Tuesday, September 29, 2009


--I like the name "The Buddy System" for a band and I don't care what anybody says. It makes me laugh. It wouldn't be a lasting band, of course. They'd never sniff a second album in the Billboard Top 100 much less the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Compare them to, say.....The Ataris. For this type of one-to-three-hit wonder, fun, simple pop music band, how can you go wrong with The Buddy System? I can't say it without laughing.

--Apparently, my floormats are trying to kill me.

--So it's looking like it will be me and the cats on Halloween night. My plan is to watch USC dismantle the Ducks of Oregon on their home field and then watch some Halloween movies. These are the ones I am thinking of as of now. If you've seen any of them, please weigh in.

"Nightmare Before Christmas"


"Halloween" (John Carpenter, not Rob Zombie...I have seen this one, but it's a classic)

"The Thing" (Saw this so long ago it's like never seeing it. I'm concerned even though it's scary, that the arctic setting will not feel Halloween-y)

Any other ideas?

--Well, I have great news. I have received the official OK from my coworkers to start my Christmas music the week of Thanksgiving. A huge victory for my cause.

--Speaking of Christmas music....Have you heard Bob Dylan is releasing a Christmas album this year? Should be interesting. I'd like to see Norah Jones put out a holiday album. Seems like a no-brainer to me. There are a lot of artists/groups that would make some quality holiday music, I feel. Ben Folds, Ben Kweller, Ben Lee...and those are just The Bens.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Reading Rainbow

I want a whole day just to read.

I have so many books I want to read, but I only end up reading for about 20 minutes a day. Just as I am starting to get some traction, I fall asleep. When you read as slowly as I do, you don't exactly burn through anything. I want a whole day to take my time and really make a dent in some of these books. Of course, it would be ideal if the temperature would drop about 20 degrees, the clouds would move in to diffuse the sun, and, let's go nuts, maybe even drop a few millimeters of rain. But I'd settle for just the day.

Thursday, September 24, 2009



Wednesday, September 23, 2009



This Time of Year by Better Than Ezra (#51 on the playlist at right)

Well there's a feeling in the air
Just like a Friday afternoon
Yeah you can go there if you want
But it fades too soon
So go on, let it be
If there's a feeling coming over me
Seems like it's always understood this time of year
Well I know there's a reason to change
Well I know there's a time for us
You think about the good times
And you live with all the bad
You can feel it in the air,
Feeling right this time of year
Well there's a football in the air
Across a leaf blown field
Yeah there's your first car on the road
And the girl you'd steal
So go on with yourself
If there's a feeling that there's something else
Seems like it's always understood
This time of year
Well I know there's a reason to change
Well I know there's a time for us
You think about the good times
And you live with all the bad
You can feel it in the air
Feeling right this time of year
Well there's a feeling in the air
Just like a Friday afternoon
Yeah you can go there if you want
Though it fades too soon
So go on, let it be
If there's a feeling coming over me
Seems like it's always understood this time of year
Yes, my friends, it is time for the Fall Playlist!!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Abgels game liveblogging! God bless the laptop!

Angels with the tying run at 3rd, nobody out, trailing 5-4 to the almighty Yankees! Come on Figgins!

1-1 count....

off the plate, 2-1....

check swing foul, 2-2....

Feels like October, doesn't it?

Another foul...No, if it were October, we's inexplicably squeeze and the tying run would be out at the plate.

Pop out to 1B. Shite. Come on. Deep fly out ties the game. Contact play probably on.

1-0 to Maicer Izturis.



3-1. Hitter's count, kid.


Can somebody please explain this Tecate Light commerical to me? I just don't get it. I get that it's a Mexican beer company and when they say "we" in the commercial, they are claiming to speak for the entire country and its culture. What I don't get is what they are actually trying to say...I am sure it will show for the 57th time tonight at the next commercial so I will quote it verbatim. In the meantime....


Why do so many pro athletes live in Florida? This Phil Hughes kid is the perfect example. He's from Southern California and he chooses to now live in Florida? Bullshit. Only an idiot would make that switch. I get that's for tax reasons, but my question is what designates the official residence? Could he own a hut in the Miami ghetto and get the tax shelter? Does he have to spend X number of days there yearly?

That strikeout from Vlad was my fault. Trust me.

Come on Torii! Find me some green double-I! Or strike out. It's okay though, we rally to tie!

