Friday, December 31, 2010

The Airzooka

You know how parents like to joke that sometimes their kids play with the box more then the toy that came in it? I think the same thing holds true for older "kids" too...just not as literal.

Take the Airzooka for example. My sisters boyfriend Gary gave me one for Christmas this year. He also gave me a surfboard bag that I really wanted. The surfboard bag is much more expensive and quite a bit more substantial then the $10 Airzooka. In other words the Airzooka is analogous to the "box" for the surfboard bags "toy", and just like a three year old I can't get enough of the box.

If you don't know what an Airzooka does, it's pretty straight forward. It shots a puff of air across the room. I know, it sounds a little bit like the box doesn't it. I'm telling you though, it is amazing. Every office should have one.

Thanks to Gary...ours does.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

John Weisbarth: Computer Engineer

You know how they say you learn something new everyday? I'm sure it's true to some degree, it's just that most days what you have learned isn't always that obvious. Today was not one of those days.

Today I learned how to put more memory and a bigger hard drive into my computer. I realize that on the dorky scale that registers pretty's not like I changed the timing belt on my car or anything. But when you think about how much I use my computer, being able to upgrade it on my own is pretty cool.

It's like a farmer souping up his tractor...only not as dirty.

Christmas: Part Deux

If getting presents and celebrating the holidays is good (and it is), then doing it twice is better. With both my sister and I away for the holidays, Debra in Michigan and I in Michigan City, today was the day we celebrated with our family.

I don't know if they just missed us or what, but we made out like bandits when it came to gift time. All of us really, even my Mom who is next to impossible to buy for. There were lots of highlights when it came to presents, but truly the best part was getting to spend that time with my folks. Even if it was a few days after Christmas, it still felt like Christmas...and I could tell it meant a lot to my parents to have us there.

Admittedly, we are here for every other holiday, but Christmas can be a tough one to miss, for both of us. Maybe the Weisbarth's are just greedy when it comes to certain things?

I can live with that.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Home Sweet Home

After 7 days in the snow and the cold, I have to admit it was nice to be back in sunny Southern California. That is not to take anything away from the mid-west, I absolutely loved having a white Christmas and enjoyed the hell out of my time there. It's just that I am from Southern California and 70 degrees and sunny without a cloud in the sky "feels" like winter to me.

In fact, December and January are two of the best months to live in San Diego. There is just enough rain sprinkled in between gorgeous days like this to keep things green and crisp and beautiful. The mornings are cool and the nights can be cold, but it's flip-flop weather all day.

After all, snow shoes just aren't all that comfortable.

Bon Voyage

To be honest, sometimes I have a plan for what my "picture of the day" is going to be for a particular day. Like I knew the day that I interviewed Mark Walhberg...he was going to be in my picture for that day. Sometimes though the idea I have doesn't work out...those days can be tricky.

Sunday was the day Megan and I left Michigan City to fly home, and I had it in my head to take a picture at the airport and the massive holiday crowd. Only problem was, it wasn't there. Our travel this Christmas was a breeze.

So as it turned out, a much more fitting picture of the day was our last holiday shot with Megan's parents. We had a great week in the mid-west and her family spoiled us rotten. Plenty of food, booze and laughs...not to mention some great Christmas presents.

So to my most faithful reader Mrs. Riley, I say thank you once again for the great hospitality...I'll see you in a month.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Holiday Tradition

Getting married changes your life in a lot of the of them is how you spend your holidays. Unless both of your families are from the same town, there is a pretty good chance you're going to be away from one side of the family for Christmas or Thanksgiving or Arbor Day...but that's not what I'm talking about.

Obviously where you physically spend your holidays will change, but what I'm talking about is what you do for the holidays. At a certain age you start to develop your own holiday traditions. It doesn't happen all at once and sometimes it's hard to even perceive the changes from year to year, but make no mistake about it, it happens.

In 50 years when historians look back at the Christmas of 2010 I'm sure they will all agree that was the year that the Weisbarth's & Riley's first began the great Nerf wars. Our last presents of the day today were 4 semi-automatic Nerf dart guns and safety goggles. What followed was pure hilarity...sprinkled with a touch of athleticism.

In the end there were a lot of laughs and a lot of smiles, but more importantly I'm pretty sure a tradition was born.

Friday, December 24, 2010

White Christmas

For the first time in 34 years my parents are spending Christmas without their kids. Not that it was their choice, it just happened that way. Eventually the torch has to be my Dad put it, "We had a good run."

I have been gone for Christmas the last 3 years, but this is the first Christmas my sister Debra has been gone as well. But as luck would have it, she ended up 37 miles away from where I am spending the holidays with my in-laws. So Debra and her boyfriend Gary made the short trip to Michigan City today to hang out for a little bit.

