Sunday, October 13, 2019

Hawaiian Invitational at Gold Coast Las Vegas

2019 Hawaiian Invitational
Gold Coast, Las Vegas
Last weekend, I headed to Las Vegas to bowl in my fourth Hawaiian Invitational, the second year at Gold Coast. My previous two Hawaiians were at the Orleans (see October 30, 2016 entry).

I went into this tournament with little expectations. I have yet to bowl a series at my average. This year wasn't any different. My overall 8-game average was about 10 pins below my entry average.

What was different this year was a couple of minor, but notable inconveniences.

Upon arriving in Las Vegas, I got my luggage from baggage claim. Grabbed my suitcase and my bowling bag. Found the retractable handle on my bowling bag was stuck. After a few tries of moving the handle back and forth, I got the handle to lock. When I got to the cab, the release wouldn't retract the handle. The cab driver was very accommodating and put the bowling bag in the trunk as is.

Now at the hotel, it takes me less than 10 minutes to check-in. Got my room keys (see photo) with the tournament's logo. Enter my room and immediately notice the room is stuffy. I try to turn on the air conditioning from the wall thermostat and nothing comes on. Thermometer reads 79F. I call the front desk, woman on phone tells me Engineering will be in about 45 minutes to look at the air conditioning unit. They're currently working on another issue.

Almost an hour later and no one's come. I call the front desk again and tell them I want to be put in another room if this can't be fixed. As soon as I get off the phone, 2 men from Engineering knock on the door. They get the fan turned on, tell me to wait about 15 minutes for the room to cool.

I leave the room for about 20 minutes to give it time to cool down. Thermometer has gone down to 75F but won't get any cooler. There's barely any air coming from the unit. I really didn't notice until I saw the bedside clock radio read 2 am. I was too occupied trying to fix the bowling bag handle.

Damn. Suck it up, Lani. The handle is broken. Go to sleep. Buy a new bag at the pro shop before the 2 pm squad. It's the second accessory I have to replace in less than 2 years (replaced my shoes 3 weeks earlier - see September 22 entry).

I wake up around 8:30. Text my Bel Mateo teammate Ronnie to make sure he made it in from his drive from Redwood Shores to Vegas. Grab breakfast at TGIF's. Come back to the room. Thermometer now reads 78F.  Time to call the front desk again.

Within 15 minutes, a different person from Engineering knocks on the door. Walks over to the unit, puts his hand above the vent. Tells me right away he's got to take the unit apart to fix it. Perfect time to head to the pro shop.

At the pro shop, I immediately eye the bag in the new color I saw online after I knew I'd have to buy a new bag. It's the same price as the lowest priced one I saw online. I play with the retractable handle to make sure it works, then bring it to the register to buy it. I casually mention to the pro shop guy I'm here for the Hawaiian Tournament. He gives me a 10% discount.

Storm Rolling Thunder 2

Bag is the same size and dimensions as the current bag. It'll be an easy transfer to move everything from the not-so-old bag to the new bag.

Mini woo-hoo.

After the Saturday afternoon squad, I join my Bel Mateo Monday night league mates Ronnie, Will and Julina for a fun Cantonese dinner.

When our 2nd and final squad ended late Sunday morning, I tag along with my teammates Jason and Darrick to the airport. We were on the same incoming and outgoing flights. Hang out for the first time before our flight at The Centurion Lounge, thanks to a recent upgrade to an American Express Platinum Card. Buffet style menu and wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. For FREE.

Nice way to end the weekend trip.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Thank You Boch!

source: KNBR
Today marked the end of the 2019 season for the San Francisco Giants and the last game in a managerial position for Bruce Bochy.

Found myself awed by the number of former players from the time Boch was hired as the Giants manager in 2007.

If you're a Giants fan and missed the live broadcast as I did, it's already available on YouTube.

Wish you well in retirement, Boch. We already miss you.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Channeling Riley Morrison - Lack of Color Options in Women's Bowling Shoes

Same pair of shoes
September 2019

Women's Dexter SST 8
February 2018

In the left photo are the new bowling shoes I bought in February 2018 to replace my stolen ones (see February 4, 2018 entry). In the right photo, the same pair of shoes 19 months later. My last pair of SST 8's lasted about 2.5 years. The amount of bowling I do hasn't changed much in 5 years, so it disappoints me to see these shoes haven't held up as well.

The part of the shoe I wear out most is where my feet bend. I stand with my feet together which causes the shoes to rub against each other when I walk on the approach to bowl. This also causes the inner bottom part of the toe cap to come loose. I usually keep a small tube of glue handy to seal the piece back in.

