Monday, December 21, 2009

Jeff is cancer free!

This morning we received great news that Jeff is cancer free! It is an early Christmas gift to all of us and a constant reminder to always be thankful for our health. These past few weeks Jeff has been waiting to hear results from his biopsy and he finally got the news today. I took these photos today on my sunset walk and I hope we get another beautiful sunset tomorrow night. I want to commend Jeff for always staying positive during this stressful time. Thank God for the good news!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bandwagoning Redux

I came across a brilliant piece of sports writing on bandwagoning written by Bill Simmons. For those of you who do not follow ESPN, Bill Simmons is a Boston native who writes a column for ESPN magazine and has authored several books. He wrote this gem about bandwogoning in sports:

"There's nothing worse than a bandwagon jumper. If sports were a giant prison and fans were the convicts, bandwagoners would be like child molesters-the lowlifes who crossed the line and deserved to be ridiculed/tortured/humiliated/defiled by everyone else."

He goes on to say that all "real fans" abide by the following rules.

Rule #1
You select ONE team in each sport. You cannot root for two teams in the same sport.

Rule # 2
If your city has a professional team during your formative years, you support that team. Local teams are like family-you have to stick with them through thick and thin.

Rule # 3 (I think this is the best one, pay attention Dennis and Jeff)
You CAN'T root for a team, back off during a down cycle, then renew the relationship once the team starts winning again.

Rule # 4 (Also a good one that applies to recent SC fans)
Be honest! If you do pick a team, or a sport, that you were NEVER a fan of before they were good, be honest about it. Don't make stuff up. You like them because they are winning and you wanted to feel good about yourself. Just admit it.

Rule # 5
Never switch allegiances. Once you have a team, you are stuck with that them for the rest of your life.

I think all of these are very simple rules to follow.

P.S. Go Raiders!

Monday, December 14, 2009

"Evil Tiger"

At every Christmas party you go to this season people will talk about Tiger Woods. You walk in a room and people talk about Tiger, you go to the next room and it's more Tiger talk. Men will huddle in small groups and talk about Tiger Woods. Inevitably some woman will state that "if her man acted like Tiger she would bash out his windows too." This remark will be met with the sound of forced laughter. All seem to agree that Tiger will go on Oprah, claim he is a sex addict, have a good cry and go back to golf. America will forgive you of anything if you put the word "addict" in front of it. (Hello Rush, Brett Favre, Michael Jordan etc) This is why Mike Vick was in so much trouble, he could not claim he was "addicted" to fighting dogs. He just seemed cruel. At the Christmas party I was out last night we were discussing Tiger when an idea occurred to me: if you are Tiger Woods, why not become Evil Tiger? Think about it, he only has two options. He can go down the usual route and give half-hearted apologies that he does not really mean and live life like a whipped dog or he can become EVIL TIGER! What if he just embraced who he really is and stopped living the lie. He could just leave his wife and kids, move to Vegas, and leave a path of destruction in his wake. He could grow a vicious goatee, shave his head, show off his biceps, and be the baddest golfer that walked the planet. It would be so cool to watch him at tournaments when all the women boo him and the men (secretly) cheer him on. Tiger Woods would be the hero of all frat parties as he can fully live the dream in public. He can get new sponsors, host a show on E, and finally show the world how men really behave. This could be the best move of his life. But, sadly, I do not think that a man named Eldrick can really become "Evil Tiger." Oh well, I like the idea of "evil tiger," what do you think?

Friday, December 11, 2009

The 20 best movies of the decade

I love movies, you love movies, let's talk about the twenty best movies of the past ten years:

1. There will be blood
Daniel day Lewis just rips the heart out of his acting peers and drinks their milkshake. I have watched this movie over ten times and I am continually blown away at the portrayal of an ambitious man who can barely contain his disgust for.............."people." I love the way this movie is shot, the subplot with the preacher, and the long periods of quiet. The best movie of the past ten years.

