Archive for May, 2010

saturday stories

22 May, 2010

This morning, we woke up early, because the childrens don’t know the meaning of “weekend”. I know, soon enuff, they’ll be teenagers, sleeping in ’til noon.

It was chilly, cloudy, and drizzling,…so we told the childrens we were going to an “indoor park” today. MsSqueaky was very excited to be going to a “Dora Park”. On the ride there, MrGrunty tried to explain “in door park”, but she kept saying “Dora park”. Mr Cuddles was very amused watching his older sibling argue.

We ended up at the ChildrensMuseum, and all three of them loved it. There were several parts, and we would have to drag them away from their favorite part, only to find that the next part was even better. They had a trio of musicians playing folks songs and teaching folk dances. MrG and MsS preferred to just watch, but I held their hands and we went out and tried to dance along. They are very shy around strangers, but I was surprised that MsS did hold a stranger’s hand during a dance.

Tonight, after their naps, I took them out to their garden, and showed them how to harvest their radishes and trim the leaves, and put the leaves in composting. MsS didn’t like the radish, it was spicy. MrG liked it. Then later they helped me plant two tomato plants, and a row of pole-beans.

NBA playoffs – part 5

20 May, 2010

game #8 watched – Cleveland at Boston, game 6

Before the game, a wonderful example of what a coach needs to say to the team. Doc Rivers said,

“for 48 minutes, we got to do our jobs. We’re gonna win tonight because we understand that. We’re gonna win tonight because we understand that. For 48 minutes you got to focus, you got to sustain.”

I like the repeat of “We’re gonna win tonight”…reinforcing the belief in the players of the outcome…but why will they win? because they understand what their roles are.

Speaking of, I look forward to watching more of Davis, out there, hustling, taking on Shaq.

I wish there had been more ball movement (ala Phoenix )…but there were flashy moves by individuals. It did seem that Boston reacted as a team when on defense.

Hoping the Celtics can beat the Lakers.

(yeah…I know…I’m not watching the games in order…)

cute things

19 May, 2010

Mr Cuddles, tonight, he was chowing down on the Mac&Cheese, one fist full after another. When he gets cheerios, he tries to grab a fistful, and shove it all in his mouth. A growing boy.

Mr Grunty, last night, I got home just after them, and was helping them out of the kid-mobile. MrG asked, “you wanna eat chocolate with me, papa?” Or course I do, sweetie, thanks for thinking of me.

Ms Squeaky, the other morning, she picked up a small nerf football, and asked, “you wanna play, papa?”  So we spent a few minutes playing catch, chasing down the ball, and avoiding her brothers.

NBA playoffs – part 4

19 May, 2010

game #7 watched – Suns at Lakers, game 2

First quarter, nice passing by the Lakers, bad turnovers by the Suns. Boo. Did you see Fisher step in front of Amare, and Amare pick up the offensive foul. Fisher is good, wise and brave. ….

Half-time…Locker room chat from coaches. I’m sure we just saw an edited clip, but still, I think the series is being decided right here…

Phil Jackson, “they got 2 offensive rebounds off of missed free throws”…wow, Lakers are up, and Phil looks at the only stat the Suns are better than the Lakers. Phil finds the one weakness of his team.

Coach Gentry, “…if we’re gonna go down…”  CURSES!!  What kind of horrible coaching is “hey, guys, if we’re gonna lose…”

The Suns fought back, tied up the game…but lost by 12. You happy Coach Gentry?

Drat, I hate the Lakers.

Hoping that Boston can beat them.

May 7th

8 May, 2010

The daycare was closed, so I took the day off.

We set up a play date, early in the morning with Fin (son of JenBud), and by telling Mr Grunty & MsSqueaky we were going to the park, coaxed them out of the house in a timely fashion.

At the playground at the BirthdayPark, we discovered that there was still dew on the slides, and MsS and MrG did not want to get their pants wet.  MrG & MsS had fun, playing with each other most of the time, climbing up the slides, (yelling “I did it” at the top), or taking turns pushing each other on the merry-go-round. Mr Cuddles and Fin were wandering around, Fin, a mere two months older, was teaching tricks, like how to climb of the steps of the big toy. MrC was very happy, and later, wanted to practice his climbing skills on the fence.

I am trying to program into my children an awareness of where their siblings are, and will ask one of them, from time to time, where the others are. It’s a nice park, because it is fenced in play area, so more difficult for them to wander away.

