Thursday, June 18, 2009

Critical Prep For The Family Vacation

Next week at this time, the boys and I will be in West Virginia on a family vacation with my Mom's side of the family. Lori and Rebecca are sitting this one out at home (Becca is not travel-ready yet). In anticipation of a 4-hour-plus drive with two rambunctious young boys I ordered a new portable DVD player from Amazon (shown below). It's made by Axion and has received mixed reviews. I hope it holds up for the duration of the trip so the kids can OD on Wall-E, Cars and Blue's Clues.

It's amazing that a dual-screen portable DVD player is less than $150 these days. I remember when I got my old Panasonic in 2000 it cost around $700.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Pongathon 2009 Recap

Yesterday marked the 6th Charity Pong-A-Thon event in Washington D.C. The Pong-A-Thon is a creation of my brother Nate and he's been running it over the past half-decade with all proceeds going to the Multiple Sclerosis Society. My Mom Lynn has MS and we're trying to help find a cure for the debilitating disease. The Pong-A-Thon is essentially the March Madness of Beer Pong where 80 co-ed teams participate in a large tournament with the winners receiving $300 and championship belts. I've helped out over the years with website design, logo creation and event setup and have been rather successful playing with Lori in recent years (3 straight final fours heading into Pong-A-Thon 6).

This time around Lori couldn't play as she didn't want to be away from Rebecca for that long (the event runs about 6 hours total). She and my in-laws stayed home with the three kids. I drove my Mom in on her trip up from Richmond (she had a chance to stop by and see her granddaughter for the first time). I recruited a Pong expert who is the wife of one of my co-workers. She played as advertised but we ran into a buzz-saw in the Sweet Sixteen that also happened to by my financial advisor Ryan. Ryan and his wife were on fire hitting cup after cup and my team was eliminated before reaching the Elite Eight.

Nate and Besse were on their game this year and made it to the Final Four for the first time. Since Nate usually is on the microphone announcing play-by-play for the Elite Eight, Final Four and Championship Game, he had to give up his duties this year. I took over and got a chance to use my Newhouse skills to announce play-by-play on the end of the tourney. It was fun to cheer on Nate and Besse but they ran into a robot in the championship game. Freeman (not sure if this is his first name or last name) won the Pong-A-Thon three years ago and ended up repeating as champion in 2009. He hit the last five cups of the final game without a single miss. There was nothing Nate and Besse could do. Congrats to the Roses though for making runner-up. Nate ran another successful tourney and we donated a lot of money for MS (probably in the 6 to 8 K range).

Next year Lori should be back in the mix and perhaps we can make another deep run.