Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sensory Overload - Part II

After taking a few years off from writing my book, Sensory Overload, I am back up on the horse. I finally finished writing my first new chapter in a while, Chapter 8.

I remember hitting the wall because I had come to a cross-roads in my story and I didn't know which direction to take. Just thinking about it caused me frustration and sapped my enthusiasm to write. I felt like I would just have to wait for the inspiration to hit again. It lasted much longer than I thought, but the breakthrough finally came on a long drive up to my Grandmother's house for Easter. I tried to zone out the bumper-to-bumper traffic while listening to some music on the radio and a cool idea for my story popped into my head. Plot points just started to fall into place like magic and I found myself mapping out chapter after chapter in my brain and I even figured out how I wanted to end it.

Near the end of the drive, I had to pull into a 7-Eleven to buy a small notepad and quickly write all my thoughts down before they vanished back into the ether. That was a great drive.

Now, on to Chapter 9.

UPDATE: 2/14/09

I finished Chapter 9. My New Year's Resolution is to finish Chapter 13 by the end of the year. My book will then be half finished.

UPDATE: 4/9/09

I have finished Chapter 10. While writing this chapter, I had an inspiration on how to wrap up Part III of my book. I now have to decide if I want to end the book at that point or continue with my original plan to finish it with Part IV. An expanded version of the storyline in Part IV might make a good sequel.

UPDATE: 5/9/09

I have finished writing Chapter 11. I am ahead of schedule so far on my New Year's Resolution to write five chapters this year. I am going to spend the last three weeks of May editing the three chapters I've written so far, before starting to write the last two in June.

UPDATE: 8/2/09

Chapter 13 is finished. I know I skipped Chapter 12, but it's okay. My chapters are currently alternating between two main characters and I was feeling inspired to continue with the same one after Chapter 11. The good news is I figured out how I wanted to write Chapter 12 as I wrapped up this one.

I like the pace I am currently writing at, around two months per chapter. Fast enough to keep the storyline fresh in my head, but slow enough to think carefully about the upcoming plot.

This week, I also finished a rough chapter outline for my story arc in Parts III & IV. I have expanded my original plan for Part III to spread it out over III & IV. I realized that I was trying to cram too much story into too few chapters. Now my original idea for Part IV will definitely be pushed into a second book.

UPDATE: 11/10/09

I am back to writing after taking a break for my trip to South America. Walking through the hillside favela in Rio de Janeiro really inspired me to go back and rewrite two of my recent chapters. I have just completed making the edits to Chapter 10 and half-written Chapter 12. Now I have a month and a half to finish writing Chapter 12 and complete my New Year's Resolution. I will finish.

UPDATE: 12/12/09

I have finished writing Chapter 12 with two weeks to spare in 2009 and Part II is complete. My book is now 273 pages long at the half-way point. Since there was more than a five year gap between writing Parts I & II, I will spend several months editing both to make sure they are consistent with each other and the story flows.

Hopefully it won't take too long before I start writing Part III. I already have pages filled with notes about new chapters and I am eager to write them.

UPDATE: 1/2/10

I saw James Cameron's Avatar for the second time today. I really love it but I'm worried that people will think I stole some of it's ideas for my book even though the plots are radically different. My main character's name is Jâk, pronounced just like Jake from the movie. That is not so bad by itself, except that Jâk also has blue skin and is a former soldier who was discharged because of a combat injury. At least their injuries are different, Jake has paralyzed legs while my Jâk suffered brain damage.

The last item is only vaguely comparable. While Jake links up to an alien avatar body, Jâk uses a link to control computers and other machines over a network. I came up with all these ideas back when I started writing my story in 1996. It's funny because it probably won't matter at all. How many will end up reading my book to spot these details when it is finished anyway?

UPDATE: 3/6/10

I have spent the first couple months of 2010 working on fixing my grammar in Parts I & II. Using Find in my word processor to get rid of bad words like suddenly, completely or entirely, and changing my passive verbs to active. I have just finished going through and removing all the prepositional phrases that state the obvious or adverbs that intensify instead of modify. It's very time consuming. It is amazing how many little typos I find searching through my book in this way. I tend to miss them when I am reading the story straight through.

