Friday, June 27, 2008


i got my hands on two albums today:

1) sigur ros - new one (not even going to waste my time typing out that ridiculous title) and

2) girl talk - feed the animals. (you can get the album on myspace ( - name your price... live with your conscience)

let make make this plain and simple. sigur ros is boring.

wait. that's not what i meant to say. how should i put this? girl talk is such a delight and a constant thrill ride from beginning to end, that i can't go back to "regular" music for some time now. girl talk, in case you are not familiar, is some dj dude who takes samples from songs of each decade and simply "mashes" them up together. the result? a ADD-riddled trip through pop music from every place that you can imagine. this man is a genius, and i don't think that is an overstatement. as i sit for hours listening to these tracks, i close my eyes and see... cheerleading competitions. it's "bring it on." perhaps that description will scare you away, but just listen... you won't regret it. i played it for heidi last night, and she repeatedly smiled, chuckled, and lost her mind.

i love sigur ros. the performance i attended at the copely music hall in san diego will always be perhaps the greatest concert experience of my life. but for the rest of this weekend, and perhaps even longer, my ears are being assaulted by girl talk.

speaking of assault (not really, i just felt like a segue would be nice to discuss my next subject), heidi and i spent the last week in baltimore babysitting our niece and nephew (summer and johnny, ages 2 and 3). a few thougths about this adventure, simply listed:

+ free birth control. it's going to be awile before the braggs expand the family. don't get me wrong, i love kids, and can't wait to be a dad... but kids are crazy. kids are what you might call a life-altering (destroying?) move in life. not ready for that yet.

+ i like being an uncle. the kids loved heidi and i. for the first time since i met these kids, they actually knew my name and wanted to play with me and be close to me. i got to jump on the bed, wrestle, play with cars, swim in an inflatable pool, chase scared children while grunting like a monster, put together puzzles, and cuddle with adorable little children. i like it. 10 years from now i am totally going to be the annoying uncle who says to the self-conscious and embarrassed teenage girl, "i used to give you baths." we all have that uncle, and we all love him.

+ cross west virginia, pennsylvania and maryland off the list of states that i have not visited. only 40 something more to go. i am excited to say that i have been further east than cincinnati. for some reason these things are exciting to me. i love to look at the map of this country we call "the united states of america" and think about the places i have been, and the places i would like to go someday. i need to take a road trip. on a motorcyle. with thousands of dollars to blow. someday.

+ sublime sing-a-long on the way home. i am sorry for my mid-western friends who never thought that sublime was cool, and therefore have no sentimental attachment to sublime. if you can't sing every word of every song, then you are missing out on something spectacular.

+ humidity is dumb. i wish i could walk around with a giant oscillating fan that surrounds me and blows cool air on me everywhere i go.

+ dora the explorer is terrible. i still have some song about stirring chocolate stuck in my head. it haunts me.

+ heidi is going to be a good mom. i'm glad that i will someday be a part of this.

+ suddenly the rigors of a puppy seem small in comparison. but at least toddlers don't constantly display the "red rocket" and attempt to hump your leg at every waking moment.

+ it's officially summer. shorts, t shirts and flip flops from here on out. goodbye pants. see you in the fall.

Monday, June 16, 2008

masculinity as defined by "the oc"

the oc is the greatest television show of all time. this statement is a fact. there is no room for debate on this one. unquestionable greatness. i am sure that many of you will debate my conclusion (the conclusion was arrived at through a strict scientific method approach, and is supported by a copious amount of research and study).

heidi and i have been marathon-ing the first season (the greatest of the series). here's what i know about this show as i watch it for approximately the fifth or sixth time in my lifetime: the oc gives, through the holy trinity of male characters (sandy, seth and ryan) every single man in america something to strive after, a model to live for, and a goal to attain in the pursuit of manhood. let's take a look at this character by character, keeping in mind that i write this with an unblemished record of staunch heterosexuality...

ryan atwood

ryan is from chino (the hillarity of chino being portrayed as some tough/ghetto/wrong side of the track/you're lucky to stay alive town is completely fabricated and inaccurate). but ryan is tough. ryan is really tough. i've often had the conversation with many of my male friends about the importance of fights in the development and formulation of a man. i maintain that if you have never been punched in the face or in the stomach by another man, you are missing something. until you get hit (and probably knocked down) you will never know what you are made of. and more importantly, you will always be afraid of being hit, which, will prohibit you from ever reaching your full potential. you will never: yell out insults at a baseball game, get in some drunk dude's face for making an inappropriate comment directed toward your lady, have the back of your friends (even when they deserve whatever is coming to them) or call out some dude who pushes your 5-year old kid out of the way to get a foul ball at a game. you think this is no big deal? you're wrong. it's all about respect here, and while i am not a violent man by any means, i'm ready to throw a punch, and just as importantly, take one on the chin at any time, for any worthy cause (this sounds familiar - fight club anyone?) ryan atwood was not a pacifist.

