Archive for April, 2010

My #Blazers 2010 season recap, an admittedly inexpert view

April 30th, 2010 1 comment

So, this is the year I attempted to understand basketball, when I started watching more than who had the ball. So these observations may be way off the mark. I invite correction from more experienced fans. That’s “correction”, not “lol ur dum”.

1. The Point

I tweeted several times anyone who thought Blake should have started over Miller is nuts, although more on that later. At times Miller looked like the only guy who could get to the rim and his court vision is supernatural. He made passes that caused a rank amateur like me to goggle, I can only imagine what a truly knowledgeable fan saw.

Bayless showed streaks of amazing as the third string PG for most of the season and was the better player at the one AND the two in the Suns series on occasion. He definitely needs to develop, but he needs playing time for that. So let’s give it to him and let’s give it to him in Portland.

2. Shooting Star, er, Guard.

It seemed to me this was the year BRoy felt his responsibility as a leader, too much. He was putting the team on his back and trying to carry it, probably most clearly illustrated by his support of Blake (the guy he felt comfortable with) in the point guard controversy. He also lost his way splitting the court with Oden and a near-max contract LMA. He needs to relax and realize that even Jordan needed Pippen.

Unfortunately he didn’t do that in Game 6. Brandon was pretty much useless out there, possibly even a liability, although that wasn’t entirely his fault. The Pippen analogue failed to come through.

3. Small Forward

Nicholas Batum is the only good thing about France. Except for certain frog hotties. But that’s beside the point. He had the shoulder thing, but he toughed through that for most of the series. Unfortunately (don’t bother counting how many times I type that word) he faded at the end, one reason BRoy’s neutralization hurt us so badly in game 6.

Batum also needs to toughen up. It warmed my heart to no end to see him shoving you-know-who during a dead ball. Give it back, Nic, give it back plus!

4. Power Forward

Hopefully this series is the impetus to turn LMA into a bad ass. He showed some promise at times but he also got worked by Amar’e “whiny punk” Stoudamire. Maybe he comes back next reason ready to kick some ass and throw some elbows of his own. But really? I doubt it. I look at the headshot of him sportscasts use and I kinda think “What a douchebag.” He just doesn’t seem to have the hunger, or drive, or whatever. I’d love to be proven wrong about that.

5. Center

We got Camby. That’s something. Although I dunno why he kinda disappeared, figuratively and literally in this series. Nate went small at times for some reason. But he definitely salvaged our post-season and I’m happy to have him back.

6. The Bench

B-Rex I’ve covered, now Martell & Rudy. First Rudy.

Look, I remember last season, er, season before last. I remember 5 points in, what, 2 game seconds? Once I stood up in a bar and adapted Inigo Montoya’s famous speech (I think it was “…you came into my house, prepare to die”, but I’d been drinking). I want that Rudy to come back, because this Rudy sucked ASS. He DID have back surgery and for a less effective excuse he was adjusting to being the only Spaniard on the team. I say give Rudy one more chance, if he doesn’t show his stuff early next season, deal him. If anyone wants him.

Martell I know less about. In fact when I decided to go position by position on this I had to look up who our backup SG is. He seemed streaky, actually that’s charitable, he was inconsistent. If we need him to round out a trade, so be it.

Who should not, under ANY circumstances, be traded are Cunningham and Pendergraph. They stepped up in a huge way in the Season of Owies and they deserve consideration for that. Also, how many young players have the Blazers dealt from an overcrowded roster that blew up elsewhere? Jermaine O’Neal is probably the poster child, but I’d like to point you all to a certain three point shooter playing for the Phoenix Suns. They have the size to play the three or the four, or the five at times. They’re young, they’re tough, they’re smart. Play them, play the hell out of them. Do this here, with them wearing Blazers jerseys, not with them smoking us in someone else’s uniform. Believe.

That leaves Juwan Howard. We recruited him to be a veteran presence, a demi-coach. Ooops, now you’re our starting center. Go to it. But Howard’s kinda the odd man out. We don’t theoretically need a designated veteran presence with Dre and Camby. The roster’s kinda crowded with bigs at the moment. I dunno.

7. The Coach

When I first saw the fire Nate hashtag on Twitter I was outraged. Now, I’m not. There’s always naysayers, I know that. But at times it was pretty clear the team wasn’t really listening to him, and he seems pretty inflexible about a lot of stuff, like pulling Oden every time he got two fouls. Let the kid learn! Let him foul out early in the season.

