Wednesday, September 29, 2010

No Such Thing As Free Parking - Well, Soon Enough That Is

I read today that Seattle's mayor is proposing higher rates for street parking citywide, extending parking meeter hours to 8 p.m. and eliminating free Sunday parking in certain areas of the city.


From my read of the situation, I think it basically boils down to:

Rational for doing this
  1. The city has a budget deficit and this is seen by the mayor and his team as a way to raise revenue on something that most people are going to keep right on doing...driving and parking.
  2. The mayor favors "green" policies and this would "incentivize" people to take public transportation or bike into downtown.
Negative consequences
  1. Any green goals will not be met as, well, see my point #1 above...people ain't gonna stop driving.
  2. In fact, people will just drive to other places to do what they need to do - such as Northgate, Southcenter, Bellevue and other locations where parking is free. This means less commerce for downtown businesses and revenue goals unrealized for the city.
  3. This is just one more thing local government is doing that runs contrary to people's sense of right and wrong - for example, raising taxes on soda pop and candy, rising tab and emission testing fees. Throw in $3 dollar a gallon gas and, well, I think people are going to get pretty ticked off at their elected officials who they see as imposing these fees on them.
Here's an idea...

Why not go the other direction and make parking FREE in downtown Seattle on the weekends? You think that might draw in more people into the city to shop, eat, drink, go to museums, stay in hotels, etc.? I do. Then, if you want to raise rates a bit for weekdays, OK. Weekday work commuters probably should be looking at alternative ways to get into the city anyway.

In any event, the mayor's proposal is just that at this point...a proposal. It may not pass, but I'm not counting on that. We'll see.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bellingham Half-Marathon

Diane and I are running the Bellingham Half today!

Week Four of Pac-10 Football - What We Learned

We learned a lot this week in the old Pac-10. Lets get to it...

Oregon beat Arizona State 42-31 in the desert heat of Tempe. Oh boy, so much learned in this one. Lets start with Oregon, then move to ASU.

With the Ducks (4-0 overall, 1-0 in the Pac-10), we learned:
  • The team has guts and won't give up under a stiff challenge.
  • That their offense is, while still potent, perhaps (surprise, surprise) not as prolific as we took for granted after games against poor competition early in the season. I think they were really challenged and slowed by the very athletic and hard hitting ASU defense. Oregon offensive line coach...get to work this week!
  • QB Thomas is growing and becoming better each game. ASU shut down the Oregon run for big chunks of this game...daring Thomas to beat them with his arm. Well, he did pretty good throwing for a couple TDs and some other nice gainers. Now, consistency will need to be his focus as there were other times where is throws were off...especially down field...creating quite a few "three and outs" that if converted really would have changed the game.
  • On the road is not a good time for WRs to get a case of the "drops."
  • Oregon as a REALLY good punter. That guy saved their bacon again and again with deep, precise punts.
  • The Oregon defense is suspect. It cannot effectively bottle up the run AND defend against the pass at the same time. When the UO started stopping the run, the ASU QB killed the Ducks...KILLED them...with his passing over the middle and to the sidelines. When they seemed to cover ASU receivers well, the ASU running backs had big gains up the middle.
  • Despite everything I just said, the Oregon defense is also very fast, very athletic and VERY opportunistic...grabbing up 7 turnovers. Believe me, they needed virtually all of them to win this game. Gotta give them credit! This saved the game for the Ducks in my book. Put it this way, the Oregon defense scored 12 points itself, and the Ducks won the game by 11 points.
  • Oregon kick returners have a problem holding onto the ball. If not fixed, this will cost them a game at some point.
  • And finally, we learned that the Ducks better get ready and go out hungry next week because a mighty impressive Stanford team is coming to town.
With the Sun Devils (2-2, 0-1), we learned:
  • They are a team to be reckoned with in the Pac-10 race. This is a much better squad than last year. Fast, hard hitting, motivated and skilled...the Sun Devils are far better than the 9th place finish predicted for them by many. Teams assuming an easy "W" against them better think again.
  • They have a VERY GOOD QB who is going to haunt the rest of the Pac-10 for quite some time. Look out! This guy is good. I know he threw a bunch of interceptions, and you cannot look past that as it did impact the outcome of the game, but hey...this guy is good now and is probably going to be great. As mentioned above, he was absolutely KILLING the Ducks for stretches of this game by throwing pinpoint passes into zones and to the corners.  
  • They have a really fast, athletic defesne that can run with the Pac-10s best offenses.
  • They are turnover prone and commit a lot of penalties. This will hurt them if not addressed. It certainly did this past weekend.
  • They are not above faking injuries to slow down an opponents offense. Time and time again, players on the ASU D would go down, roll around like their leg had just been amputated...barely make it off the field, causing a delay in the Oregon pace...only to magically re-appear in the next play or two just as healthy as ever. Hmmm. Number 7 ASU linebacker....I'm thinking of you most.
Washington did not play this weekend, so we did not learn anything about them.

