In re: Do I need one? World’s most expensive cup warmer?

expensivecupwarm.jpgIf I have to ask then the answer is probably no… Despite my love of coffee I think that this might be a bit of overkill for the average household a $1,000 cup warmer.  That’s right, probably more then most of your espresso machines if you have one, and even if you do if it is top of the line (okay the line for espresso goes quite far, the matching machine to this warmer is over $3,500).  But…if you crave a hot mug and don’t like having to warm it up some old fashion way, this might be the thing for you.

(oh and in case you are interested, William Sonoma sells the Jura-Capresso Z-Series Cup Warmer for $999.95 and shipping is free – woohoo!)

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In re: The Mug 2.0

mug.jpgHave you ever had a best friend?  Someone you could always count on to be there… well before I adopted Charlie I already had a trusty companion (not Sophie) that was (and of few of my critics may remember) the spill proof Nissan Thermos Mug.  

When I bought the mug (30 dollars or so) during my first year of law school some folks thought I was crazy.  Were they right, or did I win over the critics?  Over two years of daily use and the mug held up, the seal kept it leakproof (you could throw it in your backpack without an ounce of fear).  I never had to buy coffee as my morning brew from home was still hot at lunch time and still warm at 3pm.   The savings?  Well one cup of coffee from our law schools coffee shop (Lou’s Cafe) which brands itself as Starbucks, but tastes like Folgers costs over a dollar, so buying even the occasional cup of coffee to allow oneself the post 11 am hot cup of coffee treat would lead to an eventual savings.  I dare say for me the savings and the convenience have been greater and I would pay even $50 or $60 for such a mug. 

Unfortunately the mug was misplaced a few weeks ago and it shocked me back into realizing the power and wonder of the leakproof mug and the hours of heat it provided.  Today I finally got around to ordering a replacement and realizing that my mug is gone, but not forgotten.  Before ordering I read a few of the comments on the Amazon page for the mug and found what I thought was an interesting post on the wonders of the mug.  

“YOU DRINK LESS COFFEE. It sounds kooky, but I’ve been overwhelmed by this discovery twice in the last decade. (Here’s how: consider that when you take a sip of coffee, you get the smell, the strong flavor, the steam on your nose, and the hot beverage warmth in your mouth. As this coffee gets colder, you will discover that your sips become gulps… because you want that “hit” of the hot beverage and the flavor.” (From amazon customer review)

In re: The Game

[Note: This is the second part of a series outlining my experience at the Ohio State / Michigan football game]

Half hour until kickoff and we assemble our crew and start heading out to the stadium, walking down Wood Hayes Dr, across the Olentangy River and into the parking lot that surrounds the stadium. People are shouting out ticket requests and the lot is packed, more people, more tailgates than a usual Saturday. Reaching the ticket takers took a few minutes, but otherwise nothing out of the ordinary. Climbing up the steps to C deck (the upper deck) didn’t seem to take as long as usual and before I knew it, I was standing in our section, in the north (closed) end, at about the 30 yard line staring out in the sea of scarlet. To anyone who hasn’t seen 105,000 people dressed in scarlet and cheering for one goal, it can be quite a site.

Today it was like I had never seen it before, taking a second to absorb the sound and the image and started down to secure our seats (with student sections, and no seats it can be a battle for spots). No one had taken my seats yet and we stood up against the rail, first row of the C deck, what I consider the prime seats (I’ve sat down low before, but I really enjoy the perspective up high, of course being in row one means nothing spoils your view).

Kickoff seemed to have been delayed as the Michigan band still hadn’t taken the field yet, going through their little M routine always impresses me a bit and makes it feel like a real Big Ten game – what real football is about. Before I knew it Script Ohio was being performed, what may sound silly to someone from the coasts, but anyone who spends time around here has to develop some kind of affinity for – as evidenced by the thousands of flashbulbs as the ‘i’ was dotted.

Michigan received the ball first and before I could catch my breath and settle in, they had marched down the field, at will scoring a touchdown and sending me into a panic. I should add right about now that one of my perpetual fears is that that day somehow we’ll just forget how to play. I mean – really forget – not hold on to the ball, not catch, not score, not tackle and until we get a couple completions going and a couple yards rushing I can’t let go that today will be the day when everything collapses. Thankfully, Ohio State came right back and putting up 7 of their own allowed me to finally relax and enjoy the game. And oh boy, what a game it was to be.

It was stressful, it was an emotional roller coaster, sending us jumping and screaming throughout the afternoon and into the evening. Every time OSU was set to break away from Michigan we fumbled or a penalty was called keeping the Wolverines in the game. I just wanted a blowout, sure its fun to be at a good game, but not when your emotionally invested in Ohio State Football in an unhealthy manner, where you feel a loss for a week.

