Category: Uncategorized (Page 1 of 299)

On the iPod

You may have missed the news because of more important things, but Apple officially retired the iPod line of music players last week. That’s not exactly true, as the iPod Touches that were discontinued were more iPhones without a cellular radio than anything resembling the classic iPods. But, still, Apple no longer sells a dedicated portable music player.

There have been plenty of odes to the iPod in the tech media. I liked this piece on The Verge, with their writers sharing some of their iPod experiences.

Our memories of the iPod

I had forgotten about the accessories we used to enhance our iPod experiences. Silicone cases. The do-dads that you fed into your car’s cassette player, or the snap-on transmitters so you could hear your music on a clear FM radio frequency we used before most cars came with AUX headphone jacks.

I fell in love with the iPod when it was released. However, as it was Mac-only at the time and I had yet to enter the world of the Mac, I could only lust from afar. When I began traveling for work, I got a Creative Labs Nomad Jukebox 2, which looked more like a Sony Discman than an iPod. Getting music onto it was a true nightmare, usually requiring an afternoon of work to prepare for a trip. But I was able to load it up with songs to listen to on those flights from Kansas City to the west coast.

When I bought my first Mac in the summer of 2004, I tried to jump on the iPod bandwagon immediately. The first click wheel iPods had just come out, and I found a discounted third generation model – that had the cool, light up buttons – and tried to split the cost between a gift card and my credit card. Something about the transaction failed, and by the time I called to try to get it worked out, all the old models were gone. So I went to my local Apple Store and bought a click wheel model. Which was really the smarter move.

Thus began a long run of iPods. I have no idea how many I owned. I moved up to a fourth generation model after my father-in-law found one in a parking lot somewhere. It was scratched up and the battery was drained, but once I charged it up, it worked just fine. I know I had a Mini, a Nano, and a few Shuffles along the way. They were my constant companions on my drives around Indiana covering high school sports. Nothing was sadder than realizing I hadn’t synced it to iTunes before I left the house and a new album or playlist had not gotten copied over.

I kept an old iPod around until about 18 months ago. I used it to listen to podcasts as I fell asleep. When it’s battery started to fail, I finally switched to using my iPhone with Bluetooth earphones for my falling-to-sleep pods. It may still be sitting in a drawer somewhere.

My girls know what an iPod is – they all had one at some point – but I’m not sure they really understand the impact on society those little things had. Or how amazing they seemed to us when we first encountered them. It was the product the turned Apple into a business juggernaut. Most importantly, it paved the way for the iPhone, which changed the world’s concept of what a cell phone should look like and function, and had an even greater impact on both the world and Apple. All because people wanted an easy way to listen to music privately without being restricted to a single tape or CD.

Weekend Hoops Notes: B-town

L finally got back in hoops action this weekend. The tournament her team was scheduled to play in in Indy got cancelled because of lack of teams. Our coach scrambled and got us into a tournament in Bloomington.

Which is nice since they’ve been working on the main highway between Indy and B-town approximately since I moved to Indiana. There was a long stretch where there were barrels blocking one lane and the speed limit was 45. A vote against IU for me in M’s college search.

L’s team went 2–0 on Saturday, playing sloppy but beating two bad-ish teams by 20+ each. After the game we took the girls to IU student and alum favorite Nick’s for lunch. It was, unfortunately, raining sideways at the time so we didn’t get to wander around campus or downtown at all.

L looked rusty after a couple weeks off. She scored three in the first game, four in the second. She seemed a step slow in both games and a little unsure of herself. She had a couple nice assists in each game, though.

There were only four seventh grade girls teams so the Sunday tournament began with a rematch with the squad we beat by 23 Saturday. I should note they hung with us pretty deep into the pool game until our best player scored nine points in about 90 seconds and broke their wills. But they played solid D and did some nice stuff on offense.

Naturally on Sunday they jumped out to a 9–2 lead, and led 19–10 late in the first half. Our girls made a nice run – including a sweet dime from L to a teammate in traffic for a basket – and cut it to 21–20 at halftime.

