Showing posts from March, 2008

LA Scene: Dudamel, Bruins, Dodgers

Friday Evening

Got the chance to see Dudamel in action.

The body language of the conductor and orchestra said they are having fun out there!

The evening started with Salonen's Insomnia. As the name suggests, it was a spooky sounding piece that captured the rat running in a maze feeling one feels late at night when one can't sleep.

The piano soloist Simon Trpceski joined the philharmonic on stage and played the demanding Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 1! His fingers were moving along the keys with frantic speed. How do piano players do that? Just amazing!

Upon completion, the audience roared and applauded its praise. Trpceski treated us to a rare encore. He played a beautiful and delicate solo piano piece by Debussy.

The night was closed out with Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique.

It was a night of music that makes you sit up and take notice. Dudamel energy made the audience sit up and take notice and he is clearly on his way to seizing the adoration of the LA Phil fans.

In …

Sports: Xavier vs. UCLA, Saturday

Against A&M, it was the Collison and Love show. Against WKY, it was the Keefe and Love show.

UCLA will need a third key player to show up big to even have a chance at beating Xavier.

I'm hopeful that Howland will come up with a game plan but in the end, the guys have to execute on the court.


Culture: Merchants of Cool

As part of youth group planning meeting we saw a clip from the documentary Merchants of Cool.

From the short clip we saw, the emphasis in the television show was about the business side of life for teenagers. As such I think the definition of cool might have one definition in the context of commerce and another in the context of personalities. In the context of business the "cool" would be the "early adopters," "opinion shapers" and "trend setters."

Following the 80-20 rule, these would be the 20% that leads the way for the other 80%. These trend setters would be considered cool. I suppose cool is about creating a certain persona in one's social tribe.

In another context (i.e. Jesus is cool) that definition would be different. In this setting, what we're looking for is somebody who seems to hear "a higher voice" than what is commonly heard. Instead of hearing the "zeitgeist," this type of individual would follow that hig…

Sports: WKU vs. UCLA on Thursday

As a Bruin fan, have been scouring the internets for analysis on the upcoming game!

Bruin fans can swing by some fan sites for items. If you are a fan be sure to bookmark, and

Lunardi on WKU:

Lunardi on UCLA:

UCLA has been tempting fate with lots of close games in the last few weeks.

Hopefully, Lunardi is right that the Bruins pour it on!

Here is Gene Wojciechowski's profile on UCLA Coach Howland. I'm sure Howland is working on a game plan to corral the WKU star guard and up tempo style.

After Texas A&M and so many close games this season, this Bruin fan is hopeful but nervous!

In any case, GO BRUINS!!!

UPDATE: UCLA wins 88-78 but way too much drama!!!

Audio clip highlights.

Video highlights.

Sports: How did the NIT selection committee do?

The NIT is down to the final 8.

Who made it?
By seeding: 1,1,1,1,2,2,2,3.

Sports: Mad Marchness!

Got to give the NCAA selection committee credit as the seedings by and large held true.

Let's do the numbers:
East region: 1, 2, 3 and 4 advance.
South region: 1, 2, 3 and 5 advance.
West region: 1, 3, 7 and 12 advance.
Midwest region: 1, 3, 10 and 12 advance.

11 of the 16 were "supposed" to advance and a five seed getting to the round sixteen is as much of an "upset" as a 9 beating an 8.

Duke and GTown going down were clearly shockers. You just don't expect 2 seeds to get bounced. UConn, a 4 seed was defeated because a key player was injured early in their first round game paving the way for an upset. Vandy, the other 4 seed ousted, was in the eyes of many commentators over-rated. Pittsburgh, the other 4 seed that lost, was beated by 5th seeded MSU which at most would be considered a minor upset.

Conference breakdowns in the sweet 16:
Pac10 - 3 teams (UCLA, Stanford, WSU)
Big East - 3 teams (Villanova, West Virginia, Louisville)
Big 10 - 2 teams (Wisconsin, Michi…

Sports: UCLA 51 Texas A&M 49

Was at the Pond yesterday!

Game one was high drama with Stanford winning it on a late shot in OT 82-81 over Marquette.

As a Pac10 partisan, was rooting for Stanford. After that game, the UCLA fans in our section were all thinking, okay, a little less drama please for our beloved Bruins!

Well, you guessed it, Texas A&M came out and punched UCLA in mouth with physical play and just wanting it more en route to building a 10 point lead by the mid-second half.

But, like all year long, the Bruins just seem to find a way to fight back and won 53-49 as Collison and Love simply refused to lose on offense and the whole team playing strangling defense in the last half of the 2nd half.

UPDATE: The final basket by Westbrook came after the buzzer. The official score has been corrected to 51-49.

Links to video highlights.

UPDATE: Play log of the game. Check this out:
10:09 Donald Sloan made Two Point Jumper. TxAM 44 UCLA 36.
4:14 Derrick Roland made Free Throw. TxAM 45 UCLA 43.
UCLA's defense hel…

Devotional Thoughts: 7 sayings of Jesus on the Cross, meditations inspired by art

One common way to commemorate Good Friday is to reflect on the seven sayings of Jesus on the cross. This evening I went to All Saints Episcopal Church of Beverly Hills. There was a collection of artwork connected with the seven sayings of Jesus on the cross. At each station there was also an essay which I was told by one of the ushers was prepared independently of the artwork.

Individuals who came into the service were invited to enter the sanctuary and to view the stations in any order they wished. I decided to reflect on the sayings and artwork and but not read the written essays. I jotted initial thoughts in my journal and I'm expanding on those ideas in this blog post.

The first station, "Woman behold your son..." (John 19:26) appeared to be a Mary statue with a video iPod on it. The iPod flashed pictures of various people. Contemplating this reminded me of how Jesus always thought about other people. Thus, while even dying on the cross, he was thinking about his mot…

Life: Why men shouldn't get action figures

Got the above jpg in an email this morning with the tag line, "Why men shouldn't get action figures ..."


Youth: What we don't know ... maybe I don't really want to know?

Came across this item the other day at YS Marko, a blog about working with youth in a church.

I'm not up on the phenomena, but apparently, some web pages allow people to post their secrets anonymously.

In the blog post, YS Marko points to such a web page and clipped a few excerpts of what some teen girls wrote about.

I was with the youth group on Tuesday night and they all seem to be happy well adjusted kids.

What would they post if given that opportunity?

Would they share such things with anyone?

And I have to ask myself this question: would I really want to hear it?

What would I do if I heard such a secret?

Its one thing to read about such things in the abstract, its quite another to connect such gut kicking secrets with a person you know.

I want to believe that I would be able to respond with love and acceptance and not shock and rejection.

I want to believe I would have the wisdom to know what to say if something needed to be said or to say nothing but just give a hug or a pat on the…

Devotional Thoughts: Easter and a Pipe as a Metaphor

Was checking this out this morning.

Part I:

Part II:

Lord, you are the living water. Help me be connected to you. Clear out the kinks and junk in me so that that water flows out to give life to, nourishes and refreshes all I meet. Amen.

Non-profit of the month: March 2008 - Search Dog Foundation

On the right hand column, I have two button/ad sized links to non-profits. One of them is to the Search Dog Foundation.

I came to know about the Search Dog Foundation because of Hurricane Katrina.

Their mission, straight from their home page:

The mission of the Search Dog Foundation is to produce the most highly trained canine disaster search teams in the nation. The job of these teams is to find people buried alive in the wreckage of natural disasters and terrorist attacks.

Check out their FAQ to learn more about what they do and what it takes to train a search dog. Here are some excerpts:

SDF recruits dogs from across the country that are rescued from abuse or abandonment. Typically these dogs demonstrate high energy, tenacity and boldness, making them ideal for search and rescue, but unsuitable for a family pet. After passing stringent screening and testing criteria, the dogs are then trained to harness that high energy, drive and tenacity into life-saving skills.
When the d…

Technology: MacSpeech Dictate

Speech recognition software such as Dragon Speaking is very popular on the Windows platforms. However for many years, the Mac lagged behind in this area. Recently, MacSpeech Dictate came out. I am using it right now to dictate this blog post. So far it's pretty accurate. As a blogger, sometimes it's easier to compose by typing at the keyboard. However, if I have a lot of thoughts on my mind, it might be easier to talk to the computer and then clean it up later. So if you see some really long blog posts, it might be the result of my talking to my MacSpeech Dictate. Good night for now.

