Morning orientation


Started today off at my brother's house. Well, I should say my sister-in-law's house, as she picked us up last night from the train station where the shuttle dropped us off. None of us particularly wanted to arrive at the hotel orientation point at 8:00 am and wait for four hours, so we ended up in a taxi (whose driver couldn't find the house and arrived 45 minutes late - good thing we weren't in a hurry). We still arrived early, so we decided to dump our packs (oh, could I have been any more nervous about that?) and head to the local convenience store for more sunscreen and possibly a second pair of glasses for Andy, who had broken the frames of his current glasses bending over to grab my backpack.

On our way back, we looked for a place for coffee, any coffee, for Kris. I was hoping that this might be a trip where Kris addresses his coffee addiction head on, the way I'm hoping to deal with my sugar cravings by taking a week off from them. My hopes were misplaced (clearly), as Kris definitely needed his caffeine this morning.

For the record, Kris says Wicked AZ has great coffee, if you're in the Flagstaff area. They also allow walk-ups in the drive-through, much to the amusements of the vehicle drivers behind us.

Orientation went smoothly. I was quite entertained by how much I began to recall of my previous trip during the orientation. I recalled the post-river ice cream stop, as well as the rough drive out off the Canyon off the river. I also recalled the nights in the cabins and the showers in the halls instead of the rooms from last time. I also recall staying at Indian Springs, and being thrilled about being able to stop there on the way down to the river.

We all introduced ourselves to the rest of our group. I was about to just start talking and talking and talking, but realized I needed to keep it short. I'm pretty sure I annoyed Kris and Andy when, after their introductions were each about 5 words long, I piped up, "Andy is a World Champion. Kris is a National Champion. I'll let you figure out in what."

Eh, it's not like it's not true.

Kris doesn't think anyone will figure out the "in what" part.

I have faith.

We're on our way up to the Rim now. I left my computer and my internet-enabled cell phone at my brother's house. I am both officially on vacation, and away from the Intarweb™ With that statement, I'd like to point out that Andy is still ON, and unable to give it up.

So, if anyone on Mischief thinks I'm obsessive about my internet connections, you should know that Andy's worse.

On our way!


Okay, we're on our way!

This is the first vacation in a LONG time that's neither ultimate nor family required. I think our honeymoon was the last one of these kinds of trips we've taken, and we know how THAT one turned out (think "missed flights" and "birds pooping on me" and "bladder infections" and you'll be on your way to the joy of that trip).

We're off to raft down the Colorado River from the Bright Angel Trail to some place close to Lake Mead. I had done this trip ten years ago, with Mom and Eric and Guy and Guy's family. It was fun. I'm not 100% sure what possessed me to suggest it again, but a 10 year gap is long enough to have forgotten much of the adventure, and I wasn't writing at that point, so this'll be somewhat new to me. It'll be completely new to Kris and Andy.

In the car to the airport, I wondered out loud if I had enough memory for the camera, as well as enough batteries to make it through the whole trip. I have enough memory for 4700 pictures, and 4.5 batteries, all juiced up (the 0.5 comes from the crappy Lennar camera battery, which seems to last half as long as the Canon camera batteries do). When Andy's dad heard my lamentation, he commented I better start taking pictures.

Andy let him know I already had.

Andy Crews and andycrews


Did you know if you Google for Andy Crews with no space in between Andy and Crews, you get my blog as the first hit?

Yeah, I didn't know that either.

Andy told me about it today. I have to admit I'm a little embarrassed about this.

But not too much.

Well, maybe more than that.

Birthday ice cream, number 1


Since I won't be around here for my birthday, Kris allowed me to have a small birthday celebration tonight. Andy came over after practice, as did Mark, Megan, Mirabelle and Meter. We ordered in food. Andy and I went to pick it up. After consuming, we all drove California Carpool style to Coldstone for ice cream. My birthday ice cream.

I (unsurprisingly) brought my camera. After walking into Coldstone, I lifted up the camera and said, "Smile!"

This is what I received in response:

Megan? Quick on the draw.

Andy? Not so much.

Mirabelle? Well, she knows how to smile and laugh. Oh boy!

The whole trip was fabulous. Like Coldstone would ever be anything but fabulous.

Set the tone


Flew out to Arizona today to pick up Sam for this not-quite-annual-but-we're-getting-there visit to California. Because the timing of my flight out didn't really work well for both our normal Velocity class and any work time for Kris, I asked Andy if he could take me to the airport. I'd even make it as easy as possible on him, by driving my car to his work, and he could keep my car for the day, as I'm returning with Sam tomorrow.

That worked for his schedule, so before lunchtime, I headed over to his work, and he headed out to drive me to the airport, noticing as I did the twelve squirrels running around the tree next to my car, under my car, and near my car. I've never had four squirrels pause three feet up on on a tree trunk and stare at me, wondering what I'm about to do.

