Football and Fr. Vince

30 10 2012

The past weekend found me at a parade, a tailgate party and from a celebratory mass to an Italian dinner featuring wine and song.

Saturday, Oct. 27:

I’m always trying to figure out how tailgating before Arizona State football games just isn’t the event it is in the Pacific Northwest. Or other places I’ve been to, for that matter. Must be the heat. Also, on not super-hot days, it is possible that folks in the Phoenix area find other things to do when its 80 degrees at 11 a.m.

That qualifies as autumn weather around here.

It was still a good time. Here’s more about how I spent that day. The lead photo features Juan Roque, a former ASU player who is Mexican.

A couple of photos from the day:


Field view, pregame vs. UCLA.

Sunday, Oct. 28:

My wife and I attended a special mass for Fr. Vincent Mesi (Father Vince to me). He was my pastor when I was a kid in Oregon at St. Anthony’s Parish. But he moved on and eventually ended up in Phoenix. It so happens that my wife and I were married at St. Mary’s cathedral in downtown Phoenix, where Fr. Vince is the pastor. So many years later, we were fortunate to have the guy who helped make Catholic mass more tolerable (sorry Mom!) when I was young preside over our wedding in 2010.

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“The Avengers” was good, and seeing Las Vegas in a new light

12 05 2012

Let’s go with the most recent occurrence first. My wife and I went to see The Avengers Friday night – were we like the last people in America besides the people in the theater with us to see this? Oh well.

Good movie. A lot of action. Funny lines, especially from Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark’s Iron Man. Thor is kind of lame, I like Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk, especially when he slammed Loki back and forth like a rag doll.

The Captain America movie was really good, I thought, but his role was pretty secondary in The Avengers. And ScarJo > Pepper Potts any day.

Moving on to Vegas, it’s been a week since the big Mayweather-Cotto fight and I have to say, being in Vegas as a media member with a pass to go places the average person cannot is a much better way to roll. I didn’t see all of the celebrities that apparently attended the fight, nevertheless, it was a lot of work but a pretty good time.

Honestly, Vegas is fun, but it costs so much to go nowadays. You want to feel like you get what you pay for, and you’re really paying a lot for a four-star hotel. Especially during a fight weekend. Cab fares are tremendously expensive and they add up.

Three positive reviews from Sin City: The Trump Hotel just off the Strip near the Wynn is fantastic. Such a nice suite I had, unforgettable. Good cheap eats during happy hour (I was there around 5 p.m.) at Pink Taco at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. I ate very well for about $14.50 including a really good tip for my server. And the Japanese cuisine at Grand Wok and Sushi Bar inside the MGM Grand was a bit pricey but delicious.

Tempura shrimp sushi, beef rice noodles and these lettuce wrap type of things. Solid.

Photos from Vegas:

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My year in review, adios 2011

30 12 2011

Another great year in “mi vida deportiva,” but not just in my life of sports, but life in general. I’ll skip the worst of the year and focus on the best moments. Because I can.

Year 2 in Arizona is coming to a close, but it began with the BCS national championship game here in Glendale, and I was fortunate enough to cover it. Even though my beloved Oregon Ducks lost, I was pretty proud of their effort and I can say that I was there. 

Later in January 2011 I took my first trip to the new Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore., new home for Oregon basketball. Awesome place. I’ll always cherish old McArthur Court though.

In February my wife bought me an I-phone for Valentine’s Day. She keeps wanting me to say that the device has made my life better and easier, so I’ll say it: she’s right. It’s not perfect but it’s pretty sweet.

February and March were spent covering Major League Soccer training and baseball spring training. I was very busy, needless to say.

After celebrating the end of spring training with dinner at Morton’s — ooh, swanky! — baseball season began. I went home to Portland in April for my birthday and attended the inaugural Portland Timbers match at Jeld-Wen Field. It poured rain all night, but I was under the overhang and stayed dry and the Timbers thrilled the sellout crowd with the win.

