Tuesday, April 30, 2013


I do have some fun type posts to do this week, and I’m sure I will at some point.  But they’re getting pushed to the back burner.

My parents called me this morning to let me know that my uncle’s mother-in-law passed away last night.  It’s one of those weird family relationships.  On one side of my family, I have probably met her a few times, but I don’t really know her.  But in this case, this is a woman I’ve gotten to know well over the last 15 or 20 years.  And I’m close to that uncle and aunt.  In many ways, I thought of Louise as a grandma, especially after I lost both of mine.

She was smart and quick witted for many years – well into her 80’s.  We saw her almost every year for Christmas, and she was as likely to make us laugh as any other person.  She teased with the best of them, so she fit right in.

The best family story of Louise was years ago when we had arrived on Christmas day at my uncle and aunt’s.  My brother tripped stepping into their place, and without missing a beat, she said, “Mike, clumsy as always, I see.”

She had just turned 93 about a month ago, and she was frail and suffering from memory problems.  Some days, she was all there.  Some days, she wasn’t.  I saw her at Christmas, and it was hard to see this woman I had gotten to know as sharp and active reduced to this.

Plans are fluid right now, so we’ll see what the next week or so brings, but I will be going north for a memorial service at some point.

RIP, Louise.  You will most certainly be missed.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Weekly TV Recap for April 27th

The Amazing Race – I really didn’t want either of those teams to go, so I’m okay with the non-elimination leg.  I hope this next leg really sets teams apart, however, and isn’t just one task followed by another like the last two have been.

Once Upon a Time – I don’t see how they are going to remotely wrap any of this up by the end of the season.  Then again, I often felt that way with 24.  We’ll see how much does get resolved by the end of season two.  And they did the library scene from Beauty and the Beast!!!!!

Castle – Could Castle have been more of a guy at the beginning, more concerned with his video game than Beckett?  And could she have been more of a woman at the end by throwing the “where are we going” comment into the middle of something else?  Best moment, however, was when Castle realized why the Billionaire had stumbled just before the sniper’s shot came through – because Beckett has pushed him away from the kiss.

Dancing with the Stars – Another obvious elimination.  The boxer was nice enough, but he was still very stiff at dancing.  My roommate is rooting for Andy to stick around, but I think he’s going soon.

Splash – Sorry to see Kareem go, but he was the weakest diver left.  Some here on out, I think it is going to be very hard.  The synch on some of those dives was amazing, however.

Survivor – So sorry to see Malcolm go.  Wish he’d been able to find the idol and break into the alliance somehow.  It always amazes me how people on the bottom of an alliance don’t go anywhere until it is too late.  Haven’t they seen the game before?

Arrow – I’m sorry to see the friend behaving like he is.  I get it, but I’m sorry to see it.  And they are obviously setting up the sister’s boyfriend for becoming a full time character next year.  I think that Arrow did the correct thing, but his right hand man is definitely to make things difficult for the next few episodes.  I get where he is coming from, but I think he’s going too far considering all else that happened.

Psych – Shawn just doesn’t seem to be as funny this season.  And Woody, please grow up.  He’s just annoying, and I wish he weren’t getting bigger and bigger parts each season.  Still, some funny moments, and I appreciated the twist that it wasn’t the roommate, which is how they were setting everything up originally.  Stay strong, Juliette.  Make Shawn grow up a little before you take him back.  And take some time to work through how you feel about the lying.

Big Bang Theory – Wow, three plots in one episode, all of them handled well.  Poor Penny, not getting something else even when Leonard is trying to hard.  Early Buffy was good, too.  But my favorite was Sheldon dealing with Amy’s therapy, and how he handled it at the end.  So funny.

Nikita - Not surprised with how Alex is handling things.  But Nikita going after her just makes me love the character more.  It will be interesting to see how Division goes forward.  I just wish the show weren't going so dark.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Word Association for April 25th

Here's this week's word association.

  1. Pork :: Pig
  2. Work :: Boring
  3. International :: Law
  4. Board :: of Directors
  5. Idea :: Creative
  6. Spinning :: Wheel
  7. Relations :: Family
  8. Dresser :: Clothes
  9. Poster :: Wall
  10. Inappropriate :: Comment

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

2013 LA Times Festival of Books

This last weekend was the weekend for the Festival of Books yet again.  Yes, that means I skipped my ultimate beach league game, which I did feel a little badly about since it was a nice warm day.  I bet it was perfect.

