Sunday, December 11, 2011

Back From The Dead: The Blog Returns!

Well, howdy, ho! I have returned to the blog after six months. One of these days, I might write this thing on a consistent basis.

Today's post is going to be a veritable potpourri of thoughts. First up, the 49ers. In following the title of this post, the glory of the Niners has certainly experienced a resurrection this year! Today, they sit at 10-2. They have won the NFC West and they are in the playoffs for the first time since 2002. After six seasons, Alex Smith has developed into legitimate NFL starter. Okay, quick show of hands: Who predicted this level of success for the Niners going into this season? Yeah, neither did I.

What has been happening in the Land of Red & Gold is a tribute to the value of good coaching. If you look at this team, barring the secondary, the personnel is not vastly different than the team that took the field for Singletary in 2010. The 2010 team I felt had some good pieces; they just needed to be utilized properly. Harbaugh has utilized them to hilt. And what he's done with Smith is nothing short of amazing. Or is it?

Alex Smith has had the deck stacked against him from the get go. He was picked too high in the draft (thus elevating expectations beyond his ability level). He was thrown into service midway through his rookie year with an offense that brought whole new levels of suck week after week. Since the Offensive Coordinator position was a revolving door of coaches, each year brought a new offense for Alex to learn. The one time he had a coordinator two seasons in a row, the guy was perhaps the worst OC to ever man the booth at Candlestick. Finally, his first two Head Coaches threw him under the bus publicly. Combine that with with a skill set that needed to develop to be effective, and you have the recipe for Smith's career coming into this season.

Most everyone under the sun (myself included)thought that Smith's time as Niner was done following 2010, and that he would be nothing more than a semi-competent backup QB. Jim Harbaugh looked at the twisted wreck that was Smith and saw a hot rod. All he had to do was give Alex the things that had been denied him. He's given Alex Smith an offense plan that was competent. He's trotted out the offense slowly, waiting until Smith had a good grasp of what he was being asked to do before opening up more of the playbook. But most importantly, he's had Smith's back.

And look at the results. Smith no longer resembles Steve DeBerg. While his yardage numbers are not stellar, he no longer is making the crucial mistakes he used to do. Amazing what a person can do when someone believes in them.

I have more to say, but it will have to wait until after the game!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Random Musings On A Sunday

Tried writing some poetry (actually a song) today. Why is it that whenever I try to write, the only thing that comes out is overly sentimental, drippy love poems? I think I need a muse...........

Yesterday, I learned that being a guy at a bachelorette party qualifies you for the "Good Sport Of The Year" award. Which is all good, as I'm always a good sport! I was even up for wearing a tiara, but the ones they had were held in place with a comb, and I lack the crucial ingredient to make that work! Besides, this was an opportunity to spend all day drinking wine with a group of attractive women; I saw no downside to that. (Not that it actually got me anywhere. Of the four women I was with, three were married/engaged, and the fourth barely paid me any attention at all. Apparently, she wasn't looking for a middle-aged guy with a shaved head who looks like he should be riding a Harley. Oh well!) We went wine tasting up in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and it was an enjoyable experience (Note to self: Next wine-tasting trip, take your B-1 before you go, and drink lots of water!)

Driving home the other night, I heard this song on the radio that sounded just like The Cars. Turned out it was a new song by The Cars! I had no idea they had got back together, particularly since Ric Ocasek has long since poo-poohed any thought of a reunion. The song was pretty cool; they sound just like they did back in the day. Don't take my word for it, though. Listen for yourself!

To me, this is what modern music sorely lacks. This song sounds fresh and lively, unlike all the pre-packaged, auto-tuned crap that passes for pop music these days. Anyways, they're supposed to tour this year, I just might buy a ticket to that!

When I came back to this blog again, I started re-reading some of my earlier posts and I had a bit of a realization: I'm a better writer than I think I am! whenever I do a post, I always struggle with the feeling that I don't express myself well enough, or that I could somehow be wittier, funnier, etc. But I took a look at my old postings with a fresh eye, and I could see that I do express myself well. So, yay me!

