Friday, June 29, 2012

headed to SF!

heading back home tonight to celebrate my dad's birthday this weekend, so i'm excited to see the fam and my friends up north!

stay tuned for updates...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

linkin park: "living things"

picked up linkin park's 5th album entitled living things, and description-wise it's a unique hybrid between their earlier music of hybrid theory and meteora, and their recent stuff from minutes to midnight and a thousand suns.

at a shade longer than 36 minutes as a whole, the album is fast & furious.

1st track is "lost in the echo," which sonically, is gorgeous. top notch production values and the interplay between mike's raps and chester's urgent vocals bring to mind "papercut," and it's rapid-fire from there. we get a breather on the 8th track - the ballad "roads untraveled" - which slows it down as we get treated to stripped down harmony. "powerless" is the last cut, and it might be the album's best.

my car stereo is getting quite the battle between linkin park and keane right now, so it makes for a very short drive...

coyote run - westridge/canyonback ridge

this morning's run was at westridge, a new fave of mine. the 3.5M jaunt to the nike missile tower is a challenging run in and of itself, but the return via the canyonback ridge is even more exciting with its numerous undulations.

first time having vim out there, who had to wake up at an ungodly hour to get there by 6:10am. got to the turnaround in 36:50, total time was 1:04:50...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

wandering abbot kinney

sunday afternoon we hit up the french market café on abbot kinney for a late lunch, before taking a stroll down the famed street to browse around...

linus bikes
the brig

Monday, June 25, 2012

paseo miramar - hike

heidi and i teamed up with vim and cheryl sunday morning to go hiking at paseo miramar under glorious skies. it's a hike we've done many times, but this go-around was special, as we were passed by a couple of riders on horseback!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

point mugu - trail run

saturday morning vim and i made the trek to the outskirts of malibu to get in a run at point mugu state park. we had several options in terms of distance - 6.7, 8.3, 8.8 or 10.3M - so at the car we settled on the 8.8M journey.

we pushed off from the la jolla canyon trail close to 9am to sunny skies. the first 1.2M is probably the steepest and most technical section of the run, so we resorted to hiking in a few spots. we veered left at the la jolla loop trail, then decided to take the shorter of the trails north leading to the fire road, putting us back to the 8.3M route instead.

after a brief pit stop at the fortuitously-placed camping area, we made our way up the end of la jolla valley fire road before hanging a right on the overlook trail, where we were greeted with stunning views of the pacific ocean.

cresting la jolla valley fire road
overlook trail

after a panoramic 2 miles, we descended upon the ray miller trail, a fast and furious 2.7M single track assault back down to the PCH. outside of a few flat sections, the rest is a steep downhill that you can literally fly down.

final stretch

one of my remaining goals on the run was to go for a sub 7-minute mile, so that was the game plan come mile #7. every time i glanced at my nike+ GPS sportwatch, my pace hovered between 6'30" and 7'10", so i felt confident i'd get there. sure enough, i ran it in a blistering 6'57" - which isn't bad for it being that far into the run.

final tally at point mugu was 8.35M in 1:23:43, for a pace of 10'01"/mile, burning 953 calories while we were at it. not only that, but the vistas the overlook trail provide are simply breathtaking - the sheer adrenaline of a sight that beautiful enabled me to pound out the last 4.7M with ease...

Saturday, June 23, 2012

new balance minimus trail - redux

scored a new pair of the new balance minimus trail MT10GY at nordstrom's half-yearly sale for $69 (retail is $100) in santa monica.

it's perfect timing, as my first pair have just about reached their max at 15 months. the black circular nubs on the soles are almost completely worn down, so each subsequent foot strike on a sharp rock offers up less protection and more wincing:

feb 2011
jun 2012

the amazing spider-man sighting

finally spotted the much-ballyhooed webslinger yesterday lurking at santa monica place.

so strange that i saw him so close to the film's opening too...

Friday, June 22, 2012

6 + 3 + 1 > 35 + 0 + 13

congrats to my boys for title #2 and for a scintillating series against the OKC thunder. the heat had the advantage of going thru the pain of losing in last year's finals vs. the dallas mavericks, which fueled their desire & understanding of just how much sacrifice goes into winning it all.

lebron "king" james - this is the LBJ we've all been waiting for, shedding his shrinking violet label and shifting into beast mode each and every game. his incredible game 6 in an elimination game vs. boston at the garden remains his tour de force.

dwyane "D-wade" wade - not the dynamic flash we're accustomed to seeing, but was able to endure nagging knee and back injuries and sacrifice his role as being the top dog to step aside for LBJ, becoming miami's true heartbeat instead.

udonis "UD" haslem - sacrificed more money and years on the table to take a hometown discount w/the heat and win another championship with his partner in crime D-wade

mike miller - somehow willed his body into just being able to walk, let alone put a dagger in OKC's hopes with a stunning 7 threes. if this was indeed his swan song in basketball, he should not be any prouder.

shane battier - rose from the dead during an otherwise forgettable regular season to shoot lights out during the playoffs and provide suffocating D on KD35, making it a chore for him to even catch the ball.

