3/31/09 - Car History...1991 Pontiac Bonneville

The next entry in my series of Car History is a 1991 Pontiac Bonneville. I got this car after the van caught fire. Once again, I received my mom's old car and she got a new one. This is only fair, they were paying for the things, so who am I to complain about what I was driving. It's so easy to say that now...well over 10 years after the fact. This time however, my mom did upgrade pretty well. She went from the 91 'ville to a brand new, straight off the lot 1998 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer Edition. At the time, it had pretty much everything there was to have in a vehicle. She actually still drives that to this day which is impressive for a Ford vehicle (yea...you will soon find out that I'm a chevy guy). I think this vehicle was purchased in either late 1999 or possibly 2000, I really don't remember. Come to think of it, if my mom was driving a brand new 1998 Explorer...we must have purchased it in late 1997, so I have no idea when the Bonneville was purchased. I do know I was in college...that's about it though. In fact, from this point forward, the year I became owner of this vehicles gets fuzzier and fuzzier.

To get you started, here are two pictures that really don't give the car justice. In real life, it doesn't even come close to looking as cool as these pictures


Mine had a "luggage rack" on the trunk, bench seat for the front seat (the thing could seat 6 comfortably...how cool is that?) and it smelled like an old lady (previous owner, not my mom...the one before that). We purchased it with I think 100,001 miles on it and my mom didn't put too many on it, so I once again was driving a vehicle with over 100k. I don't remember if I mentioned it or not, but the Grand Am also was over the 100k mark when I started driving it, this will be come a recurring theme.

I don't really have any good stories with this car except that the sound system that was previously in the van? You remember the one...big 12" subs, big ol' amp...yeah, it got moved to the bonneville. The speaker box took up well over 75% of the trunk space and although it sounded like a dream on the inside, if you were on the outside, you would have thought it was going to fall part movie-style where the wheels just fall over and the whole chassis hits the ground.

The only wreck this vehicle was involved with was it's last. I was leaving work one evening and pulled out of the parking lot only to be hit head on by a lady who I still say was going well over the speed limit. I will also mention that there were several vehicles illegally parked that obstructed my view of the road. This is also the only accident I have ever been in that I was found to be at fault, although I still argue, as noted above, that I was not truly responsible.

The one thing I remember about this accident is talking to the police officer as he was writing up the paper and him making a bit of an off color remark about the size of the other driver's breasts. As a 19 year old, I had to agree with him, but looking back, it was a little uncalled for.

A bit of a lame update, but of all the cars my family has ever owned, I think we would all agree that this was our least favorite. It had no character or charm. It was simply a tool used to get from one place to another.

The Bonneville did mark a huge change in my vehicle history. It was at this point that I was no longer given vehicles. This also meant that I got a say in what I was going to be driving. This brings us to the first vehicle I ever purchased: a 1996 GMC Sierra.

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3/30/09 - Makenna made a nasty

Makenna is just over a year old and this is the first time we have run into this problem. For that, I am not complaining. I'll save you from the details, but basically, she has problems with getting plugged up for short periods of of time. Becasue of this, she will push and push and push...but typically have no results.

So the other night, I'm giving her a bath (which is our nightly routine, which I love). We get to spend several minutes with each other...she gets to play, and I get to watch her learn what different toys do and I love her fascination with falling water.

All night she had been grunting and pushing, but the only thing she had to show for it was a little bit of poop in her diaper. When she was in the bath, she started grunting again and I assumed we would still have no results. The last thing I wash is her booty crack, and when I pulled the washcloth away, low and behold we had a little pebble sized turd. I called for Cristi who took the wash cloth away and Makenna kept on playing with her toys.

I assumed she was doing pushing, but a few minutes later, she started struggling again. This time we got more than a pebble. The floater she dropped this time was at least the size of her arm. I'm sure it was much smaller than that, but when you have a soaking wet child, swimming with her own feces, toys all in the water, bouncing around with the poop, I'm telling you, the excrement starts looking larger than life. Luckily, my wife came to my rescue and scooped out the poop with the same washcloth and flushed it down the toilet.

