Thursday, July 31, 2008

One week

So, the family has been gone for exactly one week. Though I confess to having fun -- I've had two visitors thus far and numbers three, four and five (literally) are en route soon, I greatly miss the Kids and the Wife. As a corollary to this, I am also starting to appreciate some of the wife's responsibilities. Specifically:

-- her ability to keep the house reasonably clean. Though I think most visitors would agree that the house looks reasonably clean, it's starting to accumulate a somewhat funky odor. Gotta figure that out tomorrow.

-- I *really* appreciate her ability to deliver frequent clean laundry. We're at day seven and things are getting a bit crazy. The laundry is accumulating and I am running out of vitals (read: underwear and socks). Gotta get on that too tomorrow. If I provide the model number, can anyone provide any helpful tips on how to start and stop my washer and dryer? Though you think I might be joking, I'm really not.

-- Dishwashing. I have learned that clean dishes are key. Even if you "water them down" and put them in the dishwasher, they are apt to acquire a mysterious odor. Not quite certain how to operate this piece of machinery either. Again, tips are more than appreciated.

So, topline, these are my major issues. There are others, some of which are reaching "critical" status, but I'll save them for next week.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thanks, Dad

Well, today is the day the Little Boy has been waiting for for literally 18 months; his first trip to Yankees Stadium. I am really, really sorry I wasn't able to experience this with him, but alas this one wasn't meant to be timing wise. A big huge thank you though to the Old Man and my bro Scott for taking him; if it couldn't be me, I am glad it was you guys. And I am hoping he had fun, despite the Yankees loss.

I gotta say, I am starting to really miss the kids. The WIfe too for that matter. That said, i am actually growing accustomed to the quiet. It's kind fo nice. Awesome, actually. Of course that's tempered by the fact that I will see them in a few weeks.

I mentioned previously that this blog helped me catch up with an old buddy from high school, The Rookie (I am the nickname master, by the way). I am super stoked that we are back in touch but he said something that unintentionally bummed me out; evidently he "found" me a few months ago, but didn't want to say anything to me as he didn't know if I was interested in being back in touch (I am probably doing a bad job of paraphrasing). Well, Rookie -- of course I am happy that we have reconnected. But -- that's not my point. My point is if there is anyone out there doing something similar to the Rookie -- please declare yourself.

Thus far, a great reaction to the Second Annual Thyroid Cancer Run. I am stoked about the reaction thus far. Keep the comments coming on that -- I have yet to hear from many of you.

Mad Men is picking up steam. I think I get it now. It's not about the drama (or lack thereof) per se; it's about character development, capturing the essence of a nearly bygone era blah blah blah. So -- I get that. And it's very nuanced, well produced and the acting is superb. Sure, it's boring as hell (there; I said it) but a "good" boring if you will.

In other news, the new Harold and Kumar movie came out today and that about describes my night tomorrow; will be sure to post a review.

That's about it for tonight; headed to earthquake-struck LA in the am; heard this one was pretty gnarly.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Second Annual Run for Thyroid Cancer

A friend emailed me today and asked if I was going to do another Run for Thyroid Cancer. One word answer: absolutely! That was the event of the year last year, so far as this blog was concerned and I hope you agree that we all had fun in the process.

For all two of you new readers (what up, Rookie?) the premise is simple: I pick a date, and we all use that as an opportunity to do some form of physical activity. You can do a half ironman, like I did last year, or you can bike a mile with your kids. Distance is meaningless; it's about getting out there and enjoying the day. And oh -- sending me a photo in the process that I can in turn post on these here pages. That is a "must".

Last year I didn't ask for a penny from anyone and made a group donation to ThyCa, the premier thyroid cancer organization. This year, I have something else in mind, which I will announce in the not-so-distant future. And if anyone has any suggestions, please email me offline.

In the meantime, let's start with a date. I'm thinking of shooting for the same exact weekend as last year: September 6 and 7th.

So, roll call please. Please "announce" your self and your intentions.

I'll get the ball rolling. I'm thinking of something somewhat gnarly. How about 20 mile trail run?