Well, that's it for now, except one thing: If you read this, please comment below. One thing I would love is feedback on what I write. Plus it lets me know that actual live beings are reading this stuff!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Green Lantern: It wasn't bad at all

I went and saw Green Lantern this weekend. I had been hearing nothing but bad things about the movie, but I went anyway. Mostly because my old friend Jeff Wolfe has a part in the movie (it was really cool seeing him 20 foot tall on the screen!). He played Bob Banks, who is the main guy of the three that beat up Hal Jordan in the parking lot, before Hal smacks them down with a giant green fist.

I'm going to digress from my main point a bit, because I wanted to say how proud I am of my friend Jeff. Eighteen years ago, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting. Now,at the time, I think I probably thought what most people think when they hear a friend or family member wants to act for a living, something on the order of, "Yeah, right!" I should have known better. When I first met him, Jeff was a singer, and a good one to boot. He and his guitarist (our friend Hoffy)never quite seemed to get much going, but the stuff they recorded was simply awesome. To put it bluntly, Jeff is a talented guy. He's also sure of himself. He's also a martial-arts expert, so I first started seeing him here and there in some martial-arts B-movies. He actually had a sizable role in a Jet Li movie called Once Upon A Time In China And America, where he played, basically, a kung-fu cowboy (the movie, BTW, has some strong parallels to Shanghai Noon).

As time went on, Jeff started making his mark as a stunt performer and stunt coordinator. He's worked on all the Pirates Of The Caribbean movies. He did the sword-fighting choreography for Hidalgo. And then he landed a part for Green Lantern. I originally thought it was more stunt work, but he ends up being in about two scenes of the movie, and actually has some dialog with Hal Jordan. Sitting in the theater, watching him, it hit me, the dude made his dream come true. Maybe he was never going to be a movie star, but then that's not what he told me what he wanted to be. He is an actor and making a good living at it, and for that, I say good work buddy!

Now, what was I saying? Right! Green Lantern. It's not a bad movie at all. It may not be a great one, but it certainly is a good one. What makes the movie good is, for the most part, the actors portray characters that are interesting to watch. Ryan Reynolds has certainly come a long way from his Van Wilder days. He plays Hal Jordan with enough charisma that I felt interested in the character and cared about what happened to him. Same with Blake Lively. The story may not have been perfect, but what shortcomings were there were not glaringly apparent, and the movie moves along well enough that it didn't feel like it dragged anywhere. Oh, and the CGI was just amazing! This was also the first 3D movie I saw that my eyes weren't stinging by the end of the movie (apparently, this has something to do with getting the color right).

So, while this movie is no Spider Man, or Dark Knight, or even Iron Man, it's still a worthwhile movie. Heck, it's definitely better than either of the Fantastic Four movies!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Survivor: Redemption Island Episode 4: Pony Boy vs. Gollum

What can I say, in the battle of Good vs. Evil, Good triumphed! Russell comes into Redemption Island all piss and vinegar, but when Matt beats him in the duel, how does he go out? Crying like a little girl with a skinned knee. I try not to engage in schadenfreude, but for Russell I made an exception. To his credit, once his crying jag was over, he did his best to go out swinging. He ragged on his tribemates enough that Ralph tried to add insult to injury by telling Russell he found the idol. Bad move, Rooster! If it was just you and Russell, that would be fine. But you have Special Agent Phillip and Kristina from the other tribe there too, and you're giving away info they don't need to know.

This episode best exemplified what I've been saying about the difference between Russell's Game and Boston Rob's. Russell is a one-trick pony. Boston Rob changes up his game when appropriate. He's got a clue to the idol. He needs to get everyone out of camp so he can look for it. So, while Special Agent and Dead Meat are witnessing Russell's demise, Rob plans for a "beach day" complete with a made up game for all to play. Leading up to the excursion, he hints at his plumbing being backed up, and when they all head out to play, he conveniently gets a "bowel move" and runs off to "handle it". Fifteen minutes of furious searching rewards him with the idol. I tell you, I think Rob's gonna be in the final 3!

Last thought: Stephanie is a real bitch. the more she talks, the more she reminds me of Gina Kincaid form Beverly Hills 90210, almost to the point I think I will start calling her that. She is sore as hell about what happened to Russell, and she isn't about to let anyone forget about it. Worse, she doesn't let off with full fury and anger. Rather, she snipes and makes sarcastic quips about throwing the challenge. I think she's inherited that big red target Russell had on him.

