Thursday, July 20, 2006

Rocking Free Wifi at Beijing Airport

Pretty clear that I'm taking it from one of the airport clubs. There's a pay service available but I have no way of signing up.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Call Him Master Chief

I predicted that the launch of Halo 3 would mark a resurgence in game-playing amongst my friends. Shan Mehta disagrees:

I'm skeptical of that. We continued to play the original Halo well after its debut. In fact, among our friends, its popularity peaked not long before the introduction of Halo 2. Those were the days my friend; shit-talking, team playing, kooth killing, melee-attacking all whilst enjoying the non-stop "pop pop" and stainless steel. Halo playing knew no geographic bounds and although there were many futile attempts at internet play, we traveled to NYC and San Francisco where we enjoyed more futile attempts to defeat us.

Halo 2, though excellent, experienced a much shorter lifespan. Its launch was marked by an incredible amount of enthusiasm and immediate game play, but suffered a fairly quick death as we were scattered about the country and failed to take advantage of the much-improved internet play. Now, I fear that the launch of Halo 3 will receive even less; perhaps some excitement over e-mail, a hyperlink or two and some scattered nostalgic reflections. It seems to me that the persistent sucking sound, originating in apartment 908, generated by the vociferously fun-defiant creature* that lived there, now rules the day. A day when Halo playing by nearly 30-year old individuals is labeled as time-wasting, antisocial, and immature. A day when blasting the hell out of virtual custom-colored master chiefs representing your friend's honor is frowned upon, and family time, raas garbas, and reading books are given nods of approval. Society has divided us against ourselves, and will conquer our dwindling spirits by extinguishing the flame that used to roar with the desire to pistol-whip the crap out of each other on 50-inch widescreens in order to placate our natural aggressions toward one another. I'm afraid of a future filled with non-digital, nonviolent activites where my thumbs grow flaccid from lack of use.

*Amit Doshi lived in apartment 908

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

When Melissa's Away, Andy Will Play

My wife feading the beast

Andy waking up Melissa to inform her of the good times being had

Andy double-fisting the syrup at IHOP

Andy getting friendly with our bed

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

We'll miss you Ben

On the same day Yzerman retired from the Wings we learned Ben Wallace intended to accept a 4 year, $60 million deal from the Bulls. While reports differ, it seems the best the Pistons offered was $52 million over the same period. It was too much money to turn down. Ben led this team to a championship and instilled a majestic defensive presence and work ethic. For that we will be forever grateful. If I'm at the first home game next year at the Palace against the Bulls, I'm standing and cheering as loudly as I can. I don't fault Ben for his decision. Here's an excerpt from the Detroit Free Press, itself taking content from Ben's interview with Fred McLeod on Channel 4:

Ben Wallace talked with WDIV-TV Local 4 sports anchor Fred McLeod on Tuesday. Some excerpts from the former Piston:

"Everything happened so fast. You know, I think the Bulls are a great organization and a young and up-and-coming team. They made me an offer that I pretty much couldn't refuse."

"In order for me to leave Detroit it had to be under these circumstances. Anything else, you know, I wouldn't even consider. But I feel like it was an offer I couldn't refuse. Everybody in this league would like to have an opportunity to do something great and have an opportunity to be successful in this league financially. And I thought this was my opportunity to take care of not only my family, but my family's family."

"With me coming here, in the way they opened up and accepted me, it was a dream come true. It's tough to go into any situation feeling like you wasn't wanted, but coming here, I feel like the fans appreciated what I did and what I brought to the table. And they always inspired me to be a little bit better than the last year, and try to be a bit better the next year. And you know, next year's going to be tough, especially having to come back here and play in front of these fans, it's just going to be tough."

"I hate to leave, but it's going to be a situation where I got an opportunity to go out and do something different. And for the most part (the Piston players) have been supportive, they've all given me great advice throughout this whole thing. Some guys you play with because they're your teammates, and some guys you play with long enough, you become friends and you build that bond. I definitely think I'm leaving some lifetime friends here."

"I didn't shed any tears, but it's tough. You work so hard all your life to feel like a part of something and I definitely thought that what we had here was something great, something special. And now to get up and leave, it's tough. But I feel like I'm going to a great organization, a great city and I hope we become a team who comes out and plays hard every night, and if I thought it was anything less than that I'd still be in Detroit."

"I think biggest problem is I had some coaches who didn't feel like they had to coach me, that I would police myself, and do whatever it takes to get the job done. But sometimes you're out there and you need someone to push you to try to take it to the next level and not let you settle."

"I think Chauncey probably (politicked) the hardest (to keep me here). Me and Chauncey have been here for a minute, we had a brief stay in Orlando, and I think the level of respect we have for each other as players and as a person is great. He's just one of those guys that when I was having tough times here in Detroit, he'd always pick up the phone and call me and be like, 'I don't want nothing, I'm just calling to see what you're doing. Just making sure you got your head right and you're coming ready to play.' " He's always been one of those guys that you know everybody would love to have as a teammate."

"I was never insulted (at the Pistons' offer). I'm from a small town in Alabama, we only got one stop light, and when I left Alabama, I pretty much left with the clothes on my back and my pride and who I was. And to say that I was insulted by someone offering me $46 million, that would be crazy. I didn't feel insulted. But looking at the league and the market and what players are paid, I thought I could get more, I thought I deserved a little bit more, but I was never insulted by the offer. $46 million, I mean, at the end of the day who can say they had an opportunity to turn down $46 million."

"Every time I got an offer, me and my agent were talking and before we'd hang up I'd be like, 'Call Joe (Dumars), call the Pistons,' and see if they've got any flexibility or just see what's going on. Every time I got an offer, I definitely called Joe and talked to him and tried to see if they had any flexibility or see if they were willing to budge or move up a little bit. ... They held firm to their numbers."

"I think my relationship with Flip (Saunders) is pretty good. At times we bumped heads when we're out there on the floor, but that's a given. When you're out there trying to reach greatness, and try to do something special, you're going to have conflicts. I don't think there's anything wrong with conflicts. I think the way you sit down and get them resolved are the key. My relationship with Flip had nothing to do with my situation of me leaving, because since I've been here, every other year or every two years, we've been having different coaches, so how can I get along with five or six different coaches and not get along with Flip?"

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Separated at birth?

(Nikita wanted to name this blog post "eww")

Tigers Game in Oakland

We came home from Chicago, checked, and decided to head out to the ballgame in Oakland to see the Tigers play. First time we've seen a Tigers game this season, home or away. We were a little late, but scalped great seats between 3rd and home for $10 each. Gotta love Oakland.

My sentiments exactly

In the bathroom at Vong's Thai Kitchen last night in Chicago.


Monday, July 03, 2006

A great time at Puja and Sachin's wedding

Here are some pics from the wedding this past Saturday in Chicago. Lots of dancing (and sweating).

The end of the world as we know it

Steve Yzerman announced his retirement as a hockey player today. Stevie Y has been the cornerstone of the Red Wings franchise since I've been old enough to follow sports (he was drafted in 1983). The biggest hero in Detroit sports in the last generation, we will miss him terribly as a player. Today is a very sad day.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Baby love

Seriously, how cute is she? Geesh brought Anika into our room at Neil and Sejal's place on Saturday morning. We were quickly smitten. Dosh dropped by shortly thereafter to visit his neice.

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