Friday, January 30, 2009

Random Thoughts

Long day and need to take the family out to dinner shortly, so a short post of random thoughts:

-- I'm in on Boston. Got the paperwork today and will submit tomorrow. Forget the naysayers (hello, Wiley!). More on this much later; I have a few more thoughts on the subject

-- the new Springsteen album, at first listen, is really good. I don't think it merits the five stars that Rolling Stones accorded, but real good all the same.

-- 70 degree weather in January (today, tomorrow) is the best.

-- Spring is around the corner; sun set at 5:20 pm today. Every extra moment of sunlight is a good thing.

-- Having friends visit from Chicago and family visit from Orlando, is a most excellent thing.

-- I love my kids but good lord are their moments where they try my patience.

-- Given the choice of swimming, biking and running, my choice might surprise. It's swimming. Something very therapeutic about a good swim.

-- I've said it before but will say it again: Bolinas is the coolest town ever.

-- Slumdog Millionaire is deserving of best film. Notorious is underrated. Paul Bart Mall Cart is bearable. But just barely bearable.

-- I am hungry; gotta roll.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Boss

Growing up as a kid I always fancied myself a bit of a nonconformist. If someone was zigging, I was zagging. Don't misunderstand: I wasn't exactly James Dean, but I did try my best to go against the grain.

Nothing was bigger in New Jersey during the 80's than Bruce Springsteen. Ok, maybe the hair on the high school girls at Paramus High School was bigger, but that's a story for another day. Everyone back then was into the Boss and looking back at his body of work, these were his halycon days. So naturally, I hated Springsteen.

I never really identified with either his music or his working class, blue collar appeal which I think then -- and now -- is mostly a clever marketing sham. I mean, let's face it; the dude hasn't exactly lived in Asbury Park for a while. Instead, he's in a mansion in Malibu if I am not mistaken. I can tell you with authority that Malibu ain't Jersey. But I digress.

One of my favorite memories of high school was going to the Meadowlands where 60,000 people were going to see Springsteen at Giant's Stadium -- while I walked with a couple of my delinquent buddies in the opposite direction to my favorite haunt, the racetrack. But I do recollect people telling me that I couldn't fairly render judgement without seeing a live Springsteen show. I kind of scoffed at that statement and never saw a show -- until a few years ago in Chicago, when my man Diamond Bill Z dragged me to a show. And it only took a few minutes before the lightbulb went off; his appeal truly is due to the fact that he's equal parts showman and musician. And I also confess it was one of the best shows I have ever seen.

And so, I have grown to like him over the past few years. I can't say I'm his biggest fan, but I part of me is definitely making up for lost time. And listening to his earlier work even makes me at times wistful for New Jersey.

I write all this because as some of you know, he released a new album yesterday, which I just bought. I'm writing these words and listening to song number three and the only thing I can think at the moment, is: boy, can high school kids sometimes be stupid.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Ayes Have It

Well, that was one killer thread. Comments on that one really ranged the gamut from the crazy (hello Nick), to the sublime (Muddy Puddles), to highly logical (Gail and the dude who kind of started all this, Mr. Schultz) and everything in between.

So, I threw this decision out to the wisdom of the crowds and I am abiding by the judgement of the masses: and so, I'm in. The bottom line is that sometimes life throws you opportunity and it's not up to one to ask why, but to rather seize the moment. So, for this one I'll be running as a cancer survivor first, runner second. An I am pretty darn excited about that.

And point taken by my dad and Jeff: if I'm going to run, I am going to run hard. Truth is that was my intention all along and I suspect Coach Muddly Puddles, I mean Phil, would have it no other way. I only said that yesterday because my body is still pretty fatigued from Phoenix.

So, there you have it. Very cool of you all to weigh in with your comments; thank you much. It's greatly appreciated. I have said it before but I'll I'll say it again; I don't necessarily have the highest readership in the world for this blog (nor do I really care), but I have one great little community. And it's one that I greatly appreciate. So thank you again. I also want to thank the good folks at Livestrong, for both presenting the opportunity and also for twittering me words of encouragement.

