The Vault

2/3 of my life is gone...and I don't know where

I was watching the SD Chargers and a commercial came on for an automobile (cannot recall which one) as is typical during football games.  Clear that us guys make the purchase decisions in the auto department. As the commercial was winding down  – the last 10 seconds – this vocal chorus came on that was instantly recognizable from the chorus in the Simon & Garfunkel song “The Only Living Boy in New York” from the last album they did: Bridge over Troubled Water.

I saw a link to the song that landed me at a youtube video of Paul Simon singing the song in his first take in 1969.  In that version, he sings “half of my life is gone and I don’t know where (…and I don’t know where)”  In the album version its released as “half of the time we’re gone and we don’t know where”.  Strange way of looking at life when you are only 28.

After the compulsory wikipedia review,  the link to the 2010 honda accord.  Honda again.  They have some brilliant ads from the Rubn Postare and Associates agency. What a great team – check out some of their other ads. To whomever chose to use this clip in the second half of the commercial –  bravo.

Listen==>> here_I_am

Well, finding some links, splicing the MP3 of the song and posting in my little blog here only took 1 precious hour of my life…and that was time well spent…

Rhapsody on Pandora discovery

A box you must open!

I’ve been a fan of Pandora for some time.  For any music lover who has been watching digital music evolve over the years, this – to me – is so significant and satisfying an experience.  Like many adaptive systems, songs and genres are linked by attributes attributed to both.

You select a composer, say Chopin, and enter it as a “station”. Pandora begins your new station with a song by Chopin, maybe two, but then goes on to improvise on the themes of the song.  Like TiVo – there are up/down thumbs for each song to keep tailoring your station.  Most composers have a range of songs and if you keep dialing in, say, mellow tunes from Chopin it will match up other music to that.  If you like you can later change the station name to something like “foggy, rainy music” or whatever.

On my Chopin station this morning, insamuch as it is such a foggy morning in Del Mar, I was served the following:

Chopin Mazurka #5, Chopin Prelude for Piano #26, Clementi Sonatina for piano, Chopin Nocturne, Mendelssohn Songs without words, Montero Improvisation on Handel’s Sarabande, Bach Suite for Solo Cello #1, Thomas Newman – soundtrack to Road to Perdition, etc.

The fact that Pandora put in a totally modern piece (from a timing perspective) along with the older Chopin – and even older Bach – was what was so magical.  Unlike iTunes mixes, which are laughable, these are truly like having some sort of uber-DJ.

If you are curious as to how the music is selected, it’s right there if you click through.  For example, the Saint-Saëns piece selected for me had this information:

Camille Saint-Saëns

Duo Piano Extravaganza

Carnival Of The Animals, Zoological Fantasy For 2 Pianos & Ensemble: VII. Aquarium

Features of this song

a tranquil mood
a bittersweet sentiment
chromatic harmony
a well-known composer
a Romantic-Era style
a large chamber ensemble
pitched percussion
tonal harmony
minor key tonality
a slow and stately tempo

This is both an ad supported service. There are click through banner ads, there are audio (short) ads  (in between a couple of songs there was an ad for a tire company – come to think of it I need some new tires).  I liked this music service so much I clicked through on the ad for Newcastle Brown Ale.

It's a beautiful day in San Diego

Another winner in Del Mar

<start_procrastinating/>Another winner of a day in Del Mar…”where the turf meets the surf”…5 weeks until the boston marathon and training has GOT to pick up…CTIA is next week, need to lock down the meetings now…Loved the new book by Michael Lewis “the big short” and tried to get it on my Kindle, but not yet available…while I was at it I saw how easy it is to publish your own book at the Kindle store….and while watching the oscars a week ago I kept wondering why the film is called “Precious based on the novel “push” by sapphire”?  huh? how about “Up in the Air based on the novel ‘up in the air’ by walter kirn” and “The Blind Side based on the novel ‘the blind side’ by Michael Lewis” etc., why does this book author get to be on the title of the movie, in addition to the title of the movie? so I looked into it and discovered that there were two movies called “Push” at the sundance film festival: one of them a science fiction thriller with, among others Dakota Fanning.  Ok, so they called the movie “Push – based on the novel by Sapphire”.  OK, but why keep the lengthy appendage when the name was changed from “push” to “Precious”? Was this Sapphire’s idea?

