They Could've Been Shot

The Mediate’s Kipp Jones:

A Texas Department of Public Safety official said responding officers were cautious as they entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas because “they could’ve been shot.”

Nineteen children and two teachers were murdered after authorities say an 18-year-old male entered with a rifle 12 minutes after he crashed a car near campus. The New York Times reported the shooter was inside the school for about an hour before officers finally breached the classroom he was in and shot and killed him.

Reporters demanded answers during a contentious press conference Thursday afternoon. State law enforcement officials addressed the public a day after some parents with children in the school said they were prevented from going in by officers.

One girl inside the room reportedly bled for an hour after she was shot. She died at a hospital. It is unknown if that hour might have saved her life.

Please, tell me more about the “Good Guys with Guns”.


Starting Up Again

I’m back. After a long absence that roughly coincided with the pandemic, I’ve revived . It went offline for a while, but now it's back up and I have a more solid idea of what I'm doing with it. I know that this post probably isn't necessary as it's not like it was a favorite destination on the internet and everyone is interested in finding out what I've been up to the last few years and what's next. I do feel that I'd like to take the opportunity to layout, for myself, what my vision is for this website going forward and what my goals are.

My blogging endeavors have never really been what you would call…consistent. I’d usually go in spurts and blog for a month or two, then give up, the come back a few months later, or take breaks for a year or more at a time, as this last year. Some of it was that when I’d start feeling like I was dropping off, I’d feel bad and that’s what would usually lead to the more extended breaks. While I never said it out loud, a part of me hoped that maybe I could turn this into a weird internet job, and I knew that consistency was key, so every time I’d fall off the consistency train, I’d quite altogether rather feeling like a failure.

I now have a better understanding of what this website means to me, however. I enjoy the opportunity to use it as a learning tool for, not just HTML and CSS, but the ability to learn other languages like PHP and Ruby. I enjoy fussing with the layout and design, even though I’m no designer. And I enjoy having this outlet for thoughts on whatever strikes my fancy. It may not end up being consistent postings, but I think if I allow myself to just post at my own pace, rather than setting a schedule, I’ll stick to it and find more enjoyment out of it. After all, this is a hobby, not a job.

If some of you enjoy my writing or musings, that’s great. If no one ever reads this but me, that’s great too. It is, after all, primarily for me to enjoy the process, and the outcome is secondary. I’ve added a few items from my old archive, and may continue to add past items as I come across them on my hardrive, or I may not.

So I’m back, and hopefully for good this time.


Los Angeles Rams at Carolina Panthers Shows Rams Resilient Enough to Work Through Issues on the Road in 2019

That’s one in the can for the 2019 Los Angeles Rams.

This game was a Déjà Vu of last year’s opener against the Oakland Raiders. The first half was almost a preseason game for the Rams who struggled to get anything going and were obviously shaking the rust of from the offseason. This makes sense. With no live, full-bore opportunities prior to game one, this is going to be the new normal for the Rams and more than likely across the league as more teams opt to keep their starters out of the preseason.

Sloppy Game One’s are our future, get used to it.

The other question going into this game was “Hey, what’s up with Todd Gurley’s Knee?” or the Patella Novella. I think we all expected the Rams’ number one RB would be extremely involved in the game since HC Sean McVay said that there was not going to be a snap count on Gurley. That was not the case. Save for a couple good runs Gurley, was practically invisible when he was on the field for the first three quarters of the game. Jared Goff noticeably didn’t even look in Gurley’s direction during most if any of the pass plays he was involved in. Malcolm Brown had all the glory during those three quarters.

Come the fourth quarter, that’s when Gurley was finally unleashed. Seriously. He played for 1/4th the game and still got 97 yards on the day. One quarter and he almost breaks 100 yards. What is that? We’ll have to wait to see what happens next week against the New Orleans Saints, but if I had to guess, the plan seems to be to wear down the defense and defensive line with Brown sprinkling in some Gurley to keep things interesting during the first half at least of the game, and then unleash a fully rested Gurley on a tired defense in the latter part of the game.

Next, Goff. Oh Jared. There were plenty of plays that made me scream at my television. At least a couple where Cooper Kupp was open but was not seen by Jared who seemed to have pre-determined where the ball was going, throwing an interception while trying to force it to Robert Woods. It’s hard for me to look at Jared objectively. He has an ability to move on from setbacks almost immediately, which is good, but I don’t think he’s as good as some people make him out to be. The Rams obviously disagree with me, but I don’t think he’s more than average.

