Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Travel Plans

If all goes according to plan, by 2014 I should be able to check off South Africa and Brazil from the list of countries I want to visit.


(I promise to never spoil anything if I post about this book on these pages.)

My wife finished Harry Potter last week and now it is my turn. So far, I am successfully resisting the temptation to take an hour or so off work and keep reading.

I am finding it hard to remember everything that happened in all of the other books - so some character names are new to me when I think they should not be. That's a little frustrating. Otherwise, the story is really good so far.

Monday, July 30, 2007


A son of a good friend of mine passed away this last weekend. I never met his son. I only knew him through the internet and over the phone, through web pages on the site that discussed his long battle with cancer, or through the blogs of his parents and their struggle as a family. Having no children, I cannot imagine what it is like to lose your son. Intellectually, I understand how tragic it must be. Emotionally, it brings tears to my eyes to imagine the pain my friend must be in.

Most of the time, these pages are filled with soccer stories, new music I find interesting, photographs or some sort of anecdote from my daily life...I couldn't do that today. I want to recognize the loss of my friend and ask you to pray for him, his family and his son.


Sunday, July 29, 2007


Second test message...to see if I can get rid of that tacky auto-signature that BB adds to email messages.


This is a test post from my new toy - a blackberry 8830... I have also now switched from Sprint to Verizon.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Oops, I Read the Whole Thing

Good xkcd cartoon that goes along with the reading theme from the Harry Potter opening. If you don't read xkcd, check it out sometime. The disclaimer at the bottom of the site is worth at least one visit:

"Warning: this comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)."

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Adu Leaving MLS?

SBI posted yesterday that Portuguese side Benfica is interested in Adu. The MLS reportedly wants $7.5M. After watching him at the U-20 World Cup, I am excited for Adu to get a chance overseas. I think that getting out of the MLS is a good move for him because of the constant pressure he gets from the media and fans here. Is $7.5M too much?

The original news came from Steve Goff at the Washington Post. In the same post by Steve, he drops the bomb that Ballack wants to play for the Galaxy after 2010. Ballack must have missed the pathetic display that was Beckham's debut this past weekend. I was really pissed at ESPN - the coverage was ridiculous. They made no effort to talk about Chelsea and spent way too much time on such tripe as Beckham's ankle cam and interviews with celebrities who were attending their first soccer game. Ugh. I enjoyed watching it out of some sick rubbernecking perspective though. If it wasn't for the media's inability to focus on the important topics (like who else is playing in the game they are showing), Beckham's move to the US would probably be a good thing.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Scenes from Harry Potter Release Party

My wife dragged me to the Harry Potter book release this past Friday at midnight. We both like reading the books but I had no major interest in being at Barnes and Noble at midnight with the rest of the teenage population of Lafayette, LA.

In the end though, you can't deny that it is really cool to see so many young people excited about reading. Most hyped up midnight product sale openings are a usually based on the newest gadget or social status symbol. This one is just about a reading a damn good story. Now I just have to wait until Carlee is done reading before I get to start.

Critical Error

A little Onion humor for your Monday morning. I'll be in the air at 5:45 AM and you'll be chuckling at this fake news story. Enjoy.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Frequent Flier

You know you may travel a bit too much when you recognize the guy handing out the free credit card applications at the Philly airport.

Red Card

Guaranteed way to get to ejected from a soccer game: grab referee's card from his hand.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Yankees vs Mets

My work meetings in NJ ended early today and I ended up at a Trenton Thunder vs. Binghamton Mets game. I don't know anything about these teams except that they are in the minors and evidently feed the Yankees and Mets. Trenton won 6-3. It was cool to be at a ball park. Haven't been to one in a while.

BTW, that's Clemens above. Evidently he played for Trenton for a stint.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Lodger - Let Her Go

Just cruising through some latest finds while I am on my layover in Houston and thought this song was cool - has a great chorus. It's called Let Her Go by The Lodger. I don't know anything about the band except that I think they are from Leeds.

Bonus Miles

On our way home through Houston yesterday, our flight to Lafayette was canceled. We were automatically re-booked on the next available flight, which happened to be today. That's right, the next available flight was more than 24 hours after our canceled flight. As we stood at the service desk trying to figure out our options, we watched happy Lafayette bound passengers board other flights on the same airline. It made little sense to me.

