Feed on


Christmas 2010

One of my earliest childhood memories revolve around hanging out in Italian toy stores. Because the toy store closed an hour later during the Italian lunch hour (from I believe noon till 4 PM) my parents would always let me go there when we went to town.

The “it” toy for years was Masters of The Universe (“MOTU”) with He Man, Skeletor, Hordak and so on. It started as an action figure by Mattel and then came the comic, the cartoon, the movie, real movie followed by several returns of different animated features.


My grandmother gave my toys away a few decades away and now.. at 32.. I got to relive my childhood. Just like Michael Jackson but without touching little boys.


I got this big collection of MOTU action figures on the Internet. I am still missing a few but I had a few of these as a child.


Unpacking these, one at a time, was probably one of the nicest trips down the memory line.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Got to be the best…

New Yorker and Chicago residents (and to a degree Philly) like to claim the best to everything they do. The biggest buildings, the best food, the best you name it. Well, this week I’m in Chicago for business and as I’ve written before – I have spent a lot of my life working like a dog with tunnel vision to where I wanted to go and now that I’m here…. I’m taking a look around and really enjoying things.


We took a few of our partners to a dinner at a brewery called “The Ram”. This place has, I kid you not, a challenge.

I guess they are the best at being stupid because you don’t challenge fat people to an eatoff. You challenge them to a pushup or a jumping rope competition. I digress.

Anyhow. I had to beat this beast. In case you’re curious about the proportions, the thing on the left is half a rack of ribs. The thing on the right is a burger.

iPhone 1538

In case you are STILL thinking – 5lb, I bet I could eat that – consider the OWN marketing girl. The burger is bigger than her head.

iPhone 1540

Think I could finish it?

iPhone 1543 iPhone 1544

iPhone 1546 iPhone 1552

Yes ladies and gentlemen, I earned that tshirt.

iPhone 1553

Out and about….

Yesterday I got to have a little fun with my marketing girls. Jessica (blonde) does marketing for my company and pretty much runs our media stuff. Stephanie (brunette) does just about everything else related to marketing of OWN and ExchangeDefender.

iPhone 1422  iPhone 1492

The Al Bundy Fountain (actually, Beckingham Fountain, from the opening scene for Married With Children).

iPhone 1513

Sitting at the sky deck, 103 floors above ground at the observation deck on top of The Sears (Willis) Tower.

iPhone 1498

Rubbing the lions tail is supposed to be good luck!

iPhone 1518

iPhone 1497 iPhone 1505

Chicago Candy: Bacon dipped into chocolate. Yes, really. No, I didn’t eat it.

And perhaps the two of the greatest contributions to American culture and my lifestyle in particular: The place where Playboy Enterprises was started. And the best Chicago hot dog in Chicago (Gold Coast Dogs). I can vouch for both and highly recommend them.

iPhone 1465 iPhone 1436

You can’t make this stuff up…

Last night we were coming back from Downtown Chicago on the Blue Line and apparently someone jumped on the train tracks and the “L” was down. Props to Chicago, they evacuated us from the train and took us to each stop on a bus. Roughly 2 hours later, we were back on the L and back at O’Hare.

It was certainly an adventure.

As is every day.

Live life to the fullest, have fun, make the best out of every situation.. and eat a 5lb burger at least once in your life.

Fall Saturdays

It’s the little things that make me smile..

Like knowing exactly what Timmy and I will be doing every Saturday this fall.


It’s great to be a Florida Gator. With season tickets :)

Every home game, 30 yard line. :)

1Sometimes when you’re having a great time, great company, great meals and life in general just rocks – you tend to push your luck. Inevidably, it ends up in a moment of stupidity that helps put you back in your familiar, humble place.


This week has been a blast. Catching up with great friends that I haven’t seen in years, meeting the people that have done business with us for years (and made it possible for the life I have now); I just have to be thankful for it all.

My dad always wanted a Mercedes Benz. Always. And he sacrificed his entire life for his family. On his 60th birthday, I handed him a note thanking him for all he’s done and that life is short and worth enjoying. Then I handed him the keys to the Benz I bought for him.


This year, being a proud father of a 2 year old and another on the way, I decided to take that advice myself. Some of what I do is not my thing and I really do not enjoy it – but I do it for my family and for the families of people we employ – but I shouldn’t be miserable doing it, right? So this year every business trip I take has a Vlad fun component.

