Thursday, May 31, 2007

Obama, not Yo Mama

I joined a few thousand others today and stood in the heat of Wingfield Park in Downtown Reno for over an hour waiting to hear Senator and Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama take the stage and do a little early season campaigning.

He is a young, handsome, well-spoken and well-educated individual, and overall, I would say his speech was pretty good. I'm not ashamed to say that I was actually hoping for something a little more passionate and moving and even more substantive...but I guess he feels he needs to fight rhetoric with rhetoric...there was a little of that.

He did say a few things that make me want to vote for him to see if he can put his money where his mouth is. Truth be told I'd rather give anybody besides Bill's Wife a shot at the Health Care issue.

My issues are a little closer to home, however, and it was nice to hear him touch on some humorous truth; when speaking about his decision to run for Senator, he said he "...did what any wise man would do when faced with a difficult decision: I prayed on it, and then I asked my wife." Truth.

If you open the picture and squint hard enough, you can see the white-shirted Obama in front of the sweaty crowd.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Harrison Town

I'm adding my sister's blog "Harrisontown" to the roll. I know that my blogroll says "Hit This", and I'm thinking about changing that title, as now it implies in some sick way that I want you to "hit" my sister, or even "hit it" with her, or something. Maybe I'm the only one here who thinks about shit like that. Probably.

Anyway, Erin's family includes Michael, Jeffrey, Molly and Elle, and they live in Vegas. They're putting in a pool. I'm sure it can't come fast enough.

These kids are cute, so if you know us and haven't seen her stuff, it's a good place to get your "what's going on with Erin's family?" fix. She has a better camera than me, too, so that helps her blog. Now if she would just update more often...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Chill time

Memorial Day Weekend was spent in Graeagle, CA with family and friends. As always, it's such a wonderful feeling to unplug for a couple of days and do that kind of nothing that ends up as the best memories ever.

Played golf at Plumas Pines (my favorite course in the world) with (buddy) Keith, (brother in law) Chris and (Father in law)Papa. Then three of us played Graeagle Meadows the next day. The weather was perfect, as you can see in this shot (by the way, Dick birdied this par 5 with a chip from the edge of the green).

Hiked down to "the rocks" from the Johnsville Cemetery with Chris and Sean and was super impressed as Sean lost his fears and started scaling rock walls with his hands and feet. I can already tell that this summer will be great when we head back up with bathing suits and take some big leaps off of the rocks into that cold, deep pool. What a trip to think that I grew up doing it as a kid and now I'm introducing my son to it all. Uncle Chris was shadowed by Sean all weekend, and played super soaker war for hours. Family rules.

Ireland is trying to say whatever word you want her to and always has a big smile. She's going to be running around that place in no time.

If I could get deeper into Bodie's mind, I'm sure I would confirm that Graeagle=Heaven. He lives in that river, and my arm will need a few days to recover completely from the 4 day fetch marathon that was his weekend. Hopefully he will need a few days to recover too.

(Mother in law) Sharon cooked up a couple of awesome meals, and so did Marissa. Those women know how to put on a spread, and there's no such thing as "roughing it" in the Scott "Cabin". I don't know how I got so lucky.

From the sounds of it, the weekend left just about everyone with the same good vibes, and reluctance to get back to work, but hey...the 4th is coming.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Thanks, Grandpa

(Via Wikipedia): Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday that is observed on the last Monday of May (observed this year on 2007-05-28). It was formerly known as Decoration Day. This holiday commemorates U.S. men and women who have died in military service to their country. It began first to honor Union soldiers who died during the American Civil War. After World War I, it expanded to include those who died in any war or military action. One of the longest standing traditions is the running of the Indianapolis 500, which has been held in conjunction with Memorial Day since 1911.

My Grandpa O'Driscoll was a tailgunner for a B-17 Bomber In WWII. Here's a picture of his Crew.

My Grandpa Egan (deceased) entered the war on foot from the beach at Normandy, and the spent most of the time cruising around Europe. Here's a picture of him.

I just wanted to reflect on both of them for a minute before I take off for the weekend to golf, hike, and spend time with my family. These activities are made possible by the strength of my Grandfathers and of all those who fought and who are still fighting. (I wish I could find a link to a more unbiased description of Iraq, but nowadays, there is simply no such thing. Thanks to the troops for putting it all on the line in the face of such judgement.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Cohelo the Archer

Here where I stand

After having won many archery competitions, the town champion sought out the Zen master.
“I am the best of all,” he said. “I did not learn religion, I did not look for help from the monks, and I have been considered the best archer in the whole region. I heard that some time ago you were the best archer in the area, so I ask you: did you have to become a monk to learn to shoot arrows?

“No,” answered the Zen master.

