Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Rocket Fever Classic

Mike suggested I pull up my post from 2006 detailing Jocko and LeMutt's first night in L.A. As you can see above, Jocko has settled down quite comfortably out here.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

L.A. Christmas in Photos

It's Maggie's first. And a world class experience for all...making an appearance: the KTLA Yule Log, Becky, Buckley, Gaines, the Eklund family. (Not pictured: Lasagna)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve, Silverlake Style

Vietnamese Noodles and a hot shot of coffee, some sake for Ben, vegetarian-style for his mother and a bottle for Maggie.

Christmas Eve, Hudson Style

It's not Hans' or even Johann's, but Yum Yum's on West Glenoaks Blvd. did an admirable job for the West Coast clan this year.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Huddy Reports: San Fran in December

SAN FRANCISCO -- Hey gang. I'm up here for a couple days and thought I'd pass along a few pics for all to enjoy. This is a fine town with mild winter temps, East Coast architecture with large public spaces against impressive hills and bridges. It's a cozy little city compared with the giants like Chicago, LA or NY (or Columbus, Ohio for all you Census lovers), but it has got to be up there on the list of remarkable cities.

What a fun time to be here...lotsa lights, Christmas shopping crowds, street musicians and carolers (CAROLERS!) all around. Plus, I found a tacqueria and ate the shizz out of some carne asada, carne al pastor and pollo en salsa rojo. Buzztastic.

All that said, I'd still rather be with my little girl right now...but this ain't a bad runner up. Send Gaines some pics of the holidays from your neck of the woods and we'll all e-sit around the hearth wishing we had gotten that Xbox.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Going Singular

Today is my last day at the L.A. Weekly. Starting Monday, I will be a full-time freelance word person. It's a move I've been contemplating for years, and have been seriously planning for the past few months. I'm lucky to have built up as much freelance work as I can take while at the Weekly, and cannot resist the urge to see how much more work is out there. If the early returns are any indication, I should have no problem keeping busy: Some initial rounds of e-mails have already scared up extra opportunities.

Becoming the CEO of Craig Gaines Inc. will also allow me to devote time to the creative endeavors I've been ignoring lately. In the coming months I'll be spiffing up this ramshackle blog, devising some Hudson & Gaines episodes, writing pieces for The City Desk, contributing to The Other Style Council, working on another podcast project, and generally riding that unyielding L.A. wave.

I also plan on banging around the globe a bit, with early plans for visits to the Pacific Northwest, New York City, and Istanbul Holy-Mother-of-God Turkey.

In a way, I've been leading up to this move ever since I started Rocket Fever and left Cleveland. That physical and mental break with one era began a years-long transition to this 21st-century, self-deterministic period of my life that will lead me to points unknown. That's what Rocket Fever has always been about: Choosing paths leading to the great wide open. Here I go!

Monday, December 10, 2007

It's True

Guess which really great blog comes up if you Google "california best state ever"?

Thursday, December 06, 2007


My good friend Natalie Milbrodt, also a close chum of one Becky Amos, has created a documentary about feet. From watching the trailer, I gather that foot culture is much richer than I ever thought. I mean, everyone's heard of a shoe fetish, but Natalie has people discussing their feet preferences in more detail that I can talk about the 1990 Detroit Pistons (Brendan Suhr and Brendan Malone, assistant coaches).

I met Natalie during my film-studies program in London while at Michigan State. Natalie, obviously, embarked on the program because she was serious about becoming a filmmaker. I, on the other hand, just wanted to watch movies and drink absinthe. (This is the trip, by the way, during which I also forged my lifelong friendship with the legendary Kate Cosgrove. There are many other luminous alumni from that summer. I wonder where some of those folks are.)

So run or walk or tiptoe or skate or dance or skip your way to Feet the Movie if it shows up at a film fest near you!

(Full disclosure: I am typing this post while wearing my Puma El Rey Us vs. Them shoes.)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Monday, December 03, 2007

RF Hearts MJ

Rocket Fever's Official Bundle of Joy,
enjoying her first visit to the Midwest.

Hudson & Gaines Ep. 21 Is NOW!

Christmas in early December? Must be! Now that we're 21 episodes old, who's going to buy us our first (legal) drink? C'mon! We can hold our drink!

Anyhoo, in the show's triumphant comeback from natural disaster, Gaines resorts to desperate measures (namely, hijacking the show) to bring attention to what he sees as a gross oversight: The Bush Pilots' failure to give full sensory awareness to its hearing- and vision-impaired fan base. He has some 21st-century solutions, but Hudson and Lynn Jepson, those twin forces of moderation, aren't having any of it.

Join the fight at the Firefox-unfriendly, or check out your handy subscription on iTunes. And, gosh, tell a friend!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


So I ordered these four martini glasses from Crate and Barrel online.

