Today I ran a TGIF in Catherine’s honor. This is not exactly something around the house that I did to make the house more exciting, but Catherine would be excited by TGIF. Click more to learn about the Wurst TGIF ever.
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For nearly 4 years, Skiz and Catherine have duked it out on the playing field of life. But never have these two squared off in an arena as sacred as the Sunday Matchup.

This week, we’ll learn a little more about these two competitors. Will it come down to a height mismatch? Is das Skiz too old to keep up with his barely younger but still younger competitor? Will Catherine remember anything about the game of football?

Cast your vote for this week’s winner. Remember, voting is anonymous, so Catherine won’t be able to hunt you down if you vote for Skiz.

Last week’s winner was dollars, but only by 2 votes! However, if you feel euros were wrongly defeated, you can go back and change history. So vote now or forever hold your peace.

die Katze, the human

October 4, 2009

die Katze, with frog

die Katze, with frog

Name: Catherine ‘die Katze’ Stocker
Age: basically as old as das Skiz, but 26 actually
Occupation: PhD student
Former Occupation: Non-top secret Victoria’s Secret Employee

Keys to the game:

  • Has European and Japanese ancestral roots
  • Skilled in math and sciences
  • Excellent hoster of events
  • Has a German visa
  • Can sleep with an eye open

Game Plan:
Catherine has worldwide appeal, with an EU visa, a half Asian half white appearance, and command of the English language. Look for Catherine to take Chris places where he is ‘definitely a white guy’, and also not officially allowed to stay for any length of time. She will try to call plays at the line of scrimmage, since Peyton Manning is her favorite player. When Catherine is not globetrotting, she is plotting what can be done to fix the bathroom in the house, or how additional houses can be purchased. Look for Catherine to closely examine real estate dealings, and exploit Chris’ Tampa 2 defense by finding the seams.

Catherine is prone to shopping, without usually buying much. She can also slip into bouts of ‘celebrity watching’ through TMZ, Perez Hilton, and other such portals. Look for das Skiz to exploit this by buying her gossip magazines and dropping her off at Fashion Island. Catherine is a Computer Science PhD candidate, but does not like ‘messing’ with computers. This can be exploited by saying you want to install some RAM and that you will need to ‘open up the machine’, causing her to leave quickly. Her 3-4 defense could also use work.

Player quote:

I bet my opponent is going to talk a big game.  He always does.  Ask him about our record in backgammon meetings.  Ask him about heads-up poker,  Tiger Woods golf.  It’s all the same.    I’m driven.  It’s like there’s a fire inside of me, but instead of burning my intestines and stomach, it burns me to do stuff.  I understand that doesn’t really make sense to you, but that’s because you don’t have a fire on your insides.  It could also be related to Del Taco or something.  I’m not sure.  But it is definitely hot in there, and I think that has something to do with wanting to win things.

das Skiz, the human

October 4, 2009

Skiz, with frog

das Skiz, with frog

Name: Chris ‘das Skiz’ Czyzewicz
Age: 27
Profession: Computer Science PhD candidate
Old Job: Top secret government employee

Game plan:

  • Tall
  • Has some understanding of German
  • Conversation starting last name
  • Had a job one time, that he quit, so he can say things like, ‘When I had my job …’
  • Strong defensive skills
  • Has watched, like, a lot of NFL Films

Keys to the game:
das Skiz was a legend in his own mind when he played football at recess in elementary school. Despite never playing any sort of organized football, he still believes he’d be a shoo-in for the hall of fame if he had chosen to go that route. Look for Skiz to talk a lot about what teams did 40 years ago in certain situations, specifically referencing memorable quotes from the NFL Films library.

Skiz has weaknesses in the ‘house repair’ and ‘traveling anywhere’ fields that can be exploited. Look for Catherine to suggest that ‘something should be done with the bathroom’ or that ‘we should go somewhere spontaneously’. He also has remembered to buy a birthday present for family members approximately 7 times in his entire life. The comment, ‘isn’t so-and-so’s birthday coming up’ will virtually paralyze him. Despite being a schoolyard legend, he has no idea how to tackle, block, or kick, so he’s pretty much useless on the football field. His durability has also been called into question, as he has been punched, kicked, or run-into by a shopping cart nearly every time Catherine and Skiz do something even slightly resembling horseplay.

Player quote: (Editor’s note: Some sections of this player quote may have been deleted)
Catherine is a nice person.

A last goodbye for JJW

September 28, 2009

Last week, I had to print the sad news that Grandpa Jimmy, aka the Japanese John Wayne, passed away.  His funeral is today, and Catherine suggested that I put up some pictures of him as a last goodbye.  Luckily her brother, who I unfortunately lumped into the ‘etc.’ category of her family members (which is really ridiculous on my part because he’s her older brother, and you should never mess with an older brother), posted a bunch of pictures of him on facebook.

