Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Twice

Megan and I just returned from seeing The Fault in our Stars at the Elkader theater. It's the second time I saw it and Megan's third time.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Vacation

Taking on the risk of data charges as I ride home from La Crosse, Wisconsin, with Karen driving home, I have nothing but positive things to write about when I think about Coalition Drum Store. I was blown away by how friendly and the vibe of the store. The owner and I talked about what kind of drums I have and about the inability to locate a reasonable remote hihat that is not $300.

While Alex and I were in the store, a drummer came in to trade in a Ludwig Vistalite snare drum. It was a clear drum, like mine, but with a smoke flavor. I think if I had stayed in the store longer, I would have walked out with it.

I think I would like to return to the store in the future with the idea of spending money and time there. Karen, Megan, and Lou and Jean were in the truck, waiting for us.

We're going to cabela's now.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Rotten Tooth

I don't care what Dave Mustaine says about former members Nick Menza and Marty Friedman not returning to Megadeth, recently comparing the potential for them to return like putting a rotten tooth back in your mouth, "Rust in Peace" is a phenomenal CD and the CDs they made after "Rust" with that lineup were the best in the Megadeth discography. Nick Menza is a monster drummer, Marty Friedman plays outstanding leads, and the four of them, created outstanding music. I wish they would reunite. That's not to take away from the current drummer and lead guitarist; it is the nostalgia of what Menza, Friedman, Ellefson, and Mustaine created that makes me long for the reformation of that lineup.

I feel the same way about KISS. I would love to have Ace Frehley and Peter Criss figure out all their bullshit with Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. Why they couldn't do it for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction came up again. Paul and Gene feared that there would be too much talk about a reunion. And I get that. They are touring with Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer now and, despite a setlist that is heavy on the old tunes, I get that Paul and Gene want to forge ahead.

That doesn't mean me, as a music fan, cannot long for the reunification of these bands (Megadeth & KISS) to reunite their lineups that created music I love.

In My Brain

While I am in Elkader, I don't have the opportunity to listen to a lot of music. Thus, here's the song that entered my brain yesterday.

Reconversion Update

I just ran the DOS command that tells me I now have 58131 File(s) in my collection. Perhaps that seems impressive on the surface. Scraping off a layer, I find that there are a lot of duplicates.

There are 607 files found when I run this command: dir *(2).mp3 *(2).wma *(3).mp3 *(3).wma /s

58131
-   607
57524

The Fault in Our Stars

At the Elkader theater, there is only one movie screen and this week, it is a movie Megan had seen with Logan, called "The Fault in Our Stars." It is based upon a book with the same name and, while I haven't read the book, I found this review from http://johngreenbooks.com/the-fault-in-our-stars/, which includes these reviews:
  • "A blend of melancholy, sweet, philosophical, and funny. Green shows us true love…and it is far more romantic than any sunset on the beach.” -New York Times Book Review"
  • “One doesn’t like to throw around phrases like “instant classic” lightly, but I can see The Fault in Our Stars taking its place alongside Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret in the young-adult canon. Green’s book is also a good example of why so many adult readers are turning to young-adult literature for the pleasures and consolations they used to get from conventional literary fiction.” -Time
Thus, I feel compelled to locate and then read this book.

The movie was tremendously awesome. It is probably one of the best movies I have seen in a long time because of its honesty. It deals with terminal cancer but, right from the beginning, it isn't making the disease anything beyond what it is: a terrible situation.

Proudly, I will say that I cried a lot during the movie. As I walked out of the theater, I heard a young lady tell an older lady that she almost fell asleep while watching it. I turned to them and said, "I couldn't fall asleep, I was too busy crying."

Plans for the Week

The plans for this week and our vacation in Elkader are somewhat in flux, somewhat in concrete.
  • Monday - It's 7:48 AM now. At 10:30, Lou, Alex, Jim Rousch, and I are going to golf at the Elkader golf course. After golf, we are getting wood for our campsite so, if we have a fire at our site, we have our own wood. There is Bingo tonight in Prairie Du Chien, WI, and since it is only on Mondays, it is required.
  • Tuesday - I think we are taking a day trip to LaCrosse, WI.
  • Wednesday - There was talk about going fishing.
  • Thursday - uncertain
  • Friday - uncertain
  • Saturday - uncertain
  • Sunday - we will pack  up and go to Dubuque for Alice Link's 90th birthday party and then, from there, head home to North Liberty

Online and Alive!

