Nothing Special, Really

Sunday, March 30, 2008


I don't have anything interesting to write about, so in the meantime, take some time to check out my girlfriend's blog. It's mostly about running and exercising, but considering she's lost over 60 pounds since September, I think it's well worth the read.

Once I stop spending all my free time playing poker or Guitar Hero, maybe I'll rediscover my creative side and make this blog interesting. Right now, I'm just not feeling it.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Rooting For New Jersey

Wednesday night was one of the biggest games of the season for the Suns. And they weren't even playing in it.

I'm referring to New Jersey's victory over Atlanta.

The Nets win put them ahead of Atlanta for the last spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs and gives them a 3-1 edge for the season series, which is the first tiebreaker in determining playoffs seedings.

If you're a loyal Suns fan, you should already know why I'm mentioning this game, but for those that don't get it yet, let me explain.

The Suns have had a pattern recently of dumping first round draft picks. In 2004, we traded the No. 7 pick in the draft to Chicago, which ended up being the right to Luol Deng, for a 1st round pick the next year, which we used on Nate Robinson, who was traded to New York for Kurt Thomas, who was traded last year to the Sonics for Orlando's second round pick, except that we also had to throw in our own pick this year & our 2010 pick just so Seattle would pay Kurt's salary. And the only reason we traded the Deng pick in the first place was because the Suns didn't think Iguodala would be around, which he was. Think about the possibilities of our team:


Our team is Nash, JJ, Q-Rich, Marion & Amare with a young Barbosa, a rookie Iguodala (or even Luol Deng) & Jim Jackson & Steven Hunter coming off our bench. Maybe we win the championship, maybe we don't, but it's safe to say that a rookie Iguodala or Luol Deng would have contributed more than our rookie that year....Jackson Vroman.


Even with Iguodala or Deng on the team, we probably still trade Q-Rich to the Knicks for Kurt Thomas. We don't have the Bulls pick anymore, and we traded our own pick to the Spurs for LB, so for argument's sake, let's say that we give them a future 1st round pick, either 2006 or 2007. We also trade Joe Johnson because he's a whiny bitch to Atlanta for the same trade, and still sign Raja Bell. So now our team looks like this: Nash, Bell, Marion, Amare, KT, Iggy or Deng, LB, Diaw. We may or may not have traded for James Jones.


Let's consider that we trade the No. 7 pick in 2004 but instead of trading the Nate Robinson pick, we keep Robinson. Let's assume that we give up a 2006 pick for Kurt instead of a 2005 pick, since we have two in 2006. Think about it this way: We traded Quentin Richardson, the right to Nate Robinson & two future 1st round picks for the rights to Dijon Thompson & a second round pick from Seattle via Orlando (Rashard Lewis trade). So our team is Nash, Bell, Marion, Amare, Diaw, LB, KT, Nate Robinson, James Jones. The season probably has same outcome with Amare out due to microfracture surgery.


Back to scenario A. With Iguodala or Deng on the team, odds are that we don't sign Diaw to the huge extension, which is OK for 2006 because he's still under contract. If I recall, he would have only been a restricted FA after 06 anyways. In 2006, we drafted Rajon Rondo but sent him to the Celtics to take Grant's contract, and sent Sergio Rodriguez to Portland for $3 million. Of course, if we kept Rondo or Rodriguez over signing Marcus Banks, we would have saved money. So our lineup this year would have been Nash, Bell, Marion, Amare, Iggy or Deng, LB, Diaw, KT, Rondo or Rodriguez and maybe James Jones. Don't know if that gets us past the Spurs but maybe it does.


If we had kept Nate Robinson then we only have one pick in 2006, probably the lesser one. We probably still trade this pick to Portland to cover costs of LB & Diaw extensions andor the Tim Thomas resigning that (thankfully) never happened. So our lineup this year is still the same: Nash, Bell, Marion, Amare, Diaw, LB, KT, Nate Robinson, James Jones. Maybe Nate helps us past the Spurs, maybe not.


Considering all the assumptions from before, it's time to give Iggy (let's just assume we got Iguodala because they would have chosen him over Deng, that's been confirmed) an extension. This isn't too much of a problem because, knowing he was due an extension, we wouldn't have given Diaw an extension in 2006. In fact, considering his 2006 season, we probably don't extend him at all. So maybe Diaw is gone. But, rookies also have a 4th year option so maybe we just do that & take the option then give him an extension at the end of the year (like what happened with Philly this year). Either way, we probably still need a little bit of money so James Jones is probably gone too. Rondo or Rodriguez aren't due an extension until after next season. We have a 1st round pick, and if we don't take Tucker, then we probably draft a European to stow away overseas for a while. This is where it hurts that we're paying Piatkowski & Sean Marks. So, our lineup this year is: Nash, Bell, Marion, Amare, KT, Iguodala, LB, Rondo or Rodriguez, maybe Diaw. But, we also save our 2008 & 2010 draft picks because we don't have to trade KT.


