Outside on an early autumn evening


Sitting outside, a cool early autumn evening. None of the stars will peek their heads out from behind the city-illuminated clouds.

A blinking light is all that can be seen of a plane making a late night landing at the international airport. Through the trees of the neighbor’s yard, I can just make out the bright tops of the buildings downtown.

Here in my backyard, I can hardly hear the sounds of the city. Instead, I hear the deafening buzz of insects, frogs, and birds as they make their evening orchestral machinations. In the distance, I hear the low rumble of cars, or is that just the fan keeping the rain emboldened mosquitoes away?

Occasionally, I’ll hear a back door open and shut and a cough from one of my neighbors, but with my back porch light on all the other backyards are shrouded in darkness. One or two windows on each house shine out into the darkness, suggesting habitation, but for being a city dweller, my backyard makes me feel very alone.

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Habits, a reminder app for the Pebble smartwatch

I struggle with managing everything in my life sometimes. I find myself lost in own thoughts often, and forget to do important daily jobs and activities that either I need to do for my job or I want to do because of my priorities. Or other times I just don’t follow through with plans or actions I want to do.

I recently purchased a pebble time (first generation) and couldn’t be more pleased with it, particularly when I discovered the app My Habits for it. A kezelpay app, it costs 2.99 and is completely worth the cost as it makes my watch an excellent reminder tool.

My Habits allows you to set up a reminder to appear on your watch at regular intervals. You click yes, you did whatever the reminder was for or no, you didn’t. It’s that simple. And it makes managing my daily life a million times easier.

As a teacher, I have to complete my attendance every day, but I find myself getting too involved in my teaching and forgetting to submit my attendance. Instead, the nurse’s aide has to call me each day and ask for my attendance. On my habits app, I set a reminder to submit my attendance every day at 9:35 and haven’t forgotten since.

The app also keeps track of your streak of completing the activity so I stay motivated to complete the various activities I have reminders.

I know there are plenty of apps like this that work on my phone, but as a teacher, I can’t be looking at my phone all the time. The pebble watch has a subtle vibration to get my attention and shows on the screen my habits reminder.

I currently have reminders for working out, not eating treats, not eating after 7 PM (notice a pattern? I could stand to lose some weight) and taking 30 minutes to write.

A tool like a smartwatch is only as good as the apps it has for it, and My Habits is definitely making it worthwhile.

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Rainer Maria – Artificial Light

Simply one of my favorite songs from the late 90’s/early 00’s midwest emo scene. The driving, shimmering guitars and the lyrics still resonate 15 years ago. 

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A New Start

Hey, for those who still are following this blog, this blog is now my non-soccer thoughts blog. Hoping to get something up once a day/week/whenever. We’ll see how it goes. 

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I’ll be writing for The Loon Call from now on

As some of you might have noticed, the Loon Call will be where I’ll be writing about Minnesota United FC from now on.  The Relegated will be put on hiatus for now.  So come on over and join the community!

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Loon Rating Results for Carolina Home (7/17)

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Co-Players of the Match

Congrats to Hildebrandt and Mendes for being chosen by the fans as the co-players of the match.  Hildebrandt for his cleansheet, and Mendes for the goal that decided the game.

Justin Davis had a great game until the red card.  The fans don’t like red cards, and rated him low because of it.   For as much as Omar Daley tends to be rated poorly by the fans, they recognized a good game from him, and rated him highly for it.

Swansea City FC Match Ratings

Get your ratings in for the Swansea City Match!

Statistical data below!

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Tactical Analysis: Carolina Home (7/21)

Sometimes a team wins 3-0 and the team looked out of sorts, then can win 1-0 and look dominating for most of the game.  Minnesota again came out in a 4-2-3-1, their favored formation for much of the Spring Season. There were a few changes to the starting lineup as Manny Lagos tries to keep everyone fresh for the Fall.  Hildebrandt again got the start in goal, while Franks played defensive midfielder against his former team. Omar Daley is the other surprise start, playing left midfielder.

How did the new starters do?

Hildebrandt again had some hair-raising moments, letting a ball by that hit off against the post and had trouble with his clearances and service. Still, he showed his huge upside with a great sliding save in the first half.

Franks was given a very simple job. On offense, slide back between the two centerbacks so that the fullbacks can make runs up the sides and on defense cover any midfielder drifting up the field. Carolina was looking for the counter, so Franks had a lot of opportunity to play the pivot while Minnesota controlled possession for much of the first half.  Still, it wasn’t surprising to see Vicentini come on for Franks to help shut down the game at the end.

