Wednesday, February 27, 2008

How Can This Be?

How is it that Becky Amos and Mary Sell came to town and I have no photographic evidence? This is an unacceptable oversight, one that demands swift action by Rocket Fever. I call on the Rocket Fever Board of Governors to immediately convene an investigation into this lapse, ferret out the guilty parties, and create an action plan to ensure this never happens again.

But, honest, they were here. And it was a great time. The Huds were heroic enough to provide the girls with room and board, which is good, because it would've been weird to have them sleep on my hardwood floor. Highlights of the visit included:

  • Everyone realizing at the last minute that Becky was coming in from New York to Burbank, and Mary was coming in from Mississippi to LAX. I'm still confused how everyone ended up safely in Glendale, but there you go.
  • Staying up till 4 a.m. at the Hudson house, telling tales, debating the relative attractiveness of long-gone Real World characters, and laughing our keesters off.
  • Walking around Silver Lake with Amos and Ward, discovering the Army surplus store, and driving to within spitting distance of the Hollywood sign. Good job on that, Ward!
  • Watching the Oscars at the Glarum household. I would have taken the entire pot if I hadn't stupidly picked Lars and the Real Girl for best original screenplay. Instead, I ended up in a five-way tie for first.
  • Macking on some rad risotto at Farfalla, and then clapping madly along with Maggie June at the House of Warandi.
From what I hear, the girls are back safe and sound in their respective homes -- far, far away from the burning skies of rainy Los Angeles. Great times, old friends! Huzzah!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Mother's Days

Ma was in town for a few days last week after a visit with her sisters in Phoenix. The cold, dark, rainy weather didn't at all reflect the cheery warmth Mrs. Kirby engendered with her visit. I'd have to say the best part was her first night in town, when we cooked up steaks we bought (OK, she bought) at the Farmer's Market along with garlic mashed potatoes and a killer salad. That meal combined with great mother-son conversation and otherworldly gelato from down the street (Hollywood Gelato: back on the list?) made for a night I'll remember for a long time.

Other highlights included Ma spotting Oscar nominee Casey Affleck at Tropicalia, visiting with the Huds, strolling around Old Town Pasadena, dinner at Farfalla, taking in the new wing of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, shopping at the Beverly Center, and dinner with the Muzios and Warandi at Gardens of Taxco. What a famous time!

I hope you and Joe can make it out here again before too long, Ma. We'll have better weather for you next time. Promise!

Some photos.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Birthday Hits Keep Coming

Happy Birthday to my oldest homeboy, Ryan Ahrens. Ryan and I go back more than 25 years, and we're both permanently blown away that two kids from the old neighborhood in Lansing are rocking it in SoCal.

Enjoy the day, brother. Look for a package of tennis ball-size jawbreakers from Fabiano's in the mail.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Muir Turns Profit

That's not all Pat Muir turned on Sunday: The old sea dog also turned 30! Pat, now that the hideous march of time has revealed itself to you, always remember this photo, which I've had a team of models, photographers, lighting experts, and designers working on since you turned 29. I don't think I need to explain the symbolism of the image, but I will say this: When you get the invoice for the photo, please make payment within 60 days or face a 5% penalty for each week thereafter. Happy birthday, buddy!


Maggie June enjoyed herself to bits during her first time at the beach on Saturday. All indications were that Mike, Grandma Hudson, and solid New Yorker-Michigander Tom had almost as much fun. And who wouldn't? Beautiful kid, perfect weather, sand, surf, Neptune's? Honestly.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Chinese New Year Parade

It was a beautiful day for a parade on Saturday. Luckily for L.A., it was Chinese New Year. Check out the photo set.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Speaking of Birthdays ...

