Monday, September 15, 2008

After depression, comes acceptance

I have finally done it, I have finally joined an online social network.  From now on, I will be known to the Facebook community.  I suppose it will take a while to see how known.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I went to a pretty cool jazz bar in Greenwich Village the other night.  A guy I know plays bass in a band and I went to see him as part of a quartet.  The place is called Smalls, and it would have been a smoky dive 30 years ago, but now it is a pleasantly air conditioned downstairs bar with $10 Jack and Cokes.  

I hear a lot of older people who have been here a while talk about "Old New York" and how much they miss it.    While I think they are looking back through rose colored glasses, and glossing over a lot of the important improvements the city has made, I can see their point.  

Kerouac never would have paid $20 just to get in the door and hear some jazz.  Of course he also wouldn't have been able to walk through downtown at 1 AM with no fear of being robbed or attacked.  He could no longer afford to live in Manhattan though.  Apparently the artist communities still exist, in Brooklyn and other places.  Safety, cleanliness, and a recycling bin on every corner are the symbols of "Today's New York."  It is certainly a trade-off many were willing to make.  I haven't decided yet if it is a trade-off I would have been willing to make.

Monday, September 1, 2008


For the first time in five years I won't be enjoying a Labor Day picnic in the tropical embrace of Hawaii.  I am, of course, sad about this, and I miss our life in Hawaii, as well as Hawaii itself, a great deal.  I am trying to look forward though, to our new life in New York City.  There is certainly a lot more to do here as far as cultural and social events.  My sister has just moved here, and it is nice to be close to her after so many years spent thousands of miles apart.  

Growing accustomed to any new place is a time consuming and difficult endeavor, but I hope we are able to do so relatively quickly.  It is a great city, there is no doubt about that.  Today is a traditional picnic day though, and I can't help but wish I was eating katsu chicken with chopsticks at Magic Island.

Friday, August 29, 2008

DNC Speeches

I though Obama was very good.  Both Clintons were impressive.  Joe Biden was good, but if we are honest, Beau Biden was better.  Schweitzer was outstanding.  

I can't imagine the Republicans coming close to matching the emotion and excitement of this past week in Denver.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Over the last week, four or five of my students have told me that they are enjoying my class, feel like they are learning, and are having a lot of fun.  They have done this in different ways, but it seems the feeling was strong enough that they wanted to express it to me.  It feels good to be validated in this way.  It is basically why one becomes an educator.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Long Friday

I had an interview at a third school in the morning.  This school pays more than the other two, and also pays its teachers for lesson planning time.  It went pretty well, although I drew a blank when asked a question about present perfect tense.  If they offer it to me, I think I may pick up one elective class there during the summer, and then transition there full time in the fall.  As for the job I took from my second interview, which I am starting Monday, I feel bad staying at a school short term like that, but hey, all other things being equal, sometimes you just have to take more money.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Third Interview?

This afternoon a third, very large school called me for an interview.  I already took the job with my second interview, but I decided to go in and talk to them, see what they have to offer.  They did tell me on the phone that they pay their teachers for prep time, which is the holy grail for educators.  Perhaps I can teach at both schools for a bit, then see which one I like better and pick up more hours there.  The interview is tomorrow, followed by an afternoon meeting with the director of the school where I will work starting on Monday.

A Job Offer

The school that I had my second interview with came through.  The director called me this morning, and informed me that my interviewer had recommended me very highly, and he wanted to offer me a job.  Since I had not heard back from my first interview, and had no further interviews scheduled, I accepted.  As I mentioned earlier, I liked the school, and it seems like a good place to work, so I am satisfied at this point.  They asked me to come in Friday afternoon to complete some paperwork, and I will start Monday morning.  Turnaround is fast at language schools. 

Second Interview

I walked into the school about 10 minutes before my interview was scheduled to start, and it was an absolute madhouse.  Hundreds of students, talking, laughing, eating, watching an American TV show, and otherwise seeming happy to be there and having a good time.  This is the type of environment I would like to teach in.  

Through the crowd I managed to find the gentleman I would be interviewing with.  He asked me to fill out an application form.  This was slightly annoying, but it is a big company, and they have schools all over the world, so I understood there is some need for uniformity in the paperwork.  He told me not to bother with too much detail though, as they have my resume as well.

