“The Next Big Thing”: Walking on Water

Liquid Mountaineering

This clip was actually introduced to me from a good friend of mine. The title of the post pretty much describes the clip so I won’t write too much about it. My favorite line from the clip: “Oh my God, Jesus...” yea pretty much. At times the human will and ability is just impressive. I first saw this at 2:20 a.m., it was amusing to me and and gave me an assortment of ideas.

Then I did further research and realized it was really just a creative shoe advertisement/viral campaign. Regardless, it piqued my interest. I’ve always wanted to fly and walk on water. I do believe that we humans have yet to scratch the surface of our physical capabilities (I dare not speak of our mental capacity in this post). But, next up on my “To Do” list… Liquid Mountaineering.

Seattle Sports Win A Title: But I’m IRATE

For the second year in row Seattle has earned Forbes’ “America’s Most Miserable Sports City”. Atlanta came in second and Phoenix in third, but hey at least ATL and PHX have basketball teams.

Here is an excerpt of the Forbes article:

The Seattle sports scene isn’t exactly hopping these days. Baseball’s Mariners haven’t been in the playoffs since 2001, while the NFL Seahawks are 9-23 over the past two seasons, a distressing slide for the football club following a five-year run of postseason appearances that failed to bring a championship.

Both franchises, born a year apart in the mid-1970s, are still searching for their first titles despite qualifying for the playoffs a combined 14 times. In 109 cumulative sports seasons for all Seattle pro teams, the city has only won one title. The franchise responsible for that lone championship a distant 31 years ago, the NBA Supersonics, left for Oklahoma City two years ago, lured by a better arena deal. It’s left local fans to watch ESPN highlights of prized 2007-08 Sonic rookie Kevin Durant light up opponents in an Oklahoma City Thunder uniform. Add it all up, and Seattle is America’s most miserable sports city for a second straight year.

Committed, yet disappointed Seahawk fans

All of this on the heels of an alleged story that one of our beloved sports icons, Ken Griffey, Jr., was asleep in the clubhouse when he was supposed to be called on to pinch-hit.  Meanwhile an article on ESPN is “Scripting Griffey’s Final Chapter.” Do I need to mention that the Mariners lost today by giving up a grand slam in the 8th inning to the lowly Baltimore Orioles?

A few days ago I gave the rundown of some questionable moments in Seattle sports ownership/management history. A good friend of mine responded to the post by saying:

…I just wish Seattle as a whole (fans & writers) would be a little more critical about how we really feel instead of being so soft and lenient. I really think that if we weren’t so nonchalant about things, we might have a championship by now. It’s not like we don’t have the money to spend and the intelligence to make dumb decisions in the office. Take Boston or NY and the love to their team. They (fans & writers) are critical and demand more from the teams and because they are, they get it! Just sayin!

At first I was a little upset that my friend would even bring up Boston or NY. Of course my friend is not as diehard as I am, he’s been known to rep teams from other states and cities (such as the Angels, seriously dude? Division rivals?). But I can sense the frustration. ESPN ran an article about the 2008 sporting year in Seattle. Outside the Lines titled the article “The Worst Year Ever: Think the last 12 months were rough? It could be worse. You could be a sports fan in Seattle.” Maybe that will help some of you understand why I become unnaturally quiet during some sporting seasons or after games… Life is ROUGH as a Seattle sports fan.

But will I settle for any more mediocrity? No. In fact some of my friends have called me out for my critical opinions of our sports teams as of late. Such as the Hawks hiring of Pete Carroll (may work out) and the lack of bats the M’s picked up in the off-season (hasn’t worked out). They look at it like I am no longer am excited about Seattle sports.

To the contrary. I LOVE Seattle sports, but I’m just upset that we’re looked upon as such deadbeats. My friend is right, we have the resources. Nintendo owns the Mariners and Paul Allen owns the Seahawks. Now the season is young for the Mariners, but let me be a realist, we have a lot of work to do (thankfully we’re in the lowly AL West). There are a lot of question marks for the Seahawks heading into the upcoming season, and though it’s a new regime and we’re “rebuilding” I’ll be quite upset if we don’t make a run in the lowly NFC West. Man seriously; thank goodness we play in the weakest divisions… Yet we still can’t win them, I’m getting slightly sad here.