We took the lead pretty quickly in the second half and dominated the first 11 minutes or so. With three minutes left the parent sitting by me asked an important question: “Have they only scored one point this half?”

I looked at the scoreboard and, indeed, we were up 34–22. Quite the turnaround!

That was a big-ass jinx, though, as our girls fell apart a little, let the lead shrunk down to three, before they closed it out to win 38–35. L’s team runs hot and cold shooting, and this was definitely a cold game. They were 0–12 from 3 and 4–25 from the line. This totally felt like KU playing an 8 or 9 seed in the round of 32 and bricking their way out of the tournament.[1]

I was SO impressed with the opposing coach. He took what he learned from playing us Saturday and had his girls attacking our weak points and stymying us on D. What I really liked was he was intense, loud, but always positive. I never heard him yell at a player for doing something wrong. Each time I heard him raise his voice, he was telling his girls how to avoid the foul they just got called for, or how to prevent the turnover they just committed. Travel hoops is full of crazy coaches who tear down more than build up. It kind of made my whole weekend to see one who was the opposite.

Onto the championship game. We were playing a team that had a lot of size. I jokingly told other parents we wouldn’t get a single rebound the entire game. The girls proved me wrong by getting one just a minute into the game. We had a 3–0 lead, but it was all downhill from there. We trailed by nine at the break and kept it respectable in losing by 14. This was a better team that really knew how to play. Our girls battled but they looked tired. This was not a team they could beat playing tired.

L didn’t score in either game Sunday. She had some more nice assists, and played a ton in the second game because she was working hard on defense. She was sore afterward, which I told her was good. Saturday she was upset with herself for not scoring more. Sunday she realized that the shots weren’t there, at least in game two, and took some pride in her defense. She told me she didn’t think a couple of her teammates were working hard once they got behind. I told her that’s why she played so much: coaches see effort and reward it.

Next week is our first big roadtrip: four games in Louisville. Unfortunately we have some girls who have a track meet Friday night and our first game is scheduled for 5:45, so we may have to forfeit that if we can’t get them to reschedule for later.

With two weeks of school left I gave L the assignment of coming up with basketball goals for between now and when fall ball starts. I have ideas, too, but I want to see what her thought process is.[2] Next week when we are driving back from Louisville we’re going to talk about her goals and think of the process to get there. We plan on spending a lot of mornings at the YMCA over the summer.

Playing and driving to-and-from Bloomington dominated my weekend. Not really sure what the rest of the family did. Check their socials if you want insights on them.


  1. The University of Kansas basketball Jayhawks won the men’s Division 1 national championship this year. In case you hadn’t heard.  ↩

  2. I think we need to do a lot of shooting, work on her overall ball handling but especially her left hand, and spend time in the gym getting her stronger.  ↩

Things to Read: On Creed Bratton

I just can’t seem to get on a regular schedule for sharing fun things I run across in my internet travels. So I’ve decided to scrap the periodic link-heavy posts and move towards sharing interesting pieces individually, as I run across them. That means more content for you, dear readers!

Let’s kick it off with this wonderful profile of Creed Bratton. In recent years I’ve learned plenty about his life. I don’t think I knew anything about his “real” life until well after The Office ended its run on NBC. As I’ve learned more about his life, it’s fun to watch reruns and see how many aspects of his character come out of his true experiences.

He’s lived three lives, had five names. At least. He’s most well-known, of course, for playing the seedy, scheming octogenarian, with whom he shares a name, on the American version of the television show The Office. He turned a non-speaking background role into a cult-favorite character on one of the most successful comedies of all time, but that’s not the story. So much came before that.

Creed Bratton Has a Story to Tell

Reaching for the Stars, Vol. 73

Chart Week: May 5, 1979
Song: “Music Box Dancer” – Frank Mills
Chart Position: #3, 15th week on the chart. This was the song’s peak.

