Thursday, May 29, 2008

Jet Blue

Greetings from Jet Blue Flight 68 from JFK to Oakland. Actually, I am posting this from home but typing from the plane.
Talk about whirlwind trips; just did NYC and back in less than 24 hours. I think that might be a record for me. Couple of upsides though: got to see my folks, if just for a few short hours; got to sleep in my childhood bed, which is a real rarity, and I got to catch up on a few new shows on old Jet Blue, which is the best airline of all time, by the way, if only for their TV access.

First show up which I am loathe to admit I have watched for three hours or so in total: Tila Tequila and Shot of Love (or something of the sort). Wow. It’s so bad, yet watchable, that worlds literally fail me. Here’s the backdrop for those of you who are unfamiliar with this one: Tila Tequila is “famous”” for having a lot of Myspace friends (that is literally her only talent) and evidently she is bisexual. The premise of the show? A group of eight or so guys and girls, all vying for her love. Double wow. Here’s the kicker: the cheesiest dude on the show which is saying something) is from my hometown of Paramus, New Jersey. He is the personification of everything that is wrong with NJ. Triple wow. And yet, despite all this – I can’t stop watching. My ears are starting to bleed and still I continue to watch.

Show number two: VH1 top 80 songs of all time countdown, replete with video. Night Ranger! A young George Michael. Poison! Pat Benetar (who, sadly, hasn’t exactly aged gracefully), Kajagoogoo (how they manage to devote a solid five minutes to this band is a miracle in and of iitself. How could I have been so behind the eight ball with VH1. Oh, now are on to the mother of 80’s bands: tht’s right: Guns n Roses, baby. Welcome to the Jungle. Whoops, I think I just headbanged the woman sitting next to me. Next up? “Take on Me” by Aha! Now is this fun or what? I could go on all day (and I think I have; I am on hour four of this flight with two and half more to go) but alas battery is dying so more later.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Daddy Blog Post Number Two

I'm on a bit of a roll with this whole daddy blog post (note: about 236 people -- starting with you, Finkel, informed me that I am in fact not the first daddy blogger. Thanks for that y'all) I thought I'd keep the momentum going.

As I was running tonight (4.72 miles with an average heart rate of 152; that information comes courtesy of my new kick ass Garmin 405, which I intend to review later this week) I was thinking of the top ten responsibilities of every dad. Here goes, with a nod towards boys and girls, individually -- and feel free to let me know if there's anything I am forgetting.

10. Build her self esteem and tell her every day how pretty she looks
9. Teach him how to throw a ball properly. We're talking any and every kind of damn ball; baseball, basketball, football. It really doesn't matter
8. Teach them to respect a. parents b. teachers c. family d. anyone else above the age of 30
7. Teach them to be inclusive of all other kids
6. Walk that fine line between agreeing and empathazing that girls do in fact have cooties and are totally gross, while simultaneously explaining how this all changes once they hit, oh about 14 or 15
5. Make reading a priority
4. Ensuring that they both truly understand the one inalienable fact of life: the Red Sox suck and Yankees rock
3. Teach them the lyrics to the most important song they will know: Hail to the Victors
2. Make them understand why playing outside is ten times more important than watching TV even if their dad is hopelessly addicted to the worst tv shows in the world
1. To quote Chris Rock: keep her off the stripping pole until she's at least finished with high school.

I'm sure there's more but I figure if I can impress the above upon them, I'll have done well.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Wherewith Blogger Daddy?

Blogger mommy's are all the rage these days, and probably for good reason. I'm a big fan of two in particular (hello Foodmomiac and CrazyMama). But with all due respect, I've been wondering why us Blogger Dad's (gotta say that 'Blogger Daddy' sounds a tad bit creepy) are getting zero love. Sure, Blogger Mommy's work hard and balance a lot of demands. I get that and give them props. But what are we dad's, chopped liver? Just so happens that we (sometimes) pull our weight, too.