And with that; Boston, here I come baby. At long last.

Monday, January 26, 2009

To Boston or Not to Boston

As many of you know, for the past several months I have been on a vision quest or sorts to qualify and run the Boston Marathon. If you've been around these pages long enough, you know I've failed in that quest. A bit of a bummer, but I'm over it.

And yet today, out of nowhere, an opportunity to run Boston has presented itself and I am not sure what to do.

My buddy Jeff emailed me today and said that the good folks at had a few spots available for individuals who were willing to do fundraising. I emailed them with a quick synopsis of my story and within minutes they returned my note saying that a spot was mine. The catch? It comes with an obligation to raise at least $2,500 for

My dilemna isn't really in regards to the dollar amount, which is navigable (after I hit up my father and father in law, that is) though I never have liked soliciting friends and family for causes (actually, it's something I have never before done). My issue is that I feel like it's cheating a bit; I feel the "right" way to run Boston is by qualifying. And that I shouldn't do the race unless I have "earned" it. On the other hand, running as a cancer survivor -- and on behalf of others -- feels like it is a calling from above. I'm talking out loud now, but I also think that given my running resume and my battle with cancer, I don't really have anything to prove to anyone. I could step up to the starting line at Boston and look anyone in the eye and say I deserve to belong there.

So -- what to do? Of course there's the not-so-little matter of putting my body through the paces of doing my third marathon inside of of six months. I could probably deal with that too as I most definitely would not run this Boston for time.

Anyway, as a big believer in wisdom of the crowds, I am soliciting your respective thoughts. Please leave a comment with your thoughts and please hold no punches.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The President and I

I learned that President Obama and I share a common bond; a unique bond that puts us both in rarified air. No, it has nothing to do with our Chicago ties and everything to do with suit size; we are both size 40 long. The only thing weirder than 40 long is 39 long, which is near impossible to find, short of a special order. 39L is actually my optimal size, but it's so hard to find that I orient towards 40L, which requires a bit of tailoring. The net net of this little diatribe? President Obama is indeed a skinny dude. Just like me.

I'm back from a day in San Diego and a day in Los Angeles. Lucky me, I get to do it again on Monday. On the plane home I read a terrific article in the New York Times about the Wolf Pak,a notorious North Shore (Hawaii) surf gang. It was a terrific article; you can see the video story here. I hope I don't run into these dudes when I am in Hawaii next month.

Lastly, Aunt Penny is visiting from Florida and my kids are over the moon excited. Should make for a real fun week; Aunt Penny rules.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Our New President

Yesterday was obviously a terrific day for our nation, regardless of ones political affiliation. It's trite to say this, but the thing I find most amazing is the peaceful transfer of power. that, in a nutshell, defines our democracy. I have to confess too that I get caught up in all the pomp and circumstance, too. As the day wore on, I started to find the commentators a little tedious; I literally think they were running out of things to say. Regardless though, the visuals themselves from the sundry events provided enough of a tableu. So, again, a great day for our nation. Too bad that starting today, reality sets in. Will be interesting to see how long of a honeymoon or new President gets to enjoy. Regardless, I share the high hopes of millions.

I'm recovering from the race, albeit slowly. Legs are absolutely shelled and Coach Phil has ordered a two week respite from exercise, though I intend to do some lite swimming. I'm going to use this time to figure out what challenge I plan to pursue in 09; right now, I am absolutely stuck, though leaning towards a focus on swimming. The way I look at it, I enjoy swimming, it's far less stressful on the body than all this running, I can do it with the kids, and I've never done open water races before, something which holds interest. And for sure, I'd like to swim to do an Alcatraz swim, which definitely qualifies as epic, being that it potentially involves sharks.


Lastly, any Sprint customers out there? If so, I am curious as to your experiences. I am giving consideration to switching over once the Pre becomes available.