Stanford (4-0, 1-0) beat Notre Dame at Notre Dame by the score of 37-14. We learned that Stanford is the real deal. Excelling QB play, stiff defense and, well, they won impressively on the road....again. These guys will need to be reckoned with by the likes of Oregon and Arizona if those teams want to win the league this year. We also learned that next week's Stanford vs. Oregon game will be HUGE.

Oregon State (1-2, 0-0) lost to Boise State 37-24. I did not see this game, but from the score I would say we learned again that, yes, Boise State is good and, yes, Oregon State starts a season slow. I do not think the loss will derail the Beavers' season.

USC (4-0, 1-0) beat WSU (1-3, 0-1) 50-16 in Pullman. We did not learn much here other than despite whatever troubles USC is having this season, they certainly are nothing to worry about when playing the Cougars. We learned once again that WSU is a bad team.

UCLA (2-2, 0-1) beat Texas 34-12 at Texas. Wow, we learned that UCLA is on the rebound. Texas ain't what it has been over the past few years, but still...beating them by that score at their stadium. Impressive. So, I think we learned that UCLA is improving and is not to be overlooked. They did get beat pretty handily by Stanford earlier, so you have to wonder if they'll be able to hang with the top Pac-10 teams, but...they beat Texas at Texas! That's something to remember.

Arizona (4-0, 1-0) beat Cal (3-1, 0-1) 10-9 at Arizona. We learned that Arizona, like other teams, can play a "letdown" game. Coming off their big win against Iowa, the Wildcats did not play well...scoring only three points until the very, very end of the game. So, they appear not to be a monolithic juggernaut (like, say, Stanford has so far this season) and more like a talented but erratic contender. We learned that Cal, despite losing, can play with the better teams in the league. Question though: losing now to Nevada and Arizona, will they fold up the tent and pack it in as they have in other seasons when losing a couple in a row?

Finally, in the big picture, this week we learned that Stanford, Oregon and Arizona are the contenders for the that order at this point...with UCLA and ASU lurking just below that and ready to strike when given the opportunity.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Predictions for Week Four in Pac-10 Football

Here are quick predictions for this weekend's Pac-10 football games...

Oregon at Arizona State - Ducks new QB has a horrible road game, throws 2 INTs (one for a pick-six) and the Oregon D has trouble with the ASU offense. BUT, Oregon overcomes these problems with their fast offense, great special teams and stiff second half defense to post a close come from behind win...23-21. I know this flyis in the face of conventional wisdom given the Ducks season so far, but I think at some point they're going to hit some adversity and their first Pac-10 road test with a relatively inexperienced QB may be it. I also think they're the better team and will squeek it out.

Washington has a bye.

WSU hosts USC - USC dominates and looks like the Trojans of old winning the game 42-3.

Oregon State at Boise State - boy, as a Duck fan this is a stinker in terms of who to root for. But, thinking about my school's best interests, I'm going to root for the hated Beavers to upset the almost as hated Broncos to clear out a space in the polls above the Ducks to move up into. However, I don't think this will matter one bit as I see the Broncos winning 37-17. They're just a really good team.

UCLA at Texas - two struggling teams (although with Texas it's relative as they're 3-0) with recent hopes for optimism. The Longhorns will be too much for the Bruins and win at home 38-10.

