Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
I've visited California several times and I have also spent an extended period of time there during my year long hiatus between jobs. I'm just going to speak about my personal favorites, all of these places have Moey's seal of approval. If you plan on going, take at least take two weeks to get the most out of it. Fly into San Francisco, rent a car, drive along the coastal highway and end your trip leaving out of L.A., Mr. Moey and I did this on one of our trips and it worked out extremely well.
San Francisco is a small but nice city. You won't need a car and can cover a lot of ground on foot. Ferries run from the main pier daily to Sausalito and Alcatraz.
Sausalito is a very picturesque little town that houses unique boutiques, restaurants and art galleries, it's a great little spot for an afternoon or overnight visit.
Alcatraz is a must, but try to book tickets ahead of time, they are usually sold out. The view from Alcatraz is great, a three hundred degree panoramic view of San Francisco Bay. You really get a feeling of how frustrating it must have been for the inmates, freedom seemed so close but was yet so far. The day that I visited Alcatraz I lucked out. One of the former inmates had written a small book on his time served from 1942-1952 and he was there to answer questions. His was a rare success story, he received a full pardon from Jimmy Carter in the early seventies and went on to become a radiologist. I bought a copy of his book which he signed for me and we had a little chat, hearing it straight form the horse's mouth gave you a sense of how tough it was to be incarcerated at the Rock, better than any book or tour guide ever could.
The last thing you should do is book a day trip to Sonoma. It's a scenic drive through wine country, a stop at one of the wineries is mandatory, there are some interesting bottles of wine that you may not find in the stores.
View from Top of the Mark, Mark Hopkins Hotel, San Francisco
On your last night in San Francisco, go to the Top of the Mark, it's a bar featuring live music on the top of the Mark Hopkins hotel and it has a fantastic view of the city at night. Great place for a night cap.
View from the Tickle Pink Inn
Wine and cheese on the deck at sunset
After spending three days in San Francisco, we slowly made our way down to Southern California. We headed south on Hwy 101, picking up Route 1, the coastal highway. You can check out interesting places like Bodega Bay, this was the little town where Alfred Hitchcock filmed "The Birds." We stopped in Carmel overnight, it's such a pretty place with plenty of restaurants and galleries. We did the seventeen mile drive which takes you right by the Pebble Beach golf course. We ended up spending the night at the "Tickle Pink Inn" a lovely spot with a great sea view, they also served complimentary wine and cheese on the deck at sunset.
Route 1 (this was my third attempt to do this drive, the previous times the road was closed due to mudslides and fallen rocks) has been rated as one of the top ten drives in the world. I can't vouch for the other nine, but the drive through Big Sur is jaw dropping. Just when you think it can't get any better it does, I spent a lot of time pulling over and taking pictures.
The highway finishes around Morro Bay, we got back on to Highway 101 South and checked out Santa Barbara where we visited a couple of nice wineries and had a picnic lunch.
I also really enjoyed an overnight stay on Catalina, it's about an hour by ferry out of Long Beach. There are very few cars on the island, most people get around on golf carts, there are a variety of restaurants and shops, nice place for a mini getaway.
Queen Mary, Long Beach
Another cool thing to do is stay aboard the Queen Mary which has been docked in Long Beach since 1967 and is now a hotel or if you just want to visit, there are good restaurants on board too. The rooms still have a nautical flair to them and it's fun to walk along her decks checking out the many pictures of celebrities that were amongst her passengers during the fifties.
There are many other places worth visiting, San Diego, (the Hotel Del Coronado is especially worth a trip) Newport, Laguna and Zuma Beach to name a few others. And of course if it's your first trip, the bus tours of the stars' homes in Bel Air and Beverly Hills are fun, along with a visit to Universal Studios.
