Tuesday, July 31, 2007

On Going Bald

One thing I haven't blogged about until now is the sad state of affairs as relates to my poor head.

Alas, at 41, I'm starting to go bald. It's not terribly noticeable and others, including the Wife, tell me that I'm making a mountain out of a molehill, but the sad truth is that it's definitely happening at a fairly rapid pace (in my opinion, at least), and for someone like me who is admittedly a tad vain when it comes to my personal appearance, it's a bummer.

The other aspect to this is I think, though I am not certain, that there might be some corrolation between my balding and the thyroid cancer. After all, the thyroid controls all aspects of metabolism, including hair growth, and my problems on top of my head seem to coincide with my diagnosis (though I hasten to add that this could simply be attributable to age). I've read on the ThyCa boards that others have experienced hair loss in the same areas as me, particularly after going hypo, but that it's ultimately grown back. I think there might be something to this as I've noticed that my hair seems to come out in chunks, particularly in the month right after resuming my meds, post-treatment. CrazyMoma, you experience, or hear of anything similiar?

For a few months I've fretted about the idea of losing my hair, but no longer. I've always been pretty zen about things that are out of my control and there's nothing I can do here, short of a paid visit to a Bosley Center or something of the sort. I will declare this though: even though the wife might leave me for saying/doing this, if it progresses any more, I'm shaving my head stone cold bald. That is, after i get an ear tuck.

I love my colleagues: for the most part they are pretty young and they are a very fun group. We had a going away party today for a young lady who is leaving PR to take a teaching job and the conversation turned to reality TV. The consensus among this group is that the Mark Philoupoussis show -- Age of Love -- is the hit of the summer, followed by that show on A&E (I think it's A&E) about rock and roll groupies who vie for the guy in the 80's hair band, Poison. Anyone know the name of that one? I've read bit and pieces about it, but my office folks says it's a must see, so it's going to get added to the TIVO tonight.

Speaking of TIVO, which in the interest of full disclosure is a client of mine, is that not the best invention of the last ten years? I mean -- what is even close (of course I am talking from a technology standpoint)? I love my iphone but it's not even a close call. Seriously, if any of you have a consumer product that has made more of an impact in your respective life, please state what it is in the comments section. I'd genuinely be curious to know.


The Howard Solomon Run for Thyroid Cancer is coming upon us. Hope you are all doing some training. Any new readers out there willing to participate? That's about it. Need to carry go now and carry back on with my wild and wooly bachelorhood (which will likely consist of nothing more than me watching the aforementioned TV shows).

Monday, July 30, 2007

Best Entourage Ever?

Just back from an absolute whirlwind trip to Chicago. It was great to see all my work and non-work peeps but I must say that it's good to be home: and without question, San Francisco is most definitely our home.

Since I am exhausted and have a 6:00 am wake up call tomorrow, a short post consisting of two items:

-- I discovered this past weekend that the iphone, while not really ready for prime time from a business perspective, is the ultimate -- and I mean ultimate -- travel device. Here's a few exmaples of how I used it the past several days: by the time I got to Chitown the work phone was dead, so great to have the iPhone as a back up. While on the plane I watched two movies (by the way -- Half Nelson, with Ryan Gosling, is absolutely amazing) and listened to about six albums. While at the airport I surfed the Internet, accessed my work email via Webmail, watched a few YouTube videos. Going to and from the wedding, I got lost several times (surprise, surprise) but was able to ultimately figure out where I was going via Google Maps, which is probably the best feature on the phone. On the plane home tonight, I made a few work to do's in the Notes section. I power used it for hours today and still had about a quarter of a battery charge left by the time I got home.

-- funny, I just got a note on this topic from an old friend, but intended to write about it too: last night's Entourage wasn't just the best of the season, I seriously think that pound-for-pound, it might be the best episode ever (though I hasten to add that I need to see it one more time to confirm whether that statement is true). Literally every scene was side splittingly funny, and they packed more action than usual into this half hour. The scenes with Turtle were just priceless. For this episode, the directors were smart in throwing out the storyline ( I don't think there was one mention of Medellin) and they just let the four boys be boys, which is what they do best (that, and score hot chicks, in the case of Vince).

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sweet Home, Chicago

I'm back in my old hometown and I must say, I definitely miss Chicago more than I realized. It's such a great town, especially in the Summer. By the way, if any of my Chicago friends happen to be reading this and I didn't have occasion to see or speak with you, my apologies: this is a quick in and out trip for a colleagues wedding, which was held last night deep in enemy territory: South Bend, Indiana, right on Notre Dame campus. Neil, you would have been freaking out: I could see Touchdown Jesus from my hotel room.

For old times sake, I went for a swim in Lake Michigan with my main man Dave and then went for an hour-plus run to his house along the lake path. Not quite as pretty as the trails of Marin, but very fun in its own right and it took me back in time. One thing about Chicago though that I absolutely do not miss: the humidity. Although the weather in the Bay Area is relatively temperate (more than I like), I think I've taken for granted the fact that we have zero humidity.

A very cool thing happened at the wedding last night which really moved me: three people (including the bride's mother and grandmother) came up to me and said that they pray for my health every day in Church. Two people who I never met until yesterday. I just found that to incredible and it's something I am deeply grateful for and will never forget. I was seated next to a woman who's a two time breast cancer survivor, who is currently having her last chemo treatment. We chatted for a while and it's really amazing the bond that we cancer people share.

On a different topic, Contador took the Tour. Yesterday's time trial was unbelieveably exciting: so much so that I watched it three times. Levi had the ride of his life - I could not be more stoked for him as it was his first ever Tour stage win - and Contador was spectacular in holding off Cadel Evans. This may have been Discovery's best tour of all time: two stage wins, white jersey, yellow jersey and Levi on the podium. You cannot ask for more than that. That said, I am going to hold my breath for two days just to make sure all the drug tests come clean. You never know in the this sport.

That's about it for now.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Random Musings

Here I've been bitching about the lack of summer TV, and as it turns out, the best show has only been on my favorite channel (ESPN) and has been about my favorite baseball team (The Yankees).

From what I hear, The Bronx is Burning, based on the book, is supposed to be very good. I watched a few minutes last night with The Boy, and it was super fun telling him about how much I followed the Yankees in that magical season of 1977. I tried explaining Reggie Jackson, Billy Martin, George Steinbrenner, et al. but frankly, it was mostly lost on him. He was interested though, as was I, in watching more of the show, but I told him that it was best we start from the beginning. Does anyone know if it's going to be re-broadcast, or available online?

The Wife and the Kids head East this weekend for a month-long visit. Of course I will miss them dearly, but as I've learned, they will be back soon enough. I would be lying if I didn't say that I will relish a little peace and quiet in my life for a change. I love those kids dearly (the wife too for that matter) but man, when they fight, it's just unreal. Now I know how my parents felt raising three boys.

So, I am going to be a bachelor for a few weeks. Anyone have any suggestions as to what I can do? Back in the day, a month-long sabbatical would likely mean many a trip to many a bar, but something sad has happened to me of late (cancer aside): I've grown old and boring. Probably won't do anything enormously interesting, though I will be able to get in longer weekend bike rides and runs. Yippeee. Aren't I a wild and crazy guy? Anyway, this should provide pretty good blog fodder for the next few weeks.

