Monday, September 29, 2003

I ran yesterday in the California Cruisin' 10K. I did pretty good. I should say the official results are inaccurate. My watch showed me coming in at 47:43, and the time clock at the finish line confirmed this to within a second or two. But I digress. First four miles were fantastic, about a 7:15 pace, but then the uphill on the 52 killed me, I had to stop and walk a minute. Any race I have to walk feels like a failure, but seeing as I beat my goal time by close to five minutes, I can't complain.

Getting up early for that and just generally being fatigued, I decided not to drive up to L.A., which is a good thing, because by midnight last night I could barely keep my eyes open. Incidentally, I also never made it to the Adams Avenue Street Fair, which is a shame, since I always enjoy that. Oh, and its only the second day of school and I've already ditched a class, Oceanography. Overslept, though I could have still made it on time. But decided not to bother. Just sat in my car and listened to the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band whilst I read the Declaration of Independence for the class I am heading to as soon as I finish this sentence.

The shit may fianlly be hitting the fan over the Bush administration's outing of a CIA covert agent for political gain.

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Lemony Snicket's web site has a puzzle to help figure out a clue about the next book. I can't get the last word, but I still get the basic idea.

Actually, I see they have a lot of new games about the new book.

I read The Slippery Slope last night, and must say its one of the better books in the series. Any children's book in which the children quote Nietzsche as a source for moral guidance is a special thing. As the Series of Unfortunate Events begins to near a conclusion, this book draws together a lot of characters and mysteries from various previous books, and also offers a few solutions to some of the mysteries the Baudelaires have faced. But even as mysteries are solved, far more new mysteries emerge, and the despair found in the end of this book is the strongest yet, as we begin to dread the no-doubt-unfortunate conclusion to the series. And there is even a bit of romance. This is the first book in the series I had to wait for (having started reading the books right after book 9 came out), and it was well worth the wait.

Friday, September 26, 2003

Oh, hell...I'm going to that show in L.A. Sunday. If I sleep through class Monday, who cares?
I think my knee problems are subsiding. I ran eight miles yesterday, and yes, my knee hurts a bit today, but not bad. Walking down the snake walk was probably a mistake, but when I stayed on fairly level ground, all was well. The run went great, ran it with an average pace around 8'20". So I think I'm ready for Sunday's 10K.

After the run, I rushed home to change and then was off to the White Stripes concert. I enjoyed it okay, though I was tired, and by the time I got there, late in the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' set, the place was pretty full up. I found a nice place to stand in the back, where I could lean on a rail and keep the weight off my knee. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs didn't do much for me, but the White Stripes put on a good show, played everything you'd expect. Meg White sung "In the Cold, Cold Night," and was a bit too perky, I thought, but was impressed with the strength of her voice more so than on the album. "Joleen" and "The Hardest Button to Button" were probably the highlights of the evening. All in all, a good time was had by all. I also enjoyed the cartoons played between sets, Little Lulu, Betty Boop and whatnot.

Today was the first day of school. Ocean Science seems a bit dull, but hopefully not particularly challenging, if I do the reading. Revolutionary War-Era Literature will be dull as dishwater, no doubt, but at least, due to a change in instructors, the reading burden seems somewhat lighter than the original book list suggested. Nature Writing, the one class I'm taking that will not advance me towards graduation in the slightest, if I remember correctly, looks to be the one bright spot in my schedule. An eclectic reading list, including Edward Abbey, whom I've meant to read for some time.

So anyway, the first day of school wasn't terribly exciting, but it seems like this is a good quarter to really boost that GPA, and work on that concept of eventually graduating. You never know...

Lots of stuff going on this weekend. Adams Avenue Street Fair is this weekend. I hope to make it for a few hours on Saturday. There's a concert in Los Angeles Sunday night at the Bigfoot Lodge, three theremin bands, including Project: Pimento. I don't think I'm going to go, but if I have the energy, I might make the drive. Should be a fun time. But I have a feeling trying to make it will be too stressful for me to be in the mood to enjoy lounge music. But we shall see.

I didn't hear about Robert Palmer/George Plimpton/that kid from Leave it to Beaver dying until I got home this afternoon, but reading the paper over lunch, I was saddened to read about Edward Said's passing.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

I got a haircut today...probably been about four months or so since my last. Can't say I care for it too much, but that's okay. I've had worse.

