Sunday, September 30, 2007

October Here We Come

September was a great month. We spent two weeks on the other side of the world, experiencing two of China's largest cities in Beijing and Shanghai as well as visiting with my aunt, uncle, and cousins. Then, this weekend we were in Carmel for an all-expenses-paid stay at Quail Lodge with Darcy's company. Saturday was spent participating in a company scramble golf tournament, followed by dinner, golf awards, and dancing. Friday night we went to dinner with the company in Monterey at the Plaza Hotel at Cannery Row. Darcy's company trip is always a great time and we look forward to it every year. Next year the plan is for it to be at Silverado in Napa.

This morning we left Carmel at about 10:30am, and arrived back in The Silicon Valley an hour later. After unpacking and starting some laundry, we headed to Santa Clara University to watch the Cal/SantaClara women's soccer game. My cousin, Gina Pellegrini, is the starting goalkeeper for Cal. She is a sophomore at Cal having played her high school soccer at my alma mater Santa Rosa High School. It was my first time watching her play at the collegiate level, and I was very proud watching her out there on the field. Wearing a very attractive blue and gold Cal-branded goalkeeper uniform, she recorded a shut out, and even notched an assist when kicking the ball 40-50 yards down the field off the ground to a forward, leading her to a breakaway in which she was able to beat the Santa Clara goalie for the score. It was a very spectacular goal, and it's not every day a goalie gets an assist! Cal ended up winning the game 2-0 on two first half goals.

We are also excited to report that we got Bosco back today! He has been in Santa Rosa since September 6th, two days before we left for China. Today my aunt Alice, Gina's mom and my dad's sister, picked him at my parents house before heading down to Santa Clara for the game. Although we are very nervous for Bosco to be sad about leaving his buddy Mac and a very "cush" life in Santa Rosa which features easy access to a backyard and very little alone time, we are so happy to see him again and have him back with us.

October starts tomorrow. The days are shrinking, the leaves are changing colors, and my vacation days are all used up. What do I look forward to in the coming month? Watching the Cal Bears football team attempt to continue their unbeaten ways leading up to a potential colossus match up with USC, major league baseball playoffs, and attending the annual Bridge School Benefit concert at shoreline on October 26 that Darcy and I bought tickets for.

Hopefully I can squeeze in a round of golf or two as well.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Great Wall of China

On September 15th, we visited The Great Wall of China at a spot along the wall called Mutianyu. I captured some video of this awesome experience that in addition to walking along the wall, featured a toboggan that was so fun we went down it twice!

Luckily there was the toboggan, because it made Nico and Talia, my 12 year-old twin cousins, excited to venture out to the wall again. Having already been there a few times, the wall itself is no longer a thrill for them innate of itself, but the toboggan they can never get enough of. Watch the video and you'll see why.

Enjoy, and don't forget to turn your sound on.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sick

Growing up I was a huge fan of Shel Silverstein's 'Where the Sidewalk Ends'. It's a book of hundreds of creative poems, many with illustrations. Some rhymed, some didn't, but most of them captured my imagination.

My favorite one was entitled 'Sick'. I loved it so much I dedicated time to memorizing it, and still to this day have some parts of it ingrained in my brain. The poem goes as such:


SICK

"I cannot go to school today,"
Said little Peggy Ann McKay,
"I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash, and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I'm going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I've counted sixteen chicken pox
And there's one more--that's seventeen,
And don't you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut, my eyes are blue--
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I'm sure that my left leg is broke--
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button's caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle's sprained,
My 'pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb,
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow's bent, my spine ain't straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is--what?
What's that? What's that you say?
You say today is---Saturday?
G'bye, I'm going out to play!"

Although I loved (and still do, albeit for nostalgic reasons at this point) this poem, I am the exact opposite. When it comes to attendance I've always been an iron man. I got a special award for never missing a day of Kindergarten, even though I had serious poison oak that year all over my body. Looking back I'm surprised Mrs. Zimmerman didn't send me home as I must have been at least a little contagious. Through grade school, and even college, I was always king when it came to attendance. I am a conscientious person, and as a result, don't feel good about missing school, practice, work, etc... If I'm signed up to be somewhere, I am there, and most always on time.

In my career I have taken vacations, such as my recent two week trip to China, but am yet to miss work due to illness. Today, that streak is broken. Yesterday at work my throat started to hurt, especially when I swallowed, and my sinuses began to flare. Last night I felt awful as my nose started to clog up, adding to the discomfort I was already feeling from my throat and sinuses. As a result I had a horrible night of sleep, pretty much tossing and turning from 2am on. Right now my sinuses have calmed a little, but my whole head still feels congested.

