January 18, 2012

And no offense to any of you!

Is it just me or is 99.99% of Blogger full of Chinese, Christians, and Stay-at-home Moms? It wouldn't take more than ten clicks of the "Next Blog" button to hit the trifecta...

Has Facebook Killed Blogging?

or as the Buggles would say, Facebook Killed the Blogging Star...?

Read Any Good Books Lately?

January 17, 2012

Seven* Authors...

...of Whom I've Read More Than 7 Books They've Authored**
  1. Terry Pratchett (10.5)
  2. John Irving (10)***
  3. Kurt Vonnegut (9)
  4. Douglas Adams (8)
  5. John Steinbeck (8)
  6. Michael Chabon (7)
  7. Anne Rice (7)

* I didn't count the esteemed and beloved Mr. Dahl (18)
** really didn't know how to word that -- I've Read 7 or More Books ByI've Read a Bunch o' Books They've Written ?
*** soon to be the all-time leader, his latest is sitting on the shelf, waiting patiently...

Jan 2012 update: John Irving takes over the top spot with 11, Cormac McCarthy (7), Stephen King (6), and Vonnegut (10) were all added to last year, and I can't believe I missed Elmore Leonard (9 maybe 10?) in the original count (July 2010).

November 6, 2011



February 18, 2011

Maybe I Was On Strike?

Holy cannoli, has it really been that long since I've posted anything?

I guess I have been busy, working as close as one can get to full time, but still....

July 5, 2010

Blog O' Hilarious, "Bude!"

Here's what I've been reading for the last hour instead of getting anything done... read his blog quickly now, before he's filthy rich in Hollywood and you have to pay for the privilege.

The Blog O' Cheese

Time's Best Blogs of 2010*

*shouldn't it say "so far" or "the first 1/2 of..." ?

Time magazine's lists of best (and worst) blogs.  I think I just missed the cut...

July 3, 2010

1 Thing My Son Puts On Waffles

...That I Have Absolutely No Interest In Trying Myself:

  1. Hummus

6 Books I'm Really Glad I've Read This Year

  1. The Wednesday Wars
  2. The Story of Edward Sawtelle
  3. The Book Thief
  4. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
  5. Travels With Charley
  6. Freak the Mighty

4 Things I Most Frequently Eagerly Anticipate

  1. My cup of coffee in the morning.  The house is quiet, boys and neighborhood dogs still asleep, the garden is cool... I actually go to sleep each night in peaceful joy knowing when I awake I get to have my coffee.
  2. My cup of coffee and the Sunday paper.
  3. Seeing my wife, any time, any day, morning noon or night.
  4. Coming home.  Even after a good day at work or a relaxing day at the beach, there's nothing like pulling into the driveway and being home.

June 28, 2010

Tilt-Shift Photography

Very cool -- looks like a miniature, but it's not!

June 13, 2010

What did 0 say to 8?

"Nice belt."

April 8, 2010

The Meatloaf Story

It's from The Wife's side of the family, and comes up every time we have meatloaf or see a satellite dish: My in-laws had a huge seti-sized dish over their back wall, down in the canyon. Mother-in-law asks father-in-law, eating out in the backyard, if he would like some more meatloaf.  Father-in-law says it was delicious, the best ever, loved it, but no thanks.  Later, looking over the wall at the lovely canyon view, Mother-in-law spies something on the satellite dish which upon closer inspection turns out to be... Father-in-law's meatloaf, which he had "enjoyed" so much.

Stormtroopers' Day Off

These are hilarious, and gotta admire the dedication -- I would have lost interest after a few weeks...

Stormtroopers 365   or   Techi.com

April 7, 2010

Spring Done Sprung!

(some of my succulents are still bruised and beat from the hail last month)

and ol' Eugene wanted to get in a few shots...

plus a few from Balboa Park

of course 8 x 10 prints are available, just email me your address and specify gloss or matte finish 
(and include a check!)

April 5, 2010

Violence Boycott: Earthquake Edition

Ok, that was the 4th quake I've felt since yesterday afternoon, and what was exciting and interesting the first time just ain't funny no more!

