Jul 062010
 

I liked the idea of YQL – and thought I’d apply it to some sports sites I am familiar with.

Starting with baseball, which is in season.

First, a query for today’s games, with the status of each game.  Hopefully self documenting XML – if there was ever a time to be verbose…

Then some queries for Player IDs and Team IDs to go along with the IDs that are peppered into the results from the game status.  Though the IDs don’t change, they do grow over time (as we learn about lineups or players are substituted into the game).  The players returned in that call are only the players that are active today.  So typically you’ll get the TeamIDs once a season.  Then periodically refresh the game status.  And if you ever find a playerID that isn’t already known, make a call to get a refreshed list of playerIDs.

Oh – and those calls include some player and team stats as well – in case you’re interested in that.  Again though, only for players active today.

NFL’s up next…then the NBA and NHL as they roll into season.

I’m trying to get it into the YQL-Tables…we’ll see how successful my git is.

I imagine I’ll just update this page as needed over time.

Jun 092010
 

I noticed through linkedIn that a guy I used to work with was now working at Apple.  I looked him up, we sent a few emails back and forth, and then I realized that he was working with more dudes that we used to work with and they got bought by Apple.  Siri.

These were the guys that I used to play basketball with in a 3-3 tourney against the Paris twins.

Cool for them.

But remember that guitar open house that Catherine brought us to over the weekend?  There was a dude there that used to work at Dejima too. I didn’t remember his name. But I remembered he wasn’t very good at his job, though I don’t really remember the job either – product marketing maybe?  Something vaguely product.

Anyway, his daughter was noisy and troublesome during the class. And I was thinking, yeah, a guy that was that bad at his job would probably be a very organized parent.

As we were leaving, I was asking Catherine if she remembered the guy at all, or maybe his name and she didn’t.  She just said when the mom came over after the info session was done (the kids were in the back at a table drawing and entertaining themselves) he growled at his wife: “She peed on the carpet!”

Yeah.  I don’t miss working with that guy.  Whatever his name was.

Mar 192010
 

We’re closing up our annual review process now, but a while back, while the feedback was being collected, Kelly shared with me some of the direct feedback I got from my team.  Specifically in the “needs to improve” section.

  1. hair style
  2. sportsmanship

Which was funny, but left me very curious.  Sure, it’s supposed to stay anonymous, but how could one not wonder?

With the hairstyle, I was a little surprised, cause all I had was a shaved head.  Well, a shaved head that was growing into my asian puff.  But it was pretty simple and not really that far out there.  I shower in the morning so I don’t go to work with bedhead.  I didn’t see my hair as a target I guess.  But, my initial reaction was to start looking around.  If you saw who I worked with, you’d see how this was the case of some serious kettles calling the pot black. It is like we’re making our own Flowbee brochure.  And that’s on a good day.

So the hair style one was easy to shrug off and use as an excuse to get a flattop. Which I’ve actually enjoyed more than I thought I would.  Maybe we’ll still do some team bonding later this year and all get make overs…

The sportsmanship was the one that I was more interested in.  At first, I thought it’d be EJ, because he was offended at one of the payouts for a bet I had with Travis and Ben.  The loser would have to turn the ball over in basketball, 2 times a day, when ever the winner asked for it.  It would change the dynamics of the game and would cause some tension within the team.  Not that turnovers are rare in our game, but being all alone on a break away with an easy basket (actually, neither of those guys have easy baskets) and then having to toss the ball out of bounds cause I yell “turnover” is a big advantage.  And EJ takes winning basketball seriously.  Even though I never used the turnover control I had, it was still a cloud looming over the game.

But EJ denied it was him that gave that feedback.

So I went to Ben and Travis – the guys stuck with the “turnover” curse.  I guess if you can’t win a bet, might as well get back at someone during their annual review.  But they denied it as well.

Then we’re talking about it during lunch and Klaus comes forward saying it was him.  And it’s funny, cause it’s so far from my mental model for him to make a comment like that in a review.  And I go on with trying to figure out the reasons other people would have to knock me for sportsmanship.  But he’s persistent that it was him.  Really?  What’d I do to deserve that from him?

Turns out, during one of our soccer games, I was passing the ball and instead of it going directly to a teammate’s feet, like it normally does, I hit the ref.  Then I laughed. At her.  And that’s something that stood out in Klaus’ mind.

Forget the fact that one game Brian nailed Klaus in the chest with a much harder shot.  While Klaus wasn’t even in the game.  Or even upfield.  He was square with Brian and standing in the bench.  It was as if someone had bet Brian, “Hey – I bet you can’t hit someone on the bench in the middle of the game!” and Brian actually took the bet.

But Klaus accurately pointed out, he was not asked to review Brian. He was asked to review me.

So, I couldn’t help but think of that last night, during our soccer game, when the other team cleared the ball and it went over the wall, into the netting, which has gotten a little loose over the years, and so it stretched a bit, and the ball actually hit one of their fans, who was standing close to the netting to get better video, and it made that hollow, slapping sound that when you hear it, you know it was a solid hit and it couldn’t feel very pleasant, and I started laughing.

At the kid.

