Dear JaJ J: stay out of foul trouble

Purdue looked good against a deep and athletic Tennessee team last night. It's the first time I can remember since 1994 that Purdue looked like they belonged on the court against a big time team. They were as quick and fast as Tennessee, they penetrated well, they created their own shots, and they played terrific team defense. The weakness I saw was that they couldn't stay out of foul trouble to save their life.

With Lewis Jackson out I thought Kelsey Barlow did an excellent job at the point. Good penetration, excellent defense, and he has some size so he can scoop up some boards. But boy does he need to work on his free throws.

I've read about Patrick Bade, and he seemed to have good stats. I thought he held his own pretty well last night. One frustrating stretch he missed a couple putbacks and ended up fouling, but still he at least got to the back to have a chance at the putbacks. He'll be solid coming off the bench.

Which leads me to JaJuan Johnson. Man, JJ, you can't get in foul trouble. No matter what. Let the other team have a less-than-perfectly contested shot. You don't do any good on the bench, and the trio of Moore, Hummel, and Johnson are as good a trio as it gets in the country this year. That is what Purdue is going to ride to the final four. Even if Marcius comes back and is a solid backup.

Love the idea that Bade, Marcius, and Barlow will get lots of PT this year before the tourney. Damn these kids are going to be tough to beat.


the jury is still out

But today gave me a glimmer of hope that after 50 years the Lions have found their franchise quarterback. 5 TDs in a game is a lot for a rookie even against crappy competition like Cleveland. And 422 yards is a Lions record, more than the great Scott Mitchell ever put up. Some of his throws were excellent, and today he showed he can move to create plays. We'll see when the dust settles at the end of the year, but I continue to like what I see from Stafford.


Review: Boxley's in North Bend

A couple weeks ago my wife and I spent a couple hours at Boxley's in North Bend, a new restaurant featuring live jazz five nights a week (Wednesday through Sunday). It was a Thursday, and we got their for the 9pm "show" and just had drinks and desert. Their chocolate cheesecake was incredible, and the live music was great as well. By the time 10pm rolled around, Amy and I were the only people left in the place, and on the way home we talked about hoping "this place makes it in the valley."

Fast forward to tonight, Amy and I had a date night and decided on Boxley's for dinner and music. We arrived at 6:15, hoping for a slow dinner, drinks, and desert and to stay for the 7-8pm live performance. When we got there, very few tables were occupied, and my first thought was "man, on a Saturday night? This place ain't going to make it!" By 6:45, halfway through our fine meal, the place was packed. And the Saturday night show put the Thursday night show to shame. Great act, terrific food, outstanding service, and a great atmosphere. Amy and I are now hooked. This place gives Jak's a run for the money, not that the food is that good, but the overall experience is better. A tough decision come our next date night.

Dumb as a box of rocks

We have got to raise the expectations on our youth and their ability to comprehend the most basic of common sense situations. This trophy kid mentality has got to stop.

Case 1, Les Miles of that fine academic institution Louisiana State University. Down by 2 and with the ball at about midfield with 26 seconds left and 1 timeout left, this genious decides to let 17 seconds run off the clock before using his last timeout. Apparently he thought giving Ole Miss 15 seconds to get into field goal range might be too much time, so let's run down the clock. And, amazingly enough, nobody from the coaching staff to any of the players thought "shit, we should probably call a timeout here".

Then, to top it off, LSU, with nine seconds left throws a hail mary and catches it inside the 20 with 1 second on the clock. And man you thought you had asked the entire team and coaching staff to write an essay on quantum physics. Total confusion, the QB looking to the sideline "what do I do coach?", and they don't even get a play off. I'd say dumber than a box of rocks, but I really don't have anything against rocks to be that insulting. I mean, rocks have been really useful around our current house.

After the game Les Miles, the standard of intellectual genius, stated that there wasn't enough time left to get the field goal unit on the field. Well first, he's wrong - Purdue did exactly that in 2001 against Minnesota (and made the field goal to boot). Second, even so, my gosh, how hard is it for anyone to say "oh shit, 1 second, snap that fucker as fast as you can and put the bitch in the end zone." I mean, my god, that's standard operating procedure for grade school playground football when the end-of-recess bell rings and kids run "1 more play."

And then we have the fine joke of a situation in South Bend Indiana, where the University of Notre Dame has managed to rope Chuck Weis into a 10 year contract worth $4M+ a year (currently the buyout is $18M). This for a coach whose winning percentage is less than that of his previous two predecessors, the second of which was only given three years before given the boot.

