Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Some video clips

Just a few clips that I wanted to share...


This first one is Zach Randolph of the NY Knicks. He used to play for the Blazers, so I got to see him a bunch. Guys that wrote about him always seemed to refer to him as a 20 and 10 guy (20 points, 10 rebounds), which is normally pretty good. But he is a really bad team player and brought the Blazers play as a whole way down. Now he's gone and the Blazers are doing good (well, except for the recent losing streak, but you know what I mean). Anyhow, here's a clip of him trying to dribble like his coach, Isaiah and failing miserably. I must've watched this clip 10 times this week and each time it makes me laugh:


This next clip is about Monta Ellis. Over the past month, he's shot over 60% from the field. And that's not just dunks and layups, it includes a lot of midrange jumpers. Want to know his secret? Watch this:


This is a clip of a guy who likes bacon. Makes sense because bacon is really good:


And finally, here's a 3 year old giving a summary of Star Wars. We haven't let our kids watch Star Wars, but after seeing this, I'm thinking about it just to see what they say:

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

My Latest Deal

For Valentine's Day, Mrs. BigKat got me a new game, Commands & Colors: Ancients. It's a great game, but it took a while before I was able to play it. That's because it has about 350 little wooden blocks that I needed to put stickers on (both sides). It took me an hour or two here or there over a few days, but I finally got all of the stickers put on. Then I saw the other problem with the blocks: finding the blocks that I wanted among the huge unorganized pile in the box. When you set up the scenarios, you need specific blocks to put on the different spaces. And sometimes, you have a situation where you need Roman Archers and all you can find is Carthgenian infantry. It was kind of like when you dump out your Legos and you need a grey 2 dot brick and all you can find are black 2 dot bricks and grey 4 dot squares. Frustrating.

I decided that I needed to organize my blocks better so that I could enjoy my game more. I knew exactly what I wanted to get, a clear plastic modular tackle box insert that was small enough to fit in the box, but had enough compartments to hold all of the blocks. I went to Fred Meyers to see if they had what I wanted. Well, they did...sort of. They had the perfect box for me, but it was about $7 and I only wanted to pay $3. They had some boxes for $3, but they were much too small. I was about to go home empty-handed (well, except for the hamburger fixings that I bought for lunch), when I saw this:


Now, this box wouldn't fit into the game box. But it would hold all of the game pieces. Not only that, but there are a total of 4 big compartments, which means that I could probably also fit some of my Heroscape and BattleLore components in there as well (2 other games that I really need to organize).

The best thing was that the box was on clearance for $9. This was just about the right price for me. I'd be able to organize 3 games for $9, which fit perfectly into my $3/game budget that I gave myself. I purchased it and brought it home.

When I got home, I wanted to show off my purchase to Mrs. BigKat. Then I saw the reason why it was on clearance. One of the bottom corners was smashed.  So the 2 clear outer compartments had huge holes in them, and the hinges were busted. I was very disappointed. I thought I had a perfect storage system for my stuff, and now I had to go return it.

But then I had an idea. I emailed Plano (the company that made the box) and told them my situation. I asked them if it would be better for me to return the product to the store or if they could send me replacement outer compartments. They replied and said that they'd send me free replacement compartments in the mail. Yay!

So I'm going to give 2 Thumbs Up to the customer service department at Plano. I'm very pleased about my game organization system. I'll be even more pleased when I have a fully unsmashed version.

Monday, February 25, 2008


I started trying out some new stuff in my Sunday School class. Our class is a bit bigger this quarter, and I felt that I needed to make some changes to accommodate the larger class size. I started developing my own PowerPoint presentations for the Bible lessons. The new presentations allow me to more easily illustrate important concepts that I'm trying to teach the kids. They also make it easier to give background information for the stories. It also allows me to have longer lessons since the pictures give them something to focus on while I talk. So now, instead of just describing what leprosy is, I can actually show the kids a picture of a guy that has leprosy and they can see what his skin looks like.

The problem with the PowerPoint presentations, however, is they take a lot of prep time. I'm following the curriculum and I use it as a guide, but I'm mostly making my own presentation. It can take up a lot of time during the week to finish, especially because I usually have to make up my own activities to go with the lesson as well.

At one point, I was wondering if it was worth it. I spend a lot of time during the week developing these lessons, and it's not always easy to see the benefit. I can see that the kids are definitely entertained, but are they actually learning anything? Am I actually contributing to their spiritual growth? When it's midnight on Saturday and I'm Googling for pictures about Lazarus, these kinds of concerns pop into my head.