now, ryan has a temper, and typically has poor taste in apparel and women (marissa was crazy), but he was a man's man. a man of few words, yet powerful looks that say it all. the kind of dude you want to have in your close circle of friends. ryan would do anything for any one of his friends/family at anytime. this is a quality that is sorely lacking in the 21st american male. bring back the testosterone... the feminists will get over themselves once they realize that this is the way things are supposed to be.

seth cohen

seth cohen is the antithesis to ryan atwood. as much as i gush over the qualities of ryan, i am just as committed to the cause of promoting seth coen as 1/3 of the perfect man composite. seth is a genius. quick-witted, sarcastic, well-dressed, rambling and loveable in that self-loathing, bumbling fool kind of way. seth cohen shows determination (he was in love with summer since the 4th grade). he can sail (all men should know how to sail... just in case), he wears chucks (always a good footwear option) and he has a toy horse named "captain oats." perhaps all of this is pedantic and juvenile, but it works. i'll be honest, if i'm taking a "which oc character are you most like?" quiz via some flashing link on myspace, the outcome will probably read seth coen. this is not such a bad thing (at least it wouldn't be luke or oliver). seth has the rare, yet vitally important quality of being able to bring laughter to a tense situation, and to flatter anybody, at anytime with a quip or bromide. on top of all this, anna and summer - the thanksgiving episode - that's some good stuff. dude might appear to be clueless and bumbling, but he's a man with a master plan. i respect that.

seth cohen single-handedly made geek "chic." now this is not that big of a deal, and i feel a little ashamed to even have these thoughts, but it is what it is. he is responsible for representing every nerd with a nintendo controler belt buckle out there (on second thought, i hate the gimmick marketing ploy that has this country in a stranglehold because every disenfranchised, self-esteemless kid with glasses think he/she is unique and special and "counter-whatever" simply because he/she has some pop culture slogan on a t shirt that they bought at urban outfitters that was made to look like it was purchased at a thrift store... [and don't even get me started on how the vintage industry has destoryed the thrift store... i can't get a decent pair of pants or a t shirt these days, which is why i have not bought an article of clothing in roughly 3 years]}.

sandy cohen

now for the grand finale. if you could only choose one man of the oc to orient your life after, let it be the gregarious raconteur, sandy cohen. sandy combines the strength and "fight" of ryan with the wit and charisma of seth. sandy is the man that we all should aspire to be. he's an idealist, a man of principles, and the funniest character on the show. sandy is the dad that we all wish we had, and someday hope to be. he's ridiculously cheesy and has a moxy about him unmatched by anyone else ever portrayed on the small screen. sandy has a huge heart. he takes in a troubled youth and raises him as his own. he loves his wife unabashadly and sings to her for their anniversay. sandy would do anything for his family, and often times is forced to do so. sandy lives by a principal of strong morals and ethics. i respect that. you don't see that enough these days. i love sandy cohen. i want sandy cohen to be my dad. i want to be sandy coen. there, i said it. i am not exaggerating when i say that i have, throughout the process of watching this show one hundred times, considered getting a notepad and pencil to write down every thing that sandy says and does, so that i might emulate it in my daily life. just today, i spet time online looking into what it takes to become a lawyer (apparently it's not that easy, and takes a lot more work than i originally presumed). i am not Jewish (surprising). i'm never going to be a lawyer. i'm never going to live in a mansion in newport beach (i did marry the beuatiful and wonderful blonde though...) give me a pair of caterpillars to place above my eyes and a long board to hit the waves every morning before i head into the office. i'm ready for a sandy tranformation.

i've lost my mind. i really have. in all seriousness (this entry has not been so), that i am really serious about manhood. i'm a "masculinist." one of the reasons that i love the bible is the firm commitment to promoting men to men. men are to be leaders. men should be strong fathers and loving and gentle husbands. a man should be a teacher, provider, coach, friend, and leader to his family, friends and community. a man should stand up for what is right, even when everyone around him is living wrong. a man should live according to his convictions, he should do what is right, both in front of others, and in private. a good man is hard to find. i wish it were not so. the feminization of men in this culture is alarming and tragic.

