Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Congratulations, Dr. Amber!

I have to give a shout out to my good friend Amber today because now we can officially call her DOCTOR! Yesterday she submitted the final copy of her dissertation to KU along with all the necessary paperwork to be granted her PhD! She actually successfully defended her dissertation a couple of weeks ago, so in theory we probably could have started calling her Dr. at that point, but she decided that she wouldn't really be finished until all the dissertation edits were complete and the paperwork was done. Now it's officially official!

Amber has been working on her doctorate in Communication Studies since about 2005 when she finished her master's in that department, which she started in 2002. That means she's been going to graduate school for almost 6 years, all while teaching at KU as a graduate teaching assistant, which I personally cannot imagine. I could barely stand four years of undergraduate classes! While 6 years might sound like a long time to many of us, the average time for someone to finish a master's and a PhD at KU is actually over 10 years! The average age for a doctoral candidate is around 34, and Amber has hers finished before her 30th birthday! I think she's pretty amazing.

The only bad part about Amber finishing school is that now that means she and her husband Jake are leaving Lawrence! AAAAAAAAACCCCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKK! I can't tell you how sad I am about our dear friends moving on. This fall Amber will be starting her career as a college professor at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. They will be living somewhere in the DC area as Jake begins his teaching career at George Washington University. They're all about those presidents, aren't they? While we're very sad about our friends leaving us in just a few months, we're trying to look on the bright side: Washington, DC will be a wonderful place to visit!

Congratulations, Dr. Amber! We're very proud of you!! :)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Chad's New Baby

I just had to share a picture of Chad's new baby. I wanted to actually get a picture of him with the truck, just so you could see how stinkin' happy he is about it, but he had a softball game tonight. This picture I took when I was home at lunch today will have to do. I have to admit it really is a very handsome vehicle!

Apparently the salesmen at the dealership kept saying that Chad deserved a medal for having driven a Hyundai Elantra for 175,000 miles. I'd say that's a slight exaggeration, but I will say that he does deserve to finally be driving something that he loves!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Chad's New Rides

That title actually isn't a typo. Today Chad became the proud driver of two new vehicles. I can safely say I don't think we will ever again come to possess two new cars in the same day.

The first car Chad received today was his new company car. If you've been reading my chatter for a while you might remember that I blogged about his first company car last June. I don't think I ever wrote the follow up story, but the Green Machine wasn't part of our family for long. Within the first month of being Chad's mode of transportation, it broke down three times. The first couple of times he was able to get a jump or get a ride to where he was going, but third time when some belt broke he was forced to drive the car like 30 mph on the shoulder of the Interstate most of the way home from Topeka--and this was just days after the fleet mechanics had fixed the first problem. Chad was NOT a happy camper, to say the least. When his company's crew came to tow it away, he told them to just keep it because he wasn't taking it back. At that point he decided to continue driving our much more reliable little Hyundai for work purposes. He of course received a mileage reimbursement, but it was a big pain to have to deal with so many oil changes, tire rotations and tire replacements on our personal vehicle. So Chad put his name on the list to get a new (and therefore reliable) company car.

Obviously the list was pretty long, since that was the middle of last summer. A few months ago Chad started hearing rumors that the new group of company vehicles would be coming in soon, so he started salivating. Not because he was getting the brand new (3 miles on it!) Chevy Impala that you see here, but rather because getting a new company car meant getting rid of the Hyundai and getting something that he's been wanting for years: a truck. He has always loved having a truck and gave up his last beloved tailgate when he started working for Westar and driving all over the state. Since I refused to drive his truck to work (I'm such a mean wife), we ended up getting rid of it. Our compromise was to buy our Ford Escape so that we'd still have a little bit of hauling ability in a vehicle that I would like to drive.

So on Friday, Chad got the official word that his company car had arrived and he could pick it up today. When he got home that night, he immediately went online and started looking for the truck he'd been researching for the last several months--the Toyota Tacoma. In his research he'd found that a Tacoma with all the features he wanted was going to be difficult to find. Tacomas are so popular that most people don't sell them, and they're so in demand that those which are on the market tend to sell quickly. He entered all his preferred options into the search fields of whatever website he was on and voila--there was one truck meeting almost all of his specifications in all of Kansas or Missouri, and that one happened to be at a dealer in the KC area.

It seemed ridiculous to rush into buying a truck, and yet the price on this vehicle was way lower several others (the next closest was in Arkansas) with higher mileage and fewer options. It seemed silly not to at least go look at it since it was less than an hour away, so Chad went to check it out on Saturday afternoon and fell in love. We talked and prayed about it the last couple of days, and today Chad made them an offer which they accepted. We had no intention of buying a truck this quickly, but this was just such a great deal that we didn't think we should pass it up!

Although I'm excited that I won't have to listen to Chad complain of truck envy anymore, I have to admit that I'm not really excited about this purchase. I'm having a really hard time coming to grips with the idea of increasing the size of our ecological footprint. We already have one vehicle that's not especially fuel efficient, and the idea of adding a second is making my stomach hurt. Obviously the fact that I spent more on a tank of gas today than I ever have in my entire life is not helping the situation. Chad keeps reminding me that we never really drove the Hyundai that much on weekends anyway, and that in town the mpg between vehicles isn't really that different, and that we end up usually taking the Escape on trips anyway because it's more comfortable and has 4WD. Still, I hate the idea of becoming less green. You can bet that as soon as this truck is paid off I'm all about getting something economical and good for the environment!

So tonight I had to say goodbye to our dear little Hyundai Elantra, as Chad traded it in as part of the deal. For the last 7+ years that little car was ultra reliable for us, and was still going strong with over 170,000 miles on it. We never had any major problem with it--all the work we had done was strictly routine maintenance. It wasn't much to look at as it aged, and our friends often made fun of our little economy car, but I still loved it (except for the time that I didn't put the emergency brake on and it slipped out of gear and rolled out of the garage and down the driveway and bashed into the neighbor's parked car--but that's another story). It was a sad goodbye tonight as Chad left for Kansas City.

Goodbye little Elantra! I know Chad won't, but I'll definitely miss you!