Cal at Arizona - 'Cats build on their big win vs. Iowa last week and take this one 28-14 at home.

Stanford at Notre Dame - upset. Notre Dame confounds conventional wisdom and wins 23-17.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Grading Summer 2010

Summer 2010 is now officially over as of tomorrow. Many of us were decidedly not impressed by the weather this year, but I got to thinking that there's lot more that goes into how I remember a summer and what makes a good summer. Here are a few things I consider and how I think they went this year...

This summer was a bummer given the great run of weather we had in summer 2009. Too many ill-timed rainy weekends, too many foggy mornings that cleared off only after 2 or 3 p.m. and not enough days in the 70s and 80s. It wasn't worse than a few I can remember, but definitely below average, and, therefore, very disappointing. The only saving grace for us was that we got out of Seattle to Iowa and Arizona and experienced hot, sunny weather there. Throw in our late May trip to Egypt (hot!) and it didn't seem too bad this year. But, for Washington state itself...D!

I'm giving this summer and A for activities. Lets run through a few of them:

• July - trip to Iowa to visit my grandma over the 4th of July weekend
• August - trip to the Grand Canyon with a one day kicker in Las Vegas
• September - long weekend in the San Juan Islands

While there is no clear "dear god, I can't believe I just saw these guys live and I'll never be the same" concerts for me this summer, it rates an A because of how many good shows we saw.

• Jimmy Cliff outdoors at the zoo
• Buddy Guy/Robert Cray outdoors at the Tulalip Amphitheater
• Carbon Leaf outdoors at the zoo
• Problem Child at the Seattle Hard Rock Cafe
• Crowded House outdoors at the St. Michele winery
• Gaslight Anthem at the Showbox SoDo
• Willie Nelson at the Puyallup Fairgrounds
• ..and I'm going to include The Beatles Love show at the Mirage in Vegas too.

This was actually a very good summer for sports - at least for me.

First, the bad news. As an admitted "fair weather" Mariners fan I lost interest in them in early May when I realized they were horrible. So, the grade is a little degraded because I think to get an A or A+, the Ms at least would have to have been competitive and in the mix into June and July.

But, the rest of summer 2010 was dy-no-mite. Here's why:

• An exciting World Cup in which the Team USA performed well and there were many great matches to watch
• A hugely compelling Tour de France that engrossed me
• The Seattle Sounders started their season turn-around starting this summer and that was fun to watch too.
• My Oregon Ducks football team returned to the gridiron and has sprinted out to an impressive 3-0 record before the end of summer


• 5K run in Iowa
• Started training for the Bellingham half marathon
• Biking on San Juan Island
• Sea kayaking in the San Juan Islands
• Biking around Ballard instead of driving
• Hiking up Granite Mountain

Summer 2010 gets an A- in my book. Lots of fun and activities, but not great weather and pitiful Ms team. More sun and warm weather would have meant more hikes or more outings on our bicycles. A competitive Ms would have provided one more great sports story to pay attention to. But other than that...good stuff!

Manics "Best Of"

The Manic Street Preachers new album Postcards From A Young Man is now out.

While I give it a listen and try to figure out if this is a worthy successor to their fantastic "Journal for Plague Lovers" album last year, below are my picks for an essential "Best Of" list of Manics songs for those not in the know about this band yet. Running sequentially from their first album from back in the early 1990s all the way to last year, this group of song spans not only their chronological history, but also the varied styles they've explored:
  • Motorcycle Emptiness
  • Motown Junk
  • Roses In the Hospital
  • Faster
  • Yesterday
  • Kevin Carter
  • A Design for A Life
  • If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next
  • You Stole the Sun From My Heart
  • The Masses Against the Classes
  • Intravenous Agnostic
  • Ocean Spray
  • Glasnost
  • Solitude Sometimes Is
  • Your Love Alone Is Not Enough
  • Autumn Song
  • Peeled Apples
  • This Joke Sport Severed
There, that's 18 songs from 9 albums and 1 EP from the Manic Street Preachers. All are available on iTunes. Check this band out.