I'm out of things to say on the Tour de France. This year's race speaks for itself. I expected there to be "problems" with one or two minor riders, but good lord: never did I expect that Vino of all people would be caught, or that the Yellow freaking Jersey would be thrown out by his own team. I didn't get any real pleasure in watching Contador don the yellow jersey today and it bums me out that Cadel Evans will likely win this race. He's a terrific rider but didn't show enough in this tour to deserve a win (sorry Tom from Australia. If you happen to be reading this, it surely isn't personal). I will definitely be pulling hard for Levi though in Saturday's tt but I don't think he can take a minute out of Evans. I predict: 1. Cadel Evans 2. Levi 3. Contador for final podioum places.

By the way, I shed nary a tear for Rasmussen. I never liked him and I thought he acted like an ass this tour. Sadly, I think he got what he deserved.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

On Sports

I must admit, that as a huge sports fan (which includes virtually every sport ranging from football and baseball to more esoteric ones such as cycling and track and field), events of the past few weeks have left me enormously down on sports in general. Here's just a simple recap:

-- Michael Vick and the allegations that he ran a dog fighting operation. While I'm not a charter member of PETA by any means, this, if true is just despicable. And if the allegations are true that he personally killed eight dogs, I think they should put him in jail and throw away the key.

-- The NBA ref who allegedly bet on basketball. I believe that this could very well turn into the biggest fiasco in the history of sports, exclusive of the Black Sox scandal, especially if it turns out there were other refs involved.

-- Barry Bonds and his quest for the home run title, which needs no further narrative.

-- Yesterday's situation at the Tour with Vino. Of all riders, why you, Vino? I really can understand why Scottish cyclist David Millar, upon hearing this news, put his hands on his head and cried. As you know, I am passionate about The Tour, and this was just a kick in the pants.

A few years ago I pretty much made the decision that while I would always be a sports fan -- it's in my blood, after all -- that I would stop really caring (I was so bad back in the day that I was known to have thrown up during Michigan basketball games) and no longer become emotionally involved. I will be the first to admit that while Michigan and Yankee playoff losses still sting badly (particularly losses to OSU and USC!), I'm getting much better about shaking them and moving on.

Which brings me in a roundabout manner to last night.

The kid's camp bought a block of tickets to the Giant's game. The kids just love this camp and coupled with Bond's home run chase (I don't like him but it would not suck to witness baseball history) and The Boy's emerging interest in baseball, I thought it would be a great family outing.

To step back for a second, I've taken him to several games in the past, including multiple Cubs games back when we lived in Chicago and a few Giants games last year. At best, he lasted about three or four innnings and showed minimal interest in the game itself (he was way more consumed - literally -- by the hot dogs and cotton candy).

Anyway, last night was special. I was ready to leave after four innings -- it was freezing in the bleachers and The Girl was squirming and utterly disinterested (and that is The Wife I am talking about. Forget about Summer). I told them we were leaving and The Boy looked me in the eye and said "no way." I told him that the Giant's were pretty much done and he said "they can still win."

So, we hung around. Come the ninth inning, with one out and no one on and the Giant's down 4-0. I said let's go and beat the traffic. Again, he said, "No way. We can still win this game. No way dad."

And wouldn't you know, so help me g-d, like a scene out of the movies, the Giant's rallied with one out and no one one and tied it up in the bottom of the ninth. The place was going wild and he looked at me with this absolutely beatific smile, his baseball glove still on in hand (waiting, with the thronged masses, to catch a Barry Bond's home run) and said "You see dad. I told you so. Anyone can come back."


I won't bore you with the details of the rest of the night, like how I *finally* cajoled him out of there after the 11th inning (his sister was literally sleep walking). Or how he would not get out of the car in our driveway until after the game was over (no Hollywood ending here -- Giant's lost 7-5 in 13).

But I will say, last night it became clear to me that my son has learned to love the game. Despite my early concerns, I do think that he might have the Solomon sports gene.

And the only think I ask, is that the next generation of athletes -- and referees as the case may be -- not blow things for him, much like has been the case for our generation. Step up and take responsibility, because our kids really deserve better.

(PS. I know Jeff, this might go against the grain of some my previous diatribes. But this post isn't necessarily about the drugs in sport. It's about changing behaviors)

Monday, July 23, 2007

10 Questions

Couple of random questions I have been contemplating for some time and thought I'd throw out to the group.

10. Will Apple EVER put out a firmware upgrade for this damn iphone? For a company that develops the coolest products ever, they aren't enormously customer friendly (though in fairness to them, they are being awesome about taking back problem units -- not that I have been having any problems with mine. Knock on wood.)

9. Why is Lance the only celebrity out there who's *really* pushing to make cancer top of mind? Lance is just awesome. He was my hero before but now that we have this shared "bond" so to speak, I like him even that much more. Though he's cured, he's nver forgotten his cancer roots. I also love the challenge he's set forth to the presidential candidates. Go Lance Go.

8. Are the Harry Potter books worth it? I mean -- are they *really* entertaining for adults, or do adults just like to say as much?

7. Now that the Soprano's is over, what do you think is pound for pound, the best show on TV? Not HBO, but all of TV. My vote goes to Entourage or The Office. Maybe American Idol. And of course, there is always 24. See how hard this is?

6. Will Michigan win the Big Ten this year and finally shake the Ohio State monkey? This is the first but certainly not last time you will hear about Michigan football. Trust me: this subject will probably bore you to pieces, ala my Tour de France blogging.

5. Speaking of which, will Contador and Levi take it to Rasmussen on Wednesday and if so, will he crack? Great stage of racing today. Contador took it to him and though they finished together, Rasmussen showed signs of cracking. This race will go down as an all-time classic and Contador is my new favorite athlete.

4. Will Bonds be booed or cheered when he hits his record setting home run? I hope booed. I also hope that I catch one of his homers at the game tomorrow night. I will be sitting in the bleachers with the family and Camp Doodles campers and I might have to bring the old glove to this one.

3. Will my kids ever go one freaking hour without having some sort of massive screaming fest?

2. Will Mark Philipoussis pick a "cougar" or one of the young girls?

1. WIll my father ever again write a guest column? It's come to the point where I am fairly certain he's avoiding my calls. Dust off the pen, old man...........

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sunday Pictorial: Tennessee Valley And Weekend Tour Recap

Pound for pound, Tennessee Valley is probably our favorite trail. Because it's relatively flat and the trail is a fire road, it is also one of the most family friendly trails in Marin.

The trail starts at a parking lot that's only located a few miles from our house. From there, it's a straight 1.5 miles out to a small beach. There are multiple trails you can take to various other locations, including the famous Coastal Trail. which as the sign notes, will take you right to the Oregon border. The Coastal Trail. which I will likely profile at another time, features a gnarly-ass, monster thre mile climb (at least it feels like three miles). Once you reach the top, if offers panoramic ocean views.

