Wesley Chapel, FL Archives

March 14, 2005

Been Gone Too Long

Okay, I've been pretty negligent about updating this site. A busy end of term in February, capped by the organization and execution of both the New England squash tournament and a team tour of Great Britain have kept me pretty flat out since early February. Now I am in Florida with the Choate tennis team and the pace of life is fairly relaxed for the first time in many weeks. So I am back to cyberspace for the first time in a while.

I will be tinkering with the whole web site in the coming days and weeks. Among the upgrade projects on my "to do" list are a new CSS design, some more graphics (I've got a new Canon 20D digital SLR camera heading my way!), and perhaps an RSS dimension as well. So stay tuned . . .

Plug Of The Day

I've been borrowing a G4 iBook from the school to use as a laptop on the road the last couple of weeks and have decided I'll order one later this spring (once the Tiger OS revision is released) so that I can get the up-to-date operating system as well as iLife '05 with the new machine.

The coolest accessory for a portable Mac can be seen here: This site features some funky-looking covers for iBooks and PowerBooks from a purveyor Down Under. I've already ordered one as well as an iPod cover, which will be a gift, from the companion site.

March 15, 2005

Beware The Ides Of March!


Here's some artwork commemmorating the assassination of Julius Caesar. It seemed to fit the occasion today!

Stumbled Across The Episode III Trailer


I caught the new trailer for the final Star Wars installment last night while checking e-mail on an AOL account (turns out AOL members have exclusive access to the trailer for a while). It looks pretty promising. Hopefully I'll see this trailer again on the silver screen tonight; I am heading out to the movies for the first time in over two months--which surely is a record drought for me since the age of about 12!

The West Wing


Like the terrific current run of 24, this season's The West Wing is reinvigorated. I just ordered the Season 4 DVD package, but the current episodes featuring Jimmy Smits, Alan Alda, Tim Matheson, and Gary Cole playing characters vying for the White House have provided a much-welcomed breath of fresh air as the Bartlet Administration nears its end. The infusion of new characters and election storylines has enabled the writers to explore virgin territory. Though Aaron Sorkin is still sorely missed--no one nails dialogue like the scribe behind A Few Good Men, The American President, and Sports Night--I am far more interested in this show than I was a year ago.

Apparently the plan is to inaugurate a new president halfway through the 2005-2006 season, assuming the show is renewed, of course. Whether Bartlet's successor will be a Republican (Alda) or a Democrat (Smits, most likely) is yet to be seen. In any case I will miss Martin Sheen's Jed Bartlet.

Importing "The Office"


Next week NBC will be airing the premiere episode of the American version of the brilliant British show "The Office." Having become a fan of the original, I hope the Peacock doesn't screw this up. Apparently the pilot is a faithful recreation of its counterpart, then the rest of the episodes are new scripts. Check it out here.

March 16, 2005

Computer Animated Flicks


I checked out Robots last night, the latest in computer-generated animation films. The movie was cute in terms of story and character--appropriate for kids, with enough knowing pop culture references worked in for the benefit of older viewers. What was amazing was the eye candy; the refinement of this sort of animation has continued to develop impressively. The metallic surfaces that dominated the look of the film worked really well when rendered by computer.

Spring Training


While my own tennis team was engaged in spring training on court this morning, I drove down the road a bit to check out the New York Yankees gearing up for the season ahead. The Bronx Bombers practice and play at Legends Field, a pleasantly accessible and intimate ballpark in Tampa (unfortunately situated at 1 Steinbrenner Drive!). I enjoyed a bit of late morning batting practice.

March 17, 2005

The Wearin' O' The Green


Ay, and 'tis St. Paddy's Day, wouldn't ya know it. Top o' the morning to all ye fellow Hibernians out there. And the rest of ye, don't ye be usin' the day as an excuse f'r any foolishness, now.

March 18, 2005

Spring Training (Tennis Version)


I watched three former world #1 players on the courts at Saddlebrook this morning: Jim Courier, Martina Hingis, and Justine Henin-Hardenne. Courier is retired but competes some on the senior tour, Hingis is kinda retired but certainly looked like she was gearing up to play again (and she's hardly over the hill!), and Henin-Hardenne is coming back from injury. There were a few other pros (Mardy Fish, Chanda Rubin) training as well, in addition to some very impressive junior players. It was fun just watching them hit in drill sessions and practice sets.

March 11, 2007


Back at the Saddlebrook resort for the first time in two years (last year, Choate Tennis went to China over spring break). I've been coming here most years since 1990, aside from about a five year period beginning in the late 1990s when the team went out to Indian Wells, California. The resort itself is more or less unchanged (though wireless Internet access has been a welcome recent addition). What has changed is that Tampa has continued to spread out. Wesley Chapel used to be pretty remote from the city itself, but one doesn't have to travel very far to find the usual Florida-type sprawl of shopping centers and malls.

Cable TV Line-Up

No Sci-Fi Channel among the offerings here at Saddlebrook, so I'll have to wait until tomorrow to download tonight's Battlestar Galactica on iTunes. Also, you would think a tennis-oriented place like this might have The Tennis Channel, too, but no such luck. This means I'll have to wait until Wednesday for my pro tennis fix, when ESPN2 picks up coverage of the Indian Wells event.

At least there are a handful of HBOs to pick from!

March 12, 2007

Song Of The Day #71

A live version of "I Write Sins Not Tragedies" from Panic! At The Disco.

Panic! At the Disco - Live Session (iTunes Exclusive) - EP - I Write Sins Not Tragedies

The National Paper Of Record

I drove all over the area for about thirty minutes, trying in vain to locate a copy of today's The New York Times. Now that I am back in the States for good, I am trying to re-establish my daily newspaper habits (I subscribe to the Times and USA Today at home.) While I did have USA Today waiting at my doorstep this morning here in the resort, you would think the nation's pre-eminent newspaper might be available for purchase somewhere in this county!

Dylan Hears A Who


This is an amusing mash-up of Dr. Seuss lyrics presented in the style of a mid-'60s Bob Dylan album: click here.

March 13, 2007

Song Of The Day #72

Fits Bush's America as much as it did LBJ's in the 1960s: Bob Dylan's "Masters Of War."

Bob Dylan - The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan (Remastered) - Masters of War

Crisis Averted

Turns out they carry The New York Times in the resort gift shop here at Saddlebrook.



Team trip to the movies tonight, where we saw 300, the adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel about King Leonidas and 300 Spartans taking on Xerxes and his massive Persian army. Terrific eye candy, which--like Sin City before it--faithfully captured Miller's visuals.

March 14, 2007

Song Of The Day #73

I really like this Sheryl Crow song, "I Know Why."

Sheryl Crow - Wildflower - I Know Why

It Was Twenty Years Ago Today . . .


. . . well this month, anyway, that U2 released The Joshua Tree, the album that shot the band into the musical stratosphere. Hard to believe it was that long ago! I remember the 1987 tour announcement. I worked the autodial on the phone one Saturday morning in Andover, Massachusetts, trying to get tickets to no avail. But when I moved to Connecticut at the end of the summer, one of the students in my dorm had two tickets to the Boston Garden show but no way to get there. I had a car!

March 15, 2007

Song Of The Day #74

Rob Thomas covers the awesome Smashing Pumpkins tune "1979" for iTunes Originals.

Rob Thomas - iTunes Originals - Rob Thomas - 1979 (iTunes Originals Version)

I Like Getting Messages Like This

A recent Choate alum--who shall remain nameless--sent me this note some weeks back:

you were right. kerry was the better candidate in 2004 but hindsight is 20/20 and i was wrong at the time.

i said it

Give 'em time and most of them will see the light.

March 16, 2007

Song Of The Day #75

Billy Joel's "I Go To Extremes."

Billy Joel - Storm Front - I Go to Extremes

Nadal vs. Roddick

The fact that the numbers 2 and 3 ranked players in the world won their quarterfinal matches at Indian Wells yesterday means tomorrow we will be treated to a semifinal showdown between Rafael Nadal and Andy Roddick. Strangely, the two have not played since December 2004. Their head-to-head record is 1-1, with the American winning in the U.S. Open and the Spaniard prevailing on clay in the Davis Cup final. This ought to be a great match to watch.

