Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Referrals

Two quick referrals today.
  1. Ronaldinho vs. Zidane - Two of the greatest players around. After this one video, 5 minutes of goal after goal after mind numbing "can you really do that with a soccer ball moves," and you will be a believer as well.
  2. I am better than your kids - Is it wrong that this cracks me up? Some random dude on the internet (found via the Dilbert blog) who grades and critiques children's art that he finds? Either way, I will confess, this made me laugh pretty hard last night. I think the Crappy Art #2 link had some good ones as well (see the bottom of his page).

Monday, May 29, 2006

World Cup 2006: If you don't like billboards...

Check out this billboard in Germany. Just might be worth driving down to Munich on one of our spare days over there. Bought to you courtesy of the World Cup Blog.

Memorial Day Travel

Houston was hit by a major storm today. The result was that I spent a couple extra hours in Baton Rouge, a couple extra hours in Houston, a couple hours on the tarmac, totaling in a 12-13 hour travel day. If it wasn't for the weather, the travel day would have rocked. I got upgraded on both flight legs - evidently, not many other business travelers were as stupid as me and booked a bright and early Memorial Day flight. Of course, it does mean that I had to deal with fellow travelers who behave like they have never seen an airplane before. Annoying travel habit of the day: People who don't let you get out your aisle seat prior to them trying to get to their window seat.

My God. If I never have to stare at another stranger's ass trying to squeeze between me and the seat, trying to not spill my orange juice, and sticking their armpit in my nose as they grab for leverage over my head, I will be a happy man. Just let me get up next time. Trust me, it's easier.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

US vs. Latvia and Venezuela: Send Them Packing


So this weekend was all about watching soccer, unpacking, and packing again.
  • Soccer: US vs Venezuela & US vs Latvia. We won both games and in both games (2-0; 1-0) the team looked strong. I have to say though, I am huge fan of Dempsey and Convey. We play a much more exciting style of soccer with Convey and Dempsey on the field than when other veteran players are on the field. On the other hand, we are more methodical and possession oriented against Latvia (when some of the veterans were starting). I think the US team needs to find a middle ground. They need to breed and encourage the creativity and explosiveness of Convey and Dempsey, yet maintain the possession game elsewhere on the field. Right now, we are 'either-or', rather than what I would consider a deadly mix.
  • Unpacking: The boxes never end at the new house. But I see light at the end of the tunnel.
  • Packing: Unpack on Friday, repack on Sunday. Week 3 of travel starts tomorrow at 4:30 am. Happy Memorial Day to me.
Less than 20 days until we fly to Germany. Kick off time approaches and I am tempted to suggest we send the veterans packing and bring in the youth on the squad for the starting line up against the Czechs. I think the heroes (if any) of this world cup just may be the youngsters.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Not Normal Behavior


When you travel 4 weeks in a row for testing and design sessions you start to do some weird things. Week 1 is fairly normal. With week 2 ending, I will document the symptoms you can potentially start to show:

  • Falling asleep from the hours of 9 PM to 12:30 AM, waking up to see your TV on, laptop on, and 48 hours playing on TNT.
  • Stay awake until 3 or 4 AM because you just have to see how 48 hours ends.
  • Pouring sugar on top of a V8 can because you think it is your coffee cup.
  • Mislead yourself and believe that you can shower, shave, iron, and meet the rest of your team all in a 15 minute time period in the morning. FYI, time really needed for all morning activities listed: 18 minutes if you are having a good day.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

US v Morocco: "Of bigger concern..."


Not sure if I agree with ESPN when they say: "A late goal by Moroccan substitute Mohamed Madihi sent the U.S. to a 1-0 defeat. Of bigger concern for the U.S. was an injury suffered by Claudio Reyna." I may draw some criticism here but I am not the biggest fan of Reyna and am not sure that we should be more concerned about him or the fact that we can't seem to get our act together. I missed the game, so I have nothing to go on but the news I read on line, but it sounds like we need to figure some things out...

Post game reactions can be found here. In the course of the video, you see the goal that was scored on us. Cherundolo made a pretty bad decision on this one. There is also a shot of Eddie Johnson going up for a header that they show during the interviews. This header alone, plus hearing Arena state that we got out planned and out played, makes watching this set of clips worth it. I find it fascinating to hear what he has to say to his players when his team loses to a team that it should not lose to. He minces no words.

