Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Triple Threat

Spotted on Connecticut Avenue near Kensington MD. She's probably all of 19. Maybe 20, driving a tahoe or Suburban. At one point while we're driving, I notice her foot hanging out of the window, near her driver's side mirror. Yeah, her foot. So she's driving one-footed. OK. Safe? Not really. But doable? Sure.

We're side by side for a while and Alex and I notice that she's on the phone now. Foot hanging out the window, one hand on the phone, concentrating on the conversation. Where does driving come into the equation? So we pull up to a red light, where I shot this picture. And now she's got her foot hanging out of the window, talking on the phone and applying some eye makeup of some kind. So I shot a picture.

And my daughter learned something about safe driving and acceptable behavior behind-the-wheel.

When that light turned green, she darted across two lanes of traffic, cutting off the guy next to me (in the pic) and me, so she could make a left turn at the light. She got a honk of the horn from both of us and, in return, she gave us the finger.

I bet her parents would be proud. Wouldn't that be cool if they somehow stumbled upon this blog entry in the blogosphere?

Thursday, July 5, 2007

I Went To California

For two weeks - and you would think that I would have had a lot to blog about. I did. Have a lot to blog about, that is. But didn't. Blog. Ya know. So what's been going on? Settle in and I'll tell you all about it. Oh yeah... and all those broken promises about blogging regularly? Yeah, well... I promise, again. Yeah. Promise.

CALIFORNIA: The first week was all convention. The NAHJ convention. Actually, it started a day early, a Saturday, with Jim and the poker guys. That was cool. I missed a lot of people but I really missed Jim and the guys. So we played poker and drank - I won like $60. That made it even better.

CONVENTION: The next day, it was all convention. And for the next seven days, it would continue to be all convention - and it was actually a really good one this year, too. Great sessions. Great parties. Great weather.

FOOD: I was actually down about 20-25 pounds before I flew to California. First stop was Trine's. Really - Jim picked me up in Oakland and we drove straight to Trines. I had Menudo. Mmmmm. In two weeks, I would do Jack in the Box a couple of times - 2 tacos for 99 cents. I would do Weinerschnitzel three times. Chili Dogs. Enough said. Carl's Jr two times. Western Bacon Cheeseburger. In-and-Out Burger twice - Double Double with Cheese Old Fashioned Style. Me-n-Eds Pizza twice and Kowloon Chinese Food once. Oh - don't forget Jamba Juice - Strawberries Wild - twice. Only place I didn't do Mike's Pizzeria. :( I so need to get back to the gym. If nothing else, I need to start walking to Dupont Circle at the end of the day again. I can feel that Weinerdude Chili Dog.

SIGHTS: The hills of San Jose are great to look at - and the view from the 23rd floor of the downtown Marriott was great. Fresno, on the other hand, is flat. I've always been a big sign guy, as in street signs. How else do you know where you're going? California is a big driving town - so I shot a lot of pics with the Treo camera. Driving 101, 99, I-5 or 152 is nothing to me - it's familiar.

FAMILY: That, to me, is California. Fresno and San Jose. We covered a lot of ground. I got to see a lot of people. Kitty. Chris. Papa Rich. My aunts and uncles. Some of the cousins - not all. Nay and Pat. Meliz and Roc and George and Anita and the boys. The weather was pretty nice in Fresno, too. I got to see a lot of people and even managed to get one last poker game in with a quick overnighter to SJ. Some of the family got together at Vinland Park for a picnic/BBQ. Nana's house is coming along nice - cool new windows, some fresh paint and AIR CONDITIONING!!! No more swamp cooler.

RICH RAMIREZ: Rich Ramirez was found dead in his Livermore backyard just a couple of days after the convention ended. I worked with Rich at the Merc - he was a good guy, someone you could really count on to get the job done. He and I had this special little "Raiders" kind of thing going because he once met John Madden in a restaurant out near Blackhawk. Rich helped organize this year's convention and I credit him with a lot of the its success. They say it may have been suicide but no one has said for sure yet what happened. Stacy and I last saw him in the elevator as we were checking out of the hotel Sunday afternoon and he said he was exhausted and heading home. That's it. Not upset at all. Anyway, it's a sad thing. The Merc, with all of its layoffs and such, has been through a lot lately, too. Rich was a good guy. May he rest in peace.

Stacy and the kids stayed in California when I came back - and a few days later, Nick flew out there to join them. That leaves me home alone - for two whole weeks. The first few days, it was kinda cool - eating takeout, drinking beer, playing video games - the ones that no one ever wants to play with me - in the basement in my underwear. It's been a week - boredom has kicked in. I'm talking to myself. I'm taking evening walks through the neighborhood because there's no one home anyway. Even my neighborhood pal - Mr. VJ - appears to be on family vacation, too. Living in the basement like it's a cave. It's been raining and the heat is back - a lovely combination for humidity.

Suki has, in a week, become Man's Best Friend.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Joanna and Elizabeth: Don't you know other people shop at the Cirque du Soleil Gift Shop?

Monday, June 4, 2007

Zack is a Scout graduate

Zack finished his first 'season' as a cub scout. He was a bear and has graduated to a Webelo. He's done a lot this year and I think, if nothing else, he's bonded with some other boys - in the picture, that's andrew on the left and brandon on the right...
This was at the graduation ceremony at Lake Needwood, just a short drive from home (yup. the woods are that close)
This ceremony almost didn't happen - big thunder and lightning storm about an hour before the ceremony. But summer storms on the East Coast can pass quickly. And while it was pretty muddy at the lake, it was still a nice event.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Roc on the phone

I'm not talking. She is. Surprise!!! Yeah that's my own blog on my screen. This is me. Suburbia on a Saturday night.

Sent from my Treo handheld

Friday, June 1, 2007

This Train Is LEAVING The Station...

Yesterday, I just barely caught my train before it pulled out of the station... Today, I wasn't so lucky. I guess that somehow balances the Earth's karma. Yeah, keep saying that, Sam

Just Thought I'd Share Some Random Pics From The Last Month Or Two

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Stop The Networking

I think it's getting out of control - the whole social networking thing. For me? Maybe. But I mean in general. It started by doing research for a story I was working on. LinkedIn. I sent a bunch of invitations. Facebook. My friend list is growing. The latest? Twitter. It's this insanely useless feature where you randomly hammer out a 140-character answer to the question, "What Are You Doing?" Think Text Message responses. I've been messing around with these sites all day and I'm starting to get a headache.

I know. What's up with the blog? No new entries in like a week or two. Oh the shame of it all... Where do I begin?