We had an incredible lunch and played some cards, but the highlight was a snowball fight between Debra, Gary and I. The west coast beach crew versus the mid-west guy...we crushed him.

Thank goodness Debra played 10+ years of softball.

Michican City

On Thursday Megan and I left the city for her parents house in the suburbs. Michigan City (which is actually in Indiana) is not the town Megan grew up in, but it is where her parents have retired, so we go there every Christmas.

Megan's mom is what you would call an awesome entertainer. In fact, it's her specialty. So it came as no surprise that the Riley's house was full of neighbors and friends on Thursday night. Lot's of stories, plenty of laughs, and a great time all around.

Bright Lights...Big City

Wednesday night was our big night out in the city. Drinks with the some friends, dinner at a swanky restaurant downtown and then a nightcap at "English". Just your typical mid-week evening in the city...we're so metropolitan.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Magnificent Mile

Traveling during the holidays can be challenging to say the least. Bad weather, long waits and frustrated travelers seems to be the norm...not the exception. So if you're going to travel somewhere during the holiday season it sure is nice to travel some place cool. For Megan and I that "some place" is Chi Town...and it's definitely cool.

One of my favorite places in the city to get in the Christmas spirit has got to be Michigan Ave...aka "The Magnificent Mile". Not to be confused with the "Mile of Cars" in National City, the Magnificent Mile is a tribute to high end commerce and capitalism dripping in holiday nostalgia. Nothing against the Mile of Cars, it just doesn't have the same feel.

With nothing to do today but enjoy a white Christmas and try to stay warm, Megan and I walked the mile, hit the shops and generally got into the holiday spirit. It was great. It was cold...but it was great.

Monday, December 20, 2010

So That's How Santa Does It

Megan and I traveled back to Chicago today for Christmas and you'll never guess who we ran into at the airport...Jolly Saint Nick himself. Apparently Santa Claus has picked up some extra work this holiday season with Southwest airlines and the Windows 7 people.

The details of all that are complicated and not really that interesting, all you need to know is that Santa was at the airport today talking pictures. Unfortunately, neither Megan or I had enough gumption to actually sit on Santa's lap but he was probably better off for it.

On the plus side, I might finally get that pony I've been asking for all these years.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's a Sign of Royalty

Megan and I went to lunch with the Farley's today at our favorite little deli in Hillcrest...the T-Deli. As it just so happens, the T-Deli is right across from the Hillcrest Farmers Market, so after lunch we walked around checking stuff out. As I discovered earlier this year the Farmers Market is only about half full with farmers, the other half can best be described as craftsman.

One of the booths run by said craftsmen featured a manikin with a rather large neck...which made me feel strangely drawn to it. In case you hadn't noticed, I have a rather large neck myself. I'm pretty sure in some culture somewhere on the planet a long neck is a sign of royalty. Wherever that culture is I can guarantee you one thing, the manikin and I are going to retire there.

I hope it's somewhere with a mild winter.


An old friend of mine Jack Gates used to say that a martini is like a woman's's not enough but three are too many.

I went to a "martini" party last night at my dear friend Sue Botos' house and this is how the night wrapped up. Sue in her wedding dress, me in my festive red sweater and both of us sporting a dramatic expression.

I'll leave it up to you to figure out the martini count on your own.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Nunu's Christmas

For my money there is no better bar in San Diego around the holidays then Nunu's. Don't get me wrong...Nunu's is always great, it's just more great this time of year. Lights everywhere, a tree and plenty of holiday cheer...all of which adds up to the perfect spot to have an impromptu Christmas Party, which we did.

As it just so happened the sports landscape lined up perfectly on Friday, meaning the Channel 4 Sports crew was able to tape our 11 o'clock show early and head up to Nunu's for some good old fashioned revelry. Unfortunately, not everyone could make, but the crew we did have took it upon themselves to make up for any of the fun that might have been absent.

The best part is, nobody ended up in the corner wearing a lampshade and only a few glasses got broken. Success.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Prime Time

According to the experts at Wikipedia, a man named Richard Fain gave Deon Sanders the nickname "Prime Time". As the story goes, Dick and Deon used to play basketball as kids during the prime time hour and Sanders' athletic display during those games won him that title.

Now's he's Prime Time because he's on the NFL Network. Today, Deon and his pals were at Qualcomm Stadium for the Chargers - 49ers game and I'll say this...Prime Time still travels in style. The setup for the pre-game and postgame show on the NFL Network was absolutely top notch. Tons of cameras, a huge crew and the set was even on hydraulics.

I wonder who I need to talk to about getting that for Postgame?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Glory Days

In 1992 the Coronado High School soccer team won the Harbor League title for the first time in years. That meant we qualified for the CIF playoffs for the first time in years...and we even won a game. That victory got us into the semifinals against Mission Bay High School, who beat us 2-0 on the strength of two goals by Aaron Susi.

