Saturday, December 20, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

"Poet/Anti-Jason"


This is when Jason and I - oddly enough - started to get along ...

http://www.thefifiorganization.net/fifi/sorry-bout-that-1a/

Check out the video and other stuff. Jason has some good stuff in there.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Our FIRST Cougar Soccer World Champion


Congratulation to Wazzu Defender Kiersten Dallstream and the USA Women's U20 World Champions!!!

As a Coug, former WSU assistant women's soccer coach, and soccer supporter I would like to simply congratulate the USA U20s on their world championship victory over North Korea.

To see a Coug play for the USA is a very, very, very cool thing.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Trying not to feel smug today

Almost two years ago I rolled my van down a ravine in Brier.

I drove slowly, but down a street I should not have gone down without chains or snow tires on. The street had been partially sanded that morning, but not the area where I had the accident.

Had I taken the time to put on the snow tires in November or when the weather turned it is possible that the accident might, just might have been avoided.

When I got the van three years ago it came with a good spare and four mounted snow tires. That's right, already mounted.

There was a weekend day in early November that was cold, but dry. So, I went ahead and started the process of changing each tire and then going to the local 7-11 and topping off the air in each tire. Combined time to do this process was likely about 45 minutes.

My neighbor and father both commented that they really needed to change theirs too.

It is supposed to snow today. I am looking out a window that shows the awful weather outside. It is hard to not feel smug when I hear the news reports of the lines of people waiting to get their snow tires on.

If only I had done this two years ago ...

Monday, December 08, 2008

Battlestar Galactica (part 3)

I am current.

When the first half of Season 4 started in April I was checking out the miniseries from the library. From April until the Apple Cup I managed to get completely caught up in order of all of the episodes, webisodes, deleted scenes, and specials ... in order ... and can now watch the final half season with the fans who have been with it all along.

Bear in mind I do not have cable, etc ... and so I do not watch a lot of tv. When I decided to watch the miniseries I did not expect to find myself watching all of the seasons or to discover the best science fiction series ever on television. I have found myself going to where I can watch episodes and webisodes online to be fully caught up. I am.

I have always been a fan of Star Trek, the original BSG, Buck Rogers, Alias, Lost, and other series like the current BSG. At no point has this series Jumped the Shark. Alias did. Lost has. And a lot of those other shows faded and limped to sad deaths. BSG is simply the best show I have ever seen and I look forward to the web episodes beginning Friday and the final ten episodes.

Take the banners down ...


Last week at the Metallica concert was the first time I stepped inside Key Arena since the Oklahoma City Thunder left town. At the first Storm game in May I noted - and took the picture - that the banners were still hanging, but at that point the settlement had not been reached and their technically was still a team here.

There doesn't feel like there is even the remotest chance of the NBA returning to Seattle, at least while that prick David Stern is commissioner.

Take the banners down.

The banners are presumably up in order to motivate us to build momentum to help bring back a team.

I know Seattle has the right to keep them due to the terms of surrender, but it really felt less than inspiring to see them there. It was like looking at a graveyard and tombstones.

Take the banners down.

comic book boxes

It doesn't always appear to be so, but I am more organized than this.

I realized recently that a small indie press comic mini-series had been released that I had only previously purchased the first issue of. Procuring issues 2-5 turned out to be simpler than I thought, so all I would need to do was grab issue one out of my comic boxes and re-read it prior to finishing with the issues I had just received.

No such luck.

My comics are organized pretty well. Not more than a year ago I had gone through many of the boxes, re-organizing them. All of my works of this particular artist were together in one box so I grabbed that cluster and got ready.

No such luck.

Issue number one was not there.

I tore through all of the boxes over the next few days and evenings, going through them completely three times.

No such luck.

I am suddenly no longer certain that I ever purchased number one a couple years ago after all. I can picture the cover in my hands. I can remember reading it. At least I think I can.

The first time I was ticked. The second time was irritating and caused me to doubt I had purchased it. By the time I had gone through the boxes for the third time I was a little exasperated.

Where did it go?

I know I got it. At least, I think I know I got it ...

Grrrrr .....

The Cougs turned a corner late ...

The Cougs bottomed out in October. They gave up 69 points to a USC team that stopped throwing. Statistically speaking, the Cougs were epically bad. Opposing teams were scoring points at an astonishing clip. There was legitimate talk about whether or not it was the transition or the new coach itself that was the problem.

I am, and was in October, of the belief that Paul Wulff is a good coach. The last three games of the season show that the bottom has been hit and the Cougs are moving forward again. The record during those three games is 1-2, but the statistics show much more.

The total combined points opposing teams scored the final three weeks of the season was 68. It is clear that the Cougs did not give up, but in fact kept playing and improving; Arizona State was still shooting to become bowl eligible, Washington was desperately trying to avoid the 0-12 season they ended up with, and Hawaii needed one more win to become bowl eligible. The Cougs improved against teams with something to play for. Opposing teams did not get immediate large leads. We all saw the end of the Apple Cup. There are glimpses of what the future could bring from a number of young players. I don't believe it will be next year, but there is a bowl game in the near future for Wazzu football.

Coach Wulff, your boys did not mail it in down the stretch. A coach whose team keeps playing is the one getting through to them.

Friday, December 05, 2008

The 11 Marathons of Jefferson












Looking back at the Seattle Marathon from 2008 to 1998 ...

Paying forward a Thanksgiving favor

I have this annoying tendency to ride the odometer pretty close to disaster prior to getting a fresh fill up for my van. There is a safe range of distance I know I can go without running out of gas. I was wrong once and got luck to get a tow from a construction truck the half mile to the gas station I was on the way to when I ran out. Flirting with disaster I decided to drive all the way past my post office to a gas station on 99 that I was pretty certain I could get to. I was wrong for the second time since getting this van.

Thanksgiving morning I ran out of gas on a major road with lots of traffic. This is a bad thing to have happen. But, as you will discover, I got very, very lucky.

