Wednesday, October 31, 2007

DIY Project

Ok, I found the perfect science fair project for my kids. No need to make blue celery or baking soda volcanoes! This is much better!

Cotton Candy Machine - The best home videos are here

More on the Warriors game

A couple of other things that I forgot to mention about the Warriors game:

1) Deron Williams is very good. He is very, very good. He's big so he's a tough matchup for smaller guards. He's a very good passer. He can play a halfcourt game as well as an uptempo game. He's a good defender. And he makes clutch shots. Not much more you can ask for in a point guard.

2) Andre Kirilenko does not do much in the Jazz offense. But on defense, he blocks a lot of shots. There were several times when one of the Warriors would think they had a layup, and Kirilenko would fly in from out of no where to knock it away.

3) Boozer is also very good. He can put up a variety of shots from the post, and they all seem to go in. He's also very strong and gets a lot of rebounds.

The Jazz are a good team. They have a good young core. As guys like Duncan and Nash get older, the Jazz are in good position to become one of the elite Western Conference teams (right behind the Warriors!).


Here's another video of the Trinity/Millsaps play, but from a better angle and with more detail. I didn't notice this in the original video, but the lateral at the end, the ball actually skipped on the ground before it got to the guy that ended up scoring.

Warriors - Opening Night

Yesterday, I was very excited to watch the Warriors play the Utah Jazz on opening night. I don't get to see too many Warriors games, since I don't live in the Bay Area anymore, but this was going to be a nationally televised game on TNT...except that it wasn't. When I checked the listings, the TNT games were Portland/San Antonio  and Lakers/Rockets. I was very disappointed.

Well, for some reason, I decided to flip over to the Fox Sports Bay Area channel, just in case they were showing the game. There would be no good reason for me to have the game though since a) I don't live in the Bay Area and b) I changed my DirecTv package so that even if I lived in the Bay Area, I wouldn't have the game.

But when I changed the channel, I was NOT greeted by a black screen with the 'call 1-800-something-or-the-other to request this channel' message. There was an actual commercial! And after the commercial, there were Warriors! Playing basketball! I was so excited! I was going to get to see my game!

When I started watching, the Warriors were up by 3. That was the highlight of the game for me. It all went downhill from there. But at least I got to see it! The Warriors didn't look so good, but there were some bright spots.

Here's the good:

1) Baron Davis looked good. He got to the rim a lot, gave a bunch of assists, and drew a lot of fouls. He also played some good defense as well. On one fast break, he sensed his defender was right behind him, so he suddenly stopped and pulled up for 3. The defender ran into him, and Baron proceeded to sink the 3 free throws. He had a few sneaky plays like that.

2) Pietrus actually did a good job. He did the things that he's good at and avoided things that he's not good at. For a while, he was the only Warrior providing any offense. And he actually snagged a few rebounds as well. When he got the ball, he either took the open shot if it was there (3/5 from 3 point) or he passed it to someone who can dribble the ball without turning it over.

3) Monta Ellis had a stretch where he drew 3 quick fouls on Deron Williams. Monta is very quick and had some very nice moves to the basket. Williams couldn't keep up with Monta's speed.

4) Patrick O'Bryant only got in during garbage time, but he looks like he has the potential to be really good. He has really long arms. I think it's possible that he could guard guys like Boozer just because he is so tall and long. Boozer had trouble getting his shot of against him. And when POB was able to get in good position, his long arms helped him to get some rebound. He was much more aggressive than last year and looked like he was really trying hard on the boards. He also has a nice jump hook that is very difficult to defend.

5) Azibuike looked pretty good. He's got some development to do, but he can do things at the 2 position that Richardson couldn't do. He's better on defense, and he can actually drive to the basket.

6) Belinelli looks like he can shoot the ball pretty well.

7) Harrington looks like he's trying harder to get rebounds.

Now here's the bad:

1) Baron made it to the line a lot, but he missed a lot of free throws. Actually, a bunch of the Warriors missed their free throws. If they keep leaving that many points at the line, they're going to lose some close games.

2) Barnes was bad. You know how I said that Pietrus did what he was good at and didn't do what he was bad at? Barnes was the opposite. Horrible shot selection. Not much rebounding. Not very good.

3) Biedrins was not very effective. Boozer scored on him at will and easily outrebounded him.

4) Monta could not guard Deron Williams. The only Warrior who could stay with Williams was Baron.

5) Troy Hudson was a horrible backup point guard. He looks for his own shot way too much. And then misses them. If we wanted that, we would've kept Derek Fisher.

