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And, um, well, huh...

March 28, 2007

So, my wife swears to me that she tried plugging the computer into all the other outlets on the surge protector strip. I have no reason not to believe her. After talking to my friend Joe, who is one of those people who know a little bit about everything, I was convinced that it would be a quick, easy fix to get the old computer box back up and running.

I had no idea how easy it would be to fix.

I came home and did all my evening duties and then decided it was time to take the computer to Best Buy to get fixed. I tried turning it on once more, with no success. Well, I took everything apart and carried the box downstairs where I decided I'd try the computer in one of the outlets in the kitchen.

On it came.

I don't know what I did. Maybe it was the three pennies I shook out of it (my son has a love of pushing coins into places they don't old VCR rattles like a piggy bank), maybe it was when I tried to pull the CD-ROM drive open to recover my Civ III disk (I figured I didn't need a lawsuit on my hands as well as a broken computer when some goom at Best Buy scratched my game all up). I got it open a bit, but couldn't recover the disk. Maybe pushing it back open flipped some internal switch.

Needless to say, I'm now back online at home and looking to finish that chapter I started last night. As for how I'm recovered, I have no earthly clue.

Ah, Typical

So, last night, we had a couple of piss cutter rainstorms roll through. The first was a "strong, but not severe" thunderstorm, the last was, apparently, a severe thunderstorm, as according to the National Weather Service. I was rushing about trying to get the trash gathered up when I heard the heavens open up and inundate the north Durham area with canids and felids of various sorts.

As I was typing merrily along on Chapter 31 (it's not that I'm done, but I really began to see how I wanted to end the story as I sat down with a list of characters and decided their fates), the donder and blitzen were getting pretty intense, so I decided (after checking on the children to see if they were frightened half to death) that I would pack up and save my stuff. Instead of typing further, I decided to play Civilization III until the storms blew through, at which point I would suspend my game, gather the trash, and try to get one, maybe two more pages written.

Along about 11:30 or so, the storms finally passed and the rain died down. Now, rather than save my game, I decided to leave my industrious little workers building roads and other pieces of infrastructure that would help my empire's monetary wealth accumulate to the point where I could negotiate another cheap technology steal from the Egyptians. I was having a really good game playing as the Greeks, so I went about my business, carrying all the trash to the curb. As I was downstairs setting up my coffee pot for this morning's brewings, the power flickered enough that the answering machine in the living room erased and needed resetting. No big deal, I thought, as most of the clocks were alright. All of the alarms would still be set.

However, I came back upstairs to find the computer screen black. Again, no problem I thought. At this point, it was about ten till midnight, so I just turned the monitor off and headed off to fantasize about lost opportunities with Olivia Martin bed. My wife came home at the typical time (maybe a little earlier) and went to do the online bill pay on the computer.

One problem: the computer won't come on. The surge protector was fine, the monitor worked fine, but the computer was off. Our phone and cable were out, so I thought maybe that had something to do with it. The phone was on this morning, but still no computer.

So, here I am, stuck in the world with no computer, three nearly completed novels sitting on my hard drive (not to mention one kickass game of Civilization III featuring the Greeks) and all of the other files that go with them (lineages, images of coats of arms, house names, word counts). I'm a bit frustrated. However, this might offer an opportunity to get a newer, faster model. Who knows? The only problem is, I still have no idea how to get the old stuff off the hard drive if the computer itself won't come on.

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

March 27, 2007

Inspired by Eric's list of favorite brews, I thought I'd toss one out there, too.

To date, I've had something around 425 different beers. A far cry short of the 30,000 or so out there (which is the number I think I saw on Beer Advocate last time I logged in there). We also shouldn't mention that my beer list is woefully out-of-date, and that it's lacking nearly 75 entries, which are all written down, but not entered into any sort of database. Someday, I'll remedy that.

That's also not counting the nearly fifty brews I have sitting around waiting for me to drink. Something funny happens to me between the beginning of November and about now: I can't drink beer. No matter what, from the tamest pilsner to the most robust stout, my stomach just rejects them. I used to think it was only the hops that made me ill (whatever hops and/or additives Anheuser Busch puts in their beers, it curdles my stomach...all beers, across the board...and it's not just because they're a macrobrew...Hamm's doesn't curdle my stomach, nor does a blind tasting, I can identify the A-B brew just based on whether I feel like upchucking immediately after downing it). Now, I don't know what it is. But, around Easter time every year, I can drink again. My body is very odd.

