Category Archives: Sports

That Was A Lot Of Adrenaline

I hate my brain sometimes.

On Friday I wrote about the SpaceX Launch Abort flight that they were going to try to fly this weekend. I mentioned how it was scheduled for way too damn early on the West Coast, but thanks to social media I knew that the schedule had been pushed back from about 04:00 to about 07:30 or so. I’m normally awake by then, so I turned off my alarms. Then when the Saturday morning launch attempt got scrubbed completely, I saw that update almost immediately when I woke up – so I went back to sleep.

They rescheduled for this morning, but later, about 05:30. Even though I didn’t have any alarms set, my idiot brain got me up anyway, only to find that there was another weather delay, this time until about 07:00. I went back to sleep, only to have my smartass brain wake me up then.

The good news is that the test was an amazing success. About eighty seconds into the launch, traveling at about Mach 2.2 (I’m remembering these figures from my sleepy state this morning, they might be off by a tad), the Dragon spacecraft commanded the Falcon 9 launch vehicle to shut down and then fired the escape rockets. It worked perfectly! The Dragon separated, took off like a bat out of hell, then re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere and deployed the parachutes, splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean about 40 km off shore.

That was fantastic! Here’s to hoping that we’re now within mere weeks of once again launching American crews into space from American soil on American rockets. (That’s not jingoistic, it’s begging for redundant systems for a critical component of human space flight. If there’s only one way to get to orbit and back and something happens to that one thing, you’re screwed. Right now that only one way is on a Russian Soyuz. It had a launch abort last year and there were concerns that we might have to evacuate the ISS when the next crew rotation came up. Plus there’s that whole “political thing” with the Russians trying to overthrow our government…)

Then this afternoon my beloved Kansas City Chiefs played for the Conference Championship and the opportunity to go to the Super Bowl in two weeks.

The Chiefs played in Super Bowl I (and lost) and in Super Bowl IV (and won). Since then, fifty long years, it’s been nada. Zilch. Zip. Bupkis. Last year we were within minutes or seconds of winning the Championship game, only to let the opportunity slip away.

In today’s game we again fell behind early. Last week it was 24-0 before we got on track, this week not so bad but still down 17-7. But as we did last week, we hit our stride, got our game in gear, and ended up kicking ass and winning.

In both the launch and the game there was a LOT of adrenaline spent. It was “happy adrenaline,” not that “oh shit, there’s a cheetah behind me” kind. For that I’m grateful, but for now I’m crashing as that particular hormone burns it way out of my system.

I’ve never in my life been more happy to have a holiday coming up tomorrow. I’m freaking exhausted.

But happy. Happy exhausted.

We play the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl in Miami on February 2nd. Well before summer, we’ll see a crew going to ISS on a SpaceX Dragon.

50 years between Super Bowls for the Chiefs.

9 years between crewed flights out of Florida.

WTFL (Way Too Freakin’ Long) in both cases, but the light at the end of the tunnel is there!

 

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Filed under KC Chiefs, Space, Sports

What A Ride

It’s not a secret that I’m a huge fan of the Kansas City Chiefs. Remember Christmas 2018 when we went on a road trip to Seattle and KC to watch them? And we saw them play the Chargers and the Rams in Los Angeles last year?

This has been a bit of a roller coaster year, with our MVP quarterback being hurt for several games. We lost four of five games in the middle of the season, but came on strong in the second half and finished 12-4, and even managed to squeak into the #2 spot in the standings and getting a bye in the first week of the playoffs.

Then came yesterday…

Many bad words were uttered as we gave up long touchdown passes, blocked punts, and muffed kickoffs. MANY bad words.

My indomitable faith in the team was rewarded when they came back with the biggest, most spectacular, most amazing comeback quarter of football in the history of the game. Not a comeback from 24 points down in a game – they did it in ONE QUARTER.

Then they kept me calm and my blood pressure down by keeping the pedal to the metal.

Yes, it’s no secret at the office that I’m a Chiefs fan – we have a healthy football culture in the office with fans of teams from all over the league. So, yes, everyone in the office wanted to talk about THAT game.

Next weekend, don’t bother me between noon and 15:00. I’ll be preoccupied.

And with luck we’ll get to host one hell of a party on February 2nd.

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Filed under KC Chiefs, Sports

New York, New York (Pictures Day 21)

In summary: New York City had a life of it’s own in my head. In early August 2016, I visited there for the first time. On the first afternoon we visited Central Park and were there for hours, despite the jet lag. Day One started with a tour of the Intrepid and the Space Shuttle Enterprise, followed by the full two and a half hour cruise around Manhattan – south down the Hudson River into the Upper Harbor, up the East River under the “BMW” bridges, past Midtown and the UN, into the Harlem River, back south into the Hudson River, underneath the George Washington Bridge, past Grant’s Tomb, and finally back into port. To finish Day Two we had a death march to find a cab, went to the Mets game, left early only to miss the best part, and inadvertently stiffed a nice cab driver. Bright & early on Day Three we headed out toward Liberty Island – it’s hard to take a bad picture there, then went to Ellis Island. Bank on Manhattan, we went to World Trade Center Museum, which was emotional & grueling. Day Four started out with a trip to Times Square, after which we headed to the Empire State Building. The views of Manhattan were spectacular! Then we went to Yankee Stadium for a game.


