Friday, July 31, 2009

Check it Out - Apple Tablet, Truth or Fiction?

If the rumors are true, the Apple Tablet will be the next big thing. Check out the following articles for the latest "news" on Apple's next big thing.

Wired.com - Gadget Lab - Financial Times Confirms Apple Tablet for September


Mashable - Apple Tablet May Launch in September

Guess this could mean my new Kindle 2 is already out of date... but I'm still enjoying it right now.

Cheers! - Jason

Check it Out - Serious discourse about funny pages

I came across a couple of sites that appeal to me on both the verbal and visual levels. Thought you might want to check them out as well.

The first is Guttergeek, a site run by Jared Gardner providing "the discontinuous review of graphic narrative." The site reviews "graphic narratives" (the evolution of the comic book, newspaper comics, etc.) in bite-sized chunks of 500-1000 words since "longer reviews are probably best suited for other venues." I find the style and tone straightforward, often tongue-in-cheek, and thoroughly enjoyable.

The second site is [The Comics Curmudgeon] which provides daily updates by Josh Fruhlinger, a freelance editor and writer from Baltimore. Again, I like the tone and over-the-top writing style Josh uses to help "enhance" the comic-reading (and other content) experience. Fun.

Enjoy your Friday.

Cheers! - Jason

The MMOB Daily Quote

Interesting quotes from people born on July 31st

“I am not afraid of a pack of lions being led by a sheep, but I am afriad of a pack of sheep led by a lion.” Alexander the Great

“To be successful in life what you need is education, not literacy and degrees.” Munshi Premchand

“If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there'd be a shortage of sand.” Milton Friedman

“An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day.” Irv Kupcinet

“I live in my house as I live inside my skin: I know more beautiful, more ample, more sturdy and more picturesque skins: but it would seem to me unnatural to exchange them for mine.” Primo Levi

“Their future is ahead of them.” Curt Gowdy (pictured)

“It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.” Whitney M. Young, Jr.

People understand contests. You take a bunch of kids throwing rocks at random and people look askance, but if you go and hold a rock-throwing contest - people understand that.” Don Murray

“I never thought Howard Stern would say 'Paul Anka is cool.' But he did.” Paul Anka

“Government, obviously, cannot fill a child's emotional needs. Nor can it fill his spiritual and moral needs. Government is not a father or mother. Government has never raised a child, and it never will.” William Bennett

“I'd rather have a small part in a good film with good people than play the lead in something I don't really care for.” Michael Biehn

“It matters not what a person is born, but who they choose to be.” Joanne Kathleen Rowling

“Drugs are marvelous if you want to escape, but reality is so rich, why escape?” Geraldine Chaplin

Cheers! - Jason

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The MMOB Daily Quote

Interesting quotes from people born on July 30th

“I lived to write, and wrote to live.” Samuel Rogers

“Honest people don't hide their deeds.” Emily Bronte

“The addiction to sports, therefore, in a peculiar degree marks an arrested development in man's moral nature.” Thorstein Veblen

“Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.” Henry Ford

“You are not happy because you are well. You are well because you are happy." Emmet Fox

“I was such a dangerous hitter I even got intentional walks during batting practice.” Casey Stengel (pictured)

“The creative habit is like a drug. The particular obsession changes, but the excitement, the thrill of your creation lasts.” Henry Moore

“The worst thing about our problems is that they are not of other people's business.” Mario Quntana

“The chief product of an automated society is a widespread and deepening sense of boredom.” C. Northcote Parkinson

“The least productive people are usually the ones who are most in favor of holding meetings.” Thomas Sowell

“When men talk about defense, they always claim to be protecting women and children, but they never ask the women and children what they think.” Pat Schroeder

“Milk is for babies. When you grow up you have to drink beer.” Arnold Schwarzenegger

“The trouble is not that players have sex the night before a game. It's that they stay out all night looking for it.” Casey Stengel

Cheers! - Jason

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Re-Setting the Reading Table

So I've made a little progress since I last set the Reading Table. Thought I'd provide an update on what I'm reading now and what's coming up. And since I now have a Kindle, I've added a new, multifaceted "Swiss-army" arrow to my reading quiver.