much more could be said. but i'm rambling, and i have to finish the dinner that i am preparing for heidi before she gets home from work (i didn't say i was a chauvinist... just a "masculinist")

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

vegas, baby

as eluded to last week, heidi and i were fortunate enough to be invited to a weekend getaway to "the city that should never have been invented in the first place and is absolutely crazy in every way, but a heck of a good time," otherwise known as las vegas. thanks to some amazing friends who made this one happen.

in honor of this most recent trip, i present you with "justin's do's and don'ts of las vegas - '08 [the '08 is probably not needed, since it will mostly likely be another four years at least until i get to go back there. it just sounds official]).

DO: stay at the palazzo

as you can see, this place is amazing. opened in january of this year, this high-class, can't find a blackjack table under $25 minimum hotel-casino is a treat of luxury. 12 people packed into adjoining suites makes for reasonable fares and good times (especially 4 am returns to the room with some members of the party a bit tipsy and rowdy.) don't touch anything in the fridge or pantry. there are sensors and you are charged if you even move something. how ridiculous is that? only in vegas (i am going to end each section with that flippant and trite little statement... fyi.)

DO: play as much blackjack as possible.

i love blackjack. $10 minimums are a little steep for my broke-ass tastes, but nonetheless, some good times were had. i was able to play with $100 for the entire weekend. just kept breaking even at every point. just call me "even steven." my friend brian is an expert blackjack player. he knows all the rules and plays by "the book" (apparently there is not really an actual book, but all blackjackers refer to playing by the book). i learned a lot about playing this simple game. the adreneline that goes through the veins when you you've "doubled down" or split a pair of eights is something wonderful. i could see myself as a cumpolsive gambler. that sounds like a worthy ambition to me.

DON'T: go to this guy's table

my friend here was a ball-busting dealer. seriously, i lost some money while this guy was dealing. he's from thailand. i'm never going to thailand... i can only assume i would come back with only a pair of dirty tube socks and an infectious disease.

DON'T: ever surrender.

apparently, when playing blackjack you can opt to "surrender" if you feel that a loss is obvious. when one surrenders, he withdraws from the game and holds on to half of the bet on the table. (never do "insurance" either, which is when a dealer shows an ace, but that's another point). at one point during one of the long nights (we failed to fall asleep before 4 am both nights), my friend ethan leaned over to taylor (far left) and said, "you should surrender, i've never seen somebody do that." taylor, being the champ that he is, obliged, and spent the rest of the weekend being called out by every one of us for being a "pussy" and for lacking the pair of male anatomical spheres that rest in your underpants (underpants... that's great). by the end of the weekend, taylor had earned the name "captain surrender." i don't think he thought it was as funny as the rest of us.

DON'T: count your money when youre sittin' at the table. there'll be time enough for countin when the dealins done.

according to the gambler (kenny rogers) i am committing some great crime in this picture. you have to understand though, i don't have a lot of money. and at times heidi was standing behind me and gasping each time i lost a hand. it was stressful. i kept thinking to myself, "stop this nonsense. your wife is going to be eating bologna sandwiches for a month, and you're going to have to ride your bike to work for a year if you lose this money (remember, i said i never exceeded a hundred bucks, so you have an idea of my financial situation these days.)"

DO: get all dressed up with your lady and go to shibuya for some of the best sushi you've ever had.

sake bombs. always a great (or bad) idea. any community activity that requires multiple toasts and downing alcoholic drinks like water is going to pretty fun. isn't heidi adorable? she was so much fun on this trip. she bet a few hands at the tables when she wasn't dancing at dick's last stand or studio 54 with the rest of the ladies.

DON'T: end your night a) looking like this lady (if you are a lady) or b) hooking up with this lady (if you are a fella)

not much to say here. heidi and the rest of the girls were all about the dancing while i and the rest of the boys were all about the gambling. the girls got some VIP passes to studio 54, as long as, and i quote, "you don't bring no guys with you." apparently there was a plethora of sleazy dudes trying to grind and feel up girls in the club, so our ladies were given full access to a comp bar and give the royal treatment so that some drunk, 5'6" cell phone salesman with a striped shirt and a popped collar could try to grab my wife's anatomy, that, needless to say, is not up for grabs by any man but myself. heidi loves to dance. she takes over any dance floor, anywhere. the girls on the sidelines typically hate her, and the guys... well we know what the guys are trying to do. i'm getting angry now. that's enough of that thought.