Did Dempsey sub in for Gooch? Check out the US Soccer line up and sub stats. WTF? And Wolff is starting? Ugh.

Monday, May 22, 2006

6v6, US vs Morocco



We play Morocco tomorrow. I will be very curious to see the line up.

It's been a while since I checked out the US Soccer video site and they have had clips from some inter-squad 6v6 stuff up for a while. The clips are pretty cool and worth your time. Some nice goals are scored from various players. I like the use of the players on the perimeter and I am thinking it may make for a good way to end one of my U-15 practices.

They also have some ice bath clips. When I was in college, I used to soak my lower leg in big Gatorade buckets filled with ice in order to keep my ankle swelling down after a tough game on the turf. No joke, sticking your bare foot in a huge jug of ice water is a pretty crazy sensation. These guys are doing it, both legs at a time, up to their waists. Umm....Don't Tread on Me.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Protesting Fiction

I really wanted to go see The Da Vinci Code this weekend but just didn't have the time. I read the book and it was great. What I expected to be even better would be the fools lining up to protest a fictional story. Unfortunately, by next weekend, I expect that most of the crazies will be back in doors or out on the roads like normal people. If anyone I know had a DVC experience this past weekend I would love to hear about it.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Azzurri


What's up with Italian soccer? They are fixing the league? And who do I have to sleep with to make sure the US hands it to them in Germany? In case you haven't heard, four Serie A clubs are being investigated for match fixing: Juventus, Lazio, AC Milan and Fiorentina.

"Approach"-ing Therapy


Quick little blip about my buddy RC - out from Troy - great stopper - kind of a weird gait when he runs but still a pretty great stopper. I played with him for a few years in college and as luck would have it, he remains one of the few folks from those confused and angst ridden years that I remain in touch with. So in summary:
  • Good soccer player
  • Runs weird
  • Started a blog you can now find on my sidebar, see Therapy, - so far so good.
To keep you updated on my end:
  • I am headed into week 2 of week 4 of Travel to Trenton (by no coincidence can this be abbreviated into TNT).
  • We continue to live out of boxes but as each day goes by, one box by one box less. Moving out of boxes into a new home is harder than packing. Tonight was our first real dinner alone at our new home. Burgers and Corn on the Cobb. Riesling. Miles Davis.
  • My U-15 team is entering week 3 of preparations for Decatur (Alabama, not GA...sorry bro). We are ramping up good - 3 practices a week. Scrimmage tomorrow. I enlisted the help of my friend "retired" to coach the team when I am on travel. Quote from one of the players today when I asked how "retired's" first practice went: "He ran us like bitches." Sounds like I made a good choice.
The picture above? A little piece of Troy, NY history. A landmark called the Approach that joins RPI to the city downtown. Many a stumbling night on these stairs for me...cheers to RC.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Kin

So I've told you that "the show" rocks and you now check it out daily right? What?!?!? Get with the program. Start now. Here is a link to the 5/15 show which has a little travel post going on so I found it related to my current theme of: Life sucks when you have to travel 4 weeks in a row for work. If you liked BannerBlog, I know you're kin.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

BannerBlog - Sad But True

Yes, it is sad...but this is actually pretty cool. I recommend you check out BannerBlog for some good old fashion time killing. The blog posts daily interactive banner ads and showcases some of the best in online advertising. The Nike ones are cool. Yes...I said it already, sad but true. I spent time checking out banner ads. Give me a break, it was a long day.

Annoying Travel Note

I hate scrounging around for electrical outlets in airports. I have been to one or two that actually have electrical outlet hubs for business travelers. Those are nice. But it is never fun when you have to body check some dude in a suit in order to get your laptop plugged into the last outlet near your gate. I think I hurt his knee...

Grey's Anatomy - Season Finale


Last night, I have to confess, I dedicated 2 hours of my life to the season finale of Grey's Anatomy. I am not a huge fan of the show, simply because too many people die and have bad shit happen to them. On the flip side, I am now sucked into the characters a little bit so it is a pretty decent escape.

For those of you who watch the show:
Seriously. All of the interns should be canned. Except for George. As of right now, he appears to be the only character the writers have given the gift of maturity to. The remainder should not be practicing medicine. I found the finale a little slow at times. The drama is much better over a 1 hour period, not 2. Plus, I was a little let down by the cliff hanger. The big question is who Meredith chooses? That's like the cliff hanger every week and before every commercial break. I was hoping they would come up with something a little more creative. The music was pretty decent last night. I may try to find a couple of the sappy pop songs they play when people cry, die, or discover themselves.

