then you were before.  That would have been a disaster in this case.  I took a quick shower to fully wash away the remnants of my snooze and put on my favorite Nike basketball shorts for what I thought would be another 2 hours of intense 5 on 5.  I cleaned my shoes up as I always did before my games, packed up the rest of my gear and headed out the door at about 2:45.

I arrived back at the gym in Canton at about 3:15.  I was early as we were not scheduled to begin until 3:45.  Some of the out-of-towners were laying on the floor sleeping on their gym bags and using their sweatshirts as blankets.  It was pretty amazing actually.  What some of us were going through to chase our dreams, but I can tell you that it was intoxicating to be in that environment again.  I used the extra time to once again stretch out my legs and get as loose as I could.  I wanted to be ready to go as soon as I heard the whistle.  Slowly everyone started filtering back in, but not everyone.  There were clearly some folks that did not return, or maybe were told not to.  I'm not sure which but pretty hard to imagine considering there was an entry fee of $150 to just be there.

Coach Jensen arrived and introduced himself at the beginning of the session.  He had just been named the head coach a few days earlier and flew into town that morning.  He played at Utah with Andre Miller and was an assistant coach under Rick Majerus.  Huge guy, good basketball player.  Played in the states and overseas professionally and had experienced some of the things we were going through having been through tryouts himself as a player.  I was amped up at this point and itching to get going.  We started the 2nd session with more weave drills to get warmed up but then moved into some shell drills.  They broke us up and had us run through some offensive sets.  Fist Up, Fist Out and Flop were the calls and we were to use them in the upcoming games we would play.  I was a kid in a candy store at this point and was eating the whole thing up.  The point guard spot is my natural position so I loved getting some sets in and being able to run an offense.  Direct the guys around and be a leader.  I WAS BORN TO DO THIS!

Then we played for about an hour straight and it would prove to be the best I felt and played all weekend. The trainer had taped up my my foot and it was feeling really good.  I was getting after it on defense chasing guys all over the floor, diving for loose balls and hawking the opposing guards.  My legs were literally covered with floor burns and my arms had scrapes all over them.  It was amazing and I loved every second of it.  I was rebounding, playing great help defense and I buried the only jump shot I would take.  I felt comfortable and confident the entire session.  We wrapped up at about 5:30 as the other half of the tryout was going to start the second session. Wes, Coach and Ira brought us in to talk.  As I walked to the huddle Wes (The GM) grabbed me and asked if I could stay and play in the night session too.  I was the only guy he asked out of the 40 or so in my session so I figured it had to be a good sign.  I was completely exhausted, beat up and mentally drained at this point but I sure as hell wasn't going to tell Wes that.  I said  yes I can definitely stay, whatever you need me to do I'm in.  There was a team in the night session who needed a guard so I jumped on to "Team 3".  Two more unexpected hours were ahead and I had no idea how my body was going to handle it.

The night session lasted until about 7:45 and we pretty much just played.  IT WAS AWFUL.  My body completely gave out on me.  After I subbed out of my first game I threw up in the trash can and in the towel I was carrying around.  I couldn't stop coughing for about 20 minutes and there wasn't enough water in the Atlantic Ocean to rehydrate my drained body.  I couldn't dribble, I couldn't defend, I could barely get up and down the floor.  I don't know if I have ever subbed myself out of a sporting event in my life but I had absolutely no choice.  Betty White could have scored on me at that point and I didn't want to puke on the floor.  I literally thought I was going to pass out. 

The competition was much stiffer in the 2nd session so I was giving it everything I had, but unfortunately I just had nothing left to give.  It was really disappointing that my body prevented me from performing the way I know I could have, but I was simply exhausted.  Plain and simple.  Four hours later my afternoon session finally ended mercilessly and I collapsed in a heap on the floor by my bag. It took me about 20 minutes just to get my body to a point where I could stand up and drive my car home.  I dragged my butt to the car and made the 25 minute drive back to mom and dads.  Session #3 would begin at 8am in the morning.  All I could think about was getting home to eat about a 1,000 calories of anything that I could find and immediately lie down to sleep.

I got home, ate my dinner, showered and flopped down on the couch.  I tried to watch the Ohio State game but I had recorded the wrong game.  OSU, it turns out, can also stand for Oklahoma State University.  FAIL.  As I'm sure you can imagine it did not take me long to fall asleep, but it would not be the night of rest I hoped for.  I hurt all over and I just tossed and turned the entire night.  I ended up getting maybe three hours of sleep, maybe.  6:30am came quickly.

