NFHS Rules Questionnaire

This morning I got an email requesting that I take part in an NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations) Basketball Rules Questionnaire. There were a wide range of different questions with some fairly significant rule changes. Here's a brief summary of the proposed changes that stood out to me and my thoughts on them:

  • 35 second shot clock in all states. Yes, absolutely yes. Washington State has had this in place for over a decade and it's been great. Playing Idaho teams in Idaho is a little annoying because they don't use a shot clock currently, but in fairness almost all the large classification schools there play at a fast pace anyway so it's not a huge issue.

  • Dunking in warmups. This has been stupid forever because teams begin warming up as early as 30 minutes before game time and referees do not take control of the court until the 15 minute mark. So teams with permissive coaches allow their players to dunk prior to the arrival of the officials anyway, and teams with old school coaches that are rules sticklers (thinking of my dad and me when I was younger) don't and are annoyed that the other team gets away with it. I can say with complete confidence that player athleticism has gone up in Spokane over the last 30 years and impressive dunks have become much more commonplace. It's a fun thing for the kids to do, it's entertaining to everyone in the gym, and I think it was made out to be an intimidation/sportsmanship thing that is just not the case today if everyone is allowed to participate. This was also the first year that a Spokane official at a team rules presentation before the season actually came out and flat out said that it was basically cool and fine to dunk in warmups before the officials come out, but once they arrive you will get a technical. So I'm fully on board with legalizing the practice.

  • Foul Shot Bonus Administration There were a bunch of related questions about rule variations on this topic so I have to think there's a lot going on behind the scenes with this one. The main proposal was to switch to a system where team foul totals reset after each quarter, 1 and 1s would be eliminated, and a two shot free throw would be awarded after the 5th team foul.1 I was not for this change because it appears to allow teams to foul more without repercussion, but I'd be curious to hear what NCAA women's coaches think about it. And the more I think about it the more open I am to it if there's a good explanation of the benefits of the switch.

  • Uniform Colors There was at least one question about uniform color and allowing the home team to wear solid colors with the visiting team going to white. Basically switching the longstanding tradition of white for home teams and dark colors for visitors. I'm a traditionalist and don't see any reason to change this one.

  • Gear Color Coordination Rules Asking coaches and officials to worry about which color compressions shorts, tights, sleeves, headbands, undershirts, etc. that players are wearing in addition to their jersey is just a waste of time for everyone involved as long as they're a neutral or team color. This has actually gotten better in the last few years, but there was at least one survey question about making it more restrictive again.

  1. It was unclear to me whether you would shoot free throws on the fifth team foul or the sixth, but NCAA women do it after the fifth foul.

Running Woes

It's been a hard winter for running. Not so much because the conditions have been terrible- overall it's been pretty warm and snow free compared to most winters. I just haven't really had my running mojo since taking a bunch of time off back in the Fall to finish our shed project. My weight is up more than I'd like and I think it will be tough to get it back down to where it was for Bloomsday last year and even then I wasn't at an optimal running weight. My plan is to cut out alcohol through Bloomsday at least, try to be a little more disciplined on how I eat, and increase my weekly exercise. I'm kind of dreading another slowdown in my Bloomsday time this year, but I believe this would be my 10th year running in a row so I should probably stick with it even though I'm going to be unhappy with my time.

All my minor complaints about running form aside, I got in a decent short run today after I got home from work. I didn't pack my gear to run at work because I thought I would probably be at practice, but that's not how it worked out. I ended up going straight home because Sean gave the team a shorter easy practice to recover from yesterday's game. I opted to listen to my Brasshouse Gameday Spotify playlist rather than one of my many podcasts and that helped a lot too. I ran at a faster pace than usual and just felt a little more motivated than I have been lately. I'm not going to run tomorrow, but will probably try to fit in a longer 10K+ run sometime Saturday morning.

