Thursday, September 30, 2010

Yabba Dabba Doo

September 30, 1960 was a groundbreaking day in animated television history.

On this day, the Flinstones premiered on ABC and in many ways, revamped the television landscape. Yeah those were the good old days when networks didn't have to resort to gimmicky ad campaigns (I am looking at you "The Event" with a misplaced E!) or outrageous plot devices ("Lost").

Flintstones was created by legendary creative duo William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, the wizards behind such beloved and memorable characters like Tom & Jerry, Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw, Johnny Quest, Smurfs, Jetsons, Yogi Bear and so on and on and on.

The show made history right from the beginning. It was the first TV show ever to show a married couple (Fred and Wilma) in bed together. It was also the first animated series to be nominated for a primetime comedy Emmy. Not until 2009 (when Family Guy was nominated for a comedy Emmy) was another animated show nominated in a non-animation category.

The tremendous success of Flintstones inspired Hanna-Barbera to create the Jetsons. Whereas Flintstones was set in the stone age, the Jetsons was set in a highly futuristic age, an era replete with fashionable personalized space-cars, robotic maids and escalator-equipped houses.

The formula employed by the Flintstones was hardly unique. It was your typical suburban family tale with its typical suburban problems. What made it unique was its clever incorporation of themes that made it appealing to viewers of all ages. On the one hand, you have these episodes where Fred is forced to make difficult choices, his obligatory personal angel and demon goading him in opposite directions. Clearly, these scenarios were written to appeal to kids- to make them more moral and principled. On the other hand, the show touched upon issues like jealousy and workplace blues, which appealed to the adult crowd as well. Betty and Barney are often jealous of Fred and Wilma, and Fred often has to swallow the proverbial bitter pill when ordered to something unsavory by his boss at the Bedrock Quarry. Of course, it was always a pleasure to see Bam-Bam. And those feet-propelled cars. Great stuff. And who can forget poor Fred, locked out of his own house by his devilish cat (BTW, yet another proof that cats are devious engines of mischief).

Happily, Flintstones' charm still lingers on. I mean here I am, writing about a TV show I grew up watching on the Cartoon Network. Despite being a product of the 60's, it still resonates with us. Shows like Full House, Modern Family and Everybody Loves Raymond took many elements from the Flintstones. Walk into your neighborhood grocery store and you will find Pebbles cereal. The show even led to a full-fledged movie starring oft-married Elizabeth Taylor among others.

It's nice to see Google paying a homage to this wonderful wonderful show via its doodle .

So on September 30, wherever you are, whatever you happen to be drinking (wine, beer, champagne, rye, water, kool-aid, blood - just kidding about the last part), take time to raise your glass, chalice, cup, bottle, jar, pitcher or skull in honor of a show that truly exemplifies the concept of genius.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Plumbing issues

It is never a good sign when the maintenance honchos walk into your bathroom, look at the clogged bathtub and immediately call for help, because the problem "is too serious". Apparently, this is a system-wide problem and some "main line" is clogged up.

Currently, our sink has been thoroughly dismantled and the bathroom resembles a war zone. Burly guys in combat shoes are walking in and out with very fancy plumbing equipment. Remarkably, some of the equipment is similar to the instruments used in medicine. There was this clog-removal tool that worked and looked very much like a clot-removal device used by neurologists to treat stroke patients. The basic concept is the same: there is a retractable shaft (catheter in the case of medical tool) with a coil attached at the front. If sufficient force is applied via the shaft (or catheter), the coil can dislodge the clog (or clot), clearing the obstruction, thus allowing for a smooth flow of water (or blood). Pretty impressive.

If my roommate or I bump into you folks tomorrow in a distinctly shower-deprived state, you know what to blame.

On the Road - 5: Niceville

If Nashville were to play the role of superspy James Bond, it would perhaps itself like this: "Name's ville. Niceville." And order drinks thus: "One martini. Shaken, not stirred. Please."

