Soccer playoffs

Firestone edged Cuyahoga Falls  in a Division I sectional soccer match in double overtime  Wednesday, one of the best games I’ve seen, and I’m not just saying that because my kid’s team won. The game featured some physical play that the officials generally let play on, an ejection of a Firestone player and some spectacular saves by the Cuyahoga Falls goalie, save the last game-winning shot by Firestone’s Evan Johnson.

Alas, my boy didn’t see any playing time, having spent the season splitting time between JV and varsity. The playoff win-or-go-home setting and the return of some injured varsity players meant Matt was not likely to see much if any playing time. That and the fact that the game was a 0-0 tie through the first overtime meant the A-team had to stay on the field. Still, he came home after the game seriously amped and it was great to see. The energy was palpable during the game and afterward.

Not having sideline access or a huge (and fast) lens created a bit of a handicap shooting this shot, the game-winning goal for Firestone.

I think this was Matt’s former U8-U12 teammate Dylan Lias making a great save, one of several great plays during this game.

A Falls player takes a penalty kick.

Appearances can be deceiving. This was not a goal.

A closer crop of the winning shot, which exposes the flaws of this photo. It’s grainy and fuzzy, could have used a bigger and faster lens and a better photographer. There you have it.

This shot tells it all. The Firestone Falcons rejoice at having just won the match with a sudden-death, double-overtime goal that barely squeaked past the Cuyahoga Falls goalie, while Falls players scattered across the field sit dejected as they try to fathom the loss.

The victorious Falcons run toward the stands to show their appreciation for the fans’ vocal support.

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Leafy fall day

Took advantage of the brief period of sunshine today and snagged some pix of fall foliage. Under the midday sun, the colors weren’t great, so  I tweaked the color saturation of some of these. Truth in advertising, right?

From the overlook at Cascade Metro Park. This is a “color-enhanced” shot.

Barn at the Top of the World

A nine-zone exercise?

Wild grapes a bit past their prime. Look like concordes.

Poiple flowers!

The view behind the red (or black and white) barn.

No admittance

The lines wound around the block to see the Romney/Ryan campaign in Cuyahoga Falls. I got in line for a while, but gave up after the line didn’t move for 20 minutes. When I checked back, the rally was already over. So here are some crowd scenes. No Romney. Oh, well.

Spot the Secret Service agents lurking near the flag. Not quite the super security surrounding the Bush campaign stop at the Natatorium in 2004, when snipers were visible in buildings surrounding the Nat. Didn’t see any this time. Maybe they’re just more stealthy now.

A TV truck show a panel of images during the rally as a small crowd gathers to watch.

Guess Who? Mitt and a few of his closest friends!

The Romney juggernaut is blowing into town today.  Big Bird awaits.

Hundreds snake around the block as Big Bird greets them. Sort of.

And if you get bored, take in a game on the big screen!

A better view of Big Bird and friend.

Lest we forget the reason for the season.

Paul Moskowitz, everybody! Paul Moskowitz!

And they will know we are band geeks by the size of our bells.

Son of plumber’s secret weapon

Got an old house? Lots of plumbing issues? Bathub/shower drain clog a lot? Hate to snake out the drain? Hate to pay a plumber big bucks to snake out a drain? Don’t want to use caustic chemicals (Liquid Plumr, etc.)?

I have a secret.

And I’m going to tell you what it is.

If you’re struggling to get the bath water to go down the drain, bring it up instead.

I know, crazy, right?

Here’s how you do it:

1. Procure an old wet-dry vacuum that won’t make you suicidal if you ruin it. Mine is an old Sears beauty (pictured here) that has already paid for itself many times over in helping undo water damage.

2. Allow clogged drain to  mostly drain out (bail water if necessary — chances are the commode is nearby).

3. Ventilate room well. You’ll learn why shortly.

4. Plug in wet-dry vac, turn it on and apply vacuum hose to drain opening, making as complete a seal on the drain as possible.

5. You should notice an increased strain on the vac’s motor and perhaps some “chunking” in the hose as it sucks up water and other unsavory matter.  It will probably stink.

6. Watch carefully for overflow in the vacuum. Shut off immediately.

7. Drain vac into toilet. Eeewwww! Nasty!

8. Test tub with fresh water. If it flows freely, you’re done! If not, repeat steps 2 through 8.

This gem from Sears has saved me countless times, from flooded cars to plumbing disasters of all ilk.

This unconventional technique is one I came upon in desperation after wrestling with our annoying, cramped bathroom tub/shower for years. See previous experience with the dread tub. We have a love-hate relationship, which truthfully is mostly hate.

The reason it worked, and I’m totally guessing here, is all that hair and gunk was building up against downward pressure. So the reverse pressure had much less resistance from the gunk and up it came. Just a theory.

So there you have it, an unconventional way to unclog a stubborn bath drain with (if you’re lucky) less mess than the old snake or chemicals. Professional plumbers will probably tut-tut this, say it’s a terrible idea and all that, but tell that to your haranguing wife.

Disclaimer: I am not a professional plumber, nor do I have aspirations of becoming one. I mean, have you seen the gook that comes out of those waste lines? Or ever had to install a kitchen or bathroom sink? No thanks!  My point is this may or may not work for you. And if you’re not careful, there is a risk of electrocution. Make sure you use a vacuum designed to handle water by the gallon. 

Fall on me

Twas a lovely, sun-splashed early October day.  How can anyone resist getting out for a little fresh air and fall foliage? They aren’t quite at peak color yet, but there was color enough to earn a few shots on my Nikon D7000.

None of these shots really stood out as the best of the bunch, but this one seemed to have the biggest range of colors. So there you go. I uploaded this in full size (about 8 megs). Usually I go with smaller files just to make them more manageable.

The rodents are plentiful in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, including this filthy chipmunk.

This angle can seem deceptive. It’s downward from the top of the Ledges in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Unsuspecting hikers beneath the Ledges.

And now several selections from the top of The Ledges.

More of The Ledges.

The trail to The Ledges. What they don’t tell you is you can just cut across the field (left) and save about 15 minutes of hiking, which is really nice if you’re lazy. I am lazy.

Here’s a nice burst of color.

Group of kids playing in the field near The Ledges.

There are a fair number of rock formations to be found in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. This is one such formation.

I ran a across a high school senior (and her mom, I presume) getting some scenic background at The Ledges for her senior photo. The photog told his subject that the late-afternoon/early evening light was his fave. I must concur. That or early morning light. But that requires getting up early.

Well, I plumb run outta words.

In the valley.

And now to steal a lyric or two from R.E.M.

Buy the sky and sell the sky and lift your arms up to the sky
And ask the sky and ask the sky …

Fall on me