But I had a blast.  Met up with Angelique (of course), and we hit the booths, stalked authors, and generally enjoyed the day and books.  It was at USC for the third time in a row, and I feel like I’m getting the feel for the campus a tiny bit more.  I did have a hard time finding a place to park, but somehow I stumbled upon the best parking spot imaginable.  It wasn’t that far at all from the mystery booths section, which is naturally where we spend all our time.

And this turned out to be a big help.  I’d found out that Ridley Pearson, who writes the Kingdom Keepers books, was going to be there.  I bought the sixth in the series, and brought the other five in hardcover from home.  I left them in my car until just before the signing, and then stopped by my car and switched them out.  I never would have tried to do that at UCLA since parking was always a long walk from any of the booths.

I only made three impulse buys.  Well, one was a book I had debated about buying before, but I missed that signing.  The others were a series I’ve been thinking about going back to and a new series.  Hopefully, I’ll like them when I get a chance to read them.

The weather was definitely on the warm side.  The slight breeze and the shade were always welcome.  Yet it wasn’t as hot as it has been in the past, but again I can’t complain.

We opened the place at 10 and left not too long before they closed at 6.  I’d call that a successful day.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Weekly TV Recap for April 20th

The Amazing Race – From Africa to the cold of Switzerland.  I’ve been to that part of Switzerland, so that was fun to see.  But it wasn’t nearly so cold when I was there, fortunately.  They were racing so much as a group that it was hard for anyone to break away, and with the two resets they had, it was especially hard.  I’m surprised that husband and wife team lasted so long.  Won’t miss his snipping at her.

Castle – The only one of the mythological themed episodes where they’ve left the possibility out there.  Of course, the killer was all too human.  Fun dialogue back and forth, so I was chuckling throughout.

Dancing with the Stars – DL lasted longer than I thought he would.  But it was his time to go.

Splash – So we got rid of Louis again.  Please tell me he’s gone for good this time.  Although I do understand the people getting hurt.  Diving in very dangerous.  And how could his score be so big when the woman who was in the bottom did a much better dive?  They really need to get the scoring more uniform.  At least he did the right thing and withdrew instead of forcing the dive off.

Survivor – Holy cow was that tribal fun!  Way to go Malcolm.  About the only thing better would have been blindsiding them after the vote with his necklace.  But watching them scramble was certainly worth it.  In the end, they were so freaking stupid and voted for Eric and Malcolm anyway.  Seriously?  What’s up with that?  You knew those votes wouldn’t count.  But they had to listen to Phillip anyway when he gave them such bad advice.  Maybe they’ll start thinking for themselves now.  And I am so glad he’s gone, although he is part of the jury, unfortunately.  Just wish the three amigos weren’t still on the chopping block, although maybe this will shake things up.  And can you tell how much I loved that by how much I wrote?

Psych – To be honest, I was disappointed with this one.  Granted, I wasn’t just sitting and watching, but I had a really hard time following the two stories and which development went with which version of the murder.  I am glad that Juliette hasn’t forgiven him so quickly.  I mean, he did have a warning that she wouldn’t take kindly to this a couple years ago.  I just wonder if anyone else will find out.

Nikita - Not Sean!  And yes, I was saying that as soon as he stumbled for the first time.  Alex is going to really go off the rails.  I should have seen that twist in Amanda's back story coming, but I didn't.  I can't see where they are going with this, but I can't wait to find out.

Friday, April 19, 2013

And a Book Signing

I already mentioned it briefly, but I did go to a book signing last weekend, too.  I know, crazy, right?

Actually, it worked out quite nicely.  I had just enough time to get there from my ultimate Frisbee game and it was a little further south of where I was.

This was for Michael Robertson.  I read his first two books two years ago and loved them, so I was thrilled to get book three finally.

There were five of us over all, so not a good signing from his point of view numbers wise.  But I think all of us were already fans, so that made it fun.  He was very nervous.  I kept wanting to tell him to calm down.  But he did relax when we started signing.

I still haven’t cracked the book open yet.  I was in the middle of one book and got side tracked by another.  But hopefully I will get to it next week.

Meanwhile, I skipped another book signing on Sunday.  It was back down in Venice, and by the time the mud run was over, I would have maybe barely had time to make it down there.  Would have made it if I hadn’t had to drop Spencer off at home, but that wasn’t an option.  Probably better for my gas budget.  One of the books is the one I read this week (got it off Amazon).  I’ll get to the other soonish.  I’ve been hit with a lot of books I want to read right away right now.  Man, I need more reading time.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Merrill Down and Dirty 2013

This is the fourth year of the Merrill Down and Dirty series.  The LA mud run is always right near me.  And yet this is the first year I’ve done it.  See, it’s always on a Sunday, and I’ve always had church stuff to do.  But this year I decided enough was enough, and I was going to do it.

