Tuesday, September 30, 2008

NBA Pre-Hibachi- Los Angeles.... Clippers!

The Clippers are odd. Really. An enigma if you will.
You never know exactly what you are going to get out of them.

What you do know is that they can be very, very good or very, very bad. It depends on the moon though.

The Clippers dont have star factor (although they are in LA). They dont have selling power. They have bad management. They dont have chemistry. They make bad personnel moves etc. That may all have changed over the off-season.

Additions: Marcus Camby, Baron Davis, Ricky Davis, Eric Gordon (R), Jason Hart, DeAndre Jordan(R), Steve Novak, Mike Taylor(R).

Losses: Elton Brand, Brevin Knight, Corey Maggette, Smush Parker, Ruben Patterson, Josh Powell, Quinton Ross, Shaun Livingston.

Projection: 42-40 and 9th Spot in the West. last year they were 23-59.


The Clippers have improved drastically from last season. Last year Brand went down with a horrible knee injury in pre-season, forcing him to play in less than a dozen games towards the end of the season. Corey Maggette was very inconsistent for multiple games in a row and couldn't shoulder the burden of do-everything captain. (He tried though).

If they had retained the core of Brand, Livingston ( I will NOT be linking that video of him) and Maggette for a full healthy season they might've been able to contend for a playoff spot in the rugged Western Conference. But not likely. I can understand not wanting to re-sign Brand but he was a 20/10 threat nightly and appeared to be getting over his knee troubles late in the season. But they got Camby as a replacement, which in reality is not THAT much of downgrade-just a HUGE one offensively.

A healthy starting 5 of :






is big, long and very good in the paint defensively.

I expect Mobley to lose his starting spot to Eric Gordon at some stage during the season though. Gordon is a hybrid guard, capable of playing 1 or 2, but seems more comfortable playing off the ball at this stage. Coach Mike Dunleavy's system may hinder his minutes until he becomes more comfortable with his role on the team and the plays (like all rookies must adapt to).

The bench will prove key for the Clipshow this year, and unlike most of the NBA teams have a (in my opinion) very strong one. Ricky Davis, Tim Thomas, Steve Novak, Jason Hart and Gordon will take up the majority of the minutes. DeAndre Jordan could be a wildcard on this squad, but stuck behind a blossoming talent in Thornton may see limited minutes as a 3/4 man.

The front court is deep for the Clippers with Kaman and Camby taking ALL the minutes at centre and providing the best interior D since the 04 Pistons and a healthy Rockets squad with Yao, Hayes and Battier on the floor. Novak is a 6'10 sharp shooter who may play some minutes at the 3 as well as 4, and will be looking to make more of an impact this year after spending very limited minutes on the court for Houston (but hitting a game winning 3 in the process) last year.

Baron Davis will be asked to play 38+ minutes again this year after his.... interesting decision to leave the Warriors. Gordon will back him up along with Hart.

The Clippers have a LOT of diversity in their 2/3/4 men this year with guys capable of playing multiple positions and each bringing different attributes to the table in the process.

Ricky is a slasher, same as Gordon. Tim Thomas is a bomber who can get to the basket and is very inconsistent, but brilliant when hes 'feelin it'. Mike Taylor is the first player drafted out of the D-League into the NBA and will be familair with the Clipper system because of its affiliate running a smilair offense.

I expect the Clippers to run when they can, and defend well at all times in the interior, while collectively leading the League in rebounding (Camby and Kaman combined for 25.8 rebounds together last season).

Al Thornton will be expected to average around 15-20 ppg while Baron Davis is the leading scorer at around 22 (he had 21.8 last year). Kaman will have 15-20 (hopefully) and Camby can get 10-15 or so.

Ricky Davis could be an x factor for the team (wow) due to the possibility of injuries and the need for a scoring punch at times during the game.

Al Thornton for MIP though!

Peace, Hursty.

Monday, September 29, 2008

NBA Pre-Hibachi: Houston Rockets

EDIT: For those of you who already read this post, I had to correct the injury status on Francis and added 2 more videos .

So y'all know this preview has to be more in depth than the rest, is it because they're gonna blow your minds this season? Well maybe. Is it because they're gonna be at the top of the west? Perhaps. Is it because they're probably the deepest team in the L? Probably. But mainly because we've got 2 die hard Rocket fans on this site so we've got extra info to dish out..

THE OLD: We all know about the 22 wins, but of course they don't mean much without a ring, so lets get over the streak. Its gone, old news. Bonzi and Mike james left mid-year to New Orleans and Houston received Bobby Jax. Jax was shipped out this summer to Sacramento, along with '08 draft pick Donte Greene in the Artest deal. Steve "Sureshot" Novak was also traded to Cali, going to the Clippers for the rights to switch 2nd rounders.

THE NEW : Greene was only new for about a month. Joey Dorsey, however, is here to stay, as the '08 secound round pick signed on the dotted line this past weekend. His deal is worth right under 4 mil for 4 yrs, the last two being team options. Of course Artest is also a newcomer, and he brought along a couple Juniors and Sean Singletary, but Singletary didn't make the cut. Ewing Jr. was sent to NYC, but Strawberry Jr. gets a shot to make the team. Maarty Leunen was also drafted in the secound round this summer and he actually impressed Houston during the summer league, but they'll have to stash him away for now. Let's not forget the addition of Brent Barry, who they managed to steal away from San Antonio.

THE TRUTH: Injuries. It has been the problem ever since Tmac arrived and it still is.. This year is already off to a rough start with several injuries. Lets go through them all:

Battier: is sidelined until opening day because of inflammation in his foot. He had surgery in the offseason to remove bone spurs from his ankle and basically pushed the recovering foot too much, causing the inflammation. The good thing is the surgery was succesful and he just needs extra rest for now.

Rafer: also had surgery this summer, but looks good to right now. He had a scare a few weeks ago when it was reported he had a possible heart condition, but has since undergone more tests and has been cleared.