6) Too many missed open shots. Monta, Harrington, and Baron all had a lot of good open looks that they just missed. If the Warriors can't make their open 3's, it will be hard for them to win, especially without a good low post option. Also, when they're not making their shots, the defense can sag off of their man and swarm to Baron when he gets in the lane.

7) When they get outrebounded as badly as they did last night, it is hard for them to start their break. This really slows their offence down and takes them out of their game.

8) Monta is not a good point guard. He's got a long ways to go. He turns the ball over way too much to be an effective point guard right now.

9) They really need Steven Jackson back. I think they're much scrappier when he's in the game. That leads to them getting more loose balls, forcing more turnovers, and making the other team do things that they're not so comfortable doing. He also provides leadership when Baron is off the court.

10) It is hard for Brandon Wright to replace Jason Richardson's offense when he's sitting in a chair on the bench wearing a suit.

So yeah, the game was ugly, but it was fun to be able to see the Warriors again. I still have a bunch of the playoff games from last year on my Tivo. Hopefully the Warriors will get things figured out soon. I think right now, they're just trying to survive until Steven Jackson's 7 game suspension is over. If they go 3-4 over that stretch, that wouldn't be so bad. If they can start hitting some more of their open shots, get a few more rebounds, and start harassing people on defense, I think like they'll start to look like the team that no one wanted to play last year at the end of the season.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Busy Busy Busy

I haven't done an update here in a while, but I have several posts that are half done. I've found that it takes me a long time to do a really interesting post. And lately it seems like it's very hard to find any free time. But the fall soccer season is officially over now, so hopefully, that will make things a little less busy. Although we are thinking of signing both boys up for basketball. We'll see.

Anyhow, here are my 3 interesting things for the day.

1) One of the cats threw up on my VOIP router. It still works, but it's pretty yucky.

2) I made my first 2 running goals! Now I have 2 little medals!

3) I just saw this video:

Monday, October 15, 2007

Running Update

Now this is something unexpected. I've ran every day for the past 5 days. I even ran on Sunday! Sunday is our busiest morning because I have to leave the house really early because of Sunday school. But I NEEDED to get a run in so that I could move my running graph farther over. I actually woke up super early on a Sunday so that I could run. Weird.

Here's how I did:


2.29 miles

20 minutes 07 seconds

8 minutes 45 seconds/mile pace

333 calories

The last part of the run was great. I clicked my power song on and ran up a big hill. And when my workout ended, Paula Radcliffe told me that I had just completed my longest run. Wow! Now that was exciting! Paula Radcliffe talked to me! What? You don't know who Paula Radcliffe is? Actually, I didn't either. But I figured she was some runner that is sponsored by Nike. It turns out that she's the women's world record holder for the marathon. Here she is in a commercial:

I took a look at her personal records. She can pretty much clobber me in any race from 400m on up. And not just a little clobbering. It would be a really good clobbering. I imagine that I could beat her in 100m, but I couldn't find any data on her times so I'm not sure. To be safe, if I ever have to challenge her to a race, I'll try and keep it to somewhere between 10 and 40 meters (probably closer to 10 would be better).

Here are my Sunday results. I didn't have that much time, so I just ran 2 miles:

2 miles

16 minutes 41 seconds

8 minutes 18 seconds/mile pace

291 calories

At the end of this run, Lance Armstrong talked to me and said that I just ran my fasted mile! Lance Armstrong! You've heard of him right? He runs the marathon 45 minutes slower than Paula Radcliffe.

Well, that brings us to today. I was all set to try for a 5k today. That's 5000 meters. 3.1 miles (although, I think 5k sounds much more impressive than 3.1 miles). But I wanted to make sure I could reach my goal, so I set the time for 25 minutes. I figured that if I felt good at the end of 25 minutes, I'd run a little extra and finish up at 5k. I made sure to start at a nice slow pace so that I'd be able to run the whole distance. My slow pace lasted for about half a block. WHAT? Ok, so things started to go south a little early. Right after I turned the first corner, I saw this lady running ahead of me. She was probably going at about a 9 minute/mile pace. My naturally competitive side kicked in and I HAD to pass her. And I HAD to be going FAST when I passed her. So I picked up the pace and blew by her. Because I'm just TOO FAST! And afterwards I kept going TOO FAST! I imagined her behind me, staring in disbelief at my blazing speed as I left her in the dust, slowing her pace down to a stop before turning around and walking home in disgrace, where she attempts to heal her agony of defeat with 3 eskimo pies and a box of mini-donuts (I don't know if it happened for sure, but I think it did). Anyhow, after about a half mile of this, I start to wonder if maybe it wasn't such a good idea that I went out too fast. I start to slow down quickly and finish my first mile in 8'37". But the section ahead is all downhill, so I get to pick up the pace again! Until...