As I was writing this yesterday, I was speaking to my sister who has been living in California since 1994. I need my California fix and I'm plotting a visit somewhere around March 7, 2010. The fact that the Habs are playing the Anaheim Ducks that day is purely a coincidence.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Harry Winston Beverley Hills
So picking up where I left off, we finally got off that cruise and did a little cruising of our own around Beverly Hills. We were enjoying our window shopping when suddenly I spotted Harry Winston's jewelery store, famous for outfitting "A" list celebrities on Oscar night. "C'mon Mr. Moey, let's check it out, they should have some gorgeous jewelery." So in we went, closed the door behind us and looked around. Not a single piece of jewelery in sight, the only items in the room were two desks. We looked at each other, puzzled. Suddenly a salesman appears from the back of the store. He says, "Can I help you?". Mr. Moey is silent, so I pipe up, "ah yes, I'd like to see some diamond rings please, solitaire, oval and pear shaped around two carats would be fine." Mr. Salesman is looking at me up and down in my jeans and flip flops and says "you do realize I have to go and get them out of the vault." "No problem, I said, take your time." Off he goes, Mr. Moey and I sit down at one of the desks, look at each other and say "holy crap." About five minutes later our salesman returns with three beautiful diamond rings in hand. My favorite was this one:
So I try it on, it was stunning, the colors bouncing off the lighting in the store were dazzling. As I was admiring it all of a sudden our salesman lets out a squeal, "oh...Mr. Moey that watch you're wearing is just fabulous, can I try it on?" Our salesman was (to be polite) a little light in his loafers. He took this sudden shine to Mr. Moey's watch and I suspect to Mr. Moey as well. Mr. Moey obliges while I'm still sitting mesmerized by the ring. The topic quickly changed to watches, Mr. Salesman insisted on retrieving a few timepieces from the vault for Mr. Moey's perusal. He comes back with three watches one of which he informed us Mel Gibson had purchased, it was now on back order for six months, but he could probably get his hands on one if we decided to buy it. No offense to Mel Gibson, but I wasn't impressed, the strap looked like it was made of rubber. Meanwhile, I had tried on several occasions to take the ring off, he would have none of it. "Keep it on," he insisted, "make it yours." The next thing we know he retreats to the vault again and brings out a matching necklace and bracelet in white and pale yellow diamonds. "Here Moey try these on, they will look gorgeous with your tan." So there I was, with a half million dollars of diamonds dripping off me in my jeans and flip flops. We ended up spending an hour there and at the end of it Mr. Salesman slipped Mr. Moey a card with the model number of the ring and the price. He told Mr. Moey if he came back on his own, they could negotiate a better deal. Price of ring $48,000.00 U.S., an hour in Harry Winston's; priceless. I'm still waiting for Mr. Moey to go back and negotiate.....
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Geoffrey's is located on the Pacific Coast Highway, it has an amazing view in a gorgeous setting. We had dinner there but the Sunday brunch is a do not miss. They make a great Eggs Benedict with a twist, they used toasted croissants and prosciutto instead of the standard English muffin and ham. That along with a couple of Mimosas (champagne and orange juice) was a piece of food heaven. Mr. Moey loved it; the weekend was off to a great start, that is until I dragged him kicking and screaming on a four day cruise to Catalina and Mexico. Mr. Moey is not a big fan of cruises, from the trough dining to lining up like cattle to board the tenders into shore it just doesn't do it for him, he'd rather stick pins in his eyes. He did manage to pick up a few leather items in Mexico at a very good price, so that eased the pain a little. Back on dry land, we did some shopping on Rodeo drive with a little visit to Harry Winston the famous jeweler to the stars. I'll recap that adventure in the days to come.
Monday, July 13, 2009
God, our weather sucks so far this summer. I was driving on Highway 13 today in the pouring rain and there were hail stones banging off my car. So far this is the worst summer I can remember. The flights for Cuba and Mexico are booking up like nobody's business, July used to be considered the off season. I'm starting to wish it was October when we go for a week to the Caymans.
How's your weather?
Saturday, July 11, 2009
So lets see, what have we got so far, 3 new forwards, four new defensemen, have I missed anyone? It feels strange right now to be a fan of a team that I have no emotional attachment to. My trusty lawn mower and hedge trimmer extraordinaire Rick was here yesterday afternoon. I always have my radio tuned in to Melnick in the afternoon out by the pool. He commented that he listens to the Team 990 every day too. Naturally I asked him if he was a Habs fan, and sure enough that led to a half hour gabfest about our beloved if non-recognizable Habs. He's very optimistic about the future and I'm starting to get excited too. I'm anxious for the season to start because I have to go about the all important business of picking new favorites and forming emotional attachments and then down the line getting my heart ripped out when they end up getting traded or leave for another team. Well, I've gotta run, I'm in need of some serious retail therapy, it works every time!
I'm starting to make progress, I have a pair of jean shorts that I bought in 1997. I love them, they're so comfy but worn out with a few holes (like our old Habs). I was having a hard time parting with them. I bought a new pair this afternoon. Baby steps......
