September 26, 2007


Now that some of the dust has settled, I'd like to weigh in my opinion on this huge NFL scandal. Although the fines have been handed out and the Pats' success this season has proven that talented teams win (nothing new here), I believe this scandal has only reached the tip of a giant iceberg. Believe me when I say the NFL is literally reeling from this entire fiasco.

But that's a story for another day.. the jury is still out on that stuff.. about how the NFL "destroyed" all records of cheating material before even allowing us to hear about it. You can read all the conspiracy theories on the internet. To me there is only one thing that matters, because I love this game and I believe in this game. The question that most people have today is whether or not this cheating could have affected the New England's tremendous success over the past 4-5 years.

I have read all the theories about whether or not illegally taping opposing team signals can or cannot give a significant advantage to the perpetrating team. There appears to be a consensus, that, since you only play teams at most once or twice per year, taping their signals shouldn't help you all that much. And teams probably change their signals from game to game, you'd have to be stupid not to. You're standing across the field in plain sight of the other guys. Most teams have designated staff to keep an eye on their opponents' signals.

The fact is though, New England Patriots -- or "America's Team" did cheat. That much we do know. NFL rules forbid filming the opponents' sideline or recording opponents' signal calling. The question that I have for those who believe that Belichick's cheating brought them no decided advantage is this.

Why would you blatantly break the rules -- why go out of your way and risk suspensions, shame and fines, unless it gave you some kind of advantage? It's like a terrorist standing before a judge and saying "I wasn't actually planning to do anything on the plane.. I just wanted to see if I could pull it off...". Uh-huh. Let's think about this for a moment. Bill Belichick is no idiot. He knows about the above facts/arguments that I have pointed out. And he knows just as well the risks and consequences of cheating. So why then, if it brings the team no significant advantage, would you bother? Why throw away all the honor and respect you've gained over 5 seasons of *great* success if it doesn't even help you?

Why would a team with so much success over the past 5 seasons, a team that won 3 Superbowl Championships in 5 years, with stifling defense and a QB that some consider to be one of the best of all time -- why take such a huge risk of casting doubt over all the achievements and accolades this team has accomplished -- unless it didn't give you a considerable edge over your opponents?


My answer to this question is that if Bill Belichick believed that it'd be worth the risk, then you better believe it gave them a substantial, if not *MONUMENTAL* advantage.

September 20, 2007

I dream of mango

I love produce. Every Thursday they have Farmer's Market just outside work, at Metro Hall just outside in the courtyard. I love to just go out there and look at all the produce. Lots of potatoes, and I don't even like potatoes. They've got all kinds of stuff, and whenever I see something I've never seen before, I buy it. Especially fruit. Last year I discovered a kind of pear called "Flemish Beauty". These things, when ripe, literally melt in your mouth. It's like a poached pear only it's in its natural form. So juicy and delicious. The year before last I discovered the "Campari" tomato. To this day, have not found a tastier kind of tomato than the Campari. This year I discovered "Clapp" pears. They're okay. My brother likes them more than I do.

I few weeks ago I read about these special mangoes on Epicurious. The blogger described them as if they were so good, you'd see people stick their whole face right into the mango, and *wear* the peel on their face. The way he described it, had me dreaming about mangoes for the next while. Every time I'd hit a supermarket I'd look for these mangoes, ones that supposedly are only in season for 2-3 week per year.

As result, I had the strangest dream last night..

I was sitting in class. We were writing some kind of exam, and then I thought to myself, "Hey, why am I in class? I already have my degree!", so I told the teacher and he said we were in high school, and I hadn't completed grade 14 math. 14?! Since when were there 14 grades? So anyway, we all realized that there's only 12 grades (13 back in the day, but) definitely not 14.