We probably still take Alando Tucker in the draft, no big deal. But by having Nate Robinson instead of Marcus Banks, we're not that far over the cap, maybe a more manageable amount that Sarver is willing to pay. We probably don't make the Shaq deal since we still have Kurt Thomas. We still have two 1st round picks in 2008 & one in 2010 to use as trade bait. In fact, we probably could have traded Kurt Thomas, the two 1st round picks, and Nate Robinson to Memphis for Gasol. Nash, Bell, Marion, Amare, LB, Diaw, and Gasol. Maybe, who knows. The point is we still have the two 1st round picks we sent to Seattle with Kurt Thomas.

OK, so this post turned out being more about how trading the #7 pick in 04 to the Bulls was a HUGE mistake, but look at all the possibilities we have even with all the other draft picks, not to mention everything else that may have changed as a result. And that brings me back to why this post is called rooting for New Jersey.

If New Jersey makes the playoffs, that means Atlanta doesn't. Our only 1st round pick this year is Atlanta's from the Joe Johnson trade. It was almost ours last year, and we would have ended up with someone like Al Horford or Jeff Green, but this year's it ours no matter what. If Atlanta gets in the playoffs, we'll probably end up number 15.

But if they end up in the lottery, because the West is so deep this year, they'll pick around number 11-12 BUT that also means we have an ever-so-slight chance at getting into the lottery, possibly ending up with someone like Michael Beasley or Derrick Rose. It's a huge if, but at best, New Jersey in the playoffs means our pick is about 2-4 places higher.

So when you're not rooting for the Suns, start rooting for New Jersey. Hell, even Chicago, because they're not too far behind Atlanta & have two more games against them. Just starting rooting against Atlanta period. This might be our last chance in the lottery (because if we finish out of the Playoffs anytime soon, those picks are going to the Sonics), so let's hope we get there.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

More Suns Thoughts

Hopefully last night was not the last time I'll see the Suns play in Seattle but most likely that will be the case. The Seattle & Washington gov'ts have bumbled any possible solution, and Stern & Bennett are dead set on taking the Sonics away. Perhaps I'll do a post about that one day but there's probably much more eloquent statements about that whole ordeal elsewhere on the web. Instead, here are just some general thoughts from watching the game last night.

- 26 turnovers is ridiculous. Amare had 9 alone? Lots of turnovers related to passing - unexpected passes, fumbled catches, passes thrown out of bounds. Give credit to the Sonics for stepping up the pressure a bit - they've got a lot of long, athletic players, probably the kind of team we don't want to face in the playoffs. Golden State comes to mind, but the difference is that Seattle's big men are athletic too, while Golden State's big men aren't even big.

- I haven't really seen Shaq play for a while, and I don't know if he was just coasting tonight, but he looks like he's lost a lot of his vertical ability. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that he'll be able to turn it on in the playoffs or against other opponents, but if not, that's a big concern. He missed out on a lot of rebounds and shots, even had one blocked by Johan Petro, because he was hardly getting any lift. There was one hilarious moment where Boris got a steal & tried to feed Shaq for an alley-oop. It sailed right over Shaq's head by about 2 feet. Someone from our section yelled out "Maybe 10 years ago, Boris!" Sad, but true.

- Speaking of Boris...I'm now convinced the French just can't play tough basketball. I thought it was just Boris who had this problem but I saw it in Johan Petro too. So much passive play between these too. Every time either one had the ball, I was yelling "Dunk it!", and when they would either kick it back out, lay it in, or in Petro's case, take a jumper from 16 feet away (the dude is 7 foot 1 by the way), I'd point it out to my friend Elliot. Petro did dunk it once, but he was basically wide open, and even then, I'm surprised he didn't do some kind of reverse layup. I'm convinced that if these two played one-on-one, they'd just spend the whole time checking the ball to each other. Anyways, the logical counter-argument would be to point out Tony Parker, but he's just an anomaly. Frederic Weis? Mickale Gelabale? There's too much evidence supporting me. Instead, I think Tony Parker isn't even French. Seriously, his name is TONY PARKER. It's not even a French name. I think it's all just an act so that someone as ugly as him can hook up with Eva Longoria, which I can totally understand.

- I would love to see Nick Collison on the Suns someday. Every Sonics game I've seen, he's always playing hard & smart. He's aggressive but knows his limitations and doesn't do anything stupid. He's not a shot blocker but he's an excellent rebounder, had a decent mid-range jump shot, and can bang inside with the big bodies. He'll never be a star, but he's definitely the type of player that does nothing but help your team.

