Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"Oh Crap" Moments

So there are many moments in life where things don't go as we want, or are outside of our control, but nonetheless, are completely frustrating and/or scary. We are rendered almost completely helpless in these situations, and yet we are often times responsible for putting ourselves in that predicament. It is for these reasons I like to refer to these instances as...

"Oh Crap" Moments

1) While driving, all of a sudden you feel a sneeze coming on that is not capable of being stifled. You get super anxious until that ridiculously scary moment where you have to close your eyes and sneeze, the whole time just praying that you don't lose total control of all motor function...and that a big rig doesn't swerve in front of you (this is especially precarious when on the freeway between two cars, say, a Hummer and an Escalade).

2) After using the restroom, you reach over to grab the toilet paper, only to realize there is none. Pardon the pun, but this is most certainly an "Oh Crap" moment.

3) When paddling out surfing, you get "caught inside", and you can't paddle quick enough to get over the top of the wave, but you can't lay back long enough to let it crash in front of you. This is when, especially on a bigger day, you kiss your board, stretch your back, take a deep breath...and prepare to do the underwater hokey-pokey.

4) For all you cooks out there - You finish preparing dinner, and you finally sit down to eat it. And then about midway to three-quarters of the way through the meal, you realize that you left the bread in the oven, the salad in the refrigerator, or some other pre-prepared side dish feeling neglected. This is especially embarrassing when cooking for guests.

5) While traveling on a long vacation, you realized that you packed everything...except your phone charger and/or a belt. Not life or death, but this kills me.

6) For those of us old-school-flip-phone users - When you finish typing a text message using either the "T9" or "Word" function, and then you hit SEND right as you see that the damn phone inserted the word "of" instead of "me", and "good" instead of "home" instead of telling your friend "Follow me home", you get "Follow of good". After desperately (and ultimately unsuccessfully) hitting the END button trying to cancel the message before it sends, you can then almost certainly expect the inevitable, confused response of "Huh?"

7) For all you runners - You go out for a run of any distance, and then at your first split that you want to check your time, you realize you, a) didn't hit the stopwatch button hard enough, or b) hit it twice, so it sits idle displaying a time of 0.7 seconds. This is more of an "Ah Crap", not an "Oh Crap" (in my warped mind, "Ah Crap" sounds like a lighter, annoyed lead-in, whereas "Oh Crap" is way more intense).

Why doesn't my computer or keyboard have a universal "Un-Caps-Lock" function? I want to be able to just select the text that is currently in all CAPS, and then hit a keyboard button that then lower cases everything. How hard is this?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Crazy Random Week

Man do I love Monday nights. They always seem to be the one night I KNOW I'm not doing anything. Tonight I went for a run, went to the grocery store, and watched some basketball. Nice, relaxing evening.

As for the rest of this week? Wow.

-Golf at Carmel Mountain Ranch w/ boss
-Bowling at East Village Tavern w/ Julie & Jeralin

-Wine Steals w/ Suzie

-Dinner w/ Julie, then Swingset Committee concert in North Park (if you're free, you should check these guys out!)

-San Diego Sockers @ Del Mar Fairgrounds w/ Tom Bishar (why not?)

-Golf at San Diego Country Club w/ Dad

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

March, Where Are You?!

Man, January and February have been jam-packed! I love being busy and going on trips, but I am REALLY looking forward to March when I have no set trips!

That being said, I've had a great past few weeks (hence the lack of frequent posting on the blog). Julie and I have made our way to wine tasting in Kenwood (Sonoma), friend's birthday in Orange County, UCLA basketball in Los Angeles, engagement party in San Francisco, and this weekend on our way to Palm Desert for annual Board of Directors retreat! Not to mention a ton of stuff locally in San Diego!

A few random events/thoughts from the past few weeks:

1) While in S.F. for 2 days, Julie and I ran into 3 people (on 3 different occasions) we knew from our past. Only in bizarre.

2) I can no longer rip on my sister for not being able to cook. She cooked us dinner Sunday night, and I did not die.

3) If you are looking for a really awesome, unique new band to to get behind and support, look up Swingset Committee. This is my buddy Andrew's band, and I REALLY like their style. When I asked him how to classify their genre, Andrew said "If I had to say, I guess it would be electronic-Indy." Don't let that jade you. I would say they are a unique fusion of Postal Service and MGMT. I give them 2 thumbs up (and not cuz I know them).

4) Started the local bowling league again through VAVi at East Village Tavern. If you are ever looking for a cool, non-threatening way to meet new people your age, but not awkward, I highly recommend VAVi bowling. Great venue, fun leagues, good service, and definitely a cool vibe of seeing the same people every week (6-10 teams of 6 bowlers each). Do it with some friends, but allow some open spots so you can have some random "free agents" join up with you)! Am I biased because I met my girlfriend this way? NOT AT ALL.....

