Bay Area Life

Life through the viewfinder

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47th Annual Cable Car Ringing Contest

Cable Car Ringing Contest 2009

Ringing in his bell for the third consecutive year in a row, Leonard Oats took the throne as he came out on top over the six contestants. He was followed by Frank Ware who took second  and Howard Woo who came in at third.

This year’s contest was held at Union Square this Tuesday a little after noon. A crowd of about a couple hundred gathered around the cable car in hopes to see history in the making as six cable car grip-men competed against each other for the title of Cable Car Ringing Champion of the World.

The rules for the professional contest were that may have up to 30 seconds to practice prior to his performance. Contestants may not have any music accompaniment and/or dancers. He must do it alone. And the contestants must ring the bell while in a cable car.

In the amateur competition that preceded before the professional competition each contestant was allowed to ring the bell to accompanied music and by dancers. Coming out on top for his second year in a row Scotty B of KOIT took his second victory. His bell ringing display was accompanied by two break dancers and four green boa female backup dancers as his theme was that of a bar.  Following Scotty in second was Janelle Wang of ABC 7 / KGO-TV. She brought to the competition this year four 49ers Gold Rush cheerleaders to help her. Janelle went on to dance with the girls in a choreographed routine where she then left the dancers to start ringing the bell. Lastly, in third place was Aaron Jones of KBLX. Jones’ routine was that to a slow paced Latin ballroom dancing.

After the competition, awards were given to all the participants. Prizes for the contestants consisted of hotel stays, dinner certificates, other food certificates, trophies, posters, and the championship bell.

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Randy Johnson gets his 300th career victory

Congratulations goes out to the Randy “Big Unit” Johnson who reaches his 300th career victory over the Washington Nationals. The Walnut Creek, CA born player is the 24th pitcher in major league baseball to have achieved such a milestone. Some other achievements are that he is the tallest pitcher to reach the 300 mark standing tall at 6foot 10inches. He has 5 Cy Young Awards. He has 4845 strikeouts. He has pitched 2 no- hitters (one of them was a perfect game). He also even got to demolish a bird in spring training as he threw a fastball against the Giants in 2001. He has many many more achievements, but these are just some to mention.

Johnson gains his 300th career win as he helped lead the Giants to a 5-1 victory in Game 1 of the double header, where eventually he was taken out of the game due to landing on his left arm/shoulder as he barehanded a ball behind the mound and tossed it towards first base to get the out in the bottom of the 6th inning.

Giants went on to win Game 2 of the double header after a rain delay winning 4-1. Giants take the series from the Nationals.

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Bay to Breakers 2009

Bay to Breakers 2009

Today marked the 98th annual Bay to Breakers Run. In length, the run is a little over 7 miles long and the course goes through some ups and downs along the course. The race starts from the San Francisco Bay and continues through SF until it reaches the Pacific Ocean (breakers). Race time begins at 8am with runners this year lining up in seperate corrals. Each corral was divided into how fast a runner can finish the race. The fastest runners in one corral, the fast in another, medium in another, and walkers in another.

The most fun of the Bay to Breakers (B2B) is the cool costumes that people can cleverly come up with. I always try to make it an effort every year to wake up early and head down to get a glimpse of the race. Costumes sometimes are way to funny that it’s like getting a comedy show coming to you. The only flip side of the race that I don’t like is the nude runners. Majority of the runners that run nude are old folks that just like to let it all hang out. Sometimes I just get really disturbed that I have to look away and or clinch my eyes really tight hoping that they walk or run past me quick.

This year was probably one of the hottest B2B that I’ve been to. I picked up a pretty bad sunburn and went home with my face all red. Couple of friends asked me later that day what happened to me. Personally when I looked in the mirror it looked like I had the Asian glow going on. My face was pure red and it wasn’t looking good. I just hope in the next several days that it won’t hurt like a train hit my face.

For future reference, I need to remember to bring a large hat that covers my head 360 degrees and to bring lots and lots of liquids. Can’t wait for next year!!!

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Giants vs. Nationals

Tonight, I went to my first game of the 2009 season at AT&T Park. The Giants were facing the Nationals with an attendance of about 24,000 people. The night started off with a celebration of Indian heritage night, where two dance groups performed some cultural dances from India. The rest of the week will feature other Asian ethnicities and their cultures. Tonight’s pitcher for the Giants was Randy Johnson and he led the Giants to a victory of 11-7. This win brings Johnson with 298 career victories one step closer to achieving his 300th career win. It would be a total awesome thing to see him pull it off here in SF as a Giant. I hope this season will bring the Giants to the World Series. Lots of potential, now let’s see what the orange and black can do!!!

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Jeff Kent Retires

Jeff Kent as a Giant (Image by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Today marked a really sobering day for the sport of baseball as baseball all-star Jeff Kent retires from the sport with the Dodgers and with him goes a truly awesome player. I will never forget all the great moments I’ve gotten to see as he played for the Giants. Today as I turned on the television, I watched a press conference that he was holding in Los Angeles and I asked myself if this was truly happening and the realization hit me that it actually was happening when i flipped the channel to see it on another sports network. I ended up watching the whole press conference and as I was watching I felt very emotional as I saw probably one of the best players leave the game. In all my experience of watching the sport of baseball I truly believe him to be one of the most genuine and real true players of the game. In my eyes, he is like fictional character (Billy Chapel) played by Kevin Costner in the movie For the Love of the Game (1999) because he loves the sport so much that he gives it his all.

As I watched the press conference, I started taking notes to try and remember this momentous occasion. As I was watching, the hesitation in Kent’s voice was one of great emotion. He spoke with lots of heart and passion for what he truly loved. Kent stated that he was not tired of the game itself, but that he was tired of living out of a suitcase, tired of traveling, and tired of baggage (whether it be bad or the good that comes out from it). He also stated numerous times that he had the utmost respect for the game; He even said that he wanted to lead this game right and with integrity. The motto that he picked up from his father who was a police officer was, “If you do a job, do it right.” Kent never cheated the game and always did what he thought was right.

Kent played for the Giants from 1997-2002, six seasons with the ball club. He hit 1518 Career RBIs, a slugging percentage of 0.500, and 377 career home runs. Out of the 377 homers, 351 of them were homers while playing second base. Kent has 74 more homers than Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg and now leads major league baseball with having the most home runs as a second baseman. Kent has played for many teams starting with the Blue Jays in 1992, the Mets from 1992-96, the Indians in 1996,  the Giants from 1997-2002, the Astros from 2003-04, and finishing off with the Dodgers from 2005-2008. In all of his 17 years of baseball he said that the greatest highlight of his career was to be playing for the Giants in the 2002 World Series despite losing in Game 7. All in all, Jeff Kent will always be a Giant to me and he will be among the greatest players that have ever played the game.