Sunday, January 31, 2010

Dropping In

If you are a 10 year old boy living in Northern California it's almost your duty and obligation to skate. I have to say that the Little Boy is digging it and is getting pretty good in the process. He's still a little bit afraid to drop in off the half pipe. Frankly, I would be too. No way to do this regularly without a wicked wipe out or two - or three.

Posted via email from Howard Solomon

Saturday, January 30, 2010

High Tide in Mill Valley

This is one of the coolest high tides I've ever seen; it came in inside of a half hour and as you can see completey covered large areas of ground.

Posted via email from Howard Solomon

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Random Musings

Ok, my longer form thoughts on the iPad is available at Check if out if you are interested. Otherwise, enough on that; think this topic might not exactly be resonating here.

Reading a great climbing book - K2L Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain. Two genres of books I can't get enough of: mountain climbing (which is ironic, since I don't climb) and military leadership. At my bother Neil's recommendation, I recently read another great book: The Last Resort: A Memoir of Zimbabwe. It was a terrific read, especially if you like travelogues.


Listening to some great music too, including Brian Jonestown Massacre, Four Tet, Beach House, Delphic, The Hot Rats, Owen Pallett, Sons and Daughters and Washed Out. All are quite good.


My ankle is simply not getting any better. It is frankly getting a bit disconcerting. Thankfully, I have been swimming like mad. Swimming is good for my mental condition, which has been put to the test of late. This is the craziest January I have ever experienced; if my entire year moves at this pace it is going to be a long year. Enough of that.


So far so good on American Idol. That show, particularly the early episodes, never ceases to entertain.

So far, not so good on 24. I think it might have finally jumped the shark.

Watching Fringe as I type and really not sure why. This show goes nowhere.

Ditto, Big Love.

And lastly: where are thou, Jersey Shore?!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

All Hail the Apple iPad

So, you are all probably waiting with bated breathe for my verdict on the new iPad, right? Right??!

Well, a couple of brief thoughts, because I just got home from work and am pretty exhausted. I intend to write much more and in depth about this on Tech Dork. Bottom line: I am getting one. In all likelihood, the 32 gig, 3g version. Even though I am not convinced that 3g is entirely necessary for this product. I'll save that diatribe for later though.

Am I excited? Absolutely. After all, I am a Tech Dork. I love innovative, cool new products and this certainly fits the bill. Am I iPhone level excited along the lines of how I felt in 2007? No, I am not. Because the iPhone was massively game changing and I knew the impact it would have on my personal and professional life. This is more of a very cool toy that I am lucky I can afford. And if I couldn't afford it, it would be ok, because it doesn't really bring new functionality to the table that I already don't have between my MacBook Air, iPhone and Kindle. 

So, I'm excited. Very excited, actually. I wish it was here sooner than April, but I can live with that (like I have a choice). I also think it's one of these products that you really need to experience and that it's much cooler once it's in your hand. 

So, I'm in. How about you all? Any topline thoughts?

Dad -- you getting one?

Posted via email from Howard Solomon

Monday, January 25, 2010

Apple Tablet

This post is probably best served on TechDork but thought I would post it here all the same. So, Apple Tablet-mania is officially at fever pitch. I have to confess: I've dreamed about it two night in a row. I used to dream about girl;s now I dream about technology products. So be it.

Anyway, there's no question where I will be on Wednesday am from 10-11 am PST - in my office in LA (where I'll be for work the next two days) glued to the damn computer. I think this just might the most anticipated product offering of all time, and I include the iPhone launch.

Anyway, just by show of hands:

1. who of you out there is actually interested in this news?
2. If you are, what are your predictions regarding product features?
3. Anyone plan to buy one?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

360 Degree View

I never take for granted how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful part of the world. This is a video from the top of the "hill" (it is a bit bigger than that) that sits right outside our house. It gives you a good perspective to both our views -- and our peculiar winter weather, which has been rather gnarly these past few weeks. Suffice to say, there's not too much talk about drought conditions, unlike during our comparatively mild winter in 2009.

Posted via email from Howard Solomon

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Few Pictures

A few pictures from a little mini hike we took tonight at around sunset. It was a classic January in Marin; a cross between sun and some of the largest, most ominous looking rain clouds I have ever seen. Unfortunately, iPhone quality pictures don't really do this scene much justice. One of those "you had to be there" moments.

Posted via email from Howard Solomon

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Meh, for the "uninformed" is the word du jour on the Internet. It signifies just what you'd think: blase, middling, non excited/inspired. It also perfectly describes my mood these days. For starters, we've been having an absolutely epic rain this week. I think we have received 20 inches over the past four days. It's been non stop. It's kept me (and the kids) up two night in a row and I'm simply exhausted. To top it off, I'm working on a big project at work that ha been consuming every waking hour.

