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Luke Melia

7/29/03, Noon – Will Play Volleyball For Cash

This past Sunday, my co-ed volleyball partner and girlfriend (not necessarily in that order) Jeanhee played some great defense and served very well. It was our best day, it was good enough to get us into the finals of the tournament. That’s our best finish yet. Second place at the open level.

For the first time, we won cash. Fifty bucks. Granted, it cost $45 to enter the tournament… But it’s still pretty exciting. And a great milestone!

7/29/03, 10:46 am – The Crow

My dad’s native american totem animal is the crow (mine is the dragonfly), and so I’ve always been interested in crows. Via texturadesign comes this story and video of crows making tools. Gives new perspective to the term “bird-brained.”

7/28/03, 11:10 am – Reading While Bearded

A bearded Atlanta area man was visited by the FBI after being spotted in the suspicious locale of a coffee shop reading a [gasp] editorial column critical of Fox News. The FBI was tipped off by a concerned local. Read the article here (better do it in private, since words are becoming contraband…).

The College Republicans were treated to some interesting words themselves at their recent Washington convention. Speaker Paul Erickson told the audience:

As conservatives, we don’t hate America. The life of a liberal is hell. It is not possible to have a debate, a discussion, with someone who at their root, at their core, hates everything this country stands for but doesn’t hate it enough to leave.

Some scary stuff, eh? I feel more compelled than ever to be politically active and try to help America stay true to it’s highest ideals and reject the fear-based agenda of the College Republicans and coffee shop editorial tipsters.

7/25/03, 11:06 am – Life Complicates Itself

The AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour is in town. The Belmar Open is this weekend, and the New York metro area is crawling with pro volleyball players.

Jeanhee met Karch, Canyon, Misty & Kerri down at Pier 25 yesterday. She got a ball signed by all four of them.

Tuesday night, I got to drill a little with Matt Fuerbringer at Chelsea Piers. And yesterday, I got out of work early to attend a clinic with Lee LeGrande out in Jersey. He took us through some good drills on blocking and dropping off the net, talked some strategy, and called California “Cali” and volleyball “volley”.

“The key in volley,” Lee said discussing where to drop off a block, “is to keep things simple. Life complicates itself.”

7/20/03, 9:24pm – Beach VB

Newsday has a piece of beach volleyball in advance of the upcoming AVP tournament in Belmar, NJ.

7/9/03, 9:15 pm – Best Finishes

This past weekend, I had my best volleyball tournament finishes yet.

On Saturday, playing with the JSVBA, my friend Aaron and I took second place in Men’s AA. It was a scorcher and surviving the day on the hot Asbury Park beach was half the battle.

That was my first time visiting Asbury Park. I had of course heard of it long ago, having been greeted by the Boss from there. It’s a sad place these days. A huge number of buildings are abandoned and run-down. Hints of the areas former glory remain, but they are few and far between.

Between matches, I walked over to a deli a block from the beach to buy some more water. Across the street was a half-constructed building with rusted girders visible. Jeanhee was with me and she asked an older gentleman sitting in the deli if they had stopped construction on the building. “Yep, they stopped for a little while,” he replied. Jeanhee nodded and turned to pay for the water. The lady behind the counter said, “They stopped eighteen years ago.”

Driving south back towards our beach house, it’s striking how quickly you come across Spring Lake, one of the wealthiest communities on the Shore.

On Sunday, Jeanhee and I played Co-Ed Open with GAV and came in third place. Our original goal for the summer was to be competitive at the Open level, and I think we’ve achieved it. The next goal is to win!

7/8/03, 5:10 pm – California Recall

The NY Times is reporting that anti-Gray Davis forces say they have enough signatures to put a recall referendum on the ballot this fall.

A San Diego politician named Darrell Issa bank-rolled the petition effort to the tune of a $1 per signature. The number of signatures to put this type of referendum on the ballot is apparently 897,158. That’s somewhere south of 3% of California’s population.

One part of me wonders about whether we could have done this on a national level with Bush. There’s no question that there is more than 3% of the population who wouldn’t mind seeing a recall of W on the ballot. Another part wonders about the ethics of spending a million dollars to try to take down a governor so you can try to take his place.

7/8/03, Noon – Family Vacation

It’s an idle Tuesday in the office. I’ve got a high-priority project on the immediate horizon, but it’s not quite here yet. It’s nice to be able to ease back into work from 9 days off.

The vacation was multi-stage. I spent two weekends playing volleyball on the Jersey Shore and the week in between attending the 18th Annual Melia Family Vacation.

The Melia family vacation was begun as my dad and his six siblings had mostly grown into adults and were starting to drift apart. It’s now grown into to a tradition that sees 30 to 40 family members get together for a week every summer. We have our own golf, tennis and yahtzee tournaments. A majority of the 26 grandchildren still attend, although the pressures of young adulthood keep more away each summer.

This summer’s vacation locale was Marco Island, off of Florida’s Gulf coast. Each family unit had an apartments in a high-rise condo building on the beach. The views were gorgeous, but the beach smelled of sulfur at low-tides and the sand was extremely hard-packed.

We had fun dinners together, played lots of Boggle and card games, pestered my cousin Patrick about his wedding plans (he’s the first of my generation to get engaged), watched Wimbledon, and chilled out.

I got the runnner-up trophy in the tennis tournament, losing in the finals to my Uncle Steve, who began attending tennis clinics and playing in tournaments after he lost in the finals last sumer. I got blisters but had fun. Maybe I’ll take some lessons…!

One day, Jeanhee and my sister Jessica and I went down to the Marriott and found a another family on vacation to play a little volleyball against. They were two brothers and a brother-in-law. We beat them handily. I’m looking forward to helping Jessie learn to play the game when she moves to New York. She’s a natural!

It was great to see my Florida cousins and aunt/uncles, and my grandparents, too. Ain’t nothing like family…

LukeMelia.com created 1999. ··· Luke Melia created 1976. ··· Live With Passion!
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