Our hike today was a lot of fun; the kids had a great time and we spent a lot of time "trail running." The Boy really surprised me; he climbed up a mountain -- that's the only way to really describe it -- that was such a high vertical climb that a group of adults stopped to watch him. The pictures attached don't do this justice; it was really a site to behold. It's interesting because for the most part, he's a tentative kid but he's exceptionally comfortable climbing fairly steep pitches. I think rock climbing is definitely in his future, which would be very cool by me.

Two great days at The Tour. I woke up early yesterday and today to watch both the time trial and today's first day in the Pyrhenees and both days were classic. I said this last week but without question, this is shaping up to be one of the best tours in a long, long while.

Back in the "old" days, the strategy was predictable: try to stay with Lance as long as possible and hope that he was having an off day. When he was "on" (which he mostly was), the goal was simply to limit losses.

This tour is completely different; there is no patron and no clear cut favorite and everyone is attacking left and right. It is just awesome; mano e mano duel after duel.

I could go on, but the net net is Rasmussen had the time trial of his life yesterday - he may have made a pact with the devil -- and after today, he has to be taken *very* seriously. A few days ago I called him a one trick pony but as of today, but after today, he has to be considered the prohibitive favorite. Look for the Discovery Boys to take it to him big time tomorrow. They need to crack him or they are gong to be racing against the clock, literally, in next Saturday's time trial.

Contador, the winner of today's stage, is my new favorite rider. He's a freaking climbing machine and I love him. He's got big kahuna's and even though this is only his second tour, he's taking it right to the big guys. I have a very strong feeling based on his style that Lance has been proving him counsel

Levi has mostly been unexceptional in my opinion -- and yet he is in fourth place and is well within striking distance. I'm not sure if he's got a trick or two up his sleeve but it would be great to see launch an attack of his own. To date, all he's really done is mark others. If you are going to win this thing, you need to do it with some degree of panache, and he hasn't shown much thus far.

The other main dude is Popo. He is having a great tour and with the rise of Contador, I would not be surprised if he left Disco next year so he can be the GC guy for another team.

Anyway, enough on that for now. Another monster stage tomorrow.

On the topic of cycling, i got in quite a bit myself this weekend: 30 miles on the road bike yesterday and today got on the mountain bikel (China Camp) for two hours with a friend. It ws great riding and all was good until the end, when two yellow jackets someone managed to get inside my jersey (while I was bombing a descent) and bit the crap out of me. In the event you are curious, yellow jacket bites hurt badly.

12:20 am, July 21, 2007

Well, if a picture is worth a million words, then this one really doesn't need much description does it?

I must say that I wasn't really looking forward to this past Friday night; though I have tried, Harry Potter just isn't my thing (editors note: I have vowed to try again though. In fact, when I close the door for my next radiation treatement, the goal is to come out having read at least two or three. Thus far I have only completed number one and that was years ago).

However, The Boy is utterly obsessed and for him, this was like the World Series and the Super Bowl rolled into one. The local Barnes and Noble did a fantastic job: there were activities for the kids from 7-11, including a store-wide trivia contest, an parade and costume contest, and more. To say The Boy (and to a lesser extent The Girl) were stoked would be an understatement. Some of his friends were there and they just had a blast. We left at around 9:30 (The Girl was literally asleep on her feet at this point) and I promised The Boy if he closed his yes (read: took a short nap), I would wake him up and we'd go back to the store to get a copy of the book.

In reality, I thought he would sleep through the night. However, when I went into his room at around 11:40 pm he shot out of bed like a cannon. So off we went and I have to say, I'm glad we did it: it was super fun. The countdown, cheering and balloons being released at 12:01 am all made for a really good time. B&N ran a very efficient operation and even though we were in the midle of the line, we got through in abuot 15 minutes (they must have had twenty people working the counters and were home by 12:45).

I'll conclude with this: kids could be doing a lot worse things anf anything that involves/promulgates reading is all good in my book.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Solomon's Survive First Earthquake

Ironic that just this week I wrote about how much I love California, and less than 48 hours we experience out first real earthquake.

I've been waiting to experience my first quake for many years, and last night finally lost my "virginity" so to speak. While I have felt a few small tremors in the past, last night was the first time there's been no mistake about it. The Wife and I woke up simultaneously and said "Earthquake."

It occurred at 4:47 am so obviously we were pretty much out of it, but it certainly woke us up. The Boy woke up too, while The Girl slept soundly. A 4.2 is pretty mild but served as a good reminder that it probably doesn't hurt for us to have a gameplan in place for how to react/respond if/when we get hit with a big one (we have a plan to meet at the kid's school in the event of a big one, but we don't have a plan for what to do during non-school season).

Anyway, it was a pretty unique and weird sensation and lasted for about a minute. The Boy came running in and said his bed was shaking; Thw Wife told him it was just the garbage men (who do collect on Friday mornings) but I felt obliged to tell him the truth, which probably was the right decision, but should have waited until later in the day. My son is a bit of as sensistive soul and kind of freaked out. He spent the remainder of the night (or what remained of it) sleeping on his sister's floor.

I saw my neighbor Jim early this am and asked if he felt it. He had a funny line, something to the effect of "Real Californian's sleep through 4.2's." He added that while a quake of this size was fairly innocuous and kind of entertaining, a 6.0 or above will strike the fear of g-d in us.

So ... a late addendum to my "California, Baby" post of two days back: there's a downside or two to living here too, earthquakes being at the top of the list.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Summer TV and the Story of How I was Diagnosed with Cancer

I started a eight week eCycling rotation at Endurance this morning, and I am pretty shelled. I've made the decision that the Big Kahuna Half Ironman on September 8th is going to be my last long distance race for a long while, and since it also marks the Howard Solomon Run for Thyroid Cancer, I figure I want to go out guns a blazing. The last few months have been my longest window in over a year for gaining some measure of fitness and because I have to go hypo again come October or November, I figured what the heck; let's see if I don't have a bad ass performance left in me. Plus, these eCycling classes get you very fit, very fast.

Ironically enough and at the risk of sounding dramatic, the last eCycling class I took in the Winter of 06 may very well have saved my life. The short version: the class (which was led by Ironman Hawaii age group champion Tyler Stewart) left me so trashed and broken down, I got a nasty cold that ultimately turned into bronchitis). As a result, I went to the doctor -- something I hadn't done in many, many years. During that visit the doctor asked me when I last had a check up. When I told him I couldn't remember, he suggested that we do one right there and not more than two minutes later he discovered a lump on my neck. And the rest is history. So thanks for that, eCycling.


I haven't talked about Entourage much of late; what do you all think? I think this season started a bit slow but is now picking up a great head of steam. Billy Walsh is definitely stealing many a scene this season and the Medellin storyline is great. Though he's probably not my favorite, I think Johnny Drama is the most developed character. And that bong hit scene in this latest episode was just off the charts.


I watched that Victoria Beckham show (did I really just type those words?) and I have to say, it was a bit funnier than I expected. Man, is she a dingbat. And I don't find her at all attractive; those fake boobs are a bit much.

Dumbest reality show premise of all time: Age of Love. Holy sheet is that beyond idiotic and cheesy. It's like watching a train wreck. And with all due disrespect, does anyone *really* think that multi-millionaire, 31 year old former tennis pro Mark Philopoussis is going to chose a 49 year versus a hot 20-something. Not a chance in the world, not even in reality tv land.