After getting Makenna out and dried off, Cristi then filled the tub with water and a little bit of bleach as well as hand washed each of her toys. I guess the funny part about this (other than the fact that my daughter pooped in her own bath water) is that she had no idea what was going on. She assumed everything was just fine. Of course when I had to yell for Cristi she got scared just because it was loud. If I hadn't of yelled, she would have been just fine to keep playing.

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3/29/09 - Day 8: We have a Final Four

We are down to only three games left. I went through and determined all 8 possible scenarios, and here is how it works out.

If Villanova wins its next game, DJ gets first place, Greg wins 2nd, and Chris wins 3rd.

If North Carolina wins its next game, Greg wins first place. The places beyond that are up for grabs as follows:

If Michigan St meets UNC in the title game, Greg wins first place, Randy wins 2nd, and there is a tie between Kyle G and Blake.

If UConn beats UNC in the title game, Greg gets first, DJ gets 2nd, and Chris gets 3rd.

If UNC beats UConn in the title game, Greg gets first and Randy and Geoff are tied for 2nd and 3rd.

With all that said, here are the current standings.

Name Points Tiebreak
Greg Walker 81 168
DJ Walker 78 128
Chris Horton 77 0
Stephen Shirley 75 155
Randy Spellins 75 150
Blake Bumgardner 74 165
Kyle Garner** 74 176
Mike Bumgardner 71 143
Jessica Bumgardner 70 153
Derrick Lewis 70 0
Kylah VanHorn 70 118
Geoff Owens 1 70 0
Geoff Owens 2 70 0
Shannon Horton 70 0
Cristi Walker 69 0
Drew Webb 69 156
Jared Selby 69 174
Ryan Casey 69 150
Brian Shaddock 67 140
Kyle Raible** 66 150
Dan Vargas 66 105
Tim Shelton 66 153
Wes May-hem** 64 0
Josh Joyner 64 0
Keith Tarter** 63 168
Phillip Walker** 62 0
Donna Bumgardner 57 165
Jason Harmon 52 0

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3/28/09 - Day 7: What an amazing game.

After watching the D2 championship game earlier in the day, I didn't think the day could get any better in regards to basketball. Then, I made it to a television with 30 seconds left in the Pitt/Nova game, and wow...what a game. Pulling for Nova made it even harder because they were acting like they were trying to give the game away.

With that said, Here are the standings with only 5 games remaining in the tournament.

Name Points Tiebreak
Greg Walker 77 168
DJ Walker 74 128
Chris Horton 73 0
Stephen Shirley 71 155
Randy Spellins 71 150
Kyle Garner** 70 176
Blake Bumgardner 70 165
Jared Selby 69 174
Mike Bumgardner 67 143
Dan Vargas 66 105
Derrick Lewis 66 0
Geoff Owens 1 66 0
Geoff Owens 2 66 0
Jessica Bumgardner 66 153
Shannon Horton 66 0
Tim Shelton 66 153
Drew Webb 65 156
Ryan Casey 65 150
Cristi Walker 65 0
Brian Shaddock 63 140
Kylah VanHorn 62 118
Kyle Raible** 62 150
Phillip Walker** 62 0
Wes May-hem** 60 0
Josh Joyner 60 0
Keith Tarter** 59 168
Donna Bumgardner 53 165
Jason Harmon 52 0

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- Day 6: Elite 8 is set

Nothing to add. I needed the Kansas win pretty bad...but it didn't happen. Here's the updated scores.

