When the rain comes

The rain has begun. It started about a week or two ago. After it starts, you lose all track of time of when it started and when it will end. Current forecasts have it clearing up sometime in June (that’s the old joke here). Some mornings when I get up I just can’t motivate myself to get on my bike clothes and voluntarily submit to a soaking. Most mornings, though, I can.

Saturday was another day of football. I dreaded spending five hours standing around in the wind, rain and cold, but only the rain showed up for the game. I discovered that my raincoat, which leaks a great deal when I’m on my bike, doesn’t leak at all when I’m standing around watching football. Other than the rain (and clouds), it was really quite nice out. The boys got to find out all about playing football in the mud. They both did really well again and had team pictures taken after their games.

Fall Means Football

Yesterday I finally had the chance to attend a Saturday flag football double-header starring Thomas and Graham. The action started at around 10:30 in the morning on a perfect football day: brisk and sunny with the wind blowing very hard out of the east (as is normal for our position in The Gorge). So hard, in fact, that people’s chairs were being blown over and kids were chasing their lighter stuff all morning.

Graham’s game was first and resulted in a tie. This was the first time that they didn’t lose, so there was some improvement there. These little kids don’t understand most of the rules of football and do things like run the wrong way sometimes. Still, Graham is understanding the game much better and pulled his first three flags yesterday. He also returned the first kickoff the equivalent of about 60 yards on their shortened field. He really enjoyed himself, too, which is the important thing.

Thomas had practice almost immediately following Graham’s game and then a game after practice. Thomas is the biggest kid on his team and so gets to play on the line, in the middle on both offense and defense. I think he wishes that he could get his hands on the ball every once in awhile, so I tried to emphasize the importance of his position. At one point, the two big kids on the other team (who were both bigger than him) were double-teaming him to keep him from rushing. I explained to him how important this was but I’m not sure he understood. During the latter part of the game, though, he got two flags in a row and then took one to give the other team a big loss a short time later. He was very happy about that. And his team won big with three or four touchdowns to none over a team that had beaten them the previous week.

Here’s some oddities of flag football I found interesting:

  • There are no fumbles. Once the ball hits the ground, the play is ruled dead.
  • If the flag belt falls off the ball carrier, the game turns to tag football.
  • For the younger kids, the coach joins his team in the back field to coach them up close.
  • First downs happen at stationary points arranged every 20 yards on the field.
  • Teams must declare which action they will take on fourth down. If they choose to punt, the defense is not allowed to rush the punter.


Thomas became interested in something called Pictochat Animation when he found some movies on YouTube that used the technique. Soon, he started drawing his own animations, which are essentially flip book animations that use the Pictochat feature on his Nintendo DS handheld game. He’s been working on an epic inspired by Star Wars, but it’s not ready quite yet. In the meantime, he commandeered my iSight and my computer to produce this animation in iMovie.

Tomorrow Thomas has two flag football games and Graham has one. Last week Thomas was sick, so we both missed his and Graham’s first games. Tomorrow I’ll miss them again since I’m helping Uncle Buddy move into his new house. Buddy is one of the rocks we have in Portland and we’d do anything for him, so I’m not too bothered to help.

Vital Statistics

Bike odometer: 243 miles
Weight lost: 32 lbs.
Hours of sleep last night: 8.5
Current reading: I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe, The Prince by Machiavelli
Recent listening: Glimmer by Kim Richey, Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses by Slipnot, KBOO Bike Show, John Prine
Recent viewing: Crash, Steelers at Chargers, Cowboys at Eagles, Charlie Rose (Bob Woodward), Meet the Press (Bob Woodward), Drawn Together (season premiere!), Without A Trace
Recent playing: Zuma, Halo
Recently accomplished: Fixed Thomas’ hard drive, installed new OS for Thomas, lubed and cleaned bike
Imperative To Do: Finish old blog entries, get Thomas’ computer to boot, rake, clean garage, return stuff to hardware store, pay bills
Cool Link: Blogs – and God’s Youth: Does God want you blogging?

Vital Statistics

This is a screenshot from Thomas’ computer last week. It shows the “History” menu in his web browser. Behind the the menu, you can see parts of the article he was reading on Wikipedia: Eroticism. Click the image to open a window with a larger version.

I stumbled upon this information one night because he kept using his computer when he was supposed to be in bed. Tina busted him several times and so I checked on him remotely from my office (all of the computers in our house are remotely viewable/controllable from my office computer). He was no longer using his computer, but I was surprised to find that he was reading an article on eroticism. I told Tina the next day and we agree to talk to him about it.

In the meantime, I pondered how he had even thought to look up “eroticism” on Wikipedia. We considered that he might have gotten some inappropriate spam, but I checked his email and didn’t see anything like that. Then I thought to check his browsing history and obtained this screenshot. The “History” menu shows all of the pages that you have accessed in the order that you accessed them. More recent pages are at the top and go down in reverse chronological order. So you can see that he started at Wikipedia’s front page where he clicked on a link to “relationship”. This took him to something called a “disambiguation page” – a page designed to resolve word ambiguities by summarizing the articles for each use of the word. From there, he clicked on the link to “romantic love” which has links to “free love”, “puppy love” (which has a link to “crush”) and, finally, “erotic love”, which redirects to the “Eroticism” article.

When Tina and I asked him about it (separately and non-chalantly), he said that he just clicked on a link in Wikipedia and then clicked a bunch of others after that. Moreover, he said he didn’t really understand any of the articles. We told him he could ask us about stuff like that if he wanted to know more and he said, “OK.” And that was the end of it. At least for now.

