Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 - A Brand New Year

  Just like Wednesday’s blog was my last of 2011, this blog is my first for 2012. I’m not a big new year’s resolution guy. In 2009 and 2010 I made resolutions involving thousands of perfect-pushups and stationary bicycle miles but after I broke my second stationary bicycle after I hit my goal in 2010, I decided to stop buying stationary bicycles and resolved to hit the speed bag every other day. It lasted about 2 weeks until Matt decided to start hitting the speed bag in between my breaks and twice knocked it off the mooring by hitting it so hard. That was the end of my physical fitness for the year, except for walking Daisy and Baxter. But it’s a new year and I have some resolutions for it.

  I’m resolving in 2012 not to watch one minute of any college football bowl games where either team has already fired their coaches. Yesterday I watched a large part of the ‘Fight Hunger Bowl’ from San Francisco. The UCLA Bruins lost to the Fighting Illini of Illinois in a real snooze fest. Illinois fired Ron Zook less than 2 years after a Rose Bowl appearance after his team began the season with 6 straight wins and ended the season with 6 straight losses. UCLA had fired coach Rick Neuheisel after winning his teams’division of the Pac-12 Conference with a 6-6 record (Actually UCLA finished second to USC but the Trojans were ineligible to win the division due to NCAA rule infractions). Neuheisel was allowed to coach UCLA to a loss in the Pac-12 championship game but was not permitted to coach the bowl game. With the loss, UCLA set a record as the only team to compete in a bowl game with 7 losses and the only 8 loss team to play in a bowl. There are way too many bowl games in college football when teams that are so disappointing that they fire their coaches are allowed to play in bowl game. I don’t understand why a college like Texas A&M couldn’t have waited until after their bowl game until firing coach Mike Sherman. My time would be better spent going to the tattoo parlor and getting a giant ‘LOSER’ tattoo than watching these loser teams play.

  Now that Matt is off to college, I am goig to spend 5 to 10 minutes hitting the speed bag at least every other day. I’ve been very stressed out lately and hitting something will de-stress me and make me feel better. My other physical resolution is to do 60 pushups a day with a goal of being able to do 54 pushups in 2 minutes. We’re planning a trip to the Jersey Shore and in case I get the chance to take the National Guard Fitness Challenge like I did 2 years ago, I want to win the National Guard T-shirt instead of the National Guard hand towel I got last time when I hit the wall after doing 34 pushups in 40 seconds. Being 2 years older won’t help my chances, but 2 more years of experience will help.

This guy looks pretty rusty on the speed bag after 50 weeks off. In a month or two, he'll be machine-like. Better keep that right hand up, though!

  I have 2 chess resolutions. One is to play in 6 non-blitz tournaments. Due to work, an ill-timed cold, and flat-out laziness, I didn’t play in a single weekend tournament in 2011 that had a time limit more than Game in 15 minutes. No matter how busy I get running my monthly youth tournaments, it’s important for me to find the time to play in some tournaments myself. Not only is it a lot of fun, but I get to meet up with old friends, make new ones, and I also get a week’s worth of blogs out of every tournament I go to where I write down the moves. I expect to have a lot of rust to shake off initially, but that’s the price for a long period of relative inactivity. My other goal is to spend 10 minutes a day on my iPod’s ‘Tactics trainer’ app. I’ve done this for the last 2 months and it’s helping me spot more tactics in my games. This will dovetail nicely with my other chess resolution since tactics are the number 1 reason I lose games and spending 10 minutes quietly thinking chess will help me to get in a tournament frame of mind.

  My last resolution for 2012 is to work harder at being more positive. For example, a new family has moved in next door to our house this week. I really liked having an empty house as my next door neighbor but those days are over for now. The new family seems quiet enough but again, they just moved in. Ever since Betty the little old lady moved out of the house in 2003 almost every family that has lived there seems to leave trash all over the front yard which then blows over into my yard. It’s not like Better Homes and Gardens is taking pictures of my house, but I don’t need any help decorating with left over garbage, thank you. In what had to have been the first attempt at taking their garbage to their trash can outside, the new neighbors have littered their yard with a bunch of bottle caps, sandwich wrappers, and limes. I’m going to be positive, but since I’m new at this I’m still thinking of just the right thing to say.

a) Great collection! Been at it long?
b) Those limes look really good against the leaves. Are you a decorator?
c) I was thinking of leaving half-eaten oranges in my yard. What do you think?
d) You must save a lot of money on trash pickup.

  All half-kidding aside, I’m expecting a great and productive 2012. I intend on going with Kathy on lots of long walks to the Jiffy to get beef stick treats for Daisy and Baxter, having a great time playing chess and running youth tournaments, enjoying work without letting the fast pace get to me, writing some memorable blog posts, and improving my chess website.