So we decided to just cancel the flight. We rented a car and added an additional 230 mile tally on our rental car distance stats to top off the vacation. I think that means we drove close to 2800 miles in the last 13 days.

Today, I'm headed back out through Houston to NJ. I wanted to get that one night at home before going back to work...

Saturday, July 14, 2007

U-20 World Cup: Border Crossing

This was the conversation on the way back from Toronto after the US v Uruguay game.

Customs Agent: Where are you headed now?
Me: Back to Newark.
Customs Agent: What's in Newark?
Me: Family.
Customs Agent: So take me through your trip from when you flew into Newark until today. After Newark, I'm kind of lost.
Me: Me too.

... (followed by more suspicious border crossing banter and then)...

Customs Agent: So why did you go to Ottawa?
Me: To watch the US play in the U-20 World Cup.
Customs Agent: So why were you in Toronto?
Me: To watch the US play again.
Customs Agent: So what, you like follow the team around all over the country?
Me: Pretty much.

Canadian Barq's

Friday, July 13, 2007

Back to Jersey

Headed to Jersey today to meet our new friend Jacob. Here's a couple Martha's Vineyard pictures for the locals.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Niagara Falls

We had an awesome day at Niagara Falls. They are magnificent. If you've never visited here, make sure to do so. Carlee and I talked about why the number of tourists (which is a decent amount) does not seem to bother you when you are here, whereas in some other places, the crowds might be annoying. The best answer I could come up with is that the sheer awesome power and scope of the falls just overpowers people in general. We rode the Maid of the Mist and got soaked. Pretty fun stuff.


1. American Falls with rainbow - There always appear to be rainbows here, and today, being a misty day at the falls, they were all over the place.

2. Horseshoe Falls (the Canadian falls) taken from the walkway on the Canadian side. What I think is really cool about this photo is the fact that I started playing with shutter and ISO settings such that the water is no longer in droplets and appears more solid.

3. (Top) Another Horseshoe Falls shot with the adjusted settings. Seeing the falls right before they drop off the edge is pretty outstanding.

4. Candid photo of me and Carlee at the falls. Goes down as one of my favorite photos of us within the last year or so. The non-candid one is also real cool, maybe I'll post it at some point.

U-20 World Cup: US v Uruguay Photos

A few photos that I took during the US v Uruguay game day are below.

1. Stadium prior to the game. It's a real intimate setting for a soccer game. Awesome breeze off the lake and just a great stadium overall.

2. The referees, who I thought were pretty miserable. There was a whistle every minute and this prevented either team from really establishing a rhythm. Uruguay may have been ok with that though, they seemed to be diving a decent amount.

3. The Uruguayan keeper making a great diving punch save in the first half. He had some really nice saves, especially one right at the end of the second over time that I'd like to see again.

4. Fans waiting for the train after the game. You can see CN Tower in the background lit up in red, currently the world's tallest building.

U-20 World Cup: US Beats Uruguay 2-1

So we made the drive to Toronto yesterday...10 hours in the car...in order to see the US v Uruguay game. The US won 2-1 and has advanced to the quarter finals! I'll be posting photos from the game whenever I have some down time. And no worries, more non-soccer boring vacation slide show photos will be posted as well.

We play Austria this Saturday. I now have one official regret to our vacation: being unable to drive back to Toronto after our friend's wedding in Connecticut and watch that game.

Tonight we are headed to Niagara Falls (Canadian side) and we will spend the night there. Our vacation is almost over and we will have only put around 2500 miles on our rental car. Slackers.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Whiskey on the Rocks

Pictures of my friend the Whiskey on the rocks in Woods Hole.

Nobska Point Lighthouse

One of the awesome things about our adventure vacation has been all of the friends we have gotten to see. Yesterday we arrived in Woods Hole, MA and we'll be here until Wednesday when we make the 10 hour drive to Toronto to see the round of 16.

Here is a photo the Whiskey took of us yesterday at Nobska Point. This is a truly beautiful place.

Good Press

Check it out, the team I coach made the local TV news last week (...but I missed it). Here's the link to the story on the web.

U-20 World Cup: Toronto Bound

Well...we managed to scrounge up some tickets. We're headed to Toronto for Wednesdays game!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

U-20 World Cup: Argentina (Maradona) Fan Photos

I've never been to an Argentina game. After having been to one, I have no trouble believing that tributes to Maradona at their games are quite common. Here are a couple that I captured during their game against Korea.

