Thursday, August 17, 2023

Visiting the 49th State

Alaska also happens to be my 49th state I've visited, with only New Mexico remaining. 

Shaahht ahht Vancouvah! 



Glacier Bay


White Pass


British Columbia



Saturday, June 17, 2023

Fishers, Carmel among best places to live

Criteria: Population between 75k-500k and median home value between $75k-500k

Result: only 1 city with multiple communities landing in the top 10 of the list; Indianapolis.

Carmel, known for its award-winning Roundabouts and world-class Art scene has been hailed as the best town in America for a long time. The stats support what we all already know. 

With a Crime rate 5x lower than US avg, and a strong commitment to healthy living, innovative restaurants, and an expanding tech scene with unbeatable community amenities, Fishers also stands out. Now another Hamilton County town is getting some recognition...

[Player 3 has entered the chat] Noblesville joins in the mix: SmartAsset now lists Carmel, Fishers AND Noblesville among THE safest and THE most affordable places in USA. Whoa, didn't see that coming. /s

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Indy 500 Pole Day sets several records

Veekay Indy 500 Bitcoin

The first ever all-234mph front row in Indy 500 history also resulted in the closest gap between 1st & 3rd spot. The 4-lap averages of Alex Palou & Felix Rosenqvist were just 0.103mph apart, beating the previous record of 0.112mph between James Hinchcliffe, Josef Newgarden and Ryan Hunter-Reay in 2016.

Palou’s & Rinus VeeKay’s gap of 0.006mph is the second-smallest gap between 1st & 2nd in Indy500 history, the narrowest difference being 0.003s between Ryan Briscoe & Hinchcliffe in 2012.

The result means that the 3 front-row starters come from 3 different teams and both of IndyCar’s engine manufacturers, Honda & Chevrolet, are represented. While neither of those stats are unusual, what is remarkable is the fact that the trio’s combined number of Indy500 starts is only 10. That’s the lowest since 2004, when Buddy Rice, the late Dan Wheldon and Dario Franchitti started 1-2-3 and had only 3 starts between them.

A not-surprising corollary of that stat is that this is the 3rd-youngest front row in history. The only younger ones are 2013 – Ed Carpenter, Carlos Munoz and Marco Andretti (26 years and 9 months) – and 1930 – Billy Arnold, Louis Meyer and Shorty Cantlon (25 years, 7 months).

It is also the first time Indy 500 history that the front row consists entirely of European-born drivers; Palou is from Spain, VeeKay from the Netherlands and Rosenqvist from Sweden.

Friday, October 14, 2022

Indy vs. Boston battle for America's best suburbs

Joining Carmel as one of the best places to live in America (and the world), neighbors Zionsville and Westfield are now also ranked in the top 10 in the newest ‘Best Small Cities’ study, according to WalletHub:

Boston & Indy suburbs dominated the top of the list, with Lancaster (PA) taking the top spot. 

Not only is Indianapolis one of the fastest growing cities in America, it's the only city on the list not located in the South or West:

Saturday, July 02, 2022

Cinematic wins post-Pandi

With Hollywood on strike, there's been a good discussion whether they deserve the money. And with AI takin e'rrbody's jerbs, I'd say there's a good reason to argue that maybe Hollywood is dead. Not so fast; allow me to play devil's advocate. I present to you, 

Recent films that don't suck:

  1. Top Gun: Maverick
  2. Super Mario Bros.
  3. The Covenant
  4. Tetris
  5. All Quiet on the Western Front
  6. Pinball
  7. Air
  8. Hustle
  9. A Man Called Otto
  10. Nobody

Monday, March 21, 2022

Roca de Durazno

Once upon a time there was a boy, and then that boy became a man, and that man had a dream: to retire peacefully. 

In his quest to find a place of solace, there were many ups and possible downs. 

Initially there had to be upfront capital, and then learning about surprise Central American taxes, overcoming a language barrier... while separated by thousands of miles. 