The interview went quite well.  He showed me the books they use, which I have used before in a previous job.  We talked about the curriculum in quite a bit of detail, which I liked.  They seemed to be a lot more professional than the other interview I had.  He asked me quite a few questions about my previous experience teaching students, and if I had ever taught in a similar environment to this school.  

All was going well, then he blindsided me with a very detailed hypothetical teaching situation.  "How would you introduce a class about the difference between gerunds and infinitives?"

Uh, what?  

Seriously, I was a bit lucky he asked me for an introduction to a class on this, a opposed to a detailed grammatical explanation.  I described a communicative activity that involved me modeling use of the same or similar words as both a gerund and an infinitive, then helping the students to use that word as I did, before using similar words to create their own unique sentences.  I gave just enough explanation to make it clear I knew what gerunds and infinitives were, but focused on the activity.  

I'll be honest though, as I was talking, I was really hoping that I was getting it right as far as what gerunds and infinitives are.  Turns out I did, more or less.  That was the most harrowing part of the interview, but I felt like I did OK.  I asked him a couple more questions about the school, and we talked about salary and benefits, as well as what kind of schedule I would prefer. 

We made a bit of small talk at the end, and the interviewer informed me he was from Barcelona.  This made me happy, and we spoke a bit of Spanish before I left.  He told me that he would discuss my application with his boss, the school's director, and that they would get back to me within the next few days.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Phone rings...

Funnily enough, as I was waiting for the bus to go to my first interview, I got a phone call from another school I had applied to, asking to set up an interview.  According to what I was told on the phone, this school is much bigger, pays better, and would offer me the chance to teach far more hours, all of which would be during the day.  He also did not immediately grant me the interview, but asked me some questions on the phone about my comfort level with the school's set up, which he explained quickly.  It definitely sounds like a better situation than the other school, at least more professional.  I am looking forward to this meeting.

First Interview

My first interview was at a language school on West 32nd Street.  For anyone who doesn't know New York, this street is also called Korea Way, and is filled with Korean restaurants and shops.  The interview was short, about 20 minutes, and I got the feeling that the interviewer had not reviewed my resume previous to meeting me.  She asked for more detail about the type of teaching jobs I had previously held.  She also asked a couple predictable interview questions, such as "What is your greatest strength as a teacher?"  The job is only part-time, 12 hours a week, and it takes place in the evening.  She said she would call me Wednesday afternoon to inform me of her decision, but I suspect I will only get a call if I am being offered the job.  

I am in a good situation, in that I do not have to immediately accept the first job I am offered.  I probably won't accept this job if I am offered it, for several reasons.  First, the pay is quite low.  I don't expect to get rich teaching English, but I do possess a Master's degree in the field, and that should count for something.  

Second, the hours are not what I had hoped.  In the initial email they sent to me, I was told that I could teach all day on Monday and Tuesday, for a total of 12 hours each week.  But when I reached the interview, she informed me that the class I would be teaching met from 5:30 to 8:30, Monday night through Thursday night.  I don't have a problem with teaching nights normally, but right now my girlfriend's job has a very demanding schedule, and from 7 to 9 in the evening is just about the only time we have to spend together, so if I took this job, we essentially would not see each other from Sunday night until Friday night.  That is just unacceptable.  I want to teach, but my relationship is more important than money.

Third, the school seemed a little sketchy.  It was on the small side, and they made very clear that they wanted to pay me in cash, with no paper work or taxes involved.  While there are short-term benefits from that type of arrangement, in my experience, it does not bode well for job security.      

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A nibble!

I ended up sending out seven resumes yesterday, about 5 of them were for ESL teaching positions, and two more for tutoring jobs.  Within a couple hours I received an e-mail from one of the language schools asking for an interview.  I am off to midtown this afternoon to wow them with my articulation skills and dynamic presentation.  My exceeding charm and good looks will certainly help as well...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Time to get to work

Today is the day I really get down to it and start my job search.  The first thing I had to do was take a look at my resume and make sure it is ready to be submitted.  Luckily I had to update and prepare my resume as part of my portfolio requirement at HPU, so this should be easy.

I had to change my address from Hawaii to New York, although if I am honest, I wish I was still in Hawaii.  

I had to change a few dates as well.  Some things that were listed as present when I completed this resume in late April now have an end date.  

I also had to add some more detail to some of my descriptions, as my prospective employers will not be familiar with some HPU activities and jobs that required less explanation in the portfolio.