Songs like “Music Box Dancer,” complete outliers to everything else on the pop chart at the time, fascinate me. It makes no sense that this track spent over four months in the Hot 100 and climbed as high as number three. Even for the 1970’s, a decade loaded with bizarre records that landed in the top ten, it seems strange.

What else was on American Top 40 that week? The Disco era wasn’t officially over, but it was drawing its last breaths. Still there were at least twelve songs in this week’s countdown that could be categorized as Disco. The late 70’s were when what we eventually called Classic Rock reached its peak. There are at least six Classic Rock tracks amongst this week’s Top 40. The AM Radio Gold sound was fading like a bad radio signal, yet three artists that owed their success to that genre were in the countdown. There were two Beatles (Paul McCartney’s Wings and George Harrison) and two of the biggest artists of the New Wave era (Blondie and The Police).[1]

And then there was this, an instrumental track written to mimic the sound of a music box. It didn’t have a connection to a movie or TV show. Mills wasn’t famous for other things, bringing a built-in audience to his music. He wasn’t coming off a previous big hit. He wasn’t riding the wave of a departing fad or leading the charge of a new one. The track wasn’t part of a promotional campaign. This was about as random of a one-hit wonder as you can get.

And that’s what fascinates me. Somehow, in the midst of everything else that was being played on radio in 1979, this single triggered something in people that prompted them to call radio stations to request it and to walk into record stores to buy copies to play at home.

All that success is even crazier when you learn that “Music Box Dancer” was never supposed to be a single.

Mills first recorded the song for a 1974 album. When Polydor Records released a new single from a later Mills album in1978, they slapped “MBD” on as a B-side. A DJ at Ottawa’s CFRA radio didn’t view the A-side as a potential hit, and flipped the record, thinking Polydor had made a labelling mistake and “MBD” was the intended single. He was wrong about the labelling, but he still liked the track. He added it to the CFRA’s playlist, and by late June, 1978 it was their number one song.

That success soon spread across Canada, which led to a US release. The American record sold one million copies. A LOT OF FREAKING PEOPLE LIKED THIS SONG.

I remember “Music Box Dancer” well. It might be the first song I ever heard on the radio that I knew sucked. I don’t know whether that was my own opinion, formed from hearing it splitting up songs I liked on the radio, or one I came to after hearing older kids suggest it was trash in school bus conversations. Still, I knew it was awful.

Four decades later it remains tough for me to evaluate because it still does not sound like a pop song. While Mills never had another hit single in the US, he had placed an album in the top 10 of the Easy Listening album chart before “MBD”’s run. This song should have stayed in that realm and never wandered into the Hot 100.

I don’t know whether his piano playing is inspired or insipid. I hate the cheesy-ass strings that accompany him. The beat has always seemed like something a person who knows nothing about modern pop music would come up with in at attempt to modernize a sleepy Easy Listening song for younger crowds. Credit to Mills for taking advantage of a moment when pop music was in flux. But the song still sucks. 2/10


  1. These classifications are all pretty fluid – well except for who was/was not a Beatle – thus the lack of definitive counts.  ↩

Weekend Notes

A lighter weekend around our house.


No basketball for L’s team, which was good as she was still recovering from her injury. She’s much better and is headed back to practice tonight. She should be good-to-go for this weekend, although the tournament they were scheduled to play in got cancelled so she may get another weekend off if the coach can’t find us a replacement.


M had her second tennis match of the year last week. She again played JV #1 doubles. Unlike her first match that was close throughout, she and her teammate got trounced 6–0. She plays her last match of the year tonight. A combination of a huge team and lots of rainouts means she only got to play three times. But she still enjoys it, even if she’s not had much success.


C had her last track meet of the year, the freshman City championship meet, Saturday. We were expecting your normal, long-ass track day since it was the City championship. But the whole City/County split for Indianapolis/Marion County schools is always weird and there were only five schools there, and three of the schools had less than 10 total athletes. That meant the meet zipped by, especially since all the distance races were single heats with boys and girls running together. That was a bonus since it was still chilly and breezy Saturday morning. It was, hopefully, the last time we’ll need coats and blankets for a youth sporting event until next fall.