Reading Now

Odinn's Child (page 286) by Tim Severin
Fall of Thanes (Kindle ebook at 7%) by Brian Ruckley
Drood (Now playing on my iPod - chapter 26) by Dan Simmons
The Blade Itself (page 25) by Joe Abercrombie


Up Next

The Blackgod by Greg Keyes
Last of the Amazons by Stephen Pressfield
The Fionavar Tapestry trilogy by Guy Gavriel Kay
Perdido Street Station by China Mielville
River of Gods by Ian McDonald
The Ten Thousand by Paul Kearney
Sharpe's Tiger by Bernard Cornwell
The Age of Misrule trilogy by Mark Chadbourn



Anxiously Awaiting

Dust of Dreams by Stephen Erikson
A Dance of with Dragons by George R.R. Martin
The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch
Shadowrise by Tad Williams
The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell



Cheers!
- Jason

The MMOB Daily Quote

Interesting quotes from people born on July 29th

“There are two things which a democratic people will always find very difficult - to begin a war and to end it.” Alexis de Tocqueville

“Cherish all your happy moments: they make a fine cushion for old age.” Booth Tarkington

“Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.” Don Marquis

“It's good to trust others but, not to do so is much better.” Benito Mussolini

“The reason good women like me and flock to my pictures is that there is a little bit of vampire instinct in every woman.” Theda Bara (pictured)

“Dessert is probably the most important stage of the meal, since it will be the last thing your guests remember before they pass out all over the table.” William Powell

“I think physicists are the Peter Pans of the human race. They never grow up and they keep their curiosity.” Isidor Isaac Rabi

“Life only demands from you the strength that you possess. Only one feat is possible; not to run away.” Dag Hammarskjold

“It's easy, man. I just take the ball and throw. Hard! No one can teach it to you. They either hit it or they don't.” Vida Blue

Cheers! - Jason

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Reading Table - David Keck's In a Time of Treason

In a Time of Treason - the sequel to In the Eye of Heaven - By David Keck

A year or so ago, between reading the latest
Steven Erikson and Glen Cook installments, I found a little gem called In the Eye of Heaven by David Keck. In his first novel, Keck presents a vividly imagined medieval world filled with the typical knights and tournaments you would expect in addition to a pantheon of powerful entities and mystical creatures. Conflict and political infighting surround the exploits of Durand Col, the second son of a middling duke, trying to find a place for himself in this tumultuous world. Needless to say I devoured the first book and have been keenly interested in getting to the sequel.

Fortunately for me, that time coincided with a semi-vacation last week in Lake Tahoe so I was able to spend some hearty pool-side time devouring
In a Time of Treason. This sequel is even better than its precursor, presenting a darker yet more grittily realistic and realized conflict following the treacherous actions of the king, who takes hostages from each of his baronies in an attempt to hold his own subjects at bay.

Durand Col is again thrust front-and-center in his role supporting Lamoric, the second-son of the Baron of Gireth. Through a series of supernaturally-aided actions, Durand, Lamoric and the rest of their crew are pulled into the conflict between Gireth and the invading neighbors from Yrlac. lead by the murderous Radomor who is making a play for the kingdom. Durand's ability to push himself further after having been strained to the limit remind me of the John McLane character in the Die Hard movies. He simply won't be stopped, even after taking a vicious morning-star to the head from a traitorous "friend"!

The quick pace and tight plotting make this a thrilling and enjoyable read. And since the characters, setting and events that unfold are believable, the whole thing holds together quite well. If you like the work of Erikson, Guy Gavriel Kay or George R.R. Martin, I think you'll find this one enjoyable. I can't wait to see how it all ends in A King of Cobwebs...

My Rating: Thumbs Up!

Cheers! - Jason

Check it Out - Strawberry Swing

How will a superhero (played by Chris Martin) save the fairie princess from a giant, vicious squirrel in an outlandish chalk-world right out of Harold and the Purple Crayon? Guess you'll have to check out the new Coldplay video Strawberry Swing to find out. Fun stuff.