Big Love is the best show on HBO, except maybe for Flight of the Concords. Big Love is very well written and acted, but I wish it had a little more dramatic action. It's pretty darn slow and not much happens, but I still somehow enjoy each episode. And with all due respect to The Wife, I sure wish I had three wives. That would be cool. (though you would always be numero uno, love).


Best TV of the Summer without a doubt is the Tour. I cannot express how much I enjoy coming how and watching the stages unfold on Versus. Today was more great action. See the commentary between Payro and I in the comments section if you have any interest. Vino the Impaler was unleashed today and man, did he just destroy Christophe Moreau. He knows he can't win the Tour but he sure can be a spoiler and expect him to wreak absolute havoc in the mountains next week. Boy is next week going to be awesome.

That's about it. Going to go and watch the new Man vs. Wild erpisode and take notes for tomorrow's posting, though The Wife is blabbing something about watching the beautifully titled "Scott Baio is 45 and Single." This, folks, is my life.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

California, Baby

August will mark our second anniversary of living in California, so I thought I would dedicate tonight's post to our newly adopted State.

I will start off by stating that California deserves its rap for being "flaky." People here are just .. different. But I mean that mostly in a good way. You can't fault people for being original. Actually, the Bay Area is pretty normal (hippie influence aside) relative to LA and reminds me in many respects of a small, condensed version of NYC, only with a much prettier topography. LA is .... well, LA. There's no other way to describe that place. But as I noted last night, it's a great place to visit and the weather rules.

All in all, two years into it, I must say that I love it here. I feel very fortunate to have lived in three of the greatest cities in the US in New York (which is where I am from), Chicago (where my kids were both born) and San Fran. I've loved aspects of each and am big fans of all three. If I had to live move back to either NYC or Chicago, I'd do so with no regrets. But that all being said, I think I can see myself staying in California for many, many years to come. While I loved NYC and Chicago, upon moving I didn't miss either very much. Obviously, I missed family and friends, but the cities themselves I got over in fairly short order -- and that's not a diss against either. However, I really believe that if we were forced to move tomorrow, I'd miss this place dearly.

I don't know how to best describe it, but if I had to distill it down to one word, I'd have to say "interesting" best fits the bill in terms of describing this state. Everything about California is interesting in some respect, be it the weather, the microclimates, the food, the people, the topgraphy, the culture, the Pacific Ocean, the National Park's -- I find it all fascinating. And if you are curious and truly enjoy the outdoors, then there is no place like it in the continental US.

I've always fancied myself a City person at my core, and I think those of you who know me would agree, so it was with great trepidation that we moved to the 'burbs -- Marin County. I think if we were without kids, The Wife and I most certainly would have moved in the City. That being said, I honestly feel very lucky: our house is but six miles from the Golden Gate bridge, and in my opinion, this is one of the most bucolic and charming places imaginable. Knowing what I do now, I'd choose Marin even if the City was in fact an option (which it isn't as I have no interest in going through the machinations of private school again. We went through that nonsense in Chicago and never again, thank you very much).

I could go on and on on this subject, and I probably will in future posts, but the bottom line is that I think this is a phenomenal place to live and raise kids and though to an extent I'll always be an "outsider," each day I feel more like a Californian. I think my family would agree. The coolest part of these past two years is seeing The Wife -- who came here kicking and screaming from Chicago -- grow to love it here too, though I hasten to add that she she would never give me the pleasure of admitting as much.

I always tell my junior employees that I think post college, everyone shuuld live and work for a minimum of one year in NYC. I still believe this to be true from a work standpoint and I'm starting to think the same should apply to California too, if only to gain a greater appreciation for the great outdoors and everything else it has to offer.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Why I Love The Tour

I know I said I'd bury the cycling commentary, but thought I'd offer a (brief) explanation for you non-cycling fans as to why I am so consumed with this sport.

In a nutshell, pro cycling, believe it or not, is a thinking man's sport. Sure, fitness counts for a lot -- the strongest rider generally wins -- but at the same time it's very much a team sport and a keen understanding of strategy and tactics are essential. It's the closest thing you'll ever see to a "live" chess match. Riders need to know when to ride on the defensive and when to go on the attack. Sometimes offensive riding/attacks -- are planned, and other times they are based on split second decision making. Rider needs to be smart. At the same time, it's a merciless sport -- the timing of attacks is often absolutely brutal, but at the same time they play by gentleman's rules (as an example: if a lead rider gets a mechanical, i.e. a flat the peleton needs to slow down until the rider is able to regroup). Often times teams that are mortal enemies -- I think of Postal and T-Mobile back in the Lance days -- need to strike unlikely alliances in response to attacks and breakaways.

It's a brilliant sport and the truth of the matter is when you understand the basic fundamentals, which I could probably explain in about 15 minutes, it becomes utterly fascinating. It doesn't hurt, either, that many of the riders are total characters. And that about explains it and also explains why I don't care so much about the doping issue. I mean I certainly don't condone it (Jeff!) and wish it were clean. But my love of the game, so to speak, trumps that issue.

So, if you get the Versus channel (formerly known as OLN), give it a go. I think you'll find it entertaining.

Just got back from LA. What a crazy but fun CIty (though it isn't really a City, obviously. Not sure what it is really). Last night while watching TV in my hotel room, I officially gave up on John From Cinci. I am sure now that I've gone on record with this all the critics will start coming out of the woodwork calling it the greatest show on TV, but I don't care. Too meta-something or other for me and I simply dont have the patience.

The Wife won't stop talking about the Victoria Posh show. Her first words, when I got home toniight were, "Can you go find out where she lives? I want to be friends with her."

Can you imagine?

Anyway, she's go it on the TIVO, so since I have no shame, I'll give it a viewing. Stand by for a review tomorrow.

Back to the Tour (on the bottom of this post, mind you): Team Discovery Rocks. Popo and Contador have just been freaking awesome and Contador is quickly becoming my favorite rider. Levi remains in the hunt but is as enigmatic as ever. I don't think he's shown great form in the Alps, but he is stil within striking distance of a podium spot. Right now I'd say the prohibitive favorites are Kloden. Valverde, Levi, Cadel Evans and maybe Mayo. People are talking about the importance of the Pyrenees next week -- and they will be critical -- but I am starting to think that the time trials will be decisive.

Stay tuned for more, as this is shaping up to the best tour I have seen in many, many years.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sunday Pictorial: The Dispea Trail Plus Tour de France Fireworks

I did a trail run today that was a long overdue: the infamous Dipsea trail, all the way from our house to Stinson Beach. While it was only around 9 miles or so in total distance, I'd hazard to guess that it was in the vicinity of 2500 feet of climbing in total, if not more. Suffice to say, it was gnarly. Coupled with the 85 degree temperature, it left me a whimpering mess.

For all of you who are unfamiliar with the Dipsea, of Marin's hundreds of trails, it is probably the most famous. It is the home of the Dipsea trail race, which is the second oldest run in America after the Boston Marathon. The Dipsea is also widely considered the first ever trail race. Hit the link if you have a moment; there's a lot of history to the Dipsea.

