Friday, October 30, 2015

So Long Cinderella

Cinderella to Zipper Face
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Listen to the podcast


Ten years ago our family was complete with the birth of our daughter Brooke.  She was born a month before Halloween and that first year she was a plump little pumpkin.  Obviously she was a month old so she didn't have a say in the matter.

Lil' Eeyore 

That next year she was a white rabbit to our oldest son's magician.  Then she donned an Eeyore costume her brother wore on his first Halloween.  Then we got into the princess phase.  Two years she went as Cinderella followed by a year as Ariel from the Little Mermaid.  A cowgirl, cheerleader and devil made it into the mix too.

Zombie girl
Last year she changed course and went from adorable character to walking dead.  I'm not going to lie, when she announced she wanted to be a zombie I was a bit hesitant.  I think the biggest issue for me was my baby girl was growing up and I wasn't ready.  Then a few months ago she announced she wanted to have a zipper face with blood oozing and I cringed.  I tried in vain to talk her out of that decision.  But I was happy she was still choosing to dress up.

Zipper face & friends
Her best friend was going as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz so I suggested she be the Scarecrow or even on of the witch's flying monkeys.  I got a big fat no.  My wife and I dressed as Sadness and Anger from the movie Inside Out and thought we had her hooked on the idea of being Disgust, but she rejected that too.  So with days before the big night of trick-or-treating, I picked up a zipper face kit at Walmart.


Even moments before I opened the kit I asked her again if she was sure that's what she wanted to be and she said she was.  She changed into a monster costume she wore from a previous dance recital and was ready to start the transformation.  It didn't take long to tell she was very happy with the process. Yes it's another sign that my kids are growing up, but I had fun helping create the new look for my daughter.  While it may not be the thing all 10 year old girls would do, it's what she wanted and being different is never a bad thing.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Why Nerd Shirts Rule Every Thursday

It's hard to see, but it's the Golden Girls on my shirt


By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Listen to the podcast


If we're friends on Facebook or you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you know for the last 18 months (0r so) we've instituted a tradition at work called Nerd Shirt Thursday.  Now former News 3 This Morning producer Weston White is the brains behind the idea.  It's quite simple, each week we wear a "nerd" shirt and share it with the world.  Pretty much anything pop culture related is accepted.  

In the beginning nearly everyone on the morning crew participated.  But then as people moved on and others had worn and re worn shirts, the tradition dwindled to myself and a guy simply known as Sweeney.  There are more than 50 pics in my Facebook album and I'm wearing a different shirt in most of them.  In recent weeks I've had to start over, but we find different props or settings to make the pics fun (including a guest spot by Dr. Sheldon Cooper).

Nerd Shirt Thursday has become one of the highlights of my week.  I love seeing what others (usually just Sweeney now) are going to wear and hearing the comments from those who view the pics.  We've even had a guest on the morning show ask to participate.  I've included a handful here for your viewing pleasure.  If you start a Nerd Shirt tradition at your work, use the hash tag #NerdShirtThursday and spread the awesomeness. 


Promoting My 1-2-3 Cents

Special guests Tom Harness & Dr. Sheldon Cooper

D'oh!

Smurfy

Happy birthday Stone Cold Steve Austin

I dig the Mr. Rogers shirt

Tickle me Kevin 

A super day

All by myself with Dr. Who

Bill & Ted meet a Mr. Spock
(Shirt courtesy: Tom Harness)

Ohhhhh yeahhhh!

A friend gave us a Star Wars background

Even on the road I participate

Forgot my shirt, but had Hulk Hogan socks ready to go!


Monday, October 26, 2015

Old Glory Relay


The Old Glory Relay in Carterville, Illinois 
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Listen to the podcast


I recently had the privilege to run a small portion of the Old Glory Relay with Team Red, White and Blue.  The group started running with the flag on September 11 of this year in San Francisco.  They're passing the flag off to different runners all across the country, eventually ending the relay in Washington, D.C. in November.

A couple friends of mine, Tom Harness and Ryan McKennedy, had asked me months ago to be a part of it as the relay came through our town.  I accepted the offer and invited others at work to run.  Coworkers Ashley Smith and Brandon Merano joined me.  This all went down one day after I ran my first marathon.  I'd agreed to participate before checking what was happening the day BEFORE the relay.  I let Ryan and Tom know that I'd do my best to run our leg, but I had major concerns.

