Monday, July 30, 2007


I love legos...



My oldest son, LilKat1, is a very nice boy. He's very kind and compassionate. It really bothers him when people are sad. Which makes playing games with him kind of funny. One time, I showed him how to play Candyland (which, by the way, is a horrible board game. If you have young kids and want to play games with them, there are many other good games out there like these that you can get instead). Well, I kind of stacked the deck a bit so that he would win. He was way ahead at one point and was about to win. He saw that my guy was way behind him. He looked at both of our guys and then turned to me and said 'I don't want to play anymore.' He didn't want to win by a lot and make me feel bad.


Zoom forward to this last weekend. I had just finished teaching Sunday School and the boys came up to see me. I was cleaning up a bit and the boys and a couple of friends of theirs were running around playing Tag. I mean, they're flying around the room in a circle at top speed. Mrs BigKat was talking with the other boys' parents. She was telling them about how LilKat1 loves Tag because he loves to be 'it'. He loves it that he is the center of attention and that all of the kids react to him when he gets near. In fact, he will pass up easy tag opportunities in order to stay 'it' for longer. The other parent said that her middle boy hates being 'it'. I think he normally plays with older kids and ends up staying 'it' the whole time because he can't catch anyone.


Well, all of a sudden, we hear crying in the other room. Sure enough, the boy that hates to be 'it', is now 'it'. And he's not happy about this at all. I look at LilKat1 and he's very concerned for his friend. So he gathers the other boys together and says 'Maybe we should play a game where we walk'. And then all of these boys start walking around the room in a line. They're playing Tag while walking so that the other boy won't have to be 'it' the whole time! It was too funny. And it made me happy to see my son caring about his friend's feelings.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Golf's a funny game

I played golf yesterday with my buddy. We both like golf. We are both quite bad at golf. I was thinking about what it would take to be good at golf. I think I figured it out...


A bunch of money.


Right now, I maybe 2 or 3 rounds of golf per year. I go to the driving range maybe 15 times a year. Which means that I spend maybe a little under $200 a year on golf. For me, this is a lot of money. So I figure, in order to get good, I'd have to end up paying much more than this.

Let's compare this to basketball. I have a hoop in my backyard so that I can practice on that whenever I want. I play every Monday night at my church for free. Every once in a while, I might buy a new pair of shoes. My last pair cost me something like $30. Last year, I had a big splurge and purchased a set of instructional DVD's for about $100. So even with those purchases, I'm still paying less than I pay for golf.


Although I did spend about $10k to put in my basketball court. But we won't talk about that.


I suppose I could practice on the putting green more. When I played yesterday, I shot a 60 for 9 holes. It would've been much less if I was better at putting. But I just can't see myself driving somewhere to practice putting. I guess golf just isn't that important to me right now. Say I put in a bunch of effort and took 9 strokes off of my 18 hole score. That would be pretty good right? But the way I'd see it, I'd only be 1 stroke better every other hole. Doesn't seem worth it to me.

When I played with my buddy, he would top the ball almost every time off of the tee. Actually, I take that back. I do believe that he managed to top every single ball off of the tee. Well, I have this one hybrid club that I can hit about 200 yards fairly straight. My buddy is pretty good at topping the ball and hitting a 90 yard dribbler. So basically, he can hit 2 shots and be at almost the same place that I am. Except that I have a better chance of slicing my ball off to where I can't find it. Seems to me that if I could master the art of hitting 150 yard dribblers that go straight up the fairway, I'd end up doing a bit better than I do right now.

I wonder if anyone has studied the best golf techniques for people who only play once in a while. Seeing as how I paid $35 for a 'How to play in the Low Post' DVD, I'd probably spend a similar about for this as well.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Caramel Corn


A couple of days ago, Mrs BigKat took the kids to a local farm. They love it there because there's all sorts of fun places for them to play in (like the Nut House. They love the Nut House. It's this little room filled with hazelnuts. Piles of hazelnuts all over the floor).

Anyhow, she came back with a bag of caramel corn that you can see in the picture. Kind of weird looking stuff. Each piece is huge, much larger than a standard piece of popcorn. And it says that there are no hulls or kernels in the bag. So what you have are a bunch of monster-size-cheetos-like-caramel-coated-Franken-corns. I tried a piece and it was REALLY good. Too good. I had a couple more pieces. Then a couple more. It was hard to stop eating it.

But it turns out that there is a very good reason for stopping. This stuff is really bad for you! This little bag pictured above contains 11 servings! Each serving is 2/3 of a cup. Which is like maybe 4 or 5 pieces. If you ate the whole bag, you would've consumed 99 grams of fat (33 of them saturated) and over 1500 calories.