And it came in this much packaging, after having been shipped here from Illinois. Prolly shoulda just picked them up from the C&B in Hollywood, huh?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Now That's a Weekend

  • Drove 145 miles without leaving L.A. County.
  • Made shrimp dip and fancy green-bean casserole to rave reviews.
  • Devoured two plates of Thanksgiving goodness at the Eklund household, including some heavenly stuffing and about six pieces of various pies.
  • Observed a family sing-along, during which it was confirmed that I don't know the words to any songs, especially ones written by John Denver.
  • Failed, badly, at picking up the rules of the insidiously fun card game of Mao.
  • Wasted a few good hours watching the Lions.
  • Enjoyed American Gangster more than I thought I would.
  • Caroused with new and old friends at the Drawing Room (which has officially replaced Ye Rustic as my favorite Los Feliz bar).
  • Helped some dear friends move out of Los Feliz.
  • Gasped at the news that Pop and Sister ate turkey!
  • Worked off the Thanksgiving calories during a hike in Griffith Park with Mike.
  • Laughed my head off during Big Trouble in Little China.
  • Felt profoundly thankful for my family, my friends, my girl, my city, my life.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

It's Thanksgiving Week

Which means that none of you are actually doing any work. Why not spend some quality time with The City Desk? C'mon, Great Havenites, diversify your fictional-metropolis portfolio by taking a trip to the City.

Friday, November 16, 2007


It's well past time Rocket Fever recognizes Sivert Glarum and all his colleagues during the writers strike. Sivert, as most of you know, is Hudson's cousin. He and his family are some of the best and most hospitable folks I've met since coming to L.A., and I have great memories of spending Thanksgivings and Independence Days with them. (Not to mention that legendary party that featured the Nacho Fountain.)

Sivert is equally comfortable talking Angels or Dodgers over beers (he's a proud dual-team booster), telling stories about working on King of the Hill, or leading a pack of kids on some mischievous caper during the legendarily fun family get-togethers he and his sitcom buddies are known for.

Some of y'all might view this strike as well-to-do types trying to get higher pay from more-well-to-do types, but it's not that simple. While the writers are paid for their work when it's broadcast on television, they see hardly a dime when it's disseminated online. It's no secret that online entertainment sources are going to increase in popularity, and the writers are sensibly asking for their fair share of the action. The producers say they're not sure how much revenue they're going to earn from online media, but it's more than reasonable for the writers to assert themselves in this territory now -- and one would have to think the producers have enough of an idea regarding revenues to strike a deal with the writers. (And you'd better believe that Team H&G are keeping tabs on how this turns out. We wouldn't mind earning mountains of cash via online media someday.)

So while I know it sucks that your favorite shows are going on repeat, remember that there's a strong principle behind this whole mess. And if you can't root for the writers based on principle, then adopt Sivert as your mascot. He's a dude worth cheering for.


This is the first time that Rocket Fever has favorably highlighted two U of M men in the same week. I can promise you it won't happen again.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Cook 30

A belated wishing of happy birthday to Our Man in Japan, Jamie Cook. To mark his three-decade mark, Jamie composed a list of 30 things he likes. It’s a good read. Have a look.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Oh, and Holy Crap, By the Way

Everyone at Rocket Fever offers their heartiest congratulations to Paul Drake and his girl Jamel on their engagement! Paul (Michigan ’02, but we’ll let it slide) is a walking adventure, hopping all over the globe and sticking his neck in places most Michiganders wouldn’t dare. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Jamel a couple times, and it’s safe to say that Paulie has met his match in her.

Paul and Jamel, I now bestow upon you the highest and best exclamation in the Rocket Fever lexicon: HUZZAH!

Facebook Rising

The brain trust that runs Hudson & Gaines owns a secret divining rod that leads us to Internet trends. We recently dusted off the old rod, and it led us to the Facebook, which we quickly realized kicks MySpace's keester all over the school yard. Rocket Fever will go deeper into that debate in a future post, but for now, here's what's important: Hudson & Gaines are now on the Facebook. If you're hip to the trend, join our group and be part of the cool club. Who's going to be member No. 48?


Seriously, Guys, Leslie's Blog Is Awesome: Former S'newser and eternal ray of sunshine Leslie Rotan has resumed bringing you the international knowledge on her blog, Life on Earth. I invite you to check it out.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Far, Far Away from Great Haven

Mike, Micah and I spent the weekend in Las Vegas to record some episodes of Hudson & Gaines. Hud was there to cover the Big Smoke convention by Cigar Aficionado magazine for the Dodge blog. We recorded some great shows, and were very lucky to have stellar contributions from Lynn Jepson, Jeffery Starmichael and Kitty Hines (who, at a moment's notice, served up some classic material). Look to this space in the coming weeks for more news on our efforts!

And, as you can see above, we had ample opportunity to become closer as a team.

