Monday, June 30, 2008

Olympic Trials

As we get into the dog days of summer, when the weather is great and the TV awful, I highly recommend the US Olympic trials, which are being televised all of this week and part of next.

Last night featured an epic -- and I mean epic -- duel between Michael Phelps (who I think is the greatest American athlete; I plan to write a fully dedicated post on this topic some time soon) and Ryan Lochte, which Phelps won in a whisker in a race that was much closer than anticipated. Tonight features track and field action, and as I type I am watching Shalene Flanagan, who, I might add is a super hottie (but not nearly as hot as Kara Goucher, who is the hottest thing this side of Dana Torres) win the 5,000 meter. There is always plenty of drama and tension at the Trials and you really don't even need to be a sports fan to really appreciate these performances. The event that I am really looking forward to most is the mile, which I think is the last event of the trials. Will be very curious to see if Alan Webb can get the job done.


I finally finished the third season of Weeds last night. I won't give away any plots, but I will say that I thought that it was a tad bit disappointing. Even a "bad" season of Weeds is better than virtually everything else on TV. Being that the leitmotif of this post appears to be hot women, you can add Mary Louise Parker to this list as well.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


I'm back from our Boy's weekend. Like year's past, my favorite weekend of the year. We are getting old and perhaps slowing down a tad (lights out at 12:30 pm everyone!) but we still manage to have a great time. There's nothing in the world like great friends. As noted earlier, in a nutshell, we hang out. and catch up and go for an occasional swim. It is freaking heaven. I wish it were a little easier to get to (takes me around 12 hours each way when everything is said and done and taking into account time zone differences) but c'est la vie.

My buddy Scooter suggested I focus more on pop culture; he said the running stuff is getting old (tell me about it). Fair enough. So, this week I will dedicated all of my posts to pop culture, whatever that may be.

I will start off with some favorite pop culture websites, for all those interested. In regards to celebrity gossip, my favorites include: www. (can't believe I just admitted that one),, Page Six (New York Post) and my personal favorite, I also really like Deadspin (, which covers sports gossip.

For music, Pitchfork ( wins hands down. It is the first website I visit every day. Second favorite is

In regards to politics I have to say that I am growing increasingly enamored with the Huffington Post (

I am sure there's others and more categories, but I am quasi-brain dead.

If anyone has additional recommendations, I am all ears.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Gone Fishing

I am t-minute two hours from heading to the airport for a redeye to Detroit Rock City. For all my faithful readers (probably around five of you) that can mean only one thing: that's right, our annual boy's weekend.

My closest seven friends from college - we are all super tight, despite the fact that time and geography separates us - have vowed to get together once a year for a boy's weekend. This year should be extra special as we commemorate our 20th reunion. Actually, the truth be told it probably won't factor into the equation at all. We will do what we normally do which, in no particular order, includes: swimming, eating, talking, maybe a run or two (by the way - still shelled from my race. Unreal how much I am feeling this one) catching up, bbqing, rides on the pontoon boat, maybe a beer or two or three and of course, the highlight of the weekend -- our annual monopoly tournament. I will have you know I am the defending champion.

Might not sound lik all that much fun but it really is and it's something I wouldn't miss for the world, despite the fact that I am schlepping halfway across the country.

So - that's that. I look forward to returning more relaxed and sans a few thousand brain cells or so.

Peace out and will try to post pictures from the road.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Random Thoughts

I am pretty wiped from a fast in and out day trip to LA. So, a couple of random thoughts:

-- I am still absolutely shelled from my race. In fact, I am actually getting MORE sore with each passing day, which is something I have never before experienced. Its two days out and I could barely walk today. I was IMing with my coach, Phil, today and he said he expected this outcome (suffering on a monster course).

-- I had the best dinner on Saturday at our friend's house (actually, it was at the home of our friends parents), something I have never before experienced: elk tenderloin, complemented by a Pinot Noir from the hosts' vineyard in Sonoma. It was very cool and very NorCal. And I have to say: the Elk (which was shot by the host) was absolutely out of this world. Better than steak. Evidently, they primarily eat alfalfa and it is more tender than you wold believe and not at all gamey. And the Pinot was pretty darn good too.