For those of you who do not watch the show:
Consider yourself lucky. You probably spent 2 hours doing something a bit more productive than me last night.

For those of you who watch Lost:
Now there is a good show.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Moving Day

Well, it is done. This past weekend, Carlee and I moved out of our home that we have been living in for the last 5 years. We had been renting...so it was about time to start building some equity as well as time to swim in some debt. We started packing at 3 PM on Friday. We loaded the truck and unloaded a 24 foot truck in 3.5 hours. How did we do it so fast? We had ten 14 year old soccer players pitching in. I never thought I would ever say this out loud, but moving was a blast. It will probably go down as one of those days that I remember for a long time. After moving, we grilled out with the team in the back yard and played 3 v 3 soccer for a couple hours.

I am traveling the remainder of the week so posting may or may not be regular...

Friday, May 12, 2006

Kasey Keller Blog


"The urge to win
A time to strike
Follow no one"
- Sepultura, Common Bonds

Kasey Keller has opened blog posting on CBS Sportsline (information coming to you via the World Cup Blog - an awesome resource). Couple things I found funny from the man in between the sticks:
  • When he is in NC, he likes to hang out with Max Cavalera, formerly of Sepultura. Nice.
  • He goes into a little critique of forwards, opened by: "Speaking of results, have you noticed that when strikers score, even if it's a simple tap in that a child couldn't miss, they always run around celebrating as if it was the greatest goal of all time?" I know my goalie/defensive friends will enjoy his point of view.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Getting out of New Orleans

A while back I was commenting on what I think is a pretty scary possibility: the upcoming hurricane season and the inability for our state to get its act together. Well, CNN has a little article posted questioning the realities of the evacuation plan as it has been spec'd out to date. Let's hope someone in N.O. gets their act together fast.

US World Cup Training Camp


Get your boots on. Training camp opened in Cary, NC. The US Soccer website has a video of their first fitness work out. Pretty cool. Go here. Also, check out these Flickr photos of the first practice session. There are some sweet shots. This photo of Johnson and Gibbs (above) might be one of the best. You can go to the Triangle Soccer Fanatics site to get a summary of the session. Oh, and by the way, Don't Tread on Me.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Band of Horses / Two Gallants

Long overdue updates to the side bar occurred tonight. In the Mix - Two bands that I am checking out lately:
  1. Band of Horses - Seattle based - One song in particular is really cool: The Great Salt Lake. Amazon describes these guys as indie-pop sulk...which isn't very inspiring. The Great Salt Lake tune is far from that. It is more "epic " to me. You can get the song at So Much Silence.
  2. Two Gallants - Folk/Rock/Blues - Rough like my mornings. Particularly the song Steady Rollin' - which has the killer lyric: "I shot my wife today, dropped her body in the Frisco Bay." Oddly enough, this is my wife's favorite lyric too. You can get the song at Come Pick Me Up...

Rooney's Metatarsal


So if you are an England fan: you know that the savior of England soccer (Wayne Rooney) has a broken metatarsal, you know that he is using an oxygen chamber to promote healing (although I am finding stories that the thing freaked him out a bit), and you will probably never wear a Nike boot again. The big rumor out there is that the properties of Wayne's boots are what caused the metatarsal to break. Nike denies it of course, and has vowed to make no changes to its boots.

Evidently, the shoe controversy has other roots as well: "Sir Alex Ferguson banned his players from wearing “blade” studs (so-called because of their knife-like shape, designed to grip the turf) after Roy Keane broke his metatarsal last autumn." I wear blade boots myself...this makes me nervous.

On top of it all, one of the key players on my U-15 team broke his metatarsal this season. I'll have to find out what kind of boots he was wearing. Crazy though, that kid played this past weekend (less than 6 weeks after the injury - so there is hope for England), with a limp, and was better then almost anyone on the other team.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Monday, May 08, 2006

World Cup Tickets


Our World Cup tickets came in the mail today. It might be time to book a hotel...and since I am so late on this, I just might be packing a tent. Don't Tread on Me.