People often say the south is a completely different place - almost like its own country. It doesn't take long to notice the difference. Nashvilleans are outrageously polite. So polite they almost me feel guilty.

Am I being nice enough? Is my smile wide enough? 2 millimeters more, perhaps?

I got a lot of honeys and sweethearts from elderly female cashiers and clerks. And it was 94 degrees outside! Nothing seems to faze these bubbling cauldrons of joy.

With a population of about 650,000 (1.5 million if you count the surrounding areas), Nashiville is the second biggest city in Tennessee. It enjoys prominence owing to its status as the state's capital as well as its reputation of brewing country music superstars. Music city, USA, as Nashville is often called, is home to the country music hall of fame, and boasts having an entire area devoted to recording studios. Nashville makes it obvious that it takes music seriously. Get this: the airport features a live band! The musicians kept playing merrily as amused travelers (like this blogger) walked by.

LA: meet your country music counterpart.

Nashville is also home to Opryland, the largest non-casino hotel. And here I thought the frat across the street from my apartment owned that dubious record. Speaking of dubious, the Tennessee Titans and NHL non-powerhouse Predators play in Nashville as well.

Vanderbilt University is the major research university in the city. How do we know it is important? Why of course because it has been called the "Harvard of the south". I wonder how the fine folks at Harvard would feel if their institution was called the "Vanderbilt of New England."

Vanderbilt, or Vandy, was founded by legendary shipping and railroad mogul Cornelius Vanderbilt in March 1873. Good ol' Cornelius was born in a solidly Dutch family in New York and worked his way (the good ol' American way) to become an immensely rich and influential figure in the country's history. He operated steam ferries around the New York area, eventually branching out to ocean lines as well. His shipping prowess earned him the nickname "Commodore." Beginning in the 1850's, he began investing in railroads, adding considerable amount of wealth to his already large fortune. When the civil war erupted, he donated his flagship Vanderbilt to the Union navy.

Think this is all boring history? Well, here is something interesting: fashion empress Gloria Vanderbilt is one of his descendants, and so is CNN News honcho Anderson Cooper (Gloria V's son). Tycoonery seems to run in the family.

Vanderbilt University takes its historical roots seriously. A giant statue of the Commodore greets visitors at the front entrance. Even the school's mascot is called the Commodore. No Falcons or Wildcats for these folks.

The Commodore, standing tall and proud

The campus extremely scenic, full of lush lawns, intriguing modernist sculptures and quaint 19th century styled academic halls. Walking around the campus felt like walking in a cherry orchard (zing! Chekhov reference). Definitely the most scenic campus I have visited.

Various sculptures seen around the campus
The VUMC (Vanderbilt University Medical Center) is quite extensive and has a VA, a Children's Hospital and a host of research buildings. You know the Children's Hospital is good because they have a giant, intricately designed model train set for kids (and their parents) to play with.

For the kids and the kid within you

 Lastly, the student newspaper is called the Hustler. Yeah you read that right. No banal names like Herald or Tribune for these Commodores. Vandy's finest get their news from the Hustler. Pretty badass. The hustling commodores. (name coined by my friend RPN)

I certainly loved Nashville a lot. It's cheap (many students choose to buy condos) and despite being a big city, it is mercifully free from the accompanying traffic troubles. Although I didn't get a chance to taste it, I can always train myself to like grits.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mad Men - "Hands and Knees" : Men down

I will be honest here. Didn't like this episode that much. I hate it when shows like Mad Men resort to the pregnancy plot device. It was sort of OK when they did that with Peggy in Season 1/Season 2, but to do it again with Joan?! I expected better from the creative gurus on this one.