I woke up and wondered how painful those first two steps would be, and how sore my legs would feel.  It was not good.  Took me about a minute just to climb the 10 steps to get upstairs.  I shook off the early morning daze and got myself in the shower.  I ate a banana and drank a 12 oz bottle of water to get hydrated.  I was definitely sore and beat up, but overall I felt fairly strong.  Today was going to be a good day.  We had one session and it was mostly just playing.  Short session.

I left at 7:15am and arrived in Canton at 7:45am.  My radio was blasting the entire way with music that gets me pumped up.  I can't reveal my song selections, but I can tell you that I was getting goosebumps on the way down.  What if they actually pulled me aside and told me I was going to get invited to camp?  What the hell was I going to do about my job that I just got promoted at?  Decisions that would have to be made later.  Now I just needed to make one last impression.

The last session literally flew by and I played very well.  Even more guys didn't show up but those weren't the guys I needed to worry about anyway.  My legs came back and I was able to get back to what I do best.  Defend and run the offense.  My team won every game we played on Sunday which ended up being four games of 12 minutes running clock.  Other then our warm-up all we did in the final session was get after it in live scrimmages.  Once again I ran myself into the ground and left every ounce of energy I had out on the floor. In the back of my mind I was thinking this could be the last time I play a meaningful game of hoops in my life.  If you know me at all you know how difficult a realization this was, but all I could control was playing the way I've played the game of basketball my entire life.  So that is what I did.  Our session ended at about 10:00 and I walked off the floor.  Wes brought us in and said that they would get in touch with our agents or with us directly if they had an interest.  He thanked us for the weekend and said it was one of the most talented tryouts he had ever been a part of. 

And so it was over.  I did my best, left some skin on the floor and could go home knowing I did everything I could.  I would say it was very unlikely that this 5'10, 30 year old white guy was what they were looking for, but I'm confident that I at least made an impression.  If I don't make the cut I could always say I tried out for a professional basketball team on my 30th birthday, and held my own with some of the best basketball players in the country.  It was an incredible feeling and amazing experience from start to finish, something I will surely never forget.  I sent an email to all the guys running the tryout to say thank you, and I really meant that.  At this point I was not that concerned with the result.  I'm pretty happy with my life and I've got a great career.  But I truly was thankful for having a chance to go through this experience, and that I didn't give up, I didn't quit, and I competed.  Nobody could ever take that away.

So I'm sure you are wondering what happened, and if I ever got that call.  Well no, I haven't received a phone call yet.  They've only signed two players that we know of and none yet from the tryout.  I told Wes that even if they have no interest in me to play on the team, I'd be more than happy to come down and practice with the team and beat up his players a little bit.  They only carry 10 guys on the roster so they will need some practice players to give the guys some reps. 

Well I guess that is pretty much it for the story of my tryout.  I hope you enjoyed the read and thanks for following along.  All the support from friends and family was incredible.  Back to reality, for now......

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Tryout Story, Day 1, Session 1

The day had finally arrived.  I literally had been dreaming about an opportunity to play professional basketball my entire life. Not just deaming though, but searching out opportunities to make it happen.  Now I found myself, on my 30th birthday, driving down I-77 South heading towards a high school gynamisum to try out for the Canton Charge.  An NBDL team owned by the very company I work for.

r_jv_1019_charge_coach5602.jpgThe ride down I found myself thinking about a day that I spent at Springside, the fitness club in Akron I frequented during my younger days.  I trained there often and played in 5 on 5 games with a bunch of older guys who would come on their lunch break.  Good games and sometimes a former NBA player would even stop by when it was the offseason.  Jimmy Oliver.  He played for the Cavaliers and Celtics, but more notably became a star overseas.  He was about 6'7, strong, and had a tremendous jumpshot.  He had the opportunity to earn a great living for his family playing for several different teams in Europe.  Jimmy is a great guy.  He befriended me and would stay after to help me work on my game.  I would always take the challenge of guarding him in the games because I knew it would only make me better.  He was a beast but I loved mixing it up with him.  On one particular day he said something to me that would stick with me.  "You should be playing overseas.  Get an agent and take a shot."  I didn't do it, obviously, but I didn't forget it either.