She ran the second heat of the 100. I still haven’t seen official results so don’t know if she was second or third; the finish was very close. Then she ran the third leg of the 4×100 relay. They were only racing against one other school and they won easily. CHS had a big lead when C got the baton and she stretched it out before she passed to the anchor. They were so far ahead that I couldn’t really track her progress vs the other third-leg runner. But her teammates said she blew it out. Which was a good way to end her season.

Cathedral won both the boys and girls titles. Had they not it would have been a massive upset, since they had probably as many kids as the other four schools combined.

It was fun to hang out with some St P’s parents who have kids at other schools for the first time since last spring’s CYO meets.


A little later it warmed up so we were able to spend some time in the yard. We’re having another round of landscaping done next month, so this was more trimming and evaluating how last year’s plantings made it through the winter.

We were able to watch the Kentucky Derby out on the back porch. Always nice to be able to spend time out here (I’m crafting this post on the porch Monday morning).


Sunday was nice and warm. Two nephews came over and took advantage of the pool being open. When I checked the pool this morning the water had gone cloudy. Those first couple weeks of the pool season are always fun, as you’re filtering out all the crap that settled into the water over the winter and working to get the filter running properly and the water’s chemistry locked in.

We had the furnace running Sunday morning. Based on the forecast, I’m pretty sure the air conditioner will be on by Tuesday afternoon. That means we can kick the pool heater off, which is nice. Spring in the Midwest!

Reaching for the Stars, Vol. 72

Chart Week: April 26, 1980
Song: “Cars” – Gary Numan
Chart Position: #22, 11th week on the chart. Peaked at #9 for three weeks in June.

It has always bothered me that Gary Numan never seemed impressed with the biggest song of his career, 1980’s “Cars.” I’ve read several stories in which he speaks of it dismissively. On the song’s Wikipedia page, he is quoted as calling it “a pretty average song.”

Pretty average song?!?!

Numan is one of the giants of electronic music, an artist who helped to create and popularize a sound that, when applied to pop music, dominated the early MTV era. He is still active and has always been focused on pushing the art form forward.

So, I guess based on that, maybe it makes sense that his only song that was ever a true pop hit might grate on him.

Although that is odd, because his stated goal when he began writing “Cars” was to craft a song that had could be a hit.

He set out to write a hit and did exactly that. Yet he gives it no love.

Artists are strange.

The song has its roots in a road rage incident. Numan once had an altercation with motorists in another car. When they jumped out and attempted to attack him, he locked his doors, pulled onto the sidewalk, and fled the scene. Afterward he realized that our mentalities shift when we get inside a car. The protection of the enclosed space and the power of the vehicle emboldens us to do things we would not otherwise attempt.

I could have, and maybe should have, written more about that, and how Numan’s music – which was often cold, brittle, and impersonal – was a metaphor for the adverse effects of technology on our lives. Spiritually, his music was a blueprint for Radiohead’s OK Computer, among other music that would drop decades later.

But I can’t get past the fact that he doesn’t think the track is any big deal. It was mind-blowing to eight-year-old me, sounding like it was from distant planet that was far more advanced than ours. While I think he meant the song’s layers of synthesizers and staccato drums to sound bleak and industrial, they combine to fill the room in a way that gives the song a sense of warmth. Even after listening to it for about 42 years now, it still sounds groundbreaking and unique.

A much younger me wasn’t the only person who loved it. “Cars” is a Mt. Rushmore song of electronic music, a foundational track of New Wave, and a cross-genre classic that remains vital today. 10/10

April Media

Shows and Movies

Official Secrets
Weird how huge events that happened A) overseas and B) while we were waiting for M to be born have totally slipped my mind. Here is a dramatic recounting of how Brit Katharine Gun leaked a confidential memo about the efforts to sway the UN Security Council to vote in favor of war against Iraq in 2003 to the press, and her experiences after confessing to her “crime.” I’m sure the US has a law as fucked up as the British Official Secrets Act.

