Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ordered myself a long board last night off whiskeymilita because why not? It was like 70 bucks for next day air so I opted for that and should be struggling with hills by tomorrow’s eve. This is going to be quite the feat since I do not know how to really skateboard. I figure that is just details and since long boarding is different in mechanics, I should fare decently since I excel at most other board sports. Skim, Surf, Snow, and now the final frontier, Asphalt/Concrete.

I’m going to try really hard to continue my “don’t use my car attitude” in Phoenix, but Phoenix ain’t the same as Steamboat. I can get anywhere in Steamboat in about 30 minutes walking, 10 if I got a bike. As a side note I expect it to be about 30 minutes on a long board until I get that down. Point being, Steamboat is smallsville. Phoenix ain’t so small. And the temps are not as forgiving as Colorado. The flipside is that I have a bike in Phoenix and many friends, so the problem should work itself out. Maybe. Oh, and my friend’s mom is going to try and get me a job right in the area where my roommates and I are looking for a home.

I can also further reduce driving by having a home suitable for entertaining. This necessitates the following criteria:

*Tiled Floors
*Open and spacious floor plans
*Yard, both front and back
*Dog, yellow or silver lab
*Proximity to park
*No old and crotchety neighbors
*Proximity to bars
*Space for poker games (read table)
*Kegerator and bar set up

Looking over the criteria, I could probably forget the pool but would not compromise on a yard. First off, dogs need yard space to do dog things like fetch, and dig, and poo. Second, Trevor and I have already expressed our desire for a horseshoe pit. Third, you cannot play bocce ball without grass. Fourth, lawn chairs in rocks would not work and look stupid. If they did they would be called rock chairs. See how dumb that sounds? Fifth and most important, grass is hip.

All these will contribute to people coming to me, and not the other way around, thereby eliminating both my excess driving and potential and costly DUIs. Not that I would drive under the influence, but I don’t always make the best decisions when I am buzzed: College serves as GIANT, 5-year example.

Tonight, I plan on bumping some Lil’Wayne and sitting by the river until the sun goes down. After which I will watch the Real World because I know the new girl. I had to be reminded that I knew her, so it’s not that important, but I am curious to know how MTV weaves her story. Not that I have anything to compare it to. I used to be very good at not watching MTV, but then somehow shows like the Real World, Tila Tequila and the Paper reeled me back in. Sad, I know. I watch those shows for the sheer depravity of their characters. MTV has certainly mastered the art of finding and exploiting bros and hos.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I had a great little blog entry that I was working on, but it got a little too sciency, so I sent it to the draft table to revisit. I am pretty sure only Suzie would appreciate it. Let me just say that you and I Suzie, as cool as we may seem, are total nerds at heart because we both get excited about science. For me, outer space gets me hard.

Having said that let me digress. I am slowly become an environmentalist. I wish I could say that it was not the severity of the times that opened my eyes, but it probably was. I wince when I hear terms like carbon footprint because it just seems too preachy, but I think I have made huge steps towards reducing my own. I haven’t used my car in over a week. It is sitting idle in my parking lot. I have been using reusable bags at the grocery store. I have been making an effort to recycle all my beer cans. And you know what? It feels really good. It’s nice to feel like part of a simple solution. I could be the variable in the following equation: 2 + X = 4. Figure it out. If you can’t, replace X with 2.

Sorry for the analogy, but honestly it just seems that simple. It is the little things that people are just unwilling to do because they are lazy. I was like that for a very long time, but I think living in Colorado has taught me to really appreciate nature and our planet . Everyone here just enjoys the outdoors. Nay, they relish being outside. There is this connection that is almost primeval that brings people back to their roots. Humans did not start out in air conditioned houses in the middle of summer. They could not simply walk to a store to get food or flip a switch to get light. At the end of the day I think humans are missing that connection to nature more than they (I) will admit.

I’m about 7 beers deep so I apologize for this entry. It makes sense in my head but it may seem like stupid rambling .

