Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Photos

Kat's ear featuring half of one of her gifts.

Kat and Lily enjoying another gift that matches quite well with their outfits.

This is me enjoying my new shirt that Lloyd sent me. Although it did not lead to a victory on Christmas Day, I still liked wearing it. My hand signals represent the Suns being the 8th best team in the NBA (not because I'm a member of the Van Buren Boys).

This is me looking through my new binoculars that Kat's parents sent me. Kat got some as well. They are great for looking at houses that are built on the mountains north of our apartment.

This is Lily taking a sniff of her present. It contained a new hedgehog plush toy, which soon will be destroyed. That is how you know she likes it.

Thanks to all who sent gifts, and I hope everyone had a blessed Christmas.

Friday, December 19, 2008


These photos aren't exactly perfect - actually, they make the Zapruder film look like Wall-E - but the excuse is that it was 3 a.m. and enormous wild boar-like creatures were tromping around our home. Thus, it was hard to keep a steady hand while simultaneously hearing their primeval, bloodthirsty grunts. But last night we were visited by two wild javelinas who were wandering around near the dog patch outside our back balcony. They might have been lost, in search of poodles (?!?) or just trying to scare people. But they were pretty cool/frightening to see.

Kat and I had only seen them one other time when we were out for a walk and they ran through a wash. They are quite large and look like they would enjoy gnawing on your femur. As Kat and I went back to sleep - and tried to get the dogs to calm down - we both had the same thought:

"I'm glad we don't live on the first floor!"

Saturday, December 13, 2008

You kids ready to learn?

The shirt shown above, probably my favorite of the many that I own, is now largely a relic of the past thanks to the most recent trade. The D'Antoni era that I enjoyed so much is clearly very much over. Despite the fact that most people in Arizona had begun loathing Boris Diaw about two years ago, I always liked his style of play. I enjoyed his "big guy who played small, small guy who played big" abilities as well as his French-ness. I fully expect that Larry Brown will soon banish him from even suiting up, but I won't forget the intriguing way he played the game.

One other note on the above picture, I was trying to make a sad face in order to convey my disappointment, but instead I just looked like I always do (sort of my own version of Blue Steel). Acting!

I didn't love this trade - although many other people did - but it probably needed to happen. Apparently Raja Bell did not care for Terry Porter's coaching, and Diaw has never shown that he could play alongside Stoudemire. And despite how much I enjoy Boris, I don't love him Badenov (did you see what I did there?) to take him over Amare.

However, I have a tentative plan for reworking the shirt to keep it in my rotation. Tell me what you think:

Another interesting angle of the trade was the continuing meltdown of Steve Nash, who does not appear to be having a lot of fun or enjoying the post-D'Antoni era. Nash sounded like he should be on suicide watch after the trade. His stats are way down. The team revolves around Shaq, when he plays, and Amare when Shaq doesn't. And this all occurs while D'Antoni takes the dregs of Isiah Thomas's intellectually bankrupt regime and still manages to get the Knicks to win about as often as they lose. It's an impressive achievement considering the players involved. I have not had a chance to watch complete NBA games, so I could be way off in my analysis. However, if the outcome of a season is going to be the same either way, I'd prefer entertaining to boring. I think right now the Suns are a little boring, and even they know it.

In happier NBA news, it is almost required viewing to check the NBA highlights each day to see the exploits of one Lebron Raymone James as well as Dwyane (Dwayne) Wade. LeBron is basically playing like a genetics experiment gone awesome that crossed a locomotive with an eagle with a computer with a headband. And although Charles Barkley has been asking for it for about five years, LeBron is playing like more of a finisher, rather than a point guard, and I think the Cavs (and of course the viewing public - I mean look at these dunks!) are better off for it. Their competition has not been exactly stellar lately, but it is hard to complain when they win in a blowout every night.

As for Wade, his team isn't very good, but he continues to play like he did in the Olympics. I don't know that he can be stopped on the pick and roll because he is so good at splitting the defenders. I just hope he can last the whole season without getting hurt, but he is definitely playing at a high level.

And of course, I haven't even mentioned the Celtics and the Lakers, who appear to be on a collision course for June (assuming LeBron and the LeBronnaires) don't stop the C's first. I think it should be an exciting season, and if my obvious brilliant thoughts don't pump you up, then maybe you aren't an NBA fan. And that's OK.

In other news I have been avoiding by talking about the NBA, I finished my finals for law school. They were punishingly punishing. It was not fun. I will talk about them no more.

In better news, here is a photo from Kat's birthday party from a while back.

The people in attendance sort of changed over time, so we didn't get a full group shot. But here were a few of the guests enjoying the event (check out the nice matching crowns!), and there is me videotaping the taking of a picture (file under apples, trees, distance falling from).

And since it wouldn't be a true Jeffrey blog post without a photo of the Boom's official mascot, Lily, here is the poodle sunning herself after a busy day of doing whatever it is she does.

So, that's all, I guess. I hope everyone is doing well. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

This is my last post about fun

Kat and I had a great visit with Elliott. Kat allowed us to watch a lot of football, even though in her mind, sitting on a couch staring at the television does not count as "doing something." But in between the football watching and the eating, we did fit in some things that might actually qualify as "doing something."

On Saturday, we went up to the top of Sentinel Peak (A Mountain). Here is Lloyd overlooking the vast expanse that is Tucson and deeming it worthy of a thumbs up.

Here is a photo of Kat - and of me, Matrix-style - on top of the mountain.

After the hike, we took a look at the law school. However, no photographic evidence exists of this trip. You'll have to trust me. Next, we went to the Reid Park Zoo. I had never gone to the zoo before, and I'm not sure why. Kat had occasionally asked to go to the zoo, but for some reason we never have. This, of course, led to lots of comments about how great the zoo was and how annoying it was that we had not gone before. I have no real defense to these arguments.

The zoo was a lot of fun. While we were probably the only people our age who were there and not pushing strollers, it was still a good time. Here is an Asian elephant and an African elephant who were playing a game of "pick up the stick with your trunk and throw it." They seemed to be having a pretty good time.

Here is a giraffe eating some grass. There were three very nice-looking giraffes.

These otters enjoyed playing to the crowd. The log in the picture is hollowed out and acts as sort of an animal water slide. They were thrilling the crowd with their human-like actions. Kat was rather pleased by this exhibit.

After the zoo we hit the In-n-Out Burger, which was tasty as usual. We then returned home for some lazing about and football-watching. While none of the games were anywhere close in excitement to the Nebraska game Friday (I think Kat was thoroughly disturbed by some of the actions that occurred during that tense contest), it was still fun.

Kat and I did put up Christmas lights outside our apartment last evening (Lloyd took a well-deserved nap), so now the house looks great. We also incorporated the wreath we already had up to display the gift that my Mom sent us. And while this is my last post about fun for awhile (finals, grrr!), this weekend has been great. It was awesome for Lloyd to make the trip and we all had a great time. I plan to return the favor during my spring break next semester.

We wish you a

and a happy new year!

Friday, November 28, 2008

By Request

I received an e-mail this week - from a person who alleges that I never return e-mails - that I was not blogging enough. That may, in fact, be true, but I'm trying to make amends. Here's some bullet points from my life.

- It was good to see the family, if only by Skype, for Thanksgiving. It looks like a good time was had by all at Tim and Kay's. I'm sure it will be the same for Christmas.

- I have two finals and a big paper due and then I will officially be half done with law school (as long as everything goes well with those two finals and big paper). I don't really know if it has gone fast or slow (it can seem interminable at certain times), but it seems like I am getting closer to actually knowing something and actually being able to provide someone a service.

- Kat had a good birthday party. There was a pretty impressive turnout (for us) of both people and dogs and we had a lot of fun. The weather was great, and most people seemed to enjoy it. There were some close calls with near dog-fights, but overall a good time was had by all.