So I arrived at Canton McKinley High School at 8am.  Tryouts were to begin at 9:00am but they needed an hour to get everyone registered.  Ricky Garratt, my man from the Q box office was running the registration table, along with James Williams who is the director of player personnel for the Charge.  I stepped into the building and saw far more guys than I had expected.  Looked to be at least 50 or 60, which eventually turned out to be over 70.  Everyone was standing around nervously waiting to be registered.  A lot of guys much bigger than I.  In fact I may have been the smallest overall, and one of the few white guys. There were some issues with the internet so we were all forced to wait.  We walked down to the court and everyone spread out and most of the guys sat down.  It was early.  Basketball players are used to getting up early for workouts, but I think we all tend to be mostly night owls.  There were some tired faces and lots of yawning.

I used the delay as an opportunity to start stretching out my 30 year old body.  I brought an elastic band and my new shoes had barely been broken in.  So every additional minute was important for me to get my body loose and get a sweat going.  Most of these guys were much younger than I was so they probably could jump on the court and start playing.  As I could when I was 22, but if I attempted that now I'd be in the hospital within 10 minutes.

Finally the internet started working and we could get everyone registered and signed in.  Wes Wilcox is the GM for the team and he brought us in for a little talk.  He introduced Ira Newble (former Cavalier) and James Williams as guys who would be helping out during the weekend.  Alex Jensen, the newly named head coach, would be joining later.  He said we'd be doing some conditioning, running a few basic drills but mostly playing throughout the weekend so they could get as much time evaluating as possible.  They passed out our NBDL Canton Charge jerseys and we were broken into teams of 9-10 players.  It was about 9:00am and the experience was about to begin.  There were a million emotions going through my mind and body but probably different than what you expect.  I wasn't nervous, instead I was excited and the adrenaline was coursing through my veins.  I wasn't overwhelmed or intimidated by the mostly 6'4 - 6'8 guys around me that had played Division I basketball or already had played professional.  I was motivated and determined to be noticed amongst these guys that most likely already had a reputation with our evaluators.  The first drill would be three man weave.  One of my favorites.  Three lines with the ball starting in the middle.  Pass to your right or left as everyone sprints down the court.  Passer runs behind the guy he passed to and last pass should to a guy at the opposite end of the court for a layup.  We divided into three lines under the basket and Ira explained what he wanted.....Here we go.  At this point all I could think about was that there was not one guy in this gym that was going to leave more out on this court than me.  I was ready to bleed, sweat, puke, run, dive, and whatever else it was going to take to be noticed.  I took my spot in the left line because I knew I could showcase my speed.  The first drill began, picture is below, you can just see me waiting for my turn. Everything I am, everything I want to be....let's go...The next two days would be one of the greatest challenges of my life.

The first drills were smooth.  I got loose and the three man weave was just as natural as it had been when we ran it in high school and college.  Up and down we went and I felt amazing.  Feet and legs were holding up and my conditioning was strong.  We broke into a 5-man weave and it was more of the same.  Gave me a chance to use my speed and lead my groups by communicating, which is key to making sure the weave is done correctly.  Ball should never touch the floor. 

After that we broke into some three on two, two on one drills.  Up and down the floor to first test our decision making in the fast break scenario, and then how we would do in a compromised defensive position.  2 on 1 fast break.  On an island by myself.  The first drill I found myself on the defensive side of the 2 on 1.  Two guys spring down the sides, both 6'4 or bigger.  Defense.  My bread and butter back in the day.  pass went from my left to right and the big guy ended up with ball and went up for a dunk. But he never got the chance, I stripped the ball away.  Nice little confidence booster.

Ok so things were going fairly well to this point.  We broke off from the drills and Wes brought us in.  He wanted us to run through one conditioning drill to see who had truly prepared themselves for this. He called it "The Easy Run".  A conditioning drill that the Cavaliers use constantly to keep the team in the best shape possible.  Up the length of the floor in a light jog with the hands raised all the way in the air.  Defensive slide to the right, then backwards shuffle back with hands in the air.  It was one long line, no breaks, repeating for 15 minutes straight.  Way tougher than it sounds. First the arms and shoulders go, then the legs start.  I loved it.