So, that's that. On the good news front, no breaks or ligament damage on the ankle. It's just a severe sprain. I started physical therapy today and I am hopeful that fingers crossed I can start running again in about ten days.

Lastly, its high season for TV. Shows I am most excited about are the return of Big Love, 24 and of course, American Idol. ANd if y'all haven't yet caught Modern Family, I suggest you do, pronto. Best new show on TV.

Over and out for now.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Not Much to Report

Not a whole heck of a lot to report these past few days:

-- we are getting a biblical rain here in NorCal. Between now and the end of the week, total accumulation is supposed to be around 15 inches. Guess we don't have to be concerned about a drought this year, which is a good thing.

-- my Jets upset the Chargers yesterday and are playing for the AFC championships. I think Sunday's game will be tough but if I were the Colt's I would not underestimate the Jets. This is a markedly different team than Jet's teams of the past, oh -- 25 years or so.

-- I got an MRI on my foot yesterday morning. I think everyone is closed for MLK Day, so results either later today but more likely, tomorrow. Damn ankle has not got any any better (or worse) for the last three weeks and is still swollen. This injury is seriously crimping my style. I shouldn't - and won't complain because as I have mentioned before, this entire episode could have been a *lot* worse but not being able to run. Man -- that's the worst possible punishment for a guy like me.

-- Oh one other thing: Jack is back. As in Bauer. Two shows that simply never get old for me personally: 24 and American Idol. So at least I have those going for me.

That's about it for now.

Friday, January 15, 2010

New Pool

The new pool at our local high school opened last week. Loca Folks have been waiting for this literally for years and all I can say is that it does not disappoint. Having a pool like this less than two miles from my house stokes me more than you know. What doesn't stoke me? Swimming outside in 48 degree evenings. I still haven't been able to run since my accident so the timing for this opening has been really great.

Posted via email from Howard Solomon

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Wow. The pictures that are making CNN tonight are literally beyond belief. I am not quite certain I've never seen devastation quite like this. These poor Haitians; they simply cannot catch a break. Watching the impact of a quake like that hits hard here too, because you can't help but think that could one day be us. We felt a 4.9 and a 4.6'er last week and it makes you think whether our fault line(s) are ready to blow too.

Anyway, one easy way to help is to text 90999 and type "Haiti"; they will charge $10 to your cell bill that will go directly to Red Cross International Relief.

I was real proud of my kids tonight, too. They went into their piggybank to give money to Haiti. I thought that was pretty darn cool.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

American Idol Returns

I'm sitting in a hotel room in LA watching the season premier of American Idol. And i have only one question: is there anyone out there in our little community that doesn't like this show/. I mean -- it's just so damn entertaining, particularly these early episodes that focus more on the "bad" versus "good". Sure it's ridiculous, sure it's getting a tad bit old, sure it's corny as hell, but it never ceases to entertain. I'll say this though; once Simon leaves after this season, it's going to be over. He's the glue that keeps it all together and there is no one can assume his role.


In other news, crazy days in the world of college football. All the buzz here in LA is over Coach Carroll's departure and the hiring of Lane Kiffin. I am shocked that Carroll left for the NFL, though it's clear that he read the tea leaves and saw NCAA sanctions in his future. And Kiffin? Man. I *really* don't get that pick. I thought he was a train wreck at Tennessee last year and I simply don't understand the ascendancy of his career. I think this might be a rare instance where AL David might be right. Of course, now that I am on the record saying that, watch him go 12-0 next year. I do think his schtick will player better here than it will it mid America (Tennessee). Anyway, time will tell.

Posted via email from Howard Solomon

Monday, January 11, 2010

What I am Listening To

Not enough time to post tonight -- gotta get ready fro the first trip of the New Year (to LA of course) and have been super busy with work. Haven;t posted much about music, but I have been listening to some cool music of late that I would recommend, including:

-- new Spoon (not out yet)
-- new Vampire Weekend that debuted today but that I have had for a, uhh, little while. This one I'm not entirely sure of yet. I think these dudes might annoy me but they do have some catch songs.
-- new Massive Attack
-- new Broken Bells. Don't think this one is out yet either, but I *really* like it. It's the singer from the Shin's partnered with Danger Mouse. Somehow, it really works.
-- New Midlake. I need to listen to this quite a bit more, so will reserve judgement for now, though I do like this band a lot.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


As you all know, I write a lot about my two favorite teams: Michigan and the Yankees (they aren't necessarily my favorite in that particular order -- especially these days). My other two favorites, the Jets and the Knicks -- receive a lot less fanfare.