Monday, June 16, 2008

I started running again, finally. It took me awhile to find the right day, the right frame of mind. I have been telling myself for maybe the last 3 or 4 weeks that I should really start running again. Not because I am fat, not because I feel like I am getting fat, but because of how it makes me feel. It’s good to get out and just run and work through all the thoughts in your head, not that I have any at the moment. If I did though, it would be soothing.

I didn’t call my dad on father’s day and I can’t really figure out why. I thought about it, thought about if he deserved it, and wondered if he would even notice. I’m guessing no, but he is the only person that would really no. This may seem harsh, but I base this by his only form of communication, which is text messaging. Sporadically, maybe once or twice a month I get a text from him, in horribly annoying little kid AIM English. I am going to copyright that term, by the way. It irks me because I go to great lengths to make sure I do not include any of those stupid shortcuts in my texts. An example of our conversation would read:

How R U?
-I am doing well, how are you?
Good 2 hear. Im good.
-Well that is good, how’s Texas?
Good. Wanted 2 say hi.
Luv & miss u. TTYL
-Miss you too, Dad…

Pretty sad huh? That is an actual conversation, might I add. It took place last Thursday, maybe in an attempt to goad me into a Father’s day something? I won’t take away from him that he’s my father, but he really has been absent in my life since I was 13, and it was by his choice so I don’t feel too sorry for him and neither should you. Besides, 11 years later I think I turned out pretty okay. I was reading PostSecret as I always do on Mondays; this morning it was a tribute (if one can call it that) to father’s day. I probably would have picked a more uplifting topic to write about had I not read that. Anyways, it made me realize that I could have had it a lot worse, a lot. Some dads are pretty shitty it turns out. I guess one of my fears is turning out to be a shitty father one day. It’s fun to joke about now, but in another ten years it may not be. Seems easy enough to avoid.

Oh, and on a related note, the Lakers game last night. Did you watch? Did you see the halftime report that had a special on Bill and Luke Walton? The father who accomplished way more than his son? They were interviewing them on their feelings about being a father/son championship duo and one word sums it up: FORCED. I have not seen Luke Walton act more out of place than that interview. The kicker was that Bill Walton was smiling and saying really sentimental things to him and they bounced off Luke like a fat kid on a trampoline. Thank you NBA, ABC, and the Walton Family for reinforcing what I already know: Father son relationships are always awkward no matter who you are.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The first time I had coffee it was one of those frappachino drinks that come in the 4-packs you buy in the supermarket. French Vanilla, I think. I took it from the fridge because I thought it was chocolate milk. I opened, tried it, hated it, and threw it away. Later I would get in trouble because it was my mom’s and she was looking forward to it sometime later. Whoops.

I started to drink coffee maybe 4 years ago because it was the grown up thing to do. I was not one of those kids in college that would drink an entire pot of black coffee because they had to have it to study. I would have a normal-sized cup in the morning on my way to class, sometimes another in the afternoon if my first class was early. Over time my preferences towards coffee changed. Once repulsive without heaps of sugar and cream, I can now responsibly drink coffee with or without sugar. Cream is still in the mix, but I prefer milk, and not much. Actually, Krysten turned me on to soymilk in my coffee, so that makes my heart, and me happy.

I think one of the things I like most about coffee has little to do with coffee. Whenever I drink coffee I get the sense that things slow down, things become simpler and I feel more relaxed. I equate this feeling to the association I have with coffee being a grown-up drink. Something philosophical is at play when I have that first sip. Maybe the aroma triggers my inner-philosopher. Do I have amazing thoughts when I drink coffee, no. Could I have amazingly deep thoughts if I continue to drink coffee, probably not. Do I think I could, yes. It’s a similar process when I drink alcohol, only with better results. Tony hinted around this subject and it got me to thinking why coffee has become such a social phenomena.

