Mike’s Prattle

Miscellaneous

Archive for the ‘Basketball’ Category

Computer Up plus the latest

Posted by Mike on December 15, 2008

As of last Friday evening, my computer is back up and running again, which means it was out about 5 days. Things went relatively well, I got a diagnosis saying it was the button on the front panel, which meant I had to order a new front part from Dell and Dell delivered very quickly with two day mail. To have discovered this myself would have been to do what needed to be done in replacing it, basically removing the plastic cover from the entire machine. In replacing it (credit to my old man who’s very good at this kind of thing), it was discovered the metal piece that triggers the power button had broken off. With a new front and requisite cleaning the machine looks almost brand new. Really, about the only thing I missed, given computer access at work, was just quickly checking the news when I got up in the morning or before I went to bed.

But it has been part of a string of really rotten luck of late, the kind of bad luck that looks humorous with some distance (which I don’t quite have yet). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Administrative, Basketball, Uncategorized, Video Games | 2 Comments »

Visualization in Politics

Posted by Mike on October 2, 2008

Visualization is one of the great tools of the occultist or mystic. Basically it’s the imagining of something in your mind’s eye and is a practical technique in Yoga. One of the basics of some forms of meditation is to hold/visualize symbols in one’s mind eye, an extraordinarily difficult thing to do and a skill that needs development. It’s important in developing one’s focus and will. However this is more the direction that one’s advancement in visualization takes and the effects of even preliminary practice is found to be useful.

For instance, it’s well know Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson, as far back as his many championships with the Chicago Bulls, teaches his players to visualize before games, visualizing winning the game, making shots etc. Where it would be too simple to say that visualization is the main reason he won as many championships as he has, I do think it’s certainly an important piece, along with the triangle offense, not being overdominant of his players etc.

Visualization is now a technique being used by the Obama campaign. This started with the recent advertisement where it imagines McCain winning the presidency. It’s a very powerful ad, maybe more so than those with explanatory material. And Michele Obama in Colorado yesterday was also exhorting the crowd to visualize what it would be like if Obama won. There’s no doubt in my mind there’s been a concerted effort to use this technique, one I’m sure the Palin supporters think is witchcraft.

Personally I’ve been getting this feeling that the Obama campaign is a much more powerful unit than it’s even given credit for. There’s a rising hysteria on the right now as the polls in many battleground states are going for Obama and the attacks are getting more fierce. The Obama campaign shows no sign of panic at all and managed to make it out of the first debate countering McCain’s “you just don’t understand” attack by demonstrating how Obama actually does understand, while Obama seems to be successful with the same attack on the trail (“McCain doesn’t get it.”)

Since the 2000 and 2004 elections, Democrats are falling all over themselves worrying about this election being stolen from them, and in the case of an October Surprise it’s true that anything can happen. But I’ve been¬†finding myself on the other side of the argument. I’m really starting to get the impression that the Obama campaign is a lot better than it’s ever given credit for. Democrats want Obama to get fiercer (for example Maher on The Daily Show this week), but I think they know what they’re doing by not going on that direction. Democrats think Bill Clinton isn’t doing enough for the campaign, I think that’s dreadfully overstated. To my eyes there seems to be a concerted effort to try and give the Republicans as much visibility as possible, so that the differences between the two campaigns become clearer and clearer.

And of course the VP debate tonight. Just watch. The expectations game are almost that Palin really has little chance of losing this one due to her opponent and Alaskan debating past. My prediction is the Democrats will manage, yet again, to come out of this one virtually unscathed with the moderate vote (it’ll be a “tie” again). Because Biden doesn’t have to win this debate, he just needs to come out of it without making a major mistake. And I think people will be surprised at the supposed gaffe-ster tonight. I think this campaign is just too smart for that.

Posted in Basketball, Esoteric, Politics, TV | Leave a Comment »

Various Ramblings

Posted by Mike on April 26, 2006

Been adjusting to a lot of changing life patterns lately, particularly at work. It has been almost oppressively busy and I've had to work through clouds of insomnia to get things done, which is a level of effort that isn't fun to hang with. Today was like having a pillow between my brain and the input. What's amazing is that sometimes you end up getting all your work done and I'm glad I did because now I have a 4 day weekend to recuperate fairly guilt free. But, as is always the case, everytime I'm sleepwalking at work, the day ends with a two-hour meeting that's virtually irrelevant to my job. I did manage some rather fine doodles though.

It's partially a stressful time because once again the Sacramento Kings are in the playoffs. Game one I parted company with sometime after the first quarter, but last night's game was like turning everything to eleven. And thanks to Dick Bavetta and co. calling every foul they saw, not to mention the overtime period, this was a game that ended at about 10 PM PST. Pure, intense playoff basketball with a defeat at the end. Maybe the only thing I can say is that I have a lot of respect for the San Antonio Spurs team, the players, the coach – it's a class act organization. No Kobe Bryants to pour salt on the wound.

Then add the television show 24. No matter how implausible it can be, it also delivers suspense at a volcanic level for one hour straight, leaving me wide awake at bedtime. The Shield, before the season ended, did the same thing and even later. It makes me long for the days when I watched little TV, or even the days I was catching up on programming on DVDs. 24 Season 6 on DVD is sounding more and more like a good idea.

