Thursday, May 17, 2012

Garden Progress

Our garden we planted a few weeks ago is coming along nicely. Maybe now that the Grizzlies season is over, we can get out this weekend and buy our last few plants to finish it out.

Here are a few pics showing the progress.

We even have our first pepper!

I can't wait to have our own home-grown food this summer.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I Rode a School Bus to Work

A few weeks ago while working in Pittsburgh, I had an early morning presentation, I needed to get to work about an hour earlier than the rest of my coworkers, so I figured I would just take the shuttle from the hotel.

To my surprise, the shuttle driver pointed to a full-size (not a short bus) school bus and said, "that bus over there is going to FedEx." It seems that there was a national service manager training going on this week, and they were using a school bus to shuttle everyone from the hotel to the office.

I wasn't going to miss an opportunity to ride a school bus, so I loaded up and caught a ride.

I wish I would have taken a better picture, but in my early morning fog, I almost forgot. I snapped this one just as it was pulling away.

I love the adventures of travel.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Looking Back on the 2012 NBA Playoffs: Go Grizz!

What a wild ride these last couple of weeks were. Here's a few of the many memories we made this post-season that we'll carry with us for the rest of our lives.

The last meal at Blues City before game 7.

I can't wait to do it all again next year!

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Thanks for the Memories: Our First Grizzlies Season Comes to an End

Yesterday was an incredibly sad day. Our beloved Memphis Grizzlies were eliminated from the 2012 NBA Playoffs. Our guys fought hard, erasing a 3-1 deficit to force a game 7 at home. In the end, the monumental game 1 collapse came back to haunt us.

Instead of wallowing in misery, I choose to remember the great things this season brought into our lives. The Grizzlies gave Crystel and I something to look forward to on Tuesday nights after a long day of work. It introduced us to the local sports media. Before this season, we really didn't know much about Gary Parrish, Geoff Caulkins, Chris Vernon, Eric Hassletine, Gary Darby and all the other interesting local personalities. Some of these guys could probably be entertaining talking about anything, but we'd have no idea if not for the Grizz.

I took great pleasure in watching Crystel (not a hip-hop fan at all) sing along with Future's "Go Harder" at the games, all because it was Tony Allen's favorite song and a rallying cry for our team. It was awesome to see that the people in charge of programming would incorporate things suggested on Twitter into the production. It was great to get a glimpse into some of our guys lives on Twitter (I was even retweeted by Dante Cunningham and Grizz).

I loved learning what an awesome person that booming PA voice is. We're lucky to have such a great guy in Rick Trotter as our announcer. If you haven't seen him sing the anthem, you're seriously missing out.

This season has really immersed us in the Memphis culture for the first time. We didn't go to the University of Memphis, so we don't get as excited as everyone else about the Tigers (although I do cheer for them generally, even if their fans don't reciprocate when it comes to Ole Miss). The Grizzlies gave us something great to enjoy and get excited about with our community. Grizz Nation really is a tight knit community. We've made several acquaintances on Twitter based on our shared love of the Grizzlies.

All in all, I'm really sad the season is over, but I still love all of our players. Before you criticize, think about how far we've come as an organization. With a few minor changes, and a little more luck, we can go much further. Maybe we could even pull off a miracle and bring a championship to this great city.

To all of Grizz Nation, thanks for the memories. See you next year!

P.S. Bring back Little (Lil'?) Grizz.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Playoffs, Here We Come...Grind Forth

So our first regular season as Grizzlies ticket holders has come to a close. With the shortened season and injury problems we've dealt with, it's been at times, maddening, magical, heartbreaking and exciting. I don't regret one minute or one penny we've spent.

When we bought tickets, I figured Crystel would go to a few games and completely hate it. Boy, was I wrong. I think she's a bigger fan than me, and it's been great to share this together.

I don't know if there's ever been a team that is a better reflection of its hometown than the Memphis Grizzlies. I like each and every one of our players, and I think Twitter has brought a whole new level of fan involvement in professional sports. Seriously, follow Tony Allen on Twitter.

Anyway, here's a brief photo recap of the season. While you're at it, listen to the best sports interview all year right here. You can also find it at the iTunes store podcast section by searching Chris Vernon. It's hour 1 of the 4/24 show.

First game

Little Bro and his girlfriend captured on the Jumbotron

Grizz doing his nightly impersonation of the halftime entertainment

Grizzline performing LMFAO

Warming up

My personal favorite, Lil' Grizz... my friends think I have issues, but I can't help from laughing uncontrollably, like a 3rd grader laughing at fart jokes, when he makes an appearance.


Rocking the Tams throwbacks

Grizz in aerial assault mode

Grizzline again

O.J. after a 3 pointer

Tony talking about God knows what

Beale Street Flipper in mid-air

Me in postseason form

Grizz in a popcorn fight. This picture made me a minor celebrity, since Grizz himself retweeted it when I posted it on Twitter

Grit and Grind

The man with a million thoughts racing through his head

More entertainment

The Flippers again

More Tams action


The best basketball photo of the year, hands down.

Postseason, here we come. I have a feeling this team could do great things. Either way, I'll be back in FedEx Forum cheering them on again next year.

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I Built A Garden

Crystel and I have really grown to appreciate local produce over the last few years. We'll take farmer's market veggies any day over the supermarket variety. We usually get lots of food from my mom's garden in Mississippi, but since we only see them around once a month, it's hard to keep regularly stocked.

We made the decision last year that we should build an urban, above-ground garden. However, we never got around to building it. The perfect weather this spring inspired us to follow through with our garden.

I decided to build 2 raised beds, each 4' x 4'. I figure this will give us plenty of room to grow what we need, and make it easy to access the garden from all sides.

Here's a photo timeline of the building process.

At a co-worker's suggestion, I put chicken wire on the bottom to keep chipmunks from burrowing into the garden from the bottom.

Photo-bombed by Porter...

Crystel and I are planning on shopping for plants next weekend. I'm not 100% sure what we'll be planting yet, but I know we'll have tomatoes and bell peppers. I'm taking any and all suggestions for veggies that grow well in a raised bed.

Have you ever grown an urban garden? Was it successful? Can you offer any tips?

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Super Chevy Returns to Memphis International Raceway

Growing up, one of my favorite yearly events was Super Chevy Sunday. We'd load up the truck and trailer and head up here nearly every year. Living in Memphis now, I still pass places that I recognize from those trips.

For a kid, the jet cars, wheel standers, pro mods and show cars were a dream come true. They pretty much still are for me. I guess I'm just a big kid.

Now, Super Chevy is really more important because I get to spend time with my family, since they all make the trip every year. The last Super Chevy Show was a few years ago, since the Memphis racetrack was closed down for a while. However, under new ownership, it's back and better than ever. The track really seems to be better run this time around, and it makes me happy to know that this place from my youth won't fall into disrepair.

This race track holds so many memories from my youth. I remember getting the driver's autographs as a kid. I remember when my dad bear hugged me in a panic when we watched the jet cars from the tower behind the track (he was nervous that the jet engines might make the tower collapse...full disclosure, I did the same thing to my niece Eliza this year because I was afraid the wind might carry her away while we were watching my brother race from the tower), and I remember the night-time events over on Mt. Moriah hosted by Chuck Hutton Chevrolet.

Here's the view last weekend from the tower while by brother raced. He's in the left lane in both photos...two different cars.

If you look closely at the second picture, you can see my mom playing the role of pit crew. Speaking of memories, the truck he's racing in the picture above belonged to a family friend Aaron Mayo. My dad helped him get it running and he loved driving it around and taking it to the drag strip. Sadly, he passed away while I was in school at Ole MIss. I was preoccupied with school and didn't take the opportunity I should have to visit him in those final months and properly say goodbye. He would have loved watching "Cool Man" (his nickname for my brother Anthony) race his truck at Super Chevy.

Besides seeing my family, my favorite part of the show nowadays is the giant car show. Here are some highlights from this year's show.

Photobombed by my beautiful wife.

The only complaint I had about this year's show was that someone brought a huge tent out right in front of the most crowded part of the grandstands about halfway through the event on Sunday. They just walked it out in front of hundreds of people trying to watch the race. It blocked the view of the starting line for a lot of people. This was unfortunate because several people got frustrated and left. I'm only bringing this up in hopes that ownership will take notice and remedy this, making the event perfect next year!

It was a great event, with lots of family time, and I can't wait until next year.

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