Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Week

The Halloween Week festivities started, as they always do, with the unveiling of Spooky Town at the Murphy household.

Laurie and the Mayor of Spooky Town,
Ian Murphy

Much to the dissatisfaction of the community's leading ghouls and vampires, Mayor Murphy has decided to step down from public life so this would be his final official event.

Could Ian's sister Cyndy take over the Mayoral duties?

No way. The obvious choice to take control of the city's volatile political scene is . . .

Cyndy's son Dylan!

Nepotism is alive and well in Spooky Town!!!

The Lights of Spooky Town

Cool Gazebo

If there is one thing the Murphy family loves,
it is a good tattoo!

Lots of millionaires call Spooky Town home

Spooky Town opened to great acclaim on Wedneday night and we had a great time getting into the Halloween mood.

On Saturday night, it was time for a Halloween Party at our home. I hope Laurie can find something to decorate our house properly for the occasion like . . .

A few pumpkins

Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz
and a Pumpkin

No, it was actually Laurie and her sister Gayle guarding the food.

Dorothy even brought her dog Toto

Magnum P.I, a Homecoming Queen
and a Pirate

In reality, Michael, Vanessa and Vanessa's sister Elizabeth

Laurie and George Contreras

These are our now former good friends Koreen and Brian FitzGerald blaspheming our good names! We never OKed this mass production of Halloween costumes in our likenesses.

I sense a lucrative lawsuit!

Father Camino and Magnum P.I.

I'm Conflicted

So is Laurie

Damn, it's like looking in a mirror!

Robin and an 80's Guy with Magnum

Brandon Fuchs and Scott Borchart join Mike for some chit-chat.

Cosmo Kramer was in the house!

Nope, it was really Gonzalo Rodriguez.

Angie Borchart, Koreen and Pam Rodriguez

Bat People!

Monica Fuchs and two charming friends that joined us.

A Pirate and Mario

Kathy DeVera and Jeff McDermott

Surreal is a good word


Monica and Tim Linzey

Timmy Linzey likes football!

What the . . .

Very disturbing

Again I say, what the . . .

Nice tiara Jamahal

Girls just want to have fun!

Krystal Quintanilla, Ben Todd,
Mike and Vanessa

I think everyone had a smashing time indeed! All that is left now is the actual giving out of the candy on Halloween night!

College Football Saturday & the NFL in London

It was another Saturday of college football angst for University of Washington (3-4, 2-2 PAC-10) fans as we faced the #13 Stanford Cardinal (6-1, 3-1) at Husky Stadium.

Stanford's QB, #12, Andrew Luck

The Cardinal dominated from start to finish, no suspense here at all. The final score was 41-0 in favor of the visiting Cardinal.

Up next for Washington is a road trip to Eugene, Oregon to play the #1 Oregon Ducks (8-0, 5-0) who are averaging 55 points per game . . . here we go again, light candles everyone!

Pacific Lutheran 35 - Lewis and Clark 23

The Lutes (6-1, 3-1 Northwest Conference) rebounded nicely from their first defeat of the season last week. It was not easy as they had to rally with two TDs in the fourth quarter to defeat the Pioneers (4-3, 2-2) on the road.

Up next for PLU is another bus ride to the state of Oregon to take on the Pacific University Boxers (0-7, 0-5).

Hey Jason! Go Jason!

West Virginia University Mountaineers

Johan Hammarqvist's favorite college team is West Virginia. This weekend he again joined me in the agony of defeat as the Mountaineers (5-3, 1-2 Big East) lost in overtime to UConn (4-4, 1-2) 16-13. WVU has a bye next week before playing Cincinnati (3-5, 1-2) on November 13.

Meanwhile, in London today . . .

San Francisco 49er QB Troy Smith

The annual NFL game in London's Wembley Stadium was played before 83,491 fans today. I hope the contingent of fans from the Hässleholm Hurricanes enjoyed the competitive game. I still do not know if any of the Catania Elephants made the trip to the UK this year.

Troy Smith led a Fourth Quarter 49er rally as San Francisco (2-6) outlasted the Denver Broncos (2-6) 24-16.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Rio Mesa Is Improving

Friday was high school football day as it should be on a Halloween weekend.

