..::How NOT To Build A NCAA Bracket::..

Its March. The sun is proving to be a bit warmer and the post super bowl winter induced comas are lifting as we quickly shuffle into the next time consuming sports tournament, the NCAA college basketball tourney…AKA MARCH MADNESS!! Now, what kind of Hoosier would I be if I didn’t have at least have one post about this basket ball event? From what I’ve been told and observed the last 25 years, is that basketball is a pretty big deal in Indiana. For my Texas readers, you know how football is a big deal here? Yep, that’s what basketball is in Indiana. Still not convinced, then either Google the term ‘Hoosier Hysteria’ or rent the movie “Hoosiers” and learn.

   With all that being said, the tournament is only a few days away so to the brackets we must go! I have created my own bracket every year since Mr. Millikan’s 5th grade class(eek that’s been like 15 years) and I have successfully made thse predictions on my own. Let me clarify: By ‘successfully’ I in no way mean that I won ANY of these predictions, I simply mean that I didn’t leave any blank spots (go me!) I didn’t pick teams that were not included in the tournament and I, or someone else, kept track of the progress. I stand by my belief that my reason for not winning the last 15 years, was not because I didn’t possess the knowledge to correctly pick the team, but it was because I was going about it all the wrong way. So I am here to say that 2013 IS MY YEAR!!! I’m all in it to win it! What’s on the line, you ask? My reputation as the worst basketball manager that the Turkey Run Jr.Sr. Girls varsity basketball team has ever had. (no seriously..I was terrible…..).

I used ESPN to create my bracket. When you log in they give you the opportunity to educate yourself with 68 facts ‘before’ you  start picking your teams. These facts went something like this “ number 2 teams only have reached the big game 1 out of 10 times’…something like that. 68 of them!! Who has time for that? Not me. So I came up with a more manageable list that is sure take me and my bracket all the way to the end!

To start you need to pull up the full bracket with the first parings and use the next few tips to weed out the schools to you are down to the ultimate winner (Should look something like this at the beginning):

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1.) Whenever you come across a pairing that has a sate that you either lived in or a state that you have close ties with, they automatically advance.

** If two teams fit this qualification, pick the one that you may already be paying student loans . If this is not applicable (lucky) then you need to select the team that has the more flatting uniform color choice or has the best mascot. (you can choose which of those two)

2.) Eliminate any schools that hold bad memories that may one day cause therapy. For example: “My 8th grade boyfriend had a cousin who once stole my SpongeBob towel at the 9th grade summer pool party and never gave it back. I hear that she is studying physics at Michigan State University now…” using this equation…Michigan State University would be OUT!

3.) If you have NEVER in your life heard of a school in the pairing **cough cough IONA University cough cough** (2 points for a reader if they can explain to me where the heck this college is and why in 25 years I have never heard of it…) ..then its bye bye bracket.

**Unless the school has a fun name to say. For example..”Gonzaga..Gonzaga..Gonzaga” no idea where this school is located but oh how cool would it be to have a diploma that said BS of Gonzaga.

**Word associations always work too. Never heard of Belmont university but it makes me think of the EL train in Chicago, or Davidson university, which is obviously where all Harleys go to get an education.

4. Schools that are usually well known for other things other than sports should get at least one advancement in the bracket rounds. For example, I noticed Harvard was listed. Can’t say I’ve heard of anyone getting a four year scholarship to Harvard to play ball, but hey,  what do I know. 2 points and a bracket advance for being well rounded!  no pun intended.

As we start getting down to the nitty gritty, we need to start focusing on more important matters and facts to make sure our bracket is clear and thought out. Which why number 5 is important. This is where it gets real folks. 

5.) Which teams have the better mascot? If the school does not have have a mascot (which really should be an automatic loss in my opinion) look at the school spirit section. Are they well coordinated, do they have at least one student (or more) covered from head to toe in war paint? Is the pep band playing the Harlem shake, or a medley of who let the dogs out and the thong song (yikes)?

