Sunday, September 30, 2007

Unofficial Professional Chess Player and Wet Cats

As I sip my Merlot in front of a roaring fire in the fireplace, I smile. Content in the fact that my victory over Matty Ebs will soon take place, and Jordan will swiftly replenish my dwindling poker bankroll over on Full Tilt. Yes friends, I will soon be able to call myself a professional chess player. I have yet to see a dime from my coaching gig, and the money I make from winning the first annual blogger chess tournament is more than I've made from any form of employment over the past month, thus it is now my profession.

The fact that I can't beat half of my friends at chess doesn't phase me. I'll be a professional, and they aren't, so nyah nyah! Andrew may be a professional drinker after his trip to Ireland, if he bets the right Irishman, but the Irish are supposedly strong drinkers and might require a handicap due to Andrew's size. If my friend accepts any sort of handicap, he is sure to lose, and will continue to hold the title of: Unemployed!

Today was quite the dreary day. I love dreary days in Seattle. It makes me wonder what Ichi does differently on a rainy day versus a dry day. He hasn't seen much rain since Portland, and he keeps meowing intently at me, commanding me to shut off the rain valve. I think Ichi probably sleeps more and 'cats around' less when it rains, much like the rest of us.

Another thing I've always wondered about cats is when it rains, their fur is wet to the touch, but are the cats themselves wet? Does the moisture get down to their skin, or does magic cat saliva act as Scotchguard for their fur? I guess it doesn't really matter, because I pet him as soon as he gets inside and press all the water from his fur into his skin anyways, hah! He hates that.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hot Tubs

Two hours of tennis, one hour of racquetball, and 2 1/2 hours of running full court basketball left me in a coma-like state when I arrived home 30 minutes ago. I grunted forcefully as I sat down in my usual living room chair, and as soon as my bruised left butt-cheek hit the cushion, I knew I wouldn't be able to get up for at least 5 minutes. My knees were sore, my butt was sore--pretty much my entire body was sore. Standing upright in a shower didn't sound like a great idea at all, so I turned to one of my favorite man-made creations in history: The Hot Tub.

It was dark outside, so skinny dipping wasn't going to scare the neighbors. I have no problem wearing a swim suit while I hot tub, but the dang things get so wet that drying off becomes a pain. No suit and drying off takes about 8 seconds! Not to mention the freedom, FREEDOM!!! that only skinny-dipping can bring. I wasn't quite sure if the hot tub would make my knees better or worse, but they feel fantastic right now, as does the rest of my body. Hot tubs are magic.

As I sat there getting a back massage and foot massage simultaneously by the jets on either side of the hot tub, I got to wondering... what are my favorite hot tubs? This got my mind going, and I thought back to a few hot tubs long ago. I think the first hot tub I was ever in was at Iron Springs, WA, which is on the north end of Long Beach. It was an indoor hot tub, and the family went out there for a couple of Easters in a row. One of my parents' friends had a place out there that we stayed in one year, then the next year we rented a little cabin. I don't really remember any good stories from that hot tub, I couldn't have been older than 5 or 6 at the time, which is why it didn't make my...


I can hardly contain myself, eee! There really isn't any criteria other than the fact that these top 5 stand out in my memory someway, and #1 stands out more than #5. So, without further adeu, I present to you:

#6 Portland(honorable mention)
Not a grand hot tub by any means, but I really enjoyed sneaking into the hot tub at "The Wimbledon" apartment complex in Portland with Stacey. We got a couch off of craigslist the first day we were in Portland, and still had our (crummy) Budget truck, so we decided to make use of it and grab as much furniture as possible from around the city on that first day. Turned out a girl who had graduated from Reed College and stayed for the summer was moving out, and wanted to get rid of her couch.

While we were carrying it out of the apartment complex, she said something about feeling free to come on by and use the hot tub whenever--the complex didn't check ID's and there wasn't a key entry. Sweet. Stacey and I made the trip down to Southeast Portland a handful of times and made use of the hot tub, while maintaining our cover as "friends of room 211."

#5 South Lake Tahoe
The Beach Club hot tub in South Lake Tahoe. The hot tub wasn't on the beach, but in their hotel near South Lake Tahoe's "strip." I think once upon a time when Stacey and I made a trip up to Tahoe when we were living in Sacramento, we stayed at the hotel, and really liked the hot tub. It has a waterfall down to another hot tub, and I remember thinking to myself, "This wouldn't be that hard to sneak into."

A few years pass, and I'm living in Tahoe. You better believe I am at that hot tub every Friday before hitting the poker tables. It wasn't every Friday, but I had to mix up my hot tub strategy, because if they start to recognize you, that's a bad thing. Who goes to the same hotel every week during the Spring, in Tahoe? I'd usually wear a hoodie. Sometimes I'd just walk right through the main office and say "Hi." Other times I'd wait in my car for others to go in, then pretend to be friends of theirs.

It was great to hot tub before hitting the poker tables. I'd visualize what I wanted to do, what I wanted to refrain from doing, and I'd just be in a great frame of mind to wreak havoc at the tables. I think sitting in this particular hot tub is where I first realized how much of a reality becoming a teacher could be.

#4 Big Sky, MT
These hot tubs are amazing. They are huge, and there are two of them side-by-side. The fact that they are at a ski-resort where one of my first college friends, Lauren, has a cabin, doesn't hurt! New Years 2001-2003 were spent out in Montana for Andrew and I. We'd drive out a few days after Xmas, and spent the entire day on the road, giddy for four or five days at a ski resort. We'd ski for three or four, watch all of the college bowl games on New Years, then drive back to Seattle on the 2nd.

Lauren's cabin/condo was a very brisk one-minute walk to the hot tubs. Five or six of us would head out to the hot tubs after dinner. I'd step out the door with a sweatshirt, a swim suit with a towel wrapped around my waist, and sandals. The 19-degree freeze would instantly hit me like a ton of bricks, and I would cough. My nose hairs made themselves known for the first time, as they froze into tiny little frozen shards as I try to breathe through my nose. I go back to breathing through my mouth and coughing every other breath to start out.

Watching the Seattlites scurry to the hot tub, trying to get to the heat of the hot tub, while carefully avoiding black ice along the way--must have been a site for the locals. We'd finally get to the hot tubs, and they would usually be packed. 40 or so people in the hot tubs--not ideal, but everyone was on vacation and having a good time, so the 40 people were all friendly and good to have conversations with. It snowed on us while we were in the hot tub a couple times over the years, and that was an amazing feeling. We'd watch the steam rise from the hot tub and evaporate the flakes as they fell. Everything is white except for you and the hot tub water.

#3 Chateau LaCoste
Kristina's hot tub. Easily one of the coolest rooms in a house I've ever seen. The solarium, which is filled with plants and is made out of entirely wood, has a hot tub. The ceiling is all window, so you can sit in the indoor hot tub and look at the stars all night long. When I lived at Kristina's for January and February this year, my first mission was to get her hot tub working again ASAP. I had a hiccup to begin with, but I eventually got the sucker working, and it was marvelous.