The disheartening feeling one gets when pushing on the gas pedal and having a vehicle die is not one that is easily forgotten. I knew it when I felt it and was on the cusp of panic. I was just about at 200th and past a gas station and one little dip and rise and dip from the next gas station. I coasted briefly in neutral, turned the key as I was beginning to head downhill and got a little burst that took me up to about 35 miles per hour. There was not a lot of traffic at that point and I saw the light atop the rise at 208th. All I had to do was be able to coast enough up that hill and not stop and I could coast downhill into the gas station just past 212th. It was a good plan.

Good plans do not always work though.

The van died again while going up the rise. I let it coast and hoped it would be enough. With the van pointing up hill I would not get another start out of whatever token remnant gas was still in the tank. The speedometer slowed as the van slowed. I moved to the right lane out of the way of traffic and began trying to will the van through the light. With a smidgen of luck mixed with the bad the light turned red as the vehicle died at about 208th.

Popping the seat belt and hopping out I began to push, hoping for just enough of a start to get through the light as it turned green and the road would begin to slope down again. As I picked up a bit of steam the light turned green and I pushed and got the van through the light and felt it start to pick up speed.

Feeling rather smug about how good of shape I must actually be in I hopped back in and got ready to try one more fire up to get a boost through 212th and onward to the gas station beyond.

I looked in my mirror and was startled to see a guy about my age right up against the rear window, his red truck pulled to the side. There had been help I was not aware of that got me through the light. There was simply not time to stop and thank him as I began coasting down 99 toward 212th. I did lean out and wave and yell, "Thanks!" really loud. He acknowledged my thanks and moved on.

Either the world is paying me back in small ways for the crap I have gone through or I need to pay forward a huge favor to a random someone to keep my karmic balance at peace.

The light turned red at 212th.

I had to stop again.

A State patrol car crested the hill and coasted to a stop a few cars behind me. The gas station was only a partial block away. The light turned green and I turned the key, hoping to get one burst and not to simply have to coast and risk having to explain what happened to an officer.

The van fired up and I kicked it into drive and got up to 15 miles per hour before it died once again. I signalled right and turned into the gas station and coasted up easily to a pump. The State Patrol car slowed as he past, but kept going.

I filled up.

The odometer reading from that tank is getting close again. I think I will gas up this afternoon after school.

Walking to the Subway

I chose to turn left.

Although that in general should not surprise anyone metaphorically speaking it proved to be a huge waste of time when it came to getting food on a Friday night in Mukilteo.

See ... I had enough points on the card to get a free sub at that huge chain. So, while I was primarily was walking to the grocery store to get some staple items it occurred to me that it would be a good time to cash in those points and bring home a big sandwich.

I have been living in Picnic Point and shopping out on the Speedway for almost four years now. Simply by driving through and paying attention at all I have a decent awareness of what is out there for me to grab a quick bite when necessary. At least I thought I had a better awareness than it turns out I do.

I knew there was at least one Subway along the Speedway ... and there is ... but not where I was certain it would be. No big deal in principle, but a pain in the @$$ when walking several miles on a Friday night.

Walking to the store instead of driving was a way of loosening my legs and killing off some time. It is about 2 miles each way just to the grocery store from my apartment. I was convinced that I had seen the yellow sign just down the road to the left. Well, there is one down to the left ... a few more miles away than I was certain it was. So, I kept walking as it was getting close to 10PM and I was not certain it would be open until a very convenient 11PM on a Friday night. I walked almost an additional mile before I realized my error. I was hungry. Jack's lobby was closed. Every restaurant was closed at ten. On a Friday night along the Speedway virtually everything was closed.

Had it even been there it would have been closed. Once again I am reminded of the general suburban lameness I trade for the tranquility and peace of the area I live in.

Trudging back up to the grocery store and realizing how much of an incline I was on my mood turned sour. Trudging uphill on a much longer walk than I had intended to go on to not find a restaurant I wanted to go to made me realize that had I simply turned right I would have gone a shorter distance to find the restaurant closed anyways.

A week later I have not used those points yet.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Dang near 20 years ...


Metallica was moments away from coming to the stage. Lamb of God and The Sword had both already performed. I was sipping on my eggnog latte. My son and my brother were both to my left. Ringo was in my 1988 Metallica Summer Tour tee shirt. We were all standing. Key Arena was made smaller by configuration being in the round. Our seats were fantastic so the stage was not far away. The ticket was a gift. It was a school night. I am 41 years old.

The last time I had been to a Metallica concert and was waiting for them to hit the stage was in August of 1989. I was chugging a soda. It was in the old Spokane Coliseum and The Cult had just finished playing. I was by myself. I was wearing my 1988 Metallica Summer Tour tee shirt. The building was much smaller, I was standing because it was general admission, and the stage was not far away. The ticket was a gift. It was a school night. I was 22 years old.

There were many opportunities to see them again over the years. Due to a variety of mishaps and near misses dang near 20 years had passed.

My son had asked me back in September, "Dad, can you take me to Metallica?" part of me wanted to just say no. A serious right of passage is involved here. Metallica is not a pop tour, this is a big arena rock tour, an entirely different animal. I have and had mixed emotions standing there. With my bro going too I joked I was taking two 12 years olds, but actually my bro is great for concerts because he likes to be left alone to enjoy the music and Ringo was just into it so there was nothing remotely like a problem to deal with when it came to either of them.

Beyond that ... it was an interesting set and a great show. They through everything into it from lasers to fog to flames. They played old songs and featured new ones while basically skipping 93-07. I wanted one of the black beach balls but did not get one.

24 hours later I was listening to a download of the show that came with the tickets ...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

This one goes to 11 ...


Seattle Marathon 2008

I will live with the official time of 5:27:04; a bit slower than I would like, but quicker than I could have expected given recent health concerns ...

11 consecutive years ...

Friday, November 28, 2008

One Nation, Under Surveillance


I know ... I hear all the arguments about pubic safety and yet I am still absolutely sick and tired of always being on camera, recorded, and photographed everywhere I go.

