Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Centy Awards

By Kevin Hunsperger & Chad Smart
@my123cents on Twitter

Every year, we here at My 1-2-3 Cents sit down and do our own little end-of-the-year awards show.  Sometimes we agree on the winners, but most of the time we don't.  One thing we both agreed on, 2013 was a rather blah year in the world of wrestling.  Chad and I explain all of our choices toward the end of this From the Rafters Radio Podcast. Click here to listen. Without further ado, here are Kevin and Chad's picks for the 2013 Centy Awards.



Wrestler of the Year:
Kevin: Daniel Bryan
Chad: Daniel Bryan

Most Hated:
Kevin: Stephanie McMahon (the character)
Chad: Randy Orton

Most Underappreciated:
Kevin: "Gentleman" Jervis Cottonbelly
Chad:  Logic

Most Overrated:
Kevin: Big Show
Chad: CM Punk
 
Breakout Star of the Year:

Kevin: Summer Rae
Chad: Goldust 

Show of the Year:
Kevin: Raw after Wrestlemania
Chad: SummerSlam

Star on the Horizon:
Kevin: Adrian Neville
Chad: Enzo Amore 

Female of the Year:
Kevin: AJ Lee
Chad: AJ Lee

Best Use of Social Media:
Kevin: Chuck Taylor (@SexyChuckieT on Twitter)
Chad: Chuck Taylor (Chu

Biggest Fall From Grace:
Kevin:Dolph Ziggler
Chad: TNA 



Monday, December 30, 2013

14 Goals for 2014

Running the Carterville Twilight 5K
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

As 2013 comes to a close, it's time to look ahead to a new year.  I had some fun and success in 2013, with the biggest milestone being turning 40.  I also reached my running goal of hitting 500 miles.  Now, I'm writing up 14 goals for 2014.  I hope by doing this I will be more accountable.  I've learned when setting goals or making resolutions, remember KISS (keep it simple and specific).

When December 31, 2014 rolls around, I don't fully expect to have accomplished everything on this list, but I hope to have at least tried.  So if you haven't written down your goals for the new year, join me in doing it.  You don't have to share it with the world, but at least have something to track your progress.  And before I forget, thanks for reading this blog and showing your support through the years.

1.  Run a half marathon.  Since 2011 I've started running again.  In high school I kinda ran Cross Country.  Some 20+ years later, I'm running more than I ever have before.  In 2013 I hit my goal of running 500 miles.  I've competed in two Warrior Dashes, a color run, and multiple 5Ks.  It seems the next logical step is a half marathon.  My plan as of right now (December 30, 2013) is to run the "Fly With The Eagles" half marathon in February.

Doing DDP Yoga
2.  Do DDP Yoga at least 3 times a week.  I started doing DDP Yoga about six months ago, but I have yet to find a balance and keep up with it.  It's hard to strike that balance of running and trying to fit in the yoga too.  But along with the yoga comes my desire to really improve not just my health but my appearance too.  I'm going to be 41 in a few months, and I've never really considered myself to be "in shape."  In 2014, that will change.  Even though DDP advises against it, I think I need to hit the gym more often too.

3.  Reach 750,000 page views on this blog. This is quite a lofty goal.  After 3 years and 3 months of blogging, I'm at 405,000 page reads.  Part of my plan for 2014 is to write at least 300 blogs.  Since changing the focus from wrestling to other areas of life, more readers are checking out my writing (and Chad's when he's inspired to post something).

4.  Reach 500,000 views on my YouTube channel. If you haven't already, please subscribe to my YouTube channel.  I'm at just over 269,000 right now.  I know I shouldn't be so focused on the numbers, but it's something I obsess about all the time.  Like the blog, I'm posting about more than just wrestling over there too.

5.  Start a Podcast. Now that From the Rafters Radio has officially wrapped up, I'd love to try to do a podcast.  My biggest worry at this point is having the time to actually do one and do it right.  Stay tuned for more details if this one starts to develop.