I didn't have enough time to do a post on last week's episode, but I enjoyed that episode a lot. For a show set in the 60's, Mad Men has been very coy about tackling the social and political upheaval of the times directly (with a few exceptions. See: Nixon v. Kennedy, JFK assassination, and Liston v. Ali fight). So it was refreshing to see last week's episode tackle civil rights issue and women's rights issue as well. All three of the strongest female characters on the show (Peggy, Joan and Dr. Miller) realize they are missing something in their lives (either due to personal choices or society's restrictions) towards the end of the episode. Honorable mention goes to Sally, who tries valiantly to escape her mother's house to stay with her father. Like the grown-up trio, she too realizes at the end that she can't always get what she wants (zing! I worked in a Rolling Stones reference). Miss Blankenship's death provided the same black humor that the lawnmower incident did in Season 3.

With that out of the way, on to Sunday's episode. Seems like this was the male version of last week's episode. Don, Lane, Roger and Pete all end up devastated when they are confronted with terrible situations. Don goes into uber-panic mode when he realizes he inadvertently applied for a security clearance from the DoD when his firm chose to work with North American Aviation. He is a deserter from the Korean War, a man who stole a dead lieutenant's identity so he has solid reasons to be afraid of the government finding out about his sordid past.

Roger finds out from a callous Lee Jr. that Lucky Strike, the client that keeps SCDP afloat, has decided to pull out. Both men inherited their respective businesses, and seems like both are gettint irrelevant now. Roger also has to deal with the shocking news that he got Joan pregnant when they went out for dinner.

A side note here: like the Peggy pregnancy plot line, Weiner was coy with one also. We see Joan at the abortion clinic, but we never actually see her going in or coming out with an abortion.

Lane Pryce. Oh Lane, I feel for thee. A fully grown-up man like him getting brutally whacked on the forehead by his father's mean-looking walking cane and being forced to call his father "sir" - very very poignant. Sure he made a mess of things in the U S of A, but for him to bow down (literally) to his father's orders was just a shocker. I guess that explains his obsequiousness from Season 3.

In many ways, Pete Campbell acted as the adult in this episode, which is something of a rarity for this character. He handled the Don issue quite effectively and went as far as to take the whole blame of ditching NAA on himself. His rant about how dishonest people leave everyone around them in tatters was pretty impressive as well.

But like I said, didn't enjoy this that much. Too disjointed, lumpy and out-of-character moments in this episode. The creative cabal rushed us through very many pivotal moments in one single episode (Joan is pregnant! SCDP is on the brink of ruin! Don may be outed! Lane is heading back! Don and Faye might break up now!). The Season 3 finale rushed us through many developments as well, but that one was crafted masterfully. This one reeked of clumsiness.

Some random things I liked:
  • Sally's reaction when she found out Don was taking her to see the Beatles!
  • Don's "You're not a real doctor" to Faye (who has a PhD) in the middle of his panic attack when she tried to help
  • Betty not being portrayed the monster, for once
  • Roger's fury unleashed

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The grand to-do list

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately (you should try it too - it's good for your health). I dusted off the cobwebs, oiled the creaky rusty brain and put it to work. And I realized that despite being in LA for the last three years, there are quite a few things I haven't had a chance to do. I have one more year before I graduate and leave the bubble, so here is a list of things I would like to do/accomplish before the year is over.

If I was Jay Leno (or David Letterman, pick your poison), now would be the time for the terrible in-house band to play some dramatic music and do a drum roll.

1. Get into a medical school. If that doesn't work out, the next best thing is getting a PhD in Computer Science.

2. Visit the USC campus. Everyone makes such a big deal out of the crosstown rivalry and I have never once visited the Trojan campus. Would be nice to do that.

3. Visit the Hollywood sign. You know the sign that every movie and TV show set in LA tries to get panoramic shots of? Yeah apparently you can hike up to that.

4. Attend a concert at Hollywood bowl. I have been to the LA Opera (cheap student tickets and an alert friend), but haven't been to the Bowl yet. It's quite expensive from what I've heard, but so is regret.