We had company. Gary, Jackie, Sean and Shannon came to visit. They got this great rate on a flight to NY, instead of DC. So Stacy and I got up on a Saturday morning and took this trek into NY to pick them up. How hard could it be, right? They fill my tank and maybe buy dinner and we're even. I had it planned out so Stacy and I would cut over from New Jersey to Brooklyn, hang out at Coney Island for a couple of hours and then cruise over to JFK. But it was raining. And there was some major traffic backup coming off the Turnpike into NY. So we had to reroute through Staten Island, a way I had never been before. I had to stop and get gas, buy a NJ state map and make my way there... The traffic getting over the Verrazano Bridge was horrible - but we finally made our way into Queens and over to JFK - with THREE MINUTES to spare. It was a nice visit with them, though they were busy people. Gary had been reading tour books for weeks and knew everyplace he wanted to see. And once he had the Metro all figured out, they were gone...

Donna also stopped by for a one-night visit. She was only in DC for a couple of days so she came home with me from work one night so she could hang out and see Stacy and the kids. It was nice... Our newly remodeled guest room has really been getting some use.

Stacy and Nick both finished school. They both got A's. But it was a tough end-of-the-semester with the tests and papers and all that. In the end, I'm very proud of them both.

OK. Here comes my pledge again to blog more often. I think about it - but then I just decide against it. After sitting in front of a computer all day, sometimes, the last thing I want to do is write even more. Ugh. Sometimes, I just need some mind-numbing, no-brainer TV (which is why I love to TiVo SouthPark.)

Next Blog Entry Coming Soon...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Blogging Duty

I so haven't been in the mood to blog lately. I don't know why. It's been a busy couple of weeks. The weather has changed. My allergies are steadily kicking my butt. Alex has been keeping us busy with her softball games. And Zack... well, he's grounded from ALL video games this week for waiting until 30 minutes after his bedtime the night before his book report was due to announce that he still had to write a presentation for it. And Nick has been warned that if he lets Zack play video games - and I find out - that I will take the power cords to the video game consoles to work with me everyday for two weeks.

I can be such a jerk, huh? But I'll bet Zack doesn't put off his homework like that anymore... Did I mention that he had three weeks to do this book report?

What else? Oscar De La Hoya lost the fight last weekend - and I could barely keep my eyes open for it (despite coughing up $65 for it) because it didn't even start until 11:30 PM out here. Come on. How ridiculous is that? The 11:30 start time. Don't even get me started on the $65 price tag.

Me and Stacy are trekking up to NYC this weekend to pick up some cousins who are coming to visit. They got a DIRT CHEAP price on a round-trip non-stop flight -- but not to DC, only to New York. For the money they're gonna save, they can fill my tank buy dinner and still be ahead by hundreds of dollars.

Finally, I had my first Page One story in the paper. The Pentagon pulled the plug on sites like MySpace, YouTube and PhotoBucket, blocking them from government computers. That means the soldiers in Iraq, too...

Big storm headed this way as I type this. Possible tornado watch (or warning. I can never remember the difference) later. The cold front of the storm mixing with the heat that we had today (it hit 85) makes for tornado conditions and ugly humid air.

I bet it was nice and sunny in California today!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Birthdays That Last Forever...

Remember when you were a kid and wished that your birthday would never end? Wasn't there even a movie about this??? Anyway, Zack got that wish this past weekend - or so it seemed.

Saturday was the party with his friends - a swim party at the indoor aquatic center. Two hours of swimming, then pizza, games, cake and ice cream and presents. Everyone sang Happy Birthday and his smile was a mile wide.

Then came Sunday and a trek out to Mt. Vernon for some sightseeing - My Mom and Dad, Tia Nena, Tio Ray and Roc are here visiting. After MV, we headed over to TGIFridays for dinner. And, of course, the waiters and crew all sang the Friday's Happy Birthday Song to him...

Technically, his birthday was Monday. After Alex's softball game and his previously-scheduled campfire scout meeting, we all came home had dinner (he asked for his mom's enchiladas) and then - once again - sang Happy Birthday and had cake and ice cream.

When he finally went to bed that night, I asked him how his birthday was and teased him about the three-day celebration. His response: "Dad, this was the greatest birthday ever."


Sunday, April 29, 2007

Alexandria Virginia

This is a picture we've been wanting to take for a long time. This little sign along the George Washington Parkway marks the entrance to Alexandria Virginia. We took Grandma and Poppa out to Mt. Vernon, which is at the end of the GW Pkwy, and maneuvered our way over to the little park area where this sign is posted.

Standing in front of it is granddaughter and grandmother, Alexandria and Virginia.

Monday, April 23, 2007

To Buy or Not To Buy...

At the Farragut North escalators where I emerge from Metro's tunnels every morning, there's a street vendor who sells for the seasons - umbrellas when it's raining, flowers on Valentine's Day, beanie caps and gloves in the winter and baseball caps on a Spring day like today. When I came up to the street level today, he was there again and I paused to look - among the regular Nationals and DC caps on display, there was a newcomerL "VT," Virginia Tech.

So I have mixed feelings about this... People are wearing Virginia Tech gear. It's a way to show support for what happened over there and the rebuilding that follows. And it's generally OK. You gotta figure that all these people didn't have Virginia Tech gear until recently - there was a story in the paper recently about the school's bookstore doing brisk business. You gotta figure there's someplace else that will sell it, right? Wal-Mart? Target? But the street vendor? C'mon. Really? But, hey, he provides it and people buy it. I guess that's the American Way, right? Supply and Demand. Seller and Buyer. Basic economics.

So why does it bother me?

On another note...
Happy Birthday today to Pop! And Happy Anniversary to him and Mom.
And a Happy Birthday to all of my cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. who are part of Birthday Week.

Today ends Birthday Week in my family. The eight days between April 15-23, there are a lot of birthdays in my family. There are like 4 or 5 on the 19th alone. But there's always been a gap - between me on the 15th and Tia Annie on the 17th. No birthdays on April 16. Until this year... Welcome cousin Devon, son of of cousin Daniel Lopez. Born April 16 and officially closes the gap. Tia Annie passed away several years ago - but I thought of her and smiled when I heard the news. She had always teased me about the gap and how she started Birthday Week, not me. It was silly. But it was our thing.

Happy Birthday, Bec...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Breaking News

It's been a long time since I've been in a newsroom during breaking news. In recent years, I've been part of the team - and there's a certain amount of excitement that goes with that, even when the news is tragic.

