Sunday, September 28, 2008

All Hail My Talented Wife!

Christy's book deal just got announced to the trade this week! Click here to visit Juvenescence to read all about it. Thanks to super-agent Laura Rennert, Christy signed on with Flux for a two book deal about a whip-smart teenager named Caity who finds herself in the middle of a Mayan adventure. I'm really proud of her. She's not only an amazing mom and wife, she's a creative force to be reckoned with... and there's more to come. Christy's already got another title ready to go. I'm so excited, this is going to be a big year for her work. Congrats, my love! here's a photo from our first date...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Fall Music Picks

Say what you want about satellite radio, but it's a great source for new music (besides pandora, of course). Left of Center on channel 26 is a particularly good station. I can't get KEXP's John in the Morning in my car down here, but I've found that Jake Fogelnest is the next best thing. His morning show is full of great stuff. Here are some bands that I like:

Close your eyes and you can hear Peter Gabriel's influence in his voice - haunting tune with a great, growling riff. This song was used in the latest Coen Brothers' film, Burn After Reading.

Tapes n Tapes
My friend Chris turned me on to these guys last year. Fun band, with a great uptempo sound.

Bon Iver
Interesting music. Simple yet powerful. I love the harmony in this song.

The Verve
One of my favorite bands from the 90's. You've probably heard, "Bittersweet Symphony" but they are really much more than that. I saw these guys at the Showbox theater with John, a cool friend from my Microsoft days. It was one of those shows where a wall of swirling sound surrounded the audience. I had goosebumps the whole time. I will say that Richard Ashcroft is one of the strangest looking humans on this earth. Good to see them back in action.

Cat Power
Old band, but still some good stuff.

Liam Finn
Continuing the fine musical legacy of the fabulous Finn family... His father is Neil of Crowded House and solo fame, his uncle is Tim. Both were in Split Enz - one of my all time favorites. It's weird that Neil has a son this old... makes me feel old. Which I guess I am.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Back in the Saddle

Wow, it's been over a month since my last entry. Sometime in between, trips were made, summer ended, school started and a flurry of activity has ensued. Many potential blogging topics but I'll start with what's on my mind today. Bicycling has re-entered my life after a 15 year respite. I've been riding to school a couple times a week to offset the monstrous cost of driving the Denali to work (midlife crises cost money). I must admit, I feel like something out of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" when I look at my reflection in the mirror on my bike. I resurrected my Specialized Stump Jumper from 1991 with some road tires and some new shocks.

It's been really fun, kind of like rediscovering something from childhood. The only downside is that it takes me an hour each way to ride my bike - it's about 15 miles each way. I ride along a paved trail called the Bear Creek Greenway, so there's actually only a short stretch on either side of the trip where I travel on the streets. Here's a map that roughly shows the route. I pass by several small towns on the way to Medford where my high school resides. My favorite one is Talent, OR - which is fertile ground for a Hooters franchise expansion.

View Larger Map

Besides being called a cat burglar by my wife for my biking attire, I've already had some hilarious moments from this past month. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Running red lights in Ashland at 6:30 in the morning and then trying to quiet the moral/ethical battle that rages in my head for the next 5 minutes of riding.
  • A black cat that entered the path from the Talent RV Park. I thought she was really cute until she ran along side my bike, caught up with me, and crossed my path within seconds. Why doth thou smote me, unlucky one?
  • Greeting other bikers. Apparently, head nods are the most popular form for a head-on crossing. If you're being overtaken it's always, "On your left!" or an ice cream truck-style bell ringing. These encounters never involve a "good morning", "hello" or any other chit chat as most bikers seem to be involved in some kind of unstated invisible Tour de France. I made the mistake of trying to start up a conversation with a jersey-clad, clip-pedaled baby boomer and all I got was a scowl. Perhaps my kung fu is not good enough yet.
  • Forgetting to pack underwear to change into at work. I'm not sure this is a good thing to mention here... but now I've said it, and I can move on from that horrible day.
  • A biker I call, "The Sniper". Like a two-wheeled Johnny Cash, he's dressed in black from head to toe, and he rides a demon-forged black bike. This half man, half wind tunnel experiment always zooms past me with no warning, no sound, and no looking back. I'm just a pylon that's in his way. His speed is uncanny, and he never fails to scare the crap out me when I least expect him. Clearly, he's on steroids.

Riding to work is amazingly peaceful. With a 1 hour ride, you can't spend the whole time thinking about getting there because it's not going to happen any sooner. It calms me down before work, and I find that it focuses my head on what's important for that day. I feel like I accomplish something before the day begins. Regardless, you have my permission to shoot me on the spot if you see me sporting a race jersey tightly stretched over my ample mid-section!