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Facebook's 25 Random Things

Geoff Wood

There’s been an interesting phenomenon spreading throughout Facebook the last couple weeks called “25 Random Things About Me”. Cleverly named, it’s a list of 25 random things about me (or the person writing it).

You become aware of the list when one of your Facebook friends creates a 25 Random Things list and then “tags” you and 24 other people. You are then given the following instructions:

Rules:
Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

(To do this, go to "notes" under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.)

In effect, it’s a combination of the chain letter that’s been around for centuries and the odd e-mail “Get to Know Me”-surveys that were bouncing around collegiate e-mail directories in the last 1990s. However, unlike chain letters, there is no ill will set to fall upon you if you don’t pick up the challenge and unlike those surveys there are no common questions asked of each person.
After being tagged three times by co-workers and once by a family member I decided to capitulate and, since I took the time to create the list I figured that I should also share it here:
  1. I know the difference between a Monument and a Memorial (as in Washington and Lincoln).
  2. I will one day have a job where I can take my dogs to work.
  3. I’ve had the same seats at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa since I graduated in 2000 even though I've lived in Indiana for four of the those years and Nebraska for one.
  4. I still consider myself a “Chevy Truck Guy” even though I’ve happily owned an Acura sedan for over a year. The power of branding is strong.
  5. There is a bit of a strained dichotomy in my life in that I love history and tradition but constantly seek change.
  6. I’ve become a big enough fan of IndyCar racing in our time in Indiana that I was able to recognize 2008 Indy 500 and Indy Car Series champion Scott Dixon when he walked past me in the Indianapolis Airport this summer (we have a great picture).
  7. I have cousins named Rustin, Justin and Dustin (in three separate families).
  8. I pay for a home phone but don’t know the number.
  9. I don’t understand people who have a non-geographic loyalty to a particular professional sports team.
  10. I like to know as much as possible about the sports teams that I follow and as a result I have a hard time just turning on the TV and enjoying a casual NFL or MLB game (unless it’s the Vikings or Twins).
  11. I visualize a map of the United States when thinking about cardinal directions (such as the Atlantic Ocean is East and the Pacific is West). Ever since moving to Indiana, I’m at times confused since the Mississippi River is now West of me.
  12. I think that umbrellas are not masculine but have no problems with scarves and earmuffs (at least the wrap around ones). My opinion has been disputed several times by a few of my MBA classmates.
  13. Other than at the office, as many of my friends refer to me by last name as do my first
  14. I still refer to most of my female friends from college by their last/maiden names (only) even though several have acquired new ones for themselves.
  15. In the last few months I’ve become an avid user of Twitter.
  16. I met Dave Matthews at my first ever company holiday party and no holiday part since has been as exciting.
  17. I never drank coffee until I started graduate school in August 2007, now I drink it a lot. I drink as much of it after 6 PM as I do before 11 AM. I only drink it black – no mochochocalatte-ish drinks.
  18. My greatest athletic accomplishment is somewhere between riding all 471 miles across Iowa in RAGBRAI 2008 and making “Pro” in Wii tennis. Middle school basketball (2 years), high school tennis (2 years), and Iowa State Rugby (1 year) were not quite as successful. I also like to play kickball but we didn’t field a team last season.
  19. After the first time that I went out with my wife, Hope, (we were already friends and she didn’t know it was an “exploratory” date) I decided that I wasn’t going to her ask her out again; she called and asked me out instead.
  20. Hope and I started to a tradition of going to movies every weekend when we first started dating (March 2002); we still see 2 or more per month.
  21. I was the first person I knew to have a CD player when my folks gave me one for my birthday in 5th grade. Everyone bought me CDs that they wanted to listen to: my Sister Sara - Paula Abdul’s “Shut Up & Dance”, my brother Joe – Bell Biv DeVoe’s “Poison” and my folks - Tom Petty’s “Into the Great Wide Open”. I listened to all of them at the time but Tom Petty is the only one that I’d still like to have today.
  22. Over Christmas this year, I visited the neighborhood in Cedar Rapids, Iowa that I grew up in and it still looks like Post-Katrina New Orleans from last summer’s floods. The recovery needed from that disaster has been grossly under publicized. 
  23. I firmly believe that almost all LinkedIn.com recommendations are crap.
  24. Even though I’m not a Colts fan (like most folks around these parts), I think Peyton Manning is hilarious.
  25. The tater tot is my favorite form of potato. I love the fact that I can order them at The High Life Lounge in Des Moines (though I haven't been there in a few years). 
At first I thought the 25 Random Things list was fairly silly but now I kind of dig it. One of the greatest uses of Facebook for those of us over 22 years of age is to catch up with friends from long ago (like the elementary school classmate who “friended” me this evening). What better way to learn about what they are up to then to view the 25 Random Things about their life that they’ve chosen to share with the world?

