Friday, November 30, 2007

I went to kickboxing class last night for the first time since before Thanksgiving. The last time I took the class is the last time I did anything cardiowise. Needless to say, in the middle of class last night, I pretty much felt like I was going to die. It's amazing how quickly we lose any conditioning in such a short period of time. So while I want to play hockey tonight because I haven't played in so long, I know it's going to be a miserable experience and three long periods filled with gasping for breath.

A U.S. based television production company shooting in Nepal has discovered what it believes to be a Yeti footprint. The print was fresh and pristine and appeared to be less than 24 hours old when the crew discovered it. The team of producers, from an organization called Destination Truth, were in fact seeking evidence regarding the Yeti. The print was found in the Khumbu region near Mt. Everest at a height of nearly 2,900 feet. Tales by Sherpas about the beast have entertained climbers on the mountain since the 1920s. Some believe the Yeti is a protector, some think it's a destroyer. Whatever the case, if there IS one, I hope they never find it. It would be better off living on its own than prodded and poked for the rest of its life.

Someone asked in the comments section yesterday what has happened to the Song of the Day. When I first started to write this blog, my intention was to post a song from the 80s every day that had a significant, personal memory for me. By posting every day, it didn't take much longer than a couple of months to run out of songs. Then, I switched to choosing songs from the 80s by bands I hadn't used yet. Then it became songs in the 90s, and then whoever I could think of that I hadn't used yet. After the first couple of months, choosing a Song of the Day became the most time consuming part of blogging, and eventually, I was picking just about any song with very little to day about it. So for the time being, I'm done with it. It may return at another time, but I'm tired of having to think so much to post. Sorry.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I came across this sport on the internet a few years ago when I was just getting into hockey. It's the coolest thing ever. It's called Crashed Ice, and there's one tournament every year sponsored by Red Bull. Think of downhill ice skating. It's sort of like a bobsled track but wider with dropoffs and steps. Slaters start at the top of the hill and race each other to the bottom. They can reach speeds up to 50km/hr. It would be awesome to be able to do someday. It's hard to explain, so here's a video to show you. This is from the 2007 competition in Quebec City.

Somehow, Wally has gotten some fleas again. I woke up this morning with a fleabite in each armpit. I can't possibly explain how annoying of a feeling that is. I also got to take out my neighbor's bulldog today. He was nice and sleepy when I went inside to get him. I think Tater Tot may have some competition.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I came into work this evening to find flyers all over the walls for the annual holiday food drive. Hungry kids, bring cans, blah blah...the usual thing. You see it every year. But this flyer had a photo of a kid on it. A photo of a kid eating spaghetti. A kid that didn't look particularly needy. It sort of ruined the whole effect for me. I thought, "That kid doesn't need food! He has spaghetti!" Then I realized I hadn't brought anything for dinner. My second thought was maybe he wasn't eating, maybe he was throwing the spaghetti up. In that case, he's wasting food! Why should we give him any if he's just going to waste it? I'm just saying I might have been more sympathetic to the campaign if they had a photo of some skinny Ethiopian looking kid.

I read an article online today that said a planned televisied Democratic presidential debate has been canceled today after candidates vowed to boycott the event rather than cross picket lines of striking Hollywood writers. I guess you have to assume that being Democrats, they would be sympathetic to any labor cause. Coincidentally, the headline right above it said that fireworks had broken out at the Rebublican debate. I guess we know who is on what side of the strike.

Why, oh why does nobody ever remind me it's Wednesday? With my weird schedule, I'm never sure what day it is. Here's the little guy getting his plate of Thanksgiving dinner:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Last night, I went to watch a friend play Floorball pickup. Jeff is Canadian and a hockey player all around, so it's no surprise that he picked up playing floorball since he's been here in SoCal. I've heard him talk about it many times, and finally had a chance to go watch it. The game is similar to hockey - 5 players out and 1 goalie. He and his friends play it in a gym at Caltech, but in a formal game, it's played in a "rink" surrounded by short boards so there is no out of bounds. A lightweight stick is used with a plastic ventilated blade to carry around and shoot a wiffle-type ball. The idea, as in hockey, is to score more goals than your opponent. There is no stick checking and no body checking - only shoulder to shoulder contact. Goalies play on their knees in front of a smaller net and don't use a stick. The sport is big in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland, but is spreading to other parts of the world. It was really fun to watch, and it makes me wish I had Mondays off regularly so I could learn to play as well. Here's a photo I took last night and one from a professional game.

