Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Digging Deeper

I played basketball last night for the first time in months. It felt great to get back out onto the court (and hitting my first few shots didn't hurt!). As we were walking to the water fountain in between games, I hollered at Joe in front of me in the hallway, "I'm sweating and my knees hurt--it is good to be back."

I played at the old Mormon church again last night, and as I was walking back to my car I wondered why I have never spent any time describing the eerie feelings I have whenever I walk back to my car from playing basketball at the church. I usually just write: "I played basketball last night, won some games, lost some games, had fun, blah blah." The images burned into my head from playing basketball there never make it into this blog, nor are they written down elsewhere. This will be an attempt to jot down some of those freshly branded images.

The first thing about basketball at the Mormon church is that I always play there at night, from 9pm to 11pm. The underneath-lit church looks spooky to me from the second I pull into the parking lot. It reminds me a lot of the frat buildings in the movie "The Skulls." I have very little experience with religion, and I never spent any time in churches growing up. Like everyone else, I fear what I do not understand.

The gym is quasi full-size. The ceiling is low and the walls are very close to the out of bounds line, but the court itself is full-size. Every time I play, someone crashes into a wall or leaps up on the stage at the West end of the court to avoid smashing into the lower wall. Before basketball starts, we have to fold chairs from the gym floor and stick them on a chair rack. We have to grab Mormon bibles (are they different than Christian bibles? They must be...?) and set them aside. Then basketball gets played.

There are a few interesting characters. John, from my cohort, plays basketball the same way he plays frisbee. He is one of the bigger guys, so he bangs around on the inside (or goes deep in frisbee), and is a very unselfish player. He sets screens and likes to pass the ball (or the disc). Joe is a bowling-ball of a point-guard. He's about 5'8" and weighs over 200lbs. He shoots 3's all day long if you give him a glimpse of day-light and he makes his fair share. If you stick a hand in his face, he's capable of driving around (or through) you and to the basket. There are a couple other very good basketball players that show up from time to time, one guy who pretty much dominates everyone on the inside, but does not look like a very difficult match up... until the game starts and his speed and quickness make their presence felt.

On the walk out after basketball, I am usually dead tired. It is dark and the one light behind the church shines directly at the back door, not illuminating much else. The cars are parked diagonally behind the church, and all of the cars are nice (although not as nice as the cars in "The Skulls"). The I-5 freeway and its roar of traffic is elevated beyond the cars, with a sturdy hedge and retaining wall.

It is a spooky spot. Dark, nice cars, exhausted people, and if you scream nobody can hear you. I envision a homeless person exploring the grounds of the church one night and finding this scene. The homeless person wonders why those young white guys get to play basketball on weeknights and drive home in their fancy cars, and become mad at the world for the discrepancy.


Monday, July 28, 2008

I'm Batman!

I'll echo everyone else's praise for Heath Ledger's Joker--amazing. Saturday afternoon I drove down to Tacoma and hung out with Josh for a bit. He's got the new Guitar Hero: Aerosmith Edition, and the Run DMC songs are tiiiight, gold chain and all, baby!

We tossed the disc at the rotunda in his apartment complex for a bit, then decided the new batman movie would be a good call. But not before seeing the Batman movie from a few years ago. He just so happened to have the other Batman movie, so we watched that for two hours, then went to The Dark Knight for a combined total of about six hours of Batman. I kept thinking The Dark Knight would end, but it just kept going. Six hours is a little too much Batman for me, but it is the first "a-thon" I have done in quite a while. I've wanted to do the LoTR trilogy in one sitting, but have never worked up the butt-cheek muscle.

In between watching the first Batman and the newest Batman movies, we watched the new Angry Video Game Nerd video trying to tackle all of the Batman video games from Commodore 64 to Sega, that guy is hilarious:

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Brokeback Beach Ultimate

In the final game of beach ultimate down in Seaside, Oregon last weekend, I gratuitously laid out for a frisbee and somehow landed on my spine. It hurt. The six-hour motorcycle ride home did not help the bruised spine. I'm not really sure what to do other than "take it easy." Do I lay down? Is sitting OK? Oh well, time heals all wounds, right?

The beach ultimate trip was a lot of fun, but could have been better. Princess Leia and I did not gel whatsoever. When she was open I would make a bad throw, and the times I made good throws she would completely misread the disc and drop it. One of my "good" throws even hit her in the back--which is pretty darn hard to do when she knows the disc is coming to her. We finished 6th in the "winners" bracket, and we played savage most of the weekend (i.e. no subs).

