Blog Posts

It's been Channukah for a few days, which to most of the world means menorahs and gifts. For me, it means the same plus a bunch more. The orthodox shul I hang around at has been pretty busy this week since there is a Torah reading and Hallell each day, plus the addition of Al Hanisim into all the prayers. This morning was Rosh Chodesh Tevet as well, so davening began at 6:10 am instead of the 6:20 am since the chag began since there is also Mussaf and a second Sefer Torah was read from. This morning we messed up the The Aliyot for Rosh Chodesh Chanukah by dividing the four available incorrectly between the two scrolls. My understanding was that we could add an additional aliya to correct the problem. The Rav later said while we were learning Mishna Berura that I was correct, which is pretty cool.

- Thursday, December 17, 2009 at 16:33:25 (EST)
I had the intense pleasure of attending a Bris Milah at my shul this morning and found it to be a very moving experience. For those who can't feel the significance of the mitzvah, it could appear to be quite barbaric and cruel. But for us "insiders," it is the sort of thing that brings tears of joy. While circumcision is common in hospital births these days and nary raises an eyebrow, making a big deal of it as Jews do takes a bit of understanding. We have learned in the last few parshaot about the Covenant of Avraham and what it means to us today. It is a crucial element of our cultural identity and something we celebrate with feasting, singing and words of Torah. I personally had a bris at age 34 (ouch!), which is a long story that I'd be more than happy to tell you, so I can attest to its importance.

- Friday, November 20, 2009 at 14:24:31 (EST)
I've been pretty lazy about blogging, and everything else, this week. After taking the whole summer off for a projects blitz, it is WAY hard to get my head into business. Granted, I have run out of other stuff to do and money is finally getting tight. My "job" is to call life insurance agents and help them submit applications. What that entails is being hung up on most of the time. Being is sales is harsh, but way better that kissing up to some tool in order to get a paycheck and help someone else get rich. My last gig was deeply corporate, what I said I would never do. I don't miss it even a little. So now, rather than being motivated by the risk of being fired (I always get fired) the risk is losing everything. Guess it's time to make some calls.

- Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 14:58:52 (EDT)
I took the kids to hear the Shofar at Beth Jacob and it was meaningful to us all on different levels. I was moved to tears when an old-timer read the Haftorah. His pronunciation was straight out of Anatevka and reminded me of how we have survived countless plagues and enemies since the beginning of time. I cried even harder when, much later in the service, I spotted the old-timer way up in the front stooped over four books he had spread out on his own little wall in the corner. There is nothing that I want more in life for myself than that. I've always been a crybaby anyway. (I just bawled my eyes out watching Little Chavela dance away from the Fiddler). Saphira felt some importance related to her first Yom Tov as a Bat Mitzvah, but I felt bad about not preparing her better for the intensity and duration of orthodoxy. Caleb was reverent as well, but wasted no time slipping out when I said go. New Year. New Job. I went to my first meeting as "Brokerage Manager" with my bro's company and met the other principals. I trollied there and hit Attempt to Raise Hell on the way back. Yesterday, an agent gave me a couple cases to work on. One of 'em could earn a couple grand for me if it closes. So yeah, life is good. Baruch Hashem.

- Wednesday, September 23, 2009 at 11:35:44 (EDT)
I was incredibly unmotivated all summer to do anything that resembled "work" but I never worked so hard. I sweated four inches off my waist with plain ol' hard labor. It's done now and all is great. We've been moving Caleb into my room. I found a good full-size mattress down the street and swapped my huge bed out to the garage to use as a crash pad. My clothes are in the house still, but much of my hardware, library and collections have moved into my new space. We upgraded our AirPort Extreme network to 802.11n and got new network cards for the PC's (of course, the Macs worked fine) so we are smokin' wireless! A cool thing is that the new router shares a USB drive accross the network, so we have a media server for our 800 gig TV show archive. One thing that sucks: summer is over.

- Sunday, September 13, 2009 at 20:09:56 (EDT)
Here's the irony. Most people would panic if they got fired and look for a job, any job, just to get paid and get some benefits. For them, losing their income stream is the road to ruin. My approach was different. Granted, I had pension funds socked away from LPL that make things easier, but I decided to not look for a job and see what turns up. The EDD and HHSA are standard support agencies, but through them I discovered a support network for basic needs like health insurance and food that aren't "welfare." I'm connecting and tapping into resources that create actual wealth and well-being basicly for free. Soon, I'll be tapping into existing family businesses to replace the lost income. My life can't even be compared to the slavery when I was working for someone else. That's the irony, that being fired was actually a "Goode" thing.

- Sunday, August 02, 2009 at 14:28:37 (EDT)
The kids are up at their cousins, so I took a break from painting the house to watch a great movie based on the book (which was also great) by Sinclair Lewis. It revealed everything that is heroic about being a man as we see Sam Dodsworth, a retired automotive magnate from Zenith, Winnemac, struggle with his worth as a man of leisure. His silly young wife, on the other hand... Anyway, he rose to his circumstances and took life by the bollocks and so on. I had never seen Walter Huston (30 years before my time) in a show before. Wanna see something amazing? Check out the iMDB page for Mary Astor. 149 entries = wow. Her role as the european enchantress was pure romance.

