Thoughts in Writing

Where I write my thoughts

Archive for March 2011

Atmosphere

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I remember pulling out of Cretin-Derham Hall’s back parking lot in my 89′ Oldsmobile Touring Sedan, windows down, knocking God Loves Ugly. That was sophomore year of high school, nearly ten years ago; and that was Atmosphere’s THIRD album —Overcast! came out in 1997. If memory serves, the current year is 2011: that means Slug, Ant and the crew have been around for over 20 years, releasing seven studio albums and countless EP’s; all while continuing to develop Rhymesayers and touring relentlessly. No wonder they need some therapy.

The Family Sign — April 12.

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Written by danielmullen

March 17, 2011 at 2:02 am

Posted in Music

Around the Interwebs

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Basketball Prospectus: Informative primer for NCAA Tournament.

GrantHill.com: Hill’s response to ESPN’s Fab Five. Good lookin’ Clark.

Vulture: Megan Fox to star in Knocked up sequel.

Wall Street Journal: Want to know who will upset who in tourney? Here are some tips.

Entertainment Newswire: 20 questions with Marsha Ambrosius. This girl can sing.

Written by danielmullen

March 17, 2011 at 1:43 am

Posted in Random

Excuse me Doc, I have what?

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I was dreaming. I don’t remember what about, but I was dreaming, and I had this pain in my stomach. It wasn’t a typical stomach ache like you get after eating too much Chipotle or something, but more of a piercing pain, reverberating throughout the rest of my mid-section. A deep, severe pain. In short: it felt like someone punched me in the balls. I remember thinking, while dreaming: “I hope this pain is gone when I wake up.” It was quite surreal, almost as if David Lynch was directing this dream of mine. Then I woke up. My stomach still hurt.

I dealt with the pain for a couple days, but considering it did not subside, I went to see my family doctor, who performed an exam and some x-rays. He did not think it anything serious, but sent me to St. Paul Radiology to have some further tests, including a CT scan and an ultrasound. Based on the results of these tests, I was diagnosed with cancer. I had suspected this might be the case, as I had gone to The American Cancer Society’s website and researched cancer symptoms in the area I was experiencing pain. To my obvious dismay, my symptoms matched those of a specific type of cancer — of which I will not disclose, in order to maintain some privacy.

The next day, Tuesday March 8, I arrived at United Hospital at 6:30 a.m. to begin surgery preparation. I entered surgery at 8:30 a.m. and the procedure lasted about an hour. I was given medication and sent on my way. I must thank Dr. Peter Sershon of Metro Urology for detecting this disease, and the urgency with which he proceeded. It was a good thing that I had no time to think, but rather was diagnosed and operated upon in a 24 hour span. I continue to feel better every day, and for that I am thankful. I am also thankful for my family. Without their support, specifically my mother, who took work off and nursed me back to health, I do not know where I would be. I also want to thank my extended family, specifically my Aunt Lynne and her family, for their support and those who have sent me messages and cards of support — it is very much appreciated.

It is a strange thing being diagnosed with cancer. My grandma had ovarian cancer; my aunt had breast cancer; and both my grandpas had colon cancer. I guess it was my turn. At first I felt very helpless, thinking to myself: “why me?” But then I thought about it: why does anyone get cancer? Why are children born with birth defects? Why did Wes Leonard die playing the sport he loved because his heart was too big? I don’t know the answer to any of these questions, but I do know this: I am happy to be alive and no longer will I take this fickle thing we call life for granted.

For those hearing this news for the first time: do not feel neglected. I told no one besides those I needed to tell. Also, pray for Amy, my sister, who underwent surgery yesterday, 3/5/11, in an effort to relieve herself from pain she has been experiencing since her time in the Peace Corps. And pray for my mom, whose love, care, and patience is unmatched.

Written by danielmullen

March 16, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Posted in Life

with one comment

Written by danielmullen

March 5, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Posted in Sports

Kevin Love

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What else can be said about Kevin Love at this point? 48 straight double-doubles: check. All-Star: check. Unbelievable statistics: check. Still only 22 years-old: check. (Hopefully) A Timberwolf for years to come: check. That would seem to about cover it, but if you didn’t know, Love can also construct an entertaining blog: Love Will Tear Us Apart.

