Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Unending Stream of Information

I recently found some really cool and interesting twitterites out in Twitter land. I have been following some NASCAR writers and bloggers. There has been a lot of interesting information passed around. A lot of good debate and juicy comments. What I have found myself doing recently though is wading through all the information and trying to figure out whether some of these people really do have a life or if they like going through life pissed off. What I have found is a little bit of both. I also have found out that there are passionate people out there. They have an opinion and a lot of people listen, including me. Coming up a little later, I will expound on this and give my two cents worth.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Put Your Torches Down, There Is No Need For a Lynching

This past Saturday was a pretty good day. Like any day there is good and bad, but overall it was a good day. I got to play golf with my little brother( he whipped me pretty good) and then that evening I got to spend with my family celebrating my Memommie's 84th birthday. Now the bad. I had to unfortunately watch the Georgia Bulldogs play what had to be the worst game I've ever witnessed against the Tennessee Volunteers. Since the debacle in Knoxville, there have been articles written and talk show lights lit up over what went wrong and who is to blame. One of the comments written and said is that the school should look at a change in the head coach. Now that got me thinking. I thought, people, really, calm down! The first sign of adversity and people want to go to the extreme. Changing the head coach is not the answer, that should be the last thing anyone thinks, especially the decision makers in Athens and most certainly the fans.

I thought this would be a great time to remind people just how good the University of Georgia has got it when it comes to the head coach of the football team, Mark Richt. A little background, Mark Richt came from Florida State as the Offensive Coordinator for Bobby Bowden. He was the OC for 10 years there. On his watch the offense was consistently in the top ten in the country. They lost only two games fives times in his OC tenure and never more than that. They were never outside the top five in the polls too. Since he left FSU, they have won 10 or more games in a season just once and have lost at least three games every year. In his eight seasons as the head coach of Georgia, they have had SIX seasons with double digit wins. His win/loss record is 82-22 for a .788 winning percentage. I tell you all this for three reasons. First reason, the two previous coaches at Georgia, Ray Goff and Jim Donnan had a combined record of 86-53-1 for a .614 winning percentage. Do the fans really want to go back to that? I don't think so. Second reason, the coach that Richt cut his teeth with, Bobby Bowden, was 71-26 or .732 winning percentage his first eight seasons at FSU. In his ninth season, the one Richt is in now at Georgia, he was 7-3-2. I think FSU has done pretty darn good since. As a side note, Bowden went 4-7 in his ninth season at West Virginia and then went 9-3 the next season before heading south to Tallahassee. My third and final reason for all this is to compare him to who a lot of people consider the greatest Georgia coach of all time, Vince Dooley. Now, I am not trying to say Mark Richt is better than Vince Dooley or ever will be, only time will tell where Richt will line up next to Dooley. I am just comparing where they stack in the same amount of time both have coached. Coach Dooley was 59-24-4 for a winning percentage of .678. In his ninth season, he went 7-4. I think if fans keep this in mind, they won't think they have it so bad after all. There is going to be some rough patches and sure some changes need to be made, but changing head coaches is not the answer nor the change that needs to be made.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Random Thoughts from the Weekend

So I went by my office this morning to drop off a drawing for a quote on some countertops. When I went to open the front door, it did not budge. I thought, hmm, this is odd, usually someone is here and if no one was going to be there, then I would have been told. Well this got me to thinking. Since no one bothered to tell me that no one would be in this morning and since I do not have a key, I thought, this is great! Just a great topper to what was just a wonderful weekend! (tongue in cheek)

