Wednesday, December 02, 2009

My First Message to the White House

I just sent my first message to the White House. This is a part of my effort to connect with various government officials as we reach out to schools, after school programs and home schoolers. Here is the message I sent.

Dear President Obama,

At the recommendation of Barbara Boxer's staff, I am contacting you about the work that we are doing at FreshBrain.

FreshBrain provides an innovative approach to exciting teens about technology. We provide activities, projects and learning paths that help them to do the kinds of things that they are interested in - like mixing music, creating video games, making videos and learning robotics. We do this on a safe social networking based website where they can interact with others who have similar interests. With the tools and support that they need to be successful.

As a non-profit, we make all of this available for FREE. Supported by our partners and sponsors.

Last year we reached over 270k teens on the open internet. This year we are going after 2M primarily through schools, after school programs and homeschooling.

We would love to help with the "Educate to Innovate" Initiative. Please let me know the best way to do this.

Dale Ferrario
President, FreshBrain

Here is the canned response I got back. Pretty cool!

Thank You!

Thank you for contacting the White House.

President Obama is committed to creating the most open and accessible administration in American history. That begins with taking comments and questions from you, the public, through our website.

Our office receives tens of thousands of messages from Americans each day. We do our best to reply to as many as we can, but please be aware that you may find more information and answers to your questions online.

We encourage you to visit regularly to follow news and updates, and to learn more about President Obama's agenda for change.

For an easy-to-navigate source of information on Federal government services, please visit:

Thank you again for your message.

The Office of Presidential Correspondence

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Tiger, Tiger, Tiger - You Can't Have Your Cake and Eat it Too

I have been down on Tiger Woods for a while now. I think he has lost whatever innocence he had in the past and has become aloof. He doesn't smile. Even when he plays well - he talks about not having his "A" game.

But clearly I am in the minority. He has made somewhere around $90M playing golf and another roughly $900M in endorsements. Nike loves him. Gatorade lives him. Golf tournaments love him. In November, they paid him $3.3 just to show up at a golf tournament in Australia. They say his coming generated around $20M for the local economy.

Why has he made all of this money - because he is one of the most recognizable public figures. His fans love him. He is a great player who is on track to break all of the records.

But now he has a problem. He crashes his car. He ends up in the hospital and is released. He will not talk to the police. He complains that the stories about what happened are wrong, but he will not talk about what did happen. Oh, and he drops out of his own tournament. And he wants it to be a private matter.

Well Tiger - you don't get to have a private life. You have made nearly a BILLION DOLLARS being a public figure. You don't get to just turn it off. Sorry.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cal wins over Stanford!

Last time I picked on three coaches. This time I want to celebrate the Cal victory (while pointing out that I was mostly right).

We had a GREAT time at the Cal game on Saturday. We got there early, grabbed a good tailgating spot with our friends. Hung out, had a BBQ, drank some good wine, played catch, listened to music. The whole deal.

Then we were treated to the best game Cal has played all year. They came ready to play. The defense did an excellent job with a very good offense. The team did not fall apart when down by two touchdowns. And what can you say about the offense. Vereen was incredible. The line overpowered Stanford. Riley was the better quarterback out there. Wow!

There was one nearly fatal coaching decision. Thank goodness Luck threw an interception at the two yard line or we would have ended up losing the game. Tedford did manage to get his team fired up, had a good game plan and executed it well But what was he thinking. Take a couple of shots into the endzone before settling for the field goal. A touchdown would have locked up the game. The field goal left it open for Stanford to score and win the game.

In the end, it all worked out. Cal deserved to win. And what a spectacle after the game. There must have been more than 10,000 fans that poured onto the field. The band played. We stood there for 20 minutes and savored the victory!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Time for new coaches or new attitudes?

I am a bit behind in writing a blog post. Was going to talk about the family, what's up with Nick and Anthony and Julie with all of their activities. But decided to bag on the coaches of my teams. The teams that I follow: Lynbrook Vikings (high school); Cal Bears; and San Francisco 49ers.

Coaching is a tough job. You get some credit for the wins but take a lot of the blame for the losses. And with everything that they have to deal with, I am sure it wears on them. But there comes a time when a change is needed. And the three teams that I follow are at that point.

Lets start with Lynbrook. The coaching staff for the varsity team has been battling for years to get enough players. Last year they had only 19 healthy at one point in the season, down from only 23 to start with. They came close to canceling football. This year they have a good number of players and have done pretty well. But the environment has become negative. The focus on skills, execution and conditioning isn't there. The team plays inspired football, but are not prepared to win. There was one amazing blow up during a game that left the fans shaking their heads. The coaches care, but it is time for some new blood.

Now onto Cal. The Bears have improved dramatically over the last few years. They really sucked before coach Tedford arrived. He has brought them up to the point where they are competitive year after year and with his leadership, a major upgrade to the stadium is in the works. But every time they smell the top 10, they fall apart. In the last game against Oregon State, there was no energy. Their quarterback just doesn't seem to be good enough. The defensive backs give way too much cushion. He just doesn't seem to be able to get everything out if his players. Contrast that with Stanford and you can see what I mean. I really think it is time for a new coach.