When we camp in Elkader, there is Wi-Fi available for a fee. Since we are paying for our campsite until early September and will be in Elkader for the next 6 weekends (I will be up here for 5 of 6 because of the Uncle Rico the Band gig at the Elk's Club on Saturday, August 23rd but Karen and Alex are camping that weekend), it makes sense to pay $20 for the ability to come up to the office and sit outside on the patio chair with my laptop plugged in, the music from the last Uncle Rico the Band rehearsal to play on my phone, and to mess around with the external hard drive. Predicting that I would have Wi-Fi available, I even brought a spindle of CDs to rip while I sit here.

My plan is to be up to use Wi-Fi in the mornings we are up here in Elkader. Despite my best efforts, I tend to not sleep in, even when I am on vacation. I consider myself an early riser, a morning person, a person that likes to get up early and, probably after 5 minutes, I am no longer tired. It's the staying up late that gets to me. I infamously fall asleep in front of the campfire until, with a sudden jolt, I wake up and go to bed. That's just the way I am.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Drumming News

  • I never really, truly, followed the story of why drummer Chris Slade stopped playing in AC/DC, but this article sheds some light on it. 
  • Crappy news from Mr. Big. Their drummer, Pat Torpey, has Parkinson's Disease. There's also information on their official website.

To our fan's around the world:
Pat Torpey, has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and unfortunately will be unable to perform all of his normal drumming duties on our upcoming World Tour in support of our new album, …The Stories We Could Tell.

From Pat: “I’ve been dealing with Parkinson’s symptoms for the past couple of years and only recently received a confirmed diagnosis as symptoms worsened. I intend to fight the disease with same intensity and tenacity that I drum and live my life by and will continue recording and performing, as always, to the best of my ability."

We intend to announce a drummer in the near future whom will handle most of MR BIG’s drumming duties on the Fall 2014 tour but expect Pat to jump on the drums on suitable live songs as well as participating in the our acoustic set.

Thank you for your unwavering support and we'll see you out there soon!

MR. BIG


Chapter III of PW News

Finally, the other major story going on is that TNA has returned to a ring with 6 sides. Many of the wrestlers did not want this for various reasons. The way I see it, the 6 sided ring distinguishes TNA from WWE and, if TNA ever wants to compete with WWE, they need to be different. The only other "main" professional wrestling organization is Ring of Honor and their only hope of becoming a legitimate competitor with WWE and TNA is to get a budget. Their television broadcast looks awful and they are in small dinky venues. The only thing ROH has going for them is that AJ Styles left TNA to go to ROH. I don't see Styles as an icon in the world of professional wrestling and I don't think his involvement with ROH can elevate the organization.

Anyways, TNA and ROH are simply made up of pro wrestlers that either have never wrestled in the WWE or they are wrestlers that left the WWE for some reason. Considering that Kurt Angle is the current main player for the faces and that MVP is the current main player for the heels, TNA seems like an organization without a flow. There's also Bully Ray and Tommy Dreamer and Rhino - all who had runs in WWE at various points in time - so there's a nostalgia element to watching TNA.

I hope that TNA does emerge from their current distant second standing in the professional wrestling companies that are around. While they don't need to worry about competing with the PWA, they do need to create a quality product. I hope they do.

More Pro W News

CM Punk built up a following in the WWE, going from a hated heel to an iconic major player. After a PPV, he "quit" the WWE. Recently his contract ran out and despite fans cheering for his return, he has not returned and, per his recent comments, and with his profile being moved to the WWE alumni page, it would seem he is done.

That said, this is professional wrestling. Anything can and does happen within this twisted and crazy pseudo-world.

Pro Wrestling Update

My attention is elsewhere. I am not keeping up with the happenings with WWE or TNA, at least on this blog.