We celebrated Evan Glarum's No. 8 at a roller-skating rink in Glendale this afternoon. This was a typical blowout of fun and mayhem for Evan and his huge gang of friends. Pizza, popcorn (which Evan's bro Willie attacked with gusto), cake, ice cream, and lotsa skating. As the second photo will attest, I'm not exactly Elvis Stojko out there on the wheels. Evan, on the other hand, was zipping around like the jet on his awesome T-shirt. Happy Birthday, Evan!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Rocket Fever Is 3, Which Means Hayley Is 26

As Becky so graciously pointed out in her comment on yesterday's post, February 9 is a big day at Rocket Fever. Three years ago today I launched this blog as I was packing up my old Cleveland apartment and getting ready for ... I had no clue. As I sit here on a gorgeous late afternoon in Los Angeles, I can say with assurance that the Rocket Fever era has been the most exciting of my life. As always, I'd like to thank my readers in SoCal, Michigan, Northeast Ohio, the Pacific Northwest, New York, ancient Nippon, the Deep South, and, these days, Istanbul. This thing would just be an echo chamber without ya.

And if it's Rocket Fever's birthday, it's also Sister's birthday. Word from the Mitten is that the family went for some culture and vegetarian food in Ann Arbor. Here's hoping the birthday girl and everyone else enjoyed themselves. Huzzah for Hay-Hay!

First birthday
Second birthday

Friday, February 08, 2008

Right after you send an e-mail or a chat line, you catch a misspelling. Before the recipient can call you on it, you fire off a correction. What should we call this instantaneous electronic spelling adjustment?


AND: Biofuels ain't all they're cracked up to be.


OH, JEEZ, AND: The LAT has a nice take on Los Feliz's own Alcove Cafe & Bakery.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Lunch with the Dodgers

You never turn down a free lunch, and you never ever turn down a free lunch with the Dodgers. I followed that bit of advice today when a spot opened at an event for Dodgers group-ticket buyers. Hud was stuck in Chicago because of all the snow, so I took his spot and got a tour of Dodger Stadium, lunch with Ms. Alethia Calagias (who hooked me up with the gig), and some good jokes from Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda.

I can't decide if visiting the press box, with a fantastic view of the field, or going on the field itself was the coolest part of the tour. OK, who am I kidding? Being in the Dodgers' dugout, and visualizing what the players standing at the railing see during a late-innings rally, was awesome. And putting my hand on the crew-cut-length turf is something I've always wanted to do. (Y'all probably didn't know this about old Gainesy, but after I was accepted to Michigan State I toyed with the idea of being an agronomy major for five minutes before remembering how awful I am at science. MSU turf guru Trey Rogers is one of my heroes.)

But the real highlight of the day, aside from two ketchup-drenched Dodger Dogs, was hearing the old manager tell some stories. The man has given a speech or two in his day, and his anecdotes are as well polished as his shoes, but much funnier. Two of the good ones:

  • A seven-game losing streak prompted Tommy to tell his players that even the great 1927 Yankees lost nine in a row. After the team ripped off 10 straight wins, his wife asked him, "How did you know the Yankees lost nine in a row that year?" He said, "How da hell do I know? I was born that year, I just made it up!"
  • Before a big road series in Cincinnati, Lasorda went to Mass for some extra help. At the service, he spotted the Reds' manager. As everyone was filing out, the manager (not sure of the time frame, so I don't know if it was Sparky) told him to wait outside so they could chat. Tommy watched as the skipper went to the vestibule and lit a candle. Lasorda then sneaked back into the church and blew out the candle. Result? Dodgers win!

But Tommy was at his best, not surprisingly, when he gave his stump speech for the Dodgers. It was a beaut. I paraphrase: "When you hear 'Dodgers,' you automatically think baseball. Someone tells you he's a Padre, you say, 'Good for you, Father.' Someone tells you he's an Indian, you say, 'What reservation do you live on?' Someone tells you he's a Cardinal, you say, 'Work hard, you might make Pope.' But when someone tells you he's a Dodger, you know it's about baseball!" I got a few chills with a side of goosebumps, no matter how apparent it was he's given this rally cry a million times. Go Dodgers!

(And thanks a million to Alethia for getting me the seat!)

