Thursday, February 14, 2008

Quick Hits

So I've been more absent lately than my usual, but I have a good excuse.

Same old. Work.

But in a good way. I'm delivering some stuff I've been working on for quite a long while now. It's deep-in-the-weeds stuff that makes a great impression with the boss and only the boss, the only person who can really understand what an endeavor I've undertaken. He's a cool boss to have. He really trusts me, and that is a rare commodity in this business indeed. He has basically been at the company from its inception and has written most of the software that I am now modifying. So when I call him and say that I need to make a change to it, I expect that he would be leery or more inquisitive as to the what and why. It's not like he doesn't ask, but he is satisfied quickly that I'm on the right track.

I would be a fool to work for anyone else.

Now I just have to prove that his trust is well-founded.

Happy Valentines Day!

A couple cute things that my son did. First, which actually isn't so cute--more on the gross side--he has discovered that the base of this thumb can come "unhitched" if you will. So he can basically move the bottom of his thumb from side to side in little jerks. It's freaky. It was one of those family moments with Emmett standing on our bed while Jackson, my wife and I were cracking up and cringing at the same time.

Did you know that Emmett can spell? He's only four years old but can spell almost any word. For instance, "Hey Emmett. How do you spell encyclopedia?" Answer: "H-J-K-11-12-14-16-20."

He's been playing Metroid Fusion on his Gameboy, both of which he inherited from his older brother when Jackson got the Nintendo DS. It's one of those games that has a boss every so often that needs to be defeated before moving on to the next level. For some reason he calls each boss "L-M-N-O-6", which sounds like "Elemenosix." Super cute.

And lastly, and only because I'm drawing blanks on anything else at the moment, Emmett came out of our room yesterday when his momma's suede high-heeled boots, which fit his legs perfectly. He looked like puss-in-boots from the Shrek sequels. Don't worry, we've got pictures.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Winning Ticket

Emmett won his first raffle last Friday. The prize: a laundry basket filled with cars and trucks, and puzzles and games of a related theme. It was a monster pick. The raffle was sponsored at Jackson's elementary school, so there was a swarm of hopeful kids in and outside the library when the principal called out Emmett's name.

I didn't expect to win anything because we had been through this drill twice before in years past. I was sitting in the cafeteria with a friend when a mother raced around the corner and hollered the winning news. Taking the prize basket and negotiating my way back to my seat, I felt like a scantily clad woman suddenly dropped in the midst of maximum security prisoners. Lifers. These kids, and their parents too, stared at me like I was a grade A prime cut of meat. Who am I kidding though? I had to refrain from sticking my tongue out and chanting nanny, nanny billy goat!

Suddenly Emmett was a celebrity. Every kid his age has a built-in urge to fit in and play with the older kids, and the older kids know it. Thank goodness I was there to supervise. There were some duplicate Matchbox cars that I allowed him to give away to one of Jackson's friends. Other kids I didn't even know were begging to "borrow" certain items, like a little Hot Wheelz scooter (if you can believe it). The kid's mother put the kibosh on that. It's hard to imagine a parent that wouldn't, but such do exist in shockingly large numbers, parents that can't bear to tell their little angel no.

The experience reminded me of the time when Jackson was Emmett's age. We were at Marine World in Vallejo, California. It was one of those low-probability games where you purchase a bucket of plastic rings and try to loop them over the top of a bottle. It seems easy at first because of the sheer size of the tightly packed grid of bottles. We had nearly gone through the entire bucket, and Jackson wanted to throw the last one. He over-handed it, a fast ball right down the middle, and it stuck as if he had thrown a dart. The prize was an enormous red Chihuahua dog, which I had to carry to the car in the parking lot far far away. Same thing, all the people staring and I thinking eat your heart out, as if this monstrosity I held aloft was the Holy Grail.

There is just something about winning a thing that makes it special. It's attached to the end of an inexhaustible string, a tether that leads across time to wherever and whenever you are.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Congrats to Eli and Co.

I'm sure Beth has already composed her masterpiece, a love ballad to the brothers Manning. But I have to add to her chorus. Congratulations to the Giants who played the most outstanding defensive football game I have probably ever seen. The Superbowl is almost always a foregone conclusion. In the nineties it always came down to the NFC championship, and in the Patriots/Colts era it's been the AFC championship. Hardly ever do you see two teams really duke it out in the Superbowl. That certainly changed this year.

Three weeks ago, the Giants beat my Cowboys. They played hard and deserved the win, but they wouldn't have won if Patrick Crayton wouldn't have stopped on a route with 23 seconds left to go in the game, or if the same wouldn't have dropped a pass earlier, or Anthony Fasano wouldn't have dropped a pass in the end zone. I could go on. The bottom line is, it is nothing short of a miracle that the Giants even got to the big game. But I can promise you this: only the Giants could have did what they did to the Patriots.

The Giants did the impossible. They made Tom Brady look human, as in to err is human. Brady spent as much time on his back as he did standing up. And when he did get a little time to scope downfield, he heard the footsteps of Strahan, Umenyiora and Justin Tuck. There were even a few rookies getting in on the sack fest. Randy who? Only Wes Welker performed like he did all season long, but that was not nearly enough.

The Pats defense did a great job as well. It came down to which team would make the big play. Manning wasn't perfect, but dammit man! he was Cool Hand Luke. It came down to the last drive of the game, the Giants needing a touchdown. If you didn't see it… You don't have to be football fan to appreciate how that went down. There were two minutes, thirty seconds left in the game. The Giants were pinned at something like the fifteen yard line. They really hadn't done much with the ball all day, only having scored a touchdown and a field goal. Troy Aikman, the announcer who knows a little something about winning Superbowls, said that the Giant's situation was what every quarterback dreamed of, four points down and needing a touchdown to win.

And I'll be darned if Eli didn't deliver. Assante Samuel, a defensive back for the Patriots, could have ended the game with an easy interception that went right through his fingers. He had two palms on the ball too.

Then Giants receiver David Tyree catches a desperation pass after Eli barely escaped a sack. Tyree (see the image to the left) brought the ball down onto his helmet and pinned it there with one hand and never dropped it. What the…? Unbelievable. Then Plaxico Burress, who hadn't been a factor all night, catches an easy floater in the end zone, just like he and Eli, wearing shorts, practiced before the game. Wow.

But still, there were thirty five seconds left, and the Patriots had all their timeouts, but great coverage on the kick would make the Pats work for it. But the Giants defense clamped down. Ruthless and decisive.

My condolences to my good friend, Mr. Schprock. But I have gotten so sick of hearing about the dominance of the AFC. And there is just a little bit of poetic justice to how the season ended for the Patriots, who got caught videotaping signals of their opponents, then got a slap on the wrist (relatively speaking—that same slap on me would have me living on the streets). The Cowboys quarterbacks coach, Wade Wilson, was suspended for a quarter of the season because he tested positive for a drug that he had taken legitimately by prescription, but Belichick paid a fine and a draft pick (they had two first round picks and still have the seventh overall), and was not suspended. Oh, and he got coach of the year. I'm not saying he isn't the best coach that ever coached the game, but I would say he got away with one. Then for half a season he ran up the score on weaker opponents, playing for blood when the other teams were already bleeding out of every orifice.

My apologies to fans of the Patriots. Sincerely. But if the Patriots would have won that game, in my mind, a great injustice would have gone unpunished. There should be honor in sports, and nobody likes a bully.

But today is about the underdog. Nobody gave little Davie a chance against Goliath.

How do you think Archie Manning feels right now about his boys?