BTW, I called Kristina Dead Meat, 'cause that's what she is: Omatepa voted her off, and she has to face Pony Boy on RI.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

My Thoughts on Van Halen

You may or may not have heard that Sammy Hagar's autobiography Red: My Uncensored Life In Rock is coming out on March 15th. What seems to be getting the most press is the part where he talks about the apparent mess that was the Van Halen 2004 reunion tour. While I believe Sammy is right to tell the story of how Eddie Van Halen's alcoholism threw a guitar-sized monkey wrench into that tour, I am afraid that that is what people will emphasize as Eddie's true behavior. It's not. I have a fair deal of experience in my life with people who are alcoholics, and if there's one thing I know, they tend to be completely different people drunk than sober. Remember, Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde was originally about alcoholism (read the story, and think 'alcohol' wherever you see 'magic potion'). I tend to think that Eddie's true personality is more like what Dweezil Zappa experienced when he met Eddie.

But enough on that. What I really wanted to talk about was the band itself. Van Halen has been my favorite band ever since I first heard Van Halen II in 1983. That was when my musical tastes shifted from Top 40 pop music to Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. Unfortunately, my father deemed me too young to go see a concert during the 1984 tour without adult supervision (and it was going to be a cold day in hell before he EVER went to see a band like Van Halen play!). By the time of the 5150 tour, I was not only old enough, but I could pay for my own ticket. But you may recall there was a small change in the band between those two tours.

When it comes to Van Halen, there are fans generally divided into two camps: Those who prefer the David Lee Roth era, and those who prefer the "Van Hagar" era. I am not either of those people. Personally, I think it is a stupid dichotomy. Yes, Van Halen with Sammy doesn't sound quite the same as Van Halen with Roth. But for me, the musical change coincided with my change from a teenage boy into a young man. While they still made hard rocking and fun songs, there was a seriousness to the music that I don't think a Roth-fronted band could never have achieved.

If there was a downside to Sammy's tenure in the band, it was that Sammy had an aversion to singing Roth songs. It's not that he couldn't handle them (contrary to the opinion of some, Hagar is a better singer than Roth). Rather, he didn't want to sing them. Therefore, the first six years of the band's history was progressively marginalized on all of the Sammy tours. This means I never got to hear Dance The Night Away live (at least, not until 2007).

I am glad the Brothers Van Halen reunited with Roth, as the reunion tour in 2007 meant that I got to see a show the 14 year-old me missed out on. I hope they finally do come out with an album this year, as they have been away from the music scene for far too long. At the same time, I am sad that the rift between Eddie and Sammy is still so great, because any tour with Roth means that the entire Hagar catalog will be completely ignored. David Lee Roth can't even sing like David Lee Roth anymore, let alone try belting out anything Sammy sung.

I had some more thoughts, but it's late. Come back tomorrow for my thoughts on Survivor: Redemption Island Episode 4-Pony Boy vs. Gollum!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Survivor: Redemption Island Episode 3 - Francesca vs. Pony Boy

Aaaand here we go!

Finally, we get to see how the 'duel' format was going to work. The producers were smart when they decided two have only two members of each tribe picked randomly to witness the event. This adds a level of complexity to the game, as the witnesses are not obliged to tell the truth of the proceedings to the rest of their tribe.

As for the duel, it essentially plays out like a one-on-one challenge. Basically, Pony Boy and Francesca have to break themselves out of jail by fashioning a pole out of sticks and twine to reach past a locked door to grab three keys to open three locks. First one to open the door wins. Francesca rushes to an early lead, but her pole breaks before she can get the third key. This gives Pony Boy the edge he needs as he catches up and passes Francesca, opening the locks and winning the duel. Francesca is the first person actually eliminated from Survivor.

I have a bone to pick with CBS. I expected Ashley to go on a raging tear based on how they teased this week ("hell hath no fury" and all that....). Instead, we are shown Boston Rob giving her the full-on Robfather speech ("I did what had to be done"), and her securing his promise that Kristina and Phillip will be voted off first before her. Then, we see her crying when she brings up in a confessional what Rob did to her pretty Pony Boy. Yeah, she's upset at Rob, but this is not the firestorm I was led to believe was coming.