Well, the other day, I got a very encouraging message from one of my Sunday school parents. They told me that they'd noticed their daughter applying the principles that she learned in Sunday school to her daily life. Here is part of what they wrote:

Yesterday after church L said that one thing she'd learned was
that "nothing is more important than spending time with God ...
nothing".  She shared the bible lesson about Martha and Mary.  Later,
when it was almost bedtime, I told her that we didn't have enough
time to read both of the things she wanted to read (a Nancy Drew
chapter book and her girls' devotional book), so she would have to
choose one.  She was confident in her response: "Well, I know which
one because of what I learned in church today: nothing is more
important than spending time with God ... nothing."  What a great
application of that effective teaching!


It is so encouraging to hear that kind of feedback from parents. It makes it a lot easier to put in the extra time working on my Sunday School lessons. I feel like it is a tremendous honor to be a part of the spiritual development of these fantastic kids. I know that I should be giving my best as a Sunday School teacher even if I can't see any of the benefits myself. But somehow, it sure makes things a lot easier when I hear stories like this.


Yesterday, LilKat1 had a birthday party to go to at a friend's house down the street. It was a great party. There were several craft stations plus games like air hockey, so there were lots of things for the kids to do. I asked LilKat1 if he wanted me to stick around or leave. He said 'Leave', so I left.

On the way home, I noticed that a group of high school kids were lining up single file in the street in front of a portable basketball hoop. I knew exactly what this meant. I shouted at them 'Are you guys playing Bump?' They said yes. I asked if I could play, and they said yes again. I tossed my keys and wallet on the curb and hopped in line.

Bump is a game that I was first introduced to in college. We would gather a bunch of people from our dorm and play in our dorm courtyard. It was great fun. Basically, you have to make a shot before the person behind you in line makes a shot. If they make a shot before you, you're out. The winner is the last person left.

It was not easy getting used to the portable hoop. The rim was not at the right height and when you went to rebound your ball, you had to run downhill slightly towards the curb (which made my easily sprainable ankles a little nervous). But I got used to it fairly quickly.

One thing surprised me though. At one point, there were only a few of us left in the game. I was able to bump out one of the kids. And then all of a sudden, a whole group of them got back in the front of the line. I wasn't sure what was going on. The game wasn't over yet, but all these kids that were eliminated were back in the game.

Apparently, we were playing 'Ultimate Bump'. So when someone gets eliminated, all the people that they bumped out get to get back in the game. The only way you can win is if you bump out all each one of the other players. You know what? Ultimate Bump takes a looooooooong time.

At first it seemed a little ridiculous. The games were taking forever. We'd be down to 2 or 3 guys, and then all of a sudden, it would be back up to 6. But then I realized, what else am I going to do? I thought I would be hanging out at a birthday party. But instead, I get to play basketball in the street. So I learned to enjoy the marathon that is Ultimate Bump.

We played a total of about 5 games or so. I think I won 2 of them. You know what? Those kids play dirty! They will not hesitate to bump your ball 5 houses down the street and make you run after it. I had to do this several times. One time, I tried to get even with them. I bumped the other kid's ball as hard as I could...right at an SUV that was heading towards us. Fortunately, it didn't run over the ball, but it was close. I also got to yell at a girl. She was pretty good, obviously played for a team somewhere. But I was in line and needed her to make her shot so that I could bump out the kid in front of me. So I screamed 'MAKE YOUR SHOT AND GIVE ME THE BALL!' And another time, she couldn't bump out the kid that knocked me out so I yelled at her for letting me down once again. She knew I was just kidding though...I hope.

Playing with the kids brought back a lot of memories for me. Chasing the ball before it rolled down the hill. Pausing the game when a car drove by. Sitting on the curb waiting for your turn. Heckling the people that were still in the game. If there was an ice cream truck to run after for a few blocks before it stopped, it would've been perfect.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Where Amazing Happens

Watch this video. This is a video of me last night at basketball.



Did you see that? Pretty good shot, huh? Ok, that wasn't actually a video of basketball last night, but it was close. Instead of Jason Richardson making the shot, that was me. Except I spun to my left, not to the right. And there was only 1 guy guarding me at the end, not 2 guys. And my shot was from about 18 feet out and not 30. And it wasn't off of a missed free throw, it was after My-Friend-Who-Lies rolled the ball inbounds (there were only 3 seconds left, so he did the roll it up the floor thing so that I could get an extra second). And we weren't losing the game when I shot it, the score was tied. And it wasn't against the Mavericks, just some guys from church. And there wasn't a big crowd, just a guy keeping score and another guy.


