Stanford football 10/5/13

Another year of successful Stanford football is in the books!

Yesterday the guys and I packed the supplies, met at our usual rendezvous point and then caravanned on up to “The Farm” (a.k.a. Stanford Stadium) for our annual event.  I’m not sure exactly how many years I have been personally attending but it’s quite a few (between 6-7 is my guess) and overall this group, or various renditions of the group, have been attending for even longer.

Each year brings its own unique, as well as, unexpected surprises.  One thing for certain is that we seem to always create fond memories.  It’s really a wonderful time where we get together once per year to attend a Stanford football home game.  The game itself is somewhat of an after-thought (although we do pay attention and follow the game) because the highlight is always the pre-game tailgate.

The tailgate event is exactly what you might expect where we eat, drink and talk smack, eerrr I mean ‘debate’, such topics as sports, movies/TV shows, politics and generally catch-up on everyone’s lives.  So let me detail some of this year’s tailgate highlights with the understanding that my website is a PG-13 rated site so I have to withhold some of the best details.

The Food

dipsThe assortment of delicious eats at our annual Stanford games never disappoints.  Bob, our fearless leader/organizer, and his father, Chuck (a.k.a. “Chilli King”) always do an outstanding job to get the right mixture of traditional foods, as well as introduce new varieties of items yearly.  For the traditional part of this Smörgåsbord, Bob brings a heated crock-pot of scrumptious franks and sauerkraut.  This year he also surprised us with a homemade jar of pickles canned from his personal garden.  I had every intention of trying one, or two, but I got a little ‘chatty’ and forgot so I’ll have to get a jar next time I see him.

Another great food tradition is Chuck’s infamous chilli!  He makes a great big pot of chilli which is always well-received among the tailgaters.  And while there is always a wide assortment of toppings for the chilli, I generally leave my bowl rather basic with maybe a dollop of sour cream and a little cheese so that I can enjoy the true flavor of the spicy greatness.

For my contribution to the feast I get to, fortunately, take all the credit for Brandee’s love of cooking and baking.  In the weeks leading up to our gathering Brandee and Bob decide upon some dish to bring.  This year’s choice was a variety of chip and cookie dips.  She created four flavors including Pumpkin-Pie Cookie Dip with homemade Scottish Shortbread, Brandee’s personal ‘Camping’ Dip, Garden Salsa and French Onion Dip.  Additional food gluttony this year included bbq ribs, several bags of chips, grapes and a 3 foot ToGo’s sandwich (thanks Dave!).

The chatty

This year’s event was a bit unusual in that our tailgate was an extended affair.  Typically the game is in the afternoon so we tailgate for an hour or two; however this year’s game started at night so we had four solid hours of fun festivities and, therefore, the discussions were wide-ranging on topics and quality in nature.  There were a total of eight of us that attended this game so some of discussions were group discussions and sometimes we would split off into separate discussions.  A particularly special discussion revolved around the TV series Breaking Bad and our various opinions of the characters and the plot/story line.  Some of the ‘gaters hadn’t seen the series and couldn’t appreciate the details of our chat but since I had just recently finished watching the entire series, I was emotionally involved in the discussion without revealing too many specifics so that those others can enjoy the drama themselves should they choose to experience it for themselves sometime in the future.

Naturally some of our chat arrived on the topic of the current Government Shutdown and I’ll just say that we were fairly passionate without going into other details.  Other noteworthy topics included (as you might expect with a group of eight dudes) fantasy football, the proper techniques of a golf swing and the typical pointing fun-of-each-other type nonsense.

The game

50 yard lineOh yes, as I mentioned in my opening we do sort-of pay attention to the game itself after all the great food and chatty.  Some of the games of the past have been memories and others, well, just weren’t.  This year was absolutely one for the ages.  The game matched Stanford who was highly ranked at #5 in the nation against the Washington Huskies who were also highly ranked at #18 in the nation.  So for the first time in a long time, this game mattered and to add even more drama, both teams came in with 4 wins and 0 lose records!  Additionally, they are matched in the same division so you can see that this was a very important game for both teams.

Our seats were excellent – literally right on the 50-yard line.  This way we could enjoy the action no matter which side of the field the ball happened to be.  The game itself was ‘weird’ in my opinion.  I’m still struggling to come-to-grips with the eventual outcome and how it came to be.  Let me explain.  You see, this was a game like I’ve never seen of ‘big plays’ making the difference.  It’s so cliché to say such a thing but ‘big plays’ ultimately really did decide the end result.  Let me present some of the final statistics from the game and choose for yourself who you think would have won?


sss Stanford

First Downs



Total Yards



Net Yards Passing




Looking at those numbers you would think that Washington would have been a clear winner.  Wrong.  Stanford won the game 31-28.  Again, big plays were the difference.  Stanford returned the opening kick-off for a touchdown.  Stanford also forced a key interception late in the game with the ball deep in their own territory as Washington was just about to score.  While the Stanford defense gave up a lot of yards, they didn’t give up too many points and they came through when it counted most tadalafil generique.

