Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saturday Golf, a Round of Golf Two Years in the Making

Well, today I played my last round of golf with my aging irons.  This week, after weeks (more like months and years) of shopping, I finally purchased a new set of irons!  They haven't arrived yet, but they should arrive sometime next week.  Next round, I hope to shave a few strokes from my game (as most new clubs promise).  My current irons were a gift for my high school graduation over 10 years ago (okay, barely over 10 years ago).  They were a few years old at the time, so my decade plus technology will be history next time out!
Anyways, back to today's round, I met up with a former intern (Josh) I worked with over the summer of 2008.  I'm not sure exactly why we didn't play back then, but I'd imagine it had something to do with traveling and making arrangements for the wedding last year.  I remember the summer of '08 was full of trips planning the where, when, and such...  So, it has been around 2 years since we last worked together, so there definitely has been some built-up "smack talk" going on.  For some reason, I just enjoy it, whether I'm the underdog or the favorite, it makes for fun times out on the course.  (I think of my smack talking "racquetball" blogs in recent years, they did me no favors as I was destroyed often by Mr. Aaron!)

We opted for a mediocre course, Glenbrook Golf Course, a public course on the southeast side of Houston.  I had played here once previously, it was a round in which JR cleaned up...we left far too much money on the table for him that day!  Anyways, it's a challenging course.  There are a number of holes in which you have to hit over the bayou, a Houston thing.  It's the only city in which I've played over them...

Overall, I was actually happy with the play of the course.  The tee boxes, fairways, and greens were generally in good (and playable) condition.  There was a hole that was a little beat up, right off of I-45, that was definitely a distraction!  The view was far from my last round in Hawaii...passing cars and fumes were considerably different than palm trees and coconuts!
The front nine we actually tied, with the two of us sitting on 53's (on par 37).  I was quite disappointed, especially considering my last round.  I shot a 9, 8, and 7 on three holes.  Talk about putting myself in a hole (no pun intended)!  Geez, I took 6 drops!  That is something that hasn't happened in quite some time!

The back nine I was more on top of my game, more relaxed, and put together some great strokes.  With 5 pars, I closed the day with a strong 39...which was quite the turnaround from the front.  On the last hole, a par 5, had I turned my feet a little, I likely would have been on the green in two.  I was satisfied with the par, though.
My biggest mistake from the day came on the front nine...on the second hole I sliced the living daylights out of a ball.  The slice was reminiscent of my beginning days of golf...well, the ball was still up on a later hole that I was playing.  I didn't realize it and hit it...badly at that.  After 3 shots, I found the original ball from that hole...I drove it just short of the green.  Talk about bad luck.  A lost couple of strokes for sure...and a lesson for next time!

I would recommend Glenbrook for the challenge and the price.  On one of the, if not the, hottest days of the year (97 degrees), it was still an enjoyable day on the course.  More so because I won the two year old rivalry by 7 strokes, with my 92.  Next up...not sure, but I'm hoping I'm back in the 80s!

Futbol! MLS All Stars vs Manchester United

On Wednesday night, Deb and I joined a group of futbol fans for the MLS All Stars as they hosted Manchester United at Reliant Stadium.
Now, Deb and I are quite the rookies when it comes to soccer, as we have only attended one other professional soccer game to date.  This one wasn't as "small" as the Houston Dynamo games over at Robertson Stadium, but more commercial.  We were with over 70,000 fans in what was reported as the largest soccer game ever at Reliant.


Before the game started we got the rundown from JR and Jenn, as we carpooled, and were informed that the US was favored to lose by a good margin.  Who would have thought within seconds of the whistle, they'd be down by 1!

Eventually, they came back and made it more interesting, but it ended up being a blowout, ending 5-2.
Overall, we had a good time...Deb and I enjoyed the game...one thing we did not enjoy, the Metro on the way back to the car.  Holy crap, what a looooong line!  Then we all "crammed" on the train.  Funny, Deb and I definitely commented on how the train was not even close to full...I guess we are used to the subways in NY.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More Maui...Old Lahaina Luau...(plus video!)

Deb did wonderfully selecting the luau...she and Christine had been to other luau's on the island on previous visits, but this was my first, as well as Christy's.  Reviews dictated the Old Lahaina Luau was the best, and it surely was.  We were pleased with the gorgeous view and sunset on the Lahaina coastline...


We also watched them dig up our dinner, PIG!  They call it "Kalua Pua'a."  It's roasted in the underground oven called a "imu'."







 Additionally, they had all sorts of Hawaiian favorites to eat...and drinks kept flowing.  Here's the menu if you are curious...menu link.  I had no shame drinking the Pina Colada's, the Lava Flows, and Mai Tai's.  I love tropical drinks with rum, they definitely are something you can drink in Hawaii without much judgement.  I know I won't order them here in Houston while out with friends...I don't need to lob that one in for jokes!

