Saturday, January 17, 2015

How to watch a football game! Unique "Sports Station" Set-up!

Unique “Sports Station” Set-up! 

      How do you watch your favorite sports?
I have found a special way to follow the Minnesota Vikings NFL football team.
Here’s how it goes:  In our rec room with other fans cheering - or not as the season progressed... I set up my special “sports station”.  
This means a recliner is set up facing the TV with a folding tray/table in front of it.
On the tray/table I have my laptop computer.
Next to that is a radio with earphones.
And of course... various bowls of popcorn and refreshments are scattered about.

The plan

Here’s the plan:  I find a radio station that broadcasts the play about three seconds before the picture comes on the TV.  With my earphones connected to that I can be aware of what is going to happen.  And hopefully I won’t cheer for the “wrong” team - which I’ve been known to do when someone made a good play.
This may not be popular with the fans I’m sitting with.
It also means that I hear what has happened a few seconds before my husband sees it on TV.    He may be calling out:  “Catch it - Catch it...” while I already know it’s been intercepted!  I have learned not to express my thoughts while he’s still hoping for the best!

The key part

The last part of my sports station is my MacBook.  I have it connected to a link to Vikings’ Mike Wobshall’s in-game chat.  This is an “interactive chat” with folks who may also sign in and add their comments during the game.   

 Mike or “Wobby” explained that he started with the Vikings as an intern back in 2005.  He accepted a full time position before the 2007 season and was a writer until he became the Vikings Entertainment Network Content Manager in 2014.
 His “in-game chats” were started several years ago “as a way to bring fans unique content.”  This has become a favorite addition to the game for me and helps me understand it better.

 Talk about “multi-tasking”!

Wobby watches “the games from the Vikings Radio Network broadcast booth, sitting between play-by-play announcer Paul Allen and analyst Pete Bercich.”  He also keeps track of the comments from folks on the internet that are flickering across his computer screen. 
He is responsible for sorting through them... selecting which ones to publish... and then answering those that are questions while at the same time he’s reporting on the game!
As Wobby explained: “It’s hard to read all the comments, react to them and watch the game. I do the best I can. Watching the game takes precedent so there are times I miss comments.”
  Another benefit of the chat being on the internet came when I was out of the state and couldn’t get the game on TV or radio.  Wobby explained, We’ve had fans sign into the live game chats from all over the globe, even some of our armed servicemen and servicewomen have signed in from their bases across the world.”
       They may have several thousand folks in the live chat during a game.

Comments like this:

I recall the time I was listening to the game and watching Wobby’s “in-game chat” while sitting in a distant hospital room with my husband who was recovering from a heart attack.  As we watched the team losing I wrote Wobby ... we’re watching the game from a hospital room... this is not helping Paul get better!  
And Wobby responded online that he wished Paul a good recovery.  This was in the middle of game... and I was very touched.  You don’t feel quite so alone anymore.
Wobby likes the funny comments that come in and some of the “creative pen names” fans have chosen.  They have the option to submit a name or not.  My signature was “Rosie from Cannon Falls”.  I’m going to have to work on a better one for next season!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Life… like a mystery novel

Life is like a mystery novel...

Mysteries... the fun ones... where they lead your mind on a merry chase that you enjoy.

  Recently I asked our librarians for suggestions about mysteries based in the twin cities - where I grew up.  It’s kind of fun to recognize the background settings in my mind.
Remember this?
These stories include some by John Sandford and Christopher Valen.  Valen actually featured a horse farm near Cannon Falls in one of his homicide detective novels.  And when we first met a few years after its publication, we were both surprised to discover it was our farm he had fictionalized!  He had scoped it out on the internet and he needed a place for some fiendish activities to take place.  
When one of our local law enforcement friends found out - he grimmaced and said to me, now we’ll probably have to come out and bring a shovel!  
Anyway... the librarians directed me to some mysteries by Julie Kramer - a former TV newsperson from the “cities”.
Now keep in mind that I have read many mysteries.
So... as I started reading the first one in her series - it seemed a little familiar.  But since I didn’t recognize who the killer was I figured I had just read too many books.
Or... I prided myself on the idea that maybe I was just becoming a better “detective” because I recognized a clue right away.
Not so smart!
 But it was when I started reading her second book in the series that I realized I wasn’t so smart!  This time I remembered who the killer was.  Actually, I was partially right and read the whole book to see what else I remembered!
This experience got me to thinking.

In reading the book the second time I noticed more signals given by the author as she took me down the twisty winding trails of her mystery novel.
Then I thought how much this relates to living your own life.
And the benefit of knowing what “clue” could help you and hopefully learn from it.  
 See the clues...
Some older folks may more easily recognize the mistakes or clues because they’ve made them too!  In fact, they’ve "lived" it.
It’s comforting to realize that when you see someone else has done the same dumb thing you’re complaining about, you can find comfort because you see they survived that struggle too.  And hopefully they are wiser now.

I’m reading the third book in Kramer's series now.   So I was alert when I recognized another clue... and I almost yelled out: "... don’t touch the gun... it will be used in a murder and it will have your fingerprints on it... ackkkkk!"
I was so sure of this that I flipped to the end of the book to see what happened!  I read a short excerpt and realized that I really hadn’t read this one!  But I had caught the clue!

So maybe I really am getting better at recognizing these signals!

And I’m thinking that it also might be smart to share your thoughts with some “elder folks”!   They might recognize the “clues” that can warn you of problems in your life’s story - your mystery!  

Because they've "read" that part of the book before... they have “been there” - “done that”!

The end.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Cute… but uninvited "guests"!

Cute... but uninvited “guests”!

Cute little brown furry critters, also known as field mice, have been inundating local residences in seemingly unusual numbers this year.  We actually have set traps in our cars parked in the garage.

This brought to mind some of the mouse antics we’ve seen in years’ past.

It’s true that when you live in the country you get used to the “Fall Exodus” of mice from the fields into the house.   But usually they get the hint they aren’t wanted after some traps are set.  

I favored the traps that caught them in a cage so I could release them outside.  Although I wondered if I wasn’t just releasing the same mouse time after time?

  Then I recalled finding one mouse who had found his own little swimming pool in the house.   It’s called a toilet.

And then there was the little mouse playing hide and seek in my kitchen cupboards.  I’d open a door and it would run and hide.  I played this game for a while -trying to remove bowls, etc. so I could plop a plastic container over him.  But he hopped out and ran away.  And I washed alot of dishes!  And made sure to keep the cupboard doors closed after that.

This reminded me of Pat Jones telling me about the time she took the lid off her coffee pot and saw a mouse in it!  I’ve never opened a pot since then without thinking of that!

One morning I saw a small critter looking at me through the inside screen in the living room window.  He couldn’t move away because the outer glass window had been cranked shut the night before and this little fellow’s tail had gotten trapped.  We didn’t know he was there. But now I saw the chew marks he had made trying to escape.
As I cranked open the window to release him I saw that his tail looked permanently bent to the shape of the window sill.  I wonder what kind of story he told when he got home!

Then there’s the time I had left some tall long stemmed wine glasses next to the sink to wash the next morning.  But the next day I saw mouse turds in them!  
I couldn’t figure out how the mice had climbed into the tall glasses without tipping them over.  Or was it a team of mice balancing on each other to climb up to the lip of the glass and drop in?
Actually, what was worse was the fact that it looked like they were having a party in my house... and I hadn’t been invited!

And so the games continue!