First up was our son Michael's Hueneme H.S. J.V. game against the Pacifica Tritons. The Hueneme squad was outmanned as only 19 Vikings suited up for the game against the Tritons 40+ man roster. I was proud to see how hard the Hueneme players continue to play despite their record and the long odds. In the end, the Tritons just had too much for the 1-7 Vikings as they won 49-6. Next up for Hueneme is a home game against Oxnard.

Because of my new duties as the Spartan's morale/U.N. peacekeeper coach, I had to leave Michael's game at halftime to drive to Rio Mesa (3-4, 1-1 Pacific View League) for our homecoming game against Channel Islands (2-5, 0-2 PVL).

One of our core coaching beliefs is that you play like you practice. We made a real effort to pick up the pace and tempo of our practices this past week and the players responded well. By the end of Thursday's practice I really felt as if our players believed that they deserved to win because of their preparation.

As I have stated here before, the Rio Mesa games this season have been high scoring affairs ala the Italian Football League, not fun for a lover of defense but interesting to watch.

It was because of the potential for an IFL-like game that my good friend David Lassen attended the game, it was really good to see him. David, who for years was an excellent sports writer for the Ventura County Star, now works for a paper in Riverside covering the Dodgers, Lakers and Clippers.

Last night there would be both offense and defense for once.

Our team's 44 man roster only lists 13 Seniors. Of these 13 seniors, only eight are starters. As is typical with a team this young, it has taken half the season for the players to find their roles and gel as a unit. Our offense has become a run first affair with highly efficient passing adding to the mix. On defense, we are finally starting to perform up to everyone's expectations as we have settled down a bit in only allowing one TD in the second half of last week's game

Jordan Nunnery
15 carries, 105 yards, 1 TD
3 receptions, 30 yards

To sum up the Homecoming, there were fireworks at halftime as well as all game long for the Spartans. Five different running backs scored TDs for Rio Mesa as the Spartans rushed for 460 yards on the night, averaging an incredible 10.2 yards per carry.

Marcus Alford
3 carries, 50 yards, 1 TD

The "Fog Monster" made a special Halloween appearance during the third quarter only.

Payton Palmer-Newton
1 carry, 11 yards

Payton does a great job as our Scout Team QB during the week although he is a WR by trade. It was really good to see him get a carry during the game, he earned it.

Blair Benchwick
6 for 8 Passing, 92 yards

We were able to keep the Raiders honest by completing seven of our nine passes for 98 yards. Moving the rock for 558 total yards of offense is a good thing!

Tanner Wrout and Joe Alamillo
Running to the Football

Tanner had another fine all-around game at MLB and FB. Offensively, he had 13 carries for 141 yards and 3 TDs. Joe is an undersized OLB with an oversized heart and led our team in tackles.

We played inspired defense as well in holding C.I. to only seven points. The Spartans followed the game plan, read their keys well and executed game time adjustments to near perfection.

The final score was Rio Mesa 47 - Channel Islands 7.

The Spartans (4-4, 2-1 PVL) travel to Pacifica next Friday to take on the Tritons (4-4, 2-1 PVL) in a key Pacific View League contest. Pacifica beat Hueneme 56-14 on Friday night. The winner of our game next week will still have a shot at earning one of the league's two guaranteed playoff spots and the possiblity of winning a piece of the PVL crown.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Wallander Time

The Rio Mesa Spartans (3-4, 1-1 Pacific View League) host the Channel Islands Raiders (2-5, 0-2) in the annual Homecoming Game tonight.

In related football news, the San Francisco 49ers (1-6) play the Denver Broncos (2-5) in London this weekend. I know that many members of the Hässleholm Hurricanes family will be in attendance at this crucial NFL contest. I suspect that many of the Elephants will also venture from Catania to the UK for the weekend's festivities.

I know that it will be a GREAT DAY FOR AMERICAN FOOTBALL!

Meanwhile, back in the world of literature . . .

I continue to pour through Henning Mankell's intriguing Kurt Wallader mysteries set in the Skåne region of Sweden.

Firewall was about computer crime and I actually finished it on the Camino. I felt that Mankell was starting to hit a wall in his Wallander series with this effort. He actually took a long break from Wallander before finally penning . . .

I finished The Pyramid this morning. A prequel, it is a series of short stories detailing Wallander's life in crime fighting before he appears in the first of the Wallander mysteries, Faceless Killers.

I have really enjoyed all of his books but occasionally want to strangle Wallander, he never learns from his own mistakes.