April 4, 2010

Violence Boycott: Easter Edition

I am not a very religious person at all, not even as religious as some people think I am.  I definitely count my blessings, and I am constantly amazed at the wonders and mysteries of Life, the Universe, and Everything, but as far as having the answers to anything or agreeing wholeheartedly with those who claim to have the answers, I actively run with the skeptics.  I would never say you're wrong about your beliefs and faith, and I'm not in the "Oh yeah, then prove it" camp, it's more along the lines of we'll all eventually find out, one way or another, so let's enjoy and appreciate what we have in the here and now (and that includes faith and religion).

Getting to the point, I've never been a big Easter fan.  Love Palm Sunday, riding in on the donkey amidst adoring fans, the Beatitudes, water into wine*... The poignant, heart wrenching discussions with Pilate, disciples, and the Father, taking the ultimate step...  Love the empty tomb, the incredulous disciples ( What?!? You mean he did what he said he was gonna do even though we were thick-headed and couldn't follow his metaphors? Again?!?! )  and then walking along the country road with the dudes before heading up to prepare my mansion -- great stuff.

But the whole fixation on the suffering, the pain, the blood, the torture... nope, not my cup.  It's not being squeamish, I understand that horrific drama may be necessary to get a serious point across (i.e. Toni Morrison's Beloved) but I've heard pastors talk in detail about the agony and physical effects of crucifixion every sermon for a month of Sundays, as the saying goes, and Christmas pageants turned into Passion plays.  I understand the tradition behind the recreations, walking in His footsteps and realistically portraying the sacrifice required, but does Family Night at the Movies need to show Mel Gibson's Jesus movie at 5, 7, and 9:00 ("All His Blood and Gore Now in High Def!") ?

All I'm saying is, for me and mine, let's focus on the up, on the rebirth and renewal, on the hope.  Let's be aware of the good, the amazement, the potential that Easter and Spring and Faith can provide us.  We reminisce about our ancestors by telling stories of beans in a nose, meatloaf on the satellite dish, and orphans running the streets with Babe Ruth, not constantly discussing the way they died.  We honor our heroes with ceremonies solemn and severe, but then we revel in their deeds and their lives get larger in the telling, not their deaths.  We treasure the births of our children, their first words and steps, the classroom achievements and playground victories, and we retell those stories and every graduation, wedding, and even funeral because that is how we want to remember our loved ones and our lives shared with them, because that is how we want to carry them forward with us, whether they are physically near us or not.  We want to treasure the hope of the first baby steps, the victory of young adults venturing out into the world, the satisfaction of grandchildren.  We should not wallow in the pain and sacrifice it took to create the joy, but delightfully and jubilantly celebrate the joy itself.

*I confess, I may have some of the details/timeline mixed up, didn't do much fact checking.  I think I got the gist of the events.

April 3, 2010

Home Decorating with Sharpies

very cool... did his mom yell at him for writing on the walls?
And is that R2D2 in the corner?

April 2, 2010

Violence Boycott: Day 1

Just like drying off from the baptism while making out with the pastor's daughter, it didn't take me long to backslide and break my vow of anti-violence purity. Although to be fair, it wasn't a solemn vow or anything, just an ideal to aspire to... ok, ok, so I'm a hypocrite.  But I had to watch Lost, especially this close to the dramatic/traumatic ending of the series.  I have several years of confused viewing invested in this show, and a few more episodes of the smoke monster tossing airplanes full of people around the jungle won't kill hurt cause me discomfort...

So just what did I give up in my quest to be violence-free?

I stopped reading Stephen King's Gunslinger.  I've read a couple of graphic novels based on it, liked the mythology and the weirdness, but before the book was 1/4 way through the "hero" had shot down an entire town of men, women, and children.  Close book, return to Library unfinished.

I deleted The Killers from my daily playlist, but couldn't bring myself to delete them completely -- after all, "Mr. Brightside" "When You Were Young" and "Dustland Fairytale" sound like very anti-violence song titles ("Don't Shoot Me Santa"... not so much) -- absolutely definitely deleted my lone Marilyn Manson track, mainly on the grounds of his looks. Ug.

