Easily Concentrated

I am not easily distracted.

In fact, I am easily concentrated. This is written without vestiges of false modestness— as the scope of a match increases, so does my focus tighten.

But in the throes of a 1-3 playoff deficit against the Rockets, I must now pare away diversions. So with remorse, I bid a temporary hiatus to El Blog Ilusorio de Rudy. This may be just for a week or three. I will let fate guide my soul. (And my cursor!)

There is a strange charm in taking un momento and looking back over my previous bloggings. It is a good legacy, and for a moment, it wondrously alleviates the sorrow that I would otherwise feel for the potential extinction of this season’s play. We shall see what the future holds.

¡Por favor deseo que la suerte! (And if we claim a victory or exhibit spirited play, please dance a Flamenco, Merengue, Salsa, Mambo, or even a Cha-cha-cha for Sergio and me!)
Rudy y Sergio from the Oregonian.


Beware Yao’s Snuffbox

“He has the biggest thighs I’ve ever seen on a human.”

So said Greg Oden when asked about playing Yao. I, too, have previously marveled (Cap of the Stone Giant) at the scale of Yao’s pale frame. There are other anatomical marvels that Yao displays, ALL more gargantuan then those on any member of our species that I have seen.

On the court, I take pains to avoid Yao’s colossal ginglymus (inner elbow). He nearly concussed me with it in our last match! And in the above foto, Yao points to his mighty glabella (the area between his eyebrows) in an attempt to intimidate his foes.

While Yao’s coccyx is also fearsome, his secret weapon is the bottomless pit that is his anatomical snuffbox: An unnamed rookie guard fell into the Chinese giant’s snuffbox in the preseason and has not been sighted since!
Yao from basketbawful.


Maladies Defined

Scoliosis: An abnormal lateral curvature of the spinal pillar.

Scola-iosis: An unpropitious downward spiral in LaMarcus Aldridge’s scoring. The condition is catalyzed by the barricading of the basket by a stubbled Argentinian. Aftereffects include clenched fists on one squad, clenched jaws on the other.
We edge closer to the abyss with a defeat at the hands of Houston last night. I have pride in my efforts: 17 puntos, 5 for 7 from three-point regions. (This included a difficult swishing with 17 seconds left that reduced the Houston lead to 81-80.) But it all turns to bitter polenta in my mouth recalling the ignominious finale.

As for Sergio, his regrets comprise a double-whamminess: This was a playoff loss in which he did not participate. Our coaches seem to have no confidence in his matching-upitude with Houston.

At the hotel after the match, Sergio swtiched on some Spanish hip-hop, then quickly turned it off.

I looked at him with the question, and El Chacho shrugged and said, “All music jars when the soul’s out of tune.”

A worrisome state. My diagnosis is simplicity itself: Victory will both bestow immunity from Scola-iosis upon LaMarcus... and grant Sergio a tuning fork!
Luis Scola foto from Mike Barrett’s blog,
Rudy from the Oregonian.


An Exploration of Merriment!

A hundred feet above the court in our home pavilion hangs a giant screen. This is where spectators can see action-related replayings and view various exhortations.

The screen also features short films, such as “Quiz-the-Blazer.” In a recent quizzing, this photo (left) was shown to Blazer individuals, and we were asked: “Who is he?”

I later learned that all my mates but Nic Batum and Sergio knew of this man’s identity. But I was stumping… until I thought I saw a familiarity behind the bow-tie and tight jacket!

“Sergio Rodriguez?” I guessed.

It was not the proper answer, as I learned when this was shown on the pavilion's screen and the crowd guffawed robustly. He is “Pee Wee Herman”? Very well, I will take your wordings for it. (It is most difficult to concentrate in the huddle while spectators enjoy such entertainments!)

Adicíon: In 2007, Nike released a “Fallen Heroes” series of shoes, including ones dedicated to Milli Vanilli, Vanilla Ice, and... Pee Wee Herman! (I possess little comprehension of the insole design of his zapatos, however.)
Hot tip from Dave Knows,
Sergio from the Oregonian,
Pee Wee’s kicks from kicksonfire.


Playing Nip and Tuck with a Crested Newt

Defenders of Brandon Roy, from the Thunder’s Jeff Green (left) to Ron Artest and Shane Battier, learn to shrink from his legerdemain!