Monday, January 19, 2009

What Went Wrong

That was, by far, the hardest marathon I have ever done, which is saying something. Basically, everything went wrong. The bottom line is that I think this was timed too close to CIM, and my body simply wasn't recovered. I opened it up feeling pretty good and was clicking 7:35 miles pretty effortlessly. At mile nine, however, my right hamstring, which was still janky from California International, went, and it went fast. I knew I was done. Then about ten minutes later, my right calf was next to follow, probably from over compensation. At mile 13 I knew the day was gone and my legs were shot -- feeling like they should have felt at mile 20. I decided to dial it back - way back -- and try to enjoy the day. And then the sun came up. It will shot to mid 70's and I learned (the hard way) that desert heat is a unique animal. First off, I quickly became parched -- parched to the point where I was becoming concerned about dehydration. It was weird; since I no longer cared about time, I stopped at every aid station and drank 2 cytomax's and one water. And then two minutes later, I was once again parched. The other weird thing is I felt my shirt at mile 22 and it was bone dry. Not one iota of sweat anywhere on my body. Really weird feeling.

Anyway, I hobbled in at a time of 3:42. My worst marathon in ten years but as previously stated, I've become zen about all this running stuff. The truth of the matter is that I was kind of proud of myself for finishing this one. Similar to the Double Dipsea earlier this year, which I ran in 97 degree heat, I gave very serious consideration to packing it in at mile 20 when I saw the WIfe and Kids. The truth of the matter is that I didn't want them to see me quit; I think that's the only thing that held me back. Lesson learned: don't attempt back to back hard marathons five weeks apart. Especially if you are in your 40's.

So, that's the story. The rest of the weekend was terrific. We stayed at a nice hotel, we swam, the Kids raced a one mile race and did great. The only thing we weren't able to do was see CrazyMama; sorry about that. But we'll be back -- my Wife is crazy about your hometown and would move there in a heartbeat. I like it too but as evidenced by the above story, I don't think I'm phsyiologically cut out of desert living. I'm more of an Ocean kind of guy.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Guest Posting from My Father

All I can say is that if you like his words of wisdom, PLEASE leave a comment. The dude really likes comments. Without further adieu:

The wisdom of my old man
Driving; don,t get too mad at the driver who just cut you off to get into your lane. You are probably going to do the same thing to someone else in the next few miles.
New car; make a little scratch in an inconspicuous place on your new car as soon as you get it. That way you won,t freak out when someone else does it.
Wife; marry a woman who can cook. Otherwise you are cooked.
Dieting; won’t work if you continue to eat too much.
Grandchildren; our reward for not killing our children.
Work; try to be the owner. If not, at least the boss. Everything else will kick you in the ass eventually.
Dentist; if your new dentist doesn’t deride the work done by your previous dentist he probably wasn’t trained in u.s.
Doctors; office staff inefficiency will kill you before the doctor gets his chance.
Competitors; break bread with them if they request but be sure to wear a cup.
Kid athletes; forget about that kid of yours becoming a super athlete because he got 2 hits in a little league game. No way is that going to happen so relax and have a good time quietly watching (wish I knew that back when).
Great deals; no such thing exists. Never did. Never will.
Men over 65; if you see a young lady sneaking glances your way don’t get all worked up until you check your nose to see what might be hanging from it.
Kid; if they have mannerisms that you don’t like (sarcasm,anger,etc.) look back to when they were young and you will have to acknowledge that you instilled these in them.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Get Ready for a Doozie of a Posting

My old man is penning a guest blog that should be ready for publication by the am. Get ready for this one; based on my early reading, it promises to be his best one yet.