An apple a day...
6.  Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.  For the most part, I eat pretty healthy, but there's room for improvement, especially on the weekends.  When we do go out to eat, I'm passing on the twisted potatoes (a weakness of mine) and getting a veggie side instead.  

7.  Give up the extra sodas during the week.  I am obsessed with fountain Coke Zero with a splash of vanilla flavoring.  Earlier in 2013, I had weaned myself off daily sodas and started drinking coffee.  I was only drinking soda on Friday and Saturday.  But then I got to the point where I was grabbing a soda when I was out on a story or having one on Sunday because I'm so addicted to the caffeine.  I know I should give them up completely, and I will work toward that someday, but right now I'm good with cutting myself back to just those two days a week.

8.  Watch more wrestling. I know my wife will not want to hear that one, but really, I only watch Monday Night Raw on a regular basis.  2013 I watched very few episodes of SmackDown!, Impact, or NXT.  I think to be a wrestling blogger, I should broaden my horizons.  I want to see more indy stuff too, but I don't know how realistic that will be in this area.

Holiday World 2012
9.  Spend more time doing family things. I know I'm painting myself in a corner with some of these aspirations and goals.  The good thing is, I get home from work two to three hours before my kids come home from school.  With some improved time management, I can get things knocked out while I'm home alone.  That will free up more time in the evenings and weekends to do more family oriented things.  My oldest son is in 8th grade, and before you know it, he'll be heading off to college.  I don't want him to leave and think "I wish we would have done more together."

10.  Sleep at least six hours a night. Again, I see the conundrum, but I have to make this work.  Right now I get about five hours of sleep a night.  Some nights it's less.  Fewer nights it's more.  I think to be able to tackle all these other lofty goals I'm going to have to be well rested and in turn that will help me to function better.

11.  Help more with the finances.  As I'm writing this, my wife asked "Are you going to add something about helping more with the finances?"  So like any smart man I said yes.  After all, happy wife, happy life.  I am notorious for letting her handle all that stuff.  I did finally figure out how the online banking system works and will be helping more in that regard each month.  Now, if only there was a way to get more green added to that account.

Book worm? Hardly
12. Read three books.  That doesn't sound like much, but I'm addicted to my iPad and iPhone and have not read a book cover to cover since wrapping up the Harry Potter series three years ago.  I think reading more and playing less Song Pop, Words with Friends, and various other apps on my phone will be a good thing.

13. Have more date nights with my wife. Now that are kids are getting older, we don't have the excuse of not wanting to hire a babysitter anymore.  I want to spend more time as a couple.  Family time is important, but I love when we're able to get out just the two of us.  These don't have to be expensive outings either.  I'm thinking of simple things we can do that won't cost an arm and a leg.

14. Focus more time on anchoring the news.  I've been anchoring the morning news for more than nine years now.  Of course through the years, I have improved, but I need to pick up my game.  My stumbles need to go away.  I'm working hard to accomplish this one.

Okay, that's my 14 goals for 2014.  Check back again in a year and hopefully my year in review I'll have checked some of these things of the list.  Thanks again for reading and the support.



Sunday, December 29, 2013

In Memory (2013)

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

We've lost several wrestling greats in 2013.  As we prepare to wrap up the year and look ahead to 2014, I wanted to take a moment to honor those who died this year.  May they all rest in peace.

















Friday, December 27, 2013

My First Time

Photo courtesy: @TheHistoryofWWE on Twitter
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Although I share a lot on this blog, I'm not going where you might think I am with the title of this post. I'm referring to the first live wrestling matches I ever attended.  Thanks to the power of social media, and @TheHistoryofWWE on Twitter, I confirmed the date.

