Sunday, February 27, 2011

Post-Clinic Review

I spent the majority of my time at this week's Glazier Mega Clinic with a few speakers.  Eric Koehler from Grand Valley State was awesome.  He spoke about their no-huddle spread offense, and an empty stack formation they use to create mismatches and stretch the field horizontally.  I spent 4 hours listening to him, and between the information and his anecdotes, the time flew by.  I spent 2 hours with Chad Hetlet from Glenbard West High School (Illinois State Champs), and wish I had heard more.  He was talking about all things Jet Offense, which is when a wing/flanker is brought in motion, handing the ball off to him for a sweep.  Saturday morning was spent with Darin Slack, who's Quarterback Academy is quickly becoming the premier QB camp.  He spoke about the R4 system, which is a way to speed up the QB's pass reads based on what the defense is doing rather than what it has done.  It's actually a lot simpler than that description, but it was pretty revolutionary in its simplicity.  It also flies in the face of a lot of passing offense sacred cows.  I overheard Coach Slack discussing an aspect of his leadership program that I thought was pretty cool, too.  He has a wrist band that states "68 degrees and breezy".  The application being, a thermometer reads the temperature of the room, while a thermostat sets the temperature.  You have a choice of which you want to be; a leader/coach/husband/father can choose his attitude and actions, rather than simply being affected by others.

I may have another book review up this week, and there are a couple of new CD's I've been enjoying, also.  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Glazier Football Clinic or Coaching Christmas

Tomorrow starts the annual Indianapolis weekend of the Frank Glazier Football Clinic.  Its two-and-a-half days of football talk, by coaches from the NFL, D-I, D-II, D-III, and high school.  Multiple topics are covered, there is a lot of networking, some food eaten, and a lot of note taking and exchanging of ideas.  Two years ago I went to the clinic intent on learning the Spread Zone offense and got a lot of good ideas.  I also heard Chuck Martin, who was Grand Valley State's head coach (multiple D-II national championships) and is currently coaching at Notre Dame.  He was fantastic.  I listened to him over the course of four hours and would have listened more if he had more to say.  I also heard from Brian Kelly (Cincinnati at the time, now Notre Dame/Big timer) and Mount Union's head coach (D-III powerhouse) who's name I forget.  Last year I widened my interest level, and this year I have no set agenda, since I may not be coaching this fall.  I enjoy the learning process and the opportunity to hear great speakers, with a few duds thrown in.  It's a fun time to hang out with coaching friends as well.  As the icing on top of the cake, for a low price and minimum work, I can receive continuing education credits to renew my teaching license.  It's a pretty good deal.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

An Adventure to "The City" with Griffin

Yesterday,  Griffin and I spent a little boys' time running errands after Lexi was done cheerleading for Upward basketball at our church.  We were on a mission to get new books for everyone in the family, and we had several bookstores to visit.  After finding books for Trisha and the girls at our first stop, we heading into downtown Indy for the closing sale at the downtown Borders.  Because it was busy Saturday, we had to park in an underground garage rather than on the street.  Griffin was fascinated!  He found a great superhero book and was proud to place it on the counter so we could buy it.  Unfortunately, I still had a couple of books on my list, so we headed off to two more stores.  I found what I was looking for at the other stores, but Griffin wanted to make sure I got something so he offered to buy me a book at each place.  He even handed the cashier my book and the money for it at one of the stores.  He was quite the enthusiastic shopping partner.  We returned home in time for dinner and family movie night (we watched Ramona and Beezus; the kids enjoyed it).  He excitedly told Trisha about our trip to "The City", as he calls it, and how we parked under the street and took a secret passage.  There are times I wish I was still wide-eyed enough to see the fantastic in the ordinary like he did.  It was the perfect summary of our time together.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Book Review - Little Star - By Anthony DeStefano; Illustrated by Mark Elliott

Little Star - By Anthony DeStefano; Illustrated by Mark Elliott

First of all, this is a children's picture book, and is a Christmas story.  To help review it, I drafted my kids, ages 6, 4, and 4.  I'll get to their comments in a minute.  Little Star retells the Christmas story (the birth of Jesus) from the point of view of the Christmas Star (aka Little Star).  It was okay, but I didn't feel like it added anything new.  In fact, it reminded me of the Christmas special The Little Drummer Boy; the least of these is honored for doing his best for Jesus.  It's a great message, and one I appreciate being expressed to children, but I didn't think it really brought anything new.  The illustrations are beautiful, though, so it's a nice book to look at.  My son thought it was particularly funny that Little Star had a lock of hair on his "head".

Now, my kids really liked it.  They are suckers for a good Christmas book and this one entertained them.  My 6 year old, Lexi, said she "really liked it".  She liked how the star shined on Christmas.  My 4 year old, Cami, "really really liked it".  She like seeing Little Star and baby Jesus.  My other 4 year old, Griffin, liked how Little Star shined bright on Jesus.

I guess the verdict is: okay for adults, but it's target audience of children really liked it.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Book Review

Over the last year or so, I've been on a Sci-Fi/Fantasy kick.  Along with that, I usually read mysteries, sports biographies, leadership/coaching books, and parenting/family/spiritual growth stuff.  But lately its been mostly fantasy.  I've read almost all of Brandon Sanderson's books (waiting on Way of Kings in paperback), Patrick Rothfuss and Scott Lynch (long waits for really cool and inventive characters), Steven Boyett's Ariel and Elegy Beach, Ken Scholes's Psalm's of Isaak series, and Daniel Abraham's The Long Price Quartet.  Somewhere in there I read some reviews of Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen series.  I'm hesitant to dive into long, drawn out series, for fear they will never be completed, but Erikson's 10 volume series is nearing the end (book 9 is out; 10 is on the way).  So anyway, I decided to read Gardens of the Moon, the first book in the series.  It was awesome.

Erikson drops the reader into the middle of the action as a world conquering Empire is working it's way through another continent.  Several groups of characters are introduced within the first 100ish pages (it checks in at 650+).  The reader must work to understand and connect the dots as the story unfolds, with hints of past history dropped every now and then.  Erikson very ably juggles the multiple characters, and includes a very handy index of names to help out.  The story moves swiftly, without ever feeling rushed; and it doesn't give too much away too quickly.  I never felt like I had it all figured out, but (after the initial adjustment to a new and unfamiliar world) I never felt lost, either.  One thing that stood out about the characters is that I never was quite sure who to "root" for.  So many books in this genre have a clear delineation between good guys and bad guys, that it's easy to know who to "like" and who to "dislike".  Erikson paints his characters with broad gray strokes.  Until the very end, it's hard to know who's motivations are good, and often it depends on the particular character's viewpoint.

All in all, I really enjoyed Gardens of the Moon.  I will definitely be reading the next book in this series, Deadhouse Gates.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

First Post of a New Era

So, I've started a blog.  I'm now part of the however many people sending my thoughts out to cyberspace for any and all to read.  I don't promise any specific frequency as to how often I'll post; it will probably ebb and flow like the tide.

As far as content, I'll write about things that interest me.  These may include, but not exclusively, the following: football, books, music, movies, tv shows, or whatever happens to strike my interest.  I may even throw in a rant from time to time.

That will do it for the initial foray into blogging.  Later.