Monday, February 26, 2007

Of ear infections and computer problems

Sundays are no longer good days for me. Last week that was the day my computer quit working. As soon as I leave the library and head back to my apartment I'm calling Apple so that I can get it taken care of, finally. This week that was the day that I went to bed at 10:30 only to be kept awake for five and a half hours by my ear, which was in more pain than it has ever been (maybe). I'm seeing a doctor at the health center on campus at 3:00 this afternoon, but I was too tired to go to school this morning and proctor state tests fro my middle school students.

That's been enough whining. Hopefully my computer will be fixed soon, and then I'll be back with consistent posts about the Ducks and Blazers as we head into (and toward) the postseason.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Bad news

Last week was really really busy and I didn't finish my post about the Ducks game like I thought I would, and then last night something catastrophic happened: my laptop disconnected from the hard drive. Yes, my computer is no longer recognizing the volume that has everything on it. Hopefully I can get this fixed soon, but this will definitely affect multiple areas of my life, and blogging is one of them.

Monday, February 12, 2007

I Am A Trail Blazers Fan

That's the name of the new online community I joined last night. I'm pretty excited about it, because now I'm sure I'll...wait, there is no good reason for me to be excited about it. But I still am. I have more work this week than I did last week, which is fantastic. I also start my teaching unit this week.

This weekend I got to see my friend Brian swim really well on Friday, but missed his race on Saturday that made another friend of mine cry because it was so good. I also watched a bunch of Super Bowl highlight shows put on by the NFL Network with my dad yesterday. The series is called America's Game, and it is very well done. Oh yeah, I also watched the Ducks lose on Saturday. I'm halfway through a post about my experience at the game last Thursday, so that'll be done hopefully by Wednesday. And it was great to get a Blazer sweep for the weekend, even if my predictions at Blazer's Edge weren't confident enough in my team.

I know there wasn't much substance here, but hopefully it gives you a few things to check out.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Some more McSweeney's, school, signing day, and another Blazer loss

Really, if yesterday's link to McSweeney's wasn't enough to get you checking that site everyday then I don't believe you enjoy reading or laughing. Here's a snippet from today. Think of it as another attempt to get you hooked.
THE AMERICANS
WHO VOTED FOR
GEORGE W. BUSH
WISH TO RETURN
THEIR TELEVISION.
BY WAYNE GLADSTONE

- - - -

AMERICA: Yeah, hi. I bought this TV here about two years ago and I'd like to return it.

BEST BUY CLERK: Oh, yeah. I remember you. You loved this TV. What happened? Is it broken?

AMERICA: Broken? Well, I'm not sure. It's just that ... hmm. How do I explain?

BEST BUY CLERK: Well, what's the problem?

AMERICA: Well, I've heard there are other TVs? Like a smart TV that knows when your shows are on and can record them for you? One that can be programmed with parental controls and specifications.

BEST BUY CLERK: Yeah, sure, but you said you didn't want a smart TV. I remember. I tried to sell you that. But you said it was "haughty." That it gave you too much information—like it couldn't make up its mind. You wanted a "simple" TV that you could relate to.

AMERICA: Yeah, I know ... but this TV. I mean, sometimes I'll put it on a channel and it just stays there. No matter what. No matter how bad the channel is or how much I want something different. I even changed the batteries in the remote control and banged on the side of the set, but nothing works. It's like it's ignoring me.

BEST BUY CLERK: And that's a problem?

AMERICA: Well, yeah.
Funny, huh?

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I have my first real paper of grad school due today, and of course I haven't started yet. That means I'll be working like crazy when I get home at one so that I can have it done by the time I go to class at four. Shouldn't I be working on that now instead of this post? Umm, good question.

..........................

Today is signing day for college football, and hopefully the Ducks pull in some good guys. Not that it seems to matter, since we have a set pattern: underachieve, overachieve (but just enough to give hope for the next year), underachieve, overachieve, etc.

..........................

Last night's Blazer game was ridiculous. I wasn't watching, but I did follow the gamecast at the beginning and then again at the end. Even though Nash wasn't playing, the fact that the Blazers could come back against the Suns is a good sign. And even if Nash had been playing, the fact that we continue to come out flat and get way behind early drives me crazy. How many times do I have to say "young" and "inconsistent" here? More than I already have, really? What if I just say it a whole bunch of times now, will that make the need go away? Worth a try, I suppose: young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent young and inconsistent

There you go guys, now stop losing close games and coming out with no effort.

Monday, February 05, 2007

A pretty good Blazer weekend

Yeah, I was at a Blazer game that ended on the wrong side of the win-loss column. And the way it happened, with a disgusting first half, was no good. But at the end of the game, when LaMarcus Aldridge's last-second shot cut the final deficit down to two, there was a little happy to go with all of the sad. Sure, the happy and the sad may taste the same, but I'd rather taste the happy.

