Monday, February 25, 2008

Half Dome. Been There, Done That.

On September 20th, 2003, Darcy and I along with a group of people including my buddy Ben, climbed the famous Half Dome in Yosemite. Even though we knew it would be a challenge, we also knew it would be an achievement we would proudly live with for the rest of our lives.

Instead of stringing sentences together to describe this journey, I'll exemplify it with pictures and short descriptions. Here we go:

We started before sunrise:


Early on in the walk is this waterfall (Ben and I):


We hiked up STEEP calf-burning terrain:


Sometimes it was EXTREMELY STEEP:


We stared at where were going amazed at how far and high we still had to go (and this picture was taken when we were pretty far along in the hike!):


We stared at the danger we faced as we prepared to climb the cables up to the summit:


Here's a close-up of people scaling the cable to the top of Half Dome:


We enjoyed the amazing views from the top! It took about six hours to get there, but it was well worth it. We stayed up there for an hour, soaked in the views, took pictures, and ate lunch.


On top of the world:


Cool Picture, huh?:


What goes up, must come down:


Getting down was much faster than getting up (thank you gravity), so the whole journey took 11 hours. I've been a part of some of the most grueling training sessions in my years of high school basketball and soccer, but I don't think my legs have ever felt like jell-o as much as they did at the end of this hike. It was literally painful to take another step!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Soccer Celebrations That Made The Newspaper

Once upon a time I played competitive soccer. Even though I went on to play in college at Cal Poly SLO, the pinnacle of my career was my senior year in high school when I helped the Santa Rosa Panthers win the North Coast Section (NCS) championship. Most of my greatest soccer moments can only be remembered in my mind, but luckily for me, a few of them made the newspaper.

Newspaper photo number 1: Santa Rosa Press Democrat (October, 1997)

It was against Rancho Cotate, our second meeting of the year. We had lost the first match-up down in Rohnert Park 2-0. Our second contest was a huge game, and we needed the win the secure to best record in the league at that point. I scored the games only goal in the second half off of Ryan Smith's corner kick. Ryan's cross didn't come straight to me, but after a few deflections it came my way, slightly bouncing. I timed it so my laces struck the ball when it was a few inches above the grass, on it's way down. My shot from about the penalty spot hit the side netting, just outside of the reach of Rancho's diving goalie. Once I saw the ball hit the net, I was more pumped up than I've ever been in my life - seriously. I put my hands up in the air and ran back down the field screaming and seemingly floating. Here's what my celebration looked like:


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Newspaper photo number 2: Santa Rosa Press Democrat (November, 1997)

This next one was from the day after we won the NCS Championship my senior year. We beat Cardinal Newman 3-1. They scored first, but I scored soon after their goal. I took a beautiful ball (once again from Ryan Smith) down to the ground with my chest, let it bounce once, and volleyed it into the back of the net. This goal, however, did not make the paper, but is the most memorable goal I've ever scored in my life.

The goal that made the picture was our third goal of the game, which I scored on a penalty kick. The cool thing about this photo was it was pictured twice - once in the sports section and once on the top right corner of the front page! I felt famous for a day.


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Newspaper photo number 3: San Luis Obispo Tribune (September, 1999)

My third time getting pictured in the newspaper for soccer was in college. It was one of my first college games, and was my first ever college goal. It was against the University of Illinois - Chicago. My first half goal made the game 1-0 and we ended up winning the game 2-1. Greeting me for a hug is #9 James Newton - who we called Sugar, or Sug - and behind me is Spencer Frankenburger.

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My days of picking up the newspaper with the possibility of seeing my face in it are long gone. However, I'm extremely thankful that these pictures were taken and that my mom reached out to the respective newspapers to secure me a copy of each of these photos. Thanks mom!

Monday, February 18, 2008

My Sisters With Me Through the Years

I've been doing some file maintenance lately, and in doing so, have been looking at some old pictures. This is when I got the idea to share some pictures of me with my two sisters over the years.

Pictures of me with Trisha date back to my birth, as she was born 2 1/2 years before me. Beth, on the other hand, was born a few months after my tenth birthday.

THE EARLY YEARS:

The young Narduzzi family just starting out their journey:


What a great team:


I'd do anything to fit in with big sis, including wear a leotard:


Ah yes, Disneyland:


First day of 3rd and 5th grade, respectively:


ELIZABETH ARRIVES:

The annual in-front-of-the-xmas-tree photo:


Trisha and I reading to Beth (notice how nicely combed Beth's hair is!):


My sisters helping me celebrate my birthday:


Trisha graduates from UCLA in June, 2000:


Trisha is now 30 and living and working in San Francisco. Beth is 17 (18 in July) and a senior in high school. Next year she will be attending my alma mater - Cal Poly SLO.

Here we're together just last month in Oklahoma at a wedding (that I posted about here):

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Mac As A Puppy

My parents are the proud owner of a West Highland Terrier name Mac. Mac is five years old and is a great dog. He is also one of the few dogs that Bosco has befriended in his life. There is just something about Mac that Bosco likes that no other dog has! Perhaps it's the fact that Mac is the first dog Bosco ever interacted with? Bosco tends to love people, but not so much other dogs - Mac being the exception. We don't even bother taking Bosco to the dog park anymore because he just follows us around rather than interacting with the other dogs.

It's been so long since Mac was a puppy so I thought it would be fun to post some pictures of him from back then. These were taken when I came home from San Luis Obispo for the weekend just to see my parents new addition to the family (I think in early 2003).