The rest of the game was a blur, never getting a moment, except the bands half time performance of hollywood movie themes (actually done quite well, smoke coming out of the Titanic’s smoke stacks).

With the time ticking away at the end of the game I wasn’t sure what to do, had we really won?  I let go my grip of the towel I was clutching and breathed a sigh of relief

In re: The Game – Pregame

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[Note: This is the first part of a two part series on the Ohio State / Michigan game last weekend here in Columbus]

Beep, beep, beep… I glance over at the clock and see it reads 5:45am. I glance down at Charlie my dog and see even he isn’t ready to get up for the day — usually once the alarm goes he thinks its time to play and go for a walk.
I slip on some shoes and try and shake the sleep from my head, I had only been in bed for a few hours and long to slip back under the warm covers and grab a few more hours – but I know the whole day depends on getting out the door. Today is Saturday and in Columbus during the fall that means one thing – OSU football. Today however isn’t just OSU football, its OSU – Michigan, the game, 1 vs. 2, rival vs. rival. I head downstairs and throw a few last items into my already packed car, that contains among other things, food, grill, stereo, chairs, and any number of other things that one may need while doing justice to tailgating. Friends arrive at 6am who have agreed to take on the early morning duty and we caravan over to where we will be spending a good part of the day. Its almost 6:15 now and the lots are already full, the lot we usually go to and prefer is completely full so we go next door where we get what turn out to be the last few spots.

By now things aren’t looking so good as we will have to carry everything to the grassy area we decide we will be setting up. We tear open – still dark outside – a 10 x 10 canopy that I recently obtained and begin to try and set it up, tossing the instructions to the ground. Quickly we hit problems, certain pegs are missing, we can’t get it to open, basically we get stalled. Nearby and likely more experienced tailgaters lend a hand, after confirming that we are not Michigan fans despite the blue colored tent. They quickly encounter problems as well but continue to tell me what to do and I do, stuffing twigs into the tent poles to keep the thing up. Finally as its now past 7 am we have staked out our spot and head back to a waiting car to go home and gather the rest of our stuff up, shower, walk Charlie and get ready to head back.

We load into yet another car, with every last minute item that was forgot thrown in, including a thermos of coffee that I hope will keep me going and head out. Its now 9 am and the sun is out, making it apparent that it will be a glorious day. Some others who were supposed to be out early had already hit a snag and got delayed as no taxis could apparently be found so without half of our setup, contained in a lock car, we empty the contents of my packed small car and start getting breakfast up and running. I lit up the sterno burners and throw up on top to stay warm a breakfast casserole (known under various names to others, a breakfast strata, an egg bake, or my favorite an Iowa breakfast – my aunt calls it that and we always have it for Christmas) the casserole contains eggs, bread, cheese and sausage and quickly I realize that this, despite two dozen eggs being involved will not hold back the number of people showing up very long and I get set warming up hash browns and showing people the bagels that have been graciously flown in from NY by a visiting friend.

People are now showing up rapidly and our setup is going along, TVs getting setup, stereo is now blaring above the hum of the generator that is powering the whole mess. Multiple grills are now lit and along with some help I start in on getting some ribs rubbed with a spice blend and tossed into my grill to begin their long slow smoking.

People keep showing up, bringing with them cases of beer, hot dogs, chips, buns, and any meat they happen to think will go well on the grill. Breakfast is now long gone and lunch foods are being devoured along with countless beers. Some folks nearby are getting rowdy as TV crews come by and film and the alcohol keeps coming. State Troopers come by and ticket one guy who is running around chugging out of a bottle of vodka, but don’t seem to notice or care about the cases and cases of beer that are being consumed quite openly, in violation of the rules of Ohio State. At some point the tailgate seems to consist of almost as many Notre Dame fans as OSU fans much to my disgust and that game, an inevitable drubbing of Army is put on the bigger of the multiple TV setup.

Ribs come off the grill finally and I set to chow down, seeing now that game time is nearing. Somehow the day has flown by, between chatting up all the people who have dropped by, manning the grill and making sure my drink cup was full we have reached game time. Those of us who were going to the game assemble and begin our trek, less then a 10 minute walk to the stadium, past countless other tailgaters, satellite dishes, grills, food, generators and all that embodies modern tailgating.

Its been one hell of a day and if there hadn’t been a game about to begin, I probably would have been ready for a nap, but with a red bull in hand I march over, feeling the waves of cheers hit me, seeing the sights and sounds of what is hopefully to live up to the billing The Game.

In re: Does the Michigan Ohio State rivalry go both ways?