-- There's a lot of really good music out there, including the new Coldplay, Lil Wayne and AImee Mann. You probably couldn't come up with three more different genres if you tried, but all are very good in their own right.

--The WIfe and I are watching Season Three of Weeds. This show is so damn good (even though I think this is the weakest season thus far); I think it's without question one of the top five programs on TV. Perfect timing for its availability as there is virtually nothing else on TV.

-- Next up: Mad Men, which is also getting rave reviews. Season One is available on July 1.

-- Don't look now but my Yankees are the hottest team in baseball and are only four back of Boston. Must be the start of summertime.......

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Double Dipsea Race Report

I should have known I was in a bad day after waking up from a sleepless night (it has been over 90 for five consecutive days, and our house gets very hot at night. Note houses in NorCal do not have air conditioning) with an upset stomach.

I ate, got dressed, went outside to discover than a. it was already 75 degrees at 6:30 in the morning and b. my trail running shoes somehow managed to get caught in the sprinkler and were soaking wet. Had to change to plan B.

And so with that as a backdrop, dear readers, I am happy to say that my day went from bad to worse.

In my life, I have never run a course harder than this one. For a measure of perspective, it was only 14 miles, but took my nearly as long as my fastest marathon (we are talking three + hours). There were three elements at play that combined, caused me much misery:

-- I simply had dead legs and even under optimal conditions I would have had a difficult time with the climbs
-- As a corollary to the above, the course had about 5,000 feet of climbing (I stated 8,000 on Facebook but think I was wrong. Fr all of you counting at home, 5,000 feet over 14 miles is monstrous)
-- It heated up to almost 98 degrees. I (and about one thousand other runners) wasn't just hot, I was ROASTING. It was one of those days where neighbors come out f their homes en masse with water hoses.

I knew I was in for a long day literally during the first mile, which was straight uphill. Already I had to slow it down and walk; my heart rate was just out of control. And so, I decided early in the day that this "race" (I use the word loosely) was simply going to be about finishing, regardless of the time. The Wife and Kids met me at the half way mark, which was located in a downtown park and I have never in my life been so tempted to call it a day. If I had ever before quit a race, I would have dropped but I wanted to keep my streak intact.

So, I turned around, climbed the 691 Dipsea steps (that's right -- three flights of 691 steps) and ran/walked my way back to Stinson Beach.

My legs were generally ok and I was able to run the flats and downhills without much problem (until the sun really came out towards the end) but, as stated, I just could not climb.

There were a lot of other people in the same situation as me and we banded together like survivors in the Death March of Bataan and brought it home together.

I generally don't find myself at the back of the pack of most races and when I do I am usually pretty miserable, but in retrospect, it definitely makes for a more unique experience. There's something to be said about bonding with strangers; a sense that you are in it together -- and almost looking out for one another -- that makes the race memorable (once the pain has receded of course).

And speaking of pain, I can barely walk today. My legs are shelled, similiar to how they feel after a hard marathon. I am a wreck.

I was in such a bad way, that when I got home I had to lie in front of a fan for about 1/2 hour, in my dirty, disgusting clothes. I must have been pretty badly dehydrated too, but I will save that part of the story for another day (no IV's necessary though and no blood, so I have that going for me).

So, I am going to write that off as simply a worst case scenario/bad day and conclude by saying this: the Double Dispea completely and totally kicked my ass.

So badly did it beat me down, in fact, that I might need to seek revenge next year.

Friday, June 20, 2008

$1,000 Glass of Water

Earlier today I ran about the world's most expensive hamburger, currently being sold in London.

Well, I've got that one beat. Yesterday, we had the most expensive glass of water, ever. It cost us $1,000.

Here is the story, in broadstrokes:

It begins with the Wife, who pours said cup of water into a glass (without a lid, mind you) to Child Number One, who is simultaneously checking the box scores and fighting with Child Number Two (who happens to be of the female persuasion).

During ensuing argument, one of the two Children (the "who" is still being hotly debated) knocks glass of water over and onto beautiful Black MacBook which immediately powers down (for the last time, as it turns out). Powers down and takes with it all of our photos, music, financial records and much, much more (hello back up device in the future)

Wife calls me during drive home from work to explain.

