Monday, December 30, 2013

Rose Bowl, more shoutouts, Melbourne pics

Rose Bowl:
The Rose Bowl is almost here!  Kickoff is at 2:10 PM on January 1st.  Michigan State got some bad news when their starting linebacker Max Bullough got suspended for the game for violating team rules.  No idea what he did, but that is a big blow for them.  My last post said most of what I wanted to say about analyzing the game - to me basically Michigan State has accumulated most of their gaudy defensive stats playing cupcakes the majority of the year.  So Stanford should be able to run the ball on them, with an occasional pass thrown to keep them off balance and from stacking the box too much against us.  Hogan might have to run outside the pocket as well like he did in the Oregon game.  While Michigan State will put up a game fight to keep the score low - I think Stanford wins the game 24-13.

The game could also get out of hand in Stanford's favor very easily.  Here is last year's Rose Bowl post when Stanford beat Wisconsin 20-14.  I'm just enjoying that Stanford has made 4 BCS bowls in 4 years - this is definitely Stanford's best senior class in history.  In going through the depth chart (page 4 of the link), Stanford will lose some key pieces of the team for next year (OL David Yankey, OL Khalil Wilkes, OL Kevin Danser, RB Tyler Gaffney, DL Trent Murphy, LB Shayne Skov, LB Ben Gardner, CB Usua Amanam).  But the team has been able to reload each of the last 3 years, so I don't see anything changing.  They will be really good again in 2014.

Year end shoutouts:
Small Town Runner had a good idea on a couple new categories to add to my year end shoutouts list, here are the new categories:

Best photos:
This is an easy one - Fast Cory.  He has many photos just like the one below, and he always seems to have great photos.  

Best injury comeback:
This is a hard one, but I know that Caution: Redhead Running has had some stress fracture problems, and just ran a great 5K race.  Another is SF Road Warrior, who seemed to be off and on injured during most of the year, but ran some great races including a PR marathon.  Lastly, Twenty-Six and Then Some, who had a serious ankle injury, but had an awesome Ironman race as well as other races.  

Melbourne pics:
I went to the Aussie Open last year, and I posted a ton of tennis pics from the trip.  I did provide daily recaps of my trip there, as well as a few pics when I got back.  But I never posted high quality pics of Melbourne for whatever reason.  Figured with the Aussie Open about to start in a few weeks that now would be the time to post them.  Melbourne is an awesome city - to me it's my favorite big city that I've been to (barely beating out London).  Maybe because the city is obsessed with sports, has great running trails, great weather, lots of good bars and restaurants, and also great scenery outside of the city limits.  I would highly recommend a trip to Melbourne.  And the main highlight is the Great Ocean Road tour - if you only do 1 thing in Melbourne, make it this thing.

Went to Church the first day - this was St. Patrick's Cathedral, gorgeous church

Luna Park by St. Kilda Beach

this ice cream tasted as good as it looked lol - Scoops Ice Cream

While this meal was really good - the prices in Melbourne were insane, I think this was $22 AUD

Our hotel was by the Yarra River, and this is the Southbank area - great place to walk at night, gorgeous outside - I also ran down this in the morning to reach The Tan (great Melborne running area)

Melbourne is known for it's alleys (called laneways there), tons of shops, and also there is some nice art on the walls of some

Went to a cricket match - called the Big Bash league, at Melbourne Cricket Ground, the stadium is huge

Fun to see guys simply destroy the ball - I was confused somewhat on the the rules, but slowly started to get them (homeruns on the fly worth 6 runs, homeruns that roll to the fence worth 4 runs)

this pitcher is called the bowler in cricket, and he gets a running start

Melbourne Cricket Ground is absolutely gigantic - capacity is 100K

lol on these guys with KFC buckets on their heads (the girl with them didn't want anything to do with them lol)

this was delicious - James Squire Brewery by the Docklands (though again the prices are insane there, this was $24 AUD)

Gorgeous day out by the Docklands

One of my favorite areas was the Carlton Gardens

Royal Exhibition Building was one of my favorite buildings

the inside of the Royal Exhibition Building - unfortunately it wasn't open for tours, I wish we could have walked around inside of it

Queen Victoria Market was a fun place to check out, tons of food and other vendors there

bought a picture from this vendor at Queen Victoria Market

a guy from Louisiana entertaining the crowd lol - he was funny

Emu burger - tasty!

