San Diego Dave in Peril

San Diego Dave took this picture of the Pacific Ocean, he hasn’t been evacuated yet, but the ominous cloak of smoke indicates that the danger isn’t too far away.  I talked with Dave yesterday and he said that he’s basically waiting for a reverse 911 call that would tell him and fellow residents to evacuate.  It’s hard to imagine raging fires reaching the ocean.  He was off from work yesterday and hopefully the fires will be contained soon so everyone can return to a normal life, but so far, Mother Nature isn’t cooperating. 

On the home front, I had a very relaxing weekend, highlights included a church fair complete with hay ride and petting zoo and hitting 3 homeruns in our final weekend of softball.  Winston has a real appreciation for funny noises and funny faces now, poor Jaclyn watches Winston and I out do each other with weird noises and faces at dinner each night.

Song of the Blog:
It’s Not You It’s Me (Coconut Records) – A friend recommended that I do this song for the song of the blog and I am glad he did.  I had never heard of Coconut Records before, but a little research yielded that it is the singer/songwriter from Phantom Planet (Califorrrrrrrnnnniiaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…Here WE COME!!!!), this singer/songwriter also happens to be an actor who’s starred in Rushmore, Marie Antoinette, and the Darjeeling Limited, I’m talking about Jason Schwartzman!  You’ll recognize the catchy simplicity that worked so well for Phantom Planet, but he’s transitioned from surf rock to a autistic dance beat, it’s bare, repetitive, but it gets stuck in your head, and it works.  I found myself really getting into this song and the song song Nighttiming (which I like slightly better), but when you get these songs stuck in your head and you start singing them around the office, you definitely feel a little bit like Rainman.  It’s dance music for bad dancers, it’s probably the catchiest album I’ve heard since the Postal Service. 

Winston looking ridiculous

Winston in a moon bounce – which he loved!

Winston covered us both with food, good times

Before I Die

I was thinking today that I need to create a list of the things I want to do before I die.  Going to Alaska came to mind, but I wasn’t sure why.  I think I’d have a much better time at a tropical place with sandy beaches and rain forests like Costa Rica.  I also think I’d love to see the ancient South American ruins.  There’s a great scene in Motorcycle Diaries where Che Guevara looks at some ancient ruins and they are beautiful and spectacular all at once and he says, “How do you explain a civilization capable of building this being wiped out to build this” and the camera goes behind his shoulder and shows the city of Lima, Peru which looks like a typical congested city.  I’m not sure what I want to do before I die, I’m pretty sure I’ve done a lot of it, I wanted to catch a tarpon and was lucky enough to do that already.  I saw Bob Dylan in the front row.  I’m married and have a wonderful baby boy. 

I think a lot of the stuff I want to do now are probably stuff that will make those two people happy.  I can’t wait to do all the things that made me happy with my son. 

Some other things that I’d like to get done:
1. Spend a week on a houseboat
2.  Eat at the Rainbow Room
3.  Travel to Belgium
4.  Travel to Prague
5.  Drive across country
6.  Race a car around a test track

Song of the Blog:
Got My Mind Set On You (George Harrison) – I woke up this morning with this crazy song stuck in my head.  I was singing it to Jaclyn.   Does anyone remember this crazy video?  He was sitting in a room with all these animals mounted on the walls and as the song progressed the animals came to life and started singing?  I think this video inspired the Bugaboo Steakhouse.  This is such a fun and classic pop song, I encourage you to blast it in your car, it is impossible to be in a bad mood with this song cranked up while you remember the squirrel jamming out on the sax in the video.

Montana West is Best

My street cred is on the rise!  No, not because Mark Mitchell raps on my blog, but because I stayed up past 2AM on Friday and Saturday night.  Friday was a grueling night of Madden against my fierce rival San Diego Dave.  We split our 4 game series, 2-2.  I’ll admit it, he beat me pretty good in a couple of games and called me out, he said I need put more time in, I’m a shell of what I used to be in Madden.  Well, to my wife’s dissatisfaction, I have amped up my practice and I intend to get back to being the greatest video game player of all time. 

Saturday night was a spectacular evening coordinated by my ridiculously gorgeous wife.  She arranged to have a birthday celebration at Montana West and invited the gang.  Montana West is one of my recommendations on the site, and it did not disappoint.  This place crams in every redneck must have activity, line dancing, check, mechanical bull, check, NASCAR car parked on the roof, check.  It’s just great, we had a ball doing shots, drinking beers, and trying to figure out how to line dance.  A couple of ladies in the group represented on the mechanical bull.  This is where I heard something incredibly fascinating.  When a woman goes to ride the mechanical bull, the mechanical bull operator asks her if she would like to participate in the bikini bull-riding competition later on in the evening, to which most women reply, “No, I didn’t think to wear a bikini to the club tonight”.  But the wise proprietor of Montana West anticipated this rebuttal and provides women with a solution to this dilemma.  The mechanical bull operator informs the women that there is a box full of bikinis over in the corner that they are welcome to use for the competition.  Upon further inspection, I noticed the box sits in a dusty corner, bikinis appear to be worn many times before. 

