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Entries from December 2015

Blog: My Sister’s New Blog

December 31st, 2015 · Comments

We come from a donut family, my sister and me.   Long ago when there was a lot of milk and honey, two donuts came together in marriage and produced little donut children and we were among them.   The truth is that while we are not literally born out of donuts, we both love donuts quite a lot even though neither of us eat donuts very often to preserve our health.

I love my sister, and she's one of the most creative people I know.   I'm happy to announce that she started a new blog too.  It's better organized and fancier looking, and I learned that it even has FANCY PICTURES.  Enjoy, here is the link:

That's not the end of this blog entry, I won't let you all go that easily.   So!   Here goes...

It has been over two weeks since we did a podcast so I have a nice announcement for you all:  Lakers's senior writer Corey Hansford joins us on the DITCOW podcast next week to talk about Kobe Bryant's farewell tour and look at the Lakers' fresh young rebuilding roster.   Some items we'll cover include the early struggles and resurgence of high draft pick D'Angelo Russell, the other new starters including Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle, and much more from the Lakers.   We'll cover the Lakers to start our podcast and lead into the College Football Championship game preview at the 30 minute mark w/ our Kids Club panelists.

Some other notes from my pen...

I confess that I left my Masters Swim team for the time being.   The reasons were mostly financial, but I left the door open to return by retaining my USMS membership.   It was also tough to get to swims, I was struggling to wake up early enough to get to many of them.  I liked going in the early morning but doing so of late was not realistic.  I also never could get mentally adjusted to going to swim at night and cutting into my valuable free time each evening.   It's a process, but I thought I was getting by with 30 minute swims at lunch time.

That wound up being a big lie.   I am in Oxnard this week with my parents and sisters, and I've been in town since last weekend.  On Christmas weekend, I took a look at myself in the mirror and it wasn't pretty.   A sack of potatoes snuck into my stomach and I gotta get it out!   From Monday on, I set an alarm on my phone to wake me up at 5:45 each morning.  Then, I jumped into the car in THIRTY EIGHT DEGREE TEMPERATURE my goodness and drove to the indoor pool in our area.  Then I swam a full workout, 60 minutes long each morning three mornings in a row.   After each swim I would stop at the Target store and pick up knick knacks.  In those knick knacks were my coveted Wheat Chex loaded with dietary fiber.  Anyway, in those three days I made nice progress -- I also limited my calorie intake and kept away from most big meals and cut down fatty snacks.   In 3 days I lost two pounds according to the bathroom scale.  Success!

I know this is just the beginning of many tough steps to recovery.  I don't want to get into specifics but there are roughly 3 years of excess baggage I need to work off.   I let my indulgences get the best of me -- I know this can turn around, it takes time.

I may have to re-join Masters to truly get a leg up on recovery but I also thought: I could go to swim after work at the Sunset Rec Center to get myself back on track.  My target date to return to Masters is about April or so but this depends on a lot of factors including my continued employment at UCLA... that's not set in stone either, we shall see.

This week I'm watching bowl games on ESPN and ESPN2, my mom was shocked when she saw football in the early afternoon on a weekday.  She had no idea what was happening, I thought it was funny!   I explained how these are postseason bowl games for conference champions plus some additional teams with at large bids.

I think all it is to her is an interruption of her daytime programming, hee hee!

On Christmas Eve I told my sister about the story when we were waiting in line for "The Price is Right" and I got a corned beef sandwich that I talked up all day while I got her pastrami which she was not expecting after my long ode to the corned beef.   I added that I want to make it up to her.  I proposed a trip to Brent's Deli where they serve that fantastic Pastrami Reuben.  Northridge was on our way to Hollywood where we had a Christmas Eve party with relatives.  The problem was that  Brent's closed at 4pm and we left too late... it seemed like there'd be enough time to make it but we had just enough minor delays on the freeways (overall a great drive but nonetheless...).   The delays made us late enough to where I didn't think it was realistic to enter and dine in.   When I got there, it was 3:45... and working in retail for a short time myself I know all too well what a dick move it is to come into a store or restaurant in the last 15 minutes before close and keep everybody waiting longer, and its doubly such a dick move on Christmas Eve on a short day!   I knew it... but I walked into the lobby to double check closing time.  They confirmed it was 4pm that day for close and the lady at the front said they could still seat us, but I insisted "no, I can't do that to you."

