Sunday, June 28, 2009

A whuppin' by the Sounders FC




Seattle Sounders FC 3
Colorado Rapids 0
X-Box Pitch at Qwest Field
Seattle, WA
June 28, 2009

Colorado might want not want to play at Qwest ever again now that they are 0-2 with 8 goals against if you go back to their 07 Open Cup appearance. Use the search engine to find my blog entry on that one.

The Sounders played very well today. More importantly, they showed composure today and did not bite at any of the bait that the Rapids threw at them with all the hard tackling. Good to see the Sounders show mental toughness today. The great finishing and passing really didn't hurt either.

A cold and windy Aquasox win






Everett Aquasox 6
Spokane Indians 3
June 27, 2009
Everett Memorial Stadium

It was bobblehead night, so I decided to go early and get one. In line, I lathered up on the sun block that basically became moot by game time with the cold and steady wind that came in.

The nice part of the GA tix is that you can sit in a section along either base line or out in the right field hillside on the grass. I started on the grass, made the huge mistake of moving to go enter a contest and missed a highlight, and then used both sections before staying the bulk of the game down the right field line near the two blond girls that had the Spokane bullpen thoroughly distracted the entire game. I entered the contest drawings, but there was no way I would have done the other contest; no prize was worth the indignity of their dance contest.

Back in the day I have had the opportunity to be in a few contests. At a Cougar baseball game in the 90s I got to try and throw a ball through a hole which is why I refer to the consolation tee shirt as my five thousand dollar tee shirt. I took an awful kick during a USL era Sounders game at Memorial Stadium. And, I once got booed for winning a contest at a Spokane Shadow game in the 90s when I won a race on a bouncy ball against a kid.

While listening to the game it was cool to hear Bob Rob join in and call an inning. Yes, I too held my hand over my heart when they played you the Cougar Fight Song ...

The game itself was actually pretty god, with strong starting pitching, lead changes and a big inning by the Aquasox after giving up the lead.

All for 7 bucks ...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The coolest toys from my childhood #1



video

Some Synergy ...






Seattle Synergy 2
FC Sacramento Pride 1
June 26, 2009
WPSL Regular Season
Memorial Stadium - Seattle, WA

This is kind of part of The Oxymoron Project in that I go to random games like this all the time. In this instance, it was a WPSL game in Seattle's civic disgrace known as Memorial Stadium.

First the game ... Seattle really controlled the first 20 or so minutes and when they went up just after that I kind of expected it to be game over, but the visitors did a nice job of countering and scoring the ever dreaded goal within the next five minutes. After that, the game seemed much more balanced, even if slightly in favor of Seattle. The late goal off of a throw in and flick on header across the box to an open player made the score 2-1.

And then there is Memorial Stadium. For many years I have felt that the condition of the stadium is simply a disgrace and last night reminded me of why. The site has so much potential and is so awful instead that the photo from the bathroom door pretty much sums it up.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Confederations Cup emails ...

Confederations Cup emails I sent to my soccer friends after the various games. The USA came out and played a solid first half with Italy, but stunk up the 2nd half and the entire Brasil game. When the USA plays with a chip, it is formidable ... when it doesn't, it is not. The USA then overcame a statistically improbable deficit to advance on weird tiebreakers and took on the best team in the world and one. For the first time ever, the USA will play in the final of a major international soccer tourney that is not simply regional and played in the USA.

After the games with Italy and Brasil I wrote:

Teams are their results.

The USMNT right now is a team that gives up early goals and appears unready to play at the start of games ... so teams come right at them.

The USMNT right now is a team that loses its composure and racks up cards ... so teams come right at them.

The USMNT right now is a team that cannot be confident ... so teams come right at them.

The US right now is a team that has players that need to go, but doesn't exactly have players pushing those players out of the way.

The USMNT right now has the choice between keeping the course that is now currently working and hoping that things sort themselves out or doing some things it does not normally do. Continuity is important, but sometimes things need to be shaken really, really hard. The USMNT does not tend to go for the shaking things up approach. It might be time. I am rarely an advocate of shaking for shaking's sake ... I am turning the corner on that right now.

There are some good players in the USMNT pool. But right now, they are not a good team. They are their results.

