The Wet Nightmare Lives On

As many know the rains in British Columbia during the fall can be very heavy and very consistent. This previous week has been one of those times.

My father is the proud owner of a brand new Mercury 25hp 4 stroke outboard. Which he put onto his 1980's MirrorCraft 16 foot aluminum boat. To match the new motor he decided to spruce up the boat; he  ripped out the old seats and floatation, added new seats and some paint. In his haste to get out and enjoy his new motor he skipped over putting the floatation back in the boat. We discussed the issue of whether the boat would sink, but for some reason it always ended up being while we were in the boat, and while the boat was moving at 17knots.

During August the MirrorCraft, also known as the "Wet Nightmare" for it's grace during choppy seas, was having some loose leaky rivet issues. So she was careened (an elegant way to say dragged up) on the beach and aluminium plates and screws were added with a liberal amount of the appropriate sticky goo. And yet the Wet Nightmare continued to drip like Chinese water torture.

Now it is the end of September and up at the cabins all the wives, girlfriends, and mistresses have left with the foul weather approaching, and the rapidly aging baby boomer men, who are now experimenting with prescription drugs and taking their waistbands to new heights, were left  working on their cabins.

My father during this time has been diligently restoring our 75 year old cabin, and has left the Wet Nightmare tied to the dock. We experienced few days of heavy rain, and those loose rivets were leaking away. The old man was immersed in waterproofing the cabin, and gave little attention to the Wet Nightmare. Well one day, the Wet Nightmare lives up to it's name. My father, after a hard day labouring on rain screen details, showed up with the light diminishing and dark clouds looming to find his boat missing..... as he adjusted his gaze he saw the boat, 8ft under water with a brand new engine sitting on the back and a red fuel tank reaching up from the depths.

So the old man called up his friend to help retrieve the boat from the frigid depths. He stripped down and  with rope in hand jumped into the bone-chilling dark water and tied the rope around the transom. Once back on the dock the old man and his friend hauled it up high enough to start bailing. The Wet Nightmare had become a horrible wet reality.

Now for you technical people here's where it gets interesting. They took the engine, doused it with freshwater, used compressed air to dry out everything, they undid all the electrical connections and gave them a blow dry too. Then after clearing out the crank case with water and pressured air; they did 4 or 5 oil changes, with a few crank overs until the oil stayed clear. Well guess what, that bad boy started right up. Perhaps a guide for those of you who will ever drop your 4 stroke outboard into the drink.

The Wet Nightmare lives on.

no words needed

so many images to work through from sunday's company, i must work and finish... but some of these make me so purely satisfied that i must take a moment to post.
meet summer.

Happy Messengers Video

So the best way to start an awesome blog about our sailing adventures, would be the same way an epic sailing trip should start; with a visit from dolphins. This video was taken the first time Jennie came out with me on our Catalina 30 in Howe Sound, British Columbia. This area was my ocean playground as a kid, and there were never any dolphins as I grew up. Recently in the last two years a pod of about 300 frequently visit these waters and we have been blessed to see them many times. But what a way to start Jennie's sailing Career.

Lotti Golden: 'real and deep and touching'

One of the more interesting singer-songwriter albums of the late 60s was Motor-Cycle by teenager Lotti Golden, which has been memorably described as 'abstract cutting-edge drugged-out blue-eyed soul jam-jazz pop-rock'. In her native New York this summer I bought a copy of the LP containing the press pack Atlantic sent out with promos in April 1969. It consists of a custom envelope, a 4-page biography by June Harris, a glossy photo, a photo-card and a poem. Here goes:


In September 1969 Atlantic issued a cool funk 45 by Golden, which came in a promotional picture sleeve, and isn't on the LP: 

According to an interview Golden gave to Look magazine, dated September 9th 1969, she was working on a follow-up album to be entitled Blood Ring. That never happened, sadly, and her second, lesser and last album eventually crept out on GRT Records in November 1970. You can read the full article here:

After Armageddon finishes, let's hope the rivalries survive

If you want the definitive piece on college football, check out Wright Thompson's astonishingly good piece on the religion known as SEC Football. It's the reason why - given half the chance, permission from the wife and a hundred thousand dollars - I'd move to the South between September and December every year.

When I watch the likes of College Gameday (my favourite program during the Fall months), I get excited about college football.

But you know what? The thing that keeps me going isn't the conference movements, the thought of who might go to the next level (thanks Mel Kiper, but I can do without your comical hairdo), or the NCAA violations. If I'm honest, they perform good off-season fodder for this website, but I don't care. Oh, and the fact that Texas A&M finally made it to the SEC or the fact that Pitt and Syracuse have gone to be the bottom-feeders of the ACC (we see a big rivalry with Duke in football folks!)? It's interesting only for the 2012 schedule, folks!