The Year of Our Wood - 2007

Geoff Wood

Happy New Year 2008!


In reflecting on the past twelve months, we think the best way to characterize them may be as “the year of travel” for the Wood family.
The highlight was definitely our ten day trip to Europe in July. We split our time between London and Rome with a day trip by train to Bath. In London we took in historic sites, more than a few pubs, walked through Notting Hill, visited Abbey Road studios, saw the West End production of the musical WICKED and read the UK release of the final Harry Potter novel. In Rome we took in even older historic sites, visited the Iowa State studios, and ate a lot of meat-free pizza (and we thought pepperoni was Italian). In Bath, we took in – well - the baths (if you’re ever there don’t try the water). In each city we took trolley/bus tours which we recommend to everyone.
As usual we spent several weekends road-tripping to see the Iowa State Cyclones football team play. There were highs and lows in this first season under new head coach Gene Chizik and we were fortunate to see another win over the rival Hawkeyes along with a few unfortunate losses. We hosted each of our parents for a game which was a lot of fun. It’s just our luck that as we were planning our schedule at the beginning of the season we decided not to go back for the typically cold weather November games, that turned out to be not so cold and wins as well. We also had the good fortune to take in the Cyclones game at Toledo which was a tremendous time and only half the distance of driving back to Ames for a game. It did end in what must be a statistically improbable loss but otherwise was a great day trip.

 

Thanksgiving was a bit of a whirlwind. From Wednesday to Sunday, we spent twenty-four hours on the road between driving from Indianapolis to Arkansas for a visit with Geoff’s family, then to Cedar Rapids for Geoff’s ten year high school reunion (almost eleven years to the day from his last high school class – don’t ask) where we also were able to visit with Hope’s family and then back to Indianapolis.
Hope’s work kept her on the move as usual, with visits to Charlotte, Dallas, Orlando, San Francisco, New Orleans, San Diego, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Portland, Hershey, and Providence. Geoff joined her at the end of the trip to Florida and we stayed over for the weekend with Geoff’s Aunt Sarah and Uncle Louis and had a good visit with his grandparents Davis and Alma. Hope’s last work trip of the year was a big one – she spent five days in Tokyo, Japan.


Geoff started graduate work this summer after he was accepted into the evening MBA program at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. The program is two nights a week for five semesters (and two summers) and he did well enough in the first semester that they’re willing to let him back for more. It’s a big commitment of time on top of his full time job but Hope and his employer are supportive of it.
For the first time in several years we didn’t have any family weddings in 2007. Sadly, we lost Geoff’s grandmother Betty Gilbert late last Spring. The circumstances were unfortunate but it was good to reconnect with a part of the family that we had not seen in several years. In better news, we did welcome our first nephew this year when Hope’s brother Heath and his wife Amy gave birth to Austin Seegers.

When we’re not traveling, at work, or in school we’ve enjoyed getting closer with our bible study group and playing in another season in the kickball league with our friends. We were able to take part in a Hoosier tradition for the first time this year by attending races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. We made it to two, taking in the Indy 500 from the “infield” and US Grand Prix from a skybox. It’s a contrast in styles but both were good times none-the-less.

We look to stay a little closer to home in 2008. However, we have already determined that we will be among the riders in the RAGBRAI 2008. Hope has ridden twice but Geoff never has and we figure 2008 is as good a year as any for that Iowan rite of passage.

Happy New Year!

Hope and Geoff

 

One and Done in the Kickball Tourney

Geoff Wood

Things didn't end so well for Team KEG's 2007 Kickball Championship quest. The tourney was this past weekend and before hand I was pretty jazzed to be playing again. For the first time in several weeks we actually had a full roster(1) and it included several players who had been out for a few weeks. That anticipation damped about an hour before the opening pitch when we found out that 4 of our teammates had cancelled.

This meant that we were only going to be able field seven - which is less than a softball team or even a little league baseball team. We asked league officials about playing with our small number and they said it was fine but "good luck".

By the time that the other team - the "Grass Kickers" - arrived they, too, had cancellations. I overheard them scrounging for subs and told them about our shortage and we agreed to equitable play. Unfortunately, for us, their subs started arriving and within an inning or so we were playing 7 on 10(2).

