Monday, March 31, 2008

Opening Day Running Diary (Rained Out)

I have few rules in life, but one of them is this...anytime the Blue Jays are opening the season in the city I am now living in, I've gotta keep a running diary...and since I didn't feel like paying the 75 dollar minimum to get a ticket for Opening Day (the last Opening Day at Yankee Stadium), we'll do this one in front of the HD set:

1:03: We are LIVE from the Watts Mansion in New York City!! I'm joined by Cooper the dog, two slices of pepperoni pizza from the nearby pizza shack, a bag of Cheetos and two cans of Big Blue (the large Labatt Blue cans)...the Yankees are excited because its Opening Day, I'm excited because the Blue Jays are going to win this game, I can feel it, and Cooper's excited at the opportunity to grab a fallen Cheeto....everybody's fired up.

1:05: Uh oh...right out of the gate, we're in a rain delay. It is raining here in Inwood, not too bad though. Seems to be coming down harder in the Bronx (though its only 60 blocks away, how bad can it be?)...this running diary may be dead in the water before it even begins.

1:07: While we wait for the start of the game, announcers Dan Schulman and John "One-Ball" Kruk tell us that the Jay's Roy Halladay has a 7-1 record against the Yankees since 2003. Thats promising...he also has one of the coolest nicknames in sports: "Doc." Thats worth at least 2 or 3 outs...

1:10: ESPN takes us to "bonus" coverage of the Royals and Tigers while we wait out the rain delay. Let me just tell ESPN something: ANYTHING involving the Kansas City Royals should never be considered a "bonus"

1:17: The Royals go quietly in the top of the first. Leading us to our first commercial of the day: Flomax. "Who doesn't want to spend less time in the bathroom?" Is that a rhetorical question? By the way, common side effects of Flomax are runny nose, dizziness and a decrease in semen. I've got 37 jokes here and NONE of them are appropriate. Lets just move on.

1:25: Two on, two out for Miguel Cabrera in Cabrera' first AB for the Tigers since coming over from Florida in the blockbuster winter deal. Cabrera, who is supposed to be the next A-Rod, but actually looks like he ate A-Rod. He's listed at 230, but its more like 250. Do you want your supposed new franchise player looking like he just cleaned out the buffet line at Sizzler? I say no.
Cabrera flies out to end the inning.

1:28: A check in from Yankee Stadium says there is a "better weather window" beginning at 2pm, meaning the game will start sometime around then, hopefully. You know what, lets put the diary on hold until then, otherwise it'll get really long and I'll get some sarcastic comment from Katie Neal about being wordy ("Hello Pot? This is Kettle. You're black). Back at the start of the Jays-Yanks game.

2:30: Well, its official...the Jays Yanks game has been rained out. And this running diary had such promise. The game is being made up tomorrow night, but I don't think Jen will let me keep the computer long enough to do a diary as she'll be playing in her 47 Scrabulous games...oh well, one of these days...


Saturday, March 29, 2008

News10 Friends

Well, it's been a rough week. Mike got me sick- and I spent Wednesday and Thursday watching cheesy movies with Cooper and a box of Kleenex.

(editorial note: Mike did NOT get Jen sick. Granted, Mike was sick the week prior, but Jen didn't become ill until 3 days later, and she had different symptoms...she has no one to blame for her illness but there.)

On Friday I turned the corner and felt better- good thing too. George, Sharon and Sammie were in the city for a visit.

Being away from everything you have ever known really makes you appreciate those that you do know and the friends that you have.

It's so so so nice seeing friends and people you know! Especially old coworkers. News10 was like a family to me in so many ways- maybe I'm just getting sappy after watching Dan Adams' goodbye pkg on

But it's true- you spend just as much time with your co-workers as you do your family- if not more.

So the Warren Clan came to visit at work.
Here's a quick shot. of the fam along w/ another ex-News10er Chris Spitzer.

Chris and I showed them around the network and hung out with them for a few hours and then they went on their way to enjoy the city.

On Saturday, they came up to our neighborhood - Inwood. Sammie and Cooper got reacquainted- they were good friends back in Sacramento - the hung out during News10's softball games.

We went to brunch and then up to explore the Cloisters. Owned by the Met the Cloisters is a medieval castle filled with art from all Gothic and medieval times- really cool and a great view of the city.

