Ten weeks later…

Remember that time when I said I was going to try and make a substantive post every two weeks? Me neither.

So, here’s what’s been up since my last post:

Well, obviously, we’re more than SEC Champs these days. Since we whooped up on OSU, we’ve become the first school to hold both the basketball and football National Titles in the same calendar year. I don’t have much to say about that except that it’s great to be a Florida Gator. Oh, and I feel we’re a strong favorite to repeat in basketball… and look out for us in football next year.

Speaking of next year’s football team, it looks like Urban Meyer is a recruiting genius. But we don’t have a chance next year because we’re losing so much on defense, right? I don’t think so. I think our defense was great this year because we had a lot of talent, but also because we were so well coached. I think after spring practice and our first couple games this fall, we’ll be back on track. Also, our schedule is much more favorable this year and our offense is going to put up some serious numbers. I think our coaches will have the defense ready (though maybe not quite as good as last year), and our offense is going to put up better numbers this year. I think this year’s offense will make last year’s look pretty timid.

Moving on, um… I’ve been reading a lot. I recently finished reading Tipping Point. It was excellent, and it helped me have a new perspective on causality. It was interesting to get a better picture of what can make things “tip”. Here’s the analogy that comes to mind for describing what a “tipping point” is: Paper burns at 451 degrees Fahrenheit; it doesn’t burn at 450 degrees (in theory, or whatever). It’s not that 450 degrees isn’t hot, but that 450 degrees isn’t hot enough to cause the paper to burn – to tip. At 450 degrees, the paper is just hot; at 451 degrees, everything is on fire. But there’s not much difference between the two numbers. That one degree is just enough, in addition to the previous 450 degrees, to make a bunch of stuff happen and finally catch the paper on fire. And so it is with social epidemics – things will often be going on as they always have, and then some small thing suddenly causes those things to become something bigger and much more obvious. The book basically tries to break down the individual factors that contribute to something reaching its tipping point.

I am currently reading Fast Food Nation, which is pretty boring, but educational. I guess I’m learning a lot about what goes on behind the scenes in the “food industry”. The book goes through a brief history of “fast food”, then goes into the specifics of where most of that food is produced, who produces it and how very evil the whole process and industry is. Ironically, I keep finding myself craving a good hamburger while I read it. That ain’t right.

I’ve had a good run playing poker online recently. I spent some time working on my cash game, had a really, really good run, then took a break when the law of averages roundhoused me in the face (but still ran at about 5BB/100 hands for about 5K hands). I jumped back into MTTs and recently had a pretty big score in a $30 tournament. There were 113 people and I took 2nd for $678. Normally, I’d be very pleased with that finish except I battled back from a 2-to-1 chip deficit to a 10-to-1 chip lead (over about 25 minutes of solid heads-up play)… but then I lost a coinflip (AKs vs. TT), a 70-30 (King high vs. QQ), then lost another coinflip (all-in on a QTx flop with two hearts – I had KJo, he had 8h7h and flushed the turn). By the time all that was over, the blinds were so high we were just gambling. I lost one more flip and that was it.

Anyway, I’ve been to Jacksonville several times over the past couple months and I’ve enjoyed being able to get home so easily. I’ve seen my family several times and I’ve spent time with some friends too. It’s nice to be able to head up to Jax whenever I want, and it’s especially nice that I don’t have to burn vacation time or like $500 a trip. As I think back on my time in Dallas, it really seems like it was just an extended internship or something. I never really felt “at home” there, and I was always in a “wait and see” mode. I knew I’d either move west to pursue acting, or I’d move back east to be near my friends and family. Texas was never really a long-term option, and I’m really glad I ended up back in Florida. It’s hard to describe the overall increase in my quality of life since I moved, but it’s pretty drastic.

I bought a digital piano a few weeks ago. It’s a Kurzweil PC88 and it’s in pretty great shape, especially considering it’s probably 10 years old. I have been surprised how much dexterity I still have, and it’s been fun playing “by ear” instead of just reading sheet music. I can tell my musical ear has definitely matured since I’ve been playing the guitar. It’s nice to be able to just sit down and play something that’s in my head (at least a slimmed-down, easy version). Hopefully I’ll stick with it and become pretty decent.

I think that’s about all I have for now. I’ll try to make it back before April.