I'll surely be back in the office tomorrow, carrying my afrin just in case my stuffiness in unbearable. Even though I don't feel good about using a sick day and breaking my impeccable streak, I know it's the right thing to do and will hopefully pay off tomorrow when I feel better.


Well, time to go downstairs and take another Cold-Eze.



Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Longest Day of My Life - Literally.

Darcy and I are back in the Silicon Valley after spending two great weeks in China. I plan on adding some pictures and explaining some of our excursions in more detail, but do not have the energy for such a post at this time. I just spent over an hour uploading nearly 1000 pictures to my computer. Many came out great and I look forward to sharing them in the coming week.

It is 4pm PDT on Sunday, September 23rd, and I have now been awake for 23 hours straight (and counting). I woke up at 8am Beijing time, which is 15 hours ahead of California time, drove to the airport at 9:30am, boarded my flight at 11:15am, and took off for SFO at approximately noon Beijing time. The 10 hour and 45 minute flight landed us in San Fransisco at 8am PDT. Yes, that is four hours before the flight took off! It felt like a time warp. Even though my eyes were closed for a couple hours on the flight, and I perhaps bagged a short and uncomfortable "Z" or two, I didn't get what any of us would call "real sleep".

In an attempt to minimize jet lag for when I'm back in the office tomorrow, I am staying awake until bedtime. Darcy gave in and napped, but I am not giving in to my heavy eyelids. Hopefully I'll able to sleep at 8 or 9pm when I plan on going to bed, since my body will think it's already noon on Monday.

Even though the vacation was great and there are things I will miss about China (low prices, frequent massages, a maid doing my laundry every day, golfing with a caddie, etc.), I'm very happy to be back home here in the USA. I'm ready to hear English being spoken all around me, I'm ready to watch and follow American sports in real time, I'm ready to have access to juicy hamburgers and authentic Mexican food, and I'm even ready to get back to work.

When it's all said and done, September 23rd, 2007 will be the longest day of my life. I will have been awake approximately 28 hours straight, and have slept roughly 11 hours in a day that I was able to live in for 39 hours.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Last Day in China

Today is our last full day in China, tomorrow (Sunday) morning we leave from Beijing at noon and arrive back in SFO around 9am the same day. We are back in Beijing now and have been back since Wednesday. We were able to change our flight from Shanghai from Thursday to Wednesday to get out of the typhoon weather. We were glad we did because it's been blue skies in Beijing ever since and we've had a lot of fun, but we are sad that our trip is coming to an end.

We got back to Beijing on Wednesday evening and had dinner and then massages. Thursday morning Jeff and I went to the Summer Palace which is where the emperor used to live during the summer months. It was beautiful and we got some great views of Beijing with blue skies. We walked around the whole grounds, which are huge, for about an hour and a half and then headed back to the house where we had a greek food lunch with the whole family. Talia gave us a tour of their school (International School of Beijing) and then we went to their soccer games at another rival school. Nico and Talia's teams both won. Then the whole family went to a Teppanyaki restaurant (Benihana style) for a great dinner. Our chef "Andy" taught us how to say a lot of chinese words and would critique each of us on how well we could say it. It was hilarious.

Friday morning we tried on some of the clothes that we had made, and then Jeff and Mario went to play golf (again) while Deanne and I went to get another massage. This time I got a "Traditional Thai Massage" which was awesome. You lay on a mat on the floor in some pajama like clothes while this lady twists you around to really stretch you while at the same time massaging. I would recommend it :). Nico and Talia were both staying at friends houses last night so the four of us went out to dinner (Peking Duck again) and then down to a popular bar area which Mr. Hong (the driver) called "America." I guess it was fitting because there were a ton of westerners there. We visited two or three bars/clubs before ending up at the same club we had gone to last week, Kokomo, where we hung out for a while before heading home.

Today Jeff and I have no plans at all. We're going to pack and hang out and might take a taxi into town later if we feel adventurous.

Shanghai - Day 2

Today is our 2nd day in Shanghai and things are not going well for us! There is a typhoon headed here, which means it's been raining non-stop all day. It's expected to actually hit tomorrow at noon which means tomorrow will be shot too, we are so bummed. Outside, some stores are boarding up their windows because the winds are expected to be very strong. Besides the rain though, Shanghai is really neat. It seems more like a big city than Beijing, more like New York. Our hotel is very nice which is good since we are basically stuck here. We can hardly even take a taxi out because there in such demand, it's too hard to get one back and we don't want to be stranded.