I think we've discovered the Haagen Dazs of popcorn.

Friday, July 27, 2007

"Good food is made with lots of love...and lots of butter"

A little while ago, I saw a Food Network segment that showed this burger place in Sacramento. They made these crazy cheeseburgers. I think they had a half pound of hamburger and a half pound of shredded cheddar cheese. Seriously! I'm not exaggerating! The extra cheese just kind of oozed onto the grill, and they'd cut off a big square of it around the burger. So you ended up with this burger with inside of a 10" square piece of cheese. I'd never seen anything like that before. I kinda wished I still lived down there just so I could try it.


Well, i just saw this today. The 'Butter Burger'! They make a regular hamburger, but they plop a huge blob of butter between the patty and the bun (you know, the place where a silly person might put a vegetable or something). The video shows a person sopping up the melted butter on his plate with the hamburger. I could try this at home. I'm just not sure that I should.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens

Here are a few of my favorite things... neither of these guys is on my team. I still like them though.


The guy he dunks over is 7'2"


I think this was the same All Star weekend when Richardson bounced the ball off of Carlos Boozer's head and the drilled the 3 to end the Rookie/Sophomore game. So it was a good weekend for him!


J-Rich should've won this instead of Fred Jones. He did a dunk at the end that would've been the best dunk ever. He threw it in the air (I think it might've even been off the backboard), did a 360, went between the legs, and almost dunked it. He still should've won though. This dunk was great.

By the way, the first time I saw this, it wasn't in Spanish. 


Who would've thought that Matt Barnes would make it into my favorite things list?


Mrs. BigKat hated this series. Plays like this were too stressful for her.


I missed this one live. I'm really sad that I missed this one live.


Coach Cheeks is so nice. I don't know why D-Miles would want to say all those bad things about him.


My buddy says that he can do this. But he also lies a lot, so there you go...


I missed this one live too...


When I watched this game live, I thought that they were going to call it back.


This was the best. I still have this game on Tivo.

Marvel Heroscape: First Play

Mrs. BigKat and I finally got a chance to try out Marvel Heroscape. We had a map already set up from an earlier game, so we just used that. Mrs. BigKat took Captain America and the Hulk and I took Red Skull, Dr. Doom, and Spiderman.


Here's how it played....


My plan was to use Red Skull to move my guys around. It worked for a little bit. I had Dr Doom shoot Hulk, which made him mad. He hopped over Doom and punched Red Skull in the face, knocking him out with one blow (and knocking out the rest of my order markers as well). Doom was able to hit the Hulk again, making him very, very mad. 11 attack dice mad. Fortunately, right after he hit him, he was able to Mind Exchange him, force him to run up to Captain America, and whack him, knocking Cap down to 1 life. When the Hulk regained his senses, he ran back to Doom and smashed him.

It was down to a mad, mad Hulk and a busted up Captain America against your friendly neighborhood Spiderman. Spiderman turned out to be tough to hit. Hulk would start to hit him, but Spiderman's Spidey-sense allowed him to swing away in the nick of time. Spidey actually dodged 5 out of 6 attacks this way, including an 8 skull attack from Hulk that would've ended the game. The only one he didn't dodge was a 1 skull attack from Captain America that he easily defended.

In the end, Spidey got a Web attack on Cap to knock him out. Then he swung up next to the Hulk and punched him, finishing him off for the win.


Wow! What a fun game! And amazingly fast too. We often don't have a lot of times for games in the evening so it was really nice to be able to play a fast fun game and still be able to get to bed at a reasonable time. I can't wait for more Marvel Heroscape figures to be released! The first expansion set it due out in December...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Soccer Team Meeting - Tonight!

LilKat1's soccer team is having a team meeting tonight. I'm going to get a chance to meet all of the kids and parents, so I'm looking forward to it. Like I said before, I really like the coaching philosophy that the soccer club has. I wonder if it could be applied to other sports. Could this be done with football? Could it be done with older kids? High school kids? I really didn't like football practices. They were really boring. We rarely did anything fun. I wonder if there are things that could be done to make football practices more fun. I could see a team running the Run and Shoot and doing all sorts of fun games to help their skill positions to get in synch. Or doing defense related games that help kids make quick reads and then react assertively. It would sure be a lot better than the boring stuff that we did. The only fun drills that we did were hitting drills, and those only lasted until someone got hurt. There's so much fun stuff to football that it seems like it should be taken advantage of. I imagine that it would certainly help kids to really build an enjoyment of the game.