Next he needed a support system: Angel investors. Lawyers for the accountants. And hoes in different area codes. 

Finally, he put it to plan. Enter, F-I-R-E: Financial Independence, Retire Early. Once that was in place, all that's needed from there was just a steady stream of execution.  

Step by step, bit by bit, we went to work. Once the donkeys helped carve out rocks from the volcano, we laid the materials, built it up and after dressing it up, now we're in paradise, baby. First floor includes multi-unit bathrooms, electricity, warm showers and the best view in the world from the back porch - WiFi and kitchen included. Eventually the 2nd (and 3rd) floor will afford some more space to live and have private spaces for guests simultaneously.  I shall call it "Roca de Durazno". 

Saturday, December 04, 2021

Hyperbolic Obit for Hyperbolic Orbit

Did you see the lunar eclipse this morning? Did you see the one last month!? Do you even watch the sky, bro??

Comet Leonard [not named after Colts All-Pro Shaquille Darius Leonard] aka "c/2021", the year's best & brightest, will make it's first and only appearance in the East before sunrise (between Big Dipper's handle & Arcturus) and then in the western sky after sunset starting on the 14th, looking towards the sun (ouch!) 

I say "only" appearance because this happened might've happened 80,000 years ago but let's be honest they probably didn't have the tools we have now, and we're not yet positive this'll even be visible to our unaided eye. But we do know it's hyperbolic path will fling the comet out of the Milky Way, and possibly into another solar system lightyears away. 

RIP Comet Leonard 12/12/21
You're a Star (& comet!)

Monday, August 09, 2021

My MLB tour/roadtrip to Maine

Step 1: Why?
Combining two bucket lists into one: visiting all 50 states in the U.S. and visit every MLB stadium. Crossed off 6 states in New England which now puts me at 48 of the 50 (New Mexico & Alaska).

Step 2: When?
Juggling over a dozen different MLB schedules in late July, I wound up attending 8 games at 8 ballparks in 11 days. The Phillies gifted me a surprise double-header - ended by a walk-off Grand Slam - and I attended the Fenway tour, but unfortunately no game. 

Step 3: Where?
Starting from Circle City - also visiting Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.

Step 4: How?
Using, HipCamp, Google Maps, Trip Advisor and the Ballpark app. I drove, camped, disc'd, fished, cheered & jeered, went sight-seeing & wondering & touring & exploring, slept in the car & hotel & tent & friend's house, and had gobs of seafood & ice cream along the way.

Some of my favorite photos (below) with more on IG: @Schrockstar


Wednesday, February 03, 2021

Favorite Assembly Hall moments

There are three distinct moments that stand out to me more than any; more than the Marco Killingsworth dunk over Duke in '06, more than the Knight chair toss in '85, or the hundreds of visits I made as a student, some of which included spying on a closed practice. I could write a book telling you about the details of each of those events. Trying to find the words to summarize them is difficult enough, but succinctly accentuating WHY the moment is so special to me is the true challenge. I'll try to put you in my shoes. 

#1. My freshman year (2000) started off with a bang - Bobby was fired my first week of college. As a student reporter, I covered the story feverishly until the hype eventually died down weeks later, when the next big story came along - a Presidential election which turned into a runoff and recount, and again, as a reporter I pushed myself to the limit, exhaustively covering every detail possible. Little did I know that both of those experiences would be dwarfed by opening weekend of my 2nd semester. 

My dormmates all had season tickets together, and some games were on the floor behind the hoops, and other seats were in the balcony, with a good mix in between. IU is notorious for having the most student seats and it was a real treat when you had floor seats, and a real downer when you're in the nosebleeds. The Michigan State game was one of those. Garcia & I decided that if the game is close at the final timeout (4-min) we'd run down to lower level and just stand on the sidelines. It was already chaotic, nationally televised (MSU was #1) so there was a healthy police presence by the benches. But they were fans too, and what they didn't notice is how I made my way to where the cheerleaders stand and just kinda blended in. Afterall, this was the final play of the game and I wanted a good view. 

