Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Calendar Eclipse

Every 28 years 'Leap Year February' has five Fridays. It happened in 1952 (the year my dad was born), 1980 (the year I was born), and is happening this year (the year I will become a dad).

Admittedly it's kind weird that I thought of this and actually did research on it, but it's interesting too. Who knows, the next time it happens in 2036 I could be becoming a grandfather!


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Webber to Warriors

Most people are aware that Chris Webber will return to the Warriors for the rest of the season (which hopefully includes the playoffs). On KNBR the majority of the reactions have been negative, while some are indifferent. Basically nobody thinks that by adding Webber the Warriors are now championship contenders. However, this move is justified because it is low risk. For NBA standards the signing is cheap, and they didn't have to give up anybody to get him.

Personally, I'm excited to see if Webber gels with the Warriors. The Warriors haven't been winning any games convincingly lately, and I think a healthy and motivated Webber can help them. Webber is a great passer and I think that aspect of his game will add value to the Warriors half court offense. It wasn't too long ago that the greatest show in the NBA was the Sacramento Kings - a team which Webber started on - so he definitely has experience playing the Warriors run-and-gun style of basketball. If things go as I see them going, Webber will be a nice addition. If things don't go as planned, they can get rid of him, still have a good team, and it will only cost them $550,000.

Gee, I wish I could just get off the couch and play hoops for a few months and bank that kind of cash!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Mizuno MX-25's

Most people who know me know I love golf. I've played pretty regularly for as long as I can remember, and plan on playing for the rest of my life - hopefully a lot!

For the last ten years I've been using old Ping irons. In the late 90's my across-the-street neighbor in Santa Rosa handed them down to my dad and he passed them on to me (since he preferred the clubs he already had). The Pings have been great. I've hit many memorable shots with them, and have had many great rounds with them. However, it was time to upgrade. Investing in today's golf technology will be advantageous for me as I continue to try to improve my game. The Pings just might be me as old as me!

I selected a highly recommended club for people at my skill level - the Mizuno MX-25. They are forged, but still have a cavity back for forgiveness.

Here is what they look like:

Up close...

Up even closer...

I also needed a new bag, so asked them to show me what they had. They presented me with 5 or so bags and offered me 10% off any bag in the store, so I bit. I went with a black Sun Mountain. They claimed it was the lightest bag they had, which sounded good to me. I also like the way it looks and feels.

Weather permitting, Darcy and I are playing San Jose Muni tomorrow morning at 7:34.

Eddie's New Scratcher/Bed

Over the last couple of years Eddie slowly destroyed his scratcher, so Thursday night we bought him a new one. This time, however, we got him one with a bed on top and toys dangling down from it. So far, Eddie has shown great interest in his new piece of furniture.

In addition to using the pole as a scratcher, Eddie has enjoyed resting on top as well as playing with the dangling string.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Heath Ledger: April 4, 1979 - January 22, 2008

Today at work I was stunned when I learned Heath Ledger had died. As the word spread around the office, I was in disbelief that it was true. He had reportedly overdosed on pills in his Manhattan apartment.

I can remember the first couple movies I saw of his. They were:

10 Thing I Hate About You (1999)

The Patriot (2000)

He has gone on to star in many more movies. I haven't seen very many of them, but did watch the critically acclaimed Brokeback Mountain.

Heath Ledger just finished filming as The Joker the next Batman movie: The Dark Knight, scheduled to hit the theaters July 18th, 2008. His untimely passing is definitely going to help this movie do well at the box offices (not that it'll need much help).

Heath's death is sad and it is even more frustrating. Because he was careless this one January day, he now no longer gets to experience the remaining 2/3rds of his life. His daughter Matilda, who is 2 years old, now must grow up without a father. His fans have to ponder the question: why would a guy with money and fame and a great career do something to put himself at such risk? I believe Heath didn't want to die, and to me, that is the saddest, and most frustrating part.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Unexpected Rain

The weather doesn't usually surprise me. When it's going to rain, I'm usually aware that there's a chance of it. Either I hear it on the news, read it in the paper, notice it on my iGoogle page, or hear people mention it at work.