Beyond that, a short posting tonight; have to get ready for our trip to Phoenix tomorrow afternoon. I don't want to get too far ahead or jinx myself, but I am feeling very optimistic in advance of this one; much better than I did for CIM. My chest thing seems to be finally cleared up and my last few workouts, including some tough ones, have really clicked. As I have learned, however, a marathon is a race unlike no other and anything can go wrong at any point in time during the race, so I'll leave it at that.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Answer to CrazyMama's Questions

Ok Crazymama (as a sidenote and before I forget; headed to Phoenix this weekend. You around maybe for breakfast or lunch on Monday?) great questions. Here goes.

Number 1: Holidays?

Not sure exactly what you mean by this one. Are you asking whether I had a good holiday season? Yes, though I wish we did more and towards the end the kids were making me mental. I was very happy to return to work. Are you asking me whether I like holidays in general? Indeed. Very much. I prefer ones that we all can share together, aka Thanksgiving, 4th of July, etc., versus religious ones, but in general, I like holidays a lot. Now here is a sidebar, however: gift giving around holidays makes me mental. I simply don't get it and confess to being a terrible gift giver. Here's my theory as to what people should do in lieu of gifts. Everyone should determine at the beginning of the year, based on budget, finances, etc. a certain amount that they will budget for gifts -- for themselves. So if I had a good year let's call it say, $1,000 -- and voila -- I get to spend that on whatever the hell I want. But I get no gifts from others in return. I could accept that agreement. By the way, for me a small sentiment -- card, note, email, posting on this blog -- is gift enough. I mean that too.


I'm not a big candy guy. My kids and wife compensate for that shortcoming, however. Especially the wife. She's the candy person in the house. I orient towards food that is saltier in nature, ala pretzels (especially pretzels). That being said, I love chocolate. Plain old Hershey bar works for me, though I like fancier chocolate too. Of late, I have been *really* into the milk chocolate covered graham crackers they sell at Starbucks. Man are they good (if not a tad pricey).The only other candy I like is anything in the gummy family: bears, worms, et al.


Again, Crazy, I love ya, but a little vague. Alcoholic beverages? I'm a scotch and beer guy. I'm a single malt snob and an emerging beer snob too. Coach Phil has turned me on to microbrews. I do not drink soft drinks at all. I might have one Coca Cola per year and when on planes, for some reason I will often order a Sprite. It's weird, I never order Sprite in the "real world"-- only on planes. Go figure. I also like fruit juices as well, but don't think that counts as a beverage per se in the spirit of your question -- does it? I drink one cup of coffee and one cup of green tea every day too. Do they count as beverages?


That's a good question. I posit: does any guy really have a favorite color? I'd have to say, if pressed, that I like black -- matte black. I like the sleekness of black. I have owned several black cars, black ipods, etc. It's just a cool color. I also like gun metal gray and silver, which is arguably one in the same, for the same reasons. It has a clean, modern, timeless look to it.

So -- that answer your questions sufficiently?

This is fun. WHo's next?

And oh yeah, my father is working on a guest column. I'll get working on the Wife too.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Answers to Mikey's Questions

Good boy, Mikey. Thanks for playing along. I'll tackle all three at once -- good topics. A bit bizarre, but par for your course coming from you.

Ok, the reason why at the end of the day I like California so much is that it's an interesting State.

It's by far, the most interesting place i've ever lived. No matter where you are: be it San Fran, Los Angles, Silicon Valley, Carmel, the Central Coast, San Diego, Fresno (ok, maybe not Fresno), Marin County, Napa, Irvine -- it's all interesting topography and location wise. In addition, a vast majority of these places are just beautiful. In fact, I would go so far as to say I've never been anywhere in California that I have found uninteresting. Each locale has it's own rich heritage and a unique vibe. Furthermore, there's a cool vibe in California that's hard to describe. Now take New York and Illinois comparatively. I'm not hating on either of these two spots; they both are pretty close to my heart for obvious reasons. However, if you go 20 miles outside of Chicago, there's nothing to see. NOTHING. And I think all of you Chicagoans and Illinois people would likely agree (respect, Melissa L, if you are reading this!). I am racking my brain but I can't think of a single place in Illinois outside of Chitown (and I will add once again that I love Chicago) that I feel compelled to visit. On the other hand, every time I visit some place here I want to go back. I think the same holds true in New York as well, except that I would say that the perimeter extends farther than the Chicago (in my opinion it extends out to include the Hamptons, Jersey shore, parts of Connecticut, and the Adirondacks) region. I'm also not at all a foodie, but have grown to love the produce, fruit, meat, etc out here; it's not just that it's all organic, it's that you can taste the difference.