To give you an idea, here's a video of some professional play:

Monday, November 26, 2007

Last night, I finished the latest book I've been reading, Playing For Pizza by John Grisham. Rick Dockery is a third string quarterback with the Cleveland Browns. The Browns' quarterback pulls a hamstring in the first quarter of the AFC Championship game and the 2nd string enters the game. With 11 minutes left, the Browns lead 17-0 when the 2nd stringer gets injured and Dockery takes the field. He manages to throw three interceptions and the Browns lose the game. Dockery, knocked unconscious in the last moment of the game, wakes up in the hospital, a national laughingstock. He's cut from the browns and no other teams will take him. Not even in Canada. His career nearly over, Rick's agent gets a call from Italy. Italy, as it turns out, has it's own NFL. No one knows about it since it's in the middle of soccer country. The players are Italian, they hold down regular jobs and don't get paid. Hoping to escape his embarrassment, Dockery heads to Parma for a $20,000 contract. In due time, he learns the true meaning of sportsmanship and love of the game.

I've always loved Grisham's writing, and have never felt disappointed by any of his books. I've especially come to enjoy his non-legal novels. He creates likable characters and Rick Dockery is no exception. If you like a good story you'll find this an enjoyable read.

While at Big Bear over the weekend, my friends decided that if I were a superhero, I would be Sarcasmo. I'd be offended if it weren't completely fitting. We figured Jeff, our Center, would be Quatro for the approximate 4 points he had in every game earlier in the season. If you were a superhero, who would YOU be?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Wally and I are back from our fun Thanksgiving weekend in Big Bear and are both ready for a good night's rest. While I'd like to say I got a lot of sleep up there, the truth is we were up late talking and joking, and up early to get out to the slopes or head home. We had a great time with our friends Madeline, Dean and Jeff and hope to make this an annual outing.

Since I'm pretty exhausted, this will be a short post, but here are some photos from the trip:

Wally eagerly awaits the carving of the Thanksgiving turkey.

Blowing snow on Bear Mountain where we would go boarding the next day.

In The Village with the Big Bear Bear.

Madeline and I in the parking lot before boarding. If Madeline weren't wearing mittens, you could see she's also throwing up a gang sign.

That's me, actually snowboarding instead of falling. By the end of the day, I could make it down this run without falling.

Dean and Jeff taking a rest on the slope. To be honest, I'm not sure what they're doing.

Madeline, Dean, myself and Jeff at the foot of Bear Mountain at the end of the day.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

After everyone took a nap yesterday afternoon, we ran into town to rent some boards and boots then picked up some pizza. I'm not sure WHY we picked up pizza - we were all still full from our giant left overs lunch. Even still, we got back to the house and chowed down then started in on the Smores. It must have been 20 years since the last time I made an actual Smore. We lit a fire in the fireplace. Jeff went out and got some sticks for us and sharpened the ends. We warmed up marshmallows and it was sooooo good. Dean is a vegetarian and doesn't eat marshmallows, so he made what we called a Sore. I'm not sure you'd be able to market that very well.

We then settled in for a night of Name that Theme Song. Dean has a collection of CDs with television theme songs from all different genres and eras and he'd play a second of the song and see who could name it. I found I'm really good at the Mike Post songs from the 80s and the shows I watched as a kid in the 70s, but not so good at naming the theme song to, say, F Troop. I wish they still required shows to have original theme songs like that. The opening to "24" would be so much more interesting if there was a rhyming theme song sung by a choir.

Today, we got up early-ish and headed over to the mountain. Bear Mountain had two runs open so that's where we went. Madeline did a great job of teaching me how to snowboard, and I can now get down the beginner's run on my toe side without falling. Someday, I'll actually be able to do it on my heels and eventually, be able to carve. Now we're back at home and I am SO SORE. Sore ass from falling on it, sore wrists from falling on them, sore legs from using them. I'm sure it's going to all feel really swell tomorrow. We all had a great time though, and I'm glad they were able to make enough snow to open up the runs for this weekend.