On the front porch:


On the stairs:


With my Mom (before my parents did their backyard):


Darcy meets Mac:


Grown up Mac looking at Bosco trying on his raincoat this past Xmas:

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Busy Work Week

Hello Everyone. I've pretty much been at work nonstop since Sunday night, only coming home to sleep. As a result, this blog has been neglected. The craziness wraps up today so I'll likely be back in the swing of things over the three-day weekend. I hope I haven't lost you.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Back Left Tire Blows On The Way To Work!!

Today I got up fairly early to go to work - at about 5:30am. My plan was to be at work by 7am and have a very productive day - A good day. Well... it didn't work out that way.

At about the halfway point driving to work on 880N I was startled by a really loud popping sound - it sounded like an explosion! I wasn't sure what is was, and at first speculated that it might have been a rock hitting my window. But as I scanned around for a shatter I didn't see one. What could it be? After 20 seconds of pondering I was willing to forget about it when all of a sudden my car started handling funny, trying to pull me left. I then realized my tire was completely flat and I knew I had to pull over. Bummer! I pulled to a stop right before the Brokaw exit, which was at least a mile past where I initially heard the pop.

I call Darcy. I call my boss. Then I call roadside assistance (more like a call center in Nowhere, USA) and they dispatch a local resource to come to my rescue. I wait...

I quickly found out after they got there that the spare under my car was not accessible due to my not having the tool necessary to unlatch it. Apparently when I bought my used Explorer in 2002 it didn't include the kit that allows access to the spare tire. Consequently, I waited nearly 45 minutes to find out I needed a tow! I called the tow and 30 minutes later it was there. So much for getting to work by 7!

I didn't get the tow trucks driver's name, but I did get to meet him a little bit. He looked to be in his low thirties, maybe younger, and had recently come to America from Isreal. He started out in New York for six months and has now been in San Jose for six months. He cited the horrible horrible horrible traffic in New York as his reason for venturing west. He admitted that the traffic is bad here too, but only during rush hours. In New York it's always rush hour.

I had him drive me to Pacific Tire in Milpitas, which is the tire shop I bought my tires at a couple of years ago. I left it there for repair. Luckily, he offered to take me to work, and I accepted. I got to work at 9am.

If you don't remember the bad days you can't appreciate the good ones!

Monday, February 4, 2008

My "What If's" About the Super Bowl

It's not so much that Darcy and I are mad that the Giants won as it is that we're mad the Patriots lost. Actually, 'mad' is the wrong word. 'Disappointed' works better, as does 'frustrated'.

This whole season we marveled at the greatness of the Patriots. They were blowing teams out while everyone was questioning whether they were the greatest football team ever. Tom Brady throwing touchdown passes at a record-breaking rate, and they were scoring touchdowns seemingly at will. We had fun watching history, and wanted them to make their season a perfect 19-0.

We watched as Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New York came close to regular season upsets. But no, it was impossible to beat New England. Even if you had the lead on them in the fourth quarter, they would score a winning touchdown in the final minutes of the game and break your heart.

Last night the Patriots got a taste of their own medicine as Eli Manning led NY down the field for a winning touchdown with only 35 seconds left on the clock. As they always are with the losing team, all the "what ifs" were aimed at New England.

- What if Belichick had gone for a 49yd field goal instead of going for it on 4th and 13 with 6:49 to go in the 3rd quarter?

- What if Asante Samuel would have caught that interception instead of dropping it to keep NY's winning drive alive?

- What if the Pats would have sacked Eli Manning instead of letting him break free to throw a 32yd (to the NE 24yd line) pass to David Tyree with 1:15 left in the game?

- What if David Tyree drops that pass that he secured with one hand against his helmet instead of making a miraculous catch for the ages?

All of these "what ifs" have nothing to do with Tom Brady, but have a huge impact on his legacy. All season long all the "what if" questions were to the other team. For example, what if the Raven coordinator hadn't called time out before the play they stopped the Pats on 4th and 1?

In conclustion, it's not so much that we're Patriot fans as we're fans of their dynasty and dominance over the rest of the NFL. It was fun watching them be great. Watching the Patriots was like watching Tiger Woods. They were seemingly incapable of choking. We now know that is not true, and the truth is disappointing/frustrating.

Oh well, I'll get over it. Go 49ers!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Against Me! Opens Up For The Foo Fighters

Last night I went to The Foo Fighters concert at Oracle Arena in Oakland with a colleague from work. We were treated to a great show with all the well-known Foo Fighter hits as well as a few of their new songs from their recently released sixth studio album.

David Grohl as he walked out to the center of the arena, right by where we were standing:

This was not my first time ever seeing The Foo Fighters. In October of 2006 Darcy and I saw them play an acoustic set at the Bridge School Benefit concert at Shoreline.

For those of you not aware, The Foo Fighters emerged following the April 5th, 1994 suicide of Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain. David Grohl - who was Nirvana's drummer - is now the lead singer/guitarist and creative force for The Foo Fighters. He's an extremely talented musician, singer, and entertainer.

Even though The Foo Fighters are a great live show, they weren't the sole reason I was willing the shell out $85 for a general admission ticket. The opening band, Against Me!, is a band I have been listening to consistently for the last two months. When I found out they were opening, that's when I knew I had to attend this show. As good as the Foo Fighters were, I enjoyed Against Me! even more.

Against Me! pictured here:

For those of you who think you may have similar taste in music to me, do yourself a favor and get Against Me!'s new album New Wave. The album is great all the way through, and if you're like me and are always looking for new music to work out to, there are a few tracks on New Wave that make great exercise music.

Link to Against Me! website HERE. If you are only able to listen to a few songs, check out 'Up The Cuts', 'Thrash Unreal', and 'Americans Abroad'.