Friday, September 21, 2012

Sometimes a photo is worth a thousand words

Griffith Park Observatory

This is Space Shuttle Endeavour, flying over the Griffith Park Observatory with Downtown Los Angeles in the background. Happy retirement, Endeavour.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Putting the cork in baseball champagne baths

Dodgers champagne celebration--by Josh Suchon

While reading a story this morning about Dodgers pitcher Jamey Wright, who expressed how much he wants the opportunity to get champagne sprayed in his eyes and feel that burn for the first time in his career, it got me thinking about the champagne protocol in light of baseball’s new postseason.

Under the new rules this year, a second wild card team was added. The two wild cards will meet in a one-game, winner-take-all showdown to advance to the best-of-5 division series.

Will the teams that “win” a wild card berth spray each other with champagne to celebrate reaching a one-game playoff? Will the teams that win the one-game playoff pop the bubbly to celebrate winning a single game?

I’m in favor of neither. If I had to pick one, I originally thought that clinching the wild card berth would be better, since it’s a reward for a 162-game season. My friend and colleague Jeff Fletcher point out on Twitter that the one-game playoff is essentially game 163 in the season, and the celebration should take place after winning that game. I still want neither, but I agree with Fletch.

Overall, this year is the perfect time for baseball to overhaul its champagne celebration tradition.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

“40 Before 40” checklist -- No.4 -- Watch a movie in the Hollywood Cemetery

On my 39th birthday, I made a list of "40 things to do before turning 40." Each time I check an item off the list, I'll write about it here. This is item No. 4, watching a movie at the Hollywood Cemetery.

--by Josh Suchon

Watching a movie in the Hollywood Cemetery is similar to attending a football game. It’s more than a game (or movie). The movie is almost an after-thought. This is an (almost) all-night event, similar to tailgating. Except you’re not in a car and there’s definitely no BBQing. This is picnicking around the dead.

I felt right at home.

Thanks to my friends Emilie and Tyler, I was invited to join them last Saturday to see the Woody Allen movie “Manhattan” projected against a big white wall, surrounded by a bunch of really expensive tombstones and caskets.

Emilie and Tyler made sure we got there early. Very early. The movie started at 8 pm. The gates opened at 6:30 pm. Emilie and Tyler were there about 4:30 pm, making sure we were near the front of the line. I got there around 5:30 pm.

What do you do for an hour? Duhh. You drink. And eat. And play games. We had no shortage of any of these items. I did learn that certain games are better than others. The hosts made it clear they prefer games that involve “yelling out the answers.”

Monday, September 10, 2012

Top 10 most famous Foothill High alums

-- by @Josh_Suchon

A recent brief Twitter exchange between myself and former classmate Gabrielle Union got me thinking about the most famous alums at my high school. A quick check of Wikipedia showed that either my school is either really pathetic in developing famous people, or Wikipedia needs some help. Either way, I decided it was time to research my school further, and compile a list.

My school is Foothill High in Pleasanton, Calif., a middle-class suburb in the East Bay. It’s a fairly new school. It was founded in 1973 with a freshman-only class. Each year, a new freshman class was added, and the first graduating class was 1977.

The list will probably be a work-in-progress, as more names are brought to my attention. 

But for now, here goes:

1. Actress Gabrielle Union (Class of 1991)
Union was in my graduating class. It was easy to remember Nicky, as she was called back then, primarily because she was one of two black females in our graduating class. She was an all-league point guard on the girls basketball team, was involved in student government and leadership, and ran on the track team.

In college, Union started at Nebraska and played soccer briefly, then went to Cuesta College, then to UCLA, where she planned on attending law school and becoming a lawyer. Union did an internship at a modeling agency that changed her life. The agency realized she should be getting photographed, not making coffee and copies, and her modeling career was launched. That led to some acting roles.

High SchoolHer break-through role was in 2000’s “Bring it On” as the cheerleader from the rival black school, opposite Kirsten Dunst. Union was in the blockbuster hit “Bad Boys II” and also “Deliver Us from Eva.” She appeared on a memorable 2001 episode of “Friends” when Joey and Ross were both into her. It was memorable because she was the first black character ever on the New York-based show. Her IMDB page lists all her credits.

Union is currently dating Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade, she was ranked 52nd in Maxim’s “100 Sexiest Women” in 2002, and she has a couple new projects that should be in theaters in 2013.

Most impressive to her former classmates, she attended the 10- and 20-year reunions, and graciously posed for photos – even with people who didn’t know her then, but wanted to show off to their friends and kids by getting a photo with her. 

Same old Nicky. Just goes by Gabrielle now.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sharpie Scribbles Chapter XII: The Pre-Fame Scribble

-- by Matt Hurst

As I've said before, I'm not a big autograph chaser. But if someone offers and I genuinely get excited at the prospect of getting someone's signature, then hell yes, count me in.

This happened in my final weeks working at UC Santa Barbara.

We had two bona fide student-athletes who were stars. Not on the Matt Barkley or Anthony Davis level, but pretty big time athletes in their respective fields.

One is basketball player Orlando Johnson, now a member of the Indiana Pacers. UCSB is a good mid-major basketball school ... not great, but pretty good. To have a player come from our school and get into the NBA, well that doesn't happen often.

I was very fortunate to work with Orlando in a variety of ways during his three years at UCSB and you might hear this a lot, but trust me on this - you won't find a better human being. Especially considering what he has gone through in his life (read about it here). Our last creative video shoot together was one of my absolute favorites.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

UPDATED: How to win your Survivor Football Pool

--by Josh Suchon

My favorite football pool goes by many names. Some call it an Eliminator Pool. Others say “Last man standing” Pool. I’ve always known it as a Survivor Pool.

The basic rules: you pick one NFL game each week, point spreads don’t matter. If you win, you advance to the next week. If you lose, you’re done. In most of these pools, once you pick a team once, you can’t pick them again. I’m in a pool where you can pick the same team three times. I don’t like that rule, but I’m not the Commissioner. But in most pools, you can only pick a team once.

I’ve won two Survivor Pools in the last decade. I went 17-for-17 two years ago and split the pot with four others. I made it to Week 11 last year before losing, and week 9 three years ago. In 2003, I was one of two finalists and we split the first- and second-place money (a nice Christmas bonus for each of us).

These are my rules for how to win your Survivor Pool.