Monday, March 19, 2007

Soccer updates

Well, seeing how it's been so long since I've posted, I've played a few seasons with my soccer team.

Since I last posted, I played a full summer season with a house team at the Soccer Zone. Turns out that the summer seasons are quite a bit more competitive, probably because only the "hard core" teams play. We ended up playing against teams that were much better and lost all of our games.

Last fall, back with the regular team, we actually managed to win 2 games, which was a big improvement for us. Of course the team we beat was, um, not so very good and we beat the same team in both games that we won.

In my most recent season, which ended a week ago yesterday, we actually won 4 of our 8 games! It was quite an achievement for us and was a combination of getting a few new (better) players on the team and also a significant improvement for those of us (myself included) who are still learning to play.

We started the third session last night with a loss to the team that is pretty much the same team I played on the house team with last summer. We played better against them then we have, but still need to improve.

If you look at our performance over the last several seasons, here's the goal differential from our first season to our most recent full season:

W05-06 S2 Average - Team Score 1.25

Average - Opponent Score 9.5
W05-06 S3 Average - Team Score 3.13

Average - Opponent Score 6.5
W06-07 S1 Average - Team Score 3.13

Average - Opponent Score 4.25
W06-07 S2 Average - Team Score 2.5

Average - Opponent Score 3.38

As you can see, we've steadily improved our goal differential each season - from more than 8 in our first season (ouch!) to less than 1 in our most recent season!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

What has Lee been reading for the last, oh... 7 months?

So it's only been, what, 7 or 8 months since my last post, right? I'm sure you're wondering what on earth I've been reading, right?

Well, here you go!

I can't remember the order of everything, exactly, but I know when I last posted I was about to read Time's Eye. I ended up enjoying that book quite a bit.

The others:
  • One of my favorites (yes, I'm a kid at heart): Peter and the Shadow Thieves by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. This is the second in a series of books that are essentially an alternate telling of the Peter Pan story. Very good and a pretty quick read. Another suggestion from my son.
  • Another recommendation from my son, which I felt was far too much like just a set up for a continuing series, though it was still fun, was Monster Blood Tattoo by D.M. Cornish.
  • Mammoth by John Varley. I've really enjoyed a lot of Varley's work in the past (I especially liked the Gaean Trilogy and Red Thunder). I also liked this one a lot. An interesting twist on time travel.
  • I've been traveling a lot more than normal in the last year, so I've read a few of what I think of as "airport crap" - books I normally wouldn't read but they are common in the airport bookstores and are usually a light read. Lately, that would include Tyrannosaur Canyon by Douglas Preston and Map of Bones by James Rollins. A few years ago, I read The Codex by Preston and didn't realize Tyrannosaur Canyon had the same characters until I was a hundred or so pages in. Whoops. I still enjoyed it in a this-is-kind-of-a-dumb-story kind of way. As for Map of Bones - it was so similar in structure to The DaVinci Code that I couldn't believe it. Still, a fun read and I enjoyed it enough to put a few other books by Rollins on my Amazon Wish List.
  • Next, a few "serious" sci-fi books: Darwin's Children by Greg Bear and Transcendent by Stephen Baxter. Darwin's Children was the second (I think) in a series about a set of mutations sweeping through the human population very quickly. An interesting read and I enjoyed it. Transcendent was the third in Baxter's "Destiny's Children" series, which have all been typical Baxter story lines - long term evolution and growth of humanity coupled with a more straight up "space" sci-fi component.
  • I've also returned to an author I haven't read in a very long time - David Eddings. I read a lot by him about 20 years or so ago and always enjoyed the books. I just read The Elder Gods which is book one in his series The Dreamers. A very light read (after some of the heavier stuff I've been reading), almost to the point of not being interested. The characters were all just a bit too stereotypical for me. Which doesn't mean I won't read the rest of the books now, of course :-)
  • For Christmas, I asked for Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz upon a recommendation from a co-worker. I really enjoyed the book, though it was another odd story - a man who could see dead people, but as the character says, "I do something about it!" A good build up over the course of the book to what you expect to be a really cataclysmic ending, which it almost is. An interesting twist, too, which seems obvious after the fact.
  • Last but certainly not least, is Lamb by Christopher Moore. This was suggested by the same co-worker who suggested Odd Thomas to me. I have to say that I have never laughed so hard reading a book in my life. I also thought Moore did a great job combining parts of biblical lore with some more historically-based parts of the story. I can not recommend this book enough for anyone who likes a good laugh and isn't easily offended by someone painting the life of Jesus in such a down-to-earth kind of way.
Hopefully, my next posting won't be quite so long in the future!