mario "muthafuckin" chalmers - rio once again proved his penchant for the big game. two time high school state champ (alaska), NCAA champ (kansas), now NBA champ.

juwan howard - the heat's resident elder statesman and first of the fab five (with apologies to jimmy king & ray jackson) to score a title. touching embrace w/jalen rose in the celebratory locker room after.

norris cole - if nothing else, for bringing back the high top fade.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

coyote run - sullivan canyon

knocked out a 7.5M run this morning at sullivan canyon, which is a slight variation on sullivan ridge. it's an easier incline and there's less single track, but i had a blast regardless, primarily because of the company i was trying to keep.

i found myself in a subgroup of 6, which turned to 4 when two of the peeps broke off and turned around early. at this point, i was just trying to hang on, as two of the remaining three recently completed a 100-mile ultra and the other did a 50. no pressure haha.

it goes without saying, but it's always exciting and invigorating to share experiences, thoughts and goals with others in the same foxhole so to speak. plus, a fabulous byproduct is getting to discover more new trails!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

xterra 2012-2013 series

taking advantage of an early bird 20% off coupon, i already signed up for the 18k xterra point mugu in october.

the shorter 11k at point mugu was the very 1st trail race that vim and i entered, so it's neat to see we've come full circle in a year's time. the view coming down the ray miller trail in malibu is simply breathtaking, so i'm looking forward to revisiting the screaming descent towards the finish line...

the 2012-2013 xterra southern california series is as follows:

point mugu - oct 14, 2012
topanga turkey trot - nov 24, 2012
crystal cove - dec 9, 2012
boney mountain - january 2013
mission gorge - february 2013
black mountain - march 2013
malibu creek - april 2013

Monday, June 18, 2012

anthropologie - design

spent a little time at anthropologie on sunday accompanying the missus, but all was not lost. i'm always struck by their ever-changing in-store design - always fresh, colorful and unique - so it gave me something to do amidst all the shoppers...

string fever
textures galore
garden of twist ties
peek a boo

Sunday, June 17, 2012

karaoke night

another rousing night at max karaoke on sawtelle is in the books. i'm definitely not embarrassed to say that i did the following renditions proud:

* the fray - how to save a life
* muse - uprising
* train - drops of jupiter
* fun - we are young
* guns & roses - sweet child o mine
* U2 - one
* backstreet boys - i want it that way
* neon trees - animal
* peter cetera & cher - after all
* third eye blind - semi charmed life

Friday, June 15, 2012

the tripel - playa del rey

capitalized on work connections to score a free screening of "prometheus" in 3-D at the arclight beach cities on sunday afternoon. it was one of the most amazing films (visually speaking) i've ever seen, in terms of production design and cinematography. the story fell a tad short in providing answers to some of the questions sir ridley scott presents, but the film never loses its ability to captivate.

since we were in el segundo, i took full advantage of finally hitting up the tripel, a cozy gastropub serving up craft beer/libations and the wonderful food of chef brooke williamson, who was previously at the helm of zax in brentwood. plus, its name (a style of belgian beer) is a clever twist on their address: 333 culver blvd.

on the way, we witnessed the most gorgeous sunset off vista del mar, so we pulled over in hopes of getting a few snaps. unbeknownst to us, we drove into a classified chevron refinery and immediately got chased away by a security guard yelling "no trespassing!" whoa.

we settled into a large communal table - there seems to be three or four communal tables here and that's it - at the tripel close to 8pm and settled in for the evening. they have about 16 beers on tap (a good 12 of them belgian), plus an appetizing menu of various odds and ends, all of which sound delicious.

we started off with the kale, burrata & beet juice salad which was perfection in a bowl, before moving on to the pretzel burger for me and the calamari po boy for heidi. both disappeared in minutes, washed down by the rare and tasty scaldis peche mel...

the tripel
333 culver blvd.
playa del rey, CA 90293

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

SF giants - perfecto!

and with that, matt cain became the first giant in franchise history to throw a perfect game!

way to go matt!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

beer belly - visit

since heidi somehow left behind her digital camera at our last visit to beer belly, we were forced to make a return trip to retrieve it.

the bar
beer flight ($9)

ah hell, might as well grab a beer or four while there, right? my selections on sunday afternoon were:

* taps biere de garde
* black market anglo-american brown
* cismontane easy as A-B-Z
* ladyface blind ambition

Monday, June 11, 2012

downtown LA art walk

saturday night i hit up the grand opening of my friend vim's photography exhibit entitled "out of context" in downtown LA. it was vim's first featured gallery, so heidi and i gladly lent our support for the special occasion.

main st. in downtown LA
vim (pictured at left)

the exhibit showcases non-photoshopped images captured by vim on his iPhone, combining otherwise disparate elements into a singular image and topic of conversation.

regular gallery hours are tuesday thru saturday from 1-7pm. location and additional info as listed below:

"out of context": a photography exhibit
651 s. main st.
los angeles, CA 90014

the dark knight rises - tickets

already snapped up my tix for the opening weekend of the dark knight rises in IMAX at rave motion pictures at the howard hughes center.

