NBA Finals Pick...

The NBA Finals begin tonight, finally!  These playoffs have been a huge disappointment as very few series have been competitive.  The Boston-Washington series has so far been the best, going the full seven.  The Clippers and Jazz went 7, but nobody cared.   Plus that game 7 was a complete dud.

Hopefully in a couple years the Bucks will be able to reach the finals behind Giannis, Parker, Thon and whatever other pieces they add over the next couple of years.  I hope, hope is a good thing…


These playoffs have sucked, but we are getting the best possible matchup with two teams that walked through their conferences.  Golden State is undefeated in these playoffs, Cleveland lost once in a game they were up 21 at half.  They got bored.  So have we.

The majority of what I have heard from radio idiots and sports "experts" is a sweep by Golden State or Golden State in 5.  These folks think Golden State is the much better team but think it is possible Lebron can steal one game.  Some of these same people argue Lebron has surpassed Jordan and Jordan in his prime was un-sweepable.  So a sweep would be a pretty big problem in the case of Lebron over Jordan.  Forever.

This series will come down to one player for each team, Klay Thompson and Tristan Thompson.  If Klay gets hot and is putting in 25+ points a game then I would have to agree with a fairly quick Warriors triumph.  Klay as a 3rd or 4th option is too tough to focus on, he has struggled throughout these playoffs so it is not a given that he will go off.  But in Tristan Thompson and the Cavs are able to play bully ball…

If Klay does NOT go off, and plays relatively average, lets say under 20 points per game, I like the Cavs.  If you combine both teams and had to pick 1 team the first player drafted would be Lebron, second and third would be Durant and Curry, the 4th would be Kyrie.  The top 4 seems pretty clear.  After that it comes down to players like Love, Draymond and Klay.  I am not sure the next pick is as clear as a lot of people think as there is more of an argument for Love due to his shooting and rebounding but even if both Warriors go first then the next pick would be Love. 

 

The last pick would be Tristan Thompson, the Cavs x factor. I do not think the Warriors have an answer for a rim crasher like Thompson.  Draymond will be too busy guarding Lebron or Love, leaving Thompson unchecked on the offensive glass.  That is the series, the Warriors shooting and ability to force turnovers, which they are massively underrated at, vs the Cavs ability to play bully ball and dominate the glass.

Three of the cavs best and most important players are Lebron, Love and Thompson, these are 3 physical guys that will attack and protect the rim.  Of the warriors best and most important only Draymond and Durant will attack and protect the rim.  If the Cavs can establish bully ball they can certainly win this series.

My pick is the Cavs to win game one, and the entire series in 7.

Stand Up Desks are Obnoxious

I saw a commercial for one of these stupid stand up desks and I had to rant.   As a wheeler I find stand up desks to be a pompous look and a bit obnoxious.  I felt the same way about anybody that sat on a stupid Bouncing Ball at their desk which I thankfully have not seen in quite some time.  When Jim from the Office popped Dwight’s stupid desk ball I feel like the fad died with it, thanks Jim!

Now, of course me being in a wheelchair makes a standing desk completely useless for me but I would hope that if I still could use one, I would not because they look stupid.  However, the commercial also noted that Sitting is the new Smoking, so I guess all fellow wheelers are just F-ed.   

I am all for people chasing a better life through health and fitness, its why I created this site and will offer up future products but I am not convinced that just standing while you work will suddenly add in a great improvement to your health.  At least not compared to actually performing some fitness activities such as any strength training, sprinting and more movement in general.  I would rather suggest a person gets up every hour and takes a lap around the office, gets some water, etc.

And let me serve up a scenario where someone using a standup desk regularly works with someone like me, who is in a wheelchair.  Am I suppose to crank my neck all day looking up at you to make eye contact?  Your standing desk is already (supposedly) giving you extremely beneficial health improvements (bullshit, I say), but now you are actively forcing me to an even greater health deficit with the inevitable neck problem by looking up at you?  When, according to your commercial, me sitting all day (because I have no choice) is equivalent to me smoking X packs a day?  I find this product obnoxious. 