I saw the bumper sticker that I stole the headline from on a car recently. Oddly enough, it may have been in Lynnwood, East Germany ... I mean, Lynnwood, WA where the photo is from.

Basically, I am an honest person and a safe driver and tired of this. To sum it up, it's un-American.

So, I am simply going to strive to spend as little money in Lynnwood as possible as a direct result of all of these "Photo Enforced" intersections.

It feels like we are seeping into a really bad dystopian science fiction movie ... and although I love those films I do not want to live in one.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

2 Coaching Trophies that mean something to me ...


(Oxymoron project ongoing ...)

In all my years in soccer as a player, coach, and fan I have had the opportunity to win (and cheer for) many championships, awards, and honors. However, as a coach I have primarily worked as a position and assistant coach. There are two trophies that I have been given as a coach that i am very proud of.

The sweat jacket was for being the WSU Women's Soccer goalkeeper coach on the 1994 NCAA Sweet 16 team. For many years I have worn that on special soccer occasions. However, my girls soccer team being awarded the 2008 Team Sportsmanship honor for all of the girls teams in the soccer association is in many ways much more satisfying. The honor was bestowed upon the girls based upon the referee evaluations of their ten games this fall. Not only were they successful on the field but they did it with class. Giving the girls these medals was something that I enjoyed very, very much.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

In 56 Seconds the Football Gods smiled upon Wazzu ...

There was no reason to expect the comeback.

There was every reason to expect an interception.

Eleven games, fifty nine minutes, and four seconds into a season of epic futility and the Cougs had one last turn with the ball at their own twenty and no time outs.

And yet, there it was in today's Apple Cup ... or Crapple Cup ... or Rotten Apple Cup ... Kevin Lopina makes the big play to Jared Karstetter and suddenly the QB is scrambling to get the ball spiked with 2 seconds left.

In the 1998 Rose Bowl every one but the referee crew saw that the ball was spiked with 2 seconds left and we have been waiting for that great make up moment from the Football Gods. Lopina gets the team lined up and the ball gets spiked ... and in a season when that sort of break never happened, it did.

Suddenly, Nico Grasu gets the opportunity to make a game tying field goal and two field goals in overtime, including the winner, and we have a new hero in Pullman.

The body language of Washington at that moment told the story. The game should have been over. The game should have never come to this. The opportunity to put this game away had been squandered. As much as I admit I enjoyed that win today ... it really only secured 9th place in the PAC 10 for Wazzu over Washington. Part of me wants to rub it in, but I just can't. The loss today had to be such a gut punch that I simply will not kick the Dawgs when they are down. This time.

I was pacing back and forth from play to play from room to room and TV to TV at my folks' house.

This is one win. It is one win over another struggling program at its lowest point. But, Paul Wulff - he of the most joyfully spastic celebration in Cougar history as he flailed his way across the field - now will find himself with a team in the off-season that played a close one and won. Off-season work outs and Spring drills take on a whole different tone now. Whether they win in Hawaii seems like it should be almost moot at this point, but still ... the trip to Hawaii this week becomes an opportunity to build immediately on this win and go into the off-season on a two game winning streak.

WSU 16, Washington 13 ...

All of that because of 56 seconds.

Go Cougs!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Everett Silvertips 11-19-08 ...

Everett Silvertips 7
Portland Winter Hawks 1
November 19, 2008
Everett, WA - Comcast Arena

I really should have been to more Silvertips games by now.






It is sort of disappointing that I have only been to three games now that the Silvertips are in their 6th season. There have been a couple times I would have gone but I was actually shut out at the box office due to sell outs ... but still.

Also, I have never been one for the bobble head doll craze. I have a Landon Donovan San Jose Earthquakes one that was given to me and a Kaz Matsui New York Mets one I got at Shea Stadium in 2004 when Bob and I went to a game and found out the promotion was for kids 14 and under or something so we bought them off of a couple kids.

So, when double checking the internets to make sure of the game time and ticket availability I noticed that there were rules posted for bobble head distribution. It became clear that I could be one of the first 1,000 fans if I put in a little work. By work, it meant that I had to get there early and stand in line.

It was a cold evening, but dry, so I made the trek up to Everett a bit earlier than normally necessary. The second benefit of going early was I got a good parking spot, so that was nice too. Had it been raining, I might not have stood there for 70 minutes. But I did and I got the doll and all was well ... accept when I had to use the restroom. Multi-tasking at a public urinal is not something I prefer to have to do.

I got a center ice seat for fifteen bucks, courtesy of the Pink Panthers gift card, and enjoyed the game. It is a good thing that I brought my radio and headphones, because I would have gone screaming nuts on all the cowbells. Yes, more cowbell is fun and all, but even BOC would have tired of it. A little goes a long way when 17 people have cowbells in your section. Even with the really terrible reception I was getting in Comcast Arena it was better than the ever present bell ringing. Plus, I got to hear the Simpson's joke the radio guy made that was actually kind of clever and he admitted he had been waiting all game to say ... The Silvertips had a Simpson in goal and the Winter Hawks had a player named Milhouse ...

The early power play goal by Everett set the tone in what turned into a rout. The Silvertips scored on their first three power plays and killed off the ones Portland got and with the score 3-0 after one and 5-0 after two the tension for the third was pretty much could they get a shutout. Less than a minute into the third that was settled when a Portland player broke free and scored from the left wing a nice wrist shot to the upper far post. Other than that, Portland didn't do much to threaten.

Of course there was a late fight and scuffle. The two teams play again two days later and 8 more times this season, so Portland could not afford to get pounded and just appear to roll over. It was quick and pretty much obviously an effort to save face.

The announced crowd was 4,609 for a Wednesday night hockey game in Everett. I remember when the Mariners would draw that midweek during the summer for games in the Kingdome. Everett is a real success story for the WHL.

Each team has NHL draft picks and it is clear who those players were from watching and not even checking. However, there are a number of players with future draft potential. There is some good hockey being played these days in the WHL.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Apple Cup 08 ... someone has to win.

