Thursday, October 26, 2006

Thursday Thirteen - Sports!

Okay, how about my thirteen favorite sports franchises/teams, just for kicks (geddit?) Yeah, I know it's not Thursday anymore. Shaddap! It took me a couple days full of interruptions to decide which to include and what to write. Enjoy.

1. The Collingwood Magpies

My drug of choice and my favorite sport to spectate. Australian Rules Football, affectionately dubbed "Footy," is faster and wilder than other forms of football, and definitely not for girlie-men. To the uninitiated it looks disorganized and chaotic, a swirl of anarchy, yet that's far from the truth. It is a game of wile and courage, and Collingwood is the most storied and most hated team in Australia. I first loved 'em because they were in black, and their fans sound like psychos in the stands. And now, for me, it's Good Old Collingwood Forever.

2. The Oakland Raiders

How the mighty have fallen. When I was a little tyke, I found myself growing up in the midst of a rabid family of San Francisco 49er lovers. True fans they were, and still are. My elders grew up watching games at the old Kesar Stadium. They never missed a game on TV, either, no matter how bad the team was. There was no other team on earth for them. Naturally, I knew better. When I was five, Dad took us to Sears in San Jose and showed us two little mannequins, one with a kid's sized 49er uniform, the other with a Raiders uniform, pads and all. He pointed to the 49er one, said, "Here's what we're going to get, boys." I pointed to the Raider uniform, "I want that one." Dad blanched and said, "No, we like the 49ers." I stuck out my chin and answered him, "No, I like the Raiders." So I got my Raiders uniform. Being a Raiders fan was fun growing up. The Raiders were BAD and they were winners. When Oakland didn't take it all, the team that won had to go through the Mighty Raiders, sometimes by sucking out with the help of flukey miracles. Alas, the days of old seem so far off as Oakland struggles in the grip of Owner/Debilitator Al Davis. Here's hoping they can someday soon find a way to Just Win, Baby.

3. The Oakland Athletics

Same basic story as the Raiders/49ers things without the whole uniform drama. My love for the A's was certainly helped along by the magnificent dynasty of the mid-seventies, with Vida Blue, Catfish Hunter, Reggie Jackson, and Rollie Fingers. Later I got to enjoy the LaRussa era, with our juiced up sluggers, the Eck, Bob Welch and Dave Stewart, and the Earthquake Series with the San Francisco Giants. Ah, rubbed that one in the family's face.

4. Newcastle United

The Toon! My favorite Football(i.e.: Soccer) club in the world. I picked 'em several years ago after asking my buddy Zen how one goes about picking a club to follow and support if one doesn't live in England. He said, "you just pick one, then stay with them forever. Except don't pick Man United, because only arseholes do that." Well, I'm glad I dodged that bullet. I knew little about the teams, but Newcastle had a black and white kit, like Collingwood, and were called the Magpies, like Collingwood, and an exciting and colorful history, so that worked. Their season this year is in the toilet, what with personnel problems and owner problems. Sounds like another team I know/follow/support. I did get to enjoy the last few seasons of the inimitable Alan Shearer, a football god in Newcastle upon Tyne and a perennial star in all of England. He's gone, Michael Owen is on crutches, our defense is spotty. Ah, well, at least they're not Leeds United, right Zenners? Howay the lads!

5. The San Jose Sharks

A recent expansion team in the NHL in 1992, the Sharks were the team to bring hockey to the conscious level in my life. Before then it was just a game that those crazy Canuckleheads up in the tundra played. My boss bought season tickets to the inaugural season and gave me a pair for a matchup vs. the already hated Los Angeles Kings. The HP Pavilion in San Jose (a gorgeous facility) was still being built, so we had to go to the Cow Palace in San Bruno to see them play. Both teams lined their goons (i.e.: enforcers, i.e.: guys put on the ice to fight rather than play) on each other at center ice. The moment the puck dropped, so did the gloves and those two pounded on each other, neither gaining the upper hand, though the LA goon slipped first, so the refs broke it up. (They don't stop the fight until one goes down. Nice rule.) The announcer then announced the major penalties against each, detailing who they were, what they did, and what team they were on. The last thing he did was announce how far into the game the penalties took place. The dude drew in a huge, deep breath and shouted, "TWO -- SECOOOOOOOONDS!!!!" The place went riot, and the Sharks devoured the kings 6 - 0, their first ever shutout as a franchise. The Sharks didn't take too long to shed the expansion = loser persona and are regulars in the playoffs, showing good form again this year. One of these days they will hold the Cup aloft. I just hope I can afford tickets!