Back in a while with a review of Postcards From A Young Man.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pac-10 Football - What We Learned in Week Three

Another interesting week in the Pac-10. Lets see what we learned...

Oregon killed Portland State 69-0 in Eugene. We did not learn much here other than yes, the Ducks can dominate a well over matched team. Good teams do this, but it's a pretty thin measuring stick. Next week vs. Arizona State on the road will be more enlightening as the 3-0 Ducks look to start their campaign for the league title.

Washington was embarrassed by Nebraska 56-21 at Husky Stadium. Other than Nebraska is really good and a solid top 10 team, we learned that the Montlake "dawgs" are not ready for prime time as advertised and hyped...porous defense, poor tackling, mistake-prone offense and disturbingly bad special teams. Oh, and for once and for all, we learned that QB Locker is not a candidate for the Heisman trophy. At 1-2 now, their season just took on a different set of expectations.

WSU lost to SMU 35-21 in Dallas. We learned that the now 1-2 WSU does have some pluck and can, at least for a half, keep it close. We also learned that this is the case against a team the caliber of SMU. This may not work so well against USC, Arizona, Oregon, Oregon State...well, you get the idea.

Arizona beat Iowa 34-27 in Tuscon. We learned that the now 3-0 Arizona is a legit contender for the Pac-10 crown, at least in my book. I wasn't too sure earlier as they'd beaten two cream puff teams. But, great special teams play, opportunistic and run-stuffing defense and an offense that could drive the length of the field against a good Big Ten defense sold me. It was an impressive win against the #9 team in the land. That game in Eugene on Nov. 26 is looking very important.

UCLA beat ranked Houston 31-13. We learned that speculation of the Bruins complete and total washout this season may have been premature. I know it's "just" Houston, but they were ranked and UCLA was coming off two disappointing losses. Sitting at 1-2 now, UCLA has reason for some optimism.

USC beat Minnesota 32-21. I think we learned the same thing we learned in USC's previous games this season - there are big questions about them. In this game, their offense scored while suffering a not-so-great performance by their QB, and their defensive effort raises substantial questions. In summary, I think we learned that this 3-0 team is suspect and I don't think they will be able to run the Pac-10 table.

Oregon State beat Louisville 35-28 in Corvallis. We learned what we always learn about the now 1-1 Beavers at this stage of the season...that they are slow starters. Sure, they won this game, but it was close against a poor Louisville squad with the Cardinals having a chance to tie or win with their last possession. Yes, Jaquizz is a good RB, but the bark rats better up their game in other areas next week or they will get drilled by Boise State.

Stanford beat Wake Forest 68-24 in Palo Alto. We learned that we can start believing the pre-season predictions about Stanford being quite good are true. At 3-0 (and 1-0 in league play), they're good and Luck is an exceptional QB. Yes, in this case they beat up on an inferior team, but regardless of how they do vs. Notre Dame next week, I'm starting to think that the Pac-10 race is Stanford, UO and Arizona. Good thing for the Ducks that they play both those teams at Autzen.

Arizona State lost to Wisconsin 20-19. We learned that ASU has some heart and some bad luck. Losing on a blocked extra point kick that would have tied it right at the end, the now 2-1 Sun Devils put up a good fight against #11 Wisconsin - something not many predicted. So perhaps we also learned that the "fighting Dennis Ericksons" may offer a stiffer challenge to Pac-10 foes than previously thought. They play Oregon next.

Cal lost to Nevada 52-31. We learned that 2-1 Cal is overrated at this point in the season. No disrespect to Nevada as I know they are no longer the pushover they used to be (and probably were when Cal scheduled this game several years ago), but hey, giving up 52 points? To Nevada? And, even if you do can't outscore them? Sorry. Overrated. Will they, as has been the case in recent seasons when adversity hits, now fold as a team?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Gaslight Anthem Show in Seattle

I attended The Gaslight Anthem show last night in Seattle.

This is a great up and coming American band who really seem to know the power and the glory of rock and roll.

Below are a couple pictures I took at the gig. You can see more by clicking HERE.

