Archive for the ‘Basketball’ Category

Prolonged Prosperity

Big D from Big D points to his Big D

I like the Dallas Mavericks. Surprise!

I just wanted to pause for a second and celebrate this little ball club from Big D. When I first started watching/becoming obsessed with basketball during the summer of 2003 (through USA Today, of all things), I immediately latched onto this team. Sure, they had two amazing players (and soon-to-be MVPs) in Dirk Nowtizki and Steve Nash, and sure they played a highly entertaining run-and-gun style. And, ok, they were the Cinderella of the playoff ball that year. So maybe they were super easy to get into but I could have easily jumped ship at any time for another team. For whatever reason, however, I fell under their spell and stuck with them for the next seven seasons.

Seven seasons of heartbreak! A loss in the goddamn NBA Finals. A loss in the first round as the overall first seed (ugh). And most every other exit at the hands of a rougher or better team.

But also seven season of triumph! Dirk becoming MVP (I never thought that was going to happen). Winning a league-best 67 games in 2007 (sixth best win-loss record in the history of the league)! Getting all the way to the NBA Finals!

It’s made for an incredible roller coaster ride of emotions year after year. But, throughout all of the seasons I’ve spent watching them, the Mavericks have always made the playoffs and always won at least 50 games. In fact, they did this for 3 years before I started watching them, as well, making them only the 4th team ever to win 10 years of 50+ wins! I’ve always dreaded the inevitable day when the Mavericks have to go into rebuilding mode and not make the postseason but that day hasn’t happened yet!

And with these special gentleman officially securing their 3rd ever division title last night (I was right there with you guys – watching it on some random, Japanese internet feed) I don’t see that day coming anytime soon. Congrats, Mavs!

And thanks!

And go fucking win that damn championship already!

UPDATE: We have secured the second seed in the West and are matched up against the San Antonio Spurs yet again. Time to start this run.

    Site Updates:

  • Removed height on comments section so longer names doesn’t fuck up the styling
  • Added The First 48: Season 9 (2010) to Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Barry Manilow – Barry Manilow I (1973) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Kiss – Dressed to Kill (1975) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added Matthew Sweet – Inside (1986) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Sneaker Pimps – Becoming X (1996) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Video Games to Best/Worst of 2009 feature

Current Mood: Amazed emoticon Amazed

We Are the Champions

Captain Jack's Sparrows: 2010 Winter Champs

Photo © 2010 Stan Syckes

I’ve kept pretty quiet about my involvement in ZogSports 3-on-3 coed basketball this season (as opposed to other seasons). Until now, that is! As you can probably tell from the title of this post and the picture above that my team, Captain Jack’s Sparrows (not my idea of a great name), won the championships last Thursday. That’s the important info, but I’ve also aggregated the entire rest of the season into one post so you can all ignore just this one and move on.

Here’s a quick rundown of the players on my team:

  • CJ – our MVP. Doesn’t have a great shot but is a superior driver. Either gets to the basket or gets fouled. Unfortunately is completely overwhelmed by his emotions. When he wins he dances around on the court. When he loses he actually kicks chairs and breaks things in a back room.
  • Jonathan – the “coach” of the team. Keeps everyone involved and designs last minute plays. A feisty defensive player and the bruiser of the group. A good spot-shooter, but lacks athleticism, quickness and ballhandling.
  • Kathy – unaffected by pressure, her shot falls under any circumstance as long as she has a second of daylight. Can stay in front of her opponent, but lacks defense, rebounding and any ballhandling.
  • Kanika – first time ever playing basketball. Easily loses her opponent and needs to pass immediately after receiving the ball, but she did hit a shot in one game. Far more than I can say from my first season playing little league basketball.
  • Della – coworker who only showed up for one game so I didn’t get to see where she was good or bad.
  • Me – obvioulsy awesome. Actually, I still can’t drive but I’d play pick and pop with CJ all day and hit. I consider myself a good defender and decent rebounder but easily baited into dribbling too much.