Sports: 2008 NIT Bracketology

UPDATE: NIT bracket has been released!

First off, want to say I love the passion of the various fans who have visited this site! Have been getting 150-300 visitors a day this past week, with 9000+ hits today! A thank you to the handful who decided to say what's on their mind even if it is to tell me I don't know what I'm blogging about! 8-) And thank you that thus far, I have not had to delete anyone's comments as I try to run a family friendly blog here.

For the record, 27 of the 32 teams I predicted got into the NIT.

My NIT picks were put to bed on Saturday night so I didn't take into account the results of the last few tournament games Sunday nor the release of the NCAA bracket. Thus, I didn't anticipate that Ohio State and Illinois State would fall out of the NCAA into the NIT so I got those wrong. Their fall into the NIT would have pushed Charlotte and Miami-Ohio out of my selections. I had Villanova in the NIT but they wound up in the NCAA which wou…

Sports: UCLA vs. Stanford, Cal State Fullerton vs. UC Irvine

UCLA 67 Stanford 64.

I don't know how they win. 3 games in 3 days and it showed with poor free throw shooting. No Luc Richard. Kevin Love with back spasms. Horrible shooting percentage. Yet, somehow the gutty little Bruins hang in there and find a way to win.

Looking at the stats as ugly as the offense number were, the effort and defense numbers showed the extent to which Howland has got this team believing. Rebounds 39 for UCLA 34 for Stanford. But the shocking number is 18 offensive boards compared to 5! The other number is 6 steals versus 2. UCLA also played under control with only 4 turnovers.

How far can this team go?


Later on, down the Interstate 5, CSUF vs. UCI. Fullerton is favored to win as the #3 seed compared to UCI, the #5 seed. Fullerton beat the Anteaters twice in conference play. Fullerton had an easy win in the semi-finals over Northridge and no trouble with UC Riverside in the quarters. Irvine is playing their fourth game in four days of whic…

Sports: UCI vs. UCSB, UCLA vs. USC

Can they hang on?!

UCI 52 UCSB 50, 28 seconds left. UCI ball!

Meanwhile, at Staples Center UCLA and USC go at it again! UCLA's Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is out with an injury! Mata-Real, Keefe and Aboya are going to have to come up big.

UCI 55 UCSB 50, 3.5 seconds left!

Its a final. UCI goes to the Big West Finals with the NCAA bid on the line. Rip Em Eaters, ZOT, ZOT, ZOT!!!!!!!!!!!

UCLA 57 USC 54.... whew! UCLA advances to the Pac-10 Finals! Hope LRMAM will be healed up by tournament time!!

Sports: 2008 March Madness - Championship Week

Bruins beat the Bears, 88-66.

USC is next up. USC has the speed and athletes that cause trouble.

Can the Anteaters beat the Tigers?

Am catching the game via KUCI on streaming audio!

It is nervous time! Can they hang on?

UCI 53 UOP 43, 5:06 left!

Argh, shot clock violation by Irvine and now UOP is at the foul line!


UCI proceeds to self destruct!


UCI time out!

15 seconds left.

Turn over. 6 seconds left. UOP time out!

This is it. UOP inbounding the ball. UOP miss! Attempted put back. Was the blocked shot a goal tending? No, rule the refs.

UCI 57-56!

UCI takes on UCSB on Friday!

Business: Dave the Cobbler

Want to give a shout out to Dave Page, Cobbler!

I have an old pair of hiking boots I bought in 1997. Love 'em. Very comfortable. But the soles fell apart recently. Went to the REI page and found a page on Hiking Boot Care with info to Dave Page for repairs.

Contacted them and mailed the boots in and got them back!

Hiking anyone?

Culture: March Madness 2008

Its that time of the year for college B-ball fans!

#5 seeded UC Irvine took care of business by dispatching Long Beach 77-63. UOP is next for the Anteaters. Rip 'em 'Eaters, zot, zot, zot!

Meanwhile, I'll be following my beloved Bruins. Da Bears feel they was robbed at Pauley last Saturday and will be out to prove something. UCLA's gaudy record of 28 wins hides the fact the team has significant deficiencies. On the offense end, they don't hit the outside shot well so teams collapse on Kevin Love and dare the shooters to make them pay. On the defense end, UCLA has the big guys to get rebounds but that means they are a bit slow and teams that spread them out and take advantage of speed and nifty passing can shred UCLA's pressure defense. Usually, the pressure defense forces teams into mistakes but an athletic team with good passing and a cool head will be trouble.