The Waffle Club ice cream - this was awesome

ANZ Gothic Bank - very cool architecture inside

ANZ Gothic Bank - very cool architecture inside

Philip Island Penguin tour:
We went to a koala preserve - cool to see them super up close!

koalas move very slowly, and do a lot of sleeping and eating - sounds like the life lol

they do a lot of this lol

koala mom and her baby - was cool to see both

some gorgeous settings in the countryside of Melbourne

We were on an excursion to see the Penguins at Philip Island- and stopped by the beach

nice to see the beach

this view was phenomenal - was worth going to Philip Island just for this view alone

this view was phenomenal - was worth going to Philip Island just for this view alone

this view was phenomenal - was worth going to Philip Island just for this view alone

on the way came across a wallaby

this was the reason we went on this excursion

viewing the penguins felt highly commercialized - a countdown?!?  lol

you sit on bleachers overlooking the water, and wait for the penguins to come out of the water at sunset to head into their homes on the beach that they each return to - felt really weird to me, almost like we shouldn't be there.  Though I guess if people are going to go there, better to have a structured viewing area than have chaos.

the penguins were cute and cool to see, though was just a weird experience for me - not sure that I'd recommend it for others to go there

Yarra Valley wine tasting:
the next day went wine tasting in Yarra Valley - stopped at Wild about Fruit - a great fruit place

gorgeous day in Yarra Valley

gorgeous day in Yarra Valley

gorgeous day in Yarra Valley

De Bortoli was a good winery - everything we tasted was good

had an awesome meal at Rochford Winery - the filet was phenomenal

this winery also hosts concerts, which would be cool to go to (I saw that Kylie Minogue was playing a concert on Australia Day on January 26)

Great Ocean Road tour:
If you do one thing in Melbourne, make it touring the Great Ocean Road.  It is a road that is southwest of Melbourne on the coast, where the scenery is absolutely phenomenal.

Bells Beach was first stop - they hold a pro surfing competition every year as part of the ASP tour in late March, looked like great waves

Urquharts Bluff Beach - another nice beach close to Bells Beach, we stopped for tea here

Apollo Bay beach - just some amazing scenery

more gorgeous scenery, the clouds looked awesome

stopped at Mait's Rest Rainforest Walk for a short hike - good stuff

The main highlight of Great Ocean Road is seeing Twelve Apostles - limestone rock formations next to the shore - they were really cool to see

incredible views to the south

spectacular scenery at Twelve Apostles

spectacular scenery at Twelve Apostles

gorgeous day along Great Ocean Road

This might have been my favorite spot of the tour - Loch Ard Gorge.  Awesome seeing this spot right here.

last stop was London Bridge stop - views were again spectacular

that gap in the rock face was the result of a collapse in 1990 that left 2 tourists stranded on the rock on the right.  They were rescued by helicopter, but weren't hurt which is lucky =)

Any other categories you would add to my year end shoutouts list?
Have you been to Melbourne?


  1. No offense to fast cory, but I think your pictures are pretty good, too! Can you give yourself a shout out, lol?

  2. No, I'm not into Australian's...

  3. 1. I missed this post the first time around even though it is insanely old! But, I'm glad I stumbled across it. What gorgeous pictures! I am so JEALOUS of you and your world travels.
    2. When are you going to blog again? :)
    3. The reason I stopped by, and have been meaning to forever. Based on your suggestion, I read the entire Divergent series right after Christmas. You were right I really did love them! The first book was definitely my favorite. I have to say I wasn't thrilled the direction the story took and was somewhat over it by book 3. But overall I really enjoyed the series!

    1. Oh, and I'm getting ready for vacation in just over a week so if you have any other suggestions I need a book or two to download!