I can work on your project.

Find me! Call DAP at 214.350.7678 or email rene@dallasaudiopost.com. Also check out echocollectivefx.com for custom sfx, and tonebenders.net for my podcast.

Saturday, May 31

smart people, stupid things

Stumbling around today and I found this excellent article.

It discusses the elephant in the room with regards to passionate debates between smart people, both of whom are positive that the other is wrong. I've certainly engaged in a number of these debates with friends and co-workers, and while I've never lost ;) these conversations certainly do cause some measure of consternation.

More than one time I've thought to myself "man, how can such a smart person be arguing so passionately for something so damn STUPID?"

Some highlights:

The problem with smart people is that they like to be right and sometimes will defend ideas to the death rather than admit they’re wrong. This is bad. Worse, if they got away with it when they were young (say, because they were smarter than their parents, their friends, and their parent’s friends) they’ve probably built an ego around being right, and will therefore defend their perfect record of invented righteousness to the death. Smart people often fall into the trap of preferring to be right even if it’s based in delusion, or results in them, or their loved ones, becoming miserable. (Somewhere in your town there is a row of graves at the cemetery, called smartypants lane, filled with people who were buried at poorly attended funerals, whose headstones say “Well, at least I was right.”)

Short of obtaining a degree in logic, or studying the nuances of debate, remember this one simple rule for defusing those who are skilled at defending bad ideas: Simply because they cannot be proven wrong, does not make them right. Most of the tricks of logic and debate refute questions and attacks, but fail to establish any true justification for a given idea.
A common justification for abuse of short term thinking is the fake perspective defense. The wise, but less confident guy says “hey – are you sure we should be doing this.” And the smart, confident, but less wise guy says “of course. We did this last time, and the time before that, so why shouldn’t we do this again?”. This is the fake perspective defense because there’s no reason to believe that 2 points of data (e.g. last time plus the time before that) is sufficient to make claims about the future. People say similar things all the time in defense of the free market economy, democracy, and mating strategies. “Well, it’s gotten us this far, and it’s the best system we have”. Well, maybe. But if you were in that broken down Winnebago up to your ankles in gasoline from a leaking tank, smoking a cigarette in each hand, you could say the same thing.

Smart people, or at least those whose brains have good first gears, use their speed in thought to overpower others. They’ll jump between assumptions quickly, throwing out jargon, bits of logic, or rules of thumb at a rate of fire fast enough to cause most people to become rattled, and give in. When that doesn’t work, the arrogant or the pompous will throw in some belittlement and use whatever snide or manipulative tactics they have at their disposal to further discourage you from dissecting their ideas.

So your best defense starts by breaking an argument down into pieces. When they say “it’s obvious we need to execute plan A now.” You say, “hold on. You’re way ahead of me. For me to follow I need to break this down into pieces.” And without waiting for permission, you should go ahead and do so.

I think its a truly excellent article and I've forwarded it to a friend that I have these kinds of debates with all of the time. I also think that it's an excellent lens through which we and the media should examine political rhetoric. If the rhetoric relies on weak data points, glosses over legitimate concerns, and assumes certain things are obvious which are in fact not obvious, then it should be viewed with suspicion.

Saturday, May 24

continuing on...

Well, with the end of the Stars season I'm going to continue on, blogging about things that are interesting and engaging to me.

I've got a couple of plans for the near future in this space, so stay tuned. I don't tend to publish thoughts until after I've thought about them. :)

Tuesday, May 20

what a ride!

The season was over, but they kept on fighting and the crowd of twenty thousand was still behind them.

It seemed like the Wings were taking penalties on purpose, because they were outscoring the Stars while shorthanded consistently, and it was messing up the flow of the game. They took another, but this time Stephan Robidas finally broke through and scored. Twenty thousand went crazy one more time. The horn blared, the music played, the people screamed, the towels twirled.

It was a hopeless cause. The Redwings were up 4-1 with one minute to go. The building got on its feet and started cheering, heaping praise on the little team that could. It was bitter and sweet, but mostly it was sweet - even in the loss. The whole city was buzzing about this team and about this game. CBC was in the house, VS was in full force, and the fans were in full throat.

"Mart-ee Mart-ee" as the final horn blew. Morrow and Ribero skated off the ice one final time with sticks held in the air as the capacity crowd roared one final time. We were all proud of them, and we all savored the run.

Those of us that saw every game will someday look back at this year and say "Man, remember that? Remember watching the young D guys show up and shut down the freaking Ducks that year? Remember that Sharks game 6 where Turco showed that he really had it? Remember Morrow showing the world that he could be the best captain in the damn league? Man, that was great!"