Tonight - some Uno and hopefully a long soak in the hot tub. For some reason, there are no instructions here for the hot tub and we've been playing a game of trying to press the right combination of buttons to get the thing to heat up. Our friend, James, is on his way from AZ back to LA and may stop at his cabin up here to drop something off and them come by and see us. All in all, it's been awesome weekend. Fun times with good friends.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving dinner went off without a hitch. Well, we were a little surprised when we showed up at the cabin to find a tiny oven that the small turkey we had barely fit in, but we managed to get everything to work. Oh, and when Madeline went to light the pilot light, she almost blew us up. But other than that, everything went well and the meal was very tasty. Wally even got his own little plate of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, etc. He always gets his own plate at Thanksgiving.

This morning, we went for a big breakfast in town then drove up near the ski slopes to see what's going on. There was no snow in the forecast when I checked Wednesday and we had all given up on trying to go snowboarding. When we checked last night, however, the reports showed they were blowing snow and hoped to be open by the end of the weekend. It looks like the lower slopes will be open tomorrow, so we're planning on hitting the slopes for some fun. We'll see how it goes for me, since the one time I tried to learn about 7 years ago, I had a horrible time. By the way, no one back home in the Northwest believes that we manufacture snow down here. You can go to the Bear Mountain website to see webcams that show the snow blowing machines.

After checking out the slopes, we went to The Village and walked around, then shopping for some snow gear and groceries. Right now, everyone is napping after a big lunch of leftovers. Later, off to rent boards and boots and grab a pizza.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Since we're traveling to Big Bear and staying in a rented cabin, we weren't up to the task of dragging a whole turkey with us, plus the necessary ingredients for side dishes, etc, and cooking up there. We've ordered a pre-made Thanksgiving dinner from Whole Foods which will only take a couple of hours to reheat and prepare. The price of a turkey dinner for 6 plus all the sides? $100. Not a bad deal since I don't have to cook anything.

Now it's time to find out if one Volvo XC90 can hold three adults and their luggage, an entire Thanksgiving dinner, and one soft fluffy Labrador and his kibble.

Favorite thing heard on TV this week: Olive Snook (Pushing Daisies) rushing across the room toward an intruder, knife in hand, saying, "Don't make me cut a bitch."

The song of the day is "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" by Smashing Pumpkins off their 1995 disc Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. I must admit, I'm not a big fan of Billy Corgan's, at least not recently, but I did love this album and a lot of songs on it. This one is my favorite, and I love to listen to it LOUD.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sometimes I'm shocked at how good of a photo I can accidentally take with my camera without really trying. Here he is, clean and soft and naked (he doesn't have his collar on), waiting to get to the cold weather and the dog friendly Village at Big Bear.

I'm not sure that we have internet access at the cabin we've rented, so I may finally be forced to blog via my phone on Friday and Saturday.

The song of the day is "The Adventure" by Angels and Airwaves off their 2006 debut album We Don't Need to Whisper. This was the first song released for this band, formed by former Blink 182 front man Tom DeLonge. I hadn't heard any decent new music in a long time, and this song really excited me. I anxiously awaited the release of the full CD...only to be terribly disappointed by the rest of the disc. They're playing at the KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas this year. For the first several years I was in L.A., I tried and tried to obtain tickets. I've even had the advance password for the Street Team and still been unable to get tickets, even within the first minute of the onsale. I've totally given up. This year, I'll be relegated to watching a lame webcast. Do tickets really exist? Or is it just some lame joke that everyone but me is in on?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

With a day of work left before I head off to the mountains with friends, I'm already in vacation mode. I can tell I'm not the only one. Most of the editors at work can generally be seen milling about the hallways chatting with each other or doing pretty much anything that will keep them from sitting down to edit. A colleague mentioned this morning on the way to the front door that if he were given the option, he would rather just stand in the parking lot for two days waiting for the holiday rather than go in and work.

In preparation for these days away, I came home from work today, stripped down to nothing but board shorts and a t-shirt, dragged Wally into the guest shower and ran him through the dog wash process. For a dog, Wally is very tolerant of baths. He's never particularly happy about the situation, but he knows he really doesn't have a choice. When it comes time to towel off, however, he's completely game, running through my towel like a bull in a bullfight, rubbing up against anything soft and dry. When I finished with him, he got all excited thinking it was now playtime, but there's no way I'm letting him out there wet with the dirt and a tennis ball. He'll have to settle for kibble and tv.