One place where it would be helpful would be in conditioning. All of our conditioning was not fun at all. Why couldn't kids play a game of freeze tag or something for their conditioning? Have some competition built into the game to get the kids to really push themselves. Things like windsprints are hard work, but they're not very fun and they don't really correlate with real football-type actions. It seems like a good conditioning game would involve chasing, cutting, and falling.

One game that we learned at the coaches clinic was called 'Minnows and Sharks'. A few kids started out in the middle. These were the sharks. The minnows had to make it from one side to the other without being tagged. What if that was an open field tackling drill, where the sharks had to tackle the minnows? The minnows would get some good running in, and the sharks would be learning to tackle. Seems like a good idea to me. I wonder if anyone does this?

Or how about a game with different groups made up of a QB and some skill players. The QB's would have to distribute the ball to their receivers in a certain amount of time for points. All the groups would be playing at the same time, maybe with several balls on the field at once. There could be target zones spread out and the receivers would only score points if they caught the ball in the targets. So they'd have to be on the same page as the QB for determining which target to go to. Not exactly sure how it would work, but a lot more fun than just running 7 on 7 over and over. 7 on 7 is fun, but you only get one QB involved at a time and have a bunch of kids waiting. I don't know, I'm just throwing stuff out there...

Hmmm...this post didn't really end up being about my soccer meeting very much...Oh well...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Hulk SMASH!!!

I was working outside today, when Mrs. BigKat strolled into the backyard with a big brown box tucked under her arm. I knew immediately what it was. My birthday was a little while ago and she had pre-ordered Marvel Heroscape for me. I have been patiently waiting for a while now, but it finally came! WooHoo!


I had to go inside to open it up...The guys are really COOL! Hulk is the best one. He's all muscley and mad looking. Dr Doom and Thanos are good too. Captain America has nice detail, but they should've put him in a more action-y pose. Mrs. BigKat says she will play it with me tomorrow. Fortunately, we still have a Heroscape map all set up from the other night.


But the thing that I'm looking forward to the most is having Hulk go up against a bunch of ninjas and samurai, or Captain America and Spiderman teaming up against and army of orcs, robots, and cowboys. I think this is going to be a lot of fun.

Windows Live Writer

Well, this weblog thing is kind of fun after all! Typing about a bunch of nothing that no one else is going to read. I'm not sure why it's fun, but it is.


And as with all things that I find fun, I have to find a better way to do them. The first thing I realized was that if I wanted to keep up doing the weblog thing, I'd have to get rid of the thin client and find myself a Windows fat client. Preferably a free one (or one with a 30 day trial since I still think that my enthusiasm for this won't last more than a few days). I saw one called RocketPost. Since my web email account was RocketMail made in part by a college buddy of mine, I have a soft spot in my heart for Rocket-things. So I tried it out. Didn't work. Got rid of it.


Then I saw a thing for Windows Live Writer Beta. Hey! This looks good! A Microsoft Windows Beta product! I'm sure it won't crash at all and I won't have any problems with it! Let's install it!


And that's exactly what I did. And guess what...I've had no problems with it and I've been using it for the last 5 minutes!


Seriously though, I really don't like thin clients. I feel much more comfortable with a feature rich fat client. So I think this'll be much better. I was getting a little annoyed at the little steps I had to do to insert a hyperlink. I'd much rather do it like this. Ahh...much better. I need easier ways to put in pictures...It says I can use ftp... Do I need to get some ftp space to do that?


Well, I think I'll keep it around for a while. Until it breaks anyways...

A picture

Posted by Picasa
Ok, I'm trying to insert a picture now. Not as easy as I'd like it to be...Too bad...
Oh, this is an example of some of the boring work stuff that I do.
And just so you know, this post is before the next post about Windows Live Writer, but I actually created it after the Windows Live Write post. But because I'm posting from different sources (browser, Windows Live Writer, Picasa) the order got messed up a bit. Does it look like I don't know what I'm doing? That's ok, happens to me all the time...

Board Games

So, it seems that I am a board game geek. Currently, my favorite game right now is Heroscape. It's really COOL! When I was little, I used to play with GI Joe's and Transformers and line them up and make them have battles. I'd create battlefields in the living room. There'd be water areas for the boats, a snow area for the snowmobile, a good guy base and a bad guy base, and I'd set up all the guys in their appropriate spots. And then Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes would clobber everyone else, until it was only the 2 of them left to have their final epic ninja battle. Well, Heroscape is kind of like that, except with rules! Oh why didn't they have Heroscape when I was young? You can have a team made up of WWII soldiers, ninjas, and robots fighting against a team of knights, gorillas, and Charlie's Angels. And the best part is that you can create your own custom battlefields that look really great.