Daley again showed significant upside and downside. He gave the team a lot of speed along the left side, but had at least two dangerous plays in the first half, either one that could have been carded. Still, he had a couple great breakaways on goal, missing just barely into the side netting in the first half and another one to start the second half that just got away from him.

It was honestly not much of a surprise to see both of those sub out in the second half for the more typical starters Vicentini and Watson.

The formation

The team played a 4-2-3-1, with a very high press, with Ramirez and Ibarra pressing the centerbacks. There were times when there would be 8 players in the Carolina half when Carolina had the ball. With such steady defenders in Dias and Calvano, the team is able to push forward and still react well to a counter-attack or if Carolina had been able to break the press.

There is a lot of interplay and interchange among the players. At times Pitchkolan was the furthest Minnesota player forward, who provides and excellent target for a long ball and forces the centerbacks to choose to cover either Pitchkolan or their usual assignment in Ramirez.

In the build up of the attack, Miguel Ibarra would come way back to recieve the ball from the back line.  In a way, it’s better for Ibarra to have a position in the middle of the field, with free reign to roam around the field that putting him farther up the field next to Ramirez.  Ibarra‘s ball control and speed give the team a great asset to breaking down an opponent’s press.  

Once again this game, on attacks the fullbacks were an intergral part of the attack, with the attack switching to a 2-4-3-1, which gave Carolina difficulties in marking all the players.  Personally, getting width from the fullbacks is one of my favorite tactics in soccer as it creates imbalances all over the field.

Red Cards. Again.

While it probably wasn’t a deserved red, Minnesota needs to control themselves better on the field.  Is there an iron skillet method for controlling emotions?

Swansea Game today at 7 PM

I’ll be up there, with my 8 day old son, standing with the Dark Clouds again.  Excited to be behind the goal, it’s my favorite place to watch a game as a fan.

Check out a New Minnesota United FC Blog

Friend of the Relegated, Chris Boyd has a new blog about the Loons at In Loons We Trust.  Check it out!

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Loon Ratings Now Open for Carolina Railhawks Home (7-19)

Fill out your Loon Ratings for the 1-0 Carolina Home win! Voting Closes Saturday at Noon Central!

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Loon Rating Results for Ft. Lauderdale Strikers


Someone described this game as the worst he had ever seen a team win 3-0, which was definitely reflected in the ratings.  I was busy hanging out with my one day old son, who I am taking to call the “Tiger Woods of Soccer”, so I wasn’t too focused on the game.  I’ll have to take the fans word on this one.

Player of the Match

Ibarra had a great game, with an amazing goal, and was given free rein to find space all over the field.  Definitely a deserved Player of the Match.

Defender/Goalkeeper of the Match

Mitch Hildebrandt worked hard in the back, sometimes harder than he needed, to keep the clean sheet and was rated highly by the fans for that.  Does Minnesota have a goalkeeper controversy?

Question: Where Will Minnesota Finish in the Fall?

Most people said 1st place for the Fall finish.  The lowest anyone said was 3rd.  That’s some confidence in you from the fans, Minnesota United!

Detailed Stats below!

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“Tactical” Analysis: Minnesota 3-0 Away Win Over Ft. Lauderdale

With a 2 day old, my stamina for writing is limited, so I’m not going to get too into the tactical considerations of the game.  Expect for a while shorter posts as life readjusts to having a new member of our family.  In order to maintain my sanity, these are going to be quick hits.

Back to the Old 4-2-3-1

A very familiar formation was trotted out by Minnesota, with the team lining up in their old 4-2-3-1, with Watson and Mendes out wide.  Manny Lagos must not have liked the formations he played in the Open Cup or the July 4th Friendly. 

Davis was great coming up

Attacking fullbacks are exciting.  They push forward, creating match-up problems for the defense.  Davis had a great game attacking up the left hand side.

Miguel Ibarra had a great second half

Yep.  great half.

New subs

Omar Daley is still getting sub minutes, and Polak was a new sub for us up front, although he didn’t really bring much for the offense.  Finally, Manny made a very defensive substitution, bringing in Brian Kallman for Ibarra.  In the spring, all the subs were very one for one substitution, with little change for the formation of the team.  Brian Kallman was sent in to help keep the 3-0 victory intact.

Next Games

Minnesota has a game against the Carolina Railhawks this Thursday, which should be a great game, with the Railhawks looking to rebound from a loss to Indy Eleven.  Then on Saturday, there is a Friendly against Swansea City. Should be a great game!  Hopefully, I’ll be able to make it out to each game!    

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