And it was.

Saturday, May 17

a creative endeavor worth taking a look at

So I was stumbling around on the intenets today and I found this little gem. Its basically a stop-motion graffitti movie by an artist named BLU, but it incorporates so many disciplines that I found it to be very very cool.

As you watch it, consider the fact that he's manipulating and utilizing
  • natural light
  • 2d space and paints
  • 3d space
  • camera angles
  • clear and obstructed views of the action
  • indoor and outdoor environments
  • multiple simultaneous objects
  • sound
  • public property and the people around it
  • materials (including brushes, batteries, and paints)
  • previous frames of action (painting over the last frame)
When you take it all in and realize that the artist basically had to keep all of these factors in his head simultaneously its a pretty amazing little film to watch. The content is a little weird, but the technical aspects are outstanding.

MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 14

one more game!

It was a glorious win and a proper sendoff by the fans to the team that exceeded all expectations. Stars win 3-1 at home with goals by Erickson, Modano and Morrow. AKA future, past, and present.

Marty's still getting beaten on the glove side, and it's happening enough that I hope he focuses on it in the offseason, but the rest of his game was rock-solid tonight and he earned the number one star.

A spectacular 6 on 3 penalty kill in front of eighteen thousand standing screaming fans. Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Holmstrom, Lidstrom all on the ice. Each one of the greatest players in hockey. Each and all of them were shut down for the final minute of the game, and it was awesome.

Great win. Just great. One more game. then maybe one more...

Friday, May 9

Dazed and Confused in D-Town

I was reluctant to write a series preview on this thing yesterday because I feared what I would find and would then have to predict.

The Wings are an excellent team that are clicking on all cylinders right now, and the Stars are going to have the toughest of times advancing through this round. After losing 4-1 yesterday they're chasing the series early now, and will have that much more pressure put on themselves as they now have to win 4 of the next 6 in order to advance.

At the end of the Sharks series, I described the three types of goals that can get by a goaltender:
-impossible to stop (deflections, cross ice defensive breakdowns)
-goalscorer's goals (breakaways or otherwise uncontested shots that are placed perfectly)
-everything else (aka soft goals)

So lets review the goals shall we?

The early Detroit goal featured Turco getting beaten twice from the blueline past a screen in front of the net with the Wings on the power play. Lidstrom initially beats Turco with a slapper that ricochets off of the bottom of the far post and back out into the slot, where Rafalski grabs it, sideskates two steps and then beats him again, this time elevating over the pads.

Its a generally ugly sequence for the Stars D in general and the goalie in particular. The refs called the game tight, but as usual they were zoned in on hooking and tripping and not crosschecking and roughing (though Fistric did get nailed with a weak roughing call that set up this power play). How do you prevent this goal? Clean up the front of the net, and let Marty see the puck. He was completely screened, but at the same time played off of his fundamentals and was in no position to stop the second shot.

The second powerplay goal was set up just like so many the Wings have cashed in on this year. Versus actually did a cool package where they showed three separate goals that looked exactly like the one that Franzen scored. A wing skates to the middle of the blue line and fires it up and off of Franzen's stick. Goalie has no chance.

You'll see a few great Turco moments in between the second and third goals. Turco had great moments in this game, but was not consistently great, and his team couldn't bail him out with scoring.

The third powerplay goal was the same story over again. Defenseman (this time Lidstrom) firing from distance through a screen/tip at the lip of the goal (Holmstrom). Anaheim only had Pronger going to the front of the net and the Stars dealt with him well. Detroit has everyone going there though, and they're getting there unmolested. The replay showed the puck careening off of Holmstrom's shoulder and over Turco, who was right up on him. No chance for the goalie on that one either.

That one was the backbreaker, but then there was insult to injury as Filppula walked in all alone and put one past Turco. I'd love to call this one the "goalscorer's goal" type tally, but really Marty didn't challenge him, sunk back into his net, and didn't give himself a chance to make a save there. That one has to be called a softy.

And that was all she wrote. Morrow got his goal and continues his hot streak, but there are deeper things wrong with this team right now.

The Wings at times looked as though they were reading the Stars playbook. When the Stars would get the puck down low and try to cycle, the Wings would just jump into the passing lanes and casually pick up the puck and skate it out. The Stars couldn't get through the neutral zone, couldn't generate shots, and couldn't stop giving up breakaways.