I care about the football. I love the talk all week about the best team and the future winner, as though I care. I love the Vegas line as though I'm a gambling expert despite never dropping a spread bet in my life.

I love the smell of bourbon at eight in the morning when it shouldn't be legal to be even thinking about hard liquor, smoking hot- sororitiy girls, and white outs, green outs, and purple outs. I love grills, big-screen TVs for the game before the game, and the walk to the stadium.

And when I'm in the stadium, I love the noise. I love the way Swamps, Beavers, Ducks and Tigers all come alive. I love the fact that there are two Death Valleys, and you wouldn't want to enter either. I love the Navy and Georgia Tech triple option and awesome defence, but give me a 40-something SEC game once in a while too to keep you happy.

I love breakdowns, Jump Arounds, war chants, peace chants, love chants. This is your stadium, people.

And while this will all survive college football's upheaval, you can't help but thinking the 'Special Something' will be missed over the next few years.

In Texas, thanks to greed and jealousy, we'll be saying goodbye to the Texas - Texas A&M game, a century-old rivalry that has withstood student deaths, wars, and plenty of sawn horns. Aggies fans may love going to the SEC, but it's not good for college football, which was built on rivalries. Heck, the Aggies even have a Midnight Yell song which is about hating Texas! What happens to that when there's no game? How long before Oklahoma does it's own thing and there's no Red River Rivalry against Texas? What happens to the State Fair then? Will anyone care about corn dogs, save for the State of Louisiana?

With the Big East probably imploding, we'll probably be saying goodbye to the 'Backyard Brawl' between West Virginia and Pittsburgh, and how long before Notre Dame's forced to get into the Big Ten, all but eliminating the big game against USC, which has been a fixture since 1926?

Then there's the SEC. With the new re-alignment (and don't think that more isn't coming), we could see a whole new shape coming. We could be saying goodbye to Georgia-Auburn (played since 1898 apart from war-time), Alabama-LSU (healthy since the end of World War II), and even those cool inter-state rivalries that we love between Florida and Florida State, Clemson and South Carolina, and Georgia and Georgia Tech.

What we do without the end-of-season rivalries or the Red River Shoot-Out, when National Championship hopes are on the line? I'm sorry, but there's nothing better than the end-of-the-season games when almost every interstate rival is battling it out. Whether it's the Civil Wars that stretch from  Oregon to California to Alabama to Texas to the Carolinas to Florida, every rivalry is a little bit special. The list is remarkable. And we don't want to say goodbye to it. And if we're honest, the fans don't want to either.

The guys in charge of the colleges and the coaches or players don't really care. Most of them didn't grow up supporting one side or the other, so they won't realise how important in-state games are to communities. Bob Stoops probably recognises Oklahoma-Texas for the rivalry it is while he's been in charge, but to be honest, his biggest rivalry is probably something in Youngstown, Ohio, where he grew up. They have their own interests at heart, and making money is right at the top of the list. Way above student or social pride.

Look, we know that college football is still going to be as breathtakingly exciting next season, and the seasons after that. But without the rivalries, it's simply not as special.

Highlights of what you'd be missing (look away OU fans!)..


He and I have a pretty good relationship. I am generally not a jealous woman.  I trust him. 

Or at least I did until today.  Today, all that changed.

The thought that I am "sharing" him with another woman drives mad.

Today he broke my trust and my heart.  I am crushed and not sure how we will go forward after this betrayal.

He tried to deny it at first.  But the evidence was obvious.  One look in the mirror and he knew he was busted. 

Today, my man came  home with another woman's lipstick on his cheek.


Fear the Elephant and The Badger: Week 5 Previews

Last week we hammered ESPN's decision-making over having College Gameday at West Virginia for the visit of LSU, but the fact that the stadium was off-the-hook, the surroundings were stunning (frankly folks, check out the Gauley River too for more 'rapid fun) and the fans stayed in the fourth quarter shut us up.
This week, it's Madtown for the Wisconsin - Nebraska Big Ten bomber. The atmosphere at Camp Randall is going to be rocking. We know that. It's going to be a lot of fun. Of course, SEC-ites will be bitching that Kirk, Lee and Chris should be in The Swamp for Alabama's visit of Florida, but let's be honest, it can't be the SEC every week, can it?

What we can give the SEC is our calls for the week - so here we go.


South Florida at Pittsburgh

Pitt played remarkably well to stop Notre Dame, just coughing up a 15-12 defeat on Saturday. Pitt running back Ben Graham's the real deal, but then again, so's South Florida.  PREDICTION: South Florida by 10.