Name Points Tiebreak
Randy Spellins 71 150
Blake Bumgardner 70 165
Chris Horton 69 0
Greg Walker 69 168
Mike Bumgardner 67 143
Stephen Shirley 67 155
DJ Walker 66 128
Derrick Lewis 66 0
Kyle Garner** 66 176
Shannon Horton 66 0
Tim Shelton 66 153
Jared Selby 65 174
Cristi Walker 65 0
Brian Shaddock 63 140
Dan Vargas 62 105
Geoff Owens 1 62 0
Geoff Owens 2 62 0
Jessica Bumgardner 62 153
Kyle Raible** 62 150
Drew Webb 61 156
Ryan Casey 61 150
Wes May-hem** 60 0
Josh Joyner 60 0
Kylah VanHorn 58 118
Phillip Walker** 58 0
Keith Tarter** 55 168
Donna Bumgardner 53 165
Jason Harmon 52 0

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3/27/09 - Day 5: Just a few "unexpected" beatdowns

Nothing special to add. Here are the standings.

Name Points Tiebreak
Chris Horton 63 0
Blake Bumgardner 61 165
Greg Walker 60 168
Randy Spellins 59 150
Stephen Shirley 58 155
Mike Bumgardner 58 143
Tim Shelton 57 153
Brian Shaddock 57 140
Derrick Lewis 57 0
Kyle Garner** 57 176
DJ Walker 57 128
Jessica Bumgardner 56 153
Cristi Walker 56 0
Geoff Owens 1 56 0
Jared Selby 56 174
Drew Webb 55 156
Phillip Walker** 55 0
Ryan Casey 55 150
Josh Joyner 54 0
Shannon Horton 54 0
Geoff Owens 2 53 0
Kyle Raible** 53 150
Dan Vargas 53 105
Kylah VanHorn 52 118
Wes May-hem** 51 0
Keith Tarter** 49 168
Jason Harmon 49 0
Donna Bumgardner 44 165

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3/26/09 - Now I'm on Twitter

I have still not figured out what the big deal is about twitter, except for the fact it's a great way to let more people know about your random thoughts more often. I'm still trying to figure out the best way to use it for my purposes, so for now, I have about 2 updates a day and they don't mean much.

Whatever the case, if you want, you can follow me. I don't have a widget on my website because quite frankly, I'm not sure where I would put it. I'll work on that later.

If you have a twitter account, let me know in the comments...I need more things to distract me during the course of the day.

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3/24/09 - Car History...1986 Dodge Caravan

The next entry in my series of Car History is a 1986 Dodge Caravan. I got this van after my first car got totaled. It was actually my mom's and she gave it to me so she could get a new (used) car. We'll get to that vehicle in the next entry because it eventually became mine. My parents purchased the car new and I got it in 1998, my senior year in high school. It had just under 100k miles on it, and after a few months, I rolled it over to 100k as I pulled in to my future wife's driveway. Oddly enough, she still dated me even though I was driving a pimp wagon.

Here is a picture of the stylin' van I was driving and an ad from back in the day. Unequaled indeed.



Since I was style driving when I graduated, my graduation present request was for a sound system. Not just a new radio or new speakers. I wanted the real deal. I wanted boom...I wanted bass...I wanted speakers so big I had to take out the middle seat and move the back seat forward to make room for the speakers. I got a new radio with a 6 disc changer, new speakers throughout the whole van and two 12" speakers with a 400 watt amp. (pretty weak for today's standards, but for me, back then, in the van...this thing rocked).

It sounded great inside the van and I used the snot out of it. I loved it. It wasn't until later on that I realized that it sounded so bad from outside. The whole thing rattled like crazy, but it still didn't matter to me. It was everything I wanted.

If I ever have some extra money (several hundred thousand extra dollars with nothing else to spend it on) laying around, I would so by another 1986 van and just pimp it out. I'm talking more than just big speakers. I'd put a bigger engine, tiger print interior, custom paint job, massive speakers...so on and so forth, and of course fuzzy dice.

The van lasted me a good long while. I don't remember exactly how long I drove it, but few people can say they drove their vehicle until the wheels came off. Well, not exactly, but it did catch on fire before we decided it was time to send it to the salvage yard. I don't remember what the beginning of the end was, but I can remember one time specifically being at the bottom of the hill with three friends in the van doing about 40 miles an hour, flooring it, and creeping over the top of the hill at just below 5 miles an hour. I truly believe we were going to go all cartoon on it and get to the top only to stop and slide right back down to the bottom.

