Sunday, March 30, 2008

$74.98... And All I Got Was A Tank Of Gas

With gas prices at an all-time high, I usually opt for the off brand gas these days. Quik Stop, Rotten Robbie, you name it. If the price is right, I'm there.

However, on Friday I had to settle for a Chevron right in the heart of the Silicon Valley, less than two miles away from Cisco's Headquarters and other companies full of employees making plenty of money. I don't know if this is what makes this particular Chevron charge more, but I've noticed it's usually at least a nickel higher than other Chevron's I drive by, and 20 cents higher than the Quick Stop on my street.

On Friday I had no choice. I was running on empty and needed fuel, so rather than run out of gas on the freeway, I stopped at this overpriced Chevron and inserted my credit card into pump number 6. I considered only putting in enough gas to get me to the Quick Stop, but then said "ah, what the hey, it'll only be a few bucks extra anyway", and let it keep going until it clicked full.

When it was all said and done, the meter read $74.98!!!! I was shocked. Never had I broke 70, and here I was halfway to 80. I think my previous record was 68 and change. I then had the idea to print out my receipt for proof. Here it is:

For now I'm tolerant of my gas guzzling Ford Explorer because I have no car payment. However, with gas prices what they are and showing no signs of returning to below $3/gallon anytime soon (if ever), my future cars will need to be a lot kinder at the pump, or no deal!

High gas prices in general could be a blessing in disguise if you consider the environment. As consumers get increasingly fed up with spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars a month on gas, the demand will grow and grow for environmentally friendly cars that are cheaper to fill up. It's already evident with how popular the Prius is, and who knows what the car companies will come up with next that is even better.

I find it funny that the receipt has a customer satisfaction survey link on it. I could go on there and complain about their high prices, but I'm pretty sure that'd be a waste of my time.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Update...

- As of yesterday (Thursday, March 27th), Darcy is 22 weeks pregnant.

- Next week we are getting the inside of our condo painted (minus our bedroom and the two upstairs bathrooms). It has been yellow for years now and we've grown tired of it so we're switching to a beige color. It'll be professionally done too which is an upgrade from our so-so work the first time around.

- The weekend of the 5th and 6th I'll be in Portland to visit my friend Dylan. He is graduating Lewis & Clark law school in May and moving back to the bay area so this is my last chance to visit him up there. I'm hoping it won't rain all weekend, but I've been told that is wishful thinking.

- On Friday night, April 11th, I'm going to San Francisco to see a Pearl Jam Cover band. If anyone is interested in going please let me know and I'll give you the details.

- April 6th (Sunday; the day I fly home from Portland) will be my two year anniversary of working at my current company. I started Thursday, April 6th, 2006.

- The Warriors have a big weekend ahead of them. They play the two teams that are right ahead of and behind them in the standings. And, both of these teams represent six letter city names that begin with the letter D! They play Denver on Saturday night in Denver, and then then face the Dirk Nowitzki-less Dallas Mavericks on Sunday. Two wins this weekend would be huge! Two losses would be devastating. A split would be acceptable.

- All I hear about on the radio is how bad the Giants are going to be this year. For some reason I don't care if they're bad. I'm just looking forward to having baseball on TV (nearly) daily to watch, and also to seeing how the season unfolds. I know the Giants won't compete for the pennant, but I still wonder how bad they can really be, or if they will surprise us by finishing somewhere near .500. Plus, we are spoiled in the Bay Area; we have two teams to follow! I'm also looking forward to seeing how the A's do and learning about all the prospects that they recently acquired and seeing which ones emerge as legitimate big leaguers.

- I only have a month left until I turn 28 (on May 5th). It's crazy because 30 used to seem so far off, and now it seems freakishly close. When I was a kid and used to look forward to getting older I never understood why adults feared their birthdays so much. Now I completely understand. It's scary!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

1-1

Are you wondering how my basketball game went on Monday night? Well, it didn't go very well. My team stunk up the joint and we lost the game. Nobody was making shots, the other team probably shot 30 free throws, and we made way too many silly mistakes (such as traveling, taking the ball out of bounds with our foot on the line, not catching the ball, etc.)

If we don't get our act in gear we're going to be in trouble. The league is getting more competitive and we seem to be getting worse. I'm use to playing with people who know how to move without the ball on offense and my team definitely has trouble in this area. Just as important as knowing how to set a screen, you have to know how to use a screen. I try to screen for people and they don't even notice it most of the time.

