Friday, August 31, 2007

Mo' Money

Tony Snow is resigning as White House spokesman. He's been battling colon cancer and undergoing chemotherapy, but that's not the reason he's stepping down. He's stepping down for financial reasons.

From the New York Times:

Mr. Snow, who has been battling a recurrence of colon cancer and just finished a lengthy set of chemotherapy treatments, had said that he intended to leave before the end of President Bush’s second term. In recent interviews, he said he would depart for financial, not health reasons.
The former journalist with Fox News who had a nationally syndicated talk show received a salary of nearly $170,000 as White House press secretary, far less than his cable show earnings.
He recently told Hugh Hewitt: “I’m not going to be able to go the distance, but that’s primarily for financial reasons,” Mr. Snow said. “I’ve told people when my money runs out, then I’ve got to go.”

Geez, if he can't make $170,000 work, along with countless benefits that I'm sure comes with the job, what hope does a parent working a minimum wage job have? This should be proof to the administration that working class folks need help. Instead, though, the administration will probably see it as evidence that the rich need tax cuts.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

New York Times Wedding Announcement of the Week

A film critic I generally disagree with got hitched. Will marriage make him a better critic?

Sara Austin and Kyle Smith

I didn't realize he also wrote "Love Monkey," which I've never read, but the short-lived series tried too hard and portrayed a very lame music scene.

As a film critic, Smith is at his worst when he shows his right-wing (he does write for the New York Post) tendencies as in his 2.5 star review of the Iraq documentary No End in Sight. He only briefly touches on the film's cinematic merits but focuses instead on a defense of the Bush administration. Guess what he thought of Sicko.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Feist on Letterman

I (still) don't have cable and my TV reception isn't the best, so I've been unable to watch anything other than NBC shows like "The Singing Bee" and, heaven forbid, "America's Got Talent." As a result I missed Feist's appearance on "Late Show with David Letterman" last night. Thank goodness for You Tube.

It was a cavalcade of indie rock stars on stage at the Ed Sullivan Theatre. A New Pornographer, a couple of Broken Social Scenesters, a National, Mates of State, and Grizzly Bears all showed up in white to sing background to "1234." The only thing that would have made it better was if they danced the video routine.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Whiplash Weekend

Six Flags Magic Mountain, originally uploaded by hellfroze.

I haven't been to Magic Mountain in a few years and since then some new, exciting rides have popped up, so some friends and I headed there on Saturday to relive our younger years. Either we're getting old or those rides are getting more violent. By the middle of the day I had a crick in my neck and a battered head.

It didn't help that it was so easy to get on the rides early in the day. There were no lines when we got there. Within the first hour and a half we had ridden Goliath, Colossus, Scream (twice), Batman, and Riddler's Revenge. I usually do well on rollercoasters, but during Batman I briefly felt that vomiting was a possibility. Batman was also where I suffered whiplash and banged my head a couple of times on the headrest.

After lunch, the lines got longer. It took us over an hour to get on Deja Vu--but it was worth it. We waited for an hour on X only to have it shut down on us. We left the line and rode Ninja (still sucks) and checked out X again. It was up and running and the line shorter. It was a crazy, intense ride. You don't know which way is up sometimes. We rode it back-to-back, which only aggravated my kinked out neck. We also rode Viper, one of my old favorites, and it's still a good ride but compared to the newer rides it's pretty much a walk in the park. The most fun ride of the day, though, was Tatsu. The line was long, but well worth it. Compared to the other rides it's actually a smooth, exhilarating ride--like you're soaring over the park. I wish we could have ridden that one again but it was late and the line was too long. We closed out the night on Deja Vu, one of my favorites, and tried to get on Goliath again but they were shutting down.

All in all, a fun day. We were there when the park opened to when it just about closed. Our legs ached but it was a well-earned exhaustion. Surprisingly, the ride that got the better of most of us wasn't the extreme rides--it was the kid-friendly SpinOut where you stand against the wall of a centrifuge and it spins and spins until you stick to the wall and can't move. Afterwards most of us didn't want to go on it again. It took minutes for the spinning to stop.

We got a little nostalgic afterwards when we remembered that there's a possibility the park might be sold and torn down since the land would be valuable to build on. Hopefully with the downturn in real estate, they will be dissuaded and this will not be the last time we get to go to Magic Mountain.

I'll post pictures when I get the chance.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Gay Bar in Flames

Waste of Water, originally uploaded by savemejebus.

Micky's burned down earlier this evening. It wreaked havoc on my commute as Santa Monica Blvd. was shut down. It took me an hour to get out of West Hollywood, which made me late for the Hollywood Nike Run.

Of course, the irony is lost on no one that Micky's float at this year's Gay Pride parade featured skivvies-clad men on a fire truck with a banner on the truck that read: "Micky's - Flaming Gay Bar."

Monday, August 20, 2007

New York Times Wedding Announcement of the Week

Had Carl Newman's nuptials been written up on the Sunday Weddings and Celebrations instead of in the "A Night Out With..." series it would have undoubtedly been the Announcement of the Week. I love the New Pornographers--even if their new album isn't as great as their previous. The celebration sounded like a lot of fun, though. Karaoke! David Cross! Neko Case singing sad songs about love!