More photos here.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Pat Muir is quickly becoming a source of fascination to the photographers of Yakima, Washington. This gem was shot by ace Kris Holland on Halloween. I can tell it was taken on Halloween because Pat is holding a pitchfork. He wears those devil horns year round.* I missed calls from Pat and Jon Brunt last weekend after that awful football game, the One Whose Name We Shall Not Speak (just add it to the pile -- ugh). Those two seemed in better shape after the game than Mike and I were, although our spirits were tempered by the presence of Maggie June, the Muzios, and Karis.

*Pat, there's an angry religious figure from U of M for you on line one.


The Other Style Council is creaking back into existence. My co-worker Derek has added some nice little posts lately. Long live the grammarians!


I must recommend the Homegirl Cafe in downtown Los Angeles. It recently moved to its gleaming new space from its original cozy spot in East L.A., which Karis and I discovered yesterday afternoon. Once we finally found the joint, which Karis has been telling me about for months, I had a fine plate of tacos and a charming glass of freshly made pineapple juice. And let me tell you about the lemonade with spinach and mint that Karis ordered. You'll discover taste buds you never knew you had.

The cool part about Homegirl Cafe, and its related Homeboy Industries, is its mission: It employs troubled youth from the community as a means of putting them in a positive environment and setting them up for successful futures. And the kids are down for the program -- the folks we dealt with there, from the server to the guy who wrapped up the coffee mug I bought, offered some of the friendliest and most efficient service I've seen in L.A.

So make time for lunch at the Homegirl, and leave a big tip.


After lunch at the Homegirl, we caught Welcome to Nollywood at the AFI Film Fest. It's a light-hearted but informative look at the Nigerian film industry, which in just over a decade has become the world's third largest, after Hollywood and Bollywood. It churns out hundreds of movies a year, and the quality is about what you'd expect from such a nascent scene. But you have to love the entrepreneurial spirit these bootstrap auteurs exhibit. Not to mention the flick has a rad soundtrack. Thanks to Ryan and Naz for the festival passes!


I recently bought a BlackBerry, and I love it more than the air I breathe.


I'd like to thank whoever signed me up for a subscription to Marc Ecko's Complex magazine. I can't wait to check out the Model Special 2007, not to mention the cover story on T.I. Really, you shouldn't have.


Team H&G is off to Vegas this weekend, where we're going to bunker down and record some shows. And you thought we were done with this foolishness, didn't you?


UPDATED: Check out the song "Worst President Ever" by the L.A. punk band Finland Station. I can't think of a better pairing of American presidential history and catchy guitar riffs.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Great Friday Read

I rarely have the patience for long-form newspaper pieces these days, and I rarely read medical stories, but this Column One in today's L.A. Times is tremendous. If you ever think you're facing insurmountable obstacles, just think about John Kanzius of Erie, Pa., whose ingenuity, technical know-how, and energy lead me to call him the Micah Muzio of Cancer Research.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Depravities, and More Depravities

The Star Child has surfaced! Jeffrey Starmichael, proprietor of Great Haven novelty shop Num-Num's and recovering model-airplane fuel addict, has been spirited to a land far, far away. But he's able to tell us the whole sordid tale here.


Last night, Karis and I hit up Lucha VaVoom!, the venerable L.A. cavalcade of comedy, lucha libre, and burlesque. Perfect for a Halloween night!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

That's the Stuff

Here's how to spend a Sunday*: Have breakfast with Ryan Ahrens (up from San Diego to enjoy the cleaner L.A. air) at the Beachwood Cafe, do next to nothing for the intervening five hours, enjoy a couple helpings of serious organic eggplant Parmesan prepared by Michael Hudson, sip coffee and munch on pastries from Figaro, walk home, go to bed.

If you're not jealous, you gotta be told what time it is.

*I would highly recommend having Karis Eklund, Rocket Fever Resident Archaeologist, along for the ride.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

This Just In ...

... the Hudsons' daughter is a beaut.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

No Worries

Well, maybe it's a bit worrisome when hell on Earth is burning all around your city. But in response to many queries, my part of town is in no danger from these fires (which means that the Hudsons are safe too). It is an eerie scene though: the air smells like a campfire, the light is a dirty yellow from all the smoke, and you're likely to see a chopper in the air at any time.

Now that that's settled, I'm gonna go back to bed and continue fighting a cold/flu.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

SoCal Burning

Had to post this pic from the LA Times (submitted by a reader, no less). This still tells the story better than CNN...

Friday, October 19, 2007


Rocket Fever isn't the only one impressed with Micah's political efforts. Check out LA Observed!

Thursday, October 18, 2007 Goes Wild!