Heartbreak in Pasco

So close yet so far. Ferris almost got the upset win against Chiawana tonight- losing by a contested 3 at the buzzer in a situation where our defender was supposed to foul before the shot because we only had four team fouls. Instead we let their player bring the ball up, bumped him in what would have been a foul right before he gathered and then he hit a tough three fading slightly to the left as time expired. We'll travel back to the tri-cities on Saturday to face Richland in a loser out game.

In the three other 4A District games Central Valley handled Hanford 76-42, Gonzaga Prep rolled over Richland 69-45, and Mead lost to Walla Walla 61-68 in overtime. I think Chiawana matches up favorably with Gonzaga Prep and should win by about 10 on Saturday; likewise Central Valley should defeat Walla Walla. Mead should be able to beat Hanford at home without any issues this weekend unless they play like they did against Lewis & Clark this year.

District Playoffs

The first round of the 4A District Playoffs between the Greater Spokane League and Mid Columbia Conference begin tomorrow. Ferris travels down to Pasco to face MCC 1 seed Chiawana in what I expect to be a very challenging matchup for the Saxons. Chiawana plays a very modern offensive style with an emphasis on the three point shot and keeping their players spread out in a 5 out look that really stretches opposing defenses. Given that they return the core of the team that advanced to the Regional level last year and it's at home they're clearly the favorite to win going away.

As a 4 seed my Saxons are going to have to be true road warriors from here on out unless we have the same outcome as Gonzaga Prep tomorrow. If we both win or lose we'll face Prep at their place on Saturday which would be pretty fun, particularly if it was to go the title game. The most likely outcome if the games follow seeding is that Prep will defeat Richland, we'll lose to Chiawana and then have to travel back down to Richland on Saturday. In the other half of the bracket Mead will be playing at Walla Walla and Central Valley will host Hanford. I expect the Blue Devils to defeat Mead and CV to take care of Hanford. My hunch is that Chiawana is the best team overall, but the quality of the GSL is better than the MCC, so I'm curious to see if that proves out tomorrow.

Opener Update

The new garage door opener arrived today. I'm looking forward to getting it installed, but still needed to remove the old one so that was tonight's task. Removing the old one ended up being as straightforward as I expected. I was able to unbolt the motor unit from the ceiling mounts without any issues and lowered it down to a sawhorse table I had set up. I then went to work on the chain and was surprised to discover the rail was one complete 7+ foot metal piece. The rail on all modern openers is generally a multipart unit that you assemble. I called it a night once I got the rail disconnected from the mount above the door and anticipate that I will start work on installing the new one tomorrow once I get home from basketball practice.

Reading the reviews online I'm kind of surprised at all the people that have indicated installation took several hours. Maybe I'm a complete optimist, but it seems like the kind of task that at most should take me a couple hours across a few days. The existing mounting hardware should be mostly reusable and assembly is pretty straightforward if you have any kind of mechanical inclination. The sensors are probably the trickiest part, but as long as there's enough wire it should go fine. Additionally, there's no real rush so if I can get it finished up by Sunday evening I'll be in pretty good shape.

Cairo Throw


The original emoji, Cairo was a typeface designed by Susan Kare in 1984 for the first Macintosh operating system. Taking its name from the hieroglyphics of ancient Egypt, each symbol was drawn by hand using the bitmap grid. A few notable symbols lived on into later operating systems including the cursor and watch.

Kare designed this woven blanket for the Jacquard loom, an early example of computer-controlled machinery, operated with punched cards and invented by Joseph Jacquard in 1801.

I discovered this blanket in Stephen Hackett's Instagram stories and was immediately smitten. It would go great on the wall of my office, but at $135 it's well outside my decorating budget.

Musical Meandering

I spent a little bit of time today fiddling around with the Nanoloop iOS app on a few different devices today. I was kind of curious if it still ran on the latest 64 bit hardware because it came out 10 years and I have it installed on my still functioning original iPad. It turns out that it works fine on my iPad Pro, but crashes on my iPhone 11. Kind of a bummer, but not the end of the world as it's probably a relatively simple bug fix related to the screen.