After completing on-line searches through and craislist I have a solid list of possibilities.  Most of them ask for a cover letter and resume submitted by e-mail.  This saves paper and postage, which is a good thing, I just hope including my resume in the body of the e-mail, as they request, does not interfere with the formatting and make it difficult to read.

At any rate, I am off to write some cover letters, further updates as actions occur.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

New York Red Bulls vs. Los Angeles Galaxy

I went to my first MLS game live yesterday.  It was a bus trip from Nevada Smith's, a big soccer pub in the east village.  It was a fun trip, a lot of nice people, mostly English.  

The game was pretty good.  Los Angeles took the lead early on a nice header by Carlos Ruiz after Edson Buddle did some good work on the left flank.  La made some nice moves and threatened to add a second, but their back four always looked vulnerable.  Dave Van den Bergh equalized for New York with a nice shot from 25 or so yards out.  The defending was poor from Galaxy, no one closed him down in the center of the pitch, but it was still a nice finish.  

The second half was very different, as New York was in control, Juan Pablo Angel scored with a good header to give Red Bulls a deserved lead.  The crowd wasn't as large as the one for  Beckham's debut in New York last season, but it was still substantial, about 46,000 and the atmosphere was pretty good.  They lustily booed David Beckham every time he took a free kick or corner, but they cheered him quite enthusiastically when he applauded the fans after the match.  He might not have done so after a loss, but Landon Donovan, who I though was outstanding on the day, scored a 92nd minute equalizer on what may have been a cross but snuck in at the far post.  He also hit the post in extra time on another shot.

All in all, as I said, a good day out, and a good chance to meet some new people.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

In a Parallel Universe

The President of the United States today made this statement:

The United States of America recently submitted a resolution to the United Nations Security Council.  This resolution called for an arms embargo against Zimbabwe and targeted sanctions against that country's President, Robert Mugabe, and 13 of his most senior government associates.  In an unconscionable move, China and Russia used their veto powers as permanent members of the Security Council to block this resolution.  As a person of conscience I cannot allow these actions to go unchallenged.  
The logic behind the reasons these nations have given for this veto do not stand up to even a cursory examination.  Perhaps the truth is that these governments came to power themselves through questionable elections, in the case of Russia, or no elections at all, in the case of China.  Perhaps they feel that supporting this resolution will lead to an examination of their own power base, and how it was obtained.  Their motivation is not important at this time.  What is important is our reaction to this perversion of justice.
 I have recently returned from the annual G8 summit, a gathering of the world's strongest nations designed to create cooperation and trust in economic as well as social issues.  Russia was only admitted to this group recently and, quite frankly, they have not behaved in a manner appropriate to membership.  I will propose to the other members of this body that Russia be expelled, effective immediately, and any trade agreements they are party to through membership be terminated.  I will also propose that China be denied membership to this group, and any trade agreements they may have with members of this group immediately be reviewed.
Violence is a problem the world over.  Systematic violence by a government against its own people cannot be tolerated.  Acquiescence to this violence is no less egregious, and action must be taken where intervention is called for. 

This is fiction.  Our current president would never say this.  Whatever one's political leanings are, I believe there is universal horror towards the actions of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, and the protectionist behavior of other nations, essentially the condoning of these actions.  Whomever you are voting for in the fall, ask yourself, do they have the strength to make such a statement, and to back it up with action?  If not, perhaps you should reconsider your choice before marking your ballot.     

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Baseball Schedule

While we are physically in our apartment, our furniture is not. It will be picked up in Connecticut and delivered to New York on Thursday. So I am in Connecticut getting everything ready. This figures, because it is probably the one week of the entire summer when I cannot get out to a baseball game, or three. Of course, this is the week that my team, the San Francisco Giants, are at Shea Stadium playing the Mets. I could have seen Tim Lincecum pitch!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

First Avenue

We are finally in our apartment, and it is awesome.  Just a few blocks from Union Square and the East Village, there is lots going on.  Then there is the apartment itself.  The place is huge.  Our furniture will be arriving on Thursday, but we don't have nearly enough to fill it.  I am afraid we will have to spend some money to avoid it looking like an empty dance studio.  It should be fun though.  Things are looking up, and the next four years in Manhattan are going to be very exciting.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Job Hunt

I started checking on-line listings today for ESL Teaching jobs in Manhattan.  Pickings were rather slim on, as well as Craig's List.  There were part-time positions at a couple of language schools which I am going to follow up on.  There were also some tutoring positions available.  At this point I would rather tutor because of the added flexibility, unfortunately, most of the tutoring positions were for math and science, definitely not my strong suit.  