Had to take Mom shopping, since she can't lift things or drive. I was going to get myself put on her CostCo card in replacement of Dad, but they had some computer problem so I need to come back another day. I bought A Mighty Wind on DVD, and also The Slippery Slope. I'd pre-ordered it on Amazon, but the other things I pre-ordered don't ship until the 30th, so I was able to buy it at CostCo for $6.99 and cancel my Amazon order. All after I got the PDF file of Chapter One for pre-ordering on Amazon. Really played them for a bunch of rubes.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Ran four miles today, my knee hurt a little bit, but its definately improving. My new shoes are pretty nice, but I could use a little more room in front of the toes. Unfortunately, they don't make a size 13 1/2, so if I wanted more room, I'd have to move up to a 14, which is probably too big. I figure I'll try on a size 14 next time I'm at the running store, see how those fit.
I watched Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory tonight. I can't remember the last time I'd seen it, but I'm sure it's been at least five years. It still holds up, better than most of the movies I grew up on. I don't remember feeling this way as a kid, but I think Violet Beuregard got screwed. All she did was chew a piece of gum. Doesn't seem as bad as stealing that super-fizzy drink, yet Charlie gets a factory. Oh, well.

I was slightly miffed to realize I accidentally bought the pan-and-scan DVD, instead of widescreen. Not the end of the world, but I've always watched the pan-and-scan version as a kid, and I'd like to see the widescreen shots of the factory.

Randy Newman denounced by Iraqi Imam. I suppose, after Bert, it was only a matter of time.

Actually, he wasn't denounced, exactly. The cleric simply portrayed Randy Newman as the voice of his nation. If only his album sales supported such a position...

How not to build a violin.
A review of Paul Fussell's new book. It's called The Boy's Crusade, but it seems that Eat It, Brokaw might be an equally fitting title. Overall, the reviews I've read are rather mixed, the main complaint being that it covers too much too superficially, but it looks interesting to me. Though before I read that, I suppose I should dust off my half-read copy of The Great War and Modern Memory and finally finish that. Not to mention that half-read copy of Parade's End that I was assigned for a class and never finished. I said I would when I had time, that was about four years ago.

Monday, September 22, 2003

I just realized a fault with my plan to move all my CDs into one of those portfolio/folder things: How will I store CDs in my car. The solution, of course, is to buy one of those CD cases intended for cars, or simply carry my entire CD library from my car to my house every time I leave my house or car. Neither seems optimal. I'll probably buy a CD case for my car, since I don't like the idea of losing my entire music library if my car gets broken into. Actually, I think I'll just find more room for my CDs (there not as bulky as DVDs, so maybe some of the room I've opened up from losing them will be my new music library).

My knee is slowly improving. I've cut back on my running, and today I bought new shoes (New Balance 765), so hopefully rest and a better-fitting shoe will solve the problem. Figure I'll try to run four miles tomorrow and see how that goes. Of course, focusing on the knee pain, I've been distracted from the fact that I'm running in a 10K this weekend. Seeing as I'm not really in shape to set a PR, I'm just hoping to hold a nice 8 minute pace, which would give me a time of 49:42, quite a bit off my 45:47 PR, but that's okay. I think I'm more interested in running farther than faster, anyway. Incidentally, due to my knee, I think I'm putting off my first half-marathon; I had hoped to run it in November, now I'm thinking January is more realistic.

Had a few drinks with a friend of mine last night. The bar had Monopoly pinball. I hadn't played Monopoly in awhile (most of my pinball efforts of late have been directed at Simpsons Pinball Party), and wasn't sure how good I'd do. When my first two balls drained in record time, I was really worried. But I came back to win a free game, and ended up beating my friend 4-1, by a margin of about 30,000,000 points. Not bad at all.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Mom is visiting Michelle in San Jose. An hour or so before we were supposed to leave for the airport, Mom fell off a ladder and thought she broke her wrist. It was just a sprain, though. She started talking about not going up there, but I was having none of it. Bought her a wrist splint and sent her on her way.

While I was buying her splint, I bought a thing to put on my knee. Thursday morning, my knee was rather swollen. A combination of ice and pressure seems to have helped, however.