USA! USA!
Some people told me running the 3.15 miles would be good for my recovery.  Others suggested I was crazy for doing it.  (Disclaimer: I'm not saying this to put myself on a pedestal) What put it into perspective for me was thinking about what our troops go through whether they're deployed or just the training they go through after enlisting.  Then the sacrifices they and their families make when they're away from home.  Top all that with the stress and trauma many experience once they're back in the United States. And lets not forget those who don't make it home at all. It quickly became a no-brainer that 3.15 miles was nothing in the grand scheme of things and no sacrifice at all.

Folks in Carterville ready for the relay
I'm so glad I took part in this event.  Not surprising our town rallied and showed so much support for the runners and the veterans in this community.  A stream of flags lined the busy highway as young and old gathered.  A handful of veterans accepted the flag from the team bringing it to Ashley, Brandon and I which made for an emotional scene.  Once we had the flag in hand, our team quickly headed down the highway with local fire and police department vehicles following closely behind.

Making our way down Route 13 in Carterville
We were greeted with honking horns and waves as we made our way down that 3.15 mile stretch of road.  We received thumbs up and shouts of "USA!" People slowed down and snapped photos.  I knew I was a part of something special when I signed up, but actually doing it was a whole new experience.  

The handoff
I applaud anyone who has ever served our country or plans to so.  These men and women deserve our respect and I'm so happy that people in our community gathered to show appreciation as the Old Glory Relay made its way through southern Illinois.  Thank you veterans.  Thank you friends.  

Check out drone footage of the hand off shot and edited by Todd Ellis.  Very impressive.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

I Ran a Marathon and Now I'm Gonna Brag About It

I think this was mile 15 or 16 and the rain had started up
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Listen to the podcast


Earlier today I accomplished something I never thought I'd do.  I ran (mostly) 26.2 miles in my very first marathon.  And yes this post is probably going to end up sounding like me bragging, but please let me explain my back story.

Senior year of Cross Country
In high school I "ran" cross country.  More accurately I was a member of the team all four years.  I did it more for the social aspect than the actually wanting to run aspect.  As I was huffing and puffing along the Shawnee Marathon course earlier today in southeastern Illinois I thought back to my first cross country meet.  It was in Sikeston, Missouri.  When I crossed the finish line after running/jogging/walking the course I was greeted by our head coach Stan Nelson.  I had a horrible outing.  My time was terrible.  But what I remember most about that day was basically collapsing in coach's arms as he hugged me and congratulated me on finishing.  That was the most grueling and exhausting thing I'd done in my short 14 years on this planet.  Keep in mind it was about three miles.

My awesome wife and cheerleader!

Fast forward 28 years.  I'd trained for this for the last couple of months.  I thought of that story and how much my attitude toward running has changed in the last four or five years.  I got emotional when my wife (who surprised me by going along) was at the top of one of the hills at the halfway point cheering for me as if I'd made the winning touchdown at the Super Bowl.  As I looped around she was on the other said and this time we both cried as I past her and she said how proud she was of me.  



When you're running that long you have a lot of time to think.  I recounted another time in my cross country days that I didn't really want to participate in a long run for practice.  I think the plan was 10 miles or so.  About two miles into the run I stopped and found a big stick on the side of the road.  I proceeded to whack my ankle with it hard enough to cause a little pain and make me limp back to coach and explain I'd twisted it and needed to go home.  Looking back I think that's one of the silliest things I've ever done.

Finished!
4:35:55 (not sure on the seconds)
I look at my adult running career as a chance to make up for the mistakes and shortcuts I took as a teenager.  We all do foolish things at that age and as I carry on through this midlife crisis of running (it's cheaper than a fancy sports car) I'm reminded by how many people support me.  The texts, tweets and Facebook posts brought more tears this afternoon.  I'm so thankful so many have been behind me and don't think I'm being too braggadocious with my updates, pics and videos about running.

