Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Annual Training Camp Trip Approaches

One week from tonight, I'll be in San Antonio for the annual training camp trip with the guys. For some inexplicable reason, we think it's necessary every year to make a pilgimage to Cowboy training camp and judge for ourselves whether the rookie free agents really have what it takes to become the next Tony Romo or Miles Austin. And other stuff.

This year, instead of enjoying the comfort of a soft hotel bed and hanging out with the Cowboy defensive line in the lobby bar, we'll probably be sleeping on the cold hard floor of my friend Dave's house, getting licked by his dogs, and wondering why he had to "suddenly" take off for Laredo for a deposition/conference/meeting/circus while leaving us at the house with his wife, young daughter and Guillermo del Toro. I kid because I love, remember that Dave.

Notwithstanding the foregoing (that's for Thomas who's starting law school in the fall) I'm looking forward to a great time and happy we haven't let the tradition die. We'll eat some bland food on the Riverwalk, we'll get our butts kicked in basketball at the Y, we'll say "Remember the time..." too many times, and we'll make fun of Dave some more. It will be just enough to fill the tank up until we all get together again.

The most important tradition we will follow this year, though, is our yearly Cowboy predictions. If I recall correctly, they usually entail at least:

Unexpected Cut...
Unexpected Guy Who Makes the Team...
Final 53-man roster prediction...

It's pretty nerdy, sure, and the second part of the tradition entails us not keeping track of our predictions, so I'm not sure what the point is, but it's what we do, or, as Ron Washington might say, "that's how annual training camp trip go." This time, I'll try to post my predictions when I get back for posterity. Don't hold your breath.

Rolando Super Taco, here we come!

BTW, Marc Columbo's following me now. Twitter account has arrived. Should I get verified or something? Welcome Marc.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Woke up this morning to a wonderful breakfast lovingly prepared by the DC Family. French Toast, Coffee, Sausage and Bacon. Yum. Thanks, baby (and babies).

Oh camp starts in 33 days...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A New Day...and new Gear.

It may be whistling past the graveyard a bit, but I think it's safe to say that everyone feels a little better about the Cowboys than they did at the end of regulation of the Kansas City game. Consider that since that moment, the following has occurred:

1. Miles Austin's dramatic catch and run to win the game in overtime (even if it shouldn't have been that close)
2. Keith Brooking's emergence as a REAL leader on this team.
3. Williams, Barber, Jones and Sensabaugh have all had extra time to heal and should be ready to play on Sunday.
4. Every team in teh NFC East suffered an embarassing loss last Sunday.
5. Austin named the starter opposite Williams and Crayton moved back to his more natural 3rd receiver spot.
6. Wade Phillips fired and replaced by...wait a minute, did that happen or was I dreaming?

Anyway, in honor of the above (real) occurrences, I'm making a pretty important change myself. For the last couple of years, I've been sporting the throwback "Replica" Romo jersey on gameday for the last couple of years. This season I traded up for a "Premier" white Romo jersey. I think we can all acknowledge that that has not worked out as we hoped it might.

So, meet the newest member of the Cowboys might say its the crown new AUTHENTIC blue Jason Witten jersey:

Sorry new Romo replica jersey. I hardly new ya. Sometimes, drastic times call for drastic measures. I know this will make all the difference. Playoffs here we come.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Doesn't this issue continue to be one of the biggest problems with the Cowboys? It is for me and I see three main culprits here: the coaches, TO and Romo.

First, TO's gone so he can't really be blamed for this year's woes, but he did mentor many of these players with his "it's never my fault" attitude for the last three years. It rubbed off.

Second, I'll give credit to Romo for getting a little better this season (see his comments following the Giants and Broncos debacles), but ultimately his laissez-faire, hat-backwards, question-the-premise-of-every-question-asked-of-him, sulking on-the-bench-with-his-arms-crossed-when-things-going-wrong attitude gives off a sort of Generation Y, entitled, punk teenager vibe that rubs me the wrong way. And I consider myself a huge Romo fan (e.g., I own two Romo jerseys myself and one for the DC Kids).

What really gets my goat, though, is the way Phillips and his staff avoid accountability and making hard decisions. There are several examples, but one great one was the whole Scandrick/Jenkins swapping off starting each game thing, which seemed to make no sense except for making sure someone's feelings didn't get hurt. Now, I ask you, is that any way to run a football team? Seriously!? The answer is "No", by the way, but why do I know this and these PROFESSIONAL (as in getting paid to do this) NFL FOOTBALL COACHES don't. Now, they have replaced Patrick Crayton with Mile Austin in the starting line-up (a good thing on several levels), but they won't pull Crayton aside and tell him that he's been replaced, much less why they are making the decision. He found out in practice when they told Miles to go in with the 1st team. Why? Sounds like Jerry's saying not announcing it might give some advantage against the Falcons. This is not only stupid but beside the point when it comes to telling the player. I think it's because Phillips and the staff didn't want to hurt Crayton's feelings by publicly saying he's going to be demoted to the 3rd spot. Phillips inferred as much when he said post-KC that he wouldn't confirm that Austin was starting but he would confirm that he would play as much as he did as a starter in the KC game. Geez. Just ridiculous.

Leadership, attitude, and accountability start at the top. Phillips seems to offer very little.

The Politics of Football

Sooooooo....I guess it's time for something new, huh? Well, I read this exerpt from Chuck Klosterman's new book and and it seemed worthy enough to get things kicked off again, particularly this part:

My wife is awesome, but she hates football (as wives are wont to do). Every game seems the same to her. I will be watching a contest between Kent State and Eastern Michigan on a random Thursday night, and she will say, "Go ahead and watch that game. I will just sit here and read this magazine featuring a plus-sized black female TV personality from Chicago." Two days later, Georgia will be playing LSU for the SEC championship. Now she will want to rent Scenes from a Marriage. "You want to watch football again?" she will ask. "Didn't you already watch football on Thursday?" Every game seems the same to her. And I can't explain the difference, even though the differences feel so obvious. And I don't want to explain the difference, because I always want to watch Kent State and Eastern Michigan, too. They are as different to me as they are similar to her.