5. Spot a celebrity. Almost four years and one-and-a-half sightings (James Franco in Starbucks, Magic Johnson from across the street. Couple friends tried getting his attention, but he ignored them and drove away). Not enough, obviously. People reported seeing entities like Adam Sandler, Rajon Rondo, and a string of E and F-listers. I will make this happen this year, even if it means staking someone out and making them get a restraining order (I am looking at you Kim Kardashian. Nah just joking)

6. Publish a short story. Yeah it sucks that no one reads the pages and pages of stuff I write. But this year I am seriously going to try and get something published in the Westwind (the college literary magazine). Maybe I too will get discovered a la Justin "Look at my bangs" Bieber. 

Short list, but I am not too demanding.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

On the Road - 4: Pittsburgh (Putting the 'It's' in It's Happening)

Pittsburgh, PA: The erstwhile steel capital of America. Andrew Carnegie's backlot, his sandbox. But that was then. When most people (including me) think of Pittsburgh today, they probably think it is a dump - a dying old steel town that outlived its usefulness, and is past its prime.

Imagine my shock when I looked outside my tiny AmericanEagle airplane (3 seats a row, a plane so tiny even reasonably tall people have to crouch to walk through the aisle), I saw thick plumes of lush green trees, a neat and dazzling array of skyscrapers surrounded by spectacular bridges over wide rivers. No surprise, then, that Pittsburgh was named the most livable city in America .

Pittsburgh, PA. []
The city of bridges has experienced a rebirth, and it is all the bit better for it. Everyone I talked to was immensely proud of Pitt's beauty and acted playfully offended when I expressed my surprise at finding the city so pleasant.

I stayed in a neighborhood called ShadySide, about 2 miles from University of Pittsburgh (which is located in an area called Oakland), in a nice little hotel called ShadySide Inn (a converted apartment building, where 50's era radiators are anachronistically juxtaposed next to flat screen TVs). The hotel is so nice that the manager mails signed thank-you notes to guests.

I took it as another mark of the city's confidence that it chooses to call one of its swankiest locales Shadyside.

Oakland is a very vibrant area, owing to the presence of two major research universities: University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. The two campuses are so enmeshed that buildings from both campuses are often located right next to each other. To avoid confusing freshmen, they label each building's name with the name of the school.

U Pitt, because of its medical school and its associated medical center, is a more forceful presence. Like in Ann Arbor, where Mich dominated the city, UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) pretty much dominates the area. UPMC operates about 25 hospitals in and around Pittsburgh, making it the largest health system in the United States. Last year, the system generated about $8 billion in revenues, which gives you a sense of the extent of its multifaceted operations.

U Pitt is also, by far, the older of the two institutions. It was founded in 1787, when none of us were alive.

University of Pittsburgh: founded before you, your mother, your grandmother and your great-grandmother were alive

You can tell U Pitt values education by the fact that they have a humongous Cathedral of learning (I can hear Citizen Lafayette salivating at this factoid) right in the middle of campus. Magnificent and imposing at 535 feet, the cathedral is the fourth-largest educational building in the world, as my friend Wikipedia informs me (second, if you go by the tour guides at Pitt School of Medicine). The building is open 24/7, and its 42 floors house many classrooms and a quiet study room. I took a peek inside and the architecture is just so intricate and awe-inspiring.
The Cathedral of learning: bigger than ANYTHING on your college campus

People here were tactful enough not to mention the harsh winters (last winter's snowstorms virtually crippled the whole city. People reportedly skied down the hilly streets around the Med school.) Regardless, Pittsburgh is a very beautiful city.

