The Social Network, the food, the volleyball... a huge date day

posted by Jeff | Sunday, October 3, 2010, 1:23 PM | comments: 0

Me and Red Delicious had a very extensive day out yesterday, for the first time probably since January, when we toured Seattle. Uncle Joe offered to babysit Simon, as we're doing a two-nighter for Simon's little cousins about a month from now. Seemed like a perfect chance to get out and do stuff. Although I will say that, for the most part, we don't really do any less than we did before Simon was born. He's rarely a limiting factor for us, except perhaps for seeing movies. Perhaps that's why he's such a good traveler.

We started our afternoon by going to see The Social Network, which was every bit as good as I had hoped. It really doesn't paint Zuckerberg as much of a douche as I expected. There are plenty of stories about why the movie isn't entirely factual, which I think doesn't matter for the purpose of entertainment, but there was a whirlwind of crap going on around him that he clearly didn't anticipate or think much about. I can see him being socially inept (his real life public appearances don't exactly counter that), but I'm not sure I buy the parts about him needing attention. Like a lot of nerds, I just think he wanted to build something great, and that he did.

The bigger story to me is that of vision and execution, which is something he clearly had, and maybe still does. The basic functionality of The Facebook in those early days was not anything that different. Heck, I launched CampusFish before that with some of the same features (in dire need of refinement, mind you), but I was only interested in charging for it. It was the little increments that helped Facebook catch on, and they were things I never would have thought of. The idea that status updates could ever be interesting to anyone was mind boggling. I thought people were only interested in long-form content, but then, perhaps that's why LiveJournal never became what Facebook is.

I first saw Facebook in 2005, when I had several friends in their last year or two at Michigan State. I immediately thought it was awesome, and wondered why the hell they didn't open it up to the world at large (they eventually did in the fall of 2006). My first 50 or so friends were, not surprisingly, former volleyball kids who were all in college and already had accounts. It took years before I had a lot of "grown up" "friends" on there.

Go see the movie though, it's really good. The crazy dense Sorkin dialog starts in the very first scene and doesn't stop.

After the film, we tried a place called 520 Bar and Grill in Bellevue. It was a little pricey for what it is, but still very delicious. It's owned by some successful realtors, who happened to be there with their way-too-pretty daughters and friends on the patio to watch the UW football game. I had chicken mozzarella, which is basically just chicken parm with different cheese. They had it over some linguini in a ridiculously rich alfredo sauce. It was SO good, if clearly not good for me. Also had another Washington Riesling, and I'm surprised at how good most of them are. Prior to moving here, I only had good German Rieslings.

Onward from Bellevue, we went to see our first UW (#10) volleyball match, and they won this one against UCLA (#12) in three straight sets. Even though they won the first, I didn't think they'd win the match because their defense was so awful. But from that point on, they got more and more intense and more accurate, especially in the third set. Their senior setter is, not surprisingly, from the Ohio Valley Region. I thought she looked familiar, and sure enough, she played for Cincy Classics, one of the big pain-in-the-ass teams I'd inevitably meet at regionals or bid, so I've probably had to coach against her. She was deadly accurate, time after time, and made up a lot for the poor passing early in the match.

They were national champs in 2005, and ever since then, according to a club director I talked to out here, everyone has tried to emulate them with the Gold Medal Squared system that has become quite a business for a number of high ranking USAV people, doing camps and coaching seminars and what not. It's a system for play as well as teaching, and it's interesting because I don't agree with a lot of it. For example, they appear to advocate a lot of gratuitous pancake shit instead of moving through the ball as quickly as possible, and I dislike that because it has almost no ball control, and it teaches kids to meet the ball instead of get there with time to spare. Ditto for passing (for what I've read about it), where it's OK to rely more on your arms. Again, same problem with meeting the ball just in time, but also because not passing in front of you, with your whole body, you can't pass and go as quickly. And I'll still never understand why anyone is still using outside-in hitting approaches.

Criticism aside, I think UW has a lot going for them in terms of size, and talent in their setter. If their defense is more consistent, I see them being contenders for the final four. They're 13-1 right now, but I can't tell you anything about their schedule. The regional tournament is at UW in December, so we might just get tickets for that.

Overall, it was a really nice day out, and it went so quickly! It was kind of weird not having Simon around. This was the longest Diana has ever been away from him (about nine hours). I have to say that I like that we're able to bring him along in most everything we do.


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