Nonetheless, GO BRUINS!

Devotional Thoughts: Job as a Jesus figure?

Job 30 from Eugene Peterson's The Message ...

But no longer. Now I'm the butt of their jokes - young ruffians! whippersnappers!
Why, I considered their fathers
mere inexperienced pups.
But they are worse than dogs - good for nothing,
stray, mangy animals,
Half-starved, scavenging the back alleys,
howling at the moon;
Homeless guttersnipes
chewing on old bones and licking old tin cans;
Outcasts from the community,
cursed as dangerous delinquents.
Nobody would put up with them;
they were driven from the neighborhood.
You could hear them out there at the edge of town,
yelping and barking, huddled in junkyards,
A gang of beggars and no-names,
thrown out on their ears.

In the last part of Job 29, Job described what his life was once like. Once highly respected, his suffering now has diminished him in the eyes of others. Job is clearly frustrated and essential calls his critics worse than dogs. He seems them like people picking over the garbage! He feels they are …

Sports: Tempting fate

UCLA 81 Cal 80!

On one hand, you want a team to be able to pull off the improbable come from behind win and have the feeling that they are never out of a game.

On the other hand, they really shouldn't be in these situations.

It is so much easier on the nerves if you just blow people out!

Go Bruins!

Politics: Youtube dot com campaign

Not an official ad for Clinton but making the rounds ...

Jack Nicholson did work on it and has endorsed Clinton.

Black Eyed Peas and other pop icons and Obama ...

Non-profit of the month: February, 2008 - 168 Hour Film Project

Am a little behind on my updates spotlighting non-profits...

So in this early March, here is the non-profit of the month for February, 2008: 168 Hour Film Project.

Moving pictures are one of the most popular forms of entertainment these days and there is no such thing as "value-free" entertainment. Every movie and television show of long or short variety contain some world-view whether subtle or straightforward.

The 168 Hour Project is an opportunity for film-makers learning or breaking into the business to rub shoulders with some who are further along and uses the Christian Scriptures as the starting point for story telling.

In the last several years, I've had the chance to see a few of the short films produced and to hear stories about the process of growth of the film makers.

So check out the web page and if you are in the area for the film festival be sure to check it out.

April 11, 2008
United Community Auditorium
333. E. Colorado Blvd. Glendale, CA 91205

April 12, 2008

Sports: Thursday night sports report

Huge night for sports in the LA area!

Down south at the Bren Events Center, the Anteaters beat UC Davis, 79-62 for their 4th win in a row!

Over at the Galen Center, the Bears got a double digit lead but then USC fought back in the second half to get a double digit lead only to give it all back sending it into OVERTIME! USC finally prevailed 93-89 over Cal.

Across town at Pauley Pavilion, UCLA somehow came back from the brink to send it to OT with tying free throws with 3 seconds left and then put away Stanford in overtime 77-67 to claim their third Pac-10 crown in three years.

Devotional Thoughts: That I May Know Him

A mini video devotional ...

Simplistic I know but it is what's on my mind and I just thought the title of the music used was an apt metaphor.

Click here to see it (length: 1 minute 12 seconds, 2767KB).

Sports: UCI beats CSUN!

Devotional Thoughts: he lit up the way before me

Job 29 ...

Job continued speaking:
I long for the years gone by
when God took care of me,
when he lit up the way before me
and I walked safely through the darkness.
When I was in my prime,
God’s friendship was felt in my home.

Job looked back on his earlier life when things were better. And indeed, as one reads on, Job lived a life that if I could say those things in my old age, I would feel I've had a good life.

What are the things most of us care about in life?

The Almighty was still with me,
and my children were around me.

Family ...

My cows produced milk in abundance,
and my groves poured out streams of olive oil.

Material benefits to meet our needs and in Job's case he had more than enough ...

Those were the days when I went to the city gate
and took my place among the honored leaders.
The young stepped aside when they saw me,
and even the aged rose in respect at my coming.
The princes stood in silence
and put their hands over their mouths.
The …