Thursday, February 26, 2009

Running with the Little Girl

I got home from another tough, tough day at work, and the Little Girl was literally waiting at the front door pining to go on a run with me. This wasn't part of the plan but I saw she had crazy energy and decided to take her to the local track. Though she hasn't run in about a month, she starts running alongside of me and chit chatting about school. It was a great time and good bonding but I noticed she wasn't even breather hard. We cross mile 1 in 9:20; I ask her if she wants to stop and she says "no dad, I am good." So we continue to run and talk. Mile 2, she comes through in 9:15, again, barely breathing. I make her take a water break and three seconds later she's pulling me back to the track. She did sit one lap out but the last one she says "let's go dad" and full on sprints to the finish. I know I sound like an obnoxious parent but man; for a six year old to bust out a run like that out of nowhere -- pretty impressive.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Random Thoughts

I haven't been my usual consistent blogging self this past week or so; just been slammed at work. Been a ferocious week back and vacation seems like a long, long time ago.

Anyway, between work and the run I just went on to clear my head (7.5 mile tempo run!) I'm going to keep this short. Few random thoughts:

-- I am reading The Historian, a much lauded book that is an absolutely superb tale. It's a unique spin on the traditional vampire story and I am completely engrossed. This one comes highly recommended. I'd link to it but I'm too tired; check it out on Amazon.

-- Speaking of Amazon, I might have purchased a certain something from this company. Something that kind of stokes me. Can you guess what? More on this one later.

-- I'm not saying that I have the new U2 album, but I have heard it and boy oh boy is it good. I know many of you out there have a love/hate (or in certain instances, a hate/hate) relationship with U2 but to me they will always be one of my top five bands of all time. And this one IS GOOD. As in, quite possibly, there best work in a very long time. More on this later.

-- I thought our President was great last night. I hope I don't offend anyones sensibilities in saying this, but it's nice to have a President that you can root for and who is inspirational. But I do have a bit of criticism in regards to his addres: I think he's trying to do too much; his agenda was too ambitious and potentially sets him up for failure. I wish he would have stated something to the effect of "the economy is in crisis, it's real bad, and as a result, I am going to focus on X things this year. But I look you in the eye America and tell you with confidence and authority that we WILL get those three things right." I am rambling but you get my point.

Anyway, that's it for tonight. On top of work stress I've been hitting a big block of training (including almost ten hours for me last week, which is huge), and am just wiped out. On top of it, it's American Idol time in our household, which is a big deal. the kids are officially fans.

Monday, February 23, 2009

And We're Back

Well, back to reality. And boy, what a reality it was too. I will save that story for another day but man oh man, I didn't get much respite from being away.

As I stated previously, this was a fantastic vacation. Two things made it really special (three actually; the first being the spirit of Hawaii). One, we went with other families, which was awesome as the other families were not just super cool, but the kids went off and played. The second thing is that this is was our first vacation where the kids were pretty much self sufficient. Meaning, they could play in the pool without supervision. They went to the game room by themselves. They even fetched stuff in our room without any help (I think they relished the independence of being able to ride the elevators by themselves). It allowed the Wife and I some time to hang out, relax, read, etc. It was very cool.

I posted these three pictures because they captured the Kids's at their best. Generally speaking the Boy is particularly cautious and risk adverse but he really opened it up (for him) on this trip. Here he is surfing with our good friend Mark. He did awesome, too: he stood up on his second try, which is much better than his old man. Both the Boy and the Girl went snorkeling with me on our last day. The Girl bailed quickly, despite the fact that she is a MUCH stronger swimmer (I forget with her at times that she's only six), but The Boy hung tough with me for quite some time. And lastly, they both jumped off a fairly gnarly cliff. It was something I never would have tried, but they gave it a whirl. Funny how one jump can do wonders for a little Boy's confidence.

And so, Hawaii is a wrap. BUt I'll say this: so long as we can afford it and as long as we live in California, I would love to make this an annual trip. SOmething about the Aloha spirit of that place.