- Tuesday, July 14, 2009 at 03:54:27 (EDT)
It has been really busy lately balancing my personal and private lives. It is very hard for me to not work when there are so many projects going on. Yesterday, I finished up the kitchen painting project. That was a lot of work and I'm pretty sore from the exertion. I also had some interesting eBay traffic. We sold a few things, but it is too much work for the tiny margins, especially when folks dispute their payments and what not. This site is going live right now, but there is still lots to do. For instance, the projects page is a long-standing javascript or Flash task. I also have some good markets with my dad and brother to work soon. Until then, we are still awaiting checks from my pension and various government agencies to use as capital (and buy food).

- Friday, July 10, 2009 at 13:47:23 (EDT)
Yesterday we went to Encinitas for the Switchfoot Bro-Am, an annual social activist networking gathering, because Tristan Prettyman was playing. Woo Hoo! She is so beautiful and loving when she plays that is is just mesmerizing. There were lots of really cool orginazations there like To Write Love On Her Arms, The Tony Hawk Foundation, Surfrider Foundation, 100% Natural High, Keep A Breast, Nika Water, Stand Up For Kids, Life Rolls On and more. Good stuff. I spent the rest of the day after the show installing and configuring our new 802.11n AirPort Extreme to extend our network to my new garage workstation (talk about full circle). My "office" is also a workshop for our major home projects. The kitchen is turning into an evil task dealing with 30 years of paint and rusting hinges. It's gonna look great if we have to sell. My desktop is choking on Activesync (again) as I do this. I hate Windows Mobile, even though it does most of what I need to do. It just does it shittily.

- Sunday, June 28, 2009 at 13:32:09 (EDT)
I haven't been blogging much since becomming my own boss. Probably because my time is now my own. There was nothing better than visiting my sites while siting at my shit-job desk, but now there is TONS to do. Priority one is getting the house ready to sell by clearing out the crap and painting. Our garage sale was a bust, but it created a traffic jam when the ad was changed to "free stuff." It's cool to have summer off with the kids. Saphira is having a pool party right now with her middle school friends and Caleb is in the mix just like I was. Lucky guy. Just got a call that my "Connectivy Coach" cards and flyers are done. It would rock if that works and I never have to go to work again.

- Friday, June 26, 2009 at 17:40:29 (EDT)
Since I got fired, I've really been looking at my life and wondering how I want the spend the few years remaining to me. What I like most is twizzling on a computer and showing others the tricks & tips I've learned over the years. So, what if I could make a job of that? I've got a couple months of launch time (if those damn pension funds ever arrive) to make it fly, so I've been designing my identity (Jack Roman!) and creating an infrastructure (credit card merchant account, brokerage account, Health & Human Services, child support, laptop drive replaced with "office" software and synced with mobile device and yet another v.5 site design (check out v.1 for kicks). All exciting stuff. Anyway, I remembered that this idea came to me in a dream a year or so ago and I woke up inspired, but let it pass. My life's unmotivated & basicly bored story. But, now that I have to do something...

- Thursday, June 18, 2009 at 14:54:01 (EDT)
I was a little spooked when I got fired at LPL, but I got over it quick. I was a square peg there and had so much grief over the years. It will be so good to work my own projects for a while. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to have socked some money away in my 401k to make things less desperate. Conversely, I have capital and lots of solid ideas. A no-brainer is fixing up the house for sale. $100 of supplies will raise the value $30,000. Oh yeah. Plus, I have three businesses to pitch and skills to hawk. Most notably, by creative projects have been supressed so long. Maybe this is the kick I need. I've spent the last couple days spreadsheeting and developing a business plan. It's a pretty exciting moment. Today, I launched a new site on my server that points to our cancer information site for serving ads and selling transcripts.

- Tuesday, June 09, 2009 at 21:44:26 (EDT)
I had a day off last week for Shavuot and rather than being a holy moment it became kind of a runaround. After a lazy morning (Saphira came in to ask the day off, allowing me to close my eyes again) we went to get my long-awaited eye exam. Turns out I need glasses for short and long ganges both. Then, we got Johanna (who is awesome) at school and zoomed out 94 to the sticks for art class. After dinner, it was home to watch Foxfire (girl power!) for the rest of the night. Next day, we went to the library (like we don't have enough books already) where I scored the remaining weekend's pastime, A Woman's Place by Arlene Blum. Later, I fell asleep watching Doubt. The weekend finished late into the night with jPod episodes. Dang, I love that show!

