Monday, September 19, 2011

My Head is Spinning!

I didn't think it would be possible for me to hate Syracuse more.  Well, I was wrong...
-Chicago Quick Dip: Great success.  I went to a game at Wrigley on a perfect day and it was everything I had dreamed of and more.  Beautiful ballpark, beautiful neighborhood around the ballpark (Wrigleyville), specifically with a lot of fun bars.  It's like AT&T Park plus 100 years of tradition, and more condensed in the middle of a bustling neighborhood (but still lacking a World Series title).
-I was able to see a lot of Chicago too during my short visit: the top of the Hancock Tower, a great gastropub called Hopleaf, a Goose Island brewery and the Revolution brewery.  Plus saw some old college friends too.
-I drank A LOT on this trip.  A LOT.  Bridget can back me up.

-Giants: Building me up to break me down?  They've now won eight in a row after a four game road sweep of the Rockies, which is really hard to do.  When they were 75-70, I thought it was all over.  Now, they're 83-70, have Brian Wilson back, and are riding momentum.  Still, four games back of Atlanta in the Wild Card, five back of Arizona in the NL West, nine games to play.  Odds are still against us.
-3 games at LA, 3 games at Arizona, 3 games vs. Colorado.  First things first... BEAT LA!

-The Big East Conference shakeup of 2011: ugh, and it might not even be over yet.  Syracuse and Pitt to the ACC.  UConn and Rutgers possibly to follow.  West Virginia possibly to the SEC.  Villanova has applied to the ACC too!?  STOP THE MADNESS!!!
-It's going to take my mind a while to process all the chaos.  I'd prefer to ignore the doomsday scenarios for now and just see what happens.  Hopefully sooner rather than later so that we're not in this state of prolonged chaos for that much longer.
-It's really a shame that major Division I college football basically dictates all of this.  I mean, as much as I love college football, I've obviously BY FAR been more of a college basketball guy, really since high school.
-I hope Georgetown's leadership is being proactive, in securing a home for us that puts us in the best position to have a national program that competes for national championships in basketball and all other sports.
-What is the one thing that could be worse than the imminent death of the Georgetown-Syracuse rivalry?  The end of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden, one of the best events in all of sports.

-Niners-Cowboys... ouch, tough ending to that game.  First, we really let that one slip away, we had them.  Second, kind of expected, but way too many Cowboys fans at the game.  Third, we're 1-1, whatever.  Get better and move on.  On the road to Cincinnati next.  Our schedule gets tougher now, time to man up.

More on all of this to follow, of course, especially all the Big East stuff.  Can we just start college basketball season early this year, to take our minds off all of this?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Coming back from a long break with... Random Thoughts...

So, I haven't written in this thing since May, but no, I haven't forgotten about it.

Basically, I understand, yes, this blog sucks.  Why would anybody read it?  It's just me babbling on and on about something completely random that you probably have little to no interest in.

Nevertheless, I'm going to continue babbling on and on about things you probably have little to no interest in, because, well, sometimes I fucking like it.  So there.

Random thoughts:

-Last night, for the third time since I moved back to California just about fifteen months ago, I left my jacket at a bar, never to be seen again.  This is getting to be a problem.

-The Giants are probably done for the year, and we can blame it on injuries, but as it stands right now, we are 80-70, on a five-game winning streak, 6 games back of the Wild Card, 7 games back in the NL West, with 12 games to play.  Yeah, it's probably over.  I don't think we can lose more than 1 or 2 games the rest of the way, and even then that might not be enough.  Still, we ain't dead just yet.  Don't stop believin'.

-Giants need to make some serious moves in the off-season to bolster their offense.  Otherwise, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain may go down in history as a couple of the most underappreciated aces of all-time.  Seriously, these guys have had stellar seasons, and yet one is 13-12, and the other is 11-10.  It's embarrassing.

-Hope Madison Bumgarner and Ryan Vogelsong can keep it up.  Also, get well soon, Brian Wilson.

-The Hoyas' fight in China just got me more fired up for college basketball season.  It can't come around soon enough.  I don't care if expectations will be lower this season - I think we can surprise some people.  And no matter what, planning on being in DC for February 25 vs. Villanova and February 27 vs. Notre Dame, a Saturday-Monday double dip.  It really can't come soon enough.

