It probably says something about me…

Posted in personal at 10:48 pm by danvk

… that when I see this Van Gogh piece on my calendar:


the first thing I notice is that the sun and moon are in an absurd configuration. What the hell, Vince?


San Jose Exploration (aka Dan decides to use his camera)

Posted in personal, travel at 12:09 am by danvk

I’ve been enjoying the Hellyer disc golf course down in San Jose of late, so I was excited to discover that it had a sister course just across the creek. When I found out there were geocaches and a bike trail in the area, it was Saturday road trip time!
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Voucher frustration

Posted in personal, travel at 9:54 pm by danvk

Sorry Craig, not those vouchers.

United offered me a pretty sweet deal last winter: in exchange for taking a flight six hours later, they’d give me a hotel room (it was midnight), a bump to first class, and a voucher for a free round trip anywhere in the continental US.

I finally got around to claiming that voucher today. I figured I could just use it online, but that would have been far too easy. I searched around a bit and found this page, which told me to call a 1-800 number. So I went through the automated phone system until I got a human, who immediately told me that I needed to go to the airport! And so I jumped in the car for a surprise visit to the San Jose airport this morning.

The whole voucher business strikes me as the pinnacle of mindless bureaucracy. My voucher said that it was applicable to tickets of classes W, V, and Q. Huh? There’s no way to tell which is which from United’s web site. I wanted to go from San Jose to Newark, but the lady at the desk quickly ruled that out (there was only “Class H”). Then there was San Francisco to Newark, but nope, that was class H, too. Eventually she found some class Q tickets from San Francisco to New York JFK. After another fifteen minutes of fighting with the system, the tickets were mine. Ugh.

The real lesson learned here is that I should book tickets with these vouchers more than 18 days in advance of a holiday weekend. But I still came out well ahead. I got direct, non-stop flights each way and a $608.80 ticket for free.


Too bad, Roger

Posted in sports, tennis at 9:53 am by danvk

Nadal played well in the French Open final, but Roger mostly beat himself. The key statistic: Federer won on only one out of 16 break point chances. Ten of those were in the first set, which he really should have won. Roger must be all kinds of pissed. He refused post-match interviews.

With three convincing losses to Rafa in the last three French Opens, you’ve got to wonder whether Roger can ever pull it off.

In other, unrelated sports news, congrats to the Rice Owls on making the College World Series again. I regret not going to Omaha to cheer them a year ago. Hopefully they can do it this time!


What’s up at the French Open

Posted in tennis at 8:38 pm by danvk

Four rounds into the French Open, we’re still on track for my dream final of Federer vs. Nadal. Nobody’s played spoiler to either yet. In fact, nobody’s even taken a set off either of them. That gives Fed a pretty impressive streak: he’s won 35 straight sets at Grand Slams. The statisticians went scurrying, but I believe this really is a genuine record.

The big match for the women tomorrow is Serena Williams vs. Justine Henin. Henin’s won two French Opens in a row, but Serena won the Australian this year and is on a hot streak. I’m rooting for Serena. She’s the last American left (all nine American men lost in the opening round) and, quite frankly, Justine is a jerk. They had an incident at the 2003 French Open that was rather revealing. Henin raised her hand to stop the point while Serena was in her service motion. She served it into the net as a courtesy, but the chair ump hadn’t seen the hand. He called it a fault. Serena argued, and Justine refused to step in and say she’d raised her hand. The winner of this match will be the favorite to win the title.

There are some really fun looking matches on the men’s side as well. Guillermo Cañas is back from a doping suspension and has been on a tear. He beat Federer twice earlier this year, and they’re on track for a semifinal matchup. That would be a spectacularly interesting match. I’d still pick Federer, but unlike so many other players, Canas will have confidence that he can beat Fed. Nadal’s half of the draw should be easier, though Novak Đoković has been playing very well.

Update: Three out of four ain’t bad. I got Fed, Nadal and Djokovic, but missed Davydenko, who beat Canas in straight sets. I’ll be very surprised if I don’t get my final.

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