So, umm…well, I’ve got a flattop now at least…

Mar 192010
 
  1. It’s not a torn ACL.  I went back to the Dr. that did my ACL surgery and after our awkward greeting (“How are you?”  “Well, good, except for that fact that I’m seeing you…”) he tugged on my leg in a variety of directions and then gave me the go-ahead to start playing again, once the swelling is gone.
  2. Having a cantaloupe sized knee full of liquids really helps with the electronic scale’s estimate of my body fat. I cut 4% in 2 days.
  3. Got to sit on the bench during this weeks soccer game and manage substitutions and taunt people the whole game.  I enjoyed it so much, I might just do it full time.
  4. The best part though was that it allowed me to guilt Dan into playing, saying we were short players, and we got him on the field long enough (probably longer than he wanted) so he could score his first goal.  I was pretty proud.
Aug 292009
 

A while back, I was thinking about goals and how to get the right balance of pushing oneself and being realistic.

Travis ate the ostrich egg in about 33 minutes and impressed everyone.  Afterwards he said he could run a mile in 5:30.  We couldn’t find a place to run a mile we all agreed on, so we got back to work.  Like the sports site now?

The other day, I was going to catch the bus (cause I’m still pouring money into the Corvette…) and according to the Comcast clock, I had 3 minutes to make it to the stop.  I said goodbye to Sal and Sandy and headed out the door.

Sandy didn’t think I could make it to the bus stop in 3 minutes.  I thought it was just around the corner and told her not to worry.  I leave and get out and around the corner and look at how far it is to the real corner and it was far enough that it gave me time and reason to think.  My thoughts went something like this:

  • Brian Webb used to run our neighborhood.
  • 1 square mile he said it was.
  • We used to live near Mile Square Park – that was a cool park – a remote control airport in the middle of it!
  • We probably live in the middle of the block.
  • So half a mile in 3 minutes shouldn’t be that bad.
  • That’s just a 6 minute mile.
  • I used to almost be able to do that in jr high school with my insane gym teacher 25 years ago.
  • I’m only 100 pounds heavier than that now.
  • My calves are tight – really need to stretch them more.
  • I’m close enough to the stop where I’m either gonna make the bus or miss the bus regardless of whether I run or not.
  • I’m not that out of breath and I didn’t really run – I just jogged – and I made the bus.
  • I might be able to run a 6 minute mile.

Now, of course, the bus was probably late.

And when I called Sandy to let her know that I made the bus and wouldn’t need to mooch a ride off of her, she heard through all the panting for air that I had missed the bus and she was asking where I needed to be picked up.

But the dumbest thing I did was talk about these ideas at work.

So I went to try to run a mile today after Sal’s soccer practice.  See if I could do 6 minutes.  I saw some people on the track during practice – they were slow.  Passing them was going to give me the adrenaline rush I’d need to make 6 minutes.  Though by the time soccer was over, they were all gone.  Apparently 90 degree heat doesn’t inspire runners like it used to.  Softies.

I did 2 laps.  Catherine unofficially clocked me at 3 and a half.  We didn’t have a timer. At least it wasnt 4.  But my laps weren’t getting any faster.

Walking back to the car, I was coughing.  I continued to cough.  Until I threw up in someone’s driveway/bushes.  A couple of decent projectile heaves.

I think it was cause I had something in my throat – some dust from the track or whatever that I sucked in while trying to live with the realization that a 6 minute mile for me is delusional.  That’s what my coughing was all about, which lead to the vomiting, but the shock value of the puking is better if I leave that out.

Though I did hit a ball out of the park last week at softball.  So some goals are okay if you can be lucky and wind assisted.  (The side of the track with the wind at my back was soooooo much easier than running into the headwind.)

Aug 052009
 

Hearing people’s reactions to my old soccer photo made me think about those days a bit.

Catherine can still wear my jacket from those days, which had my name embroidered on it – we were a “club” team after all.  Only AYSO in the summer when we wanted to slum it a bit.  Catherine’s sister saw her wearing the jacket once and asked what thrift store it came from.  My closet circa 1981-ish?

I used to have a finesse game.  “Spider legs” was what someone started calling me and it stuck for a while with the moms.  Speaking of moms, there was Mrs. Northrup, with her black and red camero that had her name painted on the side (Cheri).  My mother would always bring up how Mrs. Northrup could cook eggplant and I’d eat it, but I wouldn’t eat it at home.  She used to make fresh donuts in the morning too.

Anyway, times have changed.  I no longer leap gracefully over futile attempts by the defense.  I don’t dazzle them with ball control.  And I never danced on top of the ball the way Ethan did tonight.

Now, I am just 210 pounds of in-your-way. My strategy is to be a moving obstacle. Pin people into the wall.  Block the goalie’s view and set picks on offense.  Take a charge and be that immovable object that they weren’t expecting to still be standing in front of them.  I’m not quick enough to fall for your fake and move aside, Mr. Fancy Shoes.  You need to take the long way around me.  The futility that the other team feels now isn’t because of my deft moves, but more around the fact that they can’t move me.  I feel their arms and elbows flail against me. Nothing.  Maybe my shirt is tugged.  Meaningless.

But its not like I’m a some sort of superhero.  I am more like a tanker that has inadvertently found its way into a small bay.  My turns are not tight, I am not able to spin and stay in the play.  I make my move, then if I’m not successful, there is a long awkward arc as I try and change directions.  If I had the extra energy, I’m sure I could imagine horns and alarms going off as I try to perform this dangerous maneuver.  As it is, all I can really hear is my body trying to suck in as much air as possible.

And let’s be honest here – many times I am simply 210 pounds of just been passed.

I still love this silly game though.  I’m physically exhausted, yet my mind is still racing about it.

It is the same game.  Just different now.  I’m very interested to see how I adapt…