Sunday, August 31, 2008


It is awesome that AVG, my antivirus software for the laptop, decided not to load when I booted the computer today. I can't stress how impressed I am with it.

At least Vista noticed and properly warned me of this. Yes, Vista can do something right once in a while.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Volleyball Lessons from Paul Scholes

Someone watched too much Olympics.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

P-hot-oshop or Not

Canada 1 - Jamaica 1

As good as this team is, they make me cringe with every pass. Nothing is easy for the Canadian national team. Unless, of course, you count their crisp passing around the back in their third of the field, even in the dying moments. Boy, they can sure play back there where there were no Jamaicans in sight and the back four constantly seemed to want the other guy to be the one to move the ball forward.

This is one of many tactics that bothered me. I mean it's nice to see some control and patience, but I think they may have overdone it by not really taking it to a team that was sitting back waiting to be attacked. I think they should have used a formation with 2 forwards instead of one. Our crosses were awful in the first half and maybe we could have saved more balls with more bodies up front. In the second half, we seemed to be pumping balls forward from the back with more urgency and with only Friend or Gerba up there, it was tough to gain possession. Granted there were some nice balls up on the wings for Hume and Radzinski.

Though he has affectionately been named De Godsman, for reasons he displayed last night, Julian De Guzman had a persistent habit of frustrating me while playing in our own half. He was playing a dangerous game of 1on1 with defenders and often losing. Thankfully he was able to win a good share of fouls. The other times, when he gave it up cheaply, I screamed at the TV. There is no reason to be weaving through defenders in our half, play the ball back to the defenders who are sitting there waiting to provide support.

The turning point of course had to be a horrendous own goal off Onstad. What should have been an easy catch turned into calamity when he tried to punch the ball away leaning back toward goal. Unsurprisingly, his execution let him down. He claimed he was tugged and that threw him off, but I saw no indication of anything other than poor goalkeeping. I love the guy, but I think you have to go to Sutton in our next match, September 6th in Montreal against Honduras.

It was awesome to see a proper soccer crowd and atmosphere for this game and hopefully this continues in Montreal. It can only help the team feel like they truely are at home and increase the players' desires to perform for them.

I read on a blog about how pessimistic a fan was even though we were supposed to easily dispatch of Jamaica. And though I wanted to slough him off as an exception to popular opinion, I knew deep down I was one of them too. And sadly it came true. It's not a loss though and what this means is we HAVE to beat the Reggae Boys in Kingston in November. I'm confident we still can (... or am I?)


People are frustrated with the lack of Canadian team coverage and have been giving Sportsnet flack for it (see their reader's postings on national team stories). Canada at least got to see the game live in standard def on SN West and Pacific, which was one complaint, but now they added a slate of others.

First, what was the FUCKING cameraman doing? Instead of celebrating a beautiful, beautiful goal setup by Radzinski to De Guzman, I was screaming at the cameraman for shooting our defense 50 yards from the action. And this was far from a one time thing. The guy (or girl) didn't have a sniff of where the ball was on many occassions.

Then there was the affair of watching standard def soccer on Sportsnet HD. Seriously guys, what's the deal. Why do you have a high def channel if aren't going to use it like it should be? So you can show poker in HD? This is ridiculous. It they have HD cameras, they are in Toronto, so why not use them? With the extra dimensions of 16:9, it would have helped the useless tit cameraman find the ball.

And then you have Gerry Dobson and Craig Forrest. I can't fault them for their passion of our team and sport, they are great ambassadors. But when they are reduced to mocking injured players and complaining about the ref like they are on the field playing, it's too much. It's soccer, players go down. And MOST of the time, they go down when they are fouled. Even though they go down easy, it is to earn the foul against them, not to fool anyone. I watched Steven Gerrard do the same thing against the Czech Republic in their friendly last night. Gerry and Craig should listen to the likes of English commentators to learn how to do it with class. It is frustrating when someone with soccer knowledge like Craig Forrest doesn't even know the definition of delayed offside. Ie. if an offside player doesn't play the ball, he is not offside IF HE DOESN'T INTERFERE WITH THE PLAY OR THE DEFENDERS.