Remember what I said about witnesses at the duel not having to tell the truth about what happened? Well Steve and Dave at Zapatera decide to lie through their teeth to Russell and tell him that Francesca won the duel. See, this tribe wants Russell gone in the worst way. He is described as a "black hole": he does nothing but suck the light and energy out of everything. They want him gone so badly they decide on a risky venture, throwing the Immunity Challenge. The lie about Francesca would essentially be adding insult to injury.

Throwing an Immunity Challenge is a very risky strategy. It's generally a high risk-low reward proposition. But since the target of this is Russell, I say the risk is worth it. Problem was, they were so obvious about it. From Steve barely pushing the wheel, to Julie missing the buckwet when she spat, to Dave actually stopping to move puzzle pieces (to his credit, he did pantomime like he was still trying to figure the puzzle out in his head) you would have to be blind not to see that the challenge was thrown. They even managed to make it obvious to Gollum (my new name for Russell).

Gollum knows he's in a bad spot. He has been unable to find his 'precious', he has a minority alliance, and now his tribe just threw a challenge. Even disfigured hobbits can read the writing on the wall. His only chance is to try and pick off the "Tyson" from the main alliance. So, he sends in Stephanie (she of the "Biggest blindside E-VER!" hyperbole) to do a sell job on Julie. Julie actually seems to become charmed by the idea of flipping, and apparently expresses an agreement to do just that. In her confessional, she expresses ambivalence about flipping, and so we head off to tribal with a possible blindside in play.

It ends up being for naught, as Julie sticks with her alliance and Gollum is sent off to fight the Pony Boy.

I have to say that so far every Tribal Council has delivered the goods big-time! Tonight we had Stephanie flip her bitch switch and lay into the tribe for throwing the challenge and for not recognizing the blazing genius that is Gollum. As she went on, I realized she reminded me of Gina Kincaid (as played by Vanessa Marcil) from Beverly Hills 90210. Gina was also a petite brunette with a bitch streak in her as long as the Bay Bridge. She whispered to Julie after the final vote that a "Storm's a coming!" This one, I'm certain will deliver on her threats!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Survivor: Redemption Island Episode 2

Hmm, I never thought this would turn into another Survivor blog. But since Survivor IS one of the things I think about, I suppose it was inevitable. I'm not the world's biggest Survivor fan, and I don't consider that I would be the best player ever to play it if somehow I managed to make it on the show. I do sometimes wonder how well I'd do if I did play the game. Anyways, on to my thoughts on Episode 2.

Phillip. Oh, Phillip. Should you be long for this game, you are just going to be a font of entertainment. You sure know how to bring the crazy! Since you managed to follow Rob's instructions at tribal to a T, he might keep you around for a while.

I think I love me some Rooster! On the Zapatera side of things, this was his episode. He finds the hidden immunity idol on blind chance ("It was easy to find as wiping your hiney with toilet paper"), wins the final leg of the immunity challenge, spots Russell shoving the idol clue in his shorts, and calls him on it! Just because someone sounds like they grew up deep in Appalachia, it doesn't mean that they're stupid!

And for all those who worship the little troll that is Evil Loser Russell (ELR for short), that confrontation underscores perfectly the weakness of Hantz's game. ELR is playing the exact same strategy he played the last two times. The boy may be able to backstab and blindside left and right, but he has no concept of the social game. When Ralph confronts him, ELR keeps flipping between outright denial and "Hey man, that's how the game is played". Then he goes on the attack! "I don't like how you comin' at me. You're either with me, or against me!" He even is using the exact same lines! (BTW, I have to admire Ralph for having the temerity to call ELR on his hiding a clue "they all won", all while he has the idol and has told no one!) I don't know if it's through arrongance or inability, but ELR just CANNOT observe people and get a feel for them. Anytime anyone says anything other than, "Yes, Russell" to him, he thinks they're stupid.

Thankfully, Rob does not suffer from that malady. While he does have a touch of arrogance about him, Rob is quite good at sizing up people and knowing who to trust and who not to. He susses out that Matt (I am almost tempted to call him Pretty Pony as Colette at Bitchy Survivor Blog, I will refrain) and Andrea (how did she manage to smuggle her mascara in?) were looking to do the "Power Couple" route to the end. Since Rob pioneered that strategy, and it got him a beautiful wife and children (not to mention the $1,000,000 she won), he knows how powerful such a strategy can be. Thus, he will be having none of that in his alliance! At first, his thought was to target Andrea. But then Matt goes and shakes hands with the other tribe after they win the immunity challenge. Oh, bad move dude! The Robfather does not like this. Expect a horse head when you wake up tomorrow.

