07 July 2014

World Cupdate

I thought of that witty title all by myself.  :)

How fantastic have most of these games been!?!  So many goals in the group stage games, smashing all sorts of records.  And also setting record marks for come from behind victories and late game (even stoppage time) goals.  When Netherlands brought on a subsitute goalkeeper in the final minute of extra time to set the stage for penalty shootout drama, I thought I'd seen it all. 
Great stuff.  I was sad to see Columbia and Costa Rica go home, but definitely tip my hat to them both.  Same with Algeria and Mexico. 
But, here we are.  Four teams.  And four that many people probably picked from the beginning. Brazil (now without Neymar and Thiago Silva), Argentina (now without DiMaria), Germany and Netherlands.  Two South American teams and two Europeans.
In our friends & family pool, lots of people in the top half with three of the four semifinalists picked correctly. And many with their champion pick still alive.  Well done!

I came across this bit of statistical analysis this morning on ESPNFC.com and was shocked by how far off I would've been if I had tried to guess "How many minutes (out of the full 90+ minute match) is the ball in play?" and I had to share it here...
"It can take them 30 seconds to take a throw-in and the referee does nothing about it." Marc Wilmots' grapes were, in truth, a little sour after Argentina beat his Belgium side in a more comfortable fashion than the 1-0 scoreline suggested, but he had a point here. The ball was in play for 53 of the 97 minutes in Brasilia, a figure that was not too far short of the tournament average.
It's far from the most damning statistic of its kind: of 96 minutes' engagement between Brazil and Colombia, the ball was active for a hardly believable 39; when the Colombians met Uruguay in the second round, the figure was 49 minutes from 94; when Brazil and Chile faced each other for 128 minutes in Belo Horizonte, they only used the ball for 70 of them. Confronted with figures like these, it is hard to escape the conclusion that the nigglier, rotationally fouling sides are seeing the odds stacked in their favour.
There is a mitigating factor to partly explain the mean of 56.8 minutes: it's hot out there, and it is consequently difficult to demand that matches move at 100 miles an hour. But when nearly, and sometimes over, half a game's allotted time is spent standing around and doing nothing, something feels wrong. There is a cultural factor at play to some extent, with the pace of the play in Latin American football tending to differ from that in Europe, but stronger refereeing would surely have given sides such as Belgium and Colombia a better chance of getting back into their games -- and provided the spectacles we'd hoped for."

20 June 2014

Speedy DIY: TV center

As we were watching the Netherlands vs. Spain World Cup match, an impulsive idea popped into my head. Our "media center" is a custom-built shelf space that was constructed for the old tube-style square-shaped TV's.  Sylvia's TV didn't fit into it so it went into the basement and my TV just had enough room to slip in.  We have gathered ideas and talked to a contractor about rebuilding that whole space and making it into something useful and better-looking.  But after a year of watching the little TV and having a bigger one collect dust in the basement, I finally cracked.  I said, "At half-time, I'm going to switch out the TV's and cut out a piece of that wall so the bigger one fits."  So, at the whistle, I was in motion.  Old TV pulled out, new TV brought up, circular saw plugged in.  Problem 1: my circular saw isn't working right. I noticed this the last time I used it.  It doesn't seem to have enough power and the blade binds up all the time.  This caused the plan to go slower than I'd anticipated.  And it also forced me to physical break out the piece after I'd made the top and bottom cuts.  Problem 2: I had not planned on having to "Autoprogram channels" once the new TV was hooked up. That process took like 20 minutes.  So I missed most of the second half.  
The good news was three-fold:  
1- Netherlands went on a goal-scoring romp in the second-half and crushed the defending champions.  
2- Once the hole was filled with the new TV, you couldn't really even see the gruesome hack job behind it. 
3- We are watching A LOT of World Cup and are loving the bigger TV.

All the more incentive to get moving on the real makeover project!

Wedding Crashers

After I tweeted a little love to Field Notes, including a picture from the wedding of my brothers and I with their notebooks, I was surprised to get a reply tweet.  "@jacobwelchans @caboose22 @EronWelchans can you drop us a line at wholesale @ fieldnotesbrand dot com?" 
So I did and we had a little back and forth email exchange, sent them some more pictures and just like that, we are on their website!  Check it out here!

(If you haven't already, check out their films.  The Shelterwood one is amazing.  And I have a soft sport for "From Seed.")

15 June 2014

13 June 2014

And We Are Off!!

A cracking 3-1 win for Brazil kicked off all the World Cup festivities yesterday and (despite a couple questionable referee decisions) it was a triumphant debut for the hosts.  A great lineup of games is in order for the weekend so I had better stock up on provisions.
Here is the family bracket predictor which shows who each person chose for their champion.  Lots of variety and all solid guesses.

30 May 2014

The Fix is In.

Stoppable sent on this video clip to me of a alleged fixed soccer match between Nigeria and Scotland.  Seeing that keepers awkward flap reminded me of this story...

