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February 2006

Sweden Takes the Gold!

WHAT A GAME! Unfortunately we didn't get to watch the game live. "Live" would have meant 5am here, and NBC just couldn't handle that, so we watched it time delayed. We just avoided our computers while we were watching it, because you never know what news site is going to have the results. I was right when I said it was going to be a really good game, because it was an intensely really good game. Finland scored first, but Sweden came right back with their own goal pretty quick. Sweden scored again, and then Finland scored again. Going into the third period, the score was tied 2-2. 10 seconds into the 3rd period, the man, Nicklas Lidstrom of the Red Wings, scored on a beautiful slapshot from the left point (1st assist: Mats Sundin, 2nd assist: our very own Peter Forsberg). After that, it was just waiting the next 19 minutes and 50 seconds for the game to be over.

I can completely see why Finland did so well in the Olympics (5 shutouts on 7 games). Their goalie, Antero Niittymaki is extremely good. Sweden just played better. They had better puck control/handling, better forechecking, although Finland does have great defense. I bet if these 2 teams played 5 games against each other, the winner will be in doubt until the end of each of them, the problem though is this was the game that counted, and Sweden just played better.

Big kudos to Swedish goalie Henrik Lundqvist. He had a lot of fantastic saves, and in the last minute of play when Finland pulled their goalie, I'm not sure how he managed to stop shot after shot thrown at him, but he did. I loved his reaction when they won, so that's why I put his picture up there.

Sweden vs. Finland - Ice Hockey Finals!

I didn't think it was possible, but we've watched a ton of men's Olympic ice hockey game. It all started during the first preliminary game where we watched Sweden beat Kazakhstan, 7-2. That game was on live at 2:30am our time, and of course we couldn't Tivo it, so we watched it live! We made it until 4, then went back to sleep, got up later to go to work, and realized that we didn't miss anything in the 3rd period anyways.

After that, it started...we watched all the Swedish games, all of the US games, and what went on at work, I found a streaming audio stream for. How odd it was to listen to a game at work and get really intently into it, and take off your headphones, heart racing, only to find the work environment exactly as you left it... quiet.

This morning at 7:30 was the semi-final game between Sweden and the Czech Republic. The Czechs never had a chance. Final score, Sweden 7, Czech Republic 3. Russia lost in a 0-4 shutout to Finland later in the day, setting up the gold medal game for Sunday as Finland vs. Sweden.

My pick: I really really want Sweden to take the gold in this one. I really really do. I've become a big Swedish hockey fan through Leif obviously, and Peter Forsberg is easily the best hockey player in the world right now. However Finland has a fantastic team. They are undefeated through 5 preliminary round games, and 2 playoff games, only letting 5 goals total in (2 from the Czech Republic, and 3 from the US). Unless Sweden is really on their game (which they could be), I'm calling Finland on this one.

I do believe Sweden can pull it off. Having Mats Sundin on the line with Forsberg is great, and then you have the Sedin brothers (Daniel and Henrik) on another line who play so amazingly well together. Henrik Lundqvist has been playing amazing in goal as well. If they can get their act together, play as well as they played this morning, and keep the pace throughout the game, they have a chance to beat the Finns.

Jumping for Joy

Although it was still a bit cold outside (mid 50's during the day!), it had stopped raining, and we had nothing else better to do on President's Day (there was no Olympic hockey to watch), we took the cars out to the dirt area we found. The minis are so cool on the dirt, although it's a bit hard to control them around the corners because they skid a lot. The big challenge though was when we finished with the minis and ran Leif's new LST2 Monster Truck. It's so cool! I can't believe how fast it goes for a monster truck, but the best part was taking it over the jump. The jump is technically made for the mini cars since it's cardboard, but we had to try it. Althought it did buckle a few times, overall it held the weight of the truck pretty well, and we were able to get some "monster" air.

Cars, Beautiful Cars

Leif's all excited because he finished his first 2 paint jobs on his RC cars. The Sharks one is for one of the minis, and the striped one is for his buggy. On the side of the Sharks car it's kind of hard to see from the picture, but it's the "This is Sharks Territory" logo. He saw the striped design in one of the RC car magazines that he reads, and immediately proclaimed, "wow, I have to try that!" With his brand-new airbrush tool, he was able to do all the gradients pretty well. More pictures that he took of the paint jobs are here.

I had also mentioned before that Leif was getting another car, a Team Losi LST-2 Monster Truck. It arrived at the store today, so he was all giddy when he drove down there after work. He met his friend from work who had bought one as well (as his first R/C car ever), and his friend was bouncing off the walls apparently. I don't think I was prepared for how large this car...err truck is, but I guess it's not called a monster truck for nothing.