But the champion was not satisfied: he took out an arrow, placed it in his bow, fired, and hit a cherry at a considerable distance. He smiled, as if to say: “You could have saved your time and just dedicated yourself to technique.” And he said:
“I doubt if you can do the same.”

Without demonstrating the least concern, the master took his bow and began to walk towards a nearby mountain. On the way there was an abyss that could only be crossed by an old rotting rope bridge that was almost falling down: with the utmost calm, the Zen master went to the middle of the bridge, took his bow, placed an arrow, aimed at a tree on the other side of the gulch, and hit the target.

“Now it’s your turn,” he said gently to the young man as he walked back to safe ground.
In trepidation, looking at the abyss below him, the young man went to the indicated spot and fired an arrow, but it landed very far from the target.

“That’s what one gets from discipline and practicing meditation,” concluded the master when the young man re-appeared at his side. “You can be very skilled with the instrument you have chosen to earn a living, but it’s all useless if you can’t manage to master the mind that uses the instrument.”

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Mountain Monsters

Over the weekend, Sean and I went for a ride in the Jeep, hoping to get up to Cone Peak and then hike around. What we didn't realize was that we would run smack into the middle of the "Silver State 50 Mile" race going on! What an eye opening thing to see a bunch of absolute STUDS cruising up the mountain after already conquering Peavine, knowing they still had to pass Hunter Lake and then head down to the Scolari's shopping center. If you are familiar with any of these locations, you'll know that this means that there were 2 MAJOR elevation climbs involved, and OH YEAH, they are just part of the FIFTY MILE RUN that everyone was going. (Actually, I think there was also a 50-K race as well, but anything over 12 miles qualifies as new territory for me).

Check out Tom Riley (aka MtnrnR)'s killer blog and pics to get a little more of the flavor. I'm going to put it out there right here and now for anyone paying attention: I want to do one of these races some day when I grow up. I only hope I will have the mental toughness that it undoubtedly takes to confront such a task.

For now though, I'm pretty content just cruising around the mountain with my boys.

Monday, May 21, 2007

I love the smell of Sagebrush in the morning...

My good friend Keith Owens is a local photographer, and you can check out his wonderful work here. On top of doing killer shots of families, models, and regular stuff, he also gets hired out a lot to do aerial photography. Today he had to charter a helicopter to get some shots done around Reno, and asked me if I wanted to come along for the ride...he had me at hello.

This was my first helicopter ride, and it was made so very pleasant by John from El Aero Services out of Carson City. We met him at Jet West, took the doors off of the whirlybird, and away we lifted. Not even one minute later, we were hovering about 400 feet above the ground, moving here and there, and I was smiling ear to ear while enjoying a view of Reno that many people never get to take in. It's one thing to hop in little plane and cruise forward, watching the ground go by from a relatively low altitude. It's another all together to be able to point to a destination and then move right over it and stare at it from above. It really puts things into a whole new perspective, and it's one that I truly appreciated. To my man Keith, for facilitating the event: Thanks dude.

Here's a few cameraphone pics, including one of the man in action.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Too cool for school

I know I'm in the hipster zone when I dine in TWO of Reno's uber-gourmet scene's in one day. I finally got to sample the fare at Sushi Moto for the all you can eat lunch yesterday, and was pleasantly surprised. I had heard mixed reviews, but who cares, here's how it went down: Atmosphere: Very cool and stylized, not too white-walled or empty, which (albeit probably authentic to some extent) is not what I want when I go for the experience. The downtempo grooves playing in the background the whole time were also very relaxing and made me feel like I was in the City or somewhere else other than butt-rock-city-numero-uno. The sushi was the bomb, and if I can recommend one roll, please do yourself a favor and order the "Spicy Ben Franklin". It's a treat that includes the surprise element of macadamia nut! Who knew? Finally, the one thing I was suspect of going in, but which proved to be over-the-top phenomenal was the service. I was asked if I wanted a refill every 5 minutes by the team of hostesses, and I have NEVER seen sushi prepared with such a swiftness. If anyone has had a bad experience here, please, give it another shot. Let's keep these guys in business!

Then, last night, I got to mow the 3-pack of sliders from The Imperial Bar and Lounge again. Think "Whitecastle" gone Wolfgang. I repeat myself from an earlier post: The food at The Imperial is off the chain. The atmosphere is subtle and proper, and the place is still at the top of my list for recommendo in Reno. Hit it.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Rock Chillin'

Rock Chillin'
Originally uploaded by daddyisaninja.
What a fantastic weekend this one proved to be. For anyone not familiar with just how amazing this town is, this weekend would have been evidence enough to win any argument. The (4th?) annual Reno River Festivalwas a great excuse for pro kayakers to compete in downtown Reno, and just one of many excuses for pro-hanger-outers to cruise around and check out the scene. Live music, great food and tons of people watching everywhere. Just one of the 300 + days of awesome sunshine that we can expect here in the Biggest Little City in the World.