Before I get in trouble, let me say that my wife does NOT hate football and does understand the difference between a Kent State/Eastern Michigan game and the LSU/Georgia game (particularly since I am also a lifelong LSU fan). Nevertheless, I think she can empathize with Klosterman's wife in this situation.

BTW, Klosterman is a sort of "pop-culture" writer who is also a huge sports fan and likes to dip his toes in those waters every once in awhile. The rest is here.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Marriage Proposal, Disney Style

For all the chicks. BTW, DC Mom would have killed me if I did this:

Poor Customer Service from American Airlines

We recently returned from a great trip to Napa and Sonoma, California. There is much to tell about the trip, but before I get to that, I wanted take a moment to let everyone know about a poor customer service experience we had with American Airlines. The long and short of it is that American Airlines lost one of our checked bags on the way back. Now, I know this isn't that out of the ordinary for any airline, but since we now have to pay a $15 checked bag fee and we checked the bag more than two hours before our flight took off, we thought it would be fair to ask for a refund of the baggage fee. We received an email, which I have posted below, in response to our request. I have two issues with this email: (1) the writer's failure to admit a mistake occurred, much less actually apologize for the mistake and (2) the writer's ridiculous assertion that paying for a service should bear no relationship with a service provider actually doing the service I paid for well. Here's the the email:

June 30, 2009

I know it was a disappointment not to receive your luggage in a timely manner when you returned from your trip. However, since you were "home" and ultimately had access to your necessities, we must respectfully decline to provide compensation or to cover the cost of consequential expenses. This is a standard policy and we believe it to be reasonable.

Under the circumstances, we can certainly appreciate your point about the baggage fee you paid. However, we must respectfully decline to refund the fee. The baggage fee you paid was assessed to transport your belongings as specified under our baggage allowance policy. At the same time, while we do our very best to ensure your baggage arrives when you do, we do not make this absolute guarantee. Accordingly, while we understand your perspective, the issue of the baggage fee and the delayed arrival of your baggage are two completely separate matters.

Most importantly, we will continue to find ways to prevent baggage mishandling altogether. We know how it important it is for our customers to have their belongings arrive at their destination when they do. Please give us another opportunity to serve you better.


Kay Farmer
Customer Relations
American Airlines

And here is my response:

Ms. Kay Farmer:

I am in receipt of your email titled "R2009/06-35414-00300-001-00" in which you declined my request for a refund of the $15 baggage fee for my bag that arrived a day after I did in Dallas.

However disengenous I think it is too assert that the baggage fee I paid and AA's failure to timely deliver my a bag are two separate matters, I am not surprised, unfortunately, by your response. Though I haven't read your baggage allowance policy, my guess is that American Airlines is well within its rights to deny my request for a refund of the baggage fee.

Nevertheless, let me just say that your email and AA's response reflects appalling customer service. The truth of the matter is, AA made a mistake. My bag was checked more than two hours before my flight. I box my wife checked at the exact same time made it to Dallas on time. The fee itself insures that fewer bags are checked these days, a fact that was clear to me as a watched a total of 20-25 bags come off the flight at baggage claim. Instead of an apology and a refund, which I continue to believe is a fairly reasonable request, I only received your email denying the request for a refund and failing to apologize or even admit AA made a mistake.

My only recourse, then, is to tell everyone I know about my customer service experience with AA. I've posted your email and this response at my blog at - cross-posted to my facebook and Twitter accounts.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Battle of the Bands

I'm a recent convert to guitar-like video game playing, mostly spurred on by our firm's upcoming Battle of Bands party for the summer recruits. I must admit, I've been spending significant amount of time at home practicing to get ready for it. I like it a lot because it feeds my long-held desire to learn how to play the guitar, but without, you know, the work. I've sort of taken over, as I tend to do, a lot of the logistics of the party, including finding (HT: DC Mom) a cool new venue where we will perform on a stage with lighting and the whole deal. I'm pumped about it, but I fear my hightened involvement has given the impression that I'm good at this. I'm not.

Above is a picture of me trying out the ax on stage when we went to preview the place. I know, I know...I missed my calling.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

"Cavs Win, Cavs Win"

I'll have more substantive thoughts later, but just to tide folks over, check out this clip from a Cleveland station on the night Lebron hit that amazing three pointer. Apparently, they were winding up the show just as the game was ending:

That guy is awesome. H/T DMN Sports Media Blog.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Wet 'n Wild

We took an "in-town vacation" yesterday to the Great Wolf Lodge (pictured on the left) in Grapevine, Texas. Basically, we're talking about a kid-friendly resort hotel with a huge indoor water park. I wasn't sure what to expect, exactly, but I have to say I was pretty impressed. They've definitely got the system worked out well, for example, when you check in, they give you a bracelet that identifies you and your children, works as a key to get you in your room, gives you access to the water park, and can be "read" at any of the restaurants or snack bars to get food Speaking of food, I expected pretty average, but was actually impressed with the quality. I had a great portabello, spinach, tomato and mozzarella "burger" for dinner.

We were there a total of about 23 hours--approximately 6 of those were spent in the waterpark (pictured right). DC Mom and I spent most of that time just trying to prevent the DC Kids from drowning (successfully, fortunately), but they were oblivious to the danger. A fantastic time was had by all.