But, fo real. Something needs to happen with our professional sports teams. Our teams may be indicative of the city, in that we’re just happy to be a part of the dance. But that’s more of the older ilk. My generation of fans is hungry. We’re hungry for a National Championship and another run into the Super Bowl. We were teased in 2005. If there’s one thing I’m sure if, is that Seattleites don’t take shit and don’t like to be teased. So to the Sounders, the Mariners, and the Seahawks… I’m begging you to help us stop getting teased. I’m not quite ready to call you out, but I am. I won’t give up on my teams, but at least let me be interested past the halfway point of any season.

More so I want the management and the owners to be as passionate as the fans are. They should not wait until there is a hole in the team to fix it. They should be proactive. They should not wait until we hit rock bottom. They should constantly be rebuilding, improving their farm system. Seattle is a city that is built on innovation, thinking outside of the box, being dynamic and creative… our owners and management should embrace that and use our ideals in the team foundations. To steal the line from Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.” Seattle fans have been coming for decades and are notorious for having one of the loudest fan base in the NFL. Let’s break this losing mold and let’s cheer for victories instead of final farewells for old icons.

More often then not you’ll see me, a proud alum rockin a University of Washington hat or one from any sports team in Seattle. You know why, because I’m not from NY, Boston or LA. I’m from Washington and I’m damn proud of it. And though I’ve suffered mild lapses of depression such as after Super Bowl XL (I think I may have suffered permanent depression because of that), I will always rep the home teams. Even when I was living in California, even during 2008 I wore my purple and gold or blue and green.

Memories of my family yelling at the TV screen as Steve Largent perfected the tiptoe sideline catch, paving the way for Madden video game grabs. Barkin with the Dawg Pack when the Huskies won the 1992 Rose Bowl and split the National Championship with Miami. Joining a collective “Ohhhhhhhhh!” as Shawn Kemp delivered a monster dunk only thought imaginable on NBA Jam Tournament Edition. Skipping classes and jumping with exuberance as the M’s beat the Yankees in 1995 to get to the ALCS. All hallmarks of my sporting youth, but none of which I will ever forget. Sure we may be lacking in a major championship in my lifetime, but Washington sports run deep in my blood.

But I’m no longer going to live on a hope that something may happen in any given sports season. I want action, I want change, I WANT to be disappointed when we don’t get to a conference championship or lose a bowl game. That’s how it was for me growing up… and now that I’m a bit older (still not grown up) and I’m a bit more invested, with memorabilia and various bets (I mean tickets) I don’t want to rep the title of “America’s Most Miserable Sports City” I want to smash Pennsylvania’s feat of having the Stanley Cup, Super Bowl trophy and winning the World Series. Oh wait; we don’t have an NHL or NBA team… Go Sounders?

Oh the life of Seattle sports fan. Hey, if anything we’ve built character and are true fans that don’t jump on the bandwagon just because our teams are winning… because quite frankly, it’s been a long time and we’re still fans.

A Comic: What Men Really Think About

I’m not sure who to give credit to for this comic. My buddy Rob “buzzed” it and the link for it comes from imgur. So whoever created this… props.

Musical Wednesday: DeWyze & Bowersox, King & Taylor Duets, and a Ballin 6th Grader

This should be a recap of American Idol last night. But I’m not really going to do a recap until it comes down to the final two: Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox. I put this prediction out there weeks/months ago. However, I didn’t know they were going to do duets this week on Idol.

Call it chance or call it timing. I was listening to the radio this weekend while gardening/planting for Moms and they were playing the entire concert of James Taylor and Carole King at the Troubadour (one of my favorite venues in LA, which ironically I went to less when I wasn’t living there than when I was). To you young bucks out there or the musically deficient readers of mine, you have to peep out both of these artists. Not musicians or songwriters, but artists. Individually they are masterful but together they exemplify, duet.  “Up On the Roof” was originally written by Carole King, popularized by The Drifters, but dominated by the duet of King and Taylor. The song reminds me of all the good times on my old rooftop in downtown Los Angeles.