Utah State at BYU

The flying Mormons seem to have a knack of not playing on Saturdays, but we don't think that Jake Heaps & Co care too much as long as they are winning. This week it's another in-state battle, with Utah State coming to the quite lovely Provo for a game. Utah State can entertain - we saw that against Auburn. But can they defend? PREDICTION: No. BYU wins by 7 in a thriller. 


Alabama at Florida

The big one in The Swamp, as No.3 Alabama rolls into No.12 Florida for one of the games of the year. It was a 'Game Of The Year' last year too - until Alabama rolled UF 31-7 in a blowout, but this one will be different. Gators fans have some heart now Charlie Weis is the offensive co-ordinator, which seems to have made the holes fly open, letting Chis Rainey and Jeff Demps fly through them. But Fat Charlie hasn't faced a defense like Alabama's, which is packed with NFL first round picks. The atmosphere in the The Swamp is going to be just like Steve Spurrier would have liked it: Hot, angry and off-the-hook, full off annoying jorted Gator fans doing an alligator impression trying to haul in the elephant. Will it work? PREDICTION: No. Alabama wins in a close one, by 3. 

Nebraska at Wisconsin

The season opened up at Camp Randall and we can't tell you how much we wanted to jump on a plane and attend a game there. With the weather forecast glorious, College Gameday in the house, and the Badgers ranked No. 7 and entertaining No.8 Nebraska, it's going to be extra jumping. You won't need to tell the Badger family to 'wear red' for this one, because they all do anyway. The only thing bad about it all is that we're going to miss 'Jump Around' because of the ad breaks. Oh, and the game? Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez and running back Rex Burkhead will provide a test to Wisconsin's defense, but then again, Russell Wilson - who's the second coming of God in Mad-town right now, and running back James White are pretty tidy themselves. PREDICTION: Wisconsin by 10 in a game more high-scoring than you might think.

Clemson at Virginia Tech

Another College Gameday candidate sees flying Clemson, coming off wins over Auburn and Florida State come into Lane Stadium to play a Virginia Tech who is unbeaten thanks to a crappy schedule. Everyone's talking about Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who's the real deal, but he'll be truly tested against Frank Beamer's defense. Lane's going to be off-the-hook for this one, which could well be a coming out party for quarterback Logan Thomas. PREDICTION: Tech wins by 3.

Texas at Iowa State

For some reason everyone's saying that this could be a rough road-test for the Longhorns, but we're afraid we don't see it. True, Iowa State is great at coming from behind and there's a lot of belief in Ames that this team might be very good this year. But a confident, eager-for-revenge Texas is a whole other beast for the Cyclones - especially with Case McCoy and Jackson Shipley making believers out of the burnt orange faithful. PREDICTION: Longhorns by 10.

Michigan State at Ohio State

These games have generally been barn-burners that Ohio State has won, and the atmosphere at The Horseshoe is going to deafening for the visit of the Spartans, who lost its biggest game of the year against Notre Dame a couple of weeks ago. Braxton Miller seems to have got Ohio State fans a little more excited than they were after the Miami debacle (helps when you throw a couple of touchdowns and your team wins by 20!), but can they stop quarterback Kirk Cousins and his two talented running backs Le'Veon Bell and Edwin Baker? PREDICTION: Yes. Ohio State wins by 6.

Penn State at Indiana

Yes, we still love Penn State here at the VFA - and don't you forget it. Sure, it's not going to be the biggest of games ever seen by Penn State fans, but it might just be one of the most important this year. Let's be honest: Indiana's not a great side. Nor again, is Penn State. The Nittany Lions' last road effort against Temple was poor to say the least, and there's not a lot of confidence in QBs Mark McGloin or Rob Bolden, who are both distinctly ordinary. That's why everyone's going to be relying on running back Silas Redd, who so far has been great when he's got the room. This could be ugly. PREDICTION: Penn State by 14.

Mississippi State at Georgia

The noise has been dialled down for Mark Richt now he's won a couple of games. And although last week's game at The Grove probably wasn't the most comfortable, the 27-14 victory put a smile on the boys in red. This week, a troubled Mississippi State program comes to Sanford in what we're assured will be potboiling midday temperatures in Athens. Look out for Bulldogs running back Isaiah Crowell, who could be the next Knowshon Moreno. PREDICTION: Georgia by 14.

Auburn at South Carolina

This game's going to be high-scoring for two reasons. One, both teams can score points and two, both teams can't defend to save their lives. Jadeveon Clowney is going to beat the heck out of Auburn QB Barrett Trotter and Marcus Lattimore's going to run the ball down Auburn's throat, but Stephen Garcia may also present a touchdown or three to the Tigers' defence. And will South Carolina really be able to stop Auburn running back Michael Dyer? Think 'over' for the over/under of 58. PREDICTION: South Carolina by 4.

