Saturday, February 26, 2011

Big XII Conference Tournament Scenarios

K-State's blowout of KU gets a little better every day. After this Saturday's win against Mizzou, K-State looks to be in solid position to secure the fourth bye in the Big 12(-2) tournament (the other three going to KU, UT, and A&M). While the victory over Kansas seemed to give K-State the confidence and direction that kicked off their recent resurgence, it's looking like the game will be a major factor down the road. Here's how the tiebreaker scenario breaks down:

Kansas State and Missouri are both sitting at 8-6 in conference with games left against Texas and Iowa State for K-State, while Mizzou finishes at Nebraska and against KU. Smart money would be for both to finish the season 1-1, tying for fourth in the conference at 9-7. The first tiebreaker, head-to-head, was split as both teams held serve at home and bifurcated the season series.

The next tiebreaker is record against divisional opponents. Kansas State is currently 5-4 in the division, with a game left against Iowa State. A win would leave the Wildcats at 6-4. Missouri sits at 5-3. Assuming they beat Nebraska and fall to Kansas, they would also end the season going 6-4 in the division. Another tie.

The next tiebreaker is record against the DIVISIONAL leader(s). If KU beats Missouri, Mizzou would be 0-2 against the Division Leader. K-State finished 1-1 against KU. So although a win against Texas would be awesome given NCAA seeding implications, it may not be necessary to beat out Missouri in conference. Things are looking up*.

A look at season standings at the time of publication:

*Note: If Mizzou beats KU but loses to Nebraska and both schools are 1-1 against Kansas, the next tiebreaker would be record against the next best school in the division, and so on. This looks to be Nebraska or Colorado. K-State went 0-2 against the Buffs and 2-0 against Nebraska. We need Nebraska to place 4th in the Division and CU 5th. These schools finish the season against each other in a matchup of the traitors. As sickening as it may seem, there's a chance we'll be rooting for Big Red on March 5. Assuming there's a benevolent God, this situation will not manifest itself.

Monday, February 21, 2011

How I Lost Half My Right Arm (Part III)

(Note: Parts one & two can be found via clicking their respective links.)

One shot. Coase got off one shot - a blow that tore through the raptor's left forearm, shattering bone before lodging in the right bicep, disabling two of our foe's deadly weapons. Unfortunately for Coase, this was his last defensive action as Tunrida moved in. Her jaws snapped down onto his neck in a motion as swift as it was gruesome and lethal. How's your bookie like you now?

Wounded, but by no means defeated, Tunrida turns to the last man standing. All the killing led to this. End game. She charges. I lift my shotgun and aim for the head. Click. Jam. Shit.

The charge culminates with a bound into the air and defiant shriek coupled with an expectation of dropping onto her prey. I sidestep, swinging my gun at Tunrida's head. At that moment, something amazing happens. I connect, but not in a manner to stun. The butt and barrel lodge in each side of her mouth, effectively forcing her jaw open. There are now two immediate objectives: keep her jaws locked open, and avoid the daggers on her feet.


Boxing, wrestling, and other combative sports train with the goal of reaction absent thought. Responses made three, four, and five moves into an exchange must become automatic in a manner that escapes neophytes. This fact allowed me to control James Carter in manifold scraps during high school although he was about 40 pounds heavier and considerably stronger than I (most three time state track champions are). My wrestling experience also sunk Josh Urban during my 6-year class reunion.

I emphasize that playing witness to two truly technical competitors invoking a fluid combination of reactive movements is an artistic work on par with Van Gogh's Starry Night or the New York Philharmonic performing Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. It's something amateurs just can't do. Yet my response to the situation before me embodied such fluidity it was as though I had practiced the situation with thousands of repetitions in the gym: I immediately thrust my arm into the raptor's mouth! Looking back, I still don't know whether to describe my actions as genius or insane. What I do know is that something drastic had to be done, and this certainly fit the bill.

It was a reach because the raptor's snout extended out so far, but I was able to hit the back of its throat. Used to consuming subdued hunks of flesh, Tunrida was immeasurably disturbed by the sudden violation by something moving inside her. I began scratching punching the beast's gullet, causing it to hack at first, then shake from side to side to get my arm from her throat. Yet in spite of her panicked response, I somehow managed to keep the gun lodged in her mouth. Two good gnashes would have easily severed arm from body, but I remained safe. I coupled this fortune with a proactive attack by scratching her eyes until I was sure the retinas had sustained ample damage.

Ripping my arm back from Tunrida's mouth, I pull my Glock from its holster while moving back. Unable now to visually track, she had no chance as I jumped away and put a table between us. All that was left was to aim: front sight, back sight, forehead. One bullet left in the chamber was all that was required as I let loose the final round. My opponent felled, Jurassic Park had been saved (or what was left of it). Unfortunately, its owner wouldn't be able to much enjoy it.

It took over 300 stitches to pull my skin together where my arm had rubbed across that bitch's teeth when I jammed my hand into her mouth. I can't peg how long my arm was actually inside Tunrida's mouth, but it couldn't have been more than six or seven seconds. That's all it took to rip half my arm off. Flesh and muscle hanging in a bloody mess from this short time kind of provides perspective of the chance of survival we really had out there, doesn't it?

The stitches have been gone two years.

But the scar remains.

1. This mark was left over from ripping open my arm on a wire holding up Christmas decorations in Albany's Washington Park. It's a story involving a shooting and near-frostbite I'd love to tell you over beers sometime. It should also be noted that Patrick Harkins is credited with saving my life that night.

2. This has been a fun exercise, and has emboldened me to drop all career plans and start writing shitty fiction. I could develop a specialization like the military and become the next Tom Clancy. I feel like demand is really picking up as the book market is rapidly expanding from good books purchased by collectors and intellectuals to the common man who loves reading, loves shitty fiction, and has loads of disposable income. On second thought, it may not be the 1950's anymore. (Dear Tom Clancy fans: unfortunately, I was once one of you. Do yourself a favor: graduate high school, and stop supporting this shit.)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A lot of people lost of lot of sleep in my office last week over this, but it's finally finished. There's some really genius analysis found on pages 46-53. And no, I'm not taking credit for the typos that made it into the final version.

Senate Majority Staff Analysis of the SFY 2011-12 Executive Budget

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Resolutions are Made to be Broken

Just finished watching 'Without Limits.' Solid film. Not really inspirational (in sum: Pre tries hard, fails, begins to try again, dies), but a great fucking story. Pre was 24 when he died. I'll be turning 25 this weekend. Sitting behind my screen as I'm watching is the trophy from the 2007 Lincoln Marathon. That's four years ago now. Four years, and I still talk about running marathons. I suppose if I'm to keep talking the talk, I should start running the walk. So here's the endgame: Boston, 2012. Who's with me?

Somebody may beat me, but they are going to have to bleed to do it
- Steve Prefontaine