This was the first time you could really start to separate the men from the boys.  Some dropped out and couldn't finish, others laborerd their way through.  Either way it was now time to play 5 on 5 live basketball.  No play calls, just hoops.  He broke us into 10 teams of about 8-10 players each.  We played 12 minute games and would sub in one time.  I started at the 2-guard position with my team.  Everything was going well.  A hit a jumper and I was playing the kind defense that I used to drive offensive players with.  Up in your face from one end to the other.  We were well as a team and winning our game when it hit.  Out of nowhere my legs got heavy.  Like 50 lb sand bags were suddenly dumped on my shoulders.  I committed a couple bad turnovers right before our group subbed out.  We went on to win the game but I was a little disappointed that my legs gave out on me.  My Plantar was definitely acting up and I think it really hurt me as I was compensating with my left side.  But I think I may have overdone it on Friday morning playing three hours and then lifting in the afternoon.  It was definitely more fatigue then not being in good enough shape.  Pissed me off because I could have performed better in the games.

So that was about it for the first session.  It was about 12:30pm by this time.  I'd give myself a B- based on my overall performance. Good effort and intensity, but the afternoon session needed to be better.  It was time to get back to my parents house to refuel, regroup physically and mentally.  Maybe even a little nap.  I called my dad on the way back and he offered a little advice. Just go out there and play, have fun and enjoy it.  Good advice, but I could enjoy it later.  All I could think at that moment is how I could improve when I had to report back at 3:45pm for session II of the day.

I enjoyed a bowl of pasta, a banana and a ton of water to get some calories in my body.  Then I took a quick shower and then laid on the couch with the TV on.  Slowly my eyes closed....

To Be Continued....

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tryout Eve!

Ok wait, there is a little more to get to before the actual tryout.  I think it's important to have the entire experience down in writing....

The Friday morning before the big day I woke up at 5am to get a workout in.  I played basketball with the usual 6am morning hoops crew to work on a few small things I wanted to focus on.  I also made a decision to play in the 7:30am run, something that I very rarely do. Thought I could use a little more game action to get myself ready. We'll get back to that decision later.
The Lake Erie Monsters also played a game on the Friday night before tryouts, and so I was busy with the usual game day workload.  However this day was different then most in my tenure with Cleveland's hockey team.  My thoughts and mental focus were in another place, on another challenge that was inevitably coming.  I couldn't help but think about what was coming that next morning and what this opportunity meant.  Basketball is part of my DNA, part of who I am.  I never was able to get over the fact that I wasn't a basketball player anymore.  Everyone wants to be identified by things they do well.  Basketball was something I've always known I could do better than most, but my potential never was never fully realized.  Maybe this was one last chance to prove that, or maybe it was just one last chance to get on the hardwood with something on the line.
Either way I couldn't help but feeling a little guilty throughout the day for my mind being elsewhere on a game day.  My team depends on me, and I depend on them, but that day admittedly I couldn't keep my mind on the business.  Shortly after the puck dropped at 7:30pm I headed up to the office to pack my bags and sneak out a little early, but not before I got a phone call from one Scott Gordon.  Our Senior Client Relationship Executive.  He said there was an issue and needed my help right away.  I literally had my bags on my shoulders and was walking out the door, and it was absolutely the last thing I needed at that moment.  An angry fan screaming at me sending my blood pressure through the roof. But I put my stuff down and headed back down to the concourse. 
Shockingly, there was no emergency.  Someone on our team, who will remain nameless, had set me up.  Again.  And it was none other than the person that has stood side by side with me since the Monsters were born and helped build it from scratch.  Who coincidentally is also turning 30 soon.  Anyway, I was called out onto a platform by my good friend and our in-arena host at Monsters games, Olivier Sedra.  He then proceeded to do a live spot with me on camera and put me on blast in front of the entire arena of Monsters fans.  Happy 30th birthday and good luck was the message, followed by my Armenian mug on the giant Q-tube as he let everyone in the building know.  The whole thing actually made me relax a little bit and made me feel great about the people that make up our Monsters team.  It's why we are who we are.  Good people are what make an organization great, not the other way around.
But I digress....
So I finally was able to leave the arena and head to my house in Ohio City.  I packed my bags with enough gear for three days down in Akron and four sessions of basketball.  The plan was to stay with my parents in Bath, which was much closer to the tryout location, Canton McKinley Memorial Gymnasium.  It was going to make the early mornings much easier and just being at home would have a calming affect on my mental state.  But that Friday night I decided to stay in Cleveland so I could get to bed sooner and then make the early morning drive down. 
The one thing I haven't mentioned yet is that for the last three months I have also been fighting a very severe Plantar Fasciitis injury.  It has limited my quickness and explosiveness on the court and it is extremely painful anytime I play.  I've never really had an injury like this that would just not go away, so it definitely has caused some adversity adjusting to playing with it constantly.  So I got one more stretching session with exercises provided to me by my friend Jennifer, who is also suffering from the injury, and iced it down for 25 minutes.  There would be a trainer at the tryouts to tape me up so I wasn't overwhelmingly concerned about it affecting my play, but it definitely was in the back of my mind. Either way I'm not an excuses type of guy and I never have been.  Everyone who has been playing basketball as long as I have has injuries.  As the saying goes, only the strong survive.  SO... I eventually got to bed around 10:00pm with my gear packed and my new Nike basketball shoes ready to lead me onto the hardwood.  I laid myself down hoping that my brain would shut down long enough to get a few hours of sleep and the anxiety would not keep me awake....
To be continued..... 