She was going "It's not too late!"
but the owner came right in and said "Um, it's getting a little too late!"
So I decided to call it a day and told them thanks anyway, and wished them all Merry Christmas.

It was fine -- we went to another restaurant for lunch, and it was a quite delightful.  

I hope the holidays were good to all of you!  My only hope for the new year is that we all utilize less snark and more understanding.  I have tired of the constant sarcasm and mean spiritedness... why can't we just take things less seriously?   That's basically it.  I have goals for my career and fitness but I know I can carry those out so it's not a hope, its a plan.   I'm thankful for my health, my family, and the new friends I made this year including my buddies at the Mark in the Morning Fan Lounge on Facebook.   It's been quite a year.

Let's get in another one in 2016:  Happy New Year!!

Tags: Blog

Blog: Holiday Leftovers

December 23rd, 2015 · Comments

This is my last posting before Christmas Day.  I want to wish all of you a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!  If you celebrate other holidays such as Chanukah I hope you had a wonderful holiday season as well.  You all have been very kind to support this blog and read it every now and again.   

We get holiday leftovers every year, don't we?   I devised a very useful system to finally, at last, log ideas I come up with over the week without rushing for pen and paper.   I couldn't figure out how to log stuff I come up with on the fly wherever I go.  That would erase a lot of funny ideas I had in my head, one liners and so on, because I'd forget what I thought of the next day.  Now I can log all sorts of blog ideas whenever inspiration strikes me.

I have a few of these ideas cached on my phone with the Calendar app, and on the app I can write memos, and even date them so that I can index time and place if I need.   So here are the thoughts I have left over from the phone. 

Boy what a treat seeing an original Star Wars movie last weekend!  I saw my first showing of the film at the Arclight Sherman Oaks... to commemorate the occasion I wore my only Star Wars shirt... but whoever gave it to me thought I was still 14 years old... man this shirt was tiny... it was "Medium" size for a guy who's got much bigger arms and chest after years of swimming.   No disrepect to my family for the gift... its an awesome shirt -- and it DID fit... rather tightly but it fit.    It was like one of those Under Armor shirts... a friend of ours, Nick, and his GF joined Coach and Canadian Karen and I at the table.  Nick went up to me and said "Lookin' good, muscle man!"  HAHAHAHAHAHAHA oh boy.

Last weekend I also had a nice lunch with work staff at a place in Venice called Gjelina.  My goodness -- how good is their Lamb Sausage pizza?  HOW GOOD?  That was fantastic... the crust was equally as good as Mozza over in Hollywood, and the sausage was so tender and tasty.  The crushed red tomato base was great.   That was a fantastic pizza.  Worth another try down the road.

Would you have guessed back in the 60's and 70's that glasses would be the IN thing?   I think it's more fashionable TO wear glasses than it is to not wear them now.   As if the tables turned and the nerds are now calling the shots.  I love it!   

When you go on the toilet, do you ever think "some serious shit is going down!"?

Constipation must be a "blue balls" moment for the intestines.

I can't end the blog on toilet jokes -- I finally got to see the L.A. Live Premiere Cinema auditorium and that has to be THE BIGGEST stadium seating theater I have ever seen.   It is incredibly gorgeous, and ENORMOUS.  A screen that towers over you... 70 feet wide!  The theater is so big that it has a pretty extensive balcony level over the existing stadium seats.   It's so big that when I entered the balcony, I was like "whew, this is a pretty nice looking balcony, only to realize I was in one of TWO SECTIONS of the balcony.. there was a whole lower section of just the balcony level I could get down to.  and so -- I did.  I was on the 2nd row of the balcony, not the first.  The first row of the balcony was too close to the railing and it was a distraction to me when I reclined in my seat so I moved up a row.  Further -- for whatever reason the first row doesn't get divided by the two aisles so it was way more difficult to get into seats on taht first row of the balcony, so second row.  Ooh it was fantastic.