Next week, once I am in the city, I can pound the pavement and visit some language schools in person.  If nothing else, maybe I can hang a poster on their bulletin boards and get some private students.  The next week or two will be devoted to moving in and settling, so if it is a few weeks before I start making some money, I can live with that.

Monday, June 23, 2008


So we finally have word on our apartment, and we will be able to move in after July 4th, which is later than we would have liked, but I am sure it won't matter in a month when we are settled in.  Erin actually starts at the hospital on June 26th, so she will be staying with family in and around Mew York until the apartment is ready.  

I will be shuttling back and forth between Connecticut and Manhattan getting things ready for the move.  My good friend Simon is going to be in New York for the next couple weeks, so I hope to spend some time with him in between carrying heavy boxes.  I would complain about the weather as well, but I am moving from Hawaii to New York, so what more is there to say about it.  We knew what we were in for, but that doesn't make it any more comfortable.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

A Long Day (Part 4)

Last Friday at 9:30 AM we landed at Bradley International Airport, just north of Hartford, CT.  Thankfully, all of our bags also arrived in Hartford.  My father picked us up from the airport, and we went back to my parents house.  We promptly went to sleep.  Later that evening we woke up and had dinner, meatball grinders from Paradise Pizza.  You can't get a decent meatball grinder in Hawaii.  We were back, and the long day was over.  At least until the end of the month, when we move into our apartment in Manhattan.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A Long Day (Part 3)

We arrived on time to San Jose Airport.  We were unworried, as we had over an hour to catch our next flight.  Upon examining the board, we discovered our flight was not listed.  Another sign informed us we had to take a bus to Terminal C (we were in Terminal A) for Delta flights.  No problem, we still had 50 minutes.  

We followed to the bus, the realized that in order to catch the bus, we had to leave the terminal, go through baggage claim, and catch the bus outside the airport.   So now we had 45 minutes to catch a bus, get to the terminal, go through security (again) and get to our gate.  We had also hoped to get something to eat, but that looked unlikely.  

After walking through a parking garage and across the street, we found a bus.  Luckily, it was only a 5 minute bus ride to the next terminal.  There was not a long line for security, but we had to get rid of our water bottles.  So we were in the correct terminal, with 25 minutes until our flight.  We checked the boards, our flight was still not listed.  We checked every gate, but none of them listed a Delta flight to Atlanta.  Erin asked some Continental agents, who rudely refused to answer her question.  I finally found a Delta agent and checked with her to see which gate we were leaving from.   We finally found our gate with 5 minutes to spare.  Erin was even able to run and get some Burger King.  And we were on our way to the east coast.

Monday, June 2, 2008

A Long Day (Part 2)

Erin and I both shed tears as we watched the clear blue water of the Pacific get farther and farther away from us.

We thought of all the friends we had made on our island paradise, and hoped we would see them again soon.

Many of our friends are leaving as well, and things will never be the same. We will miss John and Angela, who are moving to Irvine, and we wouldn't have run into them at Dim Sum on Sunday mornings, or at Murphy's on First Fridays.

We will miss Christine, who always had smile and something cheery to say. We will miss Sera, and hope that the reunion she is attempting to organize at Disney World comes to fruition.

Wentai and Yoshie will be going to Japan soon, so no more Karaoke and Jack Daniels. No more golfing with Neal or Super soup with Maria and Kristen and Hygia.

There are really too many people to mention, and Erin and I had a long flight home to talk about them, think about them, miss them, and hope that we will keep in touch with them. We love our friends, and we loved our life in Hawaii.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

A Long Day (Part 1)

We arrived at Honolulu International Airport roughly 75 minutes before our flight.  A rude attendant at the curbside check-in gave us our boarding passes.  Of course, I managed to lose mine somewhere between security and our gate.  Our flight had already started boarding at this point, so I sprinted all the way back to security, frantically searching the floor for my boarding pass.  Once I got there, out of breath and my flight leaving in 20 minutes, someone from TSA told me, "Oh, you can just have them print you out a new one at the gate."  Really?  Gee, thanks.  