For WWE, the biggest news is that Sting was at Comic Con in an appearance with Hulk Hogan, Daniel Bryan, and Paul Heyman. The words circulating around the Internet is that, simply, Sting wants to wrestle the Undertaker at Wrestlemania XXI in 2015. Sting is 55 and the Undertaker is (I think) 49. The draw of the two icons that haven't crossed paths finally colliding has to be marketed correctly. Personally, what I'd rather see is the two of them teaming up in a tag team match at Wrestlemania. That would send shivers through the fans. Instead of being rivals, here's what I would do.

The night after the last PPV in 2014, Monday, December 15, 2014, would be my target date.  It is the night after the TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs PPV and that's when I would have Sting show up, unadvertised. I would not make him a special guest or announce in any way that he was going to be present. That means not leaking his appearance to the Internet in any way, shape, or form - not even with a teaser trailer about "someone" showing up on Raw. Anyways, out of nowhere, Metallica's "Seek and Destroy" starts up. Mind you, I would also *not* start out Raw with this segment. I would give the opening segment to the winner(s) and loser(s) of the PPV from the night before. Normally, the first segment sets up the main event for the night and, okay, sure, set that up if it needs to be done.

Maybe 75 minutes into the show, this segment starts. "Seek and Destroy" starts up. A lot of WWE fans are not going to be sure what is going on until Sting walks out. He goes over, stands in front of the WWE logo and says, "Who would have thought this night would happen 20 years ago?" or something like that, to give the marks on the Internet fodder for gossip. Sting enters the ring and says, "Good evening. My name is Sting. I am here tonight to tell you that hell has frozen over and I am in this ring." He can talk about his history in professional wrestling, perhaps mentioning WCW, and then, after a brief promo, have John Cena come out. They shake hands. Cena tells Sting it is a honor to be in the same ring and that, someday, he hopes the two of them can work together. About that time, and here's where I get slightly cliched, Cena's enemy from TLC comes out and challenges the two of them to a 3 way dance. Throughout the promo, there's no indication where Sting stands, whether he's aligned with Cena or the enemy.

Later, in the main event, the three are fighting. Cena turns heel. He joins up with the enemy and the two of them beat the hell out of Sting. Then, and only then, the Undertaker's bell chimes. He appears in the ring and looks at Sting. The two of them take out Cena and the enemy. Raw goes off the air.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Best Movie EVER!

The other night, there was nothing on television so when I came across the best movie ever made, in my opinion, I watched it again. I have the movie on DVD and I know the majority of the dialog by heart. I don't care, though. This movie is my favorite.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Dead Daisies

A band called The Dead Daisies are opening for Def Leppard and KISS tour when the bands come to Des Moines on Wednesday, August 20th. Who are the members of this band?
The band features
  • vocals: Jon Stevens (Noisewoks, INXS and rumour has it a 90s Van Halen audition)
  • guitar: Richard Fortus (Guns N' Roses/Psychedelic Furs)
  • guitar: David Lowy (Mink/Red Phoenix),
  • bass: Marco Mendoza (Thin Lizzy/Whitesnake), 
  • keyboard: Dizzy Reed (Guns N' Roses/Hookers & Blow)
  • drums: Brian Tichy (Ozzy Osbourne/Whitesnake/Billy Idol)

Rise Hand to Face and Perform Abrupt Slap

Sometimes, I read things that seem like jokes (like the Planned Parenthood working telling a 15 year-old about sex shops and fetishes) and it's difficult to grasp where the person that is being described is coming from. Despite the posts on this blog with the "Republican Tendencies", I consider myself open-minded. That said, if Nigel Sykes ends up winning $260,000 ... we have a real problem within America. I had never heard of Nigel Sykes until reading today's Fox News First email newsletter:

A man who pleaded guilty to robbing a Delaware pizza parlor is suing the establishment for its employees being too rough with him when they tackled him to keep the gunman from getting away. From The News Journal: “In his self-written complaint, [Nigel Sykes] admits, ‘I committed a robbery at Seasons Pizza’ on Maryland Ave. on Nov. 30, 2010, just before 8 p.m. He admits he ‘displayed’ a handgun and that an employee – a delivery driver and one of the named defendants – ‘handed me $140.’ He says he then started to make his way forward in the store when a different employee grabbed him from behind and other employees wrestled the gun from him, with at least one shot being fired during the struggle. ‘That is when the assault began,’ according to Sykes' suit. ‘All of the Season's Pizza employees participated in punching, kicking and pouring hot soup over my body. I was unarmed and defenseless and had to suffer a brutal beating by all of the employees of Seasons Pizza,’ he wrote, adding the beating knocked him unconscious.” Sykes is seeking more than $260,000 for his pain and suffering.