But today, as the news unfolded, I was lost in my own world, buried in two different stories - one that I was writing for later in the week (a draft was due by the end of the day) and one that I was reporting, switching gears when my calls were returned. I knew there was breaking news. I knew it was a big deal. I knew there had been a shooting at Virginia Tech. I read about the skyrocketing death toll - but then the phone would ring and I'd start interviewing someone for my other story.

Even after work, on the Metro, I couldn't get a good strong signal on my phone and just gave up trying to surf the Web. I got lost in the music on my iPod for the rest of the train ride out of the city. It wasn't until the ten-minute drive from the train station to home that it really hit me.

A radio announcer was talking about what had happened. He was talking about the families, how they never would have suspected, how their lives are forever changed, how - in a moment... well, you know. And then he reminded of what we all know - never take tomorrow for granted. Tell those you love that you love them. Today. And take an extra moment for that "see you tonight, have a great day' moment in the morning. When I walked into the house, I went up to each of them - Stacy, Alex, Zack and even Nick. A hug and an "I Love You" for each of them... just in case they didn't know.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

It's Not Just Tax Day!!!

Happy Birthday to Me
Happy Birthday to Me
Happy Birthday Dear Sammmmmmmyyyyyyyy
Happy Birthday to Me

Ya know... when a lot of people get to be this age (I'm 39 today, thank you very much) they tend to want to forget about birthdays. But not me. I love the phone calls and the emails and the presents and the birthday cake and blowing out the candles and all that jazz. Hey, if Zippo the clown wants to come and make balloon animals for me, I'd be up for it. At heart, I guess that means I'm still just a kid. In fact, I still sit by the phone and wait for my Mommy to call me at 12:01 p.m. - the time of my birth!

Silly, huh?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

21st Century Racism

Ya know, as I have played with what this blog should focus on, I have tried to stay away from topics related to work and politics. For one, I try to stay impartial when it comes to the topics that I cover at work - and chiming in them in a personal blog would taint me, I think. (Plus, I'd have to tell my boss about my personal blog and really don't think I want to extend that formal invitation. If people stumble upon it, then that's fine, but the invitation... nah.) Second, There are already so many people spewing their two cents on the political state of this country and world that I just don't want to be another.

But here's a topic that I feel the need to say something about: Racism in the 21st Century.

As a Latino growing up in California, I never really experienced much racism. Oh sure, there were always small snide remarks but it seems that Californians were equal opportunity racists - we all got under each other's skin: Black folks, Latinos, Asians, Indians, and, of course, Whites. But living in the East Coast has shown me what a Black-and-White mentality that still exists in some parts of the country - and with news of illegal immigration being spewed about by those who want to hide the horrible political, global and economic state of the USA under the Bush Administration, it's been enlightening to see how racism toward us Brown folks is alive and well.

I'm sure everyone out there has heard of the firing of Don Imus, the radio DJ who referred to the members of the women's basketball team at Rutgers as "Nappy-headed Ho's." It's dominated the news coverage - and with good reason. Who in their right mind says something like that about innocent college students whose only reason for being in the spotlight is because they're playing for a national championship? It's not like they wrongly accused some college Lacrosse players of a heinous crime (that's a different story, of course.)

But how many have heard about the controversy surrounding an upcoming PBS documentary called "The War?" It is a 14-hour (yes, FOURTEEN HOURS) piece that looks at those who served this country in World War II. It was six years in the making - SIX YEARS - and the director interviewed HUNDREDS of veterans about their experiences. He even broke out separate stories to highlight the unique African-American and Japanese-American experiences.

Wanna know how many Latinos he talked to? NONE. NOT ONE. ZERO. In the United States of America. In the 21st Century.

Latinos rallied from coast to coast. No, not newly-arrived immigrants who are literally trying to keep a low profile in cities like Herndon, Virginia or Hazelton, Pennsylvania. These Latinos are people like me - second- and third-generation Latino-Americans who take pride in the members of their families who fought to keep this country free. In my own publication, there was little interest in this story - until PBS backpedaled and agreed to a pathetic and lame way of trying to shut us up, with add-on clips about the Latino experience during commercial breaks and on the DVD (which I will NOT be buying.) Give me a break. When my publication was finally interested, it appeared in a TV column - after news of the most recent departure on American Idol... (I've purposely not linked here - separation of blog and work, ya know...)

I'd like to think we're a more civilized nation now. But apparently I'm wrong. Since arriving here almost two years ago, I have never in my life been more exposed to racism (check the reader comments in the link).

* I recently attended a formal event in DC and was shaking hands with some people, introducing myself. I shook hands with an older Caucasian man (who, without stereotyping, resembled Boss Hogg from the Dukes of Hazzard). I told him my name and he got a funny look on his face and said, "How do you spell your name?" I knew he was waiting to see if that was a "z" in my last name... So I replied: S-A-M.

* Shortly after we arrived in DC, we attended a work holiday party. A colleague that I had not yet met said hello and, in the small talk, asked me where I finally settled. I replied that we were living up in Rockville, MD. Her response: "Oh, Montgomery County. It's a lovely place up there. So nice... well, you know, it was... until all the Latino people started moving in."

* I really saw no reason to pay someone to clean my yard for me - after all, I have my own mower, edger and blower and a healthy-and-strong 22-year-old brother-in-law who can get out there and help. One day, we were out there, cleaning the yard and bagging all the clippings when one of my new neighbors wandered over to say hello and shoot the breeze. He commented about me doing my own yard and, with a bit of a chuckle, said, "Ya know... Don't be offended if someone drives by and stops to ask how much you charge."

After that, I hired a white guy to cut the lawn.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

My Tile Floor

OK. I admit it's a pretty simple floor - basic cuts and some creative technique around the toilet. But I did it. Yes, this is a bathroom floor - our guest powder room, if you will. It was this hideous blue before (more pics to come later) but we pretty much gutted it. I tore out the sink, toilet, wall fixtures, and far too many anchor screws. I taught myself how to do drywall repair - a first for me - on this job. And we patched a lot of holes. I replaced a couple of valves for the faucet and toilet. There was a lot of sanding - the drywall patchwork area and the paint off the doorjambs. I painted the other day - the walls are some earthy beige color, very soft and "airy and open" because it's so small in there.

Today, I did all the measurements and cuts for the tile. I had bought a tile saw back when I put down tile in the dining room at the house in Morgan Hill. Before I could use it again, I had to run down to Home Depot for a new blade - ka-ching. $40. After that, I was a tile-cutting maniac. It took all day but this is what it will look like. Tomorrow, I'll mix the mortar and secure the tile to the subfloor backerboard and then grout it. If you ask me, and I'm pretty sure you didn't, I think it turned out pretty damn good considering I'm still a rookie.