My first thought from this past weekend, how is it that in the Georgia/LSU game on Saturday, the zebras decide that they want to have a part in the outcome of the game and not leave it up to the players? With 1:09 left in the game Georgia takes the lead from LSU in what had been a back and forth game. LSU had just went ahead like 30 seconds before and UGA drives down and A.J. Green makes just an unbelievable catch! The crowd goes nuts, the players, as a group, come over and congratulate Green, all is good right? Nope! Mr. Zebra man decides that these young men are celebrating too much and showing up the visiting Tigers of LSU. Now if I could figure out how to pull that video and show it here I would, but I can't, so take my word for it. It was a bogus call and well I guess that is how the cookie crumbles and in a single play, how Georgia's season has gone to date. My second thought, I was watching the NASCAR race in Kansas on Sunday. Now this year for me has been torture! My guy is Dale Jr. and to put it bluntly, he has sucked it up this year. It has gotten so bad that I have contemplated jumping ship and joining the ranks of the Smoke Brigade. Ah, but there was hope this weekend, Jr. was starting on the outside front row and overall looked to have a pretty good car for the show. It looked even better when on lap 12, he took lead and all was great in Junior Nation for the next 44 laps. Then the wheels fell off, more to the point, a lug nut fell off. Gotta come back in put it on and when its all said and done, he's a lap down and finally with about 20-30 laps to go, a belt falls off, he loses power and finishes where he has most of the season, in the 30's! Yippee-Ki-A Mother *Bleep*! Last thought from the weekend and this is the topper. The wife in her infinite wisdom, decides that since I have suffered through the Dawgs loss on Saturday and Jr.'s debacle on Sunday, that I should be destined for more suffering.... that's right, I couldn't even get "any"! Damn, I sure am glad its Monday!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Welcome to the Happiest Place on Earth

Its been awhile since I last checked into the blogosphere world. Things have happened and there have been place to go, ya know what I mean? Well boys and girls, I'm back and have I got a doozy for you! For those few that actually read my golden nuggets of wisdom, the wife and I spent the last half of last week at the Happiest Place on Earth, Walt Disney World. Actually, we only spent one day there and it was one for the ages! My wife and I actually went down to Orlando because I was playing in the USSSA( United States Speciality Sports Association) Class E World Series. We got there on Wednesday, started playing on Thursday and we were put out of our playing misery on Friday afternoon. That experience is for another time. Since we were put out of the tournament on Friday, the War Department, aka, The Wife wanted to spend Saturday at Disney World. Last year, we were down for the same tournament and we were able to go to both Animal Kingdom and Epcot. So this year the natural logic was that we go to Magic Kingdom. Now, I love Disney, I am a kid at heart and if you talk to my wife, she will tell you that I will never grow up and will always be a kid. This past trip to ole Walt's World though just might have cured me of being a kid forever, well not really, but oh my did it really test me like no other time in my life.

I must just for a moment back up to the night before. Like I said earlier, we were put out of the tournament that Friday afternoon. We were put into what is affectionately known as the "beer bracket". The "beer bracket" is just another way of saying, "your done, now let's go drink beer and drown our sorrows for such pitiful play." Well to say I went deep into the "beer bracket" would be a understatement and didn't get "put out" til somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 a.m. So Saturday morning came early and so did the nudging of my wife telling me to get up and GET HAPPY! So with a groggy head, bad breath, and squinty eyes off we went to the Magic Kingdom. First stop was to have my picture taken at the front of the entrance with me and a Schaefer! As a proud Schaefer HofFer its my responsibility to "take it to the streets"! The security guard was cool about it and even got a chuckle outta the guy when another guard walked up and asked what was going on and he explained my plan. That was the highlight of the day and its barely 9 a.m. at this point! From there, we did all the usual rides, Its A Small World, Peter Pan, Haunted Mansion, Hall of Presidents, Splash Mountain, and so on and so on. The big downer of the day by far was that Space Mountain was closed! I was thinking, geez! I'm hungover and no Space Mountain, what freakin' gives?! As I've stated before, this is the Happiest Place on the Earth, right? Well, they need to tell that to all the people that feel like its ok to walk into you and instead of saying "excuse me" or "I'm sorry", you get a dirty look and some angry remark, usually in a language that I didn't understand. After you get past the rude, then you get that greatest of human species, the mother with a stroller! I swear, they should make these women have a license or something to drive those things around the park! If there was a open space up ahead while walking, they were hell bent and determined that she and that stroller were gonna be in it! After getting dang near run over a few times, it actually got to be pretty funny. The wife and I actually started to keep count! Well, I made it through the day, albeit tired and with achy feet. The wife was happy and in the end, even though it seemed like everyone in Florida and half the free world were there( they don't say Its A Small World After All for nothing!), I actually had a great time and am even trying to plan our next trip there. I think next time though, I will wear heel and shin pads for the women strollers from hell and definitely won't be pounding beers the night before!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

CitiMortage and Life Under the Big Top....Look Out! Here Comes the Clown Car!