The defense had faltered at times, but really, they saved the game for us. Granted, a lot of it was the Carolina Panthers not knowing up from down on some plays, like Clay Matthews’ first sack of the season, but they still made some good plays that kept the Rams ahead.

Special Teams had an interesting day. Johnny Hekker had a blocked put for the first time in 5 seasons (honestly, I didn’t know he’d been blocked before), GZ missed a field goal, and the unit had a couple damaging penalties. What’s up with that? Usually ST is the most reliably great part of the Rams.

A win is a win however no matter how sloppy. Hopefully McVay and the Rams can fix whatever was happening today and bring it all to the Saints next week, because they have something to prove after the loss in the NFC Championship game last season, and they aren’t going to go easy. They’re out for blood and aren’t going to let anything, not a Rams home crowed at the Coliseum, not bend but don’t break defense, and not a rusty offense, stop them from proving that they should have been the NFC Representatives to the Super Bowl last year.

McVay and Co. are going to need all the tricks they have.

This article was also posted at Turf Show Times while Kristian was a regular contributor to that publication


The Los Angeles Rams' Historic 2018 Season Ends in Heartbreak

The 2018 NFL season has come to a close. Like many of you, I didn’t expect it to end this way. The heartbreak was supposed to go to the other team. I believed the Los Angeles Rams would finally get sweet, sweet vengeance against New England Patriots QB Tom Brady and Head Coach Bill Belichick.

But here we are.

The confetti has fallen. The Lombardi Trophy has been presented. It’s heading back to Foxborough. Again.

Yuck.

I am angry, frustrated, and sad. And I’m sympathetic to the players who actually played in the game because I’m sure they’re feeling the same way. The defense had the game of their life, holding Brady and the Patriots to only 3 points going into the 4th quarter. The offense knows that it was anemic and needed to do better. And for some of the players eyeing retirement, this may have been their last shot.

But, while it’s easy to get caught in the vacuum of this loss, I understand, as we all should, that this season was amazing. Two or more seasons ago, getting to the Super Bowl was a pipe dream. Now, we know we’re coming back, we’re too good not to. Maybe it’s next season, maybe it’s two seasons from now, but we’ll be back. The playoffs are no longer going to be strangers to us and this team either, they’re going to be a close friend that we see often.

So, let’s take some time to mourn this loss and then as 3k said, move forward, onward, and upward.

One last thing while we’re all trolling around social media: Let’s try and remember that the players are human beings too.

On to the offseason.

This article was also posted at Turf Show Times while Kristian was a regular contributor to that publication.


Ode To Johnny Hekker

I’d like to take a moment to reflect one of the most the under-appreciated players in the NFL: LA Rams Punter Johnny Hekker.

I know what you’re thinking. “Kristian, what do you mean underappreciated? I appreciate the hell out of him!” And I believe you! You, dear reader, are a Rams fan. You and I have experienced a prolonged period where the best unit the Rams would field on Sundays was the Special Teams unit. A lot of that is thanks to the very capable abilities of Special Teams Coach John Fassel, but Hekker’s contributions are tremendous.

When our offense was terrible, he gave our defense a fighting chance by literally flipping the field, kicking punts as far as 78 yards. I’m going to give you a second to take that in.

And punting isn’t his only skill, he can throw the ball too. He’s got an overall 60% completion rate and a career 112.4 passer rating. To compare, Jared Goff has a 60.2% completion rate and a 90.5 passer rating. I’m not advocating for Hekker to replace Goff here (or am I?), that’d be dumb, but there is a reason why, for a long time, Hekker has been considered the emergency QB with out reservations from anyone.

And this last week, when K Greg Zuerlein had a pre-game injury against the Cardinals, it was Hekker who stepped in to make the kicks. His kick offs were great, and he made a 20 yard field goal and a point after attempt. Those aren’t Zuerlein numbers to be sure, but in a league where people paid to do nothing but kick field goals and PATs are missing left and right, that’s nothing to scoff at. When asked about it after the game Hekker said it was “A little nerve-wracking, but I’ve watched the best kicker in the NFL, week in and week out, watching Greg Zuerlein practice. I just tried to emulate him as best I could.”

What a professional.

I was hoping he’d win Special Teams player of the Week, but that went to Tennessee Titans S Dane Cruikshank for an admittedly impressive 66-yard reception and touchdown from a fake punt situation. I’m ok with that.

All those words to say that in a league where it seems like all the headlines and attention go to the flashiest players and only turns to the special teams when they do badly, I wanted to heap some praise on our own #6 for being awesome.

Stay awesome, J Hekk.