Still to do: Install medicine cabinet (waiting in the garage), buy and install a light fixture, install toilet (tile grout has to settle for a few days.), buy and install sink, towel bars, shelves and TP holder.

Spring vacation was supposed to be about working on the house and spending time with the kids. We've hung out - the family. (We even went bowling the other day.) I'm glad I'm getting something accomplished this week. So far, so good. I hope to be finished with the bathroom by Saturday.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Wearing The Dad Hat

We spent the evening in DC on Monday, first to see the Cherry Blossoms that everyone is ooh-aahing about. (They're the same as the trees that line my neighborhood in the burbs, only without the thousands of other people in your space.) Later, we hooked up with cousin Bobby and Jade, who were in town for Jade's class trip. They were headed to NYC early the next morning so we ducked into their hotel over by the Pentagon and had a late dinner with them. By the time we headed out, it was 1030 pm and we still had a hefty Metro ride home. There was a hotel shuttle that was just getting ready to leave to go to the Metro at Pentagon City. By now, Zack was dragging and Alex was slowing down. We hopped on a yellow line train into DC. We'd have to change trains once at Chinatown and then we'd settle in for a 30 minute ride home. Zack sat on the floor at my feet, leaning into my legs as we waited on the platform at Chinatown. Finally, the train came and we settled in. He managed to put his head on my lap and scrunch into the other seat to resemble something like lying down. He stayed this way until the stop before ours. I had to start waking him to get off the train and walk to the car. By the time we got home, I just threw him over my shoulder and carried him into the house and upstairs unto bed. The kid is 8 and hefty already and my back is already feeling it...

Cute picture, huh?

Sunday, April 1, 2007

A Much Needed Vacation

Work was tough this past week - you know how it can be when you're going to be out for the next week. Originally, we had taken this week off to head out to California for a family visit. The kids and Stacy are off - and I was due for a vacation. But instead, we're gonna stick around the house - or at least Washington.

But since work was so busy, there was little time to blog... So here's a recap of a week's events and a sneak peek at the week ahead.

Three words: Cherry Blossom Festival. Tis the season in Washington and tourism has kicked off with a bang. Stacy's been wanting to get out there. I'm still not quite sure what the CB's are going to do to my allergies. But I should pop a Claritin and head on out there with her.

Ceci and Oltac are parents again. Tigin was a whopper of a kid, came out practically holding his own bottle. Haha. Sorry, kid... We took a ride out to NOVA on Saturday to see the baby. It was nice but quick visit. It's nice to have some resemblance of family out here on the east. We worked with Cecilia back in San Jose and then reconnected with them out here (following a brief stint of theirs back in Seattle.)

I started a podcast at work. I know I rarely talk about work on this blog but I thought it would be kind of cool to share the latest thing I'm up to. Being the harsh critic that I am, I think it's kind of too interviewish. We're calling it a beta because we're looking for the groove still. We gotta talk it up. We gotta have a good time with it. Maybe we should take callers...? Nahhh.

Stacy had a birthday. I wont tell you how old she is, other than to say that we share an age for two weeks. I'll jump ahead again on the 15th. She asked for a bike; so I got her a bike. We kinda discovered that our neighborhood... yeah, it's kinda hilly. She and Alex went for a ride yesterday and she came back talking about all the little inclines. I guess my truck really doesn't notice them... Then they cleaned up and headed off to the mall. And lucky for us, they didn't want us tagging along. So me and Zack and Nick stayed home. While she was out, the florist delivered a spring bouquet to the house. Very nice... We ended the night with dinner. TGI Fridays is kind of our place because that's where they have the bomb Jack Daniels steaks. The JD sauce is jammin'

A quick shout to my pal Joanna and her hubby Fritz, who are spending some time in Europe. Joanna sits on the NAHJ board with me. She works for the New York Times community newspapers and was recently sharing with other board members how she will be doing more "multimedia journalism," basically more of the videos and podcasts and blogs and all of the type of stuff that newspapers are trying right now. Now, she's blogging the trip - and it's great reading. She talks to you like you know all the players and you're immediately drawn into the vacation like you were there...

Georgetown beat North Carolina and landed a spot Final Four. But then they lost last night to Ohio State. So much for M Street lighting up in celebration tomorrow night.

April Fools Day is always such a big adventure. We raised the bar last year when me and the kids went to Nick's Safeway store where he worked at the time - and moved his car. Yup, I took the spare key and moved it to the other side of the parking lot and then we parked a couple of rows over and cracked up as a look of panic took over when he realized that his car was missing. Hilarious. This year, we all tried to outdo each other... I woke up to the Stacy and Nick - of all people - trying to toilet paper me to the bed, wrapping it under and over --- until I rolled over and broke it. Let's see: Stacy started when she put packing tape in front of Nick's door right at eye level and saran wrap at the bottom. When he opened the door in the morning, his face hit the tape and he tripped over the Saran Warp. The kids put Pam (you're know, the stuff you spray in the pan instead of using oil) on the doorknobs. There was peanut butter in Stacy's sandals. Stacy taped over the bathroom faucet so when I turned on the water to brush my teeth, the water shot all over my shirt (that was actually kind of funny.) The kids messed with our coffee by squeezing lemon juice into the carafe (ruined the whole pot), putting salt into the sugar bowl and - get this... they left only enough milk in the fridge for coffee and Nick poured Vodka in it. I tested the sugar and realized it was salt but Stacy didn't. But I didn't check the milk. WOW!!! Good morning!! Finally, we left Nick paranoid when we went to his work and took a picture in front of his car. We were just gonna send it to his phone when we heard "Hey! What did you guys do to my car?" We jumped back in my truck to leave. He was convinced we did something - and we wanted him to think so. It was driving him crazy trying to find when we did. That was the plan.

I'll be around this week but I got stuff to do around the house and really want to take 1-2 day trips with the kids. Don't know where we're heading yet - but no matter where, it should be fun. We've talked about Jamestown - where the 400th Anniversary is underway. Maybe colonial Williamsburg. Maybe up to Hershey, PA again or even a day in Philadelphia. I'm even thinking of a train ride up to NYC. It's a great trip, just the train itself.

To the family and friends in California, we'll see in June. This week's vacation is for the immediate family in Maryland...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

By Popular Demand

Bad Dad. I only shot this one video - and this was his last race. He'd won the two previous but this one got him booted. He's the yellow car in the No. 1 lane, the one to the far right. Right before the cars cross the finish line, some kid walks in front of me. And watch your volume. It's loud - like a lot of kids noisy on a video shot with a phone camcorder kind of loud.