What needs to get better in game 2?
  • Prison rules in front of the net please. The refs aren't calling crosschecking in the playoffs, so make any Wing withing coughing distance of Turco pay for admission. This single element is a major key to much of the Wings' scoring abilities, and should be prioritized
  • Stay physical, but don't be stupid. A physical forecheck is going to be the best way to generate offense, but the Stars can't get out of position looking for hits or else this series will look like Stars/Ducks but in reverse. Miettenen has been hitting more in the playoffs, which has been earning him ice time. Ott, and Norstrom need to follow that trend as well.
  • Don't take penalties. Specifically, don't put the stick near the belly button. You can't do much about tripping since the refs like to call dives, but at least don't hook.
  • Score on the power play.
That's a lot, and I'm not confident the Stars can win this series without some significant help from the Wings at this point. Their knob goes to eleven.

Monday, May 5

On to the Western Conference Finals!

What a freaking game. I'm still basking in it all.

The end result of a pressure-packed game 6 was an epic that the DFW metroplex and the hockey world will remember for years to come.

It was glory, honor, sport, passion, and excitement.
It was tension, suspense, stress, and worry.
It was more than a hockey game, and it deserves the press that it's getting.

Much ink has already been spilled, and I'll sort it all out for you.

First, the box score (with video replays!) and stats sheet.

You'll notice the obscene ice time logged by players like Zubov, Campbell, Ribero, Thornton, Morrow, and Marleau. You may also notice that the Stars rookie BJ crombeen logged about 2 minutes of ice time in the game, effectively shortnening the Stars bench from the outset.

Both teams took over 55 shots and had about another 30 blocked. Both teams had around 40 giveaway/takeaways. The faceoff percentage was near enough to even. Most distinctively though, both teams were physical, but Dallas logged 88 freaking hits in the game, while SJ had 37, and Brendan Morrow had the hit of the year at the end of the third, laying Michalek down and out with a the purest hockey hit you can make.

Next, we have media pontification.

the recap (for reference)
the Stars official happiness (for happiness)
the local hockey sports talk guy's post (worth the read, and the comments)
the local newspaper pontification (with links to even more articles)
the SJ paper (remarkably introspective and respectful)

There was a general consensus on a couple of things:
-Morrow and Turco owned this game. Morrow ran amok, Turco was amazing, and they were the stories of the game.
-Nabokov's save on Richards was one of the best saves ever. I couldn't see the save itself well from my vantage, but everyone in the building thought the game was over when Richards got the shot off, and the replays are clear evidence of excellence. The game ends there against almost every other goalie in the leage, and even against Nabby probably the majority of the time. That was a highlight reel save.
-Morrow's hit on Michalek changed the game. Watch the hit and judge for yourself.
-Both teams played with pride, determination and passion throughout.

Now for the stuff that you haven't heard yet:

  • Its mentioned in the articles, but the crowd at the AAC last night was fantastic. Its being called the single greatest sports night of the AAC venue to date by a certain radio talk show host, and I'd tend to agree. Everyone showed up early, stayed up late, and lived and died with every scoring chance, and there were many. I recorded a game in the Ducks series, and I may post a little audio here in the future, but rest assured that it's freaking great. The Fanatics were loud and crazy all night and into the moring, and they paced the frenetic crowd throughout. Many props to them. I would love to go on about the atmosphere, but you really can't know unless you were there. 1 am on a Sunday night, and 90% of a capacity crowd was still there, shouting at the top of their collective lungs on every play. In my opinion basketball couldn't match that atmosphere if it tried.
  • Toby Peterson had the game of his life. He's a minor-league callup with almost zero NHL experience, and he had several incredible shifts in regulation, and it will be all kinds of fun to watch him continue to progress.
  • Ribero had a primo scoring chance in the third overtime. The puck came to him all alone in front of Nabokov, and he never got a great shot off. He was all alone.
  • Turco made a few of the exact saves that he had been missing in the previous two games. I'm talking specifically about unmolested breakaways. Campbell had a chance in the third period where Turco made the exact save that he missed in game 5. Also, the 2nd overtime was littered with horrible Stars turnovers that Marty cleaned up. He was incredible throughout, but he was specifically making certain saves that he had been getting beaten on just a 48 hours before.
  • The Sharks were flopping early and often in regulation. The two penalties awareded to them in the first period continued the rough stretch for the refs in this series. I'm not a homer when it comes to flops, and these were clear examples.

and now a few pics:

pregame they set all of the rally towels out on each seat

Handshake baby!