It's about a 10-15 minute walk from our place. It was really cool.

It's a beautiful day today - the suns out and it's in the upper 40's- which is warm to me now!

Next weekend Mikes parents come to visit. Yay!! We're so excited.

Hope everyone is doing well.

Miss you all!


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What's On Mike's iPod: Part 1

When Jen said she wanted an iPod for Christmas a few months back, I thought "that'll be nice for her to have, but I don't think I'll ever get one..." I didn't think I needed one all that bad, so I bought hers for Christmas and then watched her load it up with songs and videos and games and stuff...

Suddenly, I really REALLY wanted one...iPods are essential in New're always traveling somewhere, especially if you live way up north in Manhattan like we do. I've got a 30 minute subway ride to work one-way each day, and I can only read so many a few weeks after Christmas, I used my Christmas money (thanks Mom and Grandma!!) to buy myself an iPod Nano as well...

Well as many people know about me, I'm a music afficiando, and I listen to just about anything and everything you can imagine...from Top 40 stuff to random songs I've found on sheer dumb luck or stumbled upon through my life. If you ask my friends back in the college years, it was never a stretch to climb into my car and listen as I played a mix CD that featured George Jones, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Sheryl Crow, Beck and Vince Gill all back-to-back.

There are currently 343 songs on my iPod. I like to think that I have a pretty good range of songs on my iPod, though I have some eyebrow raisers as well. We won't hit them all in this post obviously, but I'll try and give you a little peek into my musical realm, and maybe you'll find something you like as well...or maybe you'll just ridicule me for having not one, but THREE Hanson songs on my iPod. Who knows?

And by the way, I hate, absolutely HATE people who try to be music critics and slam certain types of music. My philosophy has, and always will be, if its fun and I can sing along to it, or at least enjoy the songwriting aspects of it, I'm going to like it. So there'll be no pretentious comments in these musings.

Without further ado, the first part of What's On Mike's iPod:

1. Give It Up
by: Public Enemy

Look, you either like Public Enemy, or you don't like music. (well, so much for the pretentious comments promise...that lasted long....but still) While this song isn't as good as "Fight The Power," its still a damn good song, mixing political dissertations and hip-hop beats. Plus, its nice to remember Flavor Flav as only mildly amusing, as opposed to the over-the-top joke he has become thanks to the geniuses over at VH1. I keep waiting for the very special episode of "Flavor of Love" where Chuck D shows up at Flav's house and kicks the shit out of him for becoming a nation-wide joke.

2. It's Always Raining Somewhere
by: Robbie Fulks

Robbie is one of those guys who is too country for rock, and too rock or at the very least alt-country for country. He's been around for years, but this song came off of his Georgia Hard album about 4 years ago. Mike Baldwin and I got the chance to interview him at KDVS in Davis when he came through to do a show and the Mike and Mike program was still alive and well. It was 45 minutes of laughter, good music, and all around fun. Robbie's a funny guy, as his lyrics show, and he's quickly become one of my top 5 favorite artists, period.

3. Secret Agent Man
by: Johnny Rivers

Hard to meet someone who doesn't know this song, since its been around for 40 plus years. Its also quickly becoming my new standard for karaoke, though don't worry, I still do a mean Hank Jr. for Family Tradition.

4. The Devil Is High
by: The Titanics

I heard this song as my friend Emma and I drove around Australia in January 2001. I ended up buying their whole album (Love Is The Devil) and its probably one of the best all-around albums of all time. Of course, the band disbanded shortly after releasing this album and this was their only album. You can't even find it on Amazon-dot-com, but you can probably get it on eBay or maybe Australian music websites. I highly recommend it if you like guitar rock with a little psychadelia mixed in.

5. Bingo Fever
by: Da Yoopers

The Yoopers are a comedy skit troupe from Michigan's Upper Peninsula. They're funny as hell and have put out some great songs. This is one of them, about a man lamenting his wife's addictive bingo habit. It always reminds me of my paternal grandma, who had a SERIOUS bingo addiction in her later years.

6. Where's The Love
by: Hanson

OK, before everyone dies laughing, or begins to ask for my man card, let me explain. I....ok I have no explanation. I just like this song. Its catchy, its fun, know, I'd better stop talking. Lets just move on.

