PADI, diving and Instructor Development (IDC)

PADI, diving and Instructor Development (IDC)

Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 1st August, 2010 []

Posted: 31 Jul 2010 05:29 PM PDT

Daily weather update for tropical island destination Koh Samui in Thailand by long term resident Camille Lemmens

Underwater creatures photo book project

Posted: 31 Jul 2010 01:59 AM PDT

Underwater creatures photo book project

This post is about a project by a Japanese scuba diving instructor who goes by the name of Naoko Funakoshi. I stumbled over her Facebook profile recently and liked her project, please have a read;

Hello, my name is Naoko Funakoshi, a director of "Ocean Lovers".
I am working for an advertising company in Tokyo, and I am also a scuba-diving instructor.

Please support my project - "underwater creatures photo book project" for children who lack basic educational resources in the developing countries.
*This is my website & about Photo Book Project:

My goal is to collect underwater creatures' photos from 100 divers & underwater photographers (both professional & amateur underwater photographers) from all over the world, to make original photo books for children, and donate these books (at least 1,000 copies or more) to "Room to Read" (an NPO, which aims to provide educational access to 10 million children in the developing world).

My idea is to list those photos from A to Z according to the creatures' common names, and provide some simple educational information on marine preservation as well. I want to give those children a chance to see how beautiful the ocean & underwater creatures are!

Now fortunately I have 100 people who have joined my project. The title of the photo book is "Wonderful Water Planet". There are some famous wildlife / underwater photographers.
*The photos from photographers who help this project, and their

names/websites/profiles are here:

I've already told "Room to Read" about my project, so that they would deliver these photo books to the children in the developing countries when the photo book is completed.

Now I'm looking for some sponsors for this project. If I could not get any sponsors, then all the production cost would be my expenses. But if I can get some sponsors, I can make more copies for more children. I'm hoping to give these books not only to "Room to Read", but also to the other NPO who can deliver books to the children who were suffered by the earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, China ...etc.

I'm also hoping by telling many people about this project I can let people recognize "Room to Read" - the children who lack basic educational resources as well as I can raise awareness of the importance to protect our oceans.

PADI Japan & WWF Japan would introduce this project & photo book on their websites & booklets when this photo book is completed.

I appreciate if you can support my project in any way. Please be a sponsor, or introduce this project on your website or tell your network & friends about this project! I will list supporters' names on my website.

Thank you very much for your help!

1 July 2010

My best regards,

Naoko Funakoshi

*This is my website & about Photo Book Project:

*The photos from photographers who help this project, and their names/websites/profiles are here:

*How to support this project:

*I will list supporters' names on my website:

Naoko Funakoshi
Director of "Ocean Lovers"
*website :

Protest demo against oil drilling in the Gulf of Thailand on Koh Samui []

Posted: 30 Jul 2010 11:51 PM PDT

Protest demo against oil drilling in the Gulf of Thailand on tropical island destination Koh Samui, report by long term resident Camille Lemmens
Dance Manila

Dance Manila

Legit Status advanced to the SEMI-finals of 2010 WHHI!

Posted: 30 Jul 2010 06:13 PM PDT

NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

Link to NFL Gridiron Gab

Seahawks, Tate Agree to Terms

Posted: 28 Jul 2010 07:25 PM PDT

The Seattle Seahawks and their second-round draft choice, wide receiver Golden Tate, have agreed to terms and conditions on a contract.

The news comes from Tate’s Twitter, which he posted on earlier today:

“Praise God!!! Terms and conditions have been reached for the seattle seahawks! Let’s play ball!”

While the team hasn’t announced the deal’s details, Brian McIntyre of Scout Network and Mac’s Football Blog reports that Tate is set to make $3.261 million with an additional $1 million coming via a signing bonus. The rookie from Notre Dame will earn $1.471 million guaranteed.

Still unsigned are the Seahawks’ first-round choices, left tackle Russell Okung and safety Earl Thomas.

Tate and Seattle start training camp Saturday.

