Categories
Bug Book

Bug’s Book

CHAPTER 1

After the huge storm, the sun came up in the morning as if nothing had happened.  The ground was drenched, and the air was dank in the early morning.  No sounds of singing birds were filling the air quite yet, as the children of nature were all awakening together for seemingly the first time…even if they were far apart.

Through the many clouds in the recently angry sky, the thinnest beam of light peered into a sliver of the wooden home inside a wooden fortress of this land with no name.

The fortress did bare a fruit known by the locals as apples.  The wooden home looked as if it were built strategically to withstand the end of the world…and perhaps it did.  But the early moans of two cats whose eyes had been opened by the thinnest beam of light peering through that sliver on that tree house built inside that glorious apple tree would say that the world, in fact, continued on. 

If it weren’t for their shiny green eyes illuminating from the light inside the otherwise dark home, one might not even notice these two cats.  They were as brown as the wooden walls, floor, and ceiling of this new home of theirs.  Kina and Gracie woke up slowly as their now dry bodies were clung together as if they were sisters.  After a few blinks. The two cats sprung apart and growled at each other.  Kina hissed at Gracie, and Gracie glared back at Kina with no fear in her eyes.

It appears these felines were strangers. 

For a brief moment, you could hear a pin drop.  But just then, it was a turtle shell that dropped.  Kiera the turtle had pulled in all of her extremities and head, thus plopping her shell onto the wooden floor of this rectangular soon-to-be-battleground. 

Unfortunately for Jazzy, the tiny mouse who was cowering next to Kiera before her disappearance, this now brought each cat’s eyes to focus on her at this moment.  Jazzy frantically knocked on the turtle’s shell asking if she could come in. 

“Hello there?  Is anybody home?  I could sure use a hiding place right about now”, squeaked the little frightened mouse. 

Kiera dared not budge, nor did she lift her shell to let in the scared rodent.

As the cats commenced to hissing and looking really scary to the smaller animals around, a loud thud and a thunderous crack sent vibrations through the floor of this apple tree home.  The cats’ fur stood up as they cowered back to see only a giant silhouette through the light, as this creature suddenly appeared as if from thin air.

After a few seconds the turtle, the mouse, and both cats all just stared at this mut with bewilderment.  The same thought seemed to be crossing all of their minds, “what on earth is this thing?”

Jace was a dog.  This much was clear, but none of the other animals had ever seen a dog quite like this.  They were so busy trying to figure out what breed it was, that they all forgot about the ensuing war that was about to take place a dozen seconds before.  Jaws were dropped.

Just then another shocking event occurred.

A loud ripping fart filled the briefly quiet room followed by uncontrollable laughter and a rotten stench.  Isiah the laugh-when-he-is-nervous-stinkbug had now made his presence well known.  In unison, each of the other animals slowly passed out as the foul fumes were too much to bear.

But wait now.  What is this?  About a minute later, Kiera the turtle pokes her little head out to investigate.  The odor apparently didn’t get her, since she had trapped her nostrils inside her hiding shell.  Isiah was still laughing, and finally gathered himself as he was rolling on the floor right in front of Kiera and next to the mouse. 

Isiah had fallen to the ground from the ceiling where he had previously ripped a loud one.  As it turns out, Isiah isn’t like other stinkbugs.  When he gets nervous or scared, he toots like a normal stinkbug; but then he also laughs so hard that he forgets how to defy gravity in anyway.  Isiah was an outcast among his stingbug village for this reason.  That hardly seemed important at this time, as he was clearly not in Kansas anymore.

“What the heck are you laughing about?” Kiera had asked Isiah.

Slowly ending his chuckle, Isiah replied “Oh It’s something I actually cannot control.  When I get nervous or scared, well, I laugh really hard.  It’s really quite embarrassing, but It isn’t anything I can stop.”

“What do you suppose happened to all of these other animals?  They were about to throw down, and then poof, they are all asleep”, said Kiera.

“Uh, yeah…I donno.  I have absolutely no clue what could have caused this, “Isiah lied.

“Well the way I see it, the only way to avoid war here is to wake each one up slowly and one at a time.  Last time we all woke up at the same time, and that didn’t turn out so well,” said Kiera.  “And yeah, slow is kinda how I do everything anyway.”

Isiah replied, “You might be onto something there.  You sure are a smart turtle!  By the way, where are we?  What happened last night?”

Kiera said, “I’m not exactly sure.  I remember I was hanging out with the other turtles when it started to rain hard and the ground was shaking.  We all got separated somehow.  And the next thing I know I am waking up in this place.”

Isiah then said, “Well let’s try out your plan and wake these critters up and see if they know anything.  Who should we start with?”