And so it was in our push-me/pull-you playoff match with Houston. There was nipping. And further, there was tucking! The Rockets took the lead, but the super-adequate play of Brandon (42 puntos) enabled a a nip-tuck reversal. This finally enabled us to tuck the Rockets in for the night!

Brandon relentlessly drove his undersized vehicle at Yao Ming, who is the basketball equivalent of an 18-wheeler. (As for me, I pushed in the clutch for two free-throws in the match’s waning moments.)

Regarding our opponents: Von Wafer may have the appearance of a crested newt, but he plays with a combination of tangy ferocity and light airiness.

It’s almost as if Von Wafer has something to prove. As a former Trail Blazer, perhaps he has a cracker (or other chip) on his shoulder?
Brandon Roy foto by the Oregonian,
Von Wafer from Intentional Foul.


Words from the Bench

Me (with remorse): We have been overblown.

Greg Oden: The correct usage is “Weve been blown out,” my friend. And if our play does not improve in subsequent games, we will drown this basketball court with our followers’ tears, make mad the guilty and appall the free, confound the ignorant and amaze the very faculties of our Portland Trail Blazer fans’ eyes and ears.

Me: And they’ll be disappointed too!
Foto from Mike Barrett’s blog.


Our Mindsets Had the Wrong Settings

After playing 20 inconsequential minutes, it seems El Machetero is in need of a machete sharpener! Nor am I alone; with the exception of Brandon Roy, each of my mates was badly outplayed by his counterpart on the Houston Rockets.

Perhaps our mindsets were set wrong. Our recent stringing together of blowouts caused me to forget one of Cervantes’ essential lessons: It seldom happens that felicity comes so pure as not to be tempered and allayed by some mixture of misfortune.

Of course, the author of Don Quixote never played in a seven-game series!


El Machetero, a Su Servicio

As we await the Houston Rockets for this evening’s match in our home pavilion, I have a moment. And so, to the polling that ascertained my most auspicious nicknaming!

5.) El Matador, 12% of total with 40 votos.
To confess, this is a sobriquet I am pleased to have eluded.

4.) El Conquistador, 17%, 53 votos.
Yet this title would have been most welcome!

3.) El Bigote (“the Moustache”), 18%, 57 votos.
With the mixture of feelings, I bid adios to El Bigote. Even had it won, I could not have grown the moustache I yearn for. This was due to an executive decision. (Cristina is the executive. She made the decision.)

2.) El Mago (“the Magician”), 31%, 97 votos.
A moniker I have already enjoyed in España.

1.) El Machetero (literally “the machete wielder,” but a “trail blazer” in the more general sensing), 37%, 116 votos.

¡Estupendo! El Machetero combines a Pacific Northwest vernacular with the primal chopping behavior of the finest basketball players. Further, it may take lusty machete swings at the sturdy oaks of Yao Ming, Luis Scola, and Ron Artest to achieve victory. Let it be so, and a mil gracias to those of who partook in the polling.

¡Por favor deseo que la suerte!


Señor Tambourine Man

Channing Frye jokingly names me a “rock star.” This is, in partiality, a reference to my prodigious skills playing Guitar Hero. But yesterday, I took a stage to play music for cheering supplicants in the reality!

When I learned my mates and I would visit a local rallying for the team, I did not give it much consideration. The people wish to sprinkle honorifics on us? A kind gesture!

But limiting one’s expectations of Portland fans is a mistake. As the bus pulled up, our eyes grew wide. This was no rally; it was a popular movement! Were there 30,000 amidst the cheering throngs? Perhaps!

When my time came to approach the crowdings, my mind blanked. A tambourine was proffered to me, and I happily accepted it. Tapping rhythmically upon the percussion instrument, I took the stage. 

My Guitar Hero antics never yielded such excellent spectator histrionics! What excesses will Portland fans indulge in if we achieve victories in our first-round matchings with Houston? I wish to learn firsthand!

But most remarkable was the adulation my shoes received. They are composed of rubber, leather, foam, and plastics. Gaze upon them in wonder, mortals!
Crowd foto from the Oregonian
Rudy from Twitter's pdxtrailblazers,
Rudy’s shoes from Trail Blazers Center Court.


Plasma-Soaked Gauze Imprisoned in Time

Felicitaciones y muchas gracias a Brucy Ely and Thomas Boyd of the Oregonian. Their incredible fotos from last evening's game imprison many seminal moments.