Francis: also had a foot injury that plagued him all of last year and has been going through rehabilitation since and he still is only going through light drills. He has slimmed down a lot though, which is good since that's less weight coming down on those legs, but may have lost some strength in the process. He says he should be ready for full contact activities in about 3 weeks.

Hayes: Broke his nose earlier this summer, but is also ready to go.

Landry: His knee was acting up last season due to an old college injury. He didn't let Houston examine it prior to him re-signing this summer, so that worried many. However, the Rockets game him a physical after re-signing him this past week and have announced he has no symptoms and the knee looks good.

Yao: Another guy who had surgery, but of course he's recovered from it as he showed in Beijing. During the Olympics his timing and conditioning weren't 100%, but his foot pretty much was. Should be at full force by opening night.

Tmac: The big question mark is here. Tracy had a bothersome knee and bum shoulder towards the end of the season. He's had knee surgery, but during media day yesterday he stated his knee is only 80% right now, should be almost 100% by the start of the season and 100% about a month in. That doesn't sound too bad, but the real question is his shoulder. He also had surgery on the shoulder, but it kept bothering him. An MRI revealed it was arthritis, so he'll need surgery again next year. He says it won't force him to miss games, but will bother him while playing. The only positive is it's not his shooting arm.

Let's take a look at their projected depth:

Rafer - Aaron Brooks - Francis

Tmac- Barry - Head

Artest -Battier- Mike Harris

Scola - Hayes - Landry

Yao - Deke - Dorsey

Deke is still technically not signed, but the rocket needed to sign Landry and Dorsey before knowing how much they can offer Deke. Those 2 were just signed, so look for Mutombo to resign very soon. Harris is not a lock to make the team since he won't see much PT at the 4 spot, there's just too many solid players ahead of him, BUT he's good enough to be in the NBA and could be a solid back up on many teams. He's been working hard this summer, improving his shot and handle, which would allow him to play some 3 as well. That should make him valuable to Houston. There's a possibility Head may be traded to make room for Strawberry Jr. Head just hasn't shown much growth the last year and a half and isn't providing more than a 3point shot, which he has trouble getting off at times. Barry can easily replace that, and Strawberry would bring even more defense to this squad. Other possiblities, if Head is traded, are bringing in Maarty Leunen or another big man to back up the center position, but either moves aren't likely.
I'm not even going to get into Artest and his past issues because that's been beating to death all over the web. I'll just say that I've been following him all summer and he truly seems to have grown up and has his mind straight. Since being traded, he hasn't given a reason to believe he won't come in and give it 100% towards making this work for both him and Houston. Adelman will start the same 5 at the beginning and start shuffling lineups for a while, so don't be surprised if they have a rough start. There's way too many combinations possible, so its going to be awhile before they set a new rotation. Personally I think this one would work best:

Rafer - Francis - Brooks

Tmac - Barry -Head

Artest - Battier -Harris

Landry - Scola -Hayes

Yao - Dorsey - Deke

Of course this would be different depending on game situations, but on average I think this is a good rotation to have. The starting 5 can compete with anyone and the second team is very solid. I'd use this more or less to "get by" during the season and keep a solid 5 on the court at all times. By "getting by" I don't mean not trying, but rather not having any let downs, playing safe, and keeping the minutes down for everyone to avoid injuries that happen during fatigue. In the playoffs you can give Scola the starting spot and tighten up the rotation. During the season I'm not sure it would be wise to load up the starting 5 though, unless they're simply blowing out teams and resting by the 3rd qrtr like the Celtics did most of last year. I don't believe Francis is done yet either. He's not, and won't be Stevie Franchise, but he's still a vet, still has a handle, has heart, and he's got all-stars around him. That should allow him to get by opponents, even with worn down legs. Once he gets inside, he's great at drawing contact. Assuming everyone stays healthy and Tmac's shoulder pain is controlled for the most part, expect them to get lost in the standings early on, but they should make a very strong push to finish the season with a top playoff seed. As competitive as the west is, a slow start shouldn't dig them too deep of a hole. I definitely expect a first AND second round playoff win, but a possible dogfight in the conf finals. After that its a toss up for me. If the Lakers mesh and don't bitch they could rep the west in the finals again, but Houston has the talent to stop them.
Here's some extras from media day(thanks to clutchfans.net for the videos):
Dorsey tries to avoid rookie hazing
Yao conference, plus Yao greeting steve and Rafer, Ron also speaks
Ron's press conference
Francis' injury:
and incase anyone is wondering, the black uni on the pciture is not a new alternate color. Its a photoshop done by a fan i believe, but personally I think it would be great to have. Way better than the new WNBA-type uniforms...

NBA Pre-Hibachi: Memphis Grizzlies

THE OLD: By now everyone knows the the Grizz basically handed Pau Gasol to the Lakers. Kwame was part of that deal and they let him walk this summer over to Detroit (can't blame them for that one). Aaron Mckie was also included and released late in the season. Juan Runner Navarro split overseas after having a decent season last year. Michelle Miller was traded to Minny, so he's gone also. Mighty Mouse started the season in Memphis but finished it with the Spurs. Stromile Swift was another player who didn't finish the season in Memphis after being traded to the Nets for a twin. Kinsey and Jones also are gone. Cardinal left in the Miller deal and took the twin with him. Kevin Love wasn't on the team very long, but he's old news now so might as well add him here too. He's also in Minny too. The more I write about who they sent away, the more i actually think these guys know what they're doing, but still doesn't make up for the Gasol Donation.
THE NEW: The Miller/Love/etc deal brought Mayo, Jaric, Walker, and Buckner. Marc "Don't call me Pau" Gasol and Javaris Crittenton came over in the Gasol Donation. Initially they drafted Donte Greene, but traded him to Houston for Darrell Arthur. Then there's Hamed Haddadi, the 7-2 center from Iran who was signed this summer.
THE TRUTH: Management completely changed up this team over one season trying to lower the payroll as much as possible. After the Gasol Donation, many expected the discount prices to continue, but they actually impressed me with how they saved that situation. Is this team set? Of course not. However, they kept two young talents in Gay and Mayo, and surrounded them with just as nice young role guys like Lowry, Gasol, Warrick, Conley, Arthur and Crittenton. Haddadi still has to prove he's got NBA game, but I don't believe he'll be a bust, at worst he's a nice role player. Also, don't forget Dark is only 23 years old, so as much as he's disappointed fans, he's still has much room to grow and the years to do it. There's only THREE guys on the roster 29 or over (Jaric, Buckner and Walker). In other words, Memphis fans should keep watching college ball for a few more years. They'll be at the bottom of the west for sure, fighting for the right to pick #1 next year. Here's their projected depth anyway:
Conley - Lowry - Crittenton
Jaric- Mayo - Buckner
Warrick - Walker - Arthur
Darko - Gasol - Haddadi
Now thats what most site are predicting, but I actually disagree with most of it. the PG spots look correct, but Mayo should eventually take or be given that starting spot at the 2 over Jaric. Look for Warrick, Arthur and even Walker to play some back up 3, and Darko and Gasol should see some time at the 4. I think Haddadi might actually become a decent starting center late in the season, but only because there isn't many quality big men in the league to overmatch him most games. Eventually he'll be solid at center though. I'd like to see Darko, Gasol, and Haddadi in at the same time just to see how bad they would clog up the court. I actually re-sized that picture of the 3, but the original definitely shows how intimidating their size could be.