I've also managed to break what were getting to be fairly rigid methods of listening to music. I seem to have succeeded in doing this by playing Chicago's At Carnegie Hall for the last week, nearly every evening. It's kind of nice to actually just play what you want to hear instead of a continual appraisal of things I'm becoming less remotely interested in, which is what I'm doing at work. I mentioned to a friend today that I don't think I've listened to anything I actually like at work in about 2 weeks, as I'm basically giving final listens to stuff I'm tossing out the door. I can imagine feeling tremendously grumpy on Outer Music. I have enough mediocre music to fill boxes apparently. But above all, listening to music I like is a good way to ease the sharper edges of a lot of intense, ongoing lifestyle changes.

All I've been able to read outside my esoteric studies of late is Joe R. Lansdale's first two "The Drive-In" books. While they were both pretty fun, neither were up to the best of his short work and I'm starting to detect a storytelling pattern that affects many of his characters, certainly all the majors in these books. Male, female, tough, easygoing, whatever, nearly every Lansdale character is about the wittiest feller, er gal, you've ever heard. But on the other hand, I think I read both in about three evenings, which is always pretty satisfying.

Posted in Basketball, Books, TV | Leave a Comment »

NBA Playoff Picks

Posted by Mike on April 22, 2006

First Round West

San Antonio-Sacramento 2-4
Dallas-Memphis 4-0
Denver-LA Clippers 4-3
Phoenix-LA Lakers 2-4

First Round East

Detroit-Milwaukee 4-0
Cleveland-Washington 2-4
New Jersey-Indiana 3-4
Miami-Chicago 4-0

Second Round

Sacramento-Dallas 2-4
Denver-LA Lakers 2-4
Detroit-Washington 4-1
Miami-Indiana 4-1

Conference Finals

Dallas-Lakers 4-2
Detroit-Miami 4-3

Finals

Detroit-Dallas 4-2

Champion

Detroit

Posted in Basketball, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Miscellaneous

Posted by Mike on March 16, 2006

Read most of and finished the first published Lucius Shepard story, “The Taylorsville Reconstruction,” in Universe 13¬† last night. While I assume its lack of inclusion in Shepard’s short story collections probably reflects the author’s viewpoint a little, and that it’s a story written before Shepard started developing his own unique style, it’s still a pretty fun story that shows even this early that he had a way with language that is utterly uncanny. Now I’m back to Murakami’s Hard-Boiled Wonder and the End of the World (about 250 pages of 400) which feels a lot like an outside-looking-in science fiction novel.

Other props must go to Tuesday’s episode of the Shield which has raised Season 5 to the top of my TV pantheon as well as the season finale of Battlestar Galactica, which changed the nature of the show drastically.

And of course to the Sacramento Kings who are turning into the team I’ve always hoped for.

Posted in Basketball, Books, TV | Leave a Comment »

Kings Trade

Posted by Mike on February 24, 2006

Taking this paragraph from sacbee.com (I’d link to the article but you have to sign up) about the Brian Skinner trade:

Monia comes with promise. The 6-8, 220-pound Russian small forward was drafted by 23rd overall by Portland in 2004, three spots ahead of the Kings’ Kevin Martin. Monia didn’t sign with the Trail Blazers until last August, and he averaged 3.3 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 14.6 minutes per game in 23 games for Portland this season.

So Monia was drafted 23rd and only played 23 games for Portland? I like him already.

Posted in 23, Basketball | Leave a Comment »

23s/Kings vs. Bulls/The Shield

Posted by Mike on February 15, 2006

Kind of a funny one last night during the Comcast Sports Net airing of the Kings/Bulls game. Mike Bibby scores his 20th and 21st point only for Grant Napear to explain “2 more points and he’ll have 23!” Which might make more sense if that was his season or career high or something, but it wasn’t.

Then I went and checked over on my thread at the Asimov’s forum, which also managed to have 23 posts when I looked.

Anyway, the Kings/Bulls game has the look that the team may have turned or may be turning a corner (I won’t count tonight’s game in Memphis, given they will be playing on tired bones). They actually play defense now, some of the sequences during the game were the best I’d seen any Sacramento team play since the team arrived here. They’re also starting to show the marks of a winning team, one where all the luck goes their way. They were only down 3 in the first quarter even after missing all but 2 or 3 shots.

So after getting home from work, immediately watching the game, I did a little cleaning before The Shield came on. It’s a little late in the evening for me, but Season 5 is so amazing, I can’t resist wanting to see it right now. Forrest Whitaker is putting on one of the acting clinics of the decade.

Posted in 23, Basketball, TV, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

The Thelema of Ron Artest

Posted by Mike on February 9, 2006

I’m a Sacramento Kings fan.

When the Kings traded for Ron Artest a couple weeks ago, I was very amused when he chose 93 for his number as his intensity on the court seems to reflect the idea of 93 being Will in Crowley’s system. During the beginning of the game vs Chicago tonight, TNT discussed why he chose the number. Apparently he decided to pass on 91 which was Dennis Rodman’s number and went for 93 because he read somewhere it meant “infinite intensity.”

Maybe one of the best parts of the qabalah is it lets you in on a ton of in-jokes.

Posted in Basketball, Esoteric | Leave a Comment »