Saturday, March 31, 2012

Friday Night Swim

Had a fun time last night. Had dinner with the Wife and Boy and then headed over to the pool, to swim alongside my friend Pablo who was doing a 12 hour swim last night as part of his his training for upcoming attempt to swim the Sea of Cortez. When he accomplishes this goal in June, it will be the longest continuous open water swim. Pretty gnarly. Joining Pablo (Paul Lundgren) at the pool was Jamie Patrick, who is the reigning open water swimmer of the year. Talk about gnarly; check out his swimming bio here.

Amazing that these dudes were into for two hours already when I got in the water and had ten more to go. I swam with them for 1.5 hours and it seemed like they lapped me every three minutes or so. Humbling but at the same time inspiring to be alongside greatness.

Anyway, though I was just out there for 90 minutes, I could't think of a more enjoyable way to spend a Friday night.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Sony Walkman

I posed a question on Facebook the other day, asking people their all-time favorite gadget/device, exclusive of their iPhone/mobile device, which I think would be overall winner. Some of the responses were pretty interesting and I had to think hard as to my own answer.

Interestingly, I arrived at a device that I haven't thought much about for quite some time; the Sony Walkman. Before Apple, Sony ruled the day and there would be no iPod without the Walkman. Without question, the Walkman was a transformative device and I think in certain respects, it's the device that kicked off the modern consumer electronics industry.

So, I stand behind that choice. My second choice would probably be the Kindle. I'm a pretty voracious reader and though I do miss the physicality of holding/reading a book, the Kindle, too marked the beginning of a new era. Third on the list would probably be the iPod, which as noted is really just a more modern interpretation of the Walkman.

I think a few years down the road, a similar conversation would likely revolve around the iPad.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Final Four

Anyone else find this year's Final Four as singularly uninteresting - and borderline detestable - as me? I mean, egads: Kentucky, Louisville, Kansas and Ohio State?!

One obnoxious fan base after the next. I'm not sure if there's anyone to really root for in the mix. And fellow Big Ten fans: don't give me that "you have to support the Big Ten" nonsense. No I don't; most particularly when it comes to Ohio State.

I guess if I had to root for any one of those four, it would likely be Louisville. I still do like and respect Rick Pitino and they've been playing second banana for years to Kentucky, so that would be kind of cool. I guess.

But beyond that, not only do I not really care, and I'm not entirely certain I'll even watch the games.

Anyone else feel the same?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Marin Headlands

I post often about how much I love Marin County, but I've like I've never been able to elegantly put my feelings into words. I came across this great article that really that sums it up very well; you can check it out here. Since my episode with cancer I try not to take things for granted anymore and I truly do appreciate how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful little corner of the world. If you get a chance, do give this article a read. And many of you who've visited: we've run/hiked the trails that he describes.

What I am Listening To

There's a lot of great music that's been released (and not quite released!) thus far this year; more than I can get my head (and ears) around, to be honest. One of the downsides of not running that much, relatively speaking, is that I'm also not listening to nearly as much music.

A few albums that I am really enjoying include:

- the new Springsteen (though its politics are at times a bit over the top for my taste. Hard to believe that anyone who lives in Malibu is truly an everyday Joe. That schtick is wearing a bit thin).

-- the new Shins. Everything James Mercer does is excellent

-- Gotye - a new one. And speaking of James Mercer, this has a real Broken Bells-ish sound to it

-- Miike Snow. This band is like Portugal. The Man. I don't know much about them, but everything I hear from them absolutely rocks. In fact, this very well may be my favorite album of the year thus far.

- Bear in Heaven. Not sure how I'd begin to describe this. Trancey-electronica is closest I can come. But it's got a groovy, persistent beat and gets better with each listen.

This weekend I got two new albums that I'm excited about, but are too early to judge. First one is Madonna. At first listen, it seems to have some obvious hits - and also some big misses. I think old Madonna is becoming exactly that. Old. It's getting panned by the reviewers but I still look forward to giving it a fair shot. The other one that's interesting is Rocket Juice, which is the new Flea/Damon Albarn collaboration. I need to listen to this a bit more, but I love Flea and think Albarn is an absolute genius.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Hip

For all you paying attention to such trivial matters, the old hip is still pretty wobbly. I saw my doc on Thursday and she agreed that it's far from healed. On top of it, I think the cortisone is wearing off, which isn't helping matters. She's also pissed at me for not keeping with my physical therapy. To much to do in life, and not enough hours.