Baylor at Kansas State

Robert Griffin III is a bona fide Heisman Candidate. He's thrown for more touchdowns than incompletions. He worries defenses with both his arm and his legs. He's crazy-talented, and crazy-humble. Everybody loves him. Us included. This will suit the Wildcats, who everyone's sleeping on. Let's not forget who's been going through a quiet revolution with Bill Snyder (back) at the helm, eh? PREDICTION: This is going to go to the wire. Baylor by a field goal.

NC State at Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech can run. NC State can't stop the run. This could get ugly. PREDICTION: Georgia Tech by 21. 

Notre Dame at Purdue

First of all, the above is the best sign ever. If you're still with us, you'll appreciate that Brian Kelly's got the Irish turned around (they've won two straight), but this will be a heck of a road test for the Irish. Things weren't pretty for Notre Dame at Pittsburgh either, but they eked out a victory. As for Purdue, they've lost to Rice this season and aren't very good. But they should come alive for the visit of Notre Dame. This one's going to be noisy, folks! PREDICTION: Notre Dame by 14.

UCLA at Stanford

Everyone likes Stanford, but no-one's really paying attention to them. Sure, you get the odd highlight reel for some guy called Andrew Luck, but no-one's really taking them seriously as a possible challenger for the National Title. Will they if they stuff UCLA at home, we wonder? PREDICTION: Probably not, but do Luck & Co care? Stanford by 21.

Best play for last week - or maybe the season...

Tigers Roar: Impressed/Depressed: Week 4 of the College Football Season

There are two kinds of tigers. The nice fluffy ones and the ones that aren't. The tigers from Baton Rouge and Clemson really weren't on Saturday, making sure that both are in with National Championship Game shouts as the season enters its second third.



The Bayou Bengals seem to be used to noisy stadiums, as they coped with the wired atmosphere in Morgantown and overcame a start-of-second-half falter to win out 47-21. The defensive line is something special, and that's why the Mad Hatter is No.1. Or should be.


Florida State came to Death Valley and for the second time in a row, the orange army were ramped. We might hate the brightness of their clothes, but Death Valley when the team are competitive is never a nice place to play. Clemson won out 35-30, and if they beat Virginia Tech on Saturday, they are suddenly primed for an ACC title run.

Oklahoma State

This was always going to be a streetfight, but when the Cowboys stumbled to a 20-3 deficit early and we weren't sure if Justin Blackmon & Co really wanted to come to the show. In the second half,  the Cowboys reeled off 20 straight points and quietened an off-the-hook Aggieland, winning out 30-29 in a thriller. Brandon Weeden might just start getting some Heisman noise, while Justin Blackmon's spill while going into the end-zone may win his ESPN's Sucky Plays Of The Week.


We thought Arkansas would provide a test for 'Bama's NFL Draft Picks (known as their defensive line). They didn't. Alabama rolled 38-14 in one of the most complete performances of the week. Can't wait for the Tide's visit to (deep breath) Florida this weekend.


Came to town and many anticipated Maryland coming back with a victory. Well, Temple absolutely stomped on the Terps, winning 38-7 over the Team With The Horrible Shirts.

Arizona State

We stayed up to watch this one, and regardless of what the guys in the press box say, Arizona State were fantastic and completely and utterly outperformed SC in a 43-22 victory. The Trojans' four turnovers were forced by the Sun Devils, who - spurred on by another electric crowd - are now in prime position to win the Pac-12 South. Oh, and forgot to mention another thing: this team has got a TON of speed.


Well, not actually Baylor, but more Robert Griffin III. Griffin III - who may just be the most fun-to-watch player in football - threw for 338 yards, and FIVE touchdowns. Oh, and he also rushed for 51 yards and a TD too in Baylor's 56-31 defeathering of the Owls.

Penn State

First of all, we know it was Eastern Michigan. But for the first time all season, Penn State's offense actually looked cohesive, backed by a tremendous defensive performance. True, the victory was somewhat pyhrric bearing in mind Michael Mauti tore his ACL (now out for the season) and D'Anton Lynn had to be stretchered off, but the win was impressive nonetheless. I noticed how the 'FireJoePaterno' crowd went a little quiet today, too...

Georgia Tech/North Carolina

Sadly, there had to be a winner in this gargantuan match-up. Tech won out 35-28, but this was one of the games of the week. Special mention to the Heels, who seem to be getting better and better since the loss of coach Butch Davis. It's funny what a lack of NCAA distractions can do for you, eh?

West Virginia 

It wasn't so much West Virginia's TEAM that we were overly impressed with, it was the crowd. Even with the Mountaineers down handily in the fourth quarter, the crowd stayed on and cheered their team. They also made College Gameday on Saturday absolutely awesome.