Time for new shoes. I ordered a new pair last weekend. Although my current Dexter Bowling shoe style is still available, I wanted to upgrade to The 9's. I held off until now because the women's line only came in 3 colors:

  • white/gray
  • gray/pink/blue
  • gray/pink/periwinkle

Ugh. I'll repeat what I wrote 2 years ago (see August 27, 2017 entry).
I DON'T DO WHITE SHOES. Pastel colored shoes look hideous on me.

source: Dexter Bowling
My frustration with lack of color choices isn't so different than Riley Morrison, who wrote to Steph Curry last year: 'My dad and I visited the Under Armour website and were disappointed to see there were no Curry 5's under the girls section. However, they did have them in the boy's (sic) section, even to customize.'

Then last month, Dexter finally released a women's The 9 in BLACK. Almost too much black. With some sparkly crap to boot. But not a deal breaker to keep me from buying them. I'd pay extra to have the option to customize colors in the SST 8 or The 9's. To give my new 9's a little bit more pop, I replaced the original black/white laces with the aqua/black ones that came with my recently retired SST 8's.

Women's Dexter The 9 - Black

View from top
While I may whine incessantly about the colors, I remain loyal to Dexter Bowling shoes because of the comfort and design. Like Riley's admiration for Steph, my favorite current PBA bowlers, Dom Barrett and Marshall Kent, are both on Team Dexter.

Which leads me to my next gripe. Why is Carolyn Dorin-Ballard the only female professional bowler on the Team Dexter website?

Monday, September 16, 2019

Business Blazer Flashback

source: Netflix, AMC
Kerry Bishé as Donna Clark
Halt and Catch Fire
Vitus and me, 1988

About 20 minutes ago, I completed Season 3 of AMC's Halt and Catch Fire on Netflix. In the closing scene which takes place in 1990, I couldn't stop fixating on Donna Emerson Clark's blazer (played by Kerry Bishé, left photo).

That's because I wore the exact same jacket in 1988 (right photo).

Kudos to the wardrobe folks on finding the blazer. 

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Goodbye KFOG

source: San Jose Mercury News
At midnight, Friday, September 6, longtime San Francisco's FM station, KFOG, went off the air. It is now a simulcast with AM 680 KNBR Sports Radio.

I was a faithful 10+ year listener of KFOG's Morning Show featuring Dave Morey, Peter Finch, Irish Greg McQuaid and Renee Richards. It was clear how much they liked each other. Over the years, I knew their spouses/significant other's names and enjoyed hearing what they did in their free time off the air. Real conversation with real people playing a combination of classic rock and adult alternative music. In the afternoons and evenings I'd hear John Grappone, Rosalie Howarth, Bonnie Simmons and Big Rick Stewart. Last but not least, let's not forget another favorite, "you wonderful human being" Annalisa.

I loved 10@10, Peter Finch's Fogfiles, the live air appearances from music artists such as The Tragically Hip, Luce, Jake Shimabukuro, Toad the Wet Sprocket and so many more. My friend and former Sharper Image colleague Roger Bensinger once made an on-air appearance promoting some of the high-tech gadgets we were once known to sell.

Not long after Dave Morey announced his retirement, my listening days with the station came to end. What was previously an easy conversation between on-air personalities now sounded hollow and forced. So it came as no surprise to me that the station's days were numbered.

These days, it's a combination of NPR via KQED and downloaded music from my 10 year old CD's and phone app. I find most local music stations these days beyond annoying.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Netflix Binge Watch - Halt and Catch Fire

L to R: Mackenzie Davis, Scoot McNairy, Lee Pace
I restarted my Netflix subscription about 3 months ago. There were a few movies I watched, but had a hard time finding anything bingeworthy as many others have.

That changed late last week. I caught a brief mention from a NY Times writer who said she was totally hooked on AMC TV series Halt and Catch Fire (2014-2017).

Started watching last week. The first 4 episodes of season 1 are a bit slow, but it's necessary to watch to build the story and characters.

By episode 5, I binge watched 3 episodes at 10:30 pm. Tonight, I finished up season 1 and am currently watching season 2, episode 2.  It's 40 episodes across 4 seasons.

I left my job at Gymboree in 1998 to work for an e-commerce startup. I returned to corporate retail in 2001. Which is what compelled me to watch. I'll likely finish watching the series on or around Labor Day.

Here's the trailer:

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Dasha Kovalova - 2019 PWBA Louisville Championship 300 Game

Dasha Kovalova
Last week, former Wichita State standout bowler Dasha Kovalova won her second PWBA title of the 2019 season.

Dasha did a lot more than just win the tournament. She bowled a perfect game in the championship match. She is only the fourth female to bowl a perfect game in a PWBA event on TV.

Michelle Feldman, Cara Honeychurch and Dasha's opponent, Liz Johnson, preceded Dasha.

To top it off, Dasha's mom Oksana watched the game front and center. It was the first time Oksana got to see Dasha bowl on TV in the United States.

CBS Sports posted on Facebook a great video clip highlighting each of Dasha's 12 strikes. Dasha's Wichita State teammate and longtime Team Singapore phenom Jazreel Tan can be seen at the end of the clip standing next to Oksana.

Congratulations again, Dasha.