So, with these nearly-500 beers in my memory banks, I always get asked the question: which is your favorite? Lord. That's like asking which of my children I love more, or who my favorite player on the '92 Hoosiers can't be done!

In that light, I thought I'd offer a list of different styles and some of my favorite beers from those styles. Hopefully, if anyone stumbles upon this, this list will inspire them to go out and have a sampling of something I feel is tasty.

Wheat Ale: Oberon from Bell's in Kalamazoo, MI
American Pale Ale: Sawtooth Ale, Left Hand Brewing Company, Denver(?), CO
India Pale Ale: Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, Milton, DE
ESB: Adnam's Suffolk Special Bitter, London, UK
Fruit Beer: Ruby Raspberry Wheat Ale, Mad Anthony's Brewing, Fort Wayne, IN
Spiced Beer: Post Road Pumpkin Ale, Brooklyn Brewery, NY
Brown/Amber: Nut Brown Ale, Carolina Brewing Company, Holly Springs, NC
Irish/Red: Four Horseman, Mishawaka Brewing Company, Mishawaka, IN
Lager: Yuengling, D.G. Yuengling and Sons, Pottstown, PA
Macro-lager: Sam Adams Boston Lager, Boston Beer Company, Boston, MA
Pilsner: Utica Club XX Pilsner, Matt Brewing Company, Saranac, NY
Porter: Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, Great Lakes BC, Cleveland, OH
Imported Porter: Flag Porter, London, UK
"Special" Porter: Oatmeal Porter, Highland Brewing Company, Asheville, NC
Stout: Storm King Stout, Victory Brewing Company, Downington, PA
"Special" Stout: Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, Brooklyn BC, New York, NY
Special Release/Christmas Beer: Our Special Ale, Anchor Brewing, San Francisco, CA
Barley Wine: Old Crustacean, Rogue Ales, Portland, OR

You can tell I tend toward the darker beers, which is why not being able to drink between November and April really sucks. However, these beers are well cellared by then. Of all these, I'd probably choose barley wine as my favorite style, though ESB, IPA and Porter definitely ranks right up there. I chose Old Crustacean as my favorite only because it was the first, and much like the first girl who lets you unbutton her blouse, you always have a special place in your heart for that first beer that makes you say "Holy fuckin' shit this is good!" You'll also notice that I have a definite east-coast bias here; I haven't had a whole lot of beers from the west, but those that I have had, I won't complain about. Someday I'll get a beer from Idaho, I swear it.


March 26, 2007

So, here's a recap of how my bracket is turning out.

Turns out, I placed first in the bracket over the weekend for just the four days worth of games from last Thursday to Sunday. You'll notice that I got all four of the Final Four team right. There's prizes associated with each two sets of rounds for the tournament, but I think you have to be leading overall, and not just the guy who ends up winning the round. Crap. I really wanted a the new NCAA basketball game. For free.

I don't know if it's mathematically possible for me to win this pool. It'd be nice. I made a jump from about 2500th to 800th over the weekend, which is admirable, but not good enough. So, with that in mind, I'll offer up some tidbits of advice for next year:

1) If I don't think a team should be in the tournament (a la Albany) in the first place, I shouldn't pick them to make it to the sweet sixteen.

2) If I know a team is absolutely horrid on the road (a la Georgia Tech), I won't pick them to upset a team that is playing in a geographically favorable location.

3) Don't ride one trick ponies (a la Texas) too far. It worked once with Syracuse, but clearly there was no supporting cast behind Durant to help save the team. Plus, Rick Barnes is a far, FAR cry from Jim Boeheim.

4) If you know a team is good (a la Winthrop and VCU), go with them, no matter who it is they play in the first round.

5) Never underestimate Notre Dame's ability to choke in any sort of post-season game in any sport.

There you have it. Follow these simple rules, and next year, you, too, might be thinking "Wow, if only I had done this..."

