Wednesday, April 29, 2009

It's a wrap

Hockey season came to an abrupt end last weekend after games on Friday and Sunday nights. I'm sure you're dying to know if I extended my amazing goal-scoring streak, which at the beginning of Friday's game stood at 3 games.

Well, not only did I score on Friday, but I also got one in on Sunday - thus ending the season on a 5 game-goal scoring streak. I am going to go out on a limb and say that it is the longest scoring streak an Argentinean has had in the Night Owls Hockey Club...EVER...

Both of the goals were ugly, scrappy goals in front of the net - but whatevs - all goals look the same on the scoresheet.

Monday, April 27, 2009


Apparently, Air Force One was involved in a photo-op this morning. But it was not your ordinary photo-op. Somebody thought it was a good idea to fly the Presidential transport plane at low altitudes over NYC with a fighter jet on its tail.

Hmmm...low-flying jumbo jet (possibly carrying the President)...with a fighter jet on its one of the locations of the 9/11 terrorist attacks which, coincidentally, involved low-flying jets. Who signed off on this???

Well, in any case, it did make for some pretty amazing sights around the Big Apple:

Monday, April 20, 2009

Great things come in three's

Stooges. Strikes. Olsen Twins.

And, for me, game goal scoring streaks. Last night, for the third game in a row, I found the back of the net. This time it was not a pretty goal, or a dramatic goal, and who knows where it ranks on the list of all-time goals. But, it was a goal, and there is no sweeter feeling in hockey than scoring. And this time, there was one witness at the Albany County Hockey Facility to corroborate my story.

I scored last night's beauty in the first period, right on the edge of the crease on a pass from behind the net. So it was, by all accounts, a typical grinding-it-out goal - which can be more rewarding than the finesse of a shot into the upper 90. As a side note, it was nice to score and not fall immediately after doing so, as was the case last time.

On a sad note, next Sunday is the last game of the Winter session for the Night Owls Hockey Club. I implore all fans out there who are curious if I will extend my historic goal-scoring streak to 4 games to attend on Sunday, April 26, in the year of our lord 2009 as that will be the last time the Night Owls suit up - for a few weeks anyway. So come one, come all for free entertainment and to see old guys on skates falling on ice. It is even more hilarious than it sounds.

My new found hockey amazingness has also led to me start considering the adoption of a kick-ass hockey nickname for myself. So far, I have come up with:
(a) The Half-Italian Stallion
(b) Speedy Castro
(c) The Mexi-Can
I will also willing to entertain suggestions.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sometimes it's too real...

After a somewhat lengthy hiatus from Flight Simulator, I took back to the animated skies a few times last week. My short-term goals are to master flying in less-than-stellar weather. It can get pretty boring to just have clear skies all the time and no turbulence on descent. On the other hand, I have to balance my need for adventure with the risk of frustration of crashing after investing so much time into a flight.

So, to reduce the level of possible frustration of crashing in bad weather on landing, I have decided to do all the experimentation of bad weather flying on short flights. I started, of course, flying the short (albeit amazing) hop between Mendoza and Santiago.

The takeoff was typical, although I did find myself relying on the instruments entirely to determine the pitch of the aircraft since I was enveloped in cloud cover and could not see the horizon. After I climbed over the cloud cover, the rest of the flight was rather smooth over the Andes.

However, upon descent I was forced to fly into a misty and gusty patch of air right before the Runway 17 in Santiago. The change in weather was so quick that it altered my approach significantly enough to affect my touch down, as evidenced below:
Sparks!!! My left wing clipped the runway shooting off a whole set of sparks and the plane made a godawful sound when that happened. Luckily, I was able to taxi off the runway and to the gate. So, mission half-accomplished.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I love you, man

Two years ago today, my dad passed away unexpectedly. This is something I almost exclusively talk about with family or close friends that knew Mapi, which means that many of my friends and acquaintances are unaware that I carry this with me. I don't precisely know why it is that I keep this close to me. I have a theory that it may be because I worry that if I bring this up, more questions may follow and I think that since my dad and I had such an amazing relationship built on trust, that I should continue to honor our special relationship whereby we could talk to each other and know that we were maintaining client-attorney priviledge.