NBA Pre-Hibachi: Atlanta Hawks

THE OLD : They were 37-45 last season, which is definitely terrible since they are in a weaker conference. However, much of the damage was done the first half of the season, prior to acquiring Mike Bibby. They were much more improved after the break and pushing the eventual champs to the limit in the first round definitely showed it. Josh Childress is now counting his Euros in Greece. Salim Stoudemire is now a Spur.

THE NEW: They retained Josh Smith and picked up Flip Murray. They had no draft selections. No Childress means more minutes at the 3/4 spots for guys like Williams and Evans.

THE TRUTH: Here's another team that could use some depth, but with a more than respectable starting 5. Their backcourt is definitely set this year with solid backups in Law, Claxton, and Flip. the 3 spot might be inconsistent and perhaps we'll see JJ and Flip play together and Smith should slide in at time also.. Horford and Zaza will hold down the 5 and share sometime at the 4 along with Smith. This is what makes this team so dangerous. They have multiple players who can slide over not just one spot, but 2 and even 3. This gives the coach several options and makes them difficult to match up against. Mark Price is now their shooting coach, which hopefully should benefit Smith the most, like he wasn't dangerously good already. Here's how the spots should look:

Bibby- Law - Claxton

JJ - Flip Murray - Thomas Gardner

Marvin - Mo Evans

Josh Smith - Solomon Jones - Othello Hunter

Horford - Zaza - Randolph Morris

One spot open, but don't expect more than a benchwarmer to fill that spot. The east still isn't a beast, but teams are slowly improving and gaining experience. The Hawks should do better this year, even without Childress. They are a playoff team, but still a lower seed. I totally expect them to scare the hell out of another top seed again this season though, quite possibly upsetting them this time. I wouldn't be surprised if they snuck into the middle seeds since there are still questions on how other eastern teams will mesh. There's rumors of a Bibby trade somewhere down the line, which makes sense since he's not exactly in line with the rest of this team's core. He's making almost 16 mil and this is his final year. I just hope they don't do something stupid and trade him for AI or someone like that. They need to keep it young and versatile.

NBA Pre-Hibachi : New Orleans Hornets

Alright, so the season is almost here and we're gonna hit you up with some "pre-hibachis", previews in other words. Around this time everyone and their momma is doing them, so I always get tired of "NBA previews", so I thought we could try something new. For those of you who don't know, a hibachi is basically a hot grill, so I guess we can translate pre-hibachi as "before it gets hot", and this season will definitely be a hot one. (and I do mean for the whole league, not just Rockets' fans). Once we finish every team, we'll each post our predicted standings. So let's get started:

THE OLD: They finished 56-26 last season, reached the western semis before being shown the door by the Spurs. CP3 did it all for the last year and everyone else filled their roles nicely, but their depth was a major problem. Jannero Pargo split overseas and Bonzi Wells may also be out as he has not been re-signed yet.

THE NEW: They have some new unis, some new logos, and new faces. They drafted Darrell Arthur this offseason, but gave him away to Portland for some Benjamins...hey, its not like they needed DEPTH, right? They managed to score James Posey off of free agency, as well as Devin Brown. Rookie Jared Jordan is also on board for now and so is veteran Sean Marks.

THE TRUTH: All of last season I never really saw the Hornets as contenders. Sure they had the 2nd best record in the conference and played the top teams well, but something just wasn't right for me. It still is not. Depth was a problem for them last year and although Posey seems like a very solid pick up, they lost Pargo, who provided them with a nice and immediate scoring punch of the bench. Here's the guys who will get most of the PT:

Paul- James

Peterson - Butler - Brown

Peja - Posey

West- Wright - Bowen - Marks

Tyson - Ely- Amrstrong

That leaves one spot open, possibly for Bonzi, but the last thing they need is another 2/3 guy. This team isn't very different from last year's. Although Posey brings more than Pargo, but there won't be big minutes at the 2/3 spots for Posey, so he'll pretty much bring the same punch (but in a different manner) that Pargo brought. Don't get me wrong, their first 5 are very solid, but in order to get the last team standing you're gonna need some extra help somewhere along the way because its a long road. Beating the Hornets is done by simply stopping CP, which of course isn't easy, but is definitely easier to do than needing to stop 2 or 3 guys. Chandler compliments CP well, but he's got big issues offensively on his own, and still has trouble with guys like TD and Yao, and even Bynum should give him a fit. Wright should continue to improve, but there's still a lack of minutes at the 3/4 spots. James is still somewhat lost. So how is their a lack of depth when I keep saying there's not enough minutes to go around?? Because the first 5 HAVE to play huge minutes. Sure, you could give more minutes to guys that need opportunities to flourish like James and Wright, but you're not going to win in the playoffs if you play an inconsistent, shoot-first point and Wright over West. With defensive minded teams like the Spurs, Piston, Celtics, and Houston, who all also have offensive power to compliment their D, the Hornets won't have the complete and well rounded game to beat them all to the top, but they should still do well in the regular season, make the playoffs, but won't get deep unless they get very favorable matchups.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Cork Bottles, Peanut Butter and Mannatech

Note: the headline has nothing to do with the actual post(s) below. (Sorry Eboy).

