Sunday, December 30, 2007

Patriot Perfection

Wow, they did it! The New England Patriots end the regular season at 16 - 0, a feat no other team in NFL history has done. And what a great, dramatic, gruelling game to set that mark. The Giants did more than show up to play - they showed up to win. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about a Patriots loss at multiple times in this game; especially when the Pats were down by 12 points in the second half. But that is where the fun comes from, such a huge accomplishment shouldn't come easy. This win wouldn't have meant as much if the Giants just rolled over and gave the Pats an easy win. I never thought I'd be impressed by Eli Manning - but he was on fire for much of the game.

The many new records; scoring, touchdown receptions (23 for Moss) and touchdown passes (50 for Brady) are all great, but the best thing is that all the Patriots are still saying the right things - this was just the regular season, and the true goal is a Super Bowl win and being 19 - 0.

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Perfect Hype for The Patriots

Well, we've been home for a week from our trip to Chile, but all the attention and hype on the New England Patriots and their quest for a perfect season has kept me from posting photos or doing much of anything else. The NFL Network has turned into the Patriots Network - showing all this season's previous games this week and today I'm settled in for 8 hours of hype leading up to the final regular season game tonight between the Pats and the NY Giants. I have no doubt that the Patriots will win and become the first team in history to end the regular season at 16 and 0. "How" is the question. Will this be a blow out? A close game to the end? Are the Giants motivated to prevent an undefeated season? There is more hype on this game than on most playoff games. I'm so jeeped up! And I firmly believe there is no way this team and this coach will have any sort of letdown. Another Super Bowl win and a 19 - 0 record for the year is the true goal.

This has been an especially emotional football season. Back on the opening game against the Jets in September, my family came over to watch the game. After the game my grandmother fell and broke her hip. Then the whole "spygate" scandal broke and the world was calling Belichick and the Pats cheaters. Both those things really effected me emotionally. The Patriots circled the wagons and became an even stronger, more determined team due to the attacks on their achievements and character, while my grandmother spent the next month in the hospital. Just when she was about to be sent home (again) she took a turn for the worse (that will happen when you are 84) and died on Columbus Day. Somehow her death has become tied to the football season for me. Much like the Patriots are playing with the preseason death of their teammate Marquise Hill on their minds.

Tonight's game is getting more attention than anything shy of a major presidential address, with the NFL Network, CBS and NBC all broadcasting the game nationally. Here in Boston, WCVB, the local ABC affiliate is also showing the game due to a deal they had written up before the season ever started. Will be interesting to see if this becomes the most watched NFL game ever.

Like the NFL Network promo says; If you're already a dynasty, what comes after that?

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Back from Easter Island

AF and Moai on Easter IslandThe transition from the thrills and adventure of Patagonia to the relaxation and tropical paradise of Easter Island took some getting used to, but we had a blast during our time on Ilsa de Pascua or Rapa Nui. There were a lot fewer American tourists on Easter Island than in Patagonia but everyone we met, from Rapanui natives to tourists from Japan, Europe, New Zealand, Chile and more, were all extremely friendly and it was great fun to witness Larry the Lizard fever sweep the island. We learned tons about the Moai (the giant stone statues) and saw hundreds in various states of construction, destruction and restoration. The society that carved them was around for a couple thousand years, but nobody is still sure how they moved them from the quarry where they were crafted (they weighed 75 - 86 tons each) or how they mounted them once they arrived at the Ahu (ceremonial platform). The period of the Moai ended with tribal warfare and the toppling of each clan's Moai.

3 storms happened while we were awayComing home to the below freezing temperatures and 2+ feet of snow was quite a shock. Once I get through the Patriots - Dolphins football game Sunday (when the Pats go 15 - 0) and Christmas I'll get going on posting the best photos of the nearly 800 we took.

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

We Survived the Futaleufu

Greetings All,
We are sitting here in Puerto Montt Chile after spending a week in Patagonia braving the Class 5 rapids of the mighty Futaleufu river, hiking, rock climbing and rappelling. This was by far our most adventurous and downright frightening trip. We were part of a group of just seven people and were definitely the oldest and most out of shape. The weather bounced between cold, hard rain and beautiful sunny days with temperatures ranging from low 50´s to high 70´s with the sun rising at 5am and setting at 10pm. They say in Patagonia you can experience all four seasons on any given day. Looking back everything was fun, exciting and rather simple - but during the hype, the safety talks, the warnings, and seeing other people opt out of the Class 5 rapids, the week started off quite scary. I was front position left side and setting the stroke in our boat and after feeling like I barely survived a 300´ swim test in the river on a very dark, windy, cold, rainy day I had never been more terrified on vacation and questioned how much rafting I was going to do. After a sleepless night of rafting and drowning dreams, I decided screw it - Larry The Lizard was at my side saying ¨Go sick or go home¨ and there was no way to get home so I went sick.
Despite the doom and gloom and ¨high swim potential¨ we never had a swimmer from our raft, Lori survived her first rock climbing experience, and the 300´ rappel we did was a blast. I´m very bruised and battered with a sprained left wrist and a blown right hamstring resulting from a poorly executed 45´ cliff jump (a first for me). The scenery has been breathtakingly beautiful and all the people we've met have been awesome. We are looking forward to chilling out with the giant heads of Easter Island. We arrive there tomorrow. So Merry Christmas and Happy Easter to all and Go Patriots!!!

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Next Adventure: Chile

Later this week we will jet off to Patagonia, Chile for a white water rafting trip on the Futaleufu River (affectionately known as The Fu) - complete with Class 5 rapids which is as insane as rapids get and something we've only seen from afar until now. The trip is with Earth River who have a very cool interactive web site that lets you see video clips and photos from many different spots of the trip. I just posted the itinerary so you can read about some of the totally sick things in store for us. After surviving Patagonia we fly another 6 hours into the Pacific to visit Easter Island - this is the most remote inhabited place on earth and home to the giant head monuments (Moai). This is a trip I've dreamed of since I was a kid and saw a comic book where the Moai pulled themselves out of the ground and started running amok on people. Can't wait to see that! Also think photos of Larry The Lizard (who is of course accompanying us) on Easter Island will be just about the sickest Larry shot imaginable.

Happy Holidays!

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Modern Medicine

I thought the worst thing about returning back to Massachusetts from a week in San Jose California would be the 18 degree temperature that greeted me Saturday night, but then my father had a heart attack Sunday afternoon and I no longer really noticed the weather. He went to the emergency room in Leominster Hospital and then was rushed to the new cardiac unit at UMass Memorial in Worcester - all while still going through a heart attack. I had thought heart attacks were just sudden events, but his was going on for some time and they couldn't get him to stabilize. Lori and I rushed off to UMass and since it was a Sunday night the place was empty. The cardiac area isn't always staffed - people just get called in for emergencies. So we were just wandering the halls, found someone to open a door for us and suddenly we are looking into an open operating room where my dad was on the table. A nurse grabbed us and locked us up in a waiting room. After just a few minutes the doctor came and spoke to us. They had put a stent into the artery that was blocked and that along with some medications aborted the heart attack before any serious heart damage was done. My dad was already awake and alert and we went with him as they rolled him off to ICU. The most amazing thing to me was that this afternoon (Tuesday) we brought him home. I was prepared for an agonizing decision about whether we dare go off on our trip to Chile later this week or not. But I guess these days heart attacks just aren't that big a deal. My dad is home and looks and acts no different than he did the day before his heart attack. It is practically drive through service these days at the hospital.
Plus the Patriots won another close game Monday Night to remain perfect. WooHoo!