​A blog/journal about my life and the stuff I like. Popular subjects include music, guitars, gear, books, movies, video games, technology, humor.

Filtering by Category: Sports

Hey Sports Fans...

That title is actually relevant for this post, probably the first time in the history of this blog. Tiger Woods returned to form after many dry years fraught with personal drama and chronic injuries that seemed destined to end his career far too early. He found himself part of the final round mix repeatedly from mid summer onwards, and was right there at the British Open and PGA Championship (where he finished second).

He had one week left to break his drought and his redemption culminated in a victory at the final tournament, the Tour Championship. His first victory in five years and a fitting exclamation point for his long climb back to the top. Full disclosure, I’ve been ambivalent about sports for several years. Music has essentially taken over a lot of my free time as well as my hopes and aspirations. Sports are something I tend to casually watch while doing something else, but for several years I couldn’t be bothered. I’d turn on the odd major championship and watch the final holes but never really got that caught up in the competition. I enjoyed watching a shootout, but always felt disconnected.

I started watching Tiger while he was still an amateur and I’ve seen most if not all (there were Army deployments and whatnot sprinkled in) of his victories over the past twenty plus years. Watching Tiger has been observing history, just like if you were able to see Babe Ruth, Muhammad Ali, Ben Hogan, etc. in their primes. It’s been easy to get caught up and root for Tiger, because it’s always felt like you were rooting for history as much for the man. And we were.

Tiger has now closed the gap even further with Sam Snead, he’s only three victories away from taking the all time tournament victory record of 82 away from him. I feel that’s completely within reach, and if Tiger stays healthy we may see that fall as early as next year. The greatest achievement is still a steep mountain to climb, but he’s four victories away from tying Jack Nicklaus’ all time major championship total, five from surpassing it.

It’s always been a tall order and for the past several years most were convinced it was a record that would never fall. Now, it seems like it might just be within reach. Tiger is 42 years old and one should remember that Jack got his final major at the age of 46, and he was arguably never the fitness freak that Tiger has been. Although that’s been a double edged sword considering Tiger’s orthopedic issues with his back and knees.

He’s managed to adapt to his most recent back surgery (out of four?) which included a fusion. Apparently he’s made significant changes to his swing and overall tried to reduce the torque on his body that was the hallmark of his swing for so many years. Watching him these past few months, he may look a bit more controlled but he can still get the ball out there with the young guns and this weekend there were no glaring weaknesses to his game.

He was absolutely on fire for the first seven or so holes on Saturday, and essentially rode the lead all the way to the 72nd hole on Sunday. Not as dramatic or exciting as early Saturday, but an example of his maturation as a player and honestly very similar to how Nicklaus won many of his tournaments, by setting a score and then letting the competition defeat themselves over the remaining holes.

Golf is a sport that I can’t get too excited about on a regular basis, but I’m looking forward to next year for the first time in long, long time. It would be a fitting capstone to his amazing career if he could achieve those two large and long looming goals before he’s done.

Zee latest...

Got back to work this week after a very nice extended Thanksgiving holiday. We spent T-Day with le fam at my sister Debbie's house. All in all a decent day. The Cowboys found a way to lose to the skins at home on T-Day, which is apropos of the last 15 years. The highlight of the break was seeing Rush on their Clockwork Angels tour at AA center in Dallas. We went for the VIP tix and weren't disappointed. We got 3rd row center just a few seats off center of mass for Neil's drum kit, but with a perfect view regardless. Luckily we had a short lady in front of us, so Aeyong had an unobstructed view which is a rarity on the floor for her. It was a great show with an 80's centric set list which I initially wasn't thrilled about but I eventually warmed up to the idea and it was really nice hearing some of those tunes for the first time in a long time. It was about 27 years ago when I saw Rush at Reunion Arena for their Power Windows tour and a few of those tunes hadn't been played since that tour. Even better, they filmed this tour's DVD in Dallas & Phoenix (and the rumor is that it will be mostly Dallas) so we'll have a video record of the show to enjoy in the future. I've only had that experience once before, at the Crossroads Guitar Festival in Dallas and out of that whole video I probably only attended 50% of those shows in person. There's a chance we may even be able to spot ourselves in the crowd shots since we were that close, so we're looking forward to that as well, although I'm not holding my breath.

We're trying to move forward on the housing front. We've had a few back & forths with a local custom home builder and they are quoting a bit high for our preference at this point. Hopefully we can talk them down to our range and get the house we want. If so, we may be moving in to a new home this summer. Time will tell. There's still a bit of uncertainty about the housing market and mortgage rates. Everything points to a rebound (it's already happening essentially) and that means housing costs and mortgage rates will rise. The big uncertainty revolves around the "fiscal cliff" looming for our government and the good chance that tax rates will increase across the board. If this happens I expect home sales to flatten out and we may be better off waiting to see if the prices will drop again. All that being said, if this builder will respond to our requests and give us our minimums within our price range, we'll probably press Go.

I think since the last post I moved some things around in the music room. I decided to bring the roland piano back onto the desk so I would be more inclined to play it and to give me access to a full 88 key midi instrument as well for recording. I also started practicing bass again. I had focused on acoustic for several weeks in preparation for my grandmother's memorial service back in August and I hadn't ever gotten back to my regular schedule of piano in the morning and then bass for about 30 min to start off my evening practice session. I'm still trying to work on the songs I was putting together for my "Guitar Hero" (not the game) project. That is a slow process since I'm exploring a few songs that involve relatively new techniques for me. Just "Rock Around The Clock" alone is quite the challenge. It's a very fast, clean solo and there's nothing to hide behind when you play it. You either play it right or it's obvious if you don't. Similar to many acoustic songs in that respect.

There's been such a large amount of transition in my practice area, computers, gear and practice time in the recent past that I'm just now starting to feel as if I can settle into a regular schedule again and start prioritizing my practice schedule. It's funny how that although you don't practice something you may still notice improvement. I think our nervous system takes longer to respond to our demands and it doesn't necessarily stop working just because we stop. I have noticed on various occasions in the past that if I have had a break in practicing an instrument that when I return to it I will sometimes find certain things slightly easier to play than before. I think when you practice something every day that if you are making progress it's so slow that it doesn't seem to be happening, but I believe even when you stop practicing for awhile your body is still trying to adapt to the demands you placed on it before, so in a sense, progress is still being made.

Cowboys looked like a different team.

The Cowboys were 14 point underdogs going into the game at Giants stadium yesterday. Their abysmal year that led to Wade Phillip's firing last Monday was the main reason I hadn't previously posted anything about them so far this season. Interim head coach Jason Garrett must have put something in the water, or he has supernatural motivational speech chops, or maybe they are just reacting to a new situation. Whatever the cause(s), they came out and played with a fire that has been missing for weeks. It was a strange victory, with a couple of key plays (101 yard interception return for a TD) that made the difference although we didn't necessarily dominate any phase of the game. Other than big momentum plays, that is. We had several of those. Regardless of the post season implications (still essentially null and void at this time), it was fun to watch and at least gives us some potentially competitive games to enjoy for the rest of the season.

Cowboys Win a Nail Biter

Thankfully, NFL football is very popular in the military so we get to see most games although it's usually very late at night or early in the morning. I got up around 4am to watch Dallas play Philadelphia on Monday Night Football and what followed was 3 hours of chaos with long pass plays, kick returns, fumbles, penalties and seven lead changes before the Cowboys managed to close out the game with a sack of McNabb to win 41-37.  The Cowboys looked okay overall, although penalties and turnovers nearly did them in.  I should be able to get up early and see them play Green Bay next Monday morning as it's a Sunday night game. It promises to be another good one.

Hello, this is your Sunday evening wake up call…

… courtesy of Tom Brady and the Patriots. The Cowboys lopsided loss to the Pats wasn't indicative of the game as it was closer than the final score. That being said, the Cowboys now know how they compare to the league's best;  they're getting closer but still fall a bit short. The Cowboys were down 14 early but managed to fight back with some great defensive plays and by finally completing a few actual drives on offense. They even took the lead early in the 3rd quarter, but unfortunately allowed the Pats to score 17 unanswered points after that to eventually lose by twenty points. The good news is that they still have room to improve and both sides of the ball were competitive for most of the game. I don't see how the Pats could improve, they're clearly the elite within the league right now. The Pats/Colts game in November should be a doozy. As for the Cowboys, they still have the clear lead in the the Division and they're're tied with GB for the best in the conference. Ironically, they played better in a losing effort this week compared to the last second gasp of a victory the week before.

The Cardiac Cowboys Ride Again

Harkening back to the days of Staubach, the Dallas Cowboys tried very hard for 59 minutes to lose their Monday Night Football game against a Buffalo team that they were supposed to outclass in all aspects of the game, by scoring 9 points in the final twenty seconds to pull out the win.  Tony Romo was at his worst as a passer and field commander, throwing 5 interceptions (two returned for touchdowns) and fumbling once to give the Bills every reason to run away with the game; luckily the Bill's only significant scoring was via the defense and special teams. There were about 5 crucial events that had to occur in order for the Cowboys to win at the end and miraculously, they did. Dallas managed to move the ball down the field and score in the final two minutes to put them a two point conversion away from tying the game. After TO failed to make the catch for the two points, Dallas needed to recover an onsides kickoff and then move the ball within field goal range for the winning kickoff. This with under twenty seconds left and no time outs. Then, the rookie kicker had to make a 53 yard field goal after having a longest previous kick of 45 yards earlier in the game. Amazingly, the Cowboys recovered the onsides kickoff, completed two passes and got out of bounds to move within field goal range and stop the clock, and then convert not one but two 53 field goals when the Bills coach pulled the last second time out trick that's all the rage in the NFL these days. Not since the seventies have I felt the tumult of emotions that occur during one of these two minute comebacks. The Cowboys were supposed to dominate on paper, the Bills deserved to win on the field, but Dallas managed to literally pull a win out of the air.