I finally decided to do something about the DVDs threatening to take over my bedroom, and bought a few of those CD/DVD holder portfolio things. I spent an exciting Friday night alphabetizing my DVDs and transferring them into the folders. Now all I need to do is box up the boxes and put them in storage.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

I went to dinner with a friend of mine tonight. I drove to Sycuan and back, and had American Recordings playing on the stereo. As I was approaching my friend's house to drop him off, and "Bird on a Wire" was playing, he asked, "Who is this, Lyle Lovett?" I think I managed to hide my shock from him, but really. I am not the most sophisticated musicologist, but how can you not immediately recognize the voice of Johnny Cash? Truly shocking. Incidentally, the buffet at Sycuan sucks. It has prime rib daily, so if you enjoy that sort of thing, you might like it, but by and large it tasted like cafeteria food.

Earlier in the evening, I went running with my running group. I got a decent run in again, though I did have a bit of knee pain. Afterwards, the pain in the knee was more noticable, though not severe. So I guess I'll have to stop running again until this weekend, and then see if I still have pain. I guess a trip to the doctor would be next, so let's hope that's not necessary.

What are they doing with all those corkscrews?
Wesley Clark running for President.

Monday, September 15, 2003

Harry Goz apparently died recently as well. He was the voice of Captain Murphy on Sealab: 2021, among other things. The bodies just keep stacking up.
Leni Riefenstahl dead at 101.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

ATM terminals installed in slot machines at Casino Pauma. It's being tested in California because Nevada regulators won't allow it, yet California regulators will, seeing as California regulators don't exist. Except for self-appointed tribal committees. One good reason not to vote for Bustamante. I think I'm voting for Larry Flynt.

The Lost World is on TV. I've just been watching a little bit, but I totally recognize where they filmed it from my recent trip. Fern Canyon is a great place to film such a movie.

The ad wars of the seventeenth century.
Salon's obituary for Johnny Cash.
Wesley Clark is sounding more and more like a presidential candidate.
The New York Times on how we're a nation of copiers. Some of the examples are a bit labored, but I enjoyed the hypocrisy of an anti-file-sharing organization stealing a research report. And an MTV's executive's well-made point (though I don't know if MTV's really been doing much to expose anything other than Real World cast members' abdominals): "Because of the way they've trained themselves to use media, they never have to be exposed to an idea, an artist, or anything that they did not select for themselves."

Saturday, September 13, 2003

I believe this link will allow you to view the video for "Delia's Gone." A good video, it even got Beavis and Butthead's approval back in the day. "Heh. Heh. He must be one of those...gangsta rappers." Even those two punks knew a real badass when they saw one.
So I've been too busy moping to write about Vegas, so I think I'm just going to drop it. As the ads say, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. I will mention that Johnny Cash was my soundtrack on the drive to Vegas.

I've listened to The Wind a few times and enjoyed it very much. As one review I'm sure I've linked to below said, how can you be objective when he hasn't been dead a week yet? But it really good, and surprising how "small" it can be at times, in a good way. Death, while ever present, isn't some boulder ready to fall and crush the whole thing in any moment. On Monday, I made a point of staying near my hotel room, so I could watch Letterman; he had some nice things to say about Zevon, and they closed the show with Zevon's performance of "Mutineer" from his last appearance on Letterman, his last public performance, I believe.

Now I've been watching CMT's Johnny Cash tribute programming. A nice, short concert he gave in a Nashville prison in the '70s, his "Inside Fame" (their version of Behind the Music), and a tribute program CMT put together. They premiered June Carter Cash's new video, which was nice to see, Johnny and her looking like they were having fun making music together until the end. I suppose neither Zevon's nor Cash's passing can be called a surprise, but I think especially in Cash's case, it really is a surprise. I for one never really appreciated just how huge Johnny Cash was, and just how huge the loss is. We still have his music, and our memories of him, but especially with a man who was as prolific as Cash in his final years, it's very hard to let go.

The Grand Ole Opry is having a tribute to Roy Acuff tonight, which I just stumbled upon watching the Johnny Cash programming. He would have been 100 years old tomorrow. As I type this, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band are taking the stage. So I'm glad I stumbled onto this.

June Carter Cash performing "Ring of Fire."
An interview with Bill Murray. I don't have time to read it right now, I'm just linking to it so I can find it later.