2. The Departed
This movie is like I died and went to movie heaven. You have a Scorsese picture dealing with the Irish Mafia that stars my favorite actor, Jack Nicholson. I love the music, the pace and the performances of Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio. I remember seeing this movie in the theaters and listening to Jack's opening lines........."twenty years after an Irishman couldn't get a job in this city, we had the Presidency. That's the thing nobody tells you, you can be anything you want to be. But if you want something, you have to take it, nobody gives it to you."

3. Grizzly Man
I am transfixed by this movie and watch it whenever it is on T.V. To see a man completely go off the rails and film himself patting bears on the head and talking to them is theater of the absurd. Timmothy Treadwell was a self-made reality star who achieved the fame he sought in his life with his brutal death. He shot really beautiful home movies of the wilds of Alaska. This is an incredible documentary that is really a meditation on one man's search for meaning in this world.

4. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
A great script about a great idea. Would you pay to have painful memories erased from your mind? What do we learn by living with pain? You have a film that comes close to showing the mind-bending emotional roller coaster of loving someone and than losing that someone you love. Kate Winslet is just naturally beautiful in this movie.

5. No Country for old Men
Good God I love this movie. The haunting final monologue from Tommy Lee Jones is off the charts. I have rewound the movie and watched the end of this flick countless times. If you don't like this movie it is hard for me to even talk to you! There is not a false moment in this film, so call it, frienddo

6. Lost in Translation
I remember exactly where I was when I fell in love with Scarlet Johanson. I was below deck, on a boat in Indonesian, watching a bootlegged copy of this movie. The opening shot of Scarlet is legendary and Bill Murray is just so real in this flick. This movie is like life, at times funny, sad, sweet and absurd. Bill Murray calling his wife to tell her that he was partying with Japanese surfers-enough said.

7. Into the Wild
No movie of the past decade has affected me more than this masterpiece. I cried all during this movie and it was hard for me talk at the end of it. Amina and I just sat and cried together through the credits and we were still crying when the house lights came up. I read this book in college and I have been profoundly moved by the life of Alexander Supertramp. My favorite scene in this movie is when Alex calmly turns around to watch a pack of wolves devour the moose he has just shot. Sean Penn just nails this movie.

8. Half Nelson
A film that portrays the small time frustration of being a teacher. Ryan Gosling knows the way teachers talk, they way they think, and the slow drip sadness of wasting time in the schoolhouse. He is a lost man teaching in a lost world.

9. Borat
This is the funniest and the most inventive movie of the past ten years. Sacha Baron Cohen is a genius and his creation and execution of Borat as he rambles through American is incredible. He is able to subvert racism, sexism, political correctness's, patriotism and W's America. When Borat goes for a ride with a bunch of drunk frat cats we are staring into the abyss of Americas dark soul.

10. Traffic
How do you stop America's insatiable appetite for drugs? This flicks is amazing for it's use of three different story lines as we watch a small time cop in Mexico all the way to the halls of power in DC. I love the scene where you have real Senators discussing the war on drugs at a cocktail party.

11. Man on a Wire
Another great documentary that shows you how one man was able to tightrope walk across the twin towers. The shots of him laying down on the rope as he was suspended over NYC are truly unbelievable. This is a fascinating film dealing with sneaking into the twin towers to create ultimate mischief.

12. Training Day
"King Kong don't have nothing on me" Denzel is just let off the chain as he completely owns this performance with his swagger and his smile. If only cops in real life were as cool as Denzel. "You're in the office baby"

13. Match Point
Does life really come down to a series of near misses? Does fate really exist or are we just stumbling blindly around this world. I love this movie for the natural feel of the relationships and of course for the stunning beauty of Scarlet.

14. High Fidelity
A classic film that is all about the mix tape. So much thought goes in to the perfect blend of songs. A funny movie that gets better the more you watch it.

15. Eastern Promises
A Russian mob movie that has Viggo going for broke. I love this move for his character and the look of the Russian mafia. The best scene in this movie is when Viggo looks at the guy and jabs two fingers into his neck.