Because it was Alex Rodriguez’s final game, there was a huge crowd and a big pre-game ceremony planned. The weather, on the other hand, had other ideas and the grounds crew got ready to roll out the tarp.

And not a moment too soon. We were just a row or two under the 2nd deck overhang, so we were relatively safe from being too soaked.

As the storm moved over the stadium, the winds started roaring (see the flags?) and the underside of the storm cell looked like movie special effects for “all Hell’s going to break loose.”

Despite the fact that it was something like 90 minutes before sunset, it got black as night with thunder rumbling constantly out of the clouds right overhead. Good thing we weren’t sitting right next to a humongous yellow steel pole sticking up in the air a hundred feet or so, right?!!

That sick yellow color on the underside of the clouds doesn’t make you feel better about the situation when 30 seconds before it was pitch black.

ARod was out there trying to be ceremonial. My concern was that he was out there with his family and a few dignitaries while the end of the freakin’ world was rolling in from the west. Don’t they understand what bad PR it would be for ARod and his family to be killed by lightning in the middle of this farewell ceremony?

And these dudes out there warming up? I can only conclude that they wanted to make sure that ARod didn’t get fricasseed alive alone by Thor throwing thunderbolts. Probably a team camaraderie thing. Or they’re really freakin’ stupid, I could go either way.

The skies finally opened up and they cut the ARod ceremony short. See, there IS a god!

The rain passed after a half-hour or so of downpour and the game finally got underway . We almost never leave a ballgame before the end, but we were exhausted and chose to bug out early. Someday I’ll get back to Yankee Stadium and take a more thorough tour, camera in hand.

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Filed under Photography, Sports, Travel, Weather

Someplace Special – October 25th

From our trip last December, the final game of the regular season for the Kansas City Chiefs, against the hated Oakland Raiders.

It was cold. The crowd was ***LOUD***! We stomped them, 35-3.

We got to see four games last year. Two in LA, one in Seattle, and this game in KC. This year we’re highly unlikely to get to any games since the Chargers’ “home game” against the Chiefs is in Mexico City next month.

Arrowhead Stadium is a holy place to a lifelong Chiefs fan.

Truly somewhere special!

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Monday Night Football

If you don’t follow sports, or if you’re not in the US and just don’t follow US pro football, you may or may not know that last night’s Monday Night Football game was an instant classic, being labeled by many as one of the greatest regular season games in history. But you might not care, so feel free to ignore today’s rant!

“I’m out of the office at 2:30, go to NoHo, Red Line to 7th Street/Metro Center, Metro Line to USC – should be there about 4:30” – 11/18/2018 text message to The Younger Daughter

“No battle plan ever survives first contact with the enemy” – Helmuth von Moltke, 19th century head of the Prussian army

It was much closer to 3:00 before I left the office. The freeway onramp at DeSoto was blocked by an accident. I tried to get to the Winnetka onramp, only to find a few thousand other folks had the same idea. It took twenty minutes or so to work my way through the side streets down to the Reseda onramp. Free sailing until I got to the Universal Studios Metro station, only to find ALL the parking spots full with dozens of Rams and Chiefs fans circling the lot in gridlock. I bailed and drove ten minutes out to the NoHo Metro station (which has a much larger lot), only to find ALL the parking spots full with dozens and dozens of Rams and Chiefs fans circling the lot in gridlock. I went to the NoHo Metro station overflow lot, only to find ALL the parking spots full with…

I started cruising the streets of North Hollywood, looking for street parking. All of it was metered, most for one or two hours max. (How much is a parking ticket compared to what I paid for the tickets that I was going to miss using? Would they just give me a ticket or tow me?)

I finally found a spot about eight blocks from the Metro station with a four-hour limit. So-so neighborhood judging by the graffiti and piles of dog poop, but any port in a storm, eh?

Got to the Red Line and on a train to Metro Center with no problems. A couple of Chiefs fans on the train, but LOTS of Rams fans. Let the friendly banter begin.

The Expo line train from Metro Center to USC was packed. Then they let us out to start the cattle herd to the Coliseum.

Fighting through those crowds, only to get to a twenty-minute-plus wait to get screened through security at the gate.

Finally at my seat with The Younger Daughter and The Fiance! “Should be there about 4:30,” he said in ignorance. The time stamp on the photo is 5:36.

But we were there!

There’s a lot of construction going on at the LA Coliseum. And it was absolutely packed.

