Thursday, March 5, 2009

Crisscrossing the Nation for College Hoops - Berkeley, California

The curse of ESPN's Saturday Night Prime Time continues.  In anticipation of the game, Cal is no longer ranked, and UCLA lost the weekend before our broadcast.  

This was my first trip to Berkeley, a funky-cool hippie stronghold. Telegraph Avenue reminded me of Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, but with street vendors and smoke shops.  Beard Papa's is there!  When I saw it, I just had to buy half a dozen cream puffs!  (Don't worry, I'm not that much of  a pig; I ate half of one and gave the rest to co-workers.)

We stayed at a marina, which was a lovely setting.  Here is Berkeley from my hotel window:

The rooms were a little run down and motel-ish, but I can't deny that the location and scenery were special.  The weather was warm and a mix of overcast and sunny skies.  

I took this shot of the marina on the walk from my room to the hotel's restaurant where I ate breakfast.  The previous night I had dinner at Spenger's Fresh Fish Grotto, a McCormick & Schmick's property. Delicious Atlantic salmon stuffed with crab, shrimp, and brie.  Wow.  Very yummy.

The game itself was actually better than expected.  I thought it would be a UCLA blowout - we're good for those on the Saturday night show - but it was actually a tightly contested, back-and-forth affair that went down to the wire. UCLA prevailed 72-68, but Cal gave them all they could handle.  

With this game done I had one more remaining for this particular crew.  It was nice being on the West Coast with no snow or freezing temperatures.  That was on its way to the east and would make the commute to my next work assignment fairly interesting.

Did Everyone Have a Nice National Grammar Day?

Yesterday was National Grammar Day, a day that was created for me and other grammar lovers out there.  (You'd be surprised how many there actually are.) The brainchild of the brains behind the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar, National Grammar Day puts the spotlight on bad grammar and the need to speak and write properly. What does this mean?  It means that there are people who actually care about the English language and its usage. And that makes me happy.  

Now that National Grammar Day has come and gone - all too quickly, I might add - I hope you spent the day as I did, using good grammar at work and enlightening co-workers about the subtle nuances of subject-verb agreement whether or not they were interested.  I consider NGD a beacon of hope for a future where everyone is more conscious of how they speak and write, especially for business.  

But I view this day in much the same way as I view Valentine's Day: It's not a day, but a 24/7/365 kind of thing.  Just as you should treat your significant other with love and respect and chocolate throughout the year, you should employ the principles of National Grammar Day every day, otherwise it's worthless.  

I feel almost vindicated that such a day exists because people think I'm crazy for being passionate about proper grammar.  My heartfelt thanks go out to SPOGG founder Martha Brockenbrough for creating National Grammar Day and for other grammar warriors such as Grammar Girl, Patricia T. O'Conner and Stewart Kellerman, and Bill Walsh who are devoted to grammar and recognize the beauty of our language.

Crisscrossing the Nation for College Hoops - Washington, DC

There was no view of the Capitol building from my hotel room in DC, my destination after my game in Austin, Texas, as the windows faced the hotel's indoor atrium.  It's still a nice view.

I was in DC for the hoops game between the Louisville Cardinals and the Georgetown Hoyas.  The usually fearsome Georgetown team has suffered through a horrible season of conference play.  Although they have a win against Connecticut to their credit, the Hoyas find themselves near the bottom of the Big East standings.  This night would again prove that the Big East is the most unforgiving conference in men's basketball, as John Thompson III's team would lose its fourth game in five tries.  Louisville, behind 22 points from New Jersey product Earl Clark, powered past Georgetown 76-58.

Walking through the biting wind of the nation's capital, I was happy that the hotel was a close distance from the Verizon Center.  I was happy to have a couple of days off before flying across the country for my next game:  UCLA vs Cal in Berkeley.