But we have to stick by the rules, so instead we'll go with another music-related nuptial.

Jennifer Williams and Brian Raftery

Raftery used to write for Entertainment Weekly, often about music, but now he freelances. I liked his reporting there, and since then I would catch his byline on some other pieces that I've enjoyed on other magazines.

I wonder what he thinks of the new New Pornographers album?

-Brian Raftery's All Together Now blog

Thursday, August 16, 2007

And on the fourth day I rest...

I used to look forward to the Nike-sponsored runs at the Yard House in Pasadena and I wasn't the only one. The runs drew many runners and packed the courtyard of the Paseo. It probably attracted too many people and the runs were no longer held there. It's been almost a year since I've done one of these runs, but now my location affords me the luxury of attending several of these runs.

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On Monday I attended the Santa Monica run held at Third Street Promenade. Not as big a group as I expected, certainly not numbering as many as what I've seen in Pasadena, but still quite a large contingent. I ran with the 5 mile/9 minute pace group knowing that the pace will probably be faster than that. I tend to run an 8:30 pace on these runs, but rather than be the slowpoke with the 8 minute group, I preferred being one of the speed demons in the 9 minute group. As can be expected, the course is quite nice. We ran west on Santa Monica Blvd. and turned north on Ocean, running along Palisades Park with a wonderful view of the ocean. We then turned right and ran as far east as 14th Street before turning back on San Vicente and running along Georgina to Palisades to Ocean on the way back to Third Street. I ran the course, including brief stops at traffi lights, in 43 minutes.

The next day I decided to do the Hollywood run as well. This was a much tougher run to make even though it's closer to where I live. Coming from work, it took me almost an hour to get to the location on Hollywood and Western. It's certainly a more urban and less pretty location than Santa Monica but I actually enjoyed it more. The group was smaller and the runners certainly looked different than the ones at Santa Monica. Fewer pretty people and more average, normal folks--my kind of crowd! The run also proved more arduous than Santa Monica as it involved some tough uphill climbs near Griffith Park and was all on sidewalks and along major streets. There were more traffic lights and the smell of car exhaust never abated. Still, I liked it. I ran the course in 47 minutes, but it also felt more relaxing than the Santa Monica run. Maybe I liked this more because I actually won a raffle prize here. My favorite part of the run was running on Shakespeare Bridge.

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For my third straight day of running I ran with Frontrunners again in Santa Monica for the weekly fun run. Over four miles in 35 minutes. I thought my legs would be a bit wobbly from the hard running the past two days, but they held up well even thought I felt like I was going to wet my shorts running the last hill back to Palisades Park. Unfortunately, all this running did take its toll. My trusty Timex Ironman watch has died--well, not quite, but an arm has been amputated rendering him useless. Perhaps I unconsciously hastened his death in hopes of getting a Garmnin watch. However, at this moment I doubt I can afford one, so most likely I will get another inexpensive Timex watch to replace him until I can afford a fancy-shmancy Garmin.

After the run we went for dinner at Rosti's on Montana. I was so starved that anything would have done, but Rosti's was a great way to finish off a good workout. The shrimp pasta hit the spot. I was so exhausted that when I got home I promptly crashed still wearing my running clothes. Thankfully I woke up, showered, and went back to bed.

And today I rest...and get a haircut.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Song of the Week: "Ice Cream"

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Download: Muscles - "Ice Cream"

Muscles' "Ice Cream" was a song I enjoyed when I first heard it a few months ago but soon after neglected. Now with summer on full blast, it's the perfect song for the season with the right message: ice cream, indeed, is going to save the day--it will save ANY day.

It's a dance anthem in the LCD Soundsystem vein but perhaps a little more simplistic. The pleasures of the song is in its inane simplicity, from its "WOOH AHH..." opening to its Casio beats. Like its namesake, it uses the simplest of ingredients to make you happy. The song is about good, clean highs ("I just want to dance with my shirt off") when mean, ugly people keep intruding ("He could have a knife/Stabe me in the gut!"). Muscles perseveres, though, and delivers one of the most brainlessly appealing songs of the year. I'm sure some folks will detest the song as somewhat moronic, but ice cream isn't for thinking. It's for licking.

New York Times Wedding Announcement of the Week

Lots of interesting jobs in this week's announcements, far from the usual lot of brokers, bankers and analysts.

Kathleen Agresta and Thomas Price

Both Ms. Agresta and Mr. Price graduated from Harvard where they met freshman year. While Ms. Agresta is in the MBA program at Stanford, Mr. Price is working at a dream job for most guys: he makes beer. He is a brewer at San Francisco Brewing Company. I've always wanted to be a bartender just so I can learn to make drinks. I hear the tips aren't bad either.