A quick rundown of Zog play:

  • There are four levels of difficulty – Players, Sorta Players, Casual and Extremely Casual. I signed up for Extremely Casual and this year our division was named after the Jersey Shore girls (we were Snookie).
  • There were 12 teams in our division ranging from 6 players to an army of 10 or so. It was 3-on-3 coed and a woman had to be on the court at all times for each team.
  • Three teams would show up per night and play each other twice, resulting in 4 unique games per team. Each game was 11 minutes and brutal!
Date Result Opponents (Win-Loss) Overall Rank
Jan 14 3-1-0 Shots for Shots (2-0) and Sham Yao (1-1)
With a 3-1-0 start I thought we were going to have a pretty strong team. Turns out neither of these teams would make the playoffs so the wins might’ve been easier than they seemed.
3-1-0 ?
Jan 28 1-3-0 Makin’ Bacon (1-1) and Shot Goggles (0-2)
Hit some strong competition this week. Makin’ Bacon would go on to be the #1 team and we lost some close ones to Shot Goggles.
4-4-0 7/12
Feb 04 1-3-0 Leather Pumpkins (0-2) and Elin’s Vengeance (1-1)
The only week where all 6 team members showed up. Aaaaand we went 1-3-0. Two weeks in a row was pretty deflating. I started to feel like we had just gotten lucky the first week.
5-7-0 ?
Feb 08 3-1-0 Eye Pokers (2-0) and Wharfdogs (1-1)
I dub Kathy “Ice Water” as she starts to cooly end close games this week. She hits a clutch shot to come from behind in one game and sinks 2 free throws to end another.
8-8-0 6/12
Feb 16 4-0-0 Short Circuit (2-0) and Serenity Now (2-0)
My best night. I dump 24 points throughout the night. Kathy secures yet another game at the free throw line.
12-8-0 3/12
Feb 25 4-0-0 Short Circuit (2-0) and Flock of Seagulls (2-0)
Short Circuit forfeits due to not showing up so we play two 20-minute games with Flock of Seagulls. Things get even worse when the only woman on Flock gets injured in the second game and must also forfeit.
16-8-0 2/12
Mar 01 3-1-0 Makin’ Bacon (2-0) and Shot Goggles (1-1)
Kanika – who has never played basketball before this season – is the only woman to show up on our team and must play every minute. Cassie also shows up to observe/mock but we still pull out 3 wins against 2 strong teams.
19-9-0 2/12
Mar 12 3-1-0 Leather Pumpkins (1-1) and Flock of Seagulls (2-0)
We were really starting to gel as a team of 5 at this point and only lost the final game due to a mental breakdown. We were actually up by 2 points and they were out of fouls to use and yet we played too conservatively and lost with a buzzer-beater.
22-10-0 2/12

The Playoffs – That Predictable Sour Taste in My Mouth at the End of Seasons
As described in this old post (and still true up until this season), I was the Tracy McGrady of the Zog league. Ok, so I was nowhere near as good as he was – even in contrast with the rest of Zog – but I was always in the playoffs, whether on good or bad teams. Still, I never got past those first round series. Worse, I was starting to feel some haunting responsibility as I was the lone constant in all of these frustrating results.

This time, things were slightly different. First of all, we were the second seed out of the 6 playoff squads so we would receive a bye along with the first seeded team. This meant that seeds 3 through 6 would battle it out Tuesday, with the winners facing us in the semi-finals Thursday. The winners of these semi-finals would immediately face off in the championships. Each series was a best of 3 and the games were lengthed to 14 minutes (from their original 11). Therefore, it was possible we’d have to play a total of 6 games and a minimum of 84 minutes of game time. Even though I was preparing myself for a shitload of basketball, I was still barely ready for the beating we took.

We went all six games and played way over the 84 minutes! Here’s a quick breakdown of each series and games (if you’re still reading)!

SEMI-FINALS vs. Serenity Now
We actually got a break. Serenity Now was the underdog in their quarter-final matchup against Leather Pumpkins and we benefited extremely because they won. Out of all the teams we could’ve faced in both of these series, Leather Pumpkins was by far the one we had the most trouble against in the regular season.

Serenity Now was a rough group consisting of 6 people who could all shoot extremely well. We only had Kathy, CJ, Jonathan and myself for the playoffs and everyone of our opponents in this series was more athletic than Kathy and CJ. Worse, they had a guy who was over 6’3″ and way above 200 pounds.

  • Game 1 – A humilation. We were listless and played confused. No one was talking to each other on defense and I could barely keep up with the great passing from Serenity Now. It seemed like everyone on their team couldn’t miss and our layups were bouncing out of the basket. The end score was something like 19-6. CJ pouted on the sidelines at the end of the game while Jonathan tried to rally us, reminding everyone that it was just the first game.
    Captain Jack’s Sparrows: 0-1

  • Game 2 – We came back with a vengence but couldn’t do more than trade baskets with Serentiy Now. With 30 seconds to go we actually grabbed a two point lead and Serenity took a time out. All four of us were giddy and eager to move on to the next game. Unfortunately, Serenity scored two quick baskets in succession when play resumed! Now we were facing elimination, down 2 points with 1.5 seconds left!!!!! I heaved a desperation shot that missed but landed right in CJ’s hands for a putback to TIE THE GAME!!!!

    We were on such high emotion that we dominated on defense in OT. Our shots still weren’t falling but neither was Serenity’s. Something had to give and it turned out to be fouls as Serenity Now ran out of them, putting “Ice Water” Kathy to the line. Of course she hit the game winning free throws and we had somehow survived for one more game!
    Captain Jack’s Sparrows: 1-1

  • Game 3 – With two games of crappy bounces under our belt, shots finally began falling for us. CJ came alive and completely destroyed Serenity Now with drives to the basket. I started seeing a look of defeat in the eyes of our opponents and realized we had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. It was still scrappy – we probably only won by 4 points – but the kick of adrenaline from Game 2 had worked us into our old, winning ways.
    Captain Jack’s Sparrows: 2-1

CHAMPIONSHIP vs. Makin’ Bacon
I figured it would come down to the first and second seeds for this game, but never realized how hard a fight it would take for us to get there. Meanwhile, Makin’ Bacon had dispatched of their foes in 2 quick games. Bacon wasn’t as rough as Serenity Now but we were once again the team with less athleticsm and height across the board. However, I assumed we would have an easier match as we had fared better against this team in the regular season than Serenity. Well, I was in for a rude awakening: there were a couple of hot heads on Makin’ Bacon that would rival CJ and plays would quickly turn into heated arguments and complaints to the refs.

  • Game 1 – Fresh off our come-from-behind, miracle win in the semi-finals we entered into the championship as a true basketball team. We found one, dominating play and ran it to perfection on every possession. CJ would handle the ball and drive into the middle off a pick from me or Kathy. If he had an opening he’d take it, otherwise he’d kick it out to an open shooter. We were in such great synchronicity that it all felt mindless and it was an easy win.
    Captain Jack’s Sparrows: 1-0

  • Game 2 – Part of the reason we earned the first win so effortlessly was due to Bacon’s self-implosion. Two of their guys were bickering with the refs while the rest of their players tried to cool them down. In the second game, the complaining was brought down and the intensitiy was brought up. Our go-to play was starting to get shut down and we had to eek out a 1 point lead with 3 seconds to go.

    Unfortunately, karma came to bite us in the ass. Just as we had somehow come up with a winning play in the second game of our first series, Bacon found an open layup at the buzzer (and I totally whiffed on the game-winning block), stunning us in the process.
    Captain Jack’s Sparrows: 1-1

  • Game 3 – As dissappointed as I was with not making sure Bacon was out when we had them on the ropes, I was just as pumped up. This was the absolute final game of the season and I felt as if I were in a Game 7 of the NBA Championships! Neither team really had an advantage for most of the game until about 2 minutes to go when we went ahead by 4. CJ either felt comfortable with the lead or was exhausted – I don’t know which – but he emphatically asked to sit. I was a little nervous as we’d usually spell him during the middle of games or if we had big leads as he was the focal point of our offense. I knew with him out, I’d be the set up man and would have to make plays as Kathy and Jonathan couldn’t dribble and would forget to make picks.

    We quickly got in trouble. I suddenly found myself being trapped in a far-away corner without a dribble. I passed quickly to Jonathan only to receive the ball back immediately. I got the message: make a play. Luckily, I had a few feet of daylight as my man had momentarily left me when trying to steal my pass. Unluckily, I was sitting behind the 3-point line. I chucked the dirtiest shot from somewhere around my lower chest and the ball made a loud “thud” as it hit the top of the backboard. AND WENT IN!

    With a lead of 7 points and a minute on the clock I suddenly felt a wave of relief. I knew we had to royally fuck up to lose now and I was going to make sure we didn’t do that! On our next possession, Jonathan got caught in a corner, fumbling to keep the ball in play and passed to me only to keep it alive. I was open and swiftly turned and shot – hitting another basket.

    Amazingly, I had hit 2-in-a-row for 5 consecutive points, giving us a ridiculous 9-point advantage with 30 seconds left. I knew we had it and so did everyone else in the gym. The refs counted out what remained of playing time and Captain Jack’s Sparrows celebrated.
    Captain Jack’s Sparrows: 2-1 Champions

Looking back, it truly was a phenomenal – and batshit surprising – season. In the championships, I felt nervous when I was suddenly in control of our team with 2 minutes to go … but we won! In the semi-finals we were facing elimination, down 2 points with 1.5 seconds left to go … but we won! We entered the playoffs with only 4 players against 2 physicallly dominating opponents … but we won! During the third week of the season we were sitting on a miserable 5-7-0 record … but we won!

But most importantly, this Zog league Tracy McGrady finally shed his post-season nerves and helped lead a team out of the first round.

Oh, and we won!

    Site Updates:

  • Updated blog IDs for March 2010 posts
  • Removed Kings of Leon – Aha Shake Heartbreak (2005), Bully (2006), and The Beatles Stereo Box Set (2009) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added Spacemen 3 – The Perfect Prescription (1987) to Currently Enjoying
  • Updated blog IDs for February 2010 posts
  • Updated blog IDs for January 2010 posts
  • Updated blog IDs for December 2009 posts
  • Updated blog IDs for November 2009 posts
  • Removed The Rutles – The Last Tea Party Tapes (1997), Queen – News of the World (1977), and Spacemen 3 – The Perfect Prescription (1987) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added Primus – Rhinoplasty [EP] (1998) and Jimi Hendrix – The Cry of Love (1971) to Currently Enjoying
  • Updated blog IDs for October 2009 posts
  • Added border, background color to comment form

Current Mood: Celebratory emoticon Celebratory

Add a comment ...
Comments:
  • Zepmoon
    Monday, March 22nd, 2010 at 14:42 | #1

    Congratulations! This type of events is very important so savor it. I still have the trophy from when Dad and I won the Father/Son Tennis Tournament at the Cumberland Country Club in 1975. It is a treasured possession. Winning is fun.

  • Monday, March 22nd, 2010 at 14:47 | #2

    Yeah, well … Zog tried to screw us! While researching for this blog I looked at the official playoffs results and it showed us LOSING THE CHAMPIONSHIPS! I sent an email off to let them know this was in error and to make sure the charity WE selected received the winning check.

    But it was a great experience. I’ve loved playing basketball for a while but this made it special.

1 trackbacks/pingbacks

29, Man, 29

The Dirkus Circus

Ok, it’s my birthday. Worse, it’s the last one of my twenties! Wild. Coincidentally it’s this site’s official 6th birthday, as well. Thanks for everyone’s b-day wishes, but check out this article/gift published today, of all days, from The Onion.

Ball Movement Making Dirk Nowitzki Nauseous

DALLAS—During last Wednesday’s game against the Phoenix Suns, Mavericks center Dirk Nowitzki reportedly told teammates that he “needed a sec” after a possession featuring quick-paced perimeter passing made him nauseous. “Oh jeez, I think I’m gonna throw up,” said the nine-time all-star, who, using the team’s second time-out, headed to the sidelines, where he dry-heaved between slow, small sips of Gatorade. “I think I should be okay. Just give me some room.” Minutes later, Nowitzki ran into the locker room with his hand covering his mouth after a Jason Terry no-look pass to Shawn Marion.

Ok, so it’s not actually funny and there are several errors (Dirk is a center?), but it was cool to see a Dirk reference on my birthday.

I need a life.

    Site Updates:

  • Removed The Rutles – Archaeology (1996) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added The Rutles – That Last Tea Party Tapes (1997) and Queen – News of the Day (1977) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added left border and padding to blockquotes in posts
Add a comment ...
What? No comments?!?!

Running in the Cold

Post-run victory poses

Photos © 2010 Cassie Melnikow, Stan Syckes

I just had a whirlwind of a weekend and, for once, I mean this in a good way!

I had President’s Day off (this past Monday) so I was already looking at a 3-day weekend but I also had another ace up my sleeve. During my Christmas vacation last year, I had to “work” two 4-hour slots even though I was away from the office. I parlayed this into a carryover vacation day and decided to use it last Friday to form a superhuman 4-day weekend! Here’s a few of the highlights:

  • Friday – we anticipated everywhere on Sunday to be crazy as 1) it would be Valentine’s Day and 2) most everyone would have the next day off. So we switched dates and made Friday the defacto V-Day. After eating lunch at our favorite hole-in-the-wall Italian place, Ottomanelli’s Cafe, we hit up the Guggenheim. I really liked the architecture but was unimpressed by the art – it seemed like hardly anything was there and most of the pieces were cubism (one of my least liked periods). The weirdest part of the whole thing, however was the “performance art” happening right in the lobby. Two actors were slowly making out for the full two hours we were there. Really creepy.

    After exiting the Gug, we walked through Central Park which was still covered in last week’s snowfall. It was very peaceful, even though the ice and snow gave dog owners a great excuse not to pick up dog poop and there was a suspicious amount of yellow snow on the paths!

  • Saturday – Took it easy. Did a few errands, played a shit load of video games, watched the Olympics opening ceremony and the All-Star Saturday Night games. I erupted in my pantelones when Dirk won the Shooting Stars contest for Team Texas!

  • Sunday – We woke up at the crack of dawn (7:45am), got dressed as warm as we could, and headed out to Prospect Park in Brooklyn for the Valentine’s 5K Run. It was my first race of any kind – and I could count the number of times I’ve run 3 miles in my life on one hand – but Cassie and I both did a lot better than we expected. I finished the full lap around the park in 27:27 (my practice run on the treadmill Friday was just a hair over 30 minutes) and came in 58th place, though I started way in the back and wasn’t looking to go fast. It was actually a lot of fun and I’m glad I did it, but I think I’d enjoy races more during warmer weather. The picture above is Cassie and I putting on our victory poses post-race!

    After a well-needed (and super lazy) 3-hour nap, I woke up and watched the NBA All-Star game. It was fun and stupid all at the same time – so it was pretty typical of these games (see here, here, here, and here for further proof).

  • Monday – Uh … I played even more video games. There was no stopping me! I vegged, watched TV, and prepared for my second straight 4-day work week. Bonus!

    Site Updates:

  • Removed Primus – The Brown Album (1997) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Hard Promises (1981) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Movies to Best/Worst of 2009 feature

Current Mood: Rested emoticon Rested

Add a comment ...
What? No comments?!?!

I Need More Weekends Like That …

The Indianapolis Mega Man Maverick Rock Band

Montage @ 2010 Stan Syckes

Wow, what a great weekend. For the first time in 3 weeks we didn’t have to entertain anyone in our apartment so we just vegged.

First of all, Cassie was getting over a cold and took a bunch of naps which let me hit my video gaming duties with extreme prejudice! That’s right I sank 5+ hours into my PS3 on Saturday and it felt amazing – I haven’t had a game day like that in years! First, I beat Mega Man 9, a game I actually first mentioned over a year ago. Then I started to be serious about beating Rock Band. I purchased this game 3 Christmases ago (wow), but it’s been collecting dust for sometime now.

Sunday, we woke up early (for us) and headed downtown to Madison Square Garden to see the annual Knicks game versus the Dallas Mavericks. I don’t know how I managed to acquire them, but I actually found great seats near mid-court for half of their face value. I was expecting some giant column to be in front of me, blocking my view, but the seats were phenomenal! And we ended up witnessing history – a 50 point win by the Mavs which was their biggest win in franchise history (and it was the Knicks’ worst loss in the Garden). I never thought I’d be interested in a blowout (and had never seen one until last weekend), but I actually got to see some of my favorite players on the Mavs bench get a lot of playing time so I was happy. And we had a great, bunch of drunk guys just above us who were hilariously yelling at the players. Great fans, great game, great time!

And, yes, I brought both of my away jerseys with me so I could make sure I was wearing the exact same one the Mavs ended up wearing. 🙁

After the game we came back and watched two great football games (did I just say that? Who am I becoming?). First, Cassie’s Colts won a trip to the Super Bowl and then there was a great battle between the Vikings and the Saints. I’m finally looking forward to a Super Bowl again (last year turned out to be good, but I wasn’t really anticipating it to be anything special).

Weekends not doing anything special = awesome. More of those, please!

    Site Updates:

  • Removed Mega Man [PS3], Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band – Safe As Milk (1967), Batman and Robin: All-Star, and The Rolling Stones – Black and Blue (1976) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added Dexter: Season 2, Batman: R.I.P., Foreigner (1977), and The Roots – Do You Want More ?!!!??! (1995) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Batman: Season 1 (1966) to Currently Enjoying
Add a comment ...
What? No comments?!?!

Brief Intermission

Must ... play ... basketball!

I know I owe you the rest of my New Year’s Eve/Kramer Tour tale … I’ll get to it, I promise. But I just had to take the time to change the scenery around here, first. Ugh … I hated the layout I picked out! It actually was so repulsive that it inhibited me from blogging. So, I quickly whipped up this bad boy in about 8 hours. This design is the first one I’ve created completely on my own since this infamous one, and is the first I integrated with WordPress from scratch. It’ll probably slowly change as I go (as these things tend to do) but I think it does the job quite nicely.

A couple of other things have been going on since I last checked in. First of all, my band has increased our intensity and focus, practicing twice a week now instead of just one. This past week was our first time trying it and, to be honest, I found myself having to overcome my natural laziness and hesitation to give up even more of my spare time. But I’m so glad we’re doing this as we’re seeing results already. The pressure of having to get everything right in 2 hours a week is gone: we’re really diving into songs, finding the best tempos and cleaning up parts and we just completed writing a brand new song. If we can stay dedicated to our plans I think some great things are in store for us in 2010!

I’ve also started another season of Zog 3-on-3 co-ed basketball. My team’s first game was this past Thursday (coinciding with my band’s second practice of the week … let’s just say it was a hectic day) and we kicked ass. I signed up with a coworker for the easiest division (each one is named after a Jersey Shore character and ours is Snookie) and … well, I may have signed up for one rung below where I should be. I dominated a lot of the players – even the guys – and was our team’s highest scorer. However, one team had a huge guy that kept getting away with fouling us. After slapping me around for a rebound he started to try to intimidate me. So I busted a 3-pointer in his face! At one point the ref finally called a foul on this dude and I went to the line. WHERE I MISSED MY FIRST FREE THROW!!! The guy yelled brick for my second and I sank the motherfucker! I’ve gotta say: I’ve hit shots, made layups and played some great defense in past games but my proudest Zog moment so far is hitting that free throw. It was the first time I’ve ever hit one in a game!

Finally, Gatito has just been spayed! Maybe now she won’t be so batshit crazy like she’s been all week. In fact, I’m supposed to go pick her up in half an hour so I’ll end my post here. See you back in a few days!

Current Mood: Busy Bee emoticon Busy Bee

Fuck 2009 [Part 1]

Finally getting some on New Year's Eve

Photo @ 2010 Jeff C[removed]

Good weekend!

Thursday night was the last night of 2009. A year that, save the acquisition of one Gatito, was one of the crappiest I’ve ever experienced. Sure, I had a lot of fun, started up my most serious attempt at a band, and got a dream apartment in New York City, but I never quite shook free of that thin layer of dread. Work was crazy: besides having to go through the uncertainty of the recession (we did let people go), I also suddenly found myself in charge of this giant project that was way out of my skill set. But, 2010 brings hope and a lot of opportunity! I’m finally feeling like I’m on top of things at work, the apartment is still awesome, I feel as though I’ve found some really good war buddies in my bandmates, and we’ve gone poo-free in the tub all year (thanks so far, Tito)!

Enough of my emotional purging! Here are the goods you wanted: Jeff C[removed] and his girlfriend, Megan, came up to New York for New Year’s Eve. They were staying with Jeff’s old friend, Naveen (who I’ve had the pleasure of Spring Break-ing with twice) but we all met up at Papillion to start off the celebrations. The place was a giant, French/beer restaurant (though strangely occupied by Italian opera karaoke upstairs) but I was impressed with neither the food nor the beer selection. The best line was as I first sat down, Jeff C[removed] ordered me to drink the beer in front of me saying “we’re all drinking their finest, 1664!” Amazingly, he wasn’t being faceitious so I had to burst his bubble and tell him it’s essentially the French Budweiser (thanks to my storied two weeks in France with Detective Richard Kimble). I know this paragraph sounds like I’m a food snob. I’m not. I’m a beer snob! With very little information. It’s makes for one terribly confused cocktail.

We finished up and went to Pravda – a Russian warehouse themed bar in the Lower East Side – which was a great idea of Naveen’s since Papillion was dying. Thanks to some quick cab wrangling, we arrived with just minutes to spare before the big countdown. Jeff C[removed] bought a bottle of champagne and poured us all a glass (a mistake, as he continued to remind me that I “owed him for the alcohol” for the rest of the night). Everyone was drunk, wearing New Year’s pointed hats or 2010 glasses, and the bartender jumped on the bar with a giant, cheerleader megaphone for the countdown (I filmed it with my iPhone but who knows how well it came out). It was my first time spending New Year’s Eve in a cool bar and it’s gotta rank up there as the best ways to welcome in a new year. Jeff’s three single buddies (Naveen and two other guys who we had dined with) tried to pick up some girls while Jeff, himself, decided to hump balloons and party hats. Did I mention he was out of his mind drunk? Oh, and there were several ladies who I practically violated just by looking at them since their skirts (more like long belts) were so short. All of this (ok, mainly him being ignored by the ladies they were hitting on) led to Naveen finally declaring we would move onto another bar.

The second bar was super small, super cramped and not as inviting an atmosphere as Pravda. Plus, you had to pay $3 a jacket for them to hold it for you. I snuck my second jacket in my larger one’s arm and no one was the wiser, though! We were there for quite a while but I started to get a little drunk. I danced a little, drank a little, talked a little, and remember even less. Cassie and I didn’t make it home until 5 AM … where I made the terrible decision to watch a 3 hour-long Mavericks basketball game that I recorded.

But that’s just the beginning, reader! As I lay my head down to sleep at 7 AM little did I realize what was in store for me: Syckes meets Syckes; Kramer meets Kramer; a deadly, cornered wild beast rears her fearsome head; a showdown with a serial killer commences; and my violent past finally catches up with me! Stay tuned!

Oh, and check out the Best/Worst of 2009 feature I’ve started! Enjoy and Happy Goddamn 2010!

Site Updates

Current Mood: Happy New Beer! emoticon Happy New Beer!

Add a comment ...
What? No comments?!?!

Of Blogs And Music

Last night we (the band) got together and recorded our rehearsal. Basically, we’re auditioning a bassist next week and wanted to give him the most accurate representation as to what we sound like as possible. It would’ve been easy just to email him the demos – but those were just me and a drum sample (re: boring). So, I brought my trusty Tascam mini-recorder and we set up in Studio 5 at Ultra Sound for the beginning of rock!

Unfortunately, I’m still a bit of a noob when it comes to this recorder. The last time I actually successfully used it, John and I were the only ones jamming. I recorded two songs of ours at Volume Level 2 and relistened – I could barely hear us even though our sound permeated the room! I bumped the recording to Volume Level 4, we redid the songs, and it came out beautifully! With two directional mics placed on either side of the unit, your recordings are already in a stereo field. Very cool and very professional sounding.

Anyway, I casually brought out the recorder during our last rehearsal to sneakily record our playing but didn’t realize until afterward that it actually requires two clicks to the REC button to start recording. Curses! This time, I made sure I performed the initialization sequence correctly … but forgot my first lesson about the levels! So, by the time I got home to process the recording into songs to give to the bassist I was horrified! We had totally overblown the mics and everything was just way too hot. The drums and loud guitar, especially, would cause distortion, clicks, pops and there was an ever-present hiss. I was up until 3 AM using the best restoration tools I could find on Adobe Audition (my recording program of choice) but still am left with something that shouldn’t be heard by a non-musician.

But, I felt it was an accurate enough picture of at least our energy and most parts of the songs so I burned three of the songs to a CD (along with their respective demos – just in case the bassist couldn’t comprehend any specific parts from the shitty recordings) and handed it to the guy (he’s a coworker … hopefully this doesn’t get ugly). So, there may be some more exciting band news in the future. Stay tuned!!

In other news (I’ll keep this brief), I entered into a competition to become a guest contributor for a huge Mavericks blog (Mavs Moneyball). We were each randomly given a player on the team to profile (and I only got in because someone dropped out at the last second). I had about an hour to do all the research, table formatting, and write the damn piece but here it is, in case you’re interested. There’s a poll at the bottom to rank how well I’m doing and I think the winner gets a spot on the blog.

Current Mood: Rocking Out emoticon Rocking Out

Add a comment ...
What? No comments?!?!

TWITTER: New NBA Season

Happy start of the NBA season to all 🙂 !!!!!

Add a comment ...
What? No comments?!?!

Get Ready To Ignore This One

Big news.

My basketblog site is no long located at projectnbasim.com. Nay! It is now nba-sim.com!!! I always did hate that “project” part of the name, but nbasim.com was (and still is) taken. I’m not a fan of hyphens in domain names (I’m looking at you, Z-News), but I felt this was easier to remember and made more sense than a random “project” at the beginning. So, update all of your bookmarks … man, I can just feel all the appreciation for this announcement from here!!

Oh, and a quick thanks to Brandon. Sure, he can’t update his own blog, but he did help me figure out how to get the new domain working on NBA Sim.

Current Mood: Conquering the NBA Stats World One Step at a Time emoticon Conquering the NBA Stats World One Step at a Time

Add a comment ...
What? No comments?!?!