Saturday, August 3, 2013

New Nexus 7!

I bought my new Nexus 7, the 2013 version, yesterday. It's awesome! Months ago I bought a wireless keyboard for an HP Touchpad that I bought from HP for a paultry $100 - you get what you pay for! But I'm typing this post using my wireless keyboard!

I've customized it with a bunch of cool apps, and now need to research buying Microsoft application readers and editors, like Office Suite Pro for $14.99. It's an Editor's Choice, but the reviews are horrible. Either way - I've synced up Google Drive and will upload "real" work apps like Excel files and Word, but I'll need something to handle edited them on this new tablet to really make this device uber useful!

Some of the searches on Chrome produce "mobile" sites and content, which can be annoying versus delivering a full content site.  But for the most part, I've been searching the internet faster than my wife sitting next to me searching on a laptop.

I'm synced up to a SoundFreaq, as well, playing music from Google Play and Pandora. When Stern starts up again Monday morning, I'll be tuned into Sirius Satellite radio from new Nexus 7.

The entertainment from this little powerhouse is endless. I've been on the device for a couple hours already this morning, and there's no end to the amount of things I can do on this device. I'm so submersed and showing all the cool things to my wife, NOW SHE WANTS ONE!! And, she's an Apple bigot.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Interesting day at basketball today. The coaches son played 28 of the 32 minutes of player minutes available. There are twelve players on the team. Multiplying 32 minutes times 5 players equals 160 player minutes available. Divide that by 12 and you have 13 minutes for each player. Today, there were easily three, four or five players who received far less than 13 minutes, and two players who received less than four.

My son starts, and he receives well above the average 13 minutes. However, today he shot a 3-point shot and made it - but the coach out loud said, "He's lucky he made that!" Which meant if he missed it, he was getting pulled from the game. Meanwhile his 28 minute playing son, turned the ball over, missed poor shots, missed a 3-pointer, and made several mistakes without recourse. I could write a second article chock full of arguments that would support allowing a youth player to make mistakes - they learn from them, and they know if they make a mistake it doesn't come with a heavy price - being benched! My son is already telling me that he's feeling the pressure of not making mistakes on the court because he knows the first kid off the bench coming in the game will be to substitute him out.

I've read several articles on this, and as a President of two youth sports organizations, Football and Baseball, I'm hyper-sensitive to coaches who sit kids for 98% of games in favor of their own sons. It's bad coaching behavior, and it flies in the face of the mission of youth sports. In my opinion, that allows the coaches son to make mistakes and grow, while other kids pay the price for his own son's advantage.

There's an article by Bob Bigelow, former collegiate and professional basketball player having played for the Kings, Celtics, and Clippers, regarding playing time, whereby he reinforces a number of the key issues in this article. Essentially playing time helps these kids become more confident. Here's an interesting quote:
"If you think you're doing your players a favor, especially your weaker kids, by playing them just a few minutes in the game, and you're also patting yourself on the back by saying "hey I finally got everyone in the game," you are actually doing those kids a great disservice. A few minutes is simply a cameo appearance that actually does almost nothing for the child to help him or her learn how to play basketball. And I'll be honest with you, if you ever watched this - and I've seen it way too many times - some kid that goes in for just a very few minutes, knowing that he or she is going to get yanked out soon by the coach, will make all sorts of mistakes, will be nervous, will run like a deer in the headlights, and then be back on the bench. And then the coach will be saying "See, I proved it, that kid can't do anything." Yes the coach put the kid in for just 2, 3, 4 or 5 minutes, and he/she knew you were going to put him/her in for just that little time, and got nervous, and messed up, and then the coach said "Hey, that's why I don't play this kid."
As a father of a son who starts and plays for well over half the game, I have no place to complain. But, as a parent, I looked at the faces of the kids on the bench and they are clearly defeated. They want to play! And, I would argue that they feel a little embarrassed they're sitting the bench as much as they do. Imagine if you wanted to invite extended family members to come watch your son play, and he only sees 3-5 minutes on the floor! As a parent you would be embarrassed, and you probably wouldn't invite family in the first place! Part of the "Let the kids play" debate centers around the parents. Here's an interest quote from an article I read about the other side of the court - the parents point of view:
“When parents come to watch their kids’ games, they do so specifically to watch their child play.  The parents really don’t care whether the team wins or loses –- they merely want to see their youngster compete and, ideally, have a good time being in the game.  Children come to the games fully anticipating that they’re going to play, and play a lot. That’s where the fun of being a young athlete comes from.”
The article goes on to talk about the ultimate questions - not whether a coach wants to win, but what price is the coach willing to pay:
"Benching a professional athlete goes with the territory because a pro team depends on the balance sheet.  But demoralizing an impressionable youth leaguer with chronic benchwarming remains an unacceptable price to pay for the chance at winning.  When a youth leaguer attends practice regularly, follows team disciplinary rules and gives full effort, Brooke de Lench is right that “[e]very child deserves an equal chance to play and learn new skills.”  To me, warming the bench with someone else’s deserving 10-year-old resembles emotional child abuse." 
I think it's a tough line to walk as a coach, and the responsibilities, while some may argue are limited to the field of play and not life long lessons, however studies have shown coaches have an impact on a child's self-esteem based solely on their actions during a game:
"The American Academy of Pediatrics wisely instructs that a youth leaguer’s fulfillment in sports depends on adults who “clearly show that the child’s worth is unrelated to the outcome of the game.”  Coaches reassure children about their worth when they allocate playing time with an eye toward the future." 
This debate will go on forever. And, coaches would argue that the playing time disclaimer was given early before the season began. However, parents of those players riding the bench are complaining regardless, and finding alternate places for their youth athletes to play outside of this travel team because they're fed up and some have even gone so far as to say, "This was the worst decision I've ever made for my player to let him come play on this travel team." The look on the players' faces during the game say the same thing.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday River Part II

So we didn't get a chance to get back on Locke Mountain or White Cap. The lifts were closed on our final day. We went back to Barker and ski'd the same blacks as Thursday. But we were in a rush in the morning as we needed to get the kids out of ski school at 1pm, and couldn't get over to Oz where the double's were. So instead we made our way over to Aurora where we went down Airglow. Sucked!! The snow was so frozen and ungroomed, ice balls littered the mountain. I got down half of the trail pretty quick as it was like skating! But, then it crested to a steeper part of the trail and lost control - went down about a hundred yards on my back!! Once I got back on my ski's I made my way over to the side trail called Black Hole, it was a double and holy shit was it steep!! Sheer cliff. No way!

We made it down and decided to leave Aurora and go back to the groomed parts of the mountain. Borealis was a nice trail to get back. We stopped at the top of Vortex where I took this picture ... It's hard to tell the grade, but it's nearly straight down, and it drops off out of view into an even more sheer cliff littered with moguls. Not fun!!

Forgot about this funny story, earlier in the day we raced down Right Stuff on Barker, awesome trail. We must have been the first few ski'ers of the day - the conditions were great. Julia was having a tough day though with her leg all scarred up from her boot. She lost her balance in the middle of Right Stuff and nearly bit her tongue in half!!

We closed out the day taking the older guys out of ski school at 1pm, and taking them over to Barker Mountain. Julia insisted the Chondola took them to a trail that would lead there, but she was wrong and the first "big" trail for Chloe, Gavin and Finn was Grand Rapids! At first the kids didn't know what to do - they tried turning enough to slow down, but couldn't and Chloe ended up sitting on here ski's and falling down. She was petrified, but a little coaching from Dad on how bigger turns will slow her down enough to get down the mountain and she got her confidence back. We went up Barker and took them down Lazy River where Gavin dialed up his downhill speed to 30 mph! Julia, Chloe and Finn decided not to try Lazy River and went down Three Mile Trail. They hated that run as it wasn't fast enough and had to work to get through it. Gavin and I went back up North Peak and did Escapade to get back together with the Fam!