Other than that...

He Got A Trophy

OK. Everyone who participated got a trophy.

But the Sam-and-Zack Pinewood Derby car held its own at the event last night, which I gotta say was actually a lot of fun. There was this whole bracket organization to it that involved heats and rankings and runoff races. I don't pretend to understand HOW they did it - all I know is my kid's car hit that track a good 9 or 10 times and, of those, his car WON five times.

It was an elimination tournament so, as much as those wins were great, the losses also took him out of the running for the championship. But whatever, we yelled and screamed as the cars jumped out of the gate. We cheered and high-fived when his car crossed the finish line first.

I was late for the event - text-messaging Stacy as I was on the subway heading home. But I got there just in time for his races - and he'd been on the lookout for me. He spotted me the second I walked in the door... and his face lit up.


Sunday, March 25, 2007

It's A Father-Son Thing

It's time for the Cub Scout's annual Pinewood Derby Race - only Zack and I are totally rookies at this. His scoutleader gave him the starter kit - basically a rectangular piece of pinewood with some grooves cut out for the wheel axles. From there on, we're on our own.

OK. So maybe I didn't do the best job at carving out this thing. The yellow paint and our "lightning bolts" hide some of the gashes I created with the power saw. And yeah, I know you're not supposed to use power tools - but I'm sure there were plenty of dads out there taking modern-day shortcuts to make sure these little cars go flying down the track.

Whatever. This was hardly about the car or the race. This was about dad and son spending the day together, going to the hobby shop to pick out cool stickers (that say "Turbo") and paint for the finished product. Zack chose Yellow with Red and Black for the lightning bolts, stripe down the hood and the Red "Z" painted in the back seat.

The way I see it - maybe he'll win some sort of trophy. Maybe he won't. But either way, it was really nice spending the day with my boy - enjoying his childhood innocence and imagination as we worked hand-in-hand, carving and sanding and painting. No matter how the race turns out, I was the biggest winner for getting to spend my day with him...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


It was a small one - but we did have one, in the house on Saturday. Stacy simply plugged the vacuum into an outlet in the dining rooms when suddenly... SPARK! And within seconds, it was FLAMES shooting out of the wall. The damage was minimal - some black soot around the outlet (since replaced). And I had to cut out drywall around the outlet to make sure there wasn't deeper damage inside the wall.

An electrician determined that the outlet was bad - old, worn out and the victim of a 1960s way of connecting electrical outlets. The wiring is fine. His recommendation is that EVERY outlet and switch in the house be replaced. They also suggested that we increase the amperage and circuit breaker panel - a process they called a "heavy up."

We opened a claim with our home warranty company and are waiting on an estimate from the electrician to do the work. Then we have to see if the warranty company will approve it.

Remember the furnace? Now, the electrical system... Sheesh. I don't know how much more money I can put into this house this year - and it's only March...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Getting Home on Wednesday Night

The Wednesday night commute was horrible - and I blame myself. When I shot this picture, I actually kinda laughed at the poor schmuck who parked this car. Now, he was going to have to deal with the city and a boot removal company (one would think). Unless he was home already, his commute home was about to go through a major disruption.

Bad Karma. I jinxed myself.

I was walking to see Eric the Barber, this Latino dude who has his own shop over on 14th between N & Rhode Island. He's a cool guy and I like the way he cuts my hair. Anyway, after I left Eric's, I walked to the Dupont Metro Station. It's a little bit of a haul, probably about 6-7 big city blocks. But it was a nice night in the city, people were out and I was wearing my iPod. Just as I was coming up on the circle, I could see a lot of flashing lights - fire trucks and cops at both entrances to the Metro, on the north and south ends of the traffic circle. Crap.

Over at the south entrance, the escalators were running and the fire guys didn't seem to be moving around as if it were an emergency. Whatever happened was probably over. by now. And there were still a few people coming up and going down the escalators. So I went down the escalator, past the ticket booths and swiped my card at the gate. From there, I could see a train at the platform on the Shady Grove side and started double-timing it, trying to catch it before it pulled out of the station.

Every car of that train was JAM PACKED with people but I found a spot near the door and squeezed in. I already had my iPod on so I quickly zoned out and got lost in my Treo, hammering out some emails that I didn't get to earlier in the day (I do that a lot on the train...) Several minutes passed before I realized that the doors had never closed and that we were still on the platform at Dupont. I turned off my iPod and listened as the station agent apologized for the delay, said there was a track issue and that we would be single tracking up to Woodley Park, which was the next station. That's cool. It's slow because you've got to wait for the oncoming train to get into the station before your train can go. But it was only one stop so I threw back on the iPod and waited, crammed in that train with wayyyyy too many people all crowded up in my face and back and side. But I waited.

For the next 15 minutes, that train didn't move and people started losing patience. They started getting off the train, talking about cabs on the street and how much it would cost to get to Friendship Heights, Bethesda, Rockville... Then someone came back and said there were a lot of people lining the curbs, trying to hail cabs but few were coming by. Around that time, two firemen walked by on the platform and said something about one of the other firemen just going into the tunnel now. "This train ain't going anywhere anytime soon," one of them said. UGH!

Then came the announcement for everyone to get off the train and move to the platform that serves Glenmont-bound trains, the ones that head into the opposite direction. Dupont is one of those stations where the tracks run in the center of the station, with platforms on both sides. Others have the platform in the middle and the tracks on the outside. This is important to know because when they say for everyone to move to the other platform, that involves, getting off the train, cramming on to the escalators back to where the ticket booths are, walking over the bridge to the other side of the station and back down the escalators to the other platform.

So everyone starts moving - except for a handful of people who stayed on the train. Now, we're all crammed on the other platform - easily 400-500 people. No kidding. There we are waiting when suddenly, the train that we all just got off of... LEAVES. With passengers. Practically empty. Boy, people were pissed.

Then came the next announcement... Go back to the other platform again. Shady Grove trains will be using their own track, after all... ARGH!!!!! So there we go again - up the escalator, over the bridge and back down the escalator. Three trains came and went before I was finally able to work my way back to the platform and get on a train.

My adventure started about 7:15 p.m. and I got home just after 9. Sure, that sucks. And it's comforting to know that Metro regrets any inconvenience (though they still made me pay my fare.) But my bigger concern is that this publicly-funded mass transit system that moves hundreds of thousands of people between Maryland, Virginia and DC every day is so not ready to handle any sort of emergency situation. Communications broke down. Questions couldn't get answered. Agents and other Metro officials were rude and abrupt. That is no way to handle a situation that involves moving a lot of people.