As a final note, Catherine told me that there will be a deck of cards in his coffin when he is laid to rest today.  I’m pretty sure that not even John Wayne was that cool.

A smile!

A smile!

He loved fishing.  Catherine even loved fishing, just because Grandpa did.  Crap, now I'm going to cry again.

He loved fishing. Catherine even loved fishing, just because Grandpa did. Crap, now I'm going to cry again.

Catherine found what!

September 24, 2009

Catherine found this picture of the guy that Grandpa Jimmy shook hands with. Seriously, that is me. And I probably was dressed similarly. Wow. Thankfully, Grandpa Jimmy had seen a lot of things in his days, so this didn’t really register as a thing.

In fact, I think it would have registered as Nothing on his internal meter.


Nice hair

Nice hair

Grandpa Jimmy Shinoda

September 23, 2009

For the first day in a long time, the world is without Grandpa Jimmy Shinoda, aka Catherine’s Grandfather, James Shinoda.

And that is a damn shame.

So I thought I’d share a story about Grandpa Jimmy that will probably almost make me cry (EDIT: did. That’s twice in one year now) while writing and in subsequent readings of it. It’s not a sad story at all. It’s actually pretty awesome. But usually it’s the awesome stories that make you the saddest, because they remind you of how awesome something was that will never be again.

In 2006, I took my first trip out to meet Catherine’s family in California. I had never been to California, I was totally in to Catherine, and I was about to meet all the people that were important in her life. Needless to say, this was a big trip for me. We had also decided to tie-in a trip to the World Series of Poker so that I could play in a $1000 tournament. I get nervous for that tournament approximately 12 months in advance, so you know, no biggie.

Then I discovered that Catherine’s grandfather would be meeting us in Las Vegas. At this time, I barely knew Catherine’s mom, dad, sister, etc. let alone her grandfather. However, I did know that Grandpa was a big deal, and, like the godfather, if he thought I was cool, others would think that. Or at least that’s how I pictured it in my head.

I was really into this mohawk that I had at the time (photo not found), and the only thing I could think about when I arrived in Vegas was how I was going to make the final table of my tournament, I was going to get on TV, and I was going to have a mohawk while doing. How cool was I going to be?

I totally forgot that Grandpa Jimmy would be showing up at the tournament to meet Catherine, and that by meeting Catherine, I would be meeting him. Shortly after that, I realized that I had a mohawk, I was fairly shabbily dressed, I was playing in a poker tournament with a bunch of really really classy people who alternate between hurling things and obscenities, and I was playing with some of Catherine’s money since she had decided to help back such a classy guy like myself. I was also, of course, wearing shorts so that my tattoos were visible.

If I were Grandpa Jimmy, I probably would have punched me and rescued Catherine.

But he didn’t. He shook my hand and asked if we wanted to get something to eat. I was so wowed by this. Either Catherine had brought a slew of bad boyfriends before Grandpa Jimmy, and he was willing to accept whatever was put in front of him, or he was willing to judge me when he actually knew me.

As it turned out, I really hit the jackpot by meeting Grandpa Jimmy. I told Catherine later that I thought he was like John Wayne, if John Wayne were Japanese. He used to play poker in Vegas before every kid like me thought it was cool. He told me about playing 5 card draw in some of the casinos. Five card draw? Like, with six shooters too or just regular?

He said very little that night, but when he did, I was on the edge of my seat. And he had this walk. I can’t even explain it. I mean, he was John Wayne. That’s all I can say. In my mind, from that day on, I knew John Wayne, and he actually lived in Santa Ana, California, and he was Catherine’s grandfather. This is good.

Luckily for me, I got the chance to go back to Grandpa Jimmy’s house many times. In subsequent meetings, I learned that John Wayne liked to crack jokes, talked more than John Wayne and lots of other people do, and definitely enjoyed playing Spider Solitaire, almost as much as he loved being around his family. And even though Catherine thought my John Wayne assessment was way off, his house was the hub of activity for the whole family. I was definitely not the only one who thought Grandpa was cool.

I only knew Grandpa Jimmy for a few years, so I can imagine what the people who were close to him for a lifetime are feeling right now. I can only say that I have some sliver of understanding as to why you feel the way you do right now. I wish I could have known him longer.

Two things are certain. First, I will never cruise the strip in Vegas without thinking about him and that memorable first meeting. It’s hardly a bad thing to think of John Wayne when you’re in Vegas. And second, I’ll always remember to try to think like Grandpa Jimmy when my daughter or granddaughter brings a boy up for inspection.

I’m so glad he did that for me.

Grandpa Jimmy

Grandpa Jimmy