I’ve heard that Stephen Colbert recently announced on his show that he’s running for president. I’d have to believe that our own Micah Muzio had something to do with that. As you may remember, Micah launched and an accompanying petition to encourage Colbert to run for the big enchilada. I tell you what: When Micah Muzio puts his mind to something, there isn’t a thing on this planet that will stop him.

And, now, in a neat little Möbius strip of media, entertainment, and media, the petition is blowing up. Its signature total zoomed up after Colbert’s announcement, and the current total is about 3,500. Further, is the No. 1 hit for the Google search “Colbert for president.”

So, in summation, let’s show Fred Thompson what a real insurgent candidate looks like!


Another item for the Rocket Fever Digital Media Shoutouts Department: S’newser and S.F. Valley diva Alethia Calagias points us toward, started by her friend Bill Macfadyen. I haven’t spent too much time on the site, but it appears to be a news source for Santa Barbara that’s an actual news source and not a disgrace to journalism. Neat.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Whither the Olive Burger?

I’ll get to a wrap of the 2007 Pleasant Peninsula Tour soon, but we have important matters to discuss first: How do you make an olive burger? More specifically, how do you make the sauce?

For the uninitiated (read: those lacking familiarity with Michigan), an olive burger is topped by a delicious, creamy white sauce full of chopped green olives. The sauce precludes the need for other condiments. It is likely mayonnaise based, but it certainly isn’t just mayo and olives. The sauce is tangier and of a lighter consistency. Properly made, there is no cheese on the patty. I was told as a child that Dagwood’s in Lansing invented the sandwich, but that just sounds too cool to be true. What is certain is that Dag’s makes the best one I’ve ever had. If you go, and you have an appetite, order two: They make ’em so that one will easily fit in your palm. Also, the Peanut Barrel serves a strong o.b.

Anyway, how does one go about making an olive burger? My foodie co-worker, Derek, searched the Internet for a recipe, but came up with nothing. In fact, plugging "olive burger" into Google returns surprisingly anemic results. Theres hardly a mention of it anywhere. And no one I’ve talked to in L.A. has ever heard of them. I guess olive burgers join pasties as the only Michigan-specific foods. (Although, has anyone else ever tried a Spam-and-Velveeta melt?)

So, I put it to you, Team Rocket Fever: What are the secret ingredients in an olive burger?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Not Sure...But I'm Signing Off Anyway

I'm not sure exactly if Gaines is ever coming back, but I think I'm going to post a picture of Beck and Maggs and just let the chips fall where they may.

One note: Hudster Starkins will be in Chicago, the Second City, The Windy City, Old Swampy (Kinda, right?) for the majority, let's say...the entirety...of next weekend. I'll have a hotel room, an expense account and smiles-o-plenty to be back among the Broad Shouldered ones. Anyone and anyone AND anyone is welcome to come down, partake in the joyousfulness and maybe even take a picture with me that will then be up here.

Rah, Rah...Focket Rever! Pocket Clever! Docket Lever! Socket Beaver!


"Sideways: First Time in the Carrier Thing That Gaines Once Strangely Got Upset About Claiming That Parents Should Carry Their Kids (a.k.a. -- First Time in the Carrier Thing that Inspired Perhaps the worst rant Gaines has ever gone on)"

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hoorah for Gaines

I have absolutely nothing interesting to post for you fine readers today...frankly I'm stinkin' busy, what's it to ya?

But, the RF World needs to stay tip-top and keep it real.

So I thought...wouldn't this be a nice time for you folks to just recognize Craigers for starting this stupid blog and sticking with it? I've enjoyed the hell out of reading it each day...and then about every third day...and now about once a week.

Seriously though, eh? Hats off to Gainser. He's one heck of a happenin' LA dude. This soy latte's for you, pal.

Monday, October 08, 2007

RF Reports: The Battle of Chicago

You a fan of all things media and reporting, that was a strangely interesting experience seeing an average marathon turn into a national story. Yahoo! had it on their homepage feed, Drudge had it up once the Midland runner was confirmed to have died on the course, DetNews, Freep, Chicago everything, NYT...

It was particularly interesting to see how much good detail a person in LA could get from a mix of traditional Web media, user-generated content (photos, etc) on big sites and the blogs and forums of runners in the event or watching.

For first hand accounts, read my brother's extensive account in the comments of the post just after this one (he went to watch) and/or hear all about it from the increasingly heroic Sheri Hall on her blog (plus you can read about her and Paul's move to ATL, which is also a tale of overcoming extreme heat and humidity, I suppose.)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Chicago Marathon: 26.2nd Circle of Hell?

CHICAGO -- I'm trying to track down our two RF runners for an in person, but the blogs and forums around the race are going ape!

The race featured no water at Mile 3 by the 12 minute pacers, several cancelations at Mile 13 and then Mile 20. Ambulances couldn't keep up with the pace of emergency calls.

Some 10,000 runners didn't even dare start, I hear. And the finish, staked out by Tribune photogs, was a scene of human wreckage with passing outs, barfings and agony aplenty.