Almost drive off of Golden Gate Bridge.

Come home, don't say a word to anyone, immediately bring MacBook to Apple store for "Genius" analysis and proceed to wait for 1.5 hours before Mr. "Genius" tells me to come back in the am.

Decide not to come home and eat dinner alone.

Sleep in guest room as I am more mad at all three of them than I have ever been in my life.

Wife brings lapto in in the morning where diagnosis is: DESTROYED! A little bit of good news, however, is that the hard drive is recovered and moved to disc (another $100, which actually bring the cost of that glass of water up a bit).

So, tonight we all make amends (kind of), buy a shiny new (actually, not so new; this time around they get a refurbished one) laptop and HOPE AND PRAY that a lesson is learned.

Somehow I doubt it.

Guess we will see.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


This is the year of our discontent for us New York sports fans and I state this recognizing that the Giant's won the Super Bowl, which I consider, with all due respect, a fluke win.

First the Red Sox win the World Series (it pains me just to type those words). Then the Patriots go on their 19 game run (editors note: as previously proclaimed, I love Tom Brady, who first and foremost is a Michigan man. Actually, he's a ladies man first, Michigan man second, Patriot third). Then the freaking Celtic's go out and win the NBA title by utterly demolishing the Lakers (and thereby settling the Kobe vs. Jordan argument once and for all). It's all enough to make a guy want to quit sports.

All that being said, I teach my kids every day that sportsmanship is absolutely key and trumps winning, so I guess I should heed my own words and be magnanimous about it all.

So -- congrats, City of Boston, on an epic year. Well done, all around.

May it occur again in 1,000 years.

Monday, June 16, 2008

We Are Alive

Well, I must say -- that was fun. A heck of a lot of fun. Not sure if I would do it again tomorow, but overall, a very good time was had by all; most especially the Kids.

Before I go on, a big huge shout out to our friends the Grant's and Christensen's, for helping carry the day. Lord knows I was in over my head and we would not have survived (literally) a day without their assistance. Man, my old man (you still there, Old Man?) did me no favors by being a city father. I don't think I even knew the concept of camping existed until post college, and it definitely shows. I tried my best to help out wherever possible (i.e. taking out the garbage and cleaning dishes) but my knowledge of cooking, tent pitching, etc. is, umm, limited - very limited - at best.

But it was asolid good time and in as beautiful a location as you could imagine, nestled underneath giant Redwoods. We hung out a lot, the kids road their bikes endlessly, we went to a swimming hole, we ate (very well I might add), the dad's went on a run/bike, we knocked back a few beers, we played Liar's Dice (my favorite game of all time; I am obsessed) packed up and we went home.

Highlight: it's very relaxing and a true getaway from the everyday grind. In that sense it was much needed. And as mentined, the kids had the time of their life. If you asked them their highlight, it would probably involve their love of dirt. The Wife took one look at them when we got home, made them disrobe by the front door and marched them directly into the bath. The Girl in particular was about as dirty as one could imagine.

Downside: all things being equal, I definitely prefer the comfort of my own mattress. The notion of sleeping in a tent is awesome, but less awesome when you discover at 3 am that your air mattress has a slow leak. Night two fared better though and it was fun snuggling with the kids.

Anyway, a very memorable trip indeed. A few pictures for your viewing pleasure.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Camping Weekend

Big weekend coming up; I am taking the kids (kids mind you, not the Wife) camping for two days. How in the hell I'm going to pull this off is beyond me. A little secret for my gentile readers: us Jews are notorious for many things (ability to brunch, shop, make money and much more), but camping aint one of them. In fact, I might be the first Jew ever to camp, ever, exclusive of Moses in the desert.

Fortunately for me we are going with some friends who are seasoned pros. They are bringing all necessary accountraments, including food, tents and other necessities. I have to say though I am a little bit nervous, I;m also pretty stoked. Not half as stoked as the kids though; they are going bananas at the idea of sleeping outside in a tent together for two consecutive nights.

