Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Beautiful Game: Great Passwork

Four minutes and thirteen seconds of why I love soccer. I coach a very simple style of play and have a very basic philosophy that I bring to my current team. Passing with one and two touches should be like breathing. Enjoy these goals. Some are jaw dropping amazing.

I Am Not a Cartoon Character

In the grand tradition of I Am Not A Soap Opera Star, I felt the need to refute the claim from "the whiskey." Said drink claimed that I looked like Dale from King of the Hill in my posting about my new office. Pictures speak louder than words. Judge for yourself.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

the pursuit and the perception change

I was a big fan of "the show with zefrank" and miss it daily. Last night I was reading an interview with Ze and the statement he made below resonated with me. "blades of blue" exists because it provides me one small outlet for creativity. Ze's statement about embarking on creative disciplines changing our perception has been especially true for me over the course of working on this blog. I added the emphasis on the last paragraph.

"With The Show project, I've also been thinking a lot about this culture of authorship that we're entering into. You've got so many people that are making things now, whether it's emails or instant messages or uploading images to Flickr, making movies, creating audio on cheap prosumer technology.

What's really interesting to me is that, as anyone knows who's gone into a creative discipline, the second that you start doing those things, the world around you changes. If you draw, you start seeing the edges of things, and you start seeing the deformities of their shape when you move around them. When you start playing guitar, you start noticing notes in all the music you play, and in fact, the music that you listen to never sounds the same from that point on.

I think that a lot of people are focusing on the content that's being produced right now. And I think it's the wrong thing to look at. It's actually the pursuit and the perception change that I think a lot of people are experiencing about the world -- that's the thing to focus on and the thing to celebrate."

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The National: Start a War

I've been exploring The Take Away Shows on La Blogotheque these days and have found some incredible videos. So much so that these might make up the first video content that I would ever consider even putting on my iPod (for some reason I have yet to use this feature).

The Take Away Shows is a cool concept. From the website: "Every week, we give away a session, shot with a band, in an unusual, urban environment. Sessions are always filmed as a unique shot, without any cut, recorded live. We usually haven’t much time to record them, so the groups have to be spontaneous, to improvise, play with what they have with them, and with their environment, whether there’s a public or not."

The music in these videos is much more raw than the studio version. Sometimes the album version may be better but these videos really give you an different perspective on the song that is being played. Example: The Arcade Fire video includes the band playing Neon Bible in a freight elevator, using the elevator walls and the ripping of a magazine for rhythm.

One band that I have been enjoying a lot these days is called The National. They have appeared on a couple monthly mixes as of late. The video posted below is a song on their new album Boxer. The song is called Start a War and the video is shot in southern France after they just ate dinner. They use objects on the table to create the beat to the song. Check it out. The album version is really awesome as well, highly recommended.

Monday, May 28, 2007


This is a photo from a set of shots that I uploaded to Flickr tonight - they are all from a wedding which I posted about previously.

So for those of you who are friends of Mark and Karen, click here to check out a slideshow of photos taken from their wedding. If you are Mark or Karen: Congrats! What an awesome wedding! Sorry it took me so long to upload the full set. If you're neither and just think the sparkler photo is cool, feel free to drop a comment in the box.

Cajun Signs: Bud 'N Boilin'

The sign above is from Dwight's Restaurant (their website needs a little bit of work) in Lafayette, LA. I like this sign of cajun culture for a number of reasons. I like how the Budweiser sign pays homage to crawfish season. I like how this restaurant thanks everyone for a great crawfish season. Finally, most of all, I like how most people around here probably don't even register the fact that thanking people for a great crawfish season is a unique piece of culture.

One last thing you'll notice: All restaurants in these parts are now 100% smoke free. Very cool.

Here is Dwight's primary sign on Johnston Street.

Friday, May 25, 2007

The first is a patron, the last a punisher

"Society is produced by our wants, and government by wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher.

Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer."