Not at all to compare Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox to James Taylor and Carole King, but figured the last song was a good lead in to this video. I’m a sucker for musicals or movies based around music. Peep the “Who is the Penning Panda?” page and you’ll find a few of such movies. One of the movies based upon musicians is the movie Once. That movie gets me EVERY time for a number of reasons, some personal, but mostly for the story and the music. Keeping that in mind, you’ll understand the next part of this blog.

One of my dearest friends, Mags, lives in the Central Time Zone and she sent me a text before Idol aired West Coast time that read: “Oh God you’re going to have an orgasm when you watch a certain song on Idol tonight!”

This of course had me wondering as she knows me as well as anyone out there… I was out and about and didn’t get to see it “live,” but when I did finally get a chance to watch it on DVR I’d have to say… she was right. Not only were DeWyze and Bowersox paired up, but they sang one of my favorite duets of all time from the movie Once, “Falling Slowly.”

Let’s be honest there are really only two “stars” to come out of American Idol: Kelly Clarkson (probably because she was the first winner) and Carrie Underwood (mmmm, Carrie Underwood). Again not saying DeWyze or Bowersox will be as successful as either of those two, but I’m really vibing off both of them. If they can keep their heads on straight and find a good support team, they can do good things. And hopefully they pull off another duet in the future… best performance all season, hands down.

Speaking of people with musical skill. This was posted by a friend of mine and I can’t help but snag it and repost it. If you haven’t heard of Greyson Michael Chance yet, I have a feeling you will. At least virally online. This kid is amazing and to think he’s only 12. I’m thinking it’s only a matter of time before someone “discovers” him and signs this kid.

This is the video that my friend Jillian posted of Greyson covering Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” at his school’s Edmond’s Sixth Grade Festival. Definitely check out his YouTube Channel that also features two of his original songs. A brilliant songwriter and musician, this kid if he can keep his nose clean (all puns intended) could be on the fast-track to stardom. I often have my qualms about the Internet, but it’s amazing how fast something like Greyson’s talent can spread. I mean if Greyson was on American Idol, he’d be getting all the teenie bopper texts (look at the girl’s reactions in the background). This kid is probably all-time dude when it comes to “7 in Heaven” at his middle school parties. Or in the words of my boy Sam, “They want to jump his bones.”

Hey Greyson, do you need an agent?

Wish Come True: Seattle Superhero Electron Boy

In any city at any moment news reports are sent out about how much wrong people are doing in the world. It may be a reality that there is a lot infringement on rights and beliefs going on. But a brighter reality is that there also is a lot of good happening. For every menace to society, there are about 1000 caring souls (hopefully an ambitious underestimate). The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted 13-year-old Erik Martin a resident of Bellevue, Washington the most epic wish. (view the video at the end of the post)

Erik Martin... I mean ELECTRON BOY!

Yesterday I wrote a post about responsibility. True it was in the context of sports owners to their fans. I mean I can’t be too critical (even though I am often overly critical of management/owners) about owners and their teams. Maybe I fall into the “slightly jealous, if I was an owner” camp. To be honest it’s their team, they can do whatever they want with it. But with that right comes the right of me and other diehard fans to criticize you. I mean look, if you own a 1938 Bugatti 57SC Atlantic you can do whatever you want with it. But if you paint it red and have your initials stitched into the seats with a sub that goes boom, then be ready for me to tell you that you are a pitiful owner.

Electron Boy saves the Sounders FC

Ah, again, thankfully the Sounders FC owners/management aren’t quite like that (current record will most likely lead to gripes soon though). The Sounders FC footballers themselves also care about their fans and the city that supports them. The players were part of Erik Martin’s wish.

Erik Martin’s wish was a simple one: He wanted to be a superhero.

In a society that seems to be lacking a “superhero” there are still heroes in our everyday lives. We all know the extraordinary efforts Make-A-Wish provides those who just live on to the next day is a heroic feat. This day Make-A-Wish granted Erik Martin who was born with a malformed heart, no spleen, and sensory problems to name a few health problems his wish. Erik Martin became Electron Boy.

Electron Boy Saves Seattle

I’ve placed links throughout this post with the entire story, so I won’t rehash it here. It did involve a DeLorean, a limo, tons of fans, a motorcade across Lake Washington, a crane, Qwest Field, the Sounders FC, a few tears, plenty of tears and an incredibly happy 13-year-old. Provided below is a video clip that sums up the heroic day not only for Electron Boy, but exemplified that there is actually good news to report in the world. There are heroes amongst us. We may not be able to rebuild the economy, end war, solve world hunger, and save the environment in one snap of the finger. But daily inspirations and motivations towards others can lead to a greater good. I firmly believe it, every little thing that you may do whether it provide a smile or donate to a charity like Make-A-Wish makes a world of difference. It’s one of those diseases that you hope you can spread. The disease of giving and acting.

This story is one of those desktop lamps that I’ve talked about in conversations with some of you. It may be only a small light, but it provides an ability to pen a dream, to type change, to stir emotion that will hopefully resonate with everyone who learns about it. It has already reached across the United States to far corners of the world such as the Czech Republic and Australia. There is even a facebook group titled “Fans of Electron Boy” that has over 9,500 as members.

Erik Martin, excuse me Electron Boy, is a superhero in our eyes… but each one of us like all the participants in his wish are desktop lamps. Let’s plug ourselves in and burn a brighter day for someone else.

With that, enjoy this clip that reviews Electron Boy’s incredible feat.

Warning: goosebumps will occur. (And if they do, then you are definitely a light).

Seattle Sounders Own Up to Fans

Dedicated Seattle Sounders FC Fans at Qwest Field

Facing consequences and people being responsible for their actions or lack there of? And in from so-called heartless sports ownership nonetheless?

However sad it may be, today was the first time in my recent recollection that owners of a professional sports team actually did something FOR the fans. I’m not talking about some cheap bobble head or magnet giveaway. No, today the Sounders FC management (FC stands for football club, in case you were wondering) made me think that not all owners are wealthy crybaby boo-hounds. Even though the football club is young, this season has not started out as expected. Apparently the Sounders FC recognize this and have considered the fans in this realization.

Owners of teams in the sports landscape often get a bad rap. Whether deserved or just because many wish they had enough coin to own their professional sports team, I’m not entirely sure. You have George Steinbrenner who would pay a billion dollars for a season to resurrect Babe Ruth and then make his fans pay $5000 for upper deck seats. You have Mark Cuban, who given the chance would yell at you while saying thanks for opening the door for him.

Being a fan of Seattle sports there has been more than a few times that I wanted to burn down a front office:

I’ll get the obvious one out of the way. If I did not hold stock in Starbucks the entire corporate office would be burnt down. I’m sorry to all my friends that work at Starbucks and all you Starbucks lovers out there. But Howard Schultz is villain number one on my list. In his money grubbing ways he sold the Seattle SuperSonics to some hicks from Oklahoma City, who eventually moved the team to that Podunk backwoods area… and who now have the 2010 scoring champ AND made the playoffs. Schultz, you think if you couldn’t nut up for a few years and watch your team grow that the enthusiasm of fans over a young team successful team might not have helped your bid for a new arena? (see infra) I don’t know how else to put this but… F*@! YOU Howard Schultz! The removal of a 41 year old standard in Seattle was documented well in Sonicsgate – Requiem For A Team. If you’re a Seattle sports fan and want to get riled up watching your old heroes talk about the failure Howard Schulltz and his ownership, definitely check it out.

In the early 90’s the Seattle Mariners team ownership led by Jeff Smulyan, claim because of poor performance (but in reality it was low attendance and poor revenue), openly considered selling and/or relocating the team to a different city. Thankfully, in 1992 the club was sold to Hiroshi Yamauchi and later Nintendo of America… in 1995, “The Double” occurred and a new stadium was built (albeit with assistance of taxpayer money, but hey we still have a baseball team).

In 1996, then Seattle Seahawks owner Ken Behring, moved all of the office equipment and some team gear to an old Los Angeles Rams practice facility in Anaheim, to try to get approval for moving the team from Seattle. Thankfully, it failed and Paul Allen has since taken over and provided a city with a spectacular stadium.

Speaking of the spectacular Qwest Field. Not only does the stadium host the Seahawks, but it is also home to the Seattle Sounders FC. The stadium only eight years old has already seen its share of great sports moments. A highlight in my live sports watching career was being in the stands during the Super Bowl XL run in a playoff game against the Cowboys. If you shall recall, Tony Romo botched a snap for a field goal that would’ve put the Cowboys up two points with less than a minute left.

This past Saturday the scene was not as memorable. In fact the scene at Qwest Field was drudging for Seattle fans.  In combination with the Mariner’s epic losing skid, the Sounders FC were shellacked by the LA Galaxy in a 4-0 romp. One little desktop lamp that shown on Seattle fans was that the M’s ended their 8 game losing skid yesterday.

However, it was what the Sounders FC management did today that has owners across the globe quaking in their $10,000 leather chairs as their hands shaking pulling that $5,000 glass of scotch to their botoxed lips. The move that the Sounders FC fans should (but probably won’t) put professional owners on blast, on how you should treat your fans and care about the product you put on the field/pitch/court/ice etc.

In light of the drubbing by the Galaxy on Saturday, Sounders FC owner and general manager Adrian Hanauer announced that all season ticket holders will get a one game credit towards next year’s season tickets. Here’s what Hanauer had to say:

“That wasn’t Sounders soccer and it was quite frankly embarrassing, humiliating and the fans don’t deserve that… The refund will come in the form of a credit against next year’s season tickets. We want our fans committed for the long haul and we think this is the right thing to do for our fans… As the owners of the club we reserve the right to do whatever we think we need to do to treat our fans the way they’ve treated us.”

I’ve tried to rack my sports knowledge pit of any other United States professional sports team to reimburse fans for a terrible showing. I cannot come up with a single instance. If you can come up with one, certainly pass it my way. Although I have heard that some English football (soccer) teams have been known to do this. The Wingan Athletic’s PLAYERS (not management/owners) offered to reimburse ticket sales for all the fans who attended the game in North London after a 9-1 mauling by the Tottehnam Hotspur.

In a current climate when everyone in higher positions, be it sports or politics, seem to be running away from responsibility it was encouraging to see the Sounders FC make such a gesture.

And you know responsibility and facing consequences don’t just extend to sports and politics, it extends to human relationships in general. Think about it. If your boyfriend or girlfriend erred so bad, such as freaking out over a small matter (like making a wrong turn on the way to dinner), subsequently ruining the rest of the night and had to make it up like the Sounders FC did… well just think of how much better relationships would be. Just sayin.

All I know is that the next Sounders FC game, you can find me with my “scarf up.” Let’s just hope it’s a 4-0 or simply a legitimate victory for Seattle fans.

Pennies Into Political Perspective

It's All Just Pennies

I’ve said a few times that I’m not going to get too much into political debates on this blog. But from time to time I’ll chime in on a few things. My reasoning is simple: one my depth on political issues is not as it once was when I was studying it in undergrad. Further, I’d rather have a face-to-face discussion when it comes to politics. For me when I do talk about politics, it’s a discussion. For many, it’s an argument. If I write about it, for those who like to argue, it looks like what I write is in fact set in stone and explains my entire thought on a topic. But that’s not really how I view politics, I view it as an ongoing discussion, and if someone says something profound or something that can enhance my views or thoughts on a political topic I’m all for it. But the funny part about it, is that people often refuse to talk about politics, but they read what someone writes about politics and they form an automatic judgment about that person… most of the time it’s wrong. That’s why I usually don’t write about politics per se. But I will definitely hold a face-to-face conversation with you.

This by no means represents any of my specific political views. But these videos give a pretty cool perspective to some political thoughts right now. There is no doubt that our culture, especially my generation and younger, are jaded by politics. Most people think that one person can’t make a difference or that the problems are too large for us to even consider. Many will argue and yell about issues that they have no real understanding of. An exemplification of this country’s passive-aggressiveness towards anything political.

That’s my brief political statement for now… with that enjoy viewing these short clips. For those of you who think the political picture is too big to grasp, maybe this might put it into a perspective easier to rationalize or at least think about without having your head spin.

For more about the creator of these videos, Matthias Shapiro, check out his Political Math Blog.

Obama Budget Cuts Visualization


Obama’s $17 Billion Budget Cuts In Context

Health Care Reform Cost Visualization