I like a bunch of the Days of Wonder games right now. One of our favorites is Shadows Over Camelot. It's fun because it's a cooperative game. Kind of nice being able to be on the same team with everyone. But it's hard though. We haven't won yet (came close though!). I also like Battlelore, although I haven't had as much opportunity to play as I'd like. Mystery of the Abbey is another good one. Kind of like Clue, but much better I think.

But the one game that I really want to get right now is Tide of Iron. Oh it looks so fun. I've actually already read the instruction manual even though I don't own the game. Tide of Iron is kind of like playing with army men, but with rules about what to do with them. And it looks like you get a really good tactical simulation that has enough detail to make it realistic, but not too much detail to make it boring. It comes with tanks and half tracks and army guys and all sorts of plasticy goodness.

Oh, one other game that I like is War of the Ring. It's a Lord of the Rings game that recreates the whole epic struggle between the good guys and bad guys of Middle Earth. The map is nice and huge. And there are all sorts of little Middle Earth army guys that go on it. The good guys job is to destroy the ring. The Fellowship starts out together protecting the ringbearer from corruption. This is good, but eventually, they will need to split apart in order to gather the various armies together to battle against Sauron's forces. The bad guys job is to take over all of the good guys' cities. They have much many more resources than the good guys so their forces are a bit overwhelming. However, they can't just spend all of their resources seiging and pillaging and marauding. They need to find the ring! So both sides have actions that they need to balance. There are cards for all of the different characters in the stories that have various effects. We've only played one time (and it was only the introductory rules). But what we saw, we liked a lot. Because Lord of the Rings is the BEST!

Making pizza

So as I've said before, I love cooking. I'm not that great at it, but I really enjoy learning new techniques. One of the things that I've been practicing is pizzas. And I'm actually getting pretty good! This book inspired me to try making my own pizzas. It's really a fun book to read. It talks about one man's quest for the perfect pizza. It also has some recipies in it, different doughs, sauces, and ideas for toppings. However, the author is a baker, which is a good thing, because the main emphasis is on the crust.

My first several attempts at pizza were...problematic. I had some success, but also some pretty messy failures. A lot of my doughs were too sticky to handle. I couldn't toss them properly because they'd stick together. And some of my pizzas would end up with holes. This was a very bad thing. There would be a big soupy mess of cheese and sauce on the pizza stone. Not Good Eats...

The sticking problem also caused problems when trying to actually place the pizza in the oven. I remember one time, the pizza would just not come off of the peel. I ended up having to flip the pizza upsidown into a cookie sheet and then flip it back again onto another cookie sheet lined with parchment. Kind of a clever solution, but not really ideal.

Well, I've come a long way since then. I figured out that the mixing times in the book really don't work for me. They say to mix the dough for 4 minutes, rest 5, then mix again for another 2. I've found that I need the last mixing step to go for at least 15 minutes in order for it to pass the windowpane test. I also need it to go at a higher speed than the author suggests. This has really helped my pizzas out. Before, the pizzas were not sufficiently kneaded; therefore, not enough gluten was made. Without a good stretchy structure, the dough ripped which led to my goopy pizza soup. Now, I don't have to worry about that and the crust itself has a much nicer texture.

Solving the sticking problem was easy. I just used a little extra flour when rolling out the crust. I just need to make sure that the whole dough was covered up and that no sticky parts were showing. I also started using 2 peels instead of one (a wood one to insert and a metal one to extract). One of the problems before was that the cooked pizzas would sometimes make the wood peel a little wet, which would cause sticking problems when putting in the next pizza.

Anyhow, I've gotten to the point where I can make a whole bunch of pizzas and they all turn out great and it's not that big of a deal. The other weekend for PrincessKat's baptism celebration, I was able to make 6 of them for us and our guests. Today, I made 4 (2 for us, 2 for our neighbors). One of the cool things is that our boys love my pizzas. LilKat1 said that my pizza was the BEST pizza. Well, actually he said that my pizza and Costco pizzas are the best. But I'll take it.

But, really, my pizzas are much better than Costco's. Just ask Mrs BigKat! I think we'd rather eat one of my pizzas than any pizza that we could buy around here. That's kind of a nice feeling. And all it takes is a little advance preparation. For me, it's actually quite an easy meal.

Now that I have the foundation down, I think the next step would be to do some experimenting with the sauce and toppings and see what I can create. Not that I have a lot of time for that, but maybe someday...

