Friday, June 26, 2009

Shuffling some Jackson

Sad day yesterday with the passing of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett. I'm shuffling all my Michael Jackson music today. I admit that I do this at least once every two weeks. While I don't moon walk in my office I do fight the urge to bust a few signature moves, and luckily I win that battle because no one wants to see me do that.

I remember that Michael Jackson's "Thriller" was the second music album that I ever purchases (Men at Work "Business As Usual" being the first). I listened to if over and over for days. He was amazing. It will be a long time before a talent like his comes along. Eddie Van Halen wrote the and performed the guitar solo on "Beat It." He credits that solo as one of his personal favorites.

Michael's private life aside (and it is hard to set that aside), he will be missed. Almost every artist since the 80's credits him as an influence. Michael was like Elvis, Bob Marlrey and John Lennon in the impatct he had on music.

I'm excited for the first time Jack hear's "Thriller" or "Beat It" as he grows up. I am sure Michael's music will hold meaning and inspiration for generations to come. I hope he's at peace.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

No Horner at the Tour...Boooo!

I know all eyes are on Lance at this year's Tour de France, even when we know Alberto Contador is going to win. But the team of Lance & Alberto, Team Astana, have done something just irks me. They left Chris Horner off the tour team. They left Popo on and added Kloden when I would have taken Horner over both of them. Popo never seems to deliver for me and Kloden, well whatever.

In fairness to Astana, Horner did crash in the Giro pretty bad and is not at 100%. Maybe he just wasn't ready.

But he simply one of my favorite bike racers. I mean look at the guy. He always has a smile on his face, even when he is suffering.


When he was on the Silence-Lotto team his daily video interviews with VeloNews.com were hilarious and insightful. Much better than David Z. who treated it like a burden and just stoically makes jokes all the time when he's uncomfortable.

Horner was going great in the Giro until he crashed. I'm sure he'll be missed on the squad. I hope Vs. makes him a guest announcer.

Most cyclists want to be Lance or Contador or Pantani or Cavendish. Not me, I want to be Chris Horner because he looks like he is just having a ton of fun suffering, and that sounds like the rider I want to be.

Chris, rest up and recover for the Vuelta my friend.

Your on my left,
Jeff

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

I wanted to wish all Fathers out there a special Father's day. It's my second one and I'm still not use to the holiday. Someone says "Hey, Happy Father's Day" and I'm still looking around for who they may be talking too. It's like being called Mr. Moran, is my Dad behind me?

Today has been nice. I'm enjoying a slow day with Lavi and Jack, and Lavi's mother (Nilsa) who just arrived for a visit. I ran out to REI and Gregg's Greenlake Cycle for some errands. Going to those stores is probably like other men going to a bar to relax.

A special holiday sentiment to my father, who is off this weekend with my mother celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. I talk more about their weekend away but it would take heavy therapy for Mark to work through the suggestive images.

Happy Father's Day - Jeff

Carimanoles

Lavi's Mom brought us some carimanoles from Panama. Seasoned meat
wrapped in Yucca. Yummy!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Comic Book Covers

Marvel Comics is turning 70 this year. A contest to pick the top 70 Comic Covers from Marvel comics was just completed. Check out the list for yourself.

Here's the top comic book cover. Incredible Hulk # 340


I'll admit that this is a top cover for sure. Not sure if I'd pick it for #1 but it's good. Not surprising that Wolverine is in the mix.

Some of the selections mark great stories in the franchise history, maybe not the best art. Numbers 66, 59, 31, 25, 17 as examples.

Other selections mark firsts of something. Numbers such as 46 (Spidey with black suit for first time), 40 (First black suit appearance in Amazing Spider-man), 48 (New Mutants #1, one of the first real expansions of the X-Men franchise), 35 (Infinity Guantlet), 21 (FF4 #1), 18 (Secret Wars #1), 11 (X-Men #1 1991 with Magneto as a bad-ass), 7 (Wolverine #1, which if Hugh Jackman channelled any of the comics this cover should have been all he needed), and of course the most amazing first ever 2, Spider-man's first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15.

There is another group of just simply great art work though that I think really makes the list special. The stories themselves you may not remember but the art just makes you want to read the issue even more.

65 - Thor: Man of War #1
67 - Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. #19
53 - Ghost Rider #13
54 - Marvels #4 - which just sums up Spidey's issues with the Green Goblin so well.
47 - X-Men #190
45 - ULTIMATE WOLVERINE VS. HULK #1
38 - Captain America 34
4 - X-MEN: PHOENIX - ENDSONG #1
44 - Daredevil #1
27 - AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #539
All of these are amazing covers.

