2006-02-22

New puppy

Jake and pup

This is Jersey, our new puppy. Jersey was rescued form a ditch in Arkansas with his two litter-mates on January 7. He lived in a foster home in Arkansas until Bruni spotted him on PetFinder.com. Bruni applied to adopt him through Great Dog Rescue New England, and he was quickly transferred from Arkansas to Blackstone Valley Veterinary Hospital in Uxbridge. A previous dog adopter visited our home to make sure the puppy would be OK, and Bruni and Jake brought him home yesterday afternoon.

Jersey is about three months old and seems to be potty trained already. He is some sort of rat terrier mix. His foster mom and the Blackstone Valley Veterinary Hospital took good care of him--he is clean, has had all his shots, and was neutered.

Jake is excited to have a dog, and Jersey seems happy to have new companion in a loving home. Jake stayed up late last night and awoke early this morning to take Jersey out for potty walks. Jersey was a little shy last night, but this morning he is more playful. Jake and Jersey have been inseparable since they found each other yesterday. Both are happy little pups.

2006-02-21

How to play MPEG videos on FC4

Out of the box, my FC4 does not play MPEG videos. When I use FireFox to browse to a sample video, I tell FireFox to open it in the default application, Totem. Totem runs, and a window appears, complaining that it doesn't know how to decode the file.

To install MPEG video support for Totom, I type:

$ sudo yum install gstreamer-plugins-extra-video

After that, it just works.

2006-02-15

Soccer coach fundamentals

I played town league soccer as a kid and a handful of pickup games as a young adult. As an older adult, I have helped coach my son's teams, both officially and unofficially, since day one. Last year, I finally took a coaching training course, and I think I have the beginnings of a philosophy on coaching youth soccer. Soccer is about scoring goals. To score goals, you have to take shots on net. To take shots, you have to maintain possession of the ball. These two points are the essence of a good soccer team: maintaining possession, and taking shots on goal.

Taking shots on goal is truly fundamental, but I break down maintaining possession into subskills. To obtain possession, you steal the ball from your opponents. To maintain possession, you pass the ball to your teammates, dribble past your opponents, or use your body to shield the ball and prevent an opponent from stealing it. These four skills are the basis of maintaining possession.

During our training sessions, we play small-sided soccer-like games that teach and reinforce these fundamentals. Many of the games are listed in the Massachusetts Youth Soccer Statewide Curriculum U6-U12. The games are fun and teach the skills without the kids' realizing it.

The boys' success last season shows that this philosophy works. They were competitive in every match except one (which took place during a freak October blizzard), and practice attendance was high, even on cold rainy nights. The boys were excited about soccer, and I was glad to be a part of it.

2006-02-14

Book store car crash

As I shopped at my neighborhood grocery store on Saturday, a bored voice yawned a muffled request over the store's PA system: "... Doctor ... manager ... front of store ... thank you." The voice sounded so uninterested that I thought it must be a joke. It certainly couldn't be a request for help. If I were a doctor, I probably would have ignored the announcement.

I am not a doctor, so I did ignore it. A half hour later, I emerged from the store with my groceries and saw police tape along the sidewalk and an ambulance in front of the nearby book store. Hmmm, I thought, must have bean a heart attack or something--that call for a doctor makes sense now.

I continued on my way home, past the book store. As I rounded the corner, I saw what really happened:

Wow!

Whoa--that car took out the cafe bar and whoever was sitting there. Yikes. I hope no one was badly injured.

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