The other thing about the Dipsea, is that it is a freaking monster. I went from my house and dropped down to Muir Woods, and picked up the trail by a river crossing (see the plank of wood you have to run across to get to the other side). From there, it's a steady climb for about 1.5 miles. It levels off for about a half mile and then it reaches Cardiac Hill, one of the most legendary hills in all of trail running. Cardiac goes on for an eternity, and takes you through grassy meadows and into primary Redwoods. If I wasn't suffering so badly, I'd probably say that it's the most beautiful trail I've ever hiked/ran (note: wasn't feeling great today, so my ascent included a lot of power hiking). Once you hit the peak of cardiac, you exit woods and are greeted with a stunning, panoramic view of the Pacific, that is not to be believed.

You then jump on single track and follow it for another mile or two until you reach Steep Ravine, which is a monster descent (kind of an oxymoron, I know). After going downhill for upwards (or should I say downwards -- noted in the pictures of the steps) the trail levels off and it's another three miles or so of singletrack to downtown Stinson Beach. I was greeted at my "finish" line by The Wife and the kids (noted in picture) and we ended up having a picnic lunch and three hours at the Beach.

The last photo is of the kid's in my neighbors "car" which he is preparing to take to Burning Man next month. California, baby.

The Wife suggested I bury my Tour rantings at the bottom of these posts, so that's what I will do.

Man, now THAT was a stage. One of the better stages I have seen in a long, long while.

If any of you are still here with me, check out my commentary from last night; I NAILED my predictions.

I said to watch out for Rasmussen, Mayo and Valverde and that is EXACTLY how they finished. I might not know much but I do know my cycling. Good for Rasmussen; he's the skinniest dude I have ever seen -- and I include myself -- and I simply do not know how he manages to power himself up those mountains. He deserves to wear Yellow but any talk of him making the podium is way too premature.

I thought that the second group -- Valverde, mayo, Moreau, Kashekin et al, *really* blew it. For the life of me I could not figure out why the were constantly attacking one another and not working together, especially as it was clear that Vino was hurting badly. If they were smarter, they could have taken huge chunks of time out of him and ended his GC changes. Instead, he's still in the game. Kudo's to Kloden, who really won my respect by holding back and helping Vino through the final kilometers. I thought for sure he was going to leave him and go on the attack, but he stood by his captain.

I am still not sure what to make of Levi; he's having a very enigmatic tour. I suspect he was slightly off his game, but he marked Vino and Kloden well and didn't seem to be exerting a lot of energy. Though he ended up putting about 30 seconds into Vino, I was hoping to see more of an attack on the final climb. I think that would have truly demoralized the Astana boys. I suspect, however, that Levi is rounding into good shape. I can't wait to see what he'll do in the Pyrenees next week.

The real revelation of the day was Disco's Alberto Contador. I cannot express how impressed I was: that boy can flat out accelerate up hills. He suffered a flat in the final 4k's and still took eighth. If not for the flat, I think he would have come in second or third. The only think that mystified me a little was with Contador and Popo up front and on the attack. Levi was left alone. I am curious as to what Johan was thinking.

Anyway, an epic day of racing. Tomorrow is a rest and then one more stage in the Alps. Watch for a monster Vino attack on Tuesday to show the field that he's still alive and kicking.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Welcome To The Tour de France

I expect the Tour de France to start in earnest tomorrow; the first week is all flats and is generally uneventful, crashes aside (and we've had a few doozie crashes thus far, including Kloden and Vino yesterday).

The race officially hit the mountains (Alps) today and tomorrow's stage should be very interesting; I have a strong sense we'll see who's in form. We also should see exactly how injured the two Astana riders are or aren't.

My prediction: we'll see a billy goat climber such as Rasmussen, Flecha, Mayo or Valverde, take a flyer and win the stage on a breakaway, but we should see some separation among the GC, especially with the rest day on Monday. If Levi has his legs, I think tomorrow would be a great day to stage a nice attack, if only to see if Vino is bluffing his injuries or not. I have no sense of what kind of form Levi is in, though I was a bit disappointed with his performance in the prologue; 40 seconds back was a bit much.

that was the thing I loved most about Lance. He'd come in to the prologue and win by 20 seconds and you knew he was going for the win just to f*&^ with the other riders head. In essence, he'd win the tour on the very first day. Lance Armstrong; without doubt, the best ever.

Though I catch every stage in the evenings, tomorrow is the first day of this Tour I'll be up early to catch the action live.

On the subject of cycling: I got tested in the lab this week and though my VO2 max has improved a bit (probably the result of all the high intensity swimming), my VT1 watts remains pretty lame. Still got some serious work to do on the bike.

I also hope everyone is working on their running, because we're les than two months out from the first annual Howard Solomon race for Thyroid Cancer. Remember: come September 8th all you have to do is run. That's it. I will be making a cash donation to ThyCa based on our collective miles.

Everyone who goes over 10 miles also gets a specially-designed race t-shirt, if that provides any further motivation. I have list of all those who previously committed; let me know if there are any others out there, or if anyone wants to up their mileage. Right now, Payro leads the pack with his commitment of 20 miles.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday the 13th

Well, knock on wood, thus far Friday the 13th has been pretty good to me.

1. My mother-in-law came out of surgery successfully and is feeling great. SHe sends her thanks to you all for your support
2. Some really good work stuff has been happening over the past few weeks and drumroll, please
3. I just got my bloodwork back from my endo (the phone rang during a new business meeting I had in the Valley and I couldn't answer it. Talk about a test; trying to make it through a big presentation all while knowing the answer to a big question is waiting on your voice mail) and it turns out that my thyroidglobulin (TG) actually went DOWN. I was hoping for it to just maintain versus the last time and was anticipating it going up. I have a call into my doctor to see if this at all changes my treatment protocol but at the minimum, I can't see it being anything but good news.

On top of everything else it's a beautiful day, so I am headed off to a swim. And oh -- hell, I'm having such a good day/week that I think I'l celebrate by keeping the iPhone! (today is the 14 day return date). What the hell. You only live once.

Have a nice weekend, all.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

90's Rock is Dead: Long Live 90's Rock

Well, appears as if I have to add an important addendum to my little story from yesterday. Turns out the orange juice wasn't exactly the culprit for the bed wetting episode; turn out The Girl has a nasty little bladder infection. Man, don't I feel like a horse's ass. Evidently she made "just a little pee pee" (her words) again last night and the Wife, smelling trouble (no pun intended), took her right to the doc. So, my bad. On the other hand: my good. Looks like it wasn't bad parenting that caused the disaster that was my Tuesday morning.

New Smashing Pumpkins broke yesterday and I am sad to say that I'm disappointed. SP is one of my all-time favorite bands and I've been anticipating this more than any other album (funny, I still call it "album." CD doesn't sound right anymore though, especially as most people now buy their music online) this year. I was literally counting down the days until it debuted and it kind of sucks. On the topic, the new Velvet Revolver (Scott Wieland and Slash) isn't too great either. Coupled with the marginal new Perry Farrell album (which is probably the best of the aforementioned), I think these past few weeks officially mark the death of 90's alternative rock. New bands like Interpol, Arcade Fire and others seem to be seizing the mantle.