More than a few times we got to take advantage of the amazing hot tub. We'd grab a bottle of wine, turn off all the lights, and blast Radiohead or Ani DiFranco while sitting in the hot tub staring at the stars. When we got hot, we'd open a window and hop outside onto her deck and see how long we could last in the freezing cold before having to hop back into the hot tub. The stars were even more amazing out on the deck. Nevada City isn't the largest city on Earth, and she has very few lights out in the woods--but when you have that many stars, who needs lights?

#2 Sweet Home, Seattle
Might as well near end close to home. My Dad got permission from my Mom to get a hot tub 15 or so years ago. Not many dirty stories on the home-front hot tub, I try save that for other peoples' hot tubs! I did have a lady friend take my suit off once, when she didn't think I'd let her... but that is about as dirty as it gets. Maybe slightly dirtier, but my memory is hazy. "My" hot tub ranks #2 simply because it has more stories than any other hot tub out there. I've obviously used it many many more times than any other hot tub, so the fact that it has the most stories isn't too surprising.

I've had two-hour-long conversations with my Dad about life, love and his life and what regrets he's had. He hasn't had many. I love hearing about his past, and what made him the man he is today. He imparts wisdom on me every time we're out there, whether I want his tips or not. Compound interest, yes Dad, I know what it is. Yes Dad, I know, I took finance and accounting in college, I understand compound interest. The question he's asked me the most out in the hot tub has been:

"So, the thing I've never understood about poker is what happens if you have $100 and bet all your money, and I only have $99? I can't call your $100, so I have to fold? That doesn't seem fair!"

He's literally asked me this question AT LEAST 30 times in my lifetime, and probably a dozen of those in the hot tub. Sometimes I answer him, and tell him that he only has to call whatever he has left, and I'd just take a dollar back. He understands it for the night, then usually asks me again the next week if I talk about poker with him. Some times I'm not as nice, and agree with him, berate him, or make up a fantastical story about how you have to then put your watch in play, or your house, the title to your car, your oldest son, and even the shirt off your back.

But seriously, my Dad and I have had some amazing talks out in the hot tub, and those are the most memorable times I've had in our hot tub. A distant second would be finishing a tough day of skiing and hopping in the hot tub with Andrew. We are in coma-like states like I was today, then my Mom walks outside with two plates of dinner--salisbury steak, rice and corn. And lets us eat dinner in the hot tub. Oh my God, that was heaven.

#1 Sun Mountain Lodge
Where to start, where to start... I guess #5 will have to be the hot tubs at Sun Mountain Lodge, in Central Washington. Sun Mountain is this little resort near Winthrop, WA. Winthrop pretty much survives based on tourism. In the winter, the rich go to Sun Mountain to cross country ski and lounge in style by the humongous fire places and yes, hot tubs. In the summer, all of the poor families come with their little poop-machine kids and ransack the place.

OK, not quite. The place is high class though. We once ate dinner and saw the guy who made those "WE WON'T BE UNDERSOLD!!!" commercials, where he got hit with a pie in the face at the end of every 30 second clip. Man, YouTube needs to get its act together and get one of the old commercials up. I can't remember if he was in auto sales or if he had a furniture warehouse, but that guy with the funny looking face and barbie-wife was a fixture in the Seattle community for at least a decade from 1985-1995. Actually, we didn't even notice him first, we noticed his wife with about 10 layers of makeup on. I asked, "Isn't that the wife of that guy in the commercials?" Then I realized the guy in the commercials was sitting across the table from her.

But lets get back on track. The hot tubs at this place were amazing. The main pool's hot tub you could swim mini-laps in if you wanted to. There were little pods all around the deep end of the hot tub, so people could set their drinks on them while they schmoozed. Of course, as a kid, it was my goal in life to hop from pod to pod across the hot tub without falling in the water lava. I don't think I ever did make it all the way across.

There were two other hot tubs at the other cabins, and each had a 10pm curfew. But again, I was a kid, and what do kids do best? That's right, get into mischief! We'd scurry around at night, dodging the bats that swooped down every few minutes to try and use my blond hair for their nests.

The best times were when my sister was off at college, and I got to invite Marc up for the few days in paradise. He has a better hot tub story than I, but I'll leave that for him to blog about... once he starts up a blog. The Sun Mountain hot tub in Marc's story has since been concreted over, and I'm pretty sure whatever Marc and that girl were doing in the hot tub led to the masonry. Oops, I've said too much!

But yes, all of the years, all of the change, and all of the hot tub nights with chocolate mouses make the Sun Mountain hot tubs the clear-cut #1 when it comes to hot tubs I've visited.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Classes Begin

I'm taking two courses at North Seattle Community College this quarter, an Introduction to Human Geography and a College Algebra course. I need both to get into the University of Washington teaching credential program in the Spring. The classes are a bit of a pain, because they are from 11am-1pm every day, so I can't get a day job anytime soon. The classes do fit well into my tennis coaching gig though, so all is well.

The geography instructor is the professor from "Back to the Future" -- Or at least he is crazy enough. He's been retired twice, has unicorn-white hair, and has more energy than a banshee during mating season. He wants us to address him as either Sir or god... but as nutty as his classroom runs, I whole-heartedly agree with his approach to teaching world human geography. He is going to try and transform all of us into Hindus, Muslims, Cavemen, Native Americans, and Taoists when we study their traditions and regions.

In the math class, we are doing the same stuff Mr. Howell's 8th grade class is doing, which I find kind of funny. I could probably test out of the class, but I just need the credits, and I think I'll find the instructing of it interesting to observe at the community college level. Our professor goes over things about 10x faster than Mr. Howell does, and so far he doesn't really seem to care if the class understands the material or not!

Monday night I went to an informational meeting for the UW-Bothell teaching credential program. It was a blast, and I really can't wait to start next Spring. I was one of four guys in the room, one being a father of one of the women in the class, another was a boyfriend, and the fourth was a 45 year old guy making a career change. The ages were spread out pretty wide, but this whole teaching thing just gets better and better:

1) I'm going to love teaching in the classroom
2) I feel like teaching is one of the most important and under-rated (and underpaid) professions out there, so I'm going to be happy with what I'm doing for a career
3) As a middle-school math teacher, I'll be able to get a job anywhere, as that combo is in high demand
4) 3 months of vacation?! LOL!
5) The teaching program is going to be a much better way to meet women than sitting at home blogging and playing WoW... (although Essmmerellda, if you are reading this and are playing WoW again tonight--hit me up, baby!)

The only part of the informational meeting I wasn't happy with was the pay-grade presentation. If you have a BA, you get paid about 29k to start. BA and a few grad classes you get 31k. BA and a teaching cert, 33k. Masters, 35k. The presenter was saying how you can't really live in the Seattle area on just a BA's salary, so she urged everyone to get Master's degrees. 29k is going to be more than I've ever made before, so I'm not too worried about it. But I can already see the administrative jumble being a pain for teachers. Also, since I'll be teaching in a high demand area, I should be able to get a little higher on the pay scale to start--although I obviously didn't choose to be a teacher to make money!

