Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Update...

- It's fiscal quarter end (Q1) at work making me very busy this week. That is, through Wednesday. The craziness in the office should drop of significantly on Thursday.

- Narduzzi Nation turns one year old on Friday, May 2nd. That was the day Darcy introduced the blog here:

- My golf clubs are going to work with me today. I'm going to try to get to the driving range three if not four times between now and Sunday, when I play the Olympic Club. Not only do I plan on hitting balls, I plan on putting and chipping as well.

- The Sharks MUST win tonight if they hope to have a chance in this series against Dallas. I'm not hanging on the edge of my seat like I was, say, when the Warriors were in the playoffs last year, but I'd love to see them win. As much as I try, I just can't get into hockey the way I can other sports such as football, basketball, and baseball. However, I must say there's something cool about having them play their home games locally, vs. Oakland or San Francisco.

- I turn 28 in six days. Crazy. My birthday will not be celebratory since it's a Monday and I have 9pm bball game that night. At least I get to play golf the day before!

- On Saturday Darcy and I are going to the Earthquakes game. For those of you who don't know, the Earthquakes are San Jose's professional soccer team. They play at Santa Clara's Buck Shaw stadium until they get their new stadium built.

- Darcy officially enters her third trimester on Thursday. Her tummy now sticks out quite far, and our little boy kicks often. Darcy frequently grabs my hand for me to feel the kicks. I can usually feel them but they are very slight to me. To Darcy they are a lot easier to feel for obvious reasons. I have a feeling over the next few months those kicks will start getting easier and easier for me to identify.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Zito As Disappointing As Beer Prices

We made it out the AT&T Park today to watch the Giants take on the Cincinnati Reds. It was a beautiful day for baseball, but unfortunately for the 39,000+ people on hand, the game was over almost as soon as it started.

Barry Zito, the Giants ridiculously overpaid so-called "ace" who has lost his first 5 starts of the season, received mostly cheers as he took the mound. The optimistic crowd was willing to forget about that fact that he was 0-5... that he makes roughly $500,000 PER START... that his fast ball comes in at only 85mph... and that his 126 million dollar contract just may go down as one of the worst contracts in baseball history. Oh yes, the crowd was willing to wipe the slate clean and let him go out there and pitch. Shame on us for being so optimistic.

We then watched Zito surrender 6 runs in the first inning. He walked the lead-off hitter, gave up a bunch of hits (including a triple), and faced 10 hitters before the Giants even got to hit. Zito's nightmare season got even worse as he only lasted a season low 3 innings. The only thing he had going for him is the fact that it wouldn't have been AS bad had it not been for Randy Winn's terrible error that got the first inning rally going.

After the first half inning the game was basically over.

There's always beer right? Since the game was bad I could just enjoy the day and drink a few cold ones and have a great time with my mom, my dad, and my wife. Couldn't I? Nope, not unless my dad and I wanted to spend $50 to each have three beers! I realize that sporting events all over America have been charging $8+ for a beer for many years now so I shouldn't be surprised, and I wasn't, but that doesn't make it ok - especially when the product stinks. It would have been nice to have had a couple more than the one I let myself buy, but not only is that a waste of money, it feeds the beast that pays Zito's salary, and I by no means want to help out with that.

I played baseball growing up and loved playing it. I still jump at the opportunity to play softball or hit at a batting cage. At its core it's a great game. I can't wait to watch my son play little league (if he chooses to play) and would even love to coach him. However, I am sad to say my interest in professional baseball has gone south over the years, and today didn't much to help fight that downward trend.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Baby Narduzzi has the hiccups!

So I've been feeling Baby N kick, punch and roll around for about 4 weeks now, but right now he has the hiccups! It's the first time I've felt this...it's a repetitive "kick" that's less than a normal kick and it's been going for about 5 minutes straight. For those of you who've had a baby before, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. It is still so crazy to think that there is a human in there! He's due to make his arrival in approximately 100 days from today, I can't wait...

Going First On American Idol

For years now I have been outspoken about how contestants who go first on American Idol stand a way better chance to get put in the bottom three or voted off. Time and time again I have noticed this and have brought it up in AI conversations. However, not until yesterday, did I find out I wasn't alone when Trisha (my big sis) emailed me the following article:

'Idol' singers who sing first may not last

I have been meaning to write about this for a couple of weeks - when Michael Johns got ousted that night after leading off the show. However, due to the fact that making it an interesting post would take a lot of research I was too lazy to do, it never happened. Now that I have this article to back my claim and do the research for me, I wanted to make sure you all are well aware.