To give you a proper idea just how enormous this theater is at the L.A. Live Premiere Cinema, here's a picture of it looking out from the screen into the audience.

How cool is that??  I learned that on Tuesdays you can enter every screen at LA Live for 8 bucks... so I took advantage and sampled this screen for the first time at half the price.  An amazing experience.  Impressive Dolby 7.1 sound too... it doesn't sound like the theater is equipped for ATMOS yet, but it sounds incredible as it is... and more than anywhere I've been before I can really hear details in the sound I could not back at the Arclight a week earlier when I saw Star Wars.  That's saying something because Arclight Sherman Oaks has a great sound system.

A wonderful start to the holidays.  Have a great week all!  I'll reconnect with more blog stories next time.

Tags: Blog

Blog: The Restaurant Water Test

December 21st, 2015 · Comments

Here's the big challenge for restaurants!  How attentive are they with the water?   That's the EASIEST and most effective barometer of good service.  So few restaurants in LA do it right -- but the ones that do, cherish those places.

You'll go to a restaurant, sit down and drink your water.  Don't you get thirsty?  In many places out here, you'll go the rest of the meal before the water gets refilled.  That's a joke.  Some will say that it's a new water ordinance to combat the drought, but I don't think that was the case even before the drought.  The use of the drought was just an excuse to me.   They could at least ask.

The best restaurants, like one I was at last weekend, are very attentive to the water, they'll come up the moment the water level gets under 50% and ask if you want a refill.    Sometimes they're pretty active on the refills... so much so that you get a problem you want to have -- too much water and not enough time.  There's pressure here!  Not just on drinking the water but on not overloading the bladder.  This problem is  *glorious.*   That's the sign a restaurant's doing a tremendous job.

This is about more than water.  It's about attention to detail too.   If they're this focused on a small element like water, that means they're going to be very keen on your meal arriving on time and tasting great.  Maybe the food won't be to your liking anyway, but good wait staff will at least guarantee you have a comfortable, stress free experience.  It says "we care."

So!  Raise that glass when you get it filled.  If you drink soda, they'll be swift to fill that up too.  A full glass of fluid means they're treating you right.

Ya know, I had more to write, but I want to end this on a high note.  I had a great weekend but more on that later, plus some other scenarios.  Enjoy your Monday!

Tags: Blog

Kids Club Picks: Week 16 (Week 15 NFL)

December 15th, 2015 · Comments

Sad to see the contest come to an end, but here are our final round of Kids Club Football picks.  We picked two Bowl Games and Two NFL Games (Week 15).

Ron in NJ (34-21-1 this season)
NIU +8 vs Boise St. -- Poinsetta Bowl
Indiana -1.5 vs Duke -- Pinstripe Bowl
Jets -3 at Cowboys
Eagles +3.5 vs Cardinals

Dave in the City (34-22)
WKU -2.5 vs South Florida -- Miami Beach Bowl
USC -3 vs Wisconsin -- Holiday Bowl
Jaguars -3 vs Falcons
Cardinals -3.5 at Eagles

Andy in Seattle (29-25-2)
South Florida +2.5 vs WKU -- Miami Beach Bowl
SDSU +1 vs Cincinnati -- Hawaii Bowl
Seahawks -14.5 vs Browns
Jets -3 at Cowboys

John in CT (28-28)
Temple -1.5 vs Toledo -- Boca Raton Bowl
UConn +4 vs Marshall -- St. Petersburg Bowl
Jaguars -3 vs Falcons
Giants +6 vs Panthers

Good luck to all the picks and thanks to Ron, Andy, John, and also Oat Man earlier in the year for a tremendous Kids Club Football Picks season!  We'll have the results on New Year's Week in January 2016.