Coffee, for whatever, seems to have a reflexive nature about it. The mirror inside is discovered and unlike alcohol, the conversations you have can meaningful and remembered. But yes, your breath does suck after drinking coffee. The scientist in me would call this an inverse relationship, maybe even a cause and effect relationship. Could I draw a statistical correlation highlighting the proportion of amount of conversation as it relates to the amount of coffee drank, yes. Will I? No, because the only reason I passed statistics was because I planted myself in a group of all Asian students with no public speaking ability. I presented, they crunched numbers. The scientist in me would call this a parasitic relationship; the optimist in me would call it a symbiotic relationship. The me inside me apologizes for this entry.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I just found out that the Phoenix Suns have a supposed Jinx on them. Phoenix was created as an expansion team during the late 60’s, 1968 to be exact. That’s a 40-year history with no championships. Not a big deal when compared to say the Cubbies or the Red Sox, but when put in basketball perspective that is pretty darn lean. Under the microscope, Phoenix has had 17 50-win season, 3 60-win seasons and even made it to the playoffs in 27 seasons. Phoenix went as far as to make it to the finals twice, once in 1976, the other in 1993. Both had the same end result: Heartbreak.

The casual observer would think that with all that success there should be a championship or two littered in those 40 years. Nope. As it turns out, Phoenix has had a curse on them since the very beginning, starting in 1969. Phoenix finished its first year of play in the NBA with a league-worst 16-66 game season. Milwaukee finished second with 27-55 season. A coin flip was used to decide who got the first draft pick for the upcoming season. The curse started the moment Phoenix lost their potential first draft pick to the Milwaukee Bucks. Milwaukee in the first round, with the first pick, selected one Lew Alcindor; better known to you and I as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Yep, the same man with the legendary skyhook and one of the most dominant and consistent centers the game has ever seen.

Phoenix selected Neal Walk second in the draft. His claim to fame? Inducted into the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. Since then, Suns fans have seen a series of bad luck; twists to a seemingly perfect season resulting in an untimely playoff exit. This became known as “the curse of the coin flip”. Original, I know. Couple Phoenix’s phenomenal bad luck with the fact that Phoenix has never had a dominant center and you arrive at a possible explanation for their playoff failures. Not convinced? Take a look at this and ask yourself why Phoenix fans consistently feel like they are getting the rub. Oh and by the way, Milwaukee, with the help of Kareem, would win a championship in 1971.

In the 1969-70 season, Phoenix qualified for the western conference playoffs, squared up against the Lakers. Phoenix cruised to a 3-1 series lead over the Lakers, and then proceeded to lose the next three games. Why? Suns center Jim Fox suffered an ankle injury and Wilt Chamberlain went bananas. Center.

The 1971 season brought a chance for redemption as Phoenix finished 9 games better than it had the previous season, with a 48-34 season. Unfortunately, the NBA decided to go to a divisional format and the top two qualifying teams in the Midwest division were not Phoenix; they were Milwaukee and Chicago. Had Phoenix been in the Pacific division at the time (where they are currently), their record would have tied for first place. Bad Luck.

1976 was the year the Suns recovered and marched all the way to the NBA finals to match up against the Boston Celtics. Phoenix, lacking a dominant center (sub 6’9”), could not square up against Boston’s big man (over 6’9”). Gosh, Kareem could have helped there, being 7’2”. Center.

In the 1977 season Phoenix was eliminated by Milwaukee in the first round of the playoffs. Coincidentally, the team that lucked out and got Kareem in the first place. It should be noted that by now Kareem was in L.A. Bad Luck.

The very last year of 70’s, Phoenix met up with L.A. in the playoffs and guess who was playing center. That’s right, Kareem himself. 1979 would prove to be the year that Kareem would go on to win his 6th MVP award. Think some no name center can match up against a 6-time MVP. Me neither. Center.

The Suns and Lakers would meet again during the Western Conference Finals in 1983, but Kareem was still there and still playing amazing ball. Phoenix continued to be haunted by the player they almost acquired. Center.