At least in ND's case it's a private institution. If they want to piss away their money, good luck. It's not taxpayers footing the bill for a University's stupid decision.

Maybe it's just a sign of me getting old. But I get less and less tolerant of people who fail to exhibit enough common sense to warrant consuming the earth's precious oxygen. I had a teach in high school with a stamp "too stupid to live" he would use on people's papers. It had some parents in fits how "insensitive" he was. I thought it was great that someone called a spade a spade.


Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 review

Ok, I hang my head in shame. I did not run out to the local Gamestop, Fred Meyer, or Walmart Monday night at midnight to pick up the latest installment in the Call of Duty series. Maybe that means I have to turn in my gamer card.

I wasn't sure what to expect. I expected a lot out of World at War. While the WWII weapons and maps were fun, it didn't offer a different experience than Modern Warfare. So, I assumed that MW2 would be an incremental step like WoW was. Bzzt. Wrong.

I won't cover the entire game, instead I'll talk about the myriad of improvements.

  • Pick your kill streak bonus. Awesome. Instead of the three standard options at 3, 5, and 7 kills (without dying of course), you now get a selection of about 20. It starts at the standard UAV (revealing enemy locations on the map) for a killstreak of 3, and caps at a killstreak of 25, granting you, get this, a tactical nuclear bomb that "brings a swift end to the game." The catch is a) you only get to pick three, and b) only the standard 3 are unlocked at the beginning. You have to level up to unlock the others.
  • You still get the three groups of perks, but now each perk also "levels up" as you get kills using it, enabling "better" versions of the perk.
  • Better secondary weapon choices, including moving shotguns to secondary weapon.
  • Throwing knives and riot shields. Enough said.
  • You now get experience points for protecting your teammates. If an enemy is firing at one of your teammates, and you save your teammate, experience points. Boo ya.
  • Sentry guns. This is wicked. Automated sentry that picks off any enemies that walk in its path. You can get this as an unlocked bonus for killstreaks, or as a random item in a cool new "ammo drop" feature that drops a random item as a reward for a 4 killstreak. Just beware that the drop can kill you if you stand underneath it. Just sayin.
  • Death streaks. That's right, those of you (like me) that have a habit of getting pwnd over and over now get a reward of your choosing. For example, you can spawn with extra health
  • "Mosh pit" game type that randomizes all the other game types (team deathmatch, domination, hq, etc).

That's off the top of my head. I know I am missing a lot here, but I've only played for a couple of hours.

The maps are excellent. Haven't found a map I don't like, which is rare for a first person shooter game.

Also, I would bet good money that they have adopted part, if not all, of the Rainbow Six Vegas physics engine. The gameplay has a very similar feel, which in my opinion is an upgrade.

Now, back to my regularly scheduled gaming...


Giving credit where credit is due

Great job by the Purdue football coaching staff and the players today to beat Michigan in the Big Outhouse today. After laying a goose egg in Madison last week which included accomplishing an amazing feat of completing just 5 of 23 passes, I must say seeing Michigan favored by only six was very tempting to bet my life savings on the Wolverines (seriously). But Purdue came out inspired today, never let up, played with heart and intelligence, and pulled off something that hadn't occurred in my lifetime - a victory over Michigan in Ann Arbor.

This Purdue team has to be the most inconsistent team I have ever seen in any sport. Last week's goose egg, a loss to Northern Illinois, a home loss to Northwestern, a blowout loss to Minnesota. On the flip side, a win over tOSU, outplayed Oregon on the road, and a win over Michigan in Ann Arbor. Granted, Michigan is not a good team by any stretch of the imagination, but they do have more talented players than the Boilers.

After the Oregon game I really liked what I saw from the coaching staff relative to playcalling and gametime adjustments. Then that seemed to disappear altogether (even in the Ohio State win, I thought OSU gave us the game more than Purdue beating them) and I thought we had seen an aberration. I saw the same strong playcalling and gametime adjustments today against Michigan. Which begs the question: do Hope and his staff have any sort of football strategy or philosophy? Or are they winging this week in and week out? Hopefully this team can gain some consistency.

A bowl is now within reach. It will take a home win over Michigan State and a road win over IU. Both very average, beatable teams, but also both teams that can easily hand Purdue a loss.

I think these next two games are important for sizing up Hope and Purdue for the coming years. If Purdue wins out I will say I am damn impressed after starting the season 1-5. If they lose out, I'd say overall the season was disappointing. In between? Then there is Hope for the future...