Can't get enough SeahawksGab? Follow Devon on Twitter at

Warren Sapp The Latest to Speak on the Bengals T.O. Signing

Posted: 28 Jul 2010 06:18 PM PDT

Well, fellow Bengal fans, there's been quite a stir around the league since the Terrell Owens signing story broke. Reactions and opinions have not been in short supply.

While Chad Ochocinco has gushed openly about being Robin to T.O.'s Batman, the controversy and speculation revolves around the team's other franchise receiver, Antonio Bryant.

Several NFL observers have surmised that the signing of Owens was a direct result of concern within the Bengals organization that Bryant's knee is not fully recovered from a 2009 injury, and that he's not ready to go. They've suggested that "A.B." will end up on the PUP list, shelving him for the first 6 weeks of the season.

They've even gone so far as to say the team has considered cutting the former Buccaneer, and that team officials are suffering from "buyer's remorse."

The gossip mill has also churned out conjecture that Bryant isn't happy with the snap count and role he'll have now. PFT suggested that the team would consider cutting him outright, and there was even anxiety about whether or not Bryant would surrender Owens' signature #81 without a fight.

All this in less than 24 hours.

Speaking on NFL Network's Total Access tonight, former Bucs DT Warren Sapp provided the first known reactions from Bryant on the T.O. signing. Sapp is a close friend of Bryant's, leading off the telecast with the answers to these "burning questions."

Sapp said that Bryant is *not* concerned about T.O. coming to the Queen City, that he will willingly give up the #81 jersey, and that his knee is ready for camp.

Through Sapp, Bryant reported that while the knee did flare up (as reported here) it is fine now and ready for the first practices of camp tomorrow. He conceded the team will be careful with him and hold him out of ½ of the two-a-days to be careful with the knee, but there was nothing further to be concerned about.

Regarding the number, Sapp stated that Bryant has had a different number throughout his career, so he has no qualms about changing it for his new teammate.

Hopefully this will settle the hearsay.

Assuming the reports from Sapp are accurate, the team should have a formidable offense to go with an already stellar defense.

Bills Camp Storylines – Going Back to the 3-4 Defense

Posted: 28 Jul 2010 06:09 PM PDT

After using the 4-3 defense for nine years and seeing little results, the Buffalo Bills have decided to revert back to the defensive scheme that led them to four straight super bowl appearances in the early '90's under Marv Levy. Wade Phillips, who succeeded Levy on the sidelines, used the same scheme from 1998 to 2000 and the Bills finished sixth, first and third in the NFL in defense.

Times have changed and unfortunately these aren't the glory days for Buffalo anymore. The Bills are working on five straight losing seasons, a decade long playoff drought and have turned over the front office and the roster again. Unquestionably, the Bills are facing many challenges in 2010 and their conversion to the 3-4 defense stands to be one of their biggest ongoing storylines to watch.

Perhaps the biggest issue the Bills will encounter with their new 3-4 defense is a collection of players better suited to play in the 4-3 than in the 3-4. Added to the defensive mix in the offseason were free agent defensive end Dwan Edwards and linebackers Andra Davis and Reggie Torbor, along with new defensive coordinator George Edwards. Those additions will surely help aid in the transition process, but success on the defensive side of the ball rests largely on the remainder of the roster adjusts to the different and unfamiliar responsibilities.

Change for the better?

It would seem that the Bills are living proof of the old adage that defense wins championships. In the past five seasons, the Bills have finished no higher than 22nd in defense, posting losing records all five years. Ironically, the last time the Bills ranked in the top 10 in defense and had a winning season was 2004. A direct correlations between defensive success and winning? I think so.

By the end of last season, it became crystal clear that a change was badly needed on the defensive side of the ball. Buffalo boasted the 2nd best defense against the pass in the NFL, but were especially embarrassing against the run.

The Bills ranked 30th in the league against the run, allowing 156.3 rushing yards per game. One of the lowlight marks of the 2009 was the Bills sheer inability to stop the ground game of their division rival New York Jets. In two games against the Jets, the Bills surrendered a staggering 567 yards rushing.