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Oiy Vey

((Yes, I just added a japanese potty-training video to my links at the right. I don't know what you're thinking, but the video had me rolling!))

Sore throat and running nose didn't keep me from playing ultimate today out at Greenlake. Maybe it wasn't the smartest idea, but being cooped up inside is no fun. Although... it was fun staying in and playing in Kat's donkament last night. I had a lively table of Kat, Waffles and Bayne until Waffles got knocked out, then I got knocked out in 10th.

I feel I should be writing right now. Not a blog entry, but something more creative.

"But, why don't you just make your blog entry creative?"

No, shut up.

I think my problem is that I need more structure than how I currently write (or don't write). I know a story or fun idea won't always come to me the same way, and that I have to be flexible, but I need to get past the point I am at right now, which is: Holy crap an actual story is a lot to write. I've had some fun ideas that I want to try out, but I don't know where to start and just give up before I begin.

The past few weeks I've set a goal to either read or write for 30 minutes before I go to bed. I've been on a long stretch of non-book reading, and it feels good to go to sleep with a good book again. I'd like to push the 30 minutes to an hour eventually, but I know with school starting up on Monday and a job eventually to follow, I'd rather set a goal I can attain, instead of reaching too high too quick.

It'd be nice to con myself into writing once or twice a week, and do nothing but write for that hour or half hour. Once I get something down, I think the writing process will pick up speed, especially if I know I'll be following up in a day or two.

I guess that is my goal for the rest of the weekend. Take my laptop somewhere and just write. No looking for wireless internet to steal. No distracting myself with poker or WoW. Just get something on the page!

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Friday, September 21, 2007

My Dad, the Comedian

So, I wake up this morning feeling just as crappy as yesterday. Sore throat from hacking up all sorts of goodies, runny nose--you know the drill. Anyways, I head upstairs and find my Dad pretending to clean up our old computer room. He's really just looking through old photos, so I say:

"You aren't as productive as Mom when it comes to cleaning."

He responds, "Oh! Go blow it out your ear! Not as productive as Mom... Oh!"

OK, maybe not the nicest thing to say to your Dad first thing in the morning, but we had a good laugh. A few minutes later, I'm making some Tazo green tea to try and give this cold the KO, when my Mom comes down from upstairs and yells:


He strolls into the kitchen from the computer room with a fake smile on his face, "Yes, my dear?"

"What is this sock doing in my laundry basket?" She says as she holds the sock in question up for his examination. It is a white ankle-sock, very similar to the ones I wear...

"Do I wear socks like this???" she says.

"Well, I..."

"Allan! Have I ever worn socks like this?" Oh, she's starting to have fun now.

"I think..."





"I have NEVER worn socks like this, do you see how long this sock is?" She says as she holds it from toe-to-heel in front of his face.

He looks at me.

"Oh! It must be Chris's fault!"

He and I laugh.

"Allan!" Mom says again.

"Well, wait one second, let me see that sock," He says.

She hands him the sock, and he studies it for a second. Dad then lays the sock down next to my Mom's foot, and the length is EXACTLY the same length as her foot.

"OH!!! Innocent!!!" He shouts, as Mom finally can't hold her straight face and the three of us are all laughing uncontrollably.

"If it fits, you must acquit!"

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Down with the Sickness

Last night was the first noticeably chilly night for me in Seattle. I tossed my sleeping bag on top of my covers, and quickly fell asleep in a cozy cocoon of sheets, blankets and the sleeping bag on top. This morning was no fun though. I awoke just before 6am in a bit of a sweat, then had trouble getting back to sleep. The alarm clock woke me up just before 8am, and by the roughness in the back of my throat, I already knew the flu was going to get me.

On the way to school, I stopped by Safeway and picked up some Airborne, which I really should have gotten yesterday. I felt like something might be coming on after tennis practice yesterday, and the beer with Sara probably wasn't the smartest way to fend off a flu... nor playing racquetball. I only lasted one class at Eckstein, after sweating on my walk to school, then about an hour later getting the chills. I've never sweated on the walk to school before, so I had my reservations about how long I would last observing today. I decided to take it easy, because of the tennis match against Juanita this afternoon. When I got home from Eckstein, I promptly put on pajamas and crawled back into bed.

Three hours later, I woke up and decided getting some food in me would be a good idea before the tennis match. What better food than spicy Indian to thwart the flu?? I cooked that up, and it did the job. I'm not feeling 100% now, but at the tennis match I was fine doing everything I normally do. The match didn't actually happen, because the Juanita team got dropped off at Lower Woodland instead of the Laurelhurst courts, and neither team had transportation. They eventually arrived at Laurelhurst two hours late, but by that time I had sent the majority of my team home.

The guys decided to play Graveyard for Butts Up to see which team would win the match. Graveyard is a fun game where you have two teams on opposite sides of the net, where each hit moves you to the back of the line. If you miss, you sit on the court at the service line. If your whole team is sitting, you lose. When you are sitting, you can swing at balls, and if you connect and get the ball onto the other side of the court, you are back in the game (much like catching a ball in dodge-ball brings a teammate back from the sideline). If you miss, the person who's turn it is has to sit on the service line. Playing for "Butts Up" means that the winning team gets to serve one ball each at the opposing team, who lines up on the service line, turns around and presents their ass to be hit. Good times. RHS lost the first game, won the second game, and had 3 people left alive to Juanita's one, but a few timely shots from the graveyard, and Juanita stormed back from the dead to win!

I'm planning on getting quite a bit of sleep tonight. Sleep, lots of water, tea, Indian Food, and Airborne should hopefully do the trick on this cold...

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007


About fifteen minutes before the end of tennis practice today, Sara gave me a call. We bumped into each other on Saturday for the first time in just under four years. She's in Med-school with a crazy schedule, so I just told her to give me a buzz if she wanted to get together for a drink before she leaves for Montana. From our chatting on Saturday, I was under the impression that she had another few weeks in Seattle, and would only have a day or two off between now and her departure.

I called her back once practice was finished, and she informed me that she had tonight off. We agreed on the Greenlake Bar and Grill for drinks after dinner, but before my racquetball with Tyler at 8pm. Sara and I talked pretty much non-stop from 6:30pm to five minutes before 8pm.

She's doing great, and has about 18 months left of Med school, before she becomes a doctor. She runs marathons in her spare time, which she doesn't have much of, and she loves to hike. She's had a couple so-so relationships since we broke up, and is currently in a long-distance relationship with a guy who is moving to Sandpoint, ID--which is where Sara will eventually be doing the surgery part of her residency.

She sounded like she had some reservations about losing the freedom of a long-distance relationship, but she's got her own place lined up through the school, so she'll still have her space. I mentioned that if Stacey and I had moved in together right away, we wouldn't have lasted two weeks! Sara's also got a bit more time off than she originally thought, but she's leaving a week from this Friday. She's on call tomorrow, and has the entire weekend off. She expressed interest in both hiking and seeing my Dad again before she leaves. She loves my Dad, and is loved back. I guess it is his weirdness that she likes, and the fact that he keeps her on the right track. I'm pretty sure he is constantly reminding her not to be "one of those money-grubbing doctors who makes me wait!" It is easy to see why he likes her, as she is pretty much proof that humanity can still do good.