Who's next?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

My Day

In the event you didn't see it, there was a front page article in yesterday's New York Times talking about how companies, using Comcast as the prime example, are trolling blogs in an effort to address customer support problems. Boy, was I on top of that trend or what?

Today is day two of my bachelerhood. Here is a snapshot of my day:

-- Wake up at 8:00 am (late for me), watch the Tour de France time trial stage. Good on you, Carlos Sastre. That is one well deserved win.

-- Go to to Starbucks for coffee and yogurt and NY Times

-- Come home, change, go on five mile trail run

-- Head to Lunch at In and Out burger. For all you East Coasters who have never had In and Out, it;s worth the airfare alone.

-- Go to bookstore, saunter around

-- Head over to loal movie theater, pick up a ticket to the 7 pm showing of Batman

-- Go to pool; swim a leisurely mile

-- Go to Whole Foods, get some snacks, dinner, beer

-- Head home where it is 90 degrees; rare for NorCal), turn on Yankees game

-- Write on blog; prepare for 1/2 hour nap

And -- it's only 3:45 pm. If anyone out there has a more perfect day than outlined above, do tell.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Day Off

My wife's cousin is in from NYC and has never been to the Bay Area, so I am taking him to see what I call the "Marin Circuit": we start at Muir Woods *where a buddy of mine from high school who i saw for the first time in 20 years yesterday) will be joining us. From there, we will proceed to Mount Tam, Stinson Beach, Bolinas for lunch and quite possibly Point Reyes. These are among my favorite places on the planet and I could do this "tour" every day and still find something new and exciting. I will post some pictures over the weekend.

My MAd Men marathon has slowed to a crawl. That's because the show MOVES at a crawl. I will resume in earnest this evening, in anxious anticipation that *something* will happen. In the interim, I am more into Generation Kill.

The Wife and Kids headed East yesterday for the annual Tour de Solomon. That leaves me home alone and a bachelor for the next three weeks, until I join them in New Jersey. People have asked what I will do during this time. The answer? Probably nothing. But I will do it at my pace, and with no one hassling me about something. While I will miss them a lot, and increasingly so as time progresses, I must confess to being slightly stoked about having a degree of peace and solitude, something that it sorely lacking on my life.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fireworks at the Tour

Pretty good weak for the old blog; first it helps resolve the Comcast issue, and then I got tracked down today by an old high school buddy who I haven't seen in more than 20 years. He's doing the Highway One ride that I "liveblogged" earlier this year and he and I plan to get together tomorrow for dinner in San Francisco. It stokes me that in addition to being a fun thing for me to do on a daily (nearly daily that is) basis, that this blog has also served to connect me with so many people from my past. It makes it all worthwhile.

Speaking of making connections I am starting to really come around on Facebook. Once the network effect takes hold which in my estimation takes around 100 friends or so, it actually becomes quite interesting. While it's not adding massive utility to my life on a day to day basis, it's definitely interesting and adds value. If any of you out there aren't on Facebook, I suggest you do so; it takes minutes to set up an account (at no cost) and I think that at minimum, you'll find it interesting. And for all of you who do have accounts -- hit me with a "friends" invite.

Fireworks at the Tour today on the legendary Alpe d' Huez station. I gather that my Tour post bore most of you to tears so I won't do my typical deep dive analysis, but it was an very , very exciting stage. Props to Sastre; he earned this win today. I am a bit perplexed by this peleton; they spend more time marketing each other and not enough attacking, but it makes for an interesting race nonetheless. I think the real strongman of the Mountains is the younger Schleck, Andy. THat dude is really killing it in the Alps. By guess is that Evans will win; he is a vastly superior time trialist and I don't think Sastre put enough time into him today. I predict an Evans win, followed by Sastre and either Menchov or the German kid Kohl, who's been a revelation -- presuming he can time trial.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

We're All Good, Comcast

So, as you could gather from my post last night, I am pretty pissed off at Comcast (rightfully so, in my humble opinion). I went to bed last night wondering if it was at all possible they'd ever notice my posting, especially given that I do not have that vast an audience (though I hasten to add, I love you all). Though I keep this blog distanced from work, I am in PR, after all and was curious as to their response mechanism (or lack thereof). Anyway, I was very pleasantly surprised upon awakening this am to see an extremely quick response from Comcast direct (see comment in yesterday's posting).

I emailed "Michael C" early this morning and received a phone call not more than five minutes later. Shortly after that, I received a call from their California field operator (Sayed?) who was extremely pleasant and informed me that it had been escalated, and that someone would be at my house in the early afternoon. Lo and behold they were there on time, and fixed the problem pronto.

So, props, Comcast. You quickly transformed an angry customer into a happy one; good lesson for all of you out there in terms of how a company can leverage social media (medium, actually) to their advantage. Speed and transparency are critical and a crisis (not that this was one, mind you) is capable of moving and gaining momentum throughout the blogosphere at lightening speed.

Not to sound like an ingrate, but I hope that they demonstrate the same customer-care for their non-blogging customers. Though I am indeed satisfied - I state that emphaticaly - it would be a shame if I received special dispensation simply because I have a blog.

But I don't want to end this on a negative note so again, thanks and good for you, Comcast.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Comcast Sucks

I'm typing this post from the iPhone. Why is that? Well evidently The Wife decided to change our home phone service from AT&T to Comcast in an effort to reduce costs. We tried this in Chicago with little success so why she figured it would work this time around is beyond me. So anyway, Comcast came today and the good news is that the phone appears to be working fine. Not that I ever use it - I take literally every call on my cell - but fine, it's working all the same. Problem is the tv and internet are not working. Apparently they disabled something - they couldn't diagnose the problem remotely. The best part is that when I complained rather than apologizing they got indignant. Like I was wrong for being upset. So someone will be here in the afternoon because they evidently couldn't escalate it any faster. So to recap I give them more business they drop not one but two of their own services and somehow through it all I am the bad guy. Some customer service, huh? Any wonders why their stock is in the toilet?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Random Thoughts

Ok, I am currently watching episode four of Mad Men and it is slooowwww moving. I will chalk it up to character development, but I am still waiting for some action.

Speaking of which, and tangentially on the same subject, Generation Kill, the new seven-part HBO series, has serious potential.

Still trying to figure out why I wore a freaking down jacket a good portion of the weekend. Down jacket in July; only in San Francisco. I've come to learn that the old Mark Twain adage about this place is true; you need to get yourhead around the fact that the weather here, is ... weird. I might be here for 20 years (I'm currently approaching year three) and I'm not sure if I will ever have my head fully wrapped around the weather.

The new Hold Steady album is very, very good. Cross between Springsteen, the Clash and others. Pitchfork gave it an 8.4 and I think it's at least that good.

The Tour de France turned into a real race today less than a minute separates the first six riders. CSC team, comprised of the Schleck Brothers and Carlos Sastre looks particularly strong. Vandevelde is is still hanging tough and at this stage of the game, it's really anyones race. I think this might be settled on Alpe d'Huez on Wednesday, which would be pretty epic.

Lastly, I think I have figured out the iPhone battery issue, to the best extent possible: you just have to turn everything off (3G, GPS, Wifi) when travelling and switch it on when needed. Even under these circumstances it is still sub-optimal, but it is what it is.

Friday, July 18, 2008


I am just a few minutes back from LA (for the second time i a week!) and actually walked into a peaceful house for once; the The Girl and Wife are out at a girl's dinner and The Boy is having dinner at a friends house.

I can get used to this.

Actually, I will soon be getting used to it: the family (sans me) are getting set to make their annual sojourn East for a month. At some point I suspect I'll be joining them, though I am not yet sure of the dates.

Anyway, it seems as if not too many of you are terribly interested in my Tour de France ramblings (can't say I blame you) so I will keep this short: I am finally getting sick and tired of cheats. I *really* thought this would be the year we'd see a clean race, and I am terribly disappointed that three riders have been already kicked out of the race (and I suspect more to come). the biggest disappointment is Riccardo Ricco, who had come in second in the Giro and had won two stages in France. I thought he was a revelations but turns out he's nothing more than a cheat who had brought disgrace to himself and his country. He was using a form of EPO that he thought was undetectable, and yet he got busted anyway. Good for the Tour for improving its test protocols. I bet there are a number of other riders in the peleton who are trembling right now.

