More catching up thoughts, including the occasional comment added during Monday’s game.

Portland is by far my favorite place to visit for work. It’s a tremendous city, full of gorgeous views, brewpubs, a college town vibe, clients I actually enjoy visiting, and most importantly, a group of people I know from previous lives that I can visit with. Unlike most other business trips, I don’t retreat to my hotel room each night with the sum of my excitement being checking e-mail and hoping something interesting is on HBO. On this trip, I met one friend from high school/college who I had only seen once in nine or ten years for a drink. Met another fellow KU fan who I had only known from his posts on a private e-mail list over the past five years for a beer another night. Had drinks with another college friend and his partner (who have obtained a marriage license and are planning to thumb their noses at some prominent politicians with a wedding in May) another night. And finally, had dinner with good friends who are my traditional PDX hosts both nights I was in town. When you actually have something to do, and good people to visit with while you’re on the road, it makes the hours you spend preparing for and sitting in meetings with clients completely tolerable.

Why does Jim Nantz seem surprised by the most mundane of plays?

Another great benefit of traveling to Portland is my client who is a huge outdoor enthusiast. He gives me an opportunity to meet with the people I need to meet with, and then we retire to the safety of the Willamette River for a two hour kayak trip. The weather was absolutely gorgeous on Thursday: sunny, slight breeze, temperature somewhere in the low 70s. We paddled out to some islands in the river and beached on one for awhile so we could hike into it a little. We climbed a small outcropping of rocks, pulled our selves up to the high point, and could look down on the channel we had just paddled through, then up into hills that were covered with a thousand shades of green: trees, shrubs, mosses, lichens, pretty much anything that can grow was present in layers up the sides of the hills. A coworker who was along for the visit pointed out that the scene looked like something out of a Hollywood fairy tale. On our trip back to the dock, we went through a long area full of breeding geese. It was eerie to see little pairs of geese eyes staring at you from the brush every 100 yards or so, like some feathered version of deliverance. Invariably, when you saw the first head, there would be a mate nearby. We saw a couple territorial battles, with large males honking and chasing each other about on the water and in the air. We saw females who were clearly nesting, a nervous male pacing nearby. It was a sweet reminder that geese aren’t just the obnoxious birds that like to congregate around the church on my regular running route and load up the sidewalks with guano.

If I’m a coach and I have a 7′ oaf, I force them to watch video of Luke Schenscher. The kid knows exactly how to play within his abilities in a way that helps the team. KU fans say David Padgett needs to put 30 pounds on over the summer. I’d settle for 15 and picking up some of Schenscher’s game.

A great unknown band from the early 90s was Manhattan’s Truck Stop Love. Two members of TSL went on to form Ultimate Fakebox, which had a small measure of national success in the late 90s. I listened to TSL’s debut EP on one of my flights last week. I had forgotten how great the songs were; terrific combinations of southern rock, garage execution, and pop sensibilities. It’s a shame they didn’t get more love in the great Lawrence-KC music harvest of the early 90s.

Warning to loyal readers: the Rwanda genocide anniversary is having a strong effect on me. I watched most of the PBS documentary Ghosts of Rwanda last week and started a book by the BBC journalist who covered the genocide last night. I’ll have a lengthy discussion of that topic next week.

Is it just me, or was that the most boring NCAA title game ever? I honestly don’t recall one that was over that early. (Thanks to Google, it looks like Duke’s 20 point win over Michigan in 1992 was the last game to rival this year’s.) That’s what’s so amazing about the NCAA tournament. It doesn’t matter what the match-up is in the finals, it always turns into a thrilling game. Well, almost always. And yes, I puked in my beer when I saw Georgia Tech start shooting free throws like they were a bunch of Chris Dudleys. Why couldn’t they have done that a week ago? It was fun to hear Billy Packer wetting himself over how good the ACC should be next year. Nothing like a blow out to remove what little filter he has over his personal feelings.

Thursday baby update: while the Little Girlfriend was in the middle of her normal evening playtime, we were thoroughly entertained/freaked out by being able to see S’s stomach jump and twitch with the movements. Still too soon to see any elbows or feet sticking out, but there was some serious movement going on. S.┬ástared at her stomach in a manner that reminded me of Alien. I thought it was about the coolest thing ever.

From the limited poll response, it seems like “One Shining Moment” for a variety of reasons, is less popular than it used to be. I need to pull out my tape from 1988, but I swear there are more interviews, commercials, etc. now between the final buzzer and the montage than there used to be. Maybe that’s what makes it so hard to watch; you have to wait through 45 minutes of filler to get there. Unless we get 45 minutes of Bonnie Bernstein, that’s tough to sit through.