My dad was so important for me in Albany. When I moved here, I was literally alone. I did not know anybody here, not even friends of friends of friends. I was a man on an island. I remember still on August 21, 2006, I was driving on Central Avenue towards the Downtown Campus with my mom in the car. My cell rang with a call from an "Unknown" number. I answered and was so happy to hear my dad's voice. I pulled in to the McDonald's on Central and we talked for a good 20 minutes. After that, my dad made it his business to call me about 5 times a week. I was never able to tell him how important those calls were for me in feeling company in this new place.
And our calls were so silly. I knew it was him calling all the time and I would answer with a folksy, "Hiiiiii Bob, how are ya?" And he would say something corny in his broken English, like, "Hiiii Nick, Welllllllllllll, I fine, I fine." I am so happy that on this day, two years ago, he did call me. It was a Sunday afternoon and I was lying on the carpet in my apartment - I don't know why - and we talked for our typical 20 minutes. I still remember that conversation, and most importantly, I remember that the last things we said to each other were, "Chau, te quiero." That gives me a lot of consolation on days like today. My sister was not so lucky. She was in a conference that day, and was not able to take his call. He was the one who got her into soccer - since he needed somebody to kick the ball around with when I was at school - and she, in turn, started a soccer team for Liberian refugees that carries our pet name for him.

I think a lot about a lot of things that my dad missed out on life. He missed out on my graduation from graduate school and the great job I got. He missed out on my sister's graduation from college, and her trip to Ghana. He never had grandchildren, and that upsets me because he would have been an amazing grandfather, and I am so upset that my kids will miss out on him. He would have been the type of grandfather that would completely spoil his grandkids. That really bothers me a lot, even to the point that I am more upset about what my kids missed out than what I missed out on. I think about all the things I will tell my kids about their Nono.There is some consolation on days like this. When I look back on pictures and think about my time with him, I come to the conclusion that even in the short time we had together, we soaked up almost every minute of it. It was difficult that he lived in Argentina. But, even so, those precious few moments we had together were not spoiled one bit. That helps me sleep at night because I think that my dad knows how much my sister and I loved him and that even though we were very far and did not have him at hand that it did not mean he was absent from our lives.

I love him so much, and miss him so much, and I miss his phone calls so much. He was my consiglieri. I am so sad I was not there for him at that moment. But Mapi, no te hecho la culpa de nada, Viejo. Entiendo, entiendo todo ahora. Fuiste una gran persona y nunca voy a terminar de necesitarte.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Moment of truth

This is what all those hours on Flight Simulator have been for. It's creepy, but when I am on a plane I always think that if something as tragic as this were to happen, and there is no other pilot on board, I may be of some assistance.

And then I would finally have a good answer for the question, "Do anything exciting this weekend?"

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Chasing Waterfalls: MA edition

Earlier this session, I achieved the second lowest seniority rate in the office when a new addition was made to the team. Ironically, our new colleague hailed from Fulton, thereby doubling the Fultonite population on our floor, and making it so that our per capita Fulton representation is now three times above the national average. Currently, according to census data that I have reviewed, only Roessleville, NY has a higher per capita Fultonite population than our office.

This past weekend, I went hiking in the Berkshires with my aforementioned colleague, and in a surprising turn of events, the hike also became installment numero dos of Chasing Waterfalls after we encountered this cascade.

I saw it, I documented it - it counts.

We were joined on the hike by Idgie, who yes, is named after this Idgie. Look at that face...there is no way you can resist it.The other great part about being in the Berkshires on Friday - besides that it also meant I was not at work - was that it was a homecoming of sorts. Both of the summer camps I worked at during my college years are in the Berkshires. And, even better, it's like being in that James Taylor song...