We arrived in Shanghai about 10:30 yesterday morning and it was a beautiful day. We headed down to the Bund which is the waterfront and walked around for a couple hours and then had dinner. We took a taxi across the river over to "Pudong" where we went to the top of the Pearl TV Tower for an awesome view of all of Shanghai. We were probably up there for about 2 hours and got to see the sunset. We're so glad we went there yesterday because there would be no visibility today or tomorrow.

Today we woke up, had breakfast, and went to the hotel gym, hoping the rain would stop. It didn't look too bad so we took a taxi down to Old Shanghai. Unfortunately, it started raining pretty hard while we were there so we had to take refuge at Starbucks and then at a little dry hut that served Tsingtao (Jeff's favorite Chinese beer) for 15 RMB ($2). After a couple hours of sitting, we decided to go back to the hotel - easier said than done! We could not find a taxi because they were all being used. We actually got into one and the guy wouldn't take us because our hotel was "too close" (at least that's what we think his reason was). We stood on the side of the road getting DRENCHED for about 20 minutes and then decided to walk and try to find a taxi on the way. We probably walked about 3/4 of a mile before we finally found a taxi. When we got back to the hotel we were completely soaked. Luckily it wasn't cold or else we wouldn't have been laughing about it like we were at the time.

We went back to our room to dry off and then had lunch at the hotel early this afternoon. The rest of the day has been pretty uneventful, we watched some tv, took a nap, and then walked a block away for dinner at a chinese/japanese noodle restaurant. Now we're back at the hotel for the rest of the night and it is still pouring. We had wanted to go see the US women's soccer team play Nigeria in the world cup which is in Shanghai, but can't because of the rain - Jeff is really bummed so we're hoping we can catch it on tv in our room. We are really hoping that the typhoon will die down tomorrow afternoon so that we can go explore Shanghai a little more.

Before Shanghai, we had a pretty fun weekend in Beijing. On Saturday morning, we went with Deanne to the "dirt market" which is this huge outdoor flea market where you can buy practically anything. We ended up getting a few art pieces there for "dirt" cheap :). Then, the highlight of the trip so far, we went to the Great Wall which was AWESOME. Not only was it amazing to see the great wall, the spot that we went to had a tobogan track that had to be a mile long. We ended up going down it twice because it was so fun. After the great wall, we drove by the olympic stadiums which were also amazing, and then to a traditional "Peking Duck" restaurant - yummy!

Sunday we went golfing again, this time it was Jeff, Mario, Nico and me. It was a beautiful day and we had a great time. Then we drove to the stables where Deanne and Talia ride to see Talia take her lesson. I am amazed by people who can ride horses, for some reason, they scare me so it was really neat to see her (she's only 12) make the horse walk, trot and canter (run) on command. After watching her ride, we went back to the shopping center to try on our clothes again and then to the Hard Rock for dinner.

Beijing - Day 7

It's 8:30am on saturday morning over here, the start of our 7th day in Beijing. It seems like our trip is going by so quickly, I can't believe it's already halfway over! The last two days have been a lot of fun but we haven't done much touristy stuff. On Thursday it was raining so our trip to the Summer Palace has been postponed until next week when we get back from Shanghai. Instead we got massages and manicures/pedicures at the house and then went shopping at Ya Show again because we had to try on our clothes that are being made. After shopping we had dinner at the house with the family and then played Balderdash with the whole family.

Yesterday morning it was raining again, but Mario took the day off to play golf with us so we went anyways. The golf course was awesome. Everyone gets a caddie, female caddies for Jeff and Mario and a male caddie for me. It's a little tough because they don't speak any english except "par" and "bogey". They are so cute though. They pick out your clubs and line up your putts and since it was raining, they hold the umbrella over you. Unfortunately, the rain got ridiculous at the 8th hole so I quit after 9 (I'm a fair weather golfer). Jeff and Mario played another 9 and apparently it was only pouring for the first three holes. Mr. Hong and Deanne picked me up and we went home to relax while Jeff and Mario finished up their round.