I'd post a picture of Chad's new truck, but he isn't even home with it yet! He of course had to stop and show it off to his best friend on his way home. :)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Emily's Exit

I'm so bummed. My friend Emily is moving away. It's not like she's just moving to Kansas City or something either--she's moving all the way to Salt Lake City! That's not exactly somewhere we go visit often! Although I'm certainly not happy about losing a super fun friend, I guess I can't really blame her. Her husband Ashford has a terrific opportunity with his engineering firm and Emily already has a great job fund raising for the local NPR station there. Their house here sold after only about 5 days on the market and they bought a house in the SLC area when they were out there for Emily's job interview. Everything has just fallen together so nicely for them I guess this move was just meant to be.

I met Emily close to seven years ago when she started working in the Constituent Development department at KU Endowment. Thankfully she's not just a work friend, and in the last several years we've played dodgeball, volleyball and softball together in various parks & rec leagues. She's always been a friend who has motivated me to try new things, such as Red Dog's Dog Days (a local summer conditioning program which lead to my first and only half marathon), Blue Plate Dinners, and the current Zumba class we're taking. She's super funny and smart, always entertaining and engaging, and best of all, she snorts pretty much every time she laughs. :)

So last night we got together with a bunch of Emily and Ashford's friends downtown for an official going away gathering. You can check out the pictures if you're interested. It was a great time with some terrific conversation and hysterical laughter, but I have to say it's still making me very sad! I'll miss you, Emily!

The good news is that Emily has promised she will be starting a blog very soon to keep her family and friends in the Midwest updated on their Utah adventure. I'm looking forward to hearing their stories of living as minorities in LDS country as well as getting updates on their adorable baby Helena as she grows up! The blog should be coming soon, right Em? :)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Subject of the Matter

Lately I've been seeing a cool new feature on all sorts of blogs and websites. It's called a tag cloud, and it's kind of an artistic looking picture of words that help you visualize the frequency of certain subjects. I thought it would be fun thing to have on my blog sidebar, but I really had no idea where you got one or how they worked. I figured I had to first actually label all of my posts with a subject--something that I had not been doing in the 1.5 years I've been blogging. So for the last couple of days I've been trying to categorize my almost 400 blog posts according to their main subjects, which is taking me a while, to say the least! Blogger has a pretty slick way of searching for related posts and then tagging them with a label, which is helping quite a bit, but I still think I have a long way to go before I'm finished with this project.

Once I had a good chunk of my posts labeled with a subject, I added a list over on the sidebar so that my visitors could easily see what I babble about the most and then easily get to posts that might be of interest to them. For example, our friends might just want to see posts about our friends, and our distant relatives might just want to see posts about our family and our life. People who share my sense of humor might just want to see stuff that I tagged as funny, while people who share my love of dogs might want to just read dog stories, while my fellow KU fans might only care about KU football and basketball. This will be an easy way for everyone to check out only what they care about!

After I added my list of "Stuff I Talk About" (under the slideshow), I started searching on the web for tag clouds and how I might find a way to make one. I discovered that many brands/versions of tag clouds don't even need posts to be labeled to work. This one called TagCrowd just takes text from a page and makes a cloud of it. Here's a cloud of what's on my blog right now:

created at

Pretty cool, huh? I can't figure out how to make it small enough to fit on the sidebar, and the links to topics don't work, and it's not exactly the kind of cloud I'm really wanting, but I think it's kind of pretty anyway!!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Old 97's Alert

Clearly we all need a break from my ridiculously long ramblings of the last three days--me from writing and the rest of you from reading! Thanks to the few of you who stuck it out for the long haul and actually read the entire story--Chad was convinced no one would! :)

So today's post is strictly to provide a quick dose of entertainment--at least for me it will be entertaining! I'm so so so excited about this! The Old 97's are releasing a new album AND kicking off a new tour next month!!! Check out the YouTube video posted by their record label.

In other very important Old 97's news, tonight (yes, tonight), my Old 97's will be performing on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno! How sweet is that? Set your Tivos, everyone!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Jury Duty, Part 3

For a while there I thought James was my only friend. It turns out that Erin and James (and Tracy!) are my only friends. :) Thanks to you both for being brave enough to offer your opinions on yesterday's question!

Okay, back to the jury duty story. The prosecuting attorney asked if there was anyone in the jury pool who felt that they wouldn't be able to convict the defendant based solely on the credible testimony of the victim. Immediately, my mind began racing, as I tried to imagine myself in that position. On her testimony alone? If there was no other evidence that a crime had occurred? Even if she was completely believable, what if the defendant was completely believable as well? I just couldn't imagine putting someone in jail for any crime--let alone one this serious--if there was no physical evidence to corroborate the victim's story. Maybe it's because I'm such a stickler for details that I felt I would need the "detail" of some actual proof.

Out of the 36 jurors in the question pool, only a few people raised a hand to offer a response. Most of them responded that yes, if the vicitim was credible and believable, then they could find the defendent guilty based on her testimony alone. Only one brave woman in the pool had a different response--and she didn't actually even say no. When she responded with "I just don't know," the prosecutor pressed her, reiterating that this is assuming that the victim was completely believable. The woman said she still just couldn't say for sure, at which point the attorney continued to present arguments until the woman finally gave in and said "I guess."

I was completely fascinated by the responses--and lack thereof--to this question. I just couldn't fathom how every one of those 36 people could honestly say they would be okay with convicting this man--a man who happened to be right there in front of us--based on the testimony of one witness and nothing else. Maybe some of these people just weren't comfortable speaking out in front of everyone, but was almost as if once the people got put into the question pool, they were all about giving the attorney exactly what she wanted to hear instead of their honest opinion. It was a bizarre phenomenon--one that I thought would make an interesting psychological study!

So while I was still struggling with the "testimony only" question, the prosecutor started a new line of questioning, asking the group if anyone had a family member who had been imprisoned, or knew someone who was s3xually assaulted, or had ever been the actual victim of a violent crime. I was really quite surprised that so many people had family members who were incarcerated. Many others knew people who'd been assaulted or had been assaulted themselves. Since each potential juror was asked to elaborate and then given a series of follow up questions, these questions took forever. Ultimately, the final question always was: would your experience (family member imprisonment, friend's assault, your assault) prevent you from being objective and giving this man a fair trial? For a few people, their lives had been affected deeply enough that they were, either by their own admission or by the ruling of the judge, dismissed from the pool and from the day's proceedings. After each dismissal, the clerk stood up and called the name of one of the extras, and each time I could feel my blood pressure rise as I held my breath waiting to hear my name. Thankfully, after 4 or 5 dismissals, my name had still not been called. I felt so lucky that I started wondering if I should go buy a lottery ticket when the day was all over.