U-20 World Cup: More US vs Brazil Photos

So I am in some random B&B on Lake Champlain in VT and the internet connection is sloooow. Thus, I am still uploading photo's piece meal. Unlike the previous 2 posts, I compressed this set. The other shots (here and here) have the full high res photos from my camera. In this set:

Above: US team warming up prior to the game
1. Brazilian fans during the game
2. Adu taking a free kick in the second half - keeper ended up tipping this one over the bar
3. Fans leaving the stadium at night (thus the weird lighting, I had to adjust the shutter speed a bit). That's an entire street full of people as far as you can see. It was a sell out crowd.

U-20 World Cup: US Fan

This is a picture I took right after the US beat Brazil - when the US team was jogging to the sidelines to thank their fans. More pictures from Ottawa will be posted after I find another internet connection - we head south today although if any one has any extra tickets to the Round of 16 in Toronto, we're in the market.

U-20 World Cup: US Beats Brazil 2-1

The US U-20 team won their group tonight and have advanced to the round of 16. They did it by beating one of soccer's biggest powerhouses, Brazil. We were there for the game and the atmosphere in Ottawa was amazing. First, the Argentina vs. Korea game, followed by US vs. Brazil. It was close to 4 hours of drums and dancing and of course, excellent soccer. I'm exhausted, so I am going to post some pictures and call it a night. I have a ton more photos. At least 40 really good shots from the US game that I will upload to Flickr within the next day or two. I have another good set (albeit smaller) from the Argentinian game. I'll post an update when I upload these so check back in.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

U-20 World Cup: Border Crossing

Customs Agent: And where are you going during your stay?
Carlee: Ottawa. We're going to the U-20 World Cup.
Customs Agent: Is that still going on?
Carlee and Will: Yup.
Customs Agent: Are you just spectators?
Carlee: Well, we wish we were playing.

U-20 World Cup: The Road North

We're headed north this morning. Tomorrow we get to see the US take on Brazil. The 7 hour drive will be well worth it.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Jersey Signs: North Branch Train Station

This is the train station right down the road from my childhood home. I used to put pennies on the track. My father walked home from work from this station. When I got older I had beers on the bridge further down the track.

Jersey Signs: Steck's Delicatessan

We stopped by Steck's Delicatessen today to get one of the best pickles known to man...

Unfortunately, they were closed for the holiday. Funny thing was that as my mom was driving through town on the third, she picked up all of the sides for the family bbq at Steck's. Unfortunately, no pickles...but beggars from Louisiana can't be choosers. Their potato salad is pretty damn awesome as well.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Wayne Rooney Nike Ad

(via Who Ate All the Pies)

Jersey Dogs (2)

Here is my brother's other dog - Habanero. He likes to hang out with me while I post photos of him and Poke online.

Jersey Dogs

One of the things that I like about visiting my brother (besides spending time with my family of course), is getting to hang out with his dogs. This is Poke, short for Pocamoke - I am sure that I am spelling this wrong....

Updated: Spelling correction - Pocomoke

U-20 World Cup: US Drums Poland 6-1

After their less than inspiring performance against South Korea, the US U-20 squad pummeled Poland today. Unfortunately, we were flying north at the time so we missed the game. Freddy Adu had a hat trick. Here are 2 of Freddy's goals. Notice that both assists come from the same outside midfielder - Sal Zizzo.

These are both pretty awesome goals. I can only hope that the US team puts in this kind of performance, or at least something close to it when we are in Ottawa for the Brazil game.

We're Off!

We're off on vacation, day 1 today! I'll be posting pictures or notes along the way in case you're interested.... We'll be driving all over the north east with a stop at the U-20 World Cup.

Here's a traveling song off the new monthly mix (Tiptoe Through Our Shiny City). It's by a band called the Hackensaw Boys. Check it out.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Copa America: US falls to Paraguay

In order to win, you need to score more goals than the opposition.

I thought the US played a good game. We were a completely different squad from the timid group that took on Argentina. We passed the ball quickly and created opportunities. And that is where it ended. We just could not score. Add a mental mistake by the back line on a back pass, and the inability to mark a runner through the center mid and the game is over. Factor in the goalie that the US fans must be loving to hate...and you have 3-1. Depressing. There were a lot of US players who looked really good. Benny looked inspired. Clark was lethal at moments. Olsen is my pick over Beasley (even if they play on opposite outside mids). Was that Eddie Johnson working hard? WTF?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

U-20 World Cup: Looking Ahead

I haven't mentioned this yet but I need to. When the US team takes on Brazil in Ottawa on July 6th, we'll be in the stands. Can't wait. Also, it's a double header so we get to see Argentina play against Korea that same day in the same stadium. I'm expecting fans from all 4 countries to create an awesome atmosphere at Frank-Clair Stadium. Plus, we get to see Argentina, Brazil and the US all in one day. It's a soccer fan's dream.

