Thursday, October 26, 2006

Let's Get Physical

So it appears that schools are now starting to ban Tag. Tag. That's right, the game where basically you run around a lot and someone is "IT" and tries to tag the others. Pretty innocent game that we all played as a kid. But apparently "they" (ie administrators who think they know what is best for kids) say it singles out kids and reveals a hierarchy of the good and the bad. This is inline with schools banning dodge ball because "the strong prey on the weak." Also, these people think that there is the chance that someone might get hurt. Millions of school kids have grown up playing these games. I doubt any of them have had "severe mental trauma" due to them; likewise anything physical that happens are your ordinary bumps & bruises.

There are two things that really get me when these things happen. One is the fact that we, as a nation, are growing increasingly fatter. These games serve a simple purpose where the kinds run around and burn calories. Those of us in the industry would refer to this as "aerobic exercise." Its a basic tenet of living an active lifestyle. Kids these days (I can't wait until I'm a grumpy old man) come home, watch TV, hop on the internet, and play video games. There is no more just running around outside games. Then schools are cutting recess and phys ed...add to this the wonderful nutrition options, and it's no wonder kids and our society are fat. I'm not asking all kids to be in travel sports teams with overzealous parents (thats a topic for another day), but being active for 30 min a day can do wonders for a kid.

The other thing that bothers me is that one of the reasons they've banned these games is because these games result in a pecking-order of the best to the worst. They (the administrators) want the kids to know they are all equal and on a level field. One of the things in life is that we're all separated from best to worst in everything we do -- school, athletics, looks, income, jobs...nothing in life is equal and we're all on various parts of the Normal Curve with all these things. Yes, it's not fun for a little kid to lose, but if they find out at a young age how to deal with not being the best & losing, it'll serve them better later in life. It also helps to motivate them to find out what areas (sports, school) they are good at. Life is all about dealing with rejection in some way or the other. Whether its the girl you asked out, or getting turned down a bunch of times before you get a job, or applying for a mortgage...we find a way to deal with it. This reminds me of that South Park episode where they were putting on a Christmas show/pageant at school. In order to not offend ANYONE it went from a show about Christmas and Santa to this "interperative dance" number where everyone was dressed in black dancing to European techno music and it had NOTHING to do with Christmas. Its things like this that make me wonder if this country is really headed in the right direction.

Monday, October 16, 2006

I Was Never Cool in School

A couple of updates...looks like FNL isn't getting the ratings NBC has hoped. It's a lot better then its competition of Dancing with the Stars (sorry sisters/mom). Tuesday at 8:00, give it a try. Other TV stuff, I'm a big fan of How I Met Your Mother, but The Class is just awful. That doesn't, however, stop me from watching it. It's one of those things where I know I'm not enjoying it, but I keep going anyway just to see if maybe there's a light at the end of the tunnel. My conclusion -- it must be a very long tunnel or there is no light.

CFB...MSU got destroyed by OSU on saturday. Not a big surprise, however...John L is as good as gone. Of course this means a new coach that will bring in a new feelgood era of perpetual mediocrity. Whenever MSU plays OSU it gets me thinking about loyalty to a team. I was raised as a Buckeyes fan. Throughout the Cooper years where we'd be just good enough and then lose to Michigan and then to current Tressel-ball era which has resulted in 1 National Championship and one of the premier programs of the last 5's been fun. Two years ago, however, I entered Grad school at MSU and suddenly I'm a fan of a Big 10 school that I actually attend. So when MSU plays OSU, who do I cheer for? Well despite being an OSU fan, I have no ties to the school and actually attended MSU. That being said, I feel that after all these years I should cheer for OSU. I came to the decision that I'll cheer for OSU except when they play MSU. Of course MSU sucks so royally this year, the point is moot.

As a fan of OSU, I'm actually cheering for Michigan to win. I want that on November 18, there is a colossal matchup that surpasses all the hype that will surely precede it. Of course, UM has to survive the #2 jinx that has seen 4(?) #2's lose over the past month or so.

Well, I've had some requests to discuss a certain topic. Yes, I made my official competitive debut as a collegiate swim coach. It was a long weekend that involved 2.5 drive friday afternoon and then back that night. We got back at 12:15 and then had a 6am departure saturday morning for an 8:30 am meet. It was originally scheduled for 12:30 but for some reason that I don't understand, a top-10 football team is much more important then a swimming meet. There were some good swims, and I know where we need some work. It was a long weekend and the kids did a lot of swimming and were tired. That said, I was pleased with the last relay, although I have to get one of my swimmers to take his 100 out faster -- 25.0/25.7 were his splits. And yes, we do team warm-downs despite the complaints. It's good for them. I was pleased with how things went. I keep telling the kids -- we train for february. We use these meets and progress reports to let us know how the training is going and to work on little things like turns, breathing patterns, and stratergery. Then when we get to conferences, everything is cake.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

It's Friday Night

This was supposed to go up last night...we'll give it a try now.