When I began to think about updating the blog today, I began with a few ideas. Some of them included talking about school, others purely basketball. Why school? Its over for the next 2 weeks. Then I thought about Gilbert Arenas being injured unitl (most likely) early January and what it means that the namesake of this blog would be down again for at least 20 games this season. Devastation, horror and frustration all flashed through my mind when I first read his most recent of blogs on nba.com.
People whinge and bitch about how a superstar athlete shouldnt be talking about paintball fights, injuries, pubic hair and on/off relationships with his girlfriend (now wife) to the public over the internet. But they can all go fuck off in my opinion. Heres why:
Because he is different. Not just in life and profession to 99.999% of the world population, but because of his charisma, attittude and work ethic. I guarantee that almost everyone with a negative view of his blog will be someone who was never good enough at school, mad poor lifestyle choices, fell into a cycle of suburban abuse or several of these things. And all of them are holistic. He has that drive to succeed and be the best he possibly can. If we can gain that insight into his life of struggle and determination then arent we all the better for it? If we can realise that hard work DOES pay off with some luck, then isnt that a motivation to perform and succeed in life?
Gilbert is a character. Right now in the NBA there just arent enough people like him with that charisma and savvy (the latest Wizards PR day as the exception, and understandably so). People are polarised by Gil. His antics, buzzer beaters, quotes and personality divide people like no else except Kobe.
Gil is (when hot, and un-injured) absolutely one of the deadliest scorers in the game. His moves have a variety and a flavour that almost nobody on the planet can match. Kobe can do some, Wade and LeBron others. But none of them have that package that Arenas brings to the table. He's a deadly shooter from long range and will punish you if you leave a lane even half open. He is more explosive than Kobe getting to the ring nowadays and is a better shooter than Wade or LeBron from the perimeter (although they are improving).
I wonder how much of that explosive ability is gone now after three injuries in 18months though.
We could, unfortunately be seeing him go down another Grant Hill/Penny Hardaway path. Though Hill had ankle injuries (not knee) and Penny tried to carry the sizeable load that Shaq left when he departed from Orlando to Lakerland.
I hope this is not the case, I really do. Basketball fans have been down this all-too-familiar path before and know how the story ends-in tragedy and pain for all involved.

On a lighter note, I'll fill everyone in on how things are back home in Sydney and a small bit of background history on why I support the Rockets so fervently.
Well, we've just entered basketball season for school and we have a series of tournaments both for the ISA (Independant Schools Assosication) and other tournaments from around the Sydney Basin Area (the geographical feature that helps identify Sydney).
We play other private schools over the next week or so, and unfortunately, I dont see us bringing home any medals. It is pre-season though and doesnt carry over into the regualr season. The problem we (as a team have) is that we are deep on the roster but have NO chemistry. At all!
Our point is a pass first dude with a knack for stealing the ball, but he passes TOO often, trying the impossible pass when theres a guy for the wide open 3. I might be starting at either the 2 or 3 this year (or being the 6th man) and I can score the ball, but I think in order for us to win I need to take more than 5-10 shots a game. Thats not being selfish though I dont think, since otherwise we have around 50 points in us as a unit. We need about 85.
We play the powerhouses Oakhill (seems like Oakhill is great no matter where you play, USA or AUS), St. Pius (who have 2 state players) and Riverview College (aka Iggy's or View) those guys are insanely tough. Then theres Newington College, who finished 2nd in the nation last year and just killed everyone they played.
In other news, I got some of my exam marks back and I passed maths (yay!) but I dont know my % yet. And I am looking at around 80-85% for Ancient History. I havent got anything else back yet, but the signs are positive (fingers crossed).
Why do I support the Rockets? For several reasons. Tmac was deadly in Orlando and was (when they first came out) playing for the Magic when 'dunks' and 'anklebreakers' came out. I was in yr 7 (age 12/13) and around 6'1 and really long and skinny. I was always stuck in the paint and forced to play either centre or power forward. I felt that I could relate to a guy who. at 6'8 could shoot the ball, run the point and be a do-everything-well type of player. That to me was the first step. I loved McGrady first. I never had the same affectations for Kobe or Iverson. Tmac has that kind of sleepy smurf type look but when he wakes up, he's just nuts (see his 40 point game 7 effort against the Jazz this year).
When he moved to Houston for my favourite 1/2 combo in Cat and Stevie (Cuttino Mobley and Steve Francis) that trade brought me further towards appreciating the Rockets. Franchise was the heart and soul of the rockets for the previous 4 or 5 years after their championship run. Hakeem was aging and Charles was retired. Yao was a rookie in '02 and was finding his feet. Watching 'Year of the Yao' really helped to understand what went into a locker room and the personalities and attitudes of those in an NBA team. It was definitely eye-opening. So, Steve went to Orlando and teamed with a rookie named Dwight Howard and Cat suffered in the Clippers.
Then 13 in 33 happened. That was amazing. Against the Spurs. It is in my opinion, the greatest finish to a game in NBA history. http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=p_CGxj3dHGA&feature=related Better than Jordan (except for MAYBE the 98 Finals game 6, what a way to finish huh?) That sealed my love for them forever.
I felt all those first round losses of Tmac. Its like my school team being knocked out of the semi's 4 years running. It hurts man. It hurts.
Those playoff games they've played since? Well, hopefully they can make some noise. They have a very deep team and a lot of defensive intensity with Yao, Artest and Battier (who is out for the pre-season). Brooks can be a pest and Tmac can play defense as well. Chuck Hayes is an excellent defenfer and with the exception of Yao, the whole front team is scrappy, athletic and bring various elements to the table to work cohesively as a unit. Best of luck for the next season boys. Great job with the community support as well.