- Nash & Bell were on fire last night; Bell was 6-6 before he hurt his ankle. We pretty much had to kill it from downtown to offset all those turnovers. I think our crunch-time lineup is going to be Nash, Bell, LB, Amare & Shaq, or replace Shaq with Hill depending on the lineup. I think we have to have at least two spot-up 3 point shooters when Shaq is on the floor to give us the spacing we need. Hill isn't a consistent enough 3 point shooter to be out there at the same time. I see that being our lineup against teams like L.A., N'awlins, and San Antonio. Maybe Utah, too. Otherwise, a smaller lineup will probably be more effective against any other team. If we get our spacing, and our shooters are on, then I like our chances.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


A couple of years ago, I tried training for the Rock & Roll Marathon in Tempe. For many years now, I've always claimed "I once trained for a half marathon" like it was some kind of accomplishment when really, a more accurate phrase would have been "I ran every now & then with a glimmer of hope that I would magically get in shape for a half marathon yet not have to give up my fast food diet". In the early phases, I stuck to my training regiment for the most part, but as the sun got hotter & the lengths, it became easier to find excuses to give up on my daily running.

If anyone were to also point out the coincidence between the time when my runs became less frequent & the time when I found out that a girl that I was persuing, who was a frequent half-marathon runner herself, made clear her affection for me was much more platonic than mine was for her, you would be correct in assuming that those two were probably somehow linked, even if I wasn't admitting it back then.

Anyways, let's get back to paragraphs that aren't also sentences. Back then, the furthest I ever ran consecutively was somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 miles. At the time, I figured it was probably about 3.2, but I don't know how accurate that was since my course was a) a neighborhood block that Google Maps measured at 2.0 miles, but was probably less considering the circumference of the sidewalk was probably less than that of the streets and b) the park that I continued my run at was measured at .4 miles by driving around in my Kia and using it's odometer. So, in hindsight, a distance of 3.0 miles is probably pretty generous.

On Sunday, I easily slaughtered my distance record.

Wac has been getting very involved in distance running, to the extent that not only is she competing in the Vancouver half-marathon in May, but is also following a weekly workout schedule that involves, among other activities, yoga, boxing, and uphill runs. She has already competed in three runs to date; a 4 mile run at the Redhook Brewery in Sept, the Jingle Bell Dash through downtown Seattle in December, and a Valentine's Run in (you guessed it) February. So when she asked if I would do the St Patty's Day run with her, did I really have any grounds to reply "No"?

I've tried to stick to some kind of workout routine, but it's been difficult, even being diagnosed with The 'Betes. But after dropping 20-something pounds since diagnosis, I've found it's been easier to run and have slowly started getting back into it. The Thursday before the race, I was up to 2.9 miles on the treadmill, including some intervals where I was running at a 6.0-6.5 pace instead of my normal 4.8, and even throwing some incline in there as well (it's amazing how pumped up you get listening to Muse on the treadmill).

The day of the race, I joined over 15,000 people to run from Seattle Center down Highway 99, through the Battery Tunnel, down the Viaduct, around the corner, through the woods, and into the Qwest field courtyard. 3.58 miles total. Like most everyone else, I represented my non-Irish heritage by wearing my green Quiksilver jacket (a last minute addition as it was fucking cold out) and a super-smooth green headband.

The race got underway at about 9:15am, and for the first mile or so, it was a breeze. I had to stop briefly because my right shoe was a little bit too tight, and I could feel the circulation getting cut off. I knew I was probably going to have to take a breather at some point, I just didn't want it to be this early. But it had to be done otherwise I'm finishing the race with a dead foot.

I didn't have to stop until I hit about the 1.75 mile mark. The pains in my side were too much to bear. I've become pretty good at working out pains through controlled breathing but it just wasn't happening this time. I walked for about 3 minutes then picked up the pace again, passing the 2 mile marker, when I had to take another breather.

I was furious with myself. I was OK with stopping once, but I really didn't want to stop again. I felt like I was dropping back into marathon training mode, where I would ease up at the slightest bit of resistance, mental or physical. I felt myself wanting to quit. Then, I found my motivation. If I could have recorded my thoughts at the time, it would have sounded like this:

"I'm not quitting. I'm not going to be like those fat people walking in front of me anymore. It's that kind of attitude that got me here in the first place, got me stuck with this Diabetes thing. If I want to beat this Diabetes, I have to keep going. If I'm tired, If I'm sore, fuck it. I'm not stopping."

And from that point forward, I kept running, all the way to the finish line. 3.58 miles in just about 42 minutes. For what it's worth, I finished the 2.9 miles on Thursday in 45 minutes.