Song of the Blog:
Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’ (Rolling Stones) – One of the best Rolling Stones songs and you never hear it on the radio because it’s longer than the standard 3 minutes.  It’s also tough to find on greatest hits CDs, it’s an amazing song and you never get to hear it.  When you finally listen to it, you’ll recognize it from movies.

Mrs. Deem Taming the Bull


Couple of Greenhorns Line Dancing



Miss Montana West


Some hot guys getting their pictures taken, but these chicks tried to sneak in and ruin the picture

Radiohead’s In Rainbows – Review

Today’s a big day for audiophiles around the world, Radiohead is releasing the album, In Rainbows.   Radiohead is taking a new approach to the whole thing, they’ve cut out the record labels and distributors in favor of releasing solely from their website.  This morning I googled “Radiohead” and was clicked on the link to ” www.inrainbows.com ” and navigated my way through the site to purchase the music.  When it came to check out, I was asked to put in an amount that I wanted to pay for the music.  What a crazy situation to be in, I have loved 90% of Radiohead’s catalog, so I am assuming this will be a great purchase, but what is a fair amount to give to one of your favorite bands for their music? (Radiohead is in my top 5 favorite bands, 1.  Dylan  2.  Hendrix  3.  Radiohead  4.  Beck  5.  Ray Charles)

I said 5 pounds, which converts roughly into $10.  Maybe I was too generous, but it seemed fair to me, they’ve made some amazing music and I’ve always gotten my money’s worth.  To be clear, you could just put in 5 cents or a penny, it is whatever you want to pay.  There is a charge of about $1 for the processing/transaction or whatever, so you will have to shell out something, unless you just have me burn you a copy.  The songs don’t have any protections devices built into it, so you can listen to it on iPods or MusicMatch or whatever device you want. 

I paid for the music and the next thing that happened was that I was provided a link where I could download the files.  The files were downloaded right to my desktop in a zip folder, I unzipped them and placed them in a regular folder and uploaded them to iTunes.  All in all, it was real easy to download and get the music up and running.

So, enough with the nuances of acquiring the music, let’s talk turkey and review the CD!

First thing I noticed was that the first track was great.  It gets the album off to a great start and uses the sharp signature beats from past Radiohead songs like “Optimistic” and laces them with cool bass and it sounds like it would be an ideal track for a Saturday Night Fever meets Zombie/Horror flick soundtrack. 

The second thing I noticed was the this CD is noticeably void of the paranoid.  The beats aren’t as frantic as the past, the guitars aren’t screeching and zapping, it’s been flushed out and replaced with a more steady and calm approach.  The roaring climaxes and crashing conclusions are not in this album, it’s like this album was made for someone sitting in an empty parking lot crying.

The third thing I noticed is that this isn’t the best Radiohead CD I have ever heard.  It’s great, it’s Radiohead, and I am sure it will only get better with every listen, but it’s not a homerun.  I am not going to rate it in stars or with a letter grade, I will just give you the amount I would pay after hearing the album…$6.50 or 3.2 pounds.

Song of the Blog:
15 Step (Radiohead) – It’s the first song and it is awesome.  Now someone just needs to make a zombie/horror flick based off Saturday Night Fever. 

Dananana Nanah…You say is it’s your birthday….Dananana Nanah…it’s my birthday too yeah

First of all, I am happy that the last couple of entries generated some dialogue about ideas, there’s not enough conversation about big ideas, it comes to a halt when you leave college. 

Last weekend was my 29th birthday.  It was a great weekend with my family and my wife made me feel like a king.  I took Monday off and my birthday priveldges extended all the way through the long weekend.  I was able to cram in some fishing, a trip down to Lincoln Financial Field to see the Temple Owls take on Northern Illinois, multiple games of Madden, and some outstanding ribs from Bugaboo Creek Steakhouse. 

This was my first birthday with Winston in my life and it was really wonderful.  It’s funny to picture the contrasts of birthday celebrations from a couple of years ago versus a birthday celebration when you married with a child.  A couple of years ago, it might have been a trip to a downtown bar filled with shots, late night pizza, and a mean hangover.  There were a lot of times over the weekend where the contrast was incredibly evident, but only because I felt so lucky for everything I now have. 

I beat Dave in Madden twice, won my fantasy football game and caught a largemouth bass at Round Valley Reservoir.  Last nigth I took Dave on with the Arizona Cardinals, I was hoping that my receivers would be good enough to beat him, I was wrong and got beat badly.  We’ll square away again later this week, I think I might try the Jaguars.

Song of the Blog – coming later today…it will be worth the wait!

Friday on the river, right next to the Frenchtown bridge

Winston and I at the Linc

Photo Op at Bugaboo

Me fishing Round Valley

Jaclyn used the timer feature to take this pic herself

People of Accountability

This blog is the second installment of the Friday’s Eleanor Roosevelt blog entry.