I have now started the part of editing that I love, re-reading the chapters and adding deeper layers to my story. Fixing dialogue and adding details. When I write my first draft, I am more concerned with pushing the plot forward and I use generic details and dialogue as placeholders. I have already found in my grammar search six scenes that need to be re-written based on how the story has developed in the later chapters.

I am planning on editing a chapter a week so I can get back to writing new ones before the end of summer. I have not stopped planning the future chapters and I have been making notes of all the ideas that keep jumping into my head when I am in the shower or driving to work.

Update: 5/8/10

I have finished editing 11 chapters so far with a few more to go before I can start writing new material. I think I have been making a lot of improvements.

While I enjoy writing, I am not very prolific. It takes me about an hour to write 1 page of rough draft and I get burnt out if I write more than 2 a week. When I am doing a thorough edit of a chapter (around 15 pages), it takes me about 10 hours to check every single line. I can easily spend an hour just tinkering with a couple paragraphs.

A quick chapter edit, where I read fast to test the flow of the story, takes about an hour. I haven't done the math but the amount of time I have spent on these first 14 chapters must be huge. I did about 20 drafts of Part I back when I was stuck on the future storyline.

Update: 7/19/10

I have finally finished editing all 14 chapters and I'm ready to start writing new material. I made some major changes in the prologue and had to follow the ripples it created through the rest of the novel. My biggest rewrite was creating a whole new version of Chapter 6. Russ had been reading some of my chapters and has given some great notes that I incorporated in Chapters 4 and 5.

I have also been working on the outline for my second book during the past month. For years, I've had the idea to write a travel adventure story, a fictionalized version of my international trips. I've finally figured out the basic plot and I have been writing down the timeline and locations.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Chili Cook-Off at Lakeside Rodeo

I have always wanted to go to a Chili Cook-Off Contest. Whenever I read about them or see them on television, I get an intense craving for chili. When I heard about the 1st Annual Chili Cook-Off at the Lakeside Rodeo grounds on the radio, I just had to go today.

Phat Boyz Tri-Tip Chili Booth
I wanted to get to the Cook-Off before the tasting began at 1:30, but I arrived about 40 minutes after that. They had 50 contestant booths and 4 out of 5 ran out of chili within the first half hour. I hurried from booth to booth and was able to try six different types as they were running out all around me. Two of them were great, three were just average and one was so spicy that I couldn't finish it. It was more the taste than the heat that I couldn't take.

Hill Billy Chili Girl
My favorite chili was from the Phat Boyz Tri-Tip Chili Booth #35. I was talking to the two cooks after I voted for them and they told me the reason they lasted longer than most of the others was that they made twenty gallons of chili instead of just the minimum two gallons. I think if they do this again next year, they will have to increase the minimum amount for all the contestants or I will have to arrive much earlier.

Kid throwing at the Dunk Tank
Booth #42 ended up winning the People's Choice Award, but I didn't get a chance to taste their chili. Good thing I was able to buy some nachos or I would have been still hungry after all the booths ran out. The DSC Morning Show from 101 KGB was there as well. It was nice to see in person the people I listen to every morning on the way to work.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Sushi Virgin No More

Well, I finally tried Sushi for the first time in my life. I went to Mahe' Restaurant in Dana Point with friends from work with the full intention of just getting the Chicken Teriyaki like I normally do, but I ended up taking the plunge. I think it was watching the "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations" Japan episode recently that inspired me to try it out this time. Hell, if I can eat a scorpion while I was in China, I should be able to eat a piece of raw fish. Right?

My first sushi, Crazy Tuna.
My first piece of sushi was the Crazy Tuna. As I bit down and chewed, I was quite surprised that I actually enjoyed the taste. A pleasant flavor with a hint of crunchiness without the rubbery texture I was expecting. What is happening to me? Not liking fish has been part of who I am for so long. Identity Crisis time? Well, maybe not.

Noah the Walrus wants some fish!
I ended up eating about ten different types of sushi as the plates kept coming and coming. Some were better than others, but none were as good as the first one. I really liked the Albacore Sashimi as well.