I think it was not longer after this, it would just die. It usually wasn't all that big of a deal, I'd just put the thing in park and start it back up. Of course, this also was typically happening at stop signs and red lights. The worst situation was when it happened in rush hour on a busy interstate. I had to get over one more loan that was at a complete stop and as I was switching lanes, the van died, the semi truck behind me did not and clipped the end of the van. Luckily, only shattering one of my brake lights. I told him not to worry about it because...well....the think was a piece of junk already.

My parents did want to take it in and see what it would take to get it fixed, so they took it to the local dealership to get an estimate on the damage. What they came back with was pretty funny. Basically, the van had a 4 cylinder engine when it was purchased. When we took it in, it was hitting on only 2 and a half of them (meaning that one of the cylinders was intermittent). On top of that, to get the brake lens replaced was going to be something like $250. We just left the thing broke and decided to start looking for a new car. Not much time passed before my dad went to start it one day and sure enough smoke starting coming up from under the hood, he checked it straight away only to find a small electrical fire. He was able to put it out and I believe he immediately called a two truck to have it taken away. The van was sold for roughly $200 to a salvage heap not long after.

After a short spell of sharing a vehicle with my mom, I became the primary driver of a 1991 Pontiac Bonneville.

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3/23/09 - Day 4: Missouri squeaks one out

Once again, one of my biggest picks of the tournament goes the wrong way. If Marquette and Western Kentucky won, I'd be in first place by myself. Next year, I should implement a bonus system if you "almost" pick upsets.

Whatever the case, here are the current standings. I do believe that all of the brackets have been collected and entered. I still need some payment from some folks (as deonted by the double asterisks) but I'm not worried about that.

Name Points Tiebreak
Randy Spellins 53 150
Blake Bumgardner 52 165
Mike Bumgardner 52 143
Brian Shaddock 51 140
Derrick Lewis 51 0
Greg Walker 51 168
Chris Horton 51 0
Cristi Walker 50 0
Geoff Owens 1 50 0
Phillip Walker** 49 0
Ryan Casey 49 150
Stephen Shirley 49 155
Josh Joyner 48 0
Shannon Horton 48 0
Wes May-hem** 48 0
DJ Walker 48 128
Tim Shelton 48 153
Kyle Garner** 48 176
Geoff Owens 2 47 0
Jared Selby 47 174
Jessica Bumgardner 47 153
Kyle Raible** 47 150
Drew Webb 46 156
Keith Tarter** 46 168
Kylah VanHorn 46 118
Jason Harmon 46 0
Matt Stagg 45 0
Dan Vargas 44 105
Donna Bumgardner 38 165

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3/21/09 - Day 3: Gonzaga gets lucky

If Western Kentucky wins that game (which they almost did), I'm sitting in first place by myself. Instead, I'm well down the list. I guess that's why they play the game though.

Here is the most up to date scores with all games from Saturday completed.

Name Points Tiebreak
Chris Horton 41 0
Cristi Walker 40 0
Blake Bumgardner 40 165
Mike Bumgardner 40 143
Jessica Bumgardner 39 153
Derrick Lewis 39 0
Greg Walker 39 168
Jared Selby 39 174
Ryan Casey 39 150
Randy Spellins 39 150
Geoff Owens 1 38 0
Tim Shelton 38 153
Dan Vargas 38 105
DJ Walker 38 128
Drew Webb 38 156
Kyle Garner** 38 176
Phillip Walker** 37 0
Kyle Raible** 37 150
Brian Shaddock 37 140
Geoff Owens 2 37 0
Wes May-hem** 36 0
Josh Joyner 36 0
Jason Harmon 36 0
Shannon Horton 36 0
Kylah VanHorn 36 118
Stephen Shirley 35 155
Donna Bumgardner 34 165
Keith Tarter** 32 168

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3/20/09 - Day 2: Brackets have been busted

Day 2: it's 11:30 at night, and I am dedicated enough to get an update out already. The last game just ended moments ago, and wow....this is why I love March.