The next bunch of questions were pretty easy. Anyone who had a legitimate conflict, such as a plane ticket within the next week or a business conference, was dismissed by the judge as free to leave. The one brave woman who gave the honest answer earlier was dismissed so that she could be present at her daughter's surgery. One student was dismissed because she claimed to have finals (Really? This early in the semester?). Will someone please explain why these conflicts weren't addressed as the FIRST line of questioning? I'm sure there's a reason, but couldn't they have saved all of these people 2 hours by asking them at the very beginning if they had a conflict? Regardless, after each dismissal another name was called to take the empty chair. Still, after 5 or 6 more dismissals, my name wasn't called. I started to wonder if they'd even checked me in at all that morning since it seemed that I'd never in my life been that lucky.

After almost 3 hours of questioning by the prosecuting attorney, we were able to break for lunch. During the entire hour I kept running over the "testimony only" question in my mind. When and if I did get picked for the pool, I would have to provide all the responses I had to any questions that had been asked at any time throughout the day. I knew I couldn't pretend that that one didn't bother me, and yet I wasn't sure how to voice my opinion in front of everyone since clearly I was in the minority.

When we returned from the break, a couple of people in the backup group had been dismissed, so now there were only 3 of us left who weren't in the question pool who had actually been there all day, and then another 3 people who came in so late that they didn't have a clue what was going on. It was the defense attorney's turn to question the jurors now, and her methodology was completely different than that of the prosecutor's. She was very friendly and was clearly trying hard to appear likable. She brought up topics and issues and then invited people to offer their opinions, often calling out a particularly quiet person who hadn't spoken up yet during the day. She talked at length about the presumption of innocence, the prosecution's burden of proof, and the idea that guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

The defense attorney was also quick to point out that we potential jurors had not yet been presented with any information about the case that could be construed as evidence, going as far as to define and describe several types of evidence that can be used in court (which I thought was completely pointless). It seemed she was trying to straighten out anyone who might have been mislead by the "facts" that the prosecutor presented that morning, and yet minutes later she was employing the exact same tactic. She asked one of the nurses in the pool about drug interactions and about how important it was to take prescription medications properly and not mix them with illegal substances--a lame question to which everyone already knew the answer. Clearly she wasn't interested in finding out any juror opinions on the matter, but instead was taking an opportunity to discredit at least one of the witnesses, as the implication was that at least one of them was on drugs at the time of the assault and therefore made poor judgments.

Throughout the defense's questioning, it continued to feel like the potential jurors were all trying to give "right" answers instead of being completely honest with themselves and everyone else in the room. Everyone was politically correct, and everyone seemed to be trying hard to give answers that wouldn't ruffle feathers or get them excused. It was almost like now that they'd invested all this time and made it this far, they actually wanted to be one of the chosen 12. No one would say anything they thought the attorney wouldn't want to hear. For example, she began to talk very explicitly about some of the terms that would be used in describing the assault, which the defendant claimed was consensual. Some of these terms were slang I'd never even heard, let alone things I would write here or actually speak about with other people. The attorney asked if everyone in the pool would be comfortable hearing and discussing these terms for the entire week. No one willingly expressed that they would be uncomfortable. She singled out several people, including a very conservative-looking retired professor, and asked if they would be comfortable using these terms. Everyone said yes, they would be comfortable with it. Really. I could see such a response if the question had been could they discuss those things professionally if they had to--but comfortable? Really? I couldn't really think of many things more uncomfortable that listening to and discussing some of the terms she had just taught me! I really think people were more concerned about appearing open-minded and progressive than they were about being honest!

The defense attorney finished her questioning in just under 2 hours, at which time the attorneys, judge and clerk started deliberating about which 12 would be selected. They checked their notes, put names with faces, and went back and forth until after about 20 minutes the clerk read the 12 names. I felt so sorry for those 12 people, and yet none seemed at all distraught about the task at hand. They moved to their chosen seats, and then the judge dismissed the other 24 potential jurors, but asked the few of us left in the backup group to stay (gulp).

After everyone left, the judge informed us that since this would be a long trial, they would need to select a 13th juror as an alternate. Of the 6 of us left sitting there, they would select 3 to question, and then select 1 of the 3 to be the alternate. I immediately started sweating bullets. Since 3 of the 6 hadn't been there all day, there was no way they'd be picked because they hadn't heard all the questions. I knew my luck had just run out. The clerk called my name along with the other 2 reserves, and we went and sat in the front row, directly in front of the prosecutor, right across from the jurors who'd already been selected.

After swearing us in, the prosecutor asked if we'd had any responses to any of the questions asked earlier in the day. The woman to my left knew some other people in the pool and had been assaulted 15 years ago and had served on a jury before. The guy to my right had no responses to any questions. I, however, couldn't go without responding honestly. I explained that when I went home for lunch, the question that kept running through my mind was the one about convicting the defendant based solely on the testimony of a credible victim. I said that although I felt a little strange admitting it since no one else responded the same way earlier, that I was a very analytical, detail-oriented person who felt like I would probably need additional evidence to support the victim's story. I went on to say that it must just be my nature, and that I felt I had to be honest since it was the question with which I had been struggling.

After about 60 more seconds of deliberation, I saw the clerk mouth "Richardson" and knew that the poor guy next to me was unlucky number 13. I couldn't hide the huge grin that crept across my face. I left the jury assembly room and practically skipped to my car. I can't even express how thankful I was that my honesty paid off and helped me to avoid jury duty!!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Jury Duty, Part 2

So here's the rest continuation of my jury duty story.

After arriving at the courthouse and finding the jury assembly room, I signed in with the very nice bailiff and sat around for 10 minutes or so waiting. Pretty soon the very nice judge began talking, acknowledging that he knew no one really wanted to be there and that we all had better things we could be doing. He stressed that serving on jury duty was a very important part of our civic duty as well as the judicial system in general. He then began talking about the trial for which they were selecting, which was a criminal trial (ugh). Specifically, a man had been charged with two separate accounts of r@pe (ugh again), and he was on trial for both incidents. I was completely mortified at the thought of being part of a jury who might convict someone of such a serious crime.