Maybe there is something to be said about importing English play by play analysts like CBC does...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The 517

I decided to get up a little early this morning to watch some footy. First I was thinking of getting up at 8 for Spurs' game. Then, I figured if I'm getting up that early, since it's the first day of the season, might as well get up to watch the WBA-Gunners game at 6. Then I remembered there is Olympic soccer on at 4.

So here I am watching Brazil-Cameroon in the quarters and I have to say, this is the weirdest international game I have ever seen. There must be little to no Brazilians or Cameroonians there because it is dead quiet. You can hear the players and coaches on the field. Also strange is Brazil is playing very average against a 10 man Cameroon. Ronaldinho had done little other than make some bad passes. I don't think he's the player he once was. And for some reason, the back four is playing like Greece and knocking it around with little desire to go forward. Must be padding that possession stat. And the pitch looks aweful. The ball is bouncing around so much they are having trouble just dribbling.

I don't remember the last time I was up this early. Its not even light out at 5AM anymore. Aka, summer is dying. Poor summer.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Canada's WC Group Qualification 2008

First off, the following couldn't be more true. From sportsnet user peter_mtl (in the comments section of this article)...

I find it pathetic that Canadians won't be able to watch their own national team on live television when it begins the next round of World Cup qualifying. I can understand if Sportsnet Ontario elected to show the Blue Jay game but why do Canadians in other regions have to be deprived of watching their team at the expense of one of 162 Toronto games this season? The NATIONAL soccer team is surely much more national in importance than the TORONTO Blue Jays. What is the point of having multiple Sportsnet channels if not for a situation like this? This game didn't come out of nowhere. We knew years ago that Canada would be playing qualifying games in August/September of 2008.
Now, back to the news at hand. Canada announced its squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifier against Jamaica on August 20. Fifa has Jamaica ranked 108th currently while Canada sits at number 79. Both of which have been dropping lately. From the rankings, it may appear that we are clearly favorites, but that might not be the case. The rankings do little to tell the whole story. And Jamaica is a quality team that has been to the big show in 1998, whereas we haven't been since our lone venture in 1986. However, that is probably insignificant with regards to the current squads. Jamaica has played well lately, twice tying a Trinidad and Tobago team that participated in World Cup 2006 and routing the Bahamas in WC qualifications. They also have Marlon King up front, who is a top quality striker in England and who was just loaned to Hull for the season. The contest will be that much tougher once you add the fact that Toronto has a significant Jamaican population who will likely turn out for the game.

As for the Canadian squad that was picked, the only notable omission was striker Olivier Occean, who has been leading his team, Lillestrom, in scoring in the Norwegian Tippeligaen. (Jaime Peters, Wil Johnson, Ante Jazic, and David Edgar being others). Though, we should have more than enough offense with Hume, Friend, and Gerba. Gerba has been on fire lately for Canada and it would be a shock not to see him on the field at some point on Wednesday. Rob Friend probably deserves to be up there with him given his dominance in 2nd division German soccer last year. He finished second in the league with 18 goals for his club Borussia Mönchengladbach. Iain Hume would probably add more pace off the bench if they needed it.

The center of midfield is an interesting position. Typically Dwayne De Rosario plays there for Houston with a big offensive upside. Gold Cup MVP Julian de Guzman has also showed flashes of brilliance pushing forward in this position, even though he is supposed to be a defensive midfielder. De Rosario could played on the wing to allow for a stronger defensive core in the middle of the field. To muddy things up, you have Atiba Hutchinson and Adrian Serioux who could both legitimately compete for that spot. Issey Nakajima-Farran or Tomasz Radzinski are candidates for the wing who have excellent speed.

In defense, Stalteri will captain the team and should probably be playing wide. Mike Klukowski's play has really impressed on the left side recently, especially against the Brazil friendly in May, and he should fill in the other wing. Kevin McKenna's work with helping promote Cologne to the German to tier and MLS all-star Jim Brennan's efforts for Toronto FC should be enough to place them in the middle of defense.

Making a goalkeeping choice will be a tougher call. Pat Onstad has played well in both the MLS and his appearances for Canada recently. Over the last year he has taken the reins on more than a few occasions due to injuries to Toronto FC's number one keeper Greg Sutton. It should be Onstad's position to lose.

My starting 11
Stalteri Brennan McKenna Klukowski
Radzinski Hutchinson de Guzman De Rosario
Friend Gerba


Goalkeepers: Greg Sutton, Hamilton, Toronto FC (MLS); Pat Onstad, Vancouver, Houston Dynamo (MLS).

