Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Success for ERIN

Yesterday was a monumental day. Erin finally slolem skiid! It was probably her 6th or 7th attempt at dropping a ski this summer and she finally got it. The last couple of times she attempted dropping she would keep her balance when her ski fell off but could never get her back foot in. She would end up going 1/4 of the way around the lake with just one foot in before she finally gave out or fell. This time she slid the back foot in like nothing and went halfway around the lake before she was too tired to continue. NICE WORK ERIN!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Addiction to Stupid Games: Part 1

I'm going to begin a series of entries chronically my addiction to various stupid computer and video games. Since mid-highschool I've gone through numerous stretches where I get completely addicted to a game and become amazingly awesome at it. I don't mean just really good, I mean better than anyone else I've ever heard of and possibly one of the best in the world. You will notice 3 themes with every one of these games. 1) They are readily available, either a popular N64, PS2, microsoft, or internet game. 2) They are very simple, meaning a single game from start to finish will only be a matter of minutes. None of these multiple level, ultra involved games. 3) They are quantitative, meaning the game keeps statistics so you can concretely compare yourself to others. Simple, quick, available, and statistical.

So stupid game addiction #1 (these are mostly in chronological order): The New Tetris for N64. Addiction timeframe: Fall 2000

The New Tetris is an awesome game that you can only get for N64. What makes it different than all the other tetris games is that you get bonus lines for making 4X4 boxes amidst the standard goal of getting a bunch of regular lines. If you make a 4X4 box using 4 of the same pieces (4 boxes, or 4 straight pieces, or 4 L shaped pieces...etc.) it turns into a gold 4X4 box and when you eliminate one of those lines you get lots of bonus lines. Anyway, there are multiple types of games in the New Tetris; sprint, marathon, and I think a level version. Well of course I got addicted to sprint version. In this version you have 3 minutes to get as many lines (and bonus points) as possible. The game caught on bigtime on my floor at Calvin and about 20 guys regularly played it. My friend really liked it and bought the game himself, which we kept in my room. Within a couple of weeks I had surpassed everyone on my floor except for a few guys. Over the months of October and November the addiction continued to grow exponentially until I was playing 3+ hours a day.

If it means anything to anyone I was averaging 400-500 lines per sprint and looking to crack 700 for my all time record. On the internet I found a site that had the highest all time scores and the record was 705. Finally, I told myself that when I cracked 700 I would quit cold turkey because the addiction was too much. I was wasting way too much time on it and I couldn't close my eyes without seeing the tetris pieces falling in my mind. Finally, in late November I hit 700 on the nose. I was definately the best player of all the guys I knew, but holding true to my word I quit and didn't even play one more game. (Over Christmas break the guy I competed with most took the game home and played it until he beat my record, but I think that is skewed because I didn't have access to the game)

Since then I've played the game on 2 occasions. A neighbor owned the game the next year when I lived in the apartments and I borrowed it for a week, quickly getting back my form. Then last summer I went to California to stand in a friend's wedding and his family had the game. His mom was quite into the game but she played marathon so it was a totally different can of worms.

If anyone owns the game and wants to play, I'd be all for it. I always said once I graduated from college I'd buy an old N64 and The New Tetris for myself but now I don't think that would be a healthy idea as I've fought through other stupid game addictions and I know I would just get right back into it.

Come back next week for Studid Game Addiction #2: SSX

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Joel's Bachelor Party

Another Bachelor party, this time it was for my cousin Joel. Out of my 23 cousins on both sides, Joel is the closest to my age. We grew up doing a lot together and we still hang out sometimes. His bachelor party was a great time. There were 12 of us for the golf scramble at Brigadoon in Grant, MI and 13 of us camping that night in Hesperia. The golf was least for my team. My teammates were James, Jeremy Knoester, and Derek Lew. Jeremy has only played once this summer and this was Derek's first time playing since 10th grade. Fortunately I've been playing well and James has amazing firepower if he has it under control. Basically the strategy was for me to put it in play and for James to swing away. Brigadoon is set up for lots of birdies if you can make some tricky shots, especially off the tee. I was getting the ball in play most of the time and James was absolutely on fire with his driver on the front nine. We had 3 par 4 holes that he drove within 50 yards of the green and one 300 yard par 4 that he went way over the trees to cut a corner and landed it on the green on the fly. We were 130 yards out on a 420 yard par 5 at one point and James stuck it 6 feet from the pin for eagle. Here is what our front nine looked like:

Hole Score
1 Par
2 Par
3 Birdie
4 Birdie
5 Par
6 Birdie
7 Birdie
8 Birdie
9 Birdie

An impressive -6 on the front and a solid -8 overall with no bogeys. Our group won by 3 over Matt's group and Joel and Paul's group finished at even par.

The camping was also a blast...except for the Grand Haven weirdos that hung around a little too long. Joel's boss Jeff (wearing the green striped shirt below) was absolutely crazy. So much energy!

