Thursday, December 22, 2011

"It" is officially a "She"

We are expecting our first child, and today we got to see some interesting shots on the ultrasound. We also found out that it's a girl!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Preps Magazine

The third issue of Preps Magazine is now out and it features the teams from the winter sports season (with boys' basketball on the cover). We are covering 15 high schools in Utah Valley. Here are the covers we have had so far:




If you are interested in getting a subscription to the magazine, go to utahvalleypreps.com, and click "Subscribe." For a limited time, you can get a free one-year subscription by simply completing the brief survey on the site's subscription page.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

We were mostly home for the holidays this year, but we had a good time. Patricia made some Brazilian treats and we listened to some Christmas music to get in the right mood. We ate and delivered goodies to neighbors. Everything turned out really well. There were dulce de leche pastries, three types of mousse (chocolate, lime and passionfruit) in cups and little pie crusts, caramelized grapes, pão de queijo (cheese bread) and some tube-shaped potato and rice patties that had garlic/onion/chive seasonings.
We were simply having a wonderful Christmas time with these foods.
Above you can see a sample of the plates we gave to some friends.
video Christmas trees: real or fake? Santa Claus came to town.

We hope you all had a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Chuck Norris Spit Here

Recently (in the last few months, anyway) I was with my honey near the library and I spotted this car:Notice that Chuck didn't punch the car. He didn't roundhouse kick the car. He just spit on it. Now that's some strong saliva.

Friday, December 10, 2010

October 27, 2010

She: It's white outside

Me: (groan)

I looked out the window, and what did I see? Nearly one month before Thanksgiving, our ground was already blanketed with snow. I guess that might be par for the course where I live. Anyway, the snow melted within a day, and it was a few weeks before we had snow again. And the November snow has since melted. It's actually been kind of nice out lately, considering it's December and all.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

NBA 2010-11: Stories, questions and awards

Every year around this date I put on a blindfold and throw some darts at a dartboard to help me make some NBA predictions. Who will win the championship? Who will win the individual awards? Will Shaquille O'Neal ever retire?

There are always some stories that fly under the radar. Of course, we know that the last two years saw the Lakers winning the championship and LeBron James earning the league's MVP award. But did you know that the Raptors' Jose Calderon set a major record two years ago -- a record that will probably never be broken!

In the 2008-09 season, Calderon made 151 of 154 free-throw attempts, good for 98.1% percent. The previous record of 95.8% was held by the Rockets Calvin Murphy and set back in the 1980-81 season. In other words, a record that lasted for 28 years was beaten by a pretty good margin. (keep in mind that a player must make at least 125 free throws in order to qualify for records or league-leader status).

In that same '08-'09 season, Rudy Fernandez made 159 3-pointers to set an NBA rookie record, one more than the previous record set by Kerry Kittles in 1996-97. In a neat coincidence, Fernandez and Calderon are teammates for the Spanish national team that won the 2006 World Championship and was runner-up to the U.S. in the 2008 Olympics.

So what will be the big questions this season? Obviously a lot of that focuses on the Miami Heat and their trio of stars. How will they do in their first season together?
Another team to watch would be the defending champs. Can L.A. three-peat?
I won't take the time to go into more detail, but ESPN has a pretty good post with 20 questions for the NBA season.

In keeping with tradition, I will unveil my picks for the NBA's regular-season individual awards.

Most Valuable Player -- the last couple of years I picked LeBron James and ended up being right. This year I am sticking with tradition by going with the safe pick again. That means Kevin Durant is my pick. KD became the league's youngest-ever scoring leader last season and is likely to make it two straight scoring titles. He is also coming off an MVP performance at the World Championships of Basketball, where he was the top player on the gold-medal winning team. While the game's best all-around player, LeBron James, may still be in the running despite playing with two perennial All-Stars, Durant looks to be leading the pack heading into the new season.
Rookie of the Year -- We have the last two No. 1 overall draft picks gunning for this award. Clippers forward Blake Griffin (drafted No. 1 in 2009) is back after missing all of last season because of injury. John Wall, this year's top overall draft pick, looks to lead the Wizards from the point guard position. I see this as a pretty good ROY race, but I will take Wall mainly because he should have an easier time getting opportunities to have the ball in his hands and make plays. While Griffin will likely have to share shots with Eric Gordon, Baron Davis and Chris Kaman, Wall will clearly be the featured player on the Wiz. Gilbert Arenas hasn't played much in recent years because of injuries and suspension, and Washington has cleaned house to start fresh. This means Wall will have the figurative keys to the Wizards' figurative car (sorry, Arenas, JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche).
Defensive Player of the Year -- Dwight Howard appears to be the safe pick. I will go with Superman even though history is technically not on his side. No player has won this award for three consecutive seasons. Dwight could become the first.
Sixth Man of the Year -- I could see a previous winner of this award duplicating the feat. Manu Ginobili apparently is beginning this season as a starter, so that eliminates him from consideration, unless Coach Popovich makes some lineup changes during the season (entirely possible). Jason Terry, Jamal Crawford and Leandro Barbosa are some of the other recent winners. I'll pick the Mavericks' guard.
Most Improved Player -- Ick. How do you predict this one? It usually goes to someone who has a big increase in the role they play for their team, which sometimes has less to do with improvement, and more to do with additional playing time and shot attempts. Whatever. I'll take Reggie Williams of the Warriors (not the one who played with Denver in the mid-'90s). He was called up from the D-League last year and put up some pretty good numbers for Golden State. If this pick is looking stupid at mid-season, feel free to laugh -- but not until then.
Coach of the Year -- This one is a shot in the dark (just like the MIP award), but I'll go with Tom Thibodeau of the Bulls. The first-year NBA head coach was credited as the mastermind of the Boston Celtics' recent defensive dominance when he was an assistant in Beantown. Will see how well he does as the head man of a team with a couple of young stars and some nice offseason additions.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

2010-11 Early NBA Playoff predictions

Based on the rankings from my previous post, here is how I think the playoffs would play out.

1st Round
East: (1) Miami defeats (8) Charlotte
(2) Orlando defeats (7) New York
(3) Boston defeats (6) Milwaukee
(4) Chicago defeats (5) Atlanta

West: (1) L.A. Lakers defeat (8) Phoenix
(2) Oklahoma City defeats (7) Houston
(3) San Antonio defeats (6) Portland
(5) Utah defeats (4) Dallas

Conference Semifinals
East: (1) Miami defeats (4) Chicago
(3) Boston defeats (2) Orlando

West: (1) L.A. Lakers defeat (5) Utah
(3) San Antonio defeats (2) Oklahoma City

Conference Finals
East: (1) Miami defeats (3) Boston
West: (1) L.A. Lakers defeat (3) San Antonio





VS.





NBA Finals: So it comes down to these teams. The super-talented SuperFriends vs. the champs from Hollywood. Will the Heat get enough support from their role players? Can they matchup with the Lakers big men? Can the Heat gel in time to win a title in their first season with the current roster? Will injuries play a factor in who wins? How about home court?
This could go either way, but here is my pick:
Miami defeats L.A. Lakers

Monday, October 25, 2010

2010-11 NBA Predictions

Yes, folks, it's that time again. I'm rolling out my predictions for how this season will go. This post will list the teams in order of their division standings, with playoff seeding in parentheses.

Atlantic Division
Boston Celtics (3) – Aging unit still has what it takes to make a good run. But can they go all the way?
New York Knicks (7) – New additions, including Amar’e Stoudemire, Raymond Felton and Anthony Randolph, look to turn the ship around. STAT Apostrophe reunites with former Suns coach Mike D’Antoni in hopes of giving the Big Apple its first winning record in a decade.
Philadelphia 76ers – They have a lot of talent, but the pieces don’t seem to fit together (several scores, very few passers – only one basketball). Doubters say No. 2 pick Evan Turner, who struggled in summer league and preseason, could be a bust.
New Jersey Nets - Should win more than the 12 games they won a year ago, but they’re still a lottery team barring a major trade.
Toronto Raptors – Andrea Bargnani, Jose Calderon and Leandro Barbosa will be among the team’s top players. I think I’ve made my point.

