Tag: cal

My newest acquisition

My newest acquisition

This piece of wood is the edge of a bleacher seat from California Memorial Stadium, home of my beloved California Golden Bears. In the process of renovating and modernizing the facility, which was originally built in 1923 on top of a major earthquake fault, they tore out the wooden bleachers.  I’ve not had a chance to get back to Memorial since the renovation and retrofit, but I’m told it was done well. 

Turns out, though, that those wooden bleachers date back to the original opening of the stadium.  Wow!

The Wooden Duck, a company in Berkeley that specializes in making furniture out of reclaimed wood, managed to get its hands on the old bleachers and, from there, offer pieces for sale. They’ve done some gorgeous work, which you should check out.

My thanks in particular to TwistNHook, the proprietor and head honcho of the zany crew over at the California Golden Blogs, the best Cal sports blog on the entire Internet, including the North Korean parts. ;) He procured the bleacher piece for me, and I owe him.

I eventually plan to get a nice photograph or lithograph of Cal Memorial and frame this block with that. It will go nicely with my 1959 Rose Bowl pennant/program/ticket and my copy of the Daily Californian dated Monday, November 22, 1982 in my tiny museum of Cal memorabilia. :)

But that is my cool thing.

most awesome birthday weekend ever

most awesome birthday weekend ever

So yeah, this weekend went really well. If I had to ring in the start of another lap around the sun, this is about the way I want to do it. Bear with me, for long kat is long.

It started at work Friday, where there was cake. We do this for birthdays at work recently, but one of my co-workers made sure there was cake for me. It was supremely good cake, too.

Saturday started out a bit meh, as I had to go do schoolwork in the morning, but once I was done with that, I headed out to Folsom, stopping along the way to treat myself to In-and-Out for a hamburger as my celebratory birthday weekend. Yum.

Then, at Folsom, we had a party. It was supposedly for those not going to SF the following night to have fun, but they decided to let me come and celebrate my birthday. One of our Wrimos even baked me a cake. This was sweet.

And then to top it off, Saturday was also the 112th Big Game, which I was fairly certain Stanford was going to win. But my Bears somehow came out of nowhere, had the score close at halftime, and then proceeded to first pull away, and then let Stanford back into it before sealing the deal with an interception. It was Cal Cardiac Football at its finest, and so I got a nice surprise gift — an Axe. It was pretty funny because I was so not writing at the party, but listening to my game, and towards the end, the feed started cutting in and out, which made it hard to follow. The feed cut out just as Toby Gerhart tried to win the game for Stanford, and didn’t come back up until I heard the word “INTERCEPTION!” in my headphones and was trying to figure out what had just happened and whether that meant my Bears had won the game.

And then there was Sunday. Oh god, what can I say about Sunday? Besides the fact that San Francisco is probably my most favorite city on the planet and I love any chance I get to visit, the Night of Writing Dangerously was way more fun than I was expecting. It started simply:

It’s about 5:40 in the evening. The scene, a round table in a ballroom high above California Street in San Francisco. Seated there are seven people from Sacramento: myself, Richard, his wife Jennifer, Jenny, Candace, Temperance, and Stephanie. There’s some idle chitchatting about where people are and stuff like that. In front of the room, the bell is introduced — you come ring the bell when you’ve become a winner at NaNoWriMo (that is, hit the 50k mark). And that’s when the following happened:

Temperance: “So, Kat, you going to hit 50k tonight?”
me: “You’re kidding, right? I’m nowhere close.”
Temperance: “You’re in the forties, no?”
me: “Well, yeah, a bit over 43k.”
Temperance: “There you go. You can hit 50k tonight.”
me: “I’m not so sure about this idea.”
Temperance: “Look, how many words do you have?”
me: “About forty-three five.”
Temperance: “That’s about 6500 words. We’ll not count this hour. But six — we’ll not count seven — eight, nine, ten. That’s four hours. You only have to write about 1500 words an hour.”
Rest of table: “Yeah, c’mon, Kat, you can do it.”
me: “Okay, fine, you all. I’ll try.”
me (thought): This is going to be impossible and I’m going to fail and feel rotten at the end of it. Ah well, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Table: *cheering*

So I spend most of the evening sitting and writing frantically, although there were several breaks to take advantage of the candy pile and the hosted bar (too bad I don’t drink, but there was plenty of ginger ale and soda) and eat something resembling dinner. Oh yeah, and there were the most crazy donuts I’ve ever had with toppings like Cocoa Puffs and Nilla Wafers and Oreo cookies and Butterfingers and …the list goes on and on. Also, I went and took my author photo.

But most of the time I was writing. It was a write-a-thon after all. And after frantically typing all evening, writing a grand total of 6,481 words — a personal NaNo daily best — this happened.

Later that evening, about 10:15 PM:
Jason (peering over my shoulder): “So did you make it?”
me: “Give me a second, I just put it in the wordcounter.”
NaNo website: *loading*
Everybody: *waits*
NaNo website: katster has 50,182 words.
me: “Wait, what, I made it? I made it!”
Table (and Jason): “Go ring that bell!”
me: “Give me a second to recover and bask in my glory.”
*moment*
me: “Alright, now I’m going to go find Sarah [the coordinator of this glorious event] and let her know that I made it before I ring the bell so she doesn’t have to come frantically running.” [Backstory: People had been ringing the bell all evening, leaving poor Sarah frantically running to the stage. I felt bad, so I wanted to make sure she didn’t have to run.]
*By sheer random coincidence, Sarah walks by at just that moment*
me: “Hey Sarah! Just to warn you, I hit 50k!”

…and so I nicely followed Sarah to the podium where I grasped that bell and rung it just about as hard as anybody had that evening.