After the race, we stopped for a bathroom break (note to self: having orange juice for breakfast before the race = bad idea), grabbed some potato chips and some water,and wandered around the booths they had setup, including one for the Detlef Schrempf Foundation, one of the sponsors of the race, which was being manned none other than the man himself, Detlef. Homeboy was a baller back in the day, but he was still humble enough to not only work the booth for his own foundation, but was incredibly gracious to anyone who came up that day. At about 10:20, we walked back to hop on the shuttle back to Seattle Center.

About 11:45 we got home. It took us almost an hour & a half to get back to our apartment exactly 3.58 miles away. For some unexplainable reason, the shuttle service was set up so that:

1. There were no signs to mark where the pickup spot was

2. The shuttle service consisted of a total of TWO school buses

3. The bus drivers had no idea where to go.

It wasn't until sometime after 11am that we finally found a school bus, marked with a little green piece of paper, stopping on the corner opposite where we were standing. Others were practically risking their lives to get on this school bus, running through the intersection to get there. We took out time, and it almost cost us as the bus filled up, but the driver probably risked her job by letting us stand in the aisleway, and for that I am so grateful for. I probably would have hijacked someone's car if I missed that bus. It was almost enough to ruin the day for us but we recovered.


One last story from the race. As we were wandering around, looking for the shuttle, we came across who I think was the last finisher of the race. She had a yellow tag on, representing that she was in the walkuntimed run group. I didn't see anyone else behind her. She completely decked out in St Patty's gear, beads, shamrocks, the whole nine yards - she looked like one of those 40 year olds who hasn't quite realized that she's too old for Mardi Gras anymore. She was exasperated and asked out loud "Is this the finish line"? A couple people, including myself, explained it was around the corner then around again. She whined and continued her limp around the finish line. I glanced down to see the cause of her limp.

Lime green high-heeled hooker boots.

Seriously? A 3.58 mile walk down city streets & freeways in high heels? Of all the times I didn't have a camera but wished I did, this has to be in the top 5. If I wasn't so pissed off from wandering around aimlessly looking for the shuttle, I probably wouldn't have been able to control my laughter. It might make me sound like an asshole, but I do find some satisfaction in knowing that, for all the stupid things I do in life, that I'm not as stupid as that lady.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Garlic Overdose

Over the years, I've developed a small passion for cooking. Go figure. The fat guy has a passion for making food.

Anyways, I've become a fairly decent cook. My grilling skills are getting better, I can usually find a way to make a pretty tasty dinner without a recipe, and I'm finding ways to make great tasting meals that fit within my diabetic diet & Wac's Weight Watchers plan.

Last night's meal consisted of some turkey tenderloins wrapped in bacon from Trader Joe's. Spiced with a bit of garlic salt & pepper, pan-seared, then topped with some rosemary & thrown in the oven for about 15 mins. I also made some green beans, blanched just briefly, then sauteed with butter and some garlic.

Perhaps I might have used just a bit too much garlic.

If any of my co-workers are reading this, no, it's not a new cologne that I have on today. That faint aroma of garlic you might catch isn't someone's lunch.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Los Stupid

"So you know, we're on ABC against the Spurs on March 9th. We gotta come up with something big. Shaq vs Duncan isn't enough."

"Hmm...we could go back to our orange jerseys. Alternate jerseys are a huge thing these days. That should help move some jerseys."

"Yeah, but I'm thinking bigger. We need something bigger than just alternate jerseys. Something bigger than retro jerseys."

"You is talkin loco & I like it!"

"Wait...that's it!"

"What's it?"

"Loco! We go Spanish! It'll be perfect - we'll capture the entire Hispanic demographic!"

"What are you saying - that the jerseys say 'Sol' on them?"

"Well, if we're getting techinical, it'll be 'Sols'."

"Actually, if you want to get REALLY techinical, the proper Spanish would be "Los Sols'."

"But our jerseys don't say "The Suns" so why would it say 'Los'?"

"That's just the Spanish language, dude. Why do they put upside down exclamation points & question marks at the beginning of the sentence? Who knows?"

"Good point."

"I dunno though...I like where your head is at, but I think changing the team name might be a bit too much. Yeah, we may capture the Hispanic demographic, but what about all the non-Hispanic viewers? That's a bigger piece of the pie."

"True, true....maybe we combine it?"

"Like..."Los Suns."

"Yes! It's the best of the both worlds! It shows that we care about our Mexican vi-"

"Hispanic, dude. Calling them all Mexican just pisses them off even more. It's like calling all Americans "Yankees" or something. I don't get it either, but whatever."

"OK, hispanic. So the 'Los' part shows our Hispanic viewers "hey buddy, we respect you" but keeps our non-Hispanic viewers happy because they're still the 'Suns'."

"And you know what? We can still go retro too. We can change the font to be some crazy 70's disco-era font. Retro & multicultural!"

"Brilliant! These things will sell like hotcakes!"

"You mean calientecakes."

"Man, you are something else."

Worst fucking idea ever.