Me and "coach" Ashley
Finally, some personal thanks.  Of course my awesome wife Lisa for being understanding of this semi-new facet of my life and for coming out and supporting me through my first marathon.  She was out there for hours to cheer for me in 20 second increments.  I can't explain how loved I felt.  To my parents for buying me various pairs of running shoes over the last few years.  Ashley Smith, my friend and coworker, who has given me so much advice about running in the past and this week has offered a ton of tips on surviving the marathon.  My friends in the Yellow Donkeys, especially Jim Olsen for the advice on the band-aids for my nipples.  They worked great! To Rebecca Wyatt, the race organizer, for coming up with an amazing idea and course and the many volunteers who helped along the way before, during and after the marathon. And finally all of you for the above mentioned support.  I appreciate it more than you'll ever know.

Marathon by the numbers:
26.2: number of miles run
2: number of nasty blisters on my feet
4: number of packets of Gu I ate along the way
52: number of ounces of soda my wife bought for me after the race
4:35:55: number of hours, minutes and seconds it took me to finish

Thursday, October 22, 2015

This Really May Be Hell


Brock wins again?
Courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Listen to the podcast


I've said it several times not just here but on my podcast as well, that I'm not a huge fan of specialty pay per views like Hell in a Cell and Money in the Bank.  I think too many of these matches takes away from the times when it's "important" to have competitors squaring off in a speciality match.  We're guaranteed at least two HIAC matches each year.  

Undertaker vs. Mankind
Courtesy: WWE
I don't hate the match itself, as there have been some extraordinary things go on inside and outside the structure.  My favorite is a no-brainer, The Undertaker vs. Mankind from King of the Ring 1998.  It was only the third cell match and the rivalry between the two Superstars had built for years.  Plus the emotional commentary of Jim Ross makes this one of those matches I go back and watch more often than any other HIAC match.


Courtesy: Jake Sharpless
http://rukkus.com/blog/author/jake/
Nearly 20 years and 30 Hell in a Cell matches later, I can't say that I'm overly excited for the 2015 incarnation of the event.  Putting Brock and Undertaker back in the cell for what will hopefully be their third and final match of this series makes sense.  Do I think it will be an outstanding match?  Not likely, but I do know both men will put 110% into the contest. But the buildup of this feud hasn't intrigued me at all.  Well I do like the Bray Wyatt-Roman Reigns rivalry, I don't think they NEED to be in a cell.  I'm not sure any feuds right now on the main roster are HIAC worthy.  That's been a trend in recent years and another reason to argue no need for two of these matches on each October pay per view. (Thanks to Jake Sharpless from Rukkus for the cool graphic)

I have no doubt the wrestling action Sunday will be amazing.  I hope from the creative side of things we are given some new options.  I'm still not sure how I feel about Kane competing for the top prize at this stage in his career.  It's a must to cultivate younger talent.  Kevin Owens. Caesaro. Neville. Rusev. Reigns. Wyatt.  The time is NOW to pull the trigger on these guys.  And stay behind them.

Tyler Breeze
Courtesy: WWE
I'll close with the John Cena U.S. Title Open Challenge.  They flirted with Owens a few months ago being the guy to knock off Cena.  If the "champ" is taking some time off in the coming weeks, Sunday's challenger should be given the ball and a chance to run (and far) with it.  Speculation is that it'll be Tyler Breeze.  I have no problem with that.  Let's see what he can do on the main roster.  I know it's a long shot, but I wouldn't mind it being Daniel Bryan (Yes! Yes! Yes! I'm a mark for him)  Tune in to a later edition of My 1-2-3 Cents the podcast and hear a first hand account of Sunday's action.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Bacon, Bowties and Biceps


By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Listen to the podcast


Those who know me know several years ago I helped get the ball rolling on what's known as the Southern Illinois Men's Health Conference.  Since 2009 we've made tweaks and changes to the event.  For 2016 I'm happy to announce the event is taking on a new name, new look and new location.

The Southern Illinois Men's Expo is set for February 27, 2016.  Black Diamond Harley Davidson in Marion, Illinois is hosting the event.  The theme is "Bacon, Bowties and Biceps." Our catered breakfast will feature a panel discussion including fitness and nutrition experts.  I'm still in talks with several other interactive vendors for the day.  We will keep the health element as well.  Medical screenings and life saving tests will still be a part of the event.  More details about the program will be released in the coming weeks.