“We should definitely start with the smallest animals first and then work our way up to the bigger ones.  We might need to find a way to restrain the bigger ones to keep peace here until we get to the bottom of things,” said Kiera.

“Wow you are so smart!” exclaimed Isiah.  “That’s a brilliant idea!  OK how are we gonna to restrain them again?”

“Well I may be quick in the brain for a turtle, but I’m still slow with my body like a normal turtle,” Kiera said.  “Let’s wake up the mouse and see if he can adventure around and find something in here for us to tie these big critters up with.”

Categories
Bowling Stuff

The Future…

Oooooooooo the future…lol. OK OK so I do want to talk about the vision I have for MSBS’s future for a minute. I generally get so busy and never have time to do something like this, so with all this time off from the current pandemic, now seems like the perfect time to paint a nice picture and get a discussion going.

Let’s talk about Sprummer!

In 2020 the plan was to run about 85 Sprummer sweepers. There were a few combined events, and I think 85 is pretty close. There are 7 different regions, and some run weekly and most are bi-weekly. Northern MI and Lower Mid-MI were kinda scheduled whenever I could fit their 9 events in (apiece). With only a few centers hosting multiple events, it’s a fair guess that we might run these 85 events in about 80 different bowling centers.

Every year I worry about how the Sprummer is going to go, because our events during the season haven’t quite been as big as they were in years past. It is clear that people look forward to the Sprummer Sweeper Series each year, because once again we have kicked things off with a bang. We’ve had almost 150 bowlers in total so far over the first three events!

With the addition of the $10 membership fee that started in 2017, we have had $6000 added to the Sprummer Championship each year so far! Each year we have been just a little bit short, but I have added a little extra to get us to that number. The point races have been exciting. I have adjusted the Sprummer Championship to be easier to follow and understand, and I think the bowlers are happy with what we are doing with that now.

This year for the first time in 8 years we voluntarily raised what we are paying for lineage at most of the centers to $9/bowler. Let’s take a quick look at the main goals we have with MSBS…

  • To offer great competition to the masses at different levels.
  • To help grow competitive bowling
  • To help bowling centers stay busy and keep their doors open
  • To help the industry as a whole

This feels like the perfect time to head into the future talk now…

Now let’s fantasize about Sprummer a bit (lol)

OK I can show you better than I can tell you…

https://www.scratchbowling.com/tournament/fantasy-sprummer-sweeper-wooohooooo

Be sure to check the “payouts” tab on that link.

$800 added per sweeper would be AWESOME. Notice we’d be paying a 1:3 ratio, and the top non-cashing lady and senior would cash regardless of entries. The only weird thing is the top payout is exactly the same with 60 entries as it is for 30 entries. That’s just how it works out with the prize fund being dominated by the added money and the 1:3 ratio and the extra spots paid for seniors and ladies. I think we can come up with an idea to build more added money with bigger turnouts, like a raffle at each event which will obviously make more money with more entries.

“Brian Regan, you must be crazy! How on earth is this even possible?”

Well the way I see it is…if I can think it, then it can be done.

I mean is $800 really SO much money? A lot of the host centers only host this event for us each year. Some host multiple events. So we have an entire year each year to build this event up and raise $800 for it. This is where the fun begins, and I don’t want to throw too many of my personal ideas in here to bog down this article. Let’s get a discussion going on this, and perhaps I’ll follow this up with an article where we answer the question in quotes above 😉

Categories
Normal stuff

Day 1

I know I post a lot of, well, everything that is somewhat personal to me. I don’t hide much. And I always make sure I put the little mention in that is true…that I share these things with the thought that maybe others can relate a little or a lot.

My brain is all over the place with this Corona stuff. I’ll save my thoughts on that for blogglewhop for now.

I will say it felt good to sleep most of the day today. I woke up for a few hours and just got back in bed and zonked out from like 1pm to 5:30pm or so.

I feel like I go 1000 miles an hour all the time…and it never stops. Stress levels have been high. I’m preparing to declare bankruptcy, which has my brain all over the place. I currently pay for a home in Flint and am renting in Westland. It’s ridiculous, but my mortgage doesn’t allow me to sell my home. It was part of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, so there’s a 15 year lien on my mortgage. I can actually sell it now I think, but I’d lose my ass if I did that.

I work 40+ hours/week on the bowling tournaments…what a ride that is. That’s my heart and soul, man. I was putting in closer to 70-100 hours when I traveled to all of them, but I’m cutting back this year and having others run a lot of them. I think this is the direction it all needs to go, but I have anxiety about it being what’s best for the tournaments.