Recent history could suggest that the Bills' switch to the 3-4 might lead to a better run defense. A prime example can be found just a season ago. The Green Bay Packers were the top team against the run last season, which was their first year in the 3-4 defense.

Nose tackle is key, OLBs endure toughest challenges

The coverages, nuances, terminology and responsibilities will be like night and day for the players, and it all starts with the man in the middle.

The nose tackle is the centerpiece of the 3-4 defense. Your prototypical tackle needs to be quick off the snap and even faster at the point of attack because he'll often encounter double, even possibly, triple teams of lineman. Usually, your nose tackle is a mountain of a man (think Vince Wilfork, Kris Jenkins and Kevin Williams) but that doesn't always have to be the case. Dallas has had success with a smaller-type nose tackle, Pro Bowler Jay Ratliff.

In the offseason, the free agent cupboard was bare of nose tackles. The likes of Casey Hampton and Vince Wilfork were kept off the market with lucrative long term contracts from Pittsburgh and New England respectively. Buffalo flirted with the idea of adding Jimmy Kennedy, but he chose to re-sign with Minnesota. That leaves the Bills with Kyle Williams and rookie Torell Troup, both smaller nose tackles. Williams checks in at around 305 pounds and the Bills bypassed the mountainous Terrence Cody for the smaller, yet quicker Troup in April's draft.

The Bills' secondary won't see many drastic changes, but there will be differences. Under Dick Jauron, Buffalo played mostly zone in the Tampa-2 scheme, but now under Gailey and Edwards the Bills will play a lot more man-to-man coverage. It will give the secondary opportunities to play closer to receivers and get a faster jump on the ball. If the corners can eliminate the underneath routes and checkdowns, then in turn the pass rush is alotted more time to get after the quarterback who has dwindling options.

The outside linebackers face the biggest test and they'll have to be the jack of all trades. Aside from Torbor, the Bills' collection of newly transformed outside linebackers have been their entire careers in the 4-3 defense, so this change will come as a culture shock. They'll be responsible to provide the primary pass rush, aid and support containing the run, and also dropping back into coverage against the pass.

Will it all come together?

The 2010 season promises to be an ongoing work in progress for Buffalo on defense.

It would be foolish to think there will be few growing pains and struggles along the way, particularly in the early portion of the season. In their first six games of the season, the Bills will face four playoff teams from a year ago (Green Bay, New England, NY Jets and Baltimore) ; the Jets are the only team out of those four who the Bills will play at home.

Whether or not the Bills have the right personnel on defense to play in the 3-4 this season remains to be seen. Admittedly, it could take a few seasons for Gailey and Edwards to completely makeover the defense to where it needs to be. And for every success story of transitioning from the 4-3 to the 3-4, like Green Bay did a year ago, there is a Kansas City who struggled mightily all season.

Once the Bills strap on the pads and get rolling, we'll have a better idea of where the defense is it, where it's going and what's to come.

Raiders Officially Name Jason Campbell Their Starting QB Entering 2010

Posted: 28 Jul 2010 06:05 PM PDT

SI’s Jim Trotter has reported via twitter that Raiders coach Tom Cable has formally named Jason Campbell as the starting quarterback for the Raiders and indicated there would be no open competition for the job. Cable praised Campbell’s “leadership and professionalism” and said the players have responded to that.

Periodic 2009 starter Bruce Gradkowski is the favorite to win the backup job and proved to the Raiders last year that he can be a competent starter should Campbell get injured. Campbell was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the 1st round of the 2005 draft but has thus far not achieved the level of excellence he displayed in college.He was traded to the Raiders in April 2010 for a draft pick.

Patriots Sign First Round Pick McCourty to a Five Year Deal

Posted: 28 Jul 2010 05:45 PM PDT

According to a tweet by agent Andy Simms, the Patriots and first-round pick Devin McCourty have agreed to terms on a five-year package with a maximum value of $13.2 million, according to a league source. The guarantees and bonuses total $7.825 million.

