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.