Cheers! - Jason

The MMOB Daily Quote

Interesting quotes from people born on July 28th

“Man is only miserable so far as he thinks himself so.” Jacopo Sannazaro

“I see / The lost are like this, and their scourge to be / As I am mine, their sweating selves; but worse.” Gerald Manley Hopkins

“Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality.” Beatrix Potter

“Genuine forgiveness does not deny anger but faces it head-on.” Alice Miller

“Contempt is the weapon of the weak and a defense against one's own despised and unwanted feelings.” Alice Miller

“I have forced myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own taste.” Marcel Duchamp

“Good God, if our civilization were to sober up for a couple of days it'd die of remorse on the third.” Malcolm Lowry

“Do not fear death... only the unlived life.
You don't have to live forever;
You just have to live.”
Natalie Babbitt

“The game is to invite the biggest jerk you know to a dinner. So everyone brings jerks, and the best one wins.” Francis Veber

“The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.” Robert Hughes

“Trying to take money out of politics is like trying to take jumping out of basketball.” Bill Bradley (pictured)

Cheers! - Jason

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Running Log - 7.9 miles in Novato

Had a great Sunday morning run on the outskirts of Novato. Again, I did my favorite loop from my house. Today it was up the hill, out School to Atherton, then much of the way down Olive, crossing back over Chase/Cherry/Armstrong to Atherton, then along the marsh and through the cemetary, up Bugeia/Bahia and then all the way up the hill home. Strong all the way through, even up the final hills, and I now remember why it's so great to run early in the morning. Should be a great day!

Distance: 7.9 miles

Time: 80 minutes - morning

Weather: Sunny, cool

On the iPod: Drood by Dan Simmons

Cheers! - Jason

The MMOB Daily Quote

Interesting quotes from people born on July 19th

“Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things” Edgar Degas

“Not every problem someone has with his girlfriend is necessarily due to the capitalist mode of production.” Herbert Marcuse (see photo)

“Lee was such a fine, high-class boy.. If my son killed the president he would have said so. That's the way he was brought up.” marguerite Oswald

“I'm fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in.” George McGovern

“There is a third dimension to traveling, the longing for what is beyond.” Jan Myrdal

“I haven't reported my missing credit card to the police because whoever stole it is spending less than my wife.” Ilie Nastase

“Hearing is a form of touch. You feel it through your body, and sometimes it almost hits your face.” Evelyn Glennie

Cheers! - Jason

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Awaiting my new gadget - the Kindle 2

I'm on the verge of receiving my first Kindle and I am very excited. Aside from the obvious challenge of figuring out which books I should purchase to read on it - since I already have 10 or so paperbacks sitting on my "to read" shelf - I've long been intrigued by the e-book concept and can't wait to try it out.

Unfortunately, as I wait, I came across a NYTimes.com piece this morning entitled Some E-Books Are More Equal Than Others. Should I be scared? I hope not.

Cheers! - Jason

The MMOB Daily Quote

Interesting quotes from people born on July 18th

“Congress: Bingo with billions” Red Skelton

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” Nelson Mandela (see photo)

“I don't know what you could say about a day in which you have seen four beautiful sunsets.” John Glenn

“Good humor is one of the best articles of dress one can wear in society.” William Makepeace Thackeray

“A cynic is a man who looks at the world with a monocle in his mind's eye.” Carolyn Wells

“If nature had arranged that husbands and wives should have children alternatively, there would never be more than three in a family.” Laurence Housman

“We want the facts to fit the preconceptions. When they don't it is easier to ignore the facts than to change the preconceptions.” Jessamyn West

“Life shouldn't be printed on dollar bills.” Clifford Odets

“The first time you buy a house you think how pretty it is and sign the check. The second time you look to see if the basement has termites. It's the same with men.” Lupe Velez

“No matter what your heartache may be, laughing helps you forget it for a few seconds.” Red Skelton

“It doesn't matter if you win by a second or a mile, winning is winning!” Vin Diesel

Cheers! - Jason

Friday, July 17, 2009

The MMOB Daily Quote

Interesting quotes from people born on July 17th

“If a person with a bullet in Dallas can change the world, imagine a person with an idea could do” J. Michael Straczynski

“Acquaint yourself with your own ignorance.” Isaac Watts

“It's a damn good story. If you have any comments, write them on the back of a check.” Erle Stanley Gardner

“Photography can only represent the present. Once photographed, the subject becomes part of the past.” Bernice Abbott