Then I sprinted all the way back to the gate, where the airline representative handed me my boarding pass and said, "Oh, someone turned this in."  Erin and I were the last two people to get on the plane, which took off almost as soon as we sat down.  No matter, we had made it.  Nothing was left to do but look out the window and say aloha to Hawaii.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Spurs are out!

As well they should be. The Lakers are a better team. To be fair, the Hornets were probably a better team as well. San Antonio has a lot of work to do.

It is a little strange. One of the main characteristics of San Antonio over the last ten years is that they have always made the hard decisions. When a player started to decline, the Spurs let him go. When a young guy had a good season and wanted a pay day he didn't deserve the Spurs let him go, preserving cap flexibility. But last summer, the Spurs let sentiment get the better of them. The expected Horry, Finley, and Bowen, who were clearly on the decline, to be able to step up in the playoffs. They couldn't, and now the Spurs have to use that cap flexibility to rebuild this team around Tony Parker, who is still only 25, and clearly represents the future of the franchise.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Spurs Win!

Finally.  But not for a dodgy plane they would be up 2-1 in this series. Ginobilli looks to have overcome his injuries, which has put the Spurs back on track.  If Manu is hurt, it is almost better that he doesn't play, because he takes so many shots and spends so much time with the ball.

The Lakers' role players are so much better than the Spurs' that if Parker, Manu, or Duncan are off, they can't win.  Guys like walton, Farmar, Fisher, Odom, and Turiaf are younger, more athletic and hungrier than the Spurs supporting cast.  Finley and Barry can still hit a few shots, and Bowen still does a decent job on Kobe, but Horry is done, Vaughn has always been crap, Oberto and Thomas can't guard Odom, Gasol, or Radmonovic, and Damon Stoudamire might as well not come to the gym.  

It was nice to get a big contribution from Brent Barry though, I think he is finally healthy after that calf injury, and is probably the Spurs fourth best offensive player.  Just like the New Orleans series, San Antonio need to win at home and steal one game in LA.  It doesn't matter if that is game 5 or game 7.  

In the other series, I think Detroit will win tonight to even the series at 2 games a piece.  I still don't trust these Celtics on the road.  

I think both conference finals will go seven games, and game 7 is a crapshoot, you never know what is going to happen.   

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Normal Service Restored?

Barry Zito finally won a game!  Better than that, he actually pitched pretty well.  He got plenty of run support, which may have helped relax him, but he still put up some solid numbers.  3 hits and 1 run in 6 1/3 innings is definitely a good outing.  He also struck out 5, which shows better use of his change-up.  The only down side is that he walked 4.  But that is how he has to pitch right now. With his fastball topping out at 84 mph, Zito cannot pitch in the strike zone and hope to get anybody out.

Barry Zito's loss of velocity is one of the great mysteries of sports.  The lefty came up throwing a 93 mph fastball that eh combined with a devastating overhand curve and change-up to quickly establish himself as one fo the top pitchers in the game.  He went 23-5 with a 2.75 ERA to win the Cy Young in 2002.  He was only 23 years old at that time, and the future looked bright.  

When the Giants signed him it was obvious to everyone that they had overpaid, but most still expected him to be a solid pitcher.  15 wins a year, an ERA of around 3.50, and 200 innings every season, was a reasonable expectation.  But then his velocity disappeared.  As I said, when he burst onto the scene in Oakland his fastball was consistently at 91-93 mph.  After the 2006 season, when Brian Sabean and Peter Magowan lost their collective minds, he was still at 88-90 with the fastball, occasionally even touching 91.  

Inexplicably, Zito started the 2007 season throwing his fastball at 86-88 mph.  This allowed him to be somewhat effective, and kept the Giants in a lot of games, but they were a bad team, so he finished with a sub-.500 record.  This season, Zito's fastball has been between 82-84 mph.  This is not enough to keep the Giants in games.  Zito has been rocked most of the season, even skipped a start a few weeks ago.  His past few starts have been better, but now he has to pitch very differently.  

