Sunday, November 30, 2008

Great Day

We had a long but terrific day today. We started off with a visit to the Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, which is an amazing museum for children and kid's alike. Evidently, we are members, which is cool and we walked through several exhibitions, the best being the planetarium. If you ever find yourself in San Francisco, put this on your must-do list.

Afterwards, our friends from the East Bay (newly arrived from Chicago) and we went on a killer hike (with their kid, ours and two friends) nearly all the way up Mount Tam, where we tried to find the wreckage from a plane crash from 1944. Evidently, much of the debris is still intact. We unfortunately bypassed the accident site (informally called Old Plane Trail) as it isn't marked, and it was getting dark in a hurry and we had to get the kid's (and adults for that mater) off the mountain. It was a pretty tough hike and I was very impressed by and proud of all the kids We must have hiked in excess of thee, maybe four miles in total. Nothing better than a good hike with kids, especially in beautiful terrain such as this; the views from the mountain were astonishing. And oh yeah, did I mention that the temperature was around 67? Can't say that I miss Chicago weather.

In other news, t-minus one week to my marathon and I cannot wait to get it over with. I'm on the verge of complete burnout and have been discouraged by the fact that my last several runs have absolutely sucked. I am starting to get my head around the fact that my goal for this race - 3:19:59 might be unattainable. Regardless, I will put in my best effort and whatever happens, happens. Such is life.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Kid's First Race

On Wednesday afternoon I discovered that my normal Thanksgiving Day run had been moved to the preceding Sunday. Not wanting to give up my tradition of running a race on thanksgiving day, I did some research and found out that there was a cross country race in Marin, not far from our house, that featured a kid's mile race and a 2.8 course for adults.

I thought the kids would bristle but on the contrary; they were pretty stoked. Not sure whether they could run a full mile I took The Boy to the track to see if he could simply finish the distance without stopping, and he surprised me by running an 8:35 mile. Not bad at all. The Little Girl didn't accompany us but made it clear that if her brother could do it, so could she.

So, we woke up bright and early and registered them for their first race. Since someone had to watch them after their race, we decided The Wife could run the adult rae. I am pretty fried anyway from all this marathon training.

Not sure of the final tally for the kid's race, but it well exceeded one hundred. The race goes off and they disappear for a little while and when they come out of the woods, I note the boy is in eight place and cruising. I have to confess, I was very excited, more so than I've been for any baseball game. He went up a hill and disappeared again and when he came back into view he had given up a few spots but was still in 11th place. I ran with him and he cruised in much faster than I expected. I hit my watch and -- 8:12! That's a pretty good time for an adult, let alone a kid who's never really run before. Less than two minutes later his sister came cruising in at time of 10:15. That too is a great time (note it was a fairly hill course) and we soon discovered that the girl won her age group.

The one photo is of her receiving her medal. It could have the podium at Beijing I was so proud (as was she) when they called her name. The Boy was bummed that he missed the podium by one spot, but he was hapy for his sister, which was very cool.

I think they might have found their sport.

Alas, no podium or medals for The Wife, who is still complaining about the hills on the adult course, but a nice effort all the same.

All in all, a perfect kick off to a perfect day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Without doubt, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. I like everything about it: the extended weekend, the food, running a 5k race in the morning (my own little tradition), watching football, the fact that everything is closed. It's generally just a nice, relaxed day and that has become a bit of a rarity, in my own life at least.

We have a mini tradition in our family where before we eat, all the kids (I say plural in that since moving to California, we always do Thanksgiving with friends) all the kids go around the table and mention something they are thankful for for. SInce I am a big kid at heart myself, here goes a few things for I am thankful for as well:

--TrueBlood (I'm gonna miss that one)
-- the new Guns n Roses, which is good, regardless of what the critics say
-- the new Artie Lange biography, which is simultaneously hilarious and poignant
-- all my friends across the world, including everyone who is reading these words
-- my San Francisco family and my disbursed family
-- a very special shout out to my mother-in-law, who rules
-- my health -- and yours too

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Measure of Redemption

I am just back from Detroit, where my main man Steve-O got married. At 42, it was a long time coming but in the end, he did very, very well and his bride is super cool (arguably cooler than him -- let's see if that merits a response). Anyway, it was a festive occasion and we did more than our fare share of celebrating. It was a Sunday night wedding so we had plenty of warm up getting ready for the big event. I am so tired I literally feel like a zombie.

Aside from watching one of my closest friends walk down the aisle, one of the more gratifying elements for me personally was the toast I gave on Saturday night. A little background: about 17 years ago, I gave a toast for another friend's wedding, and I bombed. And I mean bombed. I don't really mind, especially in that I learned an important lesson that I have continued to apply to this day: never go into a speech unprepared. And by that, I mean it's imperative to have written remarks.