At around 3pm, Deanne, Mario, Jeff and I went to a spa and got 90 minute full body massages. They were amazing and a lot different than the massages I've received in the US. They twist you and stretch you and jump up on the table to get their elbows into it. We loved it. Then Nico and Talia met up with us at this Muslim restaurant that was a lot of fun. Their specialty is lamb kabobs and they were tasty. They have belly dancers, a lounge singer, and a band (2 guitar players and a bongo drummer) who take turns entertaining while you eat. Jeff got called up by the lounge singer to go dance on stage, and he actually went and the whole place was cracking up. Then they got Mario, Deanne, me, Jeff and Talia up there for the next song. Right before we left, Nico went up there all by himself too. It was so funny, he even ended it with the robot.

Today I am so excited, we are going to the great wall at about noon. It looks like the sun is coming out too so we may even have blue skies!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Beijing - Day 4

Here is today's email:

Hi! Today is our fourth day in Beijing and we feel like it is going by so quickly. This morning we met our guide at the Lama Temple which is a Buddhist temple on the North side of Beijing. Apparently Jeff and I don't know much about Buddhism because we had no idea that there is more than one Buddha! We saw about 10-15 different Buddhas, each with a different "job". Some are for wealth, some for food, harvest, rain, etc. The most interesting thing at the Lama Temple was this HUGE sculpture of Buddha which was made from one piece of sandalwood. It's in the Guiness Book of World Records as the largest wooden sculpture made from one single piece. I wish I could send you a picture, but they wouldn't let us take any for some reason (we tried but got yelled at).

After the temple, we took a taxi with our guide to a place called Hoa Hai which means something (not sure) "sea", but is really a manmade lake which is over 500 years old. The South side of the lake is surrounded by "western" bars, restaurants and pubs where he had lunch. Then our guide negotiated with a ricksha rider (bike with a cart) to take us for an hour around the "hutongs" which are alleyways. These aren't just normal alleys though, they are from the old Beijing where the common people used to live in VERY small one-room buildings. The alleyways meander through and without the bike guide, we probably would have gotten lost. We stopped at the house of an older lady who charged us 20RMB per person (about $2.50) to see what the inside looks like. Hers was actually pretty nice, but still very small. She gave us tea and showed us pictures of her family and all the other foreigners who have visted her. She was so cute, I bet she weighed about 80 pounds.

After our 1-hour long ride around the lake, we stopped at Starbucks and then got picked up by Mr. Hong. We absolutely LOVE Mr. Hong. It is very clear why westerners are not advised to drive here. Their rules (we think there are a few) are very different. If someone is merging onto the freeway, they have the right of way. Also, whoever is the biggest has the right of way. A bus before a car before a bike before a pedestrian...it's crazy! When we are stopped at a red light, street vendors come up to the window to sell stuff to Mr. Hong. Very different from the US.
We got home around 3pm today and don't have any plans tonight. The kids get back from their trip around 6pm and then we are having dinner. Last night when the kids were gone, Mario and Deanne took us to an awesome Thai food restaurant. It was similar to what you would get in the US, but we tried things that we hadn't had before like pineapple rice which was delicious. It's rice served in a pineapple with cashews, raisins, and pineapple. Sounds weird but was very good. We also loved the coconut soup. After dinner we went to a pub called The Tree which was full of foreigners and then to a couple clubs. Jeff and I are going out on Saturday night so they wanted to show us where to go. One of the neat ones was called Kokomo where we had a pitcher of sangria on the rooftop bar there, sat in swing-chairs (a rope swing hanging from the roof) and had a great view of the city.
One of our complaints about Beijing, which is a common complaint, is the smog. We haven't had a clear day yet, so the visibility is similar to a foggy day in San Francisco. We're hoping for some wind or rain so we can get a better idea of how big Beijing actually is. Other than the smog though, everything has been great.

I've attached a couple pictures from our trip so far, one is from last night at the restaurant, and the other is from the Temple of Heaven (yesterday's trip).

Temple of Heaven

Thai restaurant with Deanne and Mario

I'm sorry if these last 3 blog posts don't turn out right. When I go to the blogger webpage, it's in Chinese and it's not easy!

Beijing - Day 3

Here is my 2nd email from China:

It's 5pm in Beijing on Tuesday and we will be leaving in about an hour to go pick up Mario (Jeff's uncle) and head downtown to have dinner with Mario and Deanne. Nico and Talia (cousins) are on an overnight team-building trip with their school so they won't be back until tomorrow evening. Yesterday, our first full day, was a lot of fun. We went shopping at YaShow, which is kind of like a shopping mall but different in that each shop just has a little cubicle where they keep all their stuff. We didn't plan on buying anything really, but ended up with a lot because everything was so cheap! Jeff is getting some shirts made and a suit, and I am getting a dress and a couple shirts made too. We go back on Thursday for a fitting and then pick them up before we leave. It was awesome, you get to pick out any fabric and then tell them what you want and they make it for you. A regular shirt will run about $12, handmade. The other stores besides the tailor were insane. Almost every little cube has a chinese girl trying to get you buy everything. If you touch something, they tell you, that is "very nice, looks very good on you." They sell replicas of everything you can imagine - purses, suitcases, jeans, shirts, sunglasses, and also original chinese trinkets. We were there for about 5 hours total, and even Jeff had fun. The driver, Mr. Hong, picked us about at 3 and took us home. Then the "leather lady" came over and we both got fitted for leather jackets which will be custom made to what we picked out. And then the "cashmere" lady came over and I am getting a couple cashmere sweaters made. We watched Borat with the kids and then had dinner, take-out chinese delivered to the house and by 8:30 pm, Jeff and I were exhausted! We managed to stay up until 9pm but the jetlag was kicking in big time. This morning we woke up about 6:30, had some breakfast with the family and then got picked up at 9am by Mr. Hong. We dropped Deanne off at the stables where she rides her horses, and then drove (about 50 minutes through Beijing) to Tiananmen Square.

We met our tour guide, Catherine, there and walked around the whole square. Tiananmen Square is huge! It's the biggest "square" in the world. There were a ton of people, mostly Chinese, and two teenage boys asked us to be in their picture. Apparently they like to take pictures with "white people" and we thought it was hilarious so went along with it. October 1st is their National day, so there was all kind of preparations being made in the square for the celebration. Directly north of Tiananmen Square is the Forbidden City. It's where the emperor used to live with the empress, concubines, and children. Commoners were not allowed to go in, hence the name. It was huge also. It's probably 2 miles long and 1 mile across with a moat surrounding it. Unfortunately there is a TON of construction going on throughout Beijing in preparation for the olympics, so 3 or 4 of the main buildings were completely covered up. Still, the detail in the building and all the spiritual building guidelines are very interesting. Everything has to do with an animal (lion, dragon, crane, turtle) or number (9 and 8) for their spiritual meaning. Even the olympics will start on \n8.8.08 at 8:08:08 because 8 symbolizes wealth.

After Tiananmen square we took a taxi with Catherine to a noodle house which was excellent. Then we walked to the Temple of Heaven which was beautiful. It's surrounded by a huge forest and there are two main temples. One symbolizes heaven and one for earth. The emperor used to come here twice per year to worship for a good harvest. It's amazing how much clout the emperor had, before he was overthrown of course. Everything revolved around him.

Tomorrow we will be meeting Catherine again, first at the Lama Temple which is a Buddhist temple and then to take a bike ride around a lake (I don't know the name of it). I'm hoping tonight we will have a little more energy to stay up past 9pm.

Hello from Beijing! - Day 1

Here is our first email from Beijing, Sunday 9/9:
It's 9:30am on Monday morning over here. We arrived safely yesterday after LONG 11 hour flight. The whole Narduzzi family (Mario,Deanne,Nico,and Talia)was at the airport to greet us with fresh flowers. We drove about 15 minutes to their house which is in "The Riviera", a large foreigner compound. Their house is really nice and we have our own room and bathroom on the first floor. The first floor has a dining room, our room, sitting room, and kitchen. The second floor has the TV room, an office, and the two kids rooms. They each have huge bedrooms with their own bathrooms in their room, it's great. Then the third floor is Mario & Deanne's master bedroom. Last night Deanne set up massages (neck, back and foot) for both Jeff and me. It was awesome, about an hour long and we didn't even have to leave the house. We were exhausted after our flight and it was a wonderful treat. We ordered in Indian food (yummy) and the kids (and me and Jeff) played Dance Dance Revolution. We managed to stay up until about 9pm local time, which is about 6am Sunday morning your time and slept until 6:30am this morning. We walked around the compound this morning and checked out the fitness center. There is literally a crossing guard at every corner and women sweeping the streets, it's amazing. Today the kids are at school and Mario's at work, so Deanne is taking us shopping in Beijing and we are going to get some clothes made. Okay, the driver is here so we are off! Have a great night!!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Day Before China

My life is approaching its 10,000th day. As of today, according to this site, I've lived 9,986 days. However, in all of those days, today is the only day I could say, "I'm going to China tomorrow" and it would be a true statement. Yes, that's right, tomorrow Darcy and I are off to China to see Beijing, Shanghai, and visit my Uncle Mario, Aunt Deanne, and cousins Nico and Talia. Our 13 hour flight takes off from SFO at 11am, and we won't be landing in Beijing until Sunday afternoon local time.