The Curveball is still good, and the change-up is still very good, but Zito has to throw the fastball at least 85 mph to get enough of a differential between that and his off-speed pitches to fool hitters.  The man is only 29 years old and does not seem to have an injury.  There is no reason the velocity can't come back, at least to the point that he can once again be an effective pitcher.  He will never be worth $126 million, but I would argue he doesn't have to be.  With Cain, Sanchez, Lowry, Lincecum, Correia, and even Misch in the rotation, the Giants have a plethora of young starting pitchers.  Zito has by all indications done a good job mentoring these young pitchers, and their positive performances appear to be further proof of this.  All of these pitchers are young, a couple have signed long term deals, but most are not even eligible for arbitration yet.  

If the Giants are smart, they can hold onto the youngsters, which will prevent Zito's contract from becoming a complete albatross.             

Friday, May 23, 2008

Champions of Europe

Congratulations to Manchester United.  It was a good performance, and overall a good game.  I still get irritated by the tactics though.  Surely Ferguson and Grant know more about football than I do, after all they are professional managers and I am sitting in a pub in Honolulu, but do they really have to be that defensive.  

Chelsea and Manchester United must have 500 millon pounds worth of players in their respective squads, including such attacking luminaries as Drogba, Ronaldo, Rooney, Joe Cole, Tevez, Anelka, Nani, Kalou, and several more.  Sometimes I just found myself yelling at the screen, "For christ's sake, go and try to win the match!"

As a Bolton supporter, I can only dream about having such attacking options, so it just drives me nuts to see teams with the resources to build such a squad not use it.  

Until this summer that is, when Megson will spend 30 million pounds and buy a strike force that will lead us to glory.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Graduation Day

Well, the ceremonies are over.  I have an MA.  Erin is a doctor.  And New York City beckons.  

I can be a cynic, and I was the last person that thought I would care about wearing some ill-fitting medieval gown.  I was overheard saying on more than one occasion that I was only walking for my mother.  This proved to be wrong during the ceremony.  I was quite excited, and had some pretty active butterflies in my stomach as I walked out on stage.  When I shook hands with the Dean and got my honors sash I was holding back tears.  When you work hard, it is nice to get rewarded, and often very emotional.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Great Escape

WE...ARE...STAYING UP...We are staying up!  That was the chant of the thousands of Bolton Wanderers supporters who made the journey to London on the last day of the season to see an outstanding 1-1 draw against mighty Chelsea.  So it is another year in the biggest league in the world for the mighty mighty Wanderers, thanks to Matty Taylor's dramatic 93rd minute equaliser.

Monday, May 5, 2008


The end of my time in Hawaii is fast approaching.  I am sad to leave this island paradise, yet excited for the opportunities that await me in New York City.  Life will certainly be different there.

It is easy to miss the beaches, the rainbows, and the clear blue skies, but there is more to life here than that.  The friends I have made, and the kindness of all people here, I will always remember, especially when some stockbroker nearly pushes me into the street on a rainy Thursday morning so he can get to his office three seconds earlier.

The next few weeks will feature chaos, in the form of visitors and life-changing events.

Erin will be graduating from medical school, and officially starting her life as an MD.  I will be finishing graduate school, ready to begin life in New York as an ESL teacher.  Both of our families are coming to Oahu for the graduation ceremonies, which will be an adventure in and off itself.  And then, just a few days later, the big move back to the mainland.  Hawaii will just be a memory.  A fond memory.

This picture was taken at Magic Island on Oahu.  It was the first time Erin and I went to a Hawaiian Style BBQ.  We had been in Hawaii for 1 week.  She had just started Med School and we had moved into our apartment in Waikiki.  Four years have passed since then.  A lot of things have changed in our life.  Some have stayed the same.  

We are off to our next adventure.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Champions League Final Set

It will be Chelsea and Manchester United fighting for the Champions League title in Moscow on May 21st.  This all English final, the first in Champions League history, features two teams who are also fighting each other for their domestic league title.  Chelsea just beat United last weekend in a thrilling match at Stamford Bridge in west London, and it will be interesting to see if this affects the players' mindset when they meet up in Russia.  

Last season, Manchester United won the league title, and then the two teams met in the FA Cup final.  Chelsea won that dire and forgettable match.  Hopefully the meeting in Moscow will be a much more exciting affair.

If I had to make a prediction at this point, I would take Chelsea to win it.  The players just now seem to be coming together under manager Avram Grant.  They played their best game of the season against United last Saturday, and looked good against Liverpool Wednesday night, particularly in extra time.  They won't win the domestic title because of United's superior goal difference, but I look for them to win the trophy they really want in Moscow.  