16. Old School
A flick that I have watched maybe twenty times over the years. I love this movie and I still cry when Blue dies. "You were my boy blue"

17. Good Night and Good Luck
A brilliant black and white movie that makes me feel like I am living in the 1950's. A great score, great story and great acting equals a great movie. When I watch this movie I wish that I could hangout in these cool bars from the 50's.

18. Sideways
A great movie about friendship, drinking, and the fear of getting married. This movie exposed the Santa Ynez area to the masses but I will always remember it how it was during my days at UCSB.

19. Black Hawk Down
I think this was the best war movie of the past ten years. This movie was so violent that a fight broke out at the movie theater in the middle of this film. That is still the only movie I have ever been to where complete strangers ended up punching each other just as the helicopter crashed. I have watched this movie at home many times and love it.

20. Frost/Nixon
A great movie that shows two men matching wits in an effort to control the narrative. Filmed on location above Cottons at the Western White House.

So, there it is, my top twenty movies of the past ten years. When I look over my list I can see some patterns begin to emerge. I like mob movies, nature, politics and curvy blondes. But hey, that's just me.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My it real?

I have spent years dreaming about a way to dry my wetsuits after surfing. Sometimes I would hang them in the shower, other times I would hang my suits off a fence or my balcony, and other times I would just put in on a hanger that was nailed to the wall. All of these options left me unsatisfied and I would put on a cold, wet, clammy wetsuit the next morning. So I had a dream, a dream of a way to hang my wetsuits in my garage and still get them dry (with a little shelf for my booties) and be able to put on a nice dry wetsuit for the early am surf. I am happy to announce that I am living my dream! I went to Lowe's hardware and bought all the stuff to make my own wetsuit rack. I had to cut the pipe (at J. R's man cave) and put the entire thing together in my garage. I drilled the holes and fixed the back with drywall hangers, put in two support pieces of metal, fixed the end caps on the pipe and attached the hanger. The thing that is cool about this is that all of these were separate pieces and I just made it up as I walked around Lowes. I had a vision in my mind of what I wanted and was able to build this thing for about $15 bucks in supplies. So now my 4/3, 3/2, spring-suit, vest and rash guards all have a place to dry in my garage. Just living the dream....

SC Shows it's true colors

People hate USC for it's constant displays of arrogance and the universities perpetual instinct to belittle the little guy. This is why you see SC kids proudly wearing T-shirts in public that say "My maid went to UCLA." On Saturday night the classless coaching of Pete Carroll continued as he decided to throw a bomb in the final seconds of a game that SC had already won. Predictably, the SC players acted as if they just won the Rose Bowl and taunted the UCLA players and generally acted like a bunch of buffoons. The children of the rich, who taunt UCLA kids by pulling out their wallets and waving them at them along with their BMW key rings, acted as if Pete Carroll had just abolished the death tax. But here is something that just might surprise you; even though I hate SC, I loved the call!

I love it when people get cocky in sports. I loved it when Lance Armstrong broke his main rival (Jan Ulrich) in the hills of France and pantomimed firing a gun at Jan with his hand as he passed him. I loved it when Ali would tell people he was the greatest as he pummeled them in the ring. I loved it when Gagne would throw it 100 mph over the middle and dare Bonds to catch up with it. I love Chad Ochocinco for making a list of all the cornerbacks he is going to take to school. Sports is all about matching your best guy against their best guy. If UCLA did not like the call than they should use that anger to get better next year. The thought of Pete Carroll smiling like a chimp in the zoo should keep Neuheisel up at night scheming of ways to beat SC. UCLA should have covered the wide-receiver. They let a guy get wide open and it is UCLA's responsibility to cover him. If UCLA has a problem with SC, they should do one thing, GET BETTER!

On a side note I spoke with two SC alumni yesterday and they both brought up the game. Joe, my Dad's partner had a problem with the call and said Carroll should have just run the ball. Mark, my friend, said he had no problem with the call but he had a problem with the SC players acting as if they just won the national title. It was interesting that two SC alumni were both critical of their school. At least they were not wearing the "I went to SC and my gardener went to UCLA" T-shirts.