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

10 Q's for USA Soccer fans ...

Just for fun, here are ten questions for USA Soccer fans. If this is easy ... you've been around a long time. FYI, the answers are at the bottom so scroll down carefully.

1) What is the significance of Belo Horizonte, Brazil to US Soccer?


2) What is the best placing USA Men have achieved at a World Cup?


3) Who scored the 1989 goal versus Trinidad and Tobago?


4) Who did Pele and the Cosmos defeat in the 1977 Soccer Bowl?


5) Who is the NASL All Time Goalscoring Leader?


6) What position did Bruce Arena play in his lone USA cap?


7) Who scored the first goal in MLS History?


8) What year did the USA Women win their first World Cup?


9) What college team did Mia Hamm play for?


10) What was Steve Zungul's nickname?



************
Answers
1) The site of the USA's defeat of England in 1950.
2) 3rd in 1930.
3) Paul Caligiuri
4) Seattle Sounders
5) Giorgio Chinaglia
6) Goalkeeper
7) Eric Wynalda
8) 1991 in China
9) UNC Tar Heels
10) The Lord of All Indoors

Monday, October 06, 2008

1988

Election of 1988

I could not vote in 1984. I would not turn 18 until the summer of 1985 which meant that some of my friends in high school could vote. As a political junkie it drove me nuts. In 4th grade I remember watching Jimmy Carter's inauguration. To not be able to vote sucked.

So ... 1988 got to be my first Presidential Election. I could drink in Idaho for two years prior to this due to the double quirks of a 19 year old drinking age in Idaho and not being able to vote for president til I turned 21.

Excited? I was impossible. At the time I was writing for my college newspaper and was totally into the primaries and everything. I even remember reading a position paper from Senator Paul Simon. The Gary Hart scandal had thrown the whole nominating process wide open for the Democrats. Dole and Kemp gave Bush a bit of a fight but it was clear from the start he was running for the Reagan Administration third term.

Everyone should be excited about the Presidential Election season . This cycle has ground on for far too long, but when the VP debate gets amazing ratings something is happening.

In retrospect i was a bit too excited. I see it in others too. The process makes it like a buildup to a college football rivalry game. I believe I wrote a column extoling the virtues of Dukakis and excusing Bentsen's jabs at Quayle. Sure, I was voting that way, but Jeez ...

There were politcal campaign yard signs all over my dorm room ...

Somehow that year I managed to see Dukakis in person twice; including the night before the election in Spokane at Gonzaga University and once during the summer at Pike Place.

Over the years I have seen and met many political figures. I've shook hands with the Speaker of the House and had dinner with a US Senator from Hawaii.

Part of me wishes I had that excitement this year. I see it in young voters and Obama. There is even some of the same excitement about Palin among conservatives. I did get would up a bit over the horrific choice of Joe Biden as VP, so I guess I do still care. I mean, c'mon Joe, you let Palin off the hook when she said she was going to answer questions her way. All you had to do was say, "Governor, we are here to debate, not to give our campaign speeches in little segments." You would have owned her. Your only real job in the campaign and you blew it. Palin would have been forced to answer the questions directly or ... never mind, I could go on and on and on about the opportunity lost there.

Something must still be in me though, since I can't seem to turn away despite my claims to being not that interested this year ...

It's Different Because It's The Same

Somehow ... it has managed to be the same and nothing like it was all at the same time.

If I really wanted to ... I would go.

I don't seem to want to, but I still think about it from time to time.

I used to schedule around it ... now I can't see how I would fit it in.

It would be nice to have a reason to go, but that would require going and trying to find that reason.

So ... I must still want to on some level.

Right?

Survey of recent actual SPAM

I got an email recently in my JUNK mail folder, it was FROM: Your Colon

Really?

I get Black Singles emails too ... African-American women are beautiful, but I am Irish and Norwegian by heritage ...

Nursing jobs, scholarship offers ...

So, I didn't just routinely delete my junk mail for the past week or so ... which means it piled up to 742 items very, very quickly.

Let's see what we find.

I can get a free Cancun vacation today.

For only $10 a month I can get a 250k$ life insurance policy.

A number of people want to drop money into my checking account.

There are a number of women who want me to look at naked pictures of them.

The Fire Department is hiring. So is the FBI.

Apparently, I really do need to clean out my colon because the offers keep rolling in.

My credit score seems to be updated every day.

All I have to do is confirm something and Wal Mart will send me a gift card, a free Blackberry is on its way, and a new pet nail trimmer are all mine.

That's enough ... I had actual fried SPAM for lunch today ...

The case for Steve Zungul ...


Steve Zungul is the greatest indoor soccer player of all time.

Steve Zungul is not in the US National Soccer Hall of Fame.

How is this possible?

The US Hall recognizes the achievements of non-American players who had great careers that made an impact on US Soccer. Unfortunately for Zungul, and other outstanding indoor players like Tatu, they committed the sin of playing a version of the game that is not viewed as "correct" (they are the soccer equivalent to the Designated Hitters like Edgar Martinez) and they had the audacity to play in and thrive during the Indoor Soccer Era.

The Indoor Soccer Era is the US Soccer era functionally between the NASL and MLS eras and overlaps with the Return to the World Cup Era of 89-94 ... the time when outdoor soccer was a business dead end and indoor soccer would cram thousands into the seats.

