O’ Captain! My Captain! Robin Williams (1951-2014)

Robin WilliamsI was shocked to find out on Monday, August 11, 2014 that one of my favorite comedians and one of the greatest actors on earth, Robin Williams died at the age of 63 of suicide at his home in Tiburon, California.

Why was I shocked?  Because Robin seemed so happy all the time, and I find it hard to believe that someone who appeared to be so happy on the outside felt so much pain, depressed, and sad on the inside.

At the same time, I should not be shocked because someone I knew extremely well hid his pain then committed suicide a few years earlier.  Robin’s death completely brought back memories of when my friend Stew died in December of 2010.  Stew seemed happy even though he was having some serious personal problems.  He was one of those persons who you thought would never do something like this.

There are times I struggle to understand the how and why, but at the same time, I understand that some times the pain people feel inside is too strong.

Dead Poets Society (1989): Robin WilliamsO’ Captain! My Captain!” (Dead Poets Society) You will be sorely missed, but you leave a legacy that millions of people will see.  You will continue to make people laugh or cry through your amazing movies.

Here is a photo compilation (not in chronological order) of my favorite Robin Williams’ movies: Awakenings (1990), Nine Months (1995), Good Will Hunting (1997), Good Morning Vietnam (1987), Dead Poets Society (1989), Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), The Bird Cage (1996), Happy Feet (2006), and Aladdin (1992).photo

NHL Sharks Draft 2014

The San Jose Sharks selected the following players during the 2014 NHL Draft:

  • Nikolay Goldobin RW – first round, 27th overall
  • Julius Bergman D – second round, 46th overall
  • Noah Rod F – second round, 53rd overall
  • Alex Schoenborn F – third round, 72nd overall
  • Dylan Sadowy F – third round, 81st overall
  • Alexis Vanier D – fourth round, 102nd overall
  • Rourke Chartier C – fifth round, 149th overall
  • Kevin Labanc F – final round, 171st overall

San Jose Sharks Moves

I understand that I am new to hockey and that there are a lot of things that I am still learning about it; however, I do not understand some of the moves that Doug Wilson has made lately.  He says that the Sharks are in a rebuilding mode to improve their chances of winning the Stanley Cup, but some of the players he has chosen are head scratches.  Let’s start with…

The “Good” Moves:  Re-signing Alex Stalock, Tommy Wingels (three-year contract), Jason Demers (two-year contract), James Sheppard (one-year contract)

The “Meh” Moves:  Mike Brown, Taylor Fedun, Tye McGinn (brother of former Sharks Jamie McGinn

The “What the Heck” Moves:  Scott Hannan (older and had a so-so year last year), John Scott (two goals, four assists and 430 penalty minutes in 236 career NHL games… REALLY???)

The “No Longer Here” Moves: Dan Boyle became an unrestricted free agent and signed with the New York Rangers for two years.  I’m going to miss him.  Brad Stuart was traded to the Colorado Avalanche for a 2016 second-round pick and a 2017 sixth-round pick.

Il Volo Concert 2014

I decided to surprise my daughter by taking her to go see Il Volo as an early birthday present.  My mom said she would go as long as she could sit as close as possible.  I got the tickets and we did all that was possible to keep the secret.  We did a wonderful job!

For weeks my daughter believed she was going to an event at my mom’s work, and she was not happy at all.  As we were getting closer and closer to the venue, I did a great job distracting her so she would not see the signs saying that Il Volo was playing there.  As we were standing in line waiting to go in, she overheard them rehearsing and I told her that she was imagining things.  Thankfully, they were near the end of their rehearsal so she only heard them sing for a minute or two.

As we were getting closer to go get something to eat, she saw a couple of people walking around wearing Il Volo t-shirts and we told her that they are becoming popular so that is why.  She believed them.  Shortly after we sat down to eat, a couple of ladies sat at our table.  My daughter got up to talk on the phone, and as she was walking around in circles, we told the ladies what we were doing, so they played along.  My mom then got up to go get her a t-shirt and I ended up doing a great job distracting her by taking an “ussie,” as my daughter liked to call it.  See:

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Once we finished eating, we went to sit down and patiently waited for the show to start.  Thankfully, there were no banners saying who was performing, so we kept up the charade by saying that the stage was for the main speaker and that event coordinators tend to have music to keep the audience entertained.  My mommy and I “ussie”:

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The performance started about 7:45 with a long musical introduction.  She heard the first few melodies and we told her that because we were in a winery, they liked to play Italian music.  Then the surprised unravelled… They came out!  She gave a shriek and started bawling.  Yes, crying very hard because she was so surprised and happy that she was seeing them perform.

The only bad experience was that the venue would not let us take any photos or videos during the performance, and security was like a hawk enforcing the rules.  Near the very, very end, the majority of people were taking photos and videos because we knew that the show would be over within a couple of minutes.