Champions

This weekend was nothing but soccer.
  • Friday: Cook dinner for fourteen 15 year olds and watch 2101 goals in 2.5 hours. Mental preparation for the state quarterfinals.
  • Saturday, Game 1: Win the state quarterfinals 5-2.
  • Saturday, Game 2: Win the state semifinals. We played 80 minutes (0-0), two 10 minute sudden death overtimes and then went to Penalty Kicks.
  • Sunday, State Championship: We beat Houma in the finals, 3-0, giving up maybe only 5 shots on goal. One of the best games we have played and the perfect time to do so.
  • Sunday, Co-Ed Game: My adult team won the co-ed adult soccer league we play in later that same afternoon.
Not a bad weekend.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Fatal Contact: Have We Had Enough?

Seriously. ABC needs work. The bird flu move comes out on May 9. Why do people make this crap and why do people watch it?

Quote: "Bodies piling up so quickly it takes dump trucks to haul them away. Barbed wire to keep whole neighborhoods quarantined."

The producers state: "The reason to portray it this way is to kind of give a wake-up call to everyone and this is something we shouldn't ignore and we should be as prepared as we should be..." Honestly, if you are getting your wake up calls from made for TV movies, you are hurting.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Festival International de Louisiane

I've been remiss in not posting about this earlier. Every year in April, Lafayette hosts the Festival International de Louisiane - the largest outdoor, free Francophone event in the U.S. I try to tell every one I know about this festival because, as a huge fan of music, I can honestly say that it is one of the coolest venues to find new bands and listen to music that I have ever been exposed to. I am not exaggerating here. Reasons why:
  • The music comes from all over the world. Here is a list of countries that send musicians to the festival: England, Zaire, Canada, Martinique, Cuba, Mali, Burundi, South Africa, Puerto Rico, Ireland, Republic of Congo, France, Cameroon, Benin, Australia, Ethiopia. There are more.
  • 5 days of music and events
  • Held in the entire downtown area of Lafayette, closed to cars, and tons of space for lawn chairs and families. This is a family event crossed with the perfect mix of new and local music. This is not your crowded festival with no space to breathe.
  • Did I mention local music? If it suits your liking, some of the best Zydeco and Cajun artists pepper the lists of performers.
  • It's free.
The one unfortunate thing about this festival is that it falls on the same weekend of the District soccer tournament for my youth team. Every year. Thus, I end up pulling some sort of crazy driving schedule in order to catch music, drive to a soccer tournament, drive back, catch more music.

The highlight of my experience this year: Cyro Baptista & Beat the Donkey. I confess I had no idea who they were. Turns out, Cyro is a famous percussionist. His credits include:
Yo-Yo Ma's Brazil Project, Trey Anastasio's Band, John Zorn's Electric Masada, Herbie Hancock's Grammy award winning "Gershwin’s World" , Sting and Paul Simon's "Rhythm of the Saints". The Beat the Donkey show was all over the map. This man played wrenches, PVC pipes (with cheap beach flip flops as the "sticks"), and an assortment of exotic drums. Seriously - one of the coolest shows I've been to.

If you are ever thinking of dropping by for a visit, I recommend the festival weekend.

CNN: Crappy News Network

I get my news from multiple sources in order to stay informed. CNN has gradually been evolving to a source where I go infrequently. Here's why. Above is a cut of the headlines as of about 10 minutes ago. 50% of them are pure crap (the last 4) and I think I can say that my subjective opinion here would be echoed by many people. The first 4 are valid enough news items that I will not pass judgment on them. If you read CNN and you click through on those last 4, you are in fact contributing to this problem because I would bet that those click through trends are tracked and used to determine what headlines to post. Let's save ourselves and stop clicking through the crap.

The Roster


The US World Cup roster was released yesterday. We look strong. But...what is Josh Wolff doing on it? Go check it out at the US Soccer website.

Also, Grant Wahl has a real cool Bruce Arena article that profiles the coach. Good reading. Thanks for the tip Carlee.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A Cunning Mistake

So my barista made a mistake last night and made my triple tall vanilla latte (about two weeks ago I decided the triple grande was too much milk), with 4 shots of espresso. That is a quadruple tall latte. It was very good.

Unfortunately, I was up until 1 am. A dangerous mistake by a cunning barista...

Monday, May 01, 2006

Districts

This past weekend was the first round of the state tournament for the U-15 boys team that I coach - the Lafayette Thunder. After 4 games we finished first place in the West and are headed into the State quarter finals next Saturday. I was proud of the guys. After being guaranteed a qualification to the next round, we played one more game and it was the best of the weekend. That kind of focus is a great sign. Wish us luck this upcoming round - the competition coming out of the East is tough.