Movie Reviews:
Step Bros- Could have been better, Will Ferrell was at his best since, I have no idea. Semi-Pro? He was ok, Ive liked his last 2 or 3 movies more recently, similair to Nicholas Cage and his treasure movies. It does have some very funny moments. 7.5 out of 10.

Eagle Eye- Wow, that was... interesting, I was disappointed with the mid section, but overall it was pretty ok. I could see where they were going with this type of movie genre, but they tried too hard, and it came off looking somewhat fake. Shia! LeForehead *slaps*. 7-10.

We at hibachi have been working over time behind the scenes to bring you the latest and flyest new bloggers over time and we (shortly) will be presenting you with Money Bill Williams from the slamboards *claps and applause!*. He will become one of the esteemed members of hibachi in the short future, in the mean time, you can check out his work, which is linked to the side of the page. Same as our boy betcats, who is welcome to guest write for us at any time. Same as anyone else who thinks they have anything to contribute (looking at the slam boys in particular) and big ups to SKO for repping us as well, we return the favour in kind. You guys need to update fellas!
Remember: if you trip, you WILL fall. Stay on your feet.
Peace, Hursty.

PS: for the lovers and the haters too- http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=MAo1ucbGSLc&feature=related

Friday, September 26, 2008

Remix! Mother Nature to the United States: F*ck Y'all

Well it definitely was a long, interesting, boring, tiresome, hot, sleepless, sweaty, hungry, dark, uncomfortable, isolated, expensive, repetitive, and unforgettable 12 days. My family's power was finally restored this past wednesday, but about 20% of the Houston area is still without power. We cant complain though, since our house is still intact. Hurricane Ike only knocked over our fence and some trees in our backyard, as well as ripping off part of the roof in our back porch. I'm definitely conscious of how lucky we are, given that dozens in the nearby Island of Galveston lost most, if not all, and have yet to even find out. However, the impact of Ike is somewhat fuzzy to me as of right now since I didn't have much contact with media sources for those 12 days. The first 2 days or so I found several radio stations broadcasting live feeds from the local news channels. It was pretty much Hurricane Ike 24/7 during that time, but then they all went back to playing music and basically only took calls, after every song, from listeners who had found gas, ice, food, hotel rooms, etc. I did manage to catch a station that briefly mentioned Ike traveled up the mid U.S. and dropped a lot of rain and power lines there also, as well as the stock market taking a hit, thus the title of this post.

This whole thing had an I am Legend feel to it at times, but of course without the infected population and the people during the day were real, not mannequins. However, we did have some wildlife roaming around the area though, most notably a tiger and a lion (http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,24359515-5001021,00.html ), alligators, and turtles (one somehow managed to end up on I-10 near Katy, which is even further inland than downtown Houston and nowhere close to a body of water). At night, it was completely dark outside. Very unusual to drive down a street that usually was very busy, but now you're the only car on the road. Everything in the area was closed. I had to drive out about an hour and half out of the city to find certain items. I did manage to catch a station that briefly mentioned Ike traveled up the mid U.S. and dropped a lot of rain and power lines there also, as well as the stock market taking a hit, thus the title of this post.

I was going to make this post about my own personal experiences in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, but they were actually boring and repetitive for the most part since most of my days were spend at home and I'm ready to move on and get past all that. Also, this should not just be about people like me who can pick up and get back to normal life after a couple of days, but also about those who lost it all. that being said, I'd be lying if I sat here and wrote I could ever imagine what those people are going through. I can't. Not even close. I will say I hope they can all rebuild their lives and get the proper aid they need as quickly as possible.That's definitely easier said than done, but I hope FEMA and every other big name involved gets their act straight right now and in the future. (more on this later).

Some thoughts/comments:

-So what's it like to ride out a hurricane? The real scare for me was wondering if a tornado might develop nearby. Other than that, it didn't seem too bad. I'm not trying to downplay the impact Ike had though, keep in mind I was inland in a fairly sturdy home with boarded windows. Also, the strongest winds in this area were recorded at about "only" 87 mph, so my experience was rather peaceful compared to those on Galveston Island or in the eye's path. The power went out early and the storm passed in complete darkness, so I couldn't see if there was any damage outside. All I could see were the really tall trees swaying back and forth. Every abnormal rumble outside quickly had me thinking "twister", but one never formed, so if a tornado's roar is louder than the loudest of those, then I'm sure glad I didn't experience one. From what I've read so far there weren't any tornado sightings during the storm.
- I think the only thing worse than losing your home to flood waters or high winds is knowing your loved ones are no longer resting in peace. A couple cemetaries were flooded and the pressure from the storm surge caused several coffins to rise up and float away. That probably isn't something you'd think about during or after a storm and probably took many by surprise. I sincerely hope they were able to recover all of them because I know it would drive me crazy not knowing where they ended up.

- Centerpoint Enery, which shoots out the power to most of Houston, as well as most of Texas, says the grid was down about 93% after the storm ad had been literally minutes away from completely crashing. A spokesperson explained how a total shutdown would have turned the recovery time from weeks to MONTHS. The hottest days of the year in the Houston area had also just passed in late August, so it definitely shows how close the results were to being much worse.

-Gerald Rivera, once again, getting too close to the action (video) : http://www.hurricaneikefacts.com/geraldo-rivera-falls-from/FziScjyf4Ic/

- Houston Rockets' back up point Aaron Brooks actually rode out the storm at the Toyota Center. He said he got a work out in prior to the storm and another one after. During the storm he bunkered down further inside the building. I know the Rocket's practice court is at street level, with the wall facing the public street made almost entirely of glass, so that would have a perfect view during a storm. Can anyone else imagine running 5 on 5 on that court under those conditions? Sweet.

-The Rockets also bought and passed out truckloads of goods last week, which was great. Now I don't know how much of the team stayed in Houston for the storm, but only Rafer, Hayes, Mike Harris, Luther Head, and Brooks showed up. Would of been nice to see more guys out there though. One of the posters on Slamonline mentioned it might have been Artest's idea, but it was Rocket's owner Les Alexander who got the ball rolling on that one. A big thanks to the Hornets as well. The trucks came from New Orleans and CP3 and others were among the volunteers loading the trucks.