Who will go first tonight? Will they be victimized by going first like so many have in the past? Chances are if they are a "bubble" contestant it could be what sends them home packing. Also, don't be surprised to see even a front runner show up in the bottom three if he or she led off the show the night before. Simon says it's all about song choice. You could argue it has more to do with the lineup.

Enjoy the article!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Olympic Club Here I Come

I have a good friend named Michael Abendroth. We randomly met my 5th and final year of college when he responded to an ad to lease a room in the condo I was renting. It turned out we had plenty in common, including bay area sports, music, and golf. Although we only shared a roof for one year in 2002-2003, we've stayed in touch since then, meeting up primarily for rounds of golf. Lately we have been keeping in touch over Google Talk, and Mike is a dedicated reader of Narduzzi Nation. Mike grew up in Burlingame and now lives in San Francisco.

Some of you may have heard of the tv and radio show 'Hooked on Golf', which is co-hosted by Mike's dad John Abendroth, along with his partner Mitch Juricich.

Check out their website here: www.hookedongolf.com

This past week I suggested to Mike over IM that we should play some golf. We haven't hung out in awhile, we both have the golf bug big time, so a round made perfect sense. Two minutes after I suggested we get a game scheduled, he had us booked for a Sunday afternoon round on May 4th at the Olympic Club! Now mind you US Opens have been played at this course! It's not big deal for Mike to play his gazillionth round there, but for me, this is a cherished event. Who knows, this could be one of the few times in my life I get to play this course, if not the ONLY! I'll alway be thankful to Mike for allowing me this awesome opportunity.

Here is the 18th hole at Olympic:

I will be sure to bring my camera and post pictures of my round with Mike, but for now, I just wanted to let you all know that two weeks from right now, I will be halfway through my round.

In the meantime you can find me at the driving range getting ready. I'll have fun no matter what, but it wouldn't hurt to have my game in decent shape.


Whoever is the first to correctly answer this trivia question (actually, these two questions(three if you include extra credit)) wins a special prize to be named later. Answers are to be left in the comments to this post.

Trivia Question: Who won the last US Open held at The Olympic Club and what year was it? For extra credit, who placed 11th?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Our Sharks Curse

Darcy and I have been amazed at how our eyeballs have been such a curse for the Sharks. They are a great team with great players and a great record, but for some reason whenever we're watching they don't score - or even win very often!

First Example:

A couple of years ago we went to a game and showed up in the first period. It was 0-0, and instead of going straight to our seats I decided to get a beer first. While I'm getting my beer the Sharks scored two goals!! Seriously, boom boom. We then took our seats and Darcy was of course mad at me for making her miss the two goals. I was disappointed too, but my response to her of course was, "you didn't have to wait for me to get a beer".

The Sharks proceeded to not score again in that game until after we left, which was midway through the third period. And then, in the last ten minutes, Marleau scored two more goals and got his first career hat trick! It was this night that we started to put 2 and 2 together and realize that the Sharks seem to score a lot easier when we aren't watching.

Second Example:

Game three against Calgary we turned on the tv five minutes into the game and it was already 3-0 Sharks! We missed all three goals. We then watched the rest of the game all to see Calgary score four goals and win the game. Our bad luck continued.

Third Example:

Game four Tuesday night in Calgary was where it got really spooky. We turned on the game and watched Calgary score the go ahead goal in the first period. When the first period ended we put on another channel for awhile, and then turned the game back on to see it was now 1-1. Of course, while we weren't watching, the Sharks were able to score! We continued watching and low and behold, Calgary scored and made it 2-1 late in the second period.

Here's where it gets crazy. With ten minutes left in the game and the Sharks still down 2-1, Darcy and I contemplated whether to watch the remainder of the game or watch an episode of Seinfeld. I was pulling for game, and Darcy was pulling for Seinfeld - her reason being that we are bad luck and that the Sharks are more likely to win if we aren't watching.

She was right!

As soon as our episode ended we turned back on the TV as the announcer was wrapping up his broadcast. We could not believe the Sharks had come back in that final ten minutes, scoring two goals, and winning the game! Would this have happened if we were watching? We think not. The sad part is that we'll never know, but we could not believe it!

Pictured here is my favorite Shark: Joe Thornton

Tonight the Sharks won 4-3 (the game just ended). I watched the whole game at home, and Darcy was lucky enough to be at the game. Did the curse end? Or is it only when we are watching it together? We'll see on Sunday night when we watch as the Sharks attempt to clinch the series and move on to the second round.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Pearl Jam Cover Band Impresses

On Friday night I headed into San Francisco to see Dirty Frank, which is a Pearl Jam cover band from Los Angeles. The event was Stacey's 30th birthday. Her boyfriend Dan, who is Trisha's and my friend, arranged for the band to come up to the city and play.