When I got off MAX to go to the game I could feel a buzz in the crowd. No, the buzz didn't come from anything I had ingested prior to my arrival. Fans seemed genuinely excited to be going to a Blazer game. And there were a lot of them. Maybe part of this was from all the Chicago fans wearing Bears gear. But there was certainly a lot of energy from Portland fans as well. And much of this might have come from the news that came out late the day before that Paul Allen wanted to buy back the Rose Garden. Most fans think this means that the Blazers will be staying in Portland for good. I hope that's the case. No matter what, it seems to solidify things for a while. It also seems like an act of good faith that Allen wants to bring the team back to its former glory. (Whatever that might mean.)

Unfortunately, the first quarter of the game dampened the spirits of the crowd. The Bulls were playing terribly, with several passes careening into the stands. And yet Portland couldn't take advantage. It was like the Bulls were offering us the game, but we were too polite to take it so easily. "No, no, you should have it. Really? Are you sure? Well, maybe just a little. What, you really want us to have it? Oh, okay. Well, at least keep some for yourself. No? Well, if you change your mind..."

The Bulls did change their mind, and took advantage of us in the second quarter. This quarter was sick and gross. I don't really know what else to say about it, so I'll just quote the notes I wrote on my napkin from Section 313, Row A, seat 5:
The 2nd quarter was gross. It felt like there were as many Bulls fans as Blazers fans, which was probably because they had so many more reasons to cheer than us. A few times it looked like we were going to start playing with energy. It never lasted.
This is what I wrote in the third quarter:
3rd qt. Wow! Exactly what we needed: energy, good defense, and R-O-Y, Zach, and Joel to step up big. All the sudden it seemed like we were in Portland.
The third quarter really was that much better. I know that some of that was Chicago not playing as well, but a lot of it was us coming out with a ton of energy and doing the little things. The offense was running through R-O-Y, which was fantastic. It seemed like most of Zach's points were coming after Brandon had already looked for what he could. Even so, it seemed like Zach was still into the game, which is usually the knock on him when the offense isn't going through him every play. If he enjoys playing with R-O-Y enough to handle not getting the ball every time down and if he likes Sergio as much as I think he does--from the body language of the few games I've actually seen--then we might be in for a treat if we don't ship him off. A more content version of Zach could be like a more assertive version of Rasheed. Well, except that Rasheed plays good defense and blocks shots. Zach, unfortunately, has only blocked seven shots all season, as my friend Mark keeps telling me.

The fourth quarter was probably the best basketball of the night. Both teams were executing pretty well on offense and made it look respectable on defense. It was actually fun to watch the whole second half, but the fourth quarter was great. I hate settling for moral victories--and I've been settling more and more--but it was a good way to close out a game. especially since we scored the same amount of points in the third quarter as the first half, and outscored our first half by two in the fourth. Yikes.

After the game I went out with a few friends from high school, which was fun, but I was still frustrated by the game for this simple fact: why can't we win? The Bulls are a pretty good team. We played TERRIBLY in the first half. Put those two things together and that should be a huge loss, especially since we're also young and inconsistent. But we were within two at the end. Had we run a few offensive sets better in the fourth or had Zach made his free throws like usual, we would have won. I know that the Bulls didn't play well in the first quarter at all, but their second quarter wasn't that bad. And their third quarter seemed tough because we actually started playing well more than them just losing it. Part of me thinks that if R-O-Y hadn't gotten cut early and missed most of the first things would have been different, but as Dave at Blazer's Edge has noted, we have a habit of coming out flat in games.

Since that rant is done, I'll end by recapitulating the title of this post: it was a pretty good Blazer weekend. The stadium is back in Allen's hands, which should be a good thing, and we played a couple tough games on Friday and Saturday. The 2009 championship is going to be fantastic, and I can't help but think we're getting glimpses of that every once in a while with LaMarcus, Brandon, and Zach.

*I really wanted to put just the "taste the happy" clip in here, but instead I had to link to that whole episode of Arrested Development. Not that it isn't worth it. And when I called the second quarter "sick and gross" I was of course quoting Eli Cash from The Royal Tenenbaums.

Something good to read everyday

I still check this website every day, but I don't always read it. Well, I'm glad I did today. Here's a taste:
Apricots

This ├╝ber-food has been proven to boost serotonin levels, giving fleeting feelings of contentment, which cast the despair into sharper relief. Use them as a snack or to brighten up a salad.

Walnuts

Walnuts contain massive amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which fight heart disease, and plant sterols, which lower cholesterol, as well as lots of antioxidants. You can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease by 15 percent to 50 percent if you eat a few five times a week. You will still rot in the nursing home, but more slowly and at greater cost to your kids.


