Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Soccer Stars

The grad students in the Kinesiology department put together a soccer team in the men's minor league. The 120 teams in the men's minor league were divided into 20 divisions of 6, with the winner of each division moving on to the playoffs.

The Kinesiology Football Club (KFC) had a great season and finished second in Division L, missing the playoffs by one game. KFC squeaked out one goal victories over FC Daddyos, the 313, and the Yetti Brigade, and won by default in a rain-shortened game over a weak Penn State United squad. Did Chad take the IM season too seriously? Aside from scheduling two pre-season practices for his team, playing the last game on a sore and swollen ankle, and being inconsolable for days after the loss to the Erie Football Club, he actually controlled himself pretty well as he went the entire season without getting a yellow card (a feat he did not accomplish last season because of a blatant/instinctive (depends who you ask) elbow to the face of an opponent).

KFC did not win the championship but did take home a few awards. With an average age closing in on 30 they were hands down the oldest team, and with players hailing from 4 continents the team ran away with the United Nations Award. In a closer ballot, KFC lost to Doo Doo Butter, Sea Men, Balls Deep, and Team Name Pending for the worst team name.

Pictured (from left to right). Crouching: Dave Lunt - Utah (aka "Dirk Handlebar" from his days last spring sporting a mullett and a mustache. Dave used his background as a football defensive back in his role as containing outside back); John Gleaves - Portland (a national champion cyclist, John was the goalie and the assistant to the team's equipment manager); Chad (team captain, had to buy child-size shin guards to fit his skinny legs); Julio Gomez - Colombia (grew up in Miami, he dazzled opponents with his footwork on the field and awed his teammates by doing backflips after the games). Standing: Justin Schwartzwelder - Georgia (split time as the team's outside fullback, social coordinator, and fashion consultant); Joel Martin - Binghamton, NY (the defensive specialist turned down more lucrative offers from other IM teams to be a part of something (sorta) special with KFC); Matthew Llewellyn - Wales (the team's equipment manager that looks like Michael Scott, plays like Dwight Schrute, and dresses like Andy Bernard); Andrzej Przybyla - Poland (the attacker intimidated opponents spoke to them in Polish even though he was only saying that he had more consonants in his name than them); Herman Van Werkhoeven (the South African speedster has a natural resemblance to the main character in Grand Theft Auto). Not pictured: Alex Krasnick (the enforcer from Jersey, after the ref cancelled our first game because of an gutter-busting rainstorm he got a red card for telling the ref what he could do with his whistle). Special thanks to Kathi for taking the team picture and to Jana, Maria, Caroline, Kasha, and Katie (the team wives and girlfriends), and Zola, James, and Jeshu (the next generation of KFC) for putting up with the has-beens throughout the season.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Happy Hour

Along with seeing the Hanson Brothers and the Spice Girls in concert, one of our greatest longings in life still not achieved at the ages of 26 and 27, was going to a Sonic restaurant. We had seen countless hilarious commercials involving two people in their car enjoying delicious Sonic food and drink, but were unaware of any Sonics outside of Seattle (groan).

Finally, though, we found one in little Lancaster, Pennsylvania right next door to an Amish furniture store and an outlet mall. While celebrating our good fortune (and being able to now focus wholly on getting Spice Girls reunion tour tickets), we thought we'd dedicate our first Sonic experience with snapshots worthy of the comical end shots of every Sonic commercial we've ever seen.

A Sweet Trip

Who can resist a city where the streetlights are shaped like kisses? Certainly not us, and so we road-tripped to Hershey, Pennsylvania for the weekend. After checking in to our hotel on Friday night, we took a left onto Chocolate Ave. and another left to Cocoa St. ending up at the Hershey Lodge for a late night snack of waffle fries and Chocolate Ketchup.
Chocolate ketchup tastes much better than it sounds. It combined two of Kathi's great loves in this world (well, three if you include the company she was with). Saturday morning, our friends Dave, Jana, and Zola Lunt met us at the entrance to Chocolate World for a free (yes!!) tour of how Milton S. Hershey built his empire and addicted the world to his milk chocolate products. Prior to our tour, though, Zola christened the trip with her own creation of the Hershey squirts.