Canton Charge Tryouts

The story of my tryout did not begin on Saturday, October 15th 2011 on my 30th birthday, but long ago when my favorite sport became my passion.  Basketball is a game I started playing around four or five years old.  I took every opportunity available to pick up a ball and shoot at anything even resembling a hoop.  Including setting up a mini hoop in the living room, moving furniture and shooting with socks covered with Duct tape. At my grandparents house there was not a mini hoop readily available, so we would tape a shoe box to a skylight.  It was in a narrow hallway barely wide enough to fit two people standing side by side, but is was all we needed to get our basketball fix.  Nate, being six years older, was always taller and stronger, but I held my own.

My passion for the game grew as I developed an affinity for the Cleveland Cavaliers as my favorite Cleveland sports team.  Mark Price was the smoothest point guard I had ever watched.  Running the offense seamlessly and executing the pick and roll with Brad Daugherty to perfection.  It was unstoppable.  He could shoot from anywhere on the floor and with hands in his face.  He had a deadly release and always found a way to get his running one-hander offer in traffic amongst the trees down in the paint.  This guy was a genius.  Go back and watch some tape of his jumper.  No matter where he was on the floor he found a way to square his shoulders to the basket as he released.  This was the first lesson I learned about shooting a jump shot.  My dad would say "Watch him when he shoots.  You square your shoulders like that and you will always have a chance to make the shot."

Anyway basketball became my first true love.  I was a standout in the Perkins rec league in West Akron.  Every time I stepped on the floor my obsession with the game heightened.  However, on one faithful day after I had moved to Bath I stepped into the gym at Revere middle school for my 8th grade tryout.  Coach Burnett was the 8th grade coach.  He proceeded to cut me from the team because I wasn't tall enough.  There were literally guys on the team that could barely make a layout, and I played tremendous throughout the entire week of tryouts.  Even though I was one of the best two or three players on that court, he decided my height just wasn't up to his standards and he sent me packing. Probably should have crushed me, but as it was, the moment I read the sheet with the final roster, and didn't see my name was also the exact moment I decided I would play college basketball.  I was furious and more motivated then I had ever been in my life.

And so I played four years at Revere High School.  It ended my senior year against Warrensville Heights in the state playoffs.  Jubie Johnson and company were one of the top ranked teams and eventual State champs.  I hit a three with 10 seconds left to tie a game that we were expected to be blow out of.  Jubie air balled a three with two seconds left, or so I thought.  I went to grab the ball and it glanced off the rim just over my hands, and one of their guys flipped it in at the buzzer. Although I had tied up Jubie early in the possession and  it should have been called a jump ball with us getting possession.  Anyway I collapsed where I stood and cried my way into the locker room for about 20 minutes.  I knew it wasn't over.  I went on to play an unassuming three years at Heidelberg University.  Two different head coaches and two very different philosophies, I never really got my feet on the ground.  After college my game blossomed as my body finished filling in and I gained a better understanding of the complexities of the game.  I continued to play after college and my skills progressed to a point where I was actually a far better player than I had ever been in college or high school.  I've continued to play 2-3 times a week for the last eight years, along with developing a fairly serious weight lifting program. 