After a while, Mr G said, “papa, I wanna go play on the fee-ald”. And to our good fortune, Fin had a soccer ball. I wasn’t sure if it would work. JenBud wasn’t worried if my kids stole the ball from Fin. I told her I was worried about them fighting each other for it. But, it all went well, they took turns getting it, and then throwing or kicking it to someone else.

Then we went to the softball diamond, drew in the dirt, put dirt on the bases, and, MrCuddles ate the dirt.

After the park, we went to see MyBetterHalf for a lunch date. After lunch, we walked around a pond, and saw dragonflies and bees in flowers.

NBA playoffs – part 3

8 May, 2010

game #6 watched – Suns -vs- Spurs, game 3

GREAT GAME!

Ginobili is fearless, playing with a broken nose, still drives into traffic, dives on the floor for loose ball.

Could Parker slow down Nash? well, doesn’t look like it. And, for some reason, they had Duncan guarding Nash at times, which usually resulted in Nash stepping back, and shooting over Duncan. So much for a height advantage.

At one point, Suns were down by 18, but they slowly, methodically crawled their way back, and then went on to win by 14.

I like how Suns coach has faith in his bench players, letting them get their minutes, keeping them in even if they make a mistake or two. This is good for resting Nash and other starters, and builds moral, gives experience to the bench. Great plan. And when his replacement, Dragic, was having a good performance, Nash was leading the cheering section. I feel this team has good chemistry.

Will the Suns sweep the series?  I don’t know. Looks like it. But I would never count the Spurs out.

Your Brain on Cubs

7 May, 2010

Your Brain on Cubs, edited by Dan Gordon.

Hey Sportsfans, do ya wanna know what neuro-scientists think about baseball? This is the book. There are some good chapters, and some bad chapters. A complication about neuroscience and baseball.

I liked “Developing Talent” by Scott Grafton. Moral…to get good, takes about 10,000 hours of practice that “needs to be smart and tailored to the individual’s level of skill to maximize effective learning.”  Note, video games are really good a doing this, raising each level of difficulty just a bit.

“Risks and Asterisks” by Bennett Foddy, discusses neurological enhancements. It asks why do we require athletes to be pharmacologically pure, when their job is to entertain and push the limits of the human body.

NBA playoffs – part 2

6 May, 2010

Game #5 I watched – Phoenix -vs- San Antonio game 1

I used to be a San Antonio Spurs fan, I’ld root for them, they seemed like decent chaps, seemed well coached, usually would win. Well, I’m not pulling for them this year. (Unless of course they play the Lakers.) I am just looking forward to a good series.

This game was great fun to watch. Two good teams that share the ball and hustle. I liked seeing all the bounce passes, Nash seemed to be on a mission to prove he’s an offensive threat.

There was a bit of Suns get a big lead, then Spurs catch up. I wonder if that trend will hurt the Suns later?

2010 NBA playoffs – part 1

2 May, 2010

The beauty of sport, the reason we watch, is a celebration of athletes pushing the human body to its limits. Which is one reason that poker, and race-car driving do not belong on a sports network. My definition of sport: teamwork; you can actively prevent the other team from scoring; some sort of ball is required; only simple tools are allowed.

So….I had this idea, that I could watch 40 games of play off basketball this spring. Yeah, don’t think that’s gonna happen. But, I will watch a few thanks to the DVR. Even if I know the final score. I feel it’s just like ballet, or Shakespeare….you’ll still go and watch it even if you know how it ends.

What I hope, is that the NBA finals are not Kobe –vs- LeBron, as everyone is expecting, and as Nike is hoping. As much as I like the “Most Valuable Puppets” ad campaign, I do not want the finals to be a Nike add. Yes, I know the TV guys want Kobe-v-Lebron, because that will get lots of ad dollars. But still, I hope someone can derail that. Maybe Orlando…I thought maybe Denver could this year. (Oops.)

Why I hate the LA Lakers.

First, it started, when my good friend WH, invited some folks over to his house to watch the NBA playoffs, Sonics –vs- LA. He was taking a class that would collect seafood, and one night the event was “Clam-Jam” where we ate lots of clams, and watched the Sonics jam. The other night was “Chowder-Fest”.   Well, the Sonics lost that series, and I remember vividly Nick Van Excel making Gary Payton look like a fool

Second, the Lakers have too many NBA championships. Yes, I know several happened back when the team was in Minnesota.