I also have to bring up the Miller/Blake thing again. I understand why initially Nate wanted Dre to come off the bench. Really, I do. Last season our depth was our greatest strength in a way that didn’t mean injury replacement and Dre would have been incredible leading that unit. But this year our bench seemed to be a liability, when we had anything like a “bench”. Once that became clear, Dre should have started. He clearly should have started, but it took a widely reported shouting match to get Nate to bend on that.

Then there’s assertions of being outcoached by the Suns. Well, Gentry sure likes to butter up the refs, and Nate likes to scowl. I honestly don’t know enough about basketball to make a judgment on this. But there’s definitely something not playoff ready about the Blazers. Maybe it’s experience, maybe it’s time, maybe it’s Nate. He was our guy to follow Cheeks, but is he our guy for the future? It’s a worthy question.

8. The Company

Paul Allen needs to quit fucking with the people who work for him. This is the guy who kept Whitsitt in position when everyone else on the planet was calling for his blood. I don’t trust his hoops judgement a tick. If he fires KP, I hope his chemo treatments go south.

9. The Future

The point is solid and the center position is packed, if problematic. The big question at center, does Pryz come back? Associated, do we want him to? Maybe Pryz retires, maybe we becomes trade bait because of his contract. Considering the I word, I don’t think we can have too many centers. Speaking of the I word I’m not ready to give up on Oden and I’m about ready to deck the next person that says “worst draft pick ever”. Go take your bullshit elsewhere, preferably to a recording of what Oden did early this season. He bends reality just by moving. The health question will sort itself out over time, but I firmly believe most GMs would have taken the gamble on our wrinkly behemoth. There’s a quote on Oregon Live from the coach who just beat us (and needs to stop with the collagen already) calling him the mainstay of the franchise for the future. Yes, if he stays healthy, get over it already. Time will tell.

The Blazers need good backups at the 2 and the 3.

Without question our weak spot is the 4. LaMarcus and Juwan aren’t gonna get it done. I say deal LMA. Deal him tomorrow with one or both of Rudy and Martell in a package with draft picks and cash. Pick up a good, tough power forward (someone last night had the gall to suggest Amar’e. A pox on you, sir!) . I don’t know who that is (other than not Amar’e), but it’s gotta be someone. Alternatively, just open cap and roster space then platoon of Dante, Jeff and Juwan at the four. I don’t know if that’s workable, maybe we bring in a free agent and shift our young cornermen to the three and four backups.

That just leaves the 2 backup, which we can probably buy or trade draft picks for. Or, y’know, Rudy can stop sucking.

Okay, there’s my take. What did I miss? What did I blow?

Baseball needs a play clock #mlb

April 25th, 2010 No comments

Purists think this is terrible idea, but they think unpredictable strike zones are “tradition”, too.

Batters need to get over their OCD nonsense. Get your batting gloves set while you’re on deck, or buy gloves that fit. Spitting on them doesn’t help, you’re in the big leagues now, you’re a millionaire, knock that off. Your bat isn’t a lover to caress and gaze longingly at. It’s a piece of wood that’s gonna break soon. Screw your superstitions.

I get why they do all of it. They’re focusing rituals, centering the batter to do something that operates pretty much on instinct at eye blink speeds mere mortals can’t function at. Too bad. You look like an idiot and (more importantly) slow the game down. Find a better way, you can afford it.

But that’s mildly irritating, what really ticks me off is batters stepping out of the box and constant timeouts. Purists reference the “mental game”, why don’t we just watch the baseball game and leave off mindfucking? You step out of the box, you get a strike. You need to talk to your pitcher, do it in the dugout, or call one of a limited number of timeouts (probably a certain number per pitcher, but that’s another matter).

Throwing balls back to the ump? WTF? Seriously? Unless the ball’s dimensions are radically altered, pitch the ball you get! Or if they need to regain their shape after being hit, rotate them to plan.

The big league game is boring. You’ve already got a game that naturally takes a lot of time. Baseball fans, ever tried to explain why a 12 pitch strike out is good? For the offense? Why a slow roller down the infield baseline should be left to go? Sometimes? Add to this OCD and mundfucking and zzzzzz.

The game is just too slow, and weather delays are frustration enough.

Play ends, the ball goes to the home plate ump. He judges the condition of the ball and throws it or another to the pitcher. The batter has to be in the box by then. At that point the pitcher has to throw the ball. Goal is to pitch within a minute of a play ending.

If there’s no play, it should be like ten seconds between pitches. The batter has a moment to collect himself, then he better be ready. Pitcher and catcher select their next pitch in that time. If the batter isn’t ready, oops, too bad, ball goes past you (to be called as normal). If the defense isn’t ready, that’s a balk.