Having seen Pearl Jam many times and being a huge fan, I was very skeptical that another group of guys could come even close to simulating them. The hardest part, of course, is finding a singer whose voice can compare to Eddie Vedder's.

The verdict: The band sounded great and the lead singer's voice was in fact comparable to Eddie's. The tiny packed bar in North Beach was energized and seemingly very impressed. I stood right in front of the stage for the entire two hour show and had a great time singing along to all the familiar tunes.

One of the highlights of the night was when the birthday girl got on stage and sung the song "Alive" with the band. Here is what that looked like:

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Disappointing End To Great Season

This post could be premature. It's still possible that the Warriors could make the playoffs. If they win their next three games and Denver loses two of their next three, then we're in. However, after their loss tonight at home to the Nuggets, they are all but done. I don't see Denver losing 2 of 3, and with the way the Warriors are playing lately, I'm not so sure they can win their next three - especially since one of them is at Phoenix.

Even without the playoffs it's been a great year to be a Warrior fan. They had so many thrilling victories, many against great teams, and it was great to see Monta Ellis emerge as one of the games young stars. In addition, Baron Davis stayed healthy and played like an all star, Biedrins continued to get better, Jackson came up big time and time again, and Azabuike showed he belongs in the NBA. If the Warriors were in the Eastern Conference they would be at least a three seed, but in the West their nearly 50 wins wasn't even good enough for the playoffs. What a bummer!

But I must be realistic. Down the stretch the Warriors faded and didn't really show much promise that even if they did make the playoffs they could do much damage. Last year they had momentum when they beat Dallas. We Believed! This year they seem tired. It's probably because of all the minutes their best three players had to play to get them to this point. Hopefully next year Don Nelson (if he returns) will use the bench more and allow his best players to rest more so that they have something left in the tank late in games and at the end of the season. Hopefully they won't start off 0-6 either!

In conclusion, I'm disappointed but I'm also realistic. As much as I would have liked to see the Warriors keep playing, I also realize they didn't earn it. They've had so many important games in the last few weeks and have come up short in most of them. Hopefully this off season they can make the right tweaks to the roster - while keeping the core intact - so that we're talking about how far we can go in the playoffs at this time next year rather than just whether we can get in at all.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Views From Above

I love bird's eye views. If I go to a city and there is a way to get up high, I take advantage and enjoy the splendid panoramic view. When Darcy and I went to NYC in March of 2002 one of the highlights was being at the top of the Empire State Building and checking out the 360 degree view of Manhattan and beyond. (Who knew six years later we'd be married and expecting a baby!?)

In Europe during the summer of 2003 we went to the highest point of every city we went to. In Paris we went to the top of the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triumph, and the Notre Dame Cathedral (pictured here).

In Munich we went to the top of their equivalent of a space needle. Looking down from it, we saw the spot of the 1972 Summer Olympics.

In Venice we went to the top of the tower in San Marcos Square.

In Florence we climbed to the top of the Duomo Cathedral.

In Rome we walked on the roof of the Vatican.

This last September while in Shanghai, Darcy and I went to the very top of the Pearl TV Tower. Here is what it looks like from across the river.

And looking back from the top.


I though to do this post on my flight home from Portland on Sunday. I was flying over San Francisco, marveling at how awesome the city looked from up in the airplane. I could see Golden Gate Park and the "Panhandle" that stems out from it as if I were looking on Google Maps. The tall buildings downtown looked small, and the hilly streets barely looked sloped. From up there, people seemed like ants going about their business and I felt like a giant.

Here is a cool shot taken moments before the above picture that includes the Golden Gate Bridge.

Then the plane continued its descent over the peninsula. I looked down at the beautiful and pricey neighborhoods of Atherton and Menlo Park and thought of all the successful people (if you consider being rich successful) who were below me. The dark green area by the plane's wing is where Atherton is. Such beautiful neighborhoods down there.

Just after this I stared right down at Stanford's campus. I could see the golf course that Tiger Woods played on as a college student back in the mid-early 90's.


Then I landed and became an ant just like everyone else. Oh well, it sure was fun seeing the bay area from above for a little while. Doing so really changes your perspective.

I recommend clicking on these pictures to enlarge them. The smaller blog versions don't do them justice.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Typical Weather Expected This Weekend In Portland

My flight leaves for Portland in four hours and I finally checked the weather forecast for the weekend. This is what I saw:

Even though this is what I expected and was told it would be, I still thought I might get lucky. However, this weather won't stop me from having a great time. On top of hanging with Dylan, I'll be meeting up with a couple of other friends who live in the area.

Ok, back to work. Gotta get some things done before I scoot out early for the Alaska Airlines terminal at SJC.