Other than that, Day 1 had no other clashes  encounters with violence.  Spent the day with the boys at Legoland (don't waste your time/money on the new aquarium) and then read a few Beverly Cleary books.  I already feel a bit more peace-filled. (deep, contented sigh)

March 30, 2010

Death to Violence!

Editor's Warning: This post will meander in an aimless, disjointed, almost incoherent fashion.

I'm giving up violence.


I'm not a big Three Stooges fan, never have been really.  Maybe they were funny, but I didn't get the point and/or entertainment value with all the poking and bashing and gouging.  Never have really enjoyed professional wrestling either, and I could do without horror films. Maybe reading The Exorcist under the covers when I was 14 scared and scarred me enough.  I love my rock 'n roll, but would never buy an Iron Maiden or Marilyn Manson album.

The point is, I have seen/heard/read about more than enough violence in my life, and I want it to stop.  I'm not naive enough to think it will stop, violence is a fact of life and an ever present element of our American culture.  Violence dominates the real world as well as almost every "escape" from the real world, from music to cartoons to fashion to religion. Is it even possible to be free from the endless barrage of violence?

I want to try.

Several factors have inspired this... exercise? quest? misguided and ill fated attempt to turn my sons into anti-war pacifists?  There is the couple here in SoCal eating on $1 a day and an article in Time magazine about deprivation experiments (and the blogs they are chronicled in), plus my own recent attempts to lose some middle-age poundage by not eating bread for a month and giving up cereal (I was up to a 2 bowl per morning habit, not to mention weekends and late night Capt Crunch).  Then there was the combination* of the movie 2012 and Stephen King's Gunslinger stories which involved me in approximately 6 billion deaths in a matter of one evening.  My cup, as the saying goes, runneth over -- and then some.

So what do I do now?

I'm going to try an avoid, eliminate, and not participate in anything containing or implying violence of any sort.  This immediately poses threats a dilemma in regards to my weekly television viewing: Lost (the final episodes!) and Flash Forward, not to mention the ESPN and the NFL Network .**  My sons and I are reading a children's book, Freak the Mighty, which involves bullies and threats (so far) -- does it get re-shelved?  Netflix just sent us Area 51 -- any aliens get shot at in there?  Does shooting at aliens, or even asteroids, count as violence?

We'll see how this goes...

*I was going to say "lethal combination" -- violence is prevalent in everyday speech.
**Reconciling the football coach part of me with the No Violence Quest will be a subject to explore another day.

March 24, 2010

Post Secret Future Messages

This is hilarious... gotta try it some day!

March 18, 2010

Owl Cam

watch owl eggs hatch live!  and watch mama owl eat a mouse.  Beware of the commentators, use full screen to avoid their potty mouths...

March 3, 2010

Mental Floss

 The Amazing Fact Generator !-- get smarter, amaze your friends, impress your boss, win at Trivial Pursuit!*

*does anyone still play Trivial Pursuit?

February 22, 2010

February 20, 2010

Is Tiger "Entitled"? Of course he is!

I would think Tiger Woods has enough money -- almost inconceivable amounts that will allow his great-grandchildren to be ridiculously financially secure -- to go with the hubris, ego, selfish, cocky self-centered attitude and mind-set of the alpha male professional athlete* to be able to have the first truly honest public figure after-scandal press conference:

"I am a professional golfer.  I will only answers questions that pertain to the sport of golf and my ability to perform in my chosen profession.  My private life is none of your business.  My family life, my personal actions, my religious beliefs, and my political opinions are absolutely no one's business, unless I make the personal choice to share such aspects of my private life with the general public.  I will not now nor ever answer any questions regarding my personal life with members of the media.  Thank you."

I can understand kowtowing for the paychecks when you're at the bottom of the ladder and trying to struggle your way up, but Tiger personifies "at the top of his game" -- he is one of the most recognizable entities in the entire world, what more could he gain by subjecting himself (and his family) to more public humiliation? 

I wonder how many other top athletes or cultural/political/financial figures wish someone like Tiger Woods would stand up and put an end to this bizarre cycle of crime and public embarrassment, these tawdry displays of tears splashing on dozens of microphones? 