McCourty is the final of the Patriots 12 draft picks to sign, and will report to Gillette Stadium today along with the teams veterans for training camp. McCourty missed the reporting date for rookies Sunday, but will be on the field for the Patriots first official practice of training camp on Thursday July 29th. McCourty is only the second first-round draft pick to sign a contract, and his deal will likely be used to structure contracts for the remaining unsigned first-round picks.

McCourty, a cornerback from Rutgers, was selected 27th overall in the draft by New England, and will compete for a starting job against another Big East product, second-year cornerback from Connecticut Darius Butler, in training camp. McCourty also figures to be a factor in the return game for the Patriots this season. The 5-foot-10, 193-pounder averaged 25.4 yards on kickoff returns at Rutgers, and had a 98-yard kickoff return, third-longest in his school's history.

"He's fast. He's tough. He is a good four-down football player, first, second, third and fourth," said Patriots coach Bill Belichick shortly after New England selected McCourty. "In the kicking game, he's certainly one of the top guys in the draft in that area."

Steelers Sign Director of Football Operations Kevin Colbert to a Five-Year Extension

Posted: 28 Jul 2010 05:38 PM PDT

First it was Mike Tomlin, and now Kevin Colbert.

In a good move by the black and gold on Wednesday, the team came to terms on a five-year extension for Director of Football Operations Kevin Colbert.

“We are very pleased to announce that Kevin Colbert will remain with the Steelers for at least several more years,” Steelers’ President Art Rooney II. “Kevin is without question one of the best in the NFL at his job and we are fortunate that he will continue to lead our football operations into the future.”

Colbert has been with the Steelers for the last 11 seasons, and currently oversees the team’s player personnel and scouting departments.

Since his arrival in 2000, the Steelers are 103-56-1 (.643), with six division titles. Pittsburgh is 10-4 in the post-season over the last 10 seasons, winning two of the franchise’s six Lombardi Trophies (XL, XLIII). Colbert, a Pittsburgh native, previously worked in the Detroit Lions personnel department.

Now that both he and Tomlin are locked up, the next thing is to go against the grain and get something done with LB Lamarr Woodley. The Steelers have said they don’t want to give Woodley a new deal until his rookie deal is done, but that is bull headed and they need to get him locked up now before this anger he has lands him with another team in 2011.

Forte and Taylor Could be a Dangerous Backfield in Chicago

Posted: 28 Jul 2010 05:20 PM PDT

A couple of years ago, the NY Giants had a trio of rushers who were affectionately referred to as Earth, Wind & Fire. The Panthers duo of Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams bickered with the Titans (former) tandem of Chris Johnson and LenDale White over the name Smash & Dash.

In 2010, Chicago could have a pair of running backs worthy of a catchy nickname too.

The Bears are in a select group in that they feature two runners who've eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards in a season. More importantly, in Matt Forte and Chester Taylor, Mike Martz has two backs with multiple skill sets who are interchangeable.

Unlike most teams who have multiple backs who each bring a different talent to the offense, Forte and Taylor can each run, block and receive as well as the other. This means Martz won't be tipping off defenses when he subs one player for the other.

Remember the Super Bowl year of 2006? When Cedric Benson subbed for Thomas Jones, everyone in the stadium knew Ced was in to pound the rock. His blocking and receiving skills were suspect (I know, I'm being kind), so defenses could attack him (via the blitz) or ignore him (in pass defense) accordingly. This is a dilemma the Bears won't face with their versatile 2010 tandem.

Media and fans (including myself) assumed Forte's reaction to the Bears bringing Taylor on board was something akin to a slap across the facial region. But I'm guessing it'll take all of one 90-degree practice for Matt to realize he should be sending a fruit basket Jerry Angelo's way.

Taylor will be good for Forte because it will save him some wear and tear. If Forte was a car, his Blue Book value would have depreciated 200% over his first two years on the road. Since coming into the league, he's carried the rock extensively (574 times) over his 32-game career. Combine that with his nearly 800 carries during his 4 years at Tulane (where he was the school's all-time leading rusher), and it's obvious the guy could stand to miss a series or two.