Defenders: Mike Klukowski, Oshawa, Ont., Club Brugge KV (Belgium); Kevin McKenna, Calgary, FC Koeln (Germany); Jim Brennan, Toronto, Toronto FC (MLS); Richard Hastings, Vancouver, Inverness Caledonian Thistle (Scotland).

Defender-Midfielders: Daniel Imhof, Smithers, B.C., VfL Bochum (Germany); Adrian Serioux, Toronto, FC Dallas (MLS), Paul Stalteri (capt.), Brampton, Ont., Tottenham (England).

Midfielders: Julian de Guzman, Toronto, Deportivo La Coruna (Spain); Issey Nakajima-Farran, Calgary, FC Nordsjlland (Denmark); Atiba Hutchinson, Brampton, Ont., FC Copenhagen (Denmark); Patrice Bernier, Brossard, Que., FC Nordsjlland (Denmark).

Midfielder-Forwards: Tomasz Radzinski, Toronto, Skoda Xanthi (Greece); Dwayne De Rosario, Toronto, Houston Dynamo (MLS).

Forwards: Ali Gerba, Montreal, Milton Keynes Dons (England); Rob Friend, Kelowna, B.C., Borussia Moenchengladbach (Germany); Iain Hume, Brampton, Ont., Barnsley FC (England).

Jose can see

UPDATE: Roy does it again...

Roy Keane, the former Manchester United skipper and Old Trafford folk hero, has tipped Chelsea to prevent United from securing back-to-back Premier League titles.

On the eve of the new season the Sunderland manager has revealed his 'gut feeling' that Chelsea will prove to be too strong this term, not least because of the addition of new coach Luis Felipe Scolari, but also because United are lacking a striker.
Geez, you're making me blush.

Relating to my Prem Prediction post, it seems Jose Mourinho has made a similar analysis. Either that or he reads my blog and steals my thoughts.

From ESPN Soccernet...
And in dismissing Arsenal as contenders he may well have annoyed old adversary Arsene Wenger especially as he sees Tottenham possibly usurping their North London rivals.

"...but Tottenham surely have the quality to fight for a top-four finish."


And Mourinho had comforting words for the frustrated fans of Newcastle United: "I cannot really say who the surprise team will be - but year after year we always wait for a better Newcastle."
Thanks for your backing Jose.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Galaxy Sinemas

The Galaxy Cinemas in downtown Saskatoon is a scourge on our city. It is a giant green STD on the clitoris of our downtown. It an insanity inducing emporium of whatever the opposite of delight is. It is a candy factory with raw sewage inputs. It is a idling vehicle in the garage of splendor. It is a sea of 6-pack plastic holders. It is a mountain of garbage.

Why the hell are we all brainwashed to go to that place? Because it is new? Because they have nice seats? I can counter anything good that is said about that theater with 8 things that make me want to tear my thumb off.

I have a bad experience nearly every time I go to that place. The latest thing to set me off was this weekend when we tried to go to Pineapple Express, which I really wanted to see. I accept that is was busy and sold out and Step Brothers was awesome anyway. However, 3 of the automated machines were busted. Which means everyone is lined up out the doors of the place. So I'm in line to talk to real live human beings (though I wouldn't be surprised if they were robots). There are only 2 tills open and a third is being occupied by a 16 year old girl who is chatting with her boyfriend. And the best part? She is in training! That's right, with two regular employees next to her, she was goofing off while I waited in line hoping for someone to walk over and slap her. And of course right when I get up to one of the tills, she opens hers back up to speed people through. Expletive!

And I don't know how they do it, but at all times, and I mean ALL TIMES, there is 16 person deep lineup for the concession. We went on a Sunday night one time to see Pirates 3 (the Caribbean one), and they had only one till open with, you guessed it, 16 people lined up. That delay resulted in us getting a seat in the front two rows. This Saturday was no exception. And thank God Heather was the one in line because I would have snapped when the till broke down and they spent 10 minutes trying to get the register open. And when we went to see Dark Knight, Brad spent probably 20 minutes in the frozen yogurt line. Expletive!