Mad Men seems to have gotten the nod, so I will kick start that show tonight. Looking forward to it.

Props to my buddy Jeff who has made the move to California fro Chicago. He's cruising over here tomorrow for the first of what I am sure will be many hangs. I'm looking forward to it.

iPhone battery did NOT perform terribly well during the past 48 hours in LA> Without belaboring the point, not good. Not good at all.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

TV Time

Only have time for a short post tonight as I am getting set to head to LA early in the am (three days after returning from, LA. I think this marks 20 trips to LA alone this year).

Anyway, with the exception of the Tour de France, and in a month, the Olympics, there is literally nothing worth watching on TV. And as you know, that's no good. I'm a junkie in need of a fix. SO, I am prepared to commit to a "series" that could hopefully carry me through to mid-August or so. I've thus far narrowed it down to The WIre and Mad Men and need help making a decision.

Multiple people have told me that The Wire is the best show they have ever seen, hands down. I expect it to be expect. The downside: I think it will require my undivided attention, which is difficult, given my late onset adult ADD. Also, it runs four seasons deep and given my equally obsessive compulsive nature, I am concerned I will ignore The Wife, Children, eating and running in pursuit of watching them all in as compressed a timeframe as possible. So -- that's The WIre.

Everyone tells me that Mad Men is almost equally terrific, albeit not as "evolved" perhaps as The Wire. Also, it's only one season, which is manageable. Lastly, it seems a little lighter, meaning I could watch and blog, read, play with my iPhone, yell at the kids, etc. etc. So, unless anyone can do some convincing, Mad Men has the early edge.

All that being said, I am open to other recommendations as well. Californication? Friday Night Lights (with a nod to Finkel)? Let me know if you have any thoughts or comments and don't be shy. This blog has been decidedly short on comments of late.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Athlete of the Year

As many of you know, I am a big sports fan. I'm also a conflicted fan as well. There's moments when I love sports and there's moments when I wish I could walk from it and move on to different interests. Unfortunately, of late there have been more moments of the latter than the former. I believe that this is attributable in part to the culture of sports, which has devolved over the past several year, and in part to the athletes themselves, many of whom have become self-absorbed, attention seeking narcisists (hello, Brett Favre!).

Just when I am despairing and ready to give it all up, I stumble across stories such as this (thank Hope!), which reaffirms my hope not just in sports, but humanity. Even if you are not a sports fan, you have got to check this out.

There's no question that Chris Horner gets my vote as athlete of the year. I'm especially stoked that it's a cyclist.

Speaking of cycling, a very interesting tour is shaping up. It might not have the "tier one" names of years past, but it's a very interesting race nonetheless. It appears I was correct in my assesment of the favorite: Valverde appears to have given too much at the Dauphine and I think he lost any chance at the GC during the Tourmalet stage yesterday. Evans is in yellow but only by one second (literally) and he hasn't really impressed. The real revelation has been the American from Illinois, Christian Vande Velde. He's currently in third place and is riding like a man possessed. I will be rooting for him in a big way over the next ten days. It would be an amazing, amazing story if he was able to podium.

Monday, July 14, 2008

3G iPhone

So, all of you who are interested in said iPhone product have probably read many of the reviews online, so I won't make this terribly long. Instead, I will distill it down to a series of "likes" and "dislikes."


-- the new 2.0 software freaking rules. It offers many improvement versus 1.4, the biggest, for me personally, being access to Exchange email. So, now I can get all my work emails, calenders, contacts, etc. This, for me, is the holy grail as I am a business user (and a "power" one at that given how much I travel) first, and a "consumer" second. If the 2.0 software upgrade, which, incidentally, is available for users of the first generation of iPhone users, I would have been a very happy camper. This was huge for me.

-- the new App Store is amazing. I have tried out three or four of the applications thus far, including several of the free ones, and if these are a taste of things to come, which I believe they are, the applications will really be the highlight for years to come. I got the MLB package for the Little Boy so I have baseball scores at my disposal; Aim for work, weather and more. Very, very cool.