You know what I got at Trader Joe's tonight? Beer Bread Mix. Beer. Bread Mix. Who knew?! Trader Joe, you never cease to amaze me.

Unfuckingbelievable. After checking the runner approximately 19 times, we try a pitchout and guess right, but can't execute the throw to 2nd. I think one reason I love this team is because I see a lot of myself in them.

This is the most touching commerical for men's hair coloring that I have ever seen...Cue the flutes!

It occurs to me that with something like 12 games remaining in the regular season, I have been to all of 2(!!) Angels games this season. I blame Kory for never coming through with free tickets. I think he's been holding out on me.

Ouch. Is there anything more deflating than a strike em out, throw em out double play to erase the tying run from the basepaths in the bottom of the ninth? Probably, but it's gotta be close.

Alright. Game over. Congrats Yankees, but you're still not beating anybody in the American League in the playoffs.

Evenin' folks.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Nice Lil' Saturday....

I have rarely been so excited to do so little.

My plan for tomorrow:

3:00 a.m. Feed Mr. Frodo (non-negotiable)
6:58 a.m. Wake up by own choice
7:00 a.m. Watch ESPN College Gameday, have egg white breakfast sandwich
7:40 a.m. Walk to Starbucks for Pumpkin Spice Latte (Father joins at this point)
7:55 a.m. Stop at Whole Foods to buy sauerkraut, pretzels
8:10 a.m. Walk up to leaf-changing block and back
8:30 a.m. Read paper, more Gameday
9:30 a.m. Begin vigorous cleaning, play new music
11:00 a.m. Shower
11:15 a.m. Toss football around
11:35 a.m. First Beer of the Day!
11:40 a.m.-12:10 p.m. Prepare food - Grill sausages (you catching the Oktoberfest theme?)
12:30 p.m. USC Trojans @ Washington Huskies! FIGHT ON!
3:30 p.m. Take nap.
4:30 p.m. Go for walk to elementary school and back
5:15 p.m. Watch movie, likely a tense drama
7:30 p.m. Leave for Wine & Cheese Party in the valley

I just can't wait.

All times are approximate

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Real Men Wear Pink

You bet your boobies, we did it.

We even look drunk, right?