As an aside, let me just say that although I really know nothing about the judicial system (I've never watched an entire episode of Law & Order :), I found it to be really odd that he was being tried for both crimes at the same time. These were two completely unrelated incidents, about four months apart, with two completely unrelated alleged victims. My immediate thought was that it seemed way too coincidental for two different women to accuse this man of the same crime on separate occasions. While I obviously should have been imagining him as completely innocent until proven guilty, I'm guessing I'm not the only person who had that gut reaction. Which leads me to the question: how can this man get a fair trial when being tried for both of these crimes at once? I need a lawyer to help me out with this one.

So back to the story. After the judge told us about the case, he explained the process of choosing the 12 jurors. First, 36 of the 55 or so people would randomly be placed into one pool of potential jurors who would be questioned by both the prosecution and the defense. The remaining 20 or so people would still have to sit and listen to all the questions, making a mental note of any responses they might have. If any of the 36 were dismissed for any reason (one reason might be an acquaintance with the attorneys, witnesses or defendant), then one of the remaining 20 would be moved into their place, and would then have to present any responses they had to any previous questions.

After the judge finished describing the process, he went to round up the attorneys so they could start their questioning. The 36 potential jurors were chosen, and I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief when I wasn't one of the 36! They were all sworn in by the clerk as the court reporter started hammering away at her little shorthand machine, which, by the way, was completely fascinating to me! How do they do they record every single word and how does that chicken scratch make any sense????

The prosecuting attorney (an assistant district attorney, I think) was a rather serious and sort of sour looking woman, and she was assisted by another female attorney who had a stone cold stare that didn't change the entire day. Neither woman seemed especially likable--not that there's anything wrong with that. The defense attorney came in soon after, flanked with her assistant and a creepy looking white male I would guess to be in his late 40s. There was no doubt in my mind (and probably not in anyone else's) that this guy was the defendant. I immediately started trying to wipe my judgment slate clean, since I knew I didn't want to have to admit to a room full of 60 people that I had totally judged a book by its cover.

The prosecutor started off asking everyone in the question pool about any acquaintances they had with other potential jurors, the defense, the prosecution, or anyone else related to the trial, which took forever since everyone who knew anyone was asked to explain how they were acquainted. They then had to assure the judge and attorneys that their acquaintance would in no way affect their ability to give this guy a fair trial. Only one juror got out of serving in this way, when he claimed that he recognized the defendant from "around town." When asked to be more specific, he insisted that the man had come into his former place of employment to buy car parts, and that "knowing" the defendant in this way would prevent him from being able to be objective. Really. It was clear he was just trying to get out of his duty, especially when he said, in front of everyone, "I really just don't want to be here." The prosecutor laughed and said that if she took a poll, she guessed that not a single one of the jurors really wanted to be there, but the judge dismissed the slacker anyway. They called the name of one of the reserves to take his spot, and thankfully, it wasn't mine.

The acquaintance questions seemed to go on forever. There actually turned out to be a father/son relationship in the questioning pool, which the prosecutor said she'd never seen happen in 20 years--so that was kind of funny. There was also a guy who was the first cousin of one of the witnesses. He claimed that he wouldn't give her testimony any extra weight just because she was his cousin and so the judge let him stay--much to the dismay of the defense. I could overhear the whispers of the attorneys and judge when they approached the "bench", and the judge was concerned that a lot more people would be dismissed as the questions got more sensitive, so he thought they should keep the cousin around just in case they ran out of people later.

After all of the acquaintances were identified and thoroughly explained, the prosecutor went on to describe some of the details of each of the alleged assaults. The disturbing part about this was not that she went into any graphic detail of the events, but rather that she never once explained that what she was describing were allegations and not documented events. She told the stories as if they were fact: this is what happened. I'm sure this is a "trick" that they learn in law school, but I just thought it was so classless. It's like she was making the assumption that we were all stupid enough to believe that what she was providing was some sort of evidence--like we weren't going to realize that the stories were completely one-sided. Her ultimate point in giving us this information was to ask this question: since this is a "he said/she said" kind of case with no witnesses, if the only evidence we were provided during the trial was the testimony of the victim, and if she was believable, is there anyone who would have a problem convicting the defendant based on just that testimony?

Now that I've posed this question, I'm totally curious as to how my friends and family would answer. Since this post has gotten to be ridiculously long (as usual), and since it's late and I still have lots more to talk about (much to your dismay, I'm sure), I think I'll let you all ponder that question before I finish the story. So leave me a comment and let me know how you would have answered--and be honest. There's no right or wrong, really. Just one answer the prosecution wanted more than another. Tomorrow I'll let you know how the 36 responded. :)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Jury Duty

Let me just warn you in advance: I had a very interesting and rather stressful experience today, and I will likely do a lot of babbling about it. I've already babbled to my husband and to my coworkers, but there's still a lot of babbling left in my brain! My blog is the lucky recipient of all of my random thoughts!

I guess the story sort of started last month when my boss got jury duty. When he was done we were talking about his experience, and I mentioned (rather happily) that in the 18 years I've lived in Lawrence, I've never once been summoned for duty. The next week, like clockwork, I received my summons in the mail.

I filled out the enclosed survey and sent it back to the court, and was instructed to call the courthouse several weeks later to find out if there were any trials during my first scheduled week. I left the instructions on the kitchen counter to make sure I didn't forget to call at my appointed time, which unfortunately, I did. Apparently that summons sat on the kitchen counter for so long it just became part of the landscape, so I never once thought of calling the weekend before my duty began. When I came home last Monday night and realized I'd forgotten, I just about panicked, thinking maybe I would be arrested for "failure to appear in court" or something. I called the courthouse number and breathed a huge sigh of relief when I got the recorded message telling me there were no trials scheduled for Monday. Thankfully, I remembered to call again on Wednesday, when there were again no scheduled trials. I was instructed to call back on Friday after 5:30, which unbelievably, I forgot to do!

So this morning I'm sitting at work at about 8:50, and I get a phone call which says right on the caller ID that it's from "Douglas County." I'm a complete idiot, because at this point it still doesn't sink in that I had jury duty! The very kind clerk reminded me that I was suppose to report this morning, so after catching my breath I went flying out of my office and drove like a crazy person down to the county courthouse. Amazingly, I made it downtown and found a parking place even before the proceedings began.

