Monday, December 04, 2006

Speed Freak Awards, Week 13

Another thrilling week of NFL action with late winning field goals and outstanding play from some special athletes. Specifically, I'd like to call out three guys who demonstrated that speed does kill and who helped lead their teams to victory with their God-given talents. In fact, they are all rookies. Does it say something about youth?

Here they are:

#3 Devin Hester, 5'11, 189 - electifying 45 yard punt return for TD

#2 Jerious Norwood, 6'0, 203 - riDunkulous open field 62-yard TD run

#1 Reggie Bush, 5'11, 203 - 4 TDs and a plethora of jockstraps left on the field. The kid moves in video game speed and is jacked up (see pic below).

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Kids Night Out - Ian & Manon's Engagement Soiree















Saturday, December 02, 2006

Pride Is Forever in Mii Form

As demonstrated here, I've been spending WAY too much time playing around with this cool flash app. But it's so much freakin' fun making these Mii's of your friends and it helps when the brain can only do some much after a long night of imbibing.

To help determine who they are, each person is linked to an NFL player that matches their style of play.

In order from right to left.......
  • Row 1: Ray Lewis+Todd Heap, Jay Novacek, Matt Birk+John Gruden
  • Row 2: Michael Strahan, Dave Meggett
  • Row 3: Keyshawn Johnson, Mark Brunell****, Asian Pop Star+Rod Woodson
  • Row 4: Brian Urlacher+Chris Cooley, Steve Largent
****Please note: Mark Brunell in his prime (i.e. Jacksonville days as Pro Bowler), not as a backup with the Redskins.

Who is Who?

After some fine dining at Hammer's posh pad - celebrating the wonderful engagement of Ian+Manon and Tim+Bridget, these crazy group of kids took Seattle's nightlife by storm. Their alter egos emerged to show Britney, Paris, and Lindsay that we, too, can party.

Row 1: Svetlana, Bill
Row 2: Bert, Sunny, Dirk Dracula
Row 3: Lindsey, Guy, Gyro
Row 4: Jane, Harry, Spunky
Row 5: Punky B, Humpty, Meat

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Donovan McNabb Joins the ACL Club

Today, Donovan McNabb, All-Pro quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles had ACL surgery on his right knee. Feeling his pain.

Two Sundays ago, he tore the ACL on a somewhat freakish play running out of bounds on a QB scramble to his right. It wasn't a force impact type injury .... it seems that a lot of ACLs are injured like this. By happenstance, you catch your knee the wrong way and it pops.

The head trainer for the Eagles is saying 9 months post surgery that he'll be back which I think is very realistic. He did have some meniscus work done but given that he's a professional athlete and will have 100% of his time devoted to rehabilitation, I'm pretty sure Campbell's Chunky Soup spokesman will be back to true form by the 2007 season opener.

Welcome to the Club Donovan and best wishes on a fast recovery.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Vacationing in South Beach

Over one's time on earth, vacations become an instrumental means to detach from the realities of life and recharge those ever-aging batteries. In the four days spent in sunny South Florida in Miami Beach, Heather and I certainly took advantage of this to do just that.

We indulged ourselves with lots of sleep (yes!), late dinners, some shopping, and lots of drink (champagne at the Delano). South Beach provided the perfect backdrop for such gluttony, as the place simply does not shut down.

Here are a few pics of the places we strolled, ate at, shopped, etc.

The Pelican Cafe on Ocean Drive
  1. -- Must try here: seared tuna seaweed salad with wasabi and a cup of cappucino

Miami Ink, tailor parlor and site of famous TLC reality show

-- Caught a glimpse of Ami and crew. Very cool.

