Monday, March 26, 2007

Just Some Mentions

So, just some things to mention before I take off for our College Spring Break trip tomorrow.

For the first time in my personal history, I accurately predicted all of the Final Four teams (sorry, Kristin). I needed a huge comeback by Georgetown to pull it off, but, nonetheless, it has been pulled off. Now I can root for UCLA as a fan, but receive some consolation if they lose, since I picked Florida to win it all.

Despite my amazingly skilled picks (being a bit satirical now), I am not leading either of my pools. If Florida plays (and beats) Georgetown in the finals, I'll win both. Right now, leading the college group pool is the illustrious Mirranda Meacham, who knows very little about basketball, and filled out her first bracket this year. She also correctly predicted the Final Four, but she has Georgetown over UCLA in the finals.

For all your Oregon fans, sorry about the Ducks. They went further than I thought they would (I had them losing in the 2nd round to Winthrop). They gave the defending champs a real run for their money. As Kristin so aptly put, "If only Porter had showed up." True.

Anyway, the good news on the homefront is that Karina is feeling better overall. There are still miserable days, but we are both really grateful for her improvement. It has been a big answer to prayer. More good news is that Matthew is getting better at not pushing. Before we go places I ask him what he is not supposed to do, and he replies, "Not pushing." And then, if he doesn't push anyone, he celebrates by reporting back to us that he did not push anyone. Here is a little pick from our recent trip to the mall, at which he did not push anyone.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Ninja Skills

Matthew can be a pretty cretive guy. One of his most recent exploits has been to take the sticks that we use to seal the windows closed (for SoCal people, you do this when it is cold) and wields it as if he is practicing martial arts. He has a lot of fun with it, but we are wondering if he is going to end up impalin himself, but it still is pretty cool that he enjoys it so much.
I don't know if these ninja skills of Matt's are something that pave the way for a future career. Probably not, but it is fun to see what interests him. Watching him with the stick made me think of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles because Donatello always had the staff that he waved around (DK, I know you're excited for the new TMNT movie coming out).

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Madness

Well, I thought for the sake of fun, I would share my March Madness Bracket. I am on a yahoo pool, and also did one with some students (the brackets are the same for each). Comment if you are a sports fan (if even if not).
Sorry about the format, but this is the best way I know how to do it:
First Round Winners:
1 Florida over 16 Jackson State
9 Purdue over 8 Arizona (sorry Pac-10)
12 Old Dominion over 5 Butler
4 Maryland over 13 Davidson
11 Winthrop over 6 Notre Dame
3 Oregon over 14 Miami OH
7 UNLV over 10 Georgia Tech
2 Wisconsin over 15 Texas A&M - CC
1 Kansas over 16 Niagra
9 Villanove over 8 Kentucky
5 Virginia Tech over 12 Illinois
4 Southern Illinois over 13 Holy Cross
6 Duke over 11 VCU (barely)
3 Pittsburgh over 14 Wright State
10 Gonzaga over 7 Indiana
2 UCLA over 15 Weber State
1 North Carolina over 16 Eastern Kentucky
8 Marquette over 9 Michigan State
12 Arkansas over 5 USC (sorry PAC-10)
4 Texas over 13 New Mexico State
6 Vanderbilt over 11 George Washington
3 Washington State over 14 Oral Roberts (barely)
7 Boston College over 10 Texas Tech
2 Georgetown over 15 Belmont
1 Ohio State over 16 Central Connecticut State
8 BYU over 9 Xavier
12 Long Beach State over 5 Tennessee
13 Albany over 4 Virginia (upset special)
6 Lousiville over 11 Stanford
3 Texas A&M over 14 Pennsylvania
7 Nevada over 10 Creighton
2 Memphis over 15 North Texas

Sweet Sixteen Entrants
1 Florida over 9 Purdue
4 Maryland over 12 Old Dominion
11 Winthrop over 3 Oregon
2 Wisconsin over 7 UNLV
9 Villanova over 1 Kansas (you read that right)
4 Southern Illinois over 5 Virginia Tech
3 Pittsburgh over 6 Duke
2 UCLA over 10 Gonzaga
1 North Carolina over 8 Marquette
4 Texas over 12 Arkansas
6 Vanderbilt over 3 Washington State
2 Georgetown over 7 Boston College
1 Ohio State over 8 BYU
13 Albany over 12 Long Beach State
3 Texas A&M over 6 Lousiville
7 Nevada over 2 Memphis

Elite Eight Entrants
1 Florida over 4 Maryland
2 Wisconsin over 11 Winthrop
4 Southern Illinois over 9 Villanova
2 UCLA over 3 Pittsburgh
4 Texas over 1 North Carolina
2 Georgetown over 6 Vanderbilt
1 Ohio State over 13 Albany
3 Texas A&M over 7 Nevada

To the Final Four
1 Florida over 2 Wisconsin
2 UCLA over 4 Southern Illinois
2 Georgetown over 4 Texas
1 Ohio State over 3 Texas A&M

Final Four Matchups
Florida over UCLA (I'm crying as I write it)
Georgetown over Ohio State

Florida over Georgetown (77-69)

Just for fun. All of these picks are guaranteed to go wrong. Last year I got no final four teams right, but the year before I had two, and the year before that I had three. I guess this year, if the pattern continues, I will have negative 1 or 2 teams in the final four. Bummer.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

24 Update

Okay, you knew it was coming eventually. Gotta talk a bit about 24.
Now, those of you who know me will know that making this concession is a big deal. The concession is this. So far, Season 6 of 24 has been, by far, my least favorite. Even as I say that, it is still my favorite show on TV. There are several things that they have done this season that have left me wondering, "Why are they doing this?" There have been some other things that I have just found impossible to believe (the big one was when the assassinators let Tom Lennox live; gimme a break).