Central Division
Chicago Bulls
(4) – Had a nice offseason, unofficially branding themselves as a Utah Jazz reunion tour by signing free agents Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer. Can the Bulls win their first division title since the Jordan/Pippen/Rodman era?
Milwaukee Bucks (6) – Andrew Bogut took a nasty spill and broke his arm late last season. If – and this may be a big IF – the Aussie can stay healthy, the Bucks should be a solid playoff team.
Indiana Pacers – Their biggest move of the offseason was likely the four-team deal that landed them Darren Collison and James Posey, while costing them the services of Troy Murphy.
Cleveland Cavaliers – They still have Antawn Jamison, Mo Williams, Anderson Varejao and J.J. Hickson. They’re not too much different from last season, right? ... Right?
Detroit Pistons – I think they have way too much talent to be placed so low, and yet this is a classic case of a team that will likely play below their talent because the pieces don’t fit well together. Much like Philly, they don’t really have a passing team, they have some injury prone players and they’re coming off a lottery season.

Southeast Division
Miami Heat (1) – The NBA hasn’t seen a free agent bonanza like this since … well, probably ever.
Orlando Magic (2) – They entered into the conversation of elite teams a couple of years ago, but don’t quite seem able to get over the hump to win it all.
Atlanta Hawks (5) – The squad that basically used to be “the Clippers of the East” should make their fourth consecutive playoff appearance.
Charlotte Bobcats (8) – Made their first-ever playoff appearance (in their sixth season) in 2010. Can they make a repeat performance?
Washington Wizards – On paper, there is some good young talent, plus Gilbert Arenas. However, something always seems to derail this team, whether it’s injuries, bad defense or bringing firearms to the locker room.

Southwest Division
San Antonio Spurs
(3) – Tony Parker has said he thinks this is the last chance for Tim/Tony/Manu to get another ring.
Dallas Mavericks (4) – They have won 50 or more games for 10 straight seasons. On the other hand, they have only won a total of one playoff series in the past four years.
Houston Rockets (7) – I actually think this team has the talent, work ethic and chemistry to be really good if they are healthy. It’s just a bit difficult to place the non-Laker playoff teams in a proper order out West.
New Orleans Hornets - They have arguably the game’s best point guard in Chris Paul (with Deron Williams as his main competition), a recent All-Star in David West, a not-so-recent All-Star (Peja), a starter from a championship team (Trevor Ariza, ’09 Lakers), the No. 2 overall draft pick from 2004 (Emeka Okafor) and a burgeoning second-year scorer (Marcus Thornton), yet somehow I still find it hard to make room for them to be in the playoffs.
Memphis Grizzlies – I could make a list here (Zach Randolph, Rudy Gay, Marc Gasol, O.J. Mayo) like the one I did for the Hornets, and the same thing would apply.

Northwest Division
Oklahoma City Thunder (2) – Everyone is on the Zombie Sonics’ bandwagon. I am not completely convinced they will finish this high, but they certainly could. They will rely heavily on Kevin Durant and other young, perimeter players for scoring (Westbrook, Green, Harden), but will be complemented by big men who will do the dirty work (Aldrich, Ibaka, Collison, Krstic).
Utah Jazz (5) – Out with Boozer, Matthews and Korver. In with Al Jefferson, Gordon Hayward and Raja Bell. They seem to have replaced the recently departed players very well and are hoping the new blood will mix well with their holdovers.
Portland Trail Blazers (6) – The Blazers have some very nice talent and enviable depth. They also have a major injury history with Greg Oden and, to a lesser extent, Brandon Roy, Rudy Fernandez and Joel Przybilla.
Denver Nuggets – In all seven years of the ’Melo regime, Denver has made its way to the postseason. They could make it eight for eight, but I am skeptical about their chances of keeping their star for the entire season. If he’s traded, he may only yield young assets who might not contribute immediately. So, for now I’m saying their season will end mid-April.
Minnesota Timberwolves – Their roster is a scrapheap to rival the one in Toronto.