*all desirable and necessary attributes if you want to reach his level of success.  I know I want my star players to act just like this.  Is there a "great" anything or anybody that does not personify these characteristics?

February 5, 2010

90's Top Ten

Best of the 90's Top Ten:

  • Around the Way Girl, LL Cool J
  • Losing My Religion, R.E.M.
  • Free Fallin', Tom Petty
  • Candy, Iggy Pop & Kate Pierson
  • Take Me With You (When You Go), The Jayhawks
  • Creep, Radiohead
  • When I Come Around, Green Day
  • Streets of Philadelphia, Bruce Springsteen
  • Come As You Are, Nirvana
  • Where It's At, Beck
  • Everlong, Foo Fighters

final cuts included "Brick" by Ben Folds Five, "Runaway Train" Soul Asylum, "Hey Jealousy" Gin Blossoms, "It Ain't Over..." Lenny Kravitz, "My Hero" and "Learning To Fly" Foo Fighters, with special mention for Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's "Somewhere Over The Rainbow/What A Wonderful World" for not only a cool song but in memory of Dr. Greene.

February 4, 2010

Guilty Pleasure Confession

No, not the very nearly entire package of Oreos I ate last night, that just made my tummy hurt,
but MMMBop by Hanson...

But as for a more adult, higher quality, less embarrassing music recommendation, courtesy of Paste magazine and this cool blog: James Maddock's "Sunrise On Avenue C" -- singer/songwriter piano-fueled gravel-voice pop, definitely deserves a listen!

January 26, 2010

Rainy Days = Reading Daze

update upon the completion of You Shall Know Our Velocity

 Actually, it's Rainy Days + no desire to watch football since the Chargers tanked it in the playoffs and crushed my Super Bowl hopes = lots of time for Reading...

my reading view, if the cat isn't crushing my chest

Five Stars: The Story of Edward Sawtelle -- picked it up several times in bookstores over the past year but something else always won out; my loss because I really enjoyed it all the way through (although I wouldn't have minded a happier ending).  Now I must reread Hamlet, and get a dog. 

3 Stars:  Road Dogs by Elmore Leonard, starring George Clooney/Jack Foley -- Leonard is one of my guilty pleasures grab a book from the Library shelf and devour it in an afternoon reads, and while this one had moments it wasn't his best. Kind of a weird, boring ending.

East, West -- short stories by Salman Rushdie

You Shall Know Our Velocity  -- still working on this one, and appreciating every page; Dave Eggers is one of my favorites and he's breaking my heart.

Okay, finished it last night, 4 Stars, and while I need to re-read the last few pages (is he better or worse? alive or dead?) I definitely put it in the "you should read this" category.  Although not so soon after reading The Mystic Art of Erasing All Signs of Death -- similar theme of young lives lost tragically and horribly -- and the spate of zombie books I've picked up lately.  Now I need something carefree and crime-free, humor and sex and not at all realistic...

I've also kicked off twenty-ten with a few good children's books , especially recommend The Girl Who Could Fly ...


 my other reading view, but it's been too c-c-cold (down to the 50's!) and we even got some hail, something the boys had never seen before.  I saved some in the freezer for them...

Also picked up a few good CDs: Randy Newman's "The Best Of...", Silversun Pickups "Carnavas", the "Reality Bites" soundtrack,  Morphine's "Cure For Pain" and the Hope For Haiti Now benefit album....

U.S. Presidents vs. The Super Bowls

Pitting the Presidents against the Super Bowls, leading up to this season's confluence: SBXXXXIV vs. Prez #44

funny, yet informative.

not sure "confluence' is the correct word...?

January 10, 2010

Best Songs -- Wild Card Weekend

1st round of "Best o' the Nineties Playoffs" losers include Take #52/John Doe, Don't Rock the Jukebox/Alam Jackson, Crying Game/Boy George, Daughter/Pearl Jam, All I Wanna Do/Sheryl Crow, Man in the Mirror/MJ, Last Goodbye/Jeff Buckley...

bounced in 2nd round:  Cool Like That/Digable Planets, Plush/STP, Only Wanna Be With You/Hootie etc, Bittersweet Symphony/Verve, Velvet Glove/RHChili Pepps...