A Season of Frustration

Let's do a quick recap here:

Football: Starts the season out ranked #2, kicks the crap out of Penn State, shits the bed against Michigan, gets reamed for schedule set up ten years ago, thrashed by USC, makes it to the Sugar Bowl, Brady Quinn third in Heisman voting, utterly destroyed by LSU. Heads hang in shame.

Men's Soccer: Ranked #1 in nation during the season, wins award for best player in the country (who also has the best hair and mustache combination, in my opinion), loses in NCAA tournament. Heads hang in shame.

Women's Soccer: Ranked #1 in nation during the season, wins award for best player in the country (who, fortunately, doesn't have a mustache), loses in NCAA championship game to UNC. Heads hang in shame, but not as low.

Men's Basketball: Fourth in Big East during regular season, coach named Big East Coach of the Year, comes within a basket of beating regular season and (later) tournament champion Georgetown (who is in the Final Four), makes it to the NCAA tournament, totally sucks against Winthrop and is bounced in one of only two first-round upsets. Heads hang in shame.

Women's Basketball: A down year marked by a 9-seed in the NCAA tournament, unlike men's team, does not choke in the first round, has No. 1 seed Carolina down late, chokes, loses in second round. Heads hang in shame.

Men's Hockey: Ranked No. 1 in the nation during the season, wins CCHA tourney, gets seeded #1 in their regional, barely squeaks by a sub-.500 team from a satellite campus of a southern school, gets bounced in second round by conference rival. Heads hang in shame.

Consider this the open thread to point and laugh at me for being a Notre Dame alum/fan.

A List

March 23, 2007

I'm sure my father-in-law will now be interested in knowing that Duke is no longer the most popular college basketball team in the land. I'm sure now he'll be saying "Well, when I was in Charlotte, I always liked North Carolina..."

Here's the list as gleamed from this article:

1) North Carolina
2) Duke
3) Ohio State
4) Kentucky
6) Texas
7) Georgetown
8) Indiana
8) Michigan
10) Syracuse

Contrary to what the article states, Michigan did not make it to the tournament, either.

I also switched Indiana and Michigan from the listing on the article for a couple of reasons:
a) Indiana comes before Michigan alphabetically
b) I went to Notre Dame for grad school
c) Indiana made it to the tournament this year...and last year
d) Indiana's five national championships, strong tradition and storied mystique trump Michigan's one, strong tradition of dirty boosters and time outs taken in the final game to seal the deal for North Carolina (after blatantly traveling and not getting called for it).

I was actually surprised to see Indiana make the list over Florida and Illinois and Kansas and gonzaga. I'm guessing this was done before the tournament started, otherwise Virginia Commonwealth would be on there, too.

Because I've Got Nothing Else

March 19, 2007

Look who the favorites are to play for the NCAA hockey championships.

I'm smelling an A Crown of Thistles throwdown in the Frozen Four.

This is what happens when basketball season ends...

And thus it ends

The final chapter of Kelvin Sampson's rookie year as the head coach of Indiana came to a clanging, banging, grinding halt late Saturday evening. While many people were mired deep in their annual appreciation of Guinness ("Normally, I can't drink the stuff, but it's St. Patty's day!"), the Hoosiers were going toe-to-toe with a team I thought should have been a number one seed, banging, scrapping and fighting their way to a 54-49 loss that ended their tournament run.

The game was won and lost at the free-throw line. The dying art of free throw shooting has risen up to bite yet another team (Illinois is one that comes to mind fast) as the disparity between free throws in the Indiana-UCLA matchup is the most glaringly insidious factor that determined the outcome of the game. This is not to say that the referees were awful and that they gave the game to UCLA. Far from it, in fact: I felt the referees were pretty fair and called a good game (although the first-half travel against Stemler when he was pushed was a bit unfair). No, this disparity--and thus, loss--rests squarely on the shoulders of the Indiana Hoosiers, who shot 10-21 from the free-throw line for a paltry 47.6%. UCLA shot 78% (I don't have the numbers in front of me, but it was something like 18/23).

Hidden in that stat was the numerous "front end" of 1-and-bonus shots that the Hoosiers missed. Both Earl Calloway and D.J. White clanked first-shots in the first half. By the time the second half rolled around, I closed my eyes when Indiana stepped to the free-throw line. So did the Big Bad Wolf: the three little pigs were building a fortress with the bricks the Hoosiers tossed up from the free-throw line.