Texas A&M

Went from sublime (first half) to awful (second half) very quickly indeed. The fans were great all day long at Kyle Field in the 30-29 to Oklahoma State, but how often must they be asking: Is this always going to be like this? Well, when the Aggies go into the SEC come next year, and it's going to get uglier if they get put into the west.

Ole Miss

Houston Nutt's hot seat just went to blistering after the Rebels' home battering by Georgia. The only fun thing about this team might be going to The Grove before the game. If the forecast is rain, just find a bar. You'll need the bourbon.


All we can think of is: How much do the 'Backs miss Knile Davis now? After being held to 17 (that's right, SEVENTEEN) yards rushing by Alabama's Pro Defense, there's a lot.


The Big East crew's screw-up cost Toledo a victory over Syracuse this weekend, after they failed to notice that the Orange's extra point had missed - even after a video replay. We'd be surprised if that crew aren't suspended for Week 5. And it wasn't just there. Jacory Harris' last-ditch rush for the line was ruled a TD....until video found out he was about a yard short...Come on guys - get a grip!

South Carolina

Imagine, for a moment, a day when a defense can stop Marcus Lattimore and an offensive line can block Jadevon Clowney. And on that day, we see Bad Stephen Garcia (like the one against Vandy who threw FOUR Interceptions). That day, South Carolina will lose, and lose badly. Why? Because they ain't that good right now, folks!

Oh, and here's that Justin Blackmon play again. It was truly awful.

"The Help"

Want to know how to ruin an otherwise good book? 

One: Accidentally order it in the "large print" edition.  This makes the book feel like it's YELLING the words at you while you're reading. Nobody likes being yelled at so it will make you really think twice about if that's how you want to spend your spare time.  Also, a large print book is big and heavy and you could dislocate your shoulder if you carry it around in your purse (if you have room for it in your purse) - making the only convenient time to read when you are laying in bed so you can rest the beast of a book in your lap.  This will make the book feel like a chore to read and cause you to take FOREVER to get through it - months, in fact. 

Two: Read the book while it is being promoted at the box office as the latest movie. The book/movie will be obnoxiously talked about everywhere you look - TV, Facebook, Twitter, bus stops, magazines.  People talk about it everywhere you go.  Everyone is asking if you've read the book and dammit all you want is to desperately get through it.  Particularly if you are a booksnob and you prefer to discover a good book yourself, LONG before it hits theatres (or in years past, Oprah's book club) because you despise looking like a follower. This is exaggerated when you had actually contemplated buying that book at the bookstore for no less than two years before it becomes the next big thing and you kick yourself for not reading it sooner. 

I recently finished reading "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett.  Had I picked this book up in Chapters long ago when I first saw it (in regular sized print), I think I would have really enjoyed it and and would be telling you all to go out and buy it. But instead, I'm just feeling incredibly "book fatigued" by reading it and am glad to get to the end of it and put it up on the shelf - where it is taking up a ridiculous amount of space. 


I've had a bit of bloggers block this past week. Either that or I've been maxed out and something has to give when I'm maxed out. This week, that would be blogging.  I haven't even so much as looked at the world with "blog colored glasses" lately.  Usually I'm on alert for any and anything blog worthy but today I lifted my head from the wreckage and thought, "Hey, when was the last time I blogged?"


I've been busy - physically and mentally.  I've been totally absorbed with getting our basement suite ready for our tenant.  She is moving some of her stuff in this weekend.  We had SO. MUCH. STUFF down there.  So much.  It was ridiculous actually.  And I had to find a place for all of it. Garbage, donations, storage, upstairs in our living area.  Our living area has filled up dramatically. Actually it feels like the walls are closing in a bit.  Every nook and cranny and shelf and under beds and in closets and inside the automan and behind the chair - full of stuff.  Steve says the house feels "cozy" now but I just feel cramped. I'm sure I will adjust. 

And just when I thought I was almost done - I realized that once the place is empty... it needed to be cleaned.  Fuuuuuuuck....  Made even more challenging when your cleaning "helper" is walking along behind you eating a chewy, chocolate granola bar and dropping bits of it all along the way.  And when you stop to clean up the granola droppings she grabs your bottle of cleaner and starts going to town, spraying everything in sight as fast as she can.  And she's fast. And determined.

Did I mention that I did all of this single handedly?  With little to zero help from the other person who will be benefiting from the added income that our rental suite is going to provide?


But it's done now (pretty much).  And I'm glad.  So glad.

