Tuesday, June 29, 2010

And So It Begins...

The summer of travel craziness has officially begun! Now, I know compared to the ridiculous travel schedules of my good friends Branden and Jenn, it appears like I'm probably never even leaving my apartment. But despite that fact, by MY standards, this summer has turned into quite the happening few months! A few of the highlights:

4th of July - Paso Robles/Grass Valley/Redding (July)
California Wine Festival - Santa Barbara (July)
Julie Half-Marathon - Chicago (August)
Alex Thibeault Wedding - San Francisco (August)
Tom Dillon Wedding - San Diego (September)
UCLA vs. Texas Football - Texas (September)

Really enjoying the World Cup, although I do not like the new overtime rules. I despise the two mandatory overtime periods, and really wish they would do sudden death "golden goal" to decide the winner. You score, you win. End of story.

Germany looks really good, as do Argentina and Brazil. Today's Portugal vs Spain game should be good. My money's on David Villa and Spain.

My new favorite player to watch: Diego Forlan, Uruguay. Great hair. Oh, and he can play too.

After a great win to make it to the College World Series, UCLA took a bad loss last night to open the best-of-three series against South Carolina. We need to rebound to win the next two. But we've got the pitching. I like the Bruins in three games.

I believe. There, I said it. They have the pitching to do it. I don't know if they will acquire another good bat (I doubt it), but I think this team will win the NL West. That is my only prediction for now. But they are legit people. Ya better start believin'.

1) The ocean is warming up big time. Surfed Sunday/Monday and never felt a tinge of cold.
2) Work is officially slow as hell. But it's that time of year. Hence the vacation time.
3) I played golf yesterday at Mt. Woodson and had 9 pars. Never done that in a round at a par-72 course. Go me. (And yes, I purposely left my score out of this update, as the other 9 holes were less than impressive)


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Marc Discusses...

So Monday night I was out with Tristen at Wine Steals in Hillcrest, enjoying a nice (read: cheap) bottle of wine and catching up. As many of you know, we experienced an earthquake that night, and it was of relatively large magnitude. As we sat there, the chandeliers started shaking, the glass doors were flexing, the wine bottles were clinking, the menu boards on the wall were rattling, and the hanging men's and women's bathroom signs were swaying. And what were the clientele doing?

NOTHING! Tristen looked at me, I nodded at her to acknowledge that I felt it, and we just continued on with our conversation. Every other person in the place was just smiling and talking saying "OMG, did you feel that too? So weird! You want another glass of wine?"

Only in San Diego. Not a single person bolted for the door frame, ducked under a table, or even stopped drinking their wine. Tristen looked at me and said "Wow, do you realize none of us even cared about what just happened?" Natural disasters apparently don't do it for us San Diegans. Totally bizarre. We will never know when it's big enough to take cover. I hope that day never comes. Random (somewhat morbid) thought, but it was worth bringing up.

I can't believe I'm doing this, but I'm actually about to make a plug for my two friends' podcast. These two nutjobs (Tom & Joel) drive me absolutely bonkers with their endless arguments, "Would You Rather" games and limitless sports knowledge. And now I'm encouraging you to subject yourself to it.

Tom & Joel have taken it upon themselves to take their insanely bizarre movie knowledge and even more ridiculous discussion topics to the airwaves. If you are a movie buff, or if you enjoy movies, and you also enjoy (mostly) witty banter, I highly recommend listening to my buddies, Tom & Joel on their FREE podcast called "Movie Conversations". Just go on iTunes and search "Movie Conversations". Click here to view their website. Oh, and I get a major shout-out in the "Jim Carrey" episode.

*WARNING* - These guys are ridiculous. Witty as all hell. Extremely knowledgeable about movies. Often times crude. Most certainly inappropriate. If you are easily offended, or don't like the occasional profanity-laced tirade, or don't think purposely discriminatory jokes are funny, this might not be for you. I know I like it, but that may be because they are my friends and since I know how they are, I can relate to their humor. I DEFINITELY can vouch for the hilarity of their ability to bring a joke full circle hours after mentioning it for the first time.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sports Craziness - And U$C Gets Burned

Wow, is it even possible to have more BIG sports news than we have had over the past week (even if you're not a UCLA fan)? Just go on ESPN.com and look at all the crazy stuff going on in the sports world right now!