More rock pictures by me HERE.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Pac-10 Football - Week Two What We Learned

What did we learn this week in Pac-10 football...

Oregon beat Tennessee at Tennessee - 48-13. We learned a few things. First, Oregon appeared susceptible to the power running game, at least early in a game. We shall see if Pac-10 teams try and mimic this. Second, Oregon and its new QB can handle road pressure. Three, Oregon is dang good and can hurt you with D and Special Teams just as much as Offense.

Washington beat Syracuse in Seattle - 41-20. We learned that UW plays better at home, has some talent at receiver and can beat an inferior team. The ship is righted at 1-1 with Nebraska coming to town next week. I suspect we'll learn much more about UW following that game than this week.

WSU beat Montana State in Pullman - 23-22. We learned just how bad WSU is. They had to come from behind to eek out a win vs. a Div. II opponent. But hey, they didn't lose.

Stanford beat UCLA in LA - 35-0. We learned that Stanford is a force to be reckoned with in the Pac-10 and that UCLA is, well, not a good football team.

Arizona beat The Citadel 52-6. We learned that Arizona can beat up on a vastly inferior opponent...for the second week in a row. So, we actually didn't learn much about the Wildcats.

Arizona State beat Northern Arizona - 41-20. We learned that ASU, while securely beating an lower division opponent, did give up 20 points to them. Food for thought for the Pac-10 portion of the season.

Cal beat Colorado - 52-7. We learned that Cal is much, much better than future Pac-12 team Colorado. Not sure we learned much more than that.

USC beat Virginia in LA - 17-14. We learned that USC is, at this point in the season, over-rated.

Oregon State had a bye. Nothing learned.

Baby Tigers and More at the Pt. Defiance Zoo

This past weekend, Diane and I took two of our friend's very cute children for a visit to the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma to see baby tigers and other great animals.

Below are a few pictures I took while there. To see more, click HERE.

NOTE: Pictures above all taken by me, Marc Osborn, and are not authorized for any use without prior written permission from me.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Week Two Pac-10 Picks

Predictions for Week Two of the Pac-10 football season:

  • Oregon beats Tennessee - 28-21. Much closer than many predict, but the better team wins.
  • Washington beats Syracuse - 24-10. Locker and Dawgs get it together at home against a jet lagged and not-that-good of a team.
  • WSU beats Montana State - 21-10. If WSU can't pull this out, it's really going to be a bad season.
  • Cal beats Colorado - 31-17. I think Cal wins this one at home.
  • Arizona beats The Citadel - 45-3. Cupcake opponent for the second week running nets a 2-0 start for the 'Cats.
  • Arizona State beats Northern Arizona - 27-13. A solid win, but not dominating.
  • USC beats Virginia - 31-10. USC is just better. 
  • Stanford beats UCLA - 34-13. Despite this one being in L.A., The Cardinal bludgeons the UCLA defense and the Bruin "O" just isn't that good.
  • Oregon State - not playing. Getting ready for Louisville the following week.
Well, that's a clean sweep by the Pac-10 if I'm right. That makes me feel a little hesitant on these. Potentially the Oregon, Washington and Stanford games might yield upsets, but taken on a game-by-game basis a Pac-10 weekend is the way it looks to me.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Question Or Two

To committed conservatives and all stripe of Tea Partier, I ask the question...

Which of the following makes you feel more like you are champions of freedom, liberty, support for our troops overseas and the overall American way...
I certainly understand that not everyone identifying with a conservative political or social philosophy supports either or both of these. I get it.

But here's the thing...these are the type of activities (and the current ones specifically) that are the face of your political movement.

If you support either of these actions, I honestly would like to know why. I want to better understand that mentality.

And if you don't support these, but count yourself as a conservative or Republican, I wonder if you've given up on your party or if you're simply biding time in hopes that this type of thing will blow over?

I have my own opinions on all these questions, but would be more interested in others'.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Labor Day Weekend in the San Juan Islands

I hope everyone had a good, long Labor Day weekend here in the U.S.