This article was also posted at Turf Show Times while Kristian was a regular contributor to that publication.


Through Successes and Setbacks, Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff Pushes Forward

The hype and expectations surrounding the Los Angeles Rams and starting quarterback Jared Goff in 2018 is pretty amazing considering where things were just a year ago.

Goff was the #1 overall draft pick in the 2016 NFL Draft and is now considered a sleeper candidate for MVP in the 2018 season. During a sit-down interview held Monday, July 9th, by Thuzio Executive Club, the young QB discussed his road to the NFL and how he’s able to persevere when things go badly.

Jared Goff’s path to the NFL started at the Elite 11, a competition for high school quarterbacks. He finished top seven out of 25 but failed to win the MVP award for the competition. Goff was undeterred, taking that failure and turning it into an MVP award at the All-Nike Camp just two days later.

Those performances alone didn’t translate into a flood of college interest, and so Goff wasn’t sure football would be the path he would take. He played football, baseball and basketball in high school, maximizing his chances for an athletic scholarship:

I knew it wasn’t going to be basketball. I’m a 6’2” white guy, and I can’t shoot. It wasn’t going to be basketball.

The scholarship offers eventually came. Four offers were made, but he ultimately chose UC Berkeley, his parents’ alma mater.

In his freshman year with the California Golden Bears, Goff was named the starter after a four-way roster battle, the first true freshman starter to start for the season opener in the school’s history. While it was a record-setting season for Goff, the final win-loss record didn’t reflect it. He finished his freshman season with a 1–11 record and a separated shoulder in his throwing arm from the final game against Stanford. ILB Shayne Skov had broken through the O-line, forcing Goff to scramble:

I remember vividly. He’s about to hit me, and I can either throw the ball and dive a little bit or I’m just gonna, like, eat this. And I remember thinking, ‘it’s the last game of the season so I’m just gonna eat it.’

The hit caused a Grade 1 separation, but Goff chose to go back in. Two series later, a second hit caused him to fall on to the already injured arm, worsening the separation to a Grade 3:

Funny story about that pass. I threw the pass, he catches it, he goes like 60 yards. Ended up breaking the single-season record for yardage on that last play. It was the end of the season, whatever. I had four months to recover.

The shoulder would require surgery, but that was ok with Goff though. And recover he would. Not even the team’s dismal record during his freshman season was enough to keep him down:

If I throw an interception or do something bad, I literally don’t even think about it again. And I try to treat throwing a touchdown or a good play the same way because I think that’s the best way to play quarterback.

Goff was the starter again his sophomore and junior seasons at Cal, and each year he improved on the previous year’s record. He finished No. 2 in passing efficiency in the school’s history, second only to former Cal QB and now Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, whom you may have heard of.

But even with his growing success and likely impending selection as the number one or number two overall draft pick, he remained grounded.

“There’s a story about you that goes something like this,” the moderator, Yogi Roth, recalled, “You’re walking on the college campus at Cal. You’re about to be an extremely high draft pick, and a random passer-by comes up to you and says ‘OH MY GOD! You’re Jared Goff! You’re the quarterback, right?’ And the story goes,” the moderator continued, “that you said, ‘Nah, I’m just a student here at Cal.’ and that individual was a scout in the National Football League.”

Goff admitted that the celebrity of it all was something he wasn’t prepared for, and at the time he just wanted to be left alone. He admits he’s gotten better over time, but it was definitely overwhelming at first.

As we all know, Goff went #1 overall in early 2016 taken by the newly-relocated Los Angeles Rams. After backing up starter QB Case Keenum for nine games, Goff was promoted to starter in the November game against the Miami Dolphins. To say that he struggled would be an understatement. Seven games and a Head Coach firing later, he’d finish the season 0–7.

But just like with his freshman season at Cal, Goff didn’t let that deter him. He took those struggles, paired it with newly-minted Head Coach Sean McVay’s “Newer, faster, crazier offense” and put out an 11–5 season that ended in a playoff run, 3,804 passing yards, and 28 touchdowns. And now, fans are expecting an encore.

As I said in the opening, there are huge expectations on the Rams and Jared Goff for 2018.

Coming into this year, we need to treat it just like we were bad last year. If we don’t, you see it happen all the time, where teams come in with that buzz and then fall flat.

Goff’s ability to ignore failures and successes and focusing on the now will serve him well during this season. If he has a bad game, or if this season doesn’t go as planned, don’t expect it to take down Jared Goff.

He’ll use it as fuel to propel him to even greater heights.

This article was also posted at Turf Show Times while Kristian was a regular contributor to that publication.


Corker on Media: 'I Had Newfound Empathy' for Trump

Louis Nelson writing for Politico:

Sen. Bob Corker, among Donald Trump’s most frequent Republican critics, said Thursday that he has developed a new empathy for the president’s “fake news” crusade against the media after reports swirled about a “Corker kickback” that some allege prompted the senator to change his vote on the White House-backed tax reform bill

No one likes being called out on their bullshit.


Democrats Win Virginia Statehouse by a Single Vote

Andrew Prokop reporting for Vox:

The recount of the vote tally for a key race in last month’s Virginia House of Delegates elections concluded on Tuesday. And incredibly enough, when the dust settled, the Democratic challenger led the Republican incumbent by just one vote — an outcome that would deprive Republicans of their majority in the chamber.

This one’s for those of you out there who say your vote doesn’t matter.


All Trump. All the Time.

This last week has been a rollercoaster. Trump’s first full week in office has been…exhausting. It started with the inauguration, and was followed the next day by an argument with the media over crowd size. Then there was the Women’s March. Then the week kicked off with a flurry of executive orders, including the grant freeze and gag order on scientific research. The middle of the week brought Climate Change facts from the National Park Service, then deletion of those tweets, then Rogue NPS Twitter accounts. And the end of the week brought more executive orders, including the ban on refugees and visas issued to people coming from certain countries, which in turn, sparked more protests and action from the ACLU. Like I said, it’s been exhausting, and it’s only been one week!

Because of all of this, my Twitter has gone from being fun stuff about tech, Apple, the Rams, Star Wars, Disney, and other random things to being all Trump, or outrage about something Trump has done, all the time. And that’s how my brain has shifted. It’s what’s been on my mind. All my brain power has been occupied following our new Commander in Chief. My own tweets and retweets have largely been about these same things (I’ve lost a few followers because of this). I tried to fight this, and I haven’t written as much here because I wanted this blog to be about Apple and Technology mostly and other things secondarily.

Trump is happening, however. Trump is on my mind. So while I’m going to definitely try to stay on message, I can’t pretend that I don’t feel that my country is falling apart. I can’t pretend that everything is fine, because it’s not. So if this causes me to lose followers, oh well. If this causes me to lose readers, I’m sorry to see you go, but that’s your prerogative. I’m done staying silent because I can’t stay on topic. Trump is the topic. It’s unfortunate, but it’s the world we live in.


Ten Years Later: iPhone

Today is the tenth anniversary of the introduction of the iPhone. I remember vividly how excited I was for this product. I had just jumped on the Apple train with my first iPod in 2005, and had followed what Apple rumor mill there was (it definitely wasn’t as extensive as it is today) and knew that there was likely some kind of phone product coming out soon. What Steve Jobs introduced that day went way beyond anything that I could imagine.

It’s hard to believe or really remember all the staples of modern smartphone interactions that were introduced that day. The many advances that were made, not only in technology, but also in UI and Hardware design. Watching the keynote again last night I was reminded of life before iPhone, and my wife was shocked at how many things didn’t exist prior to it. One that stuck out to my wife was Visual Voicemail. “Wait, that didn’t exist until iPhone?” That’s right. Before that you had to listen through 4 potentially meaningless voicemails just to get to the 5th which is from your mom. Barbaric, I know, but that’s how it was done.

There are many other moments where Steve explains why they made certain decisions. Why sync iPhone through iTunes and the same cable as an iPod? Well, because everyone already knows how to do that, it’s one less thing to learn. Pinch to zoom in your photos or webpages, why not, that makes perfect sense. A full HTML Web browser, responsive and powerful native applications, Slide to Unlock (because they wanted a motion that wouldn’t trigger by accident in your pocket). So much about the iPhone seemed impossible, and now just seem quaint in their ubiquity or even out-datedness.

It wasn’t without it’s shortcomings. This first iteration didn’t have 3rd-Party native applications, there was no App Store. All you had was web apps and native suite of apps that Apple included. But over the next 10 years, Apple would address all the original gripes and more. You can compare for yourself by watching the keynote and comparing that first iPhone to the marvel of modern technology that is iPhone 7.

I encourage you to watch the keynote. It’s a wonderful example of Steve Jobs in his finest and his favorite element: introducing an impossible product that he is genuinely excited about. It’s also a reminder of how far technology and Apple have moved in the last decade, and it makes a geek like me hopeful for all the cool stuff that will come out, not just from Apple, but from all of the technology sector, over the decade to come.