- Lloyd and I went and played basketball this morning at the regular 6 a.m. game. Nothing can top the look of incredulity on Lloyd's face when I explain that people are actually willing to play basketball this early in the morning. It was great to get to play with him, and we "dominated the dojo" despite the fact that Lloyd was playing hurt and I can't shoot. It was a lot of fun. Now, we are back and Lloyd is back to sleep and I am blogging. Kat is sleeping, too, so ssshhhhhh!

- Kat did a great job on the food yesterday for Thanksgiving. She even found a coupon online, so we had $10 off of our Boston Market turkey. Some of the employees at Boston Market were not thrilled with working on Thanksgiving, but that is neither here nor there.

- I'm excited to watch the Nebraska game today. I haven't seen a single Corn game all year, but Lloyd promises me that it will be good. He told me that Ndamukong "A Boy Named" Suh has been living in the other team's backfields the last few games and that he is the one I should watch. I withhold judgment but will let you know.

- The Buzzsaw that is the Arizona Cardinals were more like the Butter Knife that is the Arizona Cardinals last night. The rather underwhelming game led to this interesting quote from Bryan Robinson, which made it seem like he did not quite understand the current saturation of American media: "Not a whole lot of people get the NFL Network. That's the good thing about it." Sorry, Bryan, I get the feeling that they are going to hear about how the Cardinals, who are going to win the NFC West even if they don't win another game all year, got drubbed by the worst team in the NFC East. That's just my hunch.

- In marginally good news, I was selected to be a Writing Fellow (I always wanted to be a fellow, whether it was academic-related, jolly good or otherwise) for the law school's writing program. This means I will be the teaching assistant to a small writing class of 1L's during the spring semester. You should probably start praying for them now. I think it will be fun to help and should improve my writing, too.

- As an NBA fun, this Summer of 2010 drama is kind of annoying. It means that the Knicks and Mike D'Antoni have a free pass to continue being terrible for another two years. Despite the fact that eleventy bajillion words will be written about them anyway. I like LeBron, and I know he can't stop what other people talk about, but he is on a good team right now. I don't know if he should have to tamp down the rumors, but it might help if he didn't talk about it quite so much. I don't see why Cleveland can't be the team that plays the Lakers in the Finals rather than the Celtics. That should be their focus - not on stuff that might happen in the future. But even if LeBron is distracted (or distracting) he is still doing amazing stuff every night. That is fact. I don't profess to be totally uninterested in 7-1-10 - if all goes well I should be studying for the bar exam then - which will either decrease my interest considerably or mean that I am going to fail because I never studied and instead read TrueHoop all day.

- On the NBA tip (as the kids said about 10 years ago), I think the other problem with this season is it is abundantly clear that only three teams can win in the end. Last year, it truly seemed wide open and that any of a handful of teams could have the trophy. But this year the Lakers look unstoppable, the Celtics may not be as intense but look like they are ready for the grind and the Cavs look like they have "the player" and enough supporting players to do some damage. I think it will still be interesting, so if it wouldn't kill fans and the media, it would be nice if they could, you know, pay at least a modicum of attention to this season.

- And, just because I was thinking of it, here is Kevin Garnett's insane interview after the Celtics won the title.

- Last, I can't find this birthday card online, so I'll just explain it. (I'm sure it might dampen the hilarity, but you'll have to imagine). Kat received this card from her friend Lena (they were both once copy editors and share this humor, although it can also work for English teachers and people who correct people regularly - although I don't know anyone like that). Lena recently had a baby and Kat went to visit her and him in October. The baby has its own blog (although to me it doesn't look like he can even type yet!) and is relatively adorable. Anyway, that was a terrible and convoluted introduction (and I said I was a writing fellow!) but here is the card, if anyone has read this far:

We open with two girls, teenageish, apparently sitting in a school cafeteria. The quote balloon from the first says: "Where's your birthday party at?" The second then says: "Don't end a sentence with a preposition." 
Then, you open the card and the same photo is present and only the first girl has a quote balloon, which says: "Where's your birthday party at, bitch?"
So, Mom, in the future, you might want to be careful with your corrections.

- Kat is now awake, so I will cease blogging. Keep it real.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Change You Can Believe In!

Do not rush to your computers to send me e-mails! The change I am referring to is the orientation of our apartment. Kat was suggesting that we should change things up in our living room, but I was skeptical that things could be improved. As usual, Kat was right because the new setup has energized the place.

This is Kat sitting in her new "office." It was only fair that since I have an office she should have one, too. She likes the new setup because it allows her to work on her computer while simultaneously watching television. See below:

We moved the dining room table under the strange light balls, moved the couch to the exact opposite wall and have provided nice mountain views for admiring during commercial breaks while watching television. For those of you who have never visited or don't have much memory of how things used to be, this probably means little, but I've typed this much, so I'm going to keep going.

Here is Lucy enjoying the new setup. And that is my knee.

Kat enjoying television, mountain views and the helpfulness of a hat on a bad hair day.

Other notes:
-Huskers now 6-4 are going bowling. I am going bowling on Thursday in the annual Arizona Law Review/Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law nerd-off. I hope the Huskers do much better than I am going to.
-This LSU-Alabama game is exciting.
-I have a DTV analog converter (no idea what I'm talking about) but I only get some of my local channels. I don't know why I don't get them all. Currently, I watch NBC through the converter, but have to watch CBS and ABC over the air. There is no point to this except that I am not a technological genius.
-Enjoy Minnesota!
-Keep flying high, Lloyd!
-Viva dogsitting!
-That's all for now.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Story I Think Is Funny

Now that a certain unnamed law firm has officially told me that they have no interest in my intellectual wares, I wanted to relate the story of my interview with them.

It was a relatively straightforward interview, but the weirdness occurred before it began. Because I am a bit of a worrier, I always get to my interviews quite early and just hang around until it is time for me to start delivering poor answers to benign questions. I add even more time when I've never been to the place before, which was the case for this interview.

Anyway, I was about 90 minutes early for the interview. I had found the business park where the office was located, but I saw no need to actually go up to the office, where some of their employees might actually see me and know how weird I am.

So exactly 10 minutes before 10 a.m. I walked up to the office. I found the door and pushed it open - it squeaked ominously. I looked in and saw no furniture and no people. It felt like Brigadoon or maybe those episodes of the Twilight Zone where the main character goes back to a town only to find that he is the same and everything else has changed.

I quickly realized that I had gone to the wrong office. Wherever this law firm was now located, it was not here. Luckily, I had printed off the front page of the Web site (the same Web site that said my current location was where there office was), so I was able to call them. The secretary said "Oh, you're at our old office. We haven't been there for a month or so."

So now the secretary was trying to give me directions over the phone to a place I had never been to before. I ended up parking about a half mile away from where I was supposed to be and trying to walk quickly - in a suit - to get there a little less late. So, when I finally got to the office - out of breath, embarrassed, starting to sweat and confused - I had to try to do well with the interviews.

It wasn't my fault that I went to the wrong place. They never even told me where the real office was. And that's the point of the story. Despite the fact that they didn't even want to tell me where their office was - kind of like when mean girls refuse to tell the ugly girls where the party is going to be - I still wanted to work for them. I didn't seem to get the message that they didn't want me.

I don't know if this story is actually funny or not. But I laughed about it after the fact.

In other news, if anyone is still reading after that nonsense, I will say that I'm excited for the NBA to be back. has great highlights every day that I enjoy. Also, it is November now, which is a nice month generally.

I hope all is well with any of my readers. Take care.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Kat will soon be on the cover of Horse Aficionado

This weekend Kat competed in the Saddlebred Futurity (I have no idea what this means, except that it involves horses) at WestWorld in Scottsdale. She won the blue ribbon, which means first place, in both her competitions. The event Saturday was more about the horse, and the event Sunday was more about her handling of the horse. I think she rode a horse called Caper for both events. Apparently, Caper has been competing in events like this (whether he knows it or not) for 18 years. I watched on Saturday, and Kat definitely looked like she was having a good time. One woman even stopped her after the show to say how much Kat was smiling. It was pretty fun, and I was thrilled to see Kat do well. She tries really hard at her lessons, and it is great to see that rewarded.