Credit Ben Howland and UCLA, though. Their tough-as-nails defense held the Hoosiers in check most of the night, especially from beyond three. The good scouting probably told them that, if you get into Rod Wilmont's head, his normal deadly accuracy will be disrupted. And it was. It wasn't until the second half of the second half that Indiana finally hit a three pointer. Also, UCLA limited Indiana's fast-break points. Several times, though, Calloway rushed down the court for what seemed like an easy lay-up, only to see it fall short. I feel for him: I've had those nights where, no matter what, it just seems like the ball won't get over the top of the rim. In the second half he adjusted and used the backboard more. Too bad this was his last game. Armon Bassett is a quality player, but he might be more of a shooting guard. Hopefully Eric Gordon or another quality player in Indiana's monster class for next season can play an effective point. Hopefully D.J. White will stick around for another year (his defense against UCLA was, in a word, awesome).

But, this game belonged to the free-throws. If the Hoosiers had been able to stick half of their misses (and I'm not going to think about the missed second shots on the 1-and-1s), then with a minute left, it would have been Indiana that was up five or seven points, and UCLA would have been forced to foul. As it was, one lousy inbounds and UCLA's steady shooters at the line put the game away. What a difference a couple of days makes. Indiana missed its first free-throw against Gonzaga, and then went on to make the rest for the game. With UCLA? Not so much.

Perhaps Sampson should take a trip to Milan, Indiana, and find that back yard Jimmy Effing Chitwood was shooting his free throws on when coach Norman Dale came out to recruit him. Maybe a little Hoosier mystique will help the Hoosiers next year.

Also, congrats to Butler for making it to the Sweet Sixteen. Congrats also to Purdue for giving Florida a bigger scare than I'm sure they thought possible. Boo to Notre Dame. And a hiss. You guys were pathetic. Absolutely pathetic.

Let's Do This!!!

March 15, 2007

Edit: As a final wrap, I ended up 927th in the pool. Not too bad for throwing it together in five minutes, but it definitely should have been far, far better.

So...How'd I Do?

March 14, 2007

I was about to spout that I'm not Bracketologist (one wonders if 'bracketology' involves sticking a finger up the bracket's play-in game to, you know, check it out), but I guess that I am. I typically think of true Bracketologists as guys with enormous egos nothing better to do with their time, but I guess that, given the amount of time I dedicate to sitting on my ass couch watching basketball, I'm fairly knowledgable about the game and the tournament.

And, of course, there was THAT post from last week, where I claimed I wouldn't try to predict the field, and then went and predicted the field. Well done, Slappy.

So, I guess that begs the follow up as to how I did with my predictions. For a while, I was getting down on myself, thinking "Wow, I did crappy". But then I think about Joe Lunardi and his "I predict the field with 99% accuracy" self-approval rating. The thing is, Lunardi doesn't actually say "The Patriot League will spit out Holy Cross as the champion". No, he takes the current leader of a small conference and plugs them in to fill the hole. He doesn't go out on a limb and say which team will actually make it in. Plus, he updates hourly as the tournaments get filled. I predicted ahead of any of the tournaments taking place (and even before Penn clinched, so there).

With that in mind, let's take a gander at how things shook out:

Number 1 Seeds
Ohio State, North Carolina, Kansas, UCLA (Florida)

Not bad. I got 3/4 of them. I still don't get how Florida is the overall number one seed when Ohio State was No. 1 in the nation going into the Big Ten tournament, Ohio State won the Big Ten tournament, and Ohio State didn't suffer any injuries to any of their key personnel. I guess Ohio State doesn't have a shameless self-promoting asshat star who could double as Liz Taylor and Michael Jackson's love child. *shrug*

American East: Vermont Albany...if it wasn't for Vermont's piss poor execution on that last play, they would have won and made me feel all good. As it is, I have the Great Danes pulling an upset over Virginia.

Atlantic 10: Xavier George Washington. Xavier did make it in, though.

Atlantic Coast: Maryland UNC. Predictably, my pick lost in the first round to the worst team in the league. However, UNC, Duke, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Maryland, Boston College and my late pick of Georgia Tech made it in.

Atlantic Sun: Belmont. Lipscomb also pulled the upset I predicted.