The point of this post is to announce a contest to come up with a logo for the 2016 event.  Please submit your work to simensexpo@gmail.com by November 6.  The designs will be posted on our Facebook page and the submission with the most likes will be declared the winner.  Remember the theme is "Bacon, Bowties and Biceps" and our audience is men of all ages.  We're here in beautiful southern Illinois.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

One More Match: "Stone Cold" Steve Austin

Austin vs. Rock
Courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Listen to the podcast


"Stone Cold" Steve Austin's last match was at Wrestlemania XIX against the Rock.  In the 12 years that have passed, there has been plenty of chants for Austin to have "one more match."  As Wrestlemania: Texas (aka 32) looms there had been talk that Austin would step into the ring and have one final curtain call.  Many speculated it would be against Brock Lesnar.  The Rattlesnake himself has shot down those rumors and says his injury years ago prevents him from ever wrestling again.  I'm still not convinced his finished.  

Oh hell yeah
Courtesy: WWE
Who would I want to see Austin officially call it a career against?  I'm always conflicted when booking a final match.  You want the guy retiring to go out looking good, while putting over the talent who is sticking around.  That's why I don't want it to be Lesnar or any other part timer or semi-regular wrestler.  I think a lot of the younger guys on the roster now would wrestle a much faster paced match than Austin would be use to.  Guys like Neville, Rollins and Ambrose come to mind in that instance.

Cesaro
Courtesy: WWE
Therefore I'm picking Cesaro.  Austin himself has endorsed the former U.S. champ on more than one occasion during his podcast.  Cesaro has connected with the fans.  He seems to be over and ready to take his career to the next level.  A high profile match and victory over one of the biggest Superstars in the history of the business would be the greatest achievement for Cesaro and propel him into the stratosphere.  Kevin Owens and Bray Wyatt are my backup picks.  Who would you pick?


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Champ Can't Win

Tombstone & he's done
Courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Listen to the podcast


Even though I don't intend for this to sound like I'm complaining, it's going to appear that I am, so here goes.  I've read in a couple of different places that in his last 14 televised matches, the WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins has won ONE of those contests.  One.  

For the last few years WWE has been in a mode of 50/50 booking, especially with the mid card.  I think that philosophy has hurt the product and brought us to where we are today.  I view Rollins as the heel who has no idea what's going on around him.  At times he seems to be in control, but more often than not he hasn't got a clue.  I don't like it.

Losing to Cena
Courtesy: WWE
Beating John Cena for the U.S. Title at SummerSlam was a bold decision and one that I fully endorsed.  Losing it back so quickly, especially with Cena reportedly taking time off makes little sense to me, unless something has suddenly come up with Cena.  

Battling Sting
Courtesy: WWE
If my math is correct Rollins' last victory was over Sting, a man who is roughly twice Seth's age and has wrestled a total of three times in the past year.  Of course Rollins should have won.  Now Rollins is engaged in a feud with a guy who debuted his gimmick when Seth was in junior high school.  I'm not knocking Kane, I like the gimmick he's doing now with the corporate and demon personalities, but I don't know at this stage in his career he should be the number one contender to the WWE World Championship.

Rollins of course is a different type of champion than Brock Lesnar, John Cena or Randy Orton.  But I think he needs to get some solid victories over credible contenders like Roman Reigns, Cena and Orton if fans are going to truly buy into him as a serious champ.  (Yes, I know wrestling is a "work.") He's being booked similarly to The Miz or Jack Swagger during their title runs.  Rollins is clearly one of the most talented men in the company today and he needs to have a better record than what he's currently got.

Flying high (at the moment)
Courtesy: WWE
Even though Ric Flair may not have had his hand raised very often when he wore the gold, I don't remember ever watching his reigns and wondering, "what the hell?"  I'm not criticizing Rollins.  And usually I take a wait and see approach, but I can't believe 1 and 13 is the record of the man who's supposed to be the company's top guy.  

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

One More Match: Ultimate Warrior

The Ultimate Warrior
Courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Listen to the podcast


I'm starting a new feature here on the blog. The title says it all.  There are plenty of legends who have hung up the boots before having that match to give the fans some closure.  Some of these posts will feature men or women who could still come back, other days these will be tributes to fallen legends.

Vs. Owen Hart
Courtesy: WWE

When the Ultimate Warrior was inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame it marked the return of  one of most charismatic performers in the business.  The last time he'd wrestle for WWE was during the summer of 1996 against Owen Hart.  He would return to the ring on the main stage two years later and feud with Hulk Hogan in WCW, losing to the Hulkster at Halloween Havoc.  That run only included three matches.