A-

Trials of Miles: Running 650km of the Australian Alps
Beau Miles longform vid of the month.

B+

Patriot, season 2
I loved season one. I loved this season. Until the final scene. And that scene was so strange it nearly ruined the entire thing. Later I read that show runner Steve Conrad was really into French films, which I know nothing about. But I think the final scene was laden with French cinema references. Which mitigates its effect a bit. And I realized one scene can’t ruin a terrific season of quirky, smart, insanely funny TV.

A

Michael Clayton
Beirut
Two movies written by Tony Gilroy (he also directed Michael Clayton) featuring two of the biggest leading men of our era.

In Clayton George Clooney is a fixer for a major New York law firm facing various personal issues whose life comes under threat when he learns the truth of a major case. He doesn’t do the usual Clooney stuff, which makes his excellent performance even better. A slow burner that rewards the viewer with a big closing payoff. There is also a very random and strange KU basketball reference in this movie I can not make any sense of.

In Beirut Jon Hamm is a former US diplomat who returns to Beirut during the 1983 civil war to assist in negotiating the release of a former colleague from a Palestinian group that has taken him hostage. Hamm doesn’t veer too far from what made him famous; he drinks and smokes a lot, and shuts people down with his words. Basically Don Draper in a different setting. The story has some holes, especially the finale, but this is still a pretty solid flick.

A-, B+

Sixteen Candles
One night I turned on the NBA playoffs but the game airing had just gone to halftime. I noticed Sixteen Candles was starting one channel up and figured I’d watch until halftime ended. I sat through the whole thing, commercials, heavy edits, and all. Shame so many great but highly inappropriate lines get cut.

An A+ forever

True Detective, season one
This was some wacky, wild, insane shit, my friends. A great show with some top-notch acting, although I would slot it just outside my all time favs.

A


Shorts

How to Cut Michelin Star Onions
I’ve been using his final technique for a year or so. Pretty easy and gets good results. But the “requirement” for Michelin-starred restaurants is insane.

A-

Becky Kagan Schott Explores Alaska’s Glacier Moulins Underwater with Seiko Prospex
This is about the coolest watch commercial I’ve ever seen.

A

How Steep Can Ken Block’s New Audi e-tron climb?
This month’s “Fun with EV’s” video.

A

2022 Audi RS e-tron GT
OK, this is my next car.*

(Assuming all three of our girls find a way to pay for the remainder of their educations without any assistance from their parents.)

A

How Stalin starved Ukraine
The current war in Ukraine isn’t the first time a madman in Moscow tried to destroy that country.

A

HIKING ANGELS LANDING DURING A SNOWSTORM – Most Dangerous Hike in the US
Gorgeous photography but this guy is nuts.

A for visuals, F- for my fear of heights

Kansas Jayhawks Top Plays of 2022 NCAA Tournament
Kansas Jayhawks Top Plays of 2021–22 Season
In case you missed it, the Kansas Jayhawks are NCAA champs!

A++++

Top Ten Bill Self Non-Con Regular Season Wins at Kansas
I could quibble a little with this list but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it.

A

Port of Amsterdam – Timelapse
Time lapses are always cool. As a former boat owner and operator, this one made me queasy, though. Too many boats in too little space. But they seemed to pull it off.

A-

Roman Fox on the Fuji X Series
I’ve been using my camera more lately, and watched a ton of photography related videos last month. I spent the most time in this guy’s feed, which I loved for both content and style.

A

I survived the world’s scariest tunnel
A bit of an exaggeration in the title, but the story behind this tunnel in Virginia is both fascinating and terrible.

B+

Wet Leg – Live on The Porch
This band is so fun.

A

Marathon My Age: Running 42.195kms on my 42.195th birthday
Beau Miles just makes me laugh. I need to find something like this to do for my next birthday. Like maybe, if my joint pain abates and the weather improves, hoping I can shoot better than 51 over nine holes of golf, perhaps?

A

My Wife, Helen: Bike Rider
Beau’s wife seems like a good sport.