That yucky sound we just heard? Yeah, that was my ankle. I stepped on this uneven part of the ground near the gutter and rolled it. OW! So here I am hobbling downhill. And I wonder, just for a split second, if I should just stop here and head home. But then I quickly realize that this is out of the question. Why? Because I need to make the line on my distance graph move over! That's why! So here I am hobbling downhill. I get to the bottom of the hill, and the ankle is still pretty sore. I check my pace and I'm at 9'58"/mile. Great...

But after a little while, it starts to feel a bit better. At this point, I'm only halfway done with my workout. The chart of my run shows my pace doing a nice shallow downward slope over the next 10 minutes. This represents me getting really tired and wishing that I hadn't tried to annihilate that running lady. But the last portion of the graph is a steep dip. That would be me struggling to get up the 1/4 mile hill at the end. My pace for that last section? A little slower than me hobbling with a busted ankle. Not so good.

After I got up the hill, I had only a minute or so left. I ended the workout promptly at 25 minutes. No extra for me today. I was beat. But Lance Armstrong came on again and congratulated me on completing my longest run. Lance is so nice.

When I got home, I decided to weigh myself to see what kind of effect my running was having. I stepped on the scale...I'm heavier than I was before.

So here's the results of my running: my legs are sore, my back is sore, my ankle hurts, and I'm 2 pounds heavier than I was before. But I have to keep it up because of my distance graph!

I have 2 goals set right now. One is to run 16 miles in 4 weeks. The other is to run 8 times in 4 weeks. I'm already over halfway done with both of them. When I finish them, I'm going to get 2 little medals. And when I logged in today, it told me that I've completed 11 miles and I need to keep going so that I can get up to 100! I think I get a little ribbon for that.

I'm not sure why little computer pictures of medals and ribbons and a bar chart of my distance is motivating me to do something that I don't like to do. But it is. Like I said, unexpected...

Friday, October 12, 2007

Kyle Update

Remember Kyle? Well, it turns out that he's an actual kid. And he has a name. But his name isn't Kyle (close, but not quite). Anyhow, Mrs. BigKat found out who the boy is and now LilKat2 knows his correct name. Yay! Mystery solved!

That guy running around the neighborhood in tights? Yeah, that's me...

It was a little cold this morning. There was quite a bit of fog out. So much in fact that when LilKat2 walked outside, he quickly turned around and shouted 'MOMMY! The world is BLUE!'

The combination of the cold weather combined with the fact that I need to keep running so that I can tell myself that I didn't waste $29 on my iPod running gadget forced me to break out the blue running tights. Yeah, I have blue running tights. But you didn't see it, so you can't make fun of me.

My legs were tired from yesterday, so I decided to do a timed workout this time, rather than go for distance. I set the gizmo for 20 minutes. And I remembered about starting off slower today. Anyhow, here is how I did:

Distance: 2.28 miles

Time: 20 minutes 17 seconds

Pace: 8 minutes 52 seconds/mile

Calories: 331

Hey! Not too bad! I was thinking that I would do a lot worse than yesterday since my legs were tired, but my pace was only a little slower and I went 1/4 mile farther. I was also able to include a .4 mile hill in the run too. Maybe I'll bump it up to 25 minutes next time.

I also got to use my 'Power Song' (Suckerpunch by Five Iron Frenzy. Ever heard of it? I hadn't either. I got it from a free download.). It's cool to see my pace go up on my running chart after I turned the Power Song on.

Well, my first goal is to run 16 miles in 4 weeks. I'm already 1/4 of the way there! Woo Hoo! It's kind of sad compared to what I used to do when I ran track and field, but I'll take it.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Nike + iPod

So back during my spending spree, I bought one of these Nike + iPod running gizmo's. I got it in the mail yesterday, and decided to give it a try this morning. Here's how I did:

2.02 miles

17 minutes 51 seconds

8 minutes 48 seconds/mile pace

294 calories

And it was not easy getting there. I'm not in very good shape right now. Hopefully this thing will motivate me to stay running. It actually serves a nice purpose for me. When I run, I really like to know my progress. I need to know how far I've gone and what my current pace is. This is why I like running around a track. However, running around a track is BORING! And I have to do math in my head while I run in order to calculate my pace. This new running gadget does all this stuff for me, allowing me to run wherever I want. I really enjoyed that.

It also uploads your running data to this nike website. You can take a look at your runs and see how you did. You can see a chart of your pace so you can tell how fast you were going throughout your run. This is helpful to me because I can tell from my chart that I started out a bit too fast. Next time, I'll slow it down at the beginning and maybe I can get an extra mile in.

Anyhow, it's a pretty cool toy. We'll see if I will actually continue to run with it. It does eliminate one of the big things that I don't like about running and adds some new interesting analysis capabilities that I like. However, it's starting to get colder and rainier and that always seems to thwart my attempts at becoming physically fit.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

49ers Bad News or Good News?

Bay Area sports writer Ira Miller wrote an article about the sad state of the SF 49er running game. Frank Gore, the 49er running back, is having a particularly bad year. To illustrate this, Miller says:

Throw out that 43-yard touchdown run on fourth down against the Rams, and Gore is averaging only 3.1 a carry.

to which one of his readers replied:

Throw out all his other runs and he is averaging an amazing 43.0 a carry.

So I guess it all depends on how you look at it. Aren't football stats fun?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Spending Spree

Ugh...I just spent more money on another slick deal. This time, I got some more Lazer Tag toys. A while ago, I purchased 4 Lazer Taz bazooka things for $5 each. LilKat's 1 and 2 have been wanting to play with me. Unfortunately, the bazookas are about as big as they are, so they end up having a really hard time carrying them around the house. So I got these new toys to make it easier on them.

Here's the really bad part. The Lazer Tag set was $20. I wanted to get the free shipping, so I had to bump my order up to over $25. The only thing that I had planned on buying in the future was the Nike + iPod Sport Kit that helps you run. That was $30. So I just spent $50 that I hadn't planned on spending AND I have to start running again in order to justify $30 of it!

Oh, and the other day, I spent $20 on the Heroscape lava set. But I got 2 of them! It was a really good deal!

Bob Ross

When I was little, back when my cable channel changer was a big box with a row of 20 buttons, there was a time in the afternoon after 'Leave it to Beaver' and before G.I. Joe where there was nothing on TV. I had a choice between soap operas and this guy with poofy hair that painted pictures in 30 minutes, Bob Ross. Today, we don't get much chance to see Bob Ross. Between Tivo, Noggin, Nick Jr., Disney, PBS Sprout and Veggie Tales, there is always something on for our kids if they want to watch a show. In fact, there's probably a good 200-something things on. Well, yesterday, LilKat2 was watching a show and it ended. It must've been a PBS show because right afterwards, Bob Ross came on. I was in the kitchen and took a look to see what was going on, and there was LilKat2 lying on the ground watching Bob Ross paint a big blue patch of sky on the top of his canvas.

LilKat2: That's the sky...

Then Bob started painting another big patch of blue on the bottom.

LilKat2: That's the's deep, deep water...

I walked back into the kitchen, thinking how strange it was to see LilKat2 watching Bob Ross. I mean Bob Ross is the show that you watch when nothing else is on! You'd never flip through your Tivo menu and say 'Hey! We got a new Bob Ross! Let's watch it!' But LilKat2 was really enjoying himself.

Suddenly I heard LilKat2 say 'Dad! Come quick! He's making clouds!'

Sure enough, several 'happy little clouds' were forming as Bob patted the canvas with a round bushy brush. LilKat2 watched for a while. He got to experience Bob making 'little rolls of paint', 'playing games' with his mountains, smoothing things out with his two inch brush, having 'no pressure at all', and creating 'happy little mountains' in the background.

I'm not sure why, but I just thought it was so funny that he was enjoying the show so much. But he didn't get to see the finished product. About halfway through, he sat down at the kitchen table with his paper and markers and said 'I'm going to draw a mountain!'

I think it would've looked just like Bob Ross's mountain too, but I don't think they make washable markers in Titanium White.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Pizza with Egg

I read this article about a guy who took a Totino's pizza (you know the kind, 99 cents each in the frozen food aisle...yeah, don't deny it...I know you've got 3 of them in your freezer from back when they were buy one get one free at Safeway...) and gussied it up a bit by putting a fried egg on it. Just looking at it makes me think that I need to try this. But I'm not sure why.

I wish I could think up good snacks like this. My homemade snacks are things like leftover spaghetti and meat sauce sandwiches on garlic bread. But this egg on a frozen pizza thing is far more creative.

Ok, next leftovers I have, whatever they are, I'm putting a fried egg on top of them.