One more thought, once his club have captured Europe's biggest club trophy, will billionaire owner  Roman Abramovich lose interest, and eventually sell the club?

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

New Link

I have put a new link on the left side of the screen to a blog called Brothers at Arms.  This blog is written by three brothers, two Red Sox fans, one a Yankee fan, about the famous rivalry, which obviously crosses even bloodlines.  It is a fun read, frequently updated, and full of interesting, if often biased, opinions.

First Amendment Anyone?

I find it sad that in a country which prides itself on free speech a candidate for president can be attacked, even his ability to be president questioned, as a result of him having known, even befriended, a person with different political beliefs from his own.

Isn't the point of politics, and of free thought, to take into account all backgrounds and all belief systems in an effort to find the best solutions to difficult problems?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Alamo Revisited

I got it wrong, the Suns looked terrible in Game 3, and the Spurs went up 3-0.  But my prediction about the talking heads was right, because now that the Suns won game 4, the boys at ESPN are all saying the Spurs could be in trouble, the series should be 2-2, if the Suns win game 5 they can bring the series back to Phoenix, etc.

Here is my analysis of game 4; The Spurs expected to lose.  I thought the refs would be terrible, because there was no way the NBA and ABC were going to allow this series to be a sweep, but the officiating was OK.  The Spurs seemed to expect the same thing.  Every time a questionable foul was called, Popovich sort of smirked and looked at his assistants, who nodded as if they were expecting it.  Duncan shook his head and smiled, the jogged back downcourt.  I think Brent Barry actually shared a laugh with Manu at one point.  

I'm not worried about the Spurs play, the Suns are too good a team to be swept anyway.  The starters didn't play many minutes, and guys like Horry and Barry got a good run in, which should help us as we go deeper into the playoffs.  

Friday, April 25, 2008

Liriano sent down

And it is about time.  The Twins were stupid to bring him up from the minors as quickly as they did after Tommy John surgery.  He should of been in extended spring training until now, and making rehab starts at Triple A this week and next.  Rushing young starters to the majors is one thing, but rushing them back from major surgery is absurd. 

Game 3

The San Antonio Spurs travel to Phoenix tonight for the third game of their epic first round series.  The game shave been played at a very high level so far, but have meant very little.  A playoff series does not become interesting until somebody loses at home.  

All the Spurs have done thus far is hold serve, and I suspect the Suns will  continue to do the same thing.  All the talking heads will continue to tell you the Suns are in trouble, the series is over, but they are wrong.  The Suns will win tonight, win Sunday, and go back to San Antonio for game 5 with the series tied at two games apiece.  Then all the talking heads will be telling you that the Spurs are in trouble, the series is over, etc.  

Until somebody wins on the road, there is no story.  

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The End is Near...

I handed in the final draft of my portfolio this past week, so my Master's degree is almost complete.  There may yet be a few minor changes, but for all intents and purposes, I am done.  Degree in hand, off to New York City.  Now if I can just find a job...

Friday, April 18, 2008


I went golfing on Tuesday with some friends.  I had a good time, but wow, is my slice terrible.  I have to literally aim 150 yards to the left of where I actually want the ball to land.  I had old men in golf carts waiting to tee off scared for their lives on several holes.  That part is actually kind of fun...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

It is now Italian law that AC Milan wins every match...

I can't believe the Italians elected Berlusconi again.  When you are so powerful that the solution to getting caught breaking the law is changing the law, not only do you need to go, but the whole system needs to be changed.  Have you been to Italy recently?  It is a society in decline, filled with broken systems that are beyond repair.  In France there is a saying:  The French do not do reform, only revolution.  Well, at this point Italy does not do either.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Some people just don't get it...

Hillary Clinton was booed by the crowd at her own campaign event when she tried to make up an absurd comment and then pretend Obama made it and criticize him.  This is a play straight out of the Karl Rove school of politics, and is even more distasteful than her previous actions.  Who can be trusted to answer the phone at 3 AM indeed.  

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Delaying the Inevitable?

My beloved Bolton Wanderers won yesterday, 1-0 over West Ham United.  Bolton are still in the relegation zone, 2 points behind Birmingham City and 3 points behind Reading with 4 matches to go.  The Wanderers have given me, as well as thousands of other fans, that most cursed emotion, hope.  