The song of the day is "Big Casino" by Jimmy Eat World off their new release Chase This Light. I've been a big fan of Jimmy Eat World since I heard Bleed American and it became one of my favorite CDs. Their newest album doesn't disappoint. I've had it in heavy rotation in my car for the past week and have thoroughly enjoyed it.

Monday, November 19, 2007

For those of you who watched Dexter last night, how much better can this show get? Already, I can't wait to see next week's episode. It looks like Dexter's perfectly controlled world is starting to fall apart, and I have to wonder what he's going to do AND if he gets caught - what happens to next season? I'd also like to ask, is it totally wrong of me to find Keith Carradine oddly hot in his role as FBI Special Agent Frank Lundy? I totally get where Debra's coming from.

The Weeds season finale airs tonight, which means another year wait for the next season. Why, oh why, do cable shows have such short season orders? They're some of the most well written shows out there, and they make us wait. I keep swearing I'm just going to wait until the shows are over and then watch them all at the same time on DVD, but I can never bring myself to break away from the current episodes. Sigh.

The song of the day is "Pardon Me" by Incubus off their 1999 album Make Yourself. I really liked these guys when I first heard them around the time this album came out, though I haven't found them to be as good recently. Still, this is probably my favorite songs by the band.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I'd like to say that I saw or did something interesting in the past 24 hours, but it's simply not true. The closest I got to exciting was having a late dinner with my friend, Dean, at IHOP because there was no game last night and we were jonesing for pancakes. And when I say "we" I mean "I."

I've needed to go grocery shopping all week and have put it off time and again because I really hate going to the grocery store. The result was that I spent an unnecessary amount of money eating out, and had to resort to eating Top Ramen for lunch at work today. There are a couple of things I will never ever be able to eat again without being reminded of college, and Top Raman and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese are two of them. I just got back from the store and bought so much food that I'm actually having a hard time deciding what to eat for dinner. A did buy Eggos, so I can get my waffle fix in later this week. Other than that, I've just been inside editing all day in a air cooled/space heated room with no windows. I'm looking forward to the upcoming Thanksgiving break and the small trip some friends and I are taking to Big Bear. It doesn't look like it will snow, but at least I can hope for three consecutive mornings where I can sleep in. Tonight, I'm looking forward to curling up on the couch with Wally to watch the new Dexter on my Tivo.

The song of the day is "Dear Mr. President" by Pink off her 2006 album I'm Not Dead." The first time I heard this, I immediately stopped to listen to all the words. Then, I listened to it again and again. If you're as unhappy and disappointed as I am in our current president, you'll like this song. If you aren't familiar with it, here it is:

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Even if I lived in a cave without a watch or a calendar, I would know it was nearly Christmas because when I opened my mail box this evening, about 50 catalogs spewed forth. Out of a giant pile of mail, there was actually one thing I actually needed. I tried not to be too annoyed that one of the catalogs was from the motorcycle company where my identity thief tried to buy thousands of dollars of merchandise.

I love The Office. I hope you all got a chance to catch it this week to see Michael being deposed in Jan's wrongful termination lawsuit. If you didn't, you can catch a 2 minute recap of the episode here. I see the next scheduled Office is a rerun, so I assume they're out of episodes for the season. I sincerely hope the writers are able to make a deal that will make them happy. But I also hope they do it soon so we can have some new TV again in the near future.

The song of the day is "Swing Life Away" by Rise Against off their 2004 album Song of the Counter Culture. This is one of those songs I absolutely loved, and was dismayed to find this song is unlike any of their other songs. In fact, the first time I heard it on KROQ, Jed the Fish came out of the song saying, "If you really like that song, don't buy the album." "Swing Life Away" is a nice acoustic, melodic song, and apparently, the rest of their stuff is pretty hard core. In fact, they're labeled as an American punk/melodic hardcore band. I'm not sure what the hell that means. Remember when music was either rock, or country, or big band? Anyway, this song is where the melodic label comes from. If you haven't had the pleasure of hearing it, now you can:

Friday, November 16, 2007

Since both my hockey leagues are on a three week hiatus for the holiday, I've been jonesing to get out on the ice. So yesterday, I went down to the rink to take a lesson with my old coach, Rob Armstrong. The noon stick time at the rink is usually pretty open with only a handful of skaters. Yesterday was an anomaly. By the time Rob hit the ice with me, there was at least 20 skaters with three other coaches teaching lessons in blocked off areas of the ice. Because there were so many lessons going on, the ice was broken up into several sections with 5 goals sitting in different areas. Sitting in one of the goals, all by himself, was 6-year-old goalie, Cy. Cy was roughly waist high and raring to go. He skated back and forth in the crease, slid side to side, just waiting for someone to take a run on him. But all the other skaters, adults who were there to work on their game and their shots, either ignored him or couldn't see him. Rob, who coaches teams of young kids and is really good with him, enlisted Cy to tend goal while myself and another 12-year-old ran drills. Rob told us to shoot low and light and warned us that he didn't think Cy was wearing a cup. (Who sends their kid out on the ice in goalie gear without a cup?) After awhile, Rob wanted to give the other kid and I the opportunity to really shoot at the net. I felt bad for Cy, assuming he'd have to go away on his own again. Rob had a heart, though, and after triple checking the net for holes, placed Cy behind the net so we could shoot as hard as we wanted, and he could pretend he was blocking shots. Cy was more than satisfied.

The song of the day is "My Own Worst Enemy" by Lit off their 1999 album A Place in the Sun. The first time I heard this, I appreciated the lyrics. Can't say I haven't been there before! What can I say, it's catchy and I love it.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Someone e-mailed me this video clip last night. The story is that a woman in Columbia found a lion cub who was wounded and hungry. She took him home and raised him until he grew too big to keep at home. She turned him over to a local zoo to care for the full grown lion, but she visits him every day. This is how he greets her:

I've always thought big cats were cool and think it's a shames they're not readily domesticated. I'd like to have a big friendly tiger or something in Wally size. Maybe without the big giant claws.

You may remember the post from the other day about an old friend who recently died. I talked about an essay I had written about him in college which would paint a much clearer picture of Carl, or at least the picture I saw when I was 22, the age I was when I wrote it. I've never uploaded a document before, but hopefully this will work. You should be able to view the essay HERE.

The song of the day is "Shadows and Regrets" by Yellowcard off their 2007 album Paper Walls. I just bought this along with the new Jimmy Eat World on Amazon and got to listen to it today. This is a great song, and the lyrics remind me a bit of what it feels like to go home and visit old friends. Here it is for you to enjoy. If you click on "download" it will take you to a page where you can listen to the entire song without downloading it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Working extra days to cover for the holiday has me totally lost as to what day of the week it is. Sorry it's late, but happy Wally Wednesday! Here he is kicking it on the stair landing, one of his favorite places. It's cool and out of the way, and he gets a nice vantage point of my whole lower level.

Up until the point that I got involved in kickboxing, I was under the impression that I was in fairly decent shape. Not great shape, but not bad shape either. Now I know I am in horrible shape. I took my first kickboxing class today, and it was exhausting. I've always done lower body sports (soccer and hockey) so I have reasonably strong legs, but my upper body, especially my arms, are about as strong as Tyrannosaurus Rex's. Kicking - good. Punching - bad. It was about midway through the class that my arms felt as if they might fall off, and I wasn't sure if that would happen before or after I passed out. After 45 minutes of practically non-stop combination drills on the bags, we did about 5 minutes of non-stop ab work. When I say "we" I pretty much mean the rest of the class because after the first minute of crunches, my abs pretty much just quit working. I can't imagine ever being in good enough shape to get through the entire class without feeling like I'm going to die, but that's my goal. Wish me luck!

Here's a hilarious video I saw on another blog. It's the "Unaired 1994 Pilot of 24." Imagine Jack Bauer with a pager and dial up access to AOL 3.0. It's hard to believe this really wasn't that long ago.

The song of the day is "Detachable Penis" by King Missile off their 1993 album Happy Hour. When I moved to Los Angeles in early 1994, I quickly latched on to KROQ as my station of choice, and was always impressed by how different the music on the radio here was compared to what they played in Portland. At the time, Portland only had one Alt Rock station and it was AM. I certainly would have never heard this song there. The first time I heard it I couldn't stop laughing at the humorous lyrics and off the wall story telling. If you're not familiar with the song, check it out:

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A friend e-mailed me this link the other day for a web site that collects photos taken where photography is prohibited. It reminded me of this photograph I took when I visited Ayers Rock.

When I first saw the no photography signs, I thought, "Seriously?" I mean, there was no one within eyesight. Who would know whether or not I took a photo? That's one big honor system, I'll tell you. I was traveling with a young guy from Britain who immediately took a photo. I said, "What are you doing?" and gestured to the sign. "It's sacred ground." He said, "Not to me." I sighed. While I have a lot of respect for other cultures and their beliefs, I thought he had a good point. Plus, I knew it was likely I would never see the Rock again. That's where this photo came from.

The song of the day is "Epic" by Faith No More off their 1989 The Real Thing. Man, I don't know why I love this song so much, but I do. I remember seeing the video on MTV and not being able to tear myself away, just because I'd never heard anything quite like it. Plus, the dancing is quite stellar. If you don't remember it, here it is:

Monday, November 12, 2007

I was in the middle of work yesterday afternoon when my cell phone rang. It was an unrecognizable number from Washington and I almost didn't pick it up, but I thought it might be one of my nephews calling from their cell phone. I was both happy and surprised when I discovered on the other end of the line two very dear, old friends I hadn't heard from in some time. The three of us worked together in Olympia, Washington when I worked for a radio station there, KQEU, back around 1990. I was right out of high school and extremely green, and Randy and Dale, the afternoon and night guys respectively, both took me under their wings and became big brothers to me. We had kept in touch sporadically over the years since I left Olympia around 1992. I wouldn't hear from either of them in forever, then one of us would call the other, happily chat for a couple of hours, and promise to keep in better touch this time. Unfortunately, life always gets in the way and we never get to talk as often as we should.

My elation at hearing from them quickly changed to sadness when they told me the reason they were calling - an old friend of ours from the station passed away last week after a long battle with cancer. Carl Cook was a bit of an unwilling celebrity in Olympia. He had been the voice of radio there for many, many years, starting with a stint at KAOS, the college station while he attended there, then at KGY, the main station, and ultimately at KQEU where we all met. You could never have met a less celebrity-like person than Carl. He had grown up in San Francisco in the 60s, dropping acid and going to Janis Joplin concerts. Though his first love was photography, he somehow stumbled into radio and stayed there for years and years.

When I knew Carl, he was in his mid to late 40s, very anti-establishment. He just wanted to come in, play some cool music, and get out the door before he got hit in the face with any station politics. I found it very admirable, and we became quick friends. He was the first mentor I ever had, not just in the radio business, but in life. He came from an era I was fascinated with and told story upon story about life in the 60s, Vietnam, and the Summer of Love. I learned a lot from him. By 19, I knew an excessive amount of information on 60s musicians. He was also a great guy to have intellectual discussions with. His point of view was not always predictable, and was often from a different perspective than I expected from him.

We once had an argument because he was trying to explain to me how much people change over the years. And I, with all the insightfulness of an 19-year-old, dug in my stubborn heels and insisted I wouldn't change one iota as I grew up. He laughed and said, "On your fortieth birthday, wherever either of us are, we'll get together and have lunch and talk, and you'll see how much you've changed." Whenever I talked to him on the phone or wrote to him after I left town, I always reminded him of his promise, and he always remembered our deal. Before I was even 30, I realized how much I had changed and knew he had been right all along. I looked forward to seeing him eventually and being able to tell him this. I hadn't talked to him in probably 10 years, had exchanged only a short e-mail around 2000 when I got married. In the back of my head, I always knew that when I turned 40, he would have the same phone number and I'd call him up and make arrangements, and we'd have that lunch.

But here I am, not even 37 yet, and he's gone. I wish I had kept in touch, wish I had known he was sick these past years. I would have called him and had the opportunity to tell him how much influence he'd had on my life. We always think there is always time, and in the end, there just isn't.

I wrote an essay about Carl when I was in college and had hoped to post it here. However, after several hours of looking through boxes in my garage last night, I was unable to find it. I have it on disc, but it's on a floppy, and I just got rid of my drive. Whenever I recover it, I'll post it. It will give you a much better idea of who Carl Cook was and what he meant to me.

Carl was really an amazing photographer, and his photographs from the 60s were fantastic. They could have easily been in Life magazine to document life during that pivotal decade. Later, he got really interested in nature photography and did an exhaustive study of the wolves at Wolfhaven, a wolf sanctuary in Tenino, WA. You can see his work at his website.