After a 3 year losing skid, Phoenix had reached the draft lottery, the NBA’s most current form of drafting selection protocol. Phoenix would eventually learn that it would receive one of the top two picks in the 1987 draft. Guess who got second place again? Yep, good ol’ Phoenix. This new draft debacle would start a new rivalry with the team that got the first draft pick in 1987. It was the San Antonio Spurs. Their selection? A center by the name of David Robinson. He would go on to win Rookie of the Year, 10-time all star center, and MVP among other accolades. Oh, and he won a championship with the Spurs. Bad Luck and Center.

In that same year, Phoenix’s prospect as a center, Nick Vanos, standing at 7’2”, perished in the Northwest Airlines flight 255 disaster, along with 153 others. Center.

Phoenix’s luck seemed as though it was changing in the upcoming seasons, advancing again to the Western conference finals in 1989. Kareem and the Lakers were waiting, and they were still better. Kareem would retire after that season with 6 championships under his belt. Phoenix had none. Center.

Phoenix finally bested the Lakers, post-Kareem, but blew both a game and series lead to the Portland Trailblazers in 1990. Bad Luck.

The next 2 years brought Phoenix consecutive 50-win seasons. It also brought two playoff exits, at the hands of the Utah Jazz, then again with the Blazers. Thankfully this was the period in the NBA I fondly remember as “when the entire Western conference took a beating by Michael and his Bulls”. No bad luck or center issues here, we wouldn’t have won.

Steve Kerr, who had his roots in Arizona (and is now coincidentally our GM), helped sink the Suns when they advanced to NBA finals in 1993. Charles Barkley won the MVP trophy that year but it didn’t matter, as the Suns would lose in 6, at home. Bad Luck.

In 1995 Suns player Danny Manning (standing at 6’11”) tore his ACL during practice. Sure could have used him to match up against Houston’s all-star center, Hakeem Olajuwon, who also went bananas on a shorter Phoenix team. Houston would earn their championship the following year. Center.

The Suns fell off the radar soon after this and flip-flopped a lot of their players, acquiring some big names, losing some big names. Nash, Kidd, Penny, Marbury all played for the Suns during this period and were all no more successful than their predecessors. Eventually Phoenix landed Amare Stoudemire, an eventual all-star who was paired with Shawn Mario and later Steve Nash. Phoenix brought in Coach Mike D’Antoni and re-wrote the way NBA basketball was played. Their new weapon was speed and transition basketball.

In 2005 the Suns met with their new rival, San Antonio, in the Western Conference finals. Phoenix would lose as a result of losing Joe Johnson, who was a major contributor and an outstanding perimeter player. Phoenix lost 2 games by a couple of points, points that would have easily been rained in by Joe. The lack of perimeter shooting and a center that could match Tim Duncan, lead to Phoenix being ousted. Bad Luck and Center.

In 2006, Amare Stoudemire was taken out of commission as he underwent micro-fracture surgery on his knee. That, coupled with the loss of Joe Johnson to the Hawks during the off season, proved too much for Phoenix to overcome and they fell in 6 games to the Mavericks, who they had on the ropes the entire time. The Mavericks would continue to finals and lose to the Heat, who Phoenix beat handily that season. Bad Luck.

2007 seemed like the straw that broke the camel’s back. All the Phoenix players were healthy; Amare was back and as fearsome as ever. Steve Nash had just won his 2nd consecutive MVP, and the lowly Golden State Warriors eliminated the best-record Dallas Mavericks in the first round. Phoenix had the best record remaining and was poised to make a run at the championship. But of course, fate intervened. It was Suns and Spurs in the semifinals with Phoenix hungry for revenge. The Spurs took an early series advantage but the rout in San Antonio in game 4 was proof that Phoenix could win in San Antonio. Frustrated, Spurs player Robert Horry (who played with the Suns) checked Steve Nash into the Scorer’s table. Immediately, Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw stood up from the sideline bench and stepped onto the court. Because of this, Amare and Boris would be suspended for one game, Horry for two. It was later discovered that Tim Duncan left the bench on a similar play earlier in that same game but was not suspended. Thank you David Stern. As if that wasn’t enough, Tim Donaghy, a referee who officiated some of the Suns & Spurs games was caught to have been gambling on the games he was calling. He admitted that fouls were called to alter the game and favor his bets. Those games were won by San Antonio. UNBELIEVABLE BAD LUCK.