However, my boys have been giving me nonstop grief over this speech literally every time we are together. It's not a matter of when I will catch (at least) ten minutes of grief about that speech, it's a matter of when the discussion will arise.

After 17 years, I can take it, as it's deserved, and I am fairly adept at dishing it out pretty well myself. However, when I was asked to give a speech at this wedding, I knew this was my one shot at relative redemption and if I bombed again, I'd have no choice but to jump over the Golden Gate Bridge. It would have been my only recourse.

So, I took this speech pretty seriously. I wasn't really too concerned about the other 140 guests or so who were listening; again, it was the Michigan boys I was singularly worried about.

The long story short, I think and hope that I earned myself a measure of redemption. I will let Dave, Payro or Wiley to post a comment beyond that if they are so inclined, but suffice to say, for one weekend at least, I was able to put my performance from 17 years ago behind me.

Anyway, that's about it for tonight; I am literally falling asleep standing.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Economy and New Things

Just a quick post because I have had a ferocious week, that's about to get even worse (a 7:15 am flight to Denver tomorrow and another one on Friday to Detroit at about the same hour).

I don't write too often about work because I really try to keep this blog separate to the best extent possible from that area of my life, but things are definitely starting to get bad out there. My industry, public relations, generally feels downturns early, but that hasn't been the case this time around. Obviously, it has started with financial services, but the trickle down effect isfinally starting to happen. I have been through two bad downturns in my career so I feel like I know what to expect,as well as how to navigate through it, but my suspicion is that this is the tip of the iceberg and this one will be particularly bad. Note we haven't been affected just yet, at least not in a material way, but I can absolutely see which way the winds are blowing. Anyway, let's hope I am wrong. But I don't thing I am in this instance.

On a different and more upbeat note, I got a few new things of late, including:

-- a new bathroom, which is costing me an arm and leg, but starting to look really, really good
-- the new Guns n Roses album, which leaked yesterday and is *much* better than expected. Axyl has a voice like no other and it's good to hear him again after so many years
-- the New Killers album, which also leaked. Not so sure what to make of this one yet but I'm not blown away based on my first listen
-- The New Yorker; my favorite magazine in the world (though I confess that I am so pinched for time I don't get enough time with each individual issue). This was a gift from my mother and one of the best gift I've received in a long while.

Lastly, happy retirement, Mike Mussina. I hope you go to the Hall of Fame and I hope you go as a Yankee.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I don't think I have ben to the wedding of a close friend in nearly a decade, and yet I have back-to-back wedding weekends these past two weeks. Last weekend our friend Blake got married in Sonoma (alas, a shot commute from Marin County) and I had the honor along with my friend Todd, of being best man. It was a terrific wedding that featured fantastic 80 degree weather and a good time was had by all. This coming weekend we are headed to Detroit for the nuptials of our good friend Steve-O. 42 years in the making but alas, all good things must come to an end. Looking forward to seeing almost all the Michigan boys. Nana Silk, the best mother-in-law a boy could ask for, was kind enough to fly in to help watch the Kids. If you are reading (versus chasing two hyperactive kids, both of whom have some sort of mystery fever virus), you are the best, Nana.

Speaking of Michigan, this is one putrid season and it seems to get worse (today's news is that two of our young guys are transferring). Alas, there's always next year and things have got to get better.

Lastly, t minus two and a half weeks to this damn marathon and I cannot wait. It's been a long season, I am constantly tired and hungry and it's getting to be a pain running in the dark. I'm at the stage where if I qualify for Boston, great, and if not, not: i just want the damn thing to be over.

Monday, November 17, 2008

He Finishes!

Super huge props to my boy Payro for finishing his first (and from the sounds of it, last) 100 mile run. He ran under really tough circumstances (Arizona desert heat) and from what I understand he suffered greatly the last feww hours, but I never questions that he'd finish -- and in the spectacular time of 23 (that's hours): 46. Under 24 hours is a huge benchmark in ultrarunning and a major, major accomplishment.

I'm stoked for him and now that I saw a picture of his belt buckle (what you get for finishing under 24 hours), I'm thinking I want one too. Not sure if I have the time in my life to do the kind fo training that a race like this necessitates, but something I am giving consideration to all the same.

Congrats and well done, Payro; feel free to post a race report.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Things That Stoke Me

Things in general that stoke me:

-- A harvest full moon glistening off the San Francisco Bay on a crisp Fall evening. I wish I could capture the a photo of the view from my house right now. It's indescribeable.