December 27, 1984, my dad, brother, uncles, cousins, and friends headed to the famed St. Louis Arena for a night of WWF action.  Hulk Hogan defended his WWF championship against Brutus Beefcake, long before he became known as "The Barber." A vile "Rowdy" Roddy Piper locked up with the Junkyard Dog, with Lou Thesz as the special guest referee, and "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka battled Piper's main man "Cowboy" Bob Orton.

Looking back on the night, it was a who's who of the WWE Hall of Fame these days.  The notable absence being Andre the Giant, who I unfortunately never got to see wrestle in person.  But that night at the Arena was so much fun none-the-less.  I had been watching wrestling for just over a year at that point.  I had become a fanatic about it earlier in the year.  I was just buying into the whole "Hulkamania" craze, so, of course, we all went wild when the Hulkster defeated Beefcake in the main event.

We had floor seats at the show, and probably sat about eight rows back.  Fans weren't as obnoxious back then as they are now, holding up signs and standing to block the view with every out-of-the-ring moment.  But since we were young marks, we'd run to the entrance side before and after each match, holding to slap hands with the greatness that was before us.  

Unfortunately, I did not bring a camera to this event and capture the action, but many of the moments are still burned in my brain.  Orton and Piper double teamed Snuka and dropped him crotch-first on the top rope.  That prompted an angry JYD to run off the heels.  Beefcake hit a beautiful high knee (his finisher) in what we thought might end the reign of Hogan, but the Hulkster kicked out and mustered the strength to win.  I also remembering feeling bad for SD Jones and watching him go down in defeat to the Spoiler.  I always had a soft spot for Special Delivery, may he rest in peace.  The night also featured a very young, Bret Hart as he wrestled soon to be manager Johnny V to a draw.

The action reaffirmed my love for wrestling and set me on the path of remaining an obsessed fan.  Who knew that night so many years ago would lead me to several more house shows, live WrestleManias, and even a chance to step inside the squared circle.  Thanks to my dad for taking me and sharing that special memory with my brother.  What a night.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Way Back WhensDay: Christmas Socks

Not the exact pair I had, but close
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

When I was in high school, I had quite a collection of Christmas socks.  Sadly, that was more than 20 years ago and they've all long bitten the dust.  Christmas trees, Santa faces, and Christmas lights were just a few of the designs.  I even had two pair that played Christmas music.  One pair had Christmas lights all over them, the other had Santa and his reindeer.

It's the Christmas lights pair that once caused me a moment of embarrassment during my freshman year of college.  I was sitting in the back row of my Spanish class, listening to the professor's (Dr. Book) lecture.  He was a very passionate professor and into his lesson, using his hands to help express his enthusiasm for the topic at hand.  Suddenly, he stopped talking as the sound of Jingle Bells permeated the air.

The classroom wasn't a big one, so it didn't take long for all the eyes there to zero in on me.  I had hit the player on the socks when moving my legs.  Dr. Book looked around with a puzzled look on his face before finally asking, "What is that?"  Embarrassed beyond belief, I softly spoke up and admitted, "It's my socks, sorry."  He laughed and said not to worry about it.  The socks didn't have a "stop" switch, so we all sat and listened to the song until it was over.  I quickly moved the start button to the outside part of my leg, so no more accidents would occur.

The surviving pair
Like I said, most of my socks are long gone now, the only surviving pair are my Silent Night socks.  No music involved, just a scene of Santa and his sleigh and reindeer flying over a peaceful village.  Finding men's Christmas socks at the store seems nearly impossible these days, but I have come across a few websites that sell them, so maybe I'll order some to celebrate the season next year.

Merry Christmas and thanks so much for supporting this blog.  If you're not reading it on the official My 1-2-3 Cents page, please click here and check out past posts.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Tag Team Reboot

Cody & Goldust vs. Rey Mysterio & Big Show
Photo courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Tag team wrestling has been a dying art in WWE over the last few years.  Recently though things had started looking up with the formation and development of new duos.  But even in the last few weeks things have gotten interesting to say the least.