And of course there's the w..........

So, did that answer the question?


Second, you asked me about vanity license plats. Simply but, they bum me. Badly. No offense to anyone out there who has a vanity plate but I find them pretty darn obnoxious. the worst is when you see a woman (respect, ladies) riding around here in Marin County in a freaking BMW M6 or other sick car with plates that read "Bunny's Beemer." Once again: bums me. I could go on but I bet you get my point.


Lastly, Mikey asked me about diapers. In what might be a surprise to some of you, they don't bum me. At all. My wife will back me up on that one. Short of massive intestinal issues (which my daughter used to boast from time to time) I had no problem whatsoever doing diapers. Now -- I have one important caveat. That was all in regards to my OWN kids. Changing other kid's diapers? Bums me. Big time.

So, there you go Mikey. I answer all these questions sufficiently? That was fun -- who's next? Bring it!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Help Me with Topics

My brain if a bit fried from a 3,000 word article I have been working on for our company magazine. I'll tease you with this: the subject relates to this blog. I will be sure to publish a link when it is published, which should be in a few weeks.

Anyway, I am running out of ideas for topic and I'm also wondering whether there's anyone left out there reading this blog, so let's try this: name a subject - any subject -- and I will use that as fodder for my next few postings. My only request: keep it clean, people. And yeah dad, I am mostly talking to you.


In other news, the new season of 24 is off to a fine start. I thought last night's episode(s) were awesome. Let's see how tonight's goes.

Anyway, gotta make this short. My dorky nine year old is laying under his covers watching a Yankees game from 2008 on his new ipod and I gotta get him to sleep.. He keeps yelling out to me updates from the game; you'd think it was the damn World Series versus an already played, nine month old, meaningless game. The ironic thing is he probably has already memorized every single play from this game; that's how dorked out he is on baseball. Unreal. And yet in a weird way, I'm proud of him.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


I must say it was pretty surreal waking up yesterday and reading about impending snow storms and freezing cold in New York and Chicago -- and then heading out to the beach in Bolinas to watch the kids boogieboard and (attempt to) surf. That's the thing about NorCal: you have a bunch of cold, damp, rainy days and then out of nowhere: 70, blue skies and picture perfect days. That is what we experienced yesterday and it looks like it's going to carry though for the rest of the week.

Having weather like this in the heart of Winter is something that never grows old; it remains a novelty, even nearly three plus years into my stint here in the Bay Area. I guess that's what happens when you grow up a cold weather Kid.

By the way, the kids were in the water for a total of maybe ten minutes. The 53 degree water proved to be a bit too much. Still a terrific day on the beach (I ran there from Stinson Beach; a terrific seven mile jaunt alongside the Bolinas lagoon).


In TV news, the new season of 24 starts tonight; man am I excited though it better be good. The last season, which I Think hearlkens bak to 2007, was pretty lousy and if they don't step it up I think this will be the last we see of Mr. Bauer.


I've got a ton of new great new music. The most interesting one by far is the new Gaslight Anthem. This is a Jersey punk band that sounds like a cross between Bruce Springsteen and The Clash. Very good stuff.


I am starting to become a twitter addict (once again, I am at howardsol). The coolest part if following tech reporters and cognescenti, both groups of which have interesting things to report, to the extent that you can report something in 140 characters or less. Hoever, by far the coolest part is following Lance as he prepares for his 2009 season. He tweets reports along with pictures and it appears as if he's pretty addicted to it; if you aren't on Twitter and are a cycling enthusiast, it's worth joining just to follow Lance.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Geeking Out

There were a couple of super cool new products introduced at this week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The first product that has me stoked is the Sony Vaio P series. Important disclaimer: not only is Sony a client, my firm (actually, my office) played a major role in helping roll it out. I got a sneak peak view of this a few months ago from my client, and did it ever impress. At a relatively reasonable price point ($900), I think this might be a "must have" so long as I can rationalize/find use for it business wise.