At this point, I haven't even gotten to the stressful part of my day that I felt like babbling about, but I think I'm going to have to save the second half of the story for tomorrow. Clearly this post would be entirely too long if I continue, and I'm entirely too tired! I'm sure everyone will be on pins and needles waiting to hear how the jury selection process went!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Race Day

Today was the day of the Lawrence Half Marathon. As you might remember, on Chad's birthday I mentioned that he was in training to participate in this event, which would be his first race longer than a 5K. Nine weeks ago around his birthday he was already running 7 miles on the weekend, and even though he was only running 2-3 times a week because of a sore knee and bad weather, he increased his mileage every weekend. Then came the Shamrock Shuffle in early March. This 5K was on the river levee in Lawrence, where the ground was not only extremely hard and frozen, but also very uneven, completely with bike tire ruts and lots of holes. The terrain was so rough, by the end of the race Chad had a sore foot and knee that hurt even more than normal. He completed his next couple of weekend long runs of 12 and 13 miles, but his knee pain got so bad he struggled on those last few miles. It didn't help that after we won the Davidson game I went running across the room and jumped into my husband's arms unexpectedly, buckling his already sore knee. He decided to taper off the running a little earlier than normal to give his knee some time to heal, so he ran very little during the last 4 weeks, hoping that his knee would be better by race day.

Unfortunately, on Wednesday Chad came home from an out of town business trip and went to bed early, feeling like he was coming down with a cold. He woke up with a terrible sore throat and stuffed up head, and ended up staying home in bed for the next two days! He still had hopes of getting better by today, but considering he still couldn't breathe very well as of yesterday afternoon, he decided that breathing hard for 13.1 miles wasn't really going to be doable! Apparently, this half marathon just wasn't meant to be.

The good news is that Chad's knee was already hurting before he actually got sick this week. I can't even imagine how infuriating it would have been if he had been injury-free and training hard, only to get sick right before the race. With the double whammy of illness and injury, he didn't feel nearly as bad about not running!

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Last month my friend Michelle invited me to go with her to a show at the Lied Center. The performance was by a very prominent modern dance company called Pilobolus, and although I've never been a big fan of modern dance, I like hanging out with Michelle, so I decided to take her up on the offer.

Let me first just say that it's kind of weird that I'm not big on modern dance, because I'm generally a pretty huge fan of anything dance related. I love watching ballet, jazz, ballroom, hip-hop and almost any other style of dance. Most of my friends also know that I'll even bust a move myself given the right opportunity, or sometimes even given the wrong opportunity. I have a hard time standing still, sitting still or keeping my toes still whenever I hear a good beat or anything melodic. My husband will attest to the fact that I'm notorious for spinning or leaping across the kitchen floor. Dancing is something I've loved all my life, so I think it's kind of odd that I can't seem to get into modern dance.

Despite the fact that I'm not a fan, I decided that I'd keep an open mind going in to this modern dance show. After all, Pilobolus is apparently one of the most unique and entertaining dance troupes in the country. They've won numerous awards and have been featured in many television commercials, at the Oscars, and on Oprah. Their work at the Academy Awards was especially cool, so I thought that if anyone was going to convert me to modern dance fandom, then Pilobolus would.

To put it bluntly: they didn't. I have to admit I just don't get it. I just don't get the contortions and the rolling around on the floor and the cryptic symbolism and the purposefully slow movements. Somehow it just didn't interest me at all. Most of the time I was either fighting to stay focused or fighting to figure out what the crap was going on.

The first piece in their show was fairly simple to understand. There was clearly a girl on the beach who got dragged into the ocean and played with a bunch of sea creatures. Remember, I said that it was easy to understand--not that it actually made sense. The second piece was probably my favorite--a solo number called Pseudopodia performed by a guy who actually went to KU. The music for this dance was all drums and percussion, which was probably a big reason that I actually liked it--I love drums! Even though there was a lot of rolling around on the floor and gymnastic-like movements, the kid was still a great dancer. I thought the symbolism was something fire-related because of the intensity of the piece (and his red bodysuit), but after reading about it on the website, it turns out he was a tumbleweed. Go figure.

The third piece completely lost me. At no time during this dance did I have any earthly idea as to what in the world was happening. The piece was entitled Rushes, which unfortunately didn't offer any clues into what it was all about. There were people sitting in chairs, kind of looking like they were at a train station or something. There was a guy with a suitcase of some sort, maybe a traveling salesman? People were maybe getting roped into something? Then they were all walking around on chairs being slid around on the stage. I really have no idea. The Pilobolus website describes the piece as "an isolated community of broken dreams." Wow, that helps. Thankfully, I didn't feel like a complete idiot because when the piece was over, Michelle and I talked about it and she had no idea what was going on either--and she actually studied modern dance for many years!

By the time the fourth number started, I'll admit I was starting to lose focus. This piece was a male/female duet and was clearly something romantic and passionate, but it wasn't until I read about it afterwards that I became aware that it was a story of "inconsolable loss." I had high hopes for the final dance, which was a full-company piece set to high energy music. What I ended up witnessing seemed like a rather chaotic, fairly spastic group of people bouncing and convulsing all over the stage.

Despite the fact that I'm clearly still not a fan, I will say that I'm glad I went. My horizons were definitely expanded, I had fun with Michelle, and I can now definitively say that I do not appreciate modern dance, no matter how highly acclaimed the performers are!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


My friend Erin sent me an email the other day with a bunch of funny questions to ponder. I thought I'd share a few of my favorites just to give everyone a chuckle!

How important does a person have to be before they are considered assassinated instead of just murdered?

Why do you have to "put your two cents in"... but it's only a "penny for your thoughts"? Where's that extra penny going to?

What disease did cured ham actually have?

How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?*

Why is it that people say they "slept like a baby" when babies wake up like every two hours?

If a deaf person has to go to court, is it still called a hearing?

Why are you IN a movie, but you're ON TV?

Why do doctors leave the room while you change?

They're going to see you naked anyway.

Why is "bra" singular and "panties" plural?

Why do toasters always have a setting that burns the toast to a horrible crisp, which no decent human being would eat?**

If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why is there a stupid song about him?