Today I interviewed Aaron on the show.

You see after high school Aaron went on to star at San Diego State where he was a 2-time All-American and now he's the captain of the San Diego Sockers. That's the 11-time World Champion Sockers.

The reason I mention it is because basically he has me to thank for all his success. I was a defender on the '92 CHS soccer team and it was my shabby defense that no doubt contributed to his two goals...thus propelling him to a life of soccer accomplishment.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas in a Cup

I'm not a big coffee drinker, and it's not because I don't like the way it tastes...I'm just not that into hot drinks. Soup doesn't rock my word either.

On occasion though, if the weather cooperates, I'm game for a little coffee. Today was such a day...though I'm not sure you can call what I had "coffee". It was more like Christmas in a cup...a really sugary Christmas.

White Elephant...Meet Rainbow Trout

As you may recall Megan and I went to a White Elephant Holiday party this past weekend where she received the creepy mask. What you don't know is which White Elephant gift I got...well you probably have a guess now.

However, unlike Megan's scary mask that will never see the light of day, I rocked my White Elephant gift on TV last night for everybody to see. It's a little something I like to call integrity. You see when someone gives you a gift it's important to show your appreciation for it...and what better way to do that then to embarrass yourself on TV?

Can't wait to see the ratings!

Monday, December 13, 2010

It's A Wonderful Life

I know a lot of people think the Jimmy Stewart/Donna Reed classic "It's A Wonderful Life" is a boring old movie that gets way overplayed this time of year. In my opinion they are half does get overplayed at Christmas. As far as the allegation that it is a "boring old movie", it is my contention that most of the people who say that have never actually sat down and watched it through from start to finish.

"It's A Wonderful Life" is a wonderful movie!

I first saw it in my high school English class (thanks Mr. Mayfield) and have made a point to watch every Christmas since then...and I'm not afraid to say that I cry every time. I can't help it, I love it at the end when the whole town rallies behind George Bailey. It just puts me in the holiday spirit like nothing else can.

My present to all of you this year is the challenge to sit down and watch this movie from beginning to end. Find a free night, get cozy on the couch and give it an honest view...I'll bet you love it.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines Serendipity as " The faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for".

I define it as the best White Elephant gift ever!

Recognize that mask? Here's a hint...look up. That picture was taken last year at the Clarke's Christmas party. The one of Megan and I (yes that's my lovely wife) was taken this year.

There were probably 40 people the Clarke's house on Saturday and everyone of them had a chance to draw this gift, but the hands of fate delivered this ultra-creepy mask to Megan. I don't know how else to explain it...pure serendipity.

Windows to the Soul

There seems to be a lot of debate over who first commented that "the eyes are the windows to the soul", but this much is clear...those are some mysterious souls behind those windows.


Building Party

The fact of the matter is, ever since the economy went into the crappy a lot of companies have stopped having holiday parties. It's a bummer but I get it. If skipping the holiday party means Gus in accounting gets to keep his job, then I am all for skipping the party.

That has been the case for Channel 4 for the last few years...this year included. That is what makes the building holiday party all that much more sweet. 2 hours of sliders and quesadillas getting washed down with light beer.

Now let's go make some news!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

First Dance: The Sequel

Even though I have explained to my wife that we are only having boys once we decide to start a family, she still felt it was important to get her wedding dress professionally preserved. Just is case we have a daughter she tells me.

Whether we adopt a Somalian baby girl sometime in the future or not, I tend to agree with my wife...mainly because I know it is important to her. So we packed up the dress tonight to have it shipped away to the preservers, but before we stuffed it into a cardboard box, we had one last go at it.

Look, I know it easier to find a teenage girl who has never heard of Justin Bieber then it is to find a bride that doesn't look great on her wedding day, but my wife may have set a new standard. She was absolutely gorgeous. To put it simply, she wore the crap out of that dress!

So just for old time sake she put it on one more time and we danced to our song in the living room. I even remember most of the steps.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Offseason

People always ask me what I do in the offseason and I always answer the same way, "I'm on Channel 4 every night doing sports...thanks for watching." The point is I don't have an offseason, I'm just like everybody else, I work year round.

Okay maybe not like everybody, a lot of the athletes I cover do get an offseason...but it's not a vacation. I interviewed the Washington Nationals Stephen Strasburg today at SDSU and while we were making small talk while the photographer set up, I found out just how busy Stras was. It's not the kind of busy that you and I know, he wasn't stressing over TPS reports and spreadsheets, all he was concerned about was the future of his career.

When Strasburg was born the gods reached down, touched his right arm and turned it into a lighten bolt. The only problem is that triple digit fastballs tend to strain the ligaments in your elbow. When they blow out, you need surgery. When you need to replace the ligaments in your pitching elbow, your pitching career is in jeopardy. That's what happened to Strasburg last year in his first season in the majors. That also means this offseason he is working his ass off to get his arm back in shape and his career back on track.

