On weekends my mind’s real estate is more like an ancient city with its intractable alleys, and where I’m easily lost in forgotten crevices. On Sunday nights I always find myself returning home feeling as if I’ve left so much unexplored, but also satisfied by what I’ve done with the freedom time allots. Here are a few of the crevices I explored . . .
–> Who would you rather?
My friend Laurence Bekins showed me an article about SocialCrunch on PandoDaily, saying that it reminded him of a game called “Who would you rather” that was played at UBM, a company that once employed us both. I have absolutely no idea what he’s talking about, nor any recollection of what I did in the vast stupidity of my youth. (But if there was a game in which someone was forced to say if he or she would “rather” >insert lascivious action here< person X or person Y, I’m quite sure it was introduced into the company by a few people who came before me, and who will, for now, go unnamed . . . but they know who they are.)
–> Could you drive a Nissan Versa?
Certainly the Nissan Versa is a fine enough automobile, but on the west coast it surely must be designated as a kidnapper-mobile after its use in the tragic abduction of Hannah Anderson. Much as the Ford Bronco (unknown fact: I own one) is still associated with O.J. Simpson’s epic police chase, I’m not sure the Versa will ever overcome the assignation. Nissan should not only rename the car, it should issue a recall and slap a new label on every single one of them (or at least the blue ones). My suggestions for the new name: “The Nissan Hannah.” Or maybe call it “The Nissan Vice Versa.”
–> Food Hacks
These food hack videos are brilliant. They are short and useful and entertaining. The last two, especially the one on hiding your valuables at the beach, are great. The one on keeping your straw from floating out of the soda can is also good, but do people really use a straw in a soda can? Now if these guys can just come up with a hack for easily doing the dishes . . .
–> Where did Yasiel Puig come from?
The Los Angeles Dodgers have had quite a year, going from last to first, and there seems to be no end to the trajectory. The emergence of Yasiel Puig coincides with the period in which the Dodgers have been playing above .800 baseball, and while that time frame also includes many other great performances, like the unbelievable relief pitching and a scalding hot Hanley Ramirez, Puig has been the one dominating headlines. This phenom comes from Cuba, and his journey to the United States is still a mystery, and includes speculation that he came via Mexico, and that he was delivered through a network controlled by a Mexican drug cartel. In other words we may never know exactly how he got here, but if we did, maybe we could write it into the next immigration reform legislation.
–> Does WGNU in St. Louis have any guts? Or is Jack Clark crazy?
Retired baseball player Jack Clark, in his first week co-hosting a sports talk radio show in St. Louis, accused (or perhaps inferred) Los Angeles Angels star Albert Pujols and Detroit Tiger pitcher Justin Verlander of using PEDs. WGNU fired Clark and Pujols is saying that he’s going to sue Jack Clark. In the case of Pujols, Clark claims that Chris Mihfield, Pujols’ personal trainer, told him that Pujols was using PEDs.
These are dangerous times, where players are frequently viewed as guilty due to drastic changes in performance, or appearance, or both. Pujols has long been the subject of PED speculation, and like every other player in his situation, he not only denies it vehemently, but attempts to ruin the lives of those making the insinuations. If he’s innocent, he has every right to contemplate a lawsuit (although if Mihfield is his source, he’s got a bit of protection there; Mihfield is also denying having told Clark that Pujols was juicing). If he’s guilty, he’ll become the next Lance Armtsrong or Ryan Braun.
The swiftness with which the St. Louis radio station fired Clark is mysterious. It wasn’t a suspension, followed by some fact-finding. Just a firing. Maybe Clark is crazy and half-cocked, and this was just far past what the station could accept, but if they’re simply tucking tail, shame on them.
–> The new iPhones are here!
Apple will unveil its next iPhone on September 10, according to AllThingsD, which rarely gets major news happenings wrong. Apple’s reputation has taken a beating lately, since the only real breakout smartphone news the company has had centers on a new look for iOS. The natives, as they say, are restless. Will Apple come out with something that is both new and affordable? Maybe something bigger? Maybe both?
For Apple to outdo expectations this time around, they’ll have to do something big, something surprising. We will likely see different form factors and price points, although Apple is loathe to go completely down market. Big deals would include something meaningful around commerce, or a TV or video subscription service (just a start here would be fine). But these things are mostly powered in software, or in the cloud, or through partnerships. The phone hardware hardly matters now. Give people better battery life (if they JUST fix this, they’ve won), a thinner and bigger phone, a few more colors, a better camera coupled with some fancy photo capabilities, maybe NFC and fingerprint authentication and you’ve done all you can.
I haven’t read TechCrunch for a while. After all the principle players left, I found the writing and editing uneven or poor, and the stories were often of the “me too” variety. But this weekend, I did find one interesting article that delved into what Amazon and Zappos are doing in Las Vegas. A bit utopian, but it’s still a fun read.
–> One more thing
What I’m working on: For this week, I’ve got a story coming on why SAP mobile president Sanjay Poonen left his cushy post to go run end user computing at VMWare (not really VMWare’s sexiest place to be, it would seem to me). I’m also looking at SnapLogic, which makes technology that allows enterprise IT to connect cloud applications. Right now, it sounds too good to be true. We’ll see.
What I’m drinking: I continue to visit as many different coffee shops as I can. One of my favorites is Portola Coffee Lab in Costa Mesa. It’s crazy expensive, but you can get your coffee made just about as perfectly as it’s capable of being made. It also does food pairings, which you have to sign up for. It is insanely well staffed, has lots of choices, and a very palatable work environment . . . except that the WiFi is so poor that I suspect I could carry my bits out of the building faster. That pretty much prevents me from every working there, unless what I need to do doesn’t require the interwebs.
Another favorite is Kean Coffee in Newport Beach. It’s owned by Martin Diedrich, who makes a big deal about how he selects his beans. I’ve actually seen his team in the store doing tastings. When I really want to buy the best coffee to make at home, I go there. But I can’t work there: the place is absolutely packed, so it’s hard to find a table, and there’s no WiFi.
My other favorite place is in San Juan Capistrano, and it’s called Hidden House Cafe. It’s tucked away behind the train tracks in the historic Los Rios part of this great town. Like Kean and Portola, Hidden House roasts single origin coffees. It also has a killer carrot cake muffin and almond croissant. I go to Hidden House most often because it’s close, it has great WiFi and it’s just a pleasant place to work; on the downside, it doesn’t have close to the variety of coffee that Kean and Portola Coffee Lab have. All of them, by the way, provide elegant latte art.
Now to the original question: I’m drinking either the El Salvador or the Ethiopian from Hidden House this week (I worked at Hidden House on Saturday morning). I bought a bit of both. French Press, of course. And black, since you asked.
What I’m listening to: Avicii’s Wake Me Up. I just can’t get enough of that haunting voice and that folk-meets-rave mix.
What I’m reading: This week I hope to finish John Banville’s Ancient Light.