The group after dinner.
I was so full by the time I was handed a large hand roll at the end, that I couldn't even finish it. I am still amazed that I was able to eat that much.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Snorkeling on Labor Day

Chad and I went snorkeling at La Jolla Cove today. This is why I love a holiday, getting paid while I'm at the beach.

A view out from La Jolla Cove on Labor Day. There was a pack of sea lions hanging out on the rocks by the entrance to the first ocean cave. They were barking and jumping in and out of the water about ten feet from us. Normally when I come snorkeling here, it is just a few harbor seals quietly sunning themselves in this spot at the base off the cliff. The sea lions must have taken over this area from them. There was a couple of young pups with them as well.

The water wasn't very clear today, but it was still fun. Afterwards, Chad barbecued his famous blue cheese burgers.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Horse Racing at Del Mar

I went to the horse races today with Chad. It was a beautiful sunny day at the Del Mar Racetrack.

Winner of 1st race. I think he was skittish of my camera.
We mostly bet on the real long shots, but none of them won. Boo! In three of the races, my pick came within one of my bet. So close.

The horses thundering down the finishing stretch.
Whenever I go to the racetrack, it makes me think of one of my favorite movies, "Let it Ride", with Richard Dreyfuss. Classic!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Las Vegas Trip - Chad's Birthday

I went to Las Vegas with Chad this weekend to celebrate his 37th birthday. We flew in Thursday afternoon and checked into our room at the MGM Grand, my first time staying there. We were starving after we arrived, so we walked across the street to have lunch at the Hooters Casino. Afterwards, we relaxed at the hotel pool for awhile.

The Birthday Boy, Chad, at Hooters Casino.
Our first night, we had tickets for the "O" Cirque du Soleil show at the Bellagio. Because we booked our reservations too late, we had the nosebleed seats in the very last row of the Balcony. I have been wanting to see "O" for many years now so I didn't mind. This show had divers and synchronized swimmers as well as the normal Cirque acrobats. I was amazed again by the stage in a Cirque du Soleil show, a giant pool with different moving segments to change it's depth.

Cirque du Soleil performers diving into the pool using swinging platforms.
After the show, we walked back to the MGM Grand to meet up with Chad's friend, Bobbi, at the Centrifuge Bar. We ended up hanging out for awhile with Magnus and Andreas from Norway who we met at the bar. They were very interesting to talk to. Andreas had just gotten back from Afghanistan. He was stationed in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif with the Norwegian Army. He said the heat in Vegas was nothing compared to there.

Chad passed out at the MGM Grand Pool?
On Friday, Chad and I went down to the Innertube River in the pool area after getting some lunch at 'wichcraft on the Studio Walk. It was the best sandwich I have had in a long time. It was blazing hot by the pool, but it was nice floating around the river all day. Chad and I ended up hanging out with Jennifer & Allison who were in Vegas from Oregon.

Stack Restaurant at The Mirage.
Chad, Bobbi and I went to the restaurant, Stack, over at the Mirage for dinner. It is a high end American-Style restaurant where we shared a bunch of delicious appetizers like Tater Tots with Bacon & Brie, Wings, Pigs in a Blanket and Chili Cheese Fries. The coolest appetizer was the "Hot Rocks", thin slices of sirloin steak that we cooked on a blazing hot rock brought out to our table. The Filet Mignon was very tender as well.

Noah leaping in front of Caesar's Palace.
On our walk back to the MGM, we stopped at the Petrossian Bar in the Bellagio Lobby so Bobbi could have her favorite drink, a Key Lime Pie Martini. It was a classy little joint. I also placed another bet for the Chargers to win the Super Bowl this season at their Sport's Book. Third time's the charm, I hope.

Chad feeling up Winged Victory at Caesar's Palace.
We met up with Allison and Jennifer when we got back to MGM. We went to Centrifuge for awhile before we took a taxi to Cleopatra's Barge over at Caesar's Palace. We had fun dancing to the live band. Back at the MGM, Bobbi had us on the list at the nightclub, Tabu, so we got in pretty quickly from the VIP line and I didn't have to pay a $50 cover charge. Bobbi was still partying hard when I left at 4am with Allison and Jennifer.