7. The Right Time
by: Hoodoo Gurus

More Australian rockers. That was one of the things about going to Australia back in 2001, all the great music I found out about. There are hundreds of bands over there that are awesome but of course don't get ANY play over here in North America. In fact, here's a website to one of the radio stations over there, called Triple J.

When you have time, click over there and take a listen for about 30 minutes. You won't be disappointed.

As for the Hoodoo Gurus, they've been around forever, and actually DID get some college rock play here in the States back in the 80s. Good good stuff.

8. She'd Rather Be Homeless
by: Bobby Bare

In 1998, country music legends Waylon Jennings, Bobby Bare, Mel Tillis and Jerry Reed formed to put out an album under the moniker "Old Dogs." All of the songs on the album were written by noted author and poet Shel Silverstein. This one, in particular, is one of the wryly funniest songs in awhile, and Bobby Bare sings it as only he can.

9. Picture Book
by: The Kinks

I had never heard this Kinks song until it ended up playing in some commercial, I think for HP or Kodak. Very Beatles-esque. Its a hard to find song, but I think iTunes has it.

10. Guilty Conscience
by: Eminem/Dr. Dre

One of Slim Shady's first songs, off his breakthrough album. A story of people getting themselves into situations, and having to deal with Eminem (as the devil) and Dr. Dre (as the angel) on their shoulders...of course, the song ends with a guy shooting his wife and her lover...gotta love happy endings in rap songs...sheesh...pretty witty though, especially when Enimen asks if these people should be taking advice "from someone who slapped Dee Barnes" (for those who don't know, Dre slapped the female rapper back in the day as retaliation for her interviewing Ice Cube and him making derogatory comments about do I remember all this stuff??

11. Sledgehammer
by: Peter Gabriel

One of my favorite 80s songs, and I know Dave likes it when I do the Peter Gabriel faces from the video.

12. Help Yourself
by: Tom Jones

I used to go marlin fishing with Tom Jones in the late 70s. We'd drink, haul in 500 pound marlins, and then go turn Tampa Bay upside down. Tom wrote this next song after we made a buffet restaurant stay open at gunpoint while we ate everything they had...awww Tom...hope you like it.

(If you know the movie reference, 10 points to you)

13. Alcohol
by: Barenaked Ladies

Most folks know that BNL is my favorite band. They've put out great album after great album, and great song after great song. This is one of them, all about imbibing.

14. Papa Was A Rodeo
by: The Magnetic Fields

While I never heard of the Magnetic Fields until I heard them in Australia, they are a New York band fronted by Stephen Merritt, who has a great, low-tone voice that makes all of their songs interesting. This song, about traveling entertainers, is good for its down-beat feeling and great lyrics.

15. Baby Likes To Rock It
by: The Tractors

Right now, Kevin, Mike and Dave are all cringing. Why? Because they've had to hear this song roughly 7,832,568 times in their life because of me. Its my favorite song. It will always be my favorite song. And they're probably destined to hear it another 7-million times.

The Tractors came out in 1994 as kind of a bluesy-rock Americana country band, which was different then what was being played on country radio at the time. Garth Brooks, Clint Black, and Alan Jackson still owned the country airwaves, but the Tractors made some noise with this song, and a couple of others. They released a few more albums, but none were as good as their self-titled debut. There isn't a bad song on the album, but this is the most well-known, and for good reason, because it rocks.

The video is equally entertaining. Take a look for yourself.

Well, thats a quick peek into my listening likings. Future recaps of my iPod will touch on my love for Johnny Cash, more songs from out of left field, especially from my days at KDVS and the Mike and Mike show, as well as my defense for having not one, but THREE Backstreet Boys in the grouping...


Sunday, March 23, 2008

California Dreamin'!!

OK, Californians...its official...the countdown has begun to until our official return to the "Golden State"...allbeit a temporary return...

We've booked our tickets, Cooper's picked out his seats, and the three of us will be returning on May 16th.

We fly in to San Francisco that Friday to attend Sister Jen's graduation ceremony at USF for completing her masters program (yay Sister Jen!!)...

then we'll be headed to Sac-Town...more specifically Roseville, where we'll be shacking up with my parents

So save the dates, Northern Californians...we hope to see as many people as we can...perhaps we'll even hold an open house or something that weekend where people can drop by...who knows...something will take place though....