The new Patagonia catalogue arrived today. Nothing stokes me like the Patagonia catalogue. I've been long meaning to write a dedicated post on Patagonia, which is by far my favorite brand of all-time. Though their clothes are slightly on the expensive side, they make, in my humble opinion, the best active wear the market has to offer. It's scary how much Patagonia clothing I own: I'd go so far as to say I have a borderline problem. But I can break out some of my older stuff -- particularly some of the shorts and tops I've used during some serious trail races and run -- and you'd think it was brand new. Their clothes simply endure the test of time in every respect. They never compromise on quality and they have fantastic customer service both at retail and online. Not to mention, they are one of the original socially responsible companies. I very strong suggest Yvon Choinard's (founder) biography/environmental manifesto, Let My People Go Surfing. At the risk of hyperbole, it's one of the more inspirational business tomes I've read in a long while. I was so impressed by it, that I bought copies for many of my employees this past holiday season.

The Wife is upstairs catching up on laundry that accumulated during her little absence. She just yelled down to me, "Why is it I just folded five pair's of Summer's underwear and only one of Zevan's?" Ooops. Chalk that up on the mistake list.

Go get 'em tomorrow Nana Silk. We're all sending you good vibes. And thank you all for the notes and calls. They are greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

More Damn Cancer; Little Girl, Smaller Bladder

First and foremost, a great big shout out to my mother-in-law nonpareil, Anne Silk, who I am sad to say joined the ignomineous Cancer Club yesterday with a diagnosis of breast cancer.

A little about my mother-in-law for all of you who don't know her: it's said that guys aren't supposed to like their mother-in-laws, but I am pleased to say that in my experience, nothing could be farther from the truth. She is truly the best mother-in-law a guy could ask for and I am not just saying that because of her diagnosis. Everyone who knows her knows that she is special.

Aside from being a wonderful woman -- and seriously, the greatest grandmother on earth -- and she has ALWAYS been there for us in our time of need. Given that April and I have both had our own bouts of cancer over the past four years, you can imagine how much we've needed her. Anyway, I could go on forever but suffice to say she's a really special lady. She's also a really tough woman and I am sure she will come through this fine. The good news is that it appears to have been caught in a very early stage. So, please be so kind as to join me in directing some good vibes towards Lake George, NY this week. I'll be sure to keep you posted as to how she's doing.

On the topic of cancer, I had my some blood work done this week, including TSH and thyroidglobulin (TG) tests. TG is a very important test for us thyroid cancer folks as it provides a strong marker as to whether their is cancer in our system-- and at what level. My last test if I am not mistaken was .2, which is fairly low, but not quite what would be categorized as undetectable. Obviously, I am hoping that results from this test are at the same level as my last one.

On to a lighter topic. The wife is finally home and man oh man am I happy about that. I also will go on record that I am very appreciative of her -- and all you at-home mothers out there. Actually, forget at home. All you mothers in general.

I must say that I was doing SO well -- better than I anticipated, if I do say so myself -- until around 5:30 am this morning when all hell broke loose.

Actually, it started at dinner last night when The Girl declared she wanted chicken tacos for dinner. I knew she wouldn't like them but she insisted and so I relented as she is a somewhat adventurous eater (at least compared to The Boy). As predicted she wouldn't touch them and when we got home and ready for sleep, she declared that she was hungry - and thirsty. So I gave her something to eat and a cup of orange juice (her request, not my idea).

Then she asked for more orange juice, which was mistake number two behind the tacos. And then she requested some water. And finally some Pediasure, which is a high calorie supplement that my skinny ass kids take daily. If you are not following where I am going with this, allow me to summarize: she drank liquids. Copious amounts of liquids.

So, I put her in bed with her brother (don't even ask; this is one of the "special" rule breaking things we did while mom was away. What can I say? They really enjoy hanging out together. This was dumb mistake number three).

At around 5:30 am The Girl came in and said "Dad, I want to sleep in my bed. Is that ok?" Being that it was 5:30 am I muttered something in the affirmative but couldn't help but think that this was fairly weird. About 45 minutes later The Boy came in and asked if he could sleep in my bed. I asked what was bothering him and he replied, "I think Summer may have wet the bed. It is soaking wet."

Uh oh.

I contemplated the situation, thought for a moment about what needed to be done and then did what any self-respecting single dad would have done under the same circumstances: I went back to sleep. (But only for a few minutes, Dear Wife).

So, I went in her room and man -- to say she peed would be an understatement. It was a bedwetting like I have never seen. I mean, it was so bad I thought about putting on my speedos and going for a few lap swim. I mean -- everywhere. Her clothes were like she jumped in the ocean. The blanket -- gnarly. Soaked through two layers of sheets and straight through the mattress. I think it went through the mattress down to the carpet and into the floorboards.

I immediately went into Defcom 4 mode and did what came most naturally: I called my wife, who happened to be boarding a plane in Orlando. "I don't know" she replied a bit tersely, "call my mother and ask her what to do."

Mind you this is the same woman, above, who was diagnosed with cancer less than 24 hours previously. But, a guys got to do what a guys got to do and I profess to not being an expert on mattress cleaning. So I called but she wasn't there.

So. fast forward and I'm working every detergent in the house. I wake the kids up because I have to drop them off at camp and get to the office for an important meeting. The Boy gets up and could care less about my predicament. He just wants to watch TV. I wake up The Girl and am overwhelmed by the smell of .. well, you can guess what she smelled like. So, now I have to shower her. I grab her while she's only half awake and throw her into the shower with me. Turn on the water and realize .... her soap is in the bathroom down the hall. I tell her not to get her hair wet because we have no time to blow dry it and to stand there without moving a muscle.

I run through the bedroom and into the kids bathroom -- buck ass naked mind you and soaking freaking wet and on the way out I slip and take the mother of all wipeouts. Wack my head against the wall and as I go down I hit a certain sensitive part of my male anatomy. At the precise moment that this occurs, my daughter -- who if you remember, is standing alone in my shower -- starts screaming her head off. So, I dust off my bruises (so to speak) and go in and there she's standing -- with a soaking wet head of hair.

Now I have to deal with the blow dryer.

I give her the fastest shower of all time, take her out and look at the clock: 7:45 am. And I have to be in the office by 9:15 for a call. And drop them off at camp between.

I start blow drying her hair and combing it and she srtarts screaming at me but I can't hear her over the din of the blowdryer. So I stop and ask her what she's saying and so help me g-d, she looks at me sternly and says, "Dad. I cannot believe you didn't use conditioner."

Well, that pretty much stopped me dead in my tracks. So we resume blowdrying and now it's the boy's turn to start screaming. I stop and race downstairs and he says to me -- no joke -- "Dad. I already saw this episode of SpongeBob. Turn on the next episode."

It was at this point that I nearly had a breakdown. I closed my eyes and tried to telepathically transport my wife from Orlando back home but that too failed.

I could go on and tell you what transpired over the next 30 minutes -- the failed breakfast, the fight in the back seat of the car that was eerily reminiscent of the Hearns-Hagler fight or the sudden onset of clinginess that struck my daughter at camp. I will spare you all these details but suffice to say it's 9:28 pm as I type these words and everyone is alive,

I made my meeting and when I got home from work tonight, I've never been so happy to see my wife.