A

Indigo Traveler At Ukraine Border 2022 (during invasion)
I’ve watched a few of this guy’s travel videos in the past. His home base in Hungary gave him easy access to one of the primary entry points for Ukrainian refugees fleeing the fighting in their homeland. There is a piece of video at about the 15:00 mark, where journalists are shot at, that is truly harrowing. Fuck Putin.

A-

The Royals Broke All the Rules (And Won)
2015 seems like a long time ago.

A

Big Old Blue
A Need Essentials surfing short. Which led me to…

On Top of the World
…this, one of the most stunning surf videos I’ve ever watched.

A-, A

A bivvy, a phone and a drone: cycling home from China
I was stuck, as I watched this accounting of one man’s bicycle trip from China to England, not just by the coolness of having the ambition and will to pull something like this off, but also how, thanks to modern technology, you can make your own, pretty well done movie of the trip.

A-

Dave Letterman Tried To Buy Twitter
Genius

A+

Weekend Notes

I was going to begin this post with a complaint about the weather. Then I realized that our recent run of swings between warm and cool are what spring is supposed to be like. Sure, it would be great if it was 60 for two weeks, then 65 for two weeks, and so on. Recent years have seemed a lot more like 40s until April 10 then it’s suddenly 85. The bouncing back-and-forth is normal, we’ve just grown accustomed to the abnormal.

The weather was good enough last week for me to spend two full days outside prepping the pool and pool area for the crew to come open it for the season tomorrow. Lots of power washing, scrubbing, scooping of leaves, etc. That water was cooooold when I I had to stick my hand in it! That’s how I spent pretty much the entire school day both Thursday and Friday. Thus my lack of content.

Over the weekend L’s team had another basketball tournament. They won all four games and took the championship. I must disclose that two of those games were against sixth grade teams. One of them was a 40-point win, the other was by 16. That second team was good, and nasty. The refs were calling no fouls so they were shoving and grabbing our girls the entire game. One of our girls even got hit in the face, a hit that drew blood, and the ref standing four feet away didn’t call a foul. Unbelievable. Fortunately our girls were poised and put them away.

That first sixth grade team, not sure why they were playing in a seventh grade tournament when they were not good. Losing by 40 doesn’t make you any better.

The championship game was a big, cathartic win for many of our girls. Our coach and five of his players have played against that group for years in both AAU and middle school ball. And they had never beat them. L lost to them twice this winter, so even she was 0-fer. We led pretty much the entire game, a couple times by 12, and held on late to win by three. Another set of medals for our girls.

Now I’ve buried the lede a bit: L did not play at all this weekend. Friday at recess she fell and cracked her tailbone on the ground. I guess she was jumping, landed on a ball, and fell straight backwards. She was in crazy pain Friday and could barely walk when she got home.

When she woke Saturday the pain wasn’t any better. Fortunately the first three games of the tournament were easy wins. They could have used her in the title game, as our guards really struggled to handle the other team’s pressure in the last five minutes. Having another solid ball handler would have kept the game from getting close, I bet.

As of this morning the pain still had not improved. There’s not much you can do, according to S. Whether it’s just a deep bone bruise or a fracture, the only thing L can do is rest, treat the pain, and wait for it to heal. She was super bummed to sit on the bench all weekend. She will miss the rest of kickball season. She will miss all her basketball practices at least this week and maybe next. This coming weekend is off for basketball, so that’s good.

What she is most worried about is our first out-of-town tournament in three weeks in Louisville. That seems right on the border of when she will be cleared to play again, assuming no setbacks. She really wants to be a part of that weekend.

In her abbreviated kickball season she went 16–20 with six home runs. The team had two easy wins then lost a tough game to eighth graders last week. They play that team again tomorrow and we hoped we could steal that to force a playoff. But with L out that’s probably not in the cards. Tonight they have to play with just eight players because another girl has a conflict. I don’t think this game will be a problem, but when you’re down two fielders dumb things can happen on defense.