The song of the day is "Nights In White Satin" by The Moody Blues off their 1967 album Days of Future Passed. This is just another one of those songs I learned to love in those days I worked with Carl. I can't remember if he even liked this song - he wasn't a big fan of popular music - but for some reason, it always reminds me of those few years. The Moody Blues, Tommy James, Strawberry Alarm Clock - how else would I have known anything about those bands?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

For those of you who aren't in Southern California, and might be more than a little bit confused about why the writers are striking, this is a very well put together video that explains the reasons behind the strike.

Here's a more entertaining video from the cast of The Office, many of whom are also writers and writer-producers on the show.

In 1988, the writers struck for 22 weeks and the entertainment industry lost approximately $500 million. I feel so impacted by the loss of new episodes from all my favorite TV shows, including the entire season of "24" that has been put on hold until the strike can be resolved. This all makes me wonder how on earth I don't remember that last strike in the 80s. Granted I was only 17 at the time, but I did like my TV even then. However, this marks the difference in technology between then and now. Then: checking the TV guide to see when a show might be on and hoping to catch it if you're home. Now: setting all your favorite shows to Season Pass on your Tivo so you're sure to never miss an episode, no matter how long the series might run. I guess I was just too busy being a teenager, because I don't remember ever being like, "Oh my God! It's been FOREVER since there's been a new episode of Moonlighting!" Now I'm like, "What's going to happen to The Office?!" as I break into a cold sweat, thinking about all the upcoming nights of repeats and crappy reality television. I'm trying to take this time to rent all those series I have wanted to see but never have on DVD, and hopefully, the strike won't go longer than the last one. That being said, I totally support the writers in their strike endeavors. For now, I'm content to have been assured by a writer friend that the last season of The Shield has already been written, shot, and is in the can.

The song of the day is "Fight the Good Fight" by Triumph off their 1981 album Allied Forces. I hadn't thought of them in a long time until I saw a guy at work wearing a Triumph t-shirt the other day. He's a big prog-rock fan and still loves the band.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Yesterday, my aunt sent me a link to an article in the Idaho Statesman. My cousin, Dana, is a firefighter in Boise and made the news. Yeah, my little cousin (who is really only a couple of years younger than me) has grown up to be a big strong fireman. I thought you would all enjoy the story and the photos. How cool is my cousin?

From the Statesman: Boise firefighter Dana Brown carries a cat Friday morning after it was found inside an apartment in the 3100 block of Esquire Drive in Boise. It was one of two cats rescued by fire fighters Friday. Brown later resuscitated the animal with the help of a special attachment called a SurgiVet. "This is my first cat rescue," said Brown, an 11-year veteran of the department.

The song of the day is "Sex and Candy" by Marcy Playground off their 1997 self-titled debut album. I think this band was pretty much a one hit wonder, but it was a good one hit. This song always reminds me of a week I spent in Toronto soon after the song was released. I didn't realize until I looked up the band on Wikipedia that they were from Washington (my home state) and heavily influenced by Nirvana. It would be hard to be from that region at that time and NOT be influenced by Nirvana. Band leader John Wozniak also briefly attended the same college I briefly attended - The Evergreen State College, whose most famous alumni is Simpsons creator Matt Groening. I remember the bookstore had a section for alumni writers, and there amongst books on the environment, politics and history were collections of Life In Hell.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Since I'm essentially a freelance employee right now, and I have this weird Friday-Tuesday schedule, taking any time off to do something on the weekend can be problematic. If I don't work a day, I don't get paid for it, unless I make it up down the line somewhere. Since Thanksgiving falls over the weekend, I have to make up days. Technically, I don't HAVE to make up days, but since I'm not staff and don't get paid for holidays, I would just lose pay for all those days, including Saturday and Sunday. I scheduled my own make-up days and I'm not really sure what the hell I was thinking. I just realized today that the way things fall right now, my next day off will actually be THANKSGIVING DAY! I may have to rethink this and move a make-up day further down the road. I also have the annual Hollywood mandatory holiday lay-off, the "Merry Christmas, you don't get any pay for two weeks!" hiatus.

No women's league game tonight. We have an 11:15pm open ice for scrimmage which I think I'll skip. Considering the string of days and nights I'll be working in the next couple of weeks, I think I'll enjoy my night off at home.