Big Twelve: Kansas A&M didn't make it to the final, but oh well. Kansas, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech all made it in.

Big East: Notre Dame Georgetown, but ND's game against Georgetown was far more entertaining than the actual championship. If only that last shot would have fallen...Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Villanova, Louisville (thanks, easy league schedule), Marquette, Syracuse. Everyone thought Syracuse was in, even Lunardi.

Big South: Winthrop. This was a no-brainer, but I would have liked to see VMI in the field, just because. By the way, Winthrop is the big, sexy pick to play Cinderella this year. Luke Harangody, please stay out of foul trouble.

Big Sky: Northern Arizona Weber State...whoops.

Big 10+1: Ohio State. I predicted Wisconsin to not get that far, but that's because I didn't expect lame-ass Illinois to beat Indiana. Hey, Bruce Weber, "offense" is under "o" in the dictionary, right down the page from "offal", which is what your offense smells like. Ohio State, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan State, Illinois and Purdue. Glad to see the fourth Indiana team in, even if it is the Boilers.

Big West: Long Beach State Go 49ers, beat Tennessee.

Colonial: Old Dominion Virginia Commonwealth. But, ODU did make it, as well. And I predicted that Drexel wouldn't be dancing. I should get something for that. I also predicted VCU would be in.

Conference USA: Memphis...not much else to say here.

Horizon: Butler Wright State. I did leave in the opportunity for Wright State to win it, but I didn't call it. Butler is in the field, though.

Ivy League: Pennsylvania I really want Dartmouth to win one year, just so we can see the keg mascot in the tournament.

Metro Atlantic: Marist Niagara. I did pick the Purple Eagles to win the play-in game.

Mid-Continent: Oral Roberts The giant praying hands pull through for me in the end. Oh, yeah, and the No Fat Chicks shirt. I also think Oral Roberts can beat Washington St. Of course, since I've predicted it here, they're sure to lose.

Mid-American: AkronMiami. Team LeBron should have won, but then again, I should have had this hydrogenation done three days ago.

Mid-Eastern: Delaware St.Florida A&M. Kind of a big upset, and it happened down in Raleigh. So, there, I know two things about this league now: North Carolina A&T is in Greensboro and the conference championship is held in Raleigh. I think North Carolina Central will probably try to join the conference, too, when they're eligible.

Missouri Valley: Southern Illinois Creighton. Like the Colonial, I had the two teams right (Creighton and Southern Illinois) but I had the at-large and the conference champion switched. The Curse of Steve Alford continues to hang over Missouri State.

Mountain West: Air ForceBrigham Young. I didn't realize UNLV's win, which kept Bob Knight from breaking Dean Smith's record for one more game, was that big of a deal. Apparently it was. BYU did make it in, though.

Northeast: Sacred Heart Central Connecticut St. Sacred Heart almost did it. Perhaps I should have reread the book of Revelation, since the Blue Devils of CCSU beat the Catholic Sacred Heart. I'm sure that was in there somewhere. Fifth rider of the apocolypse? No, wait, that was Duke dropping out of the top 25, also known as the the Dark Blue Rider.

Ohio Valley: Austin Peay Eastern Kentucky. Perhaps next year, I'll just try to predict the teams who play in the championship game, as I'm doing pretty well with that.

Pac-10: UCLA Oregon. Apparently the first-round choke cost UCLA it's No. 1 seed. So, does that mean Kansas only got it by beating Texas? Wonder how that would have played out if Texas won and UCLA didn't lay an egg in their first round game of the Pac-10 tourney. Arizona, Oregon, UCLA, Washington State, USC, Stanford all made it in.

Patriot: Holy Cross Fear the Crusader. This was an excellent game versus Bucknell. Unfortunately, the Bison didn't make it in as an at large, which was my dream, but not my prediction. Loopholes, anyone?

Southeastern: Florida In case I needed extra reason to hate Noah, that dance thing where he was humping the air for thirty seconds was ridiculous. Go Jackson State. Florida, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Arkansas. The Arkansas thing really surprised me, but they did make it to the championship game.