So with all that said, I am hereby declaring myself the Internet's first Blogger Dad. Give it up for me, please.

I realize I'm now blurring between sundry topics, especially given the title of this blog, so to provide a bit of clarity I will be writing a weekly special "Blog Dad" posting chronicling some aspect of this part of my life.

So what to write today? Not sure; I am so tired form Memorial Day activities I can barely think straight. I do think though that one aspect to kids that particularly resonate with dad's are our kid's athletic accomplishments (recognizing this is also meaningful to mom's as well. Why do I suspect I am going to be inserting a ton of caveats into everything I write on this topic).

Anyway, the Little Girl and I have been having our issues of late, but one thing we are on the same page on is athletic pursuits; particularly swimming, running and now I am proud to say -- biking. And not to sound like an obnoxious, braggart of a parent, I am growing increasingly amazed by her athletic ability. To wit: literally yesterday afternoon she learned how to ride a two wheel bike. Today, she accompanied me on her bike while I ran four miles.

And not only was she cruising the entire time, she was zig zagging in and out of runners/biking traffic. It was a sight to behold (everyone was laughing at her little legs pedaling so hard) and pretty darn impressive for a five year old. Afterwards, I took her to the local skate park, where she proceeded to ride her bike and "show off" to the skateboarders and BMX riders. As we were finally leaving -- I had to literally drag her out of there -- she turned to the boys, who were probably 12-15 years old, looked at them, and said -- I swear -- "later dudes."

I think I might have a NorCal skater chick on my hands. Funny thing is: I'm pretty stoked by that.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Two Movie Day

Today, despite being overcast and a bit rainy, was a near perfect day. Kicked the day off with a rainy, hilly seven mile trail run. Rainy might not sound like a good time but sometimes it's fun battling the elements.

Shortly after that, we took the kids to see Indiana Jones. I don't know to say, except that the reviewers are probably right: lukewarm at best. I mean, it's Indie, so it' can't possibly be all that bad, but it was definitely the weakest of the three. It felt a bit uninspired and the plot was weak. I mean, aliens? What up with that? It seemed more an homage to some of Spielberg's other movies than anything else.

After that, a little baseball with the kids, and the dinner with the wife (at the greatest Puerto Rican restaurant this side, of well, Puert Rico. After that the wife and I went to yet another movie, a super rarity in our lives. This one was Missing Sarah Silverman (or some variation thereof). In a certain sense, it's similar to my mini review of Indie; it was undoubtably entertaining but probably at the bottom of the Judd Apatow barrel. It certainly had a few funny scenes though.

Anyway; solid day all around a nice kickoff to the much needed long weekend.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


I have to head to Seattle tomorrow at o dark hundred for a business meeting tomorrow afternoon (that's right; on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend) and learned I need to go to New York next week for a quick trip. This got me to thinking about how much travel I have done thus far in 2008 and based on a quick count, the tally is as follows:

-- Los Angeles; 12 times (give or take a trip or two)
-- New York; two times (counting next week)
-- Seattle; two times
-- Chicago; two times
-- Mexico; once
-- San Diego; once
-- Hawaii; once

All that over the course of approximately 140 days or so.

Note that I am not at all complaining; this is the life I have chosen as Tony Soprano would say, but that is inarguably a heck of a lot of travel. Oh well, at least I have a whole bunch of miles and free flights to show for it. So I got that going for me.

Anyway, if any anyone can match that -- or exceed it -- I'd like to hear about it.

Ok, Ok, I was Wrong!

Man, I am getting batrraged today for my posting. I definitely was wrong but I don't think there was any doubt that the Kid was far better than the Man on Tuesday night. That being said, if you read carefully below, I am pretty happy because I liked David Cook a lot more; I thought he was very creative and he was most certainly a risk taker and he was ultimately rewarded for both. They were both worthy finalists. One last note on the subject: I think it's wrong that people are dismissive of Archilete simply because he seems to have a stage father. You can't blame a kid for his parents (not talking about you dad, no worries).