Here are a few photos I took:

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Dan Boyle Traded

Officially, defenseman Dan Boyle is no longer a San Jose Sharks.  The Sharks organization decided to trade Boyle to the New York Islanders for a 2015 conditional fifth round pick; however, if Boyle re-signs with the Islanders before the season begins, that fifth-round pick will become a fourth-round pick.  Any decisions regarding Boyle, who will become an unrestricted free agent as of July 1, will be now made with the Islanders.

I am really sad to see him go.  I am still new to this whole world of hockey and I know age is a factor, as it is with any sports, but I think there are still a few good years left on him.  I think it was unfair to judge his performance this year considering the gravity of the injury he suffered with the Lapierre hit.

So, in honor of former Sharks player Dan Boyle, I will now expand my list of hockey players hotties by mentioning players from other teams starting with the 2014-2015 season.  Stay tuned.

No More Dan Boyle, and More Sharks Changes

Boyle 22

Dan Boyle #22

I was very sad to hear that Dan Boyle would not be returning to the San Jose Sharks for the 2014-2015, but I was not surprised.  I understand that he wanted a multi-year contract and that the Sharks were willing to only give him a one-year contract, mostly because he is “old” at 37 for hockey.  I think he was a great defenseman, though this year it did not show.  I am going to miss seeing him in teal, and whichever team grabs him next will have a good player.

In other Sharks news, Martin Havlat is also not returning this year.  That move was expected because he was not a great acquisition for the Sharks.  He was hurt the majority of the time, and when he played, he was streaky.  Oh, well!  I am not going to miss him.  Brunt Burns has been moved back to defense.  I am not sure how I feel about this move.  Though originally he started as a defenseman, last year he played forward and I think he did great.  Yet, his build and physicality are good for the blue line.

These new changes will hopefully allow the Sharks to build up on its defense line, which was lacking all year long.

Finally, the Sharks announced that it was going to make more changes to its roster and hinted that younger players would be placed in positions of leadership.  I wonder, how so?  Of course, with Dan Boyle leaving, that clears up one spot for an Alternate Captain, but could there be two if Patrick Marleau is demoted?  Will there be a new captain?  I see Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski filling those spots, but I still like Joe Thornton as the captain.  We will see what other changes will come.

Sharks Fan Appreciation Night

Tonight, I went to the Sharks Fan Appreciation Night, aka Last Home Game of the Regular Season.  I promised my friend Angela that I would take her son, Alex, to a game this season and I finally was able to do it.  Of course, I took my children and Lea along.  The best seats I was able to get were on Section 123, Row 16, seats 8-12.  I wanted to get ones on the first row, BUT Ticketmaster wanted me to buy only even number of seats (four or six and there are five of us).  It would have cost me an additional $500.00 and I am not wealthy (yet!).

It was cool going to the last home game because the Sharks had souvenirs for all the fans.  It was a Logan Couture bobble head.

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I took a picture of Alex so he could have something good to remember, and I posted it on Facebook and tagged Angela on it for her to see.

The game was awesome!  It started with the announcement earlier in the day that Tomas Hertl would return after a four-month absence due to a knee injury suffered when the Sharks were playing against the LA Kings at the Honda Center in Los Angeles, California.  Kings Captain Dustin Brown had a knee-to-knee collision with Hertl, which many believe was intentional.  Hertl’s play was as if he had not missed four months.  He started on the third line with James Sheppard.  He came close to scoring twice.

Dan Boyle scored the first goal for the Sharks in the first period.  It was followed by a goal from Patrick Marleau.  In the second period, Patrick Bordeleau with the Avalanche scored a goal giving the Sharks a one-goal lead.  In the third period, Marty Havlat scored three unanswered goals, a natural hat trick.  What a beauty!  It was my kids, Lea’s, and my second live hat trick, and Alex’s first live hat trick.  The final score was Sharks 5 – Avalanche 1.

At the end of the game, some lucky fans got jerseys from each of the players and got their photos taken with them.

Joe Pavelski got the Brocade “Sharks Player of the Year” Award.  The award is given to the player contributing most to the success of the Sharks in the 2013-14 regular season. He was also recognized with the Ram Trucks “Sharks Fan Favorite” Award.  The Ram Trucks “Sharks Fan Favorite Award” is determined by fan voting at sjsharks.com. Nearly 11,000 votes were submitted during the eligible period.

Joe Thornton was recognized with the PlayStation “Sharks Three Stars of the Game” Award.  The winner is tabulated by the number of times a player is named a “star” of the game. At the end of each regular season game, players received five points for being chosen first star, three points for second star and one point for third star as listed on the official NHL game sheet. Each star is chosen by members of the media based on the player’s performance each game.

Finally, Tomas Hertl and Matt Nieto were both recognized with the PlayStation “Rookies of the Year” award in a vote by Bay Area media.  It is only the second time in the history of the franchise that two or more players have shared the award in a given year.

The Sharks are going to the playoffs, but I don’t know if I will be able to make it.  Until next season, I will look at the photos and videos of the games I attended this season.

LASIK

On Friday, March 28, 2104, after many years of contemplating getting LASIK surgery, I finally decided to go through with it.  The truth is that I was tired of wearing glasses.  Before, I was able to wear my contacts and see perfectly with them on, but  he last few six months to a year, my sight got to the point that I could no longer see up close with my contacts on.  I could still see far away, but whenever I tried to read up close, I could not.  However, I was still able to see up close and far away when I wore my glasses.  Same prescription and everything, but my glasses for some reason allowed me to see up close.

My eye doctor, Dr. Stephen Faith, did all the pre-op measurements and he said I was a perfect candidate for LASIK, so he referred me to Dr. Mark Mandel.  Of course, being the paranoid freak that I am, I decided to do all this research on YouTube on how LASIK is done, which led me to videos about the complications even one from Dr. Oz.  I asked people that I knew if they regretted having it done and none of them said they did.

These are the things I had to do to have my LASIK done:

  • About a week before, I had to scrub my eye lids with these lid pads to make sure I would get rid of all the dead skin and oils on them for the entire week.
  • Three days before, I had to start doing antibiotic drops four times a day.
  • The day of the surgery, they took my measurements again.  Then they gave me a Valium, put eye drops again, and I finally went in after waiting for about two hours.  The whole thing took about 10-15 minutes to do both eyes.  Yes, that quick.  They took me out and I could see pretty well.  Much better than without my glasses.  They put more eye drops in and then put my shields on.  They told me that shortly, I would start feeling severe burn for about 10-20 minutes.  Boy!  They were not kidding.  The best way I could describe it is like getting pepper sprayed.  After about 20 minutes, the burning went away and all I had was this scratchy feeling, as if I had something in my eyes.  The doctor wanted me to keep my eyes closed for the rest of the day until next morning (except to go to the bathroom or go eat), which I did.  He said not to remove my shields to put eye drops.  I could start the eye drops the next day.  He said I had to sleep with the shields on for a week or so as not to scratch my eyes while I sleep because they itch, which would cause the cornea flap to move and not heal in place.
  • The next day, I was able to remove my shields and started the antibiotic drops plus some “steroid drops to reduce the swelling four times a day, and lubricating drops every 1-2 hours.  Three types of drops total.  I was able to see basically perfect with very slight blurry vision.  I had an appointment with my regular eye doctor, and my eyes were healing just fine.
  • So now, I have to continue sleeping with my shields on until Friday, continue all the eye drops until Wednesday, and from then on just keep using the lubricating eye drops for a few weeks, if not months.  My next doctor’s appointment is this Friday and I will know for sure how much my eyesight has improved because of the LASIK.

Not bad for almost 20/20 vision!

2014 MotoGP Season

I’m not excited that the new season of MotoGP is about to start because this year, MotoGP will not be coming to Laguna Seca, which means I will not see Valentino Rossi. The race at the Losail Circuit in Qatar marks the beginning of the first race of the season out of 18 total. I know that Valentino Rossi is going to try to win the tenth championship of his career, just one premier championship away from meeting Giacomo Agostini’s record. He came in fourth place last year, so I know he will finish Top 3 this year.

Here’s the schedule for this season’s races:

03.23.14 Qatar* (Losail)
04.13.14 The Americas (Austin)
04.27.14 Argentina (Termas de Rio Hondo)
05.04.14 Spain (Jerez)
05.18.14 France (Le Mans)
06.01.14 Italy (Mugello)
06.15.14 Catalunya (Catalunya)
06.28.14 Netherlands** (Assen)
07.13.14 Germany (Sachsenring)
08.10.14 Indianapolis (Indianapolis)
08.17.14 Czech Republic (Brno)
08.31.14 Great Britain (Silverstone)
09.14.14 San Marino & Riviera di Rimini (Misano)
09.28.14 Aragón (MotorLand)
10.12.14 Japan (Motegi)
10.19.14 Australia (Phillip Island)
10.26.14 Malaysia (Sepang)
11.09.14 Valencia (Ricardo Tormo – Valencia)

*: Evening Race
**: Saturday

My Wish List 2014

In preparation for my Income Tax Return, I’m once again putting a list together of what I would like to buy with the money I will get back.  I might be able to cross off a couple of the items on my list, but I would love to cross off all of them.  I am still dreaming!

1)  Bedroom set.  Still trying to finish buying that elusive bedroom set.  Need a desk, dresser, and bookcase.

2)  Camera lens.  I am drooling over a few lenses still, but I think I will buy them used.  I need to figure out exactly which one it is that I want.

3)  LASIK.  I have been pretty “blind” for the last two-or-so decades and I am pretty tired of it.  For years, I have been saying that I will be getting LASIK, but his year is it.  Now my eyes have become “old people’s eyes,” meaning that I cannot wear my contact lenses because I am not able to see up-close.  Before I had no problem with that, but in the last few months, I have only wore my glasses because they help with my nearsightedness.  Accomplished 03/28/2014.

That’s it until next year’s return.