Here is the fundamental difference between Rob and ELR's game. ELR is following a checklist. "Act sincere and honest before all the tribe". Check. "Create the 'dumb girl' alliance." Check. "Find the hidden immunity idol". Oh, snap! Meanwhile, he's not paying any attention to the other people around him, and thus he doesn't know that 1) EVERYONE in his tribe is on to him, 2) The idol is already possessed. The only thing that has saved him so far is that they've won the immunity challenges.

Rob, on the other hand, has a strategy, but he also keeps his eyes open to what's going on around him, and he adjusts his game accordingly. Tribal council was a prime example. Rob got everything he wanted out of that council. He set his alliance up for the blindside on Matt. He went into Robfather mode, and took Phillip aside to explain what he needed him to do (I liked how he kept Phillip from knowing who he was supposed to vote for, lest Phillip spill the beans again). I don't know if he had anything to do with Kristina playing her idol, but he got the trifecta: Power couple split, Phillip under control, Hidden Immunity Idol out of play. The only liability I can see is Andrea being supremely pissed (which the promos for next week make plain she is) at having her Pretty Pony taken away from her.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My thoughts on Survivor: Redemption Island Episode 1

I just got done watching Episode 1 of the newest Survivor. I know there's a million other blogs that cover the show, but I feel like I want to put in my two bits. I won't recap entire episodes, as that is too time consuming. I am also going to assume that youknow the new twist this season. And with that, here we go!

I'm rooting for Boston Rob. I don't get the people who fawn over Russell Hantz. The guy is a back-stabbing liar, and his gameplay will never win him $1,000,000, as he passes off entire jury to get to the final tribal council. Rob, on the other hand may be abrasive, but he is much more up front than Russell. I will always take up-front abrasiveness, over back-stabbing any day of the week.

So far, Russell seems to be using the same playbook. He's made a speech about not pullping the same crappy, and that he's here to win. But right away, he forms alliance with the pretty girl. His tribe seem to be pretty savvy to him and vow to get rid of him at the first opportunity.

They won't get the chance as they win the immunity challenge. Hence, we get to see the machinations in Rob's tribe. My prediction is that Rob is going to do quite well controlling this tribe. He already has a majority alliance, and the rest so far don't seem to have a complete enough strategy to take him down.

First, there's Kristina. She savvies the power of the hidden immunity idol, and I applaud her for finding it without the benefit of any clues. But she seems to favor making the big blindside right off the bat.

Fortunately, she's sided with Francesca, who correctly points out that now is not the time to take out Rob.

That leaves Special Agent Philip. Philip is obviously proud of his career as a g-man. It's also obvious that he is used to being a dominant person in a group. Watching this alliance butt heads as they discuss strategy, I knew they were in deep doo-doo.

Meanwhile, Rob has sussed out that Kristine & Francesca are the ones to target, and that they may already have the hidden idol. He comes up with the correct strategy, splitting his alliance's vote between the two. Had Tyson not been a complete moron on H vs V, the 'legend' of Russell would not exist.

In the end, it didn't matter much, because Kristina & Francesca decided to treat Philip like an idiot and keep him in the dark. They tell him to vote for Rob, while separately they decide to take out Natalie. Whatever else Philip May be, he is completely serious about himself and the way he does things.

Leaving aside the idiocy of their plan, Francesca makes the blunder that sets off the grenade that is Philip and results in the best first tribal council ever! Why she felt the need to point out that Rob wasn't going to be voted out, I have no idea! She knew that Philip feels important, yet kept him out of the loop, and then let him know he was out of the loop!

Rob sees this and plays it perfectly. I LOVED IT what he asks Kristina for the idol. Then he boldly makes a play for it! Anyway, the little alliance that couldn't goes down in flames. Credit to Kristina with figuring out that Francesca was going to get the most votes and holding on to the idol. That buys her at least a little more time in the game.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Hubcap Dave Has A New Logo And A New Fake Album!

Without further ado, I give the very real logo to my very imaginary band:

Aaaaaaand! Our latest Album!

I'll have something a little more serious in a day or two!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hmmm, nobody seems to be reading. Maybe I should post something!