It's Wednesday and I am still walking with a limp.
Luckily, the positives I took from the Avon Walk experience will long outlast the physical aches and pains. What a weekend.
Friday afternoon, I headed down to the LBC to check in at Event Eve. That was my first glimpse at the scale and scope of the event. You've never seen so much pink. After that, wouldn't you know it, I had just enough time to go to Fingerprints before meeting Kory and Jen for a pasta dinner. Funny how that worked out, isn't it? Had a nice meal with the Burroughs followed by an ice cream cone from Rite-Aid (Lord, it sounded so much better when it was Thrifty's). The Lederers were very kind to let me crash in their spare room that night so I could get up at 4:30 instead of 3:30. If you've ever been in the room I'm referring to, you'll understand when I say it felt like sleeping in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Which was great.
Thanks to a 5:30 a.m. pickup by The Cruiser (who was PRECISELY on schedule, by the way--thanks, Kor), I arrived at the Queen Mary starting line right on time. My coworker and friend, Kate, found me instantly and I was quickly introduced to Stephanie and Jennifer, some friends of hers. The team was assembled. The opening ceremony was quite moving. This was my first Walk and even though breast cancer has touched my life in direct and indirect ways, this was the first time that the true purpose and weight of this cause hit home for me. Hearing the personal testimonies of the survivors, those still battling, and the loved ones of those that had fought hard but been lost, it was emotionally stirring, which is to say we were all bawling. Joining hands with perfect strangers in a pledge of solidarity, the ceremony really set the tone for the incredibly kind, generous, and compassionate spirit of the weekend.
And then we were off and walking! The course was really beautiful. Of course, I hail from Long Beach so I had home course advantage, but even I was impressed with the scenery of the route. We walked through the marina, through The Pike, down the beach, back through Naples, down to Seal Beach, up through the Seal Beach residential, back down PCH all the way up and over to the LB City College Area, through Heartwell Park, to the Eastern border neighborhood near Demille Middle School and into El Dorado Park where we would camp for the night. It took us about nine hours including a quick lunch stop and a long pause for Stephanie to get blister treatment. All day, I served as a tour guide, pointing out points of interest from my life growing up in the area. "There's where I went to dinner before my prom...There's the bench where I cried when so-and-so broke up with me...there's the El Dorado library, closed Mondays....There's where Kory foiled a robbery....etc, etc." I'm not sure anyone was still interested beyond mile 10 but that didn't stop me.
The most amazing part of it was the overwhelming support we received every step of the way. Literally all day long, for both days, cars were passing by honking and cheering. There were people that would drive along the route, stopping to dance or cheer and then quickly driving a few miles ahead to do it all over again throughout the entire course. Who are the wonderful, thoughful people who do this, devoting their entire weekend to clapping and encouraging us and motivating us to keep on chugging? Then there were the official volunteers working the rest stops and the Wellness Village camp, serving food, unloading gear, treating our wounds. I can still picture the Youth Crew volunteers, kids ranging from 12-16 who organizes the lines at the portapotties, holding the doors open for us and telling us to keep our arms and legs inside and "enjoy the ride." And the little kids in the homes we walked past yelling across streets to us, "Thank you for walking!" Our favorites might have been the Scooters For Hooters group, tough-looking bikers with their Harleys, serving as traffic control/crossing guards for us throughout the weekend. With their beards died pink and their music blasting, they, like all the other supporters and volunteers, always, without exception, had smiles on their faces and jokes to tell. I can't imagine what the walk would have been like without any of them.
As upbeat and positive as everyone was, there was a current of sadness running underneath it all. Many walkers had t-shirts with photos of loved ones they'd lost to breast cancer. Mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters. I began to recognize their faces on the t-shirts as if they were there walking with us, which, I presume, was the point. I regret that I didn't get to hear their stories or at least learn their names. Something tells me they'll be back next year.
When we finally caught sight of the Wellness Village at the end of 26.2 miles on Day One, I was running on fumes. I probably consumed 6000 calories in snacks and energy Gu, but my legs were begging for mercy. Of course, the superhuman women on my team were charging ahead like it was mile one. I've never been so thrilled to see an open lawn. As we entered the village, there was a red carpet with cheerleaders and supporters on either side yelling for us and high-fiving us as we came through. Breast cancer paparazzi, if you will. Once inside, I finally sat down on the cool grass. I made some phone calls before heading over to shower and change clothes. That shower, in a big trailer, was one of the most fulfilling and refreshing showers of my life. That night we dined on meatballs and pasta and watched the evening's entertainment, "Fireside Follies." It was like being at summer camp. Jennifer and I were so friggin' exhausted it was like we were drunk. I hit the sack around 9:30 but, between the snorers, my inability to find one good, lasting position, and all the caffeine I'd ingested in my energy Gu, I barely caught a wink. But I rested, which was key.
I rose at 6:30 a.m. Sunday morning to fresher legs. I packed my gear, struck the tent, had some breakfast and set out to bring it home on Day Two! We had been saying on Saturday that a measely 13.1 miles on Sunday would be cake. We'd be dancing that one, cruising it like it was a victory lap, we thought. We were wrong. 13.1 miles after 26.2 the day before is exactly like 26.2 miles after none the day before. By the halfway point, I was struggling. It's only half the distance, but mentally it was doubly taxing because I was thinking of it as the home stretch, not focusing on the five-plus hours it was still going to take. But we made it. We crossed that finish line with arms raised high in victory.
There was some debate on whether to stick around for the closing ceremonies because they weren't due to start for another hour and a half, but I am so glad that we decided to stay. Three groups entered the ceremony seperately, the walkers first on the outside, then the survivors walking right down the middle, then the volunteers behind them, with all our friends and family surrounding the whole thing. It was a really great way for each population to be recognized and give the personal appreciation for each other group. The closing ceremony was even more emotional than the opening. More tears, more cheers, more unity. I remember when I turned to go after it had ended, there was an older woman hugging a tall, young man with a pink mohawk. They were not letting go, her face buried in his chest. I could tell by the way she was shaking that she was sobbing. That's the image that I'll remember as puncuating a wonderful, enrichening weekend (much more so than the hour and forty-five minutes it took us to get out of the parking lot).
The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Los Angeles brought out approximately 5,500 walkers (450 men--I saw about 10) to walk 39.2 miles over 2 days and raised over 4 million dollars to fight breast cancer.
For 2 days, we walked as 1.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I can't do it.