Now, on to the more productive commentary. Usually on 24 a major bad guy lasts an average of 6-8 episodes (just an estimate). This season we still have Fayed, the same main bad guy from hour 1. This is an interesting twist. I am not against it at all, but it has made for, at times, some slower episodes because they are not tracking down bad guy after bad guy.

The Logan strand was one that I really liked. I must say, though, that I was not crazy about last night's twist with Martha (from this point on referred to as Psycho Martha, or PM). Any good will that Psycho Martha built up by helping take down Logan last season was lost for my when she stabbed him in her home. She simply proved that she was psychotic all along, and just got lucky before. I am high on Logan and low on PM.

It was good to see Aaron Pierce again, although him being with Martha was weird. I think he deserves better. Especially in light of her showing herself to be PM. It was cool, though, that he was, as always, able to see what the right thing was to do. He is more loyal to his own convictions than he is to any one person. Great guy. Sad to see him with someone so psycho.

The Logan Redemption Project has been good. Not on par with the George Mason Redemption Project of Season 2 or the Tony Almeida Redemption Projext of Season 4. Still, Logan has been in some ways more compelling than the others because we have all been guessing whether or not it is sincere. Big step forward last night. When someone who we don't want to get stabbed gets stabbed, it most likely means that we're not supposed to want them to get stabbed. Hmmm. And I was totally afraid that he was going to die, but the fact that the episode ended without him dying means that he's fine. He will live. Take it to the bank. He may die much later in the season, but he will not die next episode. Man, I hope I'm right.

Here's my final word. There are all these things that many of us have been wondering, "Where is this going?" Within five episodes it is all going to come crashing together and there will be a collective, "Whoa" from all 24 watchers.

Also, if you saw the preview for next week's episode. . .WOW! Are they gonna set off another nuke? Freaky.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Trying New Things

Matthew has been learning and trying some new things lately. Here are just a few.
New skills on the "cycle."
New ability to identify alphabet letters.
New haircut (dad got one also).

New "big smile." I think he does this when I say "Big Smile" because he sees the way that I smile and just figures that smiling means closing your eyes.New computer games.
New picture pose.

Monday, March 05, 2007

First Political Post

Well, I am writing my first ever blog post having to do with politics. I do not follow politics that way that some do, but I have been following a bit more closely lately because the upcoming '08 presidential election is one that really is fascinating to me. One of the reasons for this is that two of the top Republican candidates (McCain and Giuliani) are pro-choice. And, on the Democratic side, we have an African American man and a woman battling it out for the nomination. And, at least right now, it seems much more likely than not that one of the two will receive the nod to represent the Democrats.
I grew up with a very Republican surrounding. It seemed like all good Christians voted Republican and that was just that way it was. I saw footage yesterday of a rally of African Americans gathered for both Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama. The African American vote has typically been Democratic in a landslide. When I found that out, it made me think. I thought, "Either all African Americans are just blind to the fact that they should be voting Republican, or maybe I am missing something." I like to opt for the latter. Maybe this political thing is more complicated than just good guys and bad guys.
This brings me to my real heart-pounding issue. Ann Coulter, the controversial and inflamatory conservative author and commentator, was at a conservative rally this past week, and she took shots at the Democratic hopefuls for the White House. In the midst of her comments, she referred to Senator John Edwards as a "faggot." I couldn't believe my ears when I saw the new story about this. And then I thought, Why am I so surprised? Ann Coulter has always been condescending and spiteful to others. This may have been a new height of insult (both to Edwards and to the homosexual community, not to mention to anyone who has any ounce of compassion at all), but it was not out of character for this woman.
I was thinking about it afterwards, and I concluded that I don't even really blame Coulter for her comments. I mean, I certainly do blame her, but who I really blame is the conservatives who married themselves to her and had her speak at their convention. What were they expecting to happen? They should have known what they were getting into. Many Republicans have disavowed her comments, but, sadly, her comments were met with much laughter and cheers when she said them. The Republicans should never have linked up with her.
Then I thought, With whom do we as Christians link ourselves? By God's grace, I hope not Ann Coulter. But do we link ourselves with Republicans and conservatives to a fault? Many think so. Do we end up standing with people who are condescending and mean-spirited because we agree with their stance on the budget, or even their stance on abortion? And how does this represent Jesus to those who observe us?
This is not meant to be anti-Republican. I only pick on the Republicans because most of us in churches have that leaning. My question is, "With whom would Jesus have us stand? With whom would he stand?" And how do compassion and humility play a part in this?