Southern: Appalachian State Davidson. I'm going to assume that other low-major conference upsets kept the Mountaineers out. I still think they're a little more deserving than, say, Illinois, but then they laid an egg at Mississippi St. last night in the NIT, so what do I know? Davidson over Maryland is the chic upset pick not involving Notre Dame.

Southland: Texas A&M Corpus-Christi Corpus Christi means "body of Christ". I wonder if it got that name because of the Spanish Mission there, or because everything is flat, brownish and rather bland.

SWAC: Mississippi Valley St.North Texas. I considered the Mean Green for a while, but then I remembered Bracey Wright was from that area and figured that everyone who played for NTU was a bunch of ball-hogging, show-boating, inflated egomaniacs as well, so I didn't think they could win anything. Much like Bracey Wright.

Sun Belt: South Alabama Jackson St. In case I needed extra reason to hate Noah (and the Gators) that dance thing at the end of the SEC championship where he was humping the air for thirty seconds was flat out ridiculous. Plus, he took a swing at a cheerleader. Asshat. Go Jackson St.

West Coast: Santa Clara gonzaga. Yeah. And then did you see who they drew in the first round? Yeah. Let me reiterate: I effing hate gonzaga.

WAC: Nick Fazekas New Mexico State. I did say that the Aggies could have made it in. Sexy coach Reggie Theus managed to guide his team to the big dance. Has Nick Fazekas graduated yet already? Jeez. Nevada did make it in.

So, counting up the bold-faced teams...that's 48 out of 65 for a whopping 74% success rate, a worthy percentage yield for any organic chemist. Factoring in the Lunardi affect, I would have been 58 for 65, giving me an 89% success rate. It could have been higher, but I punished myself on a couple of them, like Xavier, where the league ended up sending an at-large team as well as the league champ (under Lunardi's rules).

I actually had fun with this. I'm going to do this again next year. See you then!

Oh, Hans!

March 13, 2007

You might have noticed, or maybe not, but I've been a touch absent from the blogosphere for the past few days or so. Normally, I would chalk this up to the basketball tournaments running and whatnot, however I didn't get to enjoy nearly as much basketball this year as last. I could also chalk it up to the fact that it was 81 degrees today when I went to my car at 4:30 (escaping a hydrogenation that is using 8+ grams of palladium on charcoal...yeah...I'm loving that one) and the smell of spring is in the air, the flowers are blooming, and there is much cleavage and short shorts apparent on the drive home once more. Ah, spring in the South.

None of these would explain my absence, however. I mean, the cleavage goes away shortly before sunset. No, instead, I have a much worse reason for being gone. I was sick. Very sick. So sick, in fact, that, when I finally dragged my dumb ass to the doctor, the doctor looked in my throat, screamed, and then refused to shake my hand. He all but backed into the corner, waving an accusatory finger and chanting "unclean, unclean!" at me. Well...this is all a bit of an exaggeration, but he did refuse to shake my hand. And he was giving himself a pretty good wipe down with the antibacterial soap. That pretty much tells you what I had: strep throat. I'm 31 years old. This is the first time I've ever had Strep. Honest. I've lived a pretty clean life, aside from the gall bladder, chronic asthma, lousy knees, acid reflux (which might have just been tied with the gall bladder), and hay fever.

I was a little disappointed, however. Here I had always learned that Strep was this horrible thing. Don't get me wrong: the sore throat sucked balls. But I didn't have to go into quarantine or anything. There wasn't a lot of swelling or anything. Just a sore ass throat and ears that popped and hurt eventually. It was bad enough that I had to go to the doctor, though. I was hoping that I'd get something akin to the sponge treatment. However, I thought about it, and I decided I really didn't want to wash a car, the floor, some hairy bald guy's back in the shower, some feet, and then get wrung back out. I just wanted the lollipop at the end.

Sadly, I didn't get that, either. Just a five day routine of azithromycin (pardon the lack of stereochemistry and the misspelling of lactone). The doctor also told me to get plenty of sleep, and I was like, "But doc...I just bought Civilization III!" Despite this, I am glad to report that I am one healthy big man. This is great news, because it means I can get back to work writing and such without so much self-pity. I'm also glad to report that I'm healthy enough to lay on the couch for days at a time and watch plenty of basketball. Sadly, I'm also healthy enough AND the weather is nice enough that I will have to start taking care of all those projects I've put off because I've been "sick" or "recovering" or "it's winter" or "I'm lazy, leave me alone." Whee.