So, Andy pulled to the exit of his work's parking lot, an exit which happens to be one side of a four way stop. He made some comment about how a coworker was almost hit at the intersection, as he looked to the right to verify the car to the right was stopping. He looked to the left, to see a fire engine stopped at the stopsign. He looked right again to confirm with the car on the right, and pulled forward, accelerating into the intersection.

Just as a moron in an black SUV flew around the fire engine and into the intersection to our left.

Now, not only did the SUV run the stop sign, he went straight through in a left turn lane.

Andy was still looking right when I yelled "WAIT! WAIT!" Now, technically, "STOP! STOP!" would have been a better call to make, but even "Wait!" is better than "UHN!" and a lot of pointing. I was pleased I was as coherent as I was.

Andy hit the brakes hard just as the SUV (driven by a man of Indian descent, and not, as you might stereotypically think, an Asian woman) also braked, and we missed each other by a foot.

As Andy accelerated away, the SUV driver looking sufficiently sheepish for his moronic move, I commented, "Well, I hope that doesn't set the tone for this trip."

It didn't. My plane landed safely.

Andy, on the other hand, was nearly hit in the same intersection on his way back to work, by another driver running the stop sign by going straight through the left-turn only lane.

Pull up your pants!


After the tournament, Lyndsay (and her roommates) hosted the team (and other teams) at their house in Santa Cruz. As a sidenote, the house (the downstairs being all I had really seen of it) was great, with the grounds spectacular. They have a tightrope made of nylon strapping that was quite entertaining to watch people use.

In the car on the way over, Andy drove me, Steffi, Andy Fisher and Heather over to the house. We used the navigation system in my car, which means we didn't go the most efficient way to the fields. As a matter of fact, we ended up stopping at a slew of stoplights, driving down small streets, and meandering through the neighborhood in a most circuitous way.

At one of these particularly annoying stoplights, I turned to see a couple walking along the sidewalk beside the car. The couple were both heavyset, with glasses and a slouched appearance. They walked arm in arm and seemed quite happy together. Someone, it might have been me even, made the comment that people tend to attract those similar to themselves: ultimate players date ultimate players, Techers date Techers (okay, no one said that), sporty people date sporty people, that sort of thing, leading to the comment that slightly overweight people date slightly overweight people.

The couple, then turned the corner. As they did, I started to roll down my window. Everyone knew I was going to say something to the couple walking by, the timing was too close for anything else.

And so I did.


The guy was walking along with his pants in the style of today's youth, with his pants' crotch in line with his knees. His steps were abbreviated. I find the look incredibly retarded, stupid, inefficient, ugly and dumb. Yes, I repeated myself with three synonyms - that's how annoying that look is. Worse, that look will be back around in 20-30 years. Argh.

After my call, the guy pulled his arm from around his girl friend and lifted up his hand. I, and everyone else in the car, expected the usual response, and the response I certainly would have given had I been in his place.

I expected the finger.

Instead, he reached down, and pulled up his pants.

We were dumbfounded.

The light turned green. Andy accelerated through the street intersection, and we all burst into laughter.

The guy had actually pulled up his pants. Unbelievable.

Not so timeless


Kris and I went with Andy and Stacy to see Andy's dad perform in the musical Fame tonight. I wanted to go see it for the simple fact that Andy's dad was performing in it. Performing. Singing. You know, in a musical.

We showed up at the Sunnyvale Community Center at 7:21, to a near panic phone call from Andy. "Hurry! Hurry!" he said, so we ended up running up to the theatre, giggling and laughing, about a minute after he called, and with enough time to arrive, go in, use the restrooms, find seats, and sit in our seats.

And settle in for the show...

Now, Fame, as a musical, really isn't that good. The songs are disjointed, incoherent and not particularly well connected. I prefer musicals that tell stories, not ones that are a bunch of songs sung one after another with random bits of talking in between.

Doesn't matter how good the production is, if the basic musical is bad, the best singers and dancers and actors won't save it.

But, these people tried.

Oh, how they tried.

About half way through the first act, I realized that one of the performers had his family in the second row of the theatre. The theatre isn't very big to begin with, maybe 12 rows, fifty seats in a row, or so. So, there isn't very much space to look over the audience's head to project to the back of the theatre. As a result, when your family is in the second row, and are sitting about 10 feet away from where you're jumping, and singing, and, well, in this performance, groping a fellow performer, you kinda notice your family.

At least, this particular performer of note. And when he started singing to his family, and they started whooping back at him, well, I couldn't stop laughing. Kris thought I was crazy, because I couldn't stop. and was shaking the seats around me.

Eventually, I did manage to calm down, and stop laughing, but I still spent less time listening to the performance, and more time watching the performers and their particular mannerisms.

Most musical productions Kris and I go see are the big, travelling ones, coming into town for a limited performance: Wicked, Rent, the Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, (and some of the lesser big ones like Miss Saigon, Evita, Sunset Boulevard), etc. These productions are typically expensive ones, with top talent, and big names. However, even with the top talent and big names, the productions aren't necessarily very good. Sunset Blvd was attrocious when we saw it. Enough so that I told Kris it was a horrible musical. He claimed it was just a bad production.