Of course, I was worried about my knee going into it after beach league the day before.  That proved to not be an issue at all, which I was very thankful for.

I’ve been to the lake where it was several times over the years, including for a couple of triathlons years and years ago.  But I’ve never ventured too far from the swim lagoon.  To do the 5K, I was well beyond that.

But we did start out and end by the swim lagoon.  One of the first obstacles was a water pit that was getting muddy waterish thanks to the dirt runners were tracking in.  Frankly, I wasn’t quite warm enough for that yet since it was a cold day.  In fact, it was a cold enough day I wore a shirt for the first time in well over a year.

Anyway, there was a big hill in the course.  Or you might even say two of them.  And I really struggled up the hills.  I couldn’t figure out why for a while, but then it hit me.  My quads were sore from the beach running I’d done the day before.  Yes, running is good, but the sand works muscles differently.  I wasn’t sore, but I was tired.

And then there was the height obstacles.  There was a giant inflatable slide.  It was fun going down, but it was a pain going up.  The rope wobbled some, and it freaked me out a bit, but I made it to the top.

Ironically, I felt better at the rope climb up and over a trailer.  That was because we went in stages with a rope walk/crawl/roll part way up and down.  If you fell, it wouldn’t be that far.

Then there was the wall to climb up and over using rock climbing type footholds.  Again, I managed to make it over.

I don’t think the mile markers were at all accurate.  Mile two felt way further away than mile one, and then we were done in what felt like half a mile.  But, naturally, I had no way of knowing for sure.

We finished with a swim in the lake and then the final mud pit.  And we got a great after picture despite the fact that my camera battery had died.  My new iPhone comes through again as the person I’d asked about taking my picture had one and texted me the picture, which came through.

My roommate Spencer did it with me again.  And I ran into a friend from my Sunday ultimate group and another friend after we’d finished.  Normally, I only see people I came with as far as people I know.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Word Association for April 17th

Let's do this week's word association.

  1. Travel :: Vacation
  2. Eager :: Beaver
  3. Boobies :: Breast Cancer
  4. Supreme :: Dictator
  5. Toss up :: 50/50
  6. Plants :: Animals
  7. Small talk :: Chit chat
  8. Haven :: of Rest
  9. Starring :: Actors
  10. Bahamas :: Tropics

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Men's Beach League Week One

The last few springs, there’s been a women’s ultimate Frisbee league on the beach in Santa Monica.  Well, this year, they’ve added a men’s league.  It’s Saturday morning for six weeks.  Naturally, I signed up.

This last Saturday was week one.  And, I appear to be keeping my streak alive.  Both of our games were close, but we lost.  We’re talking like 10-13 and 11-13.

I got the disc twice, once in each game.  The first time, I caught it and passed it on just fine.  But in week two, I saw a good up field pass that would required spit second decision making and accuracy.  I threw it no where near the guy at all.  Frustrating.

On the fun side, two of my team mates are people I know from the pick up game I used to go to on Saturday afternoons down in Van Nuys.  And my friend Luke is on another team, so I’ll be able to see him every week.  Well, every week I show up since I will miss two weeks for other things.

The games ran late, so I had to book it as soon as we were done.  I would have liked to stay and enjoy the ocean a bit more, but I was trying to get to a book signing.  And my parking time was up in the pay by the hour lot.  Yeah, I know.  If I get there late again, I’m just going to pay to park in the all day lot.  Beside, it’s right by where we play anyway.

I am a bit concerned about my left knee.  It was really bothering me by the time we were done with the second game.  Heck, it had been bothering me a little after game one.  Running on sand is not as easy as you might think.

On the other hand, I was able to keep up relatively easily with my guy.  Yeah, I still got scored on a time or two, but their take off and go wasn’t as bad in the sand as on the grass.  And by the second game, my stamina wasn’t as drained as theirs.

Sadly, I can tell my lack of running is catching up with me.  I need to run consistently, especially up through the Camp Pendleton Mud Run in June.

Monday, April 15, 2013


I had a very busy weekend, so I had other things I had planned to blog about today.  But I just can’t seem to focus on them.

The last couple of years, I’ve started following runners and running organizations on Twitter, so this morning I was seeing all kinds of posts about the marathon as people were getting ready for the start.

I was just checking Facebook really fast before I came back from lunch when I saw the news about the bombs going off in Boston at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.  Naturally, I switched over to Twitter to try to get some more news on the issue.  It’s been several hours now, and I’m still in shock.