Welcome home, love.

Monday, July 9, 2007

The Lunatics Have Taken Over the Asylum

Don't read too much into this question, but does anyone happen to know the exact amount of time a child can go without a bath? Is there a particular point in time where lack of bathing becomes potentially injurious to their health? That being said, I do happen to recall many moons ag at summer camp, when my brother Neil went for about three weeks. I'll never forget the call from my father -- "walk in that g-ddamn bunk and hold him under the water if you have to."

Not that I haven't bathed mine yet, mind you. I wouldn't dare. I'm simply curious. And ps. April, the smell you'll note when you enter the house ... well, according to WIkipedia ALL smells dissipate over time.


Bummer health related news today for a very close member of our family. It's not appropriate for me to write on this yet, but if that person should happen to be reading these words, know that we all love you very much and you are foremost in our thoughts. I think that's all I have in me tonight; this news has kind of knocked the winds out of my sails. More tomorrow, including my initial thoughts on the Tour de France (the race doesn't really start until Saturday's first big climb).

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Mom Who?

Check out the picture I found of the iPhone unboxing. Note the rather large glass of scotch in front of Payro. BTW, I remain very impressed with ye olde iPhone. This is once of the rare instances where a product very much lives up to its hype. Enough of that. I suspect you are all iPhone'd out by now.

Following is a run down of activities that the Solomon 3 have done since their mother so callously abandoned ship for Florida:

-- bought two SpongeBob movies and had our own Film Festival, complete with (burnt) popcorn
-- went to our favorite taco joint and followed it up with ice cream and a monster bellyache (that would be me; the kids were fine)
-- went to two parks and had a kick ball tournament (I won)
-- had a sleepover party
-- breakfast at the Dipsea
-- the coup de grace: Z and I went to All-Star activities at AT&T Park in SF. Unfortunately for the little man, I gave away my tickets to the Home Run Derby and the actual Tuesday game to clients, but he enjoyed today's experience (US vs. World Game and Celebrity Softball Tournament) all the same. Nothing like dad and son at the ballpark.
-- Tonight is chinese food ('cause that's what we Jews do on Sunday nights) and maybe another sleep over.

Tomorrow, is likely more of the same and then the Boss (Wo)Man comes home and house rules return in full effect.

One quick question: anyone happen to know the name of a good local maid service that can get here before 2:00 Tuesday?
Just kidding wife -- kind of.

(Joking aside -- anyone have any tips on how to run a dishwasher or washer/dryer?)

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Howard and Payro's Excellent Adventure: Part II

As mentioned in a previous post, whenever Payro and I get together we try to plan as many running adventures as possible. Thursday was our epic evening trail run. Today, we woke up early, said goodbye to the kids (April was kind enough to get a sitter for the morning) and headed over to Angel Island (hit the link; its a very interesting place and visible from our backyard deck) via the Tiburon ferry. First time I've ever gone to a race via ferry; it was pretty cool. I was surprised at the number of runners - expected it to be much smaller. It took us about 10-15 minutes to get to Angel Island, which is where Zevan happened to go to camp last week. "Survivor" camp based on the TV show. Damn kid has such a great life it's not even funny. ANd of course, it's completely lost on him. Kids. But I digress.

The Angel Island race featured four distances: 50k (31 miles), 25k (15.3), 16k (10 miles) and 8k (5 miles). Payro's foot has been bothering him and I am not quite fully back to speed, so we opted or the 16k. Normally, though, we'd likely be looking at the 50k.

Our race had two loops (the Island isn't that big); the first loop had one monster hill right att he start and about 2 miles in total of climbing to kick things off, before leveling off a bit. The second loop was pretty brutal; we repeated the first hill and then climbed to the Summit of the Island. The picture of Payro with his arms raised was taken at the top of the mountain; believe it or not, the grey backdrop is fog. It was a very overcast morning which is really a shame, because the views are spectacular. Normally what you would see beyond that grey wall is a sweeping vista of San Francisco and Sausolito.

For the most part, our pace was somewhere between moderate and easy for the first seven miles but we found another gear for the last three miles. Though these last three miles were downhill, we were working veryhard; I'd guess we were probably going at around 6:40 pace or so - maybe faster. And effort like this requires pretty intense concentration because the trail is rutted and if you go down, you're going to go down hard. We were FLYING and found ourselves passing people who had upwards of five minutes on us. We finished in around 1:37 (note: we *very* rarely run trail races for time. We save that for road races. These trail runs are a different breed altogether and are run entirely for *fun*) which is half decent for a hilly ass trail run such as this.

They had a great food spread at the finish -- trail runs are ALL about the food -- and in the one picture I'm holding a hot bowl of chicken soup. There is nothing better in the world than hot chicken soup and/or chili (the race had both) at the end of a tough trail race. Ok, there are in fact some things that are better than that, but I'm trying to keep these pages relatively family friendly.

So there you have it. Fun times.

Last word: if you like to run, try a trail run sometime in this lifetime. It's a great experience in many different respects.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Home Alone and the Unboxed iPhone Makes Its Debut

So .. April leaves in one hour (the redeye) for Florida to visit her sister. For four days. Leaving yours truly alone with the kids. With one kid who just got five shots (the girl) and is utterly miserable.

Things are about to get interesting at the Solomon's, folks.

Anyone want to take a flyer on precisely how many things I screw up? I might have to live blog the entire experience.

After our epic run last night Payro and I drank copious amounts of scotch and unboxed the iPhone -- finally! Now, I am still not certain if I am going to keep it - I have one week to decide -- but I have to say that it is utterly amazing. I am a big product guy as many of you know, but this one is *really* special. There is no question: Apple nailed it. The hardware is perfect, the UI is incredible and for the most part the software is pretty springy, though I would say that it (the software) is still in beta mode. The good news though is that software issues can be dealth with via upgrades and I very much anticipate seeing what Apple introduces in the next few week in terms of firmware.

I've done a ton of research the past week or so and I think this thing is safe to buy (by that I mean we won't be entirely hosed when Apple comes out with version 2.0). The only element that disappoints thus far is the Internet component; specifically, the network (the safari browser is amazing). AT&T's EDGE network is maddeningly slow, but I add the caveat that my work phone is 3g enabled and sets a pretty high bar. I do not think Apple can introduce a 3G version for at least eight months. If they do it sooner, I will most certainly vomit.

The thing that has pleasantly surprised me the most is the keyboard. It is *much* more functional than I thought possible. If they license ActiveSynch, which I am praying happens soon, this thing will be a killer business device. That being said, I do not think the good folks at RIM need to be staying up at night. Peole are not going to be giving up their Blackberry's any time soon.

I'd write more but have to run - gotta get a crash course lesson in how to dispense aspirin/tyleno to a five year old.

More later.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

We Are Alive

In the event anyone is concerned, the running idiots returneth safeth.

Of course, after three beautiful weeks of near perfect weather, a fairly decent storm blew in this evening. Hence, we moved the timetable from our planned time of midnight to a more reasonable hour of 9:45. Note that it was just as dark as it would have been at midnight.