Monday, July 23, 2007


So this evening, I learned how to be a Kindergarten soccer coach. I've signed up to coach LilKat1's soccer team, and today, we had a U-6 (under 6 for all you non-youth-soccer types) coaches clinic. It was great! I am very excited about this whole soccer thing. Now keep in mind, that I know pretty much NOTHING about soccer. I know that you can't use your hands and it's hard to kick the ball where you want if you kick with your toe. That's about it. I still don't know a whole lot more about the actual sport of soccer than I did before I went to this clinic, but now I have some good ideas about how to help kids enjoy soccer and learn some basic skills.

I've coached other sports in the past and one of my big things for this age of kid is learning through play. In other words, set up games that help kids naturally learn various athletic skills and have a great time doing so.

I've been teaching K/1st grade Sunday School for about 9 years now, so I feel pretty confident about what kids this age like to do and don't like to do. I also love sports and am looking forward to helping the kids on my team have a great experience with organized soccer (or really organized sports in general).

The teacher had 4 L's that we had to remember. Unfortunately, I only remember 3 of them. One was no lines. Waiting in line is no fun. So try coming up with games where all of the kids are involved. Or if some kids have to wait, make sure that it's not boring for them while they're waiting (for example, if you have a fast paced game, waiting your turn may give you an opportunity to catch your breath). I remember when LilKat1 played basketball. It seemed like all of his drills had lines. Not so much fun. One kid would do something (and that something was not always that interesting) and the rest would just wait. So one of the challenges is to find activities where all of the kids are involved. Another 'L' was no lecturing. Keep instructions short (or if they're a little extended, then at least make them entertaining). The fourth 'L' was no bad language. Apparently this is something that you have to talk with your kids' parents about. I wish I could remember the other 'L' but I can't right now.

Anyhow, we have a team meeting on Wednesday, and then practice will start next Tuesday. I'm really looking forward to this. It seems like a lot of work, but I think it'll be a great time. I really hope LilKat1 likes it. I think he'll really enjoy the games we do. Hey, this is one advantage about being his coach. I get to plan games that I know he'll enjoy! Well, he already can't wait. I showed him the shoes, shinguards, and ball that I ordered for him and he is very excited about this.

Hard to believe that I'm actually coaching soccer! Not quite as strange as if I were coaching baseball, but it's up there!

Boring Work Post

Well, I know that I said (about an hour ago) that I would try to not have any boring work stuff on here...but I suddenly feel the need to write about some boring work stuff. So here we go!

I have a new workstation that I'm using. My company is quite cheap, so I've been using the same old desktop workstation for the past 5 years. Needless to say, it is quite SSSSSSSSLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWW... Well, I was very pleased when I found out that my boss was going to spring for a new computer. And a laptop at that! I'm in the process of moving all my apps from the old computer to the new one. I just got my wireless network working (which is why I'm typing from my backyard right now!). Everything's been great! Except for one thing...I couldn't make any ASP.Net web applications! Which is bad because...well, that's part of my job. I kept getting these goofy errors that didn't make any sense. Anyhow, to make a long story short, after much Googling, I used this and this to get it up and running again. Only took me 2 and a half days! Yay! Anyhow, if you do this sort of thing for a living, then you might want to store the information in the back of your brain in case you have a 'Class not registered' kind of day. If not, then well, you just wasted about a minute of your life reading useless information. Sorry about that!

Why am I writing this?

Why am I writing this (especially since I have work to do)? I'm not sure. My friend Polly created a blog and I thought the idea was interesting. However, I'm 97% sure that I won't have time to make very many entries, so I have a feeling that this will be one of the most uninteresting weblogs ever created.

I'm not even sure what I'd write about. I'm married (to the lovely Mrs. BigKat) and have 3 kids, 2 boys (LilKat1 and LilKat2) and 1 girl (PrincessKat). I absolutely love being a Dad. One of the jobs that God has given me is to try my best to be the best Dad in the world. So I may end up writing about family stuff.

I also teach Sunday School. I've been teaching since I became a Christian 9 years ago. So I may end up writing about Sunday School stuff.

I love cooking. I have 3 barbecues, one really nice one and a couple of other not as nice ones. So I may write about cooking stuff.

I love theology. But I with all of the other stuff I've been doing, I haven't had much time for study, so I may write about that, but probably not.

I love sports! Almost all things sports! Maybe I'll write about that.

Most of all, I love the Lord Jesus Christ. My hope is that in whatever I write, my love for Him is apparent.

Oh, I also have a job. I write software. Let's all hope that I don't write about that. It's not that interesting.