Sunday, July 27, 2008

Moving up in the ranks of nerdiness

After reading Chod's post, I finally decided that I should get a Nike + as well. I need something to motivate me to run, or it doesn't happen. So far, so good! I haven't hit 100 miles yet . . . or 10 . . . or 5. I ran twice last week for a total of just over 4 miles, but at least it's a start.

I went online tonight and joined a bunch of challenges at the Nike+ website. There was one where you choose your favorite major league baseball team, and then the team with the fans that run the most miles wins. I joined as a Washington Nationals fan, and apparently I am the only Nats fan out there. They have 0 miles logged so far. I guess it's all on my shoulders now!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hopping on the Josh Hamilton bandwagon

By now, most baseball fans can tell you the background behind Josh Hamilton. I've read the Sports Illustrated cover story about how he overcame drug addiction to get a second crack - no pun intended - at baseball (and life, really). How he goes everywhere with a long-time friend, who acts as his conscience and keeps him out of trouble, because Josh says he still doesn't trust himself. How he speaks to anyone, anywhere, anytime he can about his recovery and how God helped (and continues to help) him overcome his demons.

It's a pretty amazing and impressive story. But add to that what happened at the All-Star Home Run Derby in Yankee Stadium last night, and I now have to consider myself a Josh Hamilton fan.

He tells the story about having a dream two years ago - a dream about being at a home run derby at Yankee Stadium conversing with a female news reporter about his story. This dream coming before he had even returned to baseball and before baseball had even chosen Yankee Stadium for the All-Star game in the stadium's final year before the new Yankee Stadium opens up.

He invited his 71-year-old batting practice coach from American Legion to pitch to him and proceeded to hit a record 28 home runs (an astounding 12,458 feet total) in the first round of the derby - 20 more home runs than his closest competitor and 4 more than any other player in the history of the derby. It was definitely one of the most amazing athletic feats I have ever witnessed.

And after the round was over, there he was - at a home run derby at Yankee Stadium conversing with a female news reporter for ESPN about his story. As Josh Hamilton said himself: "I can say it was a coincidence, but I don’t believe in those."

Truly an inspiration for the power of faith, hard work, and unapologetic testimony, I certainly have the utmost respect and admiration for Josh Hamilton. I am proud to jump on the bandwagon with all those at Yankee Stadium who were chanting "Ha-mil-ton, Ha-mil-ton" as he sent baseball after baseball into the outfield stands, all of his teammates who continue to support and encourage him, and all those who have read or heard him tell his story of redemption. I am proud to call myself a fan.

(photos from Yahoo! Sports)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Meridian Park

Deidra gave me the task of finding something else to do while we were in the U St. area after work on Friday. We figured we needed to do more than just visit Ben's Chili Bowl in order to make our trip worth it. After doing a little bit of internet research, I decided that we would walk about five blocks (through one of the sketchiest parts of town, mind you) to Meridian Park.

You can see some pictures of the park by clicking on the link above. I had no idea that this park even existed, and I don't think I am the only one. Apparently, it was one of the original sites considered for the Lincoln Memorial. But now, it is fairly run down and most of the statues have fallen into various states of disrepair. Deidra decided that Meridian Park is where random statues go to die. But where else can you find a statue of a US President (Buchanan), a literary master (Dante), a war legend (Joan of Arc), and a personified emotion (Serenity) within a few hundred yards? Throw in a concrete aggregate chess board large enough to play human chess and a 13-tiered cascading water fountain, and you can't go wrong. I would certainly recommend Meridian Park as one of DC's hidden treasures.

Ben's Chili Bowl

After work on Friday, I metro-ed into the city and met Deidra at a metro stop on the way to U Street.

Our main goal was dinner at Ben's Chili Bowl, a classic dive celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Their specialties include chili dogs, chili cheese fries, and chili half-smokes (Bill Cosby's favorite). It's a pretty famous place, and they even put a Ben's Chili Bowl in the new Washington Nationals baseball stadium. I had eaten at this original location in U St. once before -many years ago - but Deidra never had. She got the chili half-smoke and I got the chili dog. We shared cheese fries (sans chili).

The verdict?


While the food was fairly cheap compared to anywhere else you can eat in DC, it wasn't any better than cooking your own store-bought hot dogs, putting them on cheap store-bought buns, and covering it with canned chili. It reminded me of eating at the ski lodge at the Pomerelle Ski Resort. But, as Deidra put it, at least your work up a big appetite while skiing at Pomerelle. The food tastes so much better then.

So, overall, Ben's is a good place to go once, just to say you've been there, but I don't think we'll be fighting to get back. When it comes to chili restaurants, I certainly prefer Hard Times. Hopefully we'll get there before the summer is over.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Happy Independence Day, Nelly!

We decided to celebrate independence day a little bit early by paying off the remaining amount on Nelly's car loan this morning. So now she is officially free and liberated from the oppression of "The Man". We'd take her out for a spin to celebrate, but considering she's in Idaho and we're in DC, that's not likely to happen anytime soon.