The song of the day is "Wonderwall" by Oasis off their 1995 album (What's the Story) Morning Glory? I heard this song on KROQ not long after I moved to L.A., and this song always reminds me of commuting up and down the 405. I really loved this song, and actually enjoyed the whole album but never got into anything else Oasis did. A friend who was backpacking around the world a few years ago reports that whenever he'd pick up a guitar in a campfire, the first song all the Brits would request was this one.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I saw these two headlines this morning in my Yahoo news list, and they seem to sadly set the tone for what things will be like on TV for awhile:

"24" Falls Victim to Writer's Strike

...followed directly by...

ABC Fires Up "Dance Machine"

The song of the day is "Tropicalia" by Beck off his 1998 album Mutations. I've always sort of appreciated Beck, but this is the first CD of his that I ever bought and I fully enjoyed it through and through. The disc is full of different musical styles, including (obviously) this Tropicalia style. If you've never listened to Beck, I highly recommend checking out this album.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

My headache was gone today. That is, it was gone until I got to work this evening to find a pile of ridiculous notes waiting for me. Not that notes themselves are ridiculous - some of them can be very useful. But this particular set are really annoying, asking me to try to fix things I have already told them can not be fixed and such. Now I'm wishing I had taken the time to blog before I left for work because now I'm totally buried and don't really have the time, so this will be short.

Here's Wally - I'm not sure if you can really see the look on his face, but this is him at work over the weekend, right at the moment he realized I had the leash in my hand and it was time to walk out and get in the car. This photo was taken right before he bolted down the hallway to the right, making me chase him around the building before we could go home.

The song of the day is "Anything, Anything" by Dramarama off their 1985 album Cinema Verite. Man, I really like Dramarama. I can see how annoying it must get for the people at KROQ when every other person is calling to ask the name of this song. If you have heard it, you know it couldn't possibly be named anything else.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I woke up with a nasty headache this morning. There's nothing better than opening your eyes for the first time in the morning and finding that you're in pain. I usually get bad headaches of the stress variety, but I think this may have been more of a migraine because I got some nice nausea to go along with it. I got out of bed long enough to grab some aspirin, then went back to bed and didn't wake up until almost noon. As soon as I sat upright, I knew the headache had not gone away. When I worked on big union shows, calling in sick was something you that was only really acceptable if you were on your death bed. But with the job I have now, you're more than welcome to call in as long as you make the day up, so I took tonight off and will make it up tomorrow. I slept a good part of the afternoon and now Wally is awake and ancy and ready to go out for some fetch.

The song of the day is "Crash Into Me" by Dave Matthews off his 1996 album Crash. This is the speed of Matthews that I like, nice and ballady. His faster stuff is a little too speedy for me. I still have this song in regular rotation on my iPod. Have you ever noticed how crazed DMB fans can be? A co-worker has seen him in concert over a 100 times all over the world.

Monday, November 05, 2007

An hour into the strike this morning, my writer friend, James, said he was ready to settle because it was cold outside and he was wearing shorts. I'm sure he was kidding. (You were kidding, right James?) I think the writers are quite prepared for the strike, though James admits he didn't realize it was going to be this hard. I told James to think about all the upper body conditioning he was going to get from carrying that sign. He strikes a handsome pose as a picketer, doesn't he?

For you ladies, James is single and likes hockey and long walks on the beach. Try to overlook the fact that he's indefinitely unemployed for the time being.

I took my first kick boxing lesson today, and my arms are all rubbery. I've been wanting to do more working out, and a friend recently started taking lessons at this boxing gym in Old Town. It's really cool and a great workout, so after a few lessons, I'll start taking the regular group classes. I've always done lower body sports so I have almost no strength at all in my arms, and my core is weak and doughy. My goals are to build some upper-body and core strength and to tone my body. How long do you think it will take for me to look like the chick in Million Dollar Baby? (Without the teeth?)

The song of the day is "Anarchy in the U.K." by the Sex Pistols off their 1977 album Nevermind the Bullocks, Here's the Sex Pistols. Why, you ask? Because I played it so many times on Guitar Hero last night trying to get it right that I woke up this morning with is running through my head, and it's still there. Damn you, Guitar Hero! Why are you like crack cocaine??