-But until DC in February, perhaps the only trip I will be able to make starts tomorrow (or technically, today), a Chicago Quick Dip to visit Bridget and friends and fulfill a long-time dream of mine and see a game at Wrigley Field.  I will be in Chicago for less than 48 hours (ugh, planned this poorly).  But it will be worth it.

-A lot of trips planned already for next year.  Hopefully, work won't get in the way.  On second thought, fuck work, I will do whatever I need to do to be happy.

-Restaurant management has come and gone for me, for now.  Geez, I didn't even make it to four months.  But, this could be a blessing in disguise.  I'm no longer working a job that frustrates me to the point that I complain about it incessantly.  I can now go back to bartending for a while, and really work hard and learn the craft.  My schedule frees up, I can do more things that I want to do.  Sure, my schedule will be more sporadic and unpredictable, but I can now plan around events so that I don't miss out on anything.  Plus, I at least have a little management experience now, which I can hopefully parlay into more dinero in the future.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ken Burns' Baseball: The Tenth Inning

On Netflix, I recently watched Ken Burns' Baseball: The Tenth Inning, a sequel of sorts to his landmark documentary series in 1994.  I suggest any baseball fan watch it.  It gave a good look into the sport from the strike of 1994 through the 2009 season, in particular the steroid conversy that engulfed much of this time frame.

As a selfish Giants fan, it's a shame Burns didn't wait one more year so that he could have included the 2010 San Francisco Giants World Series run.  Instead, there are numerous references to the Giants never having won a World Series in San Francisco, Barry Bonds' home run records and controversy, and the oh so painful 2002 World Series that I am finally over.  But I guess we can always wait until the 11th inning for that.

A few points I'd like to make about it:

-The Great Home Run Chase of 1998.  Man, was that fun, at the time.  Ignorance was bliss.  Barry's breaking the single season record in 2001 and career record in 2007 did not come close, because of what we then knew about the steroid controversy.  History now clouds our judgment of this home run chase, due to Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire's steroid use.

-Yankees-Red Sox, 2003-2004.  Two great ALCS series between fierce, historical rivals, resulting in the reversing of the Curse of the Bambino.  The Yankees got the first laugh with an amazing Game 7 in 2003, which I remember well from my freshman year at Georgetown (as well as the big brawl in Boston in Game 3 or 4, I forget which game it was).  But the Yankees lost the World Series to the Marlins, and the Red Sox got the last laugh the following year.  A historical comeback from three games down, two walk off wins in Games 4 and 5, and emphatic thumpings on the road in Games 6 and 7... really is more incredible every time I think about it.

However, as great as those 2003 and 2004 series were, I do think the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry has become way overexposed in recent years.  It's gotten to the point where I am sick of Yankees-Red Sox, how they're always on ESPN, how they're always discussed and overanalyzed.  While I respect that the two teams have performed very well over the past, oh, 10 seasons or so, I am sick of the oversaturation.  It also reeks of East Coast bias.

Let's see a little more Giants-Dodgers, huh?  =)

-The Cubs... well, I just really feel sorry for them.  Hopefully I will make a visit to Wrigley Field soon.

I've only watched bits and pieces of Ken Burns' original Baseball documentary that came out in 1994, so it may be a good time to give myself a good history lesson about the sport, since all of it (yes, all 18.5 hours) are available online on Netflix.  So there's that.  Plus, I am halfway through the final ninth season of Seinfeld in my epic DVD watching journey.  Haven't written about that in a while, so I should probably do that soon.

But based on my history, I'm going to go at my own pace, so this may take me some time.

P.S.  Ken Burns also gave what I thought was probably the best commencement address I have ever heard, at least in terms of keeping my attention.  It was to the Georgetown College Class of 2006.  It was a bit of a controversial speech, criticizing the war in Iraq but also praising the greatest modern invention in his mind: the book.  Needless to say, I have a lot of respect for Ken Burns, the person.  Maybe there will also be some Civil War and Jazz documentary watching in my future as well.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Osama Bin Laden is Dead

I have a hard time celebrating the death of any person, regardless of what he or she may have done. In a perfect world, I would have liked to have seen Bin Laden taken alive and brought to trial. However, this imperfect world is a better place without him. This is a great day for the United States of America, for the victims of 9/11 and their families, and for all those who oppose terrorism in this world. Thank you, all those responsible for this effort, and long live the USA.