In other news, I didn't even think AI was the highlight of the night; the season finale of Boston Legal was far better (though going back to AI for a moment, I think some of the recording artist performances were actually prety good). In my opinion, Boston Legal is by far the best show on network TV.

Anyway, I can't believe the tv season is over. What in the hell am I going to do with my nights? One can only watch so much Howard Stern TV.

How many months until the new season of Entourage??

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

And the Winner is ....

David Archuletta. By a landslide, in my opinion. I think he absolutely smoked David Cook tonight and he did it by sticking to his script. He stuck with what he does best, didn't take any major risks and just nailed every song. Seems like a super nice kid to boot. Remember that I called this one very early in the gam. I'll have to go through the archives to prove this point.

All that being said, I happen to like David Cook a lot more; I think he's more creative and contemporary, and I would bet money that he has a Chris Daughtry-ish type career, but the name of the show is American Idol, and this year's Idol is definitely the young man from Utah.

Jesus Christ -- are those words mine?

I think I might need to get a life.

Think I got to go watch the NBA finals now, or do something quasi-manly.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Now those of you who know me know that I am a diehard New York Yankees fan. And the last thing any self respecting Yankees fan would ever do is root for the Red Sox. And the most traitorous thing one could is celebrate a Red Sox no hitter.

But that's precisely what I am going to do because it was thrown by Jon Lester, and Jon Lester stokes me.

Lester, for all of you who are unaware, was diagnosed in 2006 with a rare form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He was multiple chemo treatments and many people thought his career might be over. But at the tender age of 23 he came back, pitched well and picked up a world series win (argh) along the way. He was instrumental in that series too. Now he pitches a no hitter.

What an incredibly tremendous role model for kids and cancer survivors alike. Despite my sentiments towards the Yankees, all I can say is well done, Mr Lester.

A Yankees contract hopefully awaits you.

And oh, CrazyMama: I am still trying to find a way to tell that story about my daughter!

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Thanks all, for the outpouring of comments for my new friend (at least I think/hope we are friends!) "S". Please keep the comments and positive vibes coming. I have another plan in mind for "S" that I think we'll all enjoy, but you'll need to stay tuned for a day or two for more details.

On a separate and lighter note, I am at this moment wearily sitting in front of my TV watching what is inarguably the greatest movie in the history of cinema -- no hyperbole on this one either. That's right: Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Good lord is this movie beyond classic. If Jeff Spicoli isn't the greatest character of all time, kindly suggest an alternative. In case y'all need a reminder, the cast includes:

--Sean Penn
--Phoebe Cates
-- Judge Reinhold
-- Jennifer Jason Leigh
-- Eric Stolz
-- Forrest Whitaker
-- Mr. Hand (!)
I know I am forgetting others.

On another topic, the Little Girl pulled out a line at our community pool yesterday that still has me laughing out loud. Only thing is I am uncertain as to how to articulate this one on these quasi family friendly pages.

Mets 11, Yankees 2. Enough said on that.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Very Brave Young Lady

I just received a very touching and heartfelt note today from a very, very brave young lady from the New York metropolitan area who found this blog. I won't reveal her name unless she decides to post; let's call her "S".

"S" is going through a pretty tough ordeal right now, tougher than anything I experienced, but she is showing tremendous bravery and character. Although none of you know young Ms. "S," please say a prayer for her and send good vibes.

And to you "S", if you are reading this, I will be thinking of you each and every day.

Keep the faith and stay strong.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Holy Freaking Hot

A gnarly ass heat wave hit Northern California and is expected to hold through at least Saturday. It was insane: I woke up in LA, had breakfast with my boss in Santa Monica, where it was around 68 degrees or so. I landed in Oakland at around 10 am and the second I got out of the plane it hit me like a furnace. My car read 102 as I headed home w hich if I am not mistaken is the highest temperature we've experienced since I have lived here. I coached the Boy's baseball practice tonight and bless these little kids: they are so stoked on baseball that they are virtually impervious to the heat. Good for them. Me, I had to go directly to the pool.