In preparation for this trip I have barely done anything. Last night I drove Bosco to Marin to hand him off to my parents who are taking care of him while we're gone. If you remember, I did this back in May when Darcy and I both left town on Memorial Day weekend. Tonight, we need to pack, and have not yet started! This means when I get home from work I need to start the laundry, figure out what to bring, and elegantly pack it into my suitcase while keeping in mind that I need space to bring home what I am sure to be purchasing in China.

In addition, I'm sure we'll clean the house, charge up the electronics, and make sure the neighbors know what to do for our cat while we're gone. I wanted to buy an Ipod shuffle at the new Apple store in Los Gatos, get an oil change and car wash, but it doesn't look like any of that is going to happen pre-China (maybe the shuffle ;-)). Oh yeah, and we have to be sure to set the DVR to record any new programs we plan on watching.

A few thoughts and comments:

- I can't wait to see The Great Wall
- I can't wait to play golf in China and have a caddie, and fore-caddie.
- I'm nervous to not be able to read any signs
- Will people there be willing and/or able to speak english?
- Will Darcy and I stick out like sore thumbs?
- I'm sad to be missing the first two weeks of the NFL football season, but will be checking scores and my fantasy team online.
- I plan to post pictures and fill you in on the trip via Narduzzi Nation.
- The plane better be playing good movies, hopefully that I haven't seen.
- I will have this and this as reading material.

September 21st, 2007 will be my 10,000th day on earth.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Two Huge Quarter Final Match-ups Today and Tomorrow

Although fans would much rather see these match-ups take place in the semi-finals or finals, there are two huge quarter final matches this week at the US Open.

On the women's side, Serena Williams faces off against Justine Henin tonight. Henin is the 1 seed and Serena the 8th seed. However, Serena is much better than a typical 8th seed, and is only seeded that low because she plays so few tournaments throughout the year. Henin is a solid player, and has gotten the better of Serena in past major championship finals, so Serena will definitely be looking to avenge those losses. I look forward to seeing if Serena can overpower Henin tonight, or if the Belgian tennis phenom will have her number once again.

On Wednesday night, the dominant Roger Federer matches up with Andy Roddick. Federer owns Roddick historically, going 13-1 lifetime against him, with the only loss coming in Montreal in 2003. This match was a best out of three format, so Roddick is yet to beat Federer in a best out of five. It's hard to imagine Roddick playing well enough and/or Federer playing poorly enough to result in a Roddick upset, but I'll definitely be rooting for that to happen. With Roddick's powerful serve and the American crowd rooting him on, you never know what could happen.

Although it's a shame these match-ups are coming so soon in the tournament, it's better than them never coming at all. These match-ups are great for the fans and great for tennis, and I really hope the two Americans, S. Williams and Roddick, can prevail.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Cal: 45 Tennessee: 31

Last year the Cal Bears football season was delivered a huge hit when they were blown out in week 1 in Knoxville, TN. They still managed to have a relatively good season, but after losing badly in their first game, were not recognized nationally as a top team, and had no chance for greatness. Since college football doesn't have a playoff system, teams can be eliminated very quickly from being in the running for a shot at the national championship. To me this system is a shame, but despite media pressure to adopt a playoff format, there is no signs that anything will change any time soon.

Thursday at work I bought a couple of tickets to Saturdays Cal/Tennessee game off Craiglist. It was a huge game and I wanted to experience it first hand. Cal needed to get off to a 1-0 start to make a statement that they were a team to be reckoned with, and also greatly needed redemption from last year.

The game was exciting and packed full of 80% navy and gold, and 20% orange. It turns out the seats I bought, although a good view of the game, were smack dab in Tennessee Volunteers territory. Thanks to some big plays by Cal special teams, Cal was able to withstand a very capable Tennessee team to get the victory.

If I were to complain about anything it would be the length of the game. Starting at five, it didn't end until past nine. Because ABC was nationally televising the game, TV timeouts constantly had us sitting there waiting for the game to resume. I guess that's just the price you pay for it being such a big game.

HERE IS THE WEB ALBUM I MADE FROM THE GAME, INCLUDING ONE SHORT VIDEO.