Photos here.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Madness of Joe Rexrode

After the MSU-Penn State game on Saturday, State fans were pretty ticked at the refs for supposedly calling too many fouls on the Spartans. Journal beat writer and Rocket Fever boon pal Joe Rexrode, not satisfied with a cursory review, rewatched the game tape and detailed every single foul call, as well as some calls that he thought the refs missed. His analysis has been getting love and hate from the readers, none of whom are as meticulous students of the game as Joe.

How in the hell long did that take, Joe?

Check out the saga at Joe's blog, Hey Joe.

Major Sting on Hillhurst!

Go get 'em, Smokey!

Cop cars and choppers are pulling over speeders up and down Hillhurst today. They've probably spanked about a dozen drivers already this morning. And it's about time. People treat this road like the Autobahn. Here's to hoping the cop presence slows things down, at least for a while.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

From The City Desk

That old Gaines creative soup is starting to bubble now, boy. Indulge me by checking out my latest at The City Desk, concerning the implosion of a company pegging its hopes on a doomed Facebook application. Thanks, as always, to R.J. White for running my jokes and editing a great site.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Super Duper

Glendale was the place to be for the Super Bowl on Sunday ... the other Glendale, that is!

OK, now that that's out of the way: Becky Hudson did a fantastic job putting together a party befitting one of the greatest sporting events ever. Food, drinks, TV, couches, dips, chafing dishes, wearable ring toss games, football-themed table cloths/napkins/plates, babies, cheering, laughter, drama ... I'd have to call the party perfect. Which we can't say about the Patriots, huh? Huh? Right?

The all-star cast included the Glarums, the Deuce, Alethia (about whom more in a bit), the Muzios, Ward, Frankie O ...

Michael "C." Hudson was sorely missed, but we're glad he got to link up with his Pop and brother in Chicago.

To the pictures!

These were my main contribution to the gig, and Becky even prepped them for me.

Excellent shot by Evan Glarum

I always have this dopey look on my face when I'm around cute girls.

For some reason, the whole gang took advantage of throwing things at Evan. Can't imagine why.

Doesn't this couple look so natural with a baby?

Maybe not.


Remember I had some news about Alethia? Here 'tis:


The lucky SOB is the thoroughly Rocket Fever-approved Austin Knoblauch, who is doing his honorable best to clean up after his older cousin Chuck*. Everyone at RF is gee-whiz thrilled for this alliterative pair. Let's all celebrate at Porto's! Potato balls for everyone! Huzzah!

*This is a lame baseball joke, and pure fiction.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Is Nothing Sacred? Or, An Ominous Turn of Events

In Michigan the blinking red is going the way of AutoWorld.

The Associated Press reports that the state will phase out all blinking red traffic lights in left-turn lanes. The feds are forcing the state to do it in the name of public safety. Seems a bunch of studies say the blinking reds are unsafe.

If you talk to any Michigander who's relocated to another part of the country, he'll inevitably tell you that one of the things he misses most about the Mitten is the blinking red. Expat Michigan drivers are mildly offended that their traffic signals don't trust them to make a left-hand turn when there's no oncoming traffic. Michigan drivers also drive at a baseline speed of 80 on the highways, which kind of terrifies me now.

But I always liked the blinking reds. It gave me a sense of independence as a motorist. The blinking red said to me, "Go ahead, Craig. I think you have enough of a brain to turn left at an appropriate and safe traffic juncture." When I was younger and driving outside the state, I always thought I happened to be in one of the few, peculiar areas to not have the blinking red. After I realized it was something unique to Michigan (and Delaware, it turns out), I added this to my list of complaints about whatever driving culture I was in e.g. Ohio drivers have no clue what the left lane is for, and California drivers consider stop signs to be merely octagonal pieces of public art.

Makes you wonder what other aspects of Michigania will end up as nothing but old folks' memories by the time Maggie J. Hud is old enough to spend a summer back on the peninsula: Michigan lefts? Black flies? MSU football futility? Detroit?

So get your left turns in the way God and Governor Milliken intended them before the G Men come to town. And pick me up some Bar-Scheeze while you're at it.