Someone has to win ...

Recently, a Husky I know was trash talking ... and he meant it ... that somehow the Husky winless season was not as bad simply because the margin of loss to USC was less. Both teams were shut out and had their @$$es handed to them. The only difference was that USC slowed down earlier against the Dawgs than against the Cougs.

Apparently, because the Cougs are losing worse than the Dawgs it is something to trash talk about? I cannot decide whether I respect the willingness to find something to talk about or if it is so pathetic that I should just laugh it off.

Okay ... let's see ... the teams had one win between them ... the Coug win over PSU counts in the records, but if the Dawgs win on Saturday then the Cougs become a team without a win against 1-A opponents.

I liked the hiring of Paul Wulff and think that the Cougar future is bright, despite the epically bad season we have witnessed. Wulff's year of leeway is getting thinner with the scoreline ... the question of being in over his head is legit at this point. However, should the Cougs beat the Dawgs and maybe even do well or beat Hawaii that question can be put to rest for a while. Washington has already fired the guy still coaching them the next two games. They haven't even started their transistion yet and are playing like a team that cannot figure out what to play for.

I must admit that I wanted to see the Dawgs beat UCLA on Saturday, if for no other reason than that it would get their win out of their system and make it more likely they would let down for the Apple Cup. However, if the UW can only generate 39 yards of offense and less than 100 yards of rushing and only 7 points in a home game that is Senior Day, Slick Rick's return, and at home ... then how can anyone say that they have not simply quit?

The Cougs have been shut out 3 of the last 4 games. In their last home game a couple weeks ago they scored 4 rushing touchdowns against Arizona and were in the game with ASU in the first half a few days ago. It will be a home game and Senior Day and a chance to make the Dawgs 0-11 ... which team has more motivation?

Here's a new rule and one that really should not have to be stated. "No trash when your team is 0-10."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

One and Ten ... and NOT the Cougs ...

Dear Clay Bennet, Aubrey McClendon, and David Stern ...

One and ten is NEVER going to get better in Oklahoma City.

Your team sucks. It will keep sucking. There is another Clippers in the NBA.

You have a nice group of young players. Of course they are all going to get the #*(% out of town the moment they can ... and then you can go into the permanent state of NBA Lottery watching ...

You have some nice initial public support. Of course, the novelty will wear off. You are in Big 12 FOOTBALL country. And the sellouts will stop being automatic ...

And then all the money you overpaid for the Sonics, the relocation, the two seasons of losses in Seattle, and the shrinking revenue from the inevitable dwindling of support will prove to be a huge waste of money.

The NBA will have forsaken a city with tradition and history that the players like to go to and live in for another small market that can't support a team or keep its stars.

It will never be a success in the shadow of Oklahoma Football.

The sound of "Thunder" is from all the laughing ...

Is it starting again already?

I was very burned out on this election, yet still found myself watching the returns for hours on election night. Now, I am getting invitations for Obama parties after the election as supporters are working to build on the momentum. But ...

I have to admit I kind of expected it.

The politics of fear is poking through again ... I already hear it in some of the comments from people I know. It's disappointing. I am told that, "Obama thinks he has executive powers." We see a surge in gun sales, as though the shock troops will come out with a Democrat in the White House.

The Obama election was not the change itself, it reflects a change that had already come to pass that could no longer be squelched by the fearful politics of Rovism ...

I have been trying to explain that to some of the people I know. Will they give Obama a chance? Or, will they simply dive back in and do what has happened so many times before and try to break him down.

But, will it make it? Have we seen a real Sea Change where a new voting block has shifted the balance of power for a period of time. Is it possible that the new voters will become regular voters and embed the politics that Obama represents?

I imagine that there were book deals lined up in advance of the election to fan some flames. Does anyone doubt that the Hannity and Coulter publishers were not already gearing up for books prior to the election? It is only a matter of time before books start coming out trying to fan flames that we hope are fading ...

After all, the last real Sea Change election in this country led to a backlash that brought us Nixon anyways. I am seeing and hearing the attempts begin ... I just have to hope that this time the negativity is defeated and the Rovist politics and desire to keep people in a constant state of 9/12 fades from our national political identity.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Opening a pack of trading cards ...


It has been a very long time since I purchased a pack of trading cards looking for a player I really like and hoping to get that card.

The other day I was in a soccer store pricing some items when I noticed that there were some UEFA Euro 2008 cards at the front counter. On a whim I decided to grab a couple cards and hope for ... a Freddie ...

So, I went outside to the van and opened packs like I had not done in many, many years ... and I got a Cristiano Ronaldo in the first pack, which was cool ... top card even ... and then a double of his in the final pack.

But ... on the third pack of five (with only 6 cards a pack and a couple hundred players the odds were not good) there it was ... the third card down.

The captain of Sweden just a few months ago.

The big signing that made the Seattle Sounders FC newsworthy in Europe recently.

A guy who might be shocked to know an ex-Sounder is coaching Spurs.

Freddie.

Hot dang!

It's time to draft ... a Quarterback


There are 12 quarterbacks in the NFL this season that have been starting quarterbacks in the Super Bowl. I think only 7 of them have won it. The list of the Super Bowl quarterbacks includes a number of quarterbacks in their 30s that are near the end of their careers and Rex Grossman.

When friends and I discuss football I try not to be too much of a fan. By that I mean that I try not to let the fact that I root for a guy - or against him - have anything to do with whether I think he is actually any good. This is something I refer to as the Elway Argument. It was impossible as a Seahwaks fan to root for the Broncos quartback, but that doesn't mean that I didn't think he was the most exciting football player I ever got to watch play in person.

If any team does not believe that it has a quarterback that can actually lead it to the Super Bowl they need a new quarterback. It is pretty simple really.

I like Matt Hasselbeck. But it is time for the Seahawks to draft their quarterback of the future.