Third, the LA Lakers crowd. Too many Hollywood pretty people, who just seem to show up to be seen, and don’t really care about the basketball game.

Fourth, Jack Nicholson. I do respect him as a NBA fan. He cares about his team, he knows what’s going on, he follows the game, he gets emotional and involved in being a fan. But, he’s a fan for the bad guys. (Some could say that Spike Lee falls into this category for the NY Knicks, except, it’s not annoying, because the Knicks haven’t won anything in 20+ years.)

Number OneDenver –vs- Utah, game 1

I expected Denver to win this series, because of an injured Andrei Kirilenko, then when Okur went down with an ankle injury, I knew Utah was finished. I suspect that Jerry Sloan is a better coach than George Karl, …but still, I was a little surprised to see Utah win this series.

Number 2 – LA –vs- OKC, game 1

OK, just getting to the playoffs was a huge success for this young Oklahoma team. Personally, I’m a bit sad, for the first time in years the Sonics chose a good draft pick, and then the Sonics leave town. Is that how you make money as a franchise owner, you complain how you are losing money, and try and get the city to build you a new arena, and then you sell the team for a $100 million dollar profit. That is why __ is Rich, not only did he teach the world to drink a $4 cup of coffee, he also made a $100 million profit on a losing basket ball team. I don’t hold this negativity against Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Especially when they are playing LA.

I expected LA to win this series, OKC is young, but they just don’t have the depth or experience. LA has a nice collection of folks that seem to know their roles. There’s Kobe, the Alpha Dog…And then a collection of three players that were the alpha dogs on worse teams, and seem to enjoy not being the go-to-guy every game. Sure they can step up, and if they do great, bonus, if they fail, then the onerous is not on them, because it’s Kobe’s team. Odom, Gasol and Artest. The only hope for OKC is to somehow push Artest’s buttons so that he’ll go into the crowd, swinging at fans. And then Derrick Fisher, he can hit the big shot, he can drive, he’s tough, he’s wise at basketball, and he doesn’t seem to have ego. A fantastic point guard.

Durrant played with poise. OKC better not nickel-and-dime him. Give him a contract offer that will make him happy. But, since this summer is about Owners-v-Player’s Union contract negotiations, OKC could, in theory hold on until after negotiations to save a bit of money. Don’t. Make Durant Happy! He’s extremely talented, loved by his teammates, and rumor has a humble and nice guy.

Number three – LA –vs- OKC game 5

Pregame we saw OKC coach Brooks say, “…don’t be the guy that doesn’t rebound,…don’t be the guy that doesn’t go after the ball…”   And I knew it was lost. Dear Coach Brooks, keep it simple, stupid. Tell them what they should do. Instruct them, “be the man that gets the rebound…be the man that chases the loose ball….”   Yes, OKC lost.

Number four – LA vs OKC game 6

StaI’ve heard about Westbrook having a good game against LA, so then Kobe volunteered to guard Westbrook. I started watching it halfway through the second quarter, score tied 30-30. I was happy to see the Oklahoma crowd all wearing OKC t-shirts, pumped up, making noise, on their feet. I like that. It was almost like watching a college game. (Phil Jackson gave a slight diss to the LA crowd, calling them laid back.)

61-61 tie game! The Lakers seem a little rushing it, settling for jump shots, getting careless turnovers. I like it, but I don’t think it will last.

73-67, why are they leaving Kobe open to take threes? OK, Kobe doesn’t need much space to take a good shot. I’ld rather watch Ron Artest take thee point shots, those seem to be futile. Seriously, encourage Artest to take threes! Give him space, talk about how he can’t make them, let Ron-Ron take a three point shot.

Shut up, Jeff Van Gundy! I don’t care that you’re sad they don’t serve tator-tots in schools anymore. I am starting to think you are a worse announcer than you were a coach.

Another Thunder steall! 73-71

And here it is, beginning of the fourth quarter, Gasol, Kobe, Artest on the the bench, and both teams are shooting airballs. What is worrisome, is that with Gasol, Kobe and Artest on the bench, the Thunder can’t seem to break away, they traded points, they didn’t get a big lead….And when those three went back into the game…well, the last five minutes were great basket ball, fun to watch, but I wasn’t surprised to see the Lakers take the lead with only half a second left in the game. Drat!