My wife and I have had the displeasure for almost a year now of trying to sell our home. Because she was taking a new job in a new town, it was necessary to put the house up for sale. When we first started out on what can only be termed as a "exercise in angst and humility", we thought, let's put it up for sale by owner. Our thinking was, why do we want to give money away by hiring a real estate agent. Besides, my wife is a real estate attorney and she for the most part knew the In's and out's of the real estate world. As part of full disclosure here, we like a lot of people in this country had been struggling to make our mortgage payments. For one reason or another, it was just difficult. It was our own fault and this is not a "poor me" entry. I now bring your attention to the wonderful company that handled our mortgage, CitiMortage. For the better part of three years we have had to deal with this company. Unfortunately. These clowns, and I use this term, because everytime we would call them, we got a different person. Like the famous clown cars at the circus, they just kept coming at us, or in this instance, given to us.

CitiMortage customer service, or "clowns" as they shall be known for the rest of this rant are such for many reasons. The first, as mentioned above, is because we could never get just one person to handle our account. Now, I say this, and on more than one occasion, it was told to us that just one "clown" would handle our account. This was a lie. Everytime I called or heaven forbid my wife called and I would want to speak to my "clown", I was told either they were unavailable or that they did not handle my account. Remember now, clown car antics at its finest. In one side of the car and right out the other, never doing or able to do a thing. They would have my head either spinning so hard or hurting so bad that I would literally have to lie down after talking to them! Second, and I mentioned this above, but my wife trying to talk to them on the occasions when I was not available was another exercise if futility. The "clowns" would say something along the lines that they did not have authorization to talk to her and would have to have written, faxed authorization to do so. No problem, done, EVERYTIME AFTER SHE WOULD CALL AND WAS TOLD SHE WAS NOT AUTHORIZED! Now, I am not the sharpest pencil in the cup and have been known not to follow directions very well, but after about the tenth time, we just gave up. How many damn times do you actually lose something? Remember this part too, oh is there more to come on this. So as a review so far, multiple people to talk to, none of which have a clue about our account and second, they can't receive a simple fax to authorize a main contributor to the mortgage. Along those lines, everytime I talk to a "clown" they say that our conversation is recorded and that they type notes pertaining to our account. When I have questioned them as to why I have to give the same answers over and over again when they should be in their system, I am told that "no notes exist for this account". So all this time, you are just giving me lip service and trying to pump sunshine up my butt when the whole time its nothing more than pickle juice. I felt like that poor sap they bring out of the crowd at the circus and they lean in too far to smell the flower and get squirted with water! There are more issues than what I have wrote out here. One I don't bore you and second I just get pissed off everytime I have to recall all their acts of stupidity. But, you've got your background, now comes the fun part!