It is clear that Seneca Wallace is an able backup quarterback and not the quarterback of the future for the Seahawks. There has never been a real chance of him beating out Hasselbeck and if anyone else had thought he was a real starter then he would not have signed a long-term deal to be a backup. Charlie Frye is not the answer either. There is a difference between being a backup and a future starter and neither of them measures up to the future starter standard.

So, this Spring the Seahawks need to do the one thing that they have failed at miserably in the past; draft a quarterback.

Jim Zorn, Dave Krieg, and Matt Hasselbeck are the three most successful quarterbacks in franchise history and NONE of the three were drafted by Seattle. Kelly Stouffer, Rick Mirer, and Dan McGuire all cost the Seahawks first round draft picks. Still ... with Hasselbeck's durability clearly in doubt and neither backup the quarterback of the future ... it's time to get the next guy and start grooming him.

I still think that Hasselbeck has a couple years in him if healthy. But, with back problems and missing a number of other games the past couple years due to other injuries, it is clear that he is near the end of where the Seahawks can count on him being a Super Bowl quarterback at 33 and into the future.

If any team does not believe that it has a quarterback that can actually lead it to the Super Bowl they need a new quarterback.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Maradona ...

It was the Summer of 1990 and I was in Naples, Italy for the World Cup.

Writing this post reminds me I need to write the post about directions to Naples including the sentence, "She will be the most beautiful girl in the train station," as an actual description of who was to pick me up. She was ...

Anyways ...

Diego Maradona was attempting to return Argentina to the glory of the 1986 championship he had dragged them to. He was playing his club football for Napoli in Serie A and was a quirky guy according to reports. All of this was before the bizarre turns his life would take over drugs, Castro, weight, and comeback attempts.

He had always been an interesting guy. His practice habits and isolation make Allen Iverson's seem normal. There were images of him training alone instead of with his team. His talent being so unique he was given leeway other players could not dream of asking for. Then it all crashed down.

I have had the opportunity to see in person many of the greatest athletes of the past several decades. Maradona is one of those I was truly fortunate to witness; especially given the time frame involved and where he played.

Recently, he was named coach of the Argentina national team. Given his own bizarre behavior and practice tendencies, and his own previous failure as a coach in the Argentine league, the decision to hand him one of the best teams in the world is at best a questionable one.

My first reaction to reading of his hire was to check to see if it was April 1st. As i was doing this I found myself shaking my head, but sort of looking forward to the fireworks. Two weeks later rumors have already surfaced to say that he is going to resign prior to running a single training session.

I actually double checked the Internet to see if he was still the Argentine coach prior to posting this. As of right now, he is. Things could change very quickly.

With Maradona nothing is surprising.

Rooting for an old friend ...


They got jobbed.

UW Huskies 2
ASU Sun Devils 1
1OT - Husky Field - Seattle, WA
November 7, 2008

So I was rooting for ASU ... an old friend of mine is now the coach there. Basically, I have no real rooting interest for the Sun Devils, and I am a Coug that has no real love for the Dawgs so that was really convenient. Frankly, it was a pretty entertaining game. The box score indicates a greater statistical advantage to Washington than I would have expected from watching the flow of play. My daughter and I both enjoyed the game. Both teams are very good. The game deserved better than a weak call in the first minute of overtime.

But, here's the thing. In a very close and important game with NCAA Tournament implications the referee should not interject a rash decision into the contest to decide it. In this instance the referee did. A quick call in the first minute of overtime effectively decided the game and the ASU season. Without the benefit of replay it is tough to say for certain if it was a good call, but Washington looked surprised the call was made; and that tells me something about the quality of the call.

Then it turned out ASU lost on Sunday in overtime, to my Cougs. The Cougar win was the one that put my Cougs (I was an assistant coach on the 1994 NCAA Sweet 16 WSU Cougars women's soccer team) into the NCAA's today against Texas in Portland. After two years of being jobbed by the selection committee, the Cougs are in.

Go Cougs!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

There was a real chance it would not wash out ...


What do pink hair and the first nuclear explosion have in common?

See, before the first tested nuclear explosion it has been reported that the scientists debated whether the chain reaction would stop or if it would actually cause a cascading reaction leading to the entire atmosphere burning off of the earth. They tested the bomb.

Yesterday, the girls decided to have their hair match their uniforms and it was suggested that my hair should follow.

My hair is mostly white. Although the stuff is supposed to just wash out the whiteness of the hair made it possible that the temporary color would actually stain and tint my hair; leaving it pink. I would either need to leave it pink ... or chop it all down really, really, really, really short.

My bro offered me $100 for shaving my head if it didn't come out. He was serious. So was I. I considered - briefly - the notion that I would fake it and let him and wear a hat for a week or two given how fast my hair grows and that I could use the money.

It washed out.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Email from overseas about events on Tuesday

From my good friend in Italy:

"Finally my friend!

The US is back to our world.

I...we are very proud of you did...it's really an historical day. Thanks America. We still have a dream.

I am very very happy.

A strong hug. "

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

"Country First"

It's now time to live up to that slogan.

That means to work with the candidate that won.

I must admit though that I am worried ... and I do want to be wrong, but the bar might be too high.

Am I being jaded or am I respecting history?

Will the Left become as power hungry and corrupt as the Right has been in recent years? Will they ignore that huge swath of the population that voted for the other guy? Will they repeat the mistake of only considering The Base to be who they answer to exclusively? Already, I feel that some of those characteristics have come through during the campaign season where simply being willing to discuss McCain as a viable president was met with accusations and innuendos that this was a personal shortcoming.

It is clear that for the first time the Democrats were organized. Republicans have out organized the Democrats over the past several election cycles and that lesson was finally learned. Obama benefited from the past several years of organization efforts and motivation that virtually any other Democratic candidate would have benefited from. (Oh, and if you think the election cycle this time was long, the 2012 primary season just began today for the Republicans ... if it didn't start a couple weeks ago already.) In the end though, he was simply the right candidate.

I am afraid of a smug arrogance coming from the Left that could push too hard because even a solid victory is not a true mandate to run a steamroller over the opposition.

I am afraid of the near saintlike reverence many of Obama's supporters have for him. He is a good man and we need to understand that he will make mistakes as president and do some things that we do not support. That is okay.

Bear in mind I sat there last night watching the results, despite my plan of not doing so. I found McCain's concession speech to reflect the man of integrity and honor he really is but that his campaign failed to really display. Obama stepped up to the plate clearly as a man torn over both personal tragedy and triumph and showed what a president needs to be.

The bar is set high, but I guess that it could still prove to be a good thing ... maybe we need that. Americans have historically risen to the challenges and we have been driven down by those in power who want us to be afraid for far too long.

But, Country First includes those that voted for the other guy. One impression I have had is that Obama voters respect McCain, but that is certainly not the case the other way. When President-Elect Obama commented that people did not just vote for him, but had not yet earned his trust and that he wanted to be their president too, it became clear that he really does understand.

Yes, I have my apprehensions. I do not want to get fooled again.

But, I have actually got hope; which is audacious today.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The long road to a prescription ...

All I needed was a couple minutes for a doctor to look at me and confirm that I was sick and write me a prescription for some antibiotics. Being sick for several weeks was getting very, very old.

It should not be this complicated.

See, I work as a full-time substitute teacher.

I do not get benefits.

I am a broke single father.

It was a Saturday afternoon.

So, I went to a place where I was a patient the day I rolled the van two years ago since it was the closest thing to a doctor I have and I was already on file. Filling out all that new patient paperwork is a drag. I talked to the receptionist and she was friendly, but honest about how expensive it would be. The bare minimum amount would be $150 for a meeting that would last at most a few minutes (but I would get 25% off if paid at time and she could not guarantee that it would be only 150$). I made some notes on a business card and left, knowing I was not going back.

Explaining that you are bargain shopping for medical circumstances at 41 years old because you are a broke single father with health insurance is the sort of thing that sounds like a campaign commercial for Universal Health care. I admit, a little socialism felt like it would be a good thing on Saturday.

The next place wasn't open ...

Frustration does not begin to describe my feelings.

I was agitated and swearing at all of my circumstances.

I had actually joked with a friend a few days earlier, "Hey you got any spare antibiotics?"

After the 2nd failure I stopped by a pharmacy to see what might be available over the counter. Only topical antibiotics are OTC. Yes, there are such things as stupid questions and this was one of them, but had to check even though I KNEW it was a stupid question.

The next morning I felt sick and it was more of the same. I decided to skip it, but ended up going after all and explaining myself again. I met another nice receptionist. She went into the back and explained me to the nice doctor that kept the cost down and wrote me an inexpensive prescription ...

It has been a few years since I took medication. I went to the pharmacist hoping inexpensive would be affordable. Eight bucks ain't bad. Then I had the Irish pharmacist explaining to me the side effects. It was hard to listen when you are giggling so much inside. Sorry, but an Irish accent explaining that you may get hives and soft bowel movements and spend a lot of time running to the toilet was funny at the time.

And it is a good thing that I did listen - and read the info on the meds included with the prescription - because after all that ...

... it turns out I am allergic to most antibiotics.

Yes, hives and all.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The night before the election of '88 ...


An overflow crowd showed up at Gonzaga University in Spokane to see ... Michael Dukakis ... and people were actually excited ...like he was going to pull off an upset ....

Friday, October 31, 2008

Going Postal

Two glass doors that both open outward on outside hinges into a foyer ... or vestibule ... so they fan out from the middle.

A man gets to the door ahead of me, walking briskly, opens the door on the left with his hand on the right and stops. his right shoulder is partially blocking the right door and he appears bothered by the line inside. This is a very busy post office on a Saturday morning.

The post office still has not figured out that more people need the Saturday hours or potential evening hours than would use a Tuesday morning. of course, this is the same place that took out the postage machines and left a "Good news, now that you are here you can buy your stamps at the grocery store" poster up.

I am surprised that he has stopped so suddenly. In a car, I would have skidded and just missed rear ending him. I did not bump into him. I had decided to follow the path of least resistance and was angling toward the left door that he had already opened. As I am about to reach for the right door and say, "Excuse me," to get him to move, he turns at me, visibly angry, "Am I in your way? Here, let me get that for you!" He slams open the right side door, missing me somehow. He turns away from me after a moment of angry eye contact and goes into the box area, storming through the crowd. This takes at most a few seconds for the entire scenario to play out.

I could have done many things. I remained calm and said nothing. I watch him walk away before I decide to move forward to check my own mail in my own box in a different wing of the post office.

He was a few years older than me; gray haired with a mustache and maybe a bit taller but thinner. For a moment I think it was possible that he would have struck out at me. Had the door hit me ...

I realize I am in Ready Stance position.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

As the NBA season opens ...



The banners at Key Arena and an empty seat in the upper bowl ... I think that says enough ...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Yin and Yang of Sounders FC Ownership



Yesterday that the big fan meet and greet for Freddie Ljungberg at Qwest Field the dynamics of Seattle Sounders FC ownership was clearly on display.

Joe Roth and Adrian Hanauer both took the opportunity to wax philosophical about the sport we love and it is clear that there is a real yin and yang balance between them.

Joe Roth spoke off the cuff. He was clearly a very, very happy man. His bright new shiny toy is clearly more than simply an object for the mantelpiece. The signing of Freddie, following the Keller signing and previous statements make it clear that this is not a man that does anything halfway. Roth has the swagger of the guy who knows what he wants and knows that it takes being bold to really strike a chord with the public. His comments about how when he makes movies he wants everyone to see them draws an obvious correlation about the fanfare surrounding every Sounders FC announcement. He was not afraid to take pot shots at other MLS sides (and Clay Bennett) that the crowd loved, but that could be locker room material in the future. You get the impression Roth is the guy that expects to win and even when he doesn't expects to recoup his losses the next time. Roth's track record in the film industry is remarkable and it is clear that he expects nothing less of his sports ventures.