Sara plans on coming back to Seattle after her residency. Her little brother and his wife Kristen live over near Greenlake, and they have a seven-month old daughter who Sara completely adores. I don't think she's going to stay away from that kid for very long, and she talked about wanting to have kids of her own right around age 30. That was always my ideal age for having kids too, but I understand you can't always plan those things the way you might dream them up.

We talked a bit about our old relationship, and how much fun we had together and how we never fought. We didn't even really fight when we broke up, although I do admit to acting very selfish and stupid. We talked once during our relationship about how our previous relationships had ended, and she said pretty much all of hers had ended well. She was still friends with a few of the guys. I didn't see how that was possible, and admitted that all of my ex-girlfriends were not friends, and not on my list of people to call in case of emergency. Another lesson learned--it wasn't them, it was me. Sara is an amazing person, who can remain friends with people who have hurt her, and she is someone that people want to remain friends with when she hurts them. I, on the other hand, had a bad case of indifference when it came to exes. I'm not sure I truly grasped that until talking with Sara tonight.

After a quick hug good-bye, and plans to meet again before she leaves for Montana, I raced over to Tyler's. On our way over to Sand Point, he was telling me about a new game he just bought, and how it takes place in Seattle. In the first act, the Kingdome gets blown to smithereens by the Russians. The game sounds fun, but...

I could not get Sara out of my head.

Why didn't I fight for her again? Why did I just let her go? I guess at the time, it didn't seem like a fight I could win (that God guy is a wily opponent). But instead of talking about it, or seeing if there was any room for compromise, I just walked away and let her go. At the time, our relationship felt like a lot more than just a summer fling, but that is all it really was. Tonight, she said something about skiing over in Idaho and Montana this winter, and I just assumed that we had skied together before, but now I'm not sure we did. I don't think we were still together when the white stuff started to fall.

It felt really good to whack that racquetball against the wall as hard as I could. I ended up losing to Tyler in both games we played tonight, 8-11 and 10-11. Beer before racquetball didn't help, nor did having my head in the clouds...


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Seattle, she just keeps you guessing

I don't see how people get depressed in Seattle. I was walking to school this morning, and it was a bit chilly and overcast. No rain, just a big shroud of gray over the city. When I left school this afternoon, the exact same shroud of gray was covering the city... it was like I hadn't missed anything at all! In California, when I went in to work in the morning, the sun was just starting to wake up on one side of the sky. When I left, it was ready to go to bed on the complete other side! Talk about a wasted day...

But, as much as I love Seattle, it really is one of the worst possible places in the U.S. to be a high school tennis coach. I must have checked the weather report a dozen times today. Our tennis practice got rained out at the last second yesterday, and I really didn't want to have to hop onto a yellow bus, drive 30 minutes, only for the tennis meet with Bothell to be rained out. The most reliable weather source out there had a 30% chance of rain in the greater Seattle area from 2pm through 8pm. The tennis match was from 3pm-6pm. Three hours, each with a 30% chance of rain. I didn't like my odds of staying dry this afternoon!

But, I did! I got all 20 of my guys a match, and we ended up losing 4-5 in the nine matches that counted. It was pretty brutal, we were tied at 3-3 after the six singles matches, and it came down to the doubles matches for the second meet in a row. Two of the doubles matches were tied at 5-5, playing a pro-set to 8, and we were up 6-1 in the third doubles match. So we only had to win one of the close matches to win the meet.

We ended up losing the #1 doubles match 6-8. So we then had to win both of the other matches, which were at 7-8 bad guys and 6-3 us. The tight 7-8 game we end up getting to a tie-break at 8 all, and my guys end up pulling out the tie-break 8-6! I was really excited for the guys, because the tennis meet result was pretty much based on their match... but the match we were leading 6-1 was now tied at 6 all, no!! We end up losing that match 6-8, and lose the meet. Their opponents rallied from a 1-6 deficit to win seven straight games to take the meet. Depressing on our part, but I won't lose any sleep over it (that is the good part about coaching JV--wins and losses don't matter, whee!).

After the match results were done, we ended up playing a huge game of king of the court, while we waited for the exhibition matches to finish up. Their coach and a few players joined in, and we were having a great time. Tennis coaching is a blast when everyone is good sports and having fun. Their coach told me about the Inglemoor team, and the terrible calls they were making--so I'm not looking forward to that match.

In writing news, I'm going to make a healthy effort to get something I'm proud of over on Fun With Words each week. For the most part, I don't want it to be something I've just written up and posted right away, like I do here. I want to think it out and maybe write it the first few days of the week, give it a few days to settle, then go back and edit it and have it posted by Monday night. I have a few ideas, and I'll possibly be branching out into poetry and song writing, which I haven't really attempted before. I have a story idea for a topic given to me by my 11th grade teacher, Mr. Grosskopf: "Create your own Utopia." There were a few prompts, but it sounds fun to begin with, then gets extremely overbearing very quick. I can already feel myself slowing down and shying away from finishing whatever I start on the topic, but I'd rather hurl myself blindly at the topic than just ignoring it.

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Monday, September 17, 2007


Tyler and I are pretty much equals when it comes to racquetball, and it is infinitely more fun to learn a sport with someone your skill level, than learn the sport all by your lonesome. When Marc was learning how to snowboard a few years back, instead of just skiing alongside him, laughing at him while freezing my buns off; I decided to pick up snowboarding too—and we had an absolute blast. I still remember our first run, having no idea how to get down the mountain, but we raced anyways. I won with a mere 13 falls on my way to crossing the finish line first. Watching a string-bean 6’5” Marc trying to get up quickly after face-planting on a snowboard is right up there on my list of hilarity in the universe. Watching him fly off a jump—while trying to impress some lady-snow boarders—and land squarely on his non-existent ass at Stevens Pass tops the list of Marc Snowboarding Memorable Moments (MSMM).

A close second would be his memorable face-plant at Mt. Baker the day of the huge Seattle storm last year. I wrote a song about it, like to hear it? Here it goes… OK, I didn’t write the song, but I did make a video. I make a cameo appearance in the middle of the video getting my snowboard on, but Marc is the star, and don’t you forget it!

But back to racquetball. Apparently Mr. Howell, who I am observing for one more week, is also an avid racquetball player. He’s been playing for 20 years, and competitively for the last seven years. He was playing in a tournament up in Lynnwood on Sunday, and I was heading up to Everett anyways to watch the Seahawks game with Marc—so I made a pit-stop at the Lynnwood Bally’s to watch.