- Thursday, June 04, 2009 at 11:49:00 (EDT)
We took the 4x4 back into Jacoby Canyon to Big Bear's best climbing area, The Pinnacles. Of course we got lost and had to backtrack some pretty rough stuff. Still, there were roads that shut us down that the hardsore drivers would navigate with their crew. Our camp was choice and after our Vons Feast, we watched Tropic Thunder on the laptop and replied to emails.After scouting the classic Coyote Crags and Tombstone areas with the kids the next day, I led Wilber's Tombstone with Caleb on belay for the first time! Scary stuff! In the video, you'll see the elaborate anchor I rigged to keep him on the ground if I pitched. Town was way crayon-filled, so we ditched out to the Log Cabin for some Kartoffelpfannekuchen before closing the weekend loop with a Soak at Marcy's after 345 mi. Plus, we finally got to skate Fontana and it was pool paradise!

- Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 12:56:13 (EDT)
After two days using last.fm my lifelong music collecting philosophy shifted. Already fried on hearing new stuff through the process of researching, finding, getting, tagging, syncing, playing, and hating a new band, it became apparent that storage in the cloud has become better. Last month was our last with with Sirius because I hate having crappy content imposed on me. Enter my "library" on last.fm and their clever relevance algorithm for suggesting new bands with a sound I like. When combined with radio streaming, it provides more targeted (meaning damn good) music than ever. Now take that infinite playlist and put it in your iPod with the implication that syncing will be reduced by 90% and you will have the killer app that finally sold me on the iPhone. Here's another thing... They have began filtering, monitoring and blocking traffic on the network here at work and I think the scrobbing app will provide access to my music library and stations without the site activity being monitored. Oh yeah... I'm trying to take whole my online presence off the radar. I facebook and email on my phone rather than on the network. Kray works, but Demonoid, Pirate Bay, Mininova, and Torrentz are all blocked. My device handles most of it and syncs with a kluged outlook/google PC hassle. My iPhone will be mac all the way and I imagine a bluetooth sync of contacts, calendar, music, video, to-do lists and documents. Last month I paid $312 to Sprint. AT&T will be yet another technology expense, but I am device reliant and the Apple's mobile platform is too awesome to not adopt. We haven't even discussed GPS centric social networks yet. Are you doing any of that?

- Friday, May 22, 2009 at 11:04:32 (EDT)
I'm in an evil mood today. It's the culmination of a weekend that began with a guard posted at Rancho Penisquitos. How dare they keep us from using the hole in the closed park's fence? Forced to Poway instead, it was "supervised" skating time, meaning that the session involved dodging butt-boarders. Fortunately, the crap skating got us home in time for a three hour Prison Break finale. The next day we skated some stupid spots between Hot-Topic locations. (Caleb wanted these) Even a session at Carmel Valley wasn't fun. Saphira pulled out $41 of the $50 she owed and funded a couple lunches, which is cool. Having the kids withdraw savings to keep me from spending backfired twice. I had to go out of pocket for Caleb's jeans and Saphira's book, although I did get a graphic novel of "The Trial" by Franz Kafka. This morning, I awoke to the "piss & shit" phase of kittenhood, and balanced my checkbood. Three days after payday I have $19. At least that's a positive number. The dog ran out while Caleb and I argued over the practicality of bringing a box of comics to school (huh?), then ran off a second time when we brought him home from driving around. I used the time to sweep the floor and throw away the broken bricks on the sidewalk where Caleb was skating. 20 minutes late to school, I realized I hadn't cleaned up, so my hair is sticking up. No shave or toothbrush this morning. Too late for Starbucks, I settled for 7-11 coffee. Shook the last of my meds from the pillbox and forced myself to work. This is the kind of day that I've been fired on before, so I better watch out.

- Monday, May 18, 2009 at 11:55:58 (EDT)
Caleb had a campout at his school this weekend and it turned out to be pretty fun. There was a western BBQ at night and pancakes in the morning. For entertainment, the movie Bolt was projected on a wall and it too was surprisingly good. The best thing was that the kids got to run wild with their friends. The next day, we went to the San Diego Children's Book Festival and checked out the publisher's booths and met some authors. We can have fun anywhere, apparently, because it was a royal dud. On Sunday, we went down to Horton Plaza because we really wanted to see Sunshine Cleaning and it was only showing in three theaters. (Huh?) It was a great film filled with are sorts of tragedy/comedy. It was strange to laugh and cry at the same time. Amy Adams was sweet as ever and was the perfect big sister to Emily Blunt. Alan Alda as the dad was an added bonus. Another cool thing was finally finishing Big Rock Candy Mountain. It took a couple months to work my way through it. Wallace Stegner is a pretty amazing author and this was his best work that I've read.

- Monday, May 11, 2009 at 17:26:54 (EDT)
When I was just a young man is high school, my friend Kevin had two big brothers in college who were way cool and turned me on to the "New York Scene" where revolutionary music was being created by the likes of Richard Hell, Talking Heads, Blondie, Patti Smith, Television, Lou Reed and the Ramones. A personal favorite was the New York Dolls because they were completely out of control and on the road to ruin. After a couple of brilliant records, and a failed management attempt by Malcolm McClaren, they dissapeared and started dying off. I was sceptical of their reunion, thinking they could not even come close without Johnny Thunders. Man, was I wrong! Their show at HOB was blistering. "One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This" was album of the year in 2006. Well, today I listened to their new one, Cause I Sez So, during the commute and they remain a favorite after over 30 years. Dang!