The staff there is useless and clueless. Maybe it is because of the labour shortage and all they can find in 16 year old dimwits. I don't know how it can take so long to get a popcorn when you have two people manning a till. This is not rocket science. They should be able to fire people through the lineups in short order. But can they? No. Expletive!

And how about parking. I can't believe people are actually desperate enough to pay to go see movies there. Especially when you get a pay parking lot with craters comparable to ones on the East side of the moon. And if you fuck it up with paying. You are going to get a ticket costing you one of your livers. Thankfully Saskatoon hasn't figured out that a block away parking is free and available. Expletive!

Oh, and I forgot about this piece de resistance. They have another automated ticket dispensing terminal. Where did they put it you ask? In the freaking entrance. So they have 3 that are busted inside and a working one in the entrance you can use when its minus forty this winter with cigarette smoke drifting in. Expletive!

And all this pain and punishment while there is another perfectly good theater that would appreciate our business in Circle mall. Sure the seats might not be as good, but parking is plenty and it is not a zoo. And it's cheaper.

I am calling for a COMPLETE BAN on Galaxy cinemas. Their incompetent business practices have driven me out. I WILL NOT ATTEND THIS THEATER AGAIN. EVER!

Prem Predictions

I have put a lot of thought into this, so much so that I don't remember if I have any children or not.

This is the word according to Alex...

1 Man Utd Chelsea
2 Chelsea Man Utd
3 Arsenal Liverpool
4 Liverpool Arsenal
5 Everton Tottenham
6 Aston Villa Portsmouth
7 Blackburn Man City
8 Portsmouth Everton
9 Man City Newcastle
10 West Ham Aston Villa
11 Tottenham Blackburn
12 Newcastle Fulham
13 Middlesbrough Sunderland
14 Wigan West Ham
15 Sunderland Middlesbrough
16 Bolton Wigan
17 Fulham Hull
18 Reading West Brom
19 Birmingham Stoke
20 Derby Bolton

Where I think it will be tight is the battle for 2nd b/w Man U and Liverpool. I think Man U is going to drop points at the start of the year that will hurt them, due to the absence of Ronaldo's offense, the fragility of Rooney, and the lack of striking depth (at the moment). Meanwhile, Chelsea is going to take the title thanks to Fat Phil, similar to how Mourinho came in to do the job. Tottenham and Arsenal will battle for the last Champs League spot, maybe until the last day like in 2005-06. Positions 6-11 should be a good battle and could be a mix up of my predictions, but I like Portsmouth this year. Newcastle should show that they have been underperforming in recent years and climb the table. I think Fulham and Sunderland are the most improved teams and they will finish far above the bottom seven. Bolton is heading for the drop big time with Hull eking it out.


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Fan Bans

From ESPN, a list of bans in the new NFL spectator code of conduct...

• Behavior that is unruly, disruptive, or illegal.

• Drunkenness and signs of alcohol impairment that result in irresponsible behavior.

• Foul or abusive language or obscene gestures.

• Interference with the progress of the game, including throwing objects onto the field.

• Failing to follow instructions of stadium personnel.

• Verbal or physical harassment of fans from the opposing team.

Holy crap do rules like this contrast starkly with European soccer.

For me, I enjoy having a somewhat civilized approach to spectating sports (granted opposing fans to the Riders may not feel the same way.) But there is no comparison to soccer in Europe. There are no riot police on constant standby at NFL/CFL games. There is no division of opposing fans into sections of the stadium, separated by giant plexiglass dividers. There is no police escort of the opposing team's fans to the stadium. There is no restriction on the opposing team's fans from leaving the stadium at the same time as the home team's fan. There is no passport checks to buy tickets for games. You can buy tickets at the stadium and not at a separate location blocks away the first day you get into Rome and have no idea what's going on.

Having said that, the insanity of a major soccer game in Europe is amazing. Granted, a large number of deaths have resulted through the years of fan violence. The most recent shakeup coming about a week after we left Italy in 2006 when fan rioting resulted in a police officer being killed. It doesn't seem like things have changed much though. There is always a big worry of things getting out of hand when the big clubs meet in Champions League. If they had to live by the rules above, from what I saw in Italy anyway, there would be rioting in the streets... Oh wait, they do that already anyway.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Quote of the day

"Maybe I should drink more so that I think fast food is good."
-Heather (the hungover day after whilst eating DQ fries)