We were in the end zone, about halfway up, so our seats didn’t suck, but weren’t fantastic either.

At half time, the ESPN guys were doing their report from right down in front of us. You can also get a good feel for how many Chiefs fans (dressed in red) there were compared to the Rams fans. Unlike the games we’ve seen at the Chargers’ stadium (where it’s literally more Chiefs fans than Chargers fans) here the Chiefs fans were in the distinct minority.

Also at halftime we got a three-song “concert” from The Chain Smokers – who I have never, ever heard of. But the fireworks were nice.

As I said at the top, the game was an instant classic, being labeled by many as one of the greatest regular season games in history. It was something like the third highest scoring regular season game in history, and by far the highest scoring Monday Night Football game. The crowd was on its feet and just electric all night.

In the end, my beloved Chiefs fell to defeat, 54-51, in large part due to far, far too many penalties and three touchdowns for the Rams off of Chiefs’ fumbles and interceptions. We made more mistakes than they did. But we never, ever gave up. Even with all of those mistakes, we were driving with less than a minute less and could have easily tied it and sent it to overtime or won it outright in regulation.

It was utterly fantastic, and we were there.

It was a freakin’ adventure.

And if you think those crowds in the stadium and on the Metro trains were bad coming in (when the crowd arrived spaced out over four hours or so), you can’t even imagine how bad they were when 100,000 people all leave the game at the same time at the end. It took almost three hours to get home.

Worth. Every. Bit. Of. Effort!!

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Filed under KC Chiefs, Los Angeles, Photography, Sports

Calming Clouds

Barring a disaster, I am currently in the process of losing my voice while screaming my lungs out at the LA Coliseum while my beloved Kansas City Chiefs (9-1 on the season) are stomping on and defeating the Los Angeles Rams (9-1 on the season). It should be one hell of a game. Rest assured, I’m not typing this from the stands. But I figure it’s likely that I won’t have much time to post anything Monday night, so I’m setting this up in advance.

When the season’s schedule was first announced I thought it was fantastic that I would have a chance to see the Chiefs in person twice, once when they play the Chargers (they’re in the same division, so this happens every year – there are pictures on this site from the past several years’ visits) and once when they played the Rams in Los Angeles. Then the league announced that the Rams game would be played in Mexico City as part of their international expansion program. I was not going to go to Mexico City to see that game. However, the gods have conspired on my behalf, the field at Azteca Stadium was ripped to shreds by a couple of concerts, heavy rain, and some soccer games, and last week on an emergency basis the NFL moved the game back to Los Angeles.

So I will get to see the Chiefs live against the Rams. But it won’t be just twice this year – you’ll be hearing more about it, but for the holidays we get to see two more games. As shitty as 2018 has been in many ways, seeing the Chiefs live four times, especially considering how well they’re playing, might be one of the few highlights.

Anyway, while I’m screaming myself hoarse, you’re invited to enjoy some calming clouds that were over our construction site on Saturday when we had our Key Ceremony. They were stunning to look at and also kept the temps down to a reasonable level while we handed out the keys and other gifts to the latest veterans moving into our homes in Santa Clarita. (See our website if you want to see more details about that.)

Go Chiefs!

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Filed under Homes4Families, KC Chiefs, Photography, Sports, Weather

Someplace Special – September 30th

Anaheim, California

In the decades when it was primarily known as the sole location of the original Disneyland (let’s be real, it’s still pretty much known for that) it was called “The Happiest Place On Earth.” I’ve been to Disneyland a few times over the years but it’s really not my sort of entertainment – this place, also in Anaheim, does it for me.

I became an Angels fan when I moved to California in 1974 to go to school at UC Irvine. Coincidentally, this panorama was taken three years ago when they had a “UCI Night” and gave out Angels/UCI hats. (You can see someone wearing on on the right side of the picture.) I went with my daughter, who is also a UCI alum. (“Zot! Zot! Zot!”)

We have a lot of family memories at Anaheim Stadium, from times I went there when the team was terrible (before the kids were born) to the times we went there for the MLB All-Star Game. We’ve seen playoff games there, we’ve gone to many a home opener, I’ve gone on dates there, I’ve taken infants only a month old there.

Today was the last game of the regular season and that closes out the 2018 campaign for the Angels. For the third year in a row we have a losing season and have missed the playoffs, and it’s been nine years since we’ve won a playoff game and sixteen years since our one and only World Series championship.

The other thing that happened this year is that we didn’t make it to a single game. I can’t verify it, but that may very well be the first time in the 44 years that I’ve lived out there that I didn’t get to an Angels game. In fact, I didn’t get to any games at all this year for the Angels, Dodgers, or anyone else.

That right there may symbolize my 2018 in a single fact as much as anything.

But, as with the Boys of Summer, spring will arrive and hope will truly spring eternal. There’s always next year…

 

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Filed under LA Angels, Panorama, Photography, Sports