Well no, it's only tuesday. But I'm sitting here watching the 2nd episode of "Friday Night Lights." I had no interest in it until a week or so ago and was hearing so many good things about it. I watched the first episode and color me impressed. I haven't read the book, but I saw the movie and thought it was so-so, nothing special. I wasn't giving it much of a shot so I tuned in and I think I'm hooked. It's one of those "inspired by" things where it is based on the book but the book is non-fiction so in all actuality the only things similar is the fact that it's about a town in Texas who live and die by how their high school football team does and the harmony/disharmony (racial or otherwise) that exists within the team and the town. Anyway, how many football shows have their been? Uh....Coach? Well that was a 1/2 hour comedy and didn't really focus on football itself. So its a TV show about football...big deal. But it's filmed like a documentary so it goes against the grain of the traditional drama. The big reason I like it is that in my new career as a coach I have a lot more perspective on the individual personalities on an athletic team. Being an athlete is one thing...but when you're a coach you have all the personalities to monitor and keep tabs on. The show also has a lot of subtle take-home mesages that, as a coach, I just eat up. If you haven't watched this show, give it a try, especially if you've ever been part of a team. It's pretty good stuff.

Other happenings...well I'm living in a state that has the oldest (I'm about 98% sure) senator in the nation and he's running for reelection this year. He was born in 1917, his name is all over EVERYTHING in this state...this means he'll be 95 by the time his term is up, providing he's still alive. Anyway, in the midst that is the mid-term elections we're all subject to those political ads. One has this senator talking about how he's proposed/pushing a bill to allow for silent prayer in school. HELLO?! McFly?! Seriously, do we need a bill for SILENT prayer? I'm pretty sure that this happens regardless if there is a law about it or not. I know for a fact that I've done this more then a fair share of time whenever I've had a test/exam/paper -- just asking for a little guidance and success. But really, a bill? C'mon, anyone else out there that finds this completely ridiculous?

OK, it's Wednesday now. Overheard while walking home this evening:
Female co-ed "The best day ever was when I found out I could use my Old Navy card at Gap and Banana Republic!"

Continuing the theme of TV shows from above, I'm currently watching 30 Rock. You know NBC has two shows on the new schedule that are behind-the-scene views on a fictional late-night TV show...both based on SNL. One is a drama (Studio 60...) while 30 Rock is a comedy. I'm really digging 30 Rock right now. Tiny Fey is great...seeing Alec Baldwin as a smarmy (is that even the right word?) network exec is great...and Tracy Morgan was always underrated on SNL. He's playing the "wacky/outrageous/crazy movie star" and he may actually break-out on this role. Overall (for the time being) it seems that NBC has some quality shows on its network and may be coming back from the low point they were at a year or two ago.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

An Island in the Sun

The Lost premiere LiveBlog. Spoilers below!

Just like last year we open up with an unknown person (Julie v Desmond) while and old song playing (Downtown v Make Your Own Kind of Music). She's in a book club and there appears to be an earthquake. And its Henry Gale!!! Henry Gale flashback alert! And they see the plane go down!! Is this the island? Ethan is back! Wow! It looks like middle-America on the island! It's the others and what a beginning!

I'm really looking forward to the character development of Henry Gale/whatever his real name is. He's got the sinister bad guy look down pat.

Hula music playing and Jack is looking like an iggle and spying/stalking Carol Vescey...ooops his wife? Well she was having an he wakes up on the island in some sort of prison. Damn Others! There appears to be a glass/plexiglass barrier. Kate is awakened ina shower by it appears to be Zeke. Why are the Others so hostile? They did something to her as she has a bandage on her arm. Sawyer has that "I'm pissed off I'm in jail" look and starts talking to some kid. I bet he's a spy for the Others. And Sawyer just gets shocked? and flys across his cell. Jack meets Juliette...could she be the new love for him?

Promo for the new Clint Eastwood Iwo Jima movie...Flags of Our Fathers. We're starting to get into Oscar time. That one looks like a good one. Of course epic war movies usually due well.

Jack and Carol Sarah are meeting to settle their divorce and then head to Stuckeybowl with Ed and Phil and the gang. I keeed, I keeed. Back in the cell, I see flashbacks to his blonde ex and now there is another blonde in front of him who is being very nice with him. Yes, this is definitely his new love interest.

Kate showers and all her clothes are gone....with a locker that says "wear this."'s a sundress and it appears to fit her to a T. Henry Gale looks to be wineing & dining miss Kake. For being on an island in the middle of nowhere, they certainly have some nice dishes and kitchen items. Ohhh he's threatening her with no coffee if she doesn't put on the handcuffs...and she listens to him! I don't think that's much of a threat, but apparently coffee is quite the commodity around here. Henry's playing psychological games with her...and the next two weeks are not going to be fun for her. I have a hard time believing that. Kate has shown that she just be the toughest of the Losties out there. She has quite the checkered past and I'm sure she can hold her own. I wonder if the Others know everything about her.

About halfway through and so far so good. Good stuff. Of course I'm not looking forward to the ending that answers one question, but opens up 3-5 more.

And it's Jack's dad who's having the affair with his wife?! Scandalous. No wonder Jack is so pissed off and everything. Jack hears something in his cell and it sounds like just what his dad said..."Give it up Jack." I'm a believer that Jack's dad is alive on the island. Yeah that's a little far-fetched but look what happened with Locke's legs. Juliette is being pretty friendly and gives Jack the 'ol "you can trust me" line. I definitely see these two getting together before the hiatus.

Sawyer is talking with the kid and I think he's convinced the guy is an Other....and somehow they escape. Run Sawyer Run1!!! And kind Julie shoots him with a stun gun and he's back where he started. I guess Julie isn't so sweet and innocent afterall.

I got a phone call and Jack has confronted his dad. And now there is a flood in the cell...and no one is going to die because you don't kill off main characters during the first episode. How where did the water come from? Julie packs one hell of a punch. Yeah these Others are some tough folks. I really wonder what happened with them.

Another promo for The Nine with some nice background music. Reminiscent of Sigur Ros or Godspeed You! Black Emporer or Explosions in the Sky but they were featured in Friday Night Lights last night

just a few more minutes left so that means get ready for the big ending. Sawyer is messing around in his cell and figures out the contraption and wins a fish biscuit! Whooo! Now he sees Kate in her dress and they both start feeling a little but these two are hooking up this year.

Jack realizes he's in an aquarium and the Hydra station. Wow, they've got quite the dossier on Jack. How do they know all this stuff...she has his autopsy report? All with me now...WTF?
And Sarah gives us tonight's money line "It doesn't matter who he is, it's who you're not." That hurts.

And this is all part of their plan...because? Well it appears that Henry Gale's real name is Ben. i liked Henry Gale better.

Well, that was a good episode. It didn't have the "cliffhanger ending" which is nice because it's hard to be a fan and deal with that every week.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Why Don't You Quiet Down?

Anyone that knows me, knows I'm...well, how do I put this...I can be unique at times. Call them personality traits, quirks, eccentricities (nah, I don't like that one), or whatever. We all have them, some may argue I have them more then others (I'd love your feedback on this). This is who I am and most of you seem to put up with it.

I started a new "project." Most of us have a jar (or something similar) where we put all our loose change. These jars seem to accumulate more change then they lose. For students they can be a blessing to save quarters for laundry and raid snack machines. At some point we're faced with the daunting task of trying to get rid of these coins and this usually entails going to the bank and making rolls of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. Then the process begins again. It's a vicious cycle.

A couple months ago I made the decision to take matters into my own hand. I've been making a concerted effort to use change when paying with stuff. Yes it takes a couple of extra seconds to pull out the requisite coins...but I'm making progress. It's also nice to receive just bills as change rather then a handful of coins. Usually its the cashier who gives US the change...I'm giving THEM change.

The second part of my project is to give support to the penny. Yes, the good 'ol copper Lincoln penny. The coin which we all collect and seldom use. Its often seen as a nuisance and people (including lawmakers) want to get rid of it citing its lack of importance and cost to manufacture. The debate rages on. I believe in the penny. I believe we should all be using pennies in our cash transactions. I'd much rather get a nickel/dime/quarter back instead of 1-4 pennies. Plus there is the fact that so many people "horde" pennies and don't use me (and others) actively pushing people to use the penny, they get back into circulation and the cost goes down. Yes I know I'm one lonely blogger and this is read mainly by my family and friends...but I encourage you to use the penny. Take the time to pull out 1-4 (or even more!) pennies out of your pocket and get them back into circulation. I make a habit of always having at least four pennies in my pocket for when I go shopping. This way I can ensure that I get non-pennies back. In the scope of my project, I try to take enough change to make sure I only get bills back.

I realize that at some point I'll be rid of all of my change. Then I'll just reach an equilibrium point where I've always have some change in my possession but I'll be constantly using it. In closing, I want you to use the penny and give it some love as it is a valuable part of our history and our culture.

That said, you can now commence making fun of me.