Friday, January 30, 2009

NFL Predictions - Super Bowl

Well, I guess it's time to make my Super Bowl prediction. I am tied with Craig for the lead in the DDDC Challenge, which means winner takes all this week!

I graciously let Craig have the favorite, the Steelers, and decided to take my chances with the underdogs. So, I'm pulling for the Cardinals.

There are several reasons why I think the Cardinals can win, but the biggest is Larry Fitzgerald. This guy has been incredible in the playoffs. Even when teams are keying in on him, he finds a way to get open and make big plays.

So ... GO CARDINALS!!!!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

25 Random Things

Since joining Facebook, my blogging frequency has dropped considerably. Realizing that, I'm trying to find ways to combine the two platforms and the easiest way I can think of is to post some things both places.

Recently, Jill Helfrich tagged me on Facebook in her note, "25 Random Things." I'll post my response here and on my Facebook page. To find out who I tag, you'll have to check out Facebook. If you haven't joined Facebook yet, you should really consider it - it's a great way to keep in touch with people you don't see very often.

25 Random Things:
Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

1. My wife is taller than me ... barely
2. My wife was an All-American college volleyball player
3. I played one semester of junior varsity college basketball
4. I was not an All-American
5. I used to be able to dunk a volleyball with ease
6. I used to be able to speak Spanish somewhat proficiently
7. I am going to Mexico at the end of February on a mission trip
8. It will be my second mission trip to Mexico, and my third overall
9. The only time I have been overseas was on a mission trip to Jamaica
10. I have flown over the ocean several other times
11. I have been to the Grand Canyon, The Painted Desert, The Petrified Forest, Yellowstone National Park, Sequoia National Park and Yosemite National Park - all in one vacation
12. I was the Editor-in-Chief of my college newspaper for one semester
13. I have been published in seven different newspapers
*EDIT: Actually, 8 newspapers - I forgot about one from way back
14. I once stood on a football field just a few feet away from Brett Favre
15. I once sat on a basketball court just a few feet away from Carmelo Anthony
16. I crashed my parents' pickup truck three times in my first year of driving
17. I haven't been in an accident since then (I don't count hitting a deer as an accident)
18. I have broken only one bone in my life
19. I have twisted/rolled/sprained both my ankles too many times to count
20. I held a school record in the hurdles for one year
21. I hit one home run in my baseball career
22. I worked at McDonald's for three years during high school
23. I like to dip graham crackers in milk
24. I tried chewing tobacco one time and it made me throw up
25. I thought winter was awful until I discovered sledding with my kids

Monday, January 19, 2009

A New Ride

About a week and a half ago, my wife and kids were in an accident with our minivan. Nobody was hurt, but the van sustained quite a bit of damage. It turns out that it was enough damage for the insurance company to call it a total loss.

That's not necessarily a bad thing, but not necessarily a good thing either.

The van was still in good shape and was in great running condition. We weren't planning to get rid of it anytime soon. It has been paid off for a few years and it was sure nice to know we didn't owe anything on it. So, losing that scenario hurts a bit.

On the other hand, it was approaching 150,000 miles and who knows how long it would have lasted without any problems? The insurance company is giving us retail value for the van, so it's kind of like selling it without having to haggle with anybody or work out a trade-in deal. So, that part is kind of nice.

Either way you look at it, we need to find a new van. I know it's a great time to make big purchases because dealers need to sell cars and interest rates are low. But I also hate the thought of borrowing money again. We are so close to being debt free and this will definitely hinder that process.

So, anybody know someone wanting to sell a minivan with less than 100,000 miles for less than $5,000? If so, let me know!!!!

By the way, if we could find a Toyota van like the one pictured above, I would think it was awesome! Convincing my wife of said awesomeness might be a bit tricky!

NFL Predictions - Week 10 Results

Well, it was a perfect week for three of the four challengers! Dan, Derry and I all predicted wins by the Cardinals and Steelers. Craig, however, went with the Eagles and, thus, went 1-1.

I refuse to talk any trash to Craig at this point because I think he saw my picks and decided to give me a chance to catch up. See, he was up by one going into this past weekend and could have easily mimicked my picks to give me no chance to catch up and, possibly, win the challenge. Craig, however, is a competitor and decided to give me a chance. Now, we are tied with one game left and I can't see us doing anything but picking differently so somebody wins.

The Steelers are going to surely be favored, so I'll have no problem letting Craig have them. I'll gladly take the Cardinals, only because I think they really have a good chance to win.