6.) Color coordination. In an ideal world where time is not an issue, I would look at the starters of each of the remaining teams in my bracket and cross reference their eye and hair color with that of their uniforms and enter them into an excel database that will then graph the statistical probability of being the most eye pleasing on a championship poster. Basically what we are looking for here people, is the team who “pops” the most.

7.)When you get down to the last few teams you need to think proximity. Which team are you most likely be able to visit in the even of a totally awesome championship parade? For example, you live in Texas (YEEEHAWW) and the schools in the final four are in California, Florida, Arkansas and Michigan. If the team from Arkansas were to win, you would have a better shot to reap the benefits from their win then you would from a team in Michigan.

8.) You’ve made it to the end, and now there are two teams left. Who do you pick? Up until this point, I have asked you to call upon the cold hard facts and scientific calculations to make all of your decisions (this gibberish is scientific..I swear). It is at this point that these equations wont help you. This last pick between the final two needs to come from your gut. Good luck..you got this!

 

Bam! I just did in 8 steps what ESPN felt needed 62. Who did you put at the top of your bracket?! Comment back and let me know 🙂 I am so excited to see how these predictions I made pan out. Here is how I see this years tournament based on my equations above. Enjoy!! 🙂 GO HOOSIERS!

 

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**Disclaimer: I, Jennifer Shidler, am in no way responsible for any money you the reader may loose by using my bracket selection method. I know absolutely nothing about basketball and am quite certain that if you listen to my advice you deserved to loose…that is all..Good Luck 🙂 lol

Putting the Puzzle Together

The following is something I wrote the summer of 2009 as I worked a 12am – 7 am shift in the computer lab at Indiana State University. Matthew and I would have been dating for about 10 months and this note is looking at the years 2006-2009. I found this today as I was cleaning and packing our office. And while I vaguely remember writing this, It is a great reminder of how AWESOME our God is!

“He came through for me just as I was about to doubt him, God that is. It’s funny you know, there Our first picture everhave been so many reasons for me to angry, irritated, doubtful, mad, and confused in the last 5 years, and believe me, I have had my share of these emotions at times, but in the end, I have tried to remain faithful that, God’s plan, whatever it may be, would prevail and that I would someday understand the doubts, the irritations, and the worries. I am sitting at work tonight, trying to place myself in my shoes a year ago (July 2008). Who was I? Where was I at in my life, what were my goals, what were my worries, who did I even hang out with? As I sat here replaying the last summers events through my mind like a 1970’s video reel, I became rather tearful, which I guess is ok because, let’s face it, there is no one in the lab right now, its 4 am.

10624_589334347404_32311634_34196013_1531951_n Where was I last year (July 2008)? Scared. Scared of having to pay rent for the first time in my life, scared that I was going to be a junior in college and afraid that I would lose the good grades I have just started to earn a few semesters before. Worried that I would be to afraid to venture out of central Indiana to pursue a job that I would love, and worried that I would be alone forever. That’s a scary feeling you know.  It was a terrible feeling to see that all of my friends were getting married, and here I was, “alone”; while as embarrassing as it is to admit, it just proves God’s amazingness even more. I can still remember those first few nights/weeks in the new house. I was so scared, all alone, in the “city”. I put my trunk and chair in front of my door and slept with the lights on. Yes, lights on. I also remember fighting back and forth with myself and with God. I wanted to believe the words I was telling myself every time I began to feel this way, that God had this amazing person out there for me,in your arms that he wouldn’t leave me hanging, and I just needed to work through things, but as soon as I would tell myself that he had a plan and that it would be ok, I would immediately find myself screaming quietly “WHERE IS HE? WHY IS THIS SO HARD? WHY AM I STILL ALONE?” This inner tormenting had been happening for years, and at the time, I never thought it was going to end.

Then, as if it part of His plan all along, I remember lying in bed one night, it was just a few short  weeks after my junior year of college started, and I found myself again crying and praying. Like usual when I was alone at night, I just accepted the reality that maybe God had something different for me, maybe there was some greater plan that didn’t necessarily involve a knight in shining armor. It was then that I decided that no matter his plan I would embrace it and remember that HIS will and HIS way is better than any road journey I could ever come up with.