I am starting a book tonight called The Glorious Cause by Jeff Shaara, a novel of the American Revolution. Shaara is one of my favorite authors these days and this seems like a perfect way to kick off Memorial Day weekend.

at times when you tremble

at times when you tremble

1. Hallelujah The Hills ◊ Hallelujah The Hills
2. Everybody Knows ◊ Ryan Adams
3. You're a Wolf ◊ Sea Wolf
4. Lost To The Lonesome ◊ Pela
5. Soft Revolution ◊ Stars
6. One Two Three Four ◊ Feist
7. When The Night Feels My Song ◊ Bedouin Soundclash
8. Hate It Here ◊ Wilco
9. Coconut ◊ The Sea And Cake
10. Man-Revolutionary! ◊ Rogue Wave
11. In Repair ◊ John Mayer
12. Right Me Up ◊ State Radio
13. The Trouble With River Cities ◊ Pela
14. Mr. November ◊ The National
15. Storm ◊ José González
16. Mason Dixon ◊ Virginia Coalition
17. Up On Crutches ◊ The Sea And Cake
18. 12:59 Lullaby ◊ Bedouin Soundclash
19. Same Jeans ◊ The View
20. Be Kind & Remind ◊ Rogue Wave
21. Wraith Pinned To The Mist And Other Games ◊ Of Montreal
22. Thou Shalt Always Kill ◊ Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip

My New Office

So I reached the breaking point and needed to get out of the house. Thus, I moved my office to the back porch. Much better.

Only those thoughts that come by walking...

"A sedentary life is the real sin against the Holy Spirit.
Only those thoughts that come by walking have any value." - Friedrich Nietzsche

I haven't left the house in two days except to go get the mail.

Sea Wolf - You're a Wolf

"Old gypsy woman spoke to me, lips stained red from a bottle of wine. " - Sea Wolf

Finally finished the April monthly mix tonight. Also packed up a bunch of March mixes and put your name on the envelope. Like I said. Finally. I'm going to refrain from posting the April track listing until I get over to the post office.

However, here's a track from the April mix called You're a Wolf by the band Sea Wolf. Yup, that's a cello.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Is President Bush the Lincoln of Iraq?

A little Friday humor as you head into your long weekend. Better Know a District is one of the best things about the Colbert Report. Colbert is able to confuse and befuddle with the best of them. Watch as he gets this one flip flopping on Iraq, supporting poet assassinations, and breaking laws.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

6 ft 7 in

Your name is Rafael Benítez and you coach one of the best club teams in the world. You are in the biggest club championship game there is. You are losing 2-0 and there are 15-20 minutes left. You have left the second top goal scorer in the Champions League sitting on your bench. He is 6 ft 7 in and his name is Peter Crouch. For some reason you have not played him all game. Why would you do that?

AC Milan 2 Liverpool 1

Steven Gerrard: "You've got to take it on the chin, move on and try to pick yourself up, but at the moment it's heartbreaking. We gave everything but it wasn't to be tonight."

Filippo Inzaghi: "These are the evenings that remain with you for all your life."

You Can Score in Canada

Here is a bubble chart of the countries that US MNT players scored against when setting the record for all time leading goal scorer for the US. Data set was taken from Climbing the Ladder.

Click here for the interactive version. Basic screen shot below. Canada is a good team for our strikers: 15% of the record breaking moments occurred up north.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Data Visualization: World Cup Final Network Diagram

Since I mentioned how cool it would be to do a network analysis of a soccer game here is the sample that was done on the World Cup Final in Germany.

"Produced on July 9th, 2006, the day of FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 final match between Italy and France, this network shows the passes from every player to those three team-mates he passes to most frequently. Strength of arcs displays the number of passes. Size of nodes displays the influence (flowbetweenness) of a player."

Data Visualization: Top 25 MLS Salaries

I created an account tonight on Many Eyes, a website whose goal is to "...democratize visualization and to enable a new social kind of data analysis." The website allows you to upload data sets and apply different visualizations. I'm pretty excited about the possibilities. Carlee is as well. She is talking about creating networking diagrams off of data from my team's soccer games. That will be one effective coaching tool.

So here are the first two visualizations I created. Both are from a data set I grabbed off of Climbing the Ladder, a cool soccer blog with tons of data. I started out really simple and the data set I used was the Top 25 MLS Salaries that the site published. This is a basic bubble chart of the data. Clicking the image below takes you to an interactive visualization of the data set. You can highlight multiple bubbles and see totals or percentage. Also, you can view this by player or team. Check it out.

The following visualization is a treemap of the same data set. Again, clicking the image will take you to an interactive version. Example of why this is cool: As soon as I organized this by team, I was able to immediately tell that the salary of Blanco and Armas was equal to the combined salaries of Angel, Reyna and Mathis.