In the first 5 minutes of watching racquetball, I learned a dozen new things. Defensive shots, change of pace shots, serving technique, and court positioning—to name a few. I hadn’t really thought of any of these while playing with Tyler. I know how to lob in tennis, but when you are playing in a square court, where you can hit the ball off the back wall and the ceiling—it is like comparing blurnsball with baseball. The lobs I saw in racquetball hit the ceiling first, then hit the front wall, then bounce high and deep towards the back wall, which makes them incredibly hard to do anything with. The guy Mr. Howell was playing had an incredibly mean serve, that clung right against the wall. Any miscalculation on Mr. Howell’s part, and he winded up either completely missing the ball, or whacking the wall with his racquet, which never feels good.

Most of the other tricky shots I saw Mr. Howell and others hit, involved them hitting an off-wall corner, just before hitting the front wall. Some of those shots were just killer, and were basically instant point winners, where the defender has no chance to get to the ball by the second bounce.

Tyler and I got to play racquetball this afternoon down at Sand Point, because tennis practice was canceled due to about ten minutes of ill-timed rain. We discussed the strategy I soaked in yesterday a bit, then played two games to 11. I don’t think I’ve ever beaten Tyler before (although I probably should have last time we played), but I won both games today. My everyday tennis playing and being more in-shape helped, but watching the good racquetball players yesterday helped tremendously as well. Luck was on my side too, as I must have hit at least three shots that were accidentally kill-shots.

We reserved the court for Wednesday night, so hopefully Marc can make it after work for his first taste of racquetball. He says he is interested, and I’m interested to see how his 6’5” wingspan will change the game!

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

It's a Small World, After All

What an interesting day.

It started out with a drive up to Lake City, where the Exploder needed a cruise control service recall done. I guess the cruise control fluid is capable of leaking, which can somehow lead to instant death or something else just as harmless. The service job was free, and even though I was told I'd probably be there for an hour, the shop was empty, and I was back on the road in ten minutes! Not a bad start to the weekend!

I brought my cleats with me to the servicing, and I swung by Greenlake on the way home, to see if the Saturday pickup game is still going on. When I got to the park, it looked like the entire field was being taken up by youth soccer games. I almost gave up and headed home, but I decided the day was nice enough, so if no frisbee was happening, I could always jog around the lake or play some basketball. When I got to the field, I saw some huge orange cones being setup by a guy who looked like he might play frisbee. The cones we use are usually a lot smaller, but with all the foot-traffic, they've learned over the months that the big cones work much better to keep people off the field.

Frisbee players began to show up as soon as we grabbed a disc and began tossing. About the seventh guy to show up ended up being none-other than Alex Morrison, a fellow member of the FUCK IT club from November 2006-December 2006. FUCK IT was a club of four of us, Alex, Emily, Kristen and myself. To be a member, you had to be living with your parents and be unemployed. Winners, pretty much. You just had to be a cool winner to be in the club. We went out to drink on week nights and contemplated having a beer pong night at Kristen's place, but that never materialized.I also played tennis with him at RHS.

We tossed for a few minutes, and soon we had enough for a game of six on six. Minutes later, we began 7 on 7, which lasted for a steady two hours.

The second person I recognized at frisbee today, Boris, I played frisbee with in middle school. I remember him because he has a twin brother, Victor, who also played. They were two of about five Russian kids who attended Eckstein, so it wasn't a surprise that I remembered him and he didn't remember me. We talked for a bit and he verified that he was on the Eckstein frisbee team with me that won middle-school spring league (which was our 8th grade year).

The third person I recognized was a shocker. Joe Cater. He is the brother of my ex-girlfriend Sara, the one before Stacey. I really only met him once, maybe twice. The only time I remember meeting him is when Sara and I took a road trip over to Montana in the summer between my Junior and Senior years at UPS. We spent a night in Gonzaga, where Joe had just finished his Freshman year, and he had just moved into an off-campus house. Joe, his new girlfriend, Sara and I all went out to a well-lit grassy field and tossed the disc, because Sara had been telling Joe about my frisbee skielz, so the first thing he wanted to do was toss the disc! I remember that he could huck the beejeebus out of the disc, and we tossed the disc from one end of the field to the other.

The guy on our team looked a lot like Joe, and when I saw the Gonzaga shirt, I asked:

"Joe Cater??"

He looks at me quixotically.

"I'm Chris, Sara and I used to date a few years ago."

"Oh, yeah! How have you been?"

We got along great, and although I didn't think anything would be terribly awkward between us, I know that he and his sister are pretty tight.

When Sara and I broke up, we hadn't really had a single fight before then, and we didn't even really have a fight that night. She brought up religion (she's Christian, I'm nothing), and said how she needed a break, because she always envisioned herself in a marriage between herself, her husband, and God. I took the news pretty roughly, and even though our five-month relationship had been all peaches and cream, I pretty much gave her the cold shoulder from then on.

I think she envisioned us spending as much time together as we had been, but possibly talking more and making out less. But I was hurt, and I didn't want much of anything to do with her. We talked a couple of times in the weeks to follow, but I was always brief, even though I could tell that she was hurt too, and didn't intend for our "taking a break" to be like this. Looking back at things, I didn't handle the situation very well at all. I'm not sure I would have done it any differently at the time, but I've changed a lot in the last few years, and I regret the childish actions I took after our breakup.

So, Joe, Alex, Boris and I, along with 10 others are playing frisbee, having a great time. In between the points, as we walk back to the line to start the next point, Joe and I talk about what we're up to now and what we've done in the last few years. Joe has been quite productive! Bachelor's in Accounting, Master's in Accounting, and he passed the CPA exam this summer. He's working as a CPA for a firm downtown, and he also has a 7-month old baby girl, with the girlfriend I met that summer four years ago in Spokane. His now wife (I can't remember her name), is a 1st grade teacher on maternity leave, and they live over in Phinney Ridge.

I told him a bit about where I've been, and what my plans are for the next few years. I asked what Sara is up to, and he said she is doing a residency program at the VA hospital in Seattle. I guess she is working 30-hour shifts, and only has 3 days off from now until her return to Montana to start the surgery portion of her program to be a doctor. Then he remembered:

"Oh wait, she's actually jogging around the lake with my wife and the baby. She'll probably stop by in a few minutes."

Wait, what was that?

Talking with her brother is one thing, but Sara and I haven't talked or seen each other in almost four years, and we didn't leave on great terms! I had a chance to see her in November, because she still keeps in touch with my Dad (I thought I wrote about that in a post back in November, but it must have been in a private journal). She was invited over for dinner before my parents knew I'd be moving home for the holidays after Stacey and I broke up. In November, I wasn't ready to talk to Sara then, and I ducked out to Tyler's for the evening.

But today was a different story. I've had six months or so in Tahoe to find out who I am, and what I want to be. I'm on a very good path to become a teacher, and I've finally realized that being a teacher is something I can do for the rest of my life. When it comes to mind, body and spirit, I'm peaking in all three categories for I think the first time in my life. I really like where I'm at right now, and I like where I'll hopefully be a few years from now. Add to all of that a quick service job this morning, playing ultimate, and reuniting with Alex, Boris and Joe--bring on the ex!