I am now down to the final book in the Wallander series, Before the Frost.

What will I do without him and Swedish crime stories???

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Weekly Updates from the Golden State

Many things to report this week including a few things that I forgot from last week . . .

At the monthly Rio Mesa H.S.
retirees breakfast with
Deanna Owens, Karen Pecht
Betty Bright Martinez and Kathy Saliba

Last week, on Tuesday, we had our monthly meeting sans all of the males in this esteemed group other than me. It was good to see these friends and do some serious catching up.

After this meeting I drove down to Pasadena to have lunch with Mike D'Antuono and Mark Johnson to do even more catching up.

What a great day that turned out to be!

I also had my annual physical exam last week and am glad to report that all of the walking paid off in significantly better numbers on my heart rate, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Amazing what a 500 mile stroll can do for you!

After our weekend in the San Francisco Bay area, it was back to my first full week of coaching at Rio Mesa. We were scheduled to play at Hueneme H.S. on Friday in search of our first Pacific View League victory of the season.


This would be a special week for us as well because
of . . .

Michael Contreras
Hueneme H.S. J.V. Assistant Coach



Mike's team was a bit undermanned vs. the Spartans but only trailed 28-14 at the half thanks to two long TD passes. In the end Rio Mesa's J.V. squad prevailed by a final score of 53-14. The Vikings are now 1-6 overall, 0-2 in the PVL.

Mike in his classroom

Varsity Game Action

Rio Mesa in white on defense. The first half would be a spectator's delight and a defensive coach's nightmare.

The two teams both moved the ball at will in distinct manners. The Spartans pounded the ball on the ground while the Vikings gobbled up big chunks of yardage through the air.

At halftime, the Rio Mesa Spartans were in the lead 35-25!

The Spartans on Offense

The defensive adjustment at halftime worked and the Spartans limited Hueneme to only seven points in the last two quarters.

Rio Mesa ran the ball 34 times for 343 yards and added anotherv 123 yards through the air on 4 for 7 passing to storm to a 55-32 victory.

The Spartans are now 3-4, 1-1 in the PVL. Hueneme is 1-6, 0-2.

Next up for the Spartans is a game against the Channel Islands Raiders who are 2-5, 0-2. It is Rio Mesa's Homecoming game.

The Contreras Boys after the game

Nice disco belt Mike!


On Saturday, Laurie and I picked up her Dad, Bill, and his wife, Florene, and drove to Mike and Vanessa's new flat for dinner, where we had a wonderful meal with all the trimmings! Thank you so much!

Vanessa and . . . Mike???

That's better!

Of course, a Fall Saturday means college football, so lets check in on our two favorite teams.

#12 Linfield at #22 Pacific Lutheran

Always an intense Northwest Conference game with national Division III playoff implications. This would not be a good day for our Lutes.

The Wildcats would prevail 35-20 and Jason Johnson would experience defeat for the first time in his young coaching career.

Linfield is now 5-1, 4-0 in NWC play. The Lutes fall to 5-1, 2-1.

PLU will try to bounce back next Saturday at Lewis and Clark in Oregon. The Pioneers are 4-2, 2-1 in the NWC.

Washington at #15 Arizona

The Huskies continue a yo-yo season pattern losing to the Wildcats 44-14 after last week's exciting two overtime 35-34 victory over Oregon State.

The Dawgs are 3-4, 2-2 in the Pac-10. Arizona is now 6-1, 3-1.

The Huskies play #12 Stanford at home next Saturday. The Cardinal are 6-1, 3-1.


Sunday is reserved for NFL football which translates into watching the Cleveland Browns play a game at the Louisians Superdome against the defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints.

We would meet at Rod and Helen Fujita's home to watch the action. Of course, since the Browns' Scott Fujita played LB for the Saints the past four seasons, it would be a special day.

Rod Fujita explaining to his
Mother, Lillie, what Scott was up to

Helen's Birthday Present

Helen was really excited about Scott's gift in the background.

As it turned out, Scott and the Browns rose to the occasion.

Scott sacking Drew Brees . . .

. . . all the way to the turf

Scott celebrating after intercepting
a Drew Brees pass

He picked Brees' pass at the four yard line and returned it 15 yards!

Scott had a nice day at the office!

30 to 17 . . . WOW!!!

The assembled multitude was going nuts! The Browns are now 2-5 as they enter their bye week.