Goodbye, Craig

When I was a kid growing up in SoCal, I begged my parents for years to get cable TV so that I could actually watch the Lakers’ home games on Prime Ticket.1

My folks finally decided to give in during the summer of 1991 — just in time for Magic’s retirement. But it was about that time when I learned that there were two cable channels called TNT and TBS that showed a lot of NBA games, and that they had this eccentrically-attired sideline reporter by the name of Craig Sager. He wore weird suits and was kinda… weird. But he’s been reporting since I started watching the NBA.

I just got out of giving my last final exam and hit up a spot I frequent to eat and drink to celebrate the end of a fantastic semester… only to see the sad news of Craig Sager’s passing. If there’s anything I take away from his journey, it’s that he did it his way – and everyone respected him for it.

RIP, Craig.

  1. We were otherwise limited to just watching the road games on KCAL channel 9. []

A peek into the “vault”

Since a particular social media post of mine didn’t quite hit triple-digits, I shall not be posting a picture of every single pair of shoes that I own.

Here, however, is a “good faith” look at a handful of items from said stronghold (less than half of my kicks, but mostly the less uninteresting half).

Disclaimer: Almost all of these are Kobes, and some are not very interesting. But if my home was on fire and I could only save a half-dozen, some of these would make the cut.

Zoom Kobe I (DS) [Feb 2006]

Nike’s first official Kobe signature sneaker (not counting the 2k4’s and 2k5’s). One of 4 pairs I keep in deadstock. I still have the receipt for these, which tells me that a dude named Andre at Niketown Chicago processed my order on February 23, 2006. Nike decided not to make this colorway available at local stores, hence the phone order.
Nike was supposedly planning on releasing a white colorway with purple and black accents… until he went and scored 81 points in those.

Zoom Kobe I – Minneapolis [Summer 2006]

These I actually played in. Grey suede, crinkled white leather. I guess these were the colors the Lakers wore when they played up in the tundra in the 50’s. My grail is a PE colorway of these that Kobe wore once – in Game 6 of the Phoenix series that year.

Zoom Huarache 2k5 Laser “City Maps” [Winter 2005/06]

Though the 2k4’s1 and 2k5’s were designed to be Kobe signature shoes, Nike decided to make them a generic release due to the Colorado proceedings. This was a limited release with the map of downtown Los Angeles laser etched into the uppers, with his number 8 on the front strap. Also the first shoes to feature the “Hattori Hanzo” black mamba logo. In hindsight, I wish I had deadstocked these immediately. Instead I played with them a few times at Gregory. Fun fact: this was when Google Maps was in its infancy.

Zoom Huaraches 2K5 [Black (DS) – May 2005]

The black/purple colorway is in deadstock. They’re not actually that remarkable, other than that Nike designed these to be Kobe’s road playoff kicks for the 2005 NBA Playoffs. (Google “Lakers 2005 playoffs” and you’ll get the dig…)
The white/purple/gold was the colorway he debuted on Christmas Day 2004 in his first game against Shaq.

Zoom Kobe IV – “Carpe Diem” (DS) [January 2009]

Grails that I actually own. A limited release of the first low-top Kobe’s. Snagged two pairs of these – and after these pics, this pair will go back to slumber. Released in the year of the bull to celebrate a dozen years in the league. Patent leather fanciness, and the first Kobe’s to use flywire to shed some mass. The Lakers went on to win their first post-Shaq title this year. Next to the Jordan V’s, this is my favorite pair in the “vault”.

Zoom Kobe IV [Spring 2009]

A more general release of the IV’s which I wore all over the place. Came with three sets of laces – white, black, and yellow. You can see my preference.

Zoom Kobe V – “Miles Davis” [Spring 2010]

Because the blues. Out with the leather, in with the full-on flywire all the way around. There were a pair of special colorways that Kobe wore in the Finals against the Celtics (“Big Stage”) that I still long for…

Zoom Kobe VI – “Glass Blue” [March 2011]

Colorful and sparkly. Worn casually a small handful of times.

Zoom Kobe VI “Lightbulbs” [April 2011]

Nike was cranking out the crazy colorways to capitalize on another potential Lakers three-peat (which didn’t happen). I get to wear these once a year *if I’m brave*.

Zoom Kobe VII “Poison Dart Frog” [Spring 2012]

Released on Easter Sunday, 2012 (don’t ask me for the significance). Black mamba, poison dart frog. All about quick lethal strikes against opponent. Worn a couple of times for… uh… “casual” wear.