If the professor on Gilligan's Island can make a radio out of a coconut, why can't he fix a hole in a boat?

Why does Goofy stand erect while Pluto remains on all fours?

They're both dogs!

If Wile E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that ACME crap, why didn't he just buy dinner?

If corn oil is made from corn, and vegetable oil is made from vegetables, what is baby oil made from?***

If electricity comes from electrons, does morality come from morons?

Do the Alphabet song and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star have the same tune?

Why did you just try singing the two songs above?****

Why do they call it an asteroid when it's outside the hemisphere, but call it a hemorrhoid when it's in your butt?

*Seriously, whoever invented the current rolling luggage is a genius.
**Our toaster burns stuff at "3" and it has always made me insane.
****I totally did that.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Lord's Prayer

A friend sent me this video the other day that is absolutely adorable. It's so freakin' cute and made me laugh so hard I just had to share!

Road Trip Follow Up

I think I'm finally finished talking about basketball--for this year, anyway. :) However, I just have to follow up on a post from earlier this month about my friend Kevin and his KUAA crew traveling to San Antonio in an R.V. Apparently, his friends weren't the only ones who found the travel plans amusing. A K.C. station did a story on them as well!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Welcoming Winners in Wicked Weather

Last Tuesday, our incredible KU basketball team came home from San Antonio the day after winning the national championship. Despite the cold and gloomy weather, when they arrived at Memorial Stadium, there were approximately 25,000 cheering fans to greet them. Because I work for a KU affiliate, our office excused us so that we could attend the welcome home celebration without using any leave time, which was nice since I was going to go regardless! My friend Leigh Ann and I drove over and met some other friends from the office at the event, where we had to sit in the cold for almost an hour before the players actually arrived. BRRR!

The ceremony was supposed to start at 3:00, so we arrived at about 2:30 and flooded into the stadium with hordes of other people. To entertain the masses, the video board was playing the championship game from the night before, thankfully without the commercials. We didn't pay too much attention at first, but as the minutes ticked off the clock the crowd started to take notice of the action. People began cheering as if it was live and as if they didn't know what was going to happen, which was pretty funny! Everyone would groan at a bad call or make swish noises with the free throws, and people just got more and more into it as the end of the game neared. When Mario made the three pointer, the entire group of 25,000 jumped up and were screaming and yelling like it had just happened! It was really pretty comical, but also very fun. By the end of the overtime it was close to 3:30, but watching the end of the game got the fans significantly pumped up just in time for the arrival of the players and coaches! I caught their arrival on video, and although you can't really see much, you can get an idea of the wonderful welcome they received!

For the next hour or so we watched speeches from the governor, A.D., Chancellor, Coach Self, Danny Manning, and every one of the players who actually saw significant playing time this year. You can actually watch all the speeches online at if you didn't get a chance to see them. Thankfully they were all pretty short and sweet. You should check it out just to see the amazing (and obviously well-deserved) reception that Mario received from the crowd. It was so awesome and very touching. They were all just so darn cute and I'm still just so darn proud of all of them!

So despite the fact that we were pretty miserably cold and poor Leigh Ann's feet were frozen by the end, I'm still really glad we went. Although the traffic was absolutely horrendous getting back to the office, the good thing was since it took us so long we ended up not arriving until it was time to go home! :)

Yesterday was an even bigger and better welcome celebration, as just about the entire city of Lawrence gathered downtown for a victory parade for the team. My friend Paula and I had a baby shower to go to in the early afternoon that was near downtown, so after the shower we just decided to walk across the bridge and get ourselves a good seat for the parade. Although the weather was much improved from last week, the wind was still pretty darn cold and it wasn't too comfortable when the sun went behind the clouds! There were already thousands of people lining the streets when we arrived, but we found a pretty good empty spot atop a big planter. Paula went and bought a stadium blanket and we laid it out to save our spot, and these nice people who'd set up shop nearby offered to watch it for us so we could go find something to eat, so we set off on a mission to get some food.

Scoring lunch didn't exactly go so well, since the line at just about every restaurant was insanely long. We ended up browsing the KU apparel at (which has a lot of cute stuff, by the way) and then having a drink at Fatso's while we waited. The three o'clock hour finally neared, so we headed back to our spot, where Chad joined us along with some other friends. We thought our seats were going to be so great, and then about another thousand people piled up in rows in front of us. Some gargantuan guy stood up in a truck next to us, partially blocking our view. I've never seen so many people in one place--it was crazy! The estimates are between 80,000 and 100,000 people, and the population of the entire city is only about 88,000! Despite the fact that the crowd in front of us was massive, I still managed to get quite a few good pictures which I'm kind of excited about! Check out the slideshow!

I'm too tired to put captions with all of them tonight, but those of you who care will already know who the people are! For the whole parade story and lots more pictures, you can check out the Journal-World, as usual!

Sunday, April 13, 2008


If you're not a KU Basketball fan then I'm guessing you're really hating my blog right now. Maybe later this week I'll get back to talking about stuff not related to the Jayhawks, but for now this is it. This it a multi-part series, and I'm not really sure how many parts there will be at this point!

After KU made it to the Final Four by beating Davidson, we saw on the news how crazy it was down on Mass Street. There are tons and tons of videos on YouTube of the revelry, which continued throughout the afternoon despite the rain and cold. Although I don't generally love being around obnoxious drunk people, celebrating with other KU fans still looked like so much fun!

After the North Carolina win we really contemplated going downtown to witness the excitement, but it was so late at night by the time the game was over we sort of chickened out. Not only were we pretty tired, but we also didn't want to ruin the post game ritual that we'd established after the two previous tournament games--going to get a concrete at Sheridan's (hey, don't laugh, it apparently worked).

The next day we heard from several friends who'd joined in on the Mass Street street party, and a couple of them said it was one of the most fun experiences they'd ever had. Obviously, I wasn't about to miss the celebration when we won the championship, even though it was late and a work night and pretty chilly outside! After the game we watched the post game interviews, then headed down towards Mass Street with Jake and Amber, parking 5 or 6 blocks away due to all the traffic. It was right around midnight by the time we reached the main part of downtown. People were pouring into the area, and the streets were blocked off so that cars couldn't go through at all. There certainly wouldn't have been any room for driving anyway with all the pedestrians--the streets were literally flooded with people. If you think I'm exaggerating, check out this picture from the Lawrence Journal-World, taken from the top of the Eldridge Hotel.