For an instance, here we see Chris Andersen realizing his team has no more life than the plasma-soaked gauze in his nostril. He can also see I have recovered from when he embossed my face with the word “Spalding”! (See “When Weak Sauce Meets Ink and Lank.”)

And perhaps he knows it is time to obtain butcher paper from Jose Calderon’s pig ranch to enshroud his teammates with. For they were mere dribbling carcasses at this point. (Please pardon my ungentlemanly attitudes. Yet in the case of Carmelo Anthony and the Nuggets, all jibes are most richly deserved!)

Adición: El periodista Jason Quick observed me eating brownies and dancing. Then he wrote of it.


A Whole New Ball Made of Wax!

By virtue of virtuous play, my mates and I mashed the Denver Nuggets. This installs us into the play-offs! Further, the achievement gives us a majority of play-off matches on our home court.

Our opponent will be the Houston Rockets, led by Yao Ming. As stated (see The Cap of the Stone Giant), even among NBA players, Ming is strangely large; note below how he renders Greg Oden into un pequeño niño!

I understand that the Houston players aim to end a long drought in play-off victories. But my mates and I wish for Houston to remain as parched as the Texas intellectual scene, even while sweet rain falls on Portland!

Adición: To sound the personal note, by hitting six threes this evening, I broke the NBA rookie record for long-distance shooting in a season. This is not displeasing. (Further, El Chacho had a career-high 12 assists!)
Fotos derived from the Oregonian.


Rudy Is Excited

You see what occurs when Rudy is excited? He refers to himself in the third-person! This linguistic distancing occurs because visions of the season to come leave no room in my head for these energies and...myself!

(Sergio does the same. After utilizing the third-person improperly, he spontaneously cloned himself! [above].)

Rudy received grieving over his third-person habit after a local paper reported this statement of his:

Rudy is not everyday a shooter. He’s defense. He’s passes. He’s assists.”

Ah, I can now revert to the sweet first-person! My smiles at the English naïveté I displayed with the above quote come easily now. Yet, the purity of its sentiments remain! My steals ensure that other players do not dribble with impunity nearby. And even now as I write this blogging, my imaginings consist of three-point hail storms and alley oops on opposing oppositions.

Although Sergio found this video of Wálter Herrmann of the Detroit Pistons seemingly ejecting a basketball from la bóveda de su recto, the distraction proved fleeting for Rudy. (You see? The Denver Nuggets and ensuing playoffs cannot arrive at a punctual enough pace!)
Sergio-clone foto derived from 
unknown Blazers Edge user;
Rudy foto from the Oregonian.


¿Donde Año Asombrosu Sucederé Este?

Below is a fine remembrance, although the pass could have been better.

“Impossible,” states Sergio.

All Is Fair in Rhetorics and Basketball

Few Trail Blazers have participated in matches beyond the end of the regular season. Of course, I have done so for my country since my earliest ages (left), but this is no time for braggadocio.

Our inexperience served as the preamble for the recent team meeting.
Coach McMillan: What are the play-offs? (He turns to the whiteboard to write.)
Sergio: A series of contests played to determine the winner of a championship!
Coach McMillan: …
Shavlik Randolph (whispering): I think that was a rhetorical question.
Me (also whispering): An oratorical device designed to get us to think?
Sergio: Of course! It did not seem an example of rhetorical hyperbole, given the lack of overblown language.
Me: We are tangenting!
Coach McMillan: Let me try again. You know what they say about love and war.
Me (thinking of Cristina): One involves deep feelings of affection and the other is armed combat between at least two parties?
Coach McMillan (with hintings of a smile): Miguel de Cervantes said, “Love and war are the same thing, and stratagems and policy are as allowable in the one as in the other.” And with the playoffs approaching, let’s keep that in mind for the games ahead. [Sergio and I incredulously high five.] Okay, let’s work on free throws.
Scoring five points in 21 seconds before half-time of the recent Clippers match was an exhilaration. But it paled next to having Cervantes quoted at a team meeting! Let our unnamed playoff opponents tremble.
Rudy foto from Rudyfans.com,
Nate McMillan by the Oregonian.


Blood in the Water, Confetti in the Sky

The match with the Lakers was close. The onlookers cheered. Emotions ascended!

And as two sharks smell blood in the water and swim toward it, so did Sergio and I begin our trajectories on the court.

A moment later, our jaws closed, and PUM! ¡Esmaixada!