-One of the radio stations mentioned that the postal service was back in action about a day after the storm. They joked about how the mailmen can get into anywhere and maybe they should be the ones delivering aid in the form of water and ice. They quickly changed the subject, but I couldn't help but wonder WHY NOT? It's actually a very good idea. FEMA reps kept mentioning the can only bring the help, but its up to the local leaders to direct them where to set up, since they don't know the area and therefore don't know where the most efficient locations would be. A high ranking member of the armed forces even completely butchered Galveston's name during an interview. I don't blame him for the confusion, since he's just trying to help, but it further points out how a lot of the people leading the charge don't know what's around them. So why not receive help from those who travel to every single address in the area 6 days a week ofr most of the year??? Who else knows what areas are usually blocked off during heavy rain and what area includes many senior residents? Who else knows the quickest way or alternate routes to get to certain residents? Who else knows what areas are littered with trees and old structures, therefore vulnearable to heavy winds?? No one else. The neediest residents have very little, if anything to their name. That possibly means no car, or no money for gas. It also means physical disabilities or a single mother who can't afford to go out and look for aid because she has to take care of her kid(s). But who actually gets all the ready to eat meals, ice, water, toiletries, and canned goods??? The people who can afford to fill up their gast tanks, drive their reliable cars out to FEMA pod sites where they can afford to wait for an hour or two in long lines (that only accept cars, no walk-ins). The rich get richer and the poor get screwed. I know some of the people that actually drive out really need the help, but many don't. Many want some free supplies or are simply looking to keep their shelves stocked even though they have enough supplies to last them several days. About a week into the blackout, a city ice truck drove into my neighborhood and passed out ice bags. Now THAT is efficiency. You're going to the problem areas and reaching out to those who really can use the aid that second. I think cities should take a day or two to clean out the roads, since most homes at least have goods for one or two days, and once the roads are no longer blocked, they can really move in deep into cities to deliver aids. Here, no one moved a finger until the storm was completely gone since the first step was getting power crews out and they can't work under those conditions. If they focus on just clearing roads first, then they can get crews out earlier as the storm is almost gone, since the job doesn't call for complete calmness. Then, with the postal crew leading the way, they can make neighborhood stops at the neediest of areas and greatly bump up efficiency. Of course the cost of gass would be a problem, but FEMA or other aid providers don't necessarily need to walk up your front steps. Perhaps they could set up at local post offices, load up USPS vehicles with goods and send them out. They'll already be out there delivering mail, so why not take advantage of that? I know its morec omplicated than I can imagine and I don't have the info to crunch numbers, but I think it is definitely something to look into. Right now the focus is on making help sites accessible for ALL, but lets face the facts, not everyone needs the aid. Make it a priority to reach out to poverty stricken areas and the senior communities. To the homes with only one head of household or the shelters full of locals who had to leave their homes with only the clothes on their backs. Don't tell me Tracy Mcgrady needs some bottled water when his pool is probably filled with Vitamin Water.

- The Rockets just announced they'll be actively participating in rebuilding the area and providing aid for a while. they're not planning on just spitting out benjamins the first week or two and thinking its enough. they had a blood drive this week and have plan for some clean up activities soon and several more to come, Definitely great news. I believe the Astros donated a million dollars, and the Texans have helped out too, but hopefully they plan on sticking to it for the long haul as well.

-On one of my trips out of the city, I found a Walgreen's that actually wasn't closed or was sucked dry of necessary items. I mention this because I think two things that are (and were in my case) often forgotten are that the latest home phones most families have are cordless and running on battery power can get really expensive after a few days. Well at the store I pretty muchran by every single aisle looking for anything I could use and I actually found some of those old corded phones that don't run on electricity. Proved to be a big help since cell phones couldn't be charged unless you had a car charger "(which of course i didn't have either!). I also found some solar powered accent lights, which are meant to go outside your home, but in this case, we used them indoors at night after charging them all day. They were a bit dim, but a great investment at 20 bucks for 6 of them.

-still video of 100 mph+ winds and storm surge as the eye passes through Clear Lake, Tx. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8iqLcGN3Go&feature=related

- A cop. An ATV. Surfers. High water. Here's what happened next:
Some images:
Finally, thanks to those who whished me well during this time. Things are getting back to normal around here, but there's still several without power, closed businesses and broken things to fix. Still should only be a matter of weeks before Houston is near full speed. Unfortunately, Galveston Island and other coastal areaswill take a loong time, but I expect them back stronger than ever.
The season keeps getting closer and closer and hopefully we can get back to talking ball very soon, including some team previews.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Desserted....... pavlova!

Named after Anna Pavlova (yes this is true) and respected world wide by people such as myself Pavlova is THE best combine dessert out there. No doubt about it.
When I say combine, I mean mutliple products going into one item. Not eggs, milk etc.
But fruits, creams, icings, toppings. That sort of stuff.
As Australian as crumpets, vegemite and the baggy green, Pavlova was invented in the 1930's by some guy who had a good sense of food and taste. *It was probably a woman though, since they were in the kitchen/house during that time the majority of the day though*.
Anyways, recently I've heard that since a typical pavlova has kiwi fruits on it, it must have been made in New Zealand. Will the kiwis also say that Dolly the Sheep is a new zealander next? Or Evermore? Or even the damn Flight of the Conchords(they actually are though)?
No this doesnt have anything to do with basketball. Good observation. This is just my favourite dessert.