(I realize that my relating of this story is terrible since I know nothing about horses, equitation or nature. I felt similarly when I used to do sports reporting on cross country or softball - sports I knew nothing about and cared little or nothing about. However, I obviously care about saddlebred competitions when Kat is in them.)

When I got to the competition grounds I had a flashback to being a reporter because I was sent to a place I had never been and had a backpack. The backpack is now filled with law books (although I am still scorned by many, including Kat, for wearing it), but the best thing about the flashback was that I didn't have to accost anyone to ask them what they like about horses. I miss journalism - but only a select few parts of it. I also like the fact that even though this story is rambling, nonsensical and probably pointless, only a select few people who know me and my mental illnesses will read it, rather than lots of different people who will then laugh at me.

I'm sure Kat will put the video of her victories up on her blog. I tried to tape her first event, but I know I did terribly. It will remind the initiated of a Shirley effort, although minus the hours of footage of the inside of a purse.

It was good to have a day off from the law yesterday, although I am back at it hard today (as is made clear by the fact that I'm blogging rather than studying). Truthfully, all is not well in Jeffreytown. It looks more and more like I struck out in my attempt to get a job at a law firm for next summer, and I don't particularly like a lot of my remaining options. It's pretty disappointing to be in this position, but I just have to make the best out of it.

I have come to the conclusion that I am the law student equivalent of Lamar Odom: great skills, lots of potential, even some impressive achivements, but destined to disappoint. Few have done less with more than Lamar and I. For some of the best of Lamar, click on this link. If the ending to this blog has made you sad (and it shouldn't; it should make me sad, but not you) then click on that last link and you'll be smiling in no time. It works for me. It can work for you.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Where I'm At

In Tucson, obviously.

But here's an update on my physical and mental health after a busy week with a busy weekend to come.

I'm taking Kat to the airport today for her visit to North Carolina. This is her yearly vacation from me in which she decompresses from 51 weeks of dealing with my nonsense and girds herself for 51 weeks more. It looks like the weather should be fab, so I'm sure she'll have a good time.

She'll get to see her friend Lena's baby, Levi. I don't have a photo on my computer, but he is very cute. Some of the Gautreauxs met Lena and Chris at our wedding, but most memorable is an incident in which Chris was shocked by the toilet architecture at a restaurant.

I will be studying while Kat is gone and taking care of the dogs, so they don't die. I'm playing basketball today, but after that it is time to lock down.

I had the last of my four callback interviews yesterday. Now, I wait and hope to hear from one or more of them. I think they went well for the most part, but I think I made a big mistake in choosing to be myself. I think that was bad advice.

Kat and I went to the weekly law school carousing night known as Bar Review last night. It was the first one we had gone to all semester. It was at a bar called "Home Plate" where they serve alcohol and also have batting cages. There was definitely some heavy irony in the fact that law students were at an establishment that mixes drinking with the hurling of objects at a high rate of speed. There was an enormous sign that says "Batters assume all risks," but I'm not sure if any warning be enough to ensure the soundness of an assumption of the risk defense after Trent has 24 Bud Lites and decides to step in against an automated Tim Lincecum.

I hadn't swung a bat in about five years and it showed. I looked like a Cub in the postseason.

But Kat and I had fun. Kat was compared favorably to Karen O by someone who may have been drinking and Judd Apatow movies were discussed at a length far more than deserved.

Anyway, that is what is going on with me.

Reading: Downtown Owl by Chuck Klosterman. This is a rather hilarious novelization of what it is like to live in a small Midwestern town. It is so true that it hurts.

Listening: The Fifth Season of drivel that is the Ricky Gervais Show as well as the new Jenny Lewis album, Acid Tongue. Kat and I like to sing The Next Messiah very loudly.

Watching: Just The Office on a regular basis. Nothing else, really.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

To sleep, perchance to dream

I'm taking a break from making an outline for Evidence to talk at you. I don't really know if an outline is required for Evidence class (The professor has already told us he gives us his outline - which has a 100 percent chance of being at least 400 percent better than my outline - but we don't get to use an outline on the exam. Ay, there's the rub...)

Anyway, I'm feeling really great today (earlier I told Kat I thought I could run through a brick wall), and I wanted to explain why. The reason, what I'm now calling The Secret, is thus:

I slept for 13 hours last night!

It was more than just last night since I went to sleep when it was light outside (6 p.m.) and woke up when it was light again (7 a.m.). It was glorious. What started as a nap after a very long day turned into a marathon of sleeping that has re-energized me.

I'm aware that all of my readers have some experience with sleep deprivation (vast experience for some of them), but I actually have very little. I never pulled any "all-nighters" in college because only an idiot would ever put himself in such a position willingly. I knew I couldn't stay up all night if I tried, so I just avoided it. Even as editor of the school newspaper (I often thought of myself as sort of like Jimmy Olsen on percocet) we kept the nights relatively short (the newspaper had tons of errors but at least I didn't miss my beauty rest!).

I have yet to pull an all-nighter in law school, however, the potent cocktail of 8 a.m. Evidence class, a Tuesday evening class, trying to get a summer law firm job and not lose my mind has often rendered me very, very tired. So after driving to Phoenix, having interviews and then driving back, last evening I was ready for some shut-eye.

I let that shut-eye continue longer than most people would consider sensible, but the beauty was that the 6 p.m. to midnight sleeping shift really made me feel great today. Everyone talks about how sleeping the day away doesn't make you feel better (although this doesn't stop me from sleeping in on the weekends), but I think this old wives tale may be true. I felt awesome today. Drugs are not the answer; sleep is the answer.

I'm sure this post could be considered sleep-inducing (it mixes high boredom content with talk about sleep, there couldn't be a more zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz). Anyway, for one day at least, I feel spectacular. While it was not the most exciting Friday night, I consider it very productive.

So when you are feeling worn down and its only 6 p.m., don't listen to your friends who say that only nursing home residents go to bed that early. Just throw on some pajamas, get your favorite pillow and start making a better you.

I'm Larry Rogers, and I approve this message.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I wish I had more...

But I'm afraid I just don't.

I haven't been doing anything interesting lately because my time has been taken up with uninteresting things. The only thing more uninteresting than what I have been doing would be the actual work of listing those uninteresting things here. I will spare you.

I do have a few things.

It is sad to hear of the death of David Foster Wallace. I never got around to reading Infinite Jest (not that I can't in the future), but if you want to read some Wallace I really enjoy this article. He has a way of capturing what it is really like to deeply understand and enjoy the amazing ability of Federer. Sometimes it seems the only thing more difficult than being great at a sport is explaining why someone is great at a sport. And for the most transcendent athletes the only parallel is religion because the greatness is unquantifiable and unknowable and truly only reflected in the feelings that are created in those that properly appreciate the difficulty and the beauty.

I am known as a lover of sport, but even I won't go too far into fandom. I thought this would be a positive for me as a person and as a possible future lawyer. However, I think I definitely won't get hired by one firm because I had the audacity to consider sports "not that important in the grand scheme of things." I guess I was wrong; however, I stand by my point. Fantasy football teams are not important; they are fun, just not important.

I don't think I would be in very good shape if I didn't have Kat helping me. Often I take for granted what she does (after all, I'm the one reading Trial Evidence and the ALWD Manual!) but I know for certain that I wouldn't be able to get through my life on a daily basis without her. This may be an obvious point, but it has been hammered home to me over the last few weeks.

Those nice things being said, I am a bit afraid that she may divorce me and run off with a certain red Mazda MX5.