You should go check it out. It's awesome.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Powell's

I am sitting in Powell’s listening to Elliott Smith, after riding the MAX from the Lloyd Center to Pioneer Square. That ride is part of what is known as “fareless square,” a stretch of track that requires no fare to ride. It’s a stereotypical dreary Portland day, and as I walked down 10th avenue toward Burnside Elliott welcomed me to his home. I will always enjoy soaking up the atmosphere of Powell’s. At this moment I’m in the coffee shop with Elliott—Craig Thompson’s book Blankets in front of me—watching all the people around me enjoy books and conversation. This kind of atmosphere is ideal. When I was in the men’s room I noticed the condom dispenser on the wall. Maybe there are other bookstores that have condoms for sale in the rest room, but I wouldn’t believe them necessary anywhere else. At Powell’s there is a sort of energy among patrons that makes it seem possible to find a member of the opposite sex, have a great conversation, and then move it back to a more comfortable location. Not for me, of course, but I could imagine it for others. The one knock on Powell’s right now is that they don’t have the book I need to read for class on Tuesday, and I thought I might be able to get it done while I sat here enjoying the atmosphere. Of course, if they did have this lame education book my estimation of the place might lower just a tiny bit. But they don’t, and Powell’s is still one of the coolest places I’ve ever spent time.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Portland on a broken shoe string

As soon as I finish writing this post I'm headed up I-5 to the city of roses. After going to the Portland-Houston game in December with my friend Josh, he invited me to go to the Portland-Chicago game with him tomorrow. I accepted, but as I figured out some budgetary information this morning I realized how terrible this timing is. I just finished paying off a debt to Fuller Theological Seminary, where I was a student for approximately three weeks. I should be okay, but I'm going to be riding my bike for more pressing reasons than exercise in the coming months. Also, I might have to go on a hunger strike, or at least something that people could mistake for one. Having said all that, I'm pretty excited to be on my way up to one of the coolest cities in the country. What, you'd like to hear my plans?
  1. See my grandma, my friends Scott and Lindsay, and perhaps a few others over the few days I'm up.

  2. Spend some time reading and doing homework in Powell's, the coolest book store in the world. Excuse the hyperbole, but it sure tops the list of stores I've ever visited.

  3. Watch my second Blazer game of the season.

  4. Hopefully take some notes during the game and post about said second Blazer game of the season.

  5. Find Chuck Palahniuk and convince him to get a move on publishing a new book.

  6. Put together the newest elite rock group from Portland.

  7. Spend less than thirty dollars.

I have no idea how many of those are possible. Hopefully all of them, but if I have to cut some out, I'll go with number seven first, and then number six. But number five is staying. Maybe I can find him at Powell's. And I know you didn't really want to know what my plans were, but I employed that cheap device to transition into my sweet list. Sorry for using you like that.

*I decided not to change what I wrote, but fix it here. It turns out Palahniuk doesn't live in Portland anymore, which is incredibly disappointing. But it also turns out he has a recently published short story and a new book on the way. So I can cross number five off the list twice.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Friday night basketball

Last Friday night I got to partake in what first-ever and long-time Blazers play-by-play man Bill Schonely used to call “free basketball.” Twice.

When I turned on the Portland-Memphis game, the Blazers were still down by a bit. They had played a terrible first half, and had been struggling to come back throughout the third quarter. This was the game that Zach Randolph set a career high in points and shot attempts. But this is also a game that the Blazers would not give up on. It was so encouraging to watch them work, struggle, and do whatever they could to pull out this victory. I would have been really happy with this in most games, but because this was the second of a back-to-back, and one in which the first game of the two was terrible, I was ecstatic. I don't have much else to say because I've waited so long to write about it. But I was very glad that the Blazers came out during the second half and did what they could. This has been true in the last few games, as they've gone 6-4 in their last ten.

I turned on the DVR to capture the second half of the Oregon-Washington State game as soon as Portland finally won. I watched a bit, but realized that we were down and I was tired. After a half hour or so of reading in the guest room, I heard my mom come up from the garage and turn the TV on to check the score. The Ducks had been down by 13 or so when I had left. When she said that they were down by two, I decided to give the rest of the game a chance.

I have been saying all year that the best thing about this team is how good the top five are. With the 2002 elite eight team there were three great players and two good role players. But this team has five players that I trust with the big shot at any time. In the Cougar game Aaron Brooks and TaJuan Porter both made huge three pointers at the end, but it was Maarty Leunen who made two free throws with .5 of a second left in regulation. And then Brooks caught on fire as the overtime started. I know that we lost tonight in Pauley Pavilion, but this Ducks team is very good, and deserves to stay in the top ten (if we can beat USC on Saturday).

............................
J-Lew asked why Brooks was suspended. Sorry it's taken so long, but this is what I know. The league suspended him for the elbow during the Washington game in the Pac-10 tournament. That suspension was served the during the next game of the tournament. In addition, the team suspended him for the season opener and the first of two against Washington. Those suspensions were not imposed by the league, and were something done completely within house. For more on the background, go here or here.

The Onion does it again

Peyton Manning Overjoyed His Commercials Will Finally Appear In Super Bowl

The Onion

Peyton Manning Overjoyed His Commercials Will Finally Appear In Super Bowl

INDIANAPOLIS—Colts quarterback Peyton Manning took a moment during Super Bowl Media Day Tuesday to acknowledge his "deep, abiding joy and...

Getting back into a good routine

I've finally developed a good routine that includes riding my bike to the middle school and stopping to get coffee in the mornings. Last week I finished reading The Satanic Verses--which was excellent, by the way--so now I can get back into the habit of blogging in the mornings while I drink my coffee. I was going to write about watching both overtimes of the Portland-Memphis game and the overtime of the Oregon-Washington State game this weekend, but I haven't yet.

So the purpose of this post is just to inform my (assumed) readership that there will be more and consistently posted content again very soon.