I can make no valid case for hating Tim Tebow. I thought I could, but there's just no justifying it. I thought I could talk about his ridiculous "jump passes" or wax cynical about how underneath the virginal, bible-thumping, goody two-shoes preacher's son must lay a flawed person not unlike the rest of us. I was all ready to write that it wasn't so much that I hated Tim Tebow as much as I just didn't believe Tim Tebow. But how the hell do I really know? Tim Tebow is only an image to me and I have to admit that if that image bore a cardinal & gold uniform and a Trojan on his helmet, I would probably be president of the Tim Tebow fan club. That being said, I can think of no player, team, or coach that I would love to see SC beat than Tim Tebow, his mentor Urban Meyer, and his team the Florida Gators. Man, I hope they get the chance.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


Remember when I used to have a sports blog? Remember when Joe and I started doing Soapbox Sports back before Blogger with its many blog templates was even invented? Man, that was a pain in the ass. It took us all week to get that thing up, not just writing all the content, but doing all the layout work too. I'm no stranger to nostagia, so I'll say it, I miss it a little bit. I think more often than not we did a pretty decent job. Anyway, as we begin the NFL season and get ever closer to the baseball postseason, I thought why not do a rare sports post for old times' sake. Play ball, start your engines, aaaan the they're off, let's get ready to rumble, yada, yada, yada.

--Does anyone else wish we could just skip September and move right into October? I mean, really, do we really need September? Do we need to go to college football games played in 100-degree heat? I don't. Give me rain. Do we need all the false hope of teams like the Texas Rangers beating teams like the Red Sox for the Wild Card spots? It's not going to happen so let's just skip to the point. Same with the Angels. Once again, the Angels and Red Sox appear to be on course for a first round matchup. Can't we just skip ahead to the 2nd round and somebody just tell me what happened? We lost in 5? Fine, I'm used to it by now. We won?! We actually won?! Awesome, but I'm kind of glad to have missed the stressful cloud of defeatism that I would have undoubtedly endured. Can't we just cut to the chase?

--I realize Eric Mangini used to work with Bill Belicek, but what is with all the cloak & dagger mystery about their starting quarterback? I get the back-and-forth of a natural position battle, but announcing that you will not publicly name a starter and will only inform the two players themselves? Why? We're still talking about the Cleveland Browns here, aren't we? And is it not still a 50/50 shot? Are they going to pull a Ted Dibiase and bring out some entirely new Undertaker character as their final, mystery teammate? When the offense comes on to the field, are they really hoping for the Vikings' defense to see the starting QB and shit their pants in shock and awe? "OH MY GOD, IT'S BRADY QUINN!! NO! NO! IT CAN'T BE! NOT QUINN! I THOUGHT IT WAS GONNA BE DEREK ANDERSON! WHAT IN BLAZES ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DO NOW?! AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!" Come on Coach, get over it.


--Why do they not make pants in length 33? 32 is too short, 34 is a little too long. Of course, I error on the side of a little bunch around the ankles, but to the eye of the world that may not know any better, it looks like I don't know how to wear pants.

--I was pondering an agonizing "What if" this morning. What if I had to choose between Disneyland and wine? What if I had to give one of them up for life? It's a very tough choice, but it didn't take me long, which may surprise you as will my decision, but I realized I value Disneyland above even wine. It's complicated but the reasons are obvious, I think.

--Went to the cast and crew screening of the movie Nicole has been working on, "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs." I didn't have high expectations going in and I wasn't really feeling it for the first 15 minutes or so, but by the end I could honestly say I loved the movie. Really cleverly done. I would recommend it even to my adult friends.


--It's funny to me that espn has launched a new site called "espnboston.com." Doesn't it seem more appropriate to create a new site called "espn-every-other-city-besides-boston-and-newyork.com" and keep the main site as is since it's already pretty much a boston sports site? I know, I know, they also created an espnchicago site, but, come on, that's just window dressing. We all know it.

--I didn't see a single minute of the US Open, but I am thrilled not only to see Federer lose, but to see him whining to the chair umpire during a replay. To see the smug smile and seemingly impenetrable veneer of confidence cracked was refreshing.

--Then there's Serena. I don't know why, but my reaction to that whole tantrum was to imagine it from the line judge's perspective. I wonder what I would have done if I was at work doing my best and someone told me they were going to shove a calculator down my throat. I'm not sure I would take it very well. Then again, I know I probably wouldn't react very well to being called for a friggin' foot fault either.