Sasha Vujacic was most displeased at trailing in my wake on this play. Later, as we stood awaiting free throws, I saw Sasha’s querulous yet curious glancing toward me. Did the Slovenian sense that the NBA’s mantle of European flair had now slipped from his grasp?

Sasha leaned in. “Your stubbling,” he whispered unbelievingly. “It is perfect!”

With a wry smile, I nodded. And even as I did so, we both knew the mantle had passed away from him forever. ¡PUM!

Adicíon: For those insisting on the post-game interviewings, click here or on the image to the left. You are welcome to it!
Rudy in the jaws from acb.com,
interview from Blazers Center Court.


Kissing and Putting on the Make-Up

Feeling unwanted is not a familiar companion to me. But while my mates and I debate who we wish to be pitted against in the playing-offs, our recent successes suggest that no other team wants us.

The sensation of unwantedness was never so welcome!

One thing that I do not want are further queries on the Ariza/Fernández Conflict. I have entirely rid my mind of all dregs regarding it. But it is true that I am reminded of my injuries when I snore or my back commences to spasm.

But I choose not to dwell on the manner in which Ariza’s flagrante falta caused my bones, organs, muscles, tendons, tissues, nerves, ligaments, discs, cartilages, and joints to be compressed, dislocated, separated, bruised, contused, abrased, torn, wrenched, swollen, strained, sprained, and inflamed.

It is of no consequence!

Tonight is our first rematch with Pau Gasol and his Lakers since the night I was wheeled from our home pavilion in a stretcher. Will Trevor Ariza be affable? If so, I will return the sentiment in the spirit it is offered. But as for the “kissing and putting on the make-up” concept that Americans have, we shall see. (Perhaps I will have more later on this topic!)
Rudy foto from the Oregonian,
Ramunas Siskauskas & Yao Ming
from elsewhere on the Interwebbings.


Scarves, Swag, and Other Accessories

I see myself on the court as a cross-eyed optimist. If there is an error in my play, no matter! I will continue to strive. Or perhaps I will see if the referees are amenable to placing the blame on an opposing player.

My mates feel similarly, as the Spurs learned yesterday from our second comeback performance in as many nights. Truly, we played minutes and left things on the court!

Where does our can-do-it ability derive? At Center Court is an exploration of what is known as the Trail Blazers' “swagger.” This is the physical manifestations of a player's confident attitude, born from skills and the moxiness.

Or perhaps not— until this day, I had no ideas what swaggerliness was comprised of! LaMarcus Aldridge is cited as one who brims with the swagging. And Brandon Roy pinponts Sergio as a mate who derives a swaggerly nature from wearing “little tight jackets.” Unfair! As this foto of El Chacho with Spanish Embassy communications specialist Alfonso Aramendia shows, his jacket tailoring is not unseemly.

Even so, I believe Sergio's imaginary jacket swag could benefit from the accessorizing! (And regarding sartorial crimes, there are those who make even Steve Blake look like a fashionisto!)

Spurs foto from the Oregonian,
Sergio and Rudy by
Alfonso Aramendia,
Sczcerbiak by Basketbawful.


Lavado Verde en las Grandes Ligas

After trailing most of last night's match opposing the Memphis Grizzlies, we enjoyed a stirring, resurgent victory. This fueled my dinner conversation with Sergio afterwards.

Sergio: You had a most efficient match, my friend. Your 15 points corresponded to the 15 minutes you were on the court!
Myself (with modest pride): You played well also. No turnovers! We are truly sustainable additions to the team offense.
Sergio: Speaking of the sustainability, have you heard about the NBA's fantastic “NBA Green” celebrations? It is a revelry of environmental maneuvers in respect for Earth Day.
Myself (enthused): Most praiseworthy! How will do these green practices manifest themselves?
Sergio: The NBA made custom organic cotton uniforms and T-shirts for us to wear.
Myself: I noticed! 
Sergio: But we will only wear them for a week.
Myself: A disappointment! There must be other steps, however?
Sergio: Yes. The New Orleans Hornets gave free parking to fans with four or more people pooled in a car.
Myself: This is to the good! How many were able to take advantage of this?
Sergio: Only the first 100 fans arriving to the arena received the discount.
Myself: In an arena that seats…?
Sergio: Thousands.
Myself: Still, it is a commendable notion. Have other teams replicated the idea?
Sergio (checking the laptopping): Hmmm… no.
Myself: But surely you have noticed some of our mates engaging in friendliness to the environment?
Sergio (brightly): Channing Frye can ride light rail to the Rose Garden arena from his condo!
Myself: Has he ever done so?
Sergio: I suppose not. (Sighing.) In a topic changing, did you see those new El Chacho T-shirt designs?
Myself: ¡Felicidades! Are your tribute shirts made from organic cotton?
Sergio: No sé... But anyway, it was a good match tonight. And now, see the time! We must—
Myself: Get on Paul Allen’s privately chartered jet to fly to a luxury hotel flooded with conditioned airs. There we will play millionaire opponents who drove to the arena in Escalades and Hummers. And they will not count a single Greenpeace member among themselves!
Sergio: Check, please!
Rudy foto by Lance Murphey,
El Chacho from Black Squirrel;
El Conquistador also available!