As I mentioned before, my wife and I are trying to sell our home. The whole "For Sale By Owner" bit just did not work out. It was just way too involved for us. In November, the wife had moved to our new town and I just didn't have the time nor resources to put forth the effort needed. As it would happen, a local real estate agent came by and wanted to list our home. Great! Go for it! I phoned the wife and told her the good news. She was on board and off we went listing the house. At first we listed our home for what we needed to get to get out from under our mortgage. Forget making money, the economy was and is still shot, we just needed a clean break. We cut a deal with CitiMortage that cut our payments in half, the one and only thing I can say that they did right for us, and then cut our price on the home for what the market would bear and prepared for a short sale. The house got plenty of looks, but no offers. Then one day, offer number one came in and came in way short, thanks but no thanks. Then, and here is where my final straw with CitiMortage begins. We got an offer on the house and it was for the full asking price at the revised price. The wife and I were so excited, we thought, this is it, we are going to get out from under the house and save a little money and really begin to settle down in our new town. The offer came in on August 6th of this month, our agent sent the paperwork to CitiMortage the next day, August 7th, a Friday. The fun is about to begin! The following Monday, our agent calls CitiMortage and a "clown" answers. Sorry ma'am, nothing has come through on our computer fax pertaining to the offer. OK, no problem, its just Monday, probably be in on Tuesday. Call back the next day, guess what, you got it! Nothing on the computer fax. So she faxes again and again, and again! Four times it took the "clowns" to receive our information. The next step is for someone to review it. By this time its been almost two weeks since the second offer came in. After more "clowns" give our agent the run around, it is finally given to someone to review, for real this time! We should have an answer in thirty days. Whatever, I'm just glad they haven't lost anything this time. This brings me to today, September 10th. Over a month since the offer was made and we get news today that our buyer is no longer interested because it is taking too long to get answers. When our agent finds this out she does her best to hold onto the buyer, she even calls CitiMortage and even though they said it was going to take thirty days to get an answer, we get an answer today that they accept the offer! Sorry charlie, buyer is out, on to other houses. Thank you CitiMortage! Because of your procrastination and incompetence, we are not stuck with the house longer and really don't know if we are going to be able to continue to make payments, can you say Foreclosure? Happy days are ahead! I plan on sending this to as many people as possible in the hopes it ends up in front of someone that runs CitiMortage. When they see this, I hope they are embarrassed and ashamed. If all business in this country were run like this, we as Americans would be the laughing stock of the world! I sure hope Sanjiv Das, CEO of CitiMortage, is proud of the work he and his company have done, because this is one American family he has really worked over!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Southern Tradition Continues...

As I set out on that most maiden of voyages, my first blog, my mind raced as to what should be my first entry. There were a lot of ideas. My interests range from NASCAR, softball, professional and college sports, and just in general whatever life has to offer on a daily basis. In the end though I settled on the subject that at the end of the day that is closest to my heart, with apologies to my wife, college football. More specifically the University of Georgia Bulldogs.

Nowadays all over the South, from Athens to Tuscaloosa with stops along the way in Knoxville, Tallahassee, Auburn, and dare I say Gainesville, fans are gearing up for Opening Day Kickoff. You can absolutely smell it! There is excitement everywhere! In Athens, they are breaking in a new quarterback and running back, in Gainesville, they are reloading for a chance at a repeat national championship, and in Knoxville, they are just hoping to get through the first year without their coach getting lynched for some of his comments in the preseason. Its time for Tiger Walk, in Auburn, the girls are rarin' to go in their sundresses and mint juleps at the Grove at Ole Miss. UGA VII is getting his teeth sharpened ready to take a bite out of an opposing player, Chief Oseola and Renegade are getting their spear ready to stab at midfield. In Alabama, students are scouring the stores looking for just the right Hounds Tooth hat. Tradition is everywhere and so is the food. Ribs, BBQ, seafood, homemade potato salad, corn on the cob, and boiled peanuts. Go to any tailgate party throughout the South and you will find any one of these items and for sure you are bound to find someone with all of the above. Diets die on Fall Saturdays in the South.

Now back to my beloved Bulldogs. Traditions and rituals abound in and around Athens on game day. For myself, it starts on Friday. More precisely, its Red Friday. You will find me wearing something red and usually something that has Georgia on it. Another tradition that I strictly adhere to is that the wife, during football season, is not allowed to wear orange. Under no circumstances will I be seen in public from September to January 1st if she is wearing orange. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. She doesn't like it, but hey, this is about me, not her. Now on the occassions that I do get to go to a game in Athens, its absolutely puts me in sensory overload! The color, the people, the smells, everything about the campus is electric! You have Dawg Walk, where the players walk into the stadium with the crowd lined up on the sidewalk doing various cheers, you have the pregame introduction of UGA VII, you have the playing of Glory, Glory and after games when there is a victory, there is the ringing of the Chapel Bell. The first game I attended was back in 2004. I cried. To look out and see the awesome spectacle that is Sanford Stadium was just emotional. From the famed Hedges that line the field, to the big G at midfield, the Granite Bulldog Statue that serves as the final resting place for the previous mascots, to again, all the people, it is just a special place. Now I could go on and on and I hope that the few words I put down here paint a beautiful picture, but in the end there are no words that can do justice to what a wonderful place Athens, Georgia is on fall Saturdays. You may not be a Georgia fan and that is ok, but for this ole boy, there ain't no place I'd rather be than in Athens come September. GO DAWGS!