Written by danielmullen

March 4, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Posted in Sports

InsideEC

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North girls extend winning streak to 10

Down 25-22 at halftime, the Eau Claire North girls basketball team’s nine game winning streak was in jeopardy on Feb. 10. Fortunately for the Huskies, their coach reminded them what the game plan was for the second half.

“At halftime, I just said, we need to put pressure on them the rest of the game. We got beat back a couple times and all of a sudden we were playing conservatively, which is something we do sometimes,” said North coach Michelle Peplinski. “Now, we are down three. You [players] absolutely need to trust me that pressing them is what we need to do.”

And press they did. The Huskies came out the second half in a full-court press, causing Hudson to commit three consecutive turnovers, leading to an 8-0 run for North. They held on to the lead the rest of the way, winning by a final score of 57-48.

Hudson (3-7 Big Rivers, 7-12 overall) made a run of its own, rallying to within 37-34 after the third quarter. Coach Ed Johnson thought his team did a good job of handling the press after the initial turnovers.

“North had a good run to start the third quarter and we did a great job of coming back and answering that run,” said Johnson. “Once we got adjusted, we were alright.”

Much like the first matchup between these two teams – a 62-55 North victory – this game was decided in the fourth quarter. Kayla Hagedorn scored 12 of her 16 points in the second half as North (9-0 Big Rivers, 15-2 overall) kept the press on and outscored Hudson 20-14 in the fourth quarter. Alicia Olson added 10 points for North. Alexa Belanger led Hudson with 14 points.

“North was able to execute their offense, we turned it over a few times in fourth quarter and that put us in a hole,” said Johnson. “We had to do some things to try and be more aggressive and when you have to be more aggressive on defense against North and they are knocking down shots, they are going to make you pay.” 

The victory extended North’s winning streak to 10 games – their last loss coming against Marshfield on Dec. 21. Coach Peplinski will try and keep her team ready and she likens her team’s approach to that of another Wisconsin coach’s.

“We just keep doing what we have done every single game. [Badgers head football coach Bret] Bielema at Madison had this a long time before we did but he used to say just focus on being 1-0. Just focus on winning the next game,” said Peplinski. “What a great way to go through the season. It is a goal you can set every single day and know you can achieve it. So since our Marshfield loss, our goal has been to be 1-0 every single night.”

Written by danielmullen

March 4, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Posted in Inside Eau Claire

Let’s Discuss David Kahn

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Written 11/10/2010

Much has been made about the man, the myth, the Kahn.  People have talked about his crazy drafts: how he always seems to draft players at the same position. People have talked about his alleged bad trade record: how he got nothing for Al Jefferson. People have talked about Rubio: how he will never come over. Then there was C-Webb, Beasley, and last, and certainly least, Simmons. But what people haven’t talked enough about is this: What if David Kahn actually knows what he is doing?

Think about it for a second. Could he? NO…but really, could he?

Let’s Discuss.

Saying that David Kahn inherited a bleak situation when he took over for Kevin McHale as VP of Basketball Operations for the Wolves is drastically understated, kind of like saying Rick Grimes inherited a bleak situation when he woke from a coma and found the world infested with zombies in The Walking Dead. So what did Kahn do? He turned zombies into assets.

Let’s start with the 09’ draft: Kahn’s first significant roster duty. With the 5th pick, Kahn selects Spanish wunderkid Ricky Rubio. Kahn views Rubio as a generational-type player: a point guard with good size, great vision, excellent handle, and a pinpoint basketball IQ. Players like this are hard to come by, especially at age 20. If Rubio comes over – a sizable if, admittedly – Kahn will have his Magic; his Cousy; his Nash. Not to mention this pick was originally Washington’s, but Kahn traded Randy Foye and Mike Miller to acquire it. Rubio in exchange for Randy Foye, a decent player in his own right, and a non-shooting overpaid Mike Miller: I’ll take it.  Miller and Foye were zombies and Kahn turned them into assets.

Then Kahn took Jonny Flynn. I was in favor of Steph Curry, Demar Derozan or even Earl Clark (oops) at the time, but Flynn may not be the mistake everyone thinks he is. He was second-team all-rookie last year without anyone playing beside him, and from the outside seems like a gregarious, well-natured, hard-working point guard. Maybe Kahn knew Rubio would stay in Spain for a couple years and wanted a point guard to start immediately; or maybe he thought Flynn was the BPA; or maybe he knew Curry would never come to Minnesota. In any case, the more I look at this draft, the more I don’t hate it. Let’s also remember Kahn traded Ty Lawson for a future first-round pick, drafted Wayne Ellington (a serviceable player who can play both guard spots) and traded Nick Calathes for a future second-round pick. And who knows, maybe Henk Norel will be good someday (sarcasm somewhat imposed).