But other than that, it was EXACTLY the same! I was even wearing my Warriors jersey (okay fine, it was a Baron Davis jersey and not a Richardson jersey, and it's blue and not orange. But still...)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Bulls Eye Ball - Update

I just read my previous post about Bulls Eye Ball and I must admit that I'm pretty disappointed. I don't feel like I really captured the simple yet exciting, addictive yet satisfying nature of Bulls Eye Ball. Let me put it this way. There are a few very good decisions that I look back on and say 'Wow, I'm really glad that I did that!' Here are some of them (in no particular order):


1) Became a follower of Christ.

2) Asked Mrs. BigKat to marry me.

3) Bought my Honda Ridgeline.

4) Moved to Oregon.

5) Became a Sunday School teacher.

6) Planted apple trees in the backyard.

7) Put a Sport Court in the backyard.

8) Bought a Green Machine so that I can ride with my kids.


Bulls Eye Ball is on this list. It is just that good of a game.

Here are some of the great things about Bulls Eye Ball:

1) The games are short: When you play '30 Second Blitz', you can't afford to make many mistakes. But if you mess up, your game is only 30 seconds long, so you get to try again right away. It's also nice for taking turns.

2) The game is built well: For a little plastic toy, it allows you to be quite competitive. The bouncing ramp is very consistent. You can really get in a good rhythm once you find the right bouncing technique. If the bounce was inconsistent at all, you wouldn't be able to hone your Bulls Eye Ball technique, and the game would be much less fun.

3) The scoring is all by sound: This may seem like a bad thing, not having a visual scoreboard, but it really adds a lot of tension to the game. Every time you score, it calls out your new total. But once you start scoring in the hundreds, it can't keep up with you. As you keep pouring in shots, the announcer keeps trying to say your score. But each new score forces him to interrupt himself, so he just goes 'One-one-one-one-one...' because he can't fit in 'one-hundred-twenty-whatever' between shots. So when your time runs out, you have to wait for him to announce your final score. It's kind of like the Oscars...but different.

4) You don't need to practice a ton to get pretty good. I want to learn to play guitar, but it seems like it takes a lot of practice. I've gotten pretty good at Bulls Eye Ball just by playing it here and there with LilKat2. And a lot of that has been done with him in my lap helping me play. Try practicing a guitar like that!

In conclusion, I love Bulls Eye Ball. It scratches an itch that I did not know I even had. I hope this update has given this great game the respect that it deserves. By the way, my new high score is 150 and LilKat2's is 36.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


So whenever any parent feeds this to their baby, they pretty much have to say "Can you say 'Yo Baby Yo Baby Yo'", right? I mean, who doesn't do that? It's seems automatic. Not saying it would be like saying 'Yes, I am serious' and not saying 'and don't call me Shirley' afterwards.


Am I right?

Bulls-Eye Ball

A long time ago, while walking around Target, Mrs. BigKat saw a toy that she thought looked pretty fun. It was kind of like a very small Skee-ball (which she loves), but you bounce the balls instead of rolling them. I put this information in the back of my brain for safekeeping. Then, a little while ago on Clearance Day, I saw the same toy, so I grabbed it. I gave it to Mrs. BigKat as part of her Valentine's Day gift. And that is how our house was introduced to Bulls-Eye Ball.

Have you ever gone to someone's house and found some little toy or puzzle sitting on a side table, tried it out, and then felt silly afterwards because you ended up spending half your evening at their house trying to master that goofy toy? This is one of those kinds of toys. Let me tell you, this little game is a big huge pile of fun. The bouncing pad and scoring mechanism work quite well together. They don't limit your shot rate at all. Which means that you can spend hours sitting in front of this little electronic gizmo working your hardest to perfect your Bulls-Eye Ball tossing technique. If I was back in college, I imagine that this is something I very well would've done.

It has a few different game settings, but the best one is the '30 Second Blitz'. You get 30 seconds to score as many points as you can. Bulls-Eyes count for 3 points, the middle ring counts for 2, and the outer ring counts for 1. So far, the highest score I've gotten is 138 points. Yes, this means that I can shoot Bulls-Eyes both right and left handed. I'm just that good.

But you know who is also very good at this game? LilKat2. He's only 3 years old, but he's put up a high score of 29 points. You should see him when he gets a good score. His eyes get wide, a huge grin spreads across his face, and he starts shaking with excitement. It's pretty cute.

Mrs. BigKat is also pretty good at this game. She had the high score of 104 points for a little while. That was before I perfected my left handed Bulls-Eye shot...