After much strategizing, we wound up playing two outfielders in left and right, first- and third-basemen in front of them, myself behind behind second base, Hope and pitcher and Keri, our usual catcher, next to Hope as a utility infielder/shallow short stop. Other than the obvious lack of a center fielder, you've most likely noticed we played without a catcher. This may be a first in organized kickball. In my opinion, it's akin to pulling your goalie in crisis time of a hockey game, only we had to do it for an entire game.

The first couple innings went well with our typically stout defense not really affected by the lack of field coverage. We were even able to score a few runs on offense which had really been missing from our games the last few weeks. About the third inning things started to go horribly awry as the were able exploit our lack of players(3). Not to mention they also kicked what may have been the longest kick I've ever seen in my life.

However, in the top of the sixth we had a little spark on offense and started to gain some ground on what had been a 2-11 deficit. We scored five runs which is tough to do with seven players - you're pretty much either up to bat, on base or coaching a base. In the bottom of the sixth, we held them with three straight outs. We were excited to make up the remaining runs in the top of the seventh and continue on to round two of the tourney, but, alas, it wasn't meant to be: three straight outs and our season's over.

All said and done, it was most likely our best played game (especially considering our shortage of players) and probably the most fun, too. In fact, it was just fun enough to bring us all back next year.

(1) 11 players (2) To add insult to injury they even added an 11th player in the sixth inning. (3) They were also helped by an umpire who was so disinterested in the game that he never noticed both teams standing their watching him as he asked some girl if he should wear his Colts speedo to a party that weekend. I told him yes.

The Triumphant Return of Team KEG

Geoff Wood

After three consecutive weeks of rainouts we finally had opening day for the Circle City Athletics 2007 Kickball season a little over a week ago. It was quite the spectacle and included a parade with Payton Manning as Grand Marshall, fireworks over the White River and an opening pitch rolled out by Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson (1).

Team KEG won paper-rock-scissors and chose to take the field. Most of last year’s team returned and featured Hope's first game at pitcher and myself at the other side of the 2-Bag playing second. We did lose one All-Star from last year’s squad (2) to a pre-kickball tear of the Achilles’ tendon but he made an appearance on the sideline:


I’ll keep the play-by-play short, but we went down a run early and that lasted most of the game. We came back in the seventh (and last) inning as I took advantage of an error by the right field to come home for the tie. After a twenty minute break for our official (3) to ask the league if we had enough time to play extra innings, we resumed the game and held our opponents for two innings. In the bottom of the ninth we were able to reel in the “W”.

Hope and I missed the game last week (4) to attend a retreat with our small group from church and unfortunately Team KEG dropped a close one. It prompted a call for “practice” (5) which is something we’ve done our best to avoid.

1. None of this happened. 2. I like to refer to him as the “Gym Class Hero” 3. He was completely ridiculous, I think he believed he was calling a World Series game, not a beer-league kickball get together. (4)And the NFL draft, eck. 5. This may or may not happen.

Kickball

Geoff Wood

So, for a little recreation this summer Hope and I joined a kickball league in Broad Ripple Park. Yep, kickball. None of us had played since elementary school but we've had a fun time figuring it out.

We had two games in April and dropped them both by one run. I missed the game last weekend when I was back in Cedar Rapids for the NFL Draft party but the team won 3-0. Apparently my skills as a shortstop were not missed.

This weekend was our best game so far. We won 12-2. We held them to nothing for the top of the first and then I was the first run in in the botton of the inning. In the second through sixth we piled on the runs. I had two RBI's (r-k-i's?) and was left on once. The three at-bats where I got on base were singles (I don't have wheels, so much). In the last one, I got a bit cocky. Hope kicked after me and she got a single. They tried to throw me out at second and missed so I went for third. The ball was in left field and I watched the left fielder grab it so I tried to speed up a notch (once again, no wheels) to beat the throw to bag. Our third base coach didn't give me a signal so I turned to look for the ball. The left fielder had it and was ready to throw. I figured I had it made and then I thought to myself "he's going to throw at me". I beared down and next thing I know the big red ball bounced of my shoulder. I thought "he did throw at me!" and I was out. Ouch, that's a bit embarassing.

The other team was still scoreless heading into their last side. They got a run from us and then we got two outs. With runners on first and second I got the ball and decided to make up for getting thrown out earlier by tagging the girl running to third. Not so much, I threw it and missed over her right shoulder. The third basemen and I ran after it (no fences in this league) grabbed it to stop the other runner on third, however the girl I missed made it home.

It wasn't my best game but its a great time. If we keep on this winning streak, maybe we'll push for the national title.

Our league's not real quick updating the standings but feel free to follow along with Team KEG in the power rankings