Wow. Seriously, folks, much respect to Sheri and Craig. History was made today.

LIVE! It's Unofficial!!!

editor's note: To properly enjoy the drama of this morning, scroll down to the first LIVE post and then kinda just read up. Good times.

CHICAGO -- We've got a final...Sheri Hall comes in at 4:16:08 and a 9:46 pace, courtesy of the BlackBerry update which started working again for no apparent reason. Web site still down, so we can't put Sheri's time in context of the field, but it should be admirable considering the conditions.

What is remarkable about Sheri's time (her first marathon, mind you) is a dogged ability to stick to her pace, holding between 9:35 and 9:46 through 26 miles. Great discipline and hats off.

Great work, Sheri and Craig! It's Miller Time!

UPDATE: Here's Sheri's finish against the field:

Overall: 7125 Gender: 2433 Division: 404

ALSO: This is truly incredible...look at this announcement from the Chicago Marathon site...though, not sure how long the course was going to be open much past the 8 hour group anyway. But holy cats it must be hot...

Attention Particpants and Spectators:

Due to the rising heat index and higher than expected temperatures, LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski and Medical Director Dr. George Chiampas, in cooperation with city officials, have implemented a contingency plan, as a precautionary measure, to effectively close the Marathon course at the halfway point. Runners who have not reached the halfway point by approximately 12:00 p.m. will be diverted back to Grant Park via Halsted and Jackson. Jackson will be closed to automobile traffic and the participants will be provided with additional support along this route. Participants who crossed the halfway point prior to the shut-down will continue to be fully supported along the standard course to the finish line. Participants are asked to take advantage of medical personnel, cooling buses, runner drop out buses, water, Gatorade and other means of support en route back to Grant Park.

LIVE! This Might Take a While...

CHICAGO -- So now the site won't even acknowledge our past relationship, resetting my connection with every attempt.

So I'll keep trying...

For what it's worth Sheri should either have crossed the finish in the past 15 mins or is about to.


UPDATE: The page just crashed completely, so feel free to spend some time with the fam, enjoy a cold beverage and check back later today.

Whatever Sheri's time was, it was sure as hell faster than mine. So CONGRATS to every last one of the 45,000 bastards who took the 30th Chicago Marathon on this year.

LIVE! LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon Site Locks Up

CHICAGO -- So I still don't have a 40K time for Sheri and the site is locking up when you send a request for updates. The BlackBerry thing quit working after the halfway point. (I did briefly start getting updates for Heinz Testermann, who is running the race of his life today.)

The InfoWeb is jammed with results seekers.

In the stead of actual times, here's a map of the course from the ChiTrib. As Schmidt, a north-side resident and Cubs hater, would say: you needn't worry for Cubs traffic today, marathon spectators. Such a beautiful course...and a hell of a town.

LIVE! Schmidt Nabs 3:36 Finish

CHICAGO -- Craigory is done and likely extremely glad to take in that Goose Island Ale at the finish. This will be a historic running of the Chicago Marry.

Schmidt ended up finishing 1,447 out of 45,000 overall.

Craig H Schmidt | Bib # 3687 | Chicago, IL - USA | Age 33 | M
START 5K 10K 15K 20K HALF 25K 30K 35K 40K FINISH
0:03:34 0:22:54 0:44:18 1:06:34 1:35:06 1:40:06 1:59:11 2:26:30 2:53:43 3:24:31 3:36:05
TIME Chip Time: 3:36:05 Clock: 3:39:38 Pace: 8:14
Placement Overall: 1447 Gender: 1200 Division: 212

And, as I'm guessing he would approve, I'd like to take this time to reset his 2004 performance, from which I still shake my head in amazement...

Time -- 2:54:20
Pace -- 6:38
Finished 376th overall out of 43K
Finished 66th in his division out of several thousand

To put this heat in perspective...a 2:54:20 this year would be in the top 30 in males 30 to 34 and the top 100 overall.

LIVE! Sheri & Schmidt Smell the Finish

CHICAGO -- The heat appears to be taking a toll on our RF sponsored club team of Sheri and Craig as the pace is tapering a bit toward the end. Considering the reports from the race (the hottest Chicago Marathon ever, it is being said) they will be champions simply for completing the course without medical attention.

As of an hour ago, it was 88 degrees at the finish. That's stupid hot. Plus, high humidty...the kind of day as a runner where you poke your head out and say, "Maybe after the sun goes down." (In a bit of irony, it's actually kind of chilly here in LA as the Beckster went out for a run in Griffith Park this AM.)

Neveronceagaininsomuchas, our runners press on, with Schmidt just past the 40K (24.8 miles) and Sheri at the 35K (21.7 miles).

Maggie is thrilling with the drama.