Spread the word. Correct the misconception. Squash the rumors.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Benedict on Faith and Reason

I often drone on and on (ask my roommates!) about how there is no dichotomy between faith and reason. At least, not from the Catholic end. Pope Benedict XVI says it much better than I ever could in his speech at Westminster. I encourage everyone to read the full text and watch the video (Part 1, starts at 2:42, and Part 2). Here is the central thrust:
The central question at issue, then, is this: where is the ethical foundation for political choices to be found? The Catholic tradition maintains that the objective norms governing right action are accessible to reason, prescinding from the content of revelation.
According to this understanding, the role of religion in political debate is not so much to supply these norms, as if they could not be known by non-believers – still less to propose concrete political solutions, which would lie altogether outside the competence of religion – but rather to help purify and shed light upon the application of reason to the discovery of objective moral principles. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

On the Road - 3: Comrade Bazarov's day(s) off

I decided to combine my Chicago outings into one post.
My cousins here graciously took me out to the city on Saturday and kept me well-fed throughout the day. They even pretended to be tourists and took me to the "touristy" places. I had been to Chicago before (about 8 years ago) so it was nice to visit the city again and refresh my memory.

The first place we visited was the Giant Bean. There is nothing much I can say about it except that it is a bean and it is giant. My friend from Northwestern University informed me today that the structure's official name is the Cloud Gate. But no one calls it that. So we will call it the Giant Bean as well. Situated in the middle of the Millennium Park, the Giant Bean has a very shiny mirror-like metallic surface that reflects the city's famous skyline, providing excellent photo-ops for tourists. Wikipedia tells me the architect Anish Kapoor was inspired by the characteristic liquid shine of Mercury. My friend told me the reflective nature of the Giant Bean caused some considerable controversy a couple of years ago, when the designers of many Chicago skyscrapers filed a lawsuit alleging their copyrights were being violated when tourists snapped pictures of the city's skyline in the Giant Bean and freely distributed these snapshots online. Thankfully common sense prevailed, and a judge threw the case out.

The Giant Bean in its full glory [image:]

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mad Men 'The Summer Man': A cliche-fest

"He's a handsome two-bit gangster like you" - Dr. Faye Miller describing her dad to Don Draper.

I don't have much time (and it's kind of late here in Pittsburgh), so I will keep this review of tonight's Mad Men short.

After last week's episode, where the writing and acting were phenomenal, this one was a huge letdown for me. Riddled with cliches and non sequiturs, this one didn't seem to go anywhere. And I understand that with shows like Mad Men not every episode will advance the plot (if Mad Men can be said to have a plot in the conventional sense) significantly, but this one was just were gauzy and detached, floating somewhere in the ether, much like that episode where Don visited California in the previous season and hung out with a bunch of weird wealthy Europeans.

It seems that Don has finally decided to change. He stays away from the usual morning drink, resists taking Dr. Miller to his apartment after that date (and what a date it was, with the elaborate game both of them played - Dr. Miller strongly hinting her dad is connected to the Mafia somehow and cleverly sequestering Don's coat), and finally reminds himself to play the responsible father.

But the diary writing? Blah. Don's diary is full of cheesy one-liners. "I should've finished high school." Is this the creative genius Don Draper behind such legendary ad campaigns as Glo-Coat and Kodak? Even James Patterson writes better than that. Heck, even Roger's supposed memoir (horribly titled Sterling Gold) sounds better than this tripe.

The Peggy-Joan subplot didn't really work for me either. I know the show was trying to touch on the serious problem of workplace sexual harassment, but Mad Men has been a bit heavy-handed from the beginning, and I thought they handled this clumsily by making this a Peggy-Joan turf war.

To end a cliche-infested episode, the writers used another cliche: Aesop's well-known fable about the contest between the wind and sun about who can get a man to take off his coat sooner.

Some cool things I liked in this episode:
  • Very nice use of The Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" in the beginning!
  • Joan reprimands the troublemakers (who are making a terrible ruckus by banging the vending machine) by asking them to call the customer service line to get help from adults. Pete Campbell chooses that exact moment to poke his head in to investigate the source of all the noise, which is very ironic. Much has been said (on Mad Men analysis blogs) about Pete Campbell's child-like psyche.
  • "Go S**t in the ocean!" - such a piercing insult.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

On the Road - 2: The case of the missing H

Come gather around people for another exciting travelogue. I spent 2 days in Ann "Where is the H" Arbor, Michigan and am now back in Chicago.