That's all I got for now. Check back later for Why I Hate Tim Tebow.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

You Make The Call

So I just went to the running store to get a couple pairs of the socks I am going to use for the Avon this weekend. I was all checked out and on my way out the door when I turned and made one last impulse buy. I really need some outside opinions on this.

I got pink wristbands.

Here was my thinking...Pink is the big color for the Walk. Pink shirts, shorts, ribbons galore. Pink is going to be everywhere and on everyone. Except on me. I shalt not done pink shorts. I am going to be walking step for step with all the pink-clad people so it's not like I need the pink to prove my dedication. But I just felt like to wear no pink at all might be kind of party-pooper-ish so I thought the wristbands (sweatbands) might be an acceptable compromise. A showing of solidarity. What's the vote on this?

A) Totally fine. It's a good cause and if the color of that cause is pink, then so be it. Just as long as you only wear them for the two days of the Walk.

B) There are simply no circumstances under which it is acceptable for men to wear pink.

Things A Man Might Scribble On a Cocktail Napkin While Sitting Alone at a Bar On a Saturday Night Having Many Beers While Waiting For a Concert

A man at a bar
Saturday Night
People conversing all around
He has a power
He sees everyone in detail
The two ladies huddled giggling around an iphone
No one sees him
Times like this
I'm glad I have my beard
A man's best friend
Can be his beard.

**By comparison, the legend goes that Aaron Sorkin wrote "A Few Good Men" on cocktail napkins. Aaron Sorkin I am not.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Greetings From: New York!

I am typing from your awesomely average New York diner. In this dream, I have the laptop I have so desperately needed for so long. Something about New York diners...In my experience, the true diner in its most romanticized image, only exists in New York nowadays. Much like Italian restaurants or pizza joints, everyone has their favorite. Mine is Cosmo's on 23rd and 2nd (kind of disappoints me that they actually have a website) for no better reason than the time I've spent there. I can still hear in my mind many of the conversations I had over coffee at that diner, not to mention the Monte Christo which was incredible.

As a man who does more than my share of ipod walking, I can say with conviction that there is no finer place in the U.S. for it than New York City. It's a very cinematic city, and since our generation tends to think of our lives as movies about ourselves, it makes for a rich setting for a musical montage of our walk to work or to the deli on the corner. With so many unique characters crammed into such a small space, every turn brings a surprise, every first glance of daylight climbing the steps out of a subway station, stimulating. New York is also such a walking city in general that it provides frequent and varying opportunities for ipod walking. I can recall walking to A Tribe Called Quest while on my way to an internship and feeling cool, if not tough as my steps subconsciously fell in rhythm with the beats. Another time I was walking to class along Washington Square park, listening to one of my favorite bands whom I had just discovered, the now dissolved Nickel Creek. As I huddled inside my pea coat listening to "When You Come Back Down," it began to snow and I remember the music and the scene intertwined so beautifully that, even if just for a second, I was pulled out of a very upsetting time and reminded that if moments like this could still exist, maybe everything else would be okay too.

I believe that certain things, or people, happen to us in our lives at the exact right time, so much so that it can't be coincidental. Maybe not the most convenient time, but as it turns out, the right time. I think certain songs enter our lives at certain times in the same way. Have you ever heard a song for the first time and been overwhelmed by a sense of greater truth and understanding, an injection of a feeling that someone else truly empathises with you, more so than any friend who says they "understand?" For me, this song in this moment was exactly that. In hindsight, I don't think it's that great of a song, but all that matters is that it reaches you. It doesn't always have to be a tear-jerking tune lamenting lost love either. It can be a song that gives you chills and makes you sing because nothing else can express the excitement and joy you're feeling inside. It's like the scene in "Jerry Maguire" where he's just left Cush's house and is searching the radio for something to rock out to. Rolling Stones aren't doing it. Definitely not Juice Newton. Then he hits "FreeFallin'" and he's...freefallin'. Sometimes, of course, it's luck, even bad luck. But sometimes it's more.

Back in New York, I would be finishing my Monte Christo and coffee and off for a walk through Central Park. The leaves might not be changing quite yet, but if the right song comes on, I could be embedded in autumn just the same.


Today is officially the first day of Fall.
(Thanks to Lindsay for the tip.)