-- Our new President-elect.

-- New (and free), interesting music from the boys at RTP.

-- 75 degree weather in November.

-- Back to back weekend weddings for two good friends (which will necessitate a bit of travel over the next two weeks, but such is life).

-- Impending Thanksgiving Day holiday; my favorite holiday of the year.

-- Baseball offseason awards and free agent signings. Keeps baseball season alive in a sense for me and the Little Boy.

-- Miami Ink and LA Ink. I don't make it a point to watch this show but it's a great one to stumble upon randomly. Almost makes me want to get inked myself. Almost being the operative word.

-- On the subject of TV, HBO's TrueBlood, the best show of the season. This one keeps getting better and better.

-- Howard Stern Show and these days in particular, Artie Lange (anyone read his new book lately).

-- A new botle of Macallan 12.

-- My boy Payro getting ready to tow the line, solo. Godspeed, Kid.

-- Visitors from NYC. Chicago too for that matter.

-- Tony Tuttas Pizza in Marin. Organic pizza? I must be turning into a Californian. this is worth the trip to Cali alone though.

-- Being one last long run away (tomorrow morning -- 18.6 miles) from being done with this marathon training. I'm starting to get a tad burnt out and looking forward to putting this season behind me.

-- The Wife and Kids, all of whom have been pretty darn terrific of late.

I could do a length of things that don't stoke me (hello economy), but trying to avoid negative ju ju.

Anyone care to add to the list?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Go Get 'Em Kid

My main man Payro, who's my good friend and training/ultra buddy, is getting set to head out to Arizona for the Javelina Jundred; his first 100 mile run. I am sad and admittedly a bit jealous that I'm not running this one with him, but alas it wasn't in the cards this year. Wasn't even in the cards for me to get out their and crew for him in the Arizona desert. Anyway, I am sure he will do great; working with Coach Phil, he's executed on a solid plan and I am sure all the training will manifest itself in a great race this weekend. He is a fairly regular reader and poster to this site, so wish him well in the comments section. I will be posting race updates to the blog through the course of the weekend.


On the topic of races, I am trying to figure out what I am going to do in 2009. My problem at the moment is that nothing really stokes me. Triathlon? Been there, done that. Ultrarunning? Short of a 100 miler, same thing (though the 100 miler does hold appeal). Marathon training? That is my current objective. Coach Phil came up with an interesting idea though: an epic swim and an epic, multi-day run. I've long wanted to the Maui Roughwater swim (around 7 miles I think) but this looks interesting too. Thoughts and anyone interested in possibly joining as my partner?

Monday, November 10, 2008


Through a bit of a surprise party on Saturday for the Wife, who's 40th birthday is around the corner. I'm hoping everyone who attended had a good time (and based on the bar bill, I am gong to assume that was the case) but I think the best part for me was both the buildup and actually getting her into the room without her knowing. Not sure exactly how I did it, but I think I pulled it off. I got video from my new flip camera phone and a number of photos that I will post later this week. The room was dimly lit so quality is a bit lacking but they capture the essence of the moment(s). I was glad I was able to do this for The Wife; as I said in my toast, she's a terrific wife and a better mom, and she deserved something special to mark the occasion.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Long Week

Just now back from an unbelieveably long week, the last two of which were spent in LA. Last night my firm put on a pretty cool event on behalf of Li Ning, which is the Nike of China. We were celebrating their deal with NBA superstar Baron David (formerly of the Warriors, currently with LA Clippers) who is a super cool dude. We had quite a number of celebrities and NBA players their, and overall is was quite fun evening. I definitely met some interesting people, to say the least. I woke up early morning after a long night to go for a run, and long story short I got VERY lost. What was meant to be a 40 minute run turned into an hour and half death march. It was actually to the point where I got (more than) a tad bit nervous. Anyway, long few days and now The Wife's cousin has arrived somewhat unexpectadely from Portland, so more tomorrow.Should be a good weekend.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I think this is my first food related post out of 401. As you could probably ascertain based on that, I'm not much of a foodie, though I do eat a lot. Some might say I eat a staggering amount, actually (right Beno?). There might be a correlation with all my aerobic activities.

My mother, as anyone who knows her could attest, is an amazing -- and I mean amazing -- cook, but we were a family of three very active boys (not to mention a father with a pretty large appetite) and we ate what was put in front of us and didn't give it much thought. That being said, much like anyone else, I appreciate a fine meal.