Hanauer is clearly a man I would not want to play poker with for real money. Although clearly passionate about soccer, it is also clear that he very much plays everything close to the vest and chooses his words very, very carefully. His remarks were by his own admission pre-written, which served to draw my attention to the different ways in which these two men operate. He strikes me as a keen observer that picks his spots. Hanauer's track record with the USL Sounders has been excellent and I would expect it to continue in MLS.

These two men are the regular faces of the ownership group, with Drew Carey popping in from time to time. The decisions and announcements this dynamic has cultivated so far has made the past calendar year one of envy along the Cascadia Cup Corridor. After two years of watching how NOT to treat a city in the news by the ownership of a team that now plays in the shadow of Big 12 football, the Sounders FC ownership group is interesting and refreshing to watch.

Can we kick off the '09 MLS season this Saturday please?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

We have a winner! Freddie is a Sounder!




Freddie Ljungberg is a Seattle Sounder ... holey moley Andy!

The signing of new #10 Freddie Ljungberg is a huge moment for Seattle soccer. What we have is an organization that clearly is not interested in doing things that are safe or cautious. Seattle Sounders FC will be an expansion team, whether it feels like it or not. They have the right and opportunity to take their time. A big name signing can only have one of two results; be a huge success, or be deemed a complete failure. There simply is no middle ground in this manner. Two years from now I will look back on this evening at Qwest Field and it will be one of those two things. I am choosing to be hopeful and positive and am going to drink the Kool Aid right now though, and say it looks brilliant from where I was standing.

It is refreshing and almost stunning to listen to Joe Roth talk about big things for a team yet to have a practice ...

Or to have enough signed players to field a team.

Or to have a coach.

Or to play a game.

And yet, there we were singing "There's only one Freddie Ljungberg!" for Swedish television like he had already scored a game winning goal against DC United or FC Dallas or whoever.

It feels good to just enjoy this. video

Daylight Savings Time - Premiere

"Daylight Savings Time" - Rough Cut Movie Premiere

October 26, 2008 - 7PM
Driftwood Theatre - Edmonds, WA

http://www.dstmovie.com/

I have to admit that I absolutely did not know what to expect. Independent films can be real gems or really hard to get through. And, although I know Matt Terry and have watched a short film called Walkin' After Midnight, I was still concerned that this might be two very long hours.

Fortunately - and good for you Matt - it was a genuinely enjoyable film with a number of very interesting scenes, characters, and moments. Daylight Savings Time is a good film.

Daylight Savings Time is the story of a group of people connected by a time management class and the challenge made to them to get out of their comfort zones and do something with the time they have; specifically to use the extra hour they get the weekend of daylight saving time (I use the word "saving" here as opposed to "savings" because my calendar lists it as "saving". There is apparently some sort of grammatical controversy here).

In order to make a premise work in an ensemble piece the characters must drive the premise into a story. The viewer must learn to care about their individual and collective circumstances. By giving us a voyeuristic and lingering look into the lives of these characters the simple notion of "what would you do with an extra hour?" the film takes on more emotional feeling.

Instead of just simply showing several people doing what must be new or different and difficult things for them there is background development prior to simply having them go at it. It is like we are peaking in on their lives at the most mundane and vulnerable moments, and that is why the results of their choices matter. A shorter film would not have been able to accomplish the same dramatic feelings.

It was also fun to sit in the theatre with the cast and crew in attendance. I have never had anyone whisper, "That's my dog behind the table" during a film before. The acting was definitely above the average indie movie fair in many instances. Too many films like this have an actor or two and everyone the director knows filling the other roles. This cast came across as professional. There are some very solid performances.

Yes, this was a rough cut showing, and there are some kinks to be worked out. And yes, I know Matt. However, I really did enjoy the film.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Apologies

Recently at a school I sub at a note was left for me that was either a really bad attempt at clever humor or a serious insult requiring the attention of the school administration. I decided to wait until I was returning to that school today. I knew what class the note would have originated from and advised a student from that class before school that I needed to know if it was a terrible joke out of context or something that needed further attention. I let the surrogate know that I would accept and anonymous note and that if the explanation was satisfactory that I would chalk it up to a terrible 7th grade prank. I would live with that. Late in the day the note came in from a student that was a note of apology for the joke being the previously mentioned really bad attempt at clever humor.

Now, if only I was that smart myself.

See, recently an old friend and teammate passed away. During the course of the word spreading I was brought back into contact with another old friend and teammate that I had also not seen in many years. Over the past few weeks we have emailed a bit and exchanged some information. He sent me a few photos; one of he and his wife, and the other of he, his wife, and an older gentleman that I presumed was his father and a former coach I had played under.

In the course of responding to his email I must admit I was interested in knowing whether or not the older gentleman was in fact who I thought it was. His descriptions of the photos led me to make a joke that was a play on those words and to ask the question, "Is that your dad?"

My old friend was very upset by what was easy to interpret as a slam on his wife. It was not. I have since reread the email from the sent bin and realize that in the context in which it was sent my words meant something other than intended. For this, the fault is entirely my own and not in his interpretation.

I have since sent him emails in my attempt to explain myself, hoping that my words can appease a situation of my own creation.

An email does not have a vocal tone or inflection or body language to convey humor. It must be written to clearly show what it was meant to say. Mine did not.

After running the email and his response past some friends (keeping his ID anonymous) they all felt that he was right to feel upset, given that he does not know me these days and could not have necessarily known that it was my attempt at humor. However, it was also agreed that I needed to make a sincere and heartfelt gesture to that old friend so as to show that I truly meant what I said.

The best I can do under the circumstances is to come clean as publicly as this blog allows and to send him a link to it.

The circumstances of my lame attempt at humor do not excuse the fact that I am responsible for the words I choose. A former boss once told me it is not up to the other person to understand my words, it is my responsibility to be accountable and make people understand.

So, to my old friend and teammate and his wife and family, please accept my most sincere apologies for my poorly chosen words and bad humor. The responsibility is entirely mine.