When I asked my friend Greg Matherly  how to shorten the time in long distance bike ride (the Furnace Creek 508 – which he has done twice) he replied “stay on the bike as long as you can”) I need to get back on the “bike” now and get some more work done…</end_procrastinating>

Baby’s first wordpress android post


Now that I’m android crazy, its time to see how hard a wordpress post would be. This application is not, of course, feature rich. My daughters and I are watching the oscars and enjoying a quiet evening. Smartphone posts will always be short.

Celebrating Chopin in 2010

Fredrick Chopin

This year is the 200 year anniversary of the birth of my favorite composer of all time: Chopin.

As I write this I’m listening to his Prelude #8 F Major….wait…it ended.  Now it’s Chopin Grande Valse Op42   Sometimes I think there is no Chopin piece that I don’t have memorized (not that I can play that many of them) and love. This particular piece made me think of a cat chasing a fly when I was a young boy, it goes breathtakingly fast and then sort of stops, and then super fast, and then delicate, etc.   Perhaps, as a piano player (sort of) what I’m amazed about is this little melody at the beginning of the piece and that sounds like a little singing in one part of the piece that is played by emphasizing the third note in string of rapid triplets.  Click here to here just the triplets as melody. Click here to here just the triplets as melody. So hard to do well.

But I digress.

I heard an interview with the legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman where he proclaimed that as a violinist, he was deprived of Chopin and a bit jealous of piano players.  I understand what he means: Chopin’s music is unique.  Highly expressive, with changing modality and subtle nuances characterize his work.  To me they represent, through music, feelings and emotions that could never fully be expressed in words.  For example, who has not heard the funeral march from Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35? Or the Prelude 20 in C Minor – which is the start and end of Barry Manilow’s “Could it be Magic”.

I, for one, will fulfill a goal on this 50th year of my own life to find three challenging Chopin pieces and enjoy learning and playing them for the rest of my own.

Resetting Expectations

can I get my time back?

You can never replenish time

David Gregory used this cartoon as a springboard on today’s Meet the Press episode.  It was during the second act of the show: the political roundtable.  While MTP can really be annoyingly frustrating to watch as the David works to get pols to say something honest and sincere, the second act can be so much more refreshing.  Today, during Act 1, he had on a set of security folks talking about the recent terror attack/attempt and the various issues surrounding it.  Did Obama react to slowly? How could this have happened? How we can we prevent it from happening?

Anybody who has played a game where you are being attacked by a swarm of nimble/dangerous creatures realizes that it is impossible to prevent every attack, but you do your best; and doing “your best” is subjective.  Therefore open to criticism, as the former VP too took shots at Obama. As it turns out,  it’s the “appearance” of toughness and using cowboy tactics that makes the certain people happy and secure.  Obama they cannot grok, so their fear of the unknown – and to them unknowable – makes them paranoid and angry, hence the tea party movement.  At least the leading non-political counter terrorism official, John Brennan, took Cheney to task. I wonder if Cheney understands that his “tourettes-like” outbursts fund the democrats coffers with donations.

But I digress. The real issue of the day was reset expectations: act II  What we learned in the 2000s was (thanks to Tom Brokaw,

  • The U.S. is not invulnerable to attack from small groups that will terrorize us on our own soil
  • People are really greedy – they’d happily send somebody else’s kid off to Iraq/Afghanistan/Pakistan/Yemen
    to fight and die, but won’t tolerate paying more taxes to support them
  • General Motors, as a proxy for 20th century US business/manufacturing leadership is not invulnerable, but in fact, is nearly dead
  • We cannot all afford to own homes.  Loaning people money form home they cannot afford is a bad idea

But what will we do with these hard-learned lessons? Sacrifice a bit for the future of our children and our country? come together politically to solve problems instead of bickering endlessly and getting little done?

naaaa! what fun is that??

Let’s see how many times we can run up the credit card partying, get the government to bail us out and tend to us when we need help, and then  – like a bunch of spoiled teenagers – criticize everybody else but ourselves when there are problems.

On the other hand, maybe old Tom Brokaw has a better way to look at it:

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Good Riddance 2009...Hello 2010

Even Abe looks perturbed about 2009

Top 10 reasons 2009 Sucked:

  1. The economy for just about everybody I know…
  2. the  Yankees won the world series
  3. The Tour de France sucked…and I was there!
  4. far too many good people passed away, some far too young
  5. Being far too ignorant for my own good, I ended up with Ed Hardy glasses
  6. after a big election, the losing party became even more obstreperous
  7. those 15 extra pounds that found me the last 15 weeks of the year
  8. even more dim-witted television than ever
  9. The idea that universal health care is somehow bad for the country
  10. A noticeable decrease of love in the world…just when we need it most

Snoring is not a crime

snoring is natural

not again!

I snore.

Like about 45% of the adult population who snore occasionally, or the 25% that snore all the time, I fall to sleep and learn from others that i’ve been snoring.  Mostly men, older men, fatter men.  I fit 2/3 of those categories.  I don’t know how long I’ve been doing this, but I noticed comments from my partner years ago, so I’m guessing around age 40 this began.  Like everybody who is kicked, pushed or simply yelled at, I woke up to hear somebody loudly yelling at me “your Goddamn snoring woke me up”.  It was as if I had decided to repair my speaker system in bed at 2 am, running old Led Zeppelin tunes over and over again until the woofer and tweeter were properly balanced, deliberately ignoring the person sleeping on my right side.  It was as if I chose to engage in an activity that had a high likelihood of waking her.

I reacted as all new snorers do: I felt guilty and ashamed.  What’s wrong with me? Why would I do such a thing to somebody else?  The nightmare that most people start having around age 30  – that they are slowly becoming their parents – hit me hard that day. My father snores so loudly that he and my step- mom have separate bedrooms.  I don’t really mind the thought of becoming my dad as he’s the man I admire the most, but, and his snoring never bothered me, but that does not mean I like the thought of snoring.  But when you think about it rationally it’s clear that this is not a foul discharge (as a fart) nor is it a rude discharge (like a burp), but one done in a subconscious state.

At any rate, I thought that having separate rooms was very unusual, until I looked into it.  It turns out that this is actually quite common in mature people (I cannot yet bring myself to type “older” when I’m discussing myself, however, I don’t think “mature” is any better…oh well).  As documented a couple years back in the NY Times, “In a survey in February by the National Association of Home Builders, builders and architects predicted that more than 60 percent of custom houses would have dual master bedrooms by 2015, according to Gopal Ahluwalia, staff vice president of research at the builders association. Some builders say more than a quarter of their new projects already do.”

Of course if you are the one snoring you are blissfully unaware, most of the time.  On many occasions my own snoring has awoken me when I’ve dozed off in my office late at night of watching the Daily show at 11:00 pm. Strangely, the times when I’m around large groups of sleeping, older, out-of-shape men (international flights) I don’t recall ever hearing anybody snoring.   As a snorer, I’m afraid that I may wake up my fellow passengers who, unlike friends and family, won’t push me to stop it.

When I shared a room at Ironman Canada a couple years back I was awoken by my friend and competitor Matt who’s first words in the morning were “who snores?” (there was a female competitor sleeping in our room too).  Well of course it’s the 46 year old guy, not the women!  It happened again last summer when I was sharing a room with another cyclist during our Tour de France spain trip, and in that case my roommate simply through some socks at me.  He understood it was nothing personal and wanted to go back to sleep.

So to all you “victims of snoring” out there: chill.  Sleep somewhere else or find a solution that fits everybody’s needs.  It’s nothing personal.  If you snore – don’t be ashamed.  It’s natural.

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Facebook Works: online -> face-2-face

I’ve read so many cheesy insults of Facebook.  I guess when your that big you inspire insipidness.  There are groups of self-professed “facebook haters”.    Well, that’s silly.  If you don’t like something, ignore it.  Don’t want to connect with your old high school friends that meant so much to you way back when (or maybe last year….I forget I’m old).  Well, I was able to reunite with some dear friends a week back totally thanks to face book.  I met people that I’d not seen in ages and had a truly wonderful time seeing and speaking with them.  Frankly it’s fun to see people (most of the time) that you have not seen in years.  I suppose that’s why people like going to reunions.