Started writing a piece last week about how nuclear power needs to be an integral part of our future energy production, especially if we are serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions and ending our reliance on fossil fuels for energy production, but it felt like a bit more to shew than I care to take on. I may return to it, but for now let me give you the Cliff Notes: We need lots of it, sooner, rather than later, and Chernobyl is a bad excuse for not doing it. Feel free to tell me why I am nuts, and I will be happy to thoroughly invalidate your position. I promise to be nice about it, though.

Speaking of nuclear power, did you know that 2 billion years ago, there were natural nuclear fission reactors working in the Earth's crust?

Today is Eddie Van Halen's birthday! Yes, Holland's favorite son turns 56 today. I dunno what first turned you on to that special brand of insanity that is Van Halen, but for me it was listening to Dance The Night Away on Van Halen II. In keeping with the theme so far, I once heard their sound described as "Delta blues played through a nuclear reactor"!

Today, I also received news that Javier Bardem has been offered the role of Roland Deshcain in Ron Howard's adaptation of Stephen King's Dark Tower novels. I dunno how I feel about this. Bardem is a fine actor. I think he would make a great Khan Noonien Singh if that's the bad guy for the next Star Trek movie. But he doesn't have the right look to play Roland! If you look at Ned Dameron's illustrations in The Waste Lands, Roland is a cross between King and Clint Eastwood. For my money, Viggo Mortenson had the right look.

Friday, January 21, 2011

"Stuff I Think About" Is World Famous!

Just checked the stats on my blog, and while the vast majority of people who check in are from the
US, I have one hit from Norway (Hi, Astrid!) and one from India(??). I don't know anyone who lives in India, whoever you are, thanks for reading! I hope you come back!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Fake Album Covers For My Made-Up Band!

In Tent City was our band's debut album. Our unique blending of Thrash Metal and Big Band captivated America. Within 6 months of its release, it was certified Platinum by the Fictional Recording Industry of America. We scored two hits on the Billboard Make-Believe Top 40: If This Tent's A Rockin', F&%k Off, I'm Busy! and Hawkeye Pierce: Swamp King.

Al Gore Rhythm is our most recent effort. The advance single, I Believe In Global Warming, went straight to #1! (Where, I'm not exactly sure!). This effort takes out signature sound, and adds influences of  Hawaiian folk music and Seattle Grunge Rock. This album also has our first ballad, I Should've Kept Your Heart In A Lockbox.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fictional Album Names For My Made-Up Band **UPDATED!**

Like I said before, one of the reasons I remain Hubcap Dave is that it sounds like I'm the leader of a band, a la
Eddie And The Cruisers, or Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band. While I have yet to think up any actual songs to be played by my made up band (Hubcap Dave And The Rally Hats), I have running list of album names I've come up with, all of them plays on words. They are:

In Tent City
No Tar Republic
Miss Bee Haven
Aunty Social
Grapest Hips Vol. 1

I'd have more, but my fictional band is on make-believe hiatus. Our bassist is having delusions of god-hood, and we need some time to drag him back to reality. This is only supposed to happen to lead guitarists!

Update: After holding his Fender bass for ransom, our bassist saw the light and rejoined the band. Our next album will be titled: Al Gore Rhythm. Here is the artwork!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Facebook Axioms

Facebook Axiom #1: A relationship is not official until you change your relationship status.
Corollary: Changing you relationship status back to "single" will elicit multiple comments of sympathy and people wanting to know what happened. Be prepared to explain.
Facebook Axiom #2: The Cycle of Action on Facebook is as follows: Facebook designs a new interface. People complain en masse about it. Eventually, people figure out how the new interface works, and the compaints die down. Six months later, Facebooks redesigns the interface again.
Facebook Axiom #3: People will discuss with you during live conversation things which you post on Facebook.
Corollary: Only post those things you wish to discuss with people.
Facebook Axiom #4: People may have opinions about the pictures you post which are different than yours. Exercise caution!

More to come as I think of them!

Monday, January 10, 2011

24 Random Things About Me

This list comes from one of those viral statuses that used to make its way around Facebook. If you have wondered, "Who is Hubcap Dave?", this might give you a little insight.