**update** with exams/school. I have now done 6/7 with maths finished today. And Business Studies tomorrow (but Im dropping, so I dont care). Also, I will, along with DP (good job on the 1st V/Varsity as well my man :) and RV (who was in Houston when the hurricane hit) be bringing our own top 50 to the blogosphere.
I am also competing in the NSW state schools championships as the starting 3 for my school. We wont win but I'll let you know how it goes. Also, Money Bill Williams (from the slam boards) will be competing with me as we try to take out a big cash tournament in the Illawara. I'll holla back at you all about that.
Anyways, everyone stay well and stay (esp. you RV) safe.
PS, thanks for the add Joel O's.
Peace, Hursty.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Mother Nature to the Gulf Coast: F*ck Y'all

So I figured I might as well chime in with some non-basketball posts myself. Its difficult to do something like that on a basketball blog since you never know how readers will respond, but I think the latest posts by Hursty and DP definitely appeal to the average person and were good reads, so props to the both of you.

The last couple of weeks pretty much has been all about Hurricane preparation and tracking for us folks around the Gulf Coast. I can't stress enough how tiresome it is to hear this next new storm could possibly/maybe/perhaps/ throw a mean roundhouse kick at your city. Obviously it is a good thing that we have technology that allows us to prepare in advance and prevent deaths/injuries/damage, but it's definitely stressful to wonder when the big one will come. Let me also say that I understand how serious natural disasters are and I definitely am aware of the numerous lives that have been taken or destroyed over the years. It definitely is a sad thing, but I myself have never been directly affected by natural disaster. I've lived most of my life in Houston (with a short stint in Mexico City as a young'n) and our ground doesn't move or erupt like in Cali or Hawaii. Hurricanes seem to avoid NASA like the Gasol brothers avoid Supercuts. The last time I saw snow, Houston didn't have any major sport championships and the Heat were an expansion team. The closest I've come to a disaster was in the Mexico City earthquake of '85 when I was visting the city as a 2 year old. Over 10,000 dead, 30,000 injured, but luckily my family and I were no more than shaken up. I guess being in the middle of it is as direct as it gets, but given that I was so young I can't remember it at all, so it's as if it never happened.

So what is this all about? Basically I'm fascinated by natural disasters. Especially tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, and quakes. Although i'm fully aware of how infamous many of these are, I can't help but admire nature's power. Our world is so caught up in the latest gadget or technological breakthrough that they often take the most basic things for granted, such as nature. Even something like television was brain-boggling for many at one point, and even that is now reduced to simplicity. C'mon people, its a BOX! With people INSIDE!! Who come in through what is basically a string! Crazy, I know. Things can seriously be amazing though when you strip it down to the basics. A little baby growing into a 7'6" man? The human body adapting to temperature, hunger, light, and infection? The human body is more amazing to me than natural disasters though. Its amazing how it can heal and grow, adapt, mold itself into different shapes and sizes. Its the greatest invention ever, but many would argue that's the computer/internet, but when is the last time your computer spit out a virus on its own? Or the last time your laptop kept storing energy after the battery was full? Way off track now, but back to the hurricanes.

Ever wondered what it is like have hurricane winds slap you in the face? What it is like to have a huge twister of air looking down on you? I sure have. I would be lying if I said I wasn't secretly hoping a twister would form in my backyard or that a hurricane would drive by my house. Its nuts, i know, but I can't help it. I can't help, but take a look outside when the sky turns black, lightning flashes, and I hear Kevin Durant. (Hey maybe it is a scary name afterall!). I love that weather and can't help but run towards it when others run away. (Ok, maybe not). Technology is usually created for a reason and by man. Natural disasters are not. Yes, there's that global warming thing and yes there are technical explanations as to how these things form and happen, but its still not under our control. These are one of the few things still around (besides the ground) from way the hell back when Raptors weren't soft. (sorry, that should be ex-Raptors).

As amazing as they can be, they can also scare the shit out of yo, no doubt. Like I wrote earlier, lately hurricanes has been on everyone's minds around here. So last night, around 4 AM, i'm asleep. All of a sudden I hear a noise similar to rain drops being smacked into the windows, but a lot louder. The first thought that popped into my head was "those damn meteorologists f*cked up and Ike is knocking on my window". Paranoia is a bitch, huh? Hurricane Ike was easily 3 days away from landfall before i went to bed and yet there I was thinking he fast-breaked into the city in a few hours. So as much as I would like to experience one of these monsters, you know when it gets down to crunch time you're gonna fold like Nick Anderson at the stripe. I remember 3 yrs ago prior to Hurricane Rita I was anticipating landfall in H-town as a category 5 storm. Sounded exciting. At least until the path was all but confirmed and it set in that everything you've ever worked for might disappear. Luckily, Rita weakend and took a turn, but it definitely sucked the excitement right out of me. As of right now Hurricane Ike is still predicted to hit just south of Houston, near Matagorda Bay. However, its still expected to hit a curve northward and when it does depends on something going one way, something else going another, and whether Kobe gets surgery or not. We're still expected to see weak Category 1 windspeeds because of the outer bands and the chances of it coming straight at us are as good as a Yao Ming making a 3. Let's hope Ike didn't watch the Olympics. For some reason I have a feeling its going to shift north and come right at us. Either way, you can bet I'll definitely be taking a stroll outside sometime during the storm to check it out, while staying as safe as possible. And no I never figured out what the hell that noise was, the sky was clear, no rain no wind, but definitely scared me initially.. OKC Rain Drops?

Update: The storm DID shift north after the last update...not by much, but since last night its slowly creeping our way more and more. At least its not taking aim at NO this time, those folks haave had more than enough to last them decades...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Recession: Back on my Grizzy