I'm sorry.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Paintings on canvas ... (5 x 7)




Three recent five by seven paintings in acrylic on canvas ...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Maybe I shouldn't ...

Friday night I took the opportunity to watch my high school alma mater play a varsity football game. It had been a few years since I had attended one, even though every fall I really, really mean too. The Hawks are 3-3 ... a lot more wins than traditionally occur ... so I thought I should support them.

First couple plays led to a first down and it looked promising ... in the end, not such a great result. Still ... I am glad I went.

It is still a bit amazing to me how many guys in the stands don't get it. There was a guy sitting near me that kept yelling "throw it!" over and over all game ... even when the quarterback couldn't possibly have thrown it to anyone since the few receivers running patterns were always in multiple coverage and there were extra guys back just trying to keep him safe.

Anyways ...

And however ... my too alma maters went 0-2 this weekend losing by a combined score of 92-0 ... ouch. Keep your chins up guys ... I am still wearing my Cougar Football hoody today ...

Go Hawks!
Go Cougs!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I voted last night ... now leave me alone

Upon checking my post office box yesterday I found my ballot.

So, with the voter's pamphlet next to me I took the time to take care of all of the items on it ...

... and so now I am done.

The election season is over.

Stop the commercials.

Stop the phone calls.

Stop the emails.

Don't talk to me about it.

Just wake me when it is over ...

I'm done with it ...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I drank the Kool Aid (Part 2) - Football Edition


I really thought that the Seattle Seahawks, Washington Huskies, and Washington State Cougars were all going to compete for post-season games.

Stop laughing.

In August I went to the Seahawks Scrimmage and they looked like a team ready to play.

Even with their tough non-conference schedule I thought that the Dawgs might be able to get bowl eligible with Locker having a strong season.

And, given that the Cougs had what looked like a solid senior starter that had shown glimpses of NFL potential, 7 wins did not seem out of the question.

I seriously would have bet on all three playing post-season football as opposed to the 3 teams having a collective 2-15 record on October 16.

Mountlake Terrace High School is my alma mater. It does not have a great football tradition. However, the Terrace Hawks have more wins than the three teams combined and are sitting at 3-3. I digress ...

Teams always face injuries ... and the Seahawks injuries at wide receiver have been documented here before ...

But ... the COLLECTIVE quarterback injuries between the 3 teams is truly stunning.

The Seahawks have started their third stringer already. The Dawgs have an unknown starting in place of Locker. The Cougs are going back to the backup that had a fractured vertebrae because the original starter got benched and then broke his neck when the backup that is playing this week got hurt but only after the redshirt freshman played a few games and tore up his knee. Now, the Cougs are facing USC and have a guy coming off of a broken back, being backed up by a true freshman and a walk-on true freshman that joined the team recently when the team asked for students to try out ...

The long Coug scoring streak is in serious jeopardy this weekend.

The dilemma as I see it is ...

John McCain has a dilemma ...

He is a good man and not and @$$hole.

Yet, the campaign that bears his name has - through his VP candidate and by remaining silent on the campaign trail about racist and threatening commentary - moved into dangerous territory.

I really believe that the tome of the campaign is not his. It saddens me to think that he maybe is not in control of his own campaign.

For 8 years I have said that the Republicans nominated the wrong candidate in 2000 and that the country would have been better off had McCain defeated Gore and not Bush. I still believe that.

However, it is time for John McCain to stand up to his own campaign and supporters. We have seen some glimpses of it recently, but it needs to be done more forcefully.

You are a good man John McCain. Do not allow your legacy to be tainted by the way others want to win.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

glamourpuss #3



The third issue of glamourpuss continues the combination of satire and study. However, I am worried that the study may be interesting, but not enough to hold onto readership. Dave has indicated that there is a superhero parody in here - and we do get the characters in bits and pieces - but where is the story to go with the parody?

Don't get me wrong; the study of classic comic artists is interesting and worthwhile. I have checked some Terry and the Pirates out from the local library. Dave has always had an element of that in his work dating back to earliest issues of Cerebus with his Windsor-Smith and Foster styled works.

I am hoping to see a bit of a plot line and some panel to panel parody to go with the ads and characters in future issues.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

10 Q's for Seattle Sounders Fans ...

This is just for fun for Seattle Sounders fans ... if it is easy, you remember big crowds in the Kingdome ... scroll carefully, the answers are at the bottom.

1) 1977 Soccer Bowl ... who scored the Sounders goal?


2) Who coached the 1983 Sounders in their final NASL season?


3) Which USL Era coaches were a part of the NASL era franchise?
A) Alan Hinton
B) Neil Megson
C) Bernie James
D) Brian Schmetzer
E) None of the above
F) All of the above


4) Who was the first announced MLS club player signing?


5) How many Soccer Bowls did the NASL Sounders play in?


6) Name 3 Sounders to have been on World Cup squads.


7) The 94 Sounders played in what league?


8) The Sounders have played and defeated Manchester United. T/F?


9) The Sounders were the first sports event in both the Kingdome and Qwest Field. Who were the two opponents?

10) Name all of the stadiums the Sounders have used for regular season home games in all eras.




*********
Answers
1) Tommy Ord
2) Laurie Calloway
3) All of the above (F)
4) Sebastian Le Toux
5) 2, both one goal losses to the Cosmos in 77 and 82
6) Brian Ching, Marcus Hahnemann, Geoff Hurst, Bobby Moore, Kasey Keller, Chris Henderson ... Hurst and Moore for England ... and although Henderson never suited up for the Sounders he is now Technical Director of the MLS Club ... there might be more
7) the APSL, American Professional Soccer League
8) True, 1982 in the Kingdome 3-0
9) 1976 Cosmos, 2002 Vancouver Whitecaps
10) Memorial Stadium, Kingdome, Tacoma Dome, Starfire, Renton Stadium, Qwest Field ... you can add Interbay and Husky Soccer Field for home Open Cup matches