Here is the most up to date list. There is still at least one bracket I'm waiting to receive. It was entered in at ESPN, so there is no way it has been modified since then. I have already been paid the money, I just don't have the bracket. I'll do an audit tomorrow to see who still owes me money, and to verify I have all the brackets entered. Once I get the links working correctly, PLEASE review your bracket and make sure you agree with what has been entered.

If my numbers are correct, we have 29 entries eligible for prize money this year. For the first time in 8 years, I have given myself a free bracket. If you disagree with this decision, let me know, I'll reconsider. I have also given Jason a free bracket this year as he is going to be donating a plaque to be displayed at my home year round showcasing the top 3 places of each year dating back to the 2003 pool. Due to this contribution, his entry fee was waived. This leaves 27 paying entries at $5 a piece for a total prize pool of $135. Disbursement will be $81 for first place, $41 for second place, and $13 for third place. This is subject to change as I have to verify my counts and accounting.

If you do not see a Tiebreak next to your name, please let me know either via email (GravyTrain6@gmail.com) or leave a comment down below.

NamePointsTiebreak
DJ Walker26128
Greg Walker25168
Chris Horton250
Ryan Casey25150
Randy Spellins25150
Phillip Walker**250
Jared Selby25174
Cristi Walker240
Drew Webb24156
Blake Bumgardner24165
Wes May-hem240
Josh Joyner240
Geoff Owens 1240
Kyle Garner24176
Mike Bumgardner24143
Tim Shelton24153
Dan Vargas24105
Derrick Lewis230
Brian Shaddock23140
Jessica Bumgardner23153
Kyle Raible23150
Donna Bumgardner22165
Kylah VanHorn22118
Shannon Horton220
Jason Harmon220
Geoff Owens 2210
Stephen Shirley21155
Keith Tarter20168

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- Day 1: March Madness has started

I apologize for the late update. I didn't get a majority (see: all but 4) of the brackets until last night at about 10:00. I did not get them entered and so had to spend my lunch getting them entered. After lunch, I had to get some work done and so am just now getting the update of the first day's games up.

The links don't work, I don't have access to my ftp right now (at least, I can't remember my password. I've got it at home, so I'll get the links working tonight.


NamePointsTiebreak
Kyle Garner15176
Blake Bumgardner15165
Mike Bumgardner15143
Geoff Owens 2140
Geoff Owens 1140
Josh Joyner140
Drew Webb14156
Greg Walker14168
Derrick Lewis140
Ryan Casey14150
Cristi Walker140
Chris Horton140
Tim Shelton14153
DJ Walker14128
Jessica Bumgardner13153
Dan Vargas13105
Jared Selby13174
Wes May-hem130
Kylah VanHorn13118
Randy Spellins13150
Shannon Horton130
Kyle Raible12150
Brian Shaddock12140
Jason Harmon120
Keith Tarter11168
Stephen Shirley11155
Donna Bumgardner10165

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3/19/09 - Car History...1989 Pontiac Grand Am

This will be the first in a 9 part series. Roxane, over at her blog, went through a list of her past cars, and I have always thought the stories based around my cars were interesting. Some more exciting than others, but still, most of them are interesting.

I'll start with my first car, that was "mine" which I believe I got when I turned 16. It was a beautiful 1989 Pontiac Grand Am. It was dark red color with two doors. It was four-cylinder, but based on the speeds at which it could reach, I would have sworn it was a V8. We bought it with over 100k miles on it, and if it were up to me, I would have driven it until the wheels fell off. Instead, I only had it for about a year and a half. The images below show the basic color of my car and the 2 door gives a basic idea of the style. The link above gives a more accurate idea of the body style.



It was just about a daily occurrence that while I was on the way to work, me and my car pool partner would cruise down the interstate at typically 100+ miles an hour. My proudest moment was doing 106 miles an hour down I630 during rush hour traffic. The weaving and maneuvering I did that day was beautiful, poetic, and most importantly really stupid.