Then mid-week we head to So Cal for Cousin Dorie's'll be a party...a festival...a great time and we can't wait!!

We hope to see as many Southern California friends as we can down there as well!

So mark your calendars, and see you in May!!!

Mike, Jen and Cooper (the original jet-set pet)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Boston, Plymouth Rock, and Cape Cod

It's was a full- but awesome- 3 days.

Dorie's shower was fun, it was so great to see her and fun to celebrate her engagement. It was at her friend Erica's house in Newton, MA-- just outside of Boston. The shower was a pink theme which was super cute and fun.

Here are a few pictures....

By the way... I forgot to mention - I got bangs! I went for the Katie Holmes look. :)

Do you like?

Anyhow, after the shower Mike and Cooper picked me up from the shower and we went to Peet's Coffee! As many of you know- we love Peet's. There are no Peet's in NY. Boo! There are a couple of Peets though in and around the Boston are.. Hooray!

Afterwards we went to our hotel. It was really nice the Westin Waterfront hotel. It was on the "Seaport" side of Boston and most importantly they were Cooper friendly! After relaxing for a bit we decided to grab some food. We didn't want room service, but we didn't want to leave Cooper in the hotel by himself either so we drove around the city looking for food that looked easy to get "to go."
Well, Boston is a CRAZY city to drive in. It's like a circle, the streets all switch directions and then end.. Its very complicated. Anyhow, we got lost and ended up driving past the cheers bar. So, we pulled over and took a picture! :)

Anyhow, we eventually found a burger place. Mike ran in while Coop dog and I circled the circles. It turned out really good. It was a Zagat rated place that was supposed to be the number one burger in the city- who knew? We lucked out.

Anyhow, we made it back to the hotel (eventually) ate- and rested up for a big day.
One of the main attractions in Boston is the Freedom Trail walk. It's a 3 hour walk at your own pace tour through all the historical Boston sites.

On Monday we drove home by way of Plymouth- like the rock where the Pilgrims landed and then onto Cape Cod where we had lunch.

It was a GREAT trip. Here's a slide show of the sites we saw

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Places To Go, People To See

So last weekend we went to Greenwich, CT for the day. Our friends from Sacramento Will & Jen Selva now live in Farmington, CT and Greenwich is the half way point between Farmington and Manhattan. Mike and I took the Metro North train from Grand Central Station up. It was a nice ride... comfortable leather seats... pretty scenery.... only about 45 minutes. Not bad.

Greenwich is a very cute town. Very upscale, old and cute. When I say old, I just don't mean the town- the people are old too. Old and Wealthy.

We had dinner at this really great place called the Thataway Cafe. Great Food, Good Prices. Now, here's where the old part comes in.. When we got there I went to the restroom. In the stalls there is a switch - looks like a light switch- with a sign above that says in case of emergency or you need assistance. Not only do they have a switch like that in the stalls, but there is a cord attached to it that goes all the way to the floor so from any position you may find yourself in you can reach it. All I could think of were those Life Alert commercials from the late 80's or early 90's- "help, I've fallen and I can't get up!!"

I was going to go back in with a camera and take a photo of it- but Mike was making fun of me and didn't think I should go into the bathroom with a camera.

All in all it was a great time. So nice to see familiar faces and enjoy the company of good friends.

This weekend Mike, Cooper, and I are heading to Boston for a 3 day weekend. We're renting a car on Friday and driving up early Saturday morning. It's supposed to be about a 4 to 4 1/2 hour drive.

Saturday afternoon is my cousin Dorie's bridal shower just outside of Boston. Mike and Cooper will drop me off and then head into the city to find our hotel and check in. We're staying at the Westin Boston Waterfront. It's downtown and dog friendly. They actually have a special pet care package waiting to greet Cooper with once he arrives.

By the way- There's a Peet's Coffee in Boston! It's the closest one to NYC. I can't wait.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Ode to Number 4

So I woke up this morning to the news I was hoping would never come, but knew that it had to happen eventually...

Brett Favre has retired...

And with love of the NFL dims just won't be the same without him.