Lastly: before I forget, and I've been woefully negligent the past few weeks, but THANK YOU to everyone who has give to my Livestrong campaign: Amy and Bruce, Andrew Baird, Sue and Saul, Marcey Lieberman, Jill and Adam and all the rest. THANK YOU.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pearl Harbor

Today we visited Pearl Harbor. It was a pretty amazing place. We toured the Bowfin (submarine) and the famous Missouri. In retrospect, I'm sorry that we didn't pay our respects to the sunken Arizona as well.

Overall, a very enjoyable experience, most especially because the Kids were pretty engaged. I think they were fascinated by the submarine and the missouri was really a site to behold. The Wife's highlight of the day? Eating dinner next to Brody Jenner. But that's a story for another time.

The two things that interested me most about the day: I forgot that the Missouri is where the treaty was signed that ended World War 2. That was fascinating. The other thing that I found interesting was that after a kamikaze pilot attacked an American ship, the US Commander declared that the US should give the deceased pilot a proper at sea burial. I thought that was pretty amazing; even though the US and Japan were waging a fierce battle, they still demonstrated tremendous respect towards one another. Or at least, the US demonstrated respect. I hope that the same held true on the opposite side. I don't know why that struck me so hard but it did. It was definitely a very magnanimous gesture on the part of the US.

After that we went to visit my friend's Rob's house; alas, he and his family are stationed in Hong Kong for two years. Fn to see there house al the same though.

And beyond that, more of the sam: swimming, beach, swimming.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

More Hawaii

Another lovely day in Hawaii (there's no such thing as a bad day in this place. They haven't had a bad day since Pearl Harbor). I had to work more than I would have liked, but that's the way it goes, particularly in this economy. Beyond work, we went on two hikes, including a fantastic one in Waimea Valley, which is a very popular North Shore destination. We hiked around for about a mile until we came to an enormous waterfall. The Kids and I jumped in and swam to the waterfall, which was pretty fun (water was cold, but fn all the same).

On the way home we noticed that there was a big surf contest (actually, it was body boarding) at Pipeline, which is arguably the best surf spot in the world. If you have seen Blue crush (one of my all-time favorites), many surf scenes were at shot at Pipeline. It is also home to Pipeline Masters, one of the biggest competitions on the surf tour. We stuck around and watched the competition for about a half hour and it was very cool. The waves were absolutely enormous. Breatakingly enormous at times. At that. we drove up North to a hoe int he wall local spot and got some Ahi Poke (marinated raw tuna, Maui onions over rice). It is my new favorite dish in the world. I think I have eaten fish every day -- if not two times every day. My idea of a perfect meal is a simple grilled fish with a side of white rice and fresh vegetables. I find that if I eat that for five or six days in a row, I start to feel remarkably healthy.

Anyway, that's it for today. Fairly active day. Tomorrow is more hanging out and Thursday we're headed to Pearl Harbor. I will be sure to post pictures.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


As much as I love California, take that, multiply it by 20 and you have Hawaii. This place just rules; there's absolutely nothing not to like. I've been to Hawaii several times in the past but never the famous North Shore of Oahu. I must say, it rules.

We met up with some friends from Marin earlier in the day and checked out some of the world's most famous surf spots (Sunset Beach, Pipeline) before settling on a small break for the kids. I went out there and attempted to surf -- poorly. Very poorly. It isn't as easy as it looks but it sure is fun.

We are staying at Turtle Bay, which is the hotel in the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall. It's an interesting spot. Yesterday they were concluding an LPGA event (local girl Michelle Wie lost on the back nine) and today they are shooting episodes of The MTV show The Hills. My Wife is in heaven; it's her favorite reality show. Tonight we were in the backdrop for a dinner scene. In my opinion, it was utter nonsense; there must have been 20-30 production assistants running around, most doing nothing. Apparently they are here all week, so I am sure I'll have some good stories.

That's it for now. It's been along day and I need to put the kids to sleep. Will try to post some pictures in the morning.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Metabolism and Getting Old

Those of you who know me know that I am skinny as a rail. I've been that way my entire life. When I was a kid I was so skinny that I'd charge kid's at the local community pool a nickel to see my heart beat through my chest. That's a true story by the way. My father can back me up on that one.