Again, wow.

Interesting Article

This is an article about a conference the author attended that attempted to answer the question, "Does God love women who have abortions/?" My initial response was "Yes."

I really like the summary of the conference in the final two paragraphs:
... Democrats have a habit of changing their language when the current language is found out by the majority. In other words, once people understand they are talking about killing babies they need to use different words – as if saying it another way makes it something different ... God’s truth doesn’t enter into the discussion for progressives. Like every other subject for liberals, it is wholly about what they feel. And if they don’t like it, it’s not good. The label of sin is not good because they don’t like it. They don’t believe abortion is a sin and they don’t want women who’ve aborted to be called sinners. In fact, abortion is a sin and women who’ve aborted are sinners. Also in fact, we are all sinners and God loves all of us.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sour Grapes

Notice the bold / italic text in the original email sent to me. They want someone with "comfort with working with geographically dispersed teams" but require the person that fills this role to be based on-site. So, what does "geographically dispersed" mean if it doesn't mean people in different geographic locations working on the same project?

That's okay, I didn't want to do a contract for the next 12-18 months anyways.


From Me
Yes, I guess I am out of consideration.

I'm sorry that is their requirement as I recently worked on exactly this type of work. We have multiple user guides, one for each customer, and because there was not a single source solution, which is what I gather your client wants, there were multiple versions of the same user task. I took the multiple versions of the same task and consolidated them into a single version that was applied to all customers. This consolidation of text is something that can be done remotely.

I hope you find the right fit.

From Recruiter
This cannot be done remotely, unfortunately. They want someone on site. Would this take you out of consideration?

From Me
This sounds like a great fit for me. I have done exactly this type of work at various companies over the 19.5 years of being a technical writer. I have a dozen years of RoboHelp experience and 3+ years of using Confluence.

Can this work be done remotely on a part time basis? I have a den in the basement that has served as a home office when working on other contract-based projects. I am hoping that your answer is "yes"!

I will send you my updated resume before Monday morning.

Thank you,

From Recruiter
Good Afternoon,

(company) has new opportunities available for a Technical Writer in (location) area for a 12-18 months contract. I am sending this to you because I came across your resume in our internal database. Please take a moment to review this opportunity and let me know if you would like to learn more. If you are not interested or available but know of someone who may be please feel free to pass this along to them. If you are interested, please reply back with an updated resume. Thank you very much for your time and I look forward to hearing back from you!!


Start Date: September 1st, 2014 or earlier if possible
Duration: 12-18 months contract
Location: (location)


Part of the National Implementation Team – will be working in a team environment to document and write for an online help system AND Content Management System

This company is currently in the process of taking all of the documentation that share common topics across multiple business lines that have differing versions, taking out all of the information in sections, then re-writing the sections to be ONE version so business lines can build their own COMPLIANT documents.

They are finding this section in ALL documents, writing one common version, and distributing for ‘re-entry’ into the full document.

Recreate this over and over for each section in each of the 1,000’s of documents within Consumer Lending.

Job Description (day-to-day responsibilities):
Demonstrated topic-based authoring experience; either in an online help system or content management system.  
Comfort with working with geographically dispersed team’s 
Proven ability to author content as part of a team.

Must Have's / And Top Priority Skill Sets:
Previous experience using RoboHelp, Framemaker, AuthorIT, or DITA-based documentation systems.

They are currently using Robohelp, but are migrating to a new system. However, They do not know WHICH system as of yet. This is why ANY content management tool experience will suffice.