At 3pm we took the little ones out of ski school and did a couple more "free" ski runs down Broadway. It started to get near 10 degrees and everyone was really starting to complain. So I took everyone down Broadway one more time and captured this video...

And yes - I fell. I was trying to get Rex turned into Whoville for the jumps and got crossed up. But in the video the two micro-dots out front are Hank and Finn - we're all doing about 22 mph! Rex was in the back closest to me, just flying!!

All in all it was a great vacation!! We're now all psyched about skiing, and Julia is researching buying a Condo on one of the mountains, and shopping ski clubs to join. All the kids picked up the ability to ski very quickly, and were up on the lifts in the second day. There were some frustrating moments, I won't lie, but we ski'ed from 830 in the morning until 4 O'Clock in the afternoon. After the first day, we literally crashed asleep in the condo by 5! So you can imagine trying to get everyone motivated to go out to dinner. Without going into graphic detail - it was a nightmare!!

Heated pool swimming, ski'ing all day, hanging out with friends in the lodge, fireworks, bloody mary's and spiked hot chocolate on North Peak, and watching my fearless five carving and cruising - good times!!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Boogey Me Baby!!! Boogey Me, Baby!! Love this domain...

I've been blogging for many years - 2005 approximately. As a former member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, and my former Fantasy Baseball blog generated 150,000 visits per week. I wrote for various fantasy baseball related websites including and, Big Dawg Baseball eventually was acquired by I also extended my writing to a local social networking site dedicated to Connecticut Shoreline entertainment. As a contributing writer to, co-authored with Ann Nyberg host of WTNH Channel 8, I authored several creative writing pieces.

So - fantasy baseball, creative writing, hmm, whats this blog going to be all about. I've always wanted to use my blog as a launch pad for my own thoughts and opinions. As a baseball writer, I was able to capture a significant interest in the topics I would cover. Like baseball, I have a number of other view points that I think are unique and worth reading.

The background picture of this blog is a dried up lake basin, kind of like how I feel about life sometimes. Old, crusty, dry, stale, and very much in need of attention!

Sunday River Ski Vacation

Hit 37 MPH on Locke Mountain today here at Sunday River in Maine. Very scary! Came down Upper Sunday Punch (Blue) and got brave trying to cross over to T2 (Black Diamond) through Jim's Whim (Black Diamond) but wuss'ed out! Doubled back to complete Upper Sunday Punch, but it runs into Monday Mourning (Black Diamond) where I got it up to 37. Decent run. But it was my first Black Diamond of the day and was cautious. Tried to open it up after that and top 40 mph, but couldn't.

We ended up tackling T2, and a the steep ledge of Tempest - both Blacks. Very fun!! Completed the day speeding through Lazy River (Blue), and sticking with the family. They're all doing phenomenal on the ski's - I clocked Rex and Hank, my five and seven year olds, hitting 22 mph opening it up on Broadway (Green).

So -- tomorrow I'd like to test my skills on Obession (Black) and then either or both Shockwave and White Heat - both double Black Diamonds! One is pure moguls, so I'm told, which I can't do - but I need to test the envelope tomorrow on my last day on Sunday River. If I can't get over to these trails, possibly hit a couple of the blacks on Aurora, Oz, or Jordan Bowl .. Amazing we've been here a week and we've only tackled half the mountain!

Until tomorrow .... here's my stats so far in the past two days of recording my results on Ski Tracks - android app for skiers.

Day 1 - Max 29.2 mph, 15.3 mi, 2588 ft of max altitude, 12,106 ft of ski vertical, 15 runs, 21 degree max slope, seven hours of total skiing.

Day 2 - Max 37.4 mph, 17.8 mi, 2616 ft of max alt, 15,777 ft of vertical, 18 runs, 28 degree max slope, just shy of six hours of total skiing.

The app has only been running for two days, and I pause the app for lunch and extended delays.