Inside Tabu at the MGM Grand.
After another day at the pool, I got to have my first dinner at a restaurant, L'atelier de Joel Robuchon, with a star in the French Michelin Guide. It has a long counter that faces the kitchen so we could watch the chefs preparing our meals. We had four courses on our menu and each was amazing.

Dinner Counter at L'atelier de Joel Robuchon with the view of the Kitchen.
LES LEGUMES - Mediterranean vegetables layered with buffalo mozzarella (I am not a fan of eggplant, but I wanted more.)

L’ONGLET - French-style hanger steak with fried shallots (Chad ordered Salmon instead.)

LES FROMAGES - Selection of imported cheeses (I loved spreading the brie and the rich butter on the french bread. It took me back the dinners I had in Brest.)

LA CHARTREUSE - Green chartreuse soufflé, pistachio ice cream (It was the perfect mix of flavor as the ice cream slowly melted down through the light soufflé. The couple next to me ordered it as well based just on my reaction to it.)

Soufflé with pistachio ice cream.
I was really full after eating the amazing soufflé, but they brought out a strawberry tart for Chad's birthday that was so delicious that I kept eating more. The strawberries were so fresh and light tasting. It went great with our cappuccinos.

Noah, Magnus, Bobbi, Chad & Andreas at Centrifuge Bar our last night in Vegas.
After dinner, we had tickets to see the Crazy Horse cabaret show at the MGM Grand which is a copy of the same show in Paris. Bobbi said it was allot like the Moulin Rouge as well. It was very entertaining with a couple of hilarious comedy bits mixed in with the dancing girls. We spent the rest of the night at Centrifuge, our third night in a row. The third night in a row hanging out with Magnus & Andreas as well. Heh! It was a great last night in Vegas.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Red Bull Air Race - Smoke On!

I went to the Red Bull Air Race being held over San Diego Harbor on Saturday. I took the Coaster downtown with Chad and Renai where we met up with her friend, Gina. We walked down to Seaport Village where we stopped for some drinks and food before the races started at 2pm.

Chad in front of a Red Bull tent.
Saturday was Qualifying Day where all twelve pilots raced through the course twice to try and finish with one of the eight best times to move on to the final day of racing on Sunday. The weather was perfect, nice and sunny, but not too hot. Chad and I had tickets to the viewing area on the South Embarcadero, but Renai and Gina's tickets were for the North Embarcadero.

Race Plane flying through the Chicane.
The races were exciting and fun to watch. The racing planes had to weave back and forth between the inflatable pylon gates without touching them or flying over their tips at 65 feet. The added difficulty was that the planes had to fly with their wing's horizontal between the blue colored gates and with vertical wings between the red gates. Any infractions carried time penalties and the judges would sound a loud horn. It was amazing how the planes could fly over 200 m.p.h. while being so low to the water.

Race Plane flying out of a Blue Gate past the Announcers Stand.
The most exciting moment of the day's races was when the French pilot clipped the final finishing gate with his plane and ripped off the top of the inflatable pylon. He had been finishing with a fast enough time to qualify within the top eight pilots, but the 10 second penalty for collapsing the air gate knocked him out of contention for Sunday.

Noah in front of Race Control Tower.
The American pilots had a good day with some of the best times, but the British pilot, Paul Bonhomme, had the best time of both qualifying runs and he ended up winning the Final on Sunday with the Americans coming in 2nd and 3rd.

Race Plane going into barrel rolls after completing the course.
After the races, Chad and I met back up with Renai and Gina in the Gaslamp Quarter where he had dinner at the Irish pub, "The Field". Chad and I went to see the movie, "Iron Man", which was really good before we took the last train back up the coast.

Renai and Gina

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Helpful One-Armed Man

Every morning on the way to work, I stop at a 7-Eleven for a cup of coffee. Today, I also bought two 12-pack cases of soda that happened to be on sale. I paid for my purchases and headed for the door trying to balance both cases under one arm while holding the small coffee in my other hand.