Anyway, I think I'm approaching month five of this hip thing and it is getting very, very frustrating. I've also come to the conclusion that my ultra season isn't happening this year - or if so, is going to be very limited. I asked my doc if she thought I could start training any time soon for an ultra and she just laughed.

So, the goal is will be to build strength via Crossfit, refine the swimming a bit and maybe even do a swim race or two. In regards to running, I will do what I can do. I'm kind of down with that. The pressure last year of having to constantly run was wearing a bit thin.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Let's Go Yankees

Its been a long while since I've written about by beloved Yankees. But it's almost that magical time of the year where hope springs eternal. So - let's go Yankees. I loved the off season trade for Pineda - that was ballsy as hell - and like every red-blooded Yankees fan I could not be more excited about the retun of Andy Pettite. That for me was the most pleasant surprise of the offseason. With all the off season changes it should be am interesting year. But he terrific thing about this point in time is that it's anyone's game. Except, of course, for the Cubs. I believe they've already been mathematically eliminated.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tebow to the Jets??!

The first and only team that I "banned" from my life was the Knicks under the Isiah Thomas reign. They made so many incredibly foolish moves that I couldn't take it anymore. I rooted for them to lose so that they would fire Thomas and utterly dismantle the franchise. That was a first. I'm glad to say that I'm a Knicks fan again, though I still think Dolan is a dolt of an owner and I am not a big Carmelo Anthony fan.

But I digress.

I think I'm close to taking the same position with the Jets. They've gone from AFC championship game to comical in one year. As I've written before., I think Ryan is ridiculous and I'm beyond tired of his shenanigans. His act has overstayed its welcome.

And then there's today. The Jets traded for Tebow, not just a few weeks after signing Sanchez to an extended deal? What? Fact is, I agree with John Elway. Tebow might be a "winner" in certain respects (and it goes without saying that he's clearly a tremendous human being - this isn't personal) but he's kind of a terrible quarterback. Everyone knows that. His style does not translate to the pro's. And he will just add to the circus atmosphere hovering around that team, which is exactly what we don't need. He doesn't need it either, frankly.

I hope I'm proven wrong but this just seems like a bad move, in every sense of the word. Anyone have a differing opinion?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Hunger Games

I have to confess that I don't think I've been this excited about a movie in years. The books were among my favorites and the trailer looks fantastic. I'm taking the kids (the Girl is actually on the bubble. Might be a bit too much for her) and we are all equally excited. I'm hoping that it lives up to its hype.

Anyone else out there planning to go? How about you, Old Man?


Most of you know that music is one of my great passions in life. It's hard for me to get out and go to concerts with work and kid obligations, but I've definitely been doing a better job these past few years (read: Outside Lands, U2, Portland Indie Festival). I'm really stoked that I will be going to Coachella this year. I was invited by a client, and apparently will be rolling in VIP style. I'm generally not a big fan if outdoor concerts, but Coachella is the exception and it should be awesome. Not sure which band I'm most excited to see: might be a tie between Radiohead and Dr. Dre/Snoop, presuming I stick around long enough on Sunday.

Pretty stoked and will be sure to do some live blogging for those interested.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Hunting Newts

We went to Audobon Canyon Ranch yesterday in West Marin. It's an incredibly beautiful nature preserve that sits on the foot of Bolinas Lagoon. Ironically enough the only other family there was our close friends. We had a blast hiking, birding (Bolinas Lagoon is a major site for migratory birds) and fishing for newts and frogs. No better way to spend a day than hunting for newts.

I Was Wrong

This new iPad is absolutely fantastic - one of the best iterations I've ever seen n an Apple product. Everything about it is good: the screen is game changing, it's fast, and LTE is blazing fast, which is going to work really well for me when I'm on the road. Dictation works really well. In fact I'm using it to type this paragraph. It works nearly perfectly. I need to make zero edits whatsoever. At first I was reticent about this one but I feel pretty good about this decision. I was at the Apple store Saturday and Sunday getting the Little Boy's iPhone fixed and was amazed by how much product they had in the stores. Anyway, if you're on the fence or if you have an original iPad I'd suggest making the purchase. I think the iPad 2 is still fine but that said, no regrets at all on the upgrade.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

iPad 3 - I Caved

Full confession: after stating adamantly that I was sitting out the iPad 3 - and even writing a blog post about it on my company site - I caved. Pretty predictable, I know.