This is such an amazing shot--you can actually see the thousands of people going on for blocks and blocks! So incredible. I'm so glad someone captured the celebration in its entirety, especially since none of my pictures turned out very good. My friend Vikkie's pictures turned out better--you can check them out here. This is the funniest one though:

The look on my face makes me laugh so hard. Seriously, that's how excited I was!! I just couldn't contain my enthusiasm--can you tell?

The funny thing about this picture of us with Vikkie and Brett is that we just happened to run into them downtown in a sea of 40,000 people. They thought about coming over to watch the game at our house so that they'd already be in Lawrence in case of a celebration, but then they decided not to at the last minute. When they saw all the pictures of Mass Street on the news after the game, they ended up driving into Lawrence from KC at like 11:30 just to be part of the action. It was crazy that we even saw them at all, since we only saw like one or two other couples we knew in that humongous crowd!

Our celebration on Mass Street really just consisted of walking up and down the street, pushing though the massive crowds, people watching, taking pictures and high-fiving complete strangers. Going into any restaurant or bar was out of the question, since lines in front of any open establishment were absolutely massive. It was actually pretty funny because people were pushing through the crowd one way or another, but it didn't seem that most people had any particular destination in mind. The intersections were particularly packed and jubilant, where bands or music were playing and people were singing and dancing in the street. This was the video that I took at the corner of 8th and Mass.

The whole thing was quite fascinating, especially because there was such a diverse cross-section of society present. There were people of every age, color, height, weight, gender, socioeconomic status and degree of body art. It was a people watcher's dream. However, I kind of suspected that some of the people were just there for the party and didn't actually care about KU basketball, especially when we were heading home later that night and heard some Mizzou fans call into a sports radio show to say that they were driving from Columbia to Lawrence that night to come celebrate with the Jayhawks! What self-respecting Missouri fan does that? Some of our friends who were downtown after every one of the games later confirmed that the crowd we saw was a little different than those of the previous nights. On Monday, there were just a lot of people more focused on the party than on the KU victory, which was kind of a bummer. I'm definitely glad we went though--who knows if we'll ever have the opportunity to see something like that again!

We only stayed downtown a little over an hour, and by the time we left it was starting to get really chilly and Chad was starting to get really hungry (what's new). We went by Perkins, and since the parking lot looked a little full we went to IHOP, which was completely packed, so we went back to Perkins, which then looked like it had about 30 people waiting for a table. Since Chad had his heart set on breakfast food, we came home and he cooked himself some hash browns, eggs, sausage and toast at 2 in the morning!! That certainly topped off a pretty crazy night!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Follow Up Frenzy

This is the follow up video to the one I posted on Thursday. Cra-zi-ness. I still get choked up when I watch this 6 days later!!

I love it that Fieldhouse was packed with 10,000 people even though there was no actual game there. I love it that the crowd did all the chants, songs, cheers and traditions even though there were no players to feel their love and support. I love it that they stormed the court even before the game was over. I just love it!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Madness Continues

Let's be honest--I'm not being as productive as possible around the house or office because I'm still obsessed with reading about, writing about, talking about, and dreaming about the game. I think I've looked at the gallery of pictures from the Lawrence Journal-World like 10 times. I've watched at least 15 different YouTube videos of the highlights, slideshows, the last seconds, and the aftermath. I think this is one of my favorites:

That gives me chills and brings tears to my eyes every time!!

Last night when I was online reading some different articles I also came across something else kind of fun--an online congratulations card to Coach Self and the team. It's supposed to be sent to them on the 14th, so you still have several days to sign it if you're interested, and hopefully the players and coaches will actually end up reading it. Check it out!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Tears of Sorrow, Tears of Joy

It almost seems silly to write about Monday night's game, only because there about a jillion articles on the subject sitting here on the Internets as I type. I mean seriously, it was a game for the ages--one of the most amazing championship games in history. Everyone and their dog has written about it. I know that 99% of those articles are more informative and/or insightful than my blog will ever be, but I feel like jotting down my memories regardless, only so that I will always remember and never forget exactly where we were and what we were doing when our Jayhawks won the title!!

Since our friends Heather and Grant had been over to watch the UNC game along with their daughter Quillen, we invited them over on Monday as well to continue the pattern for good luck. Our friends Jake and Amber hadn't been over for the previous game on Saturday, but since they'd watched many of the other tournament games with us, we were glad that they were also able to come over for the big one. With some of our best friends here and lots of yummy snacks and drinks, we were well prepared for the big night! While I was extremely nervous before the game, I wasn't nearly as nervous as I'd been before the Davidson game the weekend before. Since we'd already gotten over the Final Four hump and the North Carolina hurdle, I guess I was feeling a little more relaxed than you might expect.

The first half of the game was enjoyable, as KU played solidly. They didn't completely dominate, but towards the end of the 20 minutes, it felt like they were in control. The 'Hawks definitely weren't perfect, but we played well and Memphis wasn't hitting all of their shots. Halftime came quickly and without too much stress at all.

It was about mid-way through the second half that our small lead started slipping away. We had several turnovers in just a few minutes and the Tigers starting getting most of the rebounds. With just under four minutes left to play, Derrick Rose hit a fall-away-piece-of-garbage jumper as the shot clock expired, and at that point I was just sure we were in big trouble. I'd told myself I wouldn't cry when we lost this year because getting this far was a moral victory, but I'll admit that in that next timeout, with Memphis up seven, I laid face first in the carpet and began to sob quietly. It pained me so much to see our boys come that far and then have it all slip away! I was just devastated for them. Even though I'm generally not a glass half empty kind of person, I didn't think there was any way in the world we could win.

Of course, as the whole world knows now, with just 2:12 left to play, we went down by 9 points. It seems like nothing short of a miracle that we came back so quickly. Sherron's steal of the Memphis inbound pass and subsequent 3 pointer was absolutely HUGE to cut the deficit to only four, and then when Joey Dorsey got his fifth foul to put Mario at the line it definitely took some steam out of the Memphis sails. We just kept fouling the Memphis players, and thankfully, they didn't make all of their free throws. Even though we missed a key layup and key rebound right in the last 60 seconds, it was only the last 2.1 seconds that counted. Mario's amazing, miraculous, astounding, perfect three-pointer with Rose in his face was the hugest basket in KU Basketball history. That kid has ice water in his veins. The second the shot went in, we were all screaming and yelling and jumping around our basement like a bunch of crazy people. Immediately, I knew we would win the game. There was no question that we would pull it out in overtime. The momentum was all ours.