September 3 is my wife Diane's birthday, and this year to celebrate we headed for the San Juan Islands of our home state of Washington. With pastoral country roads to bike, wineries to visit, coastlines to kayak, wildlife to see, great restaurants and all around natural beauty, the San Juans are hard to beat - especially on a beautiful late summer weekend.

Getting There
We started our mini-vacation by catching the Friday morning ferry from Anacortes to Lopez Island. Once there, we drove directly to Lopez Village where we had wonderful fresh baked pastries on the front porch of the Holly B's Bakery. Next we popped into the Islehaven Books & Borzoi book store and then over to an art galley featuring local artists. Pondering what we saw, we moved on to another gallery or two, took in the seaside view and then looped back to indeed buy a painting. Then, it was back to the ferry dock to catch the boat over to San Juan Island and our primary destination for the weekend.

Knowing that our primary destination of Friday Harbor on San Juan Island still required us to take a ferry to get there, we packed up happy and cruised back to the ferry dock where we sat in the early afternoon sun and watched boats go by as we waited for our ferry to arrive. Next stop was Friday Harbor. We drove off the ferry, parked in Friday Harbor town and went straight for a Mexican birthday lunch at Dos Diablos.

Our B&B
From there we drove to our bed and breakfast called The Trumpeter Inn. About 1.5 miles outside of the main town, the Trumpeter is situated off the main road amongst cow and horse pastures and a couple residences.

Proprietor Shaun met us and showed us around this quaint property and then escorted us to our room where the birthday cake I had arranged for - and that Shaun had baked fresh - awaited.

Basically, this place is wonderful. It's a well appointed country (but not TOO country) home with good sized rooms with nice beds, clean bathrooms and great services. Oh, and the breakfasts are excellent as well. One morning we had quiche, sausage and fruit and the next we had French toast with fresh island berries. Mmm, mmm. Good fuel for our activities.

A Birthday Dinner
After a nice rest in our comfortable room that first afternoon, we went back into town for a delicious birthday dinner at The Backdoor Kitchen. Now, this place is not easy to find, but worth trying to. Set off one of the Friday Harbor side streets, to get to this place you need to go across what looks like a gravel parking lot for farm equipment. The reason it looks like that do indeed have to trudge through a gravel covered parking lot for industrial vehicles to get to the restaurant. At the back corner of the lot there is a sign that says the name of the place and then a little farther still, right beside a non desrcript looking building with no other markings, is a sign that says "enter." Once you pass by the sign and swing around the corner of the building, however, everything changes. All of a sudden you're not in parking lot land. No, you are now in the middle of a soft lit, bamboo tree lined deck oasis. Striding to the back of this lush enclave, you see the indoor portion of the restaurant. When making the reservations for my wife's birthday dinner, they gave me the option of sitting outside "if the weather is nice." It was and so we did.

After sharing a plate of fresh Thai style fried tofu, yam and cucumber lettuce cups (with peanut dipping sauce), Diane had the Vietnamese style salmon and poached prawn platter and I savored a locally grown pork chop topped with roasted poblano chili, goat cheese and caramelized onions. Suffice it to say we were satisfied!

Biking, Shopping and a Sunset
It took us the evening to digest that feast, but by 10 a.m. Saturday we were ready to head out on a bike ride. We chose to do the 21 mile loop from our B&B out to Cattle Point and back. Here are a few pictures from that jaunt:

Later that afternoon, we strolled the sunny streets of Friday Harbor, popped into art galleries and picked up some books and other fun stuff. Oh, and we felt pretty entitled to sample some Lopez Island-made ice cream. A 21 mile bike ride and an afternoon walking around is tiring, so we went back to our B&B and spent the rest of the afternoon resting and relaxing.

Rising at about 7 p.m., we decided it would be nice to drive back out towards Cattle Point to see the sun set. Arriving just in time to pick our way across the driftwood of South Beach, we found a windy spot to watch the sun go down as it reflected orange, pink and silvery hues off the clouds in its decent.

We finished our day back in Friday Harbor at a restaurant called The Place. We'd heard that this was "the place" go get great clams, so we ordered a batch. Sure enough, these local beauties were delicious.