And this is Washington DC, where bad things can potentially happen on any given day. Had Wednesday night's chaos been the result of a national emergency, who knows how Metro would have responded. I know how I would have responded - I would walked and walked and walked until I could hail a cab to get me back to Maryland. There's no way I would have waited for Metro to get its act together.

And yet... I'll be back on the train tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

They're Baaaack

I'm not sure if it was the fanny packs or the bermuda shorts with flip-flops (like anyone can walk all day in those) or the blinding surprise of camera flash in the Metro stations. But the tourists are back. They're on the trains again, looking for Dupont Circle or Georgetown or The Mall. They're stopping in the crosswalks again, pointing to and taking pictures of the White House up 16th Street or the Washington Monument from 15th NW. They're riding the escalators up to Connecticut Avenue and spinning on the street corners, trying to figure out which was is which.

Welcome Back!

Tourism is one of the greatest things about Washington DC. I'm constantly encouraging family members and friends to come out here and see the nation's capital, the monuments, memorials and museums. Feel free to whip out a pocket map or ask a local (you can tell which ones are tourists and which ones are local. It's very obvious). And yeah, I'll take your picture in the Metro station.

When tourists start landing in DC again, it heals one more wound left over from 9/11. Yes, the city is a target. But it's also a magnet. And it's ours. Our country. Our capital. Our city.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Hey Dad! Tio Tony wants you on the phone.

My Tio Tony called me the other day. Actually, it was a couple of weeks ago, when it snowed. My Tio Tony is the oldest of the family - the Diaz family, my dad's side. He just turned 80 last summer and there was a big bash for him in Vegas. He's a pretty sharp guy for being 80 - so much so that I forget that he's getting up there. He and my Tia Veva have grandkids my age.

That's him in the picture above, seated in the center. His son, my cousin Andy, is standing above him. Seated, my dad, Charlie, is on the left. (I'm standing above him.) On the right is my Tio Angel. My cousin Vince (we call him Chente) is standing above him. This is from the big party last summer in Vegas.

Anyway, he called a couple of weeks ago because he'd heard about the weather out here. That's very typical of my Tio Tony. A lot of people will see something on the news that's happening where a loved one is but won't think to call or send an email to see if things are OK. I'm just as guilty. My Tio Tony calls...

So we talked for a while - and it was great because he was just shooting the breeze. He asked about the move and the adjustment out here. How were the kids? Stacy? How was she adjusting? The whole bit... And then he asked me about me. Of course, I told him I was fine and even joked that I work too many hours and practically have two lives - one in a downtown building during the weekdays and one in the burbs on nights and weekends.

And then there was a "mijo moment". He kind of scolded me about working so much that I don't get to enjoy my family. The kids will grow up fast, he said.

"Take time to enjoy your family, mijo."

I take that as sound advice from a guy who has held the "Head of the Family" title since my Grandma died in 1984 - almost 23 years ago. Despite all of our differences and the drama that goes on sometimes (I've been in plenty of it, so I have no business talking about anyone.), family is still family is still family.

Thanks for the call, Tio Tony. It's always great to hear from family.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Fill 'Er Up

I swear this only happens when I'm late. DING DING DING and the yellow light comes on. Ya know, I rarely put gas in my truck anymore. I only really drive between home and the Twinbrook Metro station , which is only about 7 or 8 minutes away. And at $2.49 these days, why fill up? I'm cool with only dropping $25 in every 2 weeks or so.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Welcome Back, Sammy...

Sheesh... It's been like two weeks since my last entry.

OK. What can I tell you?

1) I have a new job - kind of. I have swapped jobs with one of my reporters. She'll edit for three months; I'll write for three months. This is something I had asked for at the end of last year, hoping that it would finally help me realize the way things work at this place. It truly is like no where else I've ever worked.

2) I took a trek up to NY for NAHJ's annual scholarship banquet and two intense days of board meetings. I wore a tux to the banquet and delivered a speech about NAHJ and the importance of giving to the cause. It was a nice event at a place called Bridgewaters at South Street Seaport. The even was held in a banquet room surrounded by windows. The view of the Brooklyn Bridge at night was amazing... Nick took a trek up on my second night there so he could hang out (he heard FREE HOTEL ROOM IN NEW YORK and jumped all over it.) It was cool having him around until he got all whiny crybaby about being cold and being tired from walking. Is it my fault he didn't pack good shoes? I also got a chance to spend some time with my NAHJ board buddies - Liz, Elizabeth, Regina, Raf and the others.

3) Stacy downloaded "The Secret," some book that Oprah talked about on her show. I don't completely get it but the bigger idea behind it is positive energy. If you believe good things will happen to you, then they will. But if you're constantly negative about things happening in your life, then the negative energy will keep things the way they are... OK, I think I'm over simplifying it - but you get what I mean, right? Anyway... Stacy is living by this way of life and I think it's a good thing for all of us.

4) My dad is shopping for a new TV. That's pretty exciting because I think he's finally gonna take the plunge into something cool and cutting-edge. I think I may be close to talking him into Plasma --- but we'll see. He's still in research mode, which usually ends us lasting for weeks. (You should see when he decides that it's time for a new car.)

5) The neighborhood is putting together a neighborhood watch. I know. It's kinda suburbia hokey but, hey, we all want to live in a safe place, right? The first meeting is this week. I wonder if this means I'll have to cruise through the neighborhood at 3 a.m. with a good flashlight...

OK. Clearly, there is more happening in my life than this. Blogging is really an interesting hobby, or form of self-expression. I want to write more. I want to think deep. I want to vent my feelings and frustrations about all of the things that are spinning through my head - money, kids, job, etc. - but the last thing I think about when I'm stressed is logging into the blog and hammering out my thoughts. I'm envious of my pal Liz, who has posted some really good entries - nothing as boring and uneventful as what I've been writing about.

That's it. Here comes my commitment again. I pledge to file some blog entries regularly and to offer something more than just these. I'm back on a roll.. Watch out.

Monday, February 19, 2007

One of the cool things about living here



Thursday, February 15, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day...

... a day late, no less.

The idea was a good one. Every year since Stacy and I have been going out, we went to dinner at a small little Italian joint in Fresno, called Mike's Pizzeria (the one on West and Shields.) I hear the pizza is great - but we've only ever had their calzones. Even when we moved, we still went to Fresno on the weekend before or after V-Day for dinner. Then came the big move and last year's V-Day away from home - and no Mike's dinner.

This year, with the help of my cousin Sylvia, my Tia Chunca and cousin Jade, Mike's was being delivered for V-Day dinner. A calzone for everyone, packed in dry ice and shipped overnight via UPS. It was a great idea.