I will confess to being a less than avid NFL fan these past few years, from a viewing perspective. The problem is that I can only dedicate so much time to football, so something has to give. And that something, sadly, is NFL, though I do track statistics, how teams are faring. etc. And certainly, I do catch the occasional game. And I do watch the playoffs.

The other reason that my interest in the NFL has waned is that my team, the Jets, have historically sucked. They have to be counted among the most hapless and perhaps even cursed franchises of all time.

But that being said, we are playing some mighty fine football and look like a team that is peaking at exactly the right moment. We play nasty defense. Our offensive line is the best in the game. Our coach is fiery (which is what I think this team has needed) and has the biggest belly I have ever seen. And we have a budding star at QB who after a rocky rookie season might be coming into his own. All of a sudden, things are getting pretty interesting.

We might lose next week against San Diego, but I think we have a very good shot. The Chargers should not take us lightly. Either way, unlike my Wolverines, they have ended the season on a very high note and the season has been a success. For once, the future indeed looks promising.

I'll end this post with this; one of the greatest chants in all of sports:


Thursday, January 7, 2010

BCS Game

The Big News tonight was/is the BCS game (of which there is still two minutes on the clock as I type). Two great programs playing a great game. Props to Alabama for being "back" and big ups to the Longhorns too for a noble rally led by a Freshman QB. This is college football the ay it is supposed to be played. My only wish? Next year, may it be Michigan. Doubtful, I know, but that is the beautiful thing about sports. One never knows. And a man can dream, can't he?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ankle Update

Yesterday when I woke up my ankle was really hurting; the worst since the accident last Tuesday. I looked at it carefully and I noticed it was quite swollen -- and black and blue. Thanks to Coach Phil I found a sports podiatrist, who I saw today. She said there was a "considerable" amount of swelling and said she needed to do an ankle and foot MRI to be able to assess the damage. The MRI will likely be on Friday. She said it didn't look like it was a "surgical" situation (gulp -- I never even considered that) but she thought their was likely ligament damage. Even in a best case scenario - simply soft tissue damage - she very strongly suggested no running for at least 3-4 weeks. That is officially the longest I have ever been knocked out of the running box. I guess I see a lot of weight lifting and swimming in my future (both podiatrist approved).

I am bummed. I am also growing increasingly pissed at the driver that caused this accident. Enough so that I am reaching out to lawyers. I am not litigious by nature, but now that the bills are accumulating, I guess I have to look at all options.

Anyway, I am bummed, though I recognize that this entire situation could have been far, far worse. I'll lick my wounds tonight (so to speak) and tomorrow I hit the pool.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Nice Phone Google, But Next Time Think About Borrowing a Page From Apple's Playbook

I try not to cross post too much between here and my TechDork blog, which I purposefully created so as to not bore you all to tears with my love for all things gadget-related, but what the heck: this was a fairly major product announcement today. I promise not to write about technology until the 26th or 27th, which appear to be the likely dates for Apple's big Tablet announcement.

Anyway, here goes, courtesy of TechDork:

Those who know me know that I love a good launch of a cool new technology product. I am generally watching the launch announcement as it is being live blogged, and if the product is decent enough (and it generally is if I am taking the time out of my busy day to actually watch a live blog) by the end I am pining to make a purchase. Or at minimum, I'm making myself crazy thinking about it.

And funny enough, that didn't occur today as I watched the debut of the Google phone, aka the Nexus One. Don't get me wrong; I think it's a terrific product and if I was a T-Mobile customer, for $179 my order would already be placed. But once the press conference was over I went about my business and didn't at all think about switching over from AT&T to T-Mobile (unlike the Droid announcement, when I came *very* close to making the switch to Verizon).

I think part of the reason for my apathy was that today's announcement was severely lacking excitement; virtually every detail about the unit had already been leaked, from products specs to pricing. There wasn't a single "one more thing" type of moment. In a nutshell, it was anticlimactic.

And from a PR perspective, that is where Google and Apple seem to differ greatly. Theatrics -- which Apple has obviously mastered -- are an important part of the game. And I'd suggest to Google that if they are in the hardware business -- and by all appearances, they are, as of today -- they should take a much keener look at Apple's playbook. Because somewhere in Cupertino, I am sure that the Big Guy is smirking to himself and thinking "that's all you got. Really?" And you can be certain that there's going to be a very big difference in terms of surprises between what was announced today and what Apple has planned for January 26th

All that being said, while the gap keeps getting tighter, I still think the iPhone is superior to Android from a tech and spec perspective. But Android is literally moving at warp speed and I expect them to catch up much sooner (technology and market share wise) than I originally thought possible.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Yeah or Nay?

