Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Back to the Blog

I'm sorry I haven't written on my blog for more than a month. There's always plenty to write about, but the hard part is getting the time to do it. When I started this thing in early summer, it was a lot easier to make time. But fall is the busiest time at a university (along with spring), and that spare time went away pretty quickly.

But today we had one of those “emergency situations” on campus, which ended up giving me some time to write. The Santa Ana winds caused Cal State San Bernardino to close today. The winds sparked a fire south of campus in San Bernardino, which closed Interstate 215, the primary access route to the university. The location of the fire led to evacuations, and CSUSB was designated as an evacuation site. Fortunately, the fire was controlled early and families were allowed to move home, which meant the evacuation site wasn’t necessary after all. But by that time, the decision had been made and the word was out that classes were cancelled. The CSUSB community seems to anticipate a closure every time the winds kick up. I’ve worked there since 2002, and every October we have had some kind of event in which our office had to respond. It hasn’t always been wind-related, but it’s always something in October. So when the phone rang at 5 a.m., I wasn’t surprised. We got the word out quickly, and I got a lot of work done in the quiet offices before my day at work ended early.


So, that’s a long-winded way to say that I had a little time to write today. For now, I’ll focus on more odds and ends. Soon I have a couple of longer pieces that I’ll post, but they still aren’t finished. One of those is already broken into three parts, and it could easily go twice as long as that. Good stuff, too. In the meantime, this one is mainly just to let you know my blog is still alive.


This is a great time for sports fans, with the NFL and college football seasons in full swing, and baseball nearing the World Series. I’m heartbroken over the Dodgers’ performance last night – mainly the inability of the pitching staff to hold the lead in the eighth inning. That was frustrating. I said at the outset of the series that I was just glad that the Dodgers made it this far, but once they get there, it’s impossible not to want or expect more. I’m not giving up on them yet, but the odds are against them. But, this is baseball, and I’ve certainly seen stranger things happen.


As for the Angels, I’m disappointed, too. They just didn’t play well in the AL Division Series. I can’t blame Mike Scioscia, and I agree with his call to try to squeeze in the go-ahead run in the final game of the Boston series. Think about it—that was probably a higher percentage move than letting Aybar swing away. He’s a good bunter, and all he had to do is get it down. If anyone is to blame, it’s the Angels’ middle infielders Aybar and Kendrick, who both melted down in the post season.


Fantasy football is well underway, too. I decided I’m never really happy with my team – no matter what year it is. I always have to add and drop guys, and I would love to make more trades, but nobody ever seems interested in dealing anymore. I get so I like or hate NFL guys, based on how they perform for my fantasy team (but I’ve never broken a bone because of one). I’m having a decent year, but I’d easily swap most of my starters. In the meantime, my sons Sid and Sam are taking the minimal management technique and have had the top score in the league in three of the season’s six weeks. Not bad, considering their top pick was Tom Brady, who’s out for the season with an injury.


Congratulations to nephew Brian Bosson, who was promoted to vice president of merchandising operations at Rip Curl. Pretty big deal. Here’s a link to the story. Also, happy anniversary to Brian and Felissa, who celebrate two years of marriage today. And while we’re in the family, belated public acknowledgement to Brian’s brother Jeff and fiancĂ© Jackie, who are engaged to be married next Sept. 18. And good luck to another nephew, Kevin Bosson, who started college a couple of weeks ago at Cal Poly Pomona.


Best wishes to Tim Dickinson, who thinks he is Bo Jackson. I hope his hip surgery went well and he’s back running the ball for the Raiders soon… They need somebody. On second thought, I think Tim would be a lot better off without the Raiders. Los Angeles certainly is. Hope you’re doing well Tim.


Son Sid seems to be really enjoying his second year at Cal State San Marcos, but the load is a lot harder, too. He’s not running track this year, but he’s very involved in his fraternity and he’s working at Project Walk, the spinal cord injury and recovery center in Carlsbad. All the more reason for him to crack down at school, especially since he plans to earn that degree in kinesiology and put his education to work in that field…Sid recently returned from a trip to Tennessee to visit Lauren DesCombes at Vanderbilt. Poor guy. He said he was surrounded by 10 beautiful girls the whole time. And he got to go to a football game while he was there.