During the course of owning that vehicle, I was rear ended at a stop light, blew a tire when I took a turn too sharp and slipped into a sewer drainage thing, ran out of gas several times because the gas gauge was broken (I started using a post-it with the mileage of my last fill up to let me know when I needed gas again), and basically just destroyed this car. One of my favorite things to do was get up to about 40-50 miles an hour on back roads and slam on the brakes to see how far I would slide. Like Roxane mentioned, this is the perfect example why parents should NEVER buy a nice car for a teen's first vehicle.

The end of the Grand Am's life came one evening after a night out with a bunch of friends. A group of about 8 of us had gone to the ice skating rink off of Bowman in Little Rock just to hang out. When we left, we had to stop by a gas station to fill up. While we were pumping, I was talking with the other guy driving and he basically challenged me to race him back to North Little Rock. Considering that I was all about driving 100 miles an hour during rush hour...doing 100+ with no one else on the road seemed like a cake walk.

We hit the interstate where Chenal Parkway turns into I630 and the race was on. Although he was in a brand new Chevy Malibu, I blew him out of the water and might have been as much as a mile ahead of him pretty quickly. I continued at roughly 80-90 all the way down 630 until we got on to I30 at which point I slowed to probably 65 or 70...just enough to speed, but not too crazy like. I figured I had it in the bag because we could not see him at all behind us. As I was merging onto I40 though, we were all shocked to see him flying in behind us and before I could do much about it, he was basically in front of us, so all I could do was floor it. In all honestly, it's amazing my foot didn't go through the floor because there was no way he was going to beat me.

I was wrong. As soon as I hit the gas pedal, the car jerked, sparks flew, smoke billowed out from under the hood and it no longer reacted to anything. My car was dead. I was able to get it to the side of the road, just in front of the Lakewood Exit and the other guy stopped and came back to see what was going on. Since I'm no mechanic I called my dad and he said he would come get us. Of course, he didn't get the whole story of what happened.

While we were waiting we were standing off the interstate about 20 feet. My dad got there as they only lived a few miles down the road and went back to the house where he immediately called a tow truck and left to meet it. Before he could get there, the tow truck called and said he couldn't find the car he reported, but that there were several fire trucks, ambulance and police vehicles in the general area.

In that short time period, maybe 10-15 minutes, apparently a drunk driver had slammed into the back of my car at full speed thinking the shoulder was another lane at which point he sent my vehicle flying into the very spot where me and my friends had just been waiting. Needless to say, my car was destroyed, and amazingly no one was injured. After I dropped my friends off using my mom's van (more on that in a later post), I went by the scene of the accident and I can honestly say that in my life I have never felt so helpless, scared, emotional and guilty all at the same time.

I know this was a long opening post, but this kind of sets the scene for the life of the rest of my other cars. Stay tuned for the next vehicle in line - 1986 Dodge Caravan.

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3/16/09 - March Madness Brackets are ready

You can go to this link at ESPN and choose your method of printable brackets. If you want in, just print, fill it out, put it in an envelope with $5 for each bracket and send it to me. My contact information is on the first post introducing MM2009.

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3/15/09 - Happy Birthday Makenna

I'm 2 days late on this post, but I was more interested in spending the time with the birthday girl as opposed to telling others about it. We didn't do much of anything on her actual birthday (Friday night), but we did go out to dinner at Carino's where we found out that they do nothing for birthday. (This is good news to me because I do not particularly care for my dinner to be interrupted by a bunch of waiters/waitresses yelling happy birthday off key to some stranger who birthday was probably 6 weeks ago, but they probably wanted a free piece of cake).

With that said, she did enjoy some pasta and we learned that she can drink from a straw very well. Although she hasn't figured out that every time you take a drink, you are supposed to swallow before opening your mouth. A little water never hurt much though, so no worries.