So that’s a big, ol’ bummer. We just got her knees checked two weeks ago and the sports medicine doc confirmed her pain is just Osgood-Schlatter and there’s no need to worry about it. He also confirmed she has plenty of open space in her growth plates so she will continue to add some height for at least a little longer.

I’ll admit I was a little mad that she got hurt in recess. It’s one thing to get hurt in a game, although when she pitched in kickball I got nervous about her getting some kind of hand/finger injury. But recess?!?! Seriously?!?!

The dad of one of L’s friends made a good point when I admitted I was a little annoyed by the cause of her injury. “Yeah,” he said, “it’s hard when they get older and start playing sports more seriously to still let them be kids and just have fun sometimes.”

She better have been having fun in the moments before the cracked her ass on the ground.

Stats

April 2022

  • Wet Leg – 96
  • Crowded House – 48
  • Jack White – 41
  • Hatchie – 29
  • Arcade Fire – 26

Complete stats available at my Last.fm page.

Weekend Notes: Prom and Sports

Prom

We survived our first prom weekend with pretty much zero drama.

Well, I should say prom night was pretty easy, but there was plenty of drama leading up to it. M found a dress quickly and easily, got it altered well ahead of time, and had most of the basics squared away several weeks ago.

But the planning for prom night itself was a little tense. That’s only because the plan was constantly evolving and those changes were often presented to us as “Here’s what we are doing now,” instead of “Is it ok if I do this?” M’s choice in how she opened these conversations caused most of the tension. But teenagers are gonna teenage, I guess.

She was in a group of nine couples, eight of which were just partnered up for the night. She was going with a kid we had heard of before, but they were not/are not dating. We met him for the first time at the pre-prom gathering and he seemed like a good kid. S and I were laughing at how comfortable he seemed in the whole situation, intent on having fun, where a couple of the other dudes looked exceptionally uncomfortable in their formal attire and perhaps feeling stress about the night in general. One of M’s best friend’s dates looked like he might puke from nervousness.

One of the families hosted a big gathering for kids and parents, complete with a professional photographer, a chartered bus, and a big dinner for all. It was awfully nice of them to do that, and I appreciate families that have this in their DNA.

Pictures went well, the kids ate, got on a bus for the dance, and we took off to watch L play basketball.

One other element of the pre-prom gathering that was fun was that a former local/regional celebrity was in attendance with her daughter. I won’t identify this person, other than to say she used to appear on TV commercials across the midwest hawking hot tubs, pools, spas, and outdoor furniture, among other things.

I told a few friends that this person was at the gathering, and they insisted that I get a picture. Which was a little awkward because for much of the evening I was standing 10–15 feet from her in the kitchen/dining area. Her husband is also a lot bigger than me and I didn’t want a confrontation if he saw me trying to take surreptitious pictures of his wife. If S had a few drinks in her she might have made it happen. But we were both sober and not pushing any boundaries. Which is kind of a bummer.

I must say, whoever does the plastics work for her family does very good work, for both mom and daughters (chef’s kiss GIF).

We gave M more freedom than she’s ever had, but still limited her compared to several of her friends in what her after-prom activities would be. There was a series of three parties that we knew of. We gave her permission to go to one and then S would pick her and a couple friends up sometime between 1:30–2:00. We know some of the other kids were bouncing around parties, which seemed like a terrible idea, even if parents were driving (and we weren’t sure parents were driving).

M and her crew got to our house at about 2:30. They didn’t sleep super late before heading out for breakfast, then she went to a pool party with a bunch of other prom kids Sunday afternoon. She crashed around dinner time for a bit, but I could still hear her FaceTiming with friends when I went to bed.

She seemed to have a great time and was pleased with how everything went. That set a pretty high bar for future prom nights in this house.


LB Hoops

As I said, we ducked out of the parent portion of the pre-prom party (holy P’s!) to watch L play ball.

We missed the first game of the day, which her team won by 36 and she scored 8. We got there just in time to watch game two, against a team from Evansville with a couple tall girls, one of whom was probably the best player they’ve faced all year. She could score from anywhere, handle the ball, and got any rebound she could get her hands to. She was a load.