6. The San Jose Earthquakes

US Soccer is experiencing an exciting renaissance these days, popularity not seen since the day of Pele and the New York Cosmos. The San Jose Earthquakes were a powerful team in the West. The were the latest iteration of the San Francisco Blackhawks, becoming the San Jose Clash until the formation of the modern MLS, where they became the Quakes. Their best known star was the amazing Landon Donovan, now laboring in the dungeons of the hated L.A. Galaxy. Yech. But San Jose won the 2003 MLS Cup, but facility issues forced a move to Houston, where the club was renamed the Houston Dynamo. Like the Cleveland Browns/Baltimore Ravens nightmare, the team wasn't allowed to take their name and history along. Good thinking, because there is hope. The owners of the abovementioned Oakland Athletics have bought exclusive MLS franchise rights to the Bay Area and are apparently working on reestablishing the team in the near future. Fingers crossed.

7. Chivas USA

In the meantime, I have to have an MLS team to support, and I hate Houston now, for obvious reasons. Prefer California. But I HATE the L.A. Galaxy even more! Ah, fortunately Club Deportivo Guadalajara, known as "Chivas," a 100 year old powerhouse club in Mexico, founded a sister franchise in the MLS, Chivas USA. Playing at the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles, the bring some Latin American flair to the MLS and have gone from worst to quite good, making the playoffs and winning the first leg of their opening round against... Yup! The Houston Dynamo. They're in California, and they're not the hated Galaxy. Go Chivas!

8. The Golden State Warriors

I'm not the biggest NBA fan in the world. I find the negative, gangster image some of their biggest stars exemplify to be distasteful and harmful to today's youth and culture. And the game is just no fun watching on television. However, I finally had the chance to attend a couple games with a customer who over the years has become a dear friend. Watching it live is a completely different experience. There is a lot to appreciate. I chose the Warriors because they play where the Raiders and the A's do. Simple as that. Ol' Don Nelson is back this year, and the team is looking good out of the chute. Maybe we'll go back to the 80's and find some form and swagger again.

9. The New Zealand All Blacks

I first fell in love with the All Blacks when I started getting into Rugby about four or five years ago. They came on the field and did the Haka. Wow, that was cool. But then they backed it up by kicking arse. This video features several huge All Blacks stars, including Carlos Spencer (who leads the Haka), Tana Umaga (in dreads), and the phenomenal Joe Rokocoko. The All Blacks are the best in the world. And it doesn't hurt that they wear black!

10. The Cal Golden Bears

Having never attended a four-year university, I had to simply pick a California team to support, preferably one I could actually watch on television regularly. First, I detest USC and UCLA, if for no other reason than they are southern californian. Stanford is too snooty for me. The San Jose State Spartans (the wife's alma mater), Fresno State Bulldogs and SDSU Aztecs don't get much TV time. Stanford is just too snooty for me. That leaves Cal. I've watched and supported Cal for a good decade now, and they're always a scrappy, fighting, high-speed football team. They've hung around the top ten all year after recovering from a shocker loss to Tennessee. Their big test comes against USC in a couple weeks. USC just got humbled by the Oregon State Beavers (FIL's alma mater) and are probably smarting and looking to regain the respect they think they deserve (they don't, but they think they do.) Hopefully Cal will humble them further and knock them from the top 25.

11. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Well, one of the necessities of growing up Irish and Catholic is indoctrination into the church of Touchdown Jesus. I don't know why, but I can't shake the idea that Knute Rockne and Lou Holtz are heroes, that Charlie Weiss is here to set things right, and that the world simply waits for the Fightin' Irish to be champs again. Brady Quinn makes for thrilling football these days, and opposing teams once again tremble in the shadow of Touchdown Jesus.

12. King City High School Mustangs

My daughter's high school. No, she doesn't play football. She's in the drumline, but I have to go to the football games to see her play. Yeah, twist my arm!

13. Soquel High School Knights

My and my wife's alma mater. I never get to games anymore, but I still follow their progress. They usually field a good team, often into the local and regional playoffs.

So there you are. If you hate sports, I'm sorry. I've had sports on the brain lately. Check in next time. Maybe I'll get over it.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

One Magic Moment

Some of you know that I'm coaching my son's K-1 Football(okay, Soccer) team for the local rec league. 5 and 6 year olds playing football is awesome, because it's just chaos, and the kids are usually having a pile fun. We don't keep score at this age, because their play is so uneven that measured competition is silly. Besides, kids can be inconsolable and often don't know how to process losing at this age.

Yesterday's game wasn't quite as fun, because the other team had sneaked in a couple 2nd and 3rd graders who were running over (literally) my smaller kids and fouling the poor little tykes hard.

I kept score in my head this time. My little tykes drew. Good for them.

But in the midst of all this, there was this one magic moment I think I'll never forget. No, not my son this time. He's my main goalie, and he did stop all his shots. I should say that he has really grown, and now he gets down and commits to stop those shots. I'll never forget the first time he dived down and scooped in that ball. Hey, I had to get that in there!

If you've ever watched kindergartners and 1st graders play, they usually run in a mob around the ball, battling even their own teammates for possession, then looking up to remember which way to go, at which point the ball is booted out of reach and into another mob.

In practice we play Redlight-Greenlight to teach them ball control. We play hot potato in little groups of three or four to teach them to keep the ball moving and to pass. We practice shooting, of course, but mostly we try to have fun and give them that team feeling. They're the Bandits, and they wear black. They have their own little cheer I made up for them, which is one of their favorite things they do. We play Simon Sez and Duck-Duck-Goose. Sometimes they just want to run up the hill at the corner of the park and roll back down. Whatever makes being on a team fun.

So Saturday, they're battling with this stacked team.

Now Juan is my little moose. He's my oldest first grader and a talented little footballer. He often just drives until he either scores or gets dispossessed. The smaller kids often feed it to him and hope he'll move it down.

Juan has possession in the left backfield. The kids on the other team, especially the big ones, have been keying on him all morning. For some reason today, with me saying less than usual, my kids are starting to spread out instead of mobbing the ball. This time they spread out as though they're playing real zones. Little Juan looks across the field as he's moving foward into a wall of defenders. He sees little Francisco moving forward in the open right side of the field. Juan booms a perfect pass that Francisco traps with one touch and starts dribbling quickly down the wing. He's running almost full out across the midline and sees his cousin, Brazil, in the forward position (keep in mind, these kids don't know anything about position yet.) She's running, not toward Francisco, but toward the goal. Francisco shoots the ball forward right into her stride and she takes it on the fly, without even an adjustment, dribbles twice and shoots it on goal! The goalie stopped it, but that doesn't even matter. I felt goosebumps on my arms and my eyes even got misty.

These kids were playing real football, the way they will when they're older. They worked together. And they didn't mob the ball. Most of my little 5 year olds would have run toward the ball. How did Brazil know to run toward the goal, stay open, and wait for the pass?

It was beautiful, and I don't care if they never score another goal. Seeing your kids grow and have fun is worth it all. Juan, Francisco, and Brazil will probably never remember the play and will never understand how huge a leap of ability they've reached, but I'll always have that magic moment. I've got the bug, and I hope there will be many more for many years to come.

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


I'm not a big fan of Hallowe'en myself, but I ripped this from UV for giggles.

1. What was the scariest movie you have ever seen?


2. What was your favorite Halloween costume as a child?

When I was 5 I got an astronaut costume with a little light in the facemask which I thought was the bomb. Or perhaps when I went to a high school Hallowe'en party as a flaming homosexual. Ah, now that was funny...