Tags: DefaultTag

Podcast: Christmas Time in the City; 2015/16 Bowl Preview; NFL (12-15-15)

December 15th, 2015 · Comments

The Kids Club joins Dave to preview all the big Bowls During Bowl season, including some of our favorite bowls along with bowls "we would not watch in our back yard!"  Who will be the surprises in this year's Bowl Season and what's to come for the College Football Playoffs between Oklahoma, Clemson, Michigan State & Alabama?   Then a quick recap of the NFL and we ask "Are the Panthers going to finish undefeated?"  We'll predict the National Championship matchup plus share two Bowl Picks and two NFL picks to finish up the "Kids Club Football Picks" for the season.  All on a special year-end Dave in the City.   Last show before 2016!

Tags: Podcast

Blog: Dave vs the Corn Dog

December 15th, 2015 · Comments

Recently I went head to head with a Corn Dog at Disneyland.  It came from a friend of mine, Dann, who made the suggestion... The trip to Disneyland was also by an invitation from another friend, free of charge!  It was quite a day.

But anyway, the corn dog.  Let me tell you fellas... this corn dog was so damn good it blew me away.  The corn meal used for the batter was premium grade.  The dog on the inside was juicy and tasty.   I took a bite and it was like going into another world.  I leaned in and took another bite.  That was a fight to the finish... it felt like the corn dog was eating ME.   What a treat!   You can get one over at this red cart that at the end of Main St. on the right as you go into Tomorrowland.  Good stuff and good times.

Other thoughts...

One of my favorite moments is when I went to a swim practice and it was 37 degrees outside early in the morning.   It was very tough to get out there but once I was into the water it was awesome.

I prefer that a lot to when its fairly warm and the water is ALSO extra warm.  That's no good... 

Nearly every sweater I have has ugly tendencies.   The term "ugly" is so subjective, but there are silly patterns involved.  The colors aren't too garish though.

Sometimes when I ask a question, all I want is an answer.  I will ask questions sometimes to friends and get a bunch of sarcastic jokes.  Is this life or "Hollywood Squares?"

That's it for the moment.  I had more but I forgot it.  Let me see if I can follow up with a blog post later on.  Catch you all soon.

Tags: Blog

Kids Club Results: Week 15

December 14th, 2015 · Comments

Andy is the big winner this week, going 2-0 with his NFL picks.  Here are the complete pick results for Week 15 of the Kids Club Contest:

Andy in Seattle went (2-0)
Steelers & Seahawks both hit.

Ron in NJ went (1-1)
Eagles hits; Bucs misses.

Dave in the City went (1-1)
Seahawks hits; Falcons misses.

John in CT went (0-2)
Bears & Bills both miss.

Here are the standings now after a very hard fought 15 weeks...

Ron: 34-21-1
Dave: 34-22
Andy: 29-25-2
John: 28-28

It comes to THIS.  On a special Tuesday DITCOW to wrap up the year, John, Ron, Andy, and Dave get together to pick TWO COLLEGE BOWL GAMES and TWO NFL WEEK 15 GAMES.   The championship will be decided come NewYear's week.  An exciting time for us all, and a good show we think.  We go live at 9pm Tuesday night, and you can find the link by following DITCOW on Twitter (@ditcow).  Good luck as we close out a marvelous season of football picks and don't forget to join the fun along with a special Christmas Random Q's w/ Kevin on the Cape on our next DITCOW Sports Podcast.

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Blog: The Reuben Tour

December 10th, 2015 · Comments

I can't over-do it with eating lately so I spaced out each Reuben trip over several months, but if you think your latest rock band is having a nice tour, I dare say the "Reuben Tour" is as good as any of those.   They don't play music but Reuben Sandiwches are delicious.