Make that four forwards and three defensemen. I'm losing track of who's who.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
I've been spending the past couple of days trying to figure out Bob Gainey's logic behind the changes he's made. I'm not buying into the concept that locker room and off ice crap had anything to do with it. That's just pure rumor and speculation because nobody except Bob and the players know what went on, I don't care who you are. I'm just looking at it as a GM would have to, with cold hard logic. As GM it's Bob's responsiblilty to ice the best team he can. Bob never struck me as a gambling man, in fact he strikes me as quite the opposite, very methodical, plodding and slow. Let's go back two seasons ago when we finished first in the conference. When we lost to the Flyers, did anyone one out there think we had a chance of getting past Pittsburgh? I didn't. Put your hands up if you thought Boston would beat Pittsburgh if they had managed to get past Carolina. I didn't. If I'm Bob Gainey and I want a team that's a cup contender, how do we get past Pittsburgh? Not with the lineup we had, not even with a few tweaks and additions. The Pens are getting better and stronger, they'll be a force to be reckoned with for a few years to come. We were getting older and slower, no disrespect to Saku, I love the guy but even I had to admit there were times out there when his skates looked like they were made of cement. He was good for 12-15 minutes max. If that's your best center it's just not going to cut it. The Pens have too much jump and they don't quit. Our new first line have the skill and jump. Enough jump to get past the Pens? Who knows, but it's a start and I'll take a question mark over an emphatic NO any day.
My biggest concern right now is what Bob's going to do about secondary scoring. We had none at the end of the season. I hope Plek & the brothers K are being held to the same standards as Koivu and company were. I just don't see Bob rolling the dice; hoping these guys clean up their act and start producing, especially after the drastic moves he's made so far. He's not finished yet.
So, what are your thoughts?
Sunday, July 5, 2009
I’m declaring my three day mourning period officially over. I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t at all happy with the moves Bob Gainey made on July 1st. Gee, thanks Bob for blowing up my team. But I’ve had some time to think about, it’s time to put my emotions aside and move on. My team only played about five decent games last year and then was blown out of the water by Boston in four straight, never mind Bob, carry on.
It wouldn’t be fair to judge the team solely on last season. Mitch Melnick described it as “The Perfect Storm." The dictionary definition is: a critical or disastrous situation created by a powerful concurrence of factors. Storm aside, our leading scorer was a 39 year old centerman until his injury and he was only meant as a filler for Mats Sundin. The curious thing is for all of Charbonneau’s mixing and matching he never thought of the Koivu, Kovalev and Tanguay combination. They were an explosive threesome.
So here’s where we’re at now, Bob Gainey is basically telling us is that our new number one line will be better than the KKT line. I’ll reserve judgment until the puck drops. I hope he’s right or the fans will be screaming for his head on a platter. I’m sure the moves he made on defense are an improvement; it couldn’t be any worse than it was.
For whatever reason(s) Mike Komisarek decided he wanted out of Montreal. Some fans are calling him a traitor; I think he just has really bad taste. What can you expect from a guy who stated in an interview that he preferred New York style bagels over Montreal’s? Hey Mikey, enjoy Hogtown with Bonehead "We’re getting John Tavares" Burke. Oh and by the way, you’ll enjoy the pizza there too; it rivals any pizza I’ve tasted in the U.S., it's crap.
So for the moment I’m back on the bandwagon. As a fan you have to look at the big picture and ask yourself what it is you really want. I’ll give you a hint, it rhymes with pup, and if this new squad can get us there, Bob's a genius.
On a lighter note, check out this cartoon of Michael Jackson trying to get into heaven.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
My dream for you was to see you skate with the Cup, now that will never happen, at least not in Montreal. I hope you sign with a team that appreciates your dedication, professionalism and hard work ethics. I hope you have a fan base that recognizes what you bring on the ice and it's a small comfort to me that you will no longer be blamed for every up and down that the team has. Your excellent command of the English language will serve you well no matter where you go and will not be met with disdain because you don't speak French. I will miss seeing your picture every night on the local news when they preview the upcoming sports segment. I wish you every success on your new team and I'll make it a point to watch you wherever you end up playing. The Habs aren't the Habs to me right now without you there, but I suppose like everything else I'll get used to it. You have big skates to fill and right now the thought of one of the new players wearing your "C" is going down like a fart in a spacesuit. Thanks for all of your efforts and contributions both on and off the ice, you were an inspiration and role model for many. It's with a heavy heart I say goodbye and I'm going to miss you, a lot.