Thursday, February 18, 2010

Kool Things

With the sometimes staggering amount of free time I seem to find on my hands, I often seize the opportunity to try out new things. Being somewhat compulsive, I generally ride these experiences into the ground, never to return again (I'm talking to you, I See Hawks in L.A.). Some of these things are so awesome however, that they stick. Today I share with you some things that have stood my test of whimsy and that I highly endorse:

The Spike Mat.
If you follow me on Twitter (@JoeDaly_SD), you have heard me incessantly tweet about how stoked I am to spike out. The spike mat is something I found in Sweden this summer, when all my friends there were raving about their "spikmatta." Medieval sounding, to be sure, the spike mat is a thin foam bed about the size of your back wrapped in canvas cover that has about a hundred little plastic circles on it. Each circle is made of hard plastic, like Legos, each covered in about 12 little spikes. Ok, I know it sounds crazy, but you put it down on your bed, couch, floor, etc., and lay on it. Shirt off, btw. It might feel a bit uncomfortable when you first lie back on it, or when you adjust yourself to it, but soon thereafter, you get hit with a wave or relaxation. It is essentially giving yourself acupuncture. I routinely fall asleep on mine. It is a supreme way to relax, to treat a sore neck/shoulders (roll up a towel and put it under the mat, so your neck is craned over it), and to decompress after a workout. Listening to an iPod with a groovy mix completes the experience.

Flavored licorice.
Licorice is low fat and addresses my never-ending sugar craving. At Henry's Market, I found a wide array of flavors- watermelon, grape, green apple, raspberry, etc. I keep a couple bags in my desk and at home. Great way to snack lightly while feeling like you're throwing caution to the wind.

This animated show is four years old now and has yet to receive the kind of acclaim it most surely deserves. Brendon Small, who writes the episodes, is actually a trained comedian who also graduated from the Berklee College of Music. He is a ridiculously talented metal guitarist and songwriter, who writes an original death/thrash metal song for each episode. But you don't have to be a fan of death metal to enjoy the show- the characters are chiefly the fictitious band Dethklok, who are the biggest band in the world, such that they are one of the largest economies and who are so influential on world events that a secret global tribunal tracks their every move. The band members are horribly self-centered multi millionaires who are so coddled by their rockstar lives that they don't know WHERE to find food, let alone how to prepare it. They care only about being "brutal" and being "metal" and have no regard for their fans and often each other. The plots are creative, hilarious, and for seasons 1 and 2, only 11 minutes each. And everyone who is anyone in metal has been a guest voice- from Slash, to Metallica, to King Diamond.

Hot Yoga.
I started doing this nine months ago and have been hooked ever since. I am as flexible as a glass rod, and with a body battered by sports injuries, I had little hope of taking to yoga, let alone in scorching heat. In my first class, I almost had to leave because the heat was so much. Then I went again, and again, and now I'm totally addicted to it. Classes are 60 minutes each and they jack the temp up to about 106. Some classes are 110+, which are ridiculous. But it's fun, the vibe is very mellow and friendly, and I feel like a million bucks when I'm done. I'm currently doing 30 classes in 30 days. I'm on day 24 and rocking.

Penny Stocks.
Ok, this is random, but since I started working in investor relations, I've learned a ridiculous amount of information in the penny stock market (stocks under $5 a share). While any kind of investing is little more than a calculated gamble, penny stock investing puts the "S" in "Speculative." Still, by investing within my means and keeping my expectations low, it's been a fun way to follow the economy, watch some very interesting companies, and make a little money along the way. And there's always the chance that one of the companies will blow up, get acquired, or roll out the next iPod. Way better odds than the lottery.

Other things I love:
Mozy Cafe(Leucadia, CA)
Taylor 614ce Grand Auditorium acoustic/electric guitar
MOJO, UNCUT, Q music magazines
Italian Biscotti flavored creamer
T-shirts from
Zip up track jackets
Shoes from (vegan/vegetarian clothing)
Tahitian Vanilla Bahama Bay car air fresheners
New music from Steve Poltz ("Dreamhouse" album)

Call or write with any questions.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Freaking the Fuck Out

Just got back from the vet's, where I had to leave little Cabo behind to get stitches. Not a blog for the easily grossed out.

First of all, she is apparently fine. Basically I cut through a chunk of her ear with some scissors while trying to cut off a knot of fur.

We went for a hike today in the canyon, during which Cabo came upon a big muddy puddle on the trail, left over from the rains last week. Before I could figure out the inevitable, she dove into the puddle and started rolling around like a pig, wriggling on her back and snorting in pure porcine pleasure. I could only laugh.

My friend Jean had come down from Los Angeles with her dog Hoover, and with Cabo and Lola, we were just starting out on the hike. Cabo knew that she had crossed some sort of line, but happiness comes from acceptance, and I knew that there was no use getting upset or even turning around. When you own a dog, that's part of the deal, and truth be told, it was really funny.

When we got to the turnaround, Lola let me know that she was completely gassed. So I carried her back for most of the return trek. Which was also, sort of funny, although it was a hot day and carrying a furry little 30 pound weight up and down a canyon is every bit the workout one might think.

We all got back to my house and I hosed Cabo down, quickly realizing that it would be much easier to just take her to the dog wash. Ironically, I have an appointment for her to be groomed on Monday. But so deep and caked was the mud in her fur, that I realized I needed to take her to the dog wash today, otherwise she'd be tracking mud all over the house, and I've got guests coming in a few days.

First though, we all went to lunch where Jean and I got some tasty vegetarian grub and I ordered a huge side order of bacon for the dogs. Then it was off to the dog wash.

I got Cabo in her tub and started hosing her down. She was a rock star- just standing there and letting me shower her with warm water pumped through the high pressure hose. Then I noticed the fur matted beneath her ears. I got some scissors from the grooming table, which scissors were pretty dull and wimpy. I came back and went to work on the side closest to me, cutting out a little lump of puppy dreadlocks about the size of a penny.

I found one on the other side, and started cutting away, and it was only when she flinched that I realized I had cut through much more than just fur. I had cut a deep gash through her skin. She hadn't made a peep. Only a slight shudder let me know something was amiss.

There was no blood, but I almost puked when I saw how deep it was. Again, no whimpering from Cabo- she gamely sat there wagging her tail and staring at all the other dogs being groomed. I got her out of the tub, showed what had happened to Jean, who was scrubbing down Hoover in another tub. I knew that I had to get to the vet. Even if Cabo was fine, the cut clearly needed attention.

I dropped off Jean and Hoover on the way to the vet, said a quick goodbye, and floored it to the vet, where they were waiting for me (I called on the way).

The vet tech saw that I was completely freaked out, and told me not to worry- that she had been a dog groomer and this stuff happened all the time. Then she looked at the cut and the reassuring smile disappeared a bit and she said, "Oh. You got her good. OK, we'll be right back."




As hard as it had been to keep it together, that little incident sent me over the emotional edge. Cabo snuggled up to me as I sat on the bench in the empty little examination room, and still wet from her shower, we just held on to each other until the vet came into the room, after what felt like two years, but what was really about 2 minutes.

The vet looked at Cabo and then said that

>>Vet just called as I was typing- Cabo's OK!!<<


OK, so the vet began reassuring me almost immediately, which brought forth all the guilt, fear, and helplessness that had filled my stomach, chest, and throat for the past 20 minutes. She said that everything was going to be fine, that they could fix her up no problem, and that there would be no permanent damage at all.

Then she looked at Cabo, who was still wagging her tail, and said, "Your dad's really stressed out. He needs to just relax because you'll be fine. He should go have a beer."

Which I thought was really funny for a number of reasons.