We've got two weeks to get it all figured out, and I'm sure he and I will go back and forth several times between now and then. In the end, though, it will make the Super Bowl all the more interesting for us. Can't wait!

Friday, January 16, 2009

NFL Predictions - Week 10

I am one game behind Craig in the Challenge, so I hope he doesn't pick the same way I do or else I've got no chance. I'm guessing he'll go in a different direction just to keep things interesting and maybe set up a winner-takes-all Super Bowl!

The conference championship games are so hard to pick this year! Even though I could show you proof that I thought the Ravens, Steelers and Cardinals all had it in them to do well in the Playoffs, I am not confident picking any of them to win their games.

Oh well, I'll just take my chances:

Eagles at Cardinals - Here are some of the things I've said about the Cardinals this season:

I still think the Cardinals could do some damage in the playoffs, depending on how home field works out.
The defense is for real and Kurt Warner could throw for 450 yards and 4 TDs. By the way, is there a tougher guy in the NFL than Anquan Boldin - are you kidding me? How is he back to an elite level after that nasty injury?
Cardinals have clinched their division and playoff spot, but the Patriots still have EVERYTHING to play for. Plus, the Cardinals don't appear to be as good as I once thought they were.
Arizona is the most meaningless team in the playoffs!

So, I was right some and wrong some, but at least I gave the Cardinals credit early. I hope they stay hot like they've been so far in the playoffs. The Eagles are hot, too, but I give the edge to the Cardinals at home.

Ravens at Steelers - Here's what I said about the Steelers this season:

I believe in the Steelers. The defense is solid. The offense is effective.
I still think the Steelers are the real deal.
I still think the Steelers are a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
I've been saying it for several weeks, but I think the Steelers are for real. Now, I'm starting to think they're the best team in the NFL. Their schedule has been brutal and yet they're 11-3.

After reading that, how could I pick against Pittsburgh? I still believe their defense is great and even though the offense is not amazing, there are some weapons there.

So, I believe it's going to be the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl. Crazy, huh?

Monday, January 12, 2009

NFL Predictions - Week 9 Results

I'm closing in on Craig! I gained one game on him this week to cut his lead to one! Here's how my picks went:

at Titans
Cardinals at Panthers
Eagles at Giants
Chargers at Steelers

Friday, January 9, 2009

NFL Predictions - Week 9

Trailing by two games with only seven games left, I need to be kind of aggressive here, so here we go:

Ravens at Titans - This one could easily be the death of me, but I had to give it a shot. I'm impressed with the Ravens, especially Ed Reed. That guy is special. I won't be surprised if the Titans win, but I'm hoping for an upset and then an AFC Title game between the Ravens and Steelers - a game that might end 3-2!

Cardinals at Panthers - I have a feeling the Cardinals had their high point last week when they beat the Falcons. I don't think they will be able to stop Carolina's run game they way they did against Atlanta. I'd also be very surprised if their passing game is as good as last week since Anquan Boldin is injured. This could end up being a really good game though.

Eagles at Giants - As much as I'd like to call for an upset here just to give myself a chance to gain some ground on Craig, I don't think it's going to happen. The Giants are GOOD. The Eagles have played well lately, but I think the Giants probably have an extra gear they can shift into for the playoffs. Look for the Giants to run the ball a lot, especially with Brandon Jacobs pounding the Eagles' defense.

Chargers at Steelers - This was also a tough one for me to not pick an upset. I think the matchup is pretty good for the Chargers, but the Steelers are too good on defense to let this one slip away.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I Jumped In!

I now have a Facebook account. Look me up and be my friend!

New Year's Goals

I'm not going to make any resolutions for the New Year, but I decided last night that some well-defined goals could do me some good. So, here's a pair of goals for 2009:

1. Debt Free by our Anniversary
I've been listening a lot to Dave Ramsey on my iPod. Many of you have probably heard of Dave Ramsey and probably have strong feelings one way or the other on him - either you love him or hate him. I happen to be one who loves him. I think he's very intelligent, is a straight talker and honestly wants to help people have a better life.

Anyway, I started listening to Dave Ramsey a few years ago and shortly after Katie and I decided to take the job of caretakers for Bethel College at the Retreat Center on Dewart Lake. That gave us a second income and we decided we were going to get out of debt. Well, we paid off quite a bit of debt, including both of our vehicles, but then we started to flounder a bit. It's been a while since we were serious about getting out of debt and I just think we need to sacrifice for the next few months to finally get debt out of our lives - FOREVER!