Purists like to say there’s barely enough time between pitches to consider the possibilities. Consider the potential audience if games weren’t four hours long.

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Answer this for me: Can you overdress for a job interview?

April 12th, 2010 3 comments

I couldn’t find my jacket anyway. Which is just as well because the confirmation email I’d had for several days said to dress biz-caz. Interview prep indeed.

Most of you probably know I’m anything but a clotheshorse. My co-Yelpers are likely sick of my limited t-shirt selection and once a long time ago someone asked me if I owned any shirts that weren’t plaid. I answered “What else would I wear?”

I have an interview this afternoon for a job that would be at least okay. Desperate times and all, right now I’m on my way to my mom’s house to see if I can find my blazer and a tie to maximize my chances at this interview. Am I making a mistake?

When I worked admin I always threw on the jacket and tie for interviews, but those were always biz-caz jobs and my thinking was show up dressed one notch higher than what you’d wear to the job.

Accordingly I’ve always gone to maintenance interviews in biz-caz, because these are jobs with a uniform. So my question: Is it possible to oversees for a job interview?

A few details, this is a two part interview starting with at least part of the maintenance crew and maybe one office flunky. The second part is with some HR sort. I have some concerns of appearing stuffy and/or pretentious to the maintainers (consider for a moment that most stereotypes of blue collar workers are true). Also I want to look ready to go, at least on a tour of the mechanical rooms. At the same time I want to look professional for the office drones who probably have more say.

Ideas, anyone? Maybe a compromise?Skip the tie and wear a biz-caz shirt that can take some rough handling?


Treading water. Mostly.

April 8th, 2010 No comments

I got a call a few days ago from the Employment Dept that I had qualified
for a new claim. Coming only a few days after I started the process I took this as a good sign. So I went to the website to do the stuff and the ran into a glitch. When I talked to a CSR it comes up that the investigation into my “discharge” hasn’t started yet.

I know, WTF? Why did they bother calling me? Right Hand says “Hey, Left Hand, what’s up?” Left Hand says “Fuck Off.” There are people who are sadly under the impression this is a thing specific to public institutions. Far from it, homies and homettes. Corporate bureaucracies are just as obtuse and inefficient.

So this makes the picture a little clearer. IF my UI is approved I WILL be on a new claim and it will NOT be enough to maintain independance. Not even close. It seems that when they count your earnings on a new claim, UI doesn’t count. Oops. So my deadline (ten days!) is in effect and UI ain’t gonna help.

I have a second interview with what would be a pretty decent job. I got the call informing me today. Someone ELSE will call “before the 15th” to schedule the interview (see? Private enterprise left/right hand action, I TOLD you!) so that won’t help the deadline.


My present status…

April 3rd, 2010 2 comments

… in relation to unemployment insurance and whatnot is: precarious.

I just finished the online process to restart my claim. The first hurdle is according to the Employment Department since I was “taken off the assignment before it ends” I was fired, or as they quaintly put it, discharged. Therefore the Employment Department has to determine if I was discharged for a good reason. I can’t recall the standard exactly (I saw it in a letter informing me I was on the dole after the shithole fired me), it’s something like flagrantly disregarding or willfully neglecting the employer’s best interests. I thought at the time it was actually a pretty reasonable standard. Assuming it’s honestly applied. I remember reading in Willy Week during the Clinton administration some welfare agency in Oregon was being sued repeatedly for denying applications for assistance no matter what so they could claim they were reducing welfare rolls when they closed the file.

I think I have a good chance. Even if I was “discharged”, I didn’t DO anything wrong, like stealing or no-showing. Theories range from the guy making the call is a stupendously picky mother fucker to they just didn’t want that position filled at all. I lean towards the “picky mofo” end of the spectrum.

Anyway, they have 21 days to resolve it. If my claim is denied, I’m in deep dodo. If my prior claim is restarted I’ve got a grace period of at least a month, maybe more if there’s some extension I haven’t missed the deadline on. If I have to start a new claim at some point I doubt I’ll be able to keep my apartment and have any kind of discretionary income. I figure something good has to happen in the next two weeks or I need to give notice. At that point I move my shit to mom’s house and spend a lot of time at Wooga’s place. I’ll be 35 and either living with mommy, leeching off a girlfriend or a combination of both. I will unilaterally declare myself a failure and consider beginning Operation Drink Myself to Death.

I’ve had two interviews this week and I have a phone interview on Monday. All of them are at best meh for various reasons. I don’t really want any of them but I’ll accept any of them if offered.

Two weeks is the 17th of April. Something needs to come up before then if I want to keep this lovely little cave in Nob Hill. So if you know of anything, you know how to get a hold of me.