WCF matchup and breakdown upcoming. Breeng on teh weengs!

Sunday, May 4

pre-game 6 thoughts

It's 10 am, the game isn't until 8 pm, and I'm already just bouncing around with nervous energy.

The first thing I read this morning just filled me up with pride and confidence.

There's the captain speaking plainly about the situation in which the Stars find themselves, and sounding like a man that's going to go out there and wreak some havok.

"I enjoy it, to tell you the truth," Morrow said Saturday. "I enjoy listening to the media saying the pressure is all on us. I enjoy listening to [Sharks coach] Ron Wilson saying how excited he is about trying to make history. I enjoy hearing people say that we're ready to fold up.

"I enjoy it, because it makes it that much more enjoyable when we prove them all wrong."

Morrow will not let his team go quietly into the night. He won't let them lose confidence and fold up, and this is a team that likes being an underdog.

When the Stars went into game 1 in the Shark tank vs the number 2 seed who was picked by more than one hockey mind to win it all this year, they were the heavy underdogs and won the game.

Everyone expected the Shark's best effort in game 2, the Stars still played the role of underdogs, and they won again.

Then at home the Sharks touted the strong road record, the dominance in Dallas, and the desperation that they needed to have. People said they were due, that Dallas wasn't talented enough to back them into a corner, and yet the Stars won again as underdogs.

Since that game the Sharks have been the underdogs. Maligned by their local media, questioned and booed by their fans, they're the mirror image of the Stars and they too have prevailed in the underdog role.

Suddenly the Sharks have good goaltending, timely scoring, and stifling defensive play. Suddenly they're the favorites again, and that's exactly where the Stars need them to be.

"it makes it that much more enjoyable when we prove them all wrong."

-Brendan Morrow, Dallas Stars captain

Here are a few things that I'm positive we'll see in tonight's game:
  • Brendan will be pumped up and dominating the ice. His game is reaching a crescendo here, and he'll be rested enough to run at his A game.
  • The crowd will be the best it has ever been. At least early, and especially if the Stars start scoring. This playoff crowd has been exceptional. They live and die with every shift, every save, every shot. There will be tons of energy in the building tonight.
  • Thornton will be scary as hell. He's the focus of everyone's attention and he's elevating his game as well. He can be held in check for stretches, but it's exceedingly difficult to do that for an entire game.
Here are a few things I'm not sure about:
  • Officiating. The officials have had a rough series in general. They've blown calls, made good calls that have been overturned, missed calls, and made calls on invisible plays. This series has been a very civil one with respect to roughness in between plays, so the officiating crew and the system itself has been free to focus on calling a fair game instead of keeping players under control. That trend should continue, and if it does they have no excuse for imprinting themselves on the game the way that they did in game 5.
  • Goaltending. Both Turco and Nabokov have been excellent in stretches, and both goalies have been beaten by breakaways. Both have excellent defensive hockey players in front of them and neither has been seeing a ton of shots. Nabokov looked fatigued early in the series, but he seems on his game at this point. He's giving up rebounds and getting beaten 5 hole though, so the forumla for success is pretty straight forward. Turco is his usual 95% excellent 5% "what the hell was that?" self. He's not giving up rebounds and he excellent in scrums, but he's getting beaten on the glove hand and the Sharks are working that part of the net repeatedly. If this ends up as a goalie battle then the Stars are in a little worse shape than the Sharks here, but there is enough offensive capability in these teams that it may not come down to that.
  • Defense. The Stars Niskanen has been confused and nervous at times, and while he doesn't tend to make horrific errors he's less prone to good solid play down behind his own net than he's shown he's capable of. In my opinion, Fistric and Grossman should be unscratchable given the play that they've show so far, but Tippett seems to disagree with me. And then there's Zubov. He's not in sync with the team yet, and his series so far has looked like a microcosm of when Richards was traded to the team: awesome debut, then ineffectiveness until he re-syncs. Zubie's giveaways are the horrific kind, he's getting hit behind the net more than I'm used to seeing, and there are some scoring chance passes that are going through his stick right now. I think he needs to be backed off a bit, moved to the second powerplay unit so that Mo and Robidas can go back to doing what they had been doing, and generally worked more slowly back into the lineup. On the Sharks side Christian Ehrhoff has been getting schooled. Nuff said there.
Keys to the game:
  • Turnovers. The Sharks as a whole have been prone to turnovers at the defensive blueline and in the neutral zone because they're incapable of dumping the puck in on Turco in order to establish a forecheck. The Stars have generated a number of good scoring opportunities from said turnovers, but have not converted enough because the whole team is generally backchecking hard defensively when those turnovers occur. The Stars are far less susceptible to the same type of turnover, but Zubov has given a couple of goals away with too-cute pass attempts that Marleau has picked off. If they Stars utilize their natural turnover advantage without giving up the horrific type in the offensive zone they'll win this battle.
  • Goaltending. One of these goalies is going to have to make a game-changing save in order to win this game. If Turco makes the save on Campbell in game 5 this series is over. From the goalie's perspective, there are three types of goals in hockey: the goal in which the goalie has no chance (impossible ricochets, deflections, and missed defensive coverages ), the goalscorer's goal (odd-man breakaways that score on excellent shots), and the soft goal (everything else). Neither goalie has proven capable of shutting down the last two types of goals through the length of the series. The one that does tonight stands the best chance of winning.
That's it. There are no gigantic edges to be exploited in this series by either team. Both teams are talented, determined, well-coached, excellent defensively, and made up of human beings. This game will be determined by which team does the better job of creating a good scoring chance with a turnover and then finishing the job.

Friday, May 2

flat out robbed

I really don't have much else to say. God I'm upset. Stars lose 3-2 in overtime after 2 goals are disallowed during the game.

This series should be over. We should be enjoying the handshake.


Morrow had 2 goals disallowed, and one of the calls was the most clear goal I've ever seen. The other was legitimately waved off. Still, this game should never have made overtime.

With that said Marty's getting beaten when people come to him unmolested. Marleau has beaten him a couple of times on breakaways, and the game winner was a slow developing play by Pavelski. Marty got beaten a couple of times in similar situations vs the Ducks as well. He's playing great in traffic and in scrums around the net, but he's not making game-changing saves on breakaways, and he's going to have to start.

Morrow was fantastic. He's got playmaking skills now, a great one-timer, and he's lost none of his grit and will around the net. He's leading this team in a way that few captains can. Ribero's still playing great, Richards is still playing great, Lehtinen's playing great. Zubov's still a little shaky, but the rest of the D-corp is playing solidly.

Now they have to suck it up and win on Sunday. Go Stars.

Thursday, May 1

Games 3 and 4 at home

I've only got a moment, but I do have a few thoughts on what I've seen over the past two days.

In game 3 Dallas won in overtime 2-1, and in game 4 the Sharks won it in regulation 2-1.

First off, Morrow is a possessed hockey playing machine that is dominating every game. He's hitting everything in sight, taking shots, making plays, and generally running amok. When you consider his size relative to the people he's running over, it's just that much more impressive. Outside of Detroit's Franzen, he may be the best player going in these playoffs.

Second, Ribero is following Morrow's lead. He's been physical, aggressive, and inspired. He leads the playoffs in points and assists, and has been more than anyone had hoped for. He's an excellent teammate and playmaker, and he's clearly at the top of his game right now.

With that said, the Sharks are a talented, proud, and hard-working team that will not go into the night quietly. A series win would exceed most expectations of this club, but a sweep would have blow them out of the water. The Sharks collectively are a remarkably strong defensive team, and when they decide to just shut it all down they've been very effective.

Thornton is just a gigantic machine and is scary every time he touches the puck. The Stars have been doing a nice job of running into him when he gets the puck near the net, but he's just incredibly good at shoveling the puck out into the slot before taking the blow. Marleau has been the story though. He scored multiple breakaway goals against Turco, and singlehandedly won the game last night for the Sharks. He's been opportunistic with his scoring in those opportunities, though he's been transparent otherwise.

In the end though, the Stars have just generally been far less opportunistic in those same scoring opportunities. The first period of game 3 ended 0-0, but it clearly could have been 4-1 Stars. The Stars eventually went on to win it in overtime, but it really didn't have to be that close if they could cash in on the scoring chances that were being generated. Ditto the early part of game 4. A lot of credit has to be given to the Sharks defensive game and goaltending in these two games, but the Stars are going to have to continue to expect such things as the playoffs continue.

I initially predicted a Stars win in 7 and multiple overtime games. I'm convinced now that the Sharks have dug themselves too deep of a hole to get out of and this one should end in game 5 or six. This is mainly based on the fact that last night the Sharks played almost flawless hockey the entire game and barely squeaked out a win. They'll have to stay at that almost level for 3 more games and continue to get the bounces in order to push this thing to a seventh game, and I just don't see that happening. The Stars, and Brendan Morrow in partcular, are just too determined to finish this thing off.