When I hear about "fixed" matches in sports, I often wonder how exactly an athlete plans to go about ensuring the fix is carried out.  A vivid memory comes to mind from my own athletic career.  While strictly an amateur event, it seemed no less important at the time.  The fixer was an upperclassman, a senior, who impressed upon me the need to "throw" our upcoming event, the 4x800 meter relay.  The motivation was not money or fame or fear of bodily harm, it was merely that none of us wanted to run a half-mile.  This senior especially did not care to run his leg as he had just finished running a previous race.  I was running the first leg on this relay, the starter, so I was the only one who could false start, get us disqualified and spare our legs and lungs.  While it wasn't "Sophie's Choice," it seemed like a heavy moral load at the time.  Well, not that heavy.  I made my mind up and agreed to jump the gun.  Herein lies the grey area and the part I always wonder about when I hear about "fixes" in sports.  I wanted to jump the gun, but in most situations there are other people involved in sporting activities than just yourself.  In my instance, that person was the starting official.  The 4x800 race starts from an upright position, meaning they do not get down in starting blocks and instead of the typical "On your marks....Set...BANG", they use a shorter "On your marks....BANG."  I did not have a lot of experience with that cadence so as he said "on your marks" I start leaning forward and start taking my first stride and then "BANG."   Not, "BANG BANG" - the double gun means someone has false started and we have to restarted.  Nope, just the single bang.  We were off and running and instead of DQ'ing my team and being a hero who provided 15 minutes of relaxation, I was now the lowly goat who didn't come through on the fix.  Not to mention that I was already a good stride ahead of everyone due to my fantastic start. 
A great story would finish here by saying that we went on to win that relay race.  We did not.  So the next time you here about players who have fixed a sporting outcome, pause and wonder about just how they carried it out.

27 May 2014

Our Wedding Montage

We are so happy with the montage video of our wedding day.  Kyle and Joey did a super job, were great to work with and delivered on time.  We picked the music and they did the rest.  Check it out here!

22 May 2014

Kiva #5 - Janet in Uganda

After full repayment of loan #4, I was able to re-purpose my principal again and finance Janet in Kasese, Uganda.  I only look for loans where I can loan my full amount to one person and it will fulfill their loan need.  Janet needed $200 and hadn't raised any of it yet so I lent the full amount and she will be using it to purchase tomatoes for reselling.  As a 27 year old married mother of four, I'm sure she can use any breaks that come along.

Previous loans: Ney, Raul, (both in Peru), Charlevoix in Samoa, Bakhraid in Pakistan

14 May 2014

Puzzles!

minovia showed amazing determination to finish this 750 piece puzzle last month.  I threw in the towel after all the birds were put together.  From there on in it was a shades of green and not something I wanted to do.  She wouldn't give up though and pushed on until it was done. 
For some reason, I then thought it would be a good idea to get a 1000 piece puzzle.  I thought it looked a little easier with more variety in color.  It's been on our table for close to a month now so I'm not sure that is turning out to be true.

09 May 2014

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Dead fish?

When I get pictures back from our photographer I will work on a string of wedding related posts, until then, minovia has supplied me with this guest post detailing an event from last summer.  It is one of her favorite stories to tell and she has always chided me for not blogging about it...

This story must be told. Many will wonder why middleson has yet to blog about it.  It's a story worth telling so here goes....
Last summer after our beta fish passed away we decided to buy another fish.  However, to make things interesting we decided to each pick out a small fish for our 2 gallon tank.  After much deliberation at Petco Isa picks a tiny black & white spotted fish which she quickly names Oreo, I chose a blue guppie (I didn't get a chance to name her so let's just call her Joan of Arc) and Jake decides on a simple reddish/orange fish.  [Spoiler alert- it's not a happy ending for all 3 fish.]   Each of us is convinced we picked the best fish.  "My fish is the fastest.....My fish gets the most food".....you get the idea. Why do we do this? Because someone in our house loves competition so everything becomes a competition.  I don't like to name names I'll just say that person's name rhymes with rake.

We are home for a couple hours and Isa comes running and screaming that one of the fish had babies. I reluctantly get up to check it out,  ready to give a speech about fish excretion habits but instead was shocked to discover 6 baby fish in the tank!   Cray, cray, right!?! Can fish give live birth? We've all watched Finding Nemo, they're supposed to lay eggs!  We bought 3 fish and now had 9! Crazy!! What's even more crazy is that Joan is chasing the 6 babies trying to eat them. So I quickly take her out of the tank and, not knowing what to do, I called Petco.  I'm told that guppies give live birth, they eat their offspring and if I don't want the 9 fish to put the mom back in the tank and let nature take its course.  Ummm, no.  I put Joan in a clear plastic cup next to the fish tank so she can see her babies and grow to love them so that one day they can be reunited and she won't eat them and instead live happily ever after.  Wishful thinking.   A few days later we give 3 baby fish to a friend and are left with 6 fish.  Unfortunately, Oreo passes away about a week later leaving us with 5 fish.  Sad, I know. Probably overcrowded.

Lest you think this is where the story ends, let me assure you it does not! A few weeks later after a night out of sushi and a few drinks, we come home and I discover Joan 2 feet from the tank! On. The. Floor! Yep, all hard and crispy. She jumped out of the cup and was on the floor! I yell at Jake to come check it out and our conversation/argument went something like this:

Me: (staring at Joan on the floor) You HAVE to admit, I picked the best fish.
Jake: What do mean? Your fish is dead.
Me: Well, I know that but it gave live birth and jumped out of the water. It was probably trying to jump back into the tank to be with her babies.
Jake: Your fish is dead.
Me: I know that but if someone was going to write a children's book about one of the fish they would definitely pick mine.
Jake: Why would anyone write a children's book about a fish that died?
Me (rolling my eyes): Well obviously they would change the ending Jake!
Jake: Your fish jumped to its death.
Me: I know that but it can STILL be the best fish!
Jake: Your fish is not alive.
Me: So what, what makes your fish better?
Jake: It's still living.
Me: I know that but mine had a more interesting life than YOUR fish!
Jake: Your fish committed suicide.
Me: Forget it, just forget it!

And so the debate continues because Jake's fish (which has since been named Lucky) is the last surviving fish.  But not necessarily the best fish. ;)

I'll just end it by saying that my fish continues to live happily to this day, surviving spotty feeding schedules and less than frequent water changing.