I have a 32 gig Verizon 4g coming my way on Wednesday of next week. And quite frankly, I'll probably be on line early tomorrow am so that I don't miss out on all the excitement.

The way I look at it I use the thing a ton and I can get some decent dollars for my old one to offset the cost. The kicker for me wasn't necessarily the screen, though it does stoke me, but rather the fact that you can tether other devices to it via 4g. Given how much I travel, that's pretty awesome. I could now lose my Sprint Overdrive in the process (good when it works, but a bit wobbly).

So I am stoked. Not out of my my mind stoked (I'll save the for iPhone 5) but stoked all the same. I will write a more full report once I have a unit in hand.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Iditarod

You all know me pretty well by now. Enough to know that I am a big fan of "outlier" sports such as cycling, triathlon, CrossFit, ultra running and track and field.

Well, apparently the fruit doesn't fall from the tree. The Little Girl apparently shares the same gene.

For the past week, she has been following the Iditarod relentlessly. Granted, it's been part of a school project, but I am certain no other kid in her class has been following with the same frequency, intensity and passion. She's "adopted" a racer, Kelly Griffin (link: here)  and she literally checks in on her progress on an hourly basis. For sure, it's the first thing she asks about upon awakening. There's no doubt, that her family aside, the Little Girl is Ms. Griffin's biggest fan. And it doesn't matter that Kellie has mostly been racing towards the front middle of the pack. In the Little Girl's eye she's going to take the lead any moment.

Anyway, it stokes me greatly. Pretty cool sport, too. One that definitely might appeal to an ultrarunner. In fact, the Little Girl and I have been having some serious conversations about getting a dog or two (or three, or four, or five) and maybe giving this Iditarod thing a try. Could be kind of cool............

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Michigan in the Big Dance

I'm obviously pretty stoked that Michigan made the dance - and is relatively high seed as well. As I've written before, I've really fallen in love with this team. They are scrappy and play hard and smart. They are a fun group to watch and when they are on (read: shooting straight) they have the potential to be dangerous.

Unfortunately, I don't think this is going to be our year. We play what's essentially a five guard set and we big time lack a big in the middle. The good news is help is on its way next year. The bad news is I think teams have figured us out and I can't see us getting beyond sweet Sixteen at best. But that said, a sweet sixteen appearance would be a very nice capstone to what's been an overachieving kind of year.

Can't wait for the action later this week. Go Blue!

Monday, March 12, 2012


With my hip being what it is - slowly improving, I think, but still definitely wobbly, this is the first time in ages that I've had virtually no "race calendar" for the year. In certain respects, I miss it - I like having a goal of some sort and building around it. But in other respects, I'm finding it incredibly liberating. I can run when I want, for as far/long as I want, because I WANT not HAVE to. The distinction is huge.

Last year was a great success, but if there was an bummer in the equation, it was that I constantly felt that I had an obligation to train; the spectre of that haunted me at times, given all my other life and work commitments.

Presuming my hip gets better, I think I will run the Mount Tam 50k with Wiley and that's that. Might dedicate this year to CrossFit, which continues to be fun - and to the concept of gaining some much needed strength.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

New iPad

Well, the new iPad was introduced today and I am sure it is going to be as cool as hell. Folks are going to say that it wasn't a big announcement but once they see and experience all that is under the hood, I expect they will feel differently.

But for me personally, I will likely sit this one out. Sure, the new screen is going to be fantastic - no question about it. But that really appeals to folks who play games and watch movies, and I really do neither. I use mine to surf the Internet and read and maybe the occasional watch the occasional movie while travelling. And what about 4g? I think it will be KILLER in the next iPhone (presuming they nail the battery) but it's really a non-starter for me vis a vis iPad, especially considering that I use wifi 95 percent of the time.

What I AM excited about is the new iPhoto app editor. I will definitely be buying that one today.

So anyway, that's where I stand. But of course, as always, I reserve the right to change my mind. I sure do hate  getting on line early in the morning.