I work 40+ hours at work. I take pride in my work. I am self motivated and love the job that I do. But at times it is overwhelming handling all of that plus the tournaments plus everything else. I am constantly making choices on what gets done today and what gets put off until I have time. That’s…every day. Some things in my life have been pushed off for months and years. That’s not good.

So it feels kinda good having a break all of a sudden. Today was nice resting and not doing much of anything. But I already feel antsy…eager to tackle some things tomorrow. I’ve been working out again and want to keep that momentum going. The gyms are closed, but there’s plenty I can do toward the goal of getting in shape.

I’m eager to attack some of the things I’ve been putting off. Some of that is embarrassing, and I’m actually going to keep it to myself for now. I suck so bad at taking care of some things that needed my attention…so now is the time to catch up on that.

Does anybody else feel like they just blast forward a million miles an hour and might be missing part of the ride because of it? Am I the only one who feels guilty about leaving a pile of crap on the side of the road that I needed to give more attention to? And now I go back and look for it and can’t remember where it all is? Am I alone on this?

I feel like I’m gaining some new perspective on life…one day into the coronavirus…quarantine. Is that what we’re calling this? The quarantine?

Either way, I’m going to label this as Day 1 and go forward from here.

Categories
Sports Stuff

MSU Spartans Basketball — Mid-Season Report

The NCAA basketball season is typically full of ups and downs for all teams. Looking at the Big Ten alone, it was Ohio State, Michigan, and Maryland who caught all the early praises in the conference this season. Two of those teams find themselves not even ranked in the top 25 anymore. Maryland remains toward the top of the league along with the Fighting Illini of Illinois and as per usual…the Tom Izzo coached Michigan State Spartans.

In an era of the one-and-dones and other kids leaving well before they play their allotted four years of college ball, Izzo’s program is just different. While he has lost his fair share of talent to early NBA aspirations of underclassmen, Izzo’s Spartans have always been an upperclassmen led program. Players who stick it out for the full four years experience every emotion and get challenged at every level of their existence. And those who graduate from the Izzo program generally grow not only as a basketball player, but they also grow as human beings. It’s just not like any other program in the country.

This is why the MSU teams who lose a couple of key seniors (like Kenny Goins and Matt McQuaid) it’s like they are starting fresh with the start of a new season. And they always look pretty rough in the early going and almost always lose to the bigger programs as they did this year against Kentucky and Duke (and throw in Virginia Tech for good measure). Add that with having two current seniors on the shelf for nearly the whole season (Joshua Langford and Kyle Ahrens), and the growing pains they are experiencing are unavoidable.

While I mentioned these things here, these aren’t things ever discussed by Coach Izzo or others at the school. Stuff happens. You adapt and overcome, or you at least fight as hard as you can to do so. I am not sure if that is part of the player handbook for the basketball recruits, but it is certainly no secret that this is to be expected by those who want to play on the squad.

All aboard the Spartans Roller Coaster!

After a rough start in losing to Kentucky, Virginia Tech, and being somewhat dominated by Duke, the Spartans found themselves 5-3 in their first eight games. They had some decent wins in there against Georgia, Seton Hall, and UCLA, but it was still not the start that was expected of the preseason #1 team in the country.

The schedule lightened up quite a bit, although the win over Rutgers turned out to be a good one. I remember watching that game and thinking MSU should’ve lost that game and wondering if they were even a top 25 team at that point. Little did I know that Rutgers was a contender for the league title this year WOW.

The Spartans cruised to some easy wins over much lesser opponents after that. Then their star player and arguably the best guard in the country Cassius Winston missed a game against Western Michigan. Sure it was only Western Michigan, but something happened in that game. MSU had to learn to play without their leader for the first time. And while it was only a win over Western Michigan, the team seemed to slowly start clicking on all cylinders offensively.

I remember watching the next game against Illinois and seeing the starting five of Illinois and a few of their bench players and thinking “this team is loaded!” MSU HANDLED them in a 20-point win. And I dare say this was one of the best offensive performances I’ve seen by the Spartans in the last couple of years. They were moving the ball and making extra passes and finding shooters in rhythm. It was a thing of beauty.

Since that game Illinois has won 6 games in a row. Illinois is really good. MSU showed us what they are capable of as they simply wore down the Fighting Illini, and the game was never even in question.

Follow that up with another dominant performance against the University of Michigan and a great shooting performance from 3-point land, and MSU was flying high and looking like the #1 team in the country.

That feeling was very short lived.

Against Minnesota at home they just didn’t look nearly as good. They won by 16 and won easily, but this didn’t feel the same as the previous three wins. The Golden Gophers of Minnesota are another team with some great talent, especially sophomore center (and future NBA player) Daniel Oturu. I gotta think Richard Petino should be fired after this season with his team badly under-performing, as this win by MSU was simply too easy.