When Sara, Joe's wife, and the baby showed up, they watched us play for a minute, then walked over to an open spot on the grass. She didn't wave, but I think she was probably a bit caught off guard, as I would have been if I hadn't expected her coming. She sort of ducked behind a tree and did some stretching while Joe finished up playing frisbee. Joe and I played two more points, then headed over to where Sara, baby, and wife sat.

Sara and I shared a hug, and all of the hostility from our last meeting four years ago was gone. It felt really good to be able to sit down and chat with her and Joe for fifteen minutes or so. We played with baby Jane in the grass, talked about what we're up to and just had a really nice time. I got both Sara and Joe's phone numbers, even though Sara won't have much free time between now and when she moves back to Montana, and Joe's got a 7-month old baby to help take care of. But, I think they'll be able to find a night or two in the next month to go out for a drink. Both Joe and Sara are amazing people, two of the nicest people I know, and I'm glad I was able to mend a fence today and start up an old friendship (and possibly add Joe to my basketball roster for the winter!).

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Math Problem #1

Well, seeing how there is a lot more math in my life recently, I think I'll start up a weekly or bi-weekly math problem slash brain-teaser for you to test your meddle.

Tonight's problem is actually from my friend Andrew's dad. He's been teaching a math club at the elementary school Andrew and I went to 15 years ago. He's continued to teach this math club that goes to Math Olympiad every year to compete, even though his youngest son is now 25. He and I went to the Mariners game tonight and we got to talking math. I asked him if there were any problems that have stood out over his years, and the first one that popped into his head was this one:



Oh, and of course: show your work! :)

I was trying to do this in my head while watching the baseball game, it took me a good 5 innings to figure it out, with many hints along the way. But feel free to use notepad or some paper and a pencil. If you need a hint, check out the comment section. Good luck!

And go Mariners! Walk-off sacrifice fly by Guillen to win in the bottom of the 9th!


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Coach Roach, Bleacher Teacher

Tennis coaching has been a lot of fun the past few weeks. We started our league matches this week. On Tuesday, we played Garfield, which won all of their JV matches last year, and they promptly crushed us. Today, we took the school bus down to Rainier to play Franklin, traditionally a pretty bad tennis team. I decided to mix the roster up a bit to get a few kids on the lower end of the ladder a chance at playing a competitive singles match.

After the six singles matches had finished, we were all square at 3:3. The winner of the meet would be whichever school won two of the next three doubles matches. I was confident in our number one and two doubles teams, but when the matches were at 5:4 and 6:5, respectively, I got some goosebumps. We ended up winning not only those two matches, but all of the other doubles matches! The entire team definitely needs some help in both the serve and volley departments, so that is what I'll be concentrating on in the next few weeks. The guys are really starting to get in great position to dominate their matches, but they usually whack the ball out of the court, or dink it into the net--that's where I come in!

Observation of the middle school math class has been amazing this week. I've already been invited to play in the teacher's basketball pickup game on Friday's, which I'll start next week. I can't really think of a better and more fun way to network with teachers than to let them win at play basketball! From my 20 or so observation hours so far, becoming a middle school math teacher seems like a perfect fit. Every single class of every day, at least one of the students brings a fresh perspective to a problem we're working on. That freshness seems like it would keep me alert and young for many years to come :)

There are a few more hoops I have to jump through (instead of just shooting them?) to become a middle school math teacher than to be a middle school english teacher, or a high school business teacher--but I just don't think I'll like the high school age as much in the classroom as I do at tennis practice, and getting a job as an english teacher is about 100x harder than getting a job as a math teacher. All of the math graduates go make a lot of money with their degree. Mr. Howell had a Bachelor's in German. So even though I already have an english minor, and I'd be able to start on an english-emphasis degree right away, it'd probably be worth it to take a few math classes at NSCC and do the math-endorsement to be set later.

I have fond memories of middle school, and to me that age is just a lot of fun. For the most part, the girls are bigger than the boys in 8th grade, which I find to be pretty darn funny. It is sort of like the relationship between my older sister and I, where I was the small boy who'd make fun of her, then she'd pummel me. There are a good amount of runts in the class who poke fun at the girls, the same girls who I bet they hide from at lunch break.

I've also been able to help both Mr. Howell and the student teacher describe things better to the students. It is easy when I'm sitting at the back of the class observing, and I can see making a few of the mistakes I see while trying to keep track of all the little nuances that go into making a productive learning environment for the students.

Today, we were working on a problem where we had a pool that was both indoor and outdoor. We knew the area of the indoor portion of the pool, and the equation for the entire pool--and they had to find what parts of the equation were for the outside portion of the pool, then graph what they thought the outdoor portion of the pool looked like. There were many different possibilities, and some of the students made it much more complicated than they needed to, but that just reminded me of myself doing it the exact same way when I was younger.

The equation had X^2 somewhere in it, which wasn't used in the indoor section of the pool, so it had to be part of the outdoor section. But they couldn't for the life of them figure out how to sketch a figure with the area of X-squared! It is pretty much just a square with X on all sides, but you can't just tell the student that, so we had to come up with a way to try and describe what X-squared might look like sketched.

Mr. Howell came up with a good idea of having a rectangle with a length of 5 and width of 3. He asked the class what the area of the rectangle was.


"OK, good, so length times width to find the area of a rectangle. What happens if the length is 5x and the width is 3x?"


"Hmm... almost, you multiplied the 5 and the 3, but did you multiply the x's? I think you're leaving out an X..."

Bewilderment, no hands.

"Hmm... OK, say X=2, we've got 5 times 2 times 3 times 2, right?"


"So, we can simplify that as 5 times 3 times 2-squared. How can we use that knowledge to answer our 5x times 3x question?"



The kids hadn't been taught factoring yet, which was pretty essential to this question. We went through the first two of his four Integrated One classes, then I realized that they knew how to multiply the length and width to get the area using a variable (albeit uneasily), but they didn't know how to get a length and width from a given area--especially when X is involved.

I suggested that for his 5th period class he do both the 5x-3x example, but also give them an example with a given area and work backwards. He loved the suggestion, and it seemed to work out pretty well for the 5th period class, although they are a bit sharper than the other two classes--so we couldn't tell if the reason why they seemed to grasp the content better is because of their innate sharpness, or the different teaching method--argh!

I have to give it to teaching though, I sure use a lot more of my brain in a week observing than I did in my six months working for an insurance company in Portland. And I'm having a whole lot more fun!

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Great Bumper Sticker

Live simply, that others may simply live

Great bumper sticker to live by, in my opinion. Although, my favorite is still probably the one on Kristen and Conor's car down in Davis, CA:

It will be a great day when schools get all the funding they need, and the navy is holding bake sales to buy ships.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Sports Weekend, 2 for 3

Well, the Mariners lost tonight to Oakland, but both the Huskies and the Seahawks won, so I'll consider it a good weekend for Seattle sports. The Mariners have pretty much blown their chances at a playoff spot, and the two grand slams from the A's tonight didn't help!

I took some photos on the way down to the game, and a few at the game. None of the videos I took came out very well, but a few of the pictures did.

More pictures on the flickr.

The Onion's Fantasy Football!

As seen on Iron Girl's blog.