3. Given enough money, what would be your fantasy Halloween costume?

A genuine Jedi Knight with a rilly-rilly cool lightsaber.

4. When was the last time you went trick or treating?

A couple years ago with my two boys. Now mom usually takes them out while I have candy duty at home.

5. What is your favorite Halloween candy?

Little three packs of Sweet Tarts, or mini 3 Musketeers.

6. Tell us about a scary nightmare you once had.

Well, when I was very young, I had a dream where I was kidnapped by a witch and taken into space to her lair, a building that looked suspiciously like the liquor store near our house (yes, neon beer signs in the windows) floating upon an asteroid. It was scary at that age. I wish I could have that dream again, just to check it out.

7. What is your supernatural fear?

I don't really have any supernatural fears. I believe in the supernatural, fairly well as explained in the bible, so I don't fear it.

8. What is your 'creepy-crawlie' fear?

Oh, spiders are the worst, but not the fear they used to be. I'm a dad. It's what I do.

9. Tell us a time you saw a ghost or heard something go bump in the night.

Haven't. Sorry, it's boring, I know.

10. Would you stay overnight in a real Haunted House?

No. I'm with Paula on the yuck factor. Houses get that reputation because they're gross and falling apart. No thanks.

11. Are you a traditionalist or a creative carver of your Jack-o-Lantern?

Oh, we buy patterns and try to do something interesting every year. They boys do traditional because it's easier.

12. How much do you decorate the house at Halloween?

A few candles and a door hanger and such. My wife's doing. I could do without Hallowe'en, m'self.

13. What do you want on your tombstone?

Whatever my wife wants to read when and if she visits. I hope it's something nice, that's all :-)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Blimey, That's a Cracker!

This is cracking me up.

Now I know that there is some athleticism to Cricket, so don't get me wrong. I mean, they do hit balls like baseballers do, and they have to run from wicket to wicket, over and over again, over a 3 to 5 day match sometimes. I get that.

But when you think of Cricket, you think of tea and crumpets, champagne brunch, British Royalty, nicely pressed uniforms, funny hats, and gentlemen dashing about a big oval leisurely shagging balls. You just don't think of juiced up mandroids like Barry Bonds and Jose Canseco, you know? I mean, look at the guys in the pics (there are a couple links on the page.) Especially Asif. He looks like he hasn't had three meals in a day ever.

Ah, anyway, doping in any sport is just sad and frustrating and unreasonable and disgusting.

Except when you're talking about Cricket. Then it's just funny.

I mean, how well does nandrolone go down with tea and crumpets?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Weird Alstravaganza!

Well, after the music thingie, I ran across some vids by the venerable Weird Al. Here are three favorites three, plus a new one that may be one of his best ever...

First is the very silly Amish Paradise... I almost didn't post this one, after the news today, but it's just dang funny. Plus the story behind it, Coolio's reaction and all, is just too funny, dumb pretentious rapper :)

Next is the hilarious Bedrock Anthem, a sendup of the Red Hot Chili Peppers Give It Away. This is freakin' brilliant, and an example of the parody being better than the original.

And third is the brilliant retelling of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, to the tune of American Pie. There are so many funny little details, so watch closely, especially for Emperor Palaptine :)

Okay, and now for his newest video, from his newest CD! This is the absolutely freakin stupendous parody of Ridin'(Dirty) by Chamillionaire, which is itself a pretty decent rap song, but Al blows it out of the water:

Well, enjoy!


It's about me, dummy!!!


Patzer's Progress
Movie Magic Screenwriter
Film Freaks Film Club
Collingwood FC

Newcastle United

Oakland Raiders

San Jose Sharks


Light Motifs
Yeah Whatever
Under the Bridge
Much That is Hidden
Grapes 2.0
Quotidian Vicissitudes
The Fifth Column
Out of Me Head
Ole Blue the Heretic
Stab Film
What is Hip



Looney Mail



Add to Technorati Favorites