I'll admit that seeing 4 Secret Wars covers in the list surprised me. I agree that each one. Numbers 8 (46) and 4 (55) of Secret Wars were ones I remember, but adding number 10 (61) was cool. Adding #1 (18) is nice only because how often can you draw a cover with all of Marvel's mightiest heroes on the cover? Number 8 is a no-brainer cover as it introduces Spidey's black suit for the first time. Such a change was almost unheard of back then.

Of the 70 Mark & I own/owned 13 of these titles. Not too shabby. I am surprised more Spidey titles didn't make the list. There have been some really good covers there. I think other titles though had more guest coverage which suited the big cover. Hanging up in Jack's room is number 50, Amazing Spider-man #300.

In the words of Stan Lee 'nuf said'

Excelsior!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Cycling with Hugh Hefner frequency

I have been riding my bike to work, and taking Jack to Day Care using the kid trailer, a lot the last few weeks. I'm really enjoying it. After being off my bike(s) for some time it really is great to be out pedaling again. The legs are responding well, my saddle area has not revolted on me and the new bike is working out great too. (Thanks Free Range Cycles!)

I admit that I can't ride my commuter bike, pulling Jack wearing a race kit (think Pro Tour rider look). So I have to come up with some street clothes to ride in. That will be a challenge as every thing I own makes me look like I fell off the back of the Tour de France peloton.

I have a running phrase that I use. I borrowed it from Red Dwarf. Whenever some one tells me that I'm doing some thing a lot I respond "I know, I feel like Hugh Hefner." I think the frequency aspect of Heff's life is lost on some, but for those that get it I get a laugh in return.

The weather has been down right great for cycling in Seattle. We are on day 29 of no rain, which I think sets a record for this time of year. Usually June is gray and wet. The sun shows itself after July 4th usually. Too many years I've watched fireworks in the clouds. It's a Seattle thing I guess.

Anyway, happy to be cycling a lot.

On your left,
Jeff

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Mark

Mark is having a Birthday. Hard to believe my little brother is getting so old, especially when I seem to stay the same age, weird. Anyway, sure do miss my little brother on his birthday. I'm not sure if he is in the US or back in Belgium. I sometimes think micro-blogging from his cell phone would be a good thing for him, just so we'd know.

Happy Birthday Little Brother!

Love you
Big Brother

Facebook... no thanks

Today I reactivated my Facebook account. I wanted to keep up with Jason as he competes in his second Ironman Triathlon. I have had it activated for over 10 hours and I'm deactivating it. I just don't like it.

I've tried to come up with sound reasoning, because like so many things in our society if you don't like it and some one else does then you are immediately in the wrong. Unless of course you like George W. Bush's presidency then you are immediately in the wrong by those that don't like him, but I digress. I have a bunch of friends that have been needling me to join back up. Maybe I caved a little and tried again. I even installed the iPhone app for it.

Now I must say in all honesty to Facebook that the site works very well and does what it intends to do, social networking. The iPhone app is even pretty good. Still all that and I still don't see any value in it for myself.

Shy of any real reasoning I will offer why I'm not going to continue with it. Most of these reasons apply only to me I acknowledge that.
1. Micro-blogging is just not for me. I don't find value in it for me personally. Those that follow me on Twitter or Facebook probably don't find much value in my posts either.
2. I found that this is just yet another distraction at work that I don't need. I work hard to only work a solid 8 hours. I don't need this distraction. Before you point out that I don't have to check Facebook during the day find an invidual that works at a computer all day and doesn't check and I'll reconsider this point. I am also saying that I'm not that strong.
3. Another site for me to manage is not making my life easier and it isn't replacing anything that I'm already doing.
4. Since having Jack I've really invested more time in the quality relationships in my life, not the quantity. I feel I'm too busy to keep up the micro-conversations. Facebook only seems to deliver the later.
5. I hesitate in writing this one, because I don't want anyone to take it the wrong way. However, we all say this out loud so here goes. At some point some one I don't want to stay in touch with is going to ask me to accept them or interact with them. If I relent and accept then I see posts from them over and over every time I log in, not a plus. If I reject them then I feel bad. I don't want to be put in that position (yes, that is avoidance issue, but I own that so there).
6. The feeling that I need to do something with it all the time was not something that clicked for me. I've ignored the blog for weeks and felt ago, but this makes me seem like I'm not utilizing facebook.