I know that award show swag is excellent, but I think law firm interview swag has to be right up there as well. Does anyone need an external laptop mouse?

I went to a wine bar last night. I felt very cool. I probably wasn't.

Kat and I watched Gimme Shelter over the weekend, which is the documentary about the Rolling Stones 1969 US tour. Of course, it concludes with the rather unpleasant free show at Altamont Speedway. But what was cool about it was the large role played by famous "King of Torts" lawyer Melvin Belli. Obviously, many did not like him, but it was cool to see him working with The Stones and trying to understand what Mick Jagger wanted - a tall order for anyone.

OK that's all for now. I think I might watch a little football and try to unwind. We'll see if I can do it.

Lloyd, I hope this was sufficient. Like many things I discuss in this space, I don't think I'm as good at this as I used to be. During The Yumanity era I was a much better blogger. Oh well, c'est la vie.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Pickup Blues

I could blog about Batson v. Kentucky or pickup basketball, so I chose the latter.

They closed the gym I played at last year on campus. Budget cuts, apparently. I just hope I actually get a diploma before they padlock the entire place or simply implode it.

So now my Friday afternoon fix requires a trip to the Rec Center. Little background on The Wreck, there was a line today of muscled dudes to get into the weight room. I am not joking. A fellow muscled dude with a badge was holding people up until someone came out. It was like the world's worst nightclub.

The basketball courts are pretty good though, and normally you don't have to wait too long. But today cemented my status as an old man who may be losing what little magic he had. I've been using the "up and under" a lot lately and other energy-conserving moves. I'm also staying back on defense a lot and not even running to the offensive end because either a turnover will send me scrambling back anyway or I'm too tired. I think soon the other players are going to start calling me "Pops."

Let me be clear: I don't think basketball has passed me by. I just think the subtly different form of "pickup basketball" has passed me by. Let me note a few examples simply from today.

1) I got my hand caught in a dude's hair! Yes, I went up for a rebound and nearly lost a finger because some guy wanted to both play basketball and look like Peter Tosh. That was a little traumatic for both of us.

2) I believe a bit too much in fairness. This manifests itself in many forms. Little enrages me more (in a very quiet manner) than calls based on the score. Calling your own fouls does not mean you have the right to deal with bumps at the beginning and then call a foul if someone breathes on you at the end. My rule is I don't call fouls by anyone on me. If they foul me hard enough for it to actually affect me, everyone will know it and will stop. As a result, this can hurt my effectiveness.

Secondly, on the matter of fairness, I won't stand for irregularities in "who got next." If two girls and a dude in a World B. Free throwback have been waiting, they get to play. There is no discussion. Today, a girl had been waiting game after game, so I told her she could play with me. When our turn came up, she got to play and run the point guard. Full disclosure, we got slaughtered, but I was happier with that outcome than if we had won and she had not gotten to play. I will not sit idly by while such tyranny is allowed to propagate unchecked!

3) I just want to play the way I play, but too many times guys on my team are telling me what to do. Today, I played my first game and we destroyed this other team. Then, those losing team's point guard joined our team because one of our guys left. In this next game, I was being guarded by a guy who probably could bench press around 400 pounds. As such, he played like a guy who can bench press 400 pounds (LeBron excepted, of course). Namely, he was a bit "mechanistic" and preferred brute force to wisdom or body control. But despite his obvious strength advantage, the fact that I was taller than Mr. Muscles by about three inches caused the new point guard to adamantly implore me to "post him up." My rule is I don't really post anything up (and that includes actual posts). Rather than take the advice, I just got the ball on the wing, drove around Mr. Universe and laid the ball in. This only angered The Hulk, who proceeded to bury me under the hoop repeatedly and call for the ball. I don't know if he ever scored, though.

Here's the point: let's just all play smart and make the intelligent play. Square pegs, round holes, make the extra pass, take what the defense gives us, cliche, well-worn mantra, etc.

4) I don't care as much as these guys anymore. Win or lose, I'm just glad to get to run around and clear my head. Basically, I just don't want to get hurt (and that includes any hair-related injuries), get a sweat going and then go home. That's the beauty of what we call "Law School Basketball." Everyone who plays agrees with those tenets and thus most problems are solved. We are still hoping to have Law School Basketball again this year, so I hope we can find enough people.

I admit that I sound like Walter Sobchak, but I don't think my suggestions are too much to ask. I do love pickup basketball and can think of few things that are more fun or easier to get involved in (you just show up and play, that's why basketball is great), but as I age I might be getting a little crotchety. Oh well, I guess it's my right.

Last things:

Gustav go away!

Cancer go away! (Some kind of harsh language on that link, but I think it's funny)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Late Night Texts

A transcript of the text messages between Lloyd and I during the Team USA-Spain gold-medal game in the middle of the night:

Me: Are you still awake for this game?
Lloyd: Yeah barely
Me: Me too ill wake up when they start playing
Lloyd: Yeah
Me: A little scary but at least wade is rolling
Lloyd: Yeah, were in such a hurry to try to pressure that they blow by us or we foul them were fine though
Me: Still pretty scary but kobe and lebron Should be fresh
Lloyd: Yeah, i dont like this cuz pau should be fresh too and they're outplaying us
Me: Still pretty scary well see what happens
Lloyd: Im getting upset with our guards defense. Irate may be a better word.
Me: Not good
Lloyd: Yeah. This is trouble
Me: This is nuts
Lloyd: Yeah. Glad i decided to wake up for this.

I don't know if that game should have been that close, but it was definitely great to watch. If they replay it, drop whatever you are doing - even if it is a patient in the ER - and watch because you'll enjoy it immensely. Also, keep watching until the interview Saigs has with Wade and Kobe after the game. For celebrities and professional athletes, it is an ironclad rule that honesty is the worst policy. For someone like Kobe, being himself isn't even worthwhile because half the people hate him and the other half believe that every second of his life is calculated, orchestrated and stage-managed. I reside seemingly with one foot in both camps. But I will say this with certainty: the dude is ultra-clutch and he seemed genuinely elated with winning a gold medal.

Wade was a joy to watch and LeBron did what he does, but when it came down to the end, since Team USA had Kobe there was no question who should take the big shots and handle the big possessions. Kobe will never be Jordan because he isn't that popular and Jordan came first. But Kobe is the only real qualified heir to the throne as being a Jordan-esque killer when the game is on the line.

Kobe may have been happy because he succeeded in China (where he is beloved even more than Hasselhoff in Germany), because he was the hero or because it will mean more endorsements, but in watching that interview and the way he hugged Wade (not to get any more homoerotic than this post already has been), it just seemed that he was sincerely thrilled. I'm sure the interview will be on Youtube for at least a brief time (NBC's minions are apparently quite efficient at getting things taken down) and I encourage you to find it. It made me happy to see other people that happy. It might do the same for you.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

(Maybe) How Keith and Shaleah Think

I just finished Dr. Jerome Groopman's How Doctors Think, a thought-about-thought-provoking look at the puzzle doctors face in trying to make correct diagnoses. I enjoyed the book - it read like a mundane version of House, minus all the insults and clear ethical violations. Mainly, the book is a catalog of cognitive errors that doctors can make - availability error, search satisfaction, overreliance on Occam's (Groopman spells it Ockham's) razor, etc. The book offers lots of handy doctorish sayings for dinner parties - "when you hear hoofbeats, think horses not zebras" - but often Groopman shows why these saying can be dangerous, since maybe the doctor is looking at one zebra in a hundred horses. But as Groopman recounts tales of misdiagnosis, it shows the art, rather than science, of being a doctor - a point Keith has made to me many a time. While the book may lead the lay reader (which is its target audience) to believe doctors are just flailing away in the dark, Groopman seems simply to be advocating for openmindedness on every case and the courage (or maybe just the time!) to question initial assumptions.