Hall of Fame
Courtesy: WWE
Warrior wrestled sporadically after, but finally retired in 2008.  In 2014 during his Hall of Fame acceptance speech fans shouted "One more match!"  But the legend quickly shot down those requests.  I'm not going to lie, sitting there in the crowd that night I hoped Warrior would get back in the ring just one more time.  Sure he was 54 years old and hadn't been in the ring in seven years, but as I've explained before I'm a fool for old school.  I would have marked out even for a quick SummerSlam '88 style affair against someone like Heath Slater. I know it does nothing to advance anyone's career, but not everything has to do that, does it?  
Warrior vs. Rock
WWE AllStars
Seeing Hall of Famer Warrior go one more time would have been a great stroll down memory lane.  But I really wish he and Vince McMahon would have made amends years earlier and Warrior could have had a final run and a "proper" retirement.  He still had the goods to step into the ring and could have been a part of the old generation helping create the Superstars of the Attitude Era.  I'm sure someone could have come up with some creative plans to keep Warrior's legacy intact while helping new talent grab the brass ring.  Ultimate Warrior vs. The Rock, "Stone Cold' Steve Austin and Mankind could have all been marquee matches.  Even rekindling the old feud with the Undertaker from 1991 would have been epic or a quick feud with the up and coming Kane. 

Sadly Warrior is gone.  But there's plenty of matches to relive and remember this legend of the ring.  

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Evolution of Kane

Kane's debut
Photo courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Listen to the podcast


October 5 has become a day for me to write about one of the most iconic characters in WWE history, Kane.  It was on this date in 1997 Kane debuted at the In Your House: Badd Blood pay per view.  I was in the crowd in St. Louis that night when the monster ripped the door off the Hell in a Cell and attacked his "brother" The Undertaker.  The move put the man behind the mask, Glenn Jacobs on course to become a wrestling legend.

WWE
It's hard to believe that was 18 years ago.  Kane's look and personality have changed several times through the years.  Early on he was an unstoppable monster who intimidated everyone he stepped into the ring against.  Tough guys like Mick Foley and Vader were quickly brought down by the Demon.  Eventually Kane evolved into a face who defended smaller guys like X-Pac and Hurricane Helms.  He even found love on more than one occasion.  The monster ditched the mask and set good ol' JR on fire on Raw.  

Corporate Kane
Courtesy: WWE
Most recently Kane was promoted to Director of Operations in WWE.  He was the muscle for Seth Rollins until the champ took advantage of Kane one too many times.  A few weeks ago the Big Red Machine version of Kane returned, pulling Rollins under the ring in dramatic fashion.  But we're still seeing Corporate Kane too.  It's actually become an entertaining duel role gimmick.  I'm not sure in 2015 Kane should be in line for another shot against the champ, but I am enjoying the roles and am happy to see Jacobs still having success. Happy birthday Kane.  It's been a great ride.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Happy Birthday Walt Disney World

Selfie at Magic Kingdom
2014
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Listen to the podcast


October 1, 1971 the world changed for the better.  Walt Disney opened the Magic Kingdom providing families from around the world a theme park experience like no other.  It blows my mind to think Disney World is only a couple years older than me.  

I've been obsessed with Mickey Mouse for as long as I can remember.  My second birthday was nothing but Mickey.  My family made its first trek to Magic Kingdom when I was in kindergarten.  I don't remember much from that trip, but we did take a followup vacation there about four years later that I remember well.  

Honeymoon with Pooh
When I was a freshman in high school we spent Christmas break in Florida and an entire day at Epcot.  I got a Pluto t-shirt as a souvenier.  Other than that as a teenager I found the park boring.  Ten years later, my wife and I honeymooned at Disney. And as parents, my wife and I (along with my folks) have returned on three separate occasions.

The most recent trip was in October 2014.  Here's a highlight reel and blog about that trip.  



We are headed back in Spring 2016.  The high school marching band that my son is a member of will be marching at Magic Kingdom during spring break.  I can't wait to return, even if for a day or two.  Believe me when I tell you the Disney "magic" (although pricey) is a real thing.