We'll have no problem beating bad teams, but if we play like we did on Monday night, it could be a rough season.

As far as how my game is going, I'm trying to get better at ball handling, keeping my head up while dribbling, and creating easy shots for my teammates. I still have a lot of room for improvement in this area, and will be focusing on this in the next game.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter '08

This weekend Jeff and I drove up to Santa Rosa to spend time with the family for Easter. The Call family tradition is Easter Brunch at Grammy's house. This year, there were quite a few people missing, but it was still a good time. I refrained from the 'gin' fizzes that are also a tradition for obvious reasons, but the virgin "fiz" was quite tasty. Here is a picture of me at 21 weeks prego.
Jeff's cousin Kirk drove his Porsche down, so Dennis (aka Nonno) and Beth took some pictures sitting in it for fun.
These are the "twins", Mindy and Jeff's cousin Wade.
Bob, who was born in 1919, told us about some of his experiences in World War II. He was stationed in San Diego on 12/7/41 and then was immediately sent out to Hawaii after the attack. He and his crew were on one of their daily flight loops and decided to go a few miles extra when they spotted 3 different Japanese fleets heading in our direction. They were able to alert our troops and give them 20-hour notice before the "Battle of Midway" occurred. If they hadn't seen them that day, who knows what would have happened.
The two little ones below are Ruby and Lucy. Aren't they adorable? At this point they still had their matching dresses on, but that didn't last long. They preferred hanging by the pool in their birthday suits.
Next year we go to Modesto to see the Carvalho family, and we'll have a 9-month old with us!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

1-0

After an exciting game last night, we are 1-0. We got off to a great start and led by 18 at halftime, but we definitely didn't cruise to victory in the second half. Instead, our opponent came within four points with a few minutes left to play.

Our team was led by... well... me. I scored probably 30 or so of our 55 points. I shot the ball well from outside, was I think 4/6 from three point land, made all four of my free throws, as well as several shots around the basket. My time spent practicing at 24 Hour Fitness and at the local park definitely paid off last night. The whole team played hard on defense and crashed the boards. Luckily, our opponent was a fairly small team (with the exception of one big guy) so we were not oversized.

The final score was 55-50. Next Monday night we play at 10pm.

Happy Birthday DAD!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Basketball Season #3 Set to Start Monday Night

That's right ladies and gentleman, tomorrow night tips off season number three of church league basketball way out in east San Jose. Our team is unchanged from last season which is good and bad. Good because we all know each other's strengths and weaknesses, get along well with each other, and have had success record-wise. Bad because we lack defensive prowess, rebounding, ball-handling, and have come up short in the playoffs the last two seasons with this group.

Despite the fact that reason would tell you we have little hope of a championship, I'm optimistic we can have a successful season. We have our best defender back from his pinky finger injury and there is always the chance that the dominant teams from last season could lose a key player or that we could have a great night against them and pull off the upset.

My personal goal for the season is to not settle as much for the outside shot and look to take the ball the basket more. I have been practicing my moves and play making around the basket and hope it pays off. I need to get more confident with my right hand and more consistent with reverse lay-ups and driving by my defender. This is important because I will be able to be more effective in games that my outside shot is not falling. Instead of continuing to shoot, I will go the hole, get layups, or hopefully get fouled and make free throws.

I'll let you know how our first game goes on Tuesday!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

19 Games To Determine Warriors Fate

Hopefully you can read the below image. If you can't, click on it. If you follow the Warriors like I do then there is really no need to read this post. This post if for the rest of you that need some briefing on what is going on with the Bay Area's most entertaining sports team (and perhaps the NBA's most entertaining team).
If the season ended today the Warriors would be safely into the playoffs as the 8th seed in the extremely competitive Western Conference. But, the season doesn't end today. They have 19 games left and all of them are against Western Conference foes. Last night they played their final Eastern Conference opponent, beating the Toronto Raptors and going 20-10 against East teams this year.

So as you can see by studying the standings that there is a lot of work to be done in the remaining 19 games. Only 4.5 games separate the first place Lakers from the 8th place Warriors, so a bad stretch of games can sink any of those top 8 teams right out of playoff contention. And now that they are all playing each other (and not the eastern conference) it's going to be really interesting - and hopefully really exciting for our friends in Oakland. However, the lingering possibility that they could fall out of the playoff race has me nervous and on the edge of my seat.