It’s still great to be a Florida Gator…

But it’s a bummer losing like that. I’m still not sure what happened but, if I had to guess, I’d probably use the words “meltdown” and “unprepared”. Our defense stunk up the stadium and our offense was a one-trick pony with little resembling anything “spread” or “option”. ‘Bama played well, but they beat a team that was only a shell of the team I’ve seen the past few weeks. I don’t know where the Gators were on Saturday, but they weren’t in Tuscaloosa.

Hopefully we’ll play well and run Meyer’s offense this weekend against Mississippi State. I hope we’re able to get a win and gain some confidence in our schemes so that we’re prepared when we go to LSU in a couple weeks. I think the most important thing to remember right now is that we’re still in control of the SEC East. We do have a loss, but it was to West team, so it did the least amount of damage possible. If we get back on track and run the table in the East, we’ll go to the SEC Championship game and hopefully get a rematch against the tide.

Anti-Gator fans?

Since our loss to Alabama, I’ve had a few people–none of whom are Alabama students, fans or alumni–say to me or e-mail me a big “Rolll Tiiiide!!” I don’t get it. I don’t understand why people dislike Florida so much. My only guess is that Spurrier was so dominant and cocky that people just decided to hate the Gators. One of the people who said that to me is an Auburn grad. When they lost to GaTech earlier this year, I didn’t say a word to him. When they got snubbed out of the National Title game last year, I told him I thought that was stupid and the BCS was flawed. The only jawing I’ve ever done is to say, “We’ll see you in the SEC Championship.” That’s it. But when we lose to a tough football team, this guy starts giving me lip. Seriously?

Another person, an FSU fan, e-mailed me with nothing but “Rooolll Tiiiide!” I guess she may’ve been irked because, after she tried to tell me how we’re going to lose this year and UGA has our number, I called Doak “Ron Zook Field”. I never e-mailed her last year (or any of multiple opportunities) to say “Go ‘Canes!!!!” or “Go Terps!!” I didn’t e-mail her to talk smack after we beat FSU on their field last year. But we get a road loss to a Top 15 team that she doesn’t even root for and I immediately get an e-mail? Seriously? Nevermind that an astute FSU fan would realize that Florida’s record come November 26 could have a huge impact on FSU’s potential to play for the National Title, and a Florida loss doesn’t help their cause.

After UGA beat us last year, I was at Radio Shack buying some batteries or something. Some random dude saw my hat and came up to say, “You a Gator fan? Man, them Bulldogs beat y’all today, huh?” He was obviously trying to get a rise out of me and also obviously not a Georgia fan. I said, “Well, we have to give them one every 15 years or so. We figured this’d be a good year to do it since we don’t have a coach and all.” He just kinda’ sheepishly put his head down and walked away. I guess he hadn’t really thought his chiding through. But why say anything to begin with? I’m surrounded by Sooners fans. I haven’t said a word to any of them about their season so far. I work with several Aggies. I haven’t made a peep. It’s one thing to root for a football team, but it’s another thing entirely to root against a team just to spite its fans.

Yes, I know what a rivalry is. No, I don’t like FSU or Tennessee. But, no, I wouldn’t e-mail anyone from those schools if their team lost a football game to some team I don’t even root for. That just seems silly and sort of mean-spirited.


It’s great to be a Florida Gator

Wow. Saturday’s football game was really incredible. I’m pretty sure the last time a home game held that much significance was Tennessee in 2001 at the end of the season. If we won that game, we would go on to play for the SEC Championship and possibly play in the National Championship. But we lost.

It’s been almost four years since then and we’ve had some big disappointments and a couple nice wins, but Saturday’s game was the first game in a while that’s meant something. We’re back in the Top 5. Our schedule is difficult, but if we remain undefeated and win the SEC, we’ll have an excellent shot at playing for the Championship. We still have to play LSU, Georgia, Alabama, another West team in the SEC Championship and so-far-undefeated FSU. If our schedule is as difficult as it seems it will be, we could have to win five games over Top 10 opponents.

But all that’s just chit-chat. The real deal was going to a big game in the Swamp and beating a solid opponent when it really counted. And the best part of the real deal was watching the game from the student section, 20 rows up on the 30-yard line. It was one of the best experiences I’ve had at the Swamp, and I’ve been to a lot of home games.

Now, I just have to see about getting tickets (plane and football) for the FSU game in November. I’m hoping to take Thanksgiving week off and travel home to see family, friends and some Florida football.