And a little while later, this e-mail:

I believe Howard is a good keeper. He has shown it. He is good enough to start for a top team in the EPL and lead them to UEFA Cup play and the FA Cup Final. But club success and international success are different things.

There are a lot of good young players ... the big Q is can they be good international players ... right now the players that were expected to step up have virtually all stalled out ... Howard is good, but he is giving up too many early goals and some of that has to fall on him too ... he is getting beaten early and from long range and teams now are exploiting that ...

The US has some good players and is capable of fielding a good team that can move the ball. At home. Against Mexico. Think back to February and that line up and how well it played and it is hard to believe that 4 months later the same core group with the same coach looks so awful. This is now multiple games in a row with healthy players that are match fit. They have the talent to play better than this. I hold out hope it is a rut.

After Egypt I wrote:

Teams are their results ... and when the USA plays from whistle to whistle and attacks they can play with teams, lead and win ...

unfortunately, they tend to do this less than all the time ...

they did this against Portugal in 02 ...

they did this against England in the 92 US Cup ...

they did this against Italy in 06 ...

they did this against Brasil in the 98 Gold Cup ...

these are easy and noteworthy to remember ...

because ...

unfortunately, they tend to do this mostly against Mexico, at home ...

With their backs to the wall they pulled off a statistically improbable result ... the second similar such result in World Soccer this week (See Toronto FC in the Canadian Championship beating Motreal 6-1 when they needed to make up a -4 GD in order to qualify for Concacaf Champions League play) ... So, when the weird scenarios come up and a team is not truly eliminated, they really aren't ...

It must be brutal for Italy to know that the Own Goal is the statistical margin ...

After Spain I sent this one:

The USMNT is playing the the final of a major international tournament on foreign soil by the virtue of beating the #1 team in the World and reigning Euro champion that had not lost in a long #^(%ing time ...

... and we are there because we stood toe to toe with them and finished better.

Howard had an amazing game after giving up a number of soft goals in recent internationals.

Bob did not mess with the D in subbing out players, he subbed in a possession midfielder when he pulled Davies.

Landon played well.

Dempsey had a moment.

Jozy showed strength.

The Back line weathered a storm brought on by a full strength Spanish team. One of the most dangerous teams of recent years that is absolutely loaded with talent.

Bradley's red was harsh, but even if it was a yellow that would have been two in the tourney and he misses the Brasil rematch anyways ...

The USMNT is in the final ... other than in Gold Cups that HAS NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE TODAY.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

D-Backs ...





Seattle Mariners 7
Arizona Diamondbacks 3
June 20, 2009
Seattle, WA - Safeco Field

Taking my kids to a Mariners game is fun. With the tenth anniversary of Safeco Field looming it is worth noting that I pretty much have only purchased the cheap seats for games I go to, with the exception of a couple of games with better seats to take my mom since she needs to be closer. The only times I have sat in what would be considered good seats were gifts. I have still yet to attend a game at Safeco Field in a suite, although I have been able to attend various games over the years in suites at Key Arena, Qwest Field, and The Kingdome.

Sitting out in Center Field also brings me back to sitting in the cheap seats in the Kingdome. I feel like I grew up in the Kingdome. We would simply be dropped off into the GA section in the scoreboard end zone. There were simply some yellow ropes to keep us in and with a couple minutes left they would drop the ropes so we could go off and find out parents. Yes, we were 9 or 10 and just randomly off in this monster of a stadium and then we would go get the parents while they waited in their seats all over the stadium ...

... they would NEVER go for that now ...

Due to spectacularly awful traffic for no real apparent reason it took us over 100 minutes to go 13 miles and so we were late in regards to tee shirt night and Griffey was sitting. But, we still got a good game. The only taint was the drunk dad in the row in front of us that had everyone in our section freaked out over how dangerous he was with a really squirmy kid near the railing - over and over again.

It's additionally weird that I have been to so many games and enjoy the stadium so much when I am opposed to public financing of stadiums and actually wrote against it in my college newspaper at the time. I even attended the first open house and 2nd game overall played in it ... it got built so I might as well enjoy it, eh?

Finally, I have now cut my list of MLB teams left to see in person to three with this game against the D-Backs; only the Cubs, Dodgers, and Astros to go.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The end of videos ...