As I tried to leave the store by pushing open the door with my foot, I received some assistance from a customer walking up to the entrance. Looking up as I thanked him, I realized the man helping me to open the door had just one arm. Walking over to my Jeep, I found the situation to be quite ironic. A one-armed man needing to help a guy with two arms to open a door. Heh!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Maui, Hawaii Pictures

I have posted my Hawaii Pictures from my trip to the island of Maui on Flickr and Facebook.

Hanging out under the bridge at Wakani Falls during a rain storm.
Here are the links:

Maui Pictures on Flickr

Maui Pictures on Facebook

Friday, February 08, 2008

Trip to Maui, Hawaii

The view of Molokini crater and Kaho'olawe from the beach at our hotel
I went to Maui this week with Lindsey. This was my first time in Hawaii. We stayed in Kihei on the west side of the island at the Best Western Maui Oceanfront Inn. We had a very tiny room, but the location was great. Right on the beach! We had a great view of the Molokini crater out in the ocean channel and the large uninhabited island of Kaho'olawe nearby. This is the middle of Humpback Whale season, so we could see them breaching out of the water and blowing spray from the the shoreline the whole trip.

The rough lava coastline on the hike to the Aquarium
I arrived a day late on Saturday because I missed my flight by going to the wrong terminal on Friday morning. So stupid of me!!!! Lindsey met me at the airport with a flower lei and one of kukui nuts which was very cool. I was starving so we stopped at Maui Tacos. I would definitely recommend their Mexican food. It is rare for me to find a good taco shop outside of Southern California. We had dinner with Lindsey's family over at their condo, a short walk away from our hotel. We had an interesting show from the deck as a group of people from the condos blew conch shells as the sun set below the horizon.

Greg, Laurel, Wayne and Lindsey snorkeling in the Aquarium
On Sunday morning, we drove south down the coast until the road ends. We wanted to go snorkeling at "The Aquarium" in the Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve. It is a natural cove in the lava field protected by a shallow reef at the entrance to the ocean. There is a small path off of the main road that leads out over the lava fields. It is about a 45 minute hike over the sharp lava as we circled along the coast past small pools to reach the cove. The sun was out so it was great to pop on our fins and cool off in the water.

School of fish near the surface of the Aquarium
The Aquarium lived up to it's name as the water was very clear and it was full of colorful fish. I liked watching the small schools of fish feeding among the coral as we circled counter-clockwise around the cove. Lindsey pointed out an octopus cruising along the bottom before it hid under a rock. Near the end of our snorkel, I swam into a small shallow pool near the entrance to the cove with Lindsey's father, Greg. I thought it was the most colorful spot in the Aquarium. Greg pointed at a large black eel hanging out just to the left of where we had swum into the pool. Having those big teeth in my blind spot as I swam back out was a little scary but I was not too worried. Heh!

Noah in the Aquarium with the dormant volcano of Haleakalā behind
In the afternoon, Lindsey and I relaxed on the beach in front of our hotel before we went to dinner at the Sea Watch Restaurant in Wailea with her sister, Laurel and brother-in-law, Wayne. We had a nice table on the patio with great views of the sunset and had a delicious meal. I tried some of Lindsey's fish and I actually liked it!

Laurel, Wayne, Lindsey & Noah at Sea Watch
On Monday, Lindsey and I drove the famous highway to Hana. It is a sixty mile road that winds crazily back and forth along the beautiful coastline of the eastern side of Maui to the small town of Hana. We started off with a good breakfast where I had some Portuguese sausage and delicious french toast made with Hawaiian bread. Once we passed the town of Paia and it's surrounding farm fields, we tried locating interesting things to see from our guidebook. It was a bit tough at first. The first fifteen mile markers were missing and we discovered a sheer cliff where a trail down to a waterfall was supposed to be located but we soon had better luck. The Haipua'ena Falls was the first thing we checked out and then we drove out onto the Ke'anae Peninsula where the rough surf crashed against the jutting black lava outcrops along the shoreline.

