Vikings vs Bears: it was the best of times, it was the worst of times

29 12 2009

Wow. This game is a tough, tough loss for Minnesota and Favre.

Despite the slow start, despite Cutler’s uncharacteristically fabulous game, despite the Vikings defense going on vacation and allowing the Bears to score and score and score again, despite several butterfingered Vikings receivers, Brett proved that he could indeed do the job in the December cold. He was classic Favre in the second half, engineering 17 unanswered points to tie the game at 23 with five minutes to go. Then, after the defense laid down and let the Bears score again, Brett pulled off another breathtaking game-saver with 22 seconds to go, on 4th and goal, with a terrific TD pass that tied the game at 30. Oh, if only Longwell’s extra point had not been blocked earlier in the game. 😦

Favre said in the post-game press conference that he figured a Vikings win was “meant to be” when they survived for OT. When the Bears won the toss and were lined up for a game-winning field goal barely three minutes into overtime — and the kick went wide right — destiny seemed squarely on the side of Minnesota. But then Peterson fumbled the ball. AGAIN. The Bears recovered, and at that point the game was lost — it was just a matter of when. Chicago only needed two plays to score again.

I’m glad the Vikings are already in the playoffs, because those last couple of minutes were awful to watch. Rooting for the Cubs awful. Brett and the Jets in December awful.

Did the Vikings peak too soon? Did they get complacent? Just a few weeks ago, they looked unstoppable, charmed, destined. Brett was playing as well as he ever had. Winfield is back, and Percy Harvin is able to contribute again…not enough, not enough. The only silver lining I can see is that, if they don’t pull off a first-round bye, they won’t get rusty like they did during their bye week earlier in the season. But…damn. Home field advantage would have been pretty cool.

Somebody had better teach Mr. Peterson a few things about holding onto the ball, ASAP.



“The Blind Side” gets a thumbs-up from me.

22 12 2009

I’m a sucker for feel-good sports dramas. I enjoyed “Miracle” and “The Rookie,” partly because they were emotionally satisfying for me, and partly because I knew the real stories behind the screen dramatizations. I’m adding “The Blind Side” to the list. I remember being very touched when I first heard about Michael Oher’s journey to success with the Baltimore Ravens, and I was looking forward to seeing how the movie version handled the story.

I was not disappointed. This story is about compassion and love, determination and persistence, and faith. It’s about the rewards that can come when you do the right thing, stand up for what you believe in, and follow your heart. Knowing that Oher is making a difference with the Ravens in his rookie season makes the story all the more heartwarming.

I’ve followed Sandra Bullock’s career for a while (Remember “The Bionic Showdown”? Anybody?), and it’s wonderful to see her in a great role. She tackled the character of Leigh Anne Tuohy with gusto, and she is a huge part of the effectiveness of this movie for me. John Lee Hancock (no surprise that he did “The Rookie”) has another winner.

I saw a TV interview with the Tuohy family over the weekend, and they were warm, funny, well-spoken and humble. I got the impression that the real-life Tuohy-Oher story went so smoothly that the filmmakers felt the need to inject some conflict into the tale (such as daughter Collins’ friends questioning the family’s motivations in taking in Michael) to give it more drama. The most touching moment of the interview for me was when Collins recounted how she unexpectedly broke down during a morning-show interview a couple of days earlier, after being asked what life would be like without Michael in the family. She said that he is so much a part of the Tuohys that imagining a Michael-less life is simply unthinkable to her.

Go see “The Blind Side,” if you haven’t already.

Favre vs. the Packers in the playoffs? “It’s just another chance for him to kill them.”

19 12 2009

Good article by Alex Marvez on Brett Favre’s improvement over the season. The quote above is from Vikings left guard Anthony Herrera, as he talked about the possibility of facing Green Bay in the playoffs in Favre Bowl III. “He’s a 40-year-old guy who plays like he’s 17,” Herrera said of Favre. “He loves to play with us because I think we bring his youth back. In turn, he takes us to where we need to be led by teaching the young guys how it has to be done.” That pretty much sums up why I enjoy watching Favre so much.

Percy Harvin is back practicing, and hopes to play Sunday against the Panthers. I sympathize with his fight against migraines (I’ve had them since I was 15). He’s consulting with specialists, trying different treatments — all the stuff I’ve gone through over the years in an effort to deal with them. I sincerely hope he finds something that works for him.

‘Tis the season for ant invasions, fa la la la la

16 12 2009

Our house must be cursed. No, it wasn’t built over a proverbial Indian burial ground (at least, not to my knowledge), but I am convinced we’re living atop a massive, endless anthill, teeming with millions and millions of the little buggers. Every winter, when the rains come, they erupt out of the depths like so many vengeful spirits, one room at a time, in search of warmth or food, making human lives miserable.

I don’t like getting rid of ants. We try not to harm any living thing; we catch bugs in cups to take them outside. I’m an arachniphobe, but even I learned long ago to trap spiders (with a lot of yelping) and carry them out. But when you walk into a room and see the carpet covered with ants, see them crawling up the walls, getting into the bedclothes, even scuttling around on the computer keyboard…well, there comes a time when there’s no recourse but to treat the horde like enemy invaders, and get out the heavy artillery. In my case, Simple Green and the vacuum cleaner.

Complicating the annual adventure, we have a cat and a dog, so we use insecticide extremely rarely, only as a last resort when it’s impossible to seal up the spot where the invaders are getting into the house, such as behind a bookcase, or under a cabinet where the construction has left huge open gaps. I swear, when I become a contractor and start building houses, I will budget for caulking and make sure each domicile is ant-proof, for the sake of war-weary homeowners.

After each attack has been cleaned up, I recheck each battle site periodically, to see if the little monsters have found a teeny pinhole of an opening that I missed, and returned to plague us again. My rounds have grown longer and longer with each new onslaught. Since the invasion season began in earnest a couple of weeks ago, they’ve hit the bathrooms six times, the bedrooms another six, the dining room twice, the kitchen three times. Today it was a three-pronged attack: bathroom, bedroom, kitchen pantry.

Naturally, this all makes me a little paranoid. Every dark splotch must be examined, just in case it’s a pile of ants celebrating over a newly-discovered morsel of food. My skin crawls for days, even weeks… Phantom Ant Syndrome, I call it. And I don’t dare walk around the house in bare feet or socks any time soon.

There is one advantage to all this grief, though: the house gets noticeably cleaner.

Insomnia –> music video

5 12 2009

I’ve had a stressful couple of months, and I haven’t been sleeping well. When it’s tough to sleep, and even harder to focus, I typically spend the wee hours working on a new music video.


Title: Out of the Ashes
Genre: Star Trek: Enterprise
Subject: Vulcan arc, Archer, T’Pol
Music: Steve Jablonsky, from his “Transformers 2” score

Downloadable files on my website.

I still can’t sleep… Perhaps there will be another video in my future before things settle.