Sub stories and anecdotes to end the school year ...

I had seen the first 40 or so minutes of these three movies a half dozen times each while subbing for music at this one school. Each was under an hour and made for TV in the 90s (For the record they are Handel's Last Chance, Bach's Fight For Freedom, and Beethoven Lives Upstairs.). I had watched each of them up to the 40 minute mark in each period of the day and never finished them. One day I was back at the school and was instructed to show videos ... so, I simply decided we were watching the ends of these videos and over the course of the day finally saw the end of all of them. This may not seem especially noteworthy, but when you see all but 12 minutes of the same film five times there comes a point where you just want to see how it ends.

There is something both cute and startling about a four year old remarking in a very matter of fact way, "These scissors suck."

Quote from a middle school age girl, "I get lost in Nordstrom's."

Kids still procrastinate. When they do I tell them "My Wuthering Heights Story" from high school. We were assigned the book at the start of the quarter and I simply did not read it. The day before we were told that the teacher had the Cliff Notes and would know if we had only read the Cliff Notes from our answers. So, given that I do read fast I decided to read the entire book that evening. I sat up in the bathroom reading all night long (to hide the fact that I had procrastinated from my folks I used the far side of the house bathroom) and finished the book in the class period prior to it being due. That is procrastination.

The middle school kids were doing a timed run on a really nice Spring day. They had to do as many laps around the school as they could in 25 minutes. I found myself outrunning 7th and 8th graders in the afternoon. Yes, I am the tortoise. they would take off and burn out and at the end of the 25 minutes I was ahead of about 70 percent of them. The old guy still has it.

Taylor Swift obsessions seem very common among boys 6th grade and up. I wasn't entirely certain who she was (really) and can see why. Plus, she is the age of their older sister's friends ...

I hate it when I have to do something like inspecting back packs. I tell the students "My Germany Coffee Story" wherein I had to sit in customs for hours due to meeting a drug courier profile in 1990 (For the record I had long hair, was travelling alone and light, and had some small bags of coffee which could have been masking the scent of drugs.). So, the other day when a student claimed another student had stolen something and it was in the bag i asked the student accused if he would voluntarily open his bag for me or we would need to get the VP involved. He cooperated, (a bit pissy about it but cooperation need not be happy) and it appeared he did not have it.

I had a Kindergarten student defend himself about sticking his tongue out at someone with the following statement. "My tongue accidentally was out because my mouth was open and my tongue didn't like that so it just popped out. I wasn't sticking it out at him."

There was this fourth grader in a little orange hoody during dodge ball that might be the most amazing dodge ball prodigy I have ever seen. In order to win the version we were playing one team had to knock down the three bowling pins set up at the end of the gym. This kid would fly out of no where and deflect and catch throws. I almost couldn't fake him out and I can throw really hard. The nice part of this version is I can play without throwing the ball at fourth graders ...

I heard, "Holy sh---..."
"Holy Sh! is right. be quiet." I said.

A couple students fell asleep during a film and as I was about to gently wake them a girl asked, no begged me, to let her drop books on their desks to wake them with a bang.

The other day a car parked like a really nice sports car parks at the mall ... you know, in two spots because it is too nice to park near someone. Only, it was a VW, not a sports car, and appeared to be a Jetta ... in an elementary school parking lot.

Overheard a conversation in the school office before school between the attendance lady and a student, "You're telling me that you can't be here today ..." While he was standing in front of her with his backpack on after getting off the bus. I just kept walking.

Some middle school students I work with a lot came up with an actually fun and friendly nickname for me this year that I just go with ... and then I found myself signing yearbooks (by request) as that nickname. So, years from now they will see the nickname, but my real name and photo will not be in the yearbook.

Also, of all the things to make me feel old. Another teacher was reading a joke email sent to him and asked, "Who is John Holmes?" 'nuff said on that one.

... and another school year ends ...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A little Sounders FC flag painting


Just got bored and grabbed a 5x7 piece of cardboard and painted this flag the other day ...

A yellow rose



Suddenly I have a yellow rose in my back yard ...