However!  I learned that the Reuben is very difficult to keep moist in the middle.  It didn't occur to me until I embarked on the tour.  I'll break down the three stops of the tour here in the LA area.  The picture above is of the Canter's Reuben.   Pretty good!  But the meat was a little dry and I think I know where that came from.  When you grill a reuben you're cooking the meat extra, and that can dry it out.   It wasn't dry dry, but the meat wasn't melt in your mouth goodness that I am used to from a Canter's corned beef sandwich.  If you go to Canter's and ask for a sample slice you'll see what I mean.  You put that corned beef on your tongue and it just melts right there on the spot, you don't even need to chew.  Sadly the process of the reuben didn't give the same texture.  It could also have been an off day, but the reuben tasted VERY good.. just a little drier than I expected.

That was the final stop on my tour.  Months earlier I went to the much hyped Brent's Deli in Northridge.   Not only was that the first stop, I gotta be honest -- it was the best stop.  Their best reuben is the pastrami reuben, which some call a "Rachel."  Officially that's what the name is, but everyone just uses "Pastrami Reuben."  I have the details of the experience, I believe, in a previous Daveblog, but the succulence of the meat... it was just phenomenal.  The rye bread had a little extra butter in it.  The cheese melted perfectly.  The sauerkraut was tremendous.  Everything hit home.   The only problem, which I didn't realize until later, is that there's no russian dressing inside the sandwich.   I didn't realize that until hours oafter because I was blown away by how good the rest of the sandwich was.  BUT if you want to be a purist, I was able to ask for the dressing on the side, also known as Thousand Island dressing.   I don't know HOW they make the pastrami that good with such thin slices, but it all just smacked me with greatness.

The second stop I made a month later was forgettable, but the service was great there anyway.   I will try their pastrami reuben later on but at the time I went to Lenny's Deli and got the traditional corned beef reuben.  It was too fatty, the taste was rather bland.  I asked for potato pancakes -- now these were fantastic!  I was asked by the lady there what I thought of it, and I tried to be as upbeat as I could but she could see right through me.  She said, "Didn't like it, huh?"

And honestly, I didn't, I explained the details above and she said to try the pastrami version next time.  That's good advice, I look forward to the rematch.

So altogether it was a great tour, spanning several months and ending at the mecca of West Coast corned beef, Canter's Deli on Fairfax.   I even would like to give that sandwich another try because I may well have picked an off hour for it, but I did enjoy it a lot... it was merely tough to shake the dryness of the meat.

Brent's is the huge winner here.  I will have occasional dreams about their sandwich.  It's just out of this world.   Th efries are the best compliment but it's available to eat with hash browns as a substitution.  They give you these enormous steak fries which are more like Jojo potatoes.  Quite good.

That's the latest.   I've been very busy going places, checking out holiday parties here and there.  It's been fun!  Have a good one, back with more stories next time, plus I share a confrontation with a corn dog.. don't miss it!

Tags: Blog

Podcast: Heisman Trophy Preview; NCAA; NFL; Colelge B-Ball Report (12-09-15)

December 9th, 2015 · Comments

John in CT joins Dave in lieu of Andy and Ron this week for the Heisman Trophy preview plus a recap of the College Football Playoff matchups and Conference Title weekend.  In Hour 2, Chris in Syracuse fills in for Kevin on the Cape as we present the "College Basketball Report" with conference predictions and more.  Can UK be a big player yet again?  Will Kansas finally get over the hump?  Who are the dark horses of college basketball this year plus more from the season so far.

Tags: Podcast

Kids Club Picks: Week 15 (Week 14 NFL)

December 9th, 2015 · Comments

Here they are without further delay!   This week we have just 2 NFL picks each...

Ron in NJ (33-20-1 this season)
Eagles +1 vs Bills
Bucs -3.5 vs Saints

Dave in the City (33-21)
Falcons +7.5 at Panthers
Seahawks -6 at Ravens

John in CT (28-26)
Bears -3 vs Redskins
Bills -1 at Eagles

Andy in Seattle (2-2)
Steelers +3 at Bengals
Seahawks -6 at Rams

Good luck to all the picks!  We return with 4 picks for our final week of the contest on Tuesday.   We'll have two bowl picks and two NFL picks to close the season. 

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