Then came the storm. And apparently, UPS doesn't follow the Post Office's "neither rain nor snow nor sleet..." motto. Because dinner never arrived. And the price for the overnight service? Yeah, UPS doesn't offer refunds for weather-related delays. Instead, Stacy made dinner and I ended up "telling" her what I'd planned.

The UPS guy showed up around 11 Thursday morning and we planned to have them for dinner. They were good - filling and just as scrumptuous as always.

* Thumbs-up to Mike's Pizzeria, Syl, Tia Chunca and Jade.
* Thumbs down to Mother Nature and UPS.

This is why they close school?

The kids got out early on Tuesday. School was closed Wednesday and Thursday. And to round things out, they shut 'em down again for Friday. And Monday is a holiday...

Thanks for the Memories, Old Fresno...

(Credit to the Bee for the pic)

I just saw this article from last week's Fresno Bee. They closed the Old Fresno Hofbrau. This place, an icon in downtown Fresno for generations, was one of our after-work hangouts not too far from The Bee. It was where Me and Stacy and Steve and Michelle used to go when I was falling head over heels for Stace. Stev-o and Michelle were such great friends during those times. Michelle has stories about me at the Old Fresno that she'll will be telling my grandkids...

The best thing on the menu: Hot Open Face Turkey Sandwich; The best thing at the bar: Those ice-cold goblets filled with a cold beer.

Fresno won't be the same without it...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Yes, There is More to Life Than the Weather...

But in the past couple of weeks, it has - by far - dominated our lives. Today started with snow, which turned to sleet and freezing rain. The sidewalks downtown were slushy and slippery. The roads were dangerous - icy. When I finally got home, my truck started sliding toward the tree next to the driveway and I ended up having to shovel around the tires so I could get some traction. But, the highlight of today's weather...

The Metro was empty on the ride home. Most companies had shut down early to get ahead of the ice storm that was on the way. The parking lot at the metro station was all but emptied out. Only a few cars. Mine was covered in ice - the door was even frozen shut until I could pull it open. I had no choice - I started the truck and let it run for about 20 minutes while the defroster melted away all of the ice.

Then I noticed that my truck was in an empty parking lot covered in snow and ice. Hmmmmm... What could me and my truck do in that slick, snow-covered parking lot? (Scccrrrreeeeeecccchhhhh sounds a lot different on snow - but it was fun sliding around like that. I felt like a kid again - if even for just a minute.)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ten Days Later...

This blog thing really has a way of dissolving unless you really stay on it. Life goes on and days pass by... Let's see, since my last post:

* Indianapolis Colts beat the Chicago Bears 29-17 in Super Bowl XLI (That's 41) in a pouring down Sloppy Bowl in Miami. I won $20. Lost way more than that. But, * tter. They lost the week before. This week was much much better. Zack also got an A on his speech about Nat King Cole for Black History Month.

* Steve Jobs posted an open letter to the record labels, calling for an end to DRM software in music downloads. Basically, it's the technology that forces you to play music that you bought from iTunes on an iPod only. He even raised the possibility of licensing his technology for a fee - an idea that the recording industry jumped on. The jury's still out. Check it out.

* It snowed. Only a little bit. Did I mention that already? This time they closed school. They shouldn't have. It didn't snow the whole rest of the day. But it did leave a nice couple of inches, enough for a couple of hours of playing. It's actually supposed to be snowing again as I type this - but I can't tell because I'm in the basement. It's supposed to turn to ice anyway. Great!

* Stacy scored her first contract for the school. She researched the information, wrote a proposal, facilitated a meeting of both parties, negotiated the terms and closed the deal. She's really doing a great job at that school.

* Josh Kwan came to town so everyone came over here to hang out for lunch - us, lori and spencer and cecelia and oltac. and kids too. it was cool just hanging out. a bunch of san jose friends.

Overall, it was a pretty cool nine days. I'll try to stay committed to this blog. It's tough... But wait until you hear what I'm trying to pull off for Valentines Day... If it happens, it will be so cool.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Lesson from Katrina

There was some footage out of central Florida where a deadly tornado ripped through as people slept. It was sad - all of those people with their homes and all of their belongings strewn about. And elderly gentleman interviewed by the TV crew said that there had been a lot of response and many offers of help to start with the cleanup. People, total strangers, drove to the affected areas and pulled into neighborhoods and just got out of their cars and started helping.

Americans were quick to jump in and help when they could - a lesson this country has learned from Katrina.

Thursday, February 1, 2007


It's back... and it cost me $1000 less than the first repair guy wanted to charge.


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Death of a Furnace

We have no heat. Literally. In the house. None. Cold. Brrr.

Outside, winter has arrived (naturally...) The lows are in the teens - and the winds kicked in tonight. Wind chills will drop it into the single digits.

Here's the short story: Furnace makes clicking noise. Home warranty company sends Repair Guy #1 to the house. Furance is rusted and starting to crack. It's OK to run for now but it needs replacing. Warranty company says they'll replace the unit, but we have to pay for several non-covered charges, including mandatory upgrades to the flue that aren't really part of standard installation, even though they're mandatory. That's like making you pay extra for the seatbelts.

But that's not the point. The non-covered charges total $1200. OUCH. But when you're the dad and the mom, you gotta do what you gotta do. The warranty company assures me that Repair Guy #1 can't charge more than that. Then we call him and now he suddenly needs $1750. What to do? What to do? Should I complain?

You're damn right I'm gonna complain. There's me and warranty company on the phone. They call the Repair Guy #1 and he tells the warranty people that they didn't write down everything he would have to do for this job. By the way Warranty Guy told me this, I know he was rolling his eyes at Repair Guy #1.

Enter Repair Guy #2 - aka The Second Opinion. Repair Guy #2 comes to the house yesterday. Yup. Furnace is bad. Furnace gotta go. And then comes the bombshell: Furnace must be shut off. That crack is dangerous, Repair Guy #2 says it's dangerous and, by law, he must shut it down. Carbon monoxide could seep out. Repair Guy #2 says Repair Guy #1 should have shut it off.

That brings us back to cold... Brrr shivering cold. So now there's big down comforters and layers of blankets and portable space heaters. The night isn't unbearable under the covers but that tile floor in the bathroom in the morning is - WOW! COLD!

Warranty Company Guy says they'll approve the replacement. Repair Guy #2 will do the job and says it won't nearly cost that much out of my pocket - probably closer to $1000. Not great - but not $1800 or even $1200.

I'm shooting for Wednesday but Thursday could be more likely. Friday at the latest. Very latest. They say there's a pretty good snow storm headed this way Thursday night.