Playing on the beach was both fun and frustrating. We had a constant 10-20mph wind all weekend, which made throws incredibly difficult, and our team did not have the best handlers in the world. Our team only had two people who had ever played beach ultimate before, so the simple act of running on the sand took us a while to get used to. You can't lead people as far as you are used to, and jumping is nearly non-existant. Laying out for frisbees is a lot more fun though, because if you can avoid landing directly on your spine, laying out on sand really doesn't hurt (I've got to work on this in the future).

Overall, the ultimate and the motorcycle ride to and from the ocean was a weekend well spent. We hit Seattle at dusk on our way back, and the city sunset was amazing looking out towards the Olympics from I-5 just south of the city.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

10,000th Post!

Just passed my 10,000th mile post on my motorcycle! On my ride into school this morning I saw the 10,003 tick over to 10,004, because I forgot to look five minutes earlier--weak!

May 12th was my bike's first birthday. 10,000 miles in 14 months isn't too shabby. I was looking at putting together a little motorcycle recap over the past 14 months, but I am a little too lazy for that. Looking to the future, I'm hoping to get in plenty of motorcycle rides around the cabin this summer and also hitting the North Cascades highway and getting over to Port Angeles and Victoria, B.C.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Summer Lovin'

The teaching cohort I am in is pretty ridiculous. It isn't news to anyone, but there are a lot of very attractive women in the teaching profession--mostly from Kindergarten through 3rd grade. I'm not used to hanging out with hot women. I've been very lucky in my relationships to always be the ugly one, but a few of the girls in this program are drop-dead, head-turning gorgeous--and I've been lucky enough to hang out with them both inside and outside of class for the past few weeks. They've all got boyfriends or husbands, which isn't a shocker. I'm not after a relationship, living at home and all, so friendship suits me just fine.

Saturday was spent playing tennis with Marc and going over to Caroline's house on Lake Washington for a little cohort get-together. We had pizza and sat on her dock in-between swims in the lake until sunset. I rode the motorcycle home and spent about five minutes there until Susie called me up and I jetted down to Capital Hill. She said she would dress up sexy if I would help her put together her furniture, not turning that down!

Sunday I jumped in Lake Washington again, this time with Susie down at Madrona Park. Susie was keeping her sexy going by wearing a bikini under her motorcycle gear--so hot.

On Monday, Caroline and her dog, Gretta, and I hiked Mt. Si, which is just north of North Bend, WA. The hike was a grunt at 4 miles and 3k elevation gain. Gretta helped pull us up the mountain, and we passed about a dozen people on the way up. The view from just below Haystack Rock is amazing. We could see the Seattle skyscrapers, Bellevue skyscrapers, Mt. Rainier, the Olympics, the Cascades... and I didn't bring a damn camera. The view of Seattle was amazing, downtown looked like a spec in the distance--I thought it had to be Bellevue until Caroline pointed out the even smaller spec to the right: the skyscrapers of Bellevue. After descending Mt. Si, we stopped at a Mexican restaurant for enchilladas and margaritas--perfect.

I've gone to the pool with Chelsey and Jenny a few times already this summer. Today was the most fun we've had at the pool, because we pretty much had the entire place to ourselves. We started out laying out in the sun on lounge chairs. Me in my swim trunks, Chelsey in her string bikini and Jenny in her tight bikini. Chelsey is a brunette model and loves to snowboard. Jenny is a tall blond swimmer. And I was pretty much in heaven.

To make matters more fun, the three of us shot some water basketball hoops, had a back-floating competition (I highly recommend this), and a diving board competition--biggest splash, smallest splash and style rounds. Then we each had our own pizza, taking advantage of Domino's $5.55 each for 3 medium pizzas. Lounging at the pool with two beautiful women in bikinis, and we're all scarfing down pizzas--perfect.

There is something extremely satisfying and self-esteem boosting about sitting out in a lounge chair, minding your own business, and having two knockouts walk into the pool, scoot lounge chairs close to you and strip down to their bikinis. I know every other guy in the pool is wondering what the hell is so special about my skinny ass.

This weekend? Riding the motorcycle down to Seaside, OR with Susie, and playing two days of beach ultimate--this is going to be awesome.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Potlatch 2008

I'm feeling very neglectful of this blog only posting once a week. Fun things are happening, such as the first 3-day Potlatch in four years, motorcycle riding, trips to the pool, and yes... even a bit of WoW. Potlatch threw my body for a loop. Waking up early, drinking, running, diving onto my ribs and knees for frisbees for three straight days was a shock.