Kobe X Elite [2015-16]

They’re… well… purple. Flyknit over a solid frame. Not much story to these as Kobe sat out most of the year after tearing his shoulder.

Air Jordan V – Retro OG

Back in 1990 these were the first – and only – pair of Jordans I ever owned. I remember the societal scoffing at paying north of $100 for a pair of sneakers. Oh, if they could only see us now. Took a few pics and promptly sent these babies straight to the vault.

  1. By the way. If anyone ever spots the black/yellow laser 2k4’s in a size 10, drop everything and message me immediately. []

Imperfect Subtleties

I appreciate a good story. Be it in the form of TV/film, a good book, a long video game,1 or an equally long Netflix binge, I live for a good story.

Closing Book

We all have ideas about how the stories in our lives ought to end, and about the timing with which they ought to end. This week has been a personal reminder that life does not always respect one’s personal opinions about the how’s and when’s with which these stories ought to end.

I’m a fan of intelligent writing, witty characters, and carefully measured subtleties. It’s why I’m a huge follower of Chris Nolan (and simultaneously despise Zac Snyder).

One day I’ll walk into a coffee shop and I’ll spot Neil Caffrey and Mozzie sharing a table and sipping lattes with Alicia Florrick and Carrie Agos. Or so goes the dream.2

White Collar is my favorite TV show of forever. The Good Wife — which I have followed since the start,3 and which ends this weekend — is a very close second.

This week has also reminded me that — at times — having a personal life4 and being a teacher are akin to oil and water. There are maybe a day or two in each campaign5 where you just don’t want to put on your professional daytime facade… and while doing so is sometimes nigh impossible, refusing to do so simply isn’t an option. And having to continually brush everything aside and not being able to properly deal with things until Summertime is… less than ideal, to say the least.

Yet another story comes to a close this Thursday, when our students take the Statistics AP Exam.6

When it comes to guiding our cherubs towards the finish line, the anxiety-riddled portion of my soul fears that this is one of those things where you can do everything right and execute flawlessly from week one all the way to week 35… only to have things fall apart just short of the ribbon. No, the numbers from the previous five campaigns don’t really back up these irrational fears… but perhaps that is what makes them irrational.


Five days~

  1. Uncharted 4 comes out this week… but it’ll have to wait ’til after Thursday’s AP exam… []
  2. The closest we got was when the character who plays Alicia’s son was a student in a White Collar episode that went to Peter and Neil for help… that was a fun episode. Season 3, episode 12: “Upper West-Side Story”. []
  3. I was never big on Will G. I do miss Kalinda. I wish Finn would have stuck around longer. Lamont Bishop was a bit overplayed but he’s better off as Luke Cage. I think Jason’s a cool cat. Lucca was underutilized – her rant on polar bears and baby seals was all-time greatness. This show and — to a lesser degree — Suits almost made me wish I’d gone into law… []
  4. or rather, trying to have one []
  5. Only one or two, of course… not any more than that… -_-. []
  6. number six, on my watch. []

Sideways Infinity

Kobe VI Lightbulbs

My morning class noticed my kicks1 and one of the kids joked,2

Mister Youn’s retiring? 34

Tomorrow our students take major exam number nine.5 This one focuses on inference with means, and shouldn’t be nearly as tough as our last major exam a month ago. Invariably though, students by-and-large perform worse on this exam. The two main culprits, by my estimation:

  1. Lack of urgency — the last exam was just before the end of the devilish fourth six weeks,6 thus it demanded their honest best. This time around, the end of the marking period is another month away. A LOOOOONNNNNNGGGG month before any second semester high school senior dares to flip their brain on…
  2. Spring break starts later this week. 7
  1. Kobe VI’s… maybe the third time I’ve worn them out. []
  2. I think he was joking… []
  3. Kobe is retiring after next month… in case you don’t get the reference… []
  4. And as for the title – I will always associate Kobe with the number 8. Twenty-four forever belongs to Keifer… []
  5. of ten []
  6. good gosh how many blog posts can I write that reference the fourth six weeks? []
  7. For some it started a moon ago, based on the way they’re acting… []

25 down, 12 to go

Sassy Student during quiz: “Mr. Youn, can you tell me if this answer is right?”
Me: “Uhhhh…”
Sassy Student: “What? I just wanna know if this is right!”
Me: “And I just want a million dollars.”
Sassy Student: “Okay well at least I’m being reasonable.”

Mmmmmm hmmmmm.

(One week until Spring Break…)