Saturday was her actual birthday party and we were blessed to have almost our entire family (both sides) as well as one of the only other babies that Makenna knows. We had some great food provided by Cristi's mom so everyone had plenty to eat, including Makenna who loved the pastas and casseroles almost as much as everyone else (although Greg loved the salad a little too much). After we all ate, Makenna opened up her gifts...and then more gifts...and more gifts. I don't know how long it took to open gifts, but there were a lot of them. Makenna and Nash played with the toys for a few minutes before it was time to eat cake.

Sadly enough, Makenna was very proper when it came to eating the cake. She would basically swipe one finger through the icing and lick it off. She never truly dug in and got a handful although there was plenty of extra icing that never actually made it in her mouth. In an attempt to help her out, I pulled off a small piece of cake and let her feed it to herself and she did not like it at all. I don't know if it was the texture or the taste but she refused to eat anymore after that.

After cake, we spent some more time playing with toys and just talking and stuff and then everyone had to go home. Needless to say, about 5 minutes after people left, Makenna was ready for a nap. She was very sleep and rightly so as she had a very long day.

I'm hoping Cristi will have some more information about all the gifts and stuff that Makenna got as well as pictures and stuff like that, so stay tuned on her blog for that stuff.

Update: I completely forgot to mention that Makenna's aussie aunt amy sent her gift and card for her birthday, since it didn't really make sense to drop 2 grand on a plane ticket for a 1 year old's birthday party...maybe for her 3rd or 4th birthday ;) . She got it on Thursday, and although she loved the stuffed animal, she insisted on carrying around the card most of the day until she got some more two days later. Of course, the cutest part was that as soon as she saw the big ol' purple giraffe, she immediately gave it a kiss.

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3/10/09 - Dish...the saga continues

The last update on this deal was on 2/20/09. I don't remember what has gone on since then, but I'll summarize the last few conversations I've had with them. First, the $300 has been put back on my credit card. I called and told them to add $60 of credits to my account and they said they would, I believed them. They said that I would be charged only $40, instead of the $120 that was showing up on my bill, I believe them. I got my credit card statement and it was billed $120 so I called them about it. They said that everything had been addressed, that all my credits were showing up correctly, I believed them...both of them...both people told me I would not be billed this next statement...I friggin' believed them.

So today...I got my bill, guess what....$230...that's right TWO HUNDRED AND THIRTY DOLLARS!!!! I immediately checked to see what they had done. I was amazed that they were right, all my credits showed up correctly. $10 credit for my troubles, $20 credit for my premium packages, $29 credit for the service call charge, $30 credit for the taxes I had been incorrectly charged. You would think that would have put my account into a credit state...but you would be wrong, because strangely enough, there was a $300 credit, that for some reason was showing up as a charge. Yes...another $300 charge that I am going to have to get taken care of.

At this point, I'm so close to getting it completed, I am going to stick with Dish, but you better believe I'm going to be requesting another credit of some sort. I might request that my premium channels be extended free for several more months, I might ask for another 5 $10 credits...I don't know at this point, but I'll try to get something else out of this.

It has almost become a game to me. I know that I'm in the driver's seat because I've logged all my calls, I've made sure what the charges should be, and I haven't requested anything above and beyond what I have felt I was due. I'll let everyone know how things go after my call tomorrow.

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3/8/09 - March Madness 2009 is almost here.

March Madness is almost here. I didn't run the pool last year due to the birth of a child. This year, there was no way I was going to miss two years in a row. As in years past, my time is stretched pretty thin. I'll do my best to collect all the brackets and money before the first tip-off (not including the play-in game), but some might be collected Thursday evening. We will have to run on the honor system, and those that I anticipate receiving that evening, are very honorable people. If you have any issues with this, leave your concerns in the comments section. I will also accept brackets via snail mail postmarked by Wednesday. This is actually the preferred method of receiving brackets as it requires no effort on my part.

I'll put my address, phone number and email address at the end of this section, and once the bracket's are finalized, I'll put a link to a printable version. All you will need to do is print out the bracket, fill it out, put the bracket and either cash or check for your entry fee (still only $5 a bracket) in an envelope and send it to me.