Anyhoo, they gave me a big fat invoice and told me to come back in ninety minutes to pick her up. They were really, really nice, as they always are at this place. I took her leash and stepped out into the golden hot California sun, wiped my eyes, and donned my sunglasses.

I was filled with gratitude that I can actually afford to deal with this sort of thing financially, but more grateful that I'm at a place in my life where I can remain calm under pressure and live in the solution. The whole time the shit was going down, I kept thinking to myself, "You know the solution to this problem and you're in it- it will all be fine." Still consumed with guilt, I could still find the silver lining- that there will be plenty of time to look back when the storm has passed. And in the storm, having faith that the right thing would see us through gave me the strength and peace of mind to get through it.

As you read above, they just called and said that Cabo is fine, everything went great, and I can pick her up in 20 minutes. I'm so freaking excited. Intellectually I know what I did was simply an accident. Nonetheless, I know I'll be beating myself up for quite a bit. But seeing Cabo's resilience and her sunny, loving spirit will be just what the doctor ordered.

I'll take snuggles from Cabo over a beer any fucking day of the week.

And I'm really glad I bought her a plate of bacon for lunch.

Apologies for typos, shitty grammar, and any repetitive/nonsensical writing. No time to proofread- I'm going to bring Cabo home now.

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Case of Nervous Breakdownness

Been awhile since I've blogged. Didya miss me? Really? Why not? Fine. Whatever.

Since I last tippy tapped away on my keyboard, I got myself a fancy pants legit writing gig! At the prodding (and prodding, and prodding...) of my fumetastic friend Anad, I finally submitted an application to "The Nervous Breakdown" ( It's a literary community led by the most talented and humorous author Brad Listi. Anad has been reading him for years, and she got me hooked when he did a blog a day for a year.

Anyhoo, I filled out an application and submitted a bunch of writing samples, and after about three weeks, they told me that TNB was only for people who were serious about their writing (but in a fun way), and that I should send them some writing samples if I wanted them to consider me as a contributor.

Oooooooooooooo k.

After re-sending and not hearing from them for a month, I finally received an email from Brad Listi one day last week at something like 4 a.m. PST. I made the cut! And so after all the "Welcome Aboard" ado, he advised that I would be expected to contribute at least one piece a month, which piece should be a fairly well-edited rumination on anything I wanted, so long as I avoided blogginess. Btw- lots of made-up words in this blog, if you haven't noticed.

So I've spent the last week trying to figure out my first column. It's been freaking HARD. I know, I said "hard."

I started writing one thing, but didn't like it. Then I started writing something else, and got to five pages single spaced before I realized 1) it was too long; and 2) it was super boring.

So yesterday I started chopping it down, and actually found that I liked a few bits and pieces. I cracked me up. But overall, I was still underwhelmed. I knew I had to start over. Fuck.

When I got home from a hectic day today, I knew I needed to figure this out. I found myself concerned that I had taken on something far more stressful than I had anticipated. I wondered if a monthly column was more of a monthly headache. And despite a lifetime of experiences and several lifetimes of opinions, I had nothing to say.

I busted out my new spike mat, plugged in my iPod, and started grooving to old school folk- Gordon Lightfoot, John Prine, and Bob Denver. Listening to Bob Denver crushed me. In a good way. I forgot just how special he was. He slowed me down and turned me around, and when he finished singing, I turned my iPod off and just lay there for another 10 minutes. Then I had it.

I ran downstairs, pulled out the Macbook, and three hours later, I have my first draft done. I'm not much of an editor, but I do know that the best editing is done at least a day after the draft. But I have to say, I'm positively giddy with anticipation. I love the subject I chose, I love the ideas that came to me as I wrote, and I love the feelings I felt writing it. It was an awesome experience.

So tomorrow I hope to have it edited, and if I can exercise a little restraint, I'll wait another day or two to roll it out. I'm a little nervous. In a breaky way.