So this is the life of an east coast homeowner in the winter? I don't ever remember dealing with anything like this in Morgan Hill...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Girls Weekend

This weekend, we're on our own. Stacy took off to Florida to hang out with a good friend of ours. We had some flight credit that she had to use before it expired - but it wasn't enough to travel cross-country. But it was enough for a quick roundtrip down to Florida to see Michelle.

No, Disney World isn't in the plans for her - but she is going to relax. Even if it kills her. She says there's a trip to a day spa somewhere in the plans.

Back home, the kids are worried that we're going to starve to death - because I don't really cook. But I do know how to order pizza and pop Eggos into the toaster. And as long as we have cereal and milk in the house, we'll be fine. As for keeping them occupied, it's still way too cold out there for us to be heading outside. Maybe we should take this opportunity to catch up on laundry and cleaning around the house.

Or not...

Friday, January 26, 2007


There's a word. Blustery. Is that supposed to mean that it's not quite cold enough for your skin to blister. A few weeks ago, everyone was talking about how warm it was - 73 degrees in early January.

Well, winter has arrived. And it brought the wind with it. Now, I get it. All these years. The cold weather back east that they'd talk about on the news back home - right before they started talking about a chilly 52 degrees and a mild 68 in the day around the bay. Yeah, I remember it... And this is just DC cold - not like Boston or Minnesota or Green Bay cold. AND there's no snow. All the stuff that stuck the other day is pretty much gone.

It actually did snow today and pretty got pretty heavy for there for a while, a steady stream blowing in the wind. It was pretty to look at but none of it stuck. Now it's clear. And still cold. Really cold.

Blustery cold.

So what exactly is blustery? Wind chill makes things blustery, it appears. So the 19 degrees in Rockville this morning will actually feel like 2. No I didn't miss a number. That's "2," as in degrees. TWO. Tomorrow's high? 31.

(Did you hear that? Was that one of my bones crackling?)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Text 1, Text 2...

So Zack sent me a text message today.

Zack: H
Zack: Hi dad how are you
Zack: Give me a text back love zack

My phone was on vibrate on my desk and I missed the messages. Later, once I got on the train, I sent him a note back and we had this little dialogue. (He's still kind of a slow texter.)

Me: U there?
Zack: Hi Where are you?
Me: On the train. Where are u?
Zack: I am on your bed
Me: Don't make it stinky
Zack: I'm not going to uncle nick is.
Me: Tell him he better not. I'm in my truck now. Be home in a few minutes.
Zack: Dad be careful. it's really cold.
Me: 26 degrees Brrrr (My truck tells me the outside temp)
Zack: No way jose.

OK. What kid texts "No way jose"?? At 8 years old. He cracks me up...

So I get home and he's all excited, waving around the cell phone, "That was cool, huh, dad?"

It was cool that we had that little time to interact. It was still "our" time. Father and Son. I have a feeling I may have to boost our text message plan soon.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Middle School

I went to the middle school where Alex will start in the fall. That was an experience.

First, I can't even get over that my little girl is heading into middle school. She's still my baby girl and it's hard to see her get so big so fast. Kindergarten was hard enough. But middle school, an evil place with combination lockers, dressing out, pimples and pre-pubescent boys. Here we go...

Second, I am blown away by the type of education these kids are getting out here. In public school. There were teachers who were talking about classes these kids need to take and what paths they need to be on to get a jump start on high school and even college. There's resources and activities - sports, music, art, theater. That's all the stuff that went away years ago back home.

There was this one teacher who made me laugh when he said that there is nothing like the look of a new sixth-grader who becomes frantic when he can't remember his locker combination and someone says the buses are leaving. It's why he keeps teaching.


I'm excited about the experience she'll have there. All I can say is: Class President by the 8th grade. You read it here first. I know my kid.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Raiders Get A New Head Coach

His name is Lane Kiffin. At 31, he's the youngest head coach in the NFL. It's been a tough few years since the Gannon days - this most recent season under Art Shell being the toughest. But I have a good feeling about Kiffin. Why? Because he's young?

NOPE. He's a Bulldog. As in Fresno State Bulldog. As in my Alma Mater.

According to his profile on the USC Web Site (I know, I know. But until he has one on the Raiders site) he was a quarterback at Fresno State for three seasons in the mid-90s and began his coaching career there, working with quarterbacks, wide receivers and defensive backs for two seasons (97-98).

Welcome to the Raider Nation, Kiffin. We have high hopes for you...

Monday, January 22, 2007

Indy Wins.

I love when playoff games are good ones. It was all New England in the first half. But Indy came back to tie things up in the third quarter. From there, it was back and forth, back and forth. With a minute left and down by 4, Tom Brady and the Pats start the drive to the end zone. Then - on 1st and 10 with 24 seconds - INTERCEPTION!

So that makes it Indy and Chicago in the Superbowl in 2 weeks.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


Finally! We've been waiting for this for a long time. And even though the storm is only expected to drop an inch or two, the kids couldn't wait to start playing...

Friday, January 19, 2007

Go To Bed Already, Will Ya?

This is so typical for me. I have a 9:30 coffee meeting at a K Street Starbucks tomorrow morning, which means I gotta get showered, ironed and dressed, fix the kids' lunches, make sure they eat breakfast and warm up my truck enough to at least de-ice the windows so we can be out of the house by 8:15 and I can be on the Metro before 9. And where am I at almost 2 in the morning? Sitting in the basement, listening to some oldies, parked in front of this laptop, hammering out my first blog entry.

Don't worry about me, though. I'll be fine in the morning. One good jolt of coffee (OK, two) and a hot shower and I'll be good to go. Stacy - that's my wife - will make sure I get up on time. I love that I can count on her to do that for me. We take care of each other, Me and Stace. She's my best friend. In the whole world.

It's cold tonight. Down in to the teens, the weatherlady said. Possible flurries overnight. The kids - they're 11 and 8 - did this crazy snow dance with their friends tonight. Something about wearing your clothes backward and inside out, singing "Let It Snow" while standing around a toilet, opening a window and throwing a cup of water outside and then sleeping with a spoon under the pillow. All the kids in the neighborhood know about the Snow Dance - and they're tired of being the only place in the country that hasn't seen a flake of snow this winter. The kids tell me that this dance will make it snow in 48 hours

Tonight, on the 11 o'clock news, the weather dude said it could snow this weekend. Well, whaddayaknow? Think the kids called the TV weather dude just to mess with my head?

Nahhhh. Now, I'm really losing it... Time to crash. I promise to write again soon.