The Carlyle, hotel

-- One of my favorite art decos in the district

The Biltmore Hotel, world reknown

-- National historic landmark with largest hotel swimming pool in the country

The Avalon Hotel on Ocean Drive

-- Houses the top seafood restaurant (IMHO), A Fish in Avalon
-- Impeccable service and food

Casa Causarina, Versace's Mansion

-- Built in 1920 and can be rented out for a sick party

South Beach beach

The Sunrise at South Beach

Hotel Victor at night on Ocean Drive

-- Sleek, modern interior
-- Swanky lounge

Thursday, October 19, 2006

ACL Update, Week 10: Knee is Coming Back

I am going on week 10 of my ACL recovery. Today was my 2 month checkup since surgery (a bit early) and based on the measurements, the knee and core muscle groups (quad and hamstring) are coming back. The differential in size between the thighs is only 1.5 cm compared to 5 cm after surgery. Strength (measured in centimeters) is the barometer for recovery and I need to continue the 3-4x week exercises to cut down that differential in size.

So the key question I asked Dr. Green was "how does an ACL surgery affect one's speed?" Can you return to your former self and clock that 4.2 forty time? (a la Deion Sanders)

He was emphatic in saying that he's seen athletes achieve their pre-injury forty times on average in 8 months post surgery. That's very good news.

Despite the return of speed, many athletes say the knee is still 'off'. What remains is still physiological. It's the rebuilding of nerves, blood vessels, and bone and the feedback of your knee to brain and back and forth. Having all of that in sync varies per person, ranging from 9-18 months.

Finding Your Fit, A Job That Works

Having switched jobs rather frequently in the last four years (three to be exact), I've come to see what fits and doesn't fit in each particular job. The strong job market has certainly helped create more positive 'fits' than not.

More specifically, 'fits' are things like .....
  • The role matches your skills, interest, and career goals (higher match = more success)
  • Your manager (supports your development/success, can learn a lot from him/her)
  • Company culture (coworkers you respect and enjoy spending time with)
  • Growth trajectory of role and company (e.g. flat and "earlier stage"= rise faster)
  • Compensation (more is better)
  • Commute (makes quite the difference!)
  • Autonomy (ability to make decisions and act on them)
  • Participation in company success (i.e. equity, stock options)
Each person clearly places different weights on particular 'fits' and it's the weighted average of all of them that creates an overall score for happiness in a job. By no means is it scientific. It comes down to the feeling you have when you wake up each morning and head off to work.

The process of switching jobs has helped refine the values I place on 'fits' and helped me come closer to my ideal. For me, it was realizing that I thrive in certain organizational structures better than others (e.g. flatter and smaller) and truly understanding what gets me pumped (e.g. online monetization, the consumer). It's kind of like finding the beat to a song that starts to stick and then reacting to it. For the '80's kids, think 'sprinkler' and 'running man' ... at will and all the time.

Some are lucky enough to find their 'fit' earlier in their career than others. Most do not and that's ok. Many use graduate school (business school in my case) in general to discover the ideal. I know I did. I was your typical career switcher that attempted to make the move from investment banking to technology product management. It certainly didn't happen over night but it eventually worked out.

During the transition phases in between jobs, it's a great use of time to reflect and gain self-awareness of your strengths and weaknesses. Understanding this about yoursefl is so important in successful career management. It helps you make better decisions and ultimately steers you down a path that you'll be better equipped for and most importantly, a path you're more likely to enjoy.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

ACL Injuries in the NFL & Other Stats

I was curious to know how many notable NFL players have had ACL injuries and recovered. I did a quick Google scan and this is what I found.

It's quite interesting to see that recent medical advancements have certainly improved players' chances of returning to the field and being successful.

I've highlighted the success stories (in bold).
I asked my physical therapist about how an ACL injury might affect your speed. Theoretically, it shouldn't because it's your quad, hamstring, and calf muscle fibers which determine speed but she does think it may marginally affect the natural knee joint motion. I'll have to bring up this point with my surgeon Dr. Green next week.