Daily updates (daily as in game day) will be made on this website with the most up to date scores. I will not longer be doing daily emails, you'll just have to check back here to see who's winning (or how bad your are doing).

Contact Information
DJ Walker
148 Feldspar Drive
Sherwood, AR 72120
GravyTrain6@gmail.com
501-412-7634

  1. A completed bracket should contain the following information:
    • A prediction for all 63 games of the tournament (the play in game does not count)
    • The entrants name, phone number, email and tiebreak point prediction. The contact information is only used for payouts. Don't worry about spam, I hate it as much as you do.
  2. To be eligible for the pool money, an entry fee of $5.00 is required.
    • This fee must be received before tip off of the first game on Thursday (exceptions do apply as explained at the beginning of this post) or in an envelope postmarked by Wednesday before the first game.
    • Other brackets are readily accepted, however if the fee is received after the tipoff, no prize money will be rewards to the entry.
    • All brackets received will be listed among the leaders and prize money eligibility will be denoted. I have found it interesting to see how individuals do, regardless of their interest in college basketball or pools.
  3. Multiple brackets can be entered per person.
    • Each individual can have no more than 4 brackets eligible for prize money.
    • For every bracket entered, the entry fee is required in order to be eligible. If only a portion of entered brackets should be eligible, I have to be informed before the first game, otherwise, I will denote the eligible brackets based on the order I enter them in the system.
  4. Prize disbursement will be determined as follows:
    • 1st Place receives 60% of the final pool rounded up to the nearest whole dollar.
    • 2nd Place receives 30% of the final pool rounded up to the nearest whole dollar.
    • 3rd Place receives 10% of the final pool rounded off to complete the total prize pool.
  5. Points will be awarded for winning picks as follows:
    • By picking the winner of a 1st round game, 1 point is awarded.
    • By picking the winner of a 2nd round game (correctly placing a team in the Sweet 16), 2 points are awarded.
    • By picking the winner of a Sweet 16 game (correctly placing a team in the Elite 8), 3 points are awarded.
    • By picking the winner of an Elite 8 game (correclty placing a team in the Final Four), 4 points are awarded.
    • By picking the winner of a Final Four game (correclty placing a team in the Championship game), 5 points are awarded.
    • By picking the winner of the Championship game (correctly predicting the NCAA National Champion), 6 points are awarded.
  6. Tie Breaker
    • In the case of a tie at the end of the tournament, a tiebreak will be determined by the entry correclty guessing the TOTAL number of points scored by both teams in the Championship game.
    • If a tiebreaker is not provided at the time of bracket submission, a default tie breaker of 0 will be used.
    • The winning entry with the closest prediction to the actual total (whether going over or not) will receive the winning prize money.
    • In the case that none of the "Winners" submit a tiebreak predictions (or if the predictions are the same), the prize money will be split between the winners. If Entry A and B both have 99 points after the championship game, and both failed to submit tiebreak points, they will split the prize money of 1st and 2nd place, each will receive 45% of the final pool.

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3/4/09 - More things that make the internet great.

I am not political. Nothing about the presidency and government appeal to me. With that said, this might be the most interesting artist's (and i use the term loosely) rendition of our current president that I have ever seen.




If you enjoy that, you might enjoy clicking through this website - Bad Paintings of Barack Obama. There are quite a few gems in there. Just keep clicking the image and a new one will appear. Some of my favorites are Barack in a D.C. basketball jersey, in a field of flowers with a half open white shirt on, Mr. Obama with a third eye and of course the image above.

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3/2/09 - This is what the internet should be about.

YouTube Symphony

Apparently, YouTube had a competition, where they chose 90 incredible musicians, playing 26 different instruments from 30 different countries who were judged on a clip they uploaded to the site. They are being brought to New York to perform on April the 15th as a group.

That just amazes me. 90 of possibly the greatest musicians in the world (at least those who knew about the youtube competition and access to the internet) were brought together by this wonderful thing called the internet.

Oh...and then there is this stuff too.

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