And the rest of the night I wore a crown on top of my Cal hat and a manic grin. Kinda like this:

me, after it’s all said and done. Photo by my friend Richard

All in all, the best birthday weekend ever. Thanks to everybody who helped me make it to the Night of Writing Dangerously — cards should go out next week.

And no, I don’t know how I’m going to top this next year.

Teaching in the Rain

Teaching in the Rain

So Berkeley professors have been besieged by protests and spurious fire alarms this week as people protest about their fees going up (again). I don’t want to talk about the California budget situation right now, because it just makes me angry and — well, that’s no fun.

So instead, here’s a picture of one of our intrepid Cal professors finishing his lecture outside, using one of the exterior walls of a campus building as his chalkboard.

Fire alarms dont stop Berkeley professors.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to caption this photo.

another year, another rotation around the sun…

another year, another rotation around the sun…

Today will be the 112th replaying of the Big Game. I’m hoping for an Axe for my birthday, but Cal has a 4-7-1 record against Stanford on November 21, and Stanford’s won the last three on that day. Also, Stanford’s in the Rose Bowl hunt, and all Cal can do is play spoiler. I can only hope it’s enough.

The last time I wanted an Axe for my birthday, Stanford won 10-3 when I was sure Cal would win that game. I’ve cried at very few football games, but I distinctly remember crying at that one. I’m attempting to temper my expectations this time — Stanford will probably win, but that won’t stop me from rooting for my Bears and hoping for the upset.

Anyway, for those of you who made it through my Big Game neepery, today is indeed the completion of my thirty-first rotation around the sun. In the common parlance, we call this a “birthday” and this year, it shall be prime. (Remember, we number completions when they’ve finished!)

There was cake at the office yesterday, there will be cake at a party tonight, and then Sunday is the Night of Writing Dangerously, which is what I wanted to do for my birthday when I realized Big Game was out.

And if I’ve worked it out right, this will post at precisely the time I was born.

Have an excellent day, everybody.

photo by Jessica N. Diamond on flickr

Go Bears!

Go Bears!

The Bears last week against Arizona. Photo credit Monica’s Dad on flickr // CC BY 2.0

There was a point in time where Tedford seriously considered bolting for another job. Those opportunities came early during the Tedford era, fresh off of Cal’s most impressive season to date in 2004. However, one of the main reasons why a lot of Old and Young Blues alike have an adoring respect for Tedford has been because of the coach’s loyalty to the program and his desire to not only win, but win at Cal.

So it turns out that Saturday will be Coach Tedford’s 100th game. This is a nice article about the change Tedford’s made at Cal — not only in terms of making the football program a winner, but for his part in turning boys into men.

My undergraduate career at Cal was the football seasons from 1996 to 1999. In those four seasons, Cal went a depressing 18-27. We made it to one bowl my freshman year (which we lost to Navy), we never won the Big Game, and we were pretty much the conference doormat. We also cheated, and rightfully got slapped for it, but it’s not like we could even cheat right — the point of cheating is to win, no?

Anyway, the highlights, which were few, were beating Oklahoma twice (although those OK teams weren’t very good) and taking three of four from USC — but they weren’t very good at the time either. Then, it culminated in the disaster of 2001, where my beloved Bears went 1-10. Okay, I admit, by the end of it, I was idly rooting for a “perfect” season, but we managed a win in the last game of the season, a postponed-by-9/11 game with Rutgers in New Jersey. I still maintain that if we’d played Rutgers when scheduled, we’d have won that game and gained the confidence to take a couple over the course of the year, but I can’t prove it, and if it had worked out that way, then it might not have lead to something good.

The good, in this case, was the fact that we managed to convince the offensive coordinator from an Oregon Ducks team that really should have played in the National Championship that year to come to Cal and be our head coach — a dude named Jeff Tedford.

Tedford said that from the beginning, he wanted to change the football culture at Cal. And when, that first season, my first year as a grad student at Cal, I was in the stadium to watch Cal completely blow the Baylor Bears out of the water 70-22, and when the first Cal play from scrimmage went for a touchdown, I began to believe again. When we went 7-5 with the same players that had gone 1-10 the year before, and would have gone to a bowl if it wasn’t for the aforementioned cheating, things got a bit better. Of course, the greatest thing was finally seeing a Big Game victory — the first Big Game victory for Cal since I was a junior in high school.

Being a Cal fan’s a hard thing. My Bears are pretty much the Chicago Cubs of college football. The last time we went to a Rose Bowl was in 1959, and Cal fans start every year with the high hopes that this will be the year in which we go to the fabled promised land of Pasadena, California for New Year’s Day. And year after year, the hopes turn frail and bitter as the Bears inevitably find ways to lose games they shouldn’t, or have the unfortunate luck to get good just as USC is putting together a dynasty for the ages.

This season’s been a really disappointing one — we thought we finally had all the tools into place to beat USC and take the Rose Bowl. Well, USC won’t be going this year, but Cal isn’t in position to take advantage of it. About the best we can do is play spoiler to Stanford’s Rose Bowl dreams, and, well, that ain’t looking overly good. (Did you see what Stanford did to Oregon and USC? Wow!)

But get rid of Tedford? Are you kidding me? He’s 66-33 overall. That’s a pretty good winning percentage — and he’s done it at Cal, where the institutional support is always going to be somewhat lacking. Sure, we haven’t made it to the Rose Bowl yet, but on the other hand, I actually believe that we will go someday. And we’ll go with Tedford as our coach.

I mean, I finally actually got to touch the Axe, right? I gotta believe.

Rally members who graduated from Cal without seeing a Big Game win finally get to hold the Axe for the first time. Note the huge smile on my face — I’m the one in the blue and gold rugby and Cal hat

%d bloggers like this: