I hate sharing my computer...

...so, while waiting eight hours for Patrick to finish playing Diablo, some thoughts on all the various shite I watched:

-- Actually, one thing I followed via MatchTracker earlier in the day: Celta Vigo 2-3 Arsenal. Up a goal, with three away goals in the bank, against a side that is nowhere near as good as they were last season. Works for me. It's also nice to see other people scoring besides Henry...this is a fabulous run we're on, but if we want to avoid a repeat of last season, we have to have other options whenever the other team DOES manage to mark TH14 out of the game. I was impressed with how the boys kept re-establishing dominance after Celta kept equalizing. Not only that, this is Arsenal's first-ever win on Spanish soil, so well done to them there. The 2nd leg at Highbury should be a walkover, especially against this lot. While I'm not saying we should start the same crew that played the 3rd round of the League Cup, I'd be very disappointed if we bowed out of the Champions League at this stage now. We're a better side than Celta by a long, long way, and I hope we thump them at home, actually...if only to send a message to the (likely much tougher) opponent we'll have in the quarterfinals.

-- I watched a bunch of wrestling from a tape my man One Bad Ash sent me. Lots of Yuji Nagata stuff is on there, which always works for me...he's technically proficient, he'll kick you right in the chest, and he yells a lot. He's also my favorite wrestler on the planet, currently. I liked Kobashi/Misawa 3/1/03, don't get me wrong, but I think they had already reached the overkill point on big head-dropping moves somewhere around the 13 or 15-minute mark. I'm starting to really prefer a slow-build style of match (the best NJPW stuff, the IWA-MS that Maestro Ken sent me, shite like that), and it was kind of a culture shock to see this kind of "special occasion mid-90s AJPW style" again. It's not that I mind, I love watching people get dropped at angles that no human should be able to survive, but I'd also like to not completely shatter the illusion of belivability either. Ohtani/Kojima in the Fire Festival finals was a SHITLOAD of fun, as was Doug Williams vs. Christopher Daniels from ROH. Liger/Ebessan was kind of a disappointment, though...I was expecting a match more of the kind where Ebessan would be pulling out all sorts of goofy shit to keep Liger off-guard, but it was really a traditional NJPW juniors match with one comedy spot thrown in. Oh, and the G-1 Climax stuff actually had me not hating Hiroyoshi Tenzan...I'd go so far as to say he's improved by a LOT since 2001 or so.

-- I was impressed with how well the Knicks played against Sacramento for three quarters out there in the Arco Arena. Both teams were shooting the lights out early, then it calmed down a tad around the 3rd quarter or so. Tim Thomas in particular was excellent for the first 75% of the contest, and I was really impressed with that Mohammed guy working down low in the post for the Knicks...he rebounded well and was actually somewhat of a presence down there. But, the Kings came out in the 4th quarter like a baseball pitcher whose 90th pitch has more velocity than the 1st, and the Knicks just ran out of answers (I think they ran out of gas, too...trying to keep up with the Kings on their own floor can't be easy). Shaddax has been telling me that Vlade Divac is a wonderful player, but I only realized tonight just how important he is for that team...he's almost like a point guard stationed at the top of the key...everything goes through him, and he really has a deceptively-soft touch on his passing. He can get it out to Bibby or Stojakovic (who also was brilliant tonight) for open threes, or they can kick it back in to him on the inside for easy buckets that way. He also seems to get the big rebounds when they need them. Still, I don't think the Knicks have much to be ashamed of here...they would have annhilated 90% of the league tonight.

-- Next was a documentary on the Independent Film Channel called "Go Tigers!", an inside look at the 1999 season of Massillion, Ohio's high school football team. I kind of expect this shite from Texans, but I had no idea that the Massillion-McKinley rivalry reached the same ridiculous lows (even after reading about it in Sports Illustrated a few years back). Look, people getting crazy about professional sports is one thing -- it's been ingrained in our culture since at least the late 1800s, and they're adults paid to do a job. However, dumping the pressure and expectation of an entire town onto the shoulders of 16-year old kids is sick, sadistic, and representative of just how pathetic said town is as a whole. Here's a wacky idea, friends and neighbors -- stop living vicariously through kids who have barely figured out how to jerk off, and go out and do something productive with YOUR life. Good goddamn.

-- Oh, before that, I caught the end of the Bruins-Islanders game. I would have wanted a win for Boston (as much as it pains me to say it), but 1 point for the Isles is better than 2, in my book. Rick DiPietro, despite the fact that I usually tend to think that he's more than a bit shit, had himself a fantastic game in between the pipes for the Isles. Actually, Felix Potvin did as well for the Bruins, which leads me to believe that the B's have to be thinking of seeing what they can get for him before the trade deadline. Then again, Boston had ANOTHER dynamic rookie goalie who took the world by storm...for one season, before promptly disappearing into mediocrity, and eventually out of the game altogether (it wasn't that long ago, either)...guy by the name of Jim "The Net Detective" Carey. Remember him? I'm sure Boston does, so they may want to keep Potvin around...at least you know what you're getting with him.

-- I didn't see it, but the Canadiens hung tough and got a fine 4-2 win over the Ottawa Senators to put some breathing room between us and the Sabres (and keeping us ahead of the Islanders for the moment...although both them and the Sabres have games in hand). Apparently, our power play was clicking, Theodore had another good game, and for once, it was us scoring with seconds left in the game to ice a victory. May this streak continue, gentlemen...you're doing great.

-- Next, I saw the Tyne-Tees derby between Newcastle United and Middlesbrough. Boro's goal was well-struck by Boudewijn Zenden, capping off a very nice individual move. But, Newcastle are a scrappy bunch, and they have their sights set on that last Champions' League place. Also, they seem to have a talent for bundling in garbage goals, Craig Bellamy's effort for example. As for the penalty, I thought it was pretty clear-cut...Southgate clearly impeded the progress of the attacker, and bundled him over in the area. I normally dislike penalty calls late in a tie game, but this was a case of a clear scoring opportunity being illegally denied by the defender, so referee Graham Poll (who I think had an outstanding game, in particular keeping tempers cooled and the game from getting ugly) had to call the penalty. You know that 99 times out of a 100, Alan Shearer isn't going to miss, and indeed, he didn't. However, I felt horrible for Boro keeper Mark Schwarzer...the guy has a gigantic wingspan, and although he guessed right, he *just* did miss getting a palm on Shearer's penalty.

-- Finally, the US women's volleyball team qualified for the Olympics in Athens by finishing 3rd place in the Women's Volleyball World Cup. Good for them, I say...they probably should have beat Poland, and it was sad seeing them lose it in the end against the very tough Chinese team, but they did very well against all the other teams they were supposed to beat, and in particular, they did extremely well to sweep defending champion Italy in 3 sets. Good work, ladies.

Now, it's 6:30 in the AM, and I'm going to SLEEP.


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