- Wednesday, May 06, 2009 at 12:24:19 (EDT)
I'm feeling pretty guilty about selling one of the Hermes ties my sister gave me. Sure, times are tough and I'm up to my ears with expenses and debt. Sure, the office has changed to business casual every day and I don't wear ties anymore. Sure, I appreciate the gift in the first place. I just wanted to do an eBay auction and see what would happen if I set a high reserve and let it run. Well, now it's all packaged up to sell and I'm sad about it. Isn't that how life is? The irony is that it probably won't be worn by the next person either because all the bids were from dealers that buy and sell these products as commodities.

- Monday, May 04, 2009 at 14:03:38 (EDT)
There is a complete punk rock revival thing going on with my Facebook friends, which is awsomely cool. Because of it, I became motivated to find this cassette by the Injections that has been in a basement box for years. The computer imputs didn't work for ripping it, but we did figure out how to hook up the player to the stereo. It cracked me up to see Caleb fast-forwarding the tapes to find the bands scribbled on the weird custom labels of the tape boxes. That technology is so ancient that "Injections" was spray painted on the wall of the Skeleton Club, and you all know how long ago that was.

- Monday, May 04, 2009 at 13:56:56 (EDT)
I'm sitting in the shade while Saphira plays with Maddie's Celebration guests and just read in the WM6 Reader version of Cory Doctorow's rad book about the information economy, Content, "If there's one thing we can be sure of, it's that an information economy will increase the technological literacy of its participants." It's ironic that this post's quote was pasted from my phone's ebook reader, in a version I converted to my device with a downloaded plugin, to its browser for posting. Doctorow's big into p2p, so grab a copy from his many fascinating books.

- Saturday, May 02, 2009 at 15:57:50 (EDT)
We finally were able to see The Soloist during the weekend and it was damn good. Jamie Fox and Robert Downey should get an Oscar for this one. Plus, Catherine Keener (surprise!) was in it and my readers know by now that I *LOVE* her. We snuck into Observe & Report since Seth Rogan is a family favorite. It was helladumb and a bit much for the kids to see in the theater. At home, they see sex, swearing, drugs, nudity, gore, torture, etc. but they get embarrassed in public. I've never cared what people think of me... That's why we were provided a middle finger during evolution. Another media tidbit: Last night we watched Chuck on TV (What? TV on a TV?) then watched the Gossip Girl episode recorded on our new DVR. We have another 160GB in the house. Yippee!

- Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at 15:20:51 (EDT)
We upgraded to digital cable to take advantage of interactive and recording opportunities and found the process relatively painless. One thing that had me on edge was something that seemed easy enough - programming the "Universal" Remote. I've heard of this urban myth before, but never attempted it. The right way, inputting codes from the manual (long lost) or searching online (12 different Sharp TV codes) failed. Turns out the new remote had its own search function that allowed it to emulate the other two and integrate. I thought it was cool to master a new technology, but the kids yawned at the effort.

- Sunday, April 26, 2009 at 19:41:38 (EDT)
I've really been crunching on Saphira's new site and as a result have found a lot of cool software. Some scripts were pretty tough to make run right, but it's always good practice to code. Along the way, I got WordPress installed properly (SQL Server!) and found it to be a killer app. In fact, it's so good that it is my new blog. Cool!

- Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 16:23:16 (EDT)
We trollied down to MCASD to see Primary Forms before it closed and found it pretty underwhelming. It's a bummer that stuff we once enjoyed has become dull. This is the last time the kids will be "forced" to go anywhere with me. So many times I don't do things I want because they aren't interested. They are old enough to sit around at home alone. Plus, I can't be bothered with dumb stuff like backtracking 5 stops like we just did because Saphira lost her phone again.

- Sunday, April 19, 2009 at 18:01:47 (EDT)
I got out tickets for Comic-Con yesterday, even though the event is not until July. Whole days were already sold out! Fortunately, we always go on Sunday (Family Day) and tix were available. Saphira qualified for a "Junior" ticket this year, so she will get her own badge rather than being a paid adult's child. A related story about being "qualified" is that I changed Saphira's contact info at school away from my parents so I could take a more active role in her parenting. The downside is that she is not in the district for her current school and she is slated to go to Horace Mann next year if our Enrollment Options Application isn't approved. That's a pretty harsh reality that I have to deal with.

- Friday, April 17, 2009 at 15:06:12 (EDT)
The kids had their first, and probably last as well, babysitter last night when I slipped away to see Jenny Lewis at the Belly Up. We got there late because Kenny had to work, so she was on when we finally parked and got in. Still, it was a long show and I ended up with a good seat anyway. Somehow, she has become my favorite singer right now. So, I was enraptured most of the night and downright inspired at times. Favorites like Carpetbaggers, Acid Tongue and Rabbit Fur Coat gave me shivers to hear live. Plus, I couldn't help but notice that her jeans fit just right. Yeah, that's what I'm saying.

