Santa Cruz

While temperatures in the Midwest and East Coast dropped below zero, we took advantage of a nice sunny day and headed down to Santa Cruz. For those of you unfamiliar, it’s where they filmed “Lost Boys.”

The Santa Cruz Boardwalk has one of my all-time favorite roller coasters, the Giant Dipper. It’s a small wooden coaster with a 70 foot drop. It’s not that impressive to look at. There’s something about it though. Maybe it’s the view, or the way it shakes your teeth loose, or the dips, but I can’t miss riding it at least once whenever I’m there.

Late February is one of the best possible times to go there. You will practically have the park to yourself.

Oscars 2015

I didn’t want to be anti-social, so I watched the Oscars last night. There wasn’t much to get excited about this year. The only contender I saw was “Boyhood”, and none of the others looked appealing.

It ran long, really long. Luckily we’re on Pacific time so it was over before Midnight.

Here is a list of my Oscar peeves for this year and every other…

  • When a group wins, there’s always one person who hogs the mic leaving someone else to get played off two words in
  • Condescending speeches about the “power of film”
  • When the host continues to kill time with filler material even when the show is running 20-30 minutes behind

First family car

The first family car can I remember was our AMC Sportabout. It was like a 4-door Gremlin with wood trim (I think ours had it). I don’t know where mom and dad got it, but they were nuts about it and AMC in general. The Sportabout was totaled in an accident. We got rear-ended and then we rear-ended the car in front of us. I remember seeing my mom hit the windshield while my brother and I were thrown forward just enough followed by the back seat falling down. That was before seatbelt laws of course.

Luckily my mom had her hair in a bun and it cushioned the impact. Though she did have to go to the hospital for a headache from the hairpin. My brother and I weren’t hurt and might have been if that seat had fallen on us.

The next car after that was a gargantuan Dodge Monaco Custom station wagon we bought from my uncle Skip who worked at Sierra Motor in Ottawa, IL. That car has it’s own colored history.

You’ll never see either of these cars on the road anymore. Though I have heard the Monaco Custom is a favorite in the demolition derby circuit.

Best of 2014

I’m sitting around with a few minutes to kill and thought I’d bang out my best of 2014 list 7 weeks into 2015. In no particular order or organization…


  • Super 8, Jason Isbell
  • Southern Son, Boy & the Bear
  • Life of Sin, Sturgill Simpson
  • Budapest, George Ezra
  • Chateau Lobby, Father John Misty

“Silicon Valley” was the only TV show that I can think of. I did like the show “Trophy Wife”, but ABC cancelled it.


  • Boyhood
  • Monument Men
  • Godzilla

We only went to one concert this year. It was Macy Gray at Yoshi’s in Oakland. It was a great show.

Update I forgot that we also went to the Bridge School benefit show. Everyone at that show was awesome.

12 months and change, looking back

We left Chicago just a little over a year ago. And while I do miss the place, and especially the people, the thing I don’t miss at all is the word “windchill”. It’s just one of those words no one needs here.

When I lived in the midwest, I wore my tolerance for crummy weather like a badge. Now I know it was just a defense mechanism to validate choosing to live there and stay there.

After a little more than a year in California, I can say that I don’t regret making the move. I’m glad we did it. I don’t know if I’d be saying this so easily if it weren’t for the fact this is my 3rd time living here over the past 22 years.

SNL at 40

Despite being on 4 hours earlier than normal, I still dozed off half-way through Sunday night’s Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary special. It was such a dud, even by SNL standards.

It’s something of a cliché to say the show sucks. Sure, the stakes are higher if watching TV at 11:30 on Saturday night is your best possible option. But even the lamest casts have had at least 4 to 5 hilarious moments a season. That’s more than most comedies on TV. I’ve just learned to appreciate the show for what it is, good enough television for it’s time slot.

At the very least, I was expecting this special to be another best-of where they focused on the recurring bits. Instead, it was mostly the worst stuff like celebrity  drop-ins, run-on sketches, and Jimmy Fallon.

My ideal would have been a distilled version of the absolute best sketches and jokes of the past 40 years. That’s what they did for the 5th anniversary of Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and it was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.

Lean is wearing thin

One of the flawed themes of the 90s Internet Bubble was “traditional laws no longer apply.” Worrying about revenue was an old economy way of thinking. Back then, the conventional wisdom was that one could just buy their customers and way to success.

Today, it’s lean this, or lean that. Cut out everything that doesn’t matter is the prevailing conventional wisdom. Waste is to be avoided at all cost. All we need to erect today’s new empires is a used futon, a laptop, and some free wifi to grift. It’s reached to the point where even thinking is a frill and therefore a waste of time.

I get the value of some austerity, but I still believe you have to spend money to make money.

Business to business spending is integral to the economy. I may be in a shrinking minority, but I feel like Capitalism is at risk if you encourage stinginess at the same time you’re ostensibly trying to make money.


Physical therapy starts today. The swelling has gone way done and the pain has become more of an ache. My range of motion is decent, but it stiffens up and can be quite sore to move. I hope it won’t be too painful later today.

I have taken to wearing a knee brace on the outside of my pants to go along with the crutches. I don’t need it for support, it’s so people believe me when I sit in a priority seat on BART.

Two weeks ago, I learned the hard way that sitting in those seats will get you ripped a new one. I was in a priority seat on a crowded train, reading when a 60-something woman boarded. There isn’t a unit of time small enough to measure how quickly I was scorned – not by her, but other passengers. She and I established eye contact and after a polite exchange of non-verbal cues, traded places. She, rightfully, got a seat while I took my place standing among the eye rollers and cluckers who turned their backs on me and smiled at her.

Mind you, those seats are for anyone as long as someone else doesn’t need them. But the least people can do is give me a chance to be an asshole before implying I am one.

Granted, I know I didn’t do anything wrong. I just can’t stand that some people were smugly patting themselves on the back for merely being indignant. You know damn well they got more satisfaction out of me losing the seat than the older woman getting to sit down.

Things could get a little namaste

This poster at my gym promoting “couples Yoga” caught my eye. I don’t know who thought it was a good idea. My guess is a 13 year old boy who’s been pawing through an Athleta catalog.

If you’ve ever done Yoga, you know it’s a solo act. With all the stretching and bending and flexing, things happen, sounds get made that aren’t compatible with romantic interludes.

My advice, stick with a romantic dinner and wait until you’ve had enough to drink before bringing up downward dog.

Knee post-op post

A little over five years ago, I completely ruptured my left ACL skiing. We were at Granite Peak outside of Wausau, Wisconsin. Not exactly the kind of place great ski stories unfold.

I took a steep hill too fast and one ski went under the other. I’m not sure which direction my knee went, but I envisioned something like a drumstick being ripped off a rotisserie chicken.

This month, I finally had surgery to fix my knee and I’ve been laid up for the past week recovering. The process has been better than expected. I start physical therapy next week. I’m on crutches, though I can actually walk pretty well without them.

All told, I should be back to 100% and able to ski and everything else within 6-9 months. It depends on who you ask. The doctor says less, but the physical therapist says longer.