Son Sam is headed to his first semi-formal dance at Claremont High. The annual Homecoming Dance is a couple weeks ahead. I’m not sure how that will compare with what he and his pal Kyle Jackson have planned for their combined birthday party – a toga party at our house. Otis Day and the Nights have a previous engagement at the Dexter Lake Club that night and won’t be able to perform, so they’ll rely on the soundtrack instead. Any parents who decide to crash the gathering should dress appropriately. And please wear something under that toga.


Steve Jackson is already making a positive impact on the baseball program at Claremont High. I stopped by practice recently and watched a few minutes and it just confirmed to me that these kids are getting remarkable fundamental instruction. Because of their fall sports and other commitments, many players who were on the team last year aren’t yet working with the team. I think they’ll be surprised just how much they’ll learn about the game.


It appears Richard Brehaut may graduate early from Los Osos High and enroll at UCLA for the spring quarter. Clearly, the Bruins can use help, and it makes sense for Richard to start learning Norm Chow’s offensive system as soon as possible. It’s certainly not a given that he’ll get the chance to play as a freshman, but coach Rick Neuheisel and staff will get a long look at him before next fall. The downside, of course, is that Richard won’t be able to play his senior season of baseball, after ranking among the Baseline League leaders in hitting as a sophomore and a junior. In fact, there’s a good chance he’d be drafted by a Major League team in June, or at least receive a college baseball scholarship offer. Who knows—maybe he’ll get a chance to be a two-sport athlete at UCLA.


The Los Osos game against Upland on Friday, Oct. 24, will be telecast by Fox Sports Prime Ticket. The word is that tickets will be hard to find, so it looks as if there will be a tailgate party at the Robinson garage instead, which has yet to reach capacity. That’s the game in which Brehaut will face off against Upland’s Josh Nunes, who recently de-committed from Tennessee and switched his verbal commitment to Stanford. That seems like a much better fit for a number of reasons, and it simply makes more sense. I claimed all along that he wouldn’t go to Tennessee. That wasn’t a malicious comment – just a common sense observation. I can’t imagine anyone going across country to a school they’ve never seen (until after he committed) to a program with a head coach that will probably be fired. He’s a smart kid, and I understand Stanford was one of his top picks anyway. Still, it took some good fortune for the pieces to fit right, since Stanford didn’t offer him a scholarship earlier.  The Cardinal’s first choice is reportedly going on a Mormon mission instead, which opened the door for Josh.  I guess it doesn’t matter how he gets there. Who wouldn’t want to go to Stanford or UCLA, even without football?


The Los Angeles County Fair kind of came and went quietly this year. The attendance numbers seemed on par with most years (it doesn’t fluctuate much anyway). Nothing really got my attention this year, but I always enjoy being there and being a part of it. That will never change. For so many years, I lived and breathed that place, and it will always be part of me. But now, it seems, I rarely have reason or opportunity to go over there after the Fair ends. Too bad. Maybe one of these days I can get involved with something else over there.


And speaking of the Fair, the word is that it will open over Labor Day weekend next year (although I haven’t read anything in the newspapers). I assume that means it will extend to five weekends. That’s a long time, but there’s definitely an opportunity there. I’d be concerned that a Labor Day weekend opening would dilute the traditional opening day. I mean, people generally have their routine for Labor Day weekend, since is the final weekend of summer before school starts. Barbecues, the beach and the annual fantasy football drafts are etched in calendars. And there is huge competition from the California Speedway, which holds one of its major events that weekend. There is already a lot happening that weekend, and the opening of the Fair in Pomona might get lost. And then what becomes of the following weekend, which was the usual opening. That will likely lose its luster, too. Getting vendors moved from the State Fair in Sacramento to Pomona is also a challenge, and I hope the employees can last that long. But opening the Fair over Labor Day could just work, and it could be the start of a new tradition – but only if they give it enough years to take hold.


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