Friday, September 12, 2003

Thursday, September 11, 2003

The Country Western Song Generator. Here's the song it generated for me: I met her in a treehouse dead all over; I can still recall the hearing aid she wore; She was breakin' out with acne in the twilight, and I knew that she was rotten to the core; The painters knew I'd swear off booze forever; She said to me she couldn't stand my tie; But who'd have thought she'd run off at her health club; She fell beneath the wheels and cried goodbye.
Nice piece on Warren Zevon.

I'm back from Vegas. Might post tonight about it. Long story short, I lost.

Monday, September 08, 2003

This last Friday, I remembered that, while I had been in San Jose to see Randy Newman, I had taped a special on VH-1 about Warren Zevon and the making of his final album. I watched it on Friday and found it very moving, and moreover enjoyed the music very much. I ordered his new CD, and thought to myself that I hoped it would arrive before he died. Unfortunately, that's not how things turned out. I'm about to leave for Vegas, and this was a bit of a bummer to stumble upon over my morning coffee (actually, I first learned about his death from the crawler on CNN, a truly horrendous way to learn any unpleasant news). But he lived almost a year longer than his doctors thought he would, long enough to finish an album and see the birth of his first grandchildren. I know how much it meant to my father to live to see my sister's wedding, so I imagine extending his life by such a short period was no cold comfort to Mr. Zevon.

Now I'm depressed. I wish I could watch the VH-1 special again before I leave, but I do have to hit the road. I'm not as excited as I usually am before a Vegas trip. It feels like an obligation, like I know how much I enjoy Vegas, so God damn it, enjoy this trip! I'm bringing less money than I usually do, but it still seems like an obscene amount to gamble away. I think I'm trying to impose some sense of stability in my life, saying some things may change, but I'm a gambler, and always will be. Maybe I'll take Double Down with me, re-reading it in Vegas on my first trip since my father's death seems appropriate.

Saturday, September 06, 2003

A classic George W. Bush picture. Not that I've never dropped a dog before, but not in front of a top-rated little league team.
My HealthyCheck preventitive health examination went well. I weigh 199 pounds by their scale, giving me a body mass index of 25.5 (anything above 25 is considered overweight; anything over 30 is obese). My body fat percentage came in at 23.4, somewhat high, and my waist/hip ratio, .91, is also a sign I should lose a few pounds. Though I just noticed he measured my waist at 37 inches, when I recently purchased pants in a size 32, and before losing a little weight, I've always worn a size 34, so perhaps he exaggerated my waist a bit. My cholesterol numbers and blood pressure were all good, blood pressure 118/70, triglycerides at 84, total cholesterol at 184, glucose at 97, HDL (good cholesterol) at 56, LDL (bad cholesterol) at 111. They checked various things, my body, my blood, my urine, and all looked well, apparently. I did take a flexibility test, however. I made it to the 4 inch mark on the board; I would have had to reach the 9 inch mark to merit a "poor." So I need to work on that a bit. I've been meaning to go to a pilates class at the gym, there's one Monday afternoons that should fit into my schedule. Hopefully going to that and doing some more stretching after running should improve that. But nothing too concerning was unearthed in this inspection. I'll have to watch my diet a bit more, lose a few pounds. I was down to 185 for awhile, it shouldn't be too hard to get back there, especially if I decide to follow through on my goal of running the Silver Strand Half-Marathon.
I'm getting a physical tomorrow morning. Since they are checking my cholesterol, I cannot eat as of 9:45 this evening. I doubt I would have eaten very much since 9:45 on a normal evening, but knowing that I cannot, I'm rather hungry. I suppose anxiety regarding the examination may contribute to hunger as well. I remember in my religious days, I once fasted for 48 hours. Of course, by posting that here, I'm turning myself into one of those hypocrites from the Sermon on the Mount, but I guess that's the least of my soul's worries. I had jaw surgery when I was 17, didn't consume anything I would classify as food for almost two weeks. Once offered my sister $20 to smuggle me a Whopper. Ended up with a pronounced limp for about two months from where my right leg muscles began to atrophy. So I should probably refrain from complaining about a 12-hour fast.

Finished A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. I enjoyed it very much. I had a lot of preconceived notions going in, and was surpised by the tender emotion found within the clever self-consciousness and other post-modern artifacts. It really is an amazing accomplishment.