The Shield...for now
Photo courtesy: WWE
I like the fact that the Rhodes Brothers are the current tag team champions.  While I was disappointed to see the Shield's reign come to an end, I think the company needs to figure out if they're going to use them as a six man tag team or individuals.  I'm still not 100% keen on Dean Ambrose with the U.S. Title, but that's a blog for another day.  Now there are rumors (even hints being dropped) that Roman Reigns will venture off on his own.  I wonder if Ambrose and Seth Rollins will pick up when Reigns leaves off.  But I'm putting the cart before the horse here.

Also throw into the mix The Wyatt Family, which kinda falls into that same Shield category in my opinion.  They're guys who I could see having legit careers as singles wrestlers too, which isn't a bad thing, I just hope they get some time to compete as a cohesive unit and the WWE doesn't split them up too soon.

RybAxel vs. Tons of Fun
Photo courtesy: WWE
Los Matadores, The Prime Time Players, The Real Americans, The Usos, and 3MB are the tag team type teams on the roster right now.  I was disappointed to see Tons of Funk get split up, but it appears that R Truth and Xaiver Woods are developing as a team.  Ryback and Curtis Axel are also coming into their own as a unit.  Let's fact it, the WWE didn't do much with either man in 2013, so maybe creating "RybAxel will help breath life into both men's careers.

Henry & Langton vs. Real Americans
Photo courtesy: WWE
Now it looks like Rey Mysterio and The Big Show and Big E Langston and Mark Henry are starting to compete in the tag team ranks.  This is just my opinion, but I think Show and Rey are two singles guys who creative has nothing for, so they're testing the waters with them as a team.  They recently beat Goldust and Cody Rhodes in a non-title match.  I'm not sure how I feel about that.  But I can tell you, I don't like Langston and Henry as a team, only because Big E just won the Intercontinental Title.  He should be focused on defending that championship as far as I'm concerned.

I think it would make sense to reintroduce fans to Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd, now that Kidd is back and healthy.  I wouldn't mind an Air Boom reunion either, and there's plenty of budding talent on NXT.  It'll be interesting to see what 2014 will hold for the tag team ranks.


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Elf on the Shelf: 2013 Pics

A Sweet Return
By Kevin Hunsperger 
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Another Christmas season is wrapping up, and a tradition we started 8 years ago.  "Nick" is the Elf on the Shelf my kids received from St. Nick back in 2007.  If you're reading this, you'll likely know the story of Elf on the Shelf, so I won't bore you with those details.  Instead, take a look at some of the silliness that Nick was involved in around the house in 2013.  

Merry Christmas.






Gone fishin'

Red Solo Elf

Copy Elf

Returning a special ornament that broke

Words with Elves

Graffiti Elf

More artwork

Fighting words

Caught in the Cookie Jar

Santa Elf

Captured!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Serious Side of Toy Soldiers


Toy Soldiers aren't playing around
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Earlier this month I helped my parents by putting up the Christmas lights at their house.  As I was going through the items they normally decorate with, I came across two of those hard plastic light up toy soldiers.  They stand about three feet tall and I always find them to be a festive part of the display.  My dad told me he wasn't going to put them out this year and asked if I wanted them.  I've always found my outdoor decorations a bit bland, so I jumped at the chance to spice things up.  Little did I know how much this duo would spice things up around my house.

The soldiers would not stay standing on the front porch.  The slightest wind would send them tumbling to the ground.  After several days of picking them up and trying to secure them to anything I could find, I came up with the brilliant idea of putting the decorations in the window of our bonus room over the garage.  They were the perfect height and width for the window sill and the wind wouldn't be a factor.  All was well until Wednesday night.

The bulb and carpet
I had already gone to bed, but my wife smelled burning plastic while in the living room watching TV.  First she thought it was something plastic that melted in the dishwasher, but after discovering that wasn't the case and noting the smell got stronger, she followed her nose upstairs.  Sure enough, the light bulb had popped out of the back of the soldier and had fallen to floor.  You can see from the picture it burned the carpet and the baseboard.  The bulb and the casing around it also burned.