"Now the first of December was covered with snow

And so was the turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston

The berkshires seemed dream-like on account of that frosting

With ten miles behind me and ten thousand more to go"

By the way, there are a lot of people in Colorado that bad mouth East Coast mountains and they all need to shut their pie-holes. I was winded after the first steep climb. And as I write this looking out my windows, I can see mountains in every direction. In Colorado, if you live on the Front Range, you can only see mountains to the West.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Second really, really, ridiculously good looking hockey game in a row

Seriously, they're going to have to start charging people to get into the Albany County Hockey Facility to see the Night Owl Hockey Club's weekly intra-squad scrimmage. Last night, I scored the 5th most amazing goal AND dished out the 3rd most amazing assist of my life.

The goal was unlike last week's beauty in that it did not dramatically tie the game in the waning seconds. But, it was pretty spectacular anyways. I snatched a loose puck at our blue line, skated all the way down the ice with a defenseman right on my heels. I made a nice little move and shot the puck over the goalie's glove shoulder.

What was most exciting for the crowd, however, was that I fell on my back immediately after shooting due to a failure to stop properly. This was especially troublesome considering all that speed I had gained after skating nearly three quarters of the length of the rink. The combination of those factors led to a spectacular collision between my body and the end boards.

The assist occurred in the second period and happened towards the tail end of a long, aggressive shift where we spent nearly the entire time on offense. At one point, I got the puck behind the net moved to the right side of the goalie and drew the two defensemen and the goalie my way. That opened up the other side of the net, where the other wing was patiently awaiting my pass, which I masterfully threaded through three sticks. Once the pass got through, he had an open net to shoot into.If I'd only gotten into a fight, I would have converted the coveted Gordie Howe Hat Trick. That's my goal for the next game. I kid, I kid - I'm a lover not a fighter.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Goodbye, America

Well, it's been quite the run. For 19 years plus, this land has been a great place to grow up. In 2006, I took the final step in calling America home by applying for and being granted US citizenship. It's been a sweet marriage since then.

Out of the blue this morning, I was contacted by the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) Office in Laredo, TX - which I am told handles storage keeping for INS. They informed me that as they reviewed my records in preparation for microfiche, they noticed several discrepancies with my application for citizenship which have subsequently been further investigated by the Office.

Apparently, there was a momentary incident after my permanent residency had expired and before my citizenship became effective where I was in this country illegally. This could all have been avoided had I read the fine print in the citizenship paperwork warning of such possibility. Tisk, tisk. And the people at INS are no fun and certainly don't believe in "misunderstandings."

After a lengthy phone conversation with INS Agent Ordsby of the Provo, UT Field Office, I came to the conclusion that it was probably best to "not fight the man" and assume the consequences of my misdeeds. I expected to have to pay a small fee or write a letter explaining the mishap. Little did I know that what the INS had in mind was to deport me to Argentina with a ten-year prohibition on setting foot in the United States, pursuant to their standard procedure in these types of cases.

This could be a problem on several fronts. First of all, I'm going to need somebody to water my plant for ten years. Second, I may have to quit my job. Third, I'm definitely not going to be able to go see Tim E in Cali.

You may be wondering why I am taking all of this relatively in stride. It could be because I am somewhat sleep-deprived after the last two-plus weeks at work. Also, given the favorable exchange rate vis-a-vis the Argentine Peso, I expect the modest refund coming from Uncle Sam will go quite far down South. In addition, I have an enormous craving for asado. I have not given much thought to what I will do for a living once I settle down in Argentina. My current career does not translate very well to the country's political structure. Argentina's governance system is a corrupt one where patronage is king. I suppose I should have taken a job with the Republican Party if I wanted to be able to fit in down there.

I have considered becoming a full-time airplane blogger. I have done some basic research and have found that there is no real source of pointless airplane and airplane accessory information for aviation aficionados. I would have that market cornered with my new blog: "Aviones que he conocido."

Goodbye, America. You have been good to me. See you on April Fools Day, 2019.