Where to begin? I began following the Packers as my NFL team in 1988...Don "The Magic Man" Majkowski was their quarterback, and they were mediocre at best...then in 1992, Brett Favre took the helm, and began to lead the Packers on a ride that can best be described as "up-and-down"...but never unmemorable.

Sundays became an event for me. If the Pack were playing on regular TV, friends and family knew not to bother me...if the only way I could find them was on the NFL package, I traveled to a friend's house who bought the cable package just to be able to watch them (and then fight over the remote with my friend, a die-hard 49ers fan)

When they beat the Patriots in 96 to win the Super was one of the top five moments of my life....when they lost the Super Bowl to Denver the next year, I was devastated for days...

As Favre played on into the 2000s, and the team behind him began to crumble, it became increasingly frustrating to watch the Pack...with mediocre players around him, Brett seemed to think that he needed to gamble more often and tried to make tougher plays that his body just couldn't handle...

when Green Bay dropped to 4-and-12 in 2005, that was about the lowest you could that point, I was ready for Favre to far as I was concerned, his legacy was being was time to hang it up...

Then in 2006, with the Packers 4-and-8, suddenly, everything started clicking...the Packers won their last 4 games and just missed the playoffs...the final game, a victory over the Bears on New Year's Eve...Jen and I were watching as we got ready to go to a party in LA...afterwards, when they asked Brett if he was going to call it a day, you could see the emotion...I really thought that was going to be it...

But then, he decided to come 2007 approached, my friends asked me, "are you ready for another go-round with number 4?"

And honestly, I wasn' I frequently told people "there isn't enough Maalox on the planet to get me through another season." Every time Brett dropped back to throw, I was ready for anything...a completion through triple interception with no Packer in sight, hell I was ready for the pass to knock the nachos out of the hands of the kid in the 6th row...

Then the season started...and they beat the Eagles in the season opener...and then destroyed the Giants at the Meadowlands...then eeked out a win over San Diego...three wins they had no businss getting according to the "experts" ...hell, according to me! I thought they'd lose all three...

Eventually, the season became one for the after win after I sat on my couch now in New York City with my mouth were they doing this? Such a young team, how was this possible...???

When they clinched the playoff spot, I was estatic. When they suddenly gained home field advantage for the NFC Championship game with Dallas' playoff loss, I thought "holy crap, this might actually happen....they could make the Super Bowl" Does anyone think the Packers wouldn't have beaten the Patriots in the Super Bowl?? Hell, the whole LEAGUE would have been rooting for that to happen, and you know the Commissioner would have made it happen...

But when the Giants upset them at Lambeau in -23 wind chill degree weather, I was upset, but it didn't last as long...actually not much more than a me, it was amazing they had gotten this far, and frankly, I just began thinking about next year...and thinking, "well they'll be good again!"

Now, all that seems pretty unlikely...Aaron Rodgers is now our quarterback, and I can't imagine another NFC Championship game appearance, much less a Super Bowl appearance, with Aaron Rodgers at the helm...

So the era ends, with Brett saying he's "mentally tired". Some have said he's angry the Pack didn't go out and get Randy Moss. Others say he could still change his mind and unretire in a few weeks...God, I hope that happens...though in my opinion its highly unlikely...

One game stands out over all the others...his performance against the Raiders on Monday night in 2003 the night after his father died of a heart attack while driving in Mississippi. He had the opportunity to go home...he decided to stay and play because, he said, his father would have wanted him to...then he went out and shredded the Raider D for 399 yards passing and 4 touchdowns in a rout...

I remember watching that game with tears in my eyes the whole time...people were crying in the stands (in OAKLAND!)...Raider fans were actually cheering whenever Brett threw a TD...those highlights come up every now and then, and I get the same tears...heck, Jen even came across them one night and started crying (though to be fair, she'll cry over a fairly mild commercial)...the point being...if you don't get a little misty watching those highlights and knowing the backstory, there's something hugely wrong with you....

So thanks Brett...thanks from a 12-year-old boy who was fortunate enough to pick the right team to follow 4 years before you came to the team...thanks from a 20-year-old man who got to see his team win a Super Bowl...thanks from a 27-year-old man who went home and hugged his own father after that Raider game...and thanks from a 31-year-old man who has spent the last 2 hours remembering all of the good memories in his life that are connected to the Green Bay Packers and number 4....
Basically, thanks for the past 17'll be missed....