Earlier in the evening, my daughter had bumped into the figure, so I'm wondering if that somehow knocked it loose before it eventually dropped to the floor.  I'm just thankful my wife was awake and found the problem.  I hate to think what would have happened had we not been home or had all been in bed when this occurred.

Soldier's back
This marks the second Christmas decoration mishap of the week.  On Tuesday night, I climbed onto our roof to replace a strand of lights on the peak that got ripped down by the recent snow and ice storm.  The roof was still wet and a little icy and I slipped a couple of times.  Clinging on for dear life, I had to call my sons from inside the house to reposition the ladder so I could get down.  I didn't hurt myself, just bruised my ego.  The lights are still here on the ground with me.

Both incidents have served as a reminder to be careful with your decorations during the holidays.  Life can change in an instant.  Be safe and Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Way Back WhensDay: Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire

A new member of the family
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

December 17, 1989 is a day that changed pop culture forever.  It was the first time a full length version of The Simpsons aired, sparking what has become one of the longest running television shows ever.  As of this writing in 2013, The Simpsons is still going strong.  Since Christmas was just days away, the first episode revolves around the holiday.

I was a junior in high school when the show debuted.  I had been a fan of the shorts on The Tracy Ullman Show and when I heard the animated family was going to get its own show, I was more than excited.  I loaded my trusty VCR that night and recorded the episode.  I instantly became hooked and ended up doing the same thing each week for years.

Officially titled "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire", the episode is also referred to as "The Simpsons Christmas Special."  Viewers get an expanded look at the four fingered, yellow residents of Springfield USA during the show.  Other characters like Barney, Moe, and Principal Skinner are also introduced to viewers.

Santa Homer
Homer finds out he's not getting his Christmas bonus.  Bart decides to get a tattoo to honor his mother.  That move forces Marge to use the family's Christmas savings to have the word MOTH (he was going for MOTHER) removed from her son's arm.  Because the Simpsons are like most American families, living paycheck to paycheck, these two scenarios create a great source of conflict.  As a way to make ends meet Homer becomes a mall Santa only to receive a "measly $13", which eventually leads the father and son to the dog races in an effort to pull off a Christmas miracle and earn enough cash to buy gifts.  Keep in mind, it's Christmas eve.

Homer puts his money on a dog known as Santa's Little Helper, which loses the race and gets disowned in the process.  Because he's a lovable loser like Homer and Bart, they take the pooch home, thus creating the ultimate Christmas gift for the family.  It's a touching episode and a reminder that Christmas isn't about what you get, it's about what you give.

In the years that followed the creators would do other Christmas episodes.  They don't do them every year, and while funny, I don't think any of them hold a candle to that first episode.  This one holds a special place in my memory, partly because it was the first, but also because of the message and the unconditional love the family has for one another, with the exception of Homer and Patty and Selma.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Grinch-Kabobs

Grinch-Kabobs
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I wish I could take credit for this idea, but I found it on Pinterest, the vast land of handy crafts and recipes.  I find the site very helpful when trying to impress others.  I was looking for a healthy idea for my daughter's Christmas party for her dance class.

Every year parents are asked to bring a snack.  More often than not, the table is covered with cookies, brownies, candy, and other sugary treats.  I didn't want to be the kill joy dad, but I do like to find healthier options for events like these when I can.  That's when I came across Grinch-Kabobs.

They're super easy to make.  Start with a tooth pick.  Add one white grape (the ones that look green, but they're technically white), a sliver of banana, a slice of strawberry, and a miniature marshmallow (cut in half).  When the four things are put together they form what looks like the Grinch's head.  I saw some crafty people who added eyes and a mouth, but I didn't have the time or the patience to try it.