Miracles of the Pork

With the season mounting in intensity, I must maintain mental and physical discipline. Only events of utmost importance can be allowed to occupy my thoughts!

For instance, José and his ham.

As noted (“Angel Pigs”), José Calderón owns a pig ranch in España. There his acorn-fed animals produce a ham known as jamón Ibérico de bellota. This miracle of the pork has the unique look; it is shipped with the pig’s cloven hoof still attached.

The black hoof signifies a high price; Sergio has noted jamón Ibérico de bellota costs $130 a pound! This price may soon double, as retaliatory tariffs between Europe and the U.S. sweep up José’s cured meats in the crossfire.

Sergio peeks at my blogging. “I love José’s ranch, but what do Spanish hams have to do with us?” he asks.

I give him the meaningful look.

“Oh!” Sergio grins with a realization, and he walks off dribbling three balls at once.

I call after him, “I meant the ham will give us playoff strength!” But Sergio just laughs.


Una Atrevida Predicción

A moment of the lightness: In recent times, I spied the uninhabited costume of the mascot Blaze. A spirit of impulsivity seized me! Donning the not-very-legendary cat’s head, I prowled the chamber of lockers. Who would be victimized? Seeing that Greg Oden was engaged in an interview, I made a pounce!

(Or perhaps it was a cavort?)

Sensing my faux-feline presence, Greg turned. And unblinkingly, the ebon giant intoned to the reportero:

The spirit that I have seen
May be a Spanish devil: and the devil hath power
To assume Blaze’s shape; yea, and perhaps
To constitute as my interview’s distraction
He seeks to abuse my good nature.
But to answer the question, the playoff’s the thing
Wherein I’ll engage in my most forceful dunking.”

Based on this, I now make a bold prediction: Greg will extemporize better than any other NBA center during the playoffs!
Hot tip from Dave Knows;
image courtesy of Casey Holdahl;
foto credit to JT


Gagging, Beards, and a Tangled Web Is Woven

From his laptopping, Sergio yips with delights at news of a stony-hearted April Fool's hoaxing. At an Orlando match, a Magic fan was informed that $100,000 would be his if he sank a long-range shot with both eyes blindfolded.

Here is the gagging: Though the blindfolded fan's shot missed, audience members enthused as if he accomplished a swishing! (In this manner, the crowd was in on the practical jokery.)  And with wild celebrations, the shooter fell victim to this ruse.

What a miscarriage of injustice! When the rug was pulled out from beneath the failed swisher, he was not pleased. Nor was I.

“No, no,” Sergio said, “the failed swisher was actually an actor hired by the Orlando Magic. It was a double-crossing!”

“So the joke was not on the failed swisher—”

“But on the crowd of those in attendance!” crowed El Chacho. “The old double-cross. It was a tangled web of deceit.”

Very well! Speaking of tangled webs, Baron Davis's robust beard is renowned in the NBA. (Some even maintain his beard can speak.) And now a variety of Trail Blazers also sport beards. I refer not to my own stubbling (A Razor's Edge), but to Steve Blake and Brandon Roy. Both of my mates commenced the growth of beards a month ago. Their notion is to shave only when playoff matches are reached.

Steve's bearding gives him a diabolical mien, while Brandon has only infrequent tufting. Sergio and Travis Outlaw have now also followed their non-shaving suit. But my belief is that Travis weaves his own web of deceit! While he claims not to have shaved for weeks, the only evidence of this is the most anemic soul-patching imaginable!
Rudy's beard derived from the Oregonian,
Walton foto from Fear the Beard.


This Time Is Not That Time

¡Por favor, mi amigo!

When I chortle in appreciation, my injured back cries out.
Foto by Ben Golliver.