In the meantime, Lincoln came down with croup last week.  Poor little devil had a fever of 103 and sounded like a barking seal.  Croup is something that I'm terrified of.  My cousin had it when he was little and had to be hospitalized and put in an oxygen tent.  Luckily the doctor at the walk-in clinic (after waiting two hours to see him), prescribed a one shot dose of medicine (which I got after waiting an hour in the pharmacy). It was a ridiculously large amount of liquid to give to a 14 month old boy who was two hours past his bedtime. I held Lincoln down - wrapping my leg over his legs and hog-tying his hands together with one of my hands while holding a corner of his clamped shut mouth open with my other hand while Steve squirted syringe full after syringe full of medicine into the side of his cheek.  In the meantime, his incessant coughing prevented him (and all of us) from sleeping through the night.  He was up every hour, demanding attention for a few days.  He managed to taper it off to "only" needing us 3 times a night and now we're finally down to once a night.  I was slammed back into the trenches of sleep deprivation that came along with the early part of Linc's life. 

I did the Terry Fox Run this past Sunday.  I did it in the name of my late father-in-law, Stan.  I did it in his town.  I was just going to pay a registration fee but at last minute I was inspired by a coworker who wanted to sponsor me, so I did a very short stint of fundraising.  I managed to raise $140 in two days - thanks to my coworkers and family members.  The run itself was a bit of a challenge with a lot of incline and decline, a muddy gravel trail and one big motherfucker of a steep hill.  Still I completed the run in 29 minutes.  One of my best times for a 5km ever.  Steve wears his dad's gold necklace now but that day he took it off and put it around my neck to wear for the run.  I felt Stan out there with me while I did the run.  I saw him in an older man's legs in front of me, I saw him in the balding, grey haired gentleman directing runners from the sidelines and I saw him in the man with one squinty eye.  It was an emotional day.

Today though, I have taken a vacation day.  So has Steve.  We are sending the kids to daycare (with only a bit of guilt) and we're going to spend the day together.  First up - I'm getting a haircut this morning.  Then we're going to our favorite sushi restaurant for lunch and then maybe a little shopping.  I'm really looking forward to unwinding and relaxing and hopefully having little to no stress today.

I wish you all a refreshing and rejuvenating weekend.

Swan Lake, the video short

Mess With Texas: Why The Longhorns Should Go Independent

The VFA has been thinking long and hard about this college football realignment and if we're honest, we're a little bit sad.

Sure, it's the quickest way to clean up the joke that is the BCS, but it's also sad that we're going to see smaller schools cut out while the biggest revenue ones dominate. It's simply not cool. Pittsburgh and Syracuse's move to the ACC makes it a better basketball conference. People are going to care about Pittsburgh and Syracuse football as much as they have in the past: little. 

The move by Oklahoma and Texas to the Pac-12 was meant to be the end of the Big XII. It was meant to be the death of college sports and the start of the domino. But the Pac-12 voted to stay at 12 teams. Why?The Longhorn Network.

For the record, we at the VFA hate The Longhorn Network. It's simply ESPN trying to get their feet into high school sports and they were prepared to burn themselves orange for the privilege. After all, Texas is one of THE places for high school football (we'd love to see a game between the best of Texas and the best of Florida, to determine this, by the way). 

Now, this network is becoming a cancer. Texas and Oklahoma were all ready to move to the Pac-12. Larry Scott, the conference's commissioner, was all ready to have them. It would have been a coup for Scott, and a coup for the 12 other sides. I mean, how could you NOT dribble at the mouth thinking of a repeat of USC vs Texas or Oregon vs Oklahoma? 

But there was one major blocking - and that was the Longhorn Network.

So what do you do? Well, Oklahoma could still go to the Pac-12. Larry Scott can say that he's not looking for any more grooms, but the one in crimson and white would make a pretty damned good one for his conference's credibility. We'd like to argue that it's better than Colorado or Utah (no disrespect, guys). 

And then you leave Texas on its own. Texas goes independent as the Big XII burns. They keep the stupid Longhorn Network, which no-one watches anyway. They keep the $300m. They have their home games screened like Notre Dame does on NBC, and they put together a big schedule like the Irish does. And more importantly, they continue with the Red River Shoot-Out and perhaps even the A&M game. 

Texas gets money and profile, and college football gets a bit of peace. Could you ask any better than that?

Mountaineers, Tigers & Tide: Week 4 Preview

It's a strange week. The VFA was pretty unmotivated about Week 4 of the college football season, bearing in mind that College Gameday had produced three great shows and there had been three great games, and now we're going down to West Virginia for the LSU game. Yaaaay! The VFA was also unmotivated because after spending all of our energy yelling "Wow!" at the end of the Notre Dame/Michigan and Oklahoma/FSU games, the VFA wasn't sure how much we had left in the tank for this week. And the VFA is also also unmotivated because we're getting more and more annoyed at Penn State's offensive problems.

Anyway, here are our predictions for the Week of College Football. And it all starts in Cincinnati....