Now with that said, I want to reveal the true amazingness that HE is. While I had decided then to no longer doubt and argue in my prayers, I really did not think that God would show up and reveal part of his plan to me so soon. I thought somewhere down the Matthew Graduationroad, maybe after college the pieces of the puzzle would come together and I would have this grand “a-ha” moment. If you are reading this now, I imagine you know exactly what happened; I met the man that I KNOW God has planned for me to be with. The feeling of knowing you are a part of something that God has brought together and blessed is a feeling that cannot be put in to words. In fact, when I ever I try to explore,  to break down or n32311634_33356441_7084375 analyze the way that Matt and I came to be, tears are what come out instead.

I feel that one of the greatest aspects of this particular plan is that the same way God prepared me and my heart, God prepared Matthew’s. A few weeks after being with Matthew we began to talk about our relationship with God, where he has lead us individually and where we hoped to be led in the future, things like that. The topic of our biggest struggles 3came up. And we quickly realized that our  stories were not that different from each others. Matthew prayed the same prayer and had the same conversation with God that I had just weeks before I did. For once, neither one of us asked that God stop the lollygagging and send the one we were  supposed to be with, but rather we asked for peace, patience and understanding with whatever plan and path HE had choose for us.

And here we are almost 11 months later, and I find myself tearing up every day thinking about how much I doubted God and his plan for me. Yes, I know it’s going to be hard, and yes, there are times where I’m going to want to doubt situations in my life. It is my continual trust and faith in God that keeps me going from day to day, even when sometimes I just feel like giving up”Thanksgiving

Written July 29, 2009

La La La La La..Living the Apartment Life

I swore up and down after my college years I would never again dwell in a house that shared walls, floors and ceilings with other people and after a wonderful year and a half living in a house we had fallen in love with, we are right back to square one. An apartment. Sigh.  The next is a list of items that remind me daily of how much I miss having a house..enjoy.

As I recall it Snow White was awoken to the beautiful animals of the Forrest singing in a heavenly tune. Similarly, I have often awoken to the sounds of saw blades as the construction crew works on the apartments outside. Many A time I’ve been greeted with the sweet sound vocals of Amedeo estevan (one of the workers who introduced himself to me last week) singing loudly outside my door. Amedeo, if I do say so myself, has a lovely voice!

Living on the second floor apartment is like having box seats at the opera. If you pick you location just right, your new home could be center stage of a real life soap opera. For instance, our neighbors across the way have been fighting this past week (we are talking clothes flying, doors slamming, dogs barking)..this is where the Adirondack chairs on the balcony come in to play. They sit low enough where the people fighting can’t see me, but I can clearly see them. Apartment Dweller Tip: Warning, while your may be hidden by railing of the porch, they WILL able to smell the popcorn you just popped just for this event. Next thing you know you’ve been court ordered to appear before a jury on your neighbors behalf.  and lets face it..‘ain’t nobody got time for that’

In conjunction with the last point, it is a given that the chances increase of your statistical probability of being on or seeing an episodes of cops filmed live in front of you..Apartment dweller tip:always look ur best! Never know when the cameras will be rolling! 🙂

Having no bike racks and living on the second floor means Athletically challenged people with 2 bikes..don’t ever ride bikes..true story.

Apartment dweller tip: Potted flowers are an essential piece to separating your stylish balcony from another’s ..that is unless you are me and living “non human” objects require far more of a commitment than you are able to commit to right now, in which case those are an eye sore…and you will fit right in Winking smile 

Evolution of Jennifers Laundry….The largest item on my list that reminds me of how much I miss living in a house is the process of doing laundry. I hate laundry..I miss being little..all I had to do was put the dirty laundry in the hamper and just like dry cleaning pick them up when done..fluffed and folded! I had a sweet ride on the laundry train for close to 17 years until college, college was the end of the end. I now present to you the evolution of Jennifer’s laundry.