For Taylor, Forte's presence helps prolong his career too. Taylor is considered a 'young 30? since he's played behind AP in Minny the last 3 years. Spelling Forte could help Taylor land another decent payday when his time with the Bears is up. (Note: Taylor's contract length was 4 years, but I'll be surprised if he's around more than two.)

Reports say Forte is the healthiest and strongest he's been in a year, which should mean a statistically similar season to his rookie year…of course, without all the carries. Assuming our unproven O-line can hold a block for two seconds, the Bears should boast one of the top rushing attacks in the league.

One that's worthy of nickname. Your ideas welcome…

Jets Ink Veteran QB Mark Brunell to a Two-Year Deal

Posted: 28 Jul 2010 05:08 PM PDT

The worst kept secret of the Jets offseason, finally became a reality today when the Jets signed free agent quarterback Mark Brunell to a two year contract

Brunell joins a crowded group of quarterbacks behind Mark Sanchez.

That leaves Kellen Clemens, Eric Ainge, and Kevin O'Connell vying for one spot.

More than likely, one of the three will be cut before camp opens on Monday.

Hopefully, it won't be Clemens (can't believe I'm saying that). Brunell will be 40 and has nothing left in the tank. He was beyond awful in his one start last season and while Clemens isn't anything special, he is at least serviceable.

Ideally, Clemens would be kept as the number two and Brunell would be the third quarterback, serving as a mentor to Clemens and holding the clipboard because if he has to put a helmet we might as well kiss our season goodbye.

I'm far from alone on this stance. Even the players are scared of Brunell being the primary backup.

Texans Owner McNair Calls Out Mario Williams

Posted: 28 Jul 2010 05:00 PM PDT

There goes another shot at Mario Williams' intensity and passion for the game. Since his earliest days in the NFL for the Texans, Williams' on-the-field intensity has been questioned. On Sunday, Matt Loede brought you the report from the National Football Post that Texans owner Bob McNair is pleased with the passion second-year outside linebacker Brian Cushing brings to the team. However, McNair also said that Williams, nor Amobi Okoye, shared the same passion as Cushing. McNair said:

"There's not anybody on that field more intense than Brian, and the players know that. When he's off the field, he's sort of mild-mannered and very nice. He steps on that field, and he's a different person. He's a tiger. Even when he comes off the field sometimes, other players will try to joke with him, and he's about to ready to attack them. He cares that much about it."

"He pays the price. He works hard. That's the kind of intensity I think is good. Pollard brings that kind of intensity, too. You have to have it on defense. Defense is emotional. I'm hoping it'll rub off on Mario (Williams). If Mario could develop that kind of intensity with his athletic ability, oh my goodness."

"And you've got Amobi (Okoye), who is just an outstanding person, but he doesn't have that tiger in him yet. But he's young, and as he matures, I think he will become a little more intense."

McNair's comments spur three interesting arguments:

  1. Is McNair playing "teacher's pet" with Cushing? McNair's comments already have led the Houston Chronicle's Richard Justice to nickname Cushing as the "owner's pet." McNair is the owner of the team and should think twice before speaking proudly about one player, while singling out others.
  2. Cushing used steroids, which undoubtedly increased his intensity and passion on-the-field to ring another player's neck to the ground. How can McNair forget that Cushing was suspended for performance enhancing drugs, and dismiss his players that have not resorted to cheating?
  3. Athleticism and intensity are two different things, will McNair's comments about Williams and Okoye, although hopeful, "rub off" the wrong way on the two young players?

What do you think? Williams numbers last year (9 sacks, 38 tackles) were nowhere near his 2008 and 2007 numbers (12 sacks, 44 tackles/16 sacks, 43 tackles respectively). Okoye, 23, can now handle a full NFL game, but he is definitely still maturing into a formidable starting NFL defensive tackle.

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