LIVE! The Pros Are Done, Sheri/Schmidt Press On

CHICAGO - Patrick Ivuti edged Jaouad Gharib in a photo finish to win the muggy Chicago Marathon on Sunday, giving Kenya its fifth straight title.

Ivuti, competing in only his second major marathon, leaned at the finish line for an unofficial time of 2 hours, 11 minutes, 11 seconds. It was the hottest Chicago Marathon ever, with temperatures reaching 88 degrees when Ivuti finished.

Gharib, from Morocco, had the same unofficial time, losing by a fraction of a second.

Sheri and Schmidt are about to pass the 35K and 40K marks respectively. We should have final results for them within the hour.

LIVE! Details on the Weather

CHICAGO -- So forget that negative split storyline. A quick check of the weather and on-course reports shows that this strategy would only be for the insane today.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Unseasonably warm weather sent six high school athletes in Sugar Grove to the hospital Saturday, and officials warn that the heat and humidity Sunday could be even more brutal for the record 45,000 runners expected for the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon.

"This is weather more typical of summer," said Andrew Krein, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Romeoville. "When they're out there running, they should really treat it like a day in the middle of August or July."

Krein said that the temperature is expected to reach a record 88 degrees downtown Sunday and that temperatures in the 90s "are not out of the question." That would mark the hottest Chicago marathon since 1979, when temperatures hit 84 degrees.

LIVE! Sheri and Craig Go for Negative Splits?

CHICAGO -- Forgive this reporter for rumor mongering...but RF has obtained information that would allow us to say both Sheri and Craig may be going for negative splits in their effort to tame the Chicago Marathon 26.2 mile course.

Here's what we know:

  • Sheri's pace has dropped to 9:34 at the 25K mark.
  • Schmidt's is at 7:51 past the 30K mark.
  • It is hot and humid.
  • Northwestern beat MSU in OT.
  • We have no pictures of the race, so please enjoy this picture of Maggie in her pink sleeping bag with a bear with heart on it as she cheers for her friends...

LIVE! Sheri (& Craig Schmidt?) Pass the Halfer

CHICAGO -- Sheri has kept up the pace, tipping the clock at the 13.1 mile mark with a 2:05:44, keeping the same 9:35 pace according to the automated update thingy. Still estimated to finish at 4:11.

Schmidt passed the half at 1:40 at the 25K mark at 1:59, but since we didn't know he was running, I can't get the automated update to guess a finishing time. Double his half would be 3:20.

Also discovered by the RF team...Schmidt is a current Chicagoan. Sheri is a former Chicagoan and graduate of the Northwestern University just north of town. How about that.

Also, Schmidt is a Spartan, which means Sheri's team just beat his in OT yesterday.

UPDATE: We have weather for Chicago...79 or 80 with 65 percent humidity. Running experts contacted by RF were quoted as saying, "Ugh."

LIVE! Sheri Crushes First 15K

CHICAGO -- This just in...Hallster and her ChampionChip timing device have just flown past the 15K mark. Here's our official clock time so far:

Sheri Hall | Bib # 16266 | Plymouth, MI - USA | Age 30 | F
START 5K 10K 15K 20K HALF 25K 30K 35K 40K FINISH
0:06:48 0:30:30 1:00:00 1:29:20

The BlackBerry update says this is a 9:35 pace with a predicted 4:11ish finish time. Going against last year's result, this would put her in the top quarter of her age group and all females, and the top third-ish of all runners.

Like Becky Marshall used to say, "Run like your ass is on fire!"

::::::HOLD THE PHONE::::::
We have late breaking news from Chicago...Craig Schmidt may dammm well be running this thing, too! RF was able to obtain training logs from as late as June showing Schmidty running 70 miles per week and wanting to keep up this effort for "three more months".

RF was also able to obtain this report from the official LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon page:

Craig H Schmidt | Bib # 3687 | Chicago, IL - USA | Age 33 | M
START 5K 10K 15K 20K HALF 25K 30K 35K 40K FINISH
0:03:34 0:22:54 0:44:18 1:06:34 1:35:06 1:40:06

Saturday, October 06, 2007


CHICAGO -- Hey Gang. Hudder here. The only thing better than running a marathon yourself, is having a friend running one that you can track from the comfort of your BlackBerry.

Sheri Hall...the girl portion of the Sheri and Paul Awesome Peeps Combo (pictured here at a computing machine)...will be dashing for the cash tomorrow morn through the streets of the Windy City. RF will be receiving !!!LIVE!!! updates and posting them here.

Cheer from the windows, pray from the pews, wave banners and flags...and then celebrate with the finest meats and cheeses in all the land, as a wise man used to say.