As some of you, my all-time favorite band is The Clash. 30 years later and I still listen to them regularly. So, imagine my surprise when I saw that one of my favorite brands of all-time, Converse, was putting out a limited edition Clash sneaker.

My only problem? I still can't figure out whether they are cool. And if so, which of the three do you all like best? Would appreciate your thoughts on this very important manner.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Few Pictures From the Break

Posted via email from Howard Solomon

Cool Technologies

I am thinking that this is a post best served by my other site, but following is my list of technologies that I am most excited about in 2010:

1. The Apple Tablet

Between my iPhone and MacBook Air, I'm not certain what need the Tablet fulfills, but really, it doesn't matter. I might as well put an order in for that puppy now. Ain't no way I won't be standing on line for this one.

2. Android

I love my iPhone (the iPhone itself -- not AT&T's crappy service) but I am genuinely excited about giving Android a shot. This Google Nexus One looks like it might be the one too; let's hope that Google surprises us on Tuesday and makes it available on AT&T, along with T-Mobile. Speaking of AT&T, I am at wits end with their horrible service. If Android keep evolving at its recent pace, there's more than a decent chance I am going to change to Verizon. 

3. Sonos S5

I'm not sure what's held me back from purchasing this already. I need a new music system in my house (one of my children appears to have destroyed one of my existing speakers) and this seems to fit the bill nicely: goods sound, it's portable and it leverages my itunes library. For $499 all in, it's also a heck of a lot less expensive than most of the speakers I have been looking at, too.

4. More Cool Apps

I'm more into cool apps these days than their respective platforms. I love discovering new, cool, well thought through apps (think Facebook Instapaper, Tweetie and Kindle as examples) and expect to see some exciting developments on this front in 2010.  


I think there is real potential here that goes beyond Foursquare; this is a nascent market that is going to unquestionably see a lot of interesting activity.

Posted via email from Howard Solomon

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Top Books of 2009

I am a pretty avid reader, though for the past few years I have been gravitating more towards magazines and newspapers, opposed to books. Once I bought a Kindle back in April, I made it a personal goal in 2009 to read at least a book a month. I think the final tally was about 14, which isn't bad given the time constraints in my life. Following is a look at my Top Five.

5. The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon

This was part travelogue, part history and from what I understand, it got sanctioned as a movie that will star Brad Pitt. It was a very enjoyable read all the way through.

4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

I generally don't have the time for fiction anymore but at my brother's insistence, I bought this one and it did not disappoint (although its successor, the Girl Who Played with Fire was a bit of a letdown). An old fashioned page turner that you simply can't stop reading.

3. The Fourth Star: four Generals and the Epic Struggle for the Future of the United States Army
I am borderline obsessed with any book having to do with the military and I am particularly drawn to books about military leadership. You can learn a lot of lessons from the military that apply to modern business. This is a fascinating account of the four generals who led Iraq building up to the Surge.

2. Farm City

A witty account of a woman who works to create an organic farm out of an abandoned lot in downtown Oakland. Equal parts funny, entertaining and educational.

1. Born to Run. A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

You had to have seen this coming, right? The truth is, this would have been my favorite book of the year even if I wasn't an ultrarunner. I have long been interested in eclectic subcultures and us ultrarunners certainly fit the bill. That was a fascinating story and the only book I read this year where I was dreading the ending -- only because I was enjoying it that much. I have been buying it as a holiday gift for both runners and non-runners alike.

Posted via email from Howard Solomon

Friday, January 1, 2010

Favorite Events of the Year

While I am on the topic of lists (see post below) following is a list of my own favorite "events" (defined loosely) in 2009.

7. The Little Boy's Baseball Games

The Little Guy loves to play baseball and I love to watch him. Every time he comes to bat I gt nervous on his behalf. Sometimes he strikes out, sometimes he gets a hit but one thing never changes: his love for the game.

6. The Little Girl's Swim Meets

I learned that swim meets are a pain in the ass. You stand around for upwards of five hours to watch your Kid swim for the better part of two minutes (literally). But it doesn't matter; I enjoyed them so much and can't wait for this season. It's a bonus that the Little Girl can *really* swim. What I really love is how much she just loves the water. Her eyes literally light up when she sees the pool.

5. California Road Trip.

As a family, we travel a ton. This year we were fortunate enough to go to Hawaii and Mexico and both of those were epic, awesome vacations. I loved each minute of both. But there is something about our annual SF to LA trip -- maybe because it is becoming a family tradition -- that I really treasure. Of course, getting hit by a car made this one truly unique and memorable.

4. Running Boston Marathon.

-- While I was disappointed in my race/time, Boston was meaningful me in a personal way as I was running on behalf of Team Livestrong. That, coupled with the fundraising component and all the support I received from you all was far more important than time. I greatly enjoyed the overall experience, the course and the tradition and having my parents there on top of everything else was a terrific bonus.

3. Swimming Alcatraz with my Boy Dave

Alcatraz was the first race I have done in a long while that scared me sh*&tless. I have to confess that for some reason, I had a few sleepless nights in anticipation of this one. The swim itself was 52 minutes and unlike other swimming races I have done in the past, you had to be on high alert the entire time for fear of getting swept away by the tides. The added bonus to this one, which made it truly epic, was doing it with my boy Dave M. Dave has bad feet and is a bit limited as to what he can do, but he's a tremendously strong athlete and whenever we are able to do an event together, it rules. Thanks for making that trip, Dave, and holding my feet to the fire on that one.

2. Quad Dipsea

The Quad is an legendary race out here in Marin County and every time I've seen a finishers shirt, I have looked at it longingly. Finishing the Quad is a badge of honor and the race lived up to its hype. I suffered greatly but I finished and for me, that's what it is all about. My time is no longer meaningful; not to sound too existential, but now it's about the journey. And for this one, I got to once again run with my boy Payro. He and I have now done multiple ultras together and each one has been a vastly unique -- and highly memorable -- experience.

1. Going to the World Series with my Boy

Each of the previous races were epic in their own right, but man, going to the World Series with my Little Boy -- that is a memory I will carry with me forever. To share in something we both care so passionately about -- and throw in a incredible road trip to boot -- words can't describe. I get goose bumps every time I think how he hugged me when we first came in view of Yankee Stadium, 10 hours after starting our journey in California. That trip was worth every cent and more.

So, what's the common denominator in all of the above? They were shared experienced that included my family, my parents, two of my closest friends and my Son. None had anything to do singularly with me.

Shared experiences. I am starting to realize that that is what life is really all about.

(Ps. A huge shout out to Coach Phil for getting me through the above events -- and several others as well. I am not sure I could do it all without his wisdom, insight and perspective)

Top Albums of 2009

Happy New Year, all! Wishing you all healthy, happiness and prosperity in the New Year.

I am a little late with this post, but below are my top 10 albums of 2009. Without ado, they are:

10. Florence and the Machine - Lungs. Not sure where this band came from but boy, can this English chick sing.
9. xx -- xx. Another band I was unaware of going into this year, but this one is oddly hypnotic and a great listen whether running or chilling.
8. Metric - Fantasies. This one keeps growing on me and I find myself listening to it more, no less, as the year goes on. I also love their recent Unplugged EP.
7. Jay-Z - The Blueprint 3. Not Jay's greatest work by any means, but he remains the Man and this one contains several classics, including Empire State of Mind, which became a calling cry during my Yankees world series run.
6. Raekwon - Only Bult 4 Cuban Linx. Maybe not the best rap album of the year (see Kid Cudi) but certainly the most interesting.
5. Them Crooked Vultures -Them Crooked Vultures. I like music that rocks and this certainly fits the bill.
4. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz. A great listen start to finish. Karen O rocks.
3. Kid Cudi - Man on the Moon. Where in the world did this dude come from? I will be listening to this one year's from now.
2. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Live Anthology. Does this even count, as not one song is even remotely new? Doesn't matter. This is an absolute classic and gave me entirely new respect for an under appreciated master.
1. Silversun Pickups - Swoon. When it's all said and done, this might not be regarded as one of their best works but it confirmed for me that they are my favorite "new band". Something about their sound really hits home for me, and with this one, they might become my fourth favorite band of all time (Clash, Jane's Addiction, Pumpkins).

And a few other thoughts:

Most Disappointing Album of the Year: 

Eminem -- Relapse

Most Overrated Album(s) of the Year:

Anything by Animal Collective or Grizzly Bear. I swear, I try and I try but I just don't get it.

Coolest Metal Band from a Non Metal Fan:

Mastdon - Crack the Skye

Number 11 on the Above List: 

Phoenix -- Wolfgang Amadeus

Album I am Most Embarrassed About Really Liking: 

Taylor Swift -- Fearless

2nd Album I am Most Embarrassed About Really Liking:

Anything by Lady Gaga

Album that Would Have Made my top Ten List But Ummm, It Isn't Exactly Out Yet

Broken Bells -- Broken Bells

Album I am Most Anticipating in 2010

Girl Talk

Posted via email from Howard Solomon