Yummy
My advice when it comes to the strawberry, use just the tip of it to make it really look like a Santa hat.  In an effort to not waste anything, I used "flatter" pieces of berry too so they don't all look like traditional Santa hats.  But overall, I'm happy with how they turned out.

I think everyone at the party enjoyed the treats.  Sure they weren't something dipped in chocolate or fried or covered in sugar, but they did taste good and looked pretty awesome.  I did something similar, but not as healthy at the Halloween party with my Puking Pumpkin and chips.  But if you're looking for a quick snack for your next holiday party, these are easy and pretty inexpensive to make.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Christmas Crush

Not the actual pin, but this is it.
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents

This is a tale from my past that I should probably not be sharing with the world, or at least the dozens and dozens of people who will read it.  But my readers have requested more stories about me, so I'm going to oblige.  Plus, I figure it shows that I'm human and we've all had those moments from our childhood and teens years we'd rather forget, but those moments become lessons (some more funny than others)  By the way, the names have been omitted to protect the innocent.

Picture it: December 1987.  I'm 14 years old, a freshman in high school.  I had undergone a transformation of sorts since middle school.  I no longer had braces, a retainer, or a bionator mouthpiece that I wore over the course of my three years at North Jefferson Middle School.  Gone too were my glasses.  Over the summer, I got contact lens.  I felt a bit more confident in my appearance and was ready to try again with the fairer gender.

But I was still extremely shy.  In middle school, I had been shot down a few times and not in a kind way.  It wasn't like the girls I had asked out said "no", it was more like "HELL NO!!!!" or at least that's how it felt in my teenage mind.  But there was a girl in my third hour biology class who caught my eye.

For three months I waited for the right time to say something but never could muster up the courage.  So the night before the last day of school before Christmas break, I had a (not so) brilliant idea.  I would win her over with gifts.  But being a 14-year-old without a job or a clue, I didn't have a whole lot of resources or time to come up with something perfect or even good.

Who doesn't like candy canes at Christmas?
I looked in my closet and found a bright purple teddy bear on the shelf that I had won at a carnival the summer prior.  I plucked the bear from the shelf and grabbed some red and green yarn from my mom's sewing supplies and fashioned a stylish and festive necklace for the stuffed animal.  I rummage through my dresser drawers and came up with an ice skating snowman pin made by Hallmark that I had in elementary school.  I added it to an empty jewelry box I found.  I asked my dad to take me up to the local drug store and bought a giant peppermint stick, just in case my other gifts weren't sweet enough already.

Remember, I said I didn't have much money (or sense) and added the three poorly selected gifts into a big, brown grocery bag.  Yeah, I didn't even spring for some kind of Christmasy bag or at least tie a bow on that drab bag, I just headed to school with the paper sack.

I was a ball of nerves when I walked into class that morning.  I was one of the first ones to get there and I scoped the room to make sure my crush wasn't there yet.  She wasn't, and another girl asked me what was in the bag.  I explained what I had and told her who I was giving it to.  She immediately told me that it was a bad idea to give it to her myself.  She convinced me that she would give it to her and as I debated this in my brain, what little confidence I had left had vanished.  I handed her the bag and said: "give it to her, but don't tell her it's from me."

My idea of gift wrap.
At that moment, it made sense, but looking back, there was no card in the bag, so how would my crush know it was from me?  I couldn't even look at her the rest of the period, fearful she would figure out the gifts were from me and she'd come tap dance on what little self-esteem I had remaining.  The hour came and went and nothing was said.  Christmas break started and my family left for Florida.  I wondered the whole time if she'd figured out the gifts were from me or if she'd even kept the items.

I never confessed to the gift giving.  And you'd think that would be my high-quality learning experience, but it wasn't.  Through my high school years, I tried to "win over" a girl with gifts instead of actually talking and getting to know them.  Many times I'm amazed I ended up breaking out of my shell enough to meet my wife.  I guess it all takes time.

Merry Christmas.