And while cheering for Sheri, also pay homage to Paul (pictured here perhaps making tea, washing out a turbocharger or pondering the strange drawl of his new neighbors) who has an Ironman Tri on his resume, which is an achievement us mortals can only imagine with quakes and shudders.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I Just May Escape L.A. Alive

Hoo, baby! In about 24 hours, I'ma be on a jet plane to Detroit. And I think, I just think, I've got everything in place to make that happen. It's been nasty busy at the corner of Hillhurst and Finley the last few days. There were deadlines aplenty, extra work at the Weekly for our Best of L.A. issue, putting finishing touches on the wedding speech ... oy! Special thanks to all those who helped me through that mess. You know who you are.


Speaking of the Best of L.A. issue, I tricked the editors into letting me write a few pieces. The fools. The rest of the edition has some great stuff (including: one, two, three, four, five), and I had offerings on:


And that's about all I got. Maggie June Hudson is looking beautiful these days; maybe Mike will supply you with a photo while I'm gone. ... L.A. being what it is, I didn't realize it was fall until about five days ago. ... Can't wait for next year, Tigers. And, Dodgers, I'm starting to get just how mystifying you truly are. ... MSU football has been pretty fun so far, huh? ... Charlie Don't Shake has a neat little demo on its MySpace page. ... Roll on Red has some new stuff up on his page. ... I bought a blender a few weeks ago and use it all the time (but we call them "blendeds," not "smoothies"). ... Rocket Fever World Series Pick: Cleveland over Colorado, 4-1, in the least-watched Fall Classic ever.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Yeah, I'm Still Here

So it's been a pitifully long time since I've posted. Let's just say Rocket Fever is in the middle of a seasonal transition. I have been so freaking busy for the past month. Not that I'm complaining. It's just too bad the old RF has to suffer because of it. So until I have it in me to write a proper post, let me pass along these notes:

  • A hearty huzzah to Michael "Spotty" Karpus on his marriage to Dana. I was lucky enough to have lunch with the old boy in Miami. I can't think of anyone who better deserves the designation "stand-up guy" than Spotty does.
  • I had a great, typically awesome time in Miami. The Gaines family is a small one these days, but the room always seems at capacity when we're all together. The trip featured a fitting tribute to our patriarch, Harold Gaines. We shared some stories about the man that I should commit to this here blog. There was also much eating, watching of football, and Sapo playing.
  • I'm stupid excited to go home next week. Not only will it be a chance to laze around during early autumn in Michigan (which represents one of the most perfect time-place pairings you'll find on Earth), but I'll also have the honor of officiating the wedding of Beth Maier and Barry Cook. Guys, I swear I'll have my speech to you soon.
  • My body is not in tiptop condition. After working all summer to achieve the basic likeness of Adonis, I'm back to having no muscle definition and a doughy belly. I note this with sadness.
  • Michigan State beat Notre Dame. Even though it's not that extraordinary to beat ND anymore, it still gives me whole galaxies of happiness.
  • Finally, let us all pause and mark the passing of Oscar Gaines, a good cat who lived a good life. Pop was good enough to welcome Oscar and his brother Hitchcock into our home many years ago. Hitchcock, who also goes by the names Hitchie and Mr. Fluffy, normally attracted the lion's share of popular fascination due to his wild mane and years-long battle with diabetes. But Oscar was happy to go about the business of being a cat in a more straightforward manner. He wanted nothing more than to constantly follow Dad around the house, decimate the furniture with his claws, and enjoy all the small joys and privileges attendant with being a feline. I'll never forget the day Oscar and Hitchcock came home with us. They were both little gray fuzz balls who held no compunction with doing very cute kitten things. After exploring the house for a bit, they walked over to where I was sitting on the floor. One of them climbed up on my head, the other on my shoulder, and promptly fell asleep.

Monday, September 17, 2007

A very happy birthday to the main main, my Pop, Eric Gaines. You may think the days of renaissance men are over, until you meet the esteemed gentleman who can introduce you to NASA TV, score a rare Sapo, and convince you that Jon Kitna is the right man to lead the Lions’ offense (and, after yesterday’s performance, I have to agree).

Cheers, Dad.

20 Episodes, Hundreds of Laughs!

In the latest installment of the worldwide leader in podcasting, Hudson & Gaines, Mike and Craig talk turkey with a representative of Centralia Airlines, which is "competing" for use of Great Haven's air space. But there might be one problem ...

As always, we're also available for download on iTunes. Just search "Hudson & Gaines" on the iTunes podcast page.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I'm back from a great trip to Miami Beach. A full report will follow, but first things first:

Congratulations to the Rexrode family! Let's all give Brennan Fredrick Rexrode a big huzzah!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Hud's brother, Patrick, fires this shot
in the Condiment Wars.
(I assume this is in Chicago)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Labor Day and Memorial Day are quickly gaining on Thanksgiving for favorite-holiday status here at Rocket Fever. If I have a few more blissed-out weekends like my summer bookends, it'll be no contest. This past three-day stretch was pitch perfect, every endeavor an unqualified success, high temperatures and lack of car (more on that later) notwithstanding.