We did a lot more screaming and jumping after the final buzzer, along with some spastic running around the house, calling friends and family while preparing to go downtown. I was so ecstatic and elated I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. It wasn't until yesterday that the whole thing started to really sink in. Every time I thought of the team and the seniors and Coach Self and Mario's shot and how proud I was of them all, I would just burst into tears. It was like 20 years of crying every time we lost in the tournament finally turned into tears of joy. I just couldn't contain myself. Even today I find myself fighting back tears every time I think of the amazing season and those amazing kids!!! I just love them all so much! Hooray for my beloved Jayhawks!!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A Storybook Ending

How can I even begin to talk about the most amazing game that's ever been played in my entire lifetime? It was nothing short of incredible. There are so many words that could describe it, so many emotions I want to share, so many moments I want to remember--but there are so many hours of sleep that I need to catch up on. After five hours of sleep last night I'm way too tired to blog, so enjoy my pictures from the last few days in the meantime.

There really aren't a lot of good shots, so you might also check out the great game photos from the Lawrence Journal-World. What a wonderful, wonderful day!!!! :)

Monday, April 07, 2008

Dream On

One more post before the big game tonight. Regardless of what happens, I love my Jayhawks. This glimpse into the tradition that is KU Basketball might give you a little bit of an idea why.

I love them so much!! GO 'HAWKS!!!!

That...Was Beautiful

What can I say about Saturday night's game? It was so amazing there are no words that can describe it adequately. It was better than anything I could have dreamed. As one of my coworkers put it this morning, those first fifteen minutes of the game were absolutely "magical."

In case you missed it, for most of the first half our team looked like men against the boys of UNC. The North Carolina players had that "deer in the headlights" look like they had no idea what to do or how to stop the bleeding. In true Roy fashion, Williams refused to call a timeout to slow down our momentum until they were already down by like 28 points. Although North Carolina made a run to pull within four points in the second half, our Jayhawks showed some amazing intestinal fortitude and determination. They not only held off the run, but also regained an 18 point lead by the end of the game.

I have to say that after watching that game, I think "Psycho T" is pretty overrated. He may deserve some acting awards for all of his fake flopping and other theatrics, but I hardly think he deserves to be the player of the year. I think this picture I found this morning by Matt York of the Associated Press says it all.

Here we have Sasha playing perfect straight-up-and-down defense, with Hansbrough causing contact with a forearm to the chest, all while screaming and acting like he's getting mauled. Pu-leze. I think he was shocked that all his drama in the lane didn't give them the edge this time, even though the refs clearly gave him all sorts of calls that other players don't get. Thankfully, despite a few bad calls to Tyler's advantage (even Jim Nantz and Billy Packer admitted when he got away with a walk), the better team still prevailed. If you want to read the entire recap, you can check out the Lawrence Journal-World.

It was such a thing of beauty. It all came together for our incredible Jayhawks at just the right moment. Beating Roy in an almost humiliating fashion was nothing short of spectacular. Yes, I'll admit it: I'm one of those people. I'm one of those people who loves to see Roy lose. I'm one of those people who dislikes him with ever fiber of my being. I'm one of those people who can't seem to forgive him for leaving after he said he wouldn't. Now that I "know" and love Coach Self, I am obviously very thankful that Roy left, but I can't quite get over the feeling that he rejected us when we needed him. Of course, it's obvious now we didn't need him at all. :)

I thought this article in yesterday's LJW described the Roy-Hating phenomenon perfectly. For those of us who were Roy apologists for 15 years, it still hurts to know that we were wrong all along about his "dadgum" demeanor and aw-shucks persona. Insiders will tell you that he's pompous and self-important. I had coworkers who knew Roy telling me for years that he wasn't a very genuine guy--and I refused to believe them. I loved Roy so much that I put his picture on my wall every basketball season (in college) and defended his Deputy Dawg routine as completely real, only to find out it was all a big shtick. Call me a childish grudge-holder, but I think I have every right not to like him anymore. I will therefore openly admit that I love this picture my friend Brenda sent me yesterday. :)

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Does God Care About Basketball?

This is the other email that was floating around Lawrence this week. Possibly a little sacrilegious, but also hysterically funny. I'm hoping God has a sense of humor about this. :)

Our Father, who art in Lawrence,
Hallowed be thy Game.
Thy tourney come,
Thy championship will be done,
In San Antonio as it is in Allen Field House.
Give us this day our deserved victories.
And forgive us our turnovers,
As we forgive Roy who double-crossed against us.
And lead us not into defeat,
But deliver us from East Coast bias,
For Kansas is the basketball kingdom,
And the tradition,
And the glory,
For ever and ever.


Friday, April 04, 2008

Rock Chalk Jayhawk, Go KU!

Since any KU related news tends to spread like wildfire around this town, I'm pretty sure by now all of Lawrence has heard the "Love That Crimson Blue" song, which was produced by an audio/video company in Leawood called BicMedia. I received it via email 4 times this week. If you're not part of the Jayhawk Nation or haven't heard it yet, you should definitely check it out below--it's pretty fun and catchy.

As a loyal Jayhawk fan, I of course love the song, but I have to say I probably would have loved it even more if it wasn't sort of a remake. What some people might not realize is that BicMedia's first version of this song was released around Christmas 2004, before conference play had even started that year. Apparently anticipating an amazing season, the company put out an even longer and more awesome version with different words--words about Keith Langford, Wayne Simeon, Christian Moody and others, along with then freshmen Russell, Darnell and Sasha. They talked all sorts of smack on every big name team in the country and then went on to talk about KU going to the Final Four. As you probably remember, in the 2005 NCAA tournament, KU lost to Bucknell by one point in the first round, and I would guess that the guys from BicMedia felt slightly silly about all their trash talking after the huge upset. Regardless, the 2004 song is still very fun and worth listening to. Thankfully, this year they waited until we actually got IN to the Final Four before they wrote a song about it!