For the past several years I've been trying like mad to gain weight (I know, an enviable problem) to no avail whatsoever. No matter what I did, my weight hovered between 145-148. I found it virtually impossible to break 150, which was long my goal. About six months ago, however, I felt like my metabolism came to a screeching halt. A few years ago I remember my cousin Saul telling me that the same thing happened to him when he was in his early 40's and I now understand what he meant. It's a hard feeling to describe but I looked down one day and noticed that I had a mini belly. Nothing that anyone would notice, mind you, but to me, it's almost like my body was taking on a different composition. Anyway, I weighed myself earlier today and was really surprised to see that I was 156. That's a pretty seismic leap for me and it comes at a point in time where my metabolism should still be stoked from the high volume of training I've been doing the past few months. I suspect that if I was sedentary, I'd be upwards of 160, which is somewhat unimagineable. The other side of this might be that my synthroid is too low, though I don't think this is the case.

So, the net net of this little tale? Between this and my rapid hair loss, It's pretty rough growing old. Guess it happens to the best of us.

Anyway, on a different note we are off to Hawaii in the morning. I've been so incredibly busy at work I haven't been all that psyched, but now that I know it's supposed to storm for a week straight in the Bay Area (which isn't necessarily a bad thing; we really, really need the rain) I've getting pretty excited. Look forward to a lot of swimming with the kids, surfing, running and visiting sundy tourist destinations such as Pearl Harbor. I'll have the laptop in hand and will be sure to post photos. You can also follow the "action" at Twitter: I'm Howardsol.

Have a great week, all.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I have to say I am pretty moved by all the support I am getting for the Boston run. I have officially exceeded the goal that the Livestrong organizations has put forth, but I want to keep the momentum going. A great big thank you to my old man, my in-laws, our good friend the Hughes and our new friends the Barry's. After all this amazing support, I am really going to have to run this damn race. Would be ironic if I qualified for Boston .... at Boston. Anyway, I have a long road to hoe before I make any such declaration. I haven't really begun training in earnest and am still recovering from Phoenix.

On a different subject, it's been a long week. Work has been one part of it, but the kid's are another. I am not sure what is going on with them this week, but boy have they been tough; I mean extraordinarily tough. I will leave it at that for tonight but I am hoping we don't have many more evenings like the past few.

Beyond that not much to say tonight. Couple of random thoughts:

-- American Idol is finally starting to lose me. Nothing terribly compelling about this season.

-- Ditto HBO's Big Love Not sure why/how I continue to stay with this one.

-- Music I've been listening to: Animal Collective, Airborne Toxic Event, Bon Iver (most especially his 5 song EP, which I highly recommend), Duffy, Handsome Furs, and Matt & Kim. All interesting stuff.

That's it for tonight; hopefully I will have something more compelling to say tomorrow, when my brain is more functional.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Interesting Article on Thyroid Cancer in NY Times

Meant to post earlier in the week about this interesting article on thyroid cancer. Makes me wonder if I have this genetic variation. My supposition is that my particular case is related to exposure to radiation (through all the dental work I have had throughout my childhood, which I would categorize as beyond extensive), but I guess in the end it doesn't really matter. I do hope however that there's a test available one day for my kids. It would obviously be a good thing for them to know. Anyway, interesting reading, particularly for CrazyMama and Gail.

While on the subject of cancer, thanks Dave M, Jeff Schultz and Diana V. for your contributions to my fund. I am great appreciative.

We are getting set to head to Hawaii later this week for vacation, which should be fun. Anyone have a good book to recommend? Any good music? And speaking of books, per my posting yesterday, my boy Beno and I figured out an easy, relatively cost-free way in which I can get a Kindle. I'm still on the fence but if we can pull this off, then it's pretty much a no brainer.

That's about it for tonight. Long day and longer tomorrow.