How the Wife got out of this one is beyond me but good for her; she deserves a break. I'll be sure to post many photos. I have a feeling I am going to have some pretty epic stories for y'all, most likely pertaining to my complete ineptitude.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Week That Was

This has arguably been my craziest work week in a long, long while. I've been so busy, I haven't blogged on two momentous events that have occurred over the past few days in our household.

This past Sunday was the Girl's big ballet recital. This was held at the Marin Center, which is a big venue, and was a major, major production (as in two hours, probably a thousand attendees), replete with $22 per person tickets. She's been 'training" for this all year, mostly in "secrecy" so as you can imagine, it was much anticipated in our household. Her dance was The Bumblebee Boogie (note the costume), and it was cuter than imagineable. I have to say she's got some serious tap dancing skills though I confess to being highly biased towards her athletic abilities (though I hasten to add that others have noted the same; this Kid is a natural.

Yesterday, the Boy and I went to his first ever Yankees game at the Oakland coliseum. It, too, was awesome. To say he was stoked would be a major understatement; I thought he was going to have a freaking coronary he was so excited. I'd post a picture of this too but my iPhone ran out of juice. It was a brilliantly played game, which the Yankees won by a score of 3-1. Wang pitched great, Cabrera hit a home run, A-Rod went 3-4 and Mariano came in to close out the ninth. As I told the little boy, so far as Yankees games go, this one was about perfect. All in all, a phenomenal evening was had by all and I am very glad that his first Yankees game was a victory.

Monday, June 9, 2008

iPhone 3G

I am just now back from work; that would be a 15 hour day, but am so tired it isn't funny, but wanted to post a quick something given that today was a big day for us Apple enthusiasts.

So, after much conjecture, Apple finally released the 3g iPhone today, which is big news for us tech freaks. I have to confess that I am excited I will make it perfectly clear that I will 100 percent buy one on the first day of availability, presuming of course that their is availability. I am stoked by the speed (I already own a 3G phone and I have to say -- it is blazing fast) and the addition of GPS is a nice bonus as well. That said, I'm at the same time feeling a bit underwhelmed. This release was expected, and I kept waiting for the big payoff -- something -- that was completely unexpected, ala announcements past. Perhaps iChat availability, or a 32 gig drive -- something. Even the much anticipated Mac tablet would have been cool. Anyway, today's announcement featured no such "mystery" elements, which in turn led me feeling a little lacking. All that being said, I have to give credit where due, and the new pricing structure is very, very fair. At $199 for the 8 gig and $299 for 16, there's no thing that this thing was priced for volume. They will no doubt move lots of iPhones this Summer.

My last gripe of the day: it would have been nice if the product was available today, versus having to wait another month. I am equally disappointed that version 2.0, which was initially promised for May deliver, also won't be available until early July.

I have to say, for a company that admittedly makes kick ass products, they don't do a whole heck of a lot to engender goodwill. All of their announcements have some element that causes consumer frustration. At the end of the day, they are going to make what's certain to be one of the most interesting case studies in business history.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Ya Never Know

Sometimes good things happen when you least expect it. Tonight, I was contemplating a post-work swim and instead decided to bag it go out to dinner with some friends after baseball practice. We went to this surf motif restaurant and wouldn't you know they were hosting an event that feautured big wave/Mavericks surfer Grant Washburn, who was debuting his new movie on Mavericks. The wives were super cool and allowed my friend Mark and I to stay to check out the movie, and in the process I got to meet a number of area surfers/surfer shop owners (my buddy is a big time surfer and pretty dialed into the community).

I love to watch/talk/listen to surfers but am not a surfer myself. That said, I love -- am almost obsessed by -- sub cultures and the surf community in certain respects is very similarto the ultra running community: very inclusive, a bit eccentric and very passionate about their sport. Anyway, it was a very cool and memorable evening that I won't soon forget; much more memorable than a swim. There's a good lesson there somewhere.

On a completely different note, I am currently watching Man vs. Wild. I don't really care much that Bear has "cheated" in the past; this show freaking rules.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

One of Those Days

You ever have one of those day when you feel as if you are sleepwalking throughout the day? Well, that's me, today. I can't figure out what exactly is going on, except that I have been running tons lately (and on the subject, like a total and complete idiot I signed up for this yesterday) and I may have forgotten to take my synthroid yesterday while in LA.