Noah in front of the rough seas on the Ke'anae Peninsula
Our next major stop was the roaring Wakani Falls. We took the trail under the bridge to get closer to the falls right as a heavy rain shower hit. It is a steep little climb to get down there but hanging out under the bridge was a great way to sit it out. We stopped at the Black Sand Beach in the Wai'napanapa State Park before reaching the town of Hana. The jet black sand was a great contrast to the white water splashing back and forth onto the beach. We also checked out the blowhole in the black lava cliffs nearby and I went for a short swim in one of the freshwater caves. The crystal-clear water was much colder than in the ocean, but it was fun to swim underneath the low rocky ceiling. The only problem was the mosquitoes attacking Lindsey. They got her pretty good!

Hanging out under the bridge at the Wakani Falls during a rain storm
We drove past Hana and the road seemed to get even more windy before we passed the Wailua Falls and reached the Seven Sacred Pools about an hour before sunset. Because of all the rain on Maui lately, the Sacred Pools as well as all the other waterfalls we saw were gorged with water. Cool to look at, but it made it impossible to swim in their pools which would have been fun to do. The waves were giant out past where the large volume of freshwater from the waterfalls surged into the ocean. We wanted to complete the circle and continue along the highway around the dormant volcano, but the road had been closed due to the rain so we had to head back the way we came. We made it back around 8:30pm and had a nice dinner at the same place we ate breakfast.

My foot buried in the jet black sand of Honokalani Beach
We got up early on Tuesday to go scuba diving. It was an overcast day as we boated out to the Molokini Crater from Maalaea Harbor on the "Pride of Maui". Molokini is a partially submerged volcanic crater that sits out in the channel between the two larger islands and our boat anchored in the shallow waters between the crescent shaped walls. Lindsey and I went scuba diving while Greg and Wayne tried out Snuba, a cross between scuba and snorkeling. The water was crystal clear all around us on the dive. Our dive master pointed out a shark in the distance but I was unable to locate it. I was too distracted by the sight of the Giant Trevally (called an Ulua in Hawaiian) that was swimming with it. I have never seen a fish that large before in real life. Awesome! Normally I get motion sickness easily but the Bonine that Lindsey's mother gave me in the morning worked like a charm the whole time we were out on the large dive boat.

Noah floating in an underground fresh water pool
Our next dive spot was a shore dive at Turtle Cove. As the boat headed back towards the Maui coast line, we went right by a couple of breaching humpbacks, a mother and her calf. When we dove to the bottom on our second dive, Lindsey signalled to me that she could hear the whale song. I was shocked on how easy it was to hear between the breaths in my regulator. It was definitely the highlight of my trip. I took an underwater disposable camera on this shallower dive, but none of the pictures came out. I think it is because it was too overcast and there was not enough light for the camera. Our dive master lead us along a coral ridge on the sea bed and over to a large round opening in a wall of coral. It was my first time diving inside a cave, but it wasn't too claustrophobic because it opened out on three sides. Inside I saw two large sea turtles and a smaller one all tucked away in crevices before we swam back out into the open water.

Wailua Falls near the end of the Hana Highway
Near an outcrop of coral, our dive master pointed out to me a small red fish that quickly hid itself deep in the crevices. She spent several minutes trying to take it's picture, but had no luck. (Back on the boat she told me that it was a very rare fish that she had never seen before.) As we were waiting for her to lead us to the next stop, a fellow diver pointed right over my shoulder and as I turned to look, a giant sea turtle slowly swam right alongside me. It checked us out for a few moments before turning and lazily cruising off. Even though the water wasn't as clear as out at Molokini, this was my favorite of the two dives. We ended the day with a nice dinner party at the house of a family that Lindsey and her father met last year on their trip to Africa. It was a real Hawaiian dream home right on the beach with an amazing view.

The Seven Sacred Pools at the end of the Hana Highway on Maui
Wednesday was a day for relaxation but the weather didn't completely cooperate. We went to the beach at Wailea for a few hours before the rain started to fall. Wayne and I went snorkeling along the rocky reef on the south side of the beach. Besides the large amount of small tropical fish, we saw a moray eel in a rocky outcrop and a school of large fish with fluorescent blue spots running along their edges. That was pretty cool. We all went to dinner at the Five Palms in the Maui Mana Kai resort next to our hotel. During our meal, a couple of humpbacks swam pretty close to the shore giving us a nice show from our table.