Mother's day was great, too, and a wonderful chance for me to try and spoil the babymama. She really deserved it, so she got a couple of nice bottles of Chard., a future trp to Utopia, and (with the help of the other men of the extended family) got treated to a bbq lamb chop and lobster dinner. Yep, that's how we do.

Oh yeah, I also squeezed in 18 holes at Washoe...don't ask me how I pulled it all is just good.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

My New Kentucky Home

Like a horse that doesn't want to step into the gate, full of fear and excitement...maybe a little pee down the leg...I have been hesitant to write this blog since my return from the Kentucky Derby. However, as Confucius say:

“The superior man makes the difficulty to be overcome his first interest; success comes only later”

My difficulty is trying to summarize the awesome experience that was my trip to the Derby with my brother in such a way that transmits even a fraction of just how first class and monumental of an occasion it truly was. My humble attempt shall thus ensue.

Paddy and I headed into Indianapolis on Monday to spend a final week of classes and then take a test to complete our 3-year-long endeavor towards our CCIM designations. In the world of commercial real estate, the letters CCIM behind our names (which stand for Certified Commercial Investment Member) will let our peers and clients know that we have completed a significant volume of transactions and financial analysis classes that are the so-called "equivalent" of having a Masters degree in our field. The 6 hour test on Thursday was harder than I expected, and by the end of it all, I was relieved and proud of both of us for completing our work.

We stayed at an amazing hotel that's on the National Register of Historic Places: The Columbia Club. It's right out of a movie with dark wood and rich leather everything. Every night we were there we drank scotch, assuming that since they have a strict dress code, scotch was the right thing to drink. Here's a couple of tasty pictures to give a glimpse of the hotel's flavor.

That's some flavor.

However, I only illustrate the week leading up to the Derby in an effort to allow the reader to understand how entrenched in rich history and tradition my brother and I were when we picked up our gold Chevy Impala and made the drive into the Glorious South on Friday.

The rain fell gently upon us as we crossed the river into Louisville, and pulled into the lovely estate that we would call home for the next two nights. Our most gracious hosts were Jim and Jane Mulrooney, parents to Allison, and future in-laws to a good friend of mine, Mike Conway. Conway was the catalyst for our venture into the 133 year old tradition that is the Kentucky Derby. He talked us into staying the extra two days after Indy, and then talked another good friend of ours from LA, Branden Claisse, into coming out too. He orchestrated not only our tickets for both The Oaks and The Derby, but by his introducing us to his future family, managed to get us entry into the Jockey Club Suite that we would call home-base for both days. It was unreal. There were private, open bars with mint juleps and every other high end libation flowing freely. There were private wagering windows with helpful attendants ready and able to assist a willing (even if uneducated) bettor. There was the most amazing spread of gourmet fare spread out over dozens of tables that dripped with lobster, prime rib, salads, deserts, etc., etc., etc. If the betting windows weren't to your liking, each suite had two of it's own atm-machine style betting devices for the savvy gambler to use right up until the last minute. There was a balcony with two rows of seating that hung over the boxes, the grandstands, and the track, and afforded a view of those beautiful horses' rolling forms as they pounded the entire way around the track. There was a view of the tunnel that led to the infield - an entirely polar opposite experience from the one we had, and equally fun in a grateful dead meets burning man type of way.

Actually, at this point I need to take pause from the meter of my description to highlight our 15 minutes into the infield. Since we needed suits to be in the suite, we weren't a welcome sight to the thousands of partiers wearing next-to-nothing on the infield, so our time was spent wisely just moving quickly and taking it all in. Our welcome began in the tunnel when we passed by a large and inebriated woman squatting against the wall, pissing. If anyone dared to look at her as they passed she would bark "What the fuck are you looking at? I have to piss!". Beautiful. The rest of the infield was just as you would expect when you see a woman pissing on the way there. It was a complete drunk fest without regard to moral behaviour. I'd suggest spending at least 15 minutes there to anyone. Then move on.

Back in the suite, I managed to win a few bets both days, including an exacta the race before the Derby. It was a complete bonus for an otherwise blessed trip. I fear that I will never be able to fully encapsulate the awesome spectacle and experience that is The Kentucky Derby, but I will finish by saying this: I will be back. It's the best sporting event I have ever been to, probably every will go to, and maybe the best in existence. It's just that fucking cool.

Mike, Jim, Jean*, Allison, Kyle (or as we called him "Cal"...Allison's

brother, who kept it festive the whole time): Thanks to you all for such a wonderful time. See you next year?