Too bad it's supposed to rain all weekend...

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Signing Their Life Away

A few weeks ago, the San Jose Sharks had their first autograph session of the year. Not knowing what we were getting ourselves in to, we decided to cough up the $60 per person and head over to Logitech Ice on the big day.
This is Sharks Territory

Beforehand, we did some calculations. The Sharks said they were only selling 300 tickets max, and each person could get 2 autographs per player (and only 1 ticket per person). That's 600 autographs a player. Could it be done?

The answer is yes, it could be done. The money benefited the Sharks Foundation so that was a good cause, and after talking to a couple of the Sharks Foundation people, they told me the players were doing this completely out of the goodness of their hearts for charity.

Anyways, we showed up around 7 (it started at 7, but doors opened at 6:30), and quickly realized we were pretty close to the back of the line, but more people filed in as the evening wore on. Sharkie was there of course so his was the first autograph we got. 90 minutes later, we finally hit the table where the players were (all 9 of them). The players were seated at multiple tables in a line in alphabetical order. There was a nice, big sign saying "no photos", to which I promptly ignored and took photos of all the players. I figured I'd snap away until someone said something to me. No one ever did, so I have photos of all the players.

We also figured out that with a 2 hour event, we'd have roughly 10 seconds per player if we wanted to say anything. I probably went a little bit over that time period, but Leif was a little shy so he didn't really say anything. I told Nils Ekman he was my favorite player (in Swedish of course, but he answered me in English). When I was getting Jonathan Cheechoo's autograph, some woman by the door (teenager I should say) yelled "I love you Cheechoo!" He turned a little red, but not much, so he probably gets stuff like that a lot, even though it's weird. He had just received his new bottom teeth and said he was still getting used to them.

Anyways, both of us now have 10 autographs on our jerseys, pages in the Sharks yearbook signed, and we also got an extra jersey signed to send out to Leif's nephew, Jonas in Sweden.

The Engine Room

Leif has discovered a new hobby - RC cars. I blame (and thank!) Howard for this, but it's ok, because it's definitely a better hobby than just sitting in front of the computer and hacking. His first car was a Mugen Seiki MBX5 off-road buggy which Howard was kind enough to not only pick out the engine, car, radio, and all the rest of the stuff for, but also built it for Leif as well. After seeing the detail on the car, Leif admitted that was probably a good idea.

Not only does Leif have that, but he bought me a Team Losi Mini-LST which I love! A mini car which is battery powered works fine for me. Not to be outdone however, he decided to buy one for himself. We found a dirt area by a local school which is big enough for us to set up our own track and mess around with the cars. A jump of course is also installed when we set up the track. :)

Of course that wasn't enough. He took a friend from work to the local hobby store to check out the Team Losi LST2 monster trucks and bought one as well. 3 cars in a span of 2 months. A monster has been created!

He's dedicated part of his office to playing car mechanic, and calls it "The Engine Room." I laugh when he tells me he's going off to the engine room, but it's ok, he's having fun with it, and it stops him from hacking on the computer too much.

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The Dogs and the Snow

Odin Pelted with SnowWe've only taken the dogs up to Tahoe once, and that was last year, and the snow was all hard and icky, so we couldn't really do too much. This year was different. We rented a pet-friendly cabin, and were supposed to go snowboarding that weekend as well, but I got the office-cold. The person who we rented the cabin from wouldn't let us cancel (note to self: make sure you always double-check the cancellation policy in the rental agreement), so we went up anyways and figured Leif could go snowboarding with Mosedale since he was going up as well.

Thursday night was shot as we drove up, stopped at Safeway to get some food so we didn't have to go out, and got to the cabin and went to sleep.
Loki catching snowballs
The cabin itself was pretty nice. The whole yard was fenced it and there was a doghouse. The inside had a large dog pillow, and she had said the dogs could go on the bed if you covered the blanket with an extra sheet. As we really have no choice in that matter (the dogs run the house :)), we did that.

Friday I definitely was still too sick to snowboard, and Leif didn't feel like going that day, so we hung out around the house, watched movies, and played with the dogs in the backyard. The snow was perfect to do that in! We had brought the yellow football up, so they chased that, chased each other, burrowed in the snow, and we threw snowballs at them for awhile. If anything, I'm glad we went up just for them since that was the only time this year we were going to take them up to the snow. Loki was digging around his football a lot, and Odin just kind of wandered around.

Saturday we just went home mid-afternoon. Leif said he didn't want to snowboard without me because "it wasn't the same", but we didn't leave until we played with the dogs some more. We took a zillion pictures, but so far only have these 2 up on flickr.

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