I am frantically looking at the schedule, doing the math based on different scenarios.  Here is what I have come up with.  If we beat Middlesborough Saturday, draw with Tottenham the following week, and then beat Sunderland at the Reebok, that will put us on 36 points.   

Birmingham play Aston Villa in a local derby, and I can't see them getting more than a point from that.  Then they play Liverpool, which should be a comfortable win for the scousers.  Follow that up with a match at Craven Cottage, and hopefully a draw.  Then, Birmingham end with Blackburn at home.  If they win that, they will also end up on 36 points.  But if Birmingham draw or lose, Bolton stay up.  

The other club hovering around the relegation zone is Reading, who currently have 32 points.  They play Arsenal next week, which will be a loss.  And if Bolton win and Birmingham draw, that will drop Reading into 18th.  Then the pressure starts.  I can't see Reading getting more than 2 points from Wigan away and Spurs at home  Reading will be on 34 points going into the last day of the season, when they have the luckiest draw of any team in the league.  Away to Derby.  If Reading win that match, they are on 37 points, and stay in the Premier League for another season.  If they draw or lose, they are going down.

I still expect the worst, relegation for Bolton, but now I am able to hope for the best.

A Fun Night Out

Last night Erin and I went to a place called Jazzmind's in Honolulu.  It is, as you would imagine, a jazz bar.  The band that was playing was called Tempo Valley, and they played an interesting mix of jazz, hip-hop, and R & B.  The drinks were a little pricey, but not as outlandish as you would normally expect in a place like this.  

Presumably, there are tons of jazz bars in New York where the atmosphere, as well as the music, will be as good, or even better than it was last night, but we had a good time anyway.  It figures that with less than 2 months to go we would find something original to do in Honolulu.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Power Grab

I thought Bill Clinton was a good president.  Compared to the past few years, he was an outstanding President, but I digress.  It is sad to see Mr. Clinton sully his legacy in being party to his wife's shameless power grab.  The lying, the slander, the attempt to return to the White House by any means necessary, it is all just so distasteful.  

I agree with Ms. Rodham-Clinton's positions on just about every issue out there, and I will certainly vote for her if she gets the Democratic nomination, but I think there is something to be said for conducting oneself with a degree of class befitting one's position as a United States Senator and possible President.

San Francisco Renaissance

Remarkably, my Giants have won three games in a row.  Everyone knew coming in that our starting rotation would be a strength, probably our only strength, and recent performances have confirmed that.  Lincecum has been outstanding, Sanchez and Correia were very good the past couple days, we all know what Matt Cain can do, and Noah Lowry will be returning to the lineup soon. 

Lowry's return is going to cause problems though.  We can't go with a six man rotation.  Well, we could, but we won't, so someone has to go to either the bullpen or the minors.  Who will it be?  Based on performance, it is quite obvious that Barry Zito is the worst of the six, but there are about 110 million reasons why he won't be going anywhere for the foreseeable future.   That leaves Sanchez and Correia, the least established members of the group.  Sanchez struck out ten in six shutout innings on Wednesday, while Correia went 7 2/3 shutout innings yesterday.  

If it were up to me, I would go with the six man rotation.  We aren't going to make the playoffs this season, so why not try some unorthodox things?  With an extra day of rest, hopefully each pitcher could go deeper into the games, which would mean less stress on the bullpen.

Of course, Bochy will just move Correia to the bullpen, but wouldn't my option be more interesting, as well as more beneficial to the development of all these young pitchers.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Aloha Richard

My dear friend Richard arrived in Honolulu a few weeks ago four months into his world tour. It was great to see the lad. We went camping and hiked the Na Pali coast of Kauai, watched some soccer, drank some tea, and generally had a good time. He is now off to Australia, and we will miss him greatly.

Spurred on

The reason the Suns made the Shaq trade was that they felt they couldn't beat the Spurs and the Lakers in the playoffs without him.  Judging by the two games against the Spurs since the trade, it was a good move.

The Spurs are struggling a bit, especially offensively, and I feel a big reason for it is that they are missing Brent Barry.  He is certainly not a big name, and he doesn't put up huge numbers, but he plays three positions, gives them an extra ball handler, and can still shoot lights out.  There is no way Phoenix plays zone for as long as they did last night if Barry is on the floor.  It was surprising Matt Bonner wasn't given a chance to bust the zone as well.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Start spreading the news...

The match is over, Manhattan it is, Beth Israel Medical Center to be precise.