Cincinnati's last 'big-time' game was a road semi-disaster at Tennessee, while NC State is still trying to get over the loss of QB Russell Wilson, who's now the 'Best Thing In Wisconsin Since Cheese'. Still, Mike Glennon can still throw it around for the Wolfpack, who are 2-1 this year. Zach Collaros for the Bearcats could make things fun too. We're expecting points, people. PREDICTION: Cincy by 7 in a cracker. 



BYU was destroyed by Utah in the big Mormon Match-Up last week, while UCF was upset by Florida International. The Knights have a great defense, so don't be surprised if points are hard to come by in this one. PREDICTION: BYU by 3


Eastern Michigan at Penn State

Not game of the week by any chance, but the noise against Penn State's coaching staff was ear-achingly loud from everyone from students to alumni last Saturday after the Lions' awful 14-10 win over Temple. Western Michigan - who also seems to lack offense - shouldn't offer Beaver much of a 12pm test, but if the Lions don't put at least 40 on the board and look as though they're interested, prepare for the boos to reign. Beaver Stadium can seem cavernous when it's empty, y'all. PREDICTION: Penn State by 35. 

Georgia at Ole Miss

The battle of the Hot Seats sees Mark Richt (UGA) and Houston Nutt (Ole Miss) face off against one another in a SEC battle that wouldn't have been so interesting if it wasn't for the possible pink slips. Georgia have got no shortage of offensive firepower, but can they stop anyone? They'll try and do a better job stopping the Rebs' Jeff Scott than they did stopping Marcus Lattimore a couple of weeks ago. As for Ole Miss, the fans will still come to The Grove for the party. But will they come for the stadium for the war? PREDICTION: Georgia by 21 in a game over by half-time

North Carolina at Georgia Tech

North Carolina's got one of the best running defenses in the country, while Georgia Tech's running offense ran roughshod over Kansas last week in a historic beating for the Big XII side. UNC is a pretty good side (Butch Davis recruited well before he left, didn't he?), too, with freshman RB Giovani Bernard ready to do some damage. PREDICTION: Georgia Tech by 4 in a great ACC battle.

Florida State at Clemson

I feel the need, the need for speed. And if you do, then make sure you get a ticket to the superhighway that'll be Death Valley on Saturday, as speedy Clemson play speedy Florida State in the Battle Formerly Known As The Bowden Bowl. FSU played handsomely with Oklahoma on Saturday night, while Clemson upset Auburn - mostly due to the brilliance of freshman wideout Sammy Watkins, who had 155 yards receiving and 40 yards rushing (and 2 TDs) in a spectacular performance. PREDICTION: Clemson in the upset. 

USC at Arizona State

If there's anything guaranteed in the world, it's that Arizona State always loses at home to USC. The last time ASU beat the Trojans was 1999, although they've had their chances through the years (we remember fondly a great game back in 2005 (which we attended)). The Sun Devils will be out to avenge last year's gut-wrenching 34-33 loss at The Coliseum, as well as to prove to the doubters that they are Pac-12 South contenders. Oh, and to prove that the 17-14 loss at Illinois was just a hiccup. USC, on the other hand, will be wanting to show off Matt Barkley and Robert Woods again, who are Hollywood's most beautiful couple since Brady and Gisele. PREDICTION: USC. Again. By 4.

Oregon at Arizona

Arizona showed us some basics last Saturday: They can't defend. That's OK, because against Oregon, we don't expect them to. Yes, we know that the last time Oregon played quality opposition, they lost, but Arizona (sorry Mr Stoops), just ain't quality opposition. PREDICTION: Oregon by 31. 

Arkansas at Alabama

Perhaps this was a spot where College Gameday could have gone instead of Morgantown. Or are they waiting for the LSU game later in the year? Anyway, Alabama's quarterbacks may not have impressed anybody this season, but their defense has (as well as running back Trent Richardson), which is why the Tide are ranked third in the nation. Arkansas on the other side, throw the ball Bobby Petrino-style with QB Tyler Wilson, and the speedy Ronnie Wingo will be asked to run at Upshaw, Barron etc all night long. This is going to be brutal. PREDICTION: Alabama by 10 in a CBS special.

Oklahoma State at Texas A&M

Perhaps this is a spot where College Gameday could have gone instead of Morgantown. Kyle Field's going to be noisy, it's going to be expectant, and it's going to be the underdog in what will be a tremendous test of seventh-ranked OSU QB Brandon Weeden and 'King Wideout' Justin Blackmon. On the other side, eight-ranked A&M will bring out Ryan Tannehill and star runner Cyrus Gray. PREDICTION: A&M in a close one, winning by 3.