Anyway, none of this would really be all that bad except for one small fact: we don't have air conditioning. It's really not all that necessary, aand very few people (if anyone)) has air conditioning. as it cools down considerably during the evenings, except for about four or five nights per year. Alas, tonight is one of them; the current temperature INSIDE the house is 86.

In other news, my freaking Yankees are in last place and the Tampa Bay Rays are in first.

I think the end of days might be upon us.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Don't pay much heed to this post; I am playing with a new tool for Mac called Skitch ( which is one of the coolest applications I have ever seen. essentially, it easily enables one to cut, paste, and manipulate photos from the Internet. It is so easy to use it is ridiculous and for my purposes, it will enable me to integrate more photos and imagery into these pages.

I picked this photo semi-randomly, though I do think that Edwards' endorsement of Obama is huge. It's clear that the Dem's are finally starting to line up en masse behind Barack. It's time for Hillary to finally get with the program and accept the inevitable. Would have made sense and been magnanimous for her to have bid adieu after the big West Virginia win, but alas, I really believe she intends to see this through until the end. I am not sure as to the master strategy at play here, but the Clinton's are generally two steps ahead of the rest of us so I guess we'll have to see.

Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Iron Man (the movie, not the race)

Talk about an insane few days. Let's see: last Friday I was in Chicago. Saturday brought me to Wisconsin for the 31 mile sufferfest. And for the record, I am still feeling like someone hit me with a sledge hammer - literally). Sunday was back to San Francisco. Monday was a crazy day in the office. This am I had the old 7:00 am flight to San Diego, a few hour client meeting and then drove from SD to Los Angeles with my boss (who fortunately is a great guy. Otherwise that would have ben a very long 2.5 hours!). Craziness; it will be a miracle if I don't get sick.

Anyway, I was walking around the promenade in Santa Monica without much to do and I noted that Iron Man (the move, not the 140.6 mile race was playing). Given how tough it is for me to get to movies these days, I pounced on the opportunity. All I can say is wowsa: at the risk of hyperbole, it might be the best action her movie I have ever seen. I liked Batman series (most of the them), Spiderman, and even X Men, but this one won the day by appealing to the gadget lover in me, which you have all read about previously. I never would have thunk it, but Robert Downey makes a kick ass action hero, and I don't think there's any question that this is going to be a very successful franchise. I recommend Iron Man highly; two hours of good, solid escapism fun.

The next movie that I'm super stoked to see is the new Indiana Jones. I told the Little Boy that we just might need to camp out the night before this one and if the Wife allows it and I can figure out how to pitch a tent, maybe we'll do it. That's how much I love my main man Indiana Jones.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Well, I am home, safe and sound and feeling a tad bit better.

Yesterday's post didn't prove to be too popular, especially with The Wife, my mother and my mother-in-law. None sounded too crazy about the whole peeing blood thing. For the record, I wasn't too happy about it either. In fact, I might go talk to a doctor about it.

A few people called or emailed me asking why I continue to do subject myself to the pain that accompanies ultra endurance events. I really don't have a terribly good answer except to paraphrase Lance Armstrong: sometimes you need to suffer to truly feel alive. I know that sounds trite, but in my case, it is true.

I hearken back to exactly two years ago today, when I had my thyroid removed. That was obviously a life altering point in time. I take a small measure of pride in the fact that two years later I can run 31 miles and on top of that, it's something that I truly love to do.

That said, I can barely walk, so at the moment, I ain't loving it all that much.

On a lighter note, I packed a lot in a few short days in Chicago and Wisconsin, and it was great to see so many great friends today. I don't miss Chicago all that much (it was pouring rain and 48 degrees tdoay) but I sure do miss my friends -- as well as all of their terrific kids.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Warning: This Story Isn't For Everyone (Especially you, Mom).

I preface my race report from the Ice Age trail by stating that this isn't the farthest race I have ever run by a longshot: I've done Ironman, a 50 miler, multiple other 50k's as well as seven half ironman's.

