Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Go GB Go!

Hi friends,

Status Update
Outside of what I am about to tell you about it has been a quiet week in my general life. Work continues to plod on and I have been pre-occupied with planning holidays and helping coach the North East Dekstars whilst some of the Team GB guys and gals are off gallivanting in Canada. What has made me smile is the response to my shroud of mystery last week and the plans I was hatching. You are still not going to get any clues but keep guessing because it makes me laugh. Special shout out goes to my Mum who now thinks I am some kind of secret agent on the side. I think if that was the case I wouldn't be able to write my blog because I am just a bit too rubbish at keep secrets, let alone national secrets!  

Keep guessing though! One day you may find out.

Haggy's Hols
Helicopter Tour
This week I booked the final piece of the Las Vegas puzzle - a helicopter flight to the Grand Canyon. It doesn't come cheap, but it is a once in a lifetime kind of experience that I couldn't let pass by. After all Las Vegas is a town renowned for decadence, luxury and generally going big or going home! 
The flight will take us over the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead before heading on to the Grand Canyon itself where we will land in the base of the Canyon and sip down some champagne, gaze in awe at the stunning surroundings and capture some images of the vast landmark. For me it is going to be one of the highlights of the entire journey and I already can't wait. 

Getting OCD
I am approaching the business end of my preparations for my Summer holiday. It really has come around quickly and we are now less than 4 weeks away from boarding that first flight to LA! As you know I have taken on the role of travel agent for myself, booking hotels, flights and excursions myself and saving on the cost of getting someone else to do it for me. I say cost because although it has reduced the financial cost the whole process has taken a toll on my stress levels and I most certainly and ready for some R&R now. If I had any hair I reckon I would have lost it by now too.
After the Celine Dion double ticket purchase fiasco of a couple of months ago (see earlier blogs) I have decided I need to get serious and check I have booked everything for the right dates and it all ties together. There is only one way to do this - get OCD with it! I have laid out each day and figured out what I need to print off for each day of the trip, be it vouchers, addresses or just general area guides. OTT? Me? Never! This trip is quickly becoming a real labour of love because of the amount of effort I have had to put in, but I am looking forward to it even more because of that.

Food Glorious Food
The sun has been shining and that can only mean one thing - Summer is coming and with that BBQs!!! I had my first one of the summer this week. The weather was nice enough to light a fire, put on some tunes and dance around a bit. Leigh had made home-made burgers for us to eat on some pretzel rolls. We also ate sweet potato chips and sausages topped with some Jack Daniels sauce.
It was delish!

Desert Island Dinners
During the BBQ Justin raised a good talking point. If you were trapped on a desert island and could only ever eat 3 courses for the rest of your life what would it be. At the time I tried to think all kinds of logical and thought something like a Paella would be good because it contains rice, seafood and meat so would satisfy you whatever your mood. On reflection though I think it may as well be something I really could not live without. 

So here are my choices:
Starter: Crispy duck pancakes
Main: A rare steak with blue cheese and some chilli sweet potato fries (Mum's Fish Pie pushes it close though)
Dessert: Lemon Meringue Pie

That meal is some way from the Bran Flakes I am currently snacking on! Hmmm cardboardy!

What's your desert island dinner? Do you agree with me or think you can beat that? I would love to know so  get at me by commenting or sending me a tweet @adzhagg 

Hagg's Hockey Corner
Go GB!
This week we waved a fond farewell to the men and women selected to play for Team GB in the World Ball Hockey Championships in Newfoundland, Canada. Whatever the results we know they will do us proud by working hard every shift and giving it everything they have got to impress on the world stage.

Because of the time difference I have had the chance to watch all the GB games so far on a live stream that the tournament organisers have got going. Join me in watching the games by clicking this link live.streamit.ca/?player=106

So far the men have played 2 games with very different outcomes. First game up was the Cayman Islands who were an outfit who had some great speed and skill on the break. This showed early on in particular as the Caymans ran out to and early 3-0 lead scoring 3 goals on 5 shots. It would prove to be a mountain that could not be climbed.

GB looked a little bit flat in the game. Whether it was getting used to the rink, the pressure of the ocassion or something else I cannot be sure, but they struggled to shake that off until the third period when they looked settled. Unfortunately it was a case of too little too late and the infamous Randy Cannon was not to be beaten. Final score 4-1 Cayman Islands

Fortunes were very different against the next opponents, Armenia. The Armenians were a very different outfit and seemed more focussed on their size and strength than their speed. This played well into GB's hands who were not afraid to forecheck and grind out a result. They did not have to grind though as their passing game was more complete and they controlled play for long periods of time and looked much more threatening going forward, shooting more regularly and most importantly moving the goalie around the crease. All in all it was a much more complete performance and a good step forward in the tournament. Final score 6-1 GB.