Indoor soccer was what financially allowed a generation of American players to continue to play. It is the Red Headed Stepchild of US Soccer. In an era where teams are building stadiums and soccer is everywhere on cable it is easy to forget that teams like the Tacoma Stars drew huge crowds to the Tacoma Dome. When Zungul arrived in Tacoma I made a point of getting a ticket to that first game.

Steve Zungul scored goals at an alarming clip in the MISL. Due to Cold War era politics he was not allowed to play outdoors until the final season of the NASL; a season in which he showed his indoor scoring prowess was no fluke. Eventually Tatu passed his indoor scoring record. Oddly enough I was in attendance in Dallas the night Tatu broke that record at Reunion Arena in 1996.

Prior to coming to the MISL Zungul had a solid career at both the club and country level in Europe.

The indoor era is glossed over and dismissed today. Yes, the indoor game is different. Even FIFA eventually went with the Futsal variation for international play. But, where would American Soccer be without it? How would those players have stayed in the game? There needs to be a re-evaluation of the HOF process to bring in a few more of those players; players whose careers shined indoors. When indoor was really all we had, soccer fans went to the games.

Zungul, Tatu, and others deserve to be in the US National Soccer Hall of Fame. Their omissions clearly are prejudice against the indoor game and era.

3 Stadiums ...






In 2k4 I went to NYC and saw games at the three big outdoor stadiums ... all of which are being replaced ...

Giants Stadium was nice. Huge and well kept. Nothing spectacular, but nice.

Yankee Stadium was special. Yes, I saw the post-70s remodel, but it still had a feel.

Shea Stadium was terrible. I understand why New Yorkers won't miss it.

Put Peter Petrelli in LEVEL 5 and leave him there ...

The biggest problem the HEROES have is one of their own ...

There are times when someone just is not a helper.

Peter was the reason everything went wrong in season one. Then he screwed up time AGAIN in season two, and screwed things up with the pretty Irish girl.

Now, in his seemingly never ending quest to not be a screw up ... he is screwing everything up again.

In the original pilot prior to discovering his powers Peter was the family screw up trying to prove he wasn't. That character trait drives him to keep trying to fix things ... even though he NEVER GETS IT RIGHT.

The Dragon Lady may be proving to be the most evil person on television, but she is right about her son. Lock his @$$ up in Level 5 and leave him there before he helps the world to its real end.

Bail ME out ...

Thank you Congressional Conservative Republicans ... for at least delaying the decision to sign off on the Big Bail Out of Our Capitalist System. See, any time Bush has tried to get Congress to do something quickly it has been a bad idea ... you saved us from your guy ... at least for a while. I actually appreciate your standing up for principal (and principle) on this issue.

There has always been this subset of the political arena that wants the Free Market System to be completely free from government control. Of course, that would also mean it would be free of government help. The notion of things like tax breaks and the like is splitting hairs about government intervention. We have government intervention, the only issues have been about which kinds of intervention and how much we have. It is not whether the government is involved.

Free Market System ideology has supposedly been the cornerstone of Bush doctrine. Now, we see he ultimately is just a politician and not as strong an ideologue as we thought.

The Democrats suddenly were on board a Bush Plan that the Conservative Wing of the party stood against. Pelosi NEVER should have brought it up for a vote in the House the first time. She made her first two mistakes as Speaker in a matter of moments by simultaneously chastising the man whose plan she was supporting and calling for a vote she did not have the votes to win. For two years she had shown restraint in not sending Liberal Legislation to the Senate to die in the hands of the weakest Senate Majority Leader ever. She really screwed up. Then the Senate went and did it for her and a few more Republicans signed on (after seeing the bizarre mixture of public outcry and relief one would expect votes to stay the same).

So ...

How about bailing out our farmers?

How about bailing out everyone with student loans?

Since we have given up once and for all the pretense that we have a fully Capitalist System where do we draw the line?

I am so sick of prequels ...

I hate to be a hater ...

... and I hate to be one of those internets guys that just bashes everything because he has a forum ...

But ...

As I look to the next Summer Blockbuster Season I see some movies listed that I want to see and am apprehensive of at the same time ...

For instance ... Wolverine and Star Trek ...

Both movies look to be fun and exciting peaks back at the history of characters I enjoy and should be kind of fun ... But ...

Flashbacks can functionally accomplish the same thing with a story moving forward. An entire movie - or trilogy of prequels - eventually runs into an utter lack of drama. In the end we already have been to where they are heading so there really isn't any sense of peril.

Reunions?

Why I go.

I graduated from Mountlake Terrace High School in June 1985. I was done. Finished. There was NOTHING that I wanted more than to be done with it. Yes, I had friends and would keep in touch with them, but that was different.

It wasn't the people. I just hated high school. At least, that is what I told myself. I look through old photos and annuals and realize that I in fact had a great time.

So, when the APES started having reunions I went. The ten year came along and I went. The twenty year reunion was a blast. We started having annual bar nights and I scheduled stuff around the dates. This year I helped Jacko with getting the place and the date.

Tommy sent off a message to everyone who didn't go. It really is cool to take a few hours every year and just see people that once upon a time were your peers and daily circle of friends. Old grudges or whatever don't matter. Seeing that everyone is okay and talking about our kids ... it's a good thing.

Next year ... I'll be there too.