Here’s an example of a government and the people working together to achieve real and measurable results:

In
Japan, they have acknowledged global warming and want to reduce carbon
emissions to ensure a better future.  The Prime Minister suggested that
men stop wearing suits to work and that companies increase their AC
threshold to 82 degrees before it turned on.  This was a major change
because it was seen as rude to not wear a suit in that culture, but
their prime minister kicked off the change by wearing a business casual
outfit and allowed the temperature to rise in their offices before the
AC turned on.  This simple change was made and it has saved more than 2
million tons of carbon emissions.

The US is more than capable of
working together like this to achieve major results, it just hasn’t
been done in a long time and that is unacceptable. 

Some of
you mentioned that it is up to the individual to achieve these
results.  It is my opinion that this will ultimately be ineffective
because individuals won’t be working towards the same goal, it will be
scattered and disorganized achieving sporadic and unmeasurable
results. 

The solution is simple and it is done in every
business and organization in the world, but for some reason, it is not
done in the US government.  Here’s the solution:

  • The government identifies 3 to 5 major priorities moving forward
  • The government makes 3 goals attached to each priority
  • The
    government makes a plan on how to achieve those goals and how the
    citizens of this country can do their part to achieve those goals

Maybe
our government has something like this in place, but I sure as hell
don’t know about it and I consider myself pretty well informed.  It
would be unacceptable for me to not know my business’ goals and
priorities and I think it is even more unacceptable to not know my
country’s.  This really irritates me because the government takes over
$1,000 out of every paycheck I receive and wastes it on reckless
spending.  I would love a feature that allowed me to choose where the
$1,000 went.  Like on my 401k, I can break down my contributions into
different mutual funds, stocks, etc.  For my paycheck, maybe I could
put 5% into our military, 10% into rebuilding New Orleans, 25% into
reducing gun violence, 25% education, 5% helping people in Darfur, etc.

So,
why isn’t our government setting goals and priorities and making plans
to achieve them? Is there something we can do?  I’m not suggesting that
several folks from Doylestown, PA form a brigade to hunt down Bin
Laden, but are there priorities that we as citizens can align on to
mobilize a collective effort against?  I believe there are tons of
people out there who are being under utilized and that these people
want to be accountable for making this country even better than it’s
current state. 

Song of the Blog #4
Alive with Pleasure (Viva Voce)
A trippy eclectic pop song that has one of the coolest beginning and
endings that I’ve heard.  The middle is filled with a slow and weird
interlude, but then it goes back to that power pop bliss it started
with.  I think the middle, just makes the ending better because it
would be hard to keep the pace for the entire song.

Eleanor Roosevelt

Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.
-Eleanor Roosevelt

I’ve been discussing a lot of people lately, Britney Spears, Bin Laden, San Diego Dave, etc.  I figure that it’s time for me to branch out a little and talk about something different.  I look at the quote above and I feel like most of America is falling into the “small minds” category on Eleanor’s continuum of intelligent dialogue. 

I wonder if it is because things are different now, the big social experiments have been conducted and we’ve seen the conclusions.  Communism, democracy, the 60’s love & drug era, and let us not forget disco, have all played out.  The experiments seem to all be over and now we talk people, we love celebrities, we love bad haircuts, and there’s nothing better than a meltdown.  We have some big things going on, like the war, but the huge anti-war rallies were all played out during Vietnam, we would just be doing something that’s been done before.  We have an ineffective congress who who is polarized by bi-partisanship, but it requires billions of dollars to make a change there, we have lots of people dying in poor urban areas due to pointless gun violence, but they are too removed and poor to receive any consideration, our world is getting warmer…but these are just events, not ideas, so this gets us into the average mind category on Eleanor’s continuum. 

I am proud of the life I live and I love the life I have, but there are aspects that I wish were better.  We are lucky to have wonderful family, I have a decent job that allows me to live in a nice home in a nice town, and I have great friends, but there is definitely something missing in the larger picture.  It just feels like the people and the country are completely different.  The republic which represents us has become so divided and ineffective, I just want to do my job and spend time with my friends and family, but I am sometimes embarassed by country’s actions or lack of action.  It is sad that the great minds that should be leading this country are not because of financial restrictions, it is sad that the right decisions are not being made because of financial interests.

I always liked the quote, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”, it implies that you are aligned with the goals and objectives or your country.  I am afraid that if I asked my country what they wanted me to do now, it would be to pick up a gun and fight a war against improvised explosive devices in a desert.  Why is our country not asking us to use more energy efficient power sources, why is our country not making it harder for people to own assault weapons, and why is our country not talking about ideas? 

I love this country, don’t get me wrong, but I think money needs to be removed from the equation of leadership in America.

Song of the Blog #3:
Extraordinary Machine (Fiona Apple) – A quirky, fun, and intelligent song.  Tough to define it or squeeze it on a mix tape because it is so unusual, but it is mixed with wonderful sounds and singing.  Not the typical bitter and angry Fiona stuff, this song caught her on a very good day.