LSU at West Virginia

This IS the game on College Gameday. Sure, we expect a big atmosphere from the Big East stadium, but if we're honest, LSU faced a worse one in Mississippi State and came sailing through. Answer me this: has Geno Smith got anything against this LSU defensive front, which came against two massive tests with flying colors (that's why they're No.2 in the nation, you know!). We don't think so. Plus, LSU beat the crap out of West Virginia in Death Valley last year and we don't think WVU has improved snce last season. However, there should be one fun thing about this game: spotting the drunk people. They'll be serving alcohol all day long in Morgantown - even at the stadium. Expect some swaying at the stadium. PREDICTION: LSU by 14 in a game not that close.

Speaking of swaying.....

Kak: 'uneven but enormously promising'

Along with Morgen, Kak made arguably the best one-shot US psych LP of the late 1960s. From Davis, California (outside Sacramento), they consisted of Gary Lee Yoder (vocals / guitar), Dehner Patten (lead guitar), Joe-Dave Damrell (bass) and Chris Lockheed (drums). Despite having clear commercial potential and being one of the truest early representations of the West Coast sound, their album crept out in January 1969 and sank without trace. I thought I'd post the only contemporary references to the quartet that I've ever seen.

But first, here's the album itself:

As far as I know, two ads appeared - one in Rolling Stone and one in Go. Here they are:

In addition, Epic included Disbelievin' on their January 1969 Rockbuster sampler LP, and included a small picture of the band in a round-up of its new releases in Billboard at the same time:

Go, meanwhile, ran a very brief interview with their wah-wah wizard Dehner Patten:

Somewhat amazingly, the album was also promoted via a promo film, which has surfaced on youtube, and from which the outstanding front cover was extracted:
I've only encountered two reviews of the LP. The first appeared in Stereo Review in July 1969. I stupidly threw away the relevant issue, but it ran thus: 'Kak is one more group with a kooky name and more than a bit of debt to The Beatles. Yet their vitality is infectious, and they can sing and play up a storm. Their Electric Sailor, for instance, is a navvy from outer space with a "double-wide grin" and "sparks flyin' off his electric feet", and a positively galvanic personage, the way they sing of him. Everything's Changing is delivered with such conviction you begin to suspect maybe it really is. The quartet of white boys who make up Kak are not above helping themselves to whatever mannerisms are around and handy as grist to their mill, including a liberal dose of soul - as in a bluesy ballad called Disbelievin' - but they manage to assimilate what they borrow, and give it back as their own. High point of a fast-moving programme is a 'Trieulogy' of three contrasting moods, in each of which they open all the stops and really take off. A lively disc.'

The other review appeared in the UK underground paper International Times, penned by Barry Miles (later to become Paul McCartney's official biographer). As if Miles wasn't already hip enough, note how he casually refers to the 13th Floor Elevators, whom most critics in Texas had never even heard of at the time:

No fewer than three 45s were extracted - firstly the promo-only Everything's Changing (mono) / Everything's Changing (stereo), produced by John Neel:

Next came promo and stock copies of Everything's Changing / Rain (Epic 5-10383), also produced by John Neel. The 45 performance of Rain was different to that on the LP, with white labels being stereo and the rarer yellow-label stock copies being mono:

Their third and last 45 was I've Got Time / Disbelievin' (Epic 5-10446), produced by Gary Grelecki:

Kak split almost as soon as their LP appeared, having played only a meagre total of five concerts. Only one poster / handbill commemorating their live work seems to exist:

Following their split, leader Gary Yoder issued a so-so solo 45 before joining Blue Cheer, while drummer Chris Lockheed joined Randy Holden for his deafening Population II project. They weren't entirely forgotten, however - a couple of years later Lester Bangs praised them highly in his Rolling Stone review of Blue Cheer's Oh! Pleasant Hope (July 8th 1971):

In the decades since, many others have come around to Bangs' way of thinking, and the album is now widely regarded as a classic. The CD reissue on Big Beat has excellent liner notes and photos, and a great interview with Dehner Patten can be found here:

swan lake

we arrived before the park ranger, matthew and i. we arrived before the sun, and before the warmth of day. they arrived shortly after and braved the cold of the wilds of the livermore hills. with the help of an entourage of parents hustling jackets and blankets, 2 1 /2 hours later we had a cache of imagery and a group of very wet dancers. they astound me. every time. swan lake is generally viewed on a stage with the backdrop of a lake and full moon. considering this mood and our lack of night conditions, i chose to experiement with the idea of infrared as an ethereal, emotive element. the images are saved in color as well. other experiments as well, as you'll see. every time i learn something new in these large sessions, finding details in composition, light, and posing to refine and improve on. improvements to details of the person included: next time i will remember to bring an extra change of clothes as i shot the subsequent event soaking wet from the knees down.