For the game summary, I just attribute this to two quality teams playing a tough game.  Special teams play made a big difference but this was not a sloppy game by any means.  The play was crisp and quite professional.  I was impressed with how good each team is.  They are both worthy of their high national rankings and it should be interesting to see how they end-up at season end.


Event Summary

In the end, this was another spectacular event and I want to thank Bob and Chuck, again, for including me.  It is always such a pleasure to get together with good people.  The annual Stanford football gathering is an event that is a yearly highlight which I have gone to great lengths not to miss (if at all humanly possible).

My love for this event is evidenced by one year in which I was just returning from a two-week business trip both domestically in the U.S., as well as a week in Japan where I landed at 10am and was at the tailgate by noon!  I was literally a walking-zombie from lack-of-sleep and jet-lag but there was no way I was going to miss this event.

I’m already counting down the days to next year where, once again, we can hear Bob’s infamous call of “FIRST DOWN!  STANFERD!!!”

Coyote Lake Camping – August 16-18, 2013

IMG_6965There you have if folks, another successful camping trip in the books!  Brandee (my wife), Jack (our dog) and I packed up the car once again to make our second camping trip in three weeks.  The weather conditions were ideal; not too hot, not too cold and no rain in the forecast.  We were ready and eager to head-out on an adventure.  The anticipation in our house had been growing as Brandee and I were making our plans you could also feel that Jack’s eagerness to head into the wilderness was also building.

IMG_6966After several weeks of planning with a bunch of my technology-minded friends, we all packed up our gear and headed out to Coyote Lake Park for two nights and three days of fun, sun and socializing.  Coyote Lake was the same place Brandee and I were at a few weeks ago and we were nearly in the same location this time so we were well-prepared with knowledge of the campgrounds.  I reserved a total of three campsites.  Each campsite is big enough for 2-3 tents and Coyote Lake is also a dog-friendly campground so the finally tally of people and pets was as follows:

  • People:  17!
  • Pets:  7!

Yep, you got that right, 17 people and 7 dogs (pets)!  It was SO much fun with all the activity going on.  Never a dull moment.

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IMG_6972On this particular adventure we were joined by Marc (with his family, friend and three dogs), Semyon (with his family), Eugene (with his wife), Chris (with his wife and three dogs), and Ivan (with his family).

We all arrived at Coyote throughout the day on Friday afternoon so between 3pm and 8pm-ish most of the time was busy just helping get everyone setup and conformable with the settings.  By evening everyone was well prepared and ready to have a great time for the weekend.


semyon eugene kevin ivan coyote lake 08 17 13So all of us technology nerds arrive at the campground with either non-existent, or at the best, weak internet signal so this indicated our sincere dedication to disconnecting from the cyber-world and connecting with each other (face-to-face) as people.  Overall, this is absolutely what I enjoyed most about this particular excursion — the social interaction between all the groups was tremendous.  One of the most amazing events happened, by total coincidence, which was remarkable.  Four of us had worn t-shirts advertising different U.S. cities such as New York, Boston and San Jose.  I assure you this was not planned but it was quite a hilarious experience!


eugene kevin chris marc smoking cigars coyote lake 08 17 13One special moment that was absolutely noteworthy was that one of the camping participants (whom shall remain nameless) brought a bottle of nice Scotch and a few cigars for ‘the boys’ to enjoy. So we all gathered our lounge chairs on Chris’ camp site and talked about solving the world’s most serious problems (insert sarcasm here) as well as other topics way beyond my meager brains compute power. This picture does not pay true justice to all the fun of the event, however.  Not pictured are all of the other campers, friends and family that came to socialize together.  This was an absolute highlight for me to gather everyone in an informal setting and just being fun together.

A personal highlight of this trip was a long, roughly 5+ mile walk I went on with Semyon and his wife.  When I say long, I mean extremely long 🙂 but it was great fun.  Neither Jack nor I are used to so much physical activity.  Give me a computer keyboard and internet access and I’m wickedly active but long walks, I’m just not accustomed to.  We walked nearly the entire length of the lake and back!

IMG_7006I would like to say that Coyote Lake has some of the most wonderful and kind park rangers.  Every single one of them has been so kind and helpful.  Coyote Lake is highly recommended as a convenient place in the San Francisco Bay Area for overnight camping, day picnics, fishing or all sorts of water activities.

In summary, I would like to thank everyone (and of course their willing families) for such a great memory.  This was the sort of adventure that lasts a lifetime.  So much fun and I can’t wait to do it again very soon!

Additional Photos of our fun:

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Coyote Lake Park camping (July 26-28, 2013)

IMG_6803It’s 7:10pm on Sunday afternoon and I’m feeling quite tired, yet incredibly refreshed.  Brandee, Jack and I just spent the weekend camping!

While I would have loved to grab our cat, Bella, and her new collection of fishie-family friends, The Hatfield’s and The Macoy’s, it just wasn’t practical to bring the 55-gallon fish tank and a finicky-feline with us camping.  So the three of us headed out to Coyote Lake Park in Gilroy, California which is only about a 30-45 minute drive from where we live for a few days of fun.

This was the first camping trip for both Brandee and Jack so there were a lot of potential issues that could have arisen.  You see, typically when I went camping previously I only have had to contend with my needs and not others.  Therefore, I packed limited supplies and was ill-prepared, quite-frankly.  This trip, however, was the kind of comfortable camping I had never experienced due to Brandee’s amazing (and slightly obsessive) planning.

Camping In Style

IMG_6806I must admit that I had concerns about Brandee’s natural instinct for planning the most meticulous details of events might conflict with the pure nature of camping, which in my experience, is ‘toughing it’ and ‘do without’ in dust, missing supplies and a generally a lack of comfortable living environment.  After all, that’s what camping is all about?

And although this camping trip still involved the traditional dusty ground there was absolutely no worries for supplies.  Brandee had done a wonderful job to consider so many possibilities that it made the trip extremely enjoyable.  Truth-is that I was slightly teasing her for over thinking her first time camping experience with food lists, equipment lists and a schedule of events however, in retrospect this was the way I ought to have been camping for years!  I regret not having on insisted that she join me on camping trips of the past.


IMG_6887The Great Outdoors

This camping trip was a memorable collection of firsts.  First, it was Jack’s inaugural experience to dip his feet in a mass body of water whether it was pond, ocean or lake.  In this case it was lake and it was exciting and scary for Brandee and myself.  While it’s a fact that most labrador dog’s enjoy the water, as a rescue-dog, Jack had never experienced the water with us before.  In fact what little exposure he had with the garden hose while we water the lawn, he would be scared and skittish, which led us to think he might have been abused with a water hose when he was a baby because that is just not natural for his breed.  Anyhow, we took him down to the shore of the lake and without any coercing he freely dipped his paws in the water like it was completely comfortable.  It was such a relief to me because I would like him to enjoy the water for his enjoyment in the future.  He was on a short leash at the time and couldn’t go deeper into the lake but I think his love for the water is clear if we can just expose him to more opportunities to swim.

Second, we had the opportunity to witness true wildlife in their element.  We saw blue jay birds galore!  They were quite friendly and probably the most abundant among the campsite.  These birds were fairly large and would swoop-in to get Jack’s dog food, sometimes the bread Brandee would feed them or sometimes simply to come visit and show off their great flying skills in the trees.  There was also deer, ground squirrels, cows, ducks, geese, crows, and other types of unknown birds, fish and then, of course, coyote that we witnessed.

IMG_6863One of the most humorous animals/events we did not see, yet clearly saw the evidence was a food raid on our campsite earlier in the morning of our first night there.  While we packed away all the human food into the tamper-proof bear food locker, we naively left Jack’s dog food bowel out with a minimal amount of food.  Little did we know that this was a major invitation for the critters of Coyote Lake Park to come visit us on this cold, Saturday morning.  We woke up to an empty dog food bowl but apparently clear, muddy raccoon size paw prints all over our outside food cooler.  Apparently these animals are very smart and savvy about getting into these.  The evidence of their paw-prints strategically placed around the cooler was hilarious in that they had a clear plan to raid our food.  Nice try guys but better luck next time – and we have your paws-prints on-file now!

We had two adjoining campsites and I have to say that although we camped In Style and in The Great Outdoors, my fondest memories will be spending time with the friends that joined us for this trip.  A majority of our time camping was spent socializing with them about everything from what is the best strategy in the Connect 4/Uno/Battleship games, tips/tricks/recipes for good BBQ cooking or interesting life events and experiences.

IMG_6876Coyote Lake cleanliness and kindness of staff

I cannot finish this blog post in good faith without acknowledging the overall cleanliness of the grounds/facilities and fantastic staff at Coyote Lake campground.  From the day we checked-in on Friday afternoon until we left Sunday morning they were great.  The maintenance staff was regularly cleaning the already clean restrooms often.  The ranger staff drove around the campsites during the day to offer fire wood bundles, which we quickly jumped on and appreciated.  Then, as we were packing up to leave, one of the rangers got out of his truck to ask Brandee a few follow-up questions and take a sincere interest in asking her about what she thought of the experience.  They really take care at Coyote Lake and want their visitors to have a good, safe and positive memorable experience.



Here are some supplementary photos of our camping trip:

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