5) Going hiking this weekend at Indian Canyons in Palm Desert. Looks like they have some pretty sweet trails/streams/waterfalls...anybody familiar with the area?

Oh yeah, and how awesome is the weather?!

Monday, February 8, 2010

UCLA - The Aftermath

After last post, I figured you might like a summary of sorts covering my trek back to UCLA and Pauley Pavilion. It was very much "as expected"...

Drove up to L.A. in some drizzly weather on Saturday morning. As soon as we got to Interstate 10, it all came flooding back to me....the horrendous traffic, that is. I quickly remembered why I hated driving in that town (and was glad my buddy Peter decided to drive us up). By L.A. standards, traffic was very light on way to our exit.

Getting off on Wilshire is always a nostalgic experience for me. Once east-bound on Wilshire, you immediately notice two things: 1) the ridiculous merging to get over to the far left, and 2) the gigantic movie poster on the tall building advertising whatever movie is about to come out in theaters (which in this instance, was Alice in Wonderland, with the freaky-ass likeness of Johnny Depp as the Madd Hatter on the poster).

Parking was not bad, and after picking up our tickets at good ol' CTO (UCLA Central Ticket Office for those of you not familiar with the days of waiting in line), we headed in. Now let me just say that I was with my girlfriend and two other friends, one of which went to UCLA with me. I could tell Peter was waiting to see my reaction when I walked in (cuz he had the wonderful pleasure of seeing me in all my glory back in the day). And although Julie never went to UCLA or saw my blue-dyed pirate monkey act (which I think she's glad), she knew it had been a long time since I had been in there, so I think she was kinda aware of this moment as well. So the four of us walked in and...

It was f***ing weird.

We walked in the top level (even though Peter scored us sweet tickets in 5th row in recruit section on the floor next to the hoop), and within seconds I was taken back to my days as a student again. I recognized every security guard, The Dirt from The Den was on every student seat, the band was playing some Beyonce song they always play, the players were warming up, and there was the distinct odor of popcorn, bathroom hand soap and hardwood floors (interesting sensation I know). I won't bore you with all the intricate details of who was there and what I saw (but for those of you Den people reading this, we gotta talk), but suffice to say, not much has changed.

Except the team. I know no one on that team other than Michael Roll (two redshirt years later) and Nikola Dragovic (who recently seems to be more concerned with beating his girlfriend than playing hoops). Beyond that, the team is comprised of kids I do not know. The fans were people I did not know. And more than anything else, this team is NOTHING like the teams during my brief tenure at UCLA. They are undisciplined, horrendous passers, and play "ok" defense. Not exactly a staple of a Ben Howland basketball team.

*A couple random things:
1) They have a corporate sponsor for contests, timeouts, water bottles...
2) They still play the damn helmet shuffle.
3) The dance team is still ogled over by the alumni.
4) 8-claps are still too fast

The students went through all of the pre-game ritual cheers, and I was thoroughly unimpressed. I don't blame the students though. The team is NOT good, the arena was NOT full, and they don't have much help from other fans in the place. The upper level student section was entirely one in it. For a game that would put UCLA in first place in the Pac-10 by themselves (at a less than stellar 7-4 conference record).

In all honesty, I was just kinda sad for the program. Sad that the team wasn't what it once was. Sad that the place wasn't rockin. Sad that I brought my girlfriend to a game/place I had talked up for a while, only to show up and have the arena be quiet and not so exciting. And sad because my UCLA friends weren't there with me. I missed Budak's bear-hat. I missed Branden telling me to put my camera down and enjoy the game. I missed Jenn yelling "Go Bruins." I missed Charlie putting a hand on my shoulder as he hoisted himself on the seats to yell "1-2-3, Play Ball!". I missed Comstock holding the signs. I missed Rookie plugging his ears during helmet shuffle.

But, oddly enough, I had fun. I was there in a new chapter of my life. I have to learn how to root for a team I'm not personally connected to. I'm excited for the renovations on Pauley Pavilion. I'm glad Julie got to come up with me and see the place I used to spend so much time in (although at one point in the game, she got virtually speechless after she asked "you just went to basketball and football games, right?" and I responded with "Ummm, no...volleyball, baseball, water polo, soccer and gymnastics"). I think gymnastics was the kicker....

I will go back, and I will have more fun. I got this one under my belt. It is easy just to watch hoops and be a fan, even when it's your alma mater. I'm glad I had the company I did at the game, and I hope next time she can come when I get some old UCLA friends there with me, to hear some of the ridiculous stories we have, from campouts to cheers to close games to funny memories.