DO: take lots of pictures.

of course, we did not, and that is why i am only posting a few for you to enjoy. a special thanks to some of the most wonderful people that i know, who made this whole thing possible. i hate vegas. but in the same breath, i love vegas. what are you going to do?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

new look. same stuff

time to change things up on the blog layout. it's summer now (at least the 90 degree heat and 97 percent humidity would seem to indicate a change in season) and black just isn't doing it for me. that was too dark anyway. always made me feel like my posts should be dark and introspective. that was the old me. the new me is purely positive. puppy dogs and ice cream all the way.

mmm. ice cream. that sounds nice. ice cream truck driver - has to be one of the worst jobs ever. how long do you think it takes for someone to go crazy listening to that carnival music for hours a day, every day of the week? the ice cream truck business is every parent's worst nightmare. you're hanging out with your kid, playing 'pick up sticks' or something, and your child, with some super hero hearing, perks up and starts laying into you about buying them ice cream. if you don't, they cry and throw a tantrum... because that is what kids do. how do you not give into that? i think i might be a terrible parent. or a very good parent. it could go either way.

posts on back to back days? that's not happening again, so don't get used to it. as you can tell, i have nothing to talk about. i need a week to compile a laundry list of meaningless and unrelated things to share with the world.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


just got back from a dinner at "logan roadhouse." that's right. ate peanuts and threw the shells on the ground (i used to think this was something profound and wonderful. now i don't really get too moved by the whole experience). a few thoughts while i digest my steak and sweet potatoes:

+ heidi loves to cook and bake. i mean she just loves it. right now she is making bread pudding. she's never made bread pudding, but we just got home and there is a loaf of day old bread, and her mind thinks "hey, i'll make bread pudding." i've never even had bread pudding, and can honestly say i have never thought of it. not my wife. and i'm sure it's going to be really good. last night she made some baked apple thing for dessert that was pretty great. baked apples? i never would have thought of putting an apple in the oven (on second thought, i guess apple pie fits in here). she's amazing. and like i said, she is passionate about this stuff. ask anybody who knows her - she's famous for her cooking. do you know what i'm famous for? being tall. that's right. she has some great skill and love that benefits mankind. when you think of me, don't tell me the first thing that comes to your mind isn't "tall." this is just great.

+ fleet foxes new album (self titled) is grand. i don't know who these guys are where they came from, but their music makes me really happy (thanks to nate downey for the recommendation in the first place). also been feasting on bon iver (for emma, forever ago)

+ lakers over celtics in 6. i know it's the safe pick, but it's what i'm feeling. the lakers are really good.

+ one of these days i am going to open up a diner and it's going to be awesome. heidi will be responsibel mostly for the food, but i will make some mean breakfasts, and grill some meat. i grilled some kabobs last night, and you wouldn't believe the quality of these things. i have skills too. it isn't just heidi.

+ mystery vacation for the wife and i this weekend. tell you about it next week, as i am sure our destination will provide plenty to comment on.

+ i played 20 rounds of tic-tac-toe with a client today. he beat me 8-6. he's 13. i feel embarrassed about this. i thought every game of tic-tac-toe ended in a "cat's game" (whatever 'cat's game' means)

+ yesterday i lost a chess match to a 13 year old. things aren't going to well for me. i will honestly tell the readership of this blog that i have never won a game of chess. i don't do well with strategy and thinking ahead. i start to plan my moves 3-4 moves out, and come up with some brilliant plan, but forget the first move i was going to make, so i get frustrated and try to kill people with my queen, which usually ends pretty quickly for me. yesterday i thought i was going to win, but then i made two ridiculously bone-headed moves in a row to totally throw the game. would you think less of me if i told you that i was getting really excited, and then was immediately really pissed off because i thought i was going to finally win a game of chess? this was a 13 year old mind you. at one point in my life i swore i would never play chess again. this was because my friend duane beat me approximately 74 times in a row in graduate school. i hate chess. the ban is back on. i'm never playing again.

+ tic-tac-toe for that matter as well. never again.

+ (...this is getting ridiculous...) i just remembered that i got destroyed by a 15 year old in a best of 7 series of gin rummy yesterday. he beat me 4-2 and it wasn't even that close. gin rummy: you're done.

+ tomorrow is the day for my redemption. i am going to challenge some nine year olds to games of uno and war, and we will see who's the game master.

+ no more games for justin. you just go back to being tall, because, after all, that is what you're the best at.