-- as many of you have probably heard, there's not much difference between 3g and first generation except for the speed of the network and I have to say that the 3g is very, very fast. Again, if you travel tons like me, or require Internet access while on the go, then the speed alone is worth the price (which, I might add, is very reasonable, especially relative to the first version). the other big difference is that 3g version also has GPS built in; this is definitely kind of cool but not a "must have" in my opinion.


-- I have only on thus far - but it is a biggie. The battery life, based on three days of usage, sucks (to put it mildly). I was really, really hoping for better. This is very problematic and I have to say: if someone said it was a deal killer, I would understand. Knowing Apple, this was by design and version "3.0" will be hailed as a having a long lasting battery. I am on to their modus operandi: create a deficiency that keeps 'em hungry for more. That's how they get me, at least.

Not to dwell too much on this issue but today I unplugged this thing from the charger and used to minimally at work today and it was pretty much out of juice by 2 pm. Not good at all. We'll see how it performs when I am on the road this week.


Recommended, though I couldn't place more emphasis on the severity of the battery issue.

By the way, before I offer it up on eBay, if anyone is interested in a reasonably priced version 1.0 iPhone that's in fantastic shape, let me know.....

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Well, finally back from LA. I think this is the longest I have gone without blogging since starting this thing, testament to how busy we were. Here's a quick recap of activities, after I picked up the Wife and Kids at the airport on Thursday evening, after an all-day meeting in Pomona.

Woke up at 6:00 am Friday am and headed to the -- you got it -- the ATT store in Beverly Hills. I never admitted to being all that bright. Four hours later walked away with my shiny white iPhone. All I can say is that while this thing stokes the hell out of me (more on this in much greater detail; probably tomorrow) this whole process was an absolutely unmitigated disaster. The lines were at a crawl, they couldn't activate in the stores, they ran out of stock (AT&T, anyway. I heard the Apple stores had plenty on hand). It was *very* poorly handled.

The Wife and Kids go to the store when I was about fifth in line and were pretty edged out; they were anxious to get to Disney. Long story short, we were at the Park by around 1:00 pm, and we stuck around until 10 freaking pm. Four hours standing in line to get my iPhone and then nine more walking around Disney. Outside a few Ultras and Ironman, I have *never* ben more tired than I was on Friday.

Saturday we woke up late (that would be 8:00 am; Oh how I miss college, when the term "sleeping in" meant noon -- or later) and walked around Beverly Hills for a few hours, which is my wife's greatest pleasure in the world. Later in the afternoon, I took the kids to the pool at the Avalon Hotel (great for adults; not built for kids) while the wife shopped. When she got back she told us she literally got trapped in the store due to the horde paparazzi outside -- evidently Jessica Alba came into the same store to shop and itcreated a frenzy. Only in Beverly Hills.

Later that evening we took the kids to a Dodgers stadium. I have never been to the ballpark before and I have to say I was very, very impressed all around. Even though it's an older Park, it's a classic and I have to say that I was pretty impressed by the fans. They were quite knowledgeable. Suffice to say, the Little Boy was happy (understatement of the day). I bought him a hat, which is about three sizes too big for his head, and he has yet to take it off. That Kid really, really loves baseball.

This am we ate at The Wife's all-time favorite Jewish deli, Nate & Al's (where you are pretty much guaranteed to see Larry King) went for quick his and her run, and then headed to the beach in Santa Monica, where we spent a few hours. It's interesting to see that my kids, especially The Girl, are turning into beach kids.

And then -- we headed home. All in all, a very nice mini-vacation. I hope one day these Kids appreciate all that we do for them.

Damn. I just sounded like my parents.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Amazing Story

I was going to write one of my typical nonsensical pop culture related postings tonight, but then I stumbled upon this blog, courtesy of my friends at Endurance.

All I can say is "wow": Ian's story so closely resembles mine (except for our different cancers that is) it's scary. In fact, his non-cancer related life too seems pretty similar: lives in Marin, two kids around the same age, seems kind of driven, etc. Only difference is that he seems like a hell of an athlete, while I am middle of the road at best.

