Thursday, June 28, 2007

Soccer Malpractice

Summer soccer season is in full swing, and Brandon was saved from team-less-ness by a Dad who couldn't say no. After hearing that the little guy might not get to play, I called the sports director at the YMCA who confirmed that, yes, in fact, all the teams in his division were full. Then I learned how most parents become coaches: "I might be able to find him a spot if you'd be willing to coach." Not exactly the magic words (does it sound a little like extortion to you too?), but if it means my kid gets to channel his energy in a way that doesn't involve beating his sister up with a Batman sword, I'm game.

Since I teach kids in Brandon's age group (3-5) at church (but only 6 of them, and in an enclosed area), I had some inklings as to how this might go. The days leading up to the first practice were a crescendo of angst until I found myself surrounded by 14 busy kids who, like me, really had only a vague idea about what we were supposed to be doing.

I should mention that I played soccer for 12 years, and I even coached a 10-and-under team before. I've known the rules for as long as I can remember, and the U-10 kids I coached had been playing for 4 years before I even met them. Besides the casual questions and informal kicking-around we've done as a family in the backyard, I never really thought about how to explain the game of soccer to people, let alone short people with the combined attention span of a -- "I hear a police car!"

But I didn't even get to soccer hardly. Instead, I was trying to think of new ways to say "get into a circle" or "get into 2 straight lines". Finally, I resorted to the photographer technique by moving my little action figure soccer kids: "You. Stand right here. Good. Don't move. Now you. Stand right here. Don't move. Nobody move. I will move you. Okay, you (etc...)". Once I got them all in line, I was almost tempted to prompt: "Say cheese!" And in retrospect, I shoud have really taken a picture. Proof that I had actually accomplished something in our first practice, never mind how un-soccer-like it was. (note to self: more moving around with the ball, less standing around without it).

Despite the train wreck, we did manage to clock 41 full minutes of soccer (and coaching) practice, if you count the 10+ minutes of "water breaks". After the dust settled, a few of the parents (probably the ones who could say no) offered their obligatory, but still much appreciated, "Thanks, Coach!"

And then there's the first game... Time to get pumped up!

survivor - eye of the tiger

Monday, June 11, 2007

Al Gore vs. The Unabomber

Somebody came up with a quiz to see if you can tell the difference between the writing of Al Gore and the Unabomber Manifesto. I didn't do any better than pure chance, but that's probably a reflection of how much I know about both. How did you do?

Now for the bonus question: Is this a swipe at Al Gore? Or sympathy for the Unabomber? Either way, it's a kinda funny ... and a little eerie.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Music Reviews: MASHUP MANIA!

I love music, and I have my favorites. But even with 25 gigabytes of music archives, I still manage to get bored with it all sometimes. So I started listening to TOP 40 radio again (online radio, anyway), which immediately required cataloging the songs my kids would not ever be allowed to listen to (and I am really starting to sound like my dad!). It didn't take long for me to figure out the up-and-coming top 5 songs, because I got to hear them played at least once-per-hour on virtually any online top 40 station. So guess what. I got bored with top 40 radio, but now that I've listened to it for a couple of weeks straight, I'm good for another 6 months.

Usually, after my mainstream music binges, I withdraw on a quest to find the best music-you've-never-heard. Most recently, I've re-discovered the Mashups scene: for people who don't enjoy a good song. They enjoy 2 (or more) good songs at the same time! Basically, mashup magicians throw a couple of pop (or classic) tracks into a blender to make entirely new musical flavors.

Anyway, here's are a few good ones (hope the links work)

1. Boulevard of Broken Songs (Oasis vs. Green Day)
2. Get This Party Started (Pink vs. ELO)
3. Are You Gonna Be My Animal? (Muppets vs. Jet)