I don't know, all of a sudden TPS reports don't seem that bad.

The DMV Sucks

As an elementary school student in America in the 1980's, I had more then one Social Studies book describe to me how people in Communist Russia had to wait in bread lines for hours just to get some food. The lesson was always something about how government run food stores were terribly inefficient because they didn't have any competition or free market pressure to improve. They were the only game in town so if you wanted had to stand in line.

I have no idea how accurate that lesson may have been, but it was the first thing that jumped into my mind this morning when I rolled up on this line at the DMV. Believe me, that is only the part you could see from the street. Once you got inside the waiting really started.

I had an appointment and it still took me 45 minutes to renew my licensee...but it was better then the 2-plus hours I would have spent in that line. The thing is I made my appointment more then a month and a half ago. That's a long time to drive on an expired license.

I don't know whose fault it is but the DMV sucks! It's almost like they know they are the only game in town and no matter what, you're going to wait because you need to drive. On second thought I do know whose fault it is...I blame the USSR.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree

The holidays are all about tradition. I realize that not everybody celebrates the same thing during the holidays, and even those that do, celebrate in a lot of different ways. One of the neat things about getting married and starting a family is that you get to start your own traditions for this time of the year.

For Megan and I those traditions have been pretty modest so far. Because we don't have any children yet we spend our holidays with our family. Thanksgiving with my folks, Christmas with hers. Still, we do get a chance to put our own spin on Christmas. That's not to say we do anything unique, but we do get to start our own traditions a bit. Namely...picking out our Christmas tree and decorating it together.

Pick up the tree at Home Depot, but the Yule Log DVD on the flat screen, pour some rum into the eggnog and trim the crap out of that tree.

I told you it wasn't unique, but it has become a nice tradition for our little family.

Tis the Season

The Holidays are a great time of the year for a lot of different reasons, but my favorite has got to be the parties...and not for the reasons you think. Yes I enjoy the holiday cheer and yes I have been known to enjoy some seasonal candy from time to time, but the reason I love holiday parties is because it's all about hanging with friends.

Presents are great. Time off from work, a definitely plus. The smell of a fresh Christmas tree in your living room, to die for...but goodwill towards man is what the season is all about for me. It sounds corny, but people are just nicer during the holidays and I love it.

It's just like Bill Murray says at the end of Scrooged, Christmas is the one time of the year that people smile a little brighter and that is the true miracle of Christmas...because it happens every year.

Bright smiles and nice people make for great company at a party.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


On May 8th, 1945 the streets of New York City erupted in the euphoria of Victory. The great war was over in Europe, and while Japan didn't surrender until September of that year, the party was on. Sailors were literally grabbing women in the street and "celebrating". They couldn't help themselves.

That is kind of what it was like for my wife when I finally shaved my mustache off on Friday. To be fair, she was very supportive of my efforts to raise awareness for the fight against prostate cancer by growing out my 'stache, it's just that it wasn't her favorite look for me. I actually don't think she really minded how it looked...she just didn't like the way it felt when I kissed her.

Now that it's gone I decided to plant one on her as a thank you for putting up with my lip sweater for an entire month. Not a bad way to celebrate if you ask me.

What...No Funky Bunch?

Mark Wahlberg can be a little intense at times. This is a picture of him happy...I think. To me he looks a little intimidated, maybe it's the mustache.

Regardless he was very nice and more then happy to pose for a picture with me when we were done with our interview. If that is indeed "happy" he's wearing on his face.

The Paramount Lot

Top Gun, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Beverley Hills Cop (1 and 2), Planes, Trains and Automobiles, all the Indiana Jones movies and Forrest Gump. I think it's safe to say that Paramount Pictures has had it's fair share of hits over the years and that there has been more then just a little "movie magic" on their lot since opening in 1912.

The magic continued this week when I went up to LA for another movie junket...and this time my good friend Jaymee Sire was there too. We saw "The Fighter" on the lot and then we all went to dinner at Lucy's El Adobe Cafe across the street. I hadn't heard of it before, but given it's location directly across the street from Paramount, you can imagine how many pictures of stars there were hanging on the walls.

As always it was blast...I love the junket circuit.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Hangover?

I don't know if it was a hangover from Black Friday or just the fact that it was a Tuesday night in November, but the mall wasn't exactly bustling tonight. Big John and I walked up to Horton Plaza to grab some dinner expecting to find a winter wonderland. However instead of Christmas Trees and carolers we found tumbleweed and wide open spaces. Not exactly the ideal recipe for holiday cheer.

No need to panic just yet mallrats...I have all the faith in the world that this holiday season is going to be a busy one. Everyone has an off day.