Yes I know Ann Arbor is not a harbor and nor is it near a large body of water. Still, it's unsettling to find a city with a name like that. Wikipedia has some interesting theories about this. One theory states that the city, founded in 1824, is named after founder John Allen's wife Ann. Apparently, Ann was fond of grape trees and since the word arbor means tree, the city was christened Ann's Arbor, later shortened to Ann Arbor.
Ann Arbor, MI. [courtesy of]

Ann Arbor, located about 20 miles west of Detroit, is a pleasant little city. The first thing you notice is people in Michigan seem to be living in the future! Three full hours in the future, in fact. Very intimidating for someone traveling from the west coast. Once you get used to that, the next thing that jumps out at you is the astronomical number of dead raccoons. In a span of five minutes, I counted about 8 dead raccoons strewn around on the side of the roads, their innards exposed to the open. Sorry if that is a bit graphic, but it was quite jarring to see these very dead raccoons on the roads.

In Michigan, they have something called an "unpaved road", a curious artifact for someone used to eight-lane freeways clogged up with endless stream of cars. A lot of trees (gotta live up to the name, ya know?) in and around the city - living in LA makes one forget what trees look like.

The weather was pleasant for both days I was there and people there seemed excited for fall. "Believe it or not, we get all four seasons here, unlike you Californians", quipped one person I talked to. The same wit (when someone asked about the severity of the winters said) sneered, "There is no such thing as too cold, only weak people. Get a coat and pair of gloves and get used to it."

The University of Michigan (who incidentally beat bitter rival Notre Dame in a very tense and exciting football game today) is the single biggest entity in Ann Arbor and occupies several hundred acres of property throughout the city in the form of hospitals, research buildings, and an assortment of school buildings. You can see their distinctive yellow block M everywhere.

What else? Well, Ann Arbor is sister cities with places like Dakar (Senegal), Hikone (Japan) and Peterborough (Canadia). Ann Arbor is also the headquarters of Borders. But most importantly, more than half of the population of Ann Arbor is single. The city was named one of the most livable places in America by Yahoo! and Forbes.

With its natural beauty, quiet streets, neat neighborhoods and invigorating weather, I can see why. A good trip into the upper midwest. Nice to get away from the west coast.

If I get time tomorrow, I will do a post about my day in Chicago (my cousins graciously showed me around and fed me good food). Oh and I hear someone named Snooki is in some trouble. With a (nick)name like that, I am not surprised.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Random Questions on the Koran Burning

The best way for me to understand the Muslim uproar over the Koran burning and the Muhammed cartoons is to think of it in terms of desecration of the Eucharist (which, sadly, still happens nowadays). The desecrator might claim he's simply abusing a cracker, but Catholics understand that the cracker is actually Christ himself.

Granted, if I'm not mistaken, the Koran is a lot lower on the totem pole of sacredness for Muslims than the Eucharist is for Catholics (for Catholics, it doesn't get much higher).

Regardless, does (or should) the fact that a cultural or religious group holds something to be sacred give it any special protection in our society? Is intentionally desecrating this sacred thing considered a hate crime, and if not, should it be?

In a larger sense, if you do something that a person or group perceives as hurtful, and you are aware of this perception, but you don't think that any harm is actually done, are you in the wrong?

War is So Sad

Just a quick post. Wanted to share this excerpt from Marshal MacDonald's memoirs regarding the Battle of Leipzig. At the end of Leipzig, Napoleon's great defeat, the French are retreating across the Elster river and, due to a junior officer's mistake, the bridge is blown prematurely. 20,000 men are left stranded on the far bank. Among them are Prince Poniatowski, the Polish freedom fighter who had been promoted to Marshal of France the day before and entrusted with the rearguard. Him and his Poles bleed and die that day for the Emperor who freed them, and to what purpose?

Marshal MacDonald is with the rearguard. In the end, he tries to find a way across, attempts a crossing on some logs, falls into the river, and is eventually fished out. His remarks capture the whole bitterness and futility of the Napoleonic Wars, the devotion the soldiers have to the men who lead them to their deaths. I'm sticking with the French Revolution, at least there's some meaning there...

". . .On the other side of the Elster the firing continued; it suddenly ceased. Our unhappy troops were crowded together on the river-bank; whole companies plunged into the water and were carried away; cries of despair rose on all sides. The men perceived me. Despite the noise and tumult, I distinctly heard these words:

'Monsieur le Marechal, save your men! save your children!'

I could do nothing for them! Overcome by rage, indignation, fury, I wept!"

Thursday, September 9, 2010

UG Sports - 5: MAD (Mini and a day early) edition

Since I am out of town for the next 8 days and don't have copious amounts of free time, I will do a mini version of UG Sports a day early.

I will talk only about football (the pigskin version, not the traitor version the Brits play) this week due to obvious reasons.

  • THE NFL SEASON OPENER!!!! Vikings v. Saints. 'nuff said.
  • Despite getting into what has been called a mysterious car accident, Patriots QB Tom Brady was declared unhurt and attended practice. Do we need more proof that the man is indestructible? Somewhere, the Baltimore Ravens are cursing the football Gods...
  • After weeks of riveting off-the-field drama, including an apology that wasn't really an apology, the Reggie Bush-Heisman-USC affair perhaps reached its peak this week when the powers that be demanded the Heisman back. For the first time in its history, the Heisman trust is rescinding the prestigious award. 
  • Things are not going USC's way, are they? As if being severely sanctioned by the NCAA and embarrassed by Reggie Bush wasn't enough, former Trojan star (and Heisman winner) Matt Leinart was kicked out by the Arizona Cardinals because he sucked. Leinart signed a one-year deal with the Houston Texans. Can you say Burrrrrrrrrn? 
Meanwhile, Tiger "Am I out of the" Woods made it to the Ryder cup team. So much drama for such a predictable result.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

On the Road - 1: The vagaries of NorCal

Two days, 1010 miles, a very hot and drowsy Sacramento, and a stop in a ludicrously foggy San Francisco - all in all a mighty fine road trip of sorts.

Sorry I wasn't around to do another UG Sports post this Friday. I was on the road for two days, exploring the ferocious wilderness that is Northern California. Some explosive college football today, though, with weak teams getting absolutely steamrollered (is that a word?) by powerhouses.

Anyway, I will be on the road again for about 10 days (Sep 8-Sep 17) so my next few blog posts will be from exciting locales in the upper midwest, midwest and the east.

Back to my road trip, Sacramento was hot and stifling but I liked the feel of the place. A big city with a small-town aura. Saw the Capitol from outside (at 9 pm) and drove around the downtown. Apparently, Sacramento is the city of trees. And they are not kidding. The place is infested with trees, just like old houses are infested with termites and roaches of dubious ancestry. A very bike-friendly city too (I am frowning at you, LA). And get this: it has its very own water tower!! How cool is that?

San Francisco. Well, it was just San Francisco. Stubbornly Bohemian (bikers riding around at 7:30 pm in a furious drizzle) and loopy as always. The streets were all clogged and chaotic - trams (is that what they call those trains?), buses, bike riders, walkers, joggers, wailers, crawlers etc. The fog descended onto the city by 7 pm and it began to drizzle soon after. Very surreal, especially since I was in a 100 degree Sacramento just hours before.

Maybe I will pull a Kerouc and write a book. Just maybe.

Oh and thank Your Faithful Servant for redecorating the blog. She spent hours on this thing and we really appreciate her skills and her help.