Kayaking and Home
Sunday morning we had breakfast at the B&B and then took off for Snug Harbor and our appointment for a three hour sea kayak tour. Orca wales, porpoise and seal all ply the waters off the west coast of San Juan Island during the summer and we were hopeful we'd see some of them. Heading out in two-person kayaks, Diane and I were joined by three other couples and our guide Sara from Crystal Seas.

We exited the bay and headed south along the rocky coastline. Within 10 minutes we got a great, up close and personal view of a bald eagle. We've seen these before, but never this close up. Unfortunately, I only had my little camera with me so the pictures I took did not come out too well in the rocking and boat. A bit blurry.

Later we came upon a rock out in the water where several seals were sunning themselves. And later we saw many purple and orange star fish, as well as red and clear color jellyfish. We never did see any whales porpoises or, so that was a little disappointing. However, overall, just being out on the water and seeing what we did proved an invigorating and enjoyable experience. As we paddled back in after our time was up, we saw one last seal playing in the waters near the dock.

After this we drove back to Friday Harbor and caught the 1:50 p.m. ferry back to Anacortes and then drove home from there.

Thinking back on this little get away, both Diane and I think that this was an idyllic mini-break right in our own state. If you have not been to the islands, I would highly recommend it as the combination of physical activities, natural beauty, wildlife, food and great accommodations make it a great way to spend a weekend.

NOTE: All pictures in this blog post were taken by me, Marc Osborn, and are copy written in my name. No use of them is permitted without prior written permission from me.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Pac-10 2010 - Week One!

OK, the first weekend of college football is in the books. What did we learn in the Pac-10?

Here is my opinion...

Oregon - whupped up on New Mexico 72-0. Good news: it's clear the Ducks are loaded on O and D, and that new QB Darron Thomas is solid. A week one "warm up" game is good. The Ducks sure could have used one like this last season before meeting Boise St. for example. Bad news: New Mexico is hardly the team to measure against, so we don't really know how good Oregon is yet. Conclusion: 1-0 is good for now, but next week vs. Tennessee will be a much bigger test for the team as a whole and Thomas as its QB. All will need to step it up.

Washington - lost to BYU 17-24 in Provo. Good news: The Huskies were competitive and there is little shame in losing to a solid team on the road by only a touchdown. Bad news: Defense is suspect and Locker...the supposed Heisman candidate and program saviour QB...could not deliver the goods when needed late in the game. Conclusion: UW will still win more than it loses this season, but overconfident Dawg fans need to stop thinking this squad is going to deliver a Rose Bowl berth or a Heisman Trophy winner.

WSU - lost to Oklahoma State 17-65. Good news: not much. Bad news: Not the way to start a new season in which you are trying to improve. Conclusion: It's gonna be a long season for the Cougs.

USC - beat Hawaii 49-36 at Hawaii. Good news: offense looks good as usual. Bad news: Hawaii scored 36 on the USC defense. Huh? Conclusion: Good warm up game, but chinks in the armor may have been exposed.

Oregon State - lost to #6 TCU 21-30. Good news: Beavers were competitive on the road against a Top 10 team in their very first game of the season. Bad news: RB Rodgers was limited in this game only gaining 75 yards, so perhaps other teams on the Bark Rats schedule will copy the "shut down Jacquizz and make the brand new QB try and beat us with his arm" defense. Conclusion: The Rodents are usually a slow starting team and I suspect they'll quickly put this one in the rear view mirror, get it together shortly and start winning.

Arizona - beat Akron big time. Good news: 1-0. Bad news: Like the Ducks vs. New Mexico, not sure what this win can tell us other than the Wildcats are clearly better than Akron.

Arizona State - beat Portland State by 43 points. Good news: 1-0. Bad news: see comments about Oregon and Arizona.

UCLA - lost to Kansas State on the road. Good news: close game played on the road. Bad news: opportunities to win missed and you wonder if the Bruins can put it together.

Cal - beat UC Davis 32-3. See comments about ASU, UA and UO.

Stanford - beat Sacramento State 52-17. Only comment is: how did Sac St. get 17 on the board?