It was just brutual when we hit the trail; howling winds and massive fog. But once we got over the first ridge things cleared a bit. Until we got to the next ridge that is and then the wind/fog started uop again. That's the one aspect of Northern California that never ceases to amaze mel; the weather is capable of changing tact dramatically within a matter of yards. You can drive from Chicago to St. Louis and essentially have the same weather pattern but I can drive from my house to the Golden Gate bridge and experience three different microclimates.

Anyway, the weather was gnarly but we made it for an hour and then we came home and drank scotch (which I am enjoying presently). I must say; an awesome and memorable time; two good friends and running buddies hitting the trails after dark.

Sounds a little brokeback doesn't it?

Anyway, more tomorrow. We have another cool adventure planned for Saturday and for this one I promise a pictorial.

July 4 Festivities

An action packed 24 hours of Fourth of July activities. Highlights included:

-- taking the kids to the County Fair. I cannot recollect ever going to a county fair when I was a kid. What a huge miss; they are as cheesy as can be imagined, but super fun all the same. Carnies barking at you from all angles, lousy rides and worse food and yet somehow it's become one of my favorite family outings of the year. The lowlight: getting stuck (yes stuck) on the TOP of the ferris wheel with Zevan. He was fine, I was scared sh&*less. I have a slight fear of heights and ferris wheels are not my thing. Oh -- and the reason why we were stuck? Because it had to make an "emergency" stop for my daughter, who had to take an "emergency" leak. Crazy rides and loose bladders: that's how we Solomon's roll.

-- went to Muir beach yesterday, which was a madhouse. One of the rare days in which it was actually hot enough (it rarely gets over 80 in our neck of the woods) to get in the water (the water rarely gets warmer than 62 year round). Zevan and I climbed some rock faces and I really think that rock climbing is going to prove to be his sport. He's as agile as a cat and pretty comfortable on steep faces.

- my main boy Payro came to town for a four day visit. For all of you who don't know Payro, he's one of my closest friends, but on top of that, he's my number one running partner. We ran together nearly every day when we lived in Chicago and over the years, we've done some pretty epic runs together, including a marathon, 50k, the JFK 50 miler -- which to date was our most epic run ever -- and multiple trail races of varying distances.

Whenever Payro is in town, which fortunately for me is pretty frequently, we try to come up with an epic run of some sort. Which is probably a good segue for what we have planned for this evening: we are going to run along my favorite trail, the Miwok, all the way up to Coyote Ridge and and down to Coastal. Then we are going to run back down. Gnarly climbing and descending the entire way.

The only twist? We plan to start at midnight.

We'll be running by headlamp and flashlight on some of the baddest ass trails Marin has to offer. And oh yeah, evening is noted for being feeding time for mountain lions and bobcats.

Why are doing this you might ask? As ultrarunners are apt to say, "if you gotta ask why, you'll never understand....." Plus, it will be good practice for our planned 100 miler, whoch we are gunning for in 2008, health permitting.

Let's hope Payro and I return safely from this adventure and in one piece. Stay tuned for a recap tomorrow.....

Monday, July 2, 2007

Vincent Chase Meets Dennis Hopper

Too tired to post much -- weekend activtiies and training has caught up with me -- but just finished watching Entourage. Best line of the show was from Turtle, after Vinnie jumps out of the car to go to the Beach with the hot chick, "Man, if I could just be him for one day." I think most of us guys probably agree.

The other great line was from Dennis Hopper, in reference to living in a cave during the filming of Apocalypse Now (which, I might add, is definitely one of my top five favorite movies. I've probably seen it in excess of ten times and though the scenes with Kurtz at the end are a bit drawn out, it gets better with each viewing), when he says "god was my best decorator."
Great guest appearance by Hopper and if you watched carefully, Howard Stern fans, that was Chuck Zito in the living room watching the soccer game. Anyway, it appears as if I might be wrong; Medellin is looking like a hit.

John from Cinci has officially lost me btw, unless one of you has a strong opinion and can convince me otherwise. Can't say I didn't try on that one.

By the way, on the topic of TV, I do have a great show that both Zevan and I are really into: Man vs. Wild on Discovery. If you are not familiar with the premise, the host, Bear Gryllis, is ex UK Special Forces and in each episode he gets dropped off in an inhospitable locale (Florida everglades, Death Valley, Alaska backcountry, a desert island) and has to find his way out. Each episode he does something out of the ordinary -- pees on his headband to cool himself off while trecking through the desert, eats live salmon right out of the water in Alaska, etc) that really stoke young Zevan. Great show and relatively family friendly. Survivorman on TNT is of the same genre and is also enjoyable though it doesn't appear on a regular basis sofar as I can ascertain.

Lack of good TV won't matter soon though because we are less than a week to go to the Tour, but I'll spare you a ranting on that subject for the moment, as I know it's going to get old soon.

I told my father he's on deadline for an end of the week post, but he appears to be unable to find his muse, so please let me know if there's a particular subject you'd like to hear.

Out for tonight.

(Ps For all of you keeping score at home, the damn iPhone is still in the freaking box. Funny, I can make snap decisions about surgeons, cancer treatment, moving to new cities, buying expensive homes, etc. -- and I make these judgements quickly and without looking back -- and on top of that I capably run a very large division of a major PR firm -- and yet I am completely conflicted about a freaking iphone. Go figure.)

Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Things That Ate My House

Happy fifth birthday, Summer Meadow. Hard to believe my baby is getting so old. We had a great party for her at the house this afternoon/evening, replete with jumpie thing. As you can see, the damn thing was just about as big as my house. I thought the party was going to be a little sketchy being that it was in our driveway, but props to April: she really pulled it off, and it was very laid back and super fun. The kids had a blast and the parents had just as good a time hanging out. I must say, we've made some really great friends out here.

Weather here in NorCal has been amazing and overall, it was an awesome weekend. Played kickball with the kids yesterday and then took them on a great hike on the Sun trail, which is a little known and short trail (just under a mile) but it's really cool in that it ends at an Inn, the Tourist Club, that is nestled in the Redwoods in Muir Woods. Attached is a photo from the trail. The trees in the background is the start of Muir Woods.

Got in a decent amount of training this weekend too, including a 24/4 brick for you triathletes out therr (a brick is a bike followed immediately by a run) which nearly killed me and a 2.5 mile masters swim this morning that just about might have ben one of the hardest workouts of my life.

On the topic of training I am thinking an adjustment of my syntroid might be in order as I feel good, but a bit lacking in energy. It's hard to describe but I feel as if I am missing a gear; my workouts just don't have the same "pop" (as my man Phil put it) as they did in the past.

Lastly, we saw the new Die Hard movie and if you are in the mood for an utterly mindless, kick ass Summer action flick, this is the movie for you. I enjoyed it tremendously, though I will be the first to admit I have fairly simple tastes when it comes to movies.

On the topic of movies, the funniest movie of the year, by far, is Knocked Up. iI fyou haven't seen it yet, do so.

And oh yeah. I am almost certainly keeping that damn iPhone. Z and I went to the Apple store this afternoon to check it out and it's just too damn cool. I hear what you said Neil but there's no time like the present.