Bacon wrap





pound chicken breast thin
spread cream cheese (this time I used sun dried tomato and basil)
season (garlic and black pepper)
wrap in bacon
use toothpicks to keep together

place in pan, medium heat, turning every five minutes for 25 minutes total

This is a modified (slightly at most) Rachel Ray recipe ...

Twilight

I don't understand the haters.

There are people who simply have to find out what other people like in order to hate on it. It doesn't matter what it is; it could be reality television, a pop star, or Harry Potter books and there is a group of people that can tell you everything wrong with the subject work without ever having actually read/watched/listened to it or being in the target audience of the subject work. These haters are like some sort of arrogant pop culture vanguard that are self appointed and self righteous.

Apparently, during the last few years the Twilight books and movie have been a bit of a phenomenon for teenage girls. I have to admit I was fairly oblivious to it before last fall, but after talking with a lot of students it was clear that Twilight was having the same effect on this generation of teenage girls as Star Wars had on my generation of teenage boys. They love it. L.O.V.E. I.T.

Therefore, I knew it was coming.

My daughter and I watched the movie version of Twilight a week or so ago. It was okay and watchable ... but let's face it, I am not now and have never been a teenage girl so I am not the target audience the filmmakers were looking for.

The other day she hands me the book. It is clear that it is time for me to read this. So, I have started. Apparently, by reading it I am tainting myself in the eyes of the self appointed and self righteous arrogant pop culture vanguard.

My daughter wants to read it with me as a shared experience. I cranked out the first chapter. So be it.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Teams are their record and results






SSFC 2
SJ Earthquakes 1
June 13, 2009
Seattle, WA
X-Box Pitch at Qwest Field

Good on paper? I was beginning to wonder ...

Really, a team is its record and results. And, although I generally believe that a team with more talent will win out over the long haul it was beginning to be more than just a game or two glitch. Last year the 7th and 8th seeds had 39 and 40 points respectively and with a win the Sounders FC are now at 20 with less than half the season played. They appear to be a legitimate playoff team, not simply a flashy team that had a few hot games at the start.

I shook Joe Roth's hand in Occidental Park before the game and he still had that same knowing and confident smile. Nate Jaqua responded positively when I commented that they were due for a five or six game win streak. Even without a number of starters they continued to play forward and attack. Last night they played smarter too. Yes, the Freddie's each had a moment or two with the refs that led to more stupid yellow cards, but the few moments were still not enough to totally throw them off their games and came late in the game with a lead.

I know that Ljungberg got the Man of the Match, but the yellow tipped me to really considering it to be Le Toux. Le Toux was as relentless and influential as Ljungberg, set up the first goal, and didn't get the stupid yellow for dissent. Montero got the second goal, but his error on defense and yellow tipped it again towards Le Toux for me. It was good that Montero and the crowd exchanged applause, as he really had a good game up to the defensive error and made a couple nice plays right after. Kasey Keller (looking ready to direct traffic after the game in construction worker orange) was as steady as ever, but was exceptionally demonstrative after the goal. The team played well overall and when Alonso came in as a late sub, his presence was noticed in how the defense stabilized against the Earthquakes pressure.

Random notes:
- I finally did the Fan Rally and March to the Match and that was fun. Getting to meet a couple players and shake Roth's hand was cool.
- Even though gift wrapped, the San Jose goal came because they brought pressure and capitalized with a strong shot. The end result was a closer scoreline than the overall play warranted, but it was not like they didn't play forward when behind to try and get back into it.
- Before the first goal, SJE had 11 players behind the ball with not one guy ten yards from midfield at one point with Ljungberg in possession. That was as big a defensive shell as I have seen a team go into in league play in the first half of a game ever. Plus, all 14 SJE fans got to see most of the first half up close that way.

Friday, June 05, 2009

I have always had a dog


The last few days have been extraordinarily odd for me.

I miss my dog Dasher, who passed away on Tuesday.

But, it is not just that.

On my 2nd birthday I got a dog, her name was Raffles. Since then there has always been a dog in my life. Next month I turn 42, so that is just under 40 years of always having a dog. It is all I have ever known. We briefly had Barney when I was younger. Then, my father got Yogie. At one point my brother had Brutus. When I was away at college the dog was thee when I came home. After Yogie we did not get another family dog but I was engaged to a woman with a dog named Babie, who came to live with me upon getting married. A few years later we got Dasher, adopted my mother in law's dog Spike upon her going into a nursing home, and briefly had Jack. Dasher stayed with me when I got divorced. There has always been a dog there. There has always been overlapping dog era without a gap.