Bike odometer: 201 miles
Current reading: I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe, The Prince by Machiavelli
Recent listening: This Is The Moody Blues by The Moody Blues, Coverville, DrugMusic
Recent viewing: Falcons at Saints, Countdown, The Daily Show, The Simpsons
Recent playing: Zuma
Recently accomplished: n/a
Imperative To Do: Refinish deck, hair cut, new rear fender for bike, finish old blog entries, fix toilet (call plumber), rake, install new hard drive for Thomas
Cool Link: Fembot for sale: Somebody is selling an Austin Powers prop and the pictures are quite creepy.

Vital Statistics

I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday party. Thirty of my best friends showed up and we partied way past dark. In the day time it was lots of kids, sunshine, music and burritos. At night it was music and adult conversation around the fire pit on the deck. My life is good at 40.

Yesterday I received a mystery CD in the mail. It has readings by Jack Kerouac and came from Cheektowaga, NY. I’m quite sure I did not order it and have no idea why I received it. It came addressed to “Mick Ring” which rules out all of the places I order from online. If you know why I received this CD, I would love to hear from you.

My mom offered to help me refinish my deck this week, so I’ll probably take a day or two off work so we can get that done. After a few rainy days last week, it’s been sunny and is supposed to continue that way. We should take advantage of it while it lasts!

Bike odometer: 201 miles
Current reading: I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe, The Prince by Machiavelli
Recent listening: n/a
Recent viewing: Giants at Seahawks, Bengals at Steelers, Sportscenter, 60 Minutes, The Simpsons
Recent playing: Zuma
Recently accomplished: recovering from party
Imperative To Do: Refinish deck, hair cut, new rear fender for bike, finish old blog entries, fix toilet (call plumber), rake
Cool Links: Some Scion stuff:

Vital Statistics

Apple introduced new iPods, a new version of iTunes and added movies to the iTunes Music Store yesterday. The new version of iTunes has a really cool feature that lets you browse through your music like you would browse through your albums back in the day. I really, really like it. The new iPods have better games including Zuma! Man, if I got one of those I would never read again.

Bike odometer: 147 miles
Current reading: I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe, The Prince by Machiavelli
Recent listening: Coverville, Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses by Slipnot, De-Loused In The Comatorium by The Mars Volta, Spillane by John Zorn
Recent viewing: U.S. Open Men’s Final, Colts at Giants, Dead Zone
Recent playing: Zuma
Recently accomplished: Bought new bike seat, labels for my sister’s CDs
Imperative To Do: Bank, refinish deck, hair cut, service van, new rear fender for bike
Cool Link: Ultimate Lego Chaingun


I’ll admit up front that I was rooting for the Steelers to win, so it should come as no surprise that I didn’t really think bad officiating helped the Steelers win Superbowl XL. However, here’s my take on the various controversies:

  1. The call for offensive pass interference was probably good but should have been reviewed. I think many people who are outraged are not regularly viewing football fans. It does not take much of a push to gain an unfair advantage in that situation. The fact that the offensive player was caught with his arm fully extended led to the call.
  2. The Roethlisberger touchdown call was correct. I watched the replay on my Tivo several times last night. What is deceptive is that when he makes the dive, he is holding the football high – up near his shoulder – but when he ends up on the ground, the football is near his waist. If you watch the replay carefully, you can see the two white stripes of the football, still held near his shoulder, when his head breaks the plane of the end zone. It’s clear to see that the tip of the football breaks the plane, also.
  3. Many are claiming that these two calls were a 14-point swing for the Steelers. That’s deceptive at best. The offensive pass interference call resulted in the Seahawks having to settle for a field goal, so that’s only 4 points. The controversial touchdown call occurred on 3rd down. If it had not been ruled a touchdown, the Steelers would have either gone for it with an inch to go, or more likely kicked a field goal. Again, only 4 points. The so-called 14-point swing was really only an 8-point swing.
  4. The Stones got bleeped during halftime and I missed it. I gave started fast-forwarding 1 minute into “Start Me Up” and only stopped occasionally to see if they sucked any less. They did not.
  5. Was nobody at the network paying attention to the setlist? Doesn’t everybody know that “Start Me Up” ends with “You make a dead man cum”?
  6. Finally, I feel sorry for Jerome Bettis. He was capable of a much better game, but the running game was just not there. They even gave him two chances to score a touchdown from the 3 yard line prior to Roethlisberger’s controversial dive. Hate to see him go out with a wimper.

Hawkeyes got screwed

Although Iowa made some crucial mistakes in the Outback Bowl today (i.e. blocked punt and fake punt), the officials seemed to have it in for them. To wit:

  • On third down, the Gators’ drive stalls two yards short of a first down when an official calls them for “helmet to helmet contact.” Replays showed the call was wrong but they don’t review it. The drive is kept alive and eventually the Gators score a touchdown just before halftime.
  • During a Hawkeye drive in the second half, an Iowa receiver is called for a face mask. Offensive face mask? Replays showed the receiver getting pulled down to the ground by his face mask by the defender. Both of the receiver’s arms are stretched out perpendicular from his side.
  • On another drive during the second half, an Iowa receiver makes a great catch for a first down but is shoved out of bounds before his feet touch the ground. The play is ruled an incomplete pass and the drive dies.
  • With less than two minutes left, Iowa scores a field goal to get the game within 7. Everybody is set for an onside kick, which is delivered perfectly. Iowa recovers but officials rule that one Iowa player was offsides. Replays show no one offside.

It hasn’t been a good year for the Big 10 in bowl games. Aside from the bizarre ending, I seem to recall that Michigan had two crucial calls incorrectly go against them, too. Let the conspiracy theories begin!