-UCLA legend John Wooden passes away (R.I.P.)
-UCLA women's softball wins National Championship
-U$C athletics gets nailed for recruiting violations in Reggie Bush era
-College football looking to expand it's conferences into "super conferences"
-Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup on overtime goal
-Opening Week of World Cup (yea baby!)
-NBA Finals tied (2-2) between two most storied programs (Lakers vs. Celtics)
-Stephen Strasburg makes his MLB debut...and rips the sh** out of the Pirates
-Oh...and Dick Vitale gets hit in the stomach by a foul ball

That's a lot of marquee news in one week.


(A quick follow-up - albeit, an admittedly feeble attempt at objectivity):

I will not even attempt to hide my feelings about the U$C Trojans. Suffice to say that I even cringe when I pass the condom section of the grocery store.

That being said, I have a few problems with the punishment (2 years postseason ban, 20 scholarships lost, and vacating wins from 2004 season) handed down to the U$C football program by the NCAA for their recruiting violations during the days of Reggie Bush. My beefs:

1) Reggie Bush and Pete Carroll get off without as much as a slap on the wrist. They were the ones who violated the rules. The current U$C program is now being punished for something that the current Trojan players were totally unrelated to (they hadn't even been actively recruited yet!). These players did nothing to deserve a ban from bowl games, and the true perpetrators are getting off unharmed.

*NOTE - My good friend Branden would probably argue here that the current Trojan players DO deserve this punishment. His logic? That they were dumb enough to sign at U$C in the first place. I don't not agree....(read between the lines folks)

2) WTF does vacating wins do? You think Lane Kiffin (new U$C head coach) gives a rats ass about whether or not Bush/Leinart have those wins under their belt? You think Bush or Leinart care? They're off making millions of dollars in the pros. So the 2004 season is meaningless in the already rich football history of U$C. Big effing deal. The real loser of this? Tommy Tuberville and Auburn, who were robbed the chance to play for the national title against Oklahoma, because the (now proven) cheating U$C Trojans stole their spot.

3) The NCAA needs to realize who this 2-year postseason ban affects. Not only are they reprimanding the wrong people, but their sanctions reverberate throughout the college football landscape, including MY job.

Because the Trojans are now ineligible for another postseason (they had a self-imposed postseason ban last year before these allegations were proven true, so they saved themselves another year of no bowl games - one of the few smart moves they made), it affects every bowl game that has a bowl commitment with the Pac-10. The Pac-10 currently has six bowl ties (top six Pac-10 teams go to pre-determined bowls). But now, because of the ban, only nine of the ten teams are able to be picked. The conference usually only has six teams that are bowl-eligible at end of season, and one of those is always U$C. And U$C is ALSO usually top 1-3 teams in the conference. So now, when the Holiday Bowl goes to pick the #3 team from Pac-10, we really drop a slot to #4 because U$C has to be passed over for 2010. And think about the poor Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (formerly the Emerald Bowl) in San Francisco, who gets the #6 pick out of the Pac-10. They are now going to be left without a team, because there will be one less bowl-eligible team to choose, and the bottom Pac-10 teams won't have enough wins to fill that slot. So now they have to go select an at-large team. Can you say Toledo or Louisiana Lafayette?

So, thank you NCAA, for punishing the BOWL SYSTEM for U$C's recruiting idiocy. We didn't deserve it, and thanks to your ill-directed punishment, you're making cities lose potentially tens of thousands of dollars in tourism-generated revenue. Awesome.