That being said, I truly do not think I have ever suffered like I did today.

I am not sure what went wrong; it could have been the flight, perhaps the two hour time difference or maybe the fact that for whatever reason I got virtually no sleep the past two nights. It also might have something to do with the fact that I did minimal training for this race. But regardless, I just didn't feel good today and I knew at around mile seven or so that it was going to be a very, very long day.

And so it was. Fortunately for me, my main man Payro is very fit and I was able to follow his lead. The course features a very hilly 6.7 mile out and back section, followed by two nine fairly hilly nine mile loops. That's 31 miles in total for all you counting at home.

The first 13.7 passed without much fanfare, except for the fact that by the time we hit the first nine mile loop I felt like absolute crap. At around 15 I stopped to pee -- and this is where the story takes an ugly turn, y'all -- and was mortified to see that I was peeing blood. Now this has happened to me two or three times in the past, but generally it occurs POST run. And it was never quite as "umm "red' as this time. Disconcerting would be an understatement; I was quasi freaking out.

I ran the first nine mile loop and felt like crap the entire time, which was compounded by the fact that I peed blood two more times in the ensuing hour and a half. For the first time in my racing career -- one which literally spans hundreds of races -- I gave very serious consideration to dropping out. I felt like crap, was peeing blood and was becoming overwhelmed by nausea/bloating to boot. It wasn't pretty.

Anyway, I stopped at the 22 mile aid station and had a brief conversation with the doctor. He didn't know what to tell me. He asked if I had any other physical maladies and I asked him if cancer counted. He asked if I was serious and I said I was semi serious. The dude looked at me like I was from another planet and said that he thought I could keep going.

And so I did. I ran the last nine mile loop with Payro, and by this point I was just holding on for dear life. Words cannot express how crappy I felt. We soldiered on and to his infinite credit, he stayed with me the entire time, despite the fact that he's super fit and could have taken off at any time. I locked on to his heels and we did our thing: walk the big hills, but run everything else. We hit the 29.5 mile mark and I was really losing it, but the end, thankfully, came quickly.

And so we finished in 5:30, which despite all of the above, is a darn good time. It took me a while (a long while to recover) but now that it's over, I am really glad that I hung in there.

If ultrarunning is nothing else, it teaches a lesson in perseverance.

That said, I think I've had enough perseverance for a long, long while.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Important Update

For the first time maybe ever, The Wife got kind of upset about one of my postings. She would like everyone to know that she doesn't need to be on the South Beach Diet -- she's only doing so to eat healthier and to get ready for the summer season.

Got that everyone? You cool now, The Wife?

Beyond that, not too much to report. Getting set to head to Chicago in a few short hours for some business meetings and then it's off to Wisconsin to run in the woods.

As stated before, I do a pretty good job scheduling these ultra runs. I could use to decompress a bit and believe it not, running 31 miles always seems to be do the trick.

Crazy, I know......

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My New Diet

Well, I am pleased to announce that I am back on the South Beach diet. Woo hoo -- just what I need in my life (said sarcastically). For all of you who don't know me, I stand approximately 5'11 and weight about 150 pounds soaking wet. A diet is the last thing I need.

However, The Boss (The Wife) is on the diet, so by some sort of transitive property, so am I.

Now, there's certain upsides to the South Beach. They include:

-- I'll be eating home cooked meals on a quasi-regular basis
-- South Beach is generally pretty healthy
-- Did I say I'll be eating home coked meals on a quasi regular basis?


-- As noted, I don't exactly need to be on a diet. On the contrary, Id love to gain ten pounds.
-- Umm, generally not a good idea to start a low carb diet the week before a big ultramarathon. You can put that one in the category of "pretty freaking dumb."
-- South Beach food actually tastes pretty decent and in fairness to The Wife, she does a very good job with the recipes (tonight's shepherds pie excluded. How can you make shepherds pie without freaking potatoes? Not her fault I hasten to add -- it's the recipes). That said, I am generally hungry about ten minutes after I eat a South Beach meal. 15 minutes after that I am famished and within 20 minutes I am eating magazines off the end table.