Then the announcement was made. Dan Gilbert had purchased a D-League team.  A developmental professional basketball team that would serve as the direct feeder for the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers.  Open tryouts would be announced shortly after. I knew immediately that I would be there.  I took my training up a couple notches now knowing exactly what I was training for.  Plyo-metrics, weights, late night and early morning shooting sessions.  5 on 5 with the morning hoops crew.  I did everything I thought I needed to do to be ready...

The day arrived.  Saturday, October 15th.  My 30th birthday.  I woke up at 5am having packed all my stuff for the weekend the night before.  I got in the car and hopped on I-77 South heading towards Canton-Mckinley Memorial Gymnasium.  One of the greatest challenges and most fulfilling experiences of my life would begin in just two hours........

to be continued.......


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Round One

Fall.  Some call it their favorite season.  Some go as far as to wax poetic about it.  I understand.  Hell, I'm an autumn child.  As seasons go, fall is one of the best, but I don't love everything about it.

This is the pile of leaves I raked this morning:

McGraw 1, Leaves 0

Notice that none of the leaves from the tree directly above the pile have fallen yet:

McGraw 1, Leaves 1

And here is a sizable hunk of squirrel tail found in the yard.  Not sure what squirrel dismemberment has to do with the time of year, but squirrels and fall leaves are a kindred menace.

McGraw 2, Leaves and Squirrels 1

Bring it, bitches.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Stabbone at 30

Today is my idiot brother's 30th birthday.  It also happens to be the day of his big tryout with the new NBA D-League team, the Canton Charge.  What business does a thirty-year-old have on the same court with much younger and much taller NBA aspirants?  Understand that my brother grew up idolizing an overachiever named Mark Price, a six-foot point guard drafted in the second round who went on to become an all-NBA first-teamer with the Cavaliers.  I think my brother always saw a bit of himself in Mark Price--the tenacity, the fearlessness, the sensible haircut--and I think that must have contributed in some way in his decision to go for it this weekend.

Should my brother similarly beat long odds and make the team, he would be the first in our family to play professional sports since our great uncle Grant had a cup of coffee with the White Sox in the early '30s.  Uncle Grant drifted west once his playing days were over and became known as the "Gentleman Pimp of Denver."  He was found face down in the prairie with a bullet in his back, but that's fodder for another day's blog.

Because today is Stabbone's big day, and to celebrate I shall pour a Bombay martini on the rocks with a twist and two olives.  I will not pour two Bombay martinis on the rocks with a twist and two olives, just in case my sometimes-pregnant wife decides to go into labor.

So this martini is for you, jab.  Though the younger and lesser brother you may be, ever striving toward your lodestar (me), you've come a long way.  After a mere 30 years of living, you've found an awesome gal and a great job in the promised land.  Now you're saying 'fuck it' to the world and pursuing a dream.  For that, I'm proud of you.

Happy birthday, idiot.


Saturday, October 8, 2011


My sometimes-pregnant wife can't get much bigger.  Here I am getting sucked into her gravitational pull.

Photo by Spronk, whose leftover lunch is now under 24-hour observation at the Purdue University Department of Food Science.


Monday, October 3, 2011

36 and counting....

My idiot brother turns 36 years old today.  Six years is all that separates the two Bowler brothers.   But it's actually quite amazing how big a difference that six years can make. The fact that I have an infinite amount more of natural athletic ability,  I'm a thousand times more handsome, our nieces like me way better, and our dog Cassie (RIP) always seemed to favor me . Hell even his own son will probably love me more.  It's hard to figure out how it's all possible.

I have to imagine being the 2nd best Bowler brother is a difficult job to take on every single day.  I never have nor will I ever know in the future how that feels, but I just know it has to be tough.  For that I give you a ton of credit. 

Mom and Dad may say they love us all equally, but that's like saying someone feels the same way about Hamburger Helper and Filet Mignon.

Not that I'm comparing you to hamburger helper, maybe just tuna noodle casserole.

So in conclusion, you degenerate....Your genius, humor and future as one of the world's all-time greatest dads make you one of the best people to ever walk the earth.  And of course your affinity for gin, Swenson's, Cleveland sports, Bob Dylan, ribs, and the story of Rock McGraw and Stabbone make you my brother.

Love you bro.  Happy Birthday.  Idiot.