His story takes me back to around two years ago when I, too, was training for Vineman, less than 90 days outside of my thyroid surgery and the day before I started all my pre-radiation protocols. I did beyond minimal training and really was not certain I'd be able to finish. In fact, I didn't decide to race (I use the word loosely) until literally five days before the race.

It was by far the slowest race I ever did in my life but it was also my most memorable. I have done dozens -- probably hundreds - of races faster, but there is no performance, including Ironman, of which I am more proud. I will never forget crossing that finish line.

I am sorry to pass this ignominious mantle to Ian, but based on his blog, he's worthy successor in terms fo his approach to life and his approach to cancer.

So, Godspeed. Ian. Go out there and kick some cancer and Vineman ass. You better believe I'll be rooting hard for you.

Monday, July 7, 2008


Man, am I frustrated. I took in my practically brand new MacBook Air to the Apple store and it was diagnosed with a faulty trackpad/mouse. This is a problem I have noticed the last few weeks which has gotten progressively work. So, it was diagnosed as a hardware problem and unlike last time, when the camera wasn't working and they gave me a brand spanking new one, they had to send it out to Apple repair. Lord knows when I will get it back; they say minimum of ten days. And yet, this is the same company that will probably have me standing in line at o dark hundred on Friday morning so that I can be first to get the new iphone 3g. I am without question the mother of all idiots. Of that, let there be no doubt.

So I am now working on the wife's new MacBook (remember that the kids killed the old one) which is configured poorly and all I can keep thinking is: precisely how much money do I give this company on an annualized basis?

Ok, enough wining.

In other (better) this was a heckuva great holiday weekend all around. We spent two days at Stinson Beach, which was just fantastic. This was also a great weekend if you were sports fan. To recap:

-- maybe the greatest tennis match ever in Federer/Nadal. I am not so sure I am fully buying into the "changing of the guard" storyline but man are they pretty much evenly matched. All I can say there is I feel bad for the rest of the field.

-- Olympic qualifiers for swimming, aka the Michael Phelps show. What a cool dude; I really hope he wins eight gold medals. Katie Hoff is a great storyline too, as is Dana Torres

-- Chris McCormack went sub eight at Ironman Germany and still won by only 54 seconds. Probably means nothing to 99.9% of sports fans out there, but an exciting race all the same for us triathletes (or ex-triathletes as the case may be)

-- Olympic qualifiers for track, which absolutely ruled. I watched every minute of NBC's broadcast and am starved for more. My favorite races were the distance ones (go figure), particularly the 1500, 5000 and 10000. The guy I really feel bad for is Alan Webb; he goes from World Champ to not qualifying for the mile. That dude is an enigma wrapped in a riddle.

-- Yanks came back strongly and won the last two against the Sox; both games were spectacularly exciting and the Little BOy is still jumping up and down over the last one. I don't have the heart to tell him though that this does not appear to be the Yankees year.

Anyway, i am sure there was more but those were the highlights for me. Have to get back to the cheesy Bachelorette now.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Tour

I have been a tad less vocal about this year's Tour de France for obvious reasons: many of the more popular riders (and teams, for that matter) are not participating in this year's edition. The biggest news is that Team Astana, which is essentially the newly constituted Discovery, was banned due to Vinokourov testing positive.

I think it's a shame that riders such as Contador, Levi, et al. are being punished for the travails of others, but unfortunately, this is what the sport has been reduced to and desperate times require desperate measures. Plus, the sting of being left out of the Tour was eased a lot by Contador's unexpected win at the Giro.

People have asked me given my madness over the Tour the past ten years, am I still looking forward to this year's race. The answer is an unequivocal yes. I love the sport, the tactics and the racing and while the players might chance, these elements always remain constant.

I am not sure who I will be rooting for this year, however. I will need to see how the race unveils itself. I'd say at the moment, I am probably rooting for Alejandro Valverde, who won today's opening stage. I think the Spanish riders ride with gusto, versus someone like Cadel Evans who is more of the Jan Ulrich mode, and I think he's a terrific rider who has yet to demonstrate his potential. His win at the Dauphine was foreboding, though I hope he isn't too far out on the razor, ala Lance after his first Dauphine win. So, we'll have to see. But you can bet I will be watching every single stage.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th!