And full disclosure, we did actually have one of these stupid adjustable stand up desks at my office for a short time.  The time it lasted was in part shortened due to me fairly consistently razzing against the fools that used them.  I would semi-jokingly ask if they were trying to show me up by using it, since I obviously could not.  I would ask if they were they trying to throw it in my face that they could stand, and I could not? I truly do not give a shit whatsoever, but making people squirm is one of life's perks...

If you use them and love them, bully for you.  I think they look pompous and are meant for someone who wants to give off the impression they are a lot more fitness conscious than they really are.  If you really care about your health, stop going to restaurants and eating 1000 calories for lunch every day.  Go for multiple walks during the work day.  Join a gym or cross fit facility and go there prior or after work.  All of these things will make a tangible difference far and above a stand up desk.  

And finally, my wife has a job where she is forced to stand all day.  When she is done and gets home she is exhausted. Do you know what she wants to do the second she gets home?  Sit down because she is tired of standing all day.  If you had to stand at work looking at a computer, or sit while you are at work so when you are home you can be up and about doing things you actually like to do like Biking or Playing a sport, which would you prefer?  Stand up desks are a scam.

 

NCAA BABY!

I love the NCAA tourney, I take off the Thursday and Friday every year to bunker down and watch all the craziness.  

Committee Seeding

The committee is very good at picking the 68 teams that should be in, the teams left on the outside mostly have themselves to blame.  Syracuse can complain all they want, they lost to way too many crappy teams, stay home.  But the seeding and the balancing out of the brackets drives me crazy.  They do this for a few reasons, they want to guarantee some high ratings in each round as  well as ensure attendance is high in every region.  I could go on and on, but here are the most over-seeded teams:

  1. Maryland
  2. Florida State
  3. Minnesota
  4. Baylor
  5. Florida
  6. Michigan State

Most Under-seeded:

  1. Wichita State
  2. SMU
  3. Wisconsin

So that list wouldn't be so bad, except they put the 2 most over-seeded teams together to meet up in the second round with Florida State and Maryland together.  That section will blow up, they could have moved SMU down there or moved UCLA over to that 3.  But no, they wanted UCLA to meet Kentucky in the Sweet 16.  They tried to give Duke a clean path, but SMU will be a nightmare matchup.  I will stop bitching as I could go all day.  Just know this, put 5 12 year olds in a room that watch college basketball just a little bit and they would come up with a better bracket.

And don't allow Dickie V anywhere near the process as he would try to give Duke, North Carolina and Notre Dame byes to the sweet 16.

East

Villanova is not as good as last year.  Villanova lost twice to Butler, who is solid, but not good enough to beat a national champion two times.  Those are my red flags for Nova so now we hunt for who can win this region.

Duke is the best candidate as they have 3 pros, but I don't love that defense.  Coach K will also get the calls in a close game as he did when Duke and the stripes beat the Badgers in the National Title game.

SMU is my darkhorse.  Very athletic, swarming defense, under-rated pro who is a transfer from Duke.  I feel like the winner of Duke-SMU in the sweet 16 takes the region.

Other Upsets:  I could see Wisconsin upsetting Villanova in the second round, if they get there...  Big if.  I could see Virginia making life miserable for Villanova as well.  Everyone has forgotten about Virginia but I think this is a good spot for them as they are not good in the spotlight.  It is hard to be a favorite when you cannot score, making Virginia an ideal underdog.

West

This region is weak.  I have no issue with the 1, 2, 4 and 5 seeds.  But the committee put the worst 3 and worst 6 in the same region.  Arizona essentially has a bye in the sweet 16, although St Mary's will be a challenge in the second round.  Also watch out for Xavier getting to the sweet 16 to face Arizona and former coach Sean Miller.