Anyway, what got me thinking about this subject is I just had some killer sushi (not hard to find in California) and was thinking that sushi just might be my favorite food. Which got me thinking to five foods I couldn't live without. It's a bit of an unusual list, and it goes something like this:

1. As mentioned, sushi. I just love good sushi and could eat it every day (and when I'm in LA, which is often, I DO in fact eat it every day, because pound for pound, LA has the best sushi in the country!). I'm particularly partial to tuna, yellowtail and shrimp (ebi) bit I love it all.

2. Pretzels. I am a pretzel-maniac. Hot, cold, salty, non-salty, hard, soft, I love them all. Always have. I think it has something to do with the Solomon genetic predisposition to salt. Thanks to my brother Scott, I have found the holy grail of prezels, Happy Herbert's ( Go and buy a case. Now). I literally buy them by the caseload and the hardest thing is during my non-iodine radiation diet was not being able to eat them for a month.

3. Artichokes. My super food; I eat them every day when they are in season. I've loved 'chokes since I was a little boy, and the tradition carries over with The Little Girl. I am proud to say she can devour one in under five minutes.

4. Steak. I am and always will be a steak kind of guy. Porterhouse and filets are my cut, and steakhouses are my preferred restaurant (favorites include Peter Lugers in NYC; Gibson's in Chicago, Prime in Las Vegas and Bob's in San Francisco)

5. Odwalla Protein Shakes. Ok, not really a food and in a certain sense not exactly a favorite, but I couldn't live without this (expensive) drink. They contain about 400 calories with 20 grams of protein, so they are the equivalent of a meal and they almost singularly get me through my business travels. They are the first thing I look for in airports.

If I had to list a sixth, it would probably be an In and Out burger, but they merit are so special they merit their very own post.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


What a historic evening. Incredible. I predicted a route a month ago but I did not expect it to be this big. Can't believe I can say that I've actually met the President of the United States. It was about six years ago in Chicago and boy, if only i knew.

So, now the heavy lifting begins and does he ever have his work cut out for him. He'll get to that in due time, obviously, but tonight, whether you voted for him or not, let's all relish in our democratic process.

(and ps -- that was really some victory speech; maybe the greatest speech I have ever heard)

Monday, November 3, 2008


This is my 400th post. Damn. That is something, if I do say so myself. The equivalent of more than a year's worth of consecutive posting. I never, ever, ever thought when I started this thing that I'd make it this far. Some days when I go to post I Iook at my screen and think "enough. I've written about everything I have to say." And then on other days I have three or four topics in mind. Go figure. I've wrestled with possibly calling it a day and starting a blog that's focused on a more singular subject (one NOT having to do with cancer) but I'm not exactly sure what that subject would be. Plus, I think I'd miss this and my daily postings. It helps keep my writing (relatively) sharp, which has benefitted me work-wise and hell, I'll say: it's actually fun. And not to mention all the comments from my father; without question, this has become our front line for communicating. And who else would I have to regale with stories regarding my training, dumb races, etc? Riveting stuff, I know. So, I think, to quote Mr. Dylan, I will keep on keeping home. Hope you decide to stick it out with me.


In other news, I would like to Congratulate The Wife for singularly keeping our economy moving forward. Our little (actually, not so little) bathroom project has morphed into much, much more. All of a sudden I have six painters in the house (for the record, painting all the doors in the house white was her idea, not mine. Someone has forgotten we have two little kids, But that's a story for another day), and a decorator has been brought into the mix. And there's rumor of new carpet for the upstairs. And something about track lighting. As we approach election day, and in the face of a recession, you really have to hand it to her for showing her patriotism and not being afraid to spend.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

US Half Marathon

I ran the US Half Marathon early this morning (emphasis on early; damn race started at 7 am). Didn't quite go as I had hoped; legs were a bit shelled from the last week and it featured three monster climbs. I finished in 1:42 which I guess is somewhat respectable given the course profile, but was a tad disappointed nonetheless. Such is life. As Coach Phil says "just be happy to be out there." Works for me.

I got home and the kids were going bonkers from being indoors all weekend (we had an epic rain yesterday, our first of the season) so I took them for a walk. And man, did we ever walk. We went from our house all the way downtown and as any of you who've visited us can attest, that's a haul. I was pretty proud of them for making it the entire way without complaining. I think it had a lot to do with the candy.

Tomorrow am, for the first time in my life, I report to jury duty. I postponed two times and there's not longer any evading it. With my luck, I will get a six week murder trial.

Anyway, pretty wiped out so that's about it for this evening. Big week coming up. As they say in Chicago, be sure to vote early and often. Should be interesting to see how it unfolds. I think the talking heads are trying to make this seem closer than it is; I am predicting a landslide for Obama.