I will no doubt be watching every game, praying for victories and a chance to watch them have another shot at playoff heroics. Last year I made it to two of the three home playoff games against Dallas and there's no doubt I'll try to get inside Oracle Arena again if they are able to earn their way into the post season in the most competitive playoff race the NBA has ever seen!

Set your DVR to record Lost tonight and watch it this weekend like I will. Instead, turn your attention to some real life drama and watch the Warriors/Suns battle it out in Phoenix on national television. The game starts at 7:30pm on TNT, see ya there.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I Predict A Guy Wins American Idol This Year

American Idol starts in 15 minutes. It's down to the final 12... 6 boys and 6 girls, and I'm making the not-so-bold prediction that a guy will win this season. A lot can change in 12 weeks, but I'd say the Archuletta kid has the best chance. As far as the girls go, I just don't see a star.

Over the years I've followed American Idol with the help of my DVR. I speed through each episode and decide who I like, get annoyed at Paula for being weird, and enjoy hearing what Simon has to say. If I had to pick my top three favorite Idol contestants, I would choose:

1) Chris Daughtry - season five
2) Kelly Clarkson - season one
3) Lakesha Jones - last season

After a horrible season last year (besides Lakesha) that had me hoping the show would end, American Idol is pretty entertaining once again. I don't vote, and I mostly tune in for the top 16 until the person I want to win gets booted, but I must admit, I do casually watch.

At this point I'm rooting for Archuletta, but definitely think it'll be a boy who is crowned American Idol this year. And then I predict we won't hear about him again until a news report surfaces that his record label has dropped him (can you say Taylor Hicks or Ruben Studdard, HA!).

Friday, March 7, 2008

Now That We Know It's A Boy....

Before Tuesday, Darcy and I didn't know whether there was a girl or a boy growing in her tummy. This uncertainty kept us from discussing certain things that depend on this knowledge.

Now that we know it's a boy, the flood gates are open.

We are now suggesting names left and right and letting each other know where we stand with each suggestions. She has some suggestions that I rule out right away, and I have some suggestions that she rules out right away. Then, luckily, there are a few that we both agree on that are in the running. However, we are still nowhere near the final decision and probably won't be for awhile. We even got on babynames.com yesterday looking for suggestions and learning which names were the most popular in recent years.

Not only do we now know to only consider boy names, we also know to only consider boy colors and styles for the baby's room. Darcy has already sent me quite a few links of cribs and dressers that she likes.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Introducing...Baby Narduzzi!!!

Jeff and I had our big ultrasound today at 18 weeks. The baby measured 18wks, 5 days so my due date is now 7/31 (moved up from 8/4). The ultrasound was amazing! We got to see the heart beating with the 4 chambers, the brain, and the stomach with amniotic fluid in it. The baby was moving around like crazy and was nice enough to show us it's private parts. It's a boy!!! Here are some pics, some are hard to make out so I'll try and explain.

This one is obvious, you can see the 5 fingers at the top.

The face is on the left and the baby has his hands up by his head.

Here's his cute little foot!

It's a boy!!!
view from the bottom up - x marks the spot

The baby is rubbing his eyes, he must be tired with all this activity going on.

He's really tired now! This is just his face while he's yawning and has his hand up by his face again.

I'm definitely starting to look pregnant now, but I still can't feel the baby move. It was amazing to see him moving around on the screen and feel absolutely nothing. In about 5 months, we'll have a beautiful little boy - we can't wait!!!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

American Gangster: Best Movie I've Seen In Awhile

Last night Darcy and I watched American Gangster, starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe. It was quite good, and I recommend it to any of you who are 18 or older.

Taking place in Harlem and the greater NYC area in the late 1960's into the early 1970's, the movie depicts the rise and eventual fall of heroin drug lord Frank Lucas (played by Washington). Lucas, finding a way to source heroin from Thailand cutting out all the middleman, is able to sell his twice as potent product at the lowest cost. Almost instantaneously, Lucas is the at the very top of the NYC drug game, and is filthy rich.

Crowe, who plays one of very few honest cops around, is hired to find the source of this heroin, and put a stop to it. Even though drug lords would pay off high ranking police officers to turn a blind eye, Crowe's character could not be bought. He says during the movie, "If we catch this guy, 100,000 people are going to out of a job".

In fear of ruining the movie for you, I'll stop here. But I highly recommend you check this movie out, especially if you are a fan of the 'Godfather-type' movie. Be sure to settle in and get your popcorn ready though. At 2hrs and 38 minutes, it's a pretty long journey - but it goes fast!