Notre Dame vs West Virginia could decide this region.  I think Notre Dame is a terrible matchup for West Virginia as Notre Dame does NOT turn it over and hits free throws.  But if West Virginia gets past this game, Gonzaga and Arizona are in trouble.  West Virginia is bigger and stronger than both of those teams and can provide a knock-out punch to them.  If you had swapped Notre Dame and Florida St in this region, I would put West Virginia in the final four and I still probably will.

It will come down to Arizona and Gonzaga if Notre Dame does get past West Virginia.  I would take Gonzaga in that case.  But I am going with West Virginia.  Bob Huggins is the only coach in this region to make the final four, I think that continues.

Midwest

Never trust the Jayhawks, they get every call imaginable in their league play, that is why they have won that conference 13 straight times.  Its pathetic to watch a Big 12 game involving Kansas.  They will be on upset watch in the second round vs Miami, sweet 16 vs Purdue and I give them no shot vs whoever they would play in the elite 8.

In the bottom half I love Michigan, if they can survive Oklahoma State.  I don't care for any of the middle teams.   I think this region comes down to Louiseville and Michigan in the second round.  Not because both teams are great, there just isn't a lot of options in this region.

South

The South and the East are the loaded brackets.  I love the 1, 2 and 3 in the South.  Really love those three.  This is the region I see it the least likely you get someone below a 3 seed into the final four.  Based on each team's path North Carolina is the safe pick as they do not play a team that can legit beat them until the elite 8.  UCLA is very fun, but will be in tough games every round.  Kentucky has a very tough 2nd round game looming, then UCLA, then North Carolina.

I am taking Kentucky, but that is a nerve-racking path.  I love the guards and the speed, you need a differentiator in the tourney and Kentucky's speed is insane.  Plus, as tough as this path looks Kentucky did luck out and not have to face a defensive juggernaut, those are the types of teams that normally upset very good Calipari teams.  And I see no West Virginia, Wisconsin or Virginia in this path.

Final Four:  I'm going out a limb.  

SMU - with Duke as my backup.

West Virginia - Gonzaga would be my backup.

Louiseville - Michigan would be my backup.

Kentucky - UCLA would be my backup.

Champion:  Kentucky

Wheelchair Travel Rants!

Wheelchair Travel SUCKS!!  I just got back from a trip to Minnesota for my father in laws birthday, the actual visit once there was great, but traveling in a wheelchair is the worst, so I figured this was a great time to rant on it and provide the few tips I do have.

Security

The disaster of flight travel for those of us in wheelchairs begins with the security process.  It actually has gotten a bit better, (guessing due to a lot of complaining), and airports are very good about making sure we get put into an express line.  And we need it, because if you cannot walk through the XRay scanner you have to go through a pat down.  The pat down, 99 times out of 100, is overkill.  This is likely due to the TSA agent having no clue what he is doing so he just makes sure to do everything 10 times to be same.  They begin with patting over every body part multiple times, then tests his gloves.  The TSA then pats down the chair and does another test of gloves.  And finally, they may even do a 3rd test of gloves after a miscellaneous pat down involving a mix of the chair and the body for no reason whatsoever.  My theory was proven on the flight back from Minneapolis as I had an experienced TSA agent handle the pat down and it was smooth and sensical.  I even asked him about it and he mentioned he had been around forever.  It showed.

Another huge security problem is we enter our items through the XRAY conveyer belt only to sit and wait for an agent to come grab us for the pat down.  This can take several minutes as we just sit there helpless and watch our items float down the conveyer as up to 20 some people are likely to pass us by.  Since we have to take our laptops out this is extremely nerve-racking as it doesn't take much for somebody to snatch it.  I cannot properly express to you how aggravating this is.

I get the importance of security and appreciate the effort to keep everyone safe but the level of overboard screening I have to go through makes me wonder if somewhere in the anti-terrorist, terrorism prevention manual it is stated that the highest risk travelers are wheelchair folks.  The screening we go through really is overkill.