While I would never qualify for Boston (I’m just not fast enough and never will be), I couldn’t help but place myself in the race.  Based on my half marathon time, I figure I would be somewhere in the 5 to 5:30 time if I ever ran a marathon.  So in other words, I’d be right in the blast zone.  That sobered me up pretty quickly.

Of course, another part of me wonders why the bombs went off when they did.  Did they get delayed somehow?  I mean, Boston is the best of the best.  By 5 hours, the majority of the field should have finished.  For maximum casualties, the bombs should have gone off sooner.

But that doesn’t help those who died or those who were injured.  As I write this we know nothing.  I’m sure in the next 48 hours, we’ll have motive and suspects if not people actually arrested.  And then we can pick about who did this and why.

But it still saddens me.  This is a day that is supposed to be fun.  There is a huge sense of accomplishment for even finishing the thing.  And now someone has gone and ruined it for everyone to make some kind of point.  But who makes that point by killing others?

Of course, there are people who are trying to politicize it.  And that just makes me sick.  I mean, we know nothing.  How can you point the blame to anyone or speculate who is behind it without any proof?  That’s not reporting.  That jumping to conclusions.  And anyone with half a brain knows better than to do that.

Still, this is a sad day in our nation.  I am proud of the people who are banding together and jumping in to help.  I will be praying, and if there was more I could do, I would.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Weekly TV Recap

Dancing with the Stars – It amazed me how many of the stars picked the last year for the biggest year in their life.  I guess that just shows how many of them are flash in the pan stars instead of real stars.  (And I’m watching, so what does that say about me).  The right couple left, although I certainly agreed with the low score the judges gave the boxer.  He was stiff.

Splash – The right person went home here, too.  What are the odds of that?  I was glad to see Louis go.  He seems nice enough, but he’s been the weak link since day one and really should have gone by now.  Having said that, the judge who had to send him home must have felt like a villain doing it.  Too bad it came down to the last dive like that so he really stood in the spotlight.

Survivor – Malcolm using the idol like that – how interesting.  And it was one of the fans who left after all was said and done.  I think Malcolm is screwed and Phillip is going to come out on top, but I’m still hoping they wise up to him and get him voted out soon just so he isn’t on my TV any more.  Have I mentioned I can stand the guy this week?

Psych – The episode alternated between funny and cringe worthy for me, but since parts of it was us suppose to laugh at them being drunk, that’s not surprising to me.  Also, there was the parts with Woody.  I’m so not a fan of his.  The wedding was a hoot, however.  And it didn’t seem to take Juliette much effort to figure out the truth based on two little clues.  That seems a bit of a quick jump after almost 8 years.  Then again, it’s surprising no one else has figured it out by now.  I loved how they played that scene, and I can’t wait to see where they go from here with them.  And I loved Gus’ reaction from his phone call when he saw something was going on.

Nikita – So that's why Alex is going crazy.  But now that we know, what can we do about it?  And is Owen really Owen or is he Sam?  Or is Sam a creation of Amanda?  I can't see at all where they are going with this, I'm not sure if I like it or not, but I can't wait to see what happens next.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Word Association for April 11th

Here's this week's word association.

  1. Flashlight :: Camping
  2. Criminal :: Element
  3. Gathering :: Friends
  4. Passed :: Over
  5. Medal :: Doctor
  6. Renovation :: Home Improvement
  7. Sweat :: Run
  8. South :: Lazy
  9. Ginger :: Tea
  10. Jersey :: New

So I just noticed that 8 is South.  I read it as Sloth when I was doing this.  That's where Lazy came from.  Honest!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Irvine Lake Spring Break at the Lake 2013

I started my mud runs the same place I did last year – Irvine Lake.  The weather was much nicer on Saturday, however.  It was in the 70’s.  Perfect mud running weather.

My roommate Spencer ran it with me.  It was his first mud run, and he enjoyed it which is good considering how many more we’re doing together over the course of the year.

The course was the reverse of last year - literally.  We went counterclockwise instead of clockwise.  And they didn’t have the giant mud bog this year.  Part of me was disappointed since it was fun wallowing last year.  And part of me didn’t mind since it took quite a bit to get through it last year.

They did still have the mud slide!  It’s just like it sounds, a water slide into a giant mud pool at the bottom.  There were four slides this year instead of two and it was near the end, so the line was much shorter.

As I said, the weather was perfect.  I was never cold once, not even standing in line waiting to shower off afterward.  There were plenty of people shivering, however.  Not that the breeze was exactly warm, but it was still pleasant out.  It helped that the sun came out just as we were starting our wave.