“Perhaps people, and kids especially, are spoiled today, because all the kids today have cars, it seems. When I was young you were lucky to have a bike.” James Cagney (see photo)

“If all the rich men in the world divided up their money amongst themselves, there wouldn't be enough to go around” Christina Stead

“The four stages of man are infancy, childhood, adolescence, and obsolescence” Art Linkletter

“Marriage is a matter of give and take, but so far I haven't been able to find anybody who'll take what I have to give.” Cass Daley

“We spend the first twelve months of our children's lives teaching them to walk and talk and the next twelve telling them to sit down and shut up.” Phyllis Diller

Cheers! - Jason

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The MMOB Daily Quote

New format for The MMOB Daily Quote today. All the quotes here are from people who were born on July 16th.

“Adventure is just bad planning.” Roald Amundsen (see photo)

“The greatest man is he who forms the taste of a nation; the next greatest is he who corrupts it” Joshua Reynolds

“James Caan told me at the end of filming Elf he had been waiting through the whole film for me to be funny - and I never was.” Will Ferrell

“Truth is immortal; error is mortal” Mary Baker Eddy

“Egotism - usually just a case of mistaken nonentity.” Barbara Stanwyck

“Part of the joy of dancing is conversation. Trouble is, some men can't talk and dance at the same time.” Ginger Rogers

“The accomplice to the crime of corruption is frequently our own indifference” Bess Myerson

“It is my contention that Aesop was writing for the tortoise market. hares have no time to read.” Anita Brookner

“You don't give a monkey a latte.” Will Ferrell

Cheers! - Jason

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Coldplay Concert - Shoreline Amphitheater

On Monday, I went to see Coldplay for the first time in concert. My son Danny has been a fan for a while, and we surprised him by purchasing tickets for the show earlier this year and not telling him until a few weeks ago. Since his brother Robbie is away at camp this week, it was a great opportunity for a little outing with just Carrie, Danny and me.

Since we never know how traffic is going to be heading into the Silicon Valley, we left a little early and planned to grab some dinner on the way to Shoreline Amphitheater. We looked for a little place to stop close by, and when the mexican joint Carrie found on her iPhone wasn't deemed "worthy" I headed us over the La Costena, my all-time favorite burrito joint. We introduced Danny to this hole-in-the-wall treasure and headed over to the parking lot with our food/treasure in tow. The night was made already as I enjoyed my pollo borracho burrito in the car before heading into the show!

After getting through the security at the gate, Danny picked out a Coldplay t-shirt and poster to commemorate the day. While walking to our seats, we found the Sony PS3 booth with a SingStar competition. Danny waited his turn and eventually worked his way through a song - think it was Fix You, but I'm not sure. Fun to watch, even though he didn't take home a prize.

Even with the karaoke sidebar, we got to our seats before the designated 7 pm start time so we had time to kill. And when the time did arrive, we ended up wading through 2 warm-up acts before Coldplay hit the stage at 9 pm. The acts were good, but not Danny's cup-of-tea, so he had a difficult time wading through them both before the big boys hit the stage.

Coldplay started at nearly 9 sharp, and they put on a great show. For nearly two-hours we all stood, cheered and had a rowdy time with a packed house singing along to every song. The stage production was fantastic, with the now-requisite big screens, laser show, creative props, and downright stellar musical execution.

The band worked it's way through most of Viva la Vida, and a number of other older pieces that mixed in well. Twice during the show the band worked it's way to makeshift mini-stages amongst the fans. The first was stage-left in the reserved section (I think it was 201) and the second was stage right up on the lawn. It really brought the crowd into the show, and provided me with different vantage points for my videos. During their mini-set on the lawn, the did a fun rendition of Michael Jackson's Billie Jean that was very well received.

For two hours we rocked on with the band and we were rewarded, along with everone else in attendance, with free copies of the concert CD Left Right Left Right Left. Danny's comment on the way out (and in the car, and at home afterwards...) summed up the night pretty well - "that was the best concert EVER!" And while it wasn't the best concert I've ever seen, it certainly ranks right up there.

Video: I took along my little FLIP MinoHD to see how well it would do at capturing concert footage. The results are actually pretty good. Two of the best are included below and the rest are available on our YouTube site. Enjoy.