Finally the 49ers. I am actually happy with their progress. They are playing inspired football. Coach Singletary has his team fired up. He does not let mistakes go. They are competitive. But why would he promise that they will make the playoffs. He is starting to sound like Nolan. The team does not have enough great players. They are on the right track, but Singletary's attitude has to change. It is hard to move into the top echelon of teams. They are on the right track. Just play hard and shut up. No false promises. Show it on the field.

Whew, got that off my chest.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cal, Soccer and Other Things

Lots going on as usual. Just wanted to mention a few.

We have had a good time going to the Cal games. It is a bunch of fun to go there, find a place to eat, and watch the game. We always get a bonus either bringing Anthony there (after his coming home to see Lynbrook play) or after the game.

This week, if you are a Cal fan, it was painful. Not a home game - but rather one up in Oregon. Cal got hammered. Why is it that they have a tendency to do this to us. Get rated and then lose. They have to fix the poor play, and resulting record, when they are away.

Nick has a tournament this weekend up in Pleasanton. He has played REALLY well, even though he is sick and has been for the last 4 or 5 days. He was having a hard time breathing, so asked to come out to catch his breath, then went back in. They need him. In the second game, he got an elbow to the mouth. Ripped up his lip on the inside. But went back in and SCORED!. His game is really stepping up!

I rode my bike home after the first game. LONG ride, and it was really hot. Took me about 4 hours. Stopped a few times to refill water. Poured a lot on my head to stay cool. Really nice ride through the mountains.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Fun Couples Sports Weekend

We spend the weekend in Truckee with Craig, Dina, Brian and Sheri. We had planned to do a guys sports weekend but for scheduling reasons it turned into a couples sports weekend.

The goal of these is always to gain the most points playing a bunch of different games. This time the games in general were worth 3 for first, 2 for second and 1 for third. Here are the games we played.
  • Horse shoes
  • Chipping
  • Bocce
  • Guys Golf
  • Girls Shopping
  • Cards
  • Couples Frisbee Golf
  • Guys Frisbee Golf
Not bad for arriving after 10pm on Friday and leaving Truckee at 1pm on Sunday. And we did manage to eat:) Including a really nice dinner at the Cottonwood Lodge hilltop restaurant in Truckee.

After it was all said and done, Julie and I tied with Craig and Dina for the win. A ton of fun!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Dropped my kid off, sent the other to school

After a fun visit with Mom and Curt - played golf and went to Hot Summer Nights, we drove to Berkeley to drop Anthony off. Actually, he has been there working, filming the football team. So we were just picking him up from the Clairmont (rough, huh?!), taking him to his dorm and delivering the rest of his stuff.

Here is Anthony in his dorm as we helped him set things up and then took off so that he could get to know everyone before heading to work and then back to the dorm for their first hall get together.

The next day was Nick's first day of school. A sophomore already. A really important year for grades, so what does he do, plays two sports at the same time. Soccer with his club team and now kicker for the football team. Should be a blast!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Summer Coming to an End

This has been a very different summer. Guess I say that every year. But I really mean it this time. From the vacations that we took to my job to the economy to the amount of golf that we played to Anthony taking off to Nick signing up for football. Completely different.

Some highlights.
  • With the economy being in the tank, we decided on Pacific Grove for a MONTH. For various reasons, all of us spend different amounts of time there, but it was a blast. Something that we have never done.
  • We played a LOT of golf. Everyone loved it. Using handicaps, we played a lot of "Captains Game." A great way to team up and make it competitive. We played a couple times in PG, a couple of times at Laguna Secca, at Seascape and Tilden.
  • We did some cool hikes. Played frisbee golf. I even managed to get Nick into road bike riding.
  • At FreshBrain, we ran a Summer Virtual Technology Camp. This is the first time we have ever done anything like this - the first time anyone has. We got around 40,000 visitors and over 2200 teens participating in our 8 learning paths. All of this was supported by 15 interns of which Nick was one.
  • The middle of the summer was all about Anthony spending time with his friends - preparing for the big change that was about to take place.
  • Then Anthony took off to UC Berkeley to start his job filming the football team practices. His way to stay connected to football, big time football, and to make some money.
  • And now Nick is not only going to play soccer, but will be kicking for the Lynbrook JV football team as he heads into his sophomore year.
So that's where we are. An unusual summer, but we really had a good time together.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Maybe Time To Get Back to Updating This?!?!

I was looking back at the posts that I made in the past and realized there was some good stuff in here - kind of a record of things that I or we have been doing and the things that have happened to me or us.

So I am going to try to get back to using this. I expect the first update will be a combination of FreshBrain, summer and what the boys are up to. I will do this shortly!