Uh..Oh...He'ssssssssssss Backkkkkkkkkkkkkkk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! With a brand new moniker(you can call me D.Preezy now or just Preezy, if you just want to call me DP, that's fine too). Yes, this is the one and only, mr. lova lov himself, DP. I'm one of the lost boys of this fairly upstart blog(PP please give us some word, it's not the same blog without you) hibachi 2.0. I know you've been wondering where the hell I've been hiding but I thought I should go on a little hiatus seeing that RV and Hurst have been holding it down. Thanks guys, I appreciate y'all more than you'll ever know. But since I'm back I might as well tell you all why I've been gone for so so long. One dreadful word: school. Yes it's back in session and so fat it's been a mothaf*ckin b*tch. From AP Language to Chemistry to ceramics(Yes I said ceramics because I suck something terrible at making flower pots for Mother's Day" it has all been a freaking drag. Not to mention that your boy has had to run 7-10 miles each day for cross-country. Special shout-out to my ego manic coach, Coach Black. What track coach do you know drops you off in a huge neighborhood and while your running through the place four times in a row, follows you in her Cadillac to make sure you're running? Crazy I know, but that's the life of a yound black man in Mississippi. As you can see so far there has not been any mention of a basketball and guess what? There isn't going to be. This is the dead time of the year for L so you won't see any real basketball posts unitl October. Just to inform all, there will be team previews on Bachi 2.0 by mlyself and my crew. There might be even a few guest appearances, I hope(EBOY, IZZO, TAD, TARIQ, BET, B-LONG, JUKAI, JOEL O'S, MONEY BILL, PP! HIT ME UP!) so just stay tuned. So let's get back to the events that have happened to me in the past week The craziest thing occured last Friday and it just freaked my mind. Every Friday we have Pep Rallies for our football team, the Northwest Rankin Cougars(google us haters). Well with every Pep rally we have a particular dress "theme" that everyone goes by to see who "school spirit." I usually don't mess with Pep rally "themes" because most of them are of the lame type but this year I VOWED I would be a happy trooper and do anything to show this overrated thing called "spirit." Last week's theme was our school colors, black and gold. I prefer gold and purple because I'm a weird laker fan like that but that's my forte. Anyways in the process of getting rev ed up for last week's rally, a very sad and tragic thing took place. One of my friends, Melvin Stamps, who was said to have a brain tumor, died in his sleep as he had a seizure and stroke at the same time. Melvin was only 16 years old. When I heard the news early that Monday, I thought it was some kind of crude joke. I knew Melvin couldn't be dead and I wouldn't believe such bullshit. But reality smacked me in the face as I saw one of his best friends crying like a baby and someone came behind me and told me that the news was true. Right then at that moment, I was shook beyond imagination. I mean a dude that I JUST WENT TO SUBWAYS WITH A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO was gone and out of my life. Let me tell y'all, that was a reality check for me because it made me think what the hell I was doing with my life. I know Hursty preached this(great post beneath me my dude) but we take so much for granted. We think that it cant' happen to us, that meaning death, but anything is possible. Life is just too short to be stressing the little shit so live each day to it's utmost potential. I'm sidetracking to the meat of the story so let me get back on my grizzy. So after Melvin's death most of the "black" people were shaken up. I say black because Melvin was obviously black. I'm not saying the white students didn't have any compassion but most of them acted like nothing happened and they kept on moving. I could understand if they didn't know the dude but you would think they would have a heart for the man's family. What was so effed up about Melvin's death was that the school didn't even acknowledge it. Now don't get offended if I use the race card but tow white students, brother and sister, died in a car crash last year from our school. The whole school, white and black, was in mourning. I didn't even know either of them but I felt for my friends that were close to them. Well when this happened, the principal had a big assembly and the whole nine. People were leaving school, praying, crying like it was the end. We even had a moment of silence, which I understand was needed. But since they did all this for the "white students", why not respect the "black students" death as well? As you can guess, all the black student body was enraged and we took matters into our own hands. We made posters, t-shirts, rags, and even put a hug memorial poster in the cafeteria for everyone to sign there thoughts of Melvin. I'm going to stop this rant and move on the what happened at the rally. My friends and I painted shirts the night before that quoted, "Melvin Stamps never forgotten RIP" and wore them to the rally. Let me say that that pep rally was the best atmosphere I've ever been in. period. As soon as I hit the gym door, I saw everyone in the school in either black, gold, or all white. I myself am a Junior(2010 hoe!) and every year at the pep rally the Juniors and Seniors duke it out to see who is the livest. This is corny, I know, but the whole object of the pep rally is to see which grade has the most spirit by singing the school fight song. School fight song, you say? Yeah, it's like a cross between LSU's fight song and Usher's "love in this Club." crunk. So the Seniors wanted to show the Juniors up by wearing all black and having their own little blackout. Damn, well what's the polar opposite of black. Yes. We the Juniors by the Juniors and for the Juniors rocked all white and had a dope white-out going on. Throughout the rally, the whole school was into everything from cheering to the cheerleaders wack routines, singing, and even dancing to the band's weak imitation of Yung Joc's "Coffee Shop". One of my favorite parts of all our pep rallies is when the Seniors yell out, "C-HOUSE!" and we say with such buckness, "YEAH HOE!" This pisses the principal off like hell but he can't suspend all of us right? After all the bs was aside it came time for each class to sing the fight song to see who was the class that was the loudest. The band came in and hear's what went down. FRESHMAN! wack. SOPHOMORES! wack. SENIORS? the only comp for us juniors. But when it came timefor the Juniors to sing, I never thought I would wellow(I just made that word up I think) with such pride for our grade. Befor the band began their tune I hel out the dynasty sign(see Jay-Z, rocafella) which is our class sign and I yelled out my whole heart and with a big smile said, "MELVIN! MELVIN! MELVIN! MELVIN! I thought I was alone until my homeboys started holding up the sing and screaming Melvin's name to the top of his lungs in unison with me. Soon I noticed my whole grad holding the dynasty sing with pride, yelling Melivn's name and sounding like the million man march. They say real men don't cry but can I admit something? It took me something hard to hold back my tears after that one. After we finished our chart, we noticed that the freshman, sophomores, and seniors joined us in screaming Melivn's name. Teachers were even with us. It was just a beautiful thing y'all. Once we sang the fight song, we literally RAPED it and it was an unanimous decision from the judges: Juniors Won! I now that this post was hella lengthy and I sound gay talking about pep rallies but this was real special to my heart because we won it for Melivn. The school finally showed the man the respect that he deserved, and it made me damn happy. Thanks for taking your time to read my post. Trust me, basketball will be back real soon. until then, love, live, life y'all. that's all there is to do. And the name of my new posts will be called The Recession until November 4(my birthday) when history will be made. RIP MELVIN STAMPS and Obama on my birthday. play wit it.

html hit counter
free website url submission