While legal issues are a small part of the book, one always is aware that any misdiagnosis can lead to a malpractice suit. But Groopman isn't crucifying doctors for being wrong. He is simply taking them to task for thinking they can't be wrong or not being willing to change course when it becomes clear that they are. Nothing in this book is ground-breaking. None of the wisdom or warnings about cognitive errors would be news to doctors, but Groopman shows how the current medical system - predicated on speed of appointments, avoiding expensive tests or (horror!) redoing those tests, and the constant marketing of drugs and surgical devices - can make avoiding cognitive errors almost impossible.

Having said all that, I don't think I could cut it as a doctor. There is too much that is unknown, too many things that could be happening unseen and consequences that are too serious if things go wrong. I've come to believe that almost everything - including, in many cases, the law - is a game (the book How Lawyers Think would be boring, incomprehensible, focused on winning verdicts rather than justice, and ultimately pointless), but being a doctor is not a game. It is very important work. Throughout my reading of the book, I could not help but compare the analysis that Groopman was doing with what I would think in the same situation. (On the first day of law school they say they are going to change the way you think, and I have to admit that they are right.) But I'm not sure if the way I think is helping anyone particularly (or ever will), but I know that the way Keith and Shaleah think is helping some thankful Nebraskans.

Sometimes thinking about thinking can leave one wrapped in a confusing puzzle of meta-ness, but it is a worthwhile exercise. I know I took some things from Groopman's book that will help me make better decisions. I'm expecting that those decisions won't involve life and death, but for those who do make such decisions, remember, zebras do exist!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Good Story You Might Enjoy - Updated

Update: I forgot to link the story because, well, I'm a moron. Now, it's fixed.

I found this article on about Myron Rolle, a Florida State (!) football player who may win a Rhodes Scholarship. I thought it was definitely worth a read, however, this quote shows that there is still a long way to go before academics at big-time schools are anywhere near as important as athletics.

In individual meetings after last season, (FSU Defensive Coordinator Mickey) Andrews urged Rolle to treat football preparation with the same intensity he does his schoolwork.

"I asked him, how much time did you spend watching tape of Florida the week we played them compared to how much time you take to prepare for a chemistry exam?" said Andrews. "He didn't prepare [for the games] like he was trying to get an A. The message hit home. I saw a much more focused guy in the spring."

Thanks, Coach, for reminding me that even though I'm one of the best pre-med students in the country while simultaneously one of the best safeties in the country, I'm still letting you down.

Good luck to Myron Rolle. Mickey Andrews DIAF.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The July Fourth Amendment

The G Team had a good Independence Day yesterday. We lounged around watching Federer and Nadal take care of business in the semifinals, so we could properly prepare for the greatness to come on July 6th. (Note: Kat gets very annoyed when I talk about how excited I am to wake up at 5 a.m. to watch tennis. She said something like "It's always Federer and Nadal." But it doesn't matter, the match should be spectacular.)

Then we worked on my resume, cover letter and other documents for getting a good job in the summer of 2009. Kat delivers excellent feedback, although sometimes I am not the most willing listener. I think we've got something that doesn't make me sound too insane, but I hope that the people who are reading it are in the right frame of mind.

We also bought some groceries and checked on the garden (growing out of control, still).

Study of Squash and Law Book. Kathryn Elizabeth Gautreaux. June 2008.

Our friend Suzette came over so we watched some old episodes of the Mary Tyler Moore Show on, went swimming and then had a Kat specialty, the "big" salad.

Then, we left a bit too early to head up Mount Lemmon to watch Tucson's many fireworks displays. Parking is always a problem, so I wanted to go early, but after going early, patient became a problem. I don't know if it is a weak economy, fear of fire or just overall malaise, but there were very few fireworks shows.

Kat and Suzette. With Flash. July 2008.

And the city's biggest show started so late (maybe because of rain, we couldn't tell) that we left before it started. We caught glimpses of it on the drive home.

Kat and Me and the Lights of Tucson. No Flash. July 2008.

Anyway, it was still a very nice day that we topped off with The Soup, Coconut Meringue pie and some ice cream.

Other news and notes:

Law review topic was approved. That doesn't mean it's actually good, but at least it was approved.

Carlos Quentin
, Lloyd's second favorite baseball player, continues his torrid play. It is expected that he will be selected for the All-Star Game today.

Congrats to Mandy and Joel on their wedding.

The July Fourth Amendment comes into play when police attempt to search the backpack of a young ruffian who may have illegal bottle rockets. Without a warrant or consent, the search of the bag is illegal. However, the young ruffian likely won't know this, so he will consent, the bottle rockets will be found, and police will give his parents a stern lecture. The cycle then repeats like the circle of life.

I hope everyone had a good July 4th and a good weekend. Gone.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

No noose is good news

I have nothing to give you people. I had a good weekend with Kat and will be back to see her for the 4th of July weekend as well.

Since I have no information about myself to impart, I thought I would point to this article - from a news outlet for which I did at one time work. The subject of this story has been nice enough to sleep on a couch in a house that his family owns, so that I, an interloper for the summer, can continue to sleep on a bed. I appreciate that service even more than teaching English in Cambodia thing, although that is admirable too.

I'll try to come up with something for my numerous readers soon. Until then, keep it crunk.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


The sites I read have already hashed and rehashed Kevin Garnett's exorcism/bloodletting/"interview" after the C's secured the title last night. FreeDarko as usual seems on track here. I'll admit that it was strange, but I think it really did encapsulate who and what KG is. His extended riff on "beating up the bully" was excellent as well. I spent the evening bellowing "Top of the World, Ma!" - mainly because that was about the only thing that KG said that I understood.

And rather humorously, today people at work were talking about that interview but complaining that they couldn't understand what he was saying - in some ways implying that he was stupid/a lower life form. I decided against chiming in with my explanation of how Garnett is extremely well-spoken and that simply at that time being understood wasn't that important to him. He had a lot of weight on him - expectations of others, expectations of himself - that he felt coming off. And trying to explain that cogently in anything other than guttural screams probably wasn't going to work. I am of the view that whatever it was that he was saying was heartfelt and not about the millions of people watching. It was about what he was feeling, about what the title meant to him, about the road he had traveled to get there. And while the joke today is that he is certifiable rather than certified, it made sense for him to say he was certified. He knew how he would be judged - many people already had done so - and he knew he needed this title. If Michelle Tafoya wanted someone to make sense, she should have interviewed Ray Allen. Garnett is little more than intensity painted on a heart sewn on a sleeve. And when such a creature achieves something this great, the only response is: AAAUUGHHHH!!!!!!!! Top of the world!

Later, while speaking to the interview, Garnett made the simplest and yet most correct summation of this Celtics team: "We said all along, we're a defensive team that can score the ball." That may not sound, for lack of a better word, sexy, but that is how teams win titles. All season, the Celtics defended better than any other team and often they were the best at scoring as well. They definitely deserve the title.

I know I picked the Lakers to win. I was wrong and glad to be so. I blame the Spurs for my failed prediction. I thought the Spurs were good, but they got waxed by the Lakers. Since I believed the Spurs to be good this meant the Lakers had to be very good. Thus, by the transitive property of basketball, the Lakers should beat the Celtics. Apparently, the Spurs were not good, but the Celtics definitely are.


Sunday, June 8, 2008

Working for the Weekend

I'm heading back to Yuma today after a weekend in Tucson with Kat. We had a good time, I got to play some basketball and also do some laundry.

I got up at 6 a.m. today, so I could take in Federer-Nadal from the French Open, but it wasn't much of a match. It was still good tennis here and there, but Nadal is just way, way, way, way better than anyone else on clay. It's kind of ridiculous. Nadal seems much closer to winning Wimbledon than Federer is to winning the French. As long as Nadal stays healthy and focused, I really don't see Federer ever winning the French, which will probably hurt his resume as the greatest tennis player ever.

