Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Arrows

My son, Scott, plays on a soccer team called the Arrows. He's played on this team for at least the last five years, maybe longer. They play in the Capital Area Soccer League's (CASL) recreational division, which means they play for fun and love of the sport (or because their parents make them). I coached this team for about three years. We won some and lost some, lost more than we won, and had a fair amount of fun, as well as some grueling practices; I believe in practicing hard.

The Arrows played two games today in CASL's end-of-season tournament, the CASL Cup. They lost the first and won the second. One coach missed the first game, so I acted as assistant coach for it. Though they lost, I was proud of their effort, particularly in the second half, which they dominated.

Scott primarily plays the center of the defense, a position soccer types call "Center D," and it's his job to run the defense. He's good at it. I told him I'd embarrass him by putting him in my blog, and I took a lot of pictures for that purpose. Being a sensible young man and a clever one, he made the argument that I shouldn't be putting pictures of him on the Internet. So, I chose a safe one, an image of his back.

This image also triggered another reaction in me. Prior to this season, the shirts for the Arrows always showed only first names. This year, they changed to last names. It was odd to see a Van Name on the field; the only previous shirts I'd seen with that name were mine.

I think the world of the Arrows, and I was proud to coach them and to know them. They are a great bunch of guys.

They also served to remind me that all over the world, in countries near and far, lands friendly and hostile, parents are watching their kids play games, rooting for their children, fearing for their safety, loving them, and doing the best by them that they can manage.

I'm just another one of those parents, but these soccer games helped connect me to the world, and as a guy for whom alienation is a huge issue, I appreciate the connection.

When I get angry at the people in other groups, other nations, other anything, I try to remind myself that even if I believe the others are wrong, even if I truly despise them, they are humans, parents and children, moms and dads, sisters and brothers, men and women, and they all have their own Arrows whom they love and cheer for and cherish as fiercely as I love and cheer for and cherish my son.

Rules for attending zombie flicks

I like a good zombie flick as much as the next person, maybe even the next several people. Three of us went to see 28 Weeks Later earlier tonight, and I enjoyed it well enough. I didn't love it, mind you, for it had too many flaws and not enough heart for me to really fall for it. Chief among its flaws were that it didn't break any new ground thematically, its plot was more formulaic than I'd have preferred, and it often tried too hard to be visually arresting.

I left the film convinced of one thing, however, and it had nothing to do with the movie: we need rules for zombie movie attendees. I came to this conclusion not because of my companions, who were as normal as my extended family gets, but because of my encounters with fellow audience members. Here's my initial rule list:

Rule 1: You must look cleaner than the zombies.

I don't care if it's Friday night and bath day is still 36 hours away; take a chance, and clean up.

Rule 2: You must smell better than the zombies.

Okay, I don't technically know how zombies smell, but you get the, odor. See the advice for Rule 1.

Rule 3: Keep the videogame jokes to yourself.

The crack about how many damage points the zombies could absorb wasn't original when the first guy said it, but when the fifth repeated it, the joke officially smelled as bad as the zombies.

Rule 4: Unless you're better built than the zombies, your clothing should contain fewer tears than the outfits they wear.

I know how you guys feel. I love some of my tee shirts, too. Still, when the number of square inches of exposed belly passes your height in feet, it's time to retire that old favorite and break out a new(er) one.

Follow these four simple rules, and life will be better for all of us who attend zombie films.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Things that piss me off

I could probably use this heading every day for the next few years and not run out of topics, but I'll spare you and run it only sparingly. Today, a friend of mine and member of our extended family, Jain Faries, weaver extraordinaire and principal of moxnix textiles, was preparing to head to a show to display and, she hopes, sell her wares. She checked her business account and found out that a buyer had retracted a charge--even though she'd sent the goods the buyer had purchased.

That pisses me off.

Jain works hard at weaving her various pieces, and they're all top-drawer; check out their pictures on her site if you don't believe me. She charges a fair price, treats her customers well, and is mostly a one-person operation. Ripping off anyone is wrong, but taking goods from a craftsperson and then retracting your payment is a particularly low act.

Here's hoping karma obtains and the cad who canceled the payment, as a friend once said and to mix my religious metaphors, smokes a turd in purgatory for this one.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Collecting restaurants, Portland, and rain on skylights

I collect restaurants. Well, to be accurate, I collect memories, and sometimes notes, of meals at great restaurants. (The restaurants themselves simply wouldn't fit in my office, even though it is a big room). On my trip to Portland, OR last week, I ate at three I recommend: Higgins, Paley's Place, and the restaurant at the Heathman Hotel. All three emphasize the use of locally grown, raised, and caught ingredients, and all three meals were quite good. I have to give the nod overall to Paley's Place, but that might change in the future: our server at the Heathman swore that he would arrange a tasting menu the next time I was in town. I look forward to it.

It's raining tonight, and the sound of the rain on the skylights in my office always makes me smile and remember my childhood in Florida, when showers often came around six o'clock and brought the evening cool with them. Good sounds for writing, to which I must return.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Web Weasel strikes

The Web Weasel is beating me mercilessly to fix all the little bugs with this thing. I'm working on it, and I've also increased her permissions. With luck, we'll remedy these problems soon so the beatings will cease.

Get thee behind me, Weasel!

Perfect moments

Life affords us many perfect moments, though we rarely notice most of them. At 11:30 tonight, I was driving home, the windows down, the air cool but not cold, few streetlights on my route, and the CD player spun to a track (The Calling's "Wherever You Will Go") that in that particular moment hit me as perfectly as a new lover's first kiss.

Rock and roll, the night, driving: many perfect moments in my life have shared these elements.


Blog Archive