Then they played just about the same against Purdue in West Lafayette, Indiana. The big difference here was Purdue showed up to PLAY. Coach Matt Painter clearly followed the blueprint of previous coaches who have had success against MSU recently. They stayed low and got wide with their arms out, making it difficult to pass the ball. MSU couldn’t hit a jumper to save their lives early on, and Purdue proved that they wanted it more, as they DRUBBED the Spartans by 29 points! Izzo said after the game that it was his worst loss since he’s coached for MSU.

It feels like they are close…

MSU looked a little better at home against Wisconsin in a good win, then they looked like they were stuck in mud against Indiana for 40 minutes. Indiana was attacking their pick and roll aggressively and double-teaming Winston on defense. This proved to be very effective, and the only reason MSU cut the lead to 7 at the half was because they hit some big threes toward the end of the first half.

The Spartans made some adjustments at half time to the aggressive defense of Indiana, but to me the game was summed up by one single play about half way through the 2nd half.

MSU had Indiana reeling and winded as Freshman Malik Hall jammed a dunk home on a hard screen and roll. A defensive stop was followed by a shake-n-bake three by fellow Freshman Rocket Watts. The Spartans were up by three now. Both teams went back and forth a bit with no scores, and MSU had a chance to run it and Sophomore Aaron Henry just stopped…held the ball, and gave it up to Cassius Winston.

Now this might not have seemed like a big deal to many, but my jaw literally dropped when it happened. Indiana was tired. They were taking terrible shots, and the MSU defense was wearing them down. MSU didn’t necessarily have numbers, but they had a quick outlet pass and were ready to run…and they stopped. They slowed it all down. This is typically when the Spartans get into trouble, and boy did it cost them here.

They sputtered on offense heaving a shot that bounced off the backboard as the shot clock expired, and Indiana had time to catch their breath with 8:42 to go in the game and down by three. Indiana looked to have a bit of a hop in their step again, and they came down and ran their offense and hit a big three to tie it up.

MSU went on to lose to Indiana by two.

Last year’s incredible run featured an exhausting and relentless push up the court on offense and typical Izzo-coached lock-down defense. This “stop running and slow things down” concept was not a part of MSU success last year, and it has not worked out EVER this year, although they seem to keep trying it out for some reason.

Sure enough the Spartans had a chance to tie it at the end of regulation, and they took the same approach as Winston went one on five and missed the runner.

They just won by 18 over Minnesota yesterday, but they were doing the same exact thing the entire first half–holding the ball at the top of the key for 5-10 seconds and then starting this really long and slowly developing offense that either results in a missed awful jump shot or a turnover. It is simply cringe-worthy to watch and very predictable.

Thank God Minnesota is still in “under-performance mode”, because MSU was able to try some different things on offense and seemed to get it figured out in the second half, much like they did with their run of softer opponents earlier in the season.

The Underclassmen are the Key to Success

I know I know what I said about MSU being such an upperclassmen led program. But let’s face it, they literally only have one upperclassman left here. Langford is out for the rest of his college career. Ahrens doesn’t look like he’s going to be back. Junior big-man Xavier Tillman simply does what Tillman does…he’s a known quantity at this point. Henry has been hot and cold. Hall has become a great rebounder and defensive player. Watts has emerged as a serious offensive threat from anywhere on the court. Sophomore wing and three point specialist Gabe Brown looks like he could take over games at any point.

To me it’s the freshman and sophomore combination of those three players who will ultimately decide where this team goes. Sophomore Marcus Bingham clearly needs to work on his strength and endurance before he can take it to the next level for more than a few minutes at a time. Sophomore Thomas Kithier seems to have maxed out what he can do, and he’s a solid big off the bench. Sophomore point guard Foster Loyer has improved the most on the team since a year ago and has helped the offense flow much better.

But it’s still Brown, Hall, and Watts who seem to determine which direction the team goes. We could throw Aaron Henry in with those three as well I suppose.

The great news about the Spartans for 2020-2021 is that they are only losing one senior who plays…the bad news is that they will be losing a legend in Senior guard Cassius Winston.

So let’s keep focus on this season. This team will likely continue to shift directions multiple times before the season is finished. How will the 2019-2020 NCAA Basketball season wrap up for the Spartans of Michigan State?

Give me a week or two after some more big games, and I’ll give ya my two to 79 cents 😉

Categories
Normal stuff

whoa

Hi I’m testing out this bloggle whop blog. Let’s see if I’m winning yet. Thanks for your patience and applesauce!

What the heck is this block all about?