Friday, September 05, 2003

I had dinner yesterday at the Studio Diner, which opened earlier this year next door to Stu Segal Productions' studio lot. It's a bit out of the way for me, but it was a nice place, good food and plenty of it at a very reasonable price. I didn't see any stars, which is apparently the appeal of the place, but it did have a nice atmosphere, not as suffocatingly cloy as, say, the Corvette Diner.

Got some good runs in this week. A nice fast four-miler Wednesday, a slower five-miler on Thursday. A blister, a souvenier from my vacation, began bothering me near the end of that run. I had planned to go to the gym or something today, but its just too hot to do anything. Tomorrow I'm getting a check-up, and I have to fast for 12 hours beforehand. My appointment is in the morning, though, so it's not too bad.

Read the first chapter of The Slippery Slope. Looks good.

Got Al Franken's new book in the mail today. Will have to finish A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius before I start that, though. I'm enjoying Eggar's book.

Efforts to roll back the FCC rule changes seem to be going swimmingly.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Comments on Randy Newman and the new album, from a site hawking tickets for an upcoming show. Very nice piece, I thought. And again, I really like the new promotional photo.
Wesley Clark says he's a Democrat, will make intentions clear this month.
Apparently people were easily amused in the sixteenth century.
Bush administration member says something stupid. I enjoyed the required explanation by the AP regarding the confectionary background of the "chocolate-maker" remark. It reminded me of the evolution of the explanations regarding Fox News' comment on Al Lewis, going from no explanation, to an identification of Mr. Lewis as "Grandpa" on The Munsters, to a parenthetical identification within the quote as Al [Grandpa Munster] Lewis.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

I pre-ordered The Slippery Slope from I didn't check around too much, but it seemed the best deal, and I already had a small credit with them. I also ordered Never Mind the Pollacks, which ships a few days after The Slippery Slope. Last time I ordered Pollack's book, I ordered it with Al Franken's new book, but then the whole lawsuit thing moved its release date up, and so I had to cancel the order and reorder the Franken book (with a Willie Nelson CD to get free shipping), in order to not wait a month for it. As it is, I'll have to wait a week before getting the Lemony Snickett book, but it comes out the first day of school for me, so I probably would do well not to have the distraction. is offering a download of chapter one of The Slippery Slope when you pre-order it now. I'm not going to read it right away, need to build the suspense a little bit. Amazon is also offering, if you pre-order Randy Newman's new CD, Songbook, an audio stream of the entire album. I would love to hear that, but Amazon's price is over $5 more than Deep Discount CD's. Of course, they ship much slower than Amazon, but since there's no new material on the CD (just unaccompanied piano versions of previously released songs), I don't mind a brief delay. On the other hand, Lyle Lovett's new album, My Baby Don't Tolerate, will most like be pre-ordered from Amazon or another prompt shipper.

The Slippery Slope (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 10) will be available September 23!
I just spent five minutes looking for my checkbook, before I realized it was under my armpit. I've been a bit scattered lately.
Hidden Vatican document insisted on secrecy in sex abuse cases, at threat of excommunication.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Boot Liquor radio. This is an awesome station I just discovered today, again by exploring iTunes on the iMac at work (I'm beginning to think I might consider a Macintosh the next time I buy a computer). Highly recommended.
Johnny Cash: The Kurt Loder interview. What has the world come to?
McSweeney's has debuted a bluegrass column. I enjoyed the first column, about the evolution of bluegrass group names. Incidentally, since discovering I don't need iTunes, I can get at home on my PC as well as at work on the Mac, I've been enjoying it very much. It's caused me to fall behind in listening to the Retro Cocktail Hour. I've even joined their dime-a-day club to help support. Nice to be able to help public radio, without joining San Diego's sorry PBS affiliate.
This link might allow you to hear "Politcal Science," as it appears on Randy Newman's new album. I'm at work and without Real Audio, but I think this works. There was also a great article on "Political Science" in the L.A. Times last week, but unfortunately, to access it on the web you have to be a subscriber.

Monday, September 01, 2003

Bomb Kills Pizza Deliveryman After Arrest in Bank Robbery. Very odd story.
Eighteenth-century Brits hated umbrellas.
Neal Pollack on the VMA (subscription or day pass required). I was outraged to learn that the White Stripes lost not only to Coldplay, but more distressing, to Linkin Park. But then I learned that Johnny Cash lost to Justin Timberlake, which needs no comment.