Unfortunately, some idiot forgot sun screen.  My shoulders and back are a little burned, but not as badly as I thought they might be.  Spencer got redder than I did, and he wasn’t concerned about burning like I was.

All told, it was fun.  And we’re getting ready to do it again on Sunday at another mud run.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Weekly TV Recap for April 6th

As promised, here are the shows I missed from last week plus all of this week's shows.  I've been a busy TV watcher.

Arrow – This is why I feel in love with the show.  The characters are so rich.  Okay, so his mother having blood on her hands was a bit over the top, but I did enjoy her heartache at doing the wrong thing.  And the scene with Laurel’s mother’s confession?  Absolutely heart breaking.  Plus the scene with him and Laurel at the end was great.

Psych – 100 episodes, and a fun one.  I wish we’d seen the chief, and more of his dad would have been nice, but it’s hard to argue with the great spoof of the movie Clue.  I’d say it’s the best of the season so far.

Nikita – Nikita and Alex both have points in their fight.  I hope they find a way to work together as equals soon, because that would be awesome.  Liking the arc they’ve got going now that one is going.

The Amazing Race – I would have been okay with either of the other teams at the end going, but I was sorry to see the friends leave.  How frustrating that it was because they kept missing an animal on their safari, too.

Castle – A blast of a 100th episode.  I don’t mind when they rip off plots, but I was beginning to wonder about how close they were to Rear Window.  The fact that it came back and was a gift for Castle was brilliant.  Plus it helped Beckett solve her case.  All told, a good one.

Dancing with the Stars – The right star went home.  I do think everyone is trying, but she was definitely one of the weaker ones.  There are a few more before they start thinning out the good ones.

Splash – The scores seemed a bit more in line with the dives I saw this week.  And I certainly understand the fears of the gal who quit.  As someone afraid of heights, she did better than I would have, so I can’t say anything against her at all.

Survivor - Just as I was saying the fans are out of it, the favorites start going around voting each other out.  How I wish it had been Phillip.  And Dawn?  I hope she knows what she's doing because I think in the end she's just hurt herself to trust Phillip over Corrine.

Arrow - I saw the ending between Arrow and his right hand man coming, but I did like it.  I'm just sorry to see the rift between him and his best friend widen.  I hope they iron that out soon, although the situation with Lauren won't make that easy, eventually.  And when are we going to see the woman from the island back in Sterling City?

Psych - Every week is better better and better.  The dialogue was crisp and funny and the acting was perfect.  While I hate Gus around the boy, I do like his relationship with the mom.  And how funny was Shawn and Gus making up in the outhouse?

Big Bang Theory - Until the final scene, this one was pretty funny.  The lengths the guys were going to for something they claimed they didn't want was good.  Not as over the top as I thought it might be, but still quite enjoyable.  And switching between the three of them was great.

Nikita - So I guess Alex really doesn't have any valid points after all.  Amanda did something to her that is causing her to betray Nikita.  We're in for a wild ride to the finish.  And I do hope they can leave Michael and his hand alone now.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Home for Easter

Last weekend (and I’m just now posting about it), I got to go home for Easter.

And a huge thing was getting to meet my nephew!  He’s now six weeks old.  He’d just had surgery for a club foot, but he is doing well.  And he is so cute!  I got to hold him a couple of times, and we did so well.  Yes, there were times when he was fussing, but not when Uncle Mark was holding him.

Of course, I got to spend plenty of time play with Caitlyn.  She was thrilled to have Uncle Mark around, and I ate it up.  We hunted Easter Eggs three different times and three different places.  You know, I don’t know why I gave that up.  It’s just so much fun.  I enjoyed it almost as much as she did.

Saturday for brunch, we went to my sister-in-law’s parent’s house.  It was wonderful to catch up with them.  Then Saturday afternoon/evening, I went to my brother and sister-in-law’s house to see it.  When I was up at Christmas, it was pretty much gutted.  It looks so nice now.  All their hard work was worth it.

Then Sunday, they and my uncle and aunt came to my parents for Easter dinner.  It was a nice, relaxing time to visit that I really enjoyed.

The two days flew by and it wasn’t really long enough.  I had such an wonderful time.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Word Association for April 4th

Here's this week's word association.

  1. Mailbox :: Letter
  2. Creamy :: Pie
  3. Deal :: Good
  4. Eyeglasses :: Perscription
  5. Bag :: Lunch
  6. People :: Crowds
  7. Candy :: Yummy
  8. Orange :: Citrus
  9. Frosting :: Cake
  10. Surrender :: Victory