We kicked things off nicely on Saturday with a Beach Blanket Bingo party co-hosted by the Muzios in Long Beach. The king's feast (including star-worthy croissants baked by Karis Eklund, the Official Archaeologist of Rocket Fever) was accompanied by flaming drinks, fun games (bean-bag toss featuring bean bags crafted by Evie Muzio!), a costume competition, a screening of Beach Blanket Bingo, and Micah Muzio in shorts that will doom his mother's hopes for grandchildren. (Gosh, I almost forgot to mention that, earlier that day, State won big in its opener, Notre Dame got pasted, and ... uh, MICHIGAN LOST TO APPALACHIAN STATE.)

Sunday morning got off to a musical, cheerful start as I was a visitor for the bilingual service at St. Mark's Lutheran Church, where Karis' dad is pastor. You show me another minister who can transition between English and Spanish in the same sentence and play a mean harmonica, and I'll bake you a sheet of brownies. After hot dogs and hamburgs in the church courtyard, Karis and I braved the SoCal sun at an African arts festival in Baldwin Hills. After looking in every stall, pawing through every heap of beads, and interrogating every vendor, we finally found a present Karis has been searching for for quite a while. Labor Day success! ... After all that, we escaped to the air-conditioned, thoughtless bliss of Rush Hour 3, which is better than I anticipated but not really worth your time. I must point out that we intended to see The Simpsons Movie, but it wasn't playing at the theater. It was nice, though, that Chris Tucker mentioned the Magic Johnson Theater and Crenshaw Boulevard during a movie we were watching at a former Magic Johnson Theater on Crenshaw Boulevard.

But all this was a prelude for Monday, a day that I'll remember forever as the day I faced down one of my nastiest phobias and beat it worse than Appalachian State beat Michigan. I boarded the Kara Dü in Marina del Rey a trembling boy, but returned to shore a victorious, sea-worthy man. Thanks to the Eklund family, I will never again break out in sweats and shakes when I discuss boating! Seriously, what a great way to spend a hot day: Eating snacks, reading the paper, rocking gently, taking in cool sea breezes. I understand the whole thing now. I get it. After a life-changing day at the marina (which included a trip on the sail boat and a zip around in their inflatable dinghy), we ended the weekend at a chic, sausage-oriented barbecue hosted by some of Karis' neighbors.

So, with all those good vibes stored up, I'll race through this week, and then fly off to Miami on Saturday. September should be a memorable month.


My car: Some dude bashed into it while it was parked. It's been out of commission for two weeks as the shop has fixed more than $4,000 in damage. I'm getting it back today. The subway was fun, but I'm ready for vehicular independence.


Michigan lost to Appalachian State. Just so you know.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

For all she knows, this is how every season starts. Let's not tell her.

Enjoy the holiday from the Huds!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Happy Birthday, Ma!

I'd like everyone at Rocket Fever to raise a glass to Gretchen Kirby, the picture of compassion, the quintessence of motherhood. For closing in on 30 years now (gulp), she's done an outstanding job raising her children, and she can still bake a mean batch of shortbread at Christmas. Happy Birthday, Mootah! Can't wait to see you in October!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Detroit and Cleveland Think They Have It Bad?

In the Rust Belt when a home is abandoned, often no one complains because the other homes around it are already abandoned. But here in L.A., where foreclosures are starting to become as fashionable as iPhones, actual humans live next to newly emptied houses. So what's the big deal? There's no one to pay the pool boy!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Seeing as Rocket Fever is coming up way short in fulfilling your soul-enrichment-via-Internet needs, check out the ever-excellent
City Desk and today's
Friday Facts. That should do your aura some good.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Great Haven Is Not Fictional

It exists everywhere, brothers and sisters.
That's the magic of the place, don't you see?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Look what Mikey Did!

Congrats to Hud and all his associates on the launch of
Red Letter, the official Dodge blog.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Drums Go Silent

Much love to Max Roach, the last to go from the masterful, one-time-only trio that created one of my favorite albums, Money Jungle. When a giant like Roach dies, it always makes me wonder what the world would be like if Bird, Coltrane, Dolphy, Clifford Brown, Bill Evans would have lived into old age.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Monday, August 13, 2007

Introducing: HUDSON & GAINES, EPISODE 19

  • New, hilarious spots, three of which are voiced by members of the Muzio family.
  • Tom Short, the dean of Great Haven sports broadcasting, makes his debut.
  • An appearance by Lynne Jepson.
  • The WBFK Money Dog chimes in.
  • Wrinkles may be coming home.
  • A full-length, in-studio interview with one of the most powerful people in the Tricounty.

Or search "Hudson & Gaines" from the iTunes podcast page.