Monday, February 9, 2009


By now y'all know me well enough to know that I love gadget. Most especially, cool gadgets. Well, today we saw the introduction of a very cool new product, the (Amazon) Kindle 2.

In the event you live in the dark ages (hi dad!), the Kindle is an ebook reader; you can download books, including bestsellers, inside of a minute, at a much cheaper price point than retail (generally $9.99). The only reason I didn't buy Version 1 is that the aesthetics were really terrible; they didn't exactly take a page out of Apple's playbook from a design standpoint.

Anyway, it's a pretty interesting product to say the least, but I am a bit on the fence. The big issue is that I love the concept of books, and I like carrying them around. The downside: I hate carrying them around. Especially when travelling (to wit, I am still reading the biography of William Randolph Hearst; it's a bit of a schlep carrying around a 500 page book, if even a paperback version). And I do like the idea that I can carry around multiple books in one slim package. But at $350, it's not exactly an inexpensive proposition.

Anyway, knowing myself, I will probably deliberate for a day or two and then pull the trigger (I have three bad -- or good, depending on your point of view) influences in my friends Jeff and Dave and Beno.

Anyway else have an opinion or experience with the Kindle worth sharing?

(and Ps. Thank you Mr. Finkel once again for a very kind donation to my Boston fund. Greatly appreciated).

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Back to BIg Sur

We are back in Cambria -- yet again. The in-laws are in from New York so we thought we would show them the sites, including, yes, you guessed it, Heart Castle. This time we went on "Tour 3" and thus have completed the troika. We're now done with that place until the kids are in high school. We've now been there three times over the past 14 months and I still find it fascinating.
Yesterday we stopped in BIg Sur, hiked around and went for a run around Cambria; the little boy ran three miles with me, which was fun. The highlight however was stopping in a small town, Gorda Falls, for lunch. The population of the town is 14 -- and every resident not only works for the restaurant, they live above it as well. Strange place that Big Sur (Big Sur is essentially considered the expanse of land between Carmel and San Simeon, even though there are sundry town - I use the world loosely in using that word -- intermingled within).

Anyway, last word on Cambria: if it was 90 minutes closer to Marin and I could afford it, I'd give serious consideration to buying a second home.

In other news, Arod was busted for 'roids. Not sure exactly how I feel about that subject; think I will save my thoughts for a separate post. If this is true, though, and I suspect it is, his legacy is going to be seriously tarnished.

A big thanks to everyone who has supported the Boston effort the past few days; Sue and Saul and the Sellers family. Much appreciated. I still have a ways to go. If for some reason you missed my previous post, you can link HERE for more information.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Wow, Thanks

I just want to send a great big huge thank you for all who have contributed to my Livestrong fund, per the below posting. I am touched, grateful and thankful. I've tried to email you each individually and if I haven't it's because I can't find your email (that would be you, Gail, Carrie and Carrie's Dude. THANK YOU you three) and I've been tied up here in LA the past few days.

The highlight of my week, aside from the support you have all shown me thus far, is that I finally got in touch with a really, really good buddy from high school -- my main man Bern. One of those situations where too much time has passed. Thanks to you too, Geremy, for supporting my Boston effort.

Turns out Bern -- who was one of the toughest dudes I knew in high school -- is a reality tv junkie much like myself. Must be something in the Paramus water.

Let yourself be heard, Geremy: which shows are you into?

In other news, I have no news. For now, anyway. I might tomorrow when we get back to San Francisco. Rumor has it we're headed back to Hearst Castle this weekend with my in-laws, who are coming to visit. So I'll be sure to post even more pictures.

Thanks again, y'all. And please note that if this is the first time you've been to this site in a while, please see my posting below!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

World Cancer Day And Solicitation To Help Support My Boston Effort

Today has been an interesting "cancer" day to say the least. Enough so that I thought it a good time to formally kick off my Boston Marathon/Team Livestrong fundraising effort.

First, I woke up to a really nice email from Paul Schaye, asking how I was doing. I blogged about Paul in the past but he's one of my heroes: he's a cancer survivor (a "thriver" in his parlance, which I like) who has defied great odds. He's one tough dude. And he is also one hell of an endurance athlete. If you have a few free moments, stop by and visit Paul's blog; his story is beyond inspirational.