Dear Cranky NFL Fan,

Someone close to you has extended an invitation to play Onion Fantasy Football: Shattered Expectations. The Onion Sports editors have created the only fantasy football game that allows discerning fans to earn money by selecting the players most prone to disappointment. Weekly prizes of $500 and an overall season jackpot of $5,000 will motivate you to figure out which top player is going to drop the ball. Put your critical thinking skills and pessimistic nature to work at

League name: Seattle Loves Vick
Password: seattle

Pessimism? Rooting for good players to do bad? Sounds like it is time for poker bloggers to unite!


Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Professional (and

I've commented about this movie a few times in the past. It is definitely a bit on the awkward side, but it is still one of my favorites, and an amazing movie with themes that aren't talked about every day. The violence-side of the movie is plenty enough action to satisfy me, but I'd say less than a tenth of the movie is violent--it is just very, very well done.


You've got a guy, Jean-Claude Reno, who is a professional hitman. That is pretty much all he knows how to do. He has been screwed by his employer the day he set foot in America, but his employer is the closest person he has to a friend. He wants to get out of the business, but you know he just won't be able to.

Natalie Portman, who is somewhere in her teens, plays the roll of a daughter in a really fucked up family. The Dad screws over a very well-connected and extremely corrupt policeman, Gary Oldman, and their entire family ends up getting slaughtered--save Portman. She walks past the scene and her only hope is Reno taking her in... she doesn't care that the rest of her family is dead, but the killing of her completely innocent four year old brother sends her into a rage--and she wants revenge.

Here are two Youtube videos. The first is a recap of the movie, with bits of audio here and there along with a few good songs dubbed in. The second is one of the coolest shootout scenes I've ever seen, which is at the end of the film.

NOT SAFE FOR WORK (lots of killing, not any harsh language or nudity though, so watch at your own risk)

Growing up as a kid in America, who hasn't thought of being a hitman?? I mean, with all the video games (Grand Theft Auto, Counterstrike, Hitman, etc...), doing it in video-game land was plenty enough action for me. But I've met amped up guys who aren't satisfied with video games and enlist--just to shoot off guns, with a noble cause to back them up. Some aren't satisfied with that and request to be sent to Iraq, primarily to see action, and secondarily to "Protect America."

This movie portrays a somewhat believable way that a kid could actually become a hitman, and it doesn't sugarcoat the life. Reno wants more than his life as a hitman, and when he opens the door for her, not only is Reno her life-saver, but Portman becomes the shinning light in his gloom existence.

As an aside, the reason I've been posting quite a few Youtube videos recently is that I found out about It is a site (no program to download) that allows you to save Youtube videos to your computer. It is free, and allows me to save all of my favorite videos to my computer, in case they get removed for copyright infringement, which many of my favorite videos have fallen prey to. All of those amazing Pearl Jam videos at the VH1 Storytellers, which aren't available anywhere (to my knowledge), I could have on my computer for safe keeping--if only I had known about this website earlier!

In order to play the downloaded files, you need to download a free .flv player, which KeepVid links from their site. I hadn't heard about the .flv format before, but I guess it is a nice condenser, which allows Youtube and other sites to shrink the files and play them streaming over the internet. Typical music videos in .flv format are pretty much the size of a normal audio mp3, at about 6-12mb--which is nothing nowadays.

Thought I would be nice and pimp the site, because it has been just what I've been looking for as a nice backup to videos that I deem save-worthy :)

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iPod Game Recap

1) Pearl Jam - Jeremy
2) Oh Shit - Pharcyde
3) Coldplay - Spies
4) Jack Johnson - Cookie Jar
5) Aesop Rock - The Yes and The Y'all
6) Ani DiFranco - Work your way out
7) The Stills - Changes Are No Good
8) Islands - Jogging Gorgeous Summer
9) Cake - Palm Of Your Hand
10) Built to Spill - Distopian Dream Girl


Saturday, September 08, 2007


ROCK! Loved the game-show parts.


Sports Weekend, event #1

My weekend of sports started off with a bang today! I was able to lure Marc away from fixing a leaky roof at his new house, with two free tickets to the UW vs. Boise St. football game. I've been to a few Huskies games in my day, and this game was right up there in terms of excited anticipation.

Boise St. has been a Cinderella in college football for the last few years, much like Gonzaga in college basketball. Both of them really shouldn't be considered Cinderella's anymore, because they are so darned good. Last year, they pulled off one of the greatest upsets of all time, in my opinion:

So much trickery, and the starting running back who scores the final touchdown then proposes to the head cheerleader? Come on...

On to Washington, and its storied football history, which has been on a terrible downswing the last decade or so. When I was growing up, we won the National Championship, and were the team to beat in the Pac-10. I think we're ranked near the bottom now. But... we're improving.

Boise St. came into the game ranked #22, and UW unranked. I'm not sure why, but I just had a really good feeling about the chances of UW winning this game, and although it could still be argued that Boise St. is the better team, UW won the game 24-10. There were a couple of lucky plays, but the UW team looked so much better than years past. Marc and I were in the stands of 70,000 for a good 30 minutes before UW had a penalty called. They just played very solid, and mostly penalty-free football--which will get you a "W" in these closely-matched games.

On our march back to the car after the game, there was plenty of heckling going on from the rowdy college kids to all the Boise St. fans. The best heckle I heard was, "Your senator sucks cock!" Because, well--this guy is their senator:

After the game, Marc and I got about 90 minutes of tennis in. He won the first two games, then I won the rest. I wasn't hitting the ball well, but used some of my cunning... no, wait... ALL of my cunning, to defeat the evil Markay.

Tomorrow, Marc's hosting a football BBQ for the Seahawks first game, and then on Monday I've got two very nice seats for the Mariners' game against Oakland.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Do the Shuffle!

Na na na, nana na na na na!

From iam23skidoo (who is doing the pick'em league, and I also coincidentally just saw the Simpsons episode where Marge says "23 skidoo!" and runs off), who found it through Bad Blood and Amy.

Method: Post the first bit of lyrics from the first 10 songs your iPod plays randomly. Kudos if you recognize any without using Google.

Chris's method: Dumb it down and have my own fun with it. Instead of going with the prompt, because I have a lot of crappy, situational music, I took the first 10 lyrics I found funny, good or unique.

1) At home, drawing pictures, of mountain tops, with him on top. Lemon-yellow sun...

2) Oh shit, Oh shit, Oh shit (repeats) Oh... Little Sally Walker, sittin' in a saucer, Oh, how I tossed that ass up; Like a mission in the woods, Woody-wood Pecker would if he could, but I didn't want to pass it up. ((lol))

3) I awake to find no piece of mind. I said, "How do you live as a fugitive?"

4) I would turn on the TV, but it's so embarrassing, to see all the other people, I don't know what they mean, and it was magic at first, when they spoke without sound, but now this world is going to hurt... you'd better turn that thing down, turn it around.

5) Jiggy-jabberjaw vitamin idol primal rages, when Bible pages verse, tidal wave begun.