I'm looking forward to playing with this a lot more. If you have a data set that would be cool to explore, let me know.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Setting a Precedent

One of the general lessons I have learned through my job has to do with recognizing and being careful whenever I may be setting a precedent. Calvin says it best.

Thou Shalt Always Kill

In an effort to introduce you to more music that you will not like, here is Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, Thou Shalt Always Kill:

Although...I'm not sure why you wouldn't like this...

Payback: Cutting in Line

The second half of the story: Carlee was not happy with the fact that I cut the drive thru line at Starbucks. Thus, we paid for the drinks of the people we cut. It wasn't all that expensive and the principle of the thing made Carlee feel better. It made me feel silly.

I made it clear to the barista and I will make it clear to you. I thought paying the people back was pretty ridiculous. Basically, I felt like we would encourage more text messaging while in line. However, I was overruled by my wife and keeping her happy is more important than making my point to someone who can't pay attention in line.

Right Wing-Off

5 Minutes of classic Jon Stewart on the recent Republican debate. There are too many one liners in here to pick from.

"My view is, we ought to double Guantanamo."
"A double Guantanamo! That's insane to try in competition!"
"I vote for Romney, his knowledge of fabric is unparalleled."
"Governor Romney, I want to give you another difficult abortion situation."
"I'm looking for Jack Bauer."

I highly recommend this video - it's a great break during your day.

Cutting in Line

So we were in the Starbucks drive thru line on Saturday morning and I noticed that the driver 2 cars in front of me had left about 1 car length in between their car and the car currently ordering. I get annoyed when I see people do this at traffic lights (because I believe it impacts the number of cars that make it through the light), but I was ok with this at first. I was ok with it because I assumed the person was leaving some space to decide if they really wanted to wait in line. Let's face it, sometimes that drive thu line is brutal. Being able to exit can be really important if you are in a rush.

That was when the car that was ordering pulled forward and around the corner. The "gapper" didn't move. I waited 5 seconds or so. Reversed. Changed the angle of my car and craned my neck to see if I was missing another car, or a motor bike, or any other logical reason for the person to not pull up and order. Nothing. 10-15 seconds had passed. At this point, I pulled past the car immediately in front of me (who for some reason was not laying on their horn) and pulled up next to the "gapper." I stopped for 2 seconds and they never looked up...from their text messaging.

So I cut in front of two cars in the drive through and went about my day. As we were ordering, as we were paying, and as we were leaving, that woman continued to text message and leave major gaps in the drive thru line.

I am 100% comfortable with cutting that line.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Jose Gonzalez - Heartbeats Live

This is a live version of Heartbeats by Jose Gonzalez. This song has a great acoustic guitar and vocal mix - nothing but guitar and voice. This song was on the February 2006 Monthly Mix: that's how the future's done. Enjoy.

One night to be confused
one night to speed up truth
we had a promise made
four hands and then away

both under influence
we had divine scent
to know what to say
mind is a razor blade

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Think Twice Before You Wear Rocket Ships

I know this has happened to you in some form or another.

State Champs

Up above is a photo Carlee took of the team after we won the state championship. Thought I would share it with all the distributed fan base I am building via the site. Down below is the obligatory "thug" shot.


Two good friends of ours got married this past weekend and I wanted to make sure and send a quick Congratulations out to them. It was a beautiful day. Here are two photos I took during the wedding. The top one is from their first dance, taken at sunset. They got married at the same place Carlee and I were married. The second photo is the bride at the start of the ceremony.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Green Thumb

We did a lot a yard work today. We planted Aspidistra elatior (aka Cast Iron, which is grown for its ability to survive neglect and shade), a small cantelope (mainly as an experiment), and a Satsuma tree (planted next to our lime tree). We purchased some Florida Sun Jade (Coleus) and Magilla Perilla (red leaf Beefsteak plant) but have yet to plant those. Did some standards as well: mow, weed, trim and clean the gutters.

It's tough to make progress on the yard with all of the other extracurricular activities we have. However, we are gradually making progress one step at a time.


Player: Coach, what's it like to get a haircut when you're bald?
Coach: You ask them to cut what's left.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

SNL: TSA Security Liquid/Gel Sketch

"What's to stop two people from each having 3 ounces and then meeting on the plane to combine them?"

Pretty funny and very fitting given my travel woes.

Have you seen my...