Cheers! - Jason

From Coldplay Puppets on tour

The MMOB Daily Quote

Interesting quotes from people born on July 15th.

“I'm numb... It's a great feeling.” Clive Cussler (see photo)

“Boredom is the dream bird that hatches the egg of experience. A rustling in the leaves drives him away.” Walter Benjamin

“We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality.” Iris Murdoch

“Everyone is a reactionary about subjects he understands.” Robert Conquest

“In Europe, kids learn at least 4 languages...our (school) system is so underfunded, they go to school to buy heroin and an AK-47” Ed Griffin

“I'm an actor... I've achieved some high visibility. But a star? I guess I still think of myself as kind of a worker ant.” Forest Whitaker

“Sometimes my plot lines are so convoluted, I get calls from friends at 3 am saying; you SOB, you'll never pull this one off.” Clive Cussler (see photo)

“My best (bowling) score ever is 103, but I've only been playing 15 years.” Alex Karras

“All the communities are in favor of peace, but somewhat different versions of peace.” Carl Bildt

“The economic game is not supposed to be rigged like some shady ring toss on a carnival midway.” Arianna Huffington

“I asked him [Dalai Lama] the most important question that I think you could ask - if he had ever seen Caddy Shack.” Jesse Ventura

“Choose only one master - Nature.” Rembrandt

Cheers! - Jason

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Running Log - 3.5 miles in Novato

Okay, so today wasn't a good day to run. By the time I got out to, it was nearly 100 degrees and just plain HOT. I got halfway through the shorter loop and was overheating, so I started to walk. Good thing for me Carrie was dropping Danny off at the studio so she swung by to see how I was doing on her way back. Seeing that I was walking, she kindly saved me from struggling all the way back home. Good lesson today: either go at a cooler time or bring water, towel and phone just in case!


Distance: 3.5 miles

Time: 40 minutes - mid-day

Weather: Sunny, HOT, HOT, HOT

On the iPod: Drood by Dan Simmons
Cheers! - Jason

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Game #7 - Novato American vs Tiburon


Today was game #7 for the Novato American Little League 12 year-old All-Stars who took on a cross-county team from Tiburon. Both squads made it into the elimination round, so we were expecting a close one. Unfortunately, in addition to the game being close, Novato came up a little short, bringing the stellar All-Star run to an all-to-soon close. Which does nothing to lessen the fun, excitement and pride all the parents (like me!), families and friends had in watching the boys play this year.

For the complete photo-set, check out the NALL 12 YO All-Star
Shutterfly account.

Game Summary

Tiburon won the coin flip and elected the home side of the field at beautiful
Joe Wagner Field. Novato was held scoreless in the top of the first by Tiburon pitcher Colin Galeste. Novato's Evan Bernardy closed down Tiburon in the bottom of the inning for a 0-0 tie after one.

Colin and Evan held tight for their respective teams over the first three innings. Tiburon made an aggressive push in the bottom of the third where some heads-up Novato fielding took advantage of agressive Tiburon baserunning to get one out on an a rundown and two more on a double play after a catch on a hard shot to second. So, after three innings it was still knotted at 0-0.

All the scoring took place in the fourth inning. Novato struck first when Robbie Cassee singled to right and took second on a passed ball. Tyler Torres then hit a rocket to centerfield where it hit the top of the fence and the centerfielders' glove at the same time and bounced back into play resulting in a double and scoring Cassee in the process. After the top of the fourth, Novato lead 1-0.

But the lead was short lived as Tiburon got a man on first and Dillon Blair hit a hard shot over the centerfield fence for a two-run home-run. So, after four innings it was Tiburon up 2-1.

And that was the end of the scoring. While Bernardy closed out Tiburon in the fifth, Tiburon did the same to Novato in the fifth and sixth and the game was over.

Final Score: Tiburon 2, Novato American 1

Here's a few highlight photos from the game to whet your appetite.

Evan Bernardy (99) throwing heat in the first inning

Robbie Cassee (12) drives a single to right in the fourth inning

Tyler Torres (18) drives the ball deep in the fourth inning...

...which bounces back in play for a double scoring Cassee for Novato's only run of the day.

Cheers!
- Jason