I haven't bitched about this too much on these pages, but I really hate the notion that my life is dependent on taking a little blue pill every day. Alas, there's nothing I can do about it as this stage of the game, so I may as well quit my bitching now.

Couple of random thoughts:

-- I predict the Lakers beat the Celtics in five. No way anyone stops Kobe this year. They are playing awesome basketball. I have to say that for this New York basetball fan, Celtics-Lakers series, while obviously good for the NBA, is a defcon four situation.

-- "So You Think You Can Dance." Worst reality tv show this side of that asinine Tila Tequila show. That said, I am watching it as I type these words. RIght now some dude just finished dancing and now he is sobbing for reasons I canont quite determine.

-- Several anticipated records are coming out in the next few weeks, including Lil Wayne and Colplay. I am not the biggest Coldplay fan in the world -- like others, I find them a tad too whiny -- but the early reviews are pretty amazing.

-- I just bought this book on Amazon. The reviews have been excellent; I will post my own once I am finished. Looks like it should be a quick read.

Monday, June 2, 2008

RIP, Jacob Robbins

I noted in the NY Times while flying to LA bright this am that noted thyroid researcher Jacob Robbins passed away recently. I think all of us thyroid cancer survivor's -- or anyone out there with a thyroid issue, for that matter -- are likely greatly indebted to Dr. Robbins.

On the topic of thyroids gone wild, what about Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Doug Davis quickly bouncing back from thyroid surgery (lucky or him it appears as if he eluded radiation treatment) and pitching well in his first start? I thought that was incredibly inspiring.


Big congrats to defending Tour de France champion Alberto Contador for coming on strong and winning the Giro d'Italia, despite the fact that his new team, Astana, was only allowed entry to the Giro one week before the race. The fact that he didn't train for this race but won nonetheless demonstrates that without question, he is the heir apparent to Lance. In fact, he's now won two of the Big Three, and I suspect he'll likely race - and win -- the Vuelta as well. If he takes the triple crown, he elevates himself to Eddie Merckx territory, and the thing is this kid is only 25 years old. This was a very, very difficult Giro both course and competitor-wise and it was good fun watching this race unveil, particularly over the course of the last week or so.

Bet you all missed my little cycling diatribes, eh?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Boy and His Dad

The Girl had ballet recital and sundry other issues (issues being the operative word), so today turned into an all-day father/son fest, which was a great time. We started off, after much cajoling and even a little bribery, with a hike from the Mountain Home Inn down to Muir Woods and back, which my nifty new Garmin 405 (review forthcoming) clocked at about 2.5 miles. Living in Marin County is amazing in so many ways; I genuinely feel like it is the greatest place in the word, but my favorite aspect is the hiking/trail running.

As I have noted before, you could hike in Marin virtually every weekend for the rest of one's life and still not see every trail, and I mean that quite literally. I decided it would be fun to try something new today and even the boy, who I much to my chagrin doesn't enjoy hiking nearly as much as the Wife and I (he'd rather be playing baseball) was having a blast. As a sidenote: there's essentially two different types of hikes here: open firetrails, with sweeping, panoramic ocean views; and deep forest Redwood trails that in certain circumstances are almost rain forest-ish in nature. I personally prefer open, Ocean views (and then there is the Dipsea, which offers both) but I must say this one was nothing short of spectacular.

After our hike we came home, got a quick snack and loaded the Little Boy's bike in the back. I ran and he pedalled besides me and I was pretty impressed with his effort. We went nine miles in total, including a few good climbs at the end which he really killed, and as a reward I let him go off road in the mud for a mile. We were as muddy as you could imagine, as was my car, but it was an absolute blast. I took the Little Girl biking yesterday. She didn't go quite as far -- only five miles -- but this girl is FAST. No doubt she's going to one day be a triathlete.

And if that wasn't enough, we came home, changed yet again (we accumulate quite a bit of laundry around here) and headed to the pool, where I swam laps with the Little Girl for about 30 minutes while the boy watched a little league game. After that we played baseball .... and now they are in bed. And if they aren't sleeping inside of ten minutes I will be astonished.

All in all a pretty full day in all respects and I think collectively we got enough exercise to last a month.