Washington DC – July 14, 2010

Long day, fantastic dinner, amazing conversation and great friends. One chocolate bread pudding desert too many (and a quart-sized scoop of ice cream) made sleeping without exercise an unlikely option. I’ve never seen DC after hours and my buddy Paul Bonathan from Readycrest in UK really made it sound like something that shouldn’t be missed. So I dared/guilted my marketing guy Anthony thats out on the road with me for a jog from the capital to the Lincoln memorial and back.


Long story short, it started to rain. A lot. But we ran around the mall in true pimp style – with one hand in the pocket trying to keep the phone dry.

But we had a great time, found a new hot dog joint at the mall (found, used as a rain shelter), saw the entrance gates at the Smithsonian that you’d never quite appreciate unless you were pinned up against them like you were hanging off the cliff trying to stay dry. Great time though, and a nice wrap to a fantastic business trip to DC. This type of stuff really makes me miss my wife a ton and makes road work bearable.


imageIn retrospect, we should have checked the weather radar before attempting the run. But how often do you get a chance to hang out around the Washington Monument in pouring rain? From our assessment, we were the only ones. And yes, there is an app for that ;)

Timmy and I are in South California for a little trip to Disneyland – Think Disney World, air conditioned, with half as many people and twice the stuff for a 2 year old to do in like 1/100th of the space. :) This is our first father-son only trip and so far it’s a blast!


You can follow our trip and see additional pictures on Timmy’s blog: http://www.timmazek.com

Diet Progress

Figured I’d offer an update. Things are going well, slow and steady, I knew this would be a long haul and that it wouldn’t be easy but I also didn’t want to completely change my lifestyle or starve. So slow and steady, pounds are melting off.

Here are some quick takeaways:

- Not eating after 7 PM

- Smaller snacks – not grabbing an open bag of chips, etc.

- Low calorie snacks – gello, pudding, etc.

- Cutting down carbs – don’t finish fries, rice

- Avoid breads – stopped ordering buns

And the most important piece: when calorie counting, get something that I can nuke in my evening exercise (which is roughly 600 calories)

One of the coolest things about being a father is having a little dude that you can pin all your jackass ambitions and wishes and say you’re doing it for him. Even better, I have a little sidekick that will tag along for just about anything.

Cross country trip to go to Disneyland? This is something I typically have to sell to Katie. Timmy, wanna go see a California rat? Mickey? Woot!

World of Color at Disney's California Adventure

So, when Katie leaves us in a week and goes to hang out with her sister for a few days, Timmy and I will be traveling across the country to Los Angeles and Disneyland for 3 days to see the new World of Color.


I got us this little picnic thing at California Adventure where you can watch the new show at a better spot and have a snack too! Can’t wait. First daddy son trip and it’s only 5 hours away on the plane. This is remarkably, remarkably stupid but I know it’s going to be a ton of fun.

Love. Live. Eat.

photoI love LA. Wish I lived here. Every time I come to Los Angeles, I go to eat at Pinks, bar none best hot dogs on the planet. The end.

There are a couple of new hot dogs on the menu, and I tried 2/3 of them. Mostly because I’ve never heard of Wendy Williams and the thought of mixing hot dogs with jalapeno’s is just painful.

But this one I couldn’t wait for. The Shrek & Fiona dog!


The other two.



Love the shameless marketing. Graduating? Eat a hot dog. Dad? Eat a hot dog!

5 6

There is now even a petition to open a Pink’s at the LAX! This way I don’t even have to get off the airport to hit Pinks.


So between me and Travis, this was the total damage.


The Hoff dog and Shrek dog!






I did wuss out, completely, on this one. I just couldn’t handle the pastrami. Plus there was no physically feasible way to eat this hot dog. So having started from the top left and right I eventually had to just get rid of the pastrami. Not a fan apparently.

So there goes another awesome visit to Los Angeles, always worth it.

As for the diet, that’s still on the map and still working on it. But how, how is that possible with this much food? Well, I completely gave up alcohol and deserts. I also watch out to space these things out – so I will likely have very little to eat today and I had very little to eat the day before – not perfect, but it’s working.

Oh, also got a purple suit. But more on that later tomorrow!

Weekends are never easy to stick to a schedule or a diet because we’re all over the place and usually nowhere near food that isn’t awful. So this weekend was more about managing time to eat and location than it was to sticking to the schedule, etc. I also tried to space things out by sharing with Katie and eating smaller meals.

Worked pretty well.

Still fat.

But feeling much better and I have kept up the running. I’ve bumped it up to 4 miles a day, or 633 calories. It’s getting to the point where it’s not tiring so I’m really looking forward to adding stuff to it.

On the agenda for this week is hitting the Wii.

If I make that, I’m getting a weight set / machine next week. ;)

Older Posts »