1. I always tear up a little at the end of the national anthem
2. Star Wars is my all-time favorite movie
3. I have never had a girlfriend on Valentine’s Day
4. While I think I look good with a shaved head, I would prefer to have a full head of hair
5. I have written poetry on and off since I was 19
6. When I graduated high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life
7. I have learned that when you lose someone close to you suddenly, it’s like a part of you goes missing
8. I love to sing even though my voice isn’t great
9. Guilty Pleasure: Beverly Hills 90210
10. While I have always been a fan of Chevy cars, I have yet to own one. Ironically, I have owned 4 Fords!
11. I love the rain, but hate drizzle. Give me a thunderstorm, and I am in heaven!
12. I love seeing snow-capped mountains
13. My left eye sits a little higher than my right
14. Both of my index fingers are crooked
15. Worst job I ever had was washing dishes at Café Noir
16. Second worst job I ever had was making shakes and desserts at Carozzi’s Drive-In (after 15 and 16, I never worked in a restaurant again!)
17. When I was younger, my father and I sounded alike on the phone. This got me into big trouble once! (And some of you ladies may remember having conversations with him, thinking it was me!)
18. After the first time I made out with a girl, I didn’t eat for almost 2 days
19. I do not own a game console of any kind because I am afraid I would spend ALL my time playing it.
20. I like to crack my toes
21. I owned my own business for 6 years. My second day in business for myself was 9/11
22. I once moved into an apartment complex because it had a swimming pool. I lived there for 7 years and used the pool exactly once!
23. I love falling asleep to the sound of rain falling
24. I think that being able to help someone is one of the greatest pleasures in life

Sunday, January 9, 2011

My "First" Poem

I put quotes around the first, because in reality I had been writing for a few months when I penned this particular poem. This one, however, was the first poem I wrote that I actually thought was good.

It was May 1989. Three months prior, I had had my heart broken. I decided to try dealing with it by writing poetry about it. Looking at the relationship through 20 years of distance, I see now that the relationship wasn't much more than a paper fire. Back then, though I felt like someone had ripped an appendage from my body. Anyway, if nothing else, I'm thankful for that relationship if for nothing else than it got me in touch with a creativity I didn't know I had. Here it is:

"I love you, Dave" whispered the voice
But I turned to find no one there
I love you too, I have no choice
I've lost my heart somewhere

I see her face in a crowd
But it vanishes when I draw near
I can't have it' so I cry out loud
I lost my love right here

I see the person in a dream
But I wake when I touch her hand
I feel so hurt, I want to scream
I'm lost and I don't understand

I see the body walking around
But it's not the lady I once knew
I want to yell, but I don't make a sound
I've lost my reason to love you

"I love you, Dave" whispered the voice
But it was only an echo in my mind
I don't love you, I have a choice
The wound has healed with time

D. Heagney Jr 5/21/1989

Friday, January 7, 2011

My first exposure to the philosophy of Objectivism, or "Nobody puts Ayn Rand in a corner!"

My roommate recently let me borrow a copy of The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.

Ayn Rand. A name I had heard revered by conservative talk show hosts for her philosophy of self-reliance and individualism, and equally derided by liberals as a mediocre novelist with delusions of being a philosopher. I have been rather interested in reading her works to see what the hullabaloo is all about. And now that I have been exposed, I have many thoughts I wish to share, the foremost of them being:

Whoever wrote the movie Dirty Dancing never actually read The Fountainhead.

Thanks to the wonder of cable TV, Dirty Dancing became a guilty pleasure of mine in the late 80s. After all, the success of the movie has always been attributed to multiple viewings by pubescent females, something I could never be accused of being. There is a scene in the movie when Baby goes to Robbie Gould to persuade him to help Penny, the dancer he got pregnant, get an abortion. Robbie refuses, saying, "Some people count, some don't.", and proceeds to persuade Baby to his way of thinking by trying to loan his old, dog-eared copy of The Fountainhead.

Now, the book takes place in the world of architecture, and centers around four characters. This book is the first expression of Rand's philosophy of Objectivism. In a nutshell, Objectivism puts forth the idea that acts of creativity and industry are individual efforts, and that the only people whose motives are strictly based on self are truly ethical. This is opposed to Collectivism, where the acts of people should be entirely selfless and altruistic. It is essentially Free Market Capitalism vs. Communism, at least in their ideal expressions. This philosophy often gets shortened by Rand's detractors to, "No one should help anyone else". This could not be further from the truth, yet it is obviously what Eleanor Bergstein had in mind when she had Robbie pull that particular book out of his back pocket.