Will keep you posted as things develop......

Monday, May 5, 2008

All Systems Go

I'm getting set to head out to Chicago on Thursday, where I am meeting up with my main man Payro before we head to Wisconsin for the Ice Age Trail 50k.

I finished my last long run yesterday and generally am feeling ready; I wish I had one more three hour run under my belt, but oh well, nothing I can do about it now. I am without question pretty fit and fairly certain I will finish, however I intend to "race" this one versus my typical ultramarathon saunter (editors note: trail ultras are generally pretty darn slow, even when one is "racing"). I predict that I'll have a fairly easy go of it through about 20-22 miles, and then it's anyones guess. At least it's a 50k (31 miles) and not the 50 miler I originally signed up for; good to know that I have at least a modicum of sense lft in my head (though I am sure some of you rightfully think that there's nothing sensical about running a very hilly 31 miles).

Anyway, I have to confess that there's nothing I enjoy more in the world than my annual (or bi-annual as the case sometimes might be) ultra runs with Payro. He and I are sympatico running partners and without getting too new age-y or ridiculously spiritual, there's something very cleansing about a long hard day on the trails. And it comes at just the right time; I feel like I can use a break.

So anyway, this week will features lot of eating, drinking (but alas water only) and resting prior to the big race on Saturday.

Wish us luck.

And I have a new adventure planned for anyone interested if you have a moment, check this one out. Literally in my backyard (front yard, actually). I am planning on the 50 miler but can be convinced.

Friday, May 2, 2008

One Year Anniversary!

Today is the one year anniversary of this blog, something I find hard to believe. 275 posts in a year; ain't that something.

I re-read my first post last night, which was written during a very dark time in my life. I've said it before and I will say it again; it's truly astonishing how much ones fortune can change over the course of 365 days. Fortunately for me, my life has changed for the better. But I'll never forget the bad.

One of the lessons I have learned this past year -- and great big huge warning that a tired cliche is coming-- is that you have to really live each day like it's your last. Might sound like a crock but it's true.

I've given a lot of thought of late as to what to do with this blog; whether I should give it a new motif, whether I should center it around a particular subject, or, frankly, whether I should say goodbye. Part of me was even thinking about saying goodbye today, on the one year anniversary.

But then a funny thing happened today; I got a terrific email from a cousin I haven't heard from in along while - a cousin, that I quite frankly, don't know all that well. Unbenownst to me, she's been reading and enjoying this (at least I presume she's been enjoying it!) for the past several months. She shared some great stories about my grandparents that I had never heard. In a weird way, I think this blog might have actually forged a bit of a bond between us. And I hearken back to others I've heard from through the course of the past year, and I'd say the same holds true. New bonds with former strangers (hello Crazymama, one of my all-time favorite people. despite the fact that we have never met as well as Joel and others) and new bonds with family. Now THAT stokes me.

So thanks, cousin Merel. Your message couldn't have come at a more appropriate time.

To borrow a phrase from the inimitable Robert Zimmerman (that would be Bob Dylan for the uninitiated), I think I'm going to keep on keepin' on.

Talk to y'all tomorrow. And a big thanks for taking the time to listen.


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Best Beer Ever

I am completely and utterly exhausted from a long, long work day (and I expect an even longer one tomorrow). So, this will be an all-time short post. For all of you beer lovers out there, you have GOT to check out what in my opinion is the best beer of all time Racer 5, which hails from neighboring Sonoma County.

I suspect that it is going to be hard to find for my Midwest and East coast friends, but I have to say: this one is worth the trip out West. It's that freaking good.

One other thought of the day: jury is definitely out on the new Madonna album. I've given it a cursory listen over the past day and thus far, it can be described in one word; uninspired. That said, I will listen more carefully during my long run on Saturday.