The other product that I found to be very exciting was the Treo Pre. Ladies and gentlemen: we finally have a new original phone, one which legitimately competes with the iPhone. I need to see this one to determine if it really delivers, but based on its specs it's almost too good to be true. It looks good, it has a very interesting and well thought OS and on paper, it fulfills virtually all my mobile needs. I feel like I have been seeking this device for a long while. The iPhone is good but falls short for business application; the keyboard falls short and the battery life stinks. The only downside to the Pre is that it is exclusive to Sprint. that's a problem.

Tonight was my last big workout before the Rock n Roll Phoenix marathon next weekend. The workout was 12 x 1000 meters, alternating between 6:30 and 7:20 pace. Holy freaking cow was that hard. I still a residual cough/chest thing from my cold a few weeks back, and though I was going to cough up a lung during this one. In fact, I just might have.

In other news, Florida just won the national championship. Good for them. Maybe one day Michigan will follow suit.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Apple Keynote and Michigan Basketball

Apple's big annual keynote was earlier today, and as reported by others, it was a bit of a letdown. But at the same time, it confirms to me how smart they are; they recognize that consumer spending is down (way down. way, way down) and as a result, aren't bringing anything that dynamic to the table. While it's disappointing to us enthusiasts -- we all want the "new, new thing" from a macroeconomic standpoint it makes perfect sense. So calm down everyone; I have a feeling that they still have plenty of cool products up their sleeve. And oh yeah: everyone should leave Steve Jobs alone now and respect his privacy.


On a completely different note, after what has seemed a lifetime, I think it's safe to to finally say that Michigan basketball is back. Our program has been virtually dormant for so many years it isn't funny. We went from Fab Five to doormat and it seemed as if things would never get better. Last year we brought in John Beilein from West Virginia, and suffered through our worst season ever; 10-22 (or thereabout). Despite our crappy year, this guy is one of the more innovative coaches out there and as it turned out, our guys simply needed time to learn his system, which is exceptionally complex. I think we have surprised everyone this year and at 11-3, and having defeated Duke AND UCLA (and Illinois) thus far, our chances for qualifying for the NCAA tournament seem bright. It's nice to see the program moving in the right direction and I genuinely believe that we will see our football program follow a similiar path of progression next year.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

New Year

Haven't blogged in a while; been too busy "twittering." I will let you figure out for yourself exactly what that means, dad.

I used the downtime of the past ten days to get myself back up to date in terms of the social media landscape. I did a lot of research, etc, and will likely have some cool stuff to report. I still think Twitter is a bit self indulgent, but I also beter understand the value. It's pretty interesting and can easily take away from blog time.

In other news, tomorrow life returns to normalcy and not a moment too soon. It's been awesome having some time to decompress, hang with the family, etc. but alas, all good things come to an end. Bottom line; love the kids, but they are driving us freaking nuts. Time for school.

I am reading the"The Chief," the biography of William Randolph Hearst, which is a fascinating read. I didn't realize exactly how privileged he was growing up; kind of like a late 19th century Donald Trump.

Lastly, I think I am ready ready to commit to The Wire. The feedback I get from nearly everyone is such that I think I have to give it a shot. I downloaded the first several episodes and will take it from there.

In other news, the Kids did another race recently and did fantastic yet again. The Boy won the race outright in a time of 7:10 and The Girl was first girl in a time of 8:24. I think they both have the gift, and I am trying hard to be encouraging yet not pushy. We will see how that goes. Right now, they are loving it, which is first and foremost.

Anyway, that's it for now.