Rewind 3 years earlier when I was a spectator rushing the court at Columbus North HS after my LC Bears beat the Bloomington North Cougars (led by Jared Jeffries and Duany Duany) on a buzzer beater to advance to Semi-State on March 13th 1998. 

So I was no rookie to court-rushing, which I think gave me the confidence to do what I did next, which is LEAP OVER a cheerleader to get on the court. No less than one second after the buzzer went off and that ball swished, I was the first fan on the court sprinting towards Kirk Haston. As the players stacked onto each other one-by-one, I had to decide whether to join the dogpile or do the smart thing and protect the players. So I slid to my knees and scooted into the pile, caught my balance and put my hands up in celebration. ESPN Sportscenter replayed this moment over and over and it was later voted the #1 play, forever memorialized on VHS and then YouTube. Yep, that's me.

#2. The date is December 10th, 2011. The weeks before, I remember extending my vacation in Guatemala beyond Thanksgiving and into December. But there was a nagging feeling that I need to go back home for this game. After all, Kentucky was ranked #1 in the nation and IU was undefeated. The rivalry was as strong as ever, and ESPN Gameday was in town - along with tons of alumni... it was an electric atmosphere. 

My 2nd favorite memory from this day was how I obtained my ticket to the game. I'd been StubHubbing and Craigslisting all week hoping to get a ticket for under $125 but the only double-digit prices were Student tickets. As an expert scalper, I was counting on being able to get a good deal near tipoff. No luck; prices were even higher and harder to get. Now here's a lil tip I learned elsewhere and will forever thank my luck, because I walked up to the teller box, jokingly asked if there were any tickets available, and to my surprise she responded "let me check!" and lo and behold, she says "I have one. Thirty-six dollars." I couldn't believe it. What are the odds that someone actually returned their unused ticket just before I asked for one? Moments later, there I was: center-court, main level, 30 rows up. Fast-forward to the final play of the game, and I felt like I just had to get this on video, just in case. You know the rest. 

#3. The date is October 16th, 2010: I'm in Btown cuz it's Homecoming weekend and duh, Midnight Madness - which is now called Hoosier Hysteria and played at reasonable hour instead of, well... ya know. This edition featured former-player autographs (Damon Bailey, etc) and then the show got started with the player announcements, lights, videos, and all that pomp. This year's squad was 'led' by senior J.Rivers, son of Doc. I use softquotes because really the stars were the sophomores: Mr. Basketball Jordan Hulls at point, Christian Watford up front, and wingman Mo Creek. Juniors VJ3 and Tom Pritchard were both 3-yr starters, so this was a pretty good squad. In fact, a couple of 3-star incoming frosh didn't really register on my radar until this night: Will Sheehey and Victor Oladipo. There was a scrimmage, and a 3-point contest, but the event that stood out the most was the slam dunk contest. A handful of guys displayed their athleticism, but Victor immediately jumped into my full attention. He was doing NBA Slam Dunk contest-type dunks, including one where he gathered a group of children and had them stand under the hoop. Of course, he completely lept over them and it was a great PR for the program to incorporate fans as props, like a magician. This kid was beaming with talent. I remember thinking, "this kid is the next Michael Jordan; I have to go meet him."
So naturally I walk across the court after the show is over, and ask for a picture. 

He wound up starting a few games that year, before taking a giant stride his Sophomore year (see #2 above), and then an even BIGGER leap his Junior year. As we all know, Vic eventually reached the NCAA Player of the Year runner-up distinction, missing the top spot by a couple voting points. Then of course he was the 2nd overall draft pick, to the Magic, where his first game was right here in Indy with ya boy sitting courtside welcoming him home. I still feel pretty good about my MJ comparison and anybody who's heard me say that usually rolls their eyes. Then came the trade to Indiana, and the All-Stars, and his singing career, the All-NBAs... who knows what's next. I tried to tell em. They don't roll their eyes as often these days. 

Places I've Been