It's been raining fairly hard and steadily for hours now in San Jose. It rained at lunch today. It rained on my drive home from work. It rained on my way to the gym. It rained on my way home from the gym. It's raining now. Point is, this is more than just a little cloud that passed by, and it took me totally by surprise. I didn't even wear a jacket today!

I'm usually ready for the rain, but it snuck up on me today.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I stand corrected... sort of

I wrote earlier that with the freezing temperatures in New England and Green Bay there was no hope for good football, and that it's disappointing that such huge games have to be played in such miserable weather. I still feel this way, but must admit, today's games were pretty darn good.

New York just beat the Packers in OT 23-20, and it was a great game! It's still obvious the weather had an impact, but it did not deter it from the games entertainment value. I also believe the better team won, but you never know what might have happened if Favre could have aired it out to his athletic receivers. The Pats/Charger game was fairly well-played as well, but the weather wasn't as severe either. In that game it was more of a bummer that LT wasn't able to play and that Gates and Rivers were hobbled.

In any case, I'm looking forward to the Super Bowl in two weeks, which features one proven Super Bowl championship quarterback against another who is looking for his first.

Even though I usually root for the underdog, I can't help but hope The Patriots are able to continue their unbeaten season and make it a perfect 19-0. At least one things for sure, the pre-game talk will be about the game - and not the weather!

Too Cold

This post is in agreement to Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury, who wrote a column today about the absurdity of the weather in today's AFC and NFC Championship football games.

This Article can be found here: The NFL's frozen conundrum

Remember back in September, October, and even November, when there were beautiful weather games in New England, Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, New York, and Philadelphia? Wasn't it great how in those games there was the potential to see great football? Crisp Passes. Deep routes. Sharp cuts. A greater display of athleticism. I certainly do!

I find it sad that the biggest and most meaningful games of the season have to be played in such poor conditions. In NewEngland today the weather will be hovering right around zero degress, and in Green Bay, it will be negative 20! Not only is this condusive to a poorer brand of football, but it's a little dangerous. The stakes today are higher than they've been all year and they have to play in frozen, miserable, weather. Wouldn't it be better if the elements impact on the game weren't such a determining factor on the outcome? Isn't this supposed to be about who plays the best football - not who plays the best "cold-weather" fooball?

Keep in mind that football was never meant to be a January sport. The superbowl used to be played in early December, but the growth and success of the league has resulted in a longer season, and here we are. It was meant to be an Autumn game, not a winter one. Thankfully the Super Bowl is at least played in a southern state or a dome.

As a fan, I want to see a fair game, and I want to see great athletes make great plays. Unfortunately, because these two huge games have to be played in two of the coldest regions of our country, this is unlikely. These games will likely be grind-it-out, slower moving, and more prone to mistakes. Ideally fans are supposed to wish they were the ones playing or at the game. I sure won't be envious of any of the Giants or Packer players or the fans today when I'm watching the game.

I am fully aware of the argument against this.
-This is what makes football different from other sports
-This is what home field advantage is all about

I buy neither of them, but unfortunately I have no real solution for this problem either. You have to reward the best records with home-field advantage, and you can't tell Green Bay or Massachusetts that they can't have a team anymore. Mark Purdy says the games should be played in the closest domes, but even that seems silly.

It's one thing to be 20 degrees, but negative 20 degrees!? I'm glad when I'm watching the game I'll be in California, indoors, with the heater turned on.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

It's Frisbee Time!

Today Bosco got out of the house in a good way. I grabbed his bright orange dog-frisbee, strapped him on his leash, and off we went to the park! I have to hide his frisbee under my shirt rather than let him see it. If he sees me with it he gets spastic, and I'd rather him not be so rambunctious if I can avoid it.

At the park, lucky Bosco got to be leash-free, which he loves. Our game is for me to throw the frisbee as far as I can, and for him to sprint after it.

Ideally Bosco would fetch the frisbee and run right back to his master - Me. But no, Bosco is much too stubborn to do that. Instead, I walk toward him as he walks in a random direction. When we meet and I grab the frisbee, which is firmly gripped in his mouth.