U-20 World Cup: US ties South Korea

Yesterday (on ESPNU, didn't even know it was a channel), we watched the U-20 MNT tie South Korea in the U-20 World Cup (the tournament opener for the US team). The overwhelming opinion I took away from the game is that we were particularly underwhelming. The first 60 minutes were pure domination by the South Koreans. The US was unable to complete passes through the midfield, maintain possession, create offensive opportunities, contain on the flanks, or successfully mark the Koreans as they made piercing runs through the back line.

Then 52, minutes in, Dax McCarty was subbed in for Danny Szetela. I've never seen Dax play so I don't know much about him. I don't think he was particularly dominant either. But he definitely stopped the bleeding. In fact, the last 30 minutes were dominated by the US with the South Koreans looking dangerous mostly on counter attacks. Dax must have done something right - his work rate was high and he stopped giving away the ball. It is quite possible that the Koreans just didn't have the fitness to maintain the high level of intensity they started the game with either.

Thoughts on players or other items:

1. Chris Seitz (G): A couple awesome saves and some good distribution. Looks like someone to keep on the lookout for.
2. Tim Ward: After the first 10 minutes, I cringed every time he got the ball. He could not pass it to our own team in the first half and we were definitely getting exploited down his side a lot. Second half was slightly better. Looked dangerous in the air when he got forward for a few set plays.
3. Nathan Sturgis: Horrible mistake in the first half almost cost us a goal. Settled down afterwards and was a steady presence in the back. Good ability to contain defensively.
4. Danny Szetela: Great goal in the first half and that was the only shining moment. Needs a new hairstyle.
5. Freddy Adu: I can only hope he just wasn't feeling well. Non-existent except for one run that almost created a goal. If this is the best he can produce on this stage, I am concerned for his future. However, I occasionally catch articles where he apparently dominates and changes games. I have apparently just yet to see it myself.
6. Michael Bradley: Worst game I have ever seen him play. Not sure what the problem was but he seemed to be forcing the ball through too many tight spaces and ended up giving it away more often then not. I kept thinking I would rather have seen him take on the Argentinians in the Copa America...
7. Josmer Altidore: Successfully got called for a foul every time he bumped into a South Korean. There were more then a few dives out there but not a single card for one. Not sure what the ref was thinking. I need to see him get the ball more at his feet. During this game he was a complete non-factor except for his complete whiff of an excellent cross that could have given the team 3 points rather than one.
8. Sal Zizzo: First time I've seen him play - looked pretty strong on the outside, high work rate. Will be interesting to see in future games. Cool last name.
9. The Ref: Like I said, waived off a lot of dives but never carded a single one. Called the US on 26 fouls. Seemed a little too nit picky for me but then failed to call one or two major fouls in my mind.
10. South Koreans: Damn good, aggressive, fast, ran by us like we were standing still, but seemed a little too quick to take a fall for my liking.

We're up against Poland next (Tuesday, July 3 at 5 p.m. ET) and they just beat Brazil 1-0. Should be interesting.

Tiptoe Through Our Shiny City

Tiptoe through our shiny city

1. Beautiful † G. Love featuring Tristan Prettyman
2. Three More Days † Ray LaMontagne
3. We Used to Vacation † Cold War Kids
4. Start A War † The National
5. How 'Bout You? † Yonder Mountain String
6. Treehouse † I'm from Barcelona
7. Over My Shoulder † I Am Kloot
8. Golden † My Morning Jacket
9. Debaser † Rogue Wave
10. You Only Disappear † Tom McRae
11. Falling Slowly † The Frames
12. Ride † G. Love
13. Burning † The Whitest Boy Alive
14. We're Not Alone † Dinosaur Jr.
15. My Good Gal † Old Crow Medicine Show
16. Alabama Shamrock † Hackensaw Boys
17. Hat and Rabbit † Page France
18. Scenic World † Beirut
19. Fake Empire † The National
20. You're Not Listening † Rob Giles