I was not a power user and I see why others dig it. I tried, for a short time, for the second time and just don't like it.

Now in writing this post talking about how I, an older man, don't like something the young kids dig I have to share that I grayed about a 1000 hairs and only 75% were on my head. I know I'm coming off sounding like the old dude asking you to turn down your rock'n'roll, but this isn't for me.

To all my friends using it, enjoy it. I won't be there with you though.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Many Updates

It has been a while since I posted any real content. I’m sure you all have loved the cute pictures of Jack and some of the funny stories, but I admit that my posting habits are almost as bad as my brother. I know... That is bad huh. So why no posts? Well I’ve got the usual excuses of being busy and such. They seem lame, so let me just get to the updates.

Jack Update – I know he is the only reason you read the blog so I might as well start off with a post about him. He’s great. The little guy just makes us so happy. He’s really trying to put things together and do things on his own. His teacher at daycare told us that she sees “a very self-assured and confident young boy” when observing Jack. He really likes to help others, especially the teachers and is very easy-going. How we got so lucky I don’t know but we’re thankful. Jack was sick when I was visiting San Jose 3 weeks ago, and teething at the same time. A bummer way to spend a few days. But he bounced back and was running the household in no time. His cuspid teeth are coming in. He’s really babbling away and words are coming quick and fast. He loves to point at “bus” and “truck” on the drive to daycare.

He doesn’t want to eat many green vegetables but give him carrots, corn or some non-green veggie and he’s okay. He seems to be right-handed for writing (coloring) and left-handed for throwing and playing. He uses his left hand for eating too. Not sure which will be dominant.

The best update here for me is that Jack and I have been traveling by bicycle to daycare together in the morning. He really seems to enjoy it. I couldn’t be happier as I have missed my bike commute terribly. The last hill to his daycare is at least 6% grade if not more. I haul him and the trailer (50+ pounds plus my own gear) up the hill. It’s a wrinkler for sure. Lavi picks him up in the afternoon so I just roll home with an empty trailer. This is nice as going home is mostly uphill for me. I rode with him 3 days last week and already 2 days this week. I’m really having a lot of fun. He seems to enjoy it too. He likes putting on his helmet with Daddy and seeing the cars as we ride along.

Seattle/Home Update – Things were hot last week in Seattle. Our house gets very warm upstairs on nights like this. Jack’s room was 85 degrees one night when he went to bed. He didn’t seem to mind at all about the heat. Takes after his Mother I suspect. Seattlites on the other hand seem to like to complain about a good thing. If the weather temp is between 68-75 we are happy. Above or below that we think that the bible is throwing everything at us and start looking for hailing frogs. Our nightly news declares weather stories as something we’ve never heard of before. In the end it makes for good baseball at Safeco field. Jack has been enjoying playing outside in the backyard. He helped Mommy & Daddy weed one night. He’s played in his kiddie pool a few times too and really liked it.

Mark Update – Because he seems incapable of posting these on his own, I’m forced to post for him. Because of that most of what I’m about to write will be a bold face lie, but that is what he deserves right? I mean his cousins Katie and Patrick blog more then he does. After his last post proclaiming how happy he was to be playing classic arcade games, he has been a busy boy. He traveled to Seattle with Siobhan to see his friend Colleen get married (congrats Colleen). I was thrilled to see them both, as was his nephew. If you haven’t checked out the cute pictures of Jack & Mark you must check them out in the zenfolio account. Mark got back home worked his little fanny off and was rewarded by being sent to Belgium for a week of work. I just talked to him and it sounds like he may be going back to Belgium next week. I figured he does well over there because after a few beers Mark sounds like he is speaking Flemish. Plus, he’s really white so I’m sure he fit in fine in a land that doesn’t see the sun often. I suspect his return home to the summer months and the heat/humidity that follows is enough to make him cry in his diesel powered VW.

Looking ahead – June looks to be a fun month. Lavi’s Mom is coming to visit for a month. Adobe (where Lavi & I work) will be shut down for the July 4th holiday week. I’m heading out for 2 days of camping. The new twist will be traveling to and from by bicycle. Really looking forward to that. My parents will soon be celebrating their 40 year anniversary, how cool is that! So a busy month to come for sure.

Check back soon,
Jeff  

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Panama hat

Jack showing his Panama side with his choice of hats when the sun
comes out. (note die anyone thinking of moving to Seattle, the sun
never comesout I was just kidding)