- Wednesday, April 15, 2009 at 13:07:19 (EDT)
Here's what I found out about the closed park in Rancho Penisquitos: "In addition, the mayor proposes turning the city's three supervised skate parks, including one in Rancho Penasquitos, into unsupervised facilities. Diehl said doing so will actually cost the city money since skateboarders - through daily or monthly passes - paid $74,000 to use Rancho Penasquitos' Skate Park. That money, Diehl said, goes to the city's General Fund, not the Park and Recreation budget. He also said having supervision is essential to making sure no one group of skateboarders monopolize the park or terrorize others using the facility, plus there are safety factors to consider."

- Monday, April 13, 2009 at 12:21:53 (EDT)
Saphira went to see Criss Angel, so Caleb and I guyed out three days in a row in SoCal skateparks. Day one found us up the 15 in Chino Hills and Chino. Both were real good and the later had a killer tight amoeba pool. Eager to hit more parks, we bailed to Montclair, Upland, Fontana II, and Fontana, all to be shut down by rain. Bogus! We finally skated at one Riverside park, but didn't even get out of the car at the other. The trip was saved on the way home with Caleb's first barge at Rancho Penesquitos. More on that place later. We hit it again on day two on the way north. First stop, MLK for our first fearless runs at their coping. Our confidence was up at Melba Bishop also and we nailed some transitions there. Day three we got the nerve (finally) to skate Washington St. and all I can say is "wow."

- Sunday, April 12, 2009 at 15:39:07 (EDT)
I just had a couple days off for Pesach and we did our share to keep the tradition alive for another year. The kids were pretty balky during Bidikat Chametz and were perturbed when we got to shul, but they lightened up after I gave Eve a ration. You had to be there. Anyhoo, I wore my black hat and easily slipped into the frum world again. I swore it would be our last shul seder, but looking back I really enjoyed it, even though it felt like a gathering of orphans. The next night, we did it right with a home seder. I even dug out the ol' Kittel, joking with Caleb that it's one thing he won't inherit. My kids are the epitome of the new genre of kids born into the network, (I did that) but they toned it down and got into our collection of Haggadahs and the old story.

- Saturday, April 11, 2009 at 12:31:54 (EDT)
So, we went to see Adventureland (Kristin Stewart is Smokin') and they kept playing "Pale Blue Eyes" by Lou Reed. It wasn't on the iPod, so some research uncovered that it is actually a Velvet Underground tune. A few songs into my commute today, VU rose a notch in my book with the artsy story song/poem "The Gift." Did you know that they were part of Andy Warhol's Factory scene? What a time that would have been...

- Tuesday, April 07, 2009 at 16:49:47 (EDT)
It's funny how much my life is like John Cusack's in High Fidelity. I spend so much time geeking over lists and libraries everywhere I go. I recently did a massive iTunes sync project when the family pod needed a restore. All my best genres (NY Scene, Vinyl Punk, UK Punk, DC Punk, SF Punk, LA Punk, SD Local, High School Rock, Just Plain Good...) have already moved to the brick, so the "pop" genres (Pop, Too Pop, Not So Pop, Punk, Poseurs, Chick Rock...) were loaded up. There is some seriously damaged bands on there now. I also geek out on web programming. Saphira had me buy apocalypticsunrise.com and I'm kinda psyched on building a kid portal. Here is the first module, an E-Blah.

- Tuesday, April 07, 2009 at 16:09:12 (EDT)
My daughter asked if I was going to the banquet when dropped off this morning. What? A visit to the office and a call to work and wa-la! Here I am paying attention closely to the video. This event is county wide. Each middle school has Model U.N. delegates that will have a unified conference. It's a big deal and I'm the kind of dad who lends his support.

- Friday, April 03, 2009 at 12:19:43 (EDT)
Monday night is primo TV. It sucks that Chuck is at the same time as Gossip Girl, but our special arrangements (bittorent) let us see both last night. Oh Yeah. Prison Break was on Mondays too, but on April 17th it moves to Friday. Tough call there... That puts it in direct competition with Dollhouse.

- Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 13:33:42 (EDT)
After laying around all day utterly depressed (I quit smoking, again) we just had to get out, so we hit up Fashion Valley to see The Haunting in Connecticut. It was as good as a PG-13 horror movie can get, but I find the whole genre kinda boring. We stayed for Monsters vs. Aliens and I felt gipped that it was animated. It was a fun story, but I left the theater in much the same condition as I arrived there. The next day, I needed drastic measures, so we headed up to Oceanside to skate four parks. The first, Melba Bishop, was a good one. I immediately collected some roadrash by hitting a tiny piece of wood, but got back up and jumped on it. The next two, Libby Lake & John Landes were crap and we didn't even get out of the car. It was our second time at MLK and I snaked the locals for a couple runs in the big bowl. It's got an awesome flow, but is always mega crowded. Feeling a bit frustrated, we backtracked to Carmel Valley and had the session of the day. I finally skated the giant pool and found it wasn't so terrifying. At home, we watched Grudge 3 and I got bored quick. So, I watched Say Anything instead on the iMac. Now that was my kind of film! Finally, I finished watching Mouth to Mouth (Ellen Page!) and found it disturbing, but in a happy way.