Leaving Molokini crater after scuba diving on an overcast morning
Our last day in Maui was the sunniest day of the trip with bright blue skies. We stayed at the beach in front of our hotel for as long as possible before we had to leave for our flights at noon. I went snorkeling around the rocky point twice and I didn't want to leave the water the last time. With the sunny sky, it seemed the water was even clearer than before. Seeing a large puffer fish and listening to the whale songs for the last time was a great way to end my vacation.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Chargers vs. Titans Playoff Game

I went to the Chargers Playoff Game against the Tennessee Titans yesterday. They came back to win 17-6 after trailing 0-6 at the beginning of the third quarter. It was so much fun!!! It was the first Chargers win in the NFL Playoffs in thirteen years.

View from my seat in Qualcomm Stadium
I was up in the nosebleed seats near the eastern end zone of Qualcomm Stadium. It started raining right as the game started, but I had a good poncho that kept me dry for the entire game. The crowd was very loud and waving the white towels handed out at the front gates.

Wearing my poncho in the nose bleed seats
The Titans started the game tough. They did a good job running the ball and controlling the clock. The Charger's offense was sluggish for the first half and Antonio Gates, the best tight end in the league, was hurt in the second quarter and had to be carted off the field. But our defense played very well, keeping the Titans to only two field goals and Shawne Merriman forced a fumble near the end zone on another drive.

The Chargers have the Titans pinned deep in the 4th Quarter
The Titans went all out to stop the run the entire game, keeping LaDainian Tomlinson contained. They were very effective, but this left them vulnerable in the passing game and Philip Rivers started to get on track in the second half with long passes to Vincent Jackson and Chris Chambers. They both ended the game with over 100 yards each. I can't count how many times I leapt from my seat yelling as Rivers threw long balls to the wide open receivers down the field.

Chris Chamber looking back in order to catch a deep pass
I had a great view from my seat of LaDainian Tomlinson's giant leap over the pile to score the clinching touchdown in the 4th Quarter. He was met hard right at the line by a Titans linebacker, but he was able to reach the football into the end zone on a second effort before the whistle blew. It was crazy in the stands, everybody yelling and high fiving.

LT leaping over the pile to score a touchdown in the 4th quarter
Next week, the Chargers go on the road to play the defending Super Bowl Champions, the Indianapolis Colts in the Divisional Playoff Round. Should be a great game. Can't Wait!!!

LaDainian Tomlinson leaving the field after the Playoff Victory
Traffic was horrible on the drive home, but I was in too good a mood to care. I did witness a crazy accident as I was making the long walk back to my car. A woman's car spun out of control 100 yards in front of me, jumped the curb and hit the concrete wall on the side of the bridge. Right where I was about to walk!!! Luckily she was unhurt, but rain causes crazy things.

UPDATE: 1/14/08

The Chargers beat the Indianapolis Colts in a major 28-24 upset in the Divisional Round of the Playoffs. It was an exciting game with a lot of lead changes and big plays. LaDainian Tomlinson got hurt in the 2nd Quarter and Philip Rivers was injured at the end of the 3rd and they both had to leave for the rest of the game. The backups had to come in on offense and they drove down the field for a winning touchdown in the 4th quarter. The defense had two great defensive stands, forcing the Colts to twice turn the ball over on 4th down at the end to win the game.

Darren Sproles racing for a 56 yard touchdown to take the lead against the Colts
Next week the Chargers go to face the undefeated New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game. The winner goes to the Super Bowl!!!

UPDATE: 1/21/08

Well, it was fun while it lasted. The Chargers lost to the undefeated New England Patriots yesterday, 21 to 12 in the AFC Championship game. It was a close game with New England leading by only 2 points before they got their final touchdown in the 4th quarter. The injuries to LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates were hugely detrimental in this game. They are the Charger's biggest weapons in the Red Zone, but we had to settle for three field goals down there instead of touchdowns with both of them hurt. The defense played great, holding the high-powered Patriots offense to their 2nd lowest point total of the year and they picked off QB Tom Brady three times. He only had 8 interceptions all through the regular season.

There is always Next Year!