Airport Bathrooms

Next up is the bathroom situation.  This is a general note for any "able-bodied" bathroom user.  STOP FUCKING USING THE HANDICAP STALL!  Often there are up to 10 stalls in an airport bathroom with one or two being wide enough for a wheelchair and it is ridiculous how often both are in use when less than half are in use.  So there may be 5+ stalls open but we cannot get in any of these because the two that we can use are taken.  I get it when the bathroom is packed you grab what you can and I have no issue with that, but if there are multiple options, please leave the "wide doored" stalls empty for those that require it.

I feel like the bathroom usage problem is WORSE at airports simply because people with longer delays are in no hurry whatsoever and if they are just gonna be sitting around they think "may as well just sit here".  Its aggrevating.  My advice to wheelchair travelers is to grab the "family" bathroom whenever possible.  It is just as much meant for us as it is meant for a parent who needs to change a baby's diaper.

Boarding/Un-boarding

The boarding/un-boarding process is often the biggest stressor of airline travel for me.   Especially if you fly Delta which is a disorganized shit-show.  If you are in a wheelchair like me and cannot walk the process involves what they call an aisle-chair to get hauled through the too-skinny-for-your-chair-aisle.  I call it the "Hannibal Lector Chair" as it resembles the Dolly and straps that Lector was restrained in when meeting the senator in Silence of the Lambs.  I wheel down the runway, have to transfer onto this dolly with a seat, get strapped in, then get hauled onto the plane by general airport personnel like a stack of cargo.

The people that normally do this work try their  best but too often seem to have no idea how to operate and maneuver the Lector chair.  This results in me often wondering not IF I will get tipped over, but how many times.  The bright side of this experience is I have get to go through this again when I land to get off the plane.

I also get to experience the thrill of not really knowing if my wheelchair made it on the plane or not.  Strollers and the chair is the last thing that will get loaded on the plane so I often worry "what if they just forget".  I mean has there ever been a time where a stroller was left behind?  In all air travel, for all time?  I would have to think this has happened at least a few times which makes it quite possible a chair has been left behind, or will be left behind.  This thought makes the entire flight a stressful foreshadowing to "will it be there"?  Not fun.

Connecting Flights

Travel involving connecting flights magnifies all of this tenfold as you have to deal with all of these headaches multiple times.  My only piece of advice is to NEVER book a connection under 1 hour.  90 minutes is probably the sweet spot as you will be the last person to get off the first flight and the first person on the next flight.  By the time you get off the plane, go to the bathroom and get to your next gate, 90 minutes will feel like 5 minutes.

I am so sick of dealing with connecting flights that we actually drove 5+ hours to Atlanta to avoid a connection.  The airport near me is only 20 minutes away and has countless flights per day to Atlanta.  This is how much I despise connecting flights.

Atlanta Airport

Almost every flight seems to involve a connection in Atlanta.  I have no tips for dealing with this airport other than warning every wheel-traveler to brace yourself for hell if you have to connect through it.  You may want to bump up that connection time to 2 hours minimum if flying through Atlanta.  I can almost guarantee that they will get you off the first plane very delayed as they are never ready.  Once you get into the airport and try to go to the bathroom, it is almost guaranteed the handicap stalls will be in use.  Once you make your way to the next gate I can almost guarantee that you will have to take the train to the next gate which involves 2 elevator tips to get to and fro the train.

This whole process is hell.

Southwest

Other than just telling all wheelchair travelers to "hang in there" I do have one piece of advice.  Whenever possible, fly Southwest.  Southwest has BY FAR the best setup for wheelchair travelers.  On all southwest flights I have been on we don't even need the Hannibal Lector chair as the aisle opening to the first row of seats is wide enough for us to wheel right up and transfer to the first row.  Big Win.  Southwest also seems to give a crap in general as they are always on top of things when it comes to when I board, making sure I get on first, etc.

Conclusion

Wheelchair travel sucks, if you have any tips please share them.  Avoid connections all-together if you can, if you cannot, make sure that connection time is AT LEAST one hour.  Whenever possible, book Southwest.  No matter what, be ready to be frustrated and stressed out at nearly every turn.