- Monday, March 30, 2009 at 12:24:09 (EDT)
During the weekend, we all headed down to see Alonzo at Tops Salon to get haircuts and the kids had a great time. Saphira went above the shoulders with a classic layered approach. Caleb was more styled in a Paranoid Park manner that is pretty trendy with the skate crowd. I didn't have the patience to endure the crowd at SDSU's animalkind show in the main gallery, so I geeked out instead on a new "underground comics that became movies" genre inspired by the Watchmen release. I started looking at other Alan Moore movies and added Frank Miller to the mix. After downloading a few to file away, I sat back to watch From Hell and wasn't too impressed with it. For the most part, comics make crappy movies. The rest of the weekend was birthday party related, since all of Sunday was devoted to preparing, hosting and cleaning after Caleb's fun day.

- Monday, March 23, 2009 at 16:23:12 (EDT)
Caleb got a Palm Centro for his birthday today. That boy is hella spoiled. (as he should be) We're having a party this weekend! Weee...

- Friday, March 20, 2009 at 13:45:01 (EDT)
All this voodoo economics crap is really getting me down! Having a home worth less than its value and having expenses that exceed my income are one thing, but last night my people got my taxes down so that I received a $340 return. The problem is that I had to pay $389 in fees. So really, I netted -$49, which is actually pretty good because I took a big distribution from my IRA (more fees!) and expected to owe much more. It was a mistake to liquidate it, but I just couldn't stand to see my assets evaporate the way they are.

- Wednesday, March 18, 2009 at 12:25:27 (EDT)
We met with our realtor last night and the basic message was that we needed to invest $5,000 into the house to push its value equal to what we owe. The grim part, other than the fact that I don't have any renovation funds, is that we won't have a place to live if it sells until we buy a new place. Since I am preapproved at about 78% of what I owe, the new home will be a step down in value. Granted, the market is down and the realtor feels we may be able to get a condo with the 3 bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms we need. My problem of getting the ex off the title will be solved. Saphira just wants something new and Caleb wants to skate to school. So, it's do-able, if I had the money to fix it up. The feeling is that without the renovations, we'll fall about $30,000 short. Ouch.

- Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 13:09:22 (EDT)
Missed some good art shows this weekend due to a general feeling of discontent. It's always a little scary when that feeling returns. Currently, my hopelessness centers around selling the house for less than it's worth to move into one worth even less. This backwards motion is driven by the need to separate assets from the ex, a lame motivation if there ever was one. This, we escaped to the movies to see Coraline in 3D. I actually loved it. Everything Tim Burton touches comes up gold. The second feature, Race to Witch Mountain was a surprise hit. The kids tried to believe its PGness was beneath their dignity, but they were as riveted as I was. After the food court, we headed over to the Karolides Clan to pick up our long-lost blue rope and to help upload her site. We used homework as an excuse to bail, but laid around watching Tru Calling and Friends on the computer instead. Saphira stressed over the missed assignment in the car on the way to school, ironically.

- Monday, March 16, 2009 at 12:18:47 (EDT)
Yesterday, I went to the 70's reunion luncheon for the G&S skateboard team. The guest list read like a who's who of Southern California pros (Steve Cathey, Ellen O'Neal, Dave Dash, Dave Mc Intyre , Paul Newkirk, Henry Hester, Layne Oaks, Doug Saladino, Doug Marker, Stacy Peralta, Bill Ruff, Jim Gray, Masami Countryman, Ron Fletcher, Chris Yandall, Paul Hoffman, Martinez Dennis, Bob Skoldberg, James Cassimus, Dave Hackett, Dennis Shufeldt, Joe Roper, Peter Towand, Rodney Barnes, Tony Jetton, Danny Trailer, Bobby Boyden, Frank Blood, Paul Constantineau, Chuck Webb, Bob Shea, Ron Hudgins, Bucky, Bobby Garcia, Larry Wilson, Steve Sherman, Jim Strom, Mike Lieras and more.) and it was awesome to see some of the old faces again. Of the bunch who showed up, I was about the only guy who still skated pools. Either that makes me cool or dumb, I'm not sure which.

- Thursday, March 12, 2009 at 15:32:20 (EDT)
Man, times are bleak. A lender just told me that I pre-qualify for a home loan amount that is less than my current mortgage. Additionally, the mortgage we have now is actually higher than the home's value. So, to get the kids into a new house where they each have their own room and I have an office is going to be a real trick!

- Tuesday, March 10, 2009 at 15:49:15 (EDT)
Back in the 80's when I was collecting and reading the Watchmen comics, I felt that they were one of the most relevant and important things ever created. It was another "voice of the generation" thing. The writer, Alan Moore, (V for Vendetta, The Killing Joke, From Hell, Constantine, Brought to Light, Big Numbers...) perfectly captured the hopelessness of Generation X in the face of nuclear extinction and I got that feeling that it was something I could relate to and latch onto. Yesterday, we saw the movie (IMAX!) and Saphira commented that the crowd was all old guys. I laughed at that and, afterwards, those same old guys were still in their seats after the credits totally blown away. Sure, they did a great job of creating the Silk Spectre, Dr. Manhattan, Ozymandias, Rorschach, The Comedian and Nite Owl for the screen, but it was still the deep philosophical underpinnings that hit home. All this for some comic book? Well, your find meaning in life where you can.