Yes, I'm deliberately not including the Viking Operetta, and the various musicals the Smiths were in, in that statement.

So, watching the community theatre production of Fame tonight was very much like watching a bad production of some musical, except that it wasn't. Sure, the people performing may not be as talented as the people who perform on Broadway, but can you say they have less fun, or are less passionate doing it? I don't think you can. No, they can't project to the back of the theatre, and have problems looking the correct way when singing, or moving with big, demonstrative movements that translate well on stage, but the joy on their faces makes up for it in ways that are somewhat indescribable.

What is describable, however, is the moment of shock I experienced when the set started shaking, when the cast started climbing the stairs and finally (FINALLY!) gestured big enough to rock the framing. Maybe a little better structural work might have been good.

As Andy said, it was better than expected. I had a good time, and, based on the smile on Kris' face, I think he had a good time, too.

Still haven't figured out Stacy. I think she thinks I'm nuts. Even Andy looks at me funny when he's around her and we're with them. Maybe she gives off a crazy-inducing pheromone.

Yeah, that's it.

Oh, and note to self: send an email to Ben D'Angelo, who works at Google, and invite him out to lunch. He reminds me a lot of Mark Rubin. Though, since he works at Google, he probably has little desire to head off-campus for lunch. Ask anyway.

Yeah, he's that good

From:     Andy Crews 
To:       Kitt Hodsden 
Subject:  Re: pickup excitement

Yeah, and at the previous pickup Sunday:

1. I pulled.
2. I ran down and caught the first pass, threw the goal
3. Next point, someone else pulled
4. I ran down and lay-out blocked the first pass, caught the goal.

that was exciting , too.

Shadow is Welsh!


From Andy:

I think shadow is half border collie, half welsh collie! We met a welsh
collie at the beach today. Same size and leg length as shadow, same
coloring, similar fur length. The long legs are an adaptation for herding
cattle. Also some similar mannerisms. But the welsh collie doesn't do the
"stare down" that you use for sheep (or shadow uses on Blue). And the welsh
collie has floppy ears that won't stand up on their own. Shadow can keep his
ears up. Otherwise, they could be twins. The lady also had a border collie,
so it was easy to do a side by side comparison. The border was way more
focussed on fetching, which is typical of other border collies I've seen,
and it was also "normal" sized (maybe 6 inches shorter and 15 lbs lighter).



Went to pickup today. It was Mischief-sponsored pickup, so I certainly expected it to be high level. The wind, the gusty, blustery wind, that greeted me when I stepped out of the car was initially disappointing. The disappointment faded rapidly once I started throwing with Pickett: my throws were initially crazy, but smoothed out quickly. My throws, despite the wind, were no longer a concern.

Fitness and health quickly became a concern.

My sprints and other general activities have not kept me ultimate fit. Way not. The only way to truly be ultimate fit is to play ultimate, which I haven't been doing lately. Much at all, not even at the SCU practices. I've been trying to make sure the focus is on the individuals on the team, which means staying off the field so that I can watch. I do wish I could be playing with them.

I played for about an hour, then decided I was done. I played just fine, I think. I made a couple mistakes (sure, unsurprisingly), but I played much more aggressively than normally (where normal is last season, the season before, any time I'm in my head and not just playing). My first throw was a crap throw into the wind, but the rest of them were good enough. All of them were upfield. Even one I was fouled on was upfield and completed (perhaps I should pivot more? Yes, I should).

After playing for a while, I stopped to watch the games. Unsurprising to everyone, I started watching Andy play.

Also surprising to none, he played well. As cliche as it sounds, watching him play is a joy. He claims he's in shape but out of practice. I couldn't tell about the out-of-practice part. All of the throws I saw were well placed, well timed, well executed. Might of been I wasn't watching long enough, but he seemed to be playing very well.

Watching him reminded me of a conversation we had had recently. I had commented something to the effect that, well, I thought I would have done something great by now. Instead, I'm just me. I haven't done the Spectacular Feats I, as a child, teen, young adult and no-longer-young adult, thought I would do. Somehow, I felt more of a waste than a success or failure.

He said that many of us feel this way. We have double standards for ourselves, and expect Great Things from ourselves, while granting others a normal, average, completely ordinary life. Or, at least both of us do. I don't know, looking back on his ultimate career, hearing all the stories his teammates tell about him, spending time with him, I have to say he's done Great Things in ultimate. Might not be in science and technology where we went to school, but it's something.

Not that he said that. He said, sure, many of us have the expectation of greatness, but, "I'm not sure it's a reasonable one."

He went on. "It's important to be able to accept the world and yourself the way it is. Of course, that's a fine line because you also need to expect great things out of yourself before you can achieve them."

The word "expectations" has always seemed to be a stress inducing word to me. Others have expectations of you. You have expectations of yourself. Expectations of behavior. Expectations of this and expectations of that.

Somehow, Andy turned it around. I'm not sure how, but that last line of his seems to sum up my perception of him. He expects great things out of himself.

I like that idea. I like it very much.