(UPDATE - here is what I wrote for my company's blog....)

Those of you who know me know that I am quite possibly the biggest Apple fanboy ever. There hasn't been a major product introduction in which I haven't been on line at 6 am. I quite literally have enough Apple products in my home to open a small retail store. Apple products are beyond a hobby for me - they've become a borderline obsession. And so with that as background, I was asked today to offer my thoughts on the new iPad that was introduced a few short hours ago.

For starters, I am sure it is going to be as cool as hell. Most Apple products are. The media is likely to report that it was a disappointing announcement but I very much disagree. Like most recent Apple introductions, most significantly the iPhone 4s, the biggest changes aren't cosmetic but under the hood. Once folks get a chance to interact with the new iPad (which appears to be its official name!) I expect they will feel differently and recognize that it's a big step up.

All that being said, maybe somewhat surprisingly, I will likely sit this one out. Sure, the new screen is going to be fantastic - no question about it. But an enhanced screen really appeals to folks who play games and watch movies, and I really do neither. I use mine primarily to surf the Internet and read and maybe watch the occasional movie while travelling.

And what about 4g you say? I think it will be KILLER in the next iPhone (presuming they nail the battery) but it's really a non-starter for me vis a vis iPad, considering that I use wifi 95 percent of the time.

What I AM excited about is the new iPhoto app editor. I will definitely be buying that one today (update: already purchased). And likely the new Apple TV too (update: ditto Apple TV). But I digress.

So anyway, that's where I stand. But of course, as always, I reserve the right to change my mind. Those who know me have stated with certainty that regardless of what I say now, I will be making this purchase. They very well might be right. I do not relish the thought of not being one of the first five in line and much like Joe DiMaggio, I do feel some pressure to keep my hitting streak intact....

Monday, March 5, 2012

Kickstarter Pen Type-A

Not sure how many of you are familiar with Kickstarter. It's basically a site where you can go to get crown-sourced funding for a particular project or product that you are looking to produce. I Think it's one of the more interesting businesses to appear on the landscape over the past few years, but that's probably another post for another day.

I signed up for my first Kickstarter project late last July; the Pen Type A. It's basically a Hi- Tech pen (much revered, particularly in Japan) housed in an all metal pen casing, that retracts into a steel outside casing that doubles as a ruler. The whole rig is brushed metal and it just has an awesome heft and feel to it; it's a work for beauty and in my opinion, well worth the $50 ""investment" (I believe it will retail at $99 - I think it's a value even at this price).

Swimming is Dead - Long Live Swimming!

Well, one swimming season came to a conclusion this weekend in Napa Valley. And another one starts - today.

We literally spent the entire weekend in Napa - we slept in a hotel so we could join for the team dinner. Both kids swam really well. I think the Girl swam 6 best times out of 8 total races and the Little Boy swam 5 out of 7. I am proud of them both - they continue to show improvement but most of all they really dig swimming. I confess to being a little happy that the USA swim season is over. Doing two meets a month, which I think has been the norm - has been a bit.

And with the conclusion of that season, of course the new one starts - today! This is the Marin League and meets don't kick off until early May so at minimum, we get our weekend back.

For those interested, here is a video of the Little Boy swimming 100 IM. You can see how far he's come along; incredibly, he could barely swim in September. He took four seconds off his best time in this race, and an incredible 10 seconds off in his 100 free. Proud of you, Little Dude. You're a much better athlete than I give you credit for.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Favorite Sports Moment of All Time

I started a thread on Facebook that has definitely picked up some good and interesting traction. The question is a simple one: what is your favorite sports moment of all time?

I personally have two (I only wrote about the first one). The first was Michigan's national championship win in basketball in 1989 over Seton Hall. I was a fresh graduate and was all-in on that one. That was a win for the ages and it was pretty cool that I got to watch it with my father (an alum) and my little brother, who had just gained admittance.

My second favorite sports moment was entering Yankee stadium with the Little Boy during the 2009 World Series. That was beyond awesome in so many respects, not the least of which was sharing the experience with the Little Dude.

There are so many others to select from. A number of Michigan games. The Yankee teams of the late 70's and mid 90's. The Mike Tyson years.

But those are my two favorites. Anyway, enough of me. What about you all?