- Sunday, March 08, 2009 at 12:58:06 (EDT)
After the kids went to sleep last night, I watched a freakin' weird movie called Trouble Every Day. For the most part, it had no dialogue and what it had was primarily in French. The imagery was the movie, and much of it was disturbing and evocative. I grabbed it as a fan of Vincent Gallo and he was typically unhinged in his character. He has a way of making things uncomfortable just by looking at the camera, which is his draw (I suppose).

- Friday, March 06, 2009 at 15:00:08 (EST)
There's some big changes in the wind. The kids are getting big and need their own rooms, so I contacted a realtor to begin the process of getting into a new place. It's a hard time to sell, but a great time to buy. Not looking forward to the effort, but it will be good to move on and away from the hassles I have now. Sometimes, it seem like my current role is to preserve assets for others. The ex wants equity from the property I've funded for 90% of our ownership. After 10 years of non-participation, her brother wants to sell the canceranswers.com name that earns about 20% of my income. Still, change is good. Speaking of discord, I watched Milk last night and found it incredibly moving. Sean Penn won best actor for his portrayal and it was well deserved. It was one of those lay awake and ponder situations...

- Wednesday, March 04, 2009 at 11:54:47 (EST)
The weekend was one of irony. I got to lay around and read for most of it, which is cool, but then I got bored because all that was going on was laying around reading. So, we did what we always do and hit the mall. The double feature was action packed, starting with the spy movie Taken. It was surprisingly good, but a bit disturbing for the kids since they haven't really heard about trafficking women for prostitution. The next flick, Echelon Conspiracy, was way better because it was a techy network run wild kinda thing. I like the whole "Big Brother" scenario almost as much as post-apocalyptic. Caleb and I watched SLC Punk for the gazillionth time and pretty much decided it's the best movie ever. Anyway, I've got work to to so bye.

- Monday, March 02, 2009 at 12:59:00 (EST)
Man, my sites really need an overhaul! There is a ton of dorky content on my main homepage that's like 16 years old. In this business, that's ancient! Still, it was an upgrade at the time with its fancy JavaScript nav and what-not. Ironically, the old Version 1.0 site got me a lot more work. In 1993, it was cutting edge and I used to carry it on a floppy disc and show up at interviews empty handed. It was amazing when that would actually work!

- Tuesday, February 24, 2009 at 17:43:22 (EST)
We haven't made kiddush at home in a while, so we picked up some Popeyes Chicken and did the family thing. Afterwards, I was able to chill on the couch and watch a highly anticipated movie, Rachel Getting Married. I knew it would be good for Anne Hathaway to have a breakout role, and it was actually a pretty incredible film for someone with my experience. We tackled a big project the next day by heading downtown for a thriftstore bookcase. Once installed, it allowed the snake to be moved and a larger turtle tank put in its place. It took a load of supplies to move them in (gravel, island, decorations, filter elements, sun lamp) and everyone was happier once they were. Come evening, we had the inside scoop at the member's opening of Rising Tide downtown. Even better was the Jolby show at SubText. It was packed with scenesters and the art was top-notch. The weekend ended with a humiliating session at the Oceanside Skatepark. I skate like a sissy. Things got worse this morning when I went to change Saphira's contact information at school. Every cuss word available is reserved for the official in the office. It was a painful flashback to hate having to even hear her annoying voice.

- Monday, February 23, 2009 at 13:37:09 (EST)
As the kids get older, they start having their own stuff to do and less time for mine. Thus, this month we missed both Culture & Cocktails and TNT. I love both those events, but the kids just weren't into it. We did visit the Plastic Prophets of Vinyl Redemption show up at Distinction and pick up our new Haubs. Pretty stoked about that. Caught a cool double feature during the rainy weekend of Confessions of a Shopaholic and He's Just Not That Into You. They were my favorite sort of movies (chick flicks!) and I absolutely adore Isla Fisher! Another hottie is Eliza Dushku and we have been enjoying her new show, Dollhouse, as well as the awesome Tru Calling. Now if only Fairuza Balk would come out with something...

- Friday, February 20, 2009 at 19:36:35 (EST)
I'm beat (in a good way!) from a trip to Joshua Tree with the Karolides clan. During breakfast we found an awesome arete behind camp and took a few laps. Beautiful! We took a park tour after that to check out the other camps and ended up at Belle at the end of the day. I did my first lead in years on a typical two bolt horror and relished the fear. We left one route undone that looked pretty darn good, so I say another trip is in order. Plus, by leaving the park at the east gate, a stop at Ed Chada's in 29 Palms was possible.