After we were done with our amazing food, we had entertainment.  I don't know exactly what entertainment you typically expect during a luau, but it was great.  They told a story about Hawaii, the history, the culture...all through song and dance.

I kept thinking of the "hips swing" song...
video

I highly recommend the Old Lahaina Luau...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cooperstown to save the 2010 MLB Season for me!

It's another disappointing year for me with my baseball teams...I'm really starting to feel like a Cubs fan, always saying "this is the year," then seeing the team faulter and fall out of the race.

I won't say it's impossible, but it's unlikely, that either the Indians or Astros make it anywhere this season.  Cleveland is keeping the AL Central cellar warm, while Houston is doing just barely enough to stay in front of the Pirates.  Pittsburgh is en route to it's 18th straight, and MLB record, losing season...it's not that bad for me yet, but it's not good either... Cleveland is sitting at 41-57, while Houston is at 40-58!  If they went on to win their next 64 games, they'd be okay, probably win their divisions.  At this point, I say blow the teams up! 

Similar to an earlier posting this year, trade your chips away...bring in young talent and build for the future...  Houston is old and overpaid, so take what you can get... Get out from your big contracts, dump your worthless schmucks, and bring up the mediocre talent that's in the minors.  Cleveland needs a kick start to remind them they are not that bad! 

Anyways, as crappy as the 2010 baseball season has been for me, I'm no less of a fan...always love the game.  I think I'm addicted to baseball news more than ever, if you can believe it.  MLBtraderumors.com is my outlet for reading, with MLB.com and ESPN.com/MLB now a distant second and third. 

And to top it all off, we are going to Cooperstown this year!  We weddings in the fall to attend, with the first over Labor Day weekend in Syracuse, NY.  We strategically decided to book our flights through Albany so we can take a day and spend it with Baseball immortals!  Debbie thought of taking the extra day to go there, not me...she never ceases to amaze me.  It's hard enough sitting through baseball games in Houston, it's another thing to spend a day with me oggling baseball history!  Can't wait!
Another thing I can't wait for...2011...it's gonna be the year for the Tribe!  :-)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Makena Beach & Golf Resort (Maui) - Pictures & Course Review

You can read the "live" update from our trip in Maui at the following link: MAKENA...
But if you want details and quality photos (not from my iPhone), read on...
I loved the course. I can't say this enough. I did my research and found that it was a beautiful course in addition to being challenging. The book that Deb's uncle was reading, Maui Revealed, called it an "ego bruiser" so I had my concerns the night before.

I played with two ex-teachers (Doug and Frank) from Colorado, and they made for a great day on the course. Doug gave me a tip midway through the round that improved my game and made me conscious for future rounds...more on that to come...

Hole 1 was a straight par 4...nothing much of a challenge...drive off the tee sailed right, ended up with an 8. I had that thought, "oh crap, first time I play in front of Deb and I'm playing like this!"

Holes 2, 3, and 4...I was fortunate to bogey the three...granted this by no means is a confidence builder, but I at least got the doubt out of my head and control of my game. I won't mention that hole 4 was a par 3, where I made a big "no no," by three-putting!


I shot a par on holes 5, 7 and 8...and closed the front 9 with a 45 (on 36 par). It was hole 6 (I believe) that Doug noticed I wasn't bringing my hips through the swing, and wasn't turning post-swing...technically, I can't really speak to what I mean, but it helped... On hole 9, my drive was 300+ yards, setting me up for a feel-good back 9.
To sum up the back 9, it was awesome...I shot par on holes 11, 13, 14, 17 and 18. I had solid drives, solid irons, and sand shots...my putting was "so so." Shot a 40, on a 36 par.

Holes 14 and 15...WOW. These were by far the most unique holes that I've ever played on. As we were playing, we were slowly inclining up the side of the volcano. It was on these two holes that we came back down the most. I asked in the club house and they said the drops were over 200 feet! My drive on hole 14 was awesome...it was long and straight...straight over the fairway! Luckily, it hit a tree and ricocheted out into the rough...playable! Great holes, quite memorable.

Overall, it was an awesome day...much thanks goes to my lovely wife and personal photographer, Deb. I joked that she was my lucky charm...outside of the first hole, the day was impressive...it was the only hole I was beyond a bogey. It has been a long, long time since I shot an 85...and definitely was not expecting it on vacation, while using rental clubs, all while being distracted with views of the Hawaiian islands!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Kickin' it in Ka'anapali

So we are back from Maui, unfortunately. We were gone for 8 great days, but by day 8, I think both Deb and I were missing the kids... Roma was so excited to be picked up from boarding (although we have been bringing her to Pet Paradise Resort, where she gets much play time and attention), and the whining started from kitty the second we opened the door at home. (Much thanks goes to the Reyes' for watching Midnight for us...we know she was in good hands and remember those are only "play bites!")

In Maui, we stayed at the Ka'anapali Beach Club...in Ka'anapali, which is located on the west side of the island. The resort itself was located right on the beach with great beach access and offered great views of Molokai and the evening sunsets. We stayed at the resort three years ago, also...


Our second day was kicked off with shopping! Not your souvenier shopping, rather groceries! With our rooms being fully equipped with kitchens we opted to pick up the essentials. That included Maui Onion chips, which are awesome! As well as all the other necessities for sandwiches, snacks, and adult beverages...

I can't imagine going shopping every week there, the prices were quite high for pretty much anything... Although, pineapples were priced affordably less than $2 each...


FYI, for you thinking about gas prices...well they were a little steep, right around $3.80/gallon. We locked in the gas with the rental car for a penny-saving, $3.62/gallon...go us!

Vacation Ends, no more live updates...

Our 8 days in Maui ended late Sunday, departing on the last flight from the island. We had a great trip and will be sure to blog much once we sleep some! Our first night back we definitely were restless, which we chalked up to jet lag...

Pics and stories to come!!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Breakfast crepes!

We had breakfast crepes this morning at a great place, Paradise Found Creperie...

Deb had a Mac-Nutella crepe...which she loved. It had macadamia nuts and Nutrlla which made it awesome! I had an Aloha Sunrise, with eggs, Portuguese sausage, roasted peppers, and cheese. Definitely a must-eat on any future trips...

Today we have minimal plans...pool time, tour of a coffee farm, and snorkeling. Not looking forward to reality in a couple days, except seeing our kids, Roma and Kiddy.

Friday, July 16, 2010

..the road to Hana

Yesterday we did the "road to Hana." It is known for being one of the most scenic drives to experience, and nauseating. There are hundreds of turns, which can take their toll on the stomach.

We saw countless waterfalls, exotic animals, the bamboo forest, and sampled banana bread and fresh fruit along the way. We also saw a black sand beach, which was formed from lava flow. The sand was more like small, but very smooth pebbles.

Our last stop was at the seven sacred pools, where we all swam under the falls...

The day was looong, but absolutely worth it! The drive itself was a little stressful. Most of the bridges are one way, the two-way roads are more like 1.5 lanes, you can't see hardly anything around turns, coupled with tourists driving their convertibles and SUVs! We got behind the same guy twice and he was in love with his brakes, and not in a good way. Granted the speed limit varies from like 5 to 10 to 15 along the way, he was driving me crazy! Eventually he let us "crazy" drivers pass by. Within the last 25 years or so they have improved the road to what it is today. They used to say it was a drive only for the "well insured!"

More Maui today...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Jet-skiing, Shopping, & Relaxing by the pool...

Today started off down in Lahaina where I went jet-skiing. Always a blast! Gives me a chance to let loose an drive crazy! I got yelled at for leaving the bay, then decided to rollover! These people were so concerned I was hurt, but I was fine. Had some issues rolling it back over, but I did.

Then we went shopping and at lunch down in Whaler's Village. Now we are relaxing by the pool, working on our paleness!

PIG! At the Old Lahaina Luau...

Tonight we went to the Old Lahaina Luau... Deb read that it was the best on the island and it lived up to the expectations! Watching them dig up the pig was pretty cool. It smelled awesome when they peeled back the banana leaves. When it came time to dinner, wow, everything was amazing. Especially the pig! I was back for seconds, maybe thirds! :-)

The dancing and music were also great. The ladies definitely know how to move their hips!

FYI, all these mobile blog posts have photos from the iPhone, we are taking much better shots which we'll post when we come home...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Makena Golf Club

Hands down, best golf course I've ever played! One of my favorite rounds of all time!

It was scenic, well groomed, challenging not to mention my 85 I shot! Best round in years! That includes the 8 on the first hole. Had 8 pars, a handful of 300 plus yard drives, and some great rescue shots taut made them possible. Debbie came and was photographing me, she was my good luck charm!thinking I should make her into a keychain and bring her everywhere! Haha.

We also played with some great guys which made the day a great all around day at the course.

Can't wait to post Deb's pictures, the views were unbelievable...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

"Maybe if you worked a little harder..."

So first leg of our flight we had great seats, row 8. Bad part, we could stare right into first class. The food, hot towels, and of course, the curtain. Reminds me of the old Seinfeld bit about air travel. Like when they shut the curtain, they look back into coach and say, "maybe if you had worked a little harder..." then slam the curtain shut! Good times.

FYI, our plane...old and crappy, we definitely miss Southwest!

All packed, next stop Maui!

Last night Deb found a tiny backpack and strapped it to kitty. She was not amused. We said goodbye to the kids earlier and are now en route to Maui!