However, I don't necessarily think that it should. Grass and hard courts are so much different than playing on clay that maybe Federer should not be penalized to such a degree. The other factor is that he just happened to be playing at the same time as Nadal, who likely will go down as the greatest clay court player to ever live.

Since clay is such a small percentage of the tennis season, it seems that Federer's inability to beat Nadal should not immediately disqualify him from GOAT status. It reminds me of the Mitch Hedberg bit about how as soon as he got good at standup comedy, people were always asking him if he could act in a sitcom. "That's like asking a cook: can you farm?" Clay and grass/hard courts are a little bit closer than that, but nonetheless it seems that Federer is being asked to be the greatest tennis player ever on every surface - which he is, except for clay, where he is among many that rank behind the emerging greatest ever on that surface. Today, Federer, who looks like the Michael Jordan of basketball on grass, looked like the Michael Jordan of baseball on clay.

Kat thought it was pretty sad to see Federer getting destroyed like that, and I agreed it was. But I found it inspiring that he wouldn't give up and vowed to work even harder for next year. Lots of people - even many professional athletes - would rather quit than be humbled like that by someone who was five years younger. Their egos couldn't take it, but I liked how Federer hung in there until the end and didn't shy away from talking about the beating. I'm sure it wasn't easy, but most important things aren't. He'll just have to get back to work and bring his A game for Wimbledon because it looks like a lock that Nadal will bring his.

I enjoyed Federer's humility and his attitude. I did not enjoy the humility and attitude of one Rick Dutrow, trainer of Big Brown. Considering I don't pay attention to horse racing and had never heard of Dutrow before the other day, it is an achievement for him to get mentioned in the Boom. Here is his quote on May 29 about Big Brown winning the Triple Crown in the Belmont:

"I feel like it's actually a foregone conclusion. To me, I just see the horses he's in with and I see our horse so I expect him to win this race. ... I know that when that day actually does come, and if our horse is in good shape, it will be the most exciting, thrilling moment of my life. So I just ... I know that that's coming, but right now I'm just staying involved with our horse and what we think is best to get him there the right way and it keeps us plenty busy."

Belmont final results on June 7: Big Brown finishes last.

It was not a foregone conclusion, Rick, for many reasons. A big one is that you're talking about a freaking horse that may or may not actually know it is even in a race. And yet you are absolutely certain of what this animal is going to do on a certain day. Another is that if something hasn't happened in 30 years, it probably isn't that bright to call its occurrence a foregone conclusion.

A little more humility and a little less hubris in the future would be advisable, Rick.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What I (Arkan)saw on my visit

Apparently I saw horribly tortured puns. But I saw some other things, too.

This is a photo I took of myself after playing tennis with Lloyd. Although I feel like I'm very good at dealing with extreme heat, I have lost the ability to combat humidity. And it was quite humid even though it wasn't all that hot. Additionally, the AC in Karl and Lloyd's apartment broke toward the end of the visit. Thankfully, a thunderstorm made the last night much cooler. Lloyd and I actually sat outside on the deck and watched television through the window in order to stay cool. Laziness and trying to be comfortable: the mother of invention.

This photo is a cautionary tale about the dangers of sandals. Kat always bothers me about not wearing sandals regardless of the weather. I wear shoes because I am afraid that if someone in front of me for some reason doesn't continue walking forward, I will snap off a toenail.

Note: The person who didn't walk forward in this particular instance was me. If I had not been wearing shoes and had instead been wearing sandals, Lloyd probably would still have a full left big toenail.

This is not a very good photo by me, however, Lloyd and I accidentally got in trouble for using flash photography at the Clinton Library, so obviously no flash was used here. While it is good to see Lloyd, this photo is more about the Arkansas skyline. We had a good time downtown at the concerts during Riverfest. Huey Lewis and the News can still bring it, even though they all are collecting Social Security.

This is me hanging out at the replica Oval Office. I wasn't a big fan of the upholstery choice on the couches. Lloyd and I also saw the traveling exhibit of the miniature White House, which was quite impressive. I told him about the time I went to a press briefing in the West Wing's media room. The actual room at that time (I believe it has since been expanded) was not much larger than the model.

I enjoyed the Library and in general had an excellent time on my trip. Lloyd and Karl were gracious hosts. Thanks to them both.

I leave this Sunday for Yuma. I'm going to continue to blog right here on the Boom. I'm excited to see what actual legal work is like, so I'll let you know what is going on.

So keep it real, just not too real.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Pain Pain Pain

Because someone else dared me, I have been growing a moustache throughout final exams. I know this is a bad idea, but for some reason I haven't shaved it off. I guess at this point, everyone has seen how ridiculous I am, so I'm just trying to "own it" as the kids say.

Here is more photographic proof of how pathetic I am.

As for exams this semester, they have been some of the worst experiences of my life. I am excited that my first year is almost done - never again will they deride me by cackling "1L!" - but it has been quite painful in stretches. I don't know if it will get better or if it is supposed to, but many times this year, and especially the past two weeks, I have felt nauseous, in over my head or just plain disturbed.

(Note: The same reason why you shouldn't go to the grocery store when you are hungry applies to blogging while in the midst of law school exams. Everything comes out sounding worse.)

Anyway, I've taken to calling the exam periods "The Ordeal." The only good news is The Ordeal ends at noon Friday. I have actually enjoyed law school, and I can say with certainty that this exam period has been the worst part of a good first year. Every single exam has been an exercise in futility, fickleness and "f--- this!".

Some people encourage students to journal while in law school, but I didn't take the advice. I wrote down some dull drivel at one point in the first semester, but I haven't done any otherwise. I prefer ranting on my blog with a readership in the single digits. I think it might be cathartic and I'm reaching for catharsis wherever I can get it.

Sometime in the future the grades will come out, but at this point I'm not even worried about that. I just want what I've been through to end. I'm just ready for a break.

Reader Poll: When I return to Yuma for the (gulp) summer (another large gulp) should I blog on Tucsonic Boom or return to The Yumanity. I could go either way and appreciate any input. However, if no one wants to talk to me because of my foul mood (Kat gave up a week or so ago), I understand.

I'm excited about my job because I like researching and writing about the law. I just don't much enjoy the stresses of exams. I'll be back to normal soon - ranting about the NBA or some such thing.

But for now, I'm just trying to make it to the weekend. Thanks for your thoughts.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Not all that fun

As pumped up as everyone was for the NBA Playoffs this year, so far it has been more sad than happy. The number of "bad" stories has far outweighed the good stories and great games. And though I didn't watch a second of the Spurs-Suns series, I do at least know if it over now. The new parlor game here in Arizona will be "D'Antoni: Keep or Fire?" I think that both he and Avery Johnson and George Karl may soon be looking for new work. And if the Celtics can't get rid of the pesky Hawks, Doc Rivers may be joining them.
I guess my point was that when the playoffs started, no one expected that we would be talking more about bad than good. If the Spurs meet the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals, that would be something to behold. And the Wiz-Cavs series has been exciting in a sort of "too frightening to look away" sense. But despite all that, I can't help but feeling that at a time when basketball should be synonymous with joy, for me, some of the great things I loved are coming to an end. I came to Arizona the same summer that Nash was signed, and they have been great years. However, it feels like they are over. It seems that Nash has bad games more often than I remember and the Suns still struggle with the same problems. A Shaq-sized Band-Aid hasn't changed that. And while pundits will continue to pontificate about how the Suns' model could never actually work, I'll remember the joy of watching them at their best - even if it often was during the regular season. Arguing for process over result is often the crutch that the unsuccessful cling to after their most recent failure and I think the Suns are the poster children for such (ir)rationalizations. But for me, I don't mind. In some ways, I perversely hope that the Suns fire D'Antoni and Nash retires and Phoenix Suns 2004-2008 can fade away as a memory only for those who witnessed it. As I've had less time to watch and less energy to care, I've realized I'm ready to move on. I'll remember the Nash-led Suns by what they actually achieved - not by what they could not achieve. I fear that few others will choose to remember them this way, but history is written by the victors. I see this Spurs' near-sweep as the end of a dynasty based on almost - a dynasty that never was - a dynasty that couldn't get over the hump. For most fans, I think mediocrity might be preferable to such a situation. But you won't hear that from me. I thought the Suns' inability to ever take that final stride rings true with my all-too-human failings. People don't watch sports to remind themselves of their own foibles, but I do. And it might be better if more people did.