Pacific Division
Los Angeles Lakers (1) – The two-time defending champs look for a fourth straight conference championship – and the fourth three-peat of coach Phil Jackson’s career.
Phoenix Suns (8) – Without Amar’e, is the Fun ’N Gun over? At least they have Nash and a nice mix of shooters.
Los Angeles Clippers - I think Blake Griffin has a chance to become a Stoudemire-like explosive big man. Baron Davis can be great or awful; the Clips need him to at least be closer to the former than he is to the latter. Eric Gordon and Chris Kaman help give the team a chance at respectability.
Sacramento Kings - Reigning rookie of the year Tyreke Evans leads a young squad that could make some strides this season. Top 5 draft pick DeMarcus Cousins could be a beast inside.
Golden State Warriors - Expect a lot of scoring from the Dubs, but all those points won't necessarily translate into a lot of wins. However, they should be clearly ahead of the bottom-feeding teams like Toronto and Minny.


Guest Post: 2010-11 NBA Predictions

Editor's Note: The post below is written by my buddy and co-worker, Devin. His predictions are going up first because he is less lazy than I am, and therefore, got his done first.
West:

1. Lakers-Haven’t done anything to get dethroned. Unless Kobe AND Pau go down, there is no way they will lose the top seed.
2. Thunder-Everyone’s new crush. Not sure if I feel comfortable putting them here, but no one else stands out enough to change my mind.
3. Spurs-Please bless they take the Southwest Division back from the Mavericks…please!
4. Jazz-As a Jazz fan, I know they get as little love as possible. Although a doomsday mentality started creeping in at the end of last year’s playoffs, the BIG changes this past offseason will end up working out for the better. I think the Jazz will surprise a lot of people.
5. Mavericks-Overrated. Period. Cuban will try a couple more big trades this year in another attempt to fix a lineup that will never win a title.
6. Blazers- They need to buy disaster insurance for Greg Oden. Feel bad dropping the Blazers to 6, but until they can survive a season without losing 1 or 2 major players in the first month, I can’t put them any higher.
7. Hornets-My sleeper pick. Chris Paul alone could keep this team pretty close to .500. If he stays healthy and finally gets a little more help from everyone else, they may be able to survive long enough to lose in the first round.
8. Rockets-Honestly, my shot in the dark. I am sure we are in for another crazy season in the Wild West. There will be at least a team or two who will end up missing the playoffs because of the last week of the regular season.

East:
1. Heat-Obvious number one pick. Although Dwyane Wade and his sidekicks have played about 3 minutes together, I can’t go against them.
2. Magic-They may struggle winning when teams figure out how to shut down Superman…but who cares in an East where anything below the 6 seed BLOWS!
3. Celtics-Oldies but (semi)Goodies. Easiest division in the league will give them the 3 seed. That being said, there is no way they get back to the finals this year…or the foreseeable future.
4. Bucks-A bit of a surprise in the East. They may be able to slide in under the radar and beat out a good, but fragile Bulls team. In the end a lot hinges on whether or not Bogut can get healthy again.
5. Bulls-I have one thing to say to Bulls fans…enjoy the illusions of hope and possibility Carlos Boozer intermittently brings and the frustration each new injury brings.
6. Hawks-Ladies and gentlemen…Joe Johnson! Really?!
7. 76ers-I have them making the playoffs based on the coaching change they made this past summer. Doug Collins alone can make them decent enough to make the playoffs (does decent enough mean they are over .500? Doubt it.)
8. Knicks-We should have a competition in the east for the last spot called “Who Can Suck the Least?” Winner gets the honor of serving as practice for the Heat as they prepare for bigger and better things. My winner this year…the Knicks!


Champions: Los Angeles Lakers-Overall, I like the idea of the Heat on paper, but until they actually DO something I cannot go against the Lakers. Especially with how easily they have manhandled my Jazz in the past couple of years. Kobe is too clutch, Gasol is too good, and Artest is too psychotic!