Nanoloop has kind of an amazing history, it was originally developed as a music creation cartridge for the Nintendo Gameboy1, but made its way to the iPhone and Android phone not long after third party apps became a thing a decade ago. It has a very elegant music creation interface that's totally suitable for the small screen of an original iPhone because of its Gameboy heritage. It's use of Times Roman for some of its file interface UI does grate on me though. It should really use a simple bitmap font for that in my opinion!

Switching musical gears slightly, in the last week I discovered2 that there is in fact a common and elegant plain text format for encoding music called abc notation. This is something I had wondered about a little bit as I started thinking about music more again3 as a creative outlet during the last few years. There are tons of utilities that will convert the abc notation music files into sheet music or playable midi files, and there are also lots of large song collections in the format as well. One exercise that I've been meaning to do a little bit is encoding some simple songs using applications like Nanoloop and PixiTracker and this format serves as a very good resource in that regard because I'm still kind of slow reading treble clef music4

  1. You can still purchase a cartridge that runs on the Gameboy Advance in fact.

  2. Somewhat bizarrely via a utility that builds off the capabilities of Starbound the game my sons are really into right now.

  3. I played baritone/euphonium and trombone back in high school.

  4. Bass clef is still second nature and even though I haven't played a trombone in decades I can still immediately map sheet music to slide position and note name in my head. I just need more practice with treble clef music to get to the same level of note recognition.

Adam of the Road


📚  The winner of the Newberry Medal in 1943, Adam of the Road (★★★★) is the simple yet enjoyable tale of a young 13th century boy and his journey to reunite with his beloved dog and minstrel father after getting separated from both of them. I particularly enjoyed Adam's independent nature and resourcefulness, the historical elements of the setting, and the idyllic pace of the story which contrasts so sharply with modern life and storytelling.

Media Update

Today was a weird day of not being overly productive, but I did get some reading done, listened to a few podcasts1, and got caught up on Star Trek: Picard last night.

The book I'm reading at the moment is the classic Newberry Medal Winner, Adam of the Road. One of my longer term reading projects is working my way through all the Newberry Medal Winners that I haven't read, and since I had to specifically check this one out for one of my kids,2 I thought I might as well give it go before returning it to the library. I'm about halfway through and enjoying its simple story of a young minstrel growing up in late 13th century England. I've read most of the Saxon Stories series which are set in late 9th and early 10th century England so it's interesting to see how England changed and became a little more civilized post Norman conquest even as the march of progress is glacial by modern standards.

Star Trek: Picard continues to be a lot of fun. I'm enjoying the slow build up as he assembles his team and the general mysteries around Romulans, synthetic life, and the various competing conspiracies that seem to be at play. Despite their long history in the Star Trek universe, the Romulans have remained fairly under utilized and mysterious in spite of their prominence as a major Federation foe. It looks like next week will feature even more Romulan related developments and potential crew members so I'm all for that.

  1. Shout out to Scott McNulty and Jason Snell for their excellent "New Star Trek" focused podcast, Vulcan Hello.

  2. It's not available as an ebook.


Big night for the US Women's National Team as they defeated Mexico 4-0 in the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament semifinals. Rose Lavelle opened the scoring with a great goal in traffic. Sammy Mewis added 2 goals of her own. And of course Christen Press continues to be an underrated monster off the bench with an amazing chip shot goal after her first shot was blocked. It's going to be interesting to see who ends up being the Olympic starting 11 because I feel like Press and Lynn Williams are making a case to relegate the old guard (Carly Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe) back to sub roles on the bench.

On a cool note, 7 months pregnant Alex Morgan is in California training with the team. I still have a lot of doubt about her being ready and physically able to make it back onto the team just a couple months after giving birth. If she had six months I could totally buy it, but she has two, and the USWNT is way too deep and talented with only 18 spots available. If anyone is able to do it, it would be a world class athlete like Morgan with all kinds of support staff around her to assist with childcare, health and personal training. I just think it's a little optimistic and a naive to think everything will go smoothly and work out in accordance with her desires and goals rather than how caring for a baby for the first time actually goes.