So, we've got one small personal loan and my wife's student loan - which is also pretty small - to knock out by May 27. That's just a little less than 5 months. It's going to take some sacrifices - no eating out, no new clothes, no new CDs. The kids are going to have to sacrifice too and we'll cut our grocery budget just as far as we can. I may even try to find a part-time job in the evenings. But, I think it's worth it. Especially in this economy (which I think is probably going to rebound pretty soon), how amazing would it be to not owe money to anybody and have no payments! We're going to find out.

So, if you want to get together with us in the next few months, just plan on eating in or doing something that doesn't cost money. And if we meet our goal, after May 27 we'll have everyone over for a big celebration cookout at our house!!!!

2. Less of Me by our Anniversary
I don't know why I picked our anniversary (May 27) as the date for these goals. I guess it just seemed like a significant day where I could give my wife two very special gifts.

This goal is about weight loss. Since my last race in November, I've been lazy. I've also slipped into some pretty awful eating habits. Last night I stepped on the scale and it said 190. That's not terrible, but it's not where I should be. So, I'm setting a goal to get down to 175 by May 27. Now, that's only 15 pounds, but I've never really set out to lose weight before and it could be tough.

My plan is to cut out all pop, eat smaller portions and get back on the treadmill. If I do those three things consistently over the next few months, I should be able to get to 175. By the way, I haven't been 175 for probably 6 years. So, it may be a challenge.

Please feel free to ask me how I'm doing on these goals and keep me accountable. I'm going to need all the help I can get.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Death of a Hero

Many of you already know, but some of you don't.

Last Saturday, very early in the morning, my grandfather died. He was my father's father and lived in San Diego. He is survived by my grandmother.

The reason I called this post, "The Death of a Hero," is because much of my grandfather's life was spent in service to this country. He spent years on a ship, reached the rank of Master Chief and guided countless recruits through boot camp. To me, that level of service to the country and the people who live here makes him a hero.

Another reason I call him a hero is because he was a father to my father when he didn't have to be. I don't know all the details, but my biological paternal grandfather is a man named George Perry. He, however, is not my grandfather. My grandfather's name is Ray Weiss and he's the one who my dad always knew as his dad. He legally adopted my dad and my uncle Mike when they were both very young and faithfully raised them.

There's one more reason I call my grandfather a hero. He instilled a sense of duty, honor, discipline and service into my father, which he also passed on to me.

I still don't know the exact cause of his death. He was not the picture of health, but nobody was expecting this. It happened without warning. It shocked my grandmother and all of us.

He will be missed.

Left to right: David Weiss, Dan Weiss, Ray Weiss and Pat Weiss.
Four generations together on Father's Day, 2008.

Front row, left to right: Ray Weiss, David Weiss, Faye Weiss, Hanah Weiss. Second row, left to right: Pat Weiss, Marlene Weiss, Kim Smith (my sister), Katie Weiss and Dan Weiss.
Picture taken on June 15, 2008, in San Diego.

Monday, January 5, 2009

NFLL Predictions - Week 8 Results

I did pretty well in the first round of the playoffs, going 3-1. I gained a game on Craig and am now only two games out of the lead. Here's how my picks turned out:

Falcons at Cardinals
Colts at Chargers
Ravens at Dolphins
Eagles at Vikings

p.s. After watching most of these games over the weekend, it wouldn't surprise me if any of the teams that won last weekend win again this weekend, except maybe the Chargers.

Friday, January 2, 2009

NFL Predictions - Week 8 (Playoffs!!???)

I'm playing from behind here, trailing Craig by three games. There's only 11 games left in the season, and only four this weekend, so I have to make up ground fast. I'm putting myself at a serious disadvantage because I don't think any of the other guys have made their picks yet, but here it goes:

Falcons at Cardinals - OK, I know this seems like a crazy pick, but stop and think about how crazy it sounds to pick the Falcons to win a playoff game! Honestly, I think the Falcons are probably the better team and I'd like them to keep this great story going, but the Cardinals are really good at home. They have an offense that's tough to contain. And they can't possibly play as bad as they have the past few weeks, right? (Plus, I have a feeling Craig is going to pick Atlanta, so this gives me a chance to gain on him)

Colts at Chargers - No 8-8 team deserves to be in the playoffs, let alone win a playoff game! The Colts haven't lost in a LONG time and I don't think their streak ends this weekend.

Ravens at Dolphins - Baltimore's defense is just too good. The Dolphins seem like a finesse team while the Ravens seem like a team that wants to knock somebody down and stomp on their throats.

Eagles at Vikings - The Vikings were the least bad in a bad division (much like the Cardinals and Chargers) so I think a team from a really good division should have their way with the Vikings.