It's been a long travel week for me and I am just getting past Wednesday. For some reason I keep experiencing major malfunctions as each day happens. The week started out great on Sunday with the two championship wins. Then I hopped on a plane and it went down hill.
  1. Flight from Houston to Virginia delayed by 2 hours, making my arrival time in Va 12:45 AM on Sunday night. My meeting the next day is at 8 AM.
  2. As I am dreading the fact that I need to iron my dress shirts the next morning, I realize an important fact: I left all my dress shirts at home. All I have is the t-shirt on my back after coaching and playing soccer all day.
  3. 2 AM: I pull into a Wal-Mart in northern Va looking to buy a new wardrobe. Closed.
  4. 2:30 AM: I go to bed.
  5. 5:30 AM: Wake up and go back to Wal-Mart which opens at 6 AM. Successfully buy wardrobe which I now have to iron the folded shirt lines out of.
  6. Tuesday night: Drive from VA to Trenton.
  7. Wednesday morning: Start to shave but have to stop...left my shaving cream in Va.
  8. Wednesday night: Leaving the office....but can't.
  9. Have you seen my rental car keys?
Needless to say. I'm a little tired these days but I decided to break my silence and play my tiny violin. There is not much left to lose tomorrow (knock on wood).

Sunday, May 06, 2007

State Tournament Update 2

We did it. A 3-0 victory in the finals today. We have successfully won the state championship 2 years in a row. I'm not sure what to say about the game...the guys played well and for some periods were simply dominant. The other team definitely had heart and played to the final whistle. Beyond our seemingly standard 5 minute opening slump (gotta fix that), I felt we had the game under control. Our road to the cup mirrored last year. We played the exact same teams in the quarters and the semi's. We played a weaker team than what we faced in the previous two games in the final (also mirroring last year). It was the same 3-0 victory to win it all. I think it takes a lot of character to repeat a title against some of the competition we faced this weekend. I am proud of the team.

After the water bucket over the head, the trophy ceremony, and the team photo, Carlee and I raced back to Lafayette to play in the final game of the co-ed season. Winner of that game would win the league. We rolled up at halftime and our team was up 1-0. In the second half we went down 2-1. The heat was brutal. We fought back to 2-2. With about 45 seconds left our center mid hit a shot from almost no angle into the far corner, giving the adult team the title with a 3-2 victory.

Two championships in one day. Correction. Two repeat championships in one day - both teams successfully defended their title. After the co-ed game, I raced off the airport. I pity the poor soul sitting next to the sweaty coach/center-mid on the flight to Houston and then DC.

P.S. With the state cup in hand we head to regionals on June 8th-10th. Next stop Tampa. Let the preparation begin.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

State Tournament Update 1

My U-16 team played the state quarterfinals this afternoon against the same team we beat last year in the quarters. It's never easy to repeat. It is even tougher to repeat when the first step on the road is a team looking out for revenge. We gave up a penalty kick 5 minutes in but our goalie made an awesome save. 2 minutes later we were down 1-0. Things were looking a little bleak but we fought through it and tied it back up. Eventually we slipped in the winner from the left mid spot. A 2-1 victory that left us exhausted and with the semi's 3 hours away.

In the semifinals we played the exact same team we played in the semi's last year, except for the fact that in the interim they combined teams with their rival to make a better run at the cup. Less than 10 minutes in and we were down 1-0 again. We fought back again and tied it up. Eventually, we slipped in the winner from the left mid spot.

Both game winning goals were from players coming off the bench. Depth is key. Character is huge. We clearly have a target on our back and we just came back from two 1 goal deficits against 2 of the best teams in the state to advance to the title game.

The final is tomorrow and I think we are ready to finish what we started.

Friday, May 04, 2007

It's just one of those weeks...

I know I am having a tough week based on one simple statistic: the number of emails flagged for follow-up in my inbox.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Andrew Bird: Plasticities

I've become a big fan of Andrew Bird over the last few months. He's a Northwestern grad with a bachelor's degree in violin performance. Besides vocals, he plays the violin, whistling, guitar and the glockenspiel. Check out his performance on Letterman and decide if you agree with me. I think the this song is great and it is on this past January's monthly mix, The Whiskey's Waiting. He has continued to make each subsequent mix this year thus far.

we'll fight we'll fight
we'll fight for your music halls
and dying cities

they'll fight they'll fight
they'll fight for your neural walls
and plasticities
and precious territory

MFLS Week 4 Results

I am confident that I rocked the house and am now beating Carlee. Unfortunately I cannot prove that because MFLS has been down all day. Damn them.