All of which brings us to this year, 2008. A mid-season trade brought in a dominant center, Shaq, in exchange for Shawn Marion. Marion had recently come out in public about his dissatisfaction with the organization and was likely to walk by the end of the season, so Phoenix maneuvered a step behind L.A. who acquired a more agile center, Pau Gasol. Phoenix played San Antonio in the opening round and lost. L.A., with Gasol, will play Thursday in the NBA finals. Bad Luck.

Now you know what I know about the supposed curse that haunts Phoenix. And I’ll be honest; I’m getting a little worried it may be true.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Traveled down to Denver this weekend but forgot to charge my camera because I am a dumbass and I still owe you pictures from Seaworld, so double-boo on me. I’ll get on that.

Summer in Colorado is simply tits. I dare you to try and beat it. I will call you a dirty, jealous liar. The whole drive from Steamboat to Denver was breathtakingly beautiful. I think I was more awestruck because I am use to the drab and beige landscape that is the American southwest. Spotted with the occasional abandoned building or joshua tree, there is not too much else to note. Driving in the Rockies you can see some unforgettable scenery. Lush rolling green hills were capped with snow-tipped craggy mountains. Expansive ranges covered the landscape, with the herds of cattle watching over their bouncing calves. Further into the mountains waterfalls signaled the end of winter’s grip amidst protecting sheep perched out on the plateaus. The bugling of elk could be heard for much of my trip as they celebrate the land’s unyielding splendor. A stop in the eastern slope of the Rockies provided a glimpse of a roaming buffalo heard. I was rubbernecking the entire way driving maybe 50 miles an hour just trying to take in as much of it as I could.

I met up with a couple of my fraternity brothers and their girlfriends in Denver. We caught up on each other’s lives post-college and reacted as though no time had passed at all. That night we went to downtown and barhopped the traditional hotspots in Denver, or so I was told. The night began to blur around 2AM, as it should, so we grabbed a cab and headed back to the ‘burbs. There, Mark and myself attempted to play guitar hero but it proved impossible in our state. Ashley, Mark’s girlfriend, decidedly kicked our ass before passing out. Ashley went first. Then Mark. Then I fell out of my chair and remained, so I went third.

Mark’s mother cooked a gourmet breakfast for us, eggs, French toast, bacon, sausage, fresh fruit, OJ and coffee. Afterwards there were some chores that consisted of some light moving, then a quick nap. We made our way to Morrison, and if you have never been you need to make it out there. Ever heard of Red Rocks? The natural Amphitheatre? Unbelievable, and to be able to see a show there would be game-changing. We relaxed at a sleepy Mexican restaurant that had a rooftop patio that overlooked the foothills leading to the Rockies. Remembering my distaste for straight shots of tequila, we eventually retired back to Mark’s house where we had a nice and quiet evening grilling and sipping wine. An intense round of Bocce ball followed desert. We capped off the evening with a couple of rounds of Clue but I proved too drunk to be an effective detective (sick rhyme, I know) as I had crossed off all the rooms and weapons, so I had to ask all my questions again and by that point it was pointless as most were well on their way to victory. At least I got to be Professor Plum.

The next morning we packed our respective cars and headed towards our 3 different destinations. Some were going to Florida, some were staying in Denver and I was headed back up the mountains. Before I left I went to a Lacrosse tournament and watched Mark’s team play a round. The Bandits, a group of 4-6 year olds, handily beat their opponents 8 – 2. Good for them. I saw Steamboat’s Lacrosse team crush their opponents and then I traveled back through the Rockies, home to Steamboat.
All in all, a good weekend.