The past couple mornings have been hard. My daughter's cat Tiger lives with me and he has been behaving like he knows something is wrong and missing.

I appreciate all of the kind words and messages in various formats that have been sent by friends and family. The little dog had charisma.

At this time I cannot get another dog, although most likely I will again some day. For now, it is simply a gap I am dealing with.

There is a little battle raging near my apartment

It seems that two coffee stands are having a bit of a war near my apartment. For the past few months I have noticed that the bikini barista stand and the stand across the major road have had an interesting relationship.

There is a brunette in the bikini stand that wears a black bikini and is very tan that makes certain that she is visible from the road. (For the record, I am cheap and not a prude so I do not patronize either stand.) Across from the brunette is a stand that advertises that it is "Family Friendly", which I take it means that the baristas are not scantily clad but seriously covered up or something.

I am not going to be mean here and say the baristas at the "Family Friendly" place are unattractive or whatever, as I have no first hand knowledge ... but it is kind of funny that they advertise an implication that shopping there is somehow a better idea because they don't have smoking hot tan brunettes in bikinis ...

Still ... there are always more cars in line at the bikini stand. The ratio always seems to be three or four to one in favor of the bikini girls.

Again, I don't buy my coffee from either, but it has been kind of fun to watch and note how each business is doing.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Choosing projects ... dated materials

The time for certain projects passes.

As I look forward to the next projects I work on I realize that some projects are simply a product of their time.

For instance, my novel Boomerang simply would not work as a movie today. The premise and story are fine, but a real product of the early 90s when it was written. The pervasiveness of cell phones simply makes the story no longer currently plausible and would date a film in a negative way.

Think of it this way ... has there ever been a movie as prophetic as ED TV? It seems silly today that a reality series like that would be controversial, but at the time no one was being followed around with cameras like in so many shows today.

So, as I look forward to my continued work on The Scarecrow Effect I know that it is still timely. Also, doing the Celebrity Dating Service story seems very timely and is one that I want to pursue. My Bigfoot and St. Shotgun stories seem pretty timeless, so I won't press it.

glamourpuss #7





glamourpuss #7 feels like a watershed issue. In this issue we get a good super heroine parody story, some fashion industry ad parodies, and still have a continuation of the "Comic Art Scholarship" that makes up the bulk of the material in the series to this point.

This issue is more of what I have been expecting based upon the way the series was introduced. Bear in mind that I have found the first six issues to be interesting and worthwhile and would continue getting issues, but that it was lacking the part that this one provides. Knowing that we will sometimes get issues like this is important to me keeping my interest level up. I think the single page character introductions were very clever.

On a side note, I received a package from Dave that included some original art and a note that had me looking forward to meeting Ms. A and the other new characters. Thanks again Dave.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Dasher


Animals let us know.

Last night around 945 Dasher started whining. She could not push herself up.

I helped her up and she drank a bunch of water, but refused to eat. She hasn't really eaten much for a couple days.

I wrapped her in a blanket and brought her to the couch. She kept whining for a few minutes and then set her head on my chest and slept. She looked very peaceful.

I could not sleep and felt like I should not move. I laid there on my back wide awake til about 230 and moved her to a blanket on the floor. At this point I got on the floor with her.

I maybe got a couple hours sleep. After scrambling to get ready I took her back to her spot in the kitchen and she drank for me, but again refused food and this time also the meat I sneak her medicine in. I had to go to work.

When I got home from work she had not moved and refused water.

I made the call and stayed with her.

Last night Dasher felt all the love as she rested on my chest. I felt the love back from her.

Dasher was a rescue from back when I was in Pullman in 1995. She was 1-2 years old when I got her. From the start we bonded. Through a broken back and all sorts of bad behavior we stayed together.

I got close to 15 good years with her.

She is missed already.

Monday, June 01, 2009

The Pulse

"The Pulse" should be hitting now ...

If there ever had been a time to make a Dark Angel film, TODAY would have been the perfect release date.

Bummer that it didn't happen.