P.S. One of the few times that I wish I still lived in DC...

Monday, April 25, 2011

Deep Thoughts by Matt Kamenski

I mean, by Matt Kamenski.
(Note: Many of these actually aren't really meant to be funny, as Jack Handey's were.  Some of these are my pretty serious deep thoughts.  Others consist of random shit that just pops into my head.)

-I want get really rich and then give all my money away to charity.

-I've accepted that most girls are fairly superficial and materialistic.  This, is turn, sometimes alters my decision-making about certain things.  Ladies, please feel free to defend yourselves.  (I've noticed this in many people, but specifically in females.)

-Think about someone other than yourself for once.

-I understand that I have some superficial tendencies myself, but I try to be as anti-materialistic as I can possibly be.  There is a difference.

-If I ever end up fathering a child, I will have such a power trip over my son/daughter.  If he/she ever gives me attitude, I'll just respond back, "Look, I created you.  I can also destroy you."

-Most of the little things that we worry about in life do not really matter.

-Sometimes people ask me what my "type" is in a girl.  Is it wrong that the first word that pops into my head is "attractive"?

-There are some things in life that you should be picky about.  Otherwise, you're just getting the bottom of the barrel product with everything.  However, if you're extremely picky about everything, then you have a serious problem.

-Pursuing a long-term career in the bar and restaurant industry, I have my good days and days just like everyone else.  There are days that I love what I do.  There are days that I don't want to be there.  But can I see myself pursuing anything else right now with the same passion and vigor?  The answer is no.

-Function over form, substance over style.  Always.  (I understand that this contradicts some of what I said earlier.  I am full of contradictions.  Most human beings are.)

P.S. The Kamikaze Blog has relocated about 40 miles from Mountain View to San Francisco's Mission District.  More on that hopefully to come.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Another Sports Post

Sorry, all I think about is sports these days...

-In a friendly this past Saturday, the US tied the always formidable Argentineans 1-1 at the Meadowlands.  US Soccer also debuted their red jersey, the same design as the 2010 World Cup kit but with a red base color and blue stripe.  I was told by e-mail that it was inspired by the Sam's Army supporters, who wear red to every game.  I really, really like this red jersey.  So much that I may have to shell out again after paying $80 for this 2010 World Cup blue jersey, which I bought actually after the Cup had concluded:

Nice, better than the white, but not as cool as the red, in my humble opinion.
-Well, there's at least one Georgetown basketball team that hasn't made me utterly depressed over the past couple weeks.  The Georgetown women's basketball team made it to the NCAA Tournament for the third time in school history, and for the first time ever in back to back seasons.  As a #5 seed, they made it to the Sweet 16 for the second time in school history (first since 1993) with blowout wins over Princeton and Maryland.  All the more impressive considering the games were played on Maryland's home court in College Park.

Sugar Rodgers
Then, the Hoyas nearly shocked the world in Philadelphia against #1 seed UConn.  Georgetown actually led by 7 with less than ten minutes to play, before UConn went on a ridiculous run led by Maya Moore and won, 68-63.  The Hoyas' season is over, but they finished 24-11, and Sugar Rodgers had an amazing tournament.  Georgetown loses only senior Monica McNutt from this year's squad, so expect the Hoyas to be even more of a big-time competitor on the women's scene next year.

The team plays with a tenacity and attitude that the men's team currently lacks, and soon to be junior Sugar Rodgers can be an incredible basketball player.  I hope they continue to move farther along in the NCAA Tournament next year.  I'm almost a little pissed that they didn't pull off the upset against UConn, because they were up late and seemed to be in control of the game.  What an incredible opportunity it was for Georgetown women's basketball.  Still, hard to be too disappointed with a Sweet 16.

-Your 2011 Final Four: Butler, UConn, VCU, and Kentucky.  Either Butler or VCU will be playing for the national title.  Incredible.  Makes me feel a little better about Georgetown's 1st round blowout loss to VCU, but not that much.