As for the girl...I looked up "spongebob doctor" and got her on the front page. I felt she was just the sort of thing I needed to spice this joint up. God bless the internet.

Championship Week(s)

March 5, 2007

Well, my picks aren't turning out so well. I will add that I think that Louisville and Georgia Tech are both definitely in now. K State still might have to garner a win in the Big XII tournament, only because the northern half of the conference is so weak this year. If George Mason wins tonight, someone's at large berth just went poof, which might mean someone like Illinois or Syracuse needs to win a first-round game in their tournament.

But, I'm not here to talk about that.

Tonight was my daughter's championship game. Technically, it was Saturday morning, but since they won Saturday and it's a double-elimination tournament, they played tonight for the whole thing. I wish I could report positive news on the outcome, but it was a heartbreaker. Her team just couldn't handle the press and gave up a few turnovers that led to easy lay ups and the 5-point lead vanished in seconds. Considering they were the forth-seeded team in the tournament and had to beat 1, 3 and 2 twice, I'd say it was a success.

More importantly, my daughter left the gym loving basketball, which is what I really wanted. She obviously took a very positive experience from this, and her coach made sure she felt like a part of the team. Tonight, she even got a rebound (but stepped on the baseline while chasing it down) and then went down and fouled a kid trying to drive into the lane. Considering how sick she was last week, that was pretty good that she was out there that long and contributed.

Clearly, she landed on a good team with an excellent coach. I measure a coach not so much by the wins and losses, but by how improved his players are at the end of the season versus the beginning. Well, the three worst players on the team all grew in confidence if not in skills. One of the kids even attempted a shot tonight, and he never shot during the season. One of the other kids also was calling for the ball down on the blocks, which I'd never seen before, either. The other five kids who were all pretty good got better, too, especially when it came to teamwork. So, overall, I'd say he did an excellent job and he said he would try to keep the same team together again next year. With this news, my daughter beamed with excitement.

As for the coach on the other sideline: total class act. I wouldn't have guessed it (mostly because he wore a Bears visor), but he was very gracious Saturday morning when my daughter's team upset them and then again tonight when the game was over. Plus, all of the fans (myself included) behaved themselves and clapped for the other team whenever they had a good play. One back-breaker for the other team was this kid who did a beautiful box out for a rebound and then went right back up with it. Reminded me of my earlier days. So, in all, it was a very positive experience and my daughter is definitely looking forward to next winter when she gets to start it all over again.

And that's what I wanted most for her to get out of this.

I Should be Quarantined

March 1, 2007

Well, my wife was sick and then my daughter. Now it's my turn. I guess now that I'm not doing 40-gram zinc reductions once or twice a day, I'm susceptible to disease. Bleh.

Despite this, I've persevered, and tonight, I'm going to honestly try to keep my post under 3000 words (sorry about the length of the picks post...I got carried away).

To answer a couple of questions posed from before: I'm still working on the Boar War, but my friend Joel has been reading some of the work I've done on King of Thistles/Shadows, and he loves it. I've been compared to a few fantastic authors by him, and it makes me blush, but I apparently don't have enough humility to not brag about it in my blog. His words are, naturally, far too kind.

Second, absolutely, I'll offer some discounts for faithful blog readers. I made the same promise to faithful thread-readers at when I was an active member there. Now, I'm more passive, but I still plan to uphold the promises made. I'll just need to figure out how to do it is all. Blog readers also get discounts.

And now, to the updates.

I just finished chapter 24. It was short, so I moved a bit of chapter 25 into 24 and finished with a nice 11-page chapter. Next up, I'll start to work on the parts of 25 that I didn't just swipe and move to 24. It actually makes the flow of the story go a little better with what I did tonight. It allows me to move the characters further along without having to detail their mundane day-to-day activities as they ride north seeking their answers. Also, someday I'll write a story where a deity is not a character. I swear it.

Word Count: 114,407
Page Count: 373

With Championship Week(s) coming up and the tournament, I won't promise much, but I do want to maybe finish 25 over the weekend. As I said earlier, that would complete a story arc. After 25, I'm going back to do 7. I swear.

And there it is. A short post.