I then had breakfast with a friend and former client who told me about his father's travails with cancer. And then I came to the office and learned that today is World Cancer Day.

I took these three events as a sign from above that today is the right time to kickstart my fundraising campaign for Team Livestrong.

Those of you who read this are mostly "regulars" and know me pretty well, so please bear with me in the next few paragraphs as I recap my story. I am also going to send out a blast email to other contacts later today that links to this site. To them I say hello and thanks for taking the time to visit and read this post.

Those who know me know that I am a thyroid cancer survivor and my wife is a cervical cancer survivor. You might also be aware that over the years, I've done hundreds of races.

Until today, however, I have never raced as a part of a formal fundrasing "team" (i.e. Team in Training, Team Lymphoma, etc) NOT because I don't believe in these causes (I do), but because I wanted to save my own effort for a cause that was near and dear to my heart.

Well, that time has finally arrived.

For the past decade or so, I've been on a vision quest of sorts to qualify for Boston. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I've accomplished most challenges set before me in life, but this one has thus far proven elusive. In fact, I've failed two times in the past six weeks! Though disappointing, this is something I can live with and if nothing else it has reinforced to me the lesson that nothing in life that's hard comes easy.

And then, less than a week ago and virtually out of nowhere, I was selected to participate in Boston as a member of Team Livestrong.

I deliberated for some time as to whether this was a "fair" way for me to run Boston but at the end of the day, my decision making process came down to this: if my personal fundraising effort could help ONE person either overcome or possibly avoid getting cancer, or if it could bring us one inch closer towards finding a cure, well, that far outweighed something as comparatively trivial as being hung up on a qualifying time.

And so with that, I'm in, and I am very proud to be representing Team Livestrong. But I could really use your help. I want to make a difference and I'd like to exceed the fundraising goal that was put before me. Because this one is personal for me, on so many levels.

I recognize that we live in difficult economic times and it's with reticence that I beg your iundulgence for a contribution. But every little bit truly does make a difference, and there's no one out there fighting the good fight against cancer harder than the Livestrong organization. Please know that your monies will be put to good use and please don't feel obligated to give more than you are able; every little bit helps. And for whatever it's worth, I, too, will be making a contribution.

Thank you for helping me in my quest; it will definitely provide even greater motivation. And thank you for taking the time to read through this very long post!

Click HERE for a link to my personalized Livestrong fundraising site. As you will note, it's pretty easy to make a donation. Checks are welcome too; hit me with an email offline (howard.solomon@gmail) for details.

Again, thank you. And LIVESTRONG!

Monday, February 2, 2009

TV Ratings

I'm bone tired from work and working out (2 week post Phoenix marathon hiatus is officially over) so a lite post tonight. Before I get into it, was that some Super Bowl or what? I was rotting hard for Arizona. WHile they definitely showed mettle, you have to give credit where credit is due; Pittsburgh showed an awful lot of heart. I like that they feature two Michigan guys as well -- Foote and Woodley, who had a great game, whereas Arizona has only Steve Breaston, who also played pretty well.

Anyway, back to TV:

24: A-

Great comeback for Jack Bauer and company. I'm hooked yet again.

Big Love: C-

I don't know -- I'm on the verge of giving up. The acting is good but it is so slow moving and nuanced. Not a good combination for us folks with ADD.

American Idol: B+

Still the most entertaining show on TV. I'd give it an A or A- but the jury is still out on that new judge. Anyone have any thoughts on AI?

Fringe: B

Not bad and quasi entertaining but they need to start melding the individual episodes so that they start representing something bigger. Kind of like Lost. Only I don't watch Lost so what do I know.

The Office: B

Last night's Super Bowl episode was .. just ok. I think it's starting to get a tad formulaic. Still pretty darn funny though.

Bromance: F-

Worst show in television history. Unwatcheable. And yet, The Wife loves it. Go figure.