I finished. I rode my bike on every street in Stockton. On Saturday, December 27, three months after I started my quest to ride every street in Stockton, and just a few days before my self-imposed deadline, I crossed the ceremonial finish line. In those three months I rode 1,566 miles throughout Stockton, taking 119 hours. That was, by far, the most I had ever spent on my bike in any three month period in my life.Read More
I love living in Stockton and I love riding my bike throughout Stockton. There are so many great neighborhoods and so many interesting places. But for as long as I have lived here (nearly all of my life), I am embarrassed that there are so many parts of it that I've never seen. That's about to change.
Recently, I set out to ride my bike on every street in Stockton. Yes, every street!Read More
On Sunday, Dawn and I celebrated our 2nd Grandiversary. I mean, Avery, our wonderful granddaughter, turned two years old! Since she entered this world, she has captivated my life. I don't mean to brag but she is simply amazing. She is immensely curious, funny (yes, toddlers can have quite the sense of humor), loving, caring, generous, and at times, ornery. Also, she is quite the grandpa's girl.Read More
My friend Wes, the CEO of Visit Stockton, was the first to text me to tell me that my picture had been used in a post entitled “The 10 Most Boring Cities in America”. He wasn’t the only one though. My partners on Podcast Stockton as well as a few other friends also brought it to my attention. I wish I had time to write a response right away, but I didn’t. My wife and I were too busy rushing home from work in time to get ready to go out and celebrate the wonderful work that Puentes is doing with the Boggs Tract Community Farm.Read More
Forty years ago this week, on February 18, 1974, KISS released their debut album, Kiss.
Many of my friends are, like me, raving KISS fans. This post is not for them. They already know all of this, and much more. You see, when KISS fans gets together we try to out-did-you-know one another.
This post is for the rest of you, my KISS-curious friends.
So, here you go, 10 things you probably didn't know about KISS:
1. The highest charting KISS single ever recorded is "Beth", the piano and strings ballad written and performed by Peter Criss, the original drummer.
2. Gene Simmons recorded "When You Wish Upon a Star" on the 1978 album Gene Simmons. Yes, the Pinocchio song.
3. KISS recorded a concept album that was supposed to eventually become a movie. Music from The Elder was a commercial flop but is still endeared by many fans (and hated by others). The movie was never made.
6. KISS has earned more than $500 MILLION in merchandising in the last 40 years.
7. There are now different musicians "playing the parts" of Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. Currently, Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer are playing the parts of the original band members. Like many bands, the line-up has changed quite a bit throughout the years, with six other artists able to claim membership as KISS band members - rest in peace Eric Carr and Mark St. John. And if you wonder what Gene Simmons thinks about any controversy surrounding new artists donning original members' makeup and outfits, read Gene's tweet to my good friend and fellow KISS Army member, Shane.
8. KISS first appeared on television without their makeup on an MTV special on September 18, 1983. It has been called one of the worst rock fails of all time.
9. There were only eight months between the release of the first and second KISS album, five months between second and third, that's three albums in 13 months! KISS released 12 albums, including 2 live albums and the four "solo" albums in between February 1974 and September 1978!
10. Eddie Van Halen almost joined KISS!
Okay, I can't leave it at 10. Here are a few more:
11. Yes, KISS made a movie, "KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park", filmed at California's Magic Mountain.
12. After being snubbed for many, many years, KISS will finally be inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. I, as many KISS fans, don't care one bit.
13. Gene Simmons was born in Isreal and was a sixth grade teacher in New York before joining KISS.
And, here are a few of my KISS facts:
My favorite member: Gene
Favorite drummer: Eric Carr
Favorite Guitarist: Mark St. John and Bruce Kulick
Favorite Albums: The Elder, Destroyer, Animalize, Crazy Nights
Favorite live album: KISS ALIVE II (duh!)
The first album I ever bought: KISS Animalize
The first cassette I ever bought: KISS Animalize
KISS Concerts I've attended: 1996 with original line-up and 2009 with current line-up
Pebble, the smart watch born from a successful Kickstarter campaign, launched their long-awaited Pebble App Store this week. Apps are not new to the Pebble, there have already been some great apps since the watch was first introduced (mattbeckwith.com/2013/09/02/pebble-watch/), now there's even more, and a nice new interface for finding and installing them.
The original Pebble app had limited options for watch faces (much more were available via third party sites) and was very clunky. Watch faces were listed by their names with easy way to identify which was which.
The new Pebble app is completely different and much more of a polished product. There are hundreds of watch faces, with more coming I'm sure. Also, I can finally see what faces are loaded on my watch, which makes adding and deleting new ones a lot easier!
The Pebble App Store is not about the watch faces (although, I really like the new ones that add the current temperature) it's about the apps!
The new user interface is slick and makes browsing for new apps a breeze. Since only 8 apps and/or watch faces can be loaded on a watch, the Pebble app stores your deleted apps and watch faces in a "locker" for simple re-loading later.
What kind of apps would one want to load on their watch? Well, there are hundreds to choose from. The day that the app store was launched, I was in San Diego giving a presentation. I am actually in southern California all week delivering the same 45 minute presentation nine times. To help me stay on time, I downloaded a stop watch (of which there are too many different ones to count).
How about apps that let you pay for your Starbucks? Control the camera on your smart phone, learn how to play chords on the guitar, plus lots of other things.
Interestingly, all of the apps and watch faces on the Pebble App Store are free. They currently don't have a way to charge people for downloads from the app store. Pebble has no concern with developers charging for a companion app on the smart phone, but it doesn't look like they'll be turning the Pebble App Store in to a place to sell apps.
Overall, I'm pretty happy with the new offerings and the new interface is great. Still holding out for the rumored iWatch, but until then, I'm still loving my Pebble.
Another year, another Thanksgiving in the books! It's always great to see everyone and eat ourselves silly. It's also the time for our traditional field goal kicking competition! Except for Ken, the reigning champ, we all had no problem hitting our practice shot). Then, when it counted, it got real interesting. Below are some of the video highlights.
Spoiler alert: there is finally a new winner this year!
Matt's second kick (there was also a third attempt, but I'll spare you the agony... it looked just like the first two)
Ken's second kick (which looks a lot like Joe's second kick)
And the winner is...
Happy Thanksgiving. And see you all next year!