6) Lying on the floor, four stories high, in the corridor between the asphalt and the sky...

7) I wear the smile, I wear the laugh, out on the backstage changing hats. I am a weekday on weekends, I hate my best friends.

8) Woke up with rain on my head, couldn't dry off, so what should I do instead?

9) When the house was standing, you'd never have believed it.

10) Can you make it real? Make it more than will, more than just feel.

((I'll post answers later))


Long Day

Today started at 7am for me, which isn't necessarily early for most of you, but I started making a habit of staying up late and waking up around 11am. It is much easier to do than it sounds, given two weeks of nothing to do before 2pm. But that life is over. It was fun while it lasted, but today marked the beginning of three weeks of observation for me.

I started my observation today at Eckstein Middle School, my old stomping grounds. I walked the ten or so blocks to school this morning at 8am. I had on a fleece, but the second I got to school I shed it. Today ended up being a beautiful day, maxing out at around 75 I'd guess. I observed Mr. Howell's 8th grade math class until about noon today. He was one of my favorite math teachers growing up, and I was able to get in contact with him back in July about observing his class when I got back to Seattle.

He remembered me after about a ten-year absence, because I was one of the kids on his first "math team" trip up to Blaine, WA. It is just south of the Canada border, and I was only there because my math-genius friend, DTran, wanted someone there he knew. The most memorable moment of the trip, besides not knowing any of the math questions, was skying Mr. Howell playing ultimate frisbee out on the grass during one of the breaks at the math competition. I think we ended up doing fairly well at the comp., no thanks to me!

We talked a lot during his break period, and it was kind of cool to play connect the dots with old friends and family friends who had taken math from Mr. Howell. I would mention someone, then he would say if they or their siblings were in his class, then I would update him on what they were doing now. One of the craziest crossroads was that his daughter is now at Nathan Hale, and is playing ultimate frisbee. Her coach is Sammy CK, who I played ultimate with growing up and is in my fantasy football league! Again, it is pretty nutty being in a city where I actually know people--still awkward, but I'm sure that'll pass soon enough.

I only observed until lunch, because it was pretty much get-to-know-you day and go over the syllabus. After four runs through the syllabus, I had it down water-tight, and didn't really need to hear it two more times. Another cool thing about observing Mr. Howell's class is that he has homeroom, then he has his prep period until 9:10am. So I don't have to come in until then to observe! I observe three classes, have lunch, observe two classes and the day is over! Well, then I head to Greenlake and coach.

Today, coaching was a lot of fun, and I finally got to run the kids a bit. It wasn't bad really, but got their blood pumping. I hit some really soft balls at them today, which was a change of pace. I noticed at our match yesterday at Issaquah, that they were getting a TON of floaty balls back, due to their really good groundstrokes--but once they got the floaty balls, they couldn't put them away! It was frustrating as a coach, to have a team dominate from the baseline, but not be able to put anything away!

So I pretty much lobbed balls at them, hoping they would smash them for nice shots--sadly they smashed them... into the net, or into the fence behind the court. Not many hit their intended target--so I'll have to work on that. The team is really above average at hitting nice, hard groundstrokes, but realistically, at the JV level, they aren't going to get into that many good rallies--they will more often get into loopy-ball rallies that need to be put away.

We backed it up a bit and hit a little harder, then I got a couple double matches going before calling it a day. Tomorrow should be fun, and I hope to make Friday the fun days to come to--play some fun games like monster king-of-the-court, and graveyard (where once you miss a ball, you sit on the court and stay there, like a zombie--and you get to hit any ball that comes your way).

After practice, Tyler and I tossed the disc for a bit, then watched the first football game of the year. Saints at Colts, and the Colts just whooped em'. For the most part, the game was a push for me. I could have done a lot, lot better, but in my pick'em league I had the Colts winning, and in my fantasy league I had the Colts D. Unfortunately, Tyler, who I'm playing this week, had Peyton Manning, who went off for 230+ yards and 3TDs. Drew Brees and Marques Colston combined for 8 whole points--Brees had 2INTs and zero TDs, and Colston only caught a couple passes for 40 yards or so. I think the Saints duo is going to wreak havoc this year, just not against Indi. The big bright side was the Colts Defense, who I picked on purpose in our fantasy league, because I think they are way underrated. I also have the Saints D, who I knew couldn't really contain Peyton--but they had me second guessing my Defensive choice after the 10-10 halftime score, with the only Saints Touchdown a fumble-recovery touchdown! Both Defenses are looking great, Peyton and the Colts were just too strong at home.

Looking forward to the rest of the NFL games this weekend, observing tomorrow, the UW/Boise State game this weekend, and grilling up at Marc's for the Seahawks game on Sunday!

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Fun in the Sun

Well, OK, it hasn't been very sunny lately in the Pacific Northwest--but the rain is supposed to hold off for the rest of the week. It drizzled a bit today, but it cleared up for the first tennis practice post-cut. There were 15 guys who showed up to practice, even though it had rained only an hour earlier. I expected fewer to show due to the conditions, but I was pleasantly surprised.

We had some fun hitting balls for a few hours, and I look forward to practicing the rest of the week with no rain outs. We start matches next week, and I think the JV squad looks amazing already. I'm sure a few of the schools in our league will give us a run for our money, but I think we'll just steam-roll a few schools.

Thursday I start my three weeks of teacher observation, then at the end of those three weeks I start two pre-req classes at community college. I'll be taking Geography and College Algebra. I'm not too worried about either class, and I think they should be a good way to get me back into school mode. Once the spring semester rolls around and I'm pulling full-time work plus part-time school, the challenge begins. It is looking like Middle School is where I'll end up, but I'll know for sure in three weeks, after my observation is complete.

Fantasy football begins this week, and I am starting to get giddy again. I've re-installed Madden and plan on doing a little fantasy draft in the old 06' game. I've got a good fantasy squad in the draft I did with Seattle buddies and the Scott crew. I'm playing Tyler in the first week, and that boy is going to get whooped! We've got a few side-bets going already. $1 between four of us for the most fantasy points the first week. I might lose this one because Drew Brees is up against the Colts, and I think their D might be a little tough in Indianapolis. When Brees lines up against a terrible pass defense, and Steven Jackson gets a cream-puff team to run over, I'm going to pile up a ton of points. We've also got a nice bet going between the same four people, a last longer bet and the three losers buy the winner dinner. I'm hoping to get a few more bets in before the season starts, then have a slew of bets during the season!

The Pick'em league also starts this week, and I am spell-bound for this first week. Almost all of the games could go either way in my book, and I pretty much just picked at random. I'll of course be leading the league after this week! I shipped my $10 to Skidoo for that league and can't wait for the season to get going. I'll root for the Seahawks this year, but I think both the 49'ers and the Rams have a shot. Arizona... meh...

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Sunday, September 02, 2007

Shadow Puppeteer


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Saturday, September 01, 2007

Spider Meadow

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Spent yesterday and today hiking at Spider Meadow with Dad. It was cloudy yesterday, and rained on us a bit overnight, but today was gorgeous blue sky. I'm pooped!

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