The protagonist of the book is a young architect named Howard Roark. He has a vision and philosophy regarding how buildings should be made, and is uncompromising in his beliefs, to the point of putting his livelihood in jeopardy on several occasions. His modernistic designs run counter to the architectural artistry practiced at the time (the novel takes place in the 20s and 30s). While Roark's motives are portrayed as "selfish", it is not selfish in the sense that he thinks of his desires in exclusion of any benefit to others. Rather, his character is indifferent to whatever benefits his actions may have. He builds his buildings his way because that's what he wants to do. At no point in the novel does he ever use anybody, and only once does he ever ask anyone for help.

Contrast this with the Robbie Gould character in Dirty Dancing. All he ever does throughout the entire movie is use people. He uses them for sex, for money, and for social advancement. He is the antithesis of Rand's "ideal man". If anything, Robbie is more reminiscent of Peter Keating, a rival of Roark's who uses manipulation to achieve his goals.

I don't completely agree with Rand's philosophy. While I agree that creativity is mostly an individual expression, I think that a person can have motives that satsify both self AND society; it's not a dichotomy of one vs. the other. But, considering Rand had first hand knowledge of how fun it was to live in a Communist society, I think I can forgive her this.

But to those who mischaracterize her without reading her in the first place, I cannot.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wisdom I would pass on to my children (If I ever have them) Part 1

  • A wise man once said, "Trust, but verify"
  • An ever wiser one said, "What is true for you is that which you have observed for yourself to be true."
  • Always make sure to think for yourself.
  • When somebody uses the phrase "everybody knows....", ask them if they surveyed all 7 billion people on the planet to find that out.
  • When somebody uses the phrase, "They say...", make sure to find out who "they" is.
  • Duct tape fixes everything
  • If you are ever traveling in a car with your grandfather, and he points at the floorboard and say, "Hey, what's that down there?" DON'T lean down to look closer! It's his version of "pull my finger"!
  • When someone says they "know all about" something, they don't.
  • The Dodgers Suck!

Why Hubcap Dave?

Short answer: Why not?

But seriously, most people who've known me know the answer, but for those of you who don't, here's the real answer: for thirteen years of my life, I supported myself by selling hubcaps, wheel covers (there's a difference!), and other wheel accessories. Out of all the various jobs I have held, it is still the one I feel the most defined by. My store was something of a local landmark; it had been there for decades. When people used to ask me what I did for a living, I'd say, "You know that hub cap store on El Camino?" "Yeah?" " I own it!" It made for interesting conversations.

It was a fascinating place. I always likened it to a cross between a junkyard and a history museum. I used to get people who would come in and do nothing but walk around and look at all the different hub caps I had in stock. Had I been a shrewder business man, I would have thought to charge admission! Alas, the business was not as lucrative as it once was (that's a story for another time), and I had to close it down.

As for the moniker, when I started signing up on message boards and other fun stuff on the interwebs, it was the coolest screen name I could think of. To me, it's evocative of a 50s doo-wop band name; I could be the lead singer of Hubcap Dave and the Rally Hats. Speaking of doo-wop bands, did you know that the man who sung about Holy Divers, The man On The Silver Mountain, and about being The Last In Line, none other than Ronnie James Dio, started his singing career out as a singer in a doo-wop band? I give you Ronnie Dio And The Prophets!

This is even better than seeing the old video of Black Sabbath (back when they were still called Earth) singing Johnny B. Goode! But, I digress.

So, even though I no longer have anything to do with hub caps, or the industry, I still use the Hubcap Dave moniker online. Nothing else I've done for a living would make as cool a screen name (Shoeman Dave? Dave the Door Guy?), and I like it. So, as a dear friend once said to me, no matter what, I'll always be Hubcap Dave!

As for the blog, this is actually my second attempt at blogging. I started one over a year ago, promptly neglected it, and lost the link to it when my 'puter crashed last year! By then, I had forgot which free blogging site I used, so I figured I would start fresh. Besides, people blog about all kinds of stupid crap; why not add my two bits to the flotsam? You never know, someone might think I make sense (or at least find me entertaining)!