-Baseball season starts on Thursday?  Giants at Dodgers at 5pm on ESPN?  Are you kidding me!?  I feel like we just won the World Series yesterday.  I'm still not finished watching 2010 postseason highlights.  I'm just not ready to start a new season yet, I'm still basking in the glory.

But I'll be ready by Thursday.  Looking backwards is fun, especially after such an incredible run by the Giants last year.  However, all sights must be forward.  This 2011 club could be in for some special things as well.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A look back and a look ahead... to the 2011-12 Georgetown Hoyas

Not just for politics anymore.
First, let me preface this by saying that I will definitely miss the seniors of 2011: Austin Freeman, Chris Wright, Julian Vaughn, and Ryan Dougherty.  Despite the lack of postseason success, all made big-time contributions to the great Hoya legacy.  Austin and Chris in particular rank among some of the all-time Georgetown greats.  They're definitely in my top 10 favorite Georgetown players since I started following the team in 2003.

That said, I am ready to turn the page.  This group, and I'll throw Greg Monroe in there too, while talented, just did not have whatever it takes to make a run in the NCAA Tournament (read: get a win).  Even the regular seasons were a little topsy turvy, and there was, of course, that disastrous 2009 NIT season.  So, while I will miss them, I am ready to move on, to a new group, and to a new era of Hoya basketball.  Because this really is the end of an era.

2008 was the end of the initial JT3 era: Green, Hibbert, Wallace, bringing Georgetown back from the dead to three NCAA tournament berths, two Big East regular season championships, one Big East tournament championship, a Sweet 16, and a Final Four.

2011 is the end of the second JT3 era: Freeman, Wright, Monroe, unable to build upon the success that the last group had, some great wins but ultimately underachieving seasons, one run to the Big East Tournament final, two NCAA berths, zero NCAA wins (or postseason wins, for that matter).

The 2011-12 season will be a new beginning.  I look at junior Hollis Thompson and senior Jason Clark to be the leaders of next year's team.  But I also cringe a bit as I say that.  They've proven themselves as solid players, but will it be DaJuan Summers and Jessie Sapp all over again - great contributors as role players, but unable to lead the team?  I wonder.

I like Nate Lubick, and I think he will continue to develop in his sophomore season.  I like his intensity, but he needs to work on post moves and midrange game (no more threes).

Henry Sims will be a senior, and will probably be our biggest frontcourt presence.  Ouch.  He did improve a lot from his sophomore to junior year, to the point where he is now a serviceable backup.  However, for him to be our starting center?  I quiver.  There were still times where he just looked lost out there.  I hope he puts in some serious work in the offseason.

Will Markel Starks and Vee Sanford be able to take on added responsibility and minutes to fill the void of guard play that Austin Freeman and Chris Wright left?  That is a big question.

Will Moses Ayegba shed the dreaded "project" label, and be able to provide some muscle and depth in the frontcourt?

Will any of our incoming recruiting class of Trawick, Hopkins, Adams, and Whittington be able to contribute right away?  Are there any future stars in this bunch?  And are there any future stars that we are recruiting that we will be able to bring in down the road?

And of course, the dreaded question: will there be any transfers?

Also, let me say that I love John Thompson III.  However, he must take at least some of the blame of the postseason failures of the past few seasons.  I don't know specifically what he needs to do, but I know that he needs to step it up.  Expectations will be low next year, so this is an opportunity for him for a fresh start, to really teach and develop his players.

It will be an interesting season in 2011-12.  Apparently the team will be going to China in August, and then to Hawaii in November for the Maui Invitational where we will face some top flight competition.  There is still talent on the roster, so I believe we can make a run at the NCAA Tournament.  But it will be tough.  I would not be that surprised if we end up in the NIT.  But my honest expectation is that we will be a bubble team next year, I just do not know which way it will go.

But mostly, I am looking for JT3 to develop this team so that we are primed for success in future seasons.  We are not going to win the national championship next year.  However, hopefully we can take some steps next season, wherever we end up, so that we can set the stage for some serious runs at it in the years ahead.

5 NCAA appearances in 7 years under JT3, that's not bad.  Hopefully, let's make it 6 in 8 after next season.  And who knows, maybe we can actually win a game there, with a new group that has nothing to lose.