4) Now, I will say I like ONE thing the NCAA did (okay, two things...since they DID just extend their middle finger to the entire U$C program - so that's an A+ in my book). After the punishment had been given, the NCAA said all junior and senior U$C players may transfer to another school and NOT sit out a year. For those of you not aware with the system, if you transfer schools, you are ruled ineligible to play for a full year. But because these juniors and seniors had in essence been told they can't play in another bowl game, the NCAA has (subtly) admitted they understand that the player's don't deserve to be punished for actions taking place when they were getting their driver's licenses.

Personally, I can't wait for the absolutely ridiculous panty-raid that's about to take place of the U$C upper-classmen.

I know I haven't suggested an alternative. And I understand you can't impose NCAA sanctions on Pete Carroll (now in the NFL as Seahawks head coach), or Reggie Bush (New Orleans Saints)...but if you take this long (read: SIX YEARS!) to form and finish an investigation, there's a problem. This needed to come out when it happened. And unfortunately for the university in question - they are left to take the hit with no one to blame but themselves.

They should have policed themselves better. Their Athletic Director Mike Garrett should have nipped it in the proverbial bud. But it's U$C. This is what they do. At least I can sleep at night knowing that the NCAA didn't shy away from bringing out the lumber and smacking U$C's butts with a big-ass 2x4". I just wish it was aimed at someone else's butt - namely, the people who broke the rules.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


The Rock n Roll Marathon Relay is complete! And we kicked ass!

For those of you that don't know, my sister had the brilliant idea of entering the relay version of the Rock n Roll Marathon. What? A Relay Marathon? Yep, I said the same thing.

After a bit of convincing, we decided to form a team comprised of myself, my sister and captain Paige, our resident staff morale booster Heidi, and the ultimate ringer in Julie. After my sister made the incredibly dumb mistake of allowing me to choose the team name, I was able to convince the squad to name our clan "UCantCagePaige", a tribute to the fear-inducing, awe-inspiring Paige Sawyer.

Leg #1 (MARC) - 7.4 miles
Leg #2 (JULIE) - 7.1 miles
Leg #3 (HEIDI) - 6.0 miles
Leg #4 (PAIGE) - 5.7 miles

Well, due to an unforeseen groin injury, let's just say I didn't train as much as I'd like (read: 8 TOTAL MILES IN FINAL 5 WEEKS). Combine that with me never having run more than 5 miles in my life, Heidi having a phantom broken-toe scare (apparently she kicks bricks in her sleep), and Julie battling a new injury every week...I was just aiming (read: PRAYING) to finish.

Well folks, we more than just finished. Of the 197 relay teams in the marathon, "UCantCagePaige" finished 10th OVERALL! Yep, 10th out of 197. And in the co-ed division, we finished 5th! On an individual basis, Julie ran the 4th fastest 2nd leg of the day, Heidi obliterated the pace she was hoping to run, and Paige kicked into a crazy 6th gear in the home stretch to run a crazy good time as well! As for me, I'm just glad I finished. HUGE relief.

"UCantCagePaige" - Julie, Heidi, Me and Paige after completing our group-effort 26.2 miles

And today (2 days removed)...I'm hurting. But man it was so worth it.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Marc's Summer Schedule = Awesome

So a couple posts ago I alluded to the fact that I had somewhat of a unique work schedule during the summer time. Allow me to explain.

Starting Monday, June 14th, I have every Monday off through the end of August! Since summer is definitely our down-time at work, my WONDERFUL bosses (yes, they read this blog time to time, so I should probably let my nose turn a little brown) allow us employees to alter our schedules slightly. We still need to work our 40 hours per week, but we have the option of working four 10-hour days, as opposed to the traditional five 8-hour days. Although those 10-hour days are LOOOOONG during summer time with nothing to do, it makes it all worth it when I get to that day off!

So what does all this mean? It means golf, surfing, running, shootin' hoops, hangin' with Mom, photography, weekend getaways, and 3-day weekends all summer! So if any of you have a Monday off between June 14-August 30, let me know! Who be jealous NOW?!

It never sounded so good to say "I have a case of the Mondays!"

Photos - As Promised

Well, as promised, I have taken the time to upload a few photos from this past Memorial Day weekend in Huntington Beach. These are the telescopes that Julie and I found up and down the Southern California coast, starting at the San Clemente Pier and working our way north through Huntington Beach Pier. This is an extremely small sample size of the photos (over 100), but I pulled the ones that were representative of the trip and what I was aiming for.

*(Photo captions complete with location, as well as noteworthy Marc & Julie commentary)*

San Clemente Pier - Miss Julie at our first stop of the trip. I don't love the shots I got of the telescopes on this pier, so being the private, perfectionist photographer, I opted not to upload any shots of them. And besides, this one is pretty damn good.

Dana Harbor Ocean Institute (dock of "The Pilgrim") - Major props to Julie on this one, as she not only spotted it in our "Who can find it first?" game, but when we found it was barricaded by a gate, she sweet-talked one of the workers into letting us sneak in for a photo opp.

Laguna Beach - By far my favorite telescope of the trip. The elevation alone made for a great perspective, but the space-age, sleek appearance of the telescope combined with all the palm trees, beach and people made for some great photos!

Laguna Beach - Another view from this awesome telescope. Oh, and there was a man in a Speedo that a certain girlfriend of mine couldn't get enough of.

Lookout Point, Corona del Mar - Jackpot. I had been waiting to find a red telescope like this, and got UBER excited when we found it. We almost didn't find it due to my not so awesome directions, but thanks to Julie knowing the area, we navigated our way to find this beauty.

Huntington Beach Pier - Could you tell I was in heaven on this pier? They had 3 telescopes on each side of the pier! I could barely contain myself. Needless to say, Julie had to be VERY patient with me on this pier.

Huntington Beach Pier - One of my favorites from the trip.

Newport Pier - After getting annihilated in our attempt to find parking on Saturday, we ventured back to Newport on Monday to brave the mob scene again. After lucking out with the most ridiculous parking spot ever, we found another red beauty. I liked these photos a ton because the beaches were so packed with people for some great background contrast.

Newport Pier - A vantage point from further back across the pier.

Newport Pier - I apologize for the repetition of this scope, but I love how it looks like a person on the back side of the viewfinder. Again, this is shot with my 75mm-300mm lens across the pier.

Newport Pier - Last one, I promise. I just like the detailed ridges and design on the silver scope, and the long rolling landscape of the beach.

So there you have it. Like I said, this is just a quick handful of photos to sate your unwavering Marc Sawyer appetites. If you like what you see, stay tuned for the release of my book, to be released sometime between 2011 and 2037.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hoops, High Scores, and Huntington

Wow, 2 weeks without a post? Crikey. Well, here's some random excerpts from my life over the past two weeks to sate your reading appetites:

The "Jack in the Box Hoops at the Beach" basketball tournament my work put on went outstanding. We had an excellent turnout, decent weather, and there was a real solid vibe going around the whole weekend. Team numbers were up a bit from the past 5 years, so definitely stoked about that. Now I don't have an event of my own to plan until September...(there will be a post sometime this summer about my unique summer schedule)

Last week I went bowling with the old bowling team (sans 2 regulars) at East Village Tavern, and in my first game, had a chance to bowl my best score ever. Prior to last Monday, my best score was a 179 (nothing to puff your chest out about, but nonetheless, it's good enough for me!). After not bowling for two months or so, I came out roaring, bowling 3 straight strikes, opening with the coveted "Turkey" (and immediately followed by a turkey dance). I tapered off in the middle frames a bit, but kept up with some spares, and came to the final frame at a 170. Just need a spare to pick up the new high score. And on my first ball, I roll an 8, with the '7' and '9' pins standing. Not the easiest pickup, but do-able. Took a deep breath, did my normal routine (complete with the over-exaggerated arm-dangle after the release)...and watched my ball roll way left...and miss everything. Not only did I end on a weak note for the game, I finished with a 178...ugh! Bowled 2 games after that and never broke 155. Epic Fail.