Woodstock 1999

Hard to believe that Woodstock 1999 was 15 years ago. The event has left quite the legacy, as discussed in  this article about the event.

Lars on Cocaine?

I never knew Lars Ulrich used cocaine, as he discusses his drug habit in this article. Maybe my placement of him on a pedestal should be questioned.

Jamming the Anger

As I've written previously, I strongly feel the Metallica release "St. Anger" has been unfairly dismissed because, what, there's not a guitar solo to be found and the snare drum sounds different. C'mon. Take in the video below.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Lost

I really really hope that there is another show as awesome as Lost before I die.

Editor's note: I wrote this while watching a rerun of an episode and also to verify that I can post an entry from my cell phone.

Hateful

There's a great song by Lorenzo, an Ohio-based rock band, that has a song called "Hateful" and I thought of that song when I saw the Facebook postings (linked to from this article) on Rob Zombie's Facebook page. Disheartening to have "fans" not realize that Rob Zombie is a human, not some robot. If the guy says he can't sing, then he can't sing. If he would have sang and if he would have struggled through the show, the same fans that are complaining about him not finishing the concert would be complaining about the quality of his vocals. Some people in this world cannot be made happy. Kevin Holmes said it best:
"People are so rude. Apparently the man was really under the weather. I guess they think rock stars are impervious to getting sick. Shit happens, and I am sure he will make it up. Get better soon Rob Zombie and don't sweat the negativity..."

Lists Suck

Loudwire's 10 Best American Metal Bands list is missing a few entries. First, how is System of a Down on the list but Testament is not? Second, each of the "Big Four" bands (Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer, Megadeth) are a given so how about the 10 Best American Metal Bands without 40% being no surprise whatsoever. Third, and finally, if Pantera is on this list because their beginnings as a hair metal band are being ignored, why in the world would KISS not be included on this list? They are metal to me!

Off-Season Drama

The Iowa Hawkeyes don't begin practice for the 2014-15 season for a while (October) but that doesn't mean there hasn't been news surrounding the team. First, Peter Jok has had another issue with the law and not all of the media is sympathetic to the sophomore to be. Second, Zach McCabe has had his assault charge dropped so the controversial senior no longer has that to contend with. You remember McCabe, right? He was the one that did the WWE takedown on the player and had to have Coach Fran ban Twitter.

Third, there is some good news - not all news has "run-in with the law" as a generic grouping of the stories about the team. Obviously, the biggest story has to be Devyn Marble being drafted to a NBA team. That is awesome and I wish him much success in the NBA. I hope he has a long career and a productive career as well as far as being able to play during the game and not ride the bench. Second, as far as this year's team, there are multiple bright spots. The biggest has to be Aaron White's senior season. To me, he is the default leader of the team this upcoming season following the graduation of a strong senior class. Working hard during the off-season by attending two prestigious basketball camps, puts him in a great position to be a player in the NBA. All he needs to do is play well during the season.Yeah, I wrote "all he needs to do."


Enough Politics

Sorry for being so political the last few posts. This is not a political blog.

It's more about Star Wars! Yeah! There's a leak about the plot and it sounds so fake that it can't be true. Please, do not let the plot to be about finding Luke Skywalker's hand! It sounds like something from Spaceballs.

What's the Punchline

A 15 year-old girl walks into Planned Parenthood and is told about sex stores she can't enter, bondage, and pooping on your sex partner.

I'm still waiting for the punchline, but there isn't one.

Bi-Partisan but Not

Once upon a time, someone said, "We should have national standards for education." Democrats and Republicans got together and said, "Here, this is what we think should be standards." Now, all of a sudden, Common Core has become a politically hot issue. Republicans are stepping over each other to withdraw support. Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin is the latest to back away from this idea of a national standard in education.

Standing While the President Sits

For weeks, Bill O'Reilly has been calling for the action that Governor Rick Perry (Texas) is going to make: sending the National Guard to deal with the border between Mexico and the United States. It's a touchy situation and there are all sorts of dimensions.

There's the dimension that the majority of people crossing the border are children.

There's the dimension that once the people cross the border, they are putting a burden on social service resources.

There's the dimension that this country was built upon immigrants.

There's the dimension that some of the people crossing are not good people and could result in higher crime rates.

The way I see it, from up here in Iowa, is that when President Obama asks for 4 billion dollars to deal with the issue, it is money being flushed down the drain. Who did the analysis to figure out that was how much money is needed? No one knows if it's too much or not enough.

I think throwing money at the issue is not enough. I do not believe that people, even if they are children, should be granted the honor of being a United States citizen just because they showed up at the border. There are laws. Those laws need to be followed. If the law is not helpful at the moment, then change the law. This does not mean an executive order to by-pass Congress. It means working together.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Negotiating a Deal

As it has been reported previously on this blog, Uncle Rico the Band has a poolside gig at the Elk's Club in Iowa City on Saturday, August 23rd. We are playing from 7 - 10. There was a successful negotiation with Alex so that I can use his Yamaha electronic kit at the gig which will make the sound easier to control for Randy, who does our sound. I am going to be working on first, creating a couple of custom drum kits and second, practicing the songs in our three sets between now and 8/11, which is our next rehearsal.

Now

What I noticed on this video is the way the drummer is really fluid with his pattern. He's not really playing a complicated pattern, but he adds a visual element with the way he hits the snare.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Marriage is Going to Be Hard

It was difficult to keep the Mountain Dew Live Wire in my mouth within my mouth when I saw this article.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Please, no Photos


http://chicksontheright.com/posts/item/26121-he-s-not-interested-in-photo-ops-y-all

Elephants Everywhere

I blurted out the phrase "Elephants Everywhere" over the weekend. What a cool name for a band!

What? Did I Comprehend the Lunacy?

So, when I see a headline that declares, "DHS Asks Catholic Churches to Feed & House Illegals After Obama Admin Declares Them Terrorists," the editor or writer or the person responsible for the assembly of those words in that order should get a bonus. That is brilliant. I love it. Of course, I have to click the link to the article.

So should you. It's lunacy.

It's Been Awhile

I'm updating the page that tracks the CD reconversion project with 57668 File(s) as the number for between 7/1 & 7/15. I think I made a mess out of the conversion in the sense that I took a lot of CDs out of their case in order to put them on a spindle in order to bring 100 CDs from the den to the living room in order to rip CDs while sitting on the couch and watching television in the same room as Karen. Unfortunately, I didn't mark which CDs were done and which ones were not so I have around 100 CDs that I *think* are done, but I have to audit them to be sure. Yeah. In my spare time.

Easing back In

What a vacation!

Alex and I went up Thursday, 7/10, to Elkader and got the camper set up. The only mishap was when the camper was lowered with a sway bar leaned against the camper, which resulted in a hole in the front of our camper and a kicked table by the person who lowered the camper by depressing the lever. Other than that, things went rather smoothly. Sure, the water hookup took some work and the water heater plug took some work and there were issues with the back lock not wanting to open. Those were all things that were quickly resolved, either by me or by Mark, my brother-in-law, or by Lou, my father-in-law. It worked out fine.

On Friday, Mark, Lou, Jonathan, Tyler, Alex, and I played 9 holes of golf at Clermont. I played reasonably well. I had par on one of the holes. After playing golf, we went to Gunder to have lunch. I had a Gunderburger, which is a pound of hamburger. I ate the entire thing, which is okay since I didn't eat breakfast.

On Saturday, we played 6 handed Euchre before going to 5:30 PM Mass, followed by pizza at J&J's. At 8:30ish, Mark, Jonathan, Tyler, Susie, Alex, and I went to a "review" show at the Elkader Opera House. It was really funny and I laughed. Susie said she liked to listen to me laugh.

On Sunday, we played 4 handed Euchre while Mark and Susie packed up.

On Monday, Louis, Alex, and I played 18 holes of golf at Luana. I was playing out of my mind good golf. I was ready to play another 9. I was the most consistent I've been all season.

On Tuesday, we packed up and came home. I drove the Ford home and listened to Uncle Rico rehearsals in an effort to prepare for tonight's rehearsal. I haven't touched a stick since last week's rