Sunday, August 27, 2006

Are the Pats that good or are the Redskins that bad?

Before I begin, I am watching Guatemalan soccer on GolTV, and am intrgued by something: in what does not look like a stadium with a lot of covered seating, few if any fans are seating in the first 10-15 rows. I've always preferred to sit that many rows up as opposed to the front row at sporting events. The reasoning is simple: I can see better many rows back.

Anyway, I usually do not put a lot of stock in what happens during NFL pre-season games. Not even the third one, which is a close to a regular season game as you get in pre-season; the starters go far deeper into the game than in the other ones. But I could not help but think about the replay of last night's Pats-Redskins game. New England completely dominated a supposed-to-be-playoff contender from start to finish. Washington never even advanced the ball past New England's 20 yard line until the final minute against the third or fourth team defense. Very poorly taken penalty kick in the soccer game.

Without even really opening up the offense or defense, the Pats looked like a Super Bowl Contender. I don't know what the Redskins looked like, but I have seen at least parts of their three pre-season games, and I have not seen anything that tells me they will win more than three games without a drastic change in form come September. The offense sucks ass, I know Clinton Portis is out but they look pathetic. The supposed team strength, defense, has key guys out but looks bad all things considered. Lots of diving in the Guatemalan soccer game. Pre-season ain't the real thing, but the chicken little the sky is falling wing of Redskins nation has some merit to go along with hysteria. As a Pats fan, I'm encouraged but in no way think they will win 30-3 or 41-0 every week. BTW, Pando, formerly of MLS' Los Angeles Galaxy, received a yelloe card for throwing his arm in a guy's face while jostling for a ball.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Forgot to salute Curt Schilling and David Wells

You both did your jobs this weekend. Stellar pitching performances for both of you. If that is Wells's last high-profile start (wtuh his health you never know), he went out like a champion. Manny did his job too until getting hurt today.

The Leg Press Machine Paid for the Red Sox sucking

I was one frustrated person today, from the Red Sox' complete ineptitude to things I shouldn't discuss here. Drew Bledsoe just got a first down on a quarterback sneak. Reggie Bush has only touched the ball once since the game started. The ESPN feed is a mess. Even Terry Glenn has a TD catch.

Back to me being frustrated, it was a very long, very miserable day. Until I got to the gym. Gold's Gym in Alexandria is phenomonal. Great staff, plenty of cardio and weight equipment, and many free classes with your membership. The leg press machine really paid the price for me being pissed off. Bledsoe gets sacked, I still like Drew for what he did with the Pats. Leg press is one of six exercises I was given by a personal trainer for a workout (you get six one on one sessions when you join Gold's). Put 420 pounds on the machine, lifted that mofo 60 times! I was impressed by how I attacked that machine, and probably could have had a few more reps but did not want to overdo things and miss my spinning class because of it. The weights plus spinning felt good, as it should after a miserable day.

With the Red Sox season being over, I can devote all of my sporting attention to football, after saying that Jason Varitek should rehab for next year and forget about this one. Trot Nixon should come back for the final weekend so the fans can give him a final sendoff, as he likely will not be re-signed. The ESPN feed is still messed up. At least I don't feel like a bad fan for not bothering try to go to any games in Baltimore in September.

A serious Thank You to Joe Theismann for mentioning that while the French Quarter is back and running, a lot of New Orleans is not. I just feel a lot of people need to be reminded of that. I plan on donating some more money this year to continued relief efforts.

Now, to talk about the other kind of football that I like. I am really looking forward to seeing some friends and some live soccer on Saturday. It is my understanding that D.C. United and the Los Angeles Galaxy have a very spirited rivalry. I have not seen it in person since 1999 MLS Cup. A lot of people here (myself included, and I am practically a netural MLS-wise although I would call New England my favorite team if a gun was put to my head) are still pissed off at Landodn Donovan for his World Cup performance or lack of. It will be a charged atmosphere on what looks to be a humid Saturday night, I look forward to it. Will be fun.

Drew Bledsoe, pre-season or not, is kicking ass tonight. Finally, the Southwestern Chicken Salad I bought at Safeway for dinner was excellent.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Exorcist Steps are fun ... now I really know ... more fun than the Red Sox

The Sox did get 2 runs in the bottom of the first as I type this and are ahead 2-0 for now. What's disappointing more than anything is not just this weekend, but all the games they pissed away against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Kansas City Royals of the world. Win most of those and they're possibly still in first place, even with the collapse of the pitching staff. Yes, they have injuries, but so don't most other teams out there, including the Yankees. They don't seem to have the killer instinct the 2004 team had. But the Red Sox are not fun right now, so let me move on to things that are fun.

The last two Sundays I have run up the Exorcist steps six times in succession, with a jog around a 2 block by two block part of Georgetown in between each stair run. I thought about going for a seventh or eighth time but didn't have any more energy in near 90 degree, very humid weather. I walked around the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal afterwards, followed by some more walking around NW DC. Mostly around some Embassies and the outer part of the Dupont Circle neighboorhood. The first Embassy I randomly saw, you may ask? Venezuela, on I think 30th Street NW. Just thought that was odd, given the current political climate.

Schilling tosses another scoreless inning, other than a fairly high pitch count, he's kicking ass so far.

I ate a late lunch at a great little sandwich shop at 20th and P Streets called DC Hot. $3.95 got me a great Kansas Roast Beef Sandwich, much better deal for the money than you'd get at COSI or Panera Bread (no disrespect, I like Panera).

When I got in there, the owner (I think) asked me what I wanted to order. As soon as I told him, he asked me if I was from Rhode Island. I guess I still have the New England accent even after 4 1/2 years away. New Englanders ask me all the time where I am from, it's all good. Being from Massachusetts, we naturally discussed the painful times for the Red Sox. I'll go back there for sure the next time I am in the area.

2-0 after 2 innings.

I'm starting to find cool places to hang out, cool bands to see, and other cool fun stuff as I'm here for longer. Red Sox going into a rain delay. F***, this CANNOT be a long one, Bonnie Berstein just said they are expecting hail and heavy winds, but that it will only last 45 minutes or so. Even so, F***, that ain't chance of showers like was reported earlier, and Schilling needs to stay in this game. OTOH, the weather report Bonnie Bernstein got is crap, I grew up in the Boston area, I think I saw hail twice in nearly 28 years.

Back to the cool things. On Friday night I went to Kingstowne Town Center, a family-oriented shopping plaza in suburban Alexandria. The attraction was a ska band from DC called The Pietasters. While definitely not the demogrpahics they are used to playing in front of, a good time was had by all, even the little kids were dancing. Now watching NFL preseason, Peyton Manning is out of the game. Good, I hate that tool. His backup throws a pick that Seattle runs in for a touchdown. Next.

In short, finding more cool things to do for not a lot of money is a good thing that I've become pretty accustomed to doing. It's one of many things that makes life fun, and easy on the limited budget. Cool shots of downtown Indy on NBC, I really like that downtown. The next time I find cool, inexpensive stuff, I'll write about it.

Little more than 2 1/2 weeks until Pikes Peak!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

I kicked The Exorcist Steps' Asses

In the tony Georgetown section of my new city, Washington D.C., is a semi-hidden gem from movie fame, The Exorcist Steps. Right across the Francis Scott Key Bridge and the Potomac River from Rosslyn (Arlington), Virginia, is Georgetown. Directly west on M Street is a nondescript Exxon Station, and some steps with a stone arch. Didn't look to be anything more than a set of stairs to some townhouse building, but I knew better.

Metro Sports D.C. describes these steps as the best stair workout in the area. I still kicked the steps' asses, three runs up them, with a few minutes rest in between. The first two thirds of the steps were not overly rough, the last third took a bit out of me, but I won today. Next time I go to Georgetown I'm going to run them 6-12 times like Metro Sports recommends. When that next time is, who knows. Georgetown has its good points, what little of the campus I saw was very beautiful, and the harbor is okay. And the next time I go there for food and drinks, I'm going to Mr. Smiths because the waitress said hi to me when I walked by. But the bad: no Metro unless you want to walk over the bridge from Rosslyn, parking is every but as hard to find as it is in Boston, not to mention that people drive through a very crowded stretch of town like they're on the freeway. Heck I thought there was going to be 40something accidents in the hour plus I was there. Maybe I'll go Saturday morning, or next Sunday, because I want to kick the steps' asses again.

In other news, I'm getting out and around D.C. a bit. I started a part time job at REI in Baileys Crossroads yesterday. This will help me pay off my credit cards, meet some new people who do a lot of the beat myself up stuff I do (hike, bike, ski), and increase my outerwear knowledge. I remembered how tiring a six hour or more shift there can make me tired afterwards. I had forgotten about that, since it had been four months since I worked there in Denver. I also went hiking on the Cabin John Creek Trail in Montgomery Countty, Maryland, today. 12 miles or so, somewhat flat, but some hilly stretches too, all right near the Beltway and I-270. My friend Sachin was right, you don't have to leave the Beltway to find some good hikes. Other than a mile or so of sidewalk walking, this hike was a quality one. Guess how many other hikers I saw all day? TWO! At a street crossing. I couldn't believe a trail like that so close to town didn't have more traffic.

And yeah, NFL preseason starts tonight! Not that I'm paying all that much attention to tonight's game, or any of them until the third preseason week.