It was my senior year of college and it was also my first Year of Marriage (we got married two weeks after graduation) All four years of college were nothing more that thwarted attempts of dragging a weeks worth of laundry to my moms house. It wasn’t until my last roommate before my husband did we have the chance of doing laundry in the same building and floor that we lived on. This lasted for 2 glorious semesters and then it was over just like that. Once I got married, I inherited twice the loads of laundry and to top it all off, our first apartment had no washer and dryer. 2 wedding rings and and an I do later and BAM we became a happily married nomadic laundry tribe. Wondering to and fro, doing our laundry where ever we could. “Of course we would love to come over and have dinner with you guys..should I bring a desert, also..do you mind if we borrow your washer and dryer?”

Luckily for us 3 months in to wedded bliss our lease was up in our ‘laundryless’ apartment and we were moving up in the world..for the first time ever as a married couple we had a washer a dryer in the same house and on the same level!!!!! It was the laundry honeymoon I have always wanted! No more hauling baskets and detergent to other houses and alienating our family friends! It was just us and our laundry!!

But the laundry honeymoon didn’t last forever..a new job opportunity meant a new house..and a new house means another round of laundry roulette "step right  up folks. Place your bets and take your chances in whirlpool wheel of death!" granted at this point in the game I was genuinely happy to have a nice house in a safe neighbor hood..pet friendly and as long as the washer and dryer wasn’t adjacent to the outhouse in the back yard..we were good! This time around the washer and dryer were in the basement..and while that is was a step back from the "honeymoon days" this round had a delightful And rather intriguing surprise; a laundry chute!

The Chute: Now any kid product of the late 80s should always associate a laundry chute with one memory and that is Kevin from Home Alone shooting toy soldiers with his brothers bb gun..it was cool then, and yes my friends it’s cool now! Not only was is the chute a magical portal of commutation to nag at my husband or meow at my cat from another floor..but it also served as the epic of all epic hiding places. You know, that one hiding place that you have planned out ahead in your mind for any environment you frequent..work,home,the gym (well,maybe not the gym for me) but those places you spend the most time. it is in these places that I have a hiding place planned out if anyone ever tried to break in/rob or if an impromptu hide and seek match erupted, I would be safe and golden! In my new house..the laundry chute was that place! I had already decided based on estimated measurements and actual attempts (I was bored) that I could fit myself and one cat (the quietest cat preferably) successfully in the laundry chute without being detected..the other cat would need to fend for himself..life’s rough..

Present Day….let me catch you up. Matthew and I have been in the great state of Texas going on 10 months..and this nomadic laundry tribe is still alive and kicking with possibly the worst of all laundry experiences…we are back to apartment life and this time while the apartment itself is nicer, the second story trek that involves me leaving the building, going down 2 flights of stairs (then back up them later) walking around the back to the next building and doing laundry in a room that equals that of a low level frat house..is less than ideal. If you’ve read this far you are probably thinking 1 of 2 things..either "grow up..it’s laundry..your an adult..stop complaining" or your asking yourself "Oh goodness Jennifer, how have you lasted this long you" well those of you asking the first question..I agree and the first step is admitting you have a problem and this post serves as your official notice! For those who are asking the second..I would say to you..”I KNOW RIGHT!” Thanks for the back up 🙂

So what’s it all about?! This post serves as another notice..a notice of gratitude and thanks to my husband..for the last 4 years the man has heard me whine and complain and has seen me wear and re-wear clothes until the point of no return and what has he done? EVERYTHING! 🙂 I often hear other girls talk about their husbands and how they never pick up, never do dishes and don’t even know how to do laundry..that is not the case in this house hold..my husband does laundry every Sunday while I’m at work..measuring just the right amount of softener..detergent..separating colors..drying the items that need dried and hanging up the items that can’t go in the dryer..that’s right ladies..he hangs up my bras!! ( my " I trained my husband the hang up bras..and you can too!" book is due out next fall) he does not complain..he does not try to get out of it..he does this because he loves me (and values my sanity Smile)..and does not see the benefit of turning underwear inside out for a day two reprise Smile I love my husband..I love that helps with everything..and I love most of all that he puts up with me and my ‘not soo June cleaver ways!