Practice Courts

I spent much of the afternoon out at the practice courts watching the pros work out: James Blake, Martina Hingis, and the Bryan brothers--all of whom lost early out in Indian Wells--were tuning up their games before heading down to Miami for the next major event next week.

March 17, 2007

'Tis St. Paddy's Day Once More


My dad always told me there were two types of people in the world: the Irish and those who want to be Irish. Happy St. Patrick's Day to both!

Song Of The Day #76

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, here is Jerry Lee Lewis and Don Henley teaming up for "What Makes The Irish Heart Beat."

Jerry Lee Lewis featuring Don Henley - Last Man Standing - What Makes the Irish Heart Beat (Featuring Don Henley)

March 16, 2009

DVR-Free Zone

Without the benefit of a DVR here, I can't time shift the shows I want to watch. But since it's vacation, I can park myself in front of the television tonight to catch Gossip Girl and 24.

March 15, 2009

Living In Style In Florida

For bringing 13 boys down to train at Saddlebrook, the resort puts me up in style in my own condo. It was over 80 degrees when I arrived here this afternoon. I am looking forward to a week of warmth and scraping the rust off my tennis game.

March 16, 2009

Where Is The Live Tennis Coverage?


Tennis Channel offered coverage of the Indian Wells tournament--one of the most important stops on the men's and women's tours--over the weekend, so I got to see some matches at home on Saturday and down here in Florida yesterday. But as of today, the televised play switched over to Fox Sports Network, which we DON'T get here at Saddlebrook. Ugh! I miss the old ESPN wall-to-wall coverage of the Master Series events (yeah I know, they don't call them that anymore), but the folks in Bristol have trimmed tennis coverage back to just the Slams. So I guess I'll be able to see the final (Nadal vs. Federer, anyone?) at home Sunday afternoon. But nothing until then. Bummer.

My bigger concern is that there seems to be renewed interest in the sport of pro tennis among the general public--mostly due to a couple of spectacular showdowns between the top two men in major finals recently--but it's disappointing that coverage of tour events like Indian Wells and Key Biscayne (as well as Davis Cup ties) has been relegated to second-tier cable networks with more limited market penetration. (The phenomenon of "narrowcasting" continues.) Hopefully the new leadership at the ATP can address this.

March 17, 2009

Upgrading The iPhone Again


Apple announced details of the forthcoming upgrade to the iPhone operating system. Version 3.0 will have cut, copy, and paste functionality (at last!), background processing for apps, and better push technology, along with all sort of other "under the hood" improvements. Looking forward to it!

You'd Best Be Wearin' Green Today


It's that special day once more for all of us of Irish descent and for everyone else who wishes they were. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Feeling The Burn

I spent three hours on the tennis court this morning, drilling pretty intensely on clay. It's the hardest I've worked in a while. It felt great to get my strokes grooved again, but I am paying the price now, feeling pretty stiff and sore. Time to hit the jacuzzi!

March 18, 2009

Catching Up With Jason Bourne


I revisited The Bourne Ultimatum on DVD over the course of the last two days: this is a really well-made flick.

Another Steve-Less Apple Presentation


This afternoon I finished watching the streaming feed of Apple's presentation on the forthcoming iPhone 3.0 upgrade. Even without Steve Jobs at the helm, it was an impressive rundown of all the nifty new features that developers and consumers can look forward to in the months ahead. Apple keeps raising its game, with incremental but valuable improvements to its Mac, iPhone, and iPod lines. As The Beatles said, "I have to admit it's getting better . . . " Not a bad way to keep the fiercely loyal Apple fan base coming back for more!

March 19, 2009

Spring Training

It's absolutely rejuvenating to spend a week in warmer climes at the end of winter, exercising pretty hard for a few hours each day and enjoying plenty of unstructured time to read, watch DVDs, sunbathe, or do not much of anything! This is restorative for the soul.

March 20, 2009

Back In The Groove

Just finished another three-hour training session this morning, with lots of drilling and a bit of playing as well. It was pretty intense; I was dripping in sweat in the Florida heat before an enjoyable plunge in the pool afterward. Wish I could keep this schedule up all spring!

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