The team I played with was an odd mix. Half old timers and half PLU college players. Playing with the female college players was a blast, but a few of the male PLU players were a bit too intense for me. You're playing ultimate frisbee, not football, chill the fuck out! The weekend was amazing though, our team had a weed-whacker blender on our sideline. We blended margaritas all weekend long, and by the end of our second game I was three sheets to the wind.

We created a kick ass game for our opponents to play after our game of ultimate. It was a relay race, so their team divided into three teams of five people each. First part of the relay race is hurdles, where one runner from each team has to jump over four hurdles, comprised of my teammates, then run back to the start. Next is a frisbee throw to a teammate in a hula hoop on the other side of the field. The receiver has to stay inside the hula hoop and catch the pass. Next part is a beer shotput, where a teammate shotputs a beer to their partner who is wielding a spear. The spear wielder stabs the beer and drinks it--first team done with their beer wins.

The highlight of the weekend had to be the last game on Sunday, when the spear-wielding lady got hit in the leg with the shot-putted beer. She collapsed to the ground, more out of laughter than any injury, but she hobbled over to the beer, missed it on her first few stabs. She really concentrated on her next stab--so much so that when the spear pierced the beer can, the beer sprayed directly into her eyes and she was on her ass again from the force of the beer spray and her embarrassment.

About halfway through the first day of the tourney, we decided to start decorating a huge spear with whatever we received from other teams throughout the tourney. Beer cans, bottles of liquor, American flags, streamers, clothes, hats, hula hoops... you name it. At the end of the tourney we gave the huge spear to Scotty for getting the team together.

Here are a few photos I took from the weekend~

2008-07-06- Potlatch 019

2008-07-06- Potlatch 073

2008-07-06- Potlatch 101

2008-07-06- Potlatch 102

2008-07-06- Potlatch 103

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

I've Accomplished The Impossible

I've done it. I've accomplished something I never thought was possible. I've forgotten how to ride a bicycle. Hell, there is even a common saying about how people can't forget how to ride bicycles.

I hopped on my Dad's bicycle and attempted to ride over to Dahl field for some wind sprints in the grass, in preparation for Potlatch this weekend, and I almost... almost bit it on the first turn. I've been so used to leaning into turns on my motorcycle, that I tried to do the same on the bicycle and felt the bike wobble underneath me. It doesn't help that my Dad is 6'5" and I didn't adjust his seat, I could barely reach the pedals.

Luckily, the ride was short and relatively flat. Once there, I got in a few wind sprints, then noticed an organized ultimate team wrapping up practice. I walked over and was about to introduce myself when I noticed one of the guys from Susie's condo party two weeks back. We chatted and it turned out they were just moving to a nicer spot on the field, and invited me to join. We played some "mini" (basically just a smaller field with the same rules as ultimate), and I shamelessly hand-blocked the guy I was guarding five times in about 20 minutes. I really should have backed off a bit, but he kept getting open, so I reasoned that my length and adeptness at hand blocks evened out his speed and getting open ability. That, or it made me play lazy D because I knew I could get the hand block.

On my way home, I had a situation that I'll probably tell my grand kids one day.

There were two softball games and a little league baseball game going on at the fields this evening--and we played our ultimate on the 4th field. As I was biking across the outfield, I noticed one softball game's outfielders were playing pretty deep. I check out the batter and he seemed to be a pretty big dude. I run through a few scenarios in my head--on the off chance he hits it at me, I'll either stop or speed up.

He hits it deep. Over the left fielder's head. Directly at me. I begin pedaling faster, then realize it will hit my back tire and possibly knock me over, since I've forgotten how to ride the damn thing. I decide to slow down and turn towards the ball, lessening my chance to be hit. Good idea in theory, but the ball bounces twice and pegs me in the knee. The left fielder looks back at the umpire and points at me--what?! I just saved a home run, don't bitch at me, lady! I sped away.

I've lessened my WoW playing since the summer school schedule has started, sorry Wawfuls, my bear pet won't be able to save you from death any longer.

I had a pretty kick ass 26th birthday weekend last weekend. Spent the night up at my parent's cabin Friday and Saturday nights, it was 90 degrees and I got to swim in two rivers and a lake. Took the motorcycle for the ride up to the cabin and explored a few very fun roads, had some great friends come up to share the weekend with, and ended the weekend on a grueling 2 mile hike that turned into an 8.5 mile hike thanks to yours truly. I thought the really amazing waterfall was at the end of the hike, but it was really just one mile in. At least I bore the biggest burden, not bringing any water and wearing sandals the whole way. Ow.

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