Monday, August 15, 2005

A Round to Remember

Saturday I had by far the best 18 holes of my life. Jeff Hoolsema had won an 18 hole 4-some at Diamond Springs Golf Course about 20 minutes south of Hudsonville. The course was very nice and quite hard in parts. Luke Brodbeck and Jeff's cousin Nathan also played. I started strong with 3 straight quality pars. Straight drive, stick my 150 yard approach, and 2 putt. I bogeyed the 4th before we came to what was the highlight of the round. As we approached the 159 yard par 3 #5 we immediately started complaining about the pin placement. The green was huge with 3 levels. The small front level was protected by a large mound right in front of the green. It then sloped down to the large center level before another elevated small section in the back. The pin was at the front of the green, a little in front the big slope to the center section and right behind the mound that blocked the front of the green. We all thought it would be impossible to keep our tee shot on that top level even if we had a good shot. Then Jeff stepped up and hit a towering iron right at the mound. We all thought, "hey that might be really good if it can softly bounce off the mound." It hit the mound and dissappeared from our sight. We all looked away for a minute and when we looked back, Jeff's ball was sitting right next to the pin! Well I hit next and had the exact same shot as Jeff's, bouncing it off the mound. This time we closely watched but it never came back into view. When we all drove up the the green we saw mine about 5 feet from the pin and Jeff's was a mere 16 inches! We both made our birdie putts.

I continued to play well for the rest of the round and finished with a 39-41 for a superb 80.

On Sunday I had my best tubing of the summer. I went for well over an hour during the day with 3 of us behind the boat. The highlight was when it was me, Jason, and Jeff. I was on the inside and dragged to keep myself in the wake while Jeff and Jason whipped out. They were then whipped back across the wake and both jumped me. I stayed in the wake and 10 seconds later they whipped back across and both jumped me again. Well I didn't want to be the setup man all day so I waited in the wake for a few seconds while they were being whipped until just before the end of the turn (timing is crucial for an outside the wake jump) when I released and allowed myself to be flung outside. By this time Jason and Jeff were starting to come back at me so I got on my knees and jumped them both in a single bound. So in a matter of about 20 seconds we had 6 jump-overs. It was awesome.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Hollemans

Saturday was Rob and Amy's wedding. The weather was beautiful and the wedding went well. Afterward the wedding party went to the Gerald R. Ford museum downtown for some pictures. Shortly after we went to party at The Bluff for the reception. The reception was great and full open bar was awesome. One of my highlights in the evening was when Mike and I jumped the creek next to the hall and played the par three of Indian Trails that is right there. We played the hole twice, playing 2 balls each time. I chipped in one of my first two for a birdie and 2-putted the other for a par. Mike blew up and double bogeyed both. The "back 2" was poorer on my part but I still handily beat Bloem. Another highlight was when Vyn and I got to roast Rob for a few minutes in front of everyone. We brought up the fact that he always sits with his hands down his pants, he has amazing farts, he hates Duke, he always gets B+s, he always loses his keys, and he hates Minnesota. Here are some pictures from the day. If you'll notice some themes: Mike can really boogey, Eric sure dances with a lot of other women (including Vyn I caught him with 5!), and I may get in a bit of trouble for picking up a 14-year-old.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday ERIN!!

Erin turned 25 on Monday! We celebrated by going to On the Border for dinner with a few friends and then hanging out at our house for cake afterward. On Tuesday we celebrated with Erin's family at the conference grounds.

Every year I make Erin her favorite cake...marble with chocolate frosting. But of course I think a standard 2-layer cake would be boring so I try to spice it up a bit. This year I doubled the recipe and tried to pack it all into 3 tasty layers. But as usual I had some problems. First, I forgot to put chocolate chips (my change to the recipe) in the bottom two layers. Then, I forgot to add vanilla to the frosting before I coated the bottom two layers. But my biggest flaw of all was the 3rd layer. I made the cake late at night the evening before Erin's birthday, so I had a bit of a time crunch. Plus, I had to make 3 layers with our 2 pans which meant that the 3rd layer was a separate batch from the first 2 and when it came out it was already after 11 at night. So I couldn't let it cool for too long, but when I tried to get it out of the pan I could just see it breaking all over the place. In the end, the top layer of the cake was a disaster and it looked like a dog (or me) had taken a few bites out of it. But it still tasted pretty darn good! Plus, I got to eat that whole section that fell off while I was making it.

Another one bites the dust

Rob Holleman is tying the knot on Saturday so that means a bachelor party is in order. It took place on Saturday. We had some great golf at Orchard Hills golf course in Shelbyville where we had 2 4-person teams playing a scramble. In the end, the bachelor did not pull it off. The overall scores were surprisingly poor, mostly because neither team could sink a putt. My team (Ben, me, Reuben, and Dan) shot a 2 over par 73 while the bachelor's team (Rob, Mike, Derek, and Eric) shot a 3 over par 74.

It was quite an ordeal to find a suitable campground for the evening but we finally stumbled on Sharp Lake campground. We made a fire, cooked some dogs, and had a great time. Our "volume" got a little bit high late in the evening resulting in a reprimand from the owner, but all was good. We even made some new friends from Dorr, Hope, and Taylor.