Stay Golden? 

Hoops are back in season

WED 10/29

The hell with the Red Sox's Babe Ruth hex and the Cubs' goat jinx. What about the Curse of C-Web? Ever since the Golden State Warriors traded Chris Webber for a hamper of soiled tube socks in 1994, the Warriors have stunk worse than the Bambino on a three-day bender. (See Cityside.) But after winning 38 games last season, Warriors fans had every reason to anticipate this one like a mug of warm cocoa. Instead, the W's are back at square one after losing their two best players, Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison. Management had its reasons, of course -- salary cap issues, primarily. But explain that to long-suffering Warriors fans.There is a sunny side. Heck, they are the Golden State Warriors. The 2003-04 Warriors, who tip off their season tonight, have an arguably better roster than they began with last season. Former number-one draft picks Jason Richardson, Troy Murphy, and Mike Dunleavy are a year better, and new faces Speedy Claxton, Clifford Robinson, and Calbert Cheaney make them quicker and tougher. The key, however, is point guard Nick Van Exel (right), a former Laker and true NBA star. Van Exel was a hustling, assist-dishing, net-swishing madman last year in Dallas, but the Mavs (whom the Warriors take on at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Oakland Arena) were a top team, and Van Exel only performs when he's happy. Will fans see that Van Exel, or the one that sulked his way out of Denver in 2002? We should know the answer to that question in about a month. Stay tuned. Tickets: 888-479-4667. -- A.J. Hayes

SUN 11/02

Up and Dirty

Put on your funkiest running shoes or hiking boots and hit the dusty trails of Mount Diablo this Sunday -- it's time to Get Dirty on Diablo. Save Mount Diablo is the sponsor of the all-day outdoor event (start time 9 a.m.), featuring your choice of a half-marathon, a 10K run, a 10K speed walk, or a leisurely 10K interpretive hike. The looped course winds its way above Walnut Creek, Alamo, and Danville, beginning and ending at Castle Rock Recreation Area, and there's a free Community Expo at the finish line. $30 fee includes T-shirt (for the first 250 participants) and lunch. Phone 925-947-3535 or visit SaveMountDiablo.org for more information. -- Kelly Vance

THU 10/30

Sneak Peak

King of Denali

When Gautam Patil says he's going to scale the heights, people listen. Thursday evening, you too can listen in as Patil drops into REI Berkeley (1338 San Pablo Ave.) to describe his June 2003 conquest of Alaska's 20,320-foot Mt. Denali, North America's highest peak. Patil's slide show and talk (7 p.m.) covers the highlights of his crew's sixteen-day expedition, hauling 150 pounds of mountaineering gear up the mountain in bad weather. Want to try it yourself? Patil, who has also climbed Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua, and Elbrus, can help get you started. The event is free, as always. 510-527-4140. -- Kelly Vance

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