April 2nd, 2006

Defense Is Beautiful

Lots of folks are talking about how ugly UCLA's recent games have been. But a connoisseur of defense, specifically help defense, would have to disagree. I saw this coming, both in the overtime period at Haas Pavilion and the second half of the Pac-10 Tournament championship game. The Bruins are so good at disrupting the flow of their opponents' offense that it seems like a protection spell has been cast over the hoop. What's important to recognize is that the abysmal shooting percentages of Memphis and LSU were more the product of UCLA defense than a failure to perform. I was particularly impressed with last night's handling of Glen Davis, who suddenly looked immature in the face of such adept double-teaming. I wish I'd taped the game so I could watch it today, using slow-motion and freeze frame, and learn some finer points of the defensive art. Oh, and you can talk about how Ben Howland brought a Big East toughness to the Pac-10 all you want, but the fact of the matter is that he grew up in the L.A. area watching John Wooden UCLA teams that wrote the dictionary definition of defensive and offensive discipline. Go Bruins!

More Fun in the New World

Kim needed a break from her hours of staring at the computer at home, so we came over to the Barnes & Noble at Foothills Mall so she could stare at it in a new venue. I feel for her, even though I have plenty of staring at the computer to do myself. For one thing, the work I do is mine in a way that hers never could be. For another, it's work that interests me, at least once I make it over the mental hurdles that steal my passion.

Today is not the day that I'm going to get much done on that front, however, since I'm totally exhausted from the past ten days -- scrambling to tie up loose ends preparing for the family vacation, staying up all night on the "set" in L.A., having my usual campfire-induced coughing bouts at South Carlsbad State Beach, flying home for the Arizona Quarterly Symposium, trying to make the most of the brief window of time in which out-of-town visitors were available to socialize -- that I can barely see straight. Being that tired makes me sort of giddy, though, not to mention tolerant of things I normally avoid.

This afternoon, for instance, I took the under-the-weather-but-antsy Bean for a leiurely trip, first through the upstairs at B&N and then through the mall, in order to give Kim more time to focus. Normally that sort of outing gives me existential crisis. But today I really enjoyed myself! The Foothills Fundamentalists in their Sunday finest barely registered as a problem. Skylar and I had more great conversations and lots of hugs, making even the tacky stands in the middle of the mall look attractive. Kaybee Toys was fun, despite the fact that our cashier was chewing on her mouth in a meth-addled frenzy. And Ross, which I like anyway, being a fan of marked-down odditites, was a cornucopia of delights.

Now I'm sitting here in the B&N cafe using up the remainder of the internet minutes Kim had to purchase when she was working, waiting for mother and daughter to return from the discount shoe place next door and thinking about information theory and the prospect of gyoza or some other dumplingish snack. How is your day going?
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