Later in April I went to the two Phoenix Coyotes NHL playoff games against Detroit. The Coyotes got dominated but the atmosphere in Arena was fun. It’s cool to have an NHL team right in my own back yard.

At the end of the month I took my wife to see my favorite rap artist ever, DJ Quik. And we met Mr. Blake in person! Great night.

Then, it was off to see the world. Read the rest of this entry »

Lo Que Es Americano A Mi/What Is American To Me (On July 4)

4 07 2011

Happy Fourth of July to all!

Can’t have a holiday without these two songs about being American, and no, one of them is not the Lee Greenwood anthem.

Does it get any better than Hulkamania and The Godfather of Soul/Rocky IV/Apollo Creed on Independence Day for the USA?

And of course this rather obscure gem from (MC) Hammer, getting down with patriotism in the wake of 9/11. Give it about a minute to get to the music. Laugh if you want, but I’m sure it was coming from a good place in Hammer’s heart. Can’t Touch This!

More Americana to me…

-Watching the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, then eating a burrito for breakfast.

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Five days in Pasadena and L.A.

22 06 2011

I spent the better part of last week in California to be there for a big day for my family, and it was great. Saw plenty of relatives, went go-karting and took in a Dodger game. Let’s start there.

My favorite baseball team has won its last three games, but last Wednesday, they were in the midst of a losing streak in which they were playing some really uninspired and sorry baseball. Still, I got to see a game. I see one every year pretty much.

The Dodgers in Brooklyn throwback uniforms. Here's the pitch...

Matt Kemp of LA about to hit a double against the Cincinnati Reds.

Kemp and Andre Ethier in the outfield. Dodgers lost 7-2. It was ugly.

Bummed out as Dodgers get creamed on a beautiful day for baseball.

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Something old yet something new

17 04 2011

Now that I am only able to afford no more than four trips back to Oregon per year at this point, it seems every time I return to my hometown there is something new to see and experience.

Let’s start with the new from my trip to the Portland area, which ends Sunday afternoon.

The "new" home of the Portland Timbers. I was there for Home Game No. 1.

Real nice to see my cousin, also named Jose, at the Timbers game and I’m proud of him doing so well with his career.

I moved out of town in 1998 and after I left, the city’s most famous doughnut shop came into existence. I went with my wife there on Friday. This is Voodoo Doughnuts and it was a day away from a remodel so we got our donuts just in time.

I also saw this famous slogan actually not on a bumper sticker.

There’s a new sports bar/bowling alley by my parents’ home in Tigard, called Big Al’s. Note to self: Go there one day.

And last but not least in the new category, I have been to the Portland Art Museum before but not the screening auditorium. It was there on Saturday that I saw a very gripping film about the Holocaust from the French Jews’ perspective, “Sarah’s Key,”

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A time to celebrate and exhale, and watch Felix pitch

30 03 2011

The end of spring training is a time to celebrate and rest.

While I had fun and saw a lot of friends come through Arizona, I couldn’t be happier that its over and the teams have all gone their separate ways to begin their seasons.

San Francisco, the defending World Series champion, looked good in pretty much every game I saw them play. They are loaded with good pitching and a solid lineup.

Seattle looks like it will struggle this year. Too many question marks in the bullpen and the starting rotation could fall apart after Felix Hernandez. The Mariners are going to play hard but I’d be really surprised if they are contenders.

Colorado looks like a solid team. Didn’t like what I saw from the Dodgers, and the Oakland A’s will be fun to watch because no one expects them to do much but they have a lot of players out to disprove the doubters.

Opening Day is tomorrow, today was celebration day.

OK it’s photo time again, as I transition into more soccer writing, traveling and less of the daily grind.

The Diamondbacks' mascot races Tuesday night at Chase Field.

Took my wife to dinner tonight, I haven't been able to spend much time with her of late.