Note: This is stream-of-consciousness while trying to digest some chocolate cake and a defeat by a loathsome enemy. Sorry if it doesn't make sense.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Out for a Spin

I downloaded the new Tapes 'n Tapes this morning off the eMusic (thanks for the nth time to Keith and Shaleah) and banged it back and forth on the commute. I'm definitely liking it because it capitalizes on what was great about The Loon but has some new things here and there. I liked the single Hang Them All (and, by the way, I agree with the sentiment) as well as Conquest and Lines. I need to give it some more listens before I know how I feel for sure, but I just want to say that it is quite awesome to be able to listen to music without ever doing anything more than one's regular routine. I am always thrilled that I happened to be born in the future.

I'm also excited to download the new Colin Meloy live record which has him singing Decemberists songs without any backing other than his own acoustic guitar playing. I would have already gotten it, but I don't have enough downloads because this month eMusic uploaded a ton of old Rolling Stones tracks, so I had to get some of those.

I've been listening to Let It Bleed over the last few days. Gimme Shelter is a heck of a tune as is You Can't Always Get What You Want. I especially enjoy the choir on YCAGWYW that ushers in the song. The Stones were definitely creative musically, but they definitely could rock as well. Country Honk and You Got the Silver are also excellent on that record.

I've also recently listened to the first single from the forthcoming Death Cab for Cutie album. I like it - although you wonder about an 8-minute single that has no lyrics for the first 5 minutes. Maybe they are trying to drive their new label crazy. Anyway, if you haven't heard it and want to - it is right here.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

JVG is my MVP

The excellence of Jeff Van Gundy as an NBA commentator has been bandied on the Interwebs for awhile now, but I feel like I have to add my two pennies. So here it is, an ode to JVG:

As a younger lad but still a hardcore NBA fan, I loathed Jeff Van Gundy. I loathed his baldness. I loathed the fact that he coached a loathsome team, the New York Knicks. I loathed the fact that he once fought a fierce battle with Alonzo Mourning's lower leg. I loathed the fact that he never seemed to get any sleep even though his only job was to bark orders at adult men wearing shorts. But, yea verily I was wrong. JVG is not loathsome - he's lovable.

As an announcer, JVG is the perfect antidote to all of the other announcers I am subjected to. I don't know if listening to Billy Packer Saturday night brought this on, but I wanted to praise Van Gundy because he is one of the few announcers who doesn't cause me to yell at the TV for no reason (Kat sometimes gets worried). I'm forced to watch sports regularly on mute because I can't stand the inanity, but hearing JVG once a week is a dose of sanity (that's the only romantic couplet I'll offer in this post).

Here is why Van Gundy is good: he takes the game seriously - knows stuff that only insiders know - isn't afraid to criticize the officials - doesn't rely on the same tired explanations for why things happen (see Billy Packer and players getting tired even though there are about three timeouts every five minutes in the NCAA Tournament) - has a great sense of humor - actually pays attention to things that don't have to do with basketball - doesn't resort to catchphrases - tends to reduce the amount of nonsense Mark Jackson spews - and truly loves the game.

Today during the Suns game, which contained three good quarters by the Suns and 12 of the most putrid minutes since Dr. Naismith hung a peach basket, the cameras panned the crowd and found Kevin Costner (Phoenix: Like LA, but with has-beens!), and then Van Gundy commenced on a 45-second encomium to "For the Love of the Game." I don't know if I saw that movie, but to hear Van Gundy tell it made it sound like The Natural meets Annie Hall. Normally, that sort of off-topic yammering would drive me insane, but with Van Gundy, I actually like it. It's amazing what being likable can do.

Bonus JVG stories: he once had his car destroyed when it was parked on the tarmac to meet the team plane. The car was too close to the landing strip, so when the plane flew over, the force flipped the car into the air. The beauty of the story was that even as the coach of the Knicks, Van Gundy was still driving a 1995 Honda Civic. And, he said he would not have minded, except it was a great car and the Knicks were flying home from a game they had lost.

I also recall him once getting into an extended debate with another commentator over the winning percentage for NFL teams that received the kickoff in overtime. JVG was adamant it was at 50 percent, while the other commentator said it was much higher. Here is the proof. In fact, only 28 percent of NFL games end on the first possession of overtime.

Also, this season during the Rockets' 22-game winning streak, Van Gundy was constantly faced with the fact that the team he coached was better off without him. But where other people would be unable to even speak about such a thing, Van Gundy was always self-deprecating and comfortable with the jokes.

Lastly, his heart is full. Read that link. I urge you. I have no idea what it means, but it's gold.

But more than anything else with Van Gundy is that he isn't afraid to talk X's and O's and give real fans something to actually listen for. While he probably belongs in the NBA as a coach, I sincerely hope that he stays on the sidelines for awhile longer. In an era when every member of the media has to have a shtick (did you hear, Craig Sager wears loud suits?), Van Gundy is just being himself and giving real fans what they crave: NBA basketball with intelligence and wit.

I realize this may sound like Brokeback Basketball, but I like so little of what I hear about the game that I can't help it. I have been on occasion accused of "hateration," so I take this opportunity to praise JVG. May he commentate forever!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Get this down

I noticed something I think we'll be interesting in the next few days and wanted to highlight it for my extensive readership. By following this link you can see the current bracket of the NIT. My prediction is that Ohio State and Florida will become the first teams to play in the finals of the NCAA Tournament and the National Invitational Tournament in back to back years. (It may have happened before, but I doubt it. This year was the first since 1980 that both finalists from the prior year failed to make the NCAA Tournament the next year. However, that is what happens when entire teams go pro.) In a few days, you will see this story on the front page of and you would have been amazed. But because you have TB, you know it now - before it happens!
I'm certain this prediction won't pan out because I'm crowing about it, but we'll see.
In other news, the Suns and Celtics are playing as we speak. I cannot watch, but I enjoy a game like this because no matter which team wins I feel good. On my drive home from the daily grind, I listened to the game on the radio. I think the Suns radio team are even more homer-rific than their TV team - which is saying something, trust me. I'm surprised some of Boston's players haven't been arrested for assault.
Anyway, things are real solid here in Tucson. Weather is warming up, classes are ramping up, mental state is becoming precarious. Yes, all is well.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Shhhh! Kat is sleeping!