Next thing I know I'm in a dark alley, with I believe it was Ken, Holly and Charita. We hear about some kind of mango sale at a supermarket so we go there but it's closing. But they're still letting a few people in. I see these mangoes. They're like huge mangoes, like 12 inches long, and they look kind of like big eggplants, only with mango colors. I thought to myself, these had to be those special mangoes that you wear on your face because they taste so good. The sign says 99 cents each and I'm thinking I'll grab the rest but I could only hold 2 of them, they were so heavy and big. By now they've grown even bigger, they feel like watermelons in my hands.

Anyway, I get into line and the lady says, the store closing time has elapsed and therefore it's no longer 99 cents. She tells me the mango is $5.79. I reach into my pocket and I find I've only got $6. So I reluctantly put 1 mango down and buy just the one. Then, this lady behind me says she'll take the one I couldn't take. And then, the cashier lady says "Okay, you can have it for 11 cents."

11 cents!! What the hell?!? I was pissed, I started yelling at her, and I went over and started telling all the customers how I had been cheated, but the cashier lady was sticking with it, she was totally screwing me over. I told everyone and then finally Charita came over and pulled me away. During all the ruckus, I lost my other mango.

As we left, I heard Ken say "Man, did you see that? That Brian is one crazy m-----f-----!".

(I've been watching this cop show on HBO called "The Wire". I'll talk more about this show later, but let's just say it has a lot of profane language and maybe it's starting to rub off on me.)

That's pretty much how the dream ended. I guess I'll never find those mangoes..

September 11, 2007

How are you doing, spiritually?

I was sitting with a friend yesterday, catching up and enjoying some ice cream when the proverbial question came. "So, how are you doing, spiritually?".

Not sure about the rest of you, but I've always had trouble with this question. Perhaps it's just the wording of the question that confuses me. Spiritually, how am I doing? How am I doing from a spiritual perspective, as opposed to a physical perspective, or emotional.. or vocationally?

What puzzles me is whether or not I'm capable of separating myself out into these categories. Other than Physical Brian, I'm not sure I can split Spiritual Brian, Vocational Brian and Emotional Brian. There is only one me. And is it even right for me to be able to do that, when God should be part of my entire being? If I am able to separate Vocation Brian and Spiritual Brian, does that make me a Sunday Christian?

Most of the time when I'm asked this question, I want to run away because deep down I am thinking to myself that I haven't spent enough time with God and that I am about to be exposed for not being a perfect Christian. I suppose from that I've discovered that I often feel a sense of guilt and duty when it comes to my walk with God. So when the question is asked, I often feel like a deer in headlights, and a sense of fear and guilt comes over me. What do I say? "Okay, okay. You got me. The truth is finally out there folks. Yes. I'm a bad Christian. I spend more time watching sports than reading the Bible. It's true and I am ashamed. Also, I often fall asleep when I'm praying at night, and I have passed up about a billion times to share my faith because I am scared to offend the other person." Cameras flash and tomorrow you see me, plastered on the front page of every newspaper, and the caption reads: "Guilty: Man claims to be a Christian".

Sometimes I find when I'm asked the question, I start making excuses in my head. As if I can some how justify myself. I'm thinking "Well.. I just did some missions, so I'm definitely half decent right now.." or "My devotions are almost non-existent, but I pray every night, and plus I'm serving on the worship team so that has to count for something right?"

I think generally it is difficult or people don't really want to think about that aspect of their life. Or maybe it's just me. We want to believe that things are A-OK, because as Christians we want to appear as if everything is fine and dandy, that life is perfect in an otherwise depressing and imperfect, world.

September 07, 2007

The first

People like to be first. They want to get things first. Like a new DVD, or a new gadget. Someone would say "Hey, that's a great phone, but I got it first." People line up for hours so that they can be the first to see a new movie, so that they can tell their friends "Nah, I saw that one already. I saw it first." Or to be first to get into the arena get a great seat.

Of course everyone wants to be first. They want to win, and get that coveted first prize. First in your class. First to graduate. In piano I would always strive to get that "First Class Honors" grade. In violin, you want to be first chair.

As I approached a red light on the road, I slowed my car down and this guy sped past me and cut me off. He wanted to be first. First in line baby. He sure showed me a thing or two.

Second is just no good. And heaven forbid you come in third. People want to be first so badly, that someone who came in second came up with a silly rhyme so they wouldn't feel bad about not coming in first.

A teacher asks a question and a bunch of little hands shoot right up into the air. "Me! Me! Pick me, I was first!". And what an honor it used to be, getting picked first during a game of kickball at recess time. It makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

"Let me be the first to congratulate you on.."

Jacob went to great lengths to fool his own father that he was first.

Parents gather around, patiently awaiting their child's first word. First step! The first 5000 people in the arena will receive a free bobble-head. Sorry, you don't get a bobble-head, you weren't first. I cried tears of joy last year when Toronto was awarded the first overall pick of the 2006 NBA Draft.

It's a wonder to me, after a life of wanting to be first, we don't strive to be better Christians, we don't strive to be first where it actually matters.

We rush through our entire lives, trying to achieve first place in all that we do, but when it comes to pleasing our God, we're satisfied with just being where we are. Myself included. Are we being too complacent?

You won't see me trying to cut in line to signup for Sunday School.

Here's a signup sheet for prayer ministry. Who wants to sign up? Who wants to be first on the list? No one's signing up. There isn't even a lineup.

Sunday Service ends, everyone rushes out of the sanctuary, trying to be first in line for snacks. Let me grab a cup so I can scoop more cheese sticks than you. Hey, what are you doing? I was first. Here it comes..

We really don't know what do with ourselves though, do we? God chose us. God picked us first. But how do we respond? God's God. I mean, we're just a bunch of human beings rush from one place to another. Let someone else be first. How can we pick God first anyway, amongst all the other important things in our lives? God's everywhere and around all the time, so He won't mind. He's God.

I'll catch you later, God.. I've got things to do in the meantime.

September 06, 2007


My brother and I took a break from Rainbow 6 Las Vegas to catch a glimpse of what we hoped to be an exciting tennis match between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick. Instead, we ended up switching back and forth between Roger's total domination of Andy, and a movie called "Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny". The movie itself was just awful, probably one of the worst movies I've seen in a long time, but far more entertaining than Federer's dismantling of yet another opponent. The movie kind of reminded me of those "boy becomes man" road trip type movies full of horny teenagers getting high, only instead of teenagers it was Jack Black and some other old fat guy.

I think what's boring about men's tennis these days is the lack of any kind of true rivalry. Federer is so good, he rarely looks tired or winded after a match, playing the other so-called best players in the world. I think for tennis to become any thing more than remotely interesting again, we need a second player who can actually put up a fight against Federer. And don't give me Nadal, that's only 1 tournament. Last night I felt like Roddick's only major accomplishment was the fact that Federer started to sweat a little bit. I mean, if you can get Federer to sweat, you must be playing pretty good tennis..

Some may argue that golf is the same way with Tiger Woods. No question, the fact that he dominates his sport is very much like the way Federer dominates tennis. But tennis is an exciting sport while golf has never been exciting. We are looking at opposite ends of the spectrum. Tiger makes golf barely worth watching, while Federer makes tennis predictable and boring. And to be honest who really watches golf other than for some ambiance noise while you take an afternoon nap?

September 04, 2007

Extra thin wallet

A few months ago I bought a wallet and reviewed it. I've been using this wallet for some time and I find it amazing that it's so thin. Sometimes I don't even have my wallet and I think I do because I've gotten used to its thinness.

This morning I found it extra thin.. to my chagrin, I had lost several pieces of my IDs. What a disaster. While I was in Vegas last week, I showed my dad this awesome wallet I had and all he had to say was "Look how loose it is, your cards are going to fall out!".

At the time, I only scoffed at him, but today my only response is: "Damn it.."

So, if you're looking to buy an ALL-ETT Billfold wallet.. watch out! One entire pocket emptied itself somewhere within the last 3 days. And I have no idea where I lost it.