It brought back good memories. I still heart U-C-L-A.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

UCLA - Visit to the Past

Well, I am making my way back to my old stomping (and sleeping) grounds. This Saturday I am making my way up to Los Angeles to hallowed Pauley Pavilion to watch the Cal Bears take on the UCLA Bruins on the hardcourt.

This may not sound like a big deal, considering all the days and nights I spent inside and outside that gym during my tenure at UCLA. But here's the kicker...

This is the first basketball game I will have attended since I graduated UCLA in 2006.

Yes, you read that right, I, Marc Sawyer, he of the blue aviators, bandana and wig, has not stepped foot in that gym since Senior Day 2006. Yes, the same Marc Sawyer that was featured as Sports Illustrated co-Fanatic of the Year. The same Marc Sawyer who was fondly (and sometimes not-so-fondly) referred to as "The Pirate" due to his garb. The same Marc Sawyer who served as the President of the student fan section for two years. The same Marc Sawyer that was featured on an ESPN commercial for being a fan (don't believe here).

FIRST GAME BACK... Some people call outrage or sacrilege at this claim. Others are just totally confused. I live less than two hours away...I love the school...I love their sports...and basketball dominated my life while I lived there. So why haven't I made it to a game? The answer is simple in my own head, but not so sure how it translates to everyone else...

When I went to games as a student, it goes without saying that I went all out. I had an entire "outfit" coordinated for three years, from head to toe (also known as bandana to Reebok's). When I was in that arena, I flipped a switch. I just let go of everything. My life was surrounded by great games and even better friends. I knew every single player and called some of them my friends ("HOLLA!"). I knew nothing but passion and commitment to a team that I had virtually NO part in (other than that one time I helped Ben Howland recruit Kevin Love)...

I am no longer a student. I no longer know the players. I no longer sleep on the pavement for good seats. I probably don't have the lung capacity I used to, either. But that is no excuse not to GO to a game. So why has it been so long?

I think it was all-or-nothing for me. While I was there, I was going to go all out and dress up and lead the student section and be totally obsessed. Now that I'm out of school, I kinda felt like I wouldn't know what to do at a game just as a quiet observer. I'm certainly not gonna go all out anymore...that was something you do as a student and enjoy it. I have retired the bandana and shades, don't worry everyone. But now I realize I want to support the team and enjoy the basketball at a great venue...and not compare it to "the old days" when I went there.

Random blog post, I know. But this has been on my mind. I'm excited to see my Bruins live in action again in one of my favorite places, Pauley Pavilion. That place served as home to me for three years. I slept there, I screamed there, I studied for midterms there, I made close friends there...and I was happy there.

Here's to Saturday bringing back all the good feelings...and me learning how to just "sit back, relax, and enjoy the show."

Monday, February 1, 2010

Happy February

How the hell is it February already? Weren't we just doing this?

Thoughts from a fun weekend:

The "Farmers Insurance Open" (formerly known as "Buick Invitational") was a total bomb from a production/marketing standpoint. Everyone knew that Buick had pulled out as title sponsor and that Tiger Woods would not be in the field due to his being an idiot. That being said, I was still shocked at the low attendance. For those of you familiar with golf tournaments, I stood at the rope at every tee, fairway, and green for every player not named Phil Mickelson (I stood SECOND row for him). It was depressing to see the lack of people. There were no roars from other holes reverberating across the course. There were no die-hard fans running between holes hoping to get a peak at the golfers. And the tell-tale sign of a low fan turnout...throughout the entire day (Saturday) I was there, I did not hear one shout of "GET IN THE HOLE" when the ball left the putter. I know Farmers Insurance came on for this year...and this is a tough sell for the tournament directors, because without Tiger, there was no quality tournout for the great exposure Buick had received over the past few years. I still had fun going, but man, it was a totally different tournament.

My wetsuit kicks ass. I surfed Saturday morning, and I never once felt a shiver in my body (Despite the numbing of my feet). Surfed San Elijo Campgrounds at high tide, and the waves were pretty decent size. Water was a not-so-freezing 58 degrees. Lots of surfers out for a January morning, more than I remember "in the old days" (yep, I said it).

My golf game could be so good if I played more. Played Lomas Santa Fe Executive Course with Tommy-D on Sunday morning, and had moments of sheer brilliance, immediately followed by moments of sheer ineptitude. Sunk a 55-foot birdie putt, chipped the ball in the hole from 30 yards out, drained four putts outside of ten feet...and shot a horrid score. I wish the game wasn't so expensive, because I would play so much more. But, I am determined to keep getting out there, so if you want to play, let me know.

My appetite is coming back like the old high school days. Just one single week of physical activity has increased my stomach's desire for food a ton. After golf, went to Rico's and ordered a big California burrito and three rolled tacos. Haven't done that in a while (without feeling sick afterward). Hopefully this continues...

Enjoy your first day of February.