Many times things are perceived differently.  I remember in high school when an upcoming opponent showed up to sing, yes sing, about how they were going to beat us.  We were of course amused, considering none of us cared about the opponent(and probably the game).  I’ve been reading about the Michigan reaction to these games, Beat Michigan Week, and the fact that Columbus fans are definitely crazier, larger in number and more ‘in to’ the rivalry. 

Its not that Michigan fans don’t care, as they clearly do and they bother to fill the big house, their enormous stadium on game day.  Its just that they don’t seem to think its so worth it, or do they?  One article in the Detroit Free Press seemed to say that students would rather protest then get pumped for the game, but this met with angry comments and cries that the author should move to Columbus.  This morning in Columbus apparently a bunch of Wolverine fans camped out downtown by city hall with signs proclaiming Michigan superiority.

  • Its clear their are some differences though that would lead Columbus to be more football crazy, and one of these is sheer numbers, Columbus is a large city that historically did not have any professional sports teams of note.  Further Ohio in general only has Ohio State as an elite level I-A football team.  Michigan of course is split in that there is also Michigan State, who while not usually at the level of UofM, holds their own and has a massive following.  
  • Dispatch article “Fans in Ann Arbor see game differently
  • Free Press “A Tale of Two Cities: Activists show Columbus spirit; Ann Arbor event is more political”
  • Wolverines ready for hostility” that mentions how those wearing scarlet were treated in Ann Arbor.
  • Format change for an Ann Arbor station, ditching their format to play the Michigan fight song ‘The Victors’ non-stop – wow, sounds like a winner.

    Oh and Go Bucks!!!

In re: Today’s sign of the apocalypse… Playstation madness

So I just got off of the phone with a friend who is planning to get up at 5 in the morning or something to try and get a Nintendo Wii (pron.  weeeeee apparently?)  If that wasn’t bad enough (well the sad part is he probably will be too late) people are shooting each other over Sony Playstation 3s and getting in all kinds of other troubles.

The sign of the apocalypse however was a Columbus, GA (not here in Ohio thankfully, although Blogging Ohio apparently tried to steal credit for ourselves) where a dentist of all people hired 60 temp workers to handle 8 hour shifts of waiting in line in order to get his grand kids 15 Playstation 3s, apparently this was going to cost him almost $25,000, but still cheaper — much cheaper — then jumping on eBay to accomplish the same feat.  The plan seemed to be working til angry line folks got wind of it and complained and somehow between that and the temp agency the plan for the 15 PS3s was canceled.  Too bad, actually I am surprised that someone hasn’t done this with the pure profit motive, considering the low wage you’d probably have to pay someone to wait in line and read a book, or whatever it is you do in a video game line (I haven’t had the privilege) and then turn around and unload them on eBay at some insane markup the very same afternoon.

In re: Is OSU so dangerous? Michigan email says so…

antimichigan.jpgThis Saturday in Columbus the biggest football game of the year, or maybe the decade is going to be played between the Buckeyes and U of M.

The rivalry is considered the greatest by some (ESPN said, or at least one of the greatest rivalaries – see history). Columbus is full of passionate fans, maybe too passionate in that sometimes it turns to hate and occasionally the odd couch burning in a dumpster.

Despite all that is it really so dangerous to come to Columbus wearing maize & blue? Well apparently despite OSU’s efforts to turn its fans into the ‘best fans in the land’ Michigan’s administration doesn’t think so and is regarding OSU as a dangerous place, maybe not Afghanistan, but they did recommend not driving around in Michigan plated vehicles.

You kidding? wow… not sure if we are so bad, but I guess we will find out. Also Michigan is bringing down some of its own police to help take care of the tailgaters from up north. Here is an email that was sent to Michigan students regarding this weekend:

We know that it can be uncomfortable being in an opposing team’s environment, especially when the stakes are so high. We would like to offer a few suggestions in order to help you stay safe and have a positive experience this weekend:

–Try carpooling to the game; if possible, drive a car with non- Michigan license plates.
–Keep your Michigan gear to a minimum, or wait until you are inside the stadium to display it.
–Stay with a group.
–Know and obey the laws regarding alcohol use.
–If you are of legal age to drink, use alcohol in moderation. Stay in the blue.
–Stay low-key; don’t draw unnecessary attention to yourself.
–If verbally harrassed by opposing fans, don’t take the bait.
–Avoid High Street in Columbus.

If at any time you feel unsafe, you should call 9-1-1 for assistance. U-M campus police also will be available in Columbus to support our fans. You may call them with non-emergency concerns at (734) 216-9159.

We look forward to a tremendous game on Saturday. Let’s help the Wolverines win with spirit and class.”

My hope is that we crush them, but only on the field and return to a bit more civilized era of fandom, not sure if that will happen but at least the dumpsters should be cleared so that we won’t have fires…