Since we’re on the subject of Drafts, let’s take a look at the 10’ draft: With the 4th pick, the Timberwolves select Wesley Johnson. Around Canis Hoopus, the overwhelming choice was Demarcus Cousins. He was big, skilled, and played for John Calipari: normally a recipe for success. But he was also a head case, known for arguing with coaches on the bench and in practice, and scrutinized for his immaturity. He also did not come to Minnesota to work out. Why would Kahn want someone who didn’t even want to come work out for the team with the 4th pick? So what did Kahn do? He passed on him, instead opting to go with a mature, NBA-ready wing player. He knew Johnson would be comfortable in Minny with Jonny Flynn already here, and the Wolves were in desperate need of competency on the wing. So far, Wes Johnson has not disappointed — except, of course, at giving handshakes. Kahn also selected, by way of trade, Lazar Hayward — a hard-working, mature, competition-tested player familiar with the Midwest after playing at Marquette for 4 years. Lazar has shown he can compete at the NBA level, playing tough defense and hitting the occasional three-ball. He also fits the description of a David Kahn-type player: a well-rounded and mature individual, on and off the court. Trading Ryan Gomes, although a fine and decent human being, and Luke Babbit (supposed BPA) for Martell Webster also seems like a good move: Webster was thriving in preseason until his back sent him to the injured list, but I think it is reasonable to assume Webster will contribute to the Wolves in a meaningful way.

Now on to Darko: Famously deemed the Manna from Heaven, Darko Milicic really struggled beginning the 2010/2011-year. His shooting percentage was stuff for records books  — in a negative way — but after a game against the Lakers, he actually seems to be realizing his potential. Granted, it hasn’t actually been realized yet, but he is beginning to realize just how effective he can be when he plays hard and intelligent basketball: blocking shots, rebounding, hitting lefty hooks, and finding open cutters for easy baskets in the hole — the post position in Kart Rambis’ offense. And for only 4 years and 20 mil, with the fourth year not guaranteed, he is actually affordable — I mean Brian Colangelo gave Amir Johnson 5 years and 34 mil for God’s sake and Drew Gooden got somewhat the same. Darko has his critics but Kurt Rambis and David Kahn are not amongst them.

We move forward to the Al Jefferson trade: At 13 million per, a contract signed under McHale’s regime, Al Jefferson was overpriced and ill fitting. He could not pass, play defense, and allegedly, could not work while playing with Kevin Love in the Wolves frontcourt. It can be argued that Kahn did not sell as high as he could; and a case can also be made that Kahn should not have traded Big Al to a team in the Wolves division. But Al had to go. He had no place on a Wolves team that was trying to rebuild and cut payroll. Rambis, Ronzone and Kahn are looking for certain types of players – well rounded both on the court and off – and Big Al did not fit that description. I will be the first to admit that Al, when placed on the left block and given numerous touches, can score on anyone. But he cannot operate in Rambis’ offense, where the player in the hole must be able to see the floor and make decisions. Getting two first round picks, Koufos (boo), and a TPE (?) still seems a bit light but who knows what other offers were out there. Jefferson was a zombie and Kahn turned him into assets.

And lastly, the steal of the century that is Michael Beasley: Surprisingly, Kahn is actually getting credit for acquiring Michael Beasley, deservedly so. Many had Beasley ahead of Derrick Rose in the 08’ draft but — like Oceanary of Canis Hoopus so accurately points out — Beasley was never given a chance to develop; rather he was stripped of his confidence both as a person and player. But then David Kahn intervened and swooped up Super-Cool for a measly two second round picks: steal of the century, maybe sans Pau. As of now, as Biggity2bit of Canis Hoopus points out, Beasley ranks fifth in the NBA in points per 48 minutes. Who to thank? Pat Riley I guess, but more so, David Kahn.

The Wolves have the second lowest payroll in the NBA, with basically all of their players on rookie contracts. They have talent, a championship-tested and developmental coach, and a Front Office with, yes, a plan.

Hopefully.

Written by danielmullen

March 4, 2011 at 4:45 am

Posted in Sports