Gabby, Harmony, and Olympia serenaded us through the (free) tour of the process of making delicious milk chocolate. They sang about the mooo-vement of cocoa beans from tropical regions and acoustically utter-ed to us explanations of the breaking and conching processes that go into making Hershey's chocolate.
At the end of our tour, Hershey's version of the Wal-Mart greeters lured us down the gift shop by giving free Hershey's Bliss bites. We couldn't resist the massive assortment of Hershey's products at the gift shop (including a five-pound chocolate bar and a t-shirt that reads, "I traded my brother for a Hershey's"), and bought a bottle of Reese's Peanut Butter cup ice cream sauce for $2.65. At the local grocery store later that night we found the same bottle for $1.89. Time for more coupon-clipping to make up for this appreciable loss.Without knowing the extent of our fiduciary mistake, we indulged in creamy, rich Hershey's chocolate milkshakes for mid-morning snacks. Our chocolate cravings had then been satisfied and we thought we should burn off the extra calories with a little exercise. The game was trying to form your body into the shape of a Hershey building. Kathi's demonstration of the Hershey smokestacks took first prize. The picture of Chad imitating the corkscrew rollercoaster is, unfortunately, not family-friendly, but it did take second prize.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Candidates

Although we know little more about politics than the average high school freshman, we have been swept up in all the hoo-ha of the Pennsylvania primary. But before we get into this rambling we will let you know that we will not express our own political views (because we don't have them) and we will not try to push one candidate over another (because ... see previous parenthetical confession).

The campaign trail swept through State College last weekend, giving us an opportunity to really "get to know" the candidates. Bill Clinton came to town on a dreary Thursday evening to speak in the gymnasium in Chad's building. 6,100 people withstood the rain waiting in line for as long as 5 hours to hear this ex-president talk about how wonderful the wife that he was unfaithful to would be for the country (not expressing our views - just stating the obvious). We did not feel like standing in the rain, but Chad does suffer from ES3 (see earlier post), so we waited in Chad's office. Thinking that Chad's status as graduate student (that shares a normal-sized office with four others) and his knowledge of the Recreation Building on campus gave us an edge on the "normal people" that stood in the rain waiting to get in.

To make a long story short, the barrel-chested secret service squad that cased the building are smarter than they look. We sent our friend, Alex (one of Chad's office mates), through the bowels of the building searching for a secret entrance. At one point he got yelled at by the only female member of the SS. She had the bubbly presence of Pat Summitt and Hillary all tied into one, and Alex still, over a week later, is not sleeping well. We, on the other hand, were unfazed, gave up on our quest to hear Slick Willy, and went home to watch a re-run of The Office.

Penn State expressed its political neutrality by, while setting Bill Clinton up in a rickety old gym (capacity 6,000), giving Barack Obama a podium on the steps of the campus' most famous building, Old Main (capacity - limitless). So we rushed home after church on Sunday morning to get to Barack's early afternoon speech.

We, again, thought that Chad's status as "average graduate student" and his knowledge of the campus lawn could get us closer to Barack than the diehards waiting in the mile-and-a-half-long line to get through the metal detector. We (Chad) failed. Kathi made it clear that she needed binoculars because he was so far away and x-ray vision to see through the weeping willow between us and the podium.
Penn State offensive tackle, Gerald Cadogan, kicked things off with the national anthem. Gerald is a great student-athlete and a great person. We pretend to know him because he goes to our church and he said hi to Kathi once during the "greet one another" time one Sunday morning. Chad was so jealous at not getting to greet him that he marked the "needs prayer support" box in the friendship bulletin that went down our pew later in the service.

Penn State cornerback, Lydell Sargeant, who does not go to our church, followed Gerald's Stars and Stripes by introducing Obama. Lydell is one of numerous Nittany Lions football players that have been arrested in the past year. However, he totally redeemed himself by presenting Obama with a brand new Penn State football jersey (staunchly conservative Coach Paterno couldn't have been too happy about this).

Barack then excited the 22,000 fans (crowd) by jumping into a stand-up comedy routine that had the audience splitting their sides (again, not expressing our views). His self-deprecating monologue rivalled Jon Stewart's opening to the Academy Awards this year. Stewart talked about the difficulty of Obama sharing his middle name with the last name of one of the worst tyrants the world has ever seen, and having a last name that rhymes with the man behind the 9/11 massacre. History is against Obama, because a similarly evil-named presidential nominee, Gay-dolph Titler, should have won the 1944 election had he been known by any other name.
We left the speech early (we really don't have political views yet), and spent our time much more wisely - cutting coupons from the free newspapers in the public library (insert Dutch/frugal joke here). We did feel a little guilty skipping out. But on our walk home we overheard numerous conversations from students that attended the talk. We heard comments like, "No, I don't think he's a Muslim," and, "Is he really Dick Cheney's cousin?", which made us realize that we didn't miss much.