Happy 4th y'all. Today was about as perfect of a day as I could ask for. Started off by running nine very hilly miles to Stinson Beach, where our friends have rented a house for a few weeks. We went to the craziest parade in the world in Bolinas, which the kids just loved. After that, we went to Stinson Beach with four other families where we hung out, kiteboarded (alas, not me), barbequed, swam, played beach volleyball and more. When all was said and done, we were at the beach for just about 12 hours. Lucky for us, the weather was near perfect, except for my run to the Beach, which was a bit windy and wet.

Anyway, a fantastic day all around.

LIfe is good.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Favorite Movies of All Time

Just turned on the TV at the start of Pulp Fiction. As I watched the opening scene I thought to myself "top ten of all-time. Which got me thinking as to what comprises my top ten list of favorite movies. I'm surprised I haven't covered off on this yet.

I will confess that my taste in movies is pretty pedestrian; my tastes definitely are more oriented towards the lowbrow. What can I say? At least I confess to it.

Anyway, without further ado, and in order, to the best extent possible, I present to you my top ten favorite movies:

10. Pulp Fiction. Now that I think about it -- and watch it for the 126th time or so, I could probably move this one up the list.
9. Talk Radio. Something about this movie just stokes me; I think it's Eric Bogosian's performance, which I think was Oscar worthy.
8. Breakfast Club. My coming of age movie, hands down.
7. Old School. Funniest movie of all time.
6.Apocalypse Now. Funny, I hated this movie the first ten times I saw. And then the light bulb went off and I've almost become a student of this film. Brando's last great performance.
5. Animal House. The movie that turned me on to movies.
4. Star Wars. This one almost HAS to be on the list of everyone from my generation; the effects were revolutionary and the storyline was almost equally amazing.
3. Any one -- actually, all of the first three Indiana Jones movies. I've covered off on this previously.
2. Anything by Keanu Reeves. No joke. That dude rules. Let me ask you this -- can you name one bad Keanu movie? Really -- can you? I'm only quasi-joking about this but my number two would probably be a tie between The Godfather II and pretty much anything featuring Jack.
1. Hands down winner; The Godfather. Been my favorite movie for the past twenty years; I suspect it will never movie from my number one spot. I have watched it probably 100 times and each time is like the first.

If I could add one more, it would probably be Wall Street, which is yet another all-time classic. There was a point in time where I could recite nearly every one of Gordon Gekko's lines. One of the greatest characters in the history of (modern) film.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Album of the Year (Thus Far)

I listen to a ton of music. Without getting into all details, I am fortunate to have a group of friends who share voluminous amounts of music from today's new artists. So, I think I have a pretty good handle on what's new, what's hot and what's not. To be candid and in my humble opinion, a majority of this music doesn't really resonate with me for a variety of reasons, chief among them, the fact that I am, well, old.

But then every so often I find something that I really like. And even more rarely -- like once a year, maybe, if that -- I will find something that absolutely blows me away.

Well, I have found that "something". I present to you Feed the Animals, the new LP (if you can call it that) from Girl Talk. I am not sure exactly how to describe this; you might want to read the linked to the Pitchfork review (good luck getting through their pretentious writing) or go to the review on

Girl Talk is unlike anything I have heard; it's basically a DJ who samples song after song after song -- ranging from pop favorite to songs of the 60's and 70 to Twisted Sister to Radiohead to Jay Z and countless others -- in a continual loop. There is a Wikipedia posting that lists all of the samples in each of his songs. Check out this link when you get a chance.

Anyway, he interlaces a consistent beat that runs through the entire thing and well, there's no way I can do this one justice: you need to hear it yourself to believe it. It is completely original and brilliant. If you happen to make this purchase, trust me and give it ten minutes before making a judgement; at first it is almost discombobulating in nature, but once you get your head around the hooks/samples, you will be hooked in completely.

Trust me on this one; I have been listening nonstop for three days and it only gets better with each successive listen.