Other Stats:
  • Grass and turf had equal rates of ACL injuries
  • ACL injuries accounted for 2% of all injuries
  • 66% of injuries occurred in games
  • RBs have the highest risk of injury
  • 81% of team physicians said the ideal return to play time is 6-9 months post surgery
  • Nearly 100% of NFL athletes were able to return to competition after surgery

Source: Bradley, Sekiya, Kaplan. A Summary of ACL Injuries in the NFL, 2001.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Lazy Sunday: Fantasy Football, NFL, and Hooters

To get the full story on this photo, you'll have to read on.

It was a good way to end the week. Wake up late on a Sunday morn', grab a short latte at your favorite coffee joint (Zoka), head to the gym to pre-burn the calories you're going to consume that afternoon, make your favorite beef stew recipe, and head to Hooters for some Week 5 NFL action. That's a lazy Sunday every guy should have .... every week.

Yes, we are at Week 5. A few comments ....

Can you believe da Bears are 5-0?!? Is it all D, not at all. Rex Grossman looks damn good in the pocket, throwing ropes off the back of his foot into the endzone and pinpoint bombs down the sidelines. I've never heard of his receivers but he's making them look All Pro (some former Arena league guy and a guy named Berry-an).

Reggie Bush. My fellow San Diegan is representing SoCal. His punt return for a TD was a display of pure footspeed. I don't think he ran the 40 in the combines but I'd have to say he looks to be the fastest guy in the NFL. I'm talking football speed. Reggie is uncatchable once he gets to the outside. If you saw his press conference post game, the Saints are paying for that speed. His Princess cut diamond earringwas the size of a small walnut.

Cowboys and Eagles. The non-return of T.O. to Philly for the battle of the NFC East. It was too much home field advantage for the 'Boys. The D-McNabb show it was. I think Donovan has dispelled all notions that he's not an accurate passer. The guy has a gun for an arm. Did you see that flea flicker pass to Reggie Brown? Preeetty.

Peyton Manning has proved again why he is the best player in the league. He can singlehandedly win a game with his arm and football intelligence; it's all about the flapping wings and the feet stuttering on his three step. Give the guy 60 seconds and he can take his team down the field and put up six and then call it a day. Granted he has a set of Pro Bowl receivers (Harrison, Wayne, and Dallas Clark) but nonetheless ... the guy wrote the manual on the two minute drill.

My fantasy results are going well despite the loss of my #1 pick, Shaun Alexander. In fact, I've come to the conclusion that he is an overrated back. I wouldn't not put him in the class of an L.T. who I think is a better athlete - better hands, better cutback ability, shiftier, faster and more versatile. Nothing against Alexander the Great but the guy had an awesome line and a passing offense that is well respected. You can't put 8 in the box on Hasselback & Co.

So Search & Destroy, the name of my fantasy team is heading into Week 5 at 3-1, not because my team is dominant but because I've had some favorable matchups thus far. I don't expect this to continue as playoffs are a different story. My strategy has been active management - picking up players in free agency who can put up points that week and have the potential to be starters further down in the season.

As I mentioned earlier, Mike D and I spent a "lovely" afternoon at our local Hooters franchise. It was a football date of sorts, mixed in with debates on the demise of Social Security and how we allocate personnel for next season's flag football team.

The food and views were equally scintillating. The wings were delicious - greasy as they come and to-die-for when doused with Ranch dressing. We did get our veggies requirements, each having a celery and carrot stick. Towards the end of the Cowboys & Eagles game, the waitresses were preparing for the WWE crowd influx (who you don't want to mess with - that's a whole other story in itself). Anyhow, part of this preparation involved an all-restaurant dance on top of the chairs with the Hooters ladies.

Mike's 007 good looks caught the eye of a waitress who pulled him up with five other patrons to shake their tailfeathers. To my delight, my trusty Treo came to the rescue and caught Mike in butter-cup form with the other unlucky blokes.

Mike's the second from right, next to the nerdy looking Asian dude. And that Asian dude is not me!