Friday, August 10, 2007

I Pledged

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I renewed my KCRW membership today with a $50 pledge plus $25 for their music library. I was holding out for a good premium (like a magazine subscription) and a chance to win an Apple MacBook. Today they offered the MacBook as the daily giveaway, but no good premiums came up, so at the end of "Morning Becomes Eclectic" I said the hell with it and pledged anyway. I went for the t-shirt as a premium and was going to be happy with it. Then near the end of the phone call, my volunteer asked if I wanted a Newsweek subscription as well--the very thing I had been waiting for all morning. So, with my $75, I have a subscription to Newsweek, an American Apparel KCRW shirt, and a Fringe Benefits card. Hopefully I'll also have a new MacBook. I've been a member of KCRW for a few years now, and I think I've earned my money back just from the fringe benefit savings and concert tickets that I've won. Score!

In the Mood for "In the Mood for Love"

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Wong Kar Wai's In the Mood for Love is one of my favorite films of all time. It's swooningly romantic. Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung have never been sexier. Come see it and Days of Being Wild at the New Beverly Cinema tonight or tomorrow as they offer a Wong double feature.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Earth Quaked

Did anyone else feel that? I'm pretty sure that was an earthquake. When I heard the story about a tornado in New York, I thought of how great it is here in California. We only have to deal with earthquakes, and it's been years since the last one. I jinxed it. At least it was a small one, but at the same time it means that a big one has yet to hit. We're overdue. I've almost forgotten what they felt like.

EDIT: The Los Angeles Times confirms it. Magnitude 4.5. I'm not delusional.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

New York Times Wedding Announcement of the Week

Is it bad that I chose this week's couple because I have a mad crush on the groom?

Ann Sulzer and Ted Keizer

Yes, he's just my type. Glasses, nice smile, a runner/hiker, smart, do-gooder. If I don't have a crush on him he's at least my hero. He's an ultamountaineer, having completed 31 mile hikes in every state in less than 75 days. He earned the nickname "Cave Dog" because he once slept in caves to save money. He's dreamy.

Check out his website and let's admire him a little while longer.

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Congratulations to the happy couple. Ms. Sulzer, you're one lucky gal.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

So Long, Hal

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KTLA's Hal Fishman has passed away. I have fond memories of watching his newscast with Tiiu Leek when my family first arrived from the Philippines. He's been a constant presence ever since, growing cantankerous with every pretty new female anchor they paired him up with. I'm kind of surprised that he's only 75. He already seemed old 22 years ago. He's probably the last of the great local newscasters. Paul Moyers would like to think he's one but he's just a blowhard. Can Paul Moyers boast of being an inspiration for "The Simpsons'" Kent Brockman?

Monday, August 06, 2007

Song of the Week: Golden Inhibition Destroyer

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Download: Warm in the Wake - "Golden Inhibition Destroyer"

Warm in the Wake's Gold Dust Trail EP has been a wonderful surprise this year. With their southern rock-inspired sound, the band offers a set of solid, pleasing songs. Some might accuse them of being My Morning Jacket ripoffs, but they're far from that. The songs swirl and toss you in unexpectedly blissful directions.

"Golden Inhibition Destroyer" is the highlight of the EP. The lyrics obtusely speak of pessimism (And there's carbon and there's love/Which one will burn up/Oh, guess which one), but the sweet concoction of guitars, chimes, and piano speak of sweet tea and playful days out in the sun. When the piano and drums crash and careen in the end, just watch out!

Warm in the Wake's LP, American Prehistoric, comes out August 28.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


, originally uploaded by Malingering.

Went to my first (any probably last) Dodger game of the season and it turned out to be a big to-do. Apart from the traditional rivalry, the game last night against the Giants also offered an opportunity for Barry Bonds to tie and even break Hank Aaron's home run record. Unfortunately, Bonds went 0 for 4. Fortunately the Dodgers won, scoring four runs in the eighth inning including a home run from Nomar.

Tonight Bonds will once again try for the record. If last night was any indication, there will be plenty of media at the game and even more rowdy fans. It was a fun game. What wasn't fun was the 1.5 hours it took for us to go from Sunset and Vermont to Dodger Stadium, a mere three or four miles away, and the one hour it took the get out of the stadium.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Necesito Zapatos

New Running Shoes (2), originally uploaded by lint01.

Still running here. I ran 10 miles this weekend and felt pretty good. I'm still not certain if I'm training for a marathon or not but at least I'm maintaining my fitness.

What doesn't feel good are my legs. I really need to get new shoes. My Sauconies aren't absorbing the shock any more and now I'm feeling it in my knees and hips and lower back. I wasn't planning on running tonight since I'm going to the Dodger game but even if I wasn't I really shouldn't. My legs feel beat up.

I did run with Corey yesterday and did about four miles. It was a good pace, but I could feel the shock and stress on my joints during the run. All of a sudden I feel old.

Budget-wise I'm considering holding back until after the 12th (when a new credit card cycle) starts to buy the shoes. For now, I may switch to an older but less beat up pair. If I see a sale, though, I'll jump right on it. If anyone knows where I can get Omni Grid 5's or 6's for cheap let me know.