Then, the game of tug-o-war begins. As I grip the frisbee, Bosco starts growling as he resists my taking it from him. When I pull up, I can literally pick him off the ground with him hanging, biting down and struggling to hold on. Here's an up close shot of one of our many games of tug-o-war.

The entire time we're out on the grass Bosco is in a great mood. He is also very intense. When I finally do wrestle the frisbee away from him, he stares at me with the expression below, doing his best to anticipate his next opportunity to sprint 30 yards with a purpose!

I throw it, and off he goes again!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Tulsa, Oklahoma

This weekend I was in Tulsa, Ok with my parents and two sisters. The occasion was the the wedding of Merideth Freeman, who is the daughter of my parents longtime friends - Steve and Becky Freeman. Here's my dad with his longtime buddy Steve:

The Narduzzi and Freeman parents at the wedding:

My parents met the Freemans in the late 1970's when the Freemans lived in Santa Rosa for a couple years. Nearly 30 years later the two families are still "family friends". Flying out to see Merideth's wedding was a good excuse to see each other again, and was a special event we didn't want to miss.

Here is Merideth with her new husband, Brian Hood:

Thomas Freeman is Merideth's younger brother. He is 22 and in his final semester at Oklahoma State University. We went out on the town Friday night after the rehearsal dinner, pictured here:

Here's a shot of my two sisters and I at the wedding:

In August of 1992 as a 12 year-old, I flew to Tulsa by myself to spend a week with the Freemans. It was a great experience. At that time Merideth was just 9, and her brother Thomas was 7. This weekend was one of only two or three times I've seen the Freeman kids since then.

I'm Against Warrior Fans Booing Dunleavy

I want to go on record as saying I didn't appreciate the Warrior fans treatment of Mike Dunleavy last night in his first return to Oracle Arena since being traded to the Pacers last January.

Dunleavy may have not lived up to his billing as the overall third pick of the 2002 draft, but he is not solely to blame for the Warriors being a bad team with him there. I don't know what these 'booers' expected from him anyways. It doesn't take a genius to realize that Dunleavy is not capable of putting a team on his back by himself. At Duke, Jason Williams and Carlos Boozer were both better players than he was. He is a smart player that if complimented with other good players - and perhaps a great one - could be a nice piece to a winning team. He is not, however, a "franchise" player, and it's not his fault the Warriors decided to give him a $42M contract!

Warrior fans should have taken the high road last night and not booed Dunleavy. He worked hard as a Warrior for four years, had some good games, and it was the trade that included him that is the reason the Warriors are the team they are now.

Last night I found myself disappointed in the immaturity of my favorite team's fans. If I were there, I would have politely clapped when Dunleavy's name was announced.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Too many catalogs in your mailbox?

I ran across this website today and I thought I would share. Catalog Choice is a free service where you can opt out of paper catalogs that you get in the mail. Personally, we get at least a catalog a day that we don't read and it's starting to get annoying. Sometimes we get three of the same catalogs, one to Jeff and two to me with each last name! It's ridiculous and not to mention, a huge waste of paper.

So if you're in the same boat as us, you can sign up for this free service. I've also included a link on the right side of the blog if the above link doesn't work.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Canon Rebel SLR

For xmas I bought Darcy the Canon Rebel SLR 10.1 mega pixel digital camera. It's a higher end camera than your basic "pocket-able" digital camera. With it you can take much higher quality photos, and more of them (with its ability to shutter rapidly). You can take multiple pictures one after the other, easily able to catch that key moment, such as your dog being in the perfect pose or your kid kicking a ball or receiving an award.

In addition, The Canon Rebel SLR is compatible with various lenses that enable precision focusing and zooming that help create poster-like scenic pictures and professional quality close-ups of faces.

With the camera, I also bought a carrying case and a telephoto lens (telephoto lens not used below. It's twice as long).

The pictures yesterday of the snowcapped views in Silicon Valley were taken with this camera. It was fun to just take it outside and snap away. For any of you that are like me and like taking pictures, this camera, or one like it from Nikon, are a worthy investment. They allow you to take better pictures and to get creative. And, if by chance you become an enthusiast, there are entire books written on what you can do with them!

However, it's a must to stay motivated to use this type of camera and not get lazy about 'dragging it out of its case'. Admittedly, it's less convenient to lug around and keep with you for extended periods of time. For example, I don't suspect we'll be bringing it to any concerts or company xmas parties. My Canon Elph will get the call for those events. Also, since it's more valuable, you will feel the need to take special care of it, which takes effort.

When deciding whether you should get a camera such as a Rebel, you first need to make sure you'll be committed to using it. If you are, you'll have a lot of fun.

For more information Click Here.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Storm Leaves Its Mark On Silicon Valley

After very consistent downpour through the middle part of the day, the clouds broke. Darcy, Bosco, and I, as well as our new Canon Rebel SLR camera, went for a walk to enjoy the view looking east. Here is what we saw:

Having lived in the Silicon Valley for a few years now, I've become accustomed to seeing the snowcapped hills this time of year, but I still get excited when I see it for the first time each winter.

Friday, January 4, 2008

First Weekend of the New Year.... And No Plans!

Darcy and I are kicking off the first weekend of the new year in a big way with absolutely no plans whatsoever!

Originally we had plans to help our friends with their baseboard project on Sunday, but they called it off because a superintendent one of them works with offered his assistance. With the baseboard project off the calendar, here's a list of what we may be up to over the next couple days.

- Four NFL games. Two Saturday. Two Sunday.
- Lost: Season 3. Only 8 episodes left.
- One, maybe two trips to 24 Hour Fitness.
- Take Bosco for a walk (or two). Weather permitting.
- Warrior game vs. New Orleans Friday night.
- Guitar. I'm currently trying to master 'Everlong' by the Foo Fighters.
- Time on the Internet.
- Get plenty of sleep!

Here are my predictions for the NFL games and we'll see how I do.
Jacksonville at Pittsburgh - I pick Jacksonville
Washington at Seattle - I pick Washington
New York Giants at Tampa Bay - I pick New York
Tennessee at San Diego - I pick San Diego

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Bosco's New Raincoat

In my Christmas stocking this year was a raincoat for Bosco. It's from Old Navy. There's even a hole on the back for collar access for the leash. When I opened it I of course had to put it on him and take a picture.

Today when I got home from work it was raining so I got the idea to put on his raincoat before taking him out. It was the first time it was used for practical reasons, and it worked quite well. He stayed dry, didn't mind it being on, and looked cute. A few of the neighbors got a kick out of it.

I'll most likely be using the next couple days since the forecast calls for more rain.

22 Year Old Ornament As Special As They Come

Sometimes it's the little things in life that make you feel good. For me, it's my now 22 year old ornament that does this each and every Christmas when I return to Santa Rosa and look at my parents tree.

In Kindergarten, Mrs. Zimmerman gave my class a project to glitter the edges of a paper star and put our school picture in the middle of it. Then we were to punch a hole in the top for the string to go through. Just like that, I made an ornament.
When I finished it - as a five year old in my first year of elementary school - I had no idea it would become so epic and that 22 years later it would still be in perfect condition. At the time it was just something to take home and show my parents. But, every year my mom hangs it front and center on the tree about 1/3 of the way up from the bottom, and every year I stare at it and get nostalgic. It is my favorite ornament. It reminds me of my childhood, what I looked like as a little boy, and just how far I've come since then.

Someday I suspect I'll take over ownership of this ornament, but for the time being, I'm happy to let it stay in Santa Rosa.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Officially Back to Work

Despite barely anyone being in the office, I worked Monday, December 31st, for the first time since Friday, December 21st. The ten consecutive days off started with a bang as we traveled all over the bay area celebrating Christmas over and over again. The later part of the break was then very relaxing once we returned home. We are already 13 episodes into Lost: Season 3. With only 11 more to go we'll surely be caught up when season 4 starts on ABC in late January/early February.

After having New Years Day off yesterday, work is officially back today with the office back in full swing. With zero vacation days to play around with my foreseeable future has five day work week after five day work week.

The only possible exceptions I can think of are President's Day in late February, which offers up a three day weekend, and Easter, which could offer up a day off depending on if my company decides to give Good Friday off.

For those of you that don't understand what the picture above is: It's the famous 'TPS Report' from the movie 'Office Space, signifying being back at work.