The women played tonight against one of the strong favourites and hometown heroes Canada. From the start Canada came out fast and playing a very free-flowing form of hockey, but our ladies equipped themselves well throughout. Unfortunately it was not meant to be and despite the outstanding efforts of the whole team, especially the goalie Rachel Jackson, the game ended 17-0. I am looking forward to seeing the women play against some other teams because they showed some glimpses of what they could achieve. 
In amongst all this Team GB have done a great job for international relations and have quickly become fan favourites. I think the home fans (like me) emailing the commentator have helped, but he has taken a shine to our team and in particular a certain Johnny Tulip. Identified as being the player with the best name in the tournament by the commentator, Kris Abbott, Johnny has become a bit of a local celebrity since then. Adopting the new nickname 'The Delicate One' he has taken to his role as media darling and has been conducting interviews ever since. Check out the Johnny Tulip Fan Page on Facebook or find them on Twitter @jtulipfanclub. Also look at this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9Oli63dt1M&feature=youtu.be

All in all so far it has been a great tournament and it will be interesting to see which teams settle in to their stride early on and which are the real dark horses. Personally I am hoping GB do both! Good luck out there guys and gals you are doing all your friends and family proud. Enjoy it and keep shooting!

Run Haggy Run
Team Saturday
For the past couple of Saturdays now I have been linking up with a couple of the guys from the North East Dekstars to run in the park and surrounding area. It is great for motivation and pace setting and that was particularly so this weekend.

Saturday morning was one of those Saturdays where you could easily pull the sheets back over your head and snooze the day away. I had been up late on Friday and it was cool and wet outside; not ideal running conditions. There is a bit of a feeling that we owe it to each other to turn up and support each other on our runs and it was this feeling of obligation that got me out of bed and into my kit. It did take some light cajoling  between each us (especially in the direction of an oversleeping Will) to get ourselves going but eventually we met up in the damp, said our hellos and set off with little more than a vague idea of where we wanted to run. We set a good pace and took in the parks and streets around Jesmond and Heaton on what turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable run in which I felt loose and relaxed throughout.

Eventually I ended up running 7.5 miles in a tidy time of 1 hour. I was a good mid-length run and hopefully we will continue to build on this as the weeks progress so that eventually I will be ready for Great North Run come Spetember. I don't think I can do it alone!

Since my performance on Saturday I thought I would try and keep the momentum by going for another run on Monday. I was a bit pressed for time after work, but the sun was shining and I would only feel bad if I put it off for another day. I pulled on my old running shoes and set off on a tried and tested 3 mile loop of Jesmond Dene. It was a good run in the bright sunlight and I completed the 3 miles in 22 minutes easing off in the middle but running a front and back mile of 7 minutes per mile. Very pleased with that.

Anyway 10.5 miles in one of my first training weeks means I am fairly happy with my progress so far. My pace is developing and so is my stamina. On the other hand I woke up this morning in a world of pain and am clearly due a rest day after doing something fairly strenuous 3 days in a row (run, hockey, run). Weekend workouts are fun, but maybe I need to mix it up in the week a bit so that it is not so intense next time.

Have You Heard What Haggy's Heard
Rafael Nadal
I am a big tennis fan and in fact it was this time last year that I was watching the best in the world compete at Roland Garros. Prior to that tournament Rafael Nadal had come out to complain about the blue clay being used by the Madrid Masters. He said it was not a good warm up to Roland Garros and if the clay was blue next year he would not be playing Madrid again. Now this was a fairly big move because he is the hometown favourite and carried a lot of weight in his words at the time. To me, it is all just a bit childish like those days where someone would take their ball home if they didn't get their own way. I mean everyone has to play on the court so it is a level playing field for everyone.

Well this year he is at it again. He has complained about the schedule at Roland Garros and how his opponents seem to be getting an extra few hours rest before they have to play him. Grow up you are pro athlete who trains for these type of tournaments and have gone through it before! It almost feels that he thinks he has some right to be treated differently, but after a long time out from the game through injury things are different.

In my eyes Nadal is no longer the champion he once was and just doesn't have the class of Djokovic, Federer and even Andy Murray. I think he should keep his complaints to himself and do what everyone else has done and let their game speak for itself. He clearly still has the ability on clay so I just don't get why he feels the need to assert some kind of dominance by speaking out in the manner he does.

Click here for the media report.

I have had a LoveFilm account for a long, long time. At first it was great and I would receive DVDs at regular intervals and be able to watch new releases or films I had just never got around to seeing. It was great. However, this week I made a bold step and cancelled my account. I had been sat on my most recent rental for about 6 weeks and it was just becoming a waste of money form me. In the future I think I may explore the web-based Netflix, but not until later in the year when I can hook up whichever games console I end up getting to the internet and my TV rather than a tiny laptop screen. I am sure I can live without films by then and in all honesty I think I will be going to the cinema to watch the blockbusters instead anyway!

This week's Haggy's hit of the week is Poetic Justice by Kendrick Lamar. Me likes.

And also just because I can Lonely Island - YOLO

See you next week!

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