- Monday, February 02, 2009 at 12:55:49 (EST)
We had some time to burn this weekend, so it was off to the mall to see The Unborn. I had low expectations for this one. How many different ways can a PG scary movie be scary? Halfway through, I was glad to have my phone to text and read email because the head rotating 360 degrees and growling demon voices just don't do it for me. Second feature prospects were equally bleak, except for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button which the kids won't see. Thus, we ended up seeing Twilight again. It's actually a pretty good movie, but I'm sick of the teenage girl mania surrounding it. Come nighttime, the kids went to stay with a friend and I had the chance to watch a REAL movie by one of my favorite filmmakers, Hal Hartley. His movies are so thoughtful and quirky that it takes a certain type of viewer (me!) to get it. The Girl from Monday was a sci-fi thing about a world where consumerism and buying potential have become the governing rules of a society infiltrated by aliens. Sounds hokey, but it was awesome. I also had time to watch Larry's Dead, a punk movie by Tim Armstrong featuring Lars Frederiksen as the broken one. Cool.

- Monday, January 26, 2009 at 17:34:51 (EST)
Last night, The Casbah had the greatest gray hair density ever in support of hometown favorites The Penetrators. We were all 30 years older, but having teenage fun just the same. The energy and nostalgia went off with grins all around. It was the friendliness of the fans and players alike that made us all feel lucky to have been a part of the San Diego Scene all these years.

- Sunday, January 25, 2009 at 15:12:05 (EST)
There has been a lot going on lately. Too much, actually. We visited Subtext for their opening night at the new space and found it filled with the art crowd. It was quite a contrast to the next night's Patron Level preview of the new Jasper Johns show at MCASD. The exhibit was kinda weak, but the snacks and free booze made membership have its privileges. Caleb and I skated the new Carmel Valley park during the weekend and found it to be one of the best. Certainly, the free pool is totally worthy. We also went climbing with the Karolides clan. The trail kicked my butt, the sun went down and we got locked in on the road (good fun!) Plus, we got to have a tribal dinner which is always a fun time. Last night, Saphira tried out for the county-wide honor band. Hope she makes it! In our rush, we ran over her phone in the parking lot. Bummer.

- Friday, January 23, 2009 at 14:54:41 (EST)
This month marks the 20th anniversary of The Casbah, an iconic music venue that has kept the San Diego Scene alive. For the occasion, many great bands are reuniting to play there. Thus, I made the effort to go see Lucy's Fur Coat and had such a great time that I went the very next night to see The Dragons. What a blast! They killed it, bit I actually liked Wild Weekend a bit more. (Girl Band!) Deadbolt played too and were what I expected during the 30 seconds I watched them. With all the hipsters there, I definitely had better things to do!

- Sunday, January 11, 2009 at 14:59:27 (EST)
It's been work as usual since our vacation and, to tell the truth, I'm glad to have a job in these times. As it is, the company has announced all sorts of budget cuts for the new year - no raises, no year mid-year bonus, no 401k matching... even a 10% staff reduction. Scary. One thing we still have is a free Gym membership. This year, I have to start using it, and quit smoking, because of all the worries of middle age, dying is the worst. With the kids getting older, soon I can gain regain my lost youth and get a life. In this vein, tonight is the Lucy's Fur Coat show and I'm pretty psyched about it.

- Friday, January 09, 2009 at 11:39:53 (EST)
We compressed three days into one long one and powered our way across two big deserts, crossing the Colorado River numerous times. When we got to Blythe, we stopped over at the Bigfoot Skatepark and had a grand ol' time dissing it. Dispite its weakness, we had some good fun chasing the local kids with Bob. Further down the road, we were astounded by the quality of the park in Brawley. It was a scary town and we got pretty lost. Even when we got there, it was intimidating. Turns out the locals were cool and the skating was RAD! Easily one of the best of the trip. Of particular note was the gnarly pool with coping and an awesome shallow end flow. Truly one of the best park pools around. It was a long haul into Borrego Springs and we got lucky to score a room at the Stanlunds Resort Inn. Heated pool and continental breakfast... Doesn't get much better than that! Plus, we are in striking distance of the Borrego Badlands, the most anticipated skatepark ever. More on that tomorrow after our session. Happy New Year!

- Thursday, January 01, 2009 at 22:27:30 (EST)
We left Vegas with a mix of "sick of it" and regret to hit the road south. As it was, we spent an extra couple of days there and cancelled the eastern segment of our plans to visit Flagstaff and Sedona. We found a gem in the Needles Skatepark. The kids must have been stoked when the Tony Hawk Foundation chipped in to build it because there wasn't much else to do there but drink the hundredth energy drink of the trip. We made it to Lake Havasu City and checked out their sole attraction from the bottom and top before seeking out the Rotary Skatepark. That place was so bad that we laughed during every run. Bored, we found a room at the Island Inn and had a well-deserved jacuzzi soak. The restaurant there closed early for a locals party, forcing us to town. Turns out the Barley Brothers Brewery had a cool view of the London Bridge and some fine ale. Fun! Back in the room, we brought in the New Year like millions of others by watching Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve. I passed out after that, but the kids must have stayed up because they are still asleep and it's almost 11am.

- Thursday, January 01, 2009 at 12:45:24 (EST)

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