We were down by as many as 10 midway through the second half but our girls worked incredibly hard and only lost by 3. The players and parents all left thinking that was a great step for the team, playing against a bigger and better team and staying in it until the final horn. L scored seven, including two long jumpers from the left wing that helped kick off their second-half run.

We got home at about 10:00 Saturday night and had to be back in the gym at 8:30 for a 9:05 game Sunday morning. AAU life!

Game one was against another team with size, but these girls were kind of trash. Yet they uglied-up the game and made our girls afraid to shoot inside. We were up 14–10 at halftime after they banked in two 3-pointers late in the half.

I’m not sure what our coaches told our girls at half, but they played like KU against Miami in the second half of their game. The final was 36–15. We just ran them off the court. It was fun to watch. L scored four.

On to the semis, where we faced the team we lost to Saturday again. The seeding in these tournaments is dumb. The tiebreaker is points allowed. So another team that played two mediocre teams Saturday and went 1–1 got the two seed because they gave up 44 total points, where our girls, who played the best team in the tournament and thus gave up more points, was seeded third. Strangely the first place team gave up 30 more points than the second place team.

Our girls flipped the script a little Sunday. They led from the beginning. It was never a big lead – constantly bouncing from tied to +4, but it always felt like we had the Evansville girls on the back foot. We hit a 3 with about four minutes left to go up four.

And then things kind of fell apart. Not that we got blown out or anything. Just that we made a ton of bad passes and errors both unforced and forced. We missed some easy shots. We let them get multiple offensive rebounds. We took two absolutely terrible shots that didn’t need to be taken. And we just kept missing free throws, going 2–14 for the game.

We lost the lead, tied it, got the lead back, lost it again. In the end we lost by two. Unlike Saturday the girls were really down about this one, because they knew they let it slip away. But that’s a good coaching point and area for improvement. The Evansville team won the championship game 49–11; our girls were the only group that challenged them all weekend.

L struggled scoring in the semifinal, going 0–2 from the line and 0-fer from the field. She missed a tough, contested layup on a run-out late, and then had another layup where she did everything right – was in the perfect spot on the play, made the perfect cut, went hard to the rim, jumped at the correct time off the correct foot, put the ball up off the glass – and it just rimmed out. She was super frustrated after the game. But she battled when she was in there, getting a couple big rebounds and playing solid D. It just wasn’t her team’s day.


Other Kid Sports

M finally played her first tennis match of the year Friday. She got moved up to JV #1 doubles somehow. And she actually did ok, which was surprising since she refused to take any lessons over the past year. They lost 6–2 but every game competitive unlike many of her matches last year.[1] I wouldn’t say she’s made leaps, but she gets her serve in most of the time and can hit the ball halfway decently on returns. Good enough to win a few points in JV, even against a better team.

Because of prom a lot of girls were unavailable for Saturday’s match, so M was given a chance to move up to varsity for #2 doubles. But since junior class officers had to do prom setup, she had to decline. That was a nice ego boost, though.

The varsity team had a great week, winning three matches, including two over ranked teams. I don’t think they were ranked last week but should be this week.

C has run in two track meets after having two rained out. She’s run the 100 and 200 both times. Her times are faster than her CYO times, but there are A LOT of fast girls in high school, even in three-team meets. She’s generally run a later heat and been pretty far back in the overall standings.

I think she’s a little frustrated by that. Still, she enjoys being on the team and is always in a better mood on the days she has practice compared to the days she just comes home and takes a nap after school.

I must say, I would be happy if we could have a track meet when it wasn’t 52 and windy. Those were the approximate conditions for both of her meets so far. The 200 usually doesn’t get run until 7:30 or so, at which point it gets pretty nippy.


  1. There were 26 matches, so everyone played a single set of no AD tennis. TWENTY-SIX!!! Good on the coaches for making sure everyone gets a chance to play.  ↩
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