I'm coming to you live (through blog) from Room 2038 of the Hotel Scottsdale in Scottsdale, AZ. I picked up Keith and Shaleah from the beatiful Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix this morning and we went to the Phoenix Art Museum. Kat had to stay behind briefly to care for an ailing dog. The museum had a nice Richard Avedon photography gallery as well as some nice modern art. The museum was nice, although I didn't do too well with navigation after leaving there. But we were able to find the hotel, which is pretty swank for where I've stayed.
Kat then joined us after fighting some tangled I-10 traffic. We then went to Taliesin West - Frank Lloyd Wright's winter home north of Scottsdale. The complex is quite amazing, although it is difficult to capture in a photo or even in a typed explanation. The rooms are built into a mountain and slope similarly to the mountains, so they appear very organic. The tour guide was quite a talker, but he did offer some great anecdotes. It seems that most of Wright's most impressive innovations were the result of his annoyance with others. He was the first to install floor lighting (now used in all movie theaters and airplanes) because he got sick of people using flashlights to find their seats in his cabaret room. He was the first to use stadium seating in his theater pavillion. He was so committed to the locations he had chosen for items in his rooms, such as two clay pots, that he forced the person who was installing the glass in the room to install it around the pot.
Most of the rooms were built in a way that allows the air to flow through - since Wright only lived there in the winter - and the roofs were often made simply of canvas. This meant the rooms always had an airy, open quality, but it also meant that occasionally desert creatures found their way in and ate stuff. Much of the furniture was made by Wright and many of his designs are still kept on site. The tours at Taliesin West are pricey, but it was quite fun. I would recommend it for anyone who is in the Phoenix area. It made me want to visit the original Taliesin (in Spring Green, WI), to go see Falling Water in Mill Run, PA, and many of the other FLW buildings.
After our full day of touring, the three others in the group are now napping. Keith and Shaleah were up early and also are facing two hours of jet lag. Kat enjoys naps - especially when I'm watching basketball as I am now. I do not need a nap because I can't really take them.
I don't really know what is on the docket for tomorrow, but I think it will be fun. The weather is great (I ran the AC in the car for the first time today) and the hotel has a nice pool. I think Keith and Shaleah will have a good time here this week.
Quick NBA thoughts: Quite an impressive road trip for the Celtics. They're trying to finish it off undefeated tonight in New Orleans. Congrats to the L-Train for keeping the windows open long enough to become the Cavs' all-time leading scorer. The Suns are in town tonight to play the Rockets. If I see it it will be on TV. But I'm going to keep my eye out for the Big Cactus. If he's that big, how hard could he be to spot?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Spring Break!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah, that headline is all about excitement. However, spring break for me isn't really about excitement. It's more about doing things I've put off doing during the semester. But know this: when I'm working on that Torts outline, in my mind I'm at Daytona Beach.

I tried to go to a spring training game on Saturday, but that was not very smart. The game was sold out, and I had to drive back home like a loser. It's never a bad idea to call ahead. That's good advice all the time.

I watched Michael Clayton this weekend. It's pretty good, although the ending is a little tidy for me. I have a hard time with a movie that seems to portray lawyers very accurately throughout but then opts for the morally unambiguous ending. But it is still worth a rental or a Netflixing if you haven't seen it. Everyone probably already has, so I'm basically doing the Jim Gaffigan "Heat" bit at this point. But if you haven't seen it, I'd suggest it.

I have a bit of a beef with director's commentaries on DVDs. The directors have basically decided that every viewer is a "geek" who is only interested in lens widths and film stock and cinematographic minutiae. Tony Gilroy, the director and writer of Michael Clayton, often, as he said, "geeked it out" on the commentary by talking about anamorphic frames and other technical details, but I was a little more interested about the story and how and why he came to write it. He talked about it a little, but I was interested in a lot more in that than he covered. And I don't mean this to be related to only this movie (of course the aspiring lawyer wants to hear a guy talk about lawyers!), but it seems on many commentaries there is plenty of actor backrubbing, lots of talk about rack focusing and very little on story. I realize it is ridiculous to complain about something most people ignore, but that's what this blog is for.

Kat went to a horse show this past weekend. She had a lot of fun. I took a pass because I was going to go to aforementioned spring training baseball game. Her event was not sold out, which shows that she is much smarter than I. For those who want to keep up on all things Kat there is a new blog! She got rid of Kat Fancy - a name I created - and has gone to the more irreverent and less cliche "I Like Carrots." Update your bookmarks, RSS readers, secretaries who find stuff online for you and other tools accordingly.

It was cold yesterday, and today we have some snow on the mountains out the back patio. That does not start being less cool no matter how many times it happens.

How many items have we had already? Like six? But you know what's hanging out there like a big matzoh ball? Oh yes, the NBA. The Celtics have a brutal road trip this week, the Suns may be rounding into some sort of form that at least seems like basketball, the Rockets will not lose, Pau Gasol is out with a beard injury, the Nuggets put a historic murdering on Seattle, but what I want to talk about is the travesty/sham/mockery that is the Miami Heat. This is their box score from Sunday's game. Yes, those names for the Heat mean nothing because no one has heard of them. But I won't even accuse the players who played of tanking - this is simply tanking through who is playing. Riles has made it public that he is scouting college players - even skipping games to do so - and yet the fans must continue to pay the inflated "hey, we recently won a championship" ticket prices. I feel badly for them, although they still live in Miami, so it's not all bad.

On the Riley scouting issue, can we just be honest and say he hates his own team so much that he needed a break from watching it? Why would you scout college players when you don't know where you'll draft and you have all of spring and summer to scout them anyway. Videotape exists - you don't need to actually be there - you could, I don't know, coach your own team? I'm rambling, but I find the scouting rather pointless. You'll have time to scout. In fact, the players you want to draft will fly to your facility and work out for you! They'll do the drills you want them to! I understand that you want to see them in game conditions, but that's what film is for. My point is that Riley should be subjected to the team he is foisting on his fans. At least Isiah doesn't leave to go scout other team's washed-up malcontented stars with bad contracts. Well, at least not yet.

My NBA thoughts are scattered (readers nod slowly and sadly), but I'm still very excited. I'm not all that thrilled for March Madness (for me it's more like a brief mania), but I think the Final Four could be interesting because there are some good teams. For now, I'm riding UCLA.

I think that's it. This is too long already for anyone but a masochist. Anyway, best wishes to everyone and a happy Easter.

Friday, February 29, 2008

A long two weeks comes to an end

Kat and I are back at home after our fortnight at the Red Roof Inn. While having cable was nice, I wouldn't recommend such an adventure to anyone. It was not much fun.

It did make us appreciate our apartment even more - especially now with new kitchen cabinets, new appliances, redone bathrooms and a new water heater. For those who have already visited, you'll have to return since it is like a brand new home. For those that haven't visited, well you can pretend all of this never happened.

Here is a photo of Kat (eyes tastefully closed) in the new "kitch." A bank of cabinets were taken out, so it seems bigger now, so we think now it might be a "kitche." Somehow we were able to force every in the old cabinets into the new cabinets.

(Sidenote: I'm sure this is far from riveting, but my therapist told me the best way to cleanse the mind after my time in the gulag was to speak about my new great digs.)

One other story about the last two weeks occurred yesterday while Kat and I were waiting to get back in. Because we had to check out of the hotel at 11 a.m. but couldn't get into the apartment until 5:30 p.m., we spent the day with fully-loaded cars and dogs with no place to call home. Now normally, since I live far from the law school, I never see my classmates except at school. However, as is just my luck, at the moment that Kat and I had two dogs, two loaded cars and two Whoppers we were tearing into like prisoners because we hadn't eaten in like 15 hours (we pretty much ran out of food and we're trying to last until we got back home), a classmate pulled up (in a Lexus SUV, I might add). I'm pretty sure that he may have thought I was homeless before based on how I look at school (unshaven and wearing T-shirts all the time), but now I know for certain he thinks I'm homeless. At that particular time, he wasn't wrong.

Anyway, some other problems were fixed in the apartment as well and it's great to be back. The dogs seem very happy (especially Lucy who recently had surgery on her girl parts (I respect her privacy) and seems in much better condition). Lucy doesn't like her new food, but I hope she will come around.

(Again, riveting I know. I'm sure you want more, but I have to cut it off here).

In basketball-news, the Suns haven't looked too fantastic with the addition of the Big Cactus. Maybe that will improve, but I can't say I am particularly optimistic. Again, we'll just have to wait and see.

In Suns fandom news, I secured some new basketball shoes after nearly two years with my previous pair (immortalized in this blog post), and I went with some Converse that celebrate the orange of the Suns. To me, nothing says commitment to fundamental basketball and teamwork like orange patent leather shoes. In my first pickup game with the new Dreamsicles, I was making it rain, so I'm thinking they're good so far.