IMAX is a must, as they shot over an hour's worth of film with IMAX cameras.

tix now available on!

Friday, June 8, 2012

nike+ GPS sportwatch - review

i decided to use my existing gift card from nike and pluck down for their nike+ GPS sportwatch, which i had been eyeing for the better part of a year. three reasons went into this: 1. due to my burgeoning love for all things trail, i haven't been able to log any of my runs since i started because all my trail shoes are of the non-swoosh variety (it's time they stepped back into this market!). 2. the price dropped from $199 to $169. 3. the company confirmed they will incorporate fuel (their new physical activity measuring unit) into all existing nike+ devices, including the sportwatch and sportband, sometime later this month.

i've done a little bit of research into GPS sport watches, and the garmin forerunner, the suunto ambit, motorola's motoactv, and the nike+ sportwatch seemed to be the finalists for my services. however, the ambit was priced out of my range (a hefty $550), the forerunner is also expensive but no great shakes to look at, and i was already comfortable with nike's getup - that way i can keep adding on to my runs stored on nike+ - so my choice was made fairly simple.

speaking of which, the watch is wonderfully simple to setup and use, which is ideal for when you're beating out tough miles on the trails. one simply doesn't have the time or brain function to scroll thru complex screens and options when you're climbing a brutal ascent, so the big numbers and programmable screen data are ideal.

the setup is so: download the nike+ connect software to your mac or PC, then it will instruct you to plug in the watch - either directly via the clever USB hinge built into the clasp, or by the handy USB cord they include - and voila! the watch starts to charge and you have the ability to tailor your watch's readout (one can adjust what info appears, such as pace, average pace, time elapsed, distance, lap time and/or calories burned) as necessary.

USB built into clasp
wide band

when you decide to take the watch out for a spin, you have the option of linking to the GPS or to the nike+ sensor (for those who are wearing nike+ kicks) as backup, then you can be on your merry way. i've read reports that it's taken some people up to a minute for the GPS to acquire its coordinates, but on my short run wednesday night, it took no more than 3 seconds.

note: nike suggests that you sync the watch to your computer right before stepping outside for each run, in order to locate the latest GPS coordinates. that way, it will acquire your location that much more quickly.

once you've completed your run, connect your watch to your computer and all of the run data will instantly appear, including pace, elevation, lap time (you can set to whatever distance you wish - mine happens to be each mile), etc. in addition, you have the option to link nike+ to your facebook or twitter account, to share with the world your latest running exploits!

update - i took the watch out for its 1st trail run thursday morning at westridge, and it worked like a charm. GPS satellite was linked in a mere 3-4 seconds, and i was ready to go. initially i was concerned about the size of the watch - i'm not a watch wearer by any means, and GPS watches are inherently cumbersome due to the technology behind them - but once it's secure on your wrist, you actually don't feel it while you're running.

black w/volt
volt w/black
plus, it's the best looking GPS watch out there (the suunto ambit comes a close 2nd), so i'm excited to start putting it thru its paces. the only hesitation i had was between color: i opted for the black w/volt accents, but i was thisclose to getting the flashier volt w/black accents...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

coyote running - westridge

pounded out another 6.9M run this morning with the coyotes at westridge. took the "easy" way (fire road) back instead of taking the parallel & intersecting ridge, but i left that challenge for another day haha. have a softball game tonight, so i didn't want to overdo it...

Sunday, June 3, 2012

june 2 - national trails day

in honor of the occasion, i hit the trails not once, but twice yesterday. first up was a 7M trail run at westridge w/vim, taking the fire road up but then the more exciting single track ridge back to the car.

in the early evening, heidi and i stole out to sullivan ridge for a 5.5M hike/run, replicating my run on thursday morning with the coyotes.

sandwiched in between was hitting the blacktop at UCLA for some basketball w/kyle. always a treat to hoop it up, we mostly played two-on-two, but my skills have eroded worse than derek fisher. luckily, we hit up best fish tacos in ensenada for some bomb shrimp & fish tacos, which easily washed over the stench of my poor play earlier...

Saturday, June 2, 2012

run it forward

dashed off to the santa monica pier at lunch on friday to greet the arrival of run it forward, a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing children's nutritional, health care and physical needs. eight top ultra-runners - including the two founders of coyote running, jimmy dean freeman and his wife kate - literally ran nonstop from chicago to los angeles via route 66 for 18 days straight.

rock star tour bus
reunited w/spirit
great cause
home sweet home

i'm not sure how each of them were able to survive - the most i've ever ran is 14 miles, and i certainly wasn't ready to head right back out there - but it's a great charity, so the least i could do was lend them my support at the end of their road.

on my way back to the office, i took a few more snaps:

connector above the PCH
arizona ave (between 2nd/3rd)

and for those interested, here's the link to run it forward's site:

Friday, June 1, 2012

national trails day!

saturday, june 2 is national trails day!

i hope everybody is planning to get out there on a hike or trail run - no matter the distance - to enjoy nature in all its glory, with the added benefit of staying in shape!

personally, i'm planning to do a 7M trail run at westridge in tony brentwood...