After the rough-and-tumble nature of the past month of work for myself and Julie, we decided to get away for Memorial Day weekend. Actually, Julie took it upon herself to book a mini-vacation-getaway for us, and so I was informed that we would be spending Saturday-Monday at the Hilton Waterfront Beach Hotel in Huntington Beach. It was such an "official vacation" that Miss Julie even put up her "Out of Office Assistant" on her e-mail...unheard of! I don't even know where to start on how amazing our weekend was...so I guess from the beginning will have to suffice:

SATURDAY - Left Del Mar around 10:30am and made our way up the coast. This is Day #1 of not seeing a single cloud in the sky. As some of you know, I have recently decided to try and put together some material to publish a photography book centering around those coin-operated telescopes and binoculars that you find at random piers and lookout points on the Southern California coastline. Well, we spent the majority of the day Saturday driving the coast and stopping at some pre-determined spots that I had researched and found that had those scopes. We stopped at the San Clemente Pier, Dana Point Ocean Institute, Laguna Beach, Lookout Point (Corona del Mar), and Huntington Beach Pier. Got some great shots, and will post some after I edit them this week sometime. Stopped for lunch at Avila's El Ranchito in San Clemente for some awesome Fresca Burritos and excellent margaritas (highly recommended). After our little telescope scavenger hunt (a fun game in itself to try and spot them) and a wonderful drive on Pacific Coast Highway, we arrived at our beautiful hotel, dropped our stuff, and made the first of many walks down the boardwalk to Main Street for dinner at Huntington Beach Beer (which was swamped due to the Lakers/Suns final game). After dinner, we decided to hit up the slightly over-crowded spa, and then called it an early night in the hotel.

SUNDAY - Day #2 of not spotting a single cloud in the sky. Our hotel room was amazing. Top floor of the hotel with a view of sunrise and the long strip of Huntington Beach. Absolutely gorgeous, and had the effect of relaxing both of us as soon as we set foot on our balcony. We ventured back to the main strip for breakfast at Sharkeez (yes, the bar). This place has a "Make-Your-Own Bloody Mary" deal where they pour vodka into a pitcher for you, and you do the rest at a buffet style Bloody Mary bar. While Julie and I did not take part in this apparently normal breakfast ritual, it seemed to be quite the rage. So after some french toast (and plenty of hungover customers surrounding us), we made our way to the beach, got ice cream on the boardwalk, met some friends at Fred's for drinks (POWERFUL MARGARITAS....), then took a much-needed power nap back at the hotel, down to the spa for some relaxing, then back to the main strip for some awesome sushi at "Sushi on Fire" (where Julie made a new dog friend named "Guinness"), and then on to Longboard Bar for a quick nightcap (a.k.a. another excuse for us to consume beer). Needless to say, we passed out within minutes of getting to the hotel room.

MONDAY - Slight marine layer, only to burn off by 9:30am and all clouds disappear. Breakfast in the hotel restaurant on the pool deck (Yes, I had french toast again, but it was actually made from a cinnamon roll!). Decided to pack up, and make our way down to Newport Pier to check out the scene (and hit one more pier telescope that was too packed for us to find parking on the way up on Saturday). We had trouble finding parking again, but right as we were contemplating the merits of paying the $30 (yes $30!!!) the weird man was charging to park in his private lot, Julie spotted an open metered spot and we exhaled. We breathed an even bigger sigh of relief when we found that the meter still had over an hour and a half left from the last car (major high-five moment)! Anyway, beautiful day with a bit of wind, lots of people fishing on the old rustic pier, and plenty of umbrellas out on the beach! We had some more ice cream on the beach (we heart food), then finally decided to cruise down to San Diego. Stopped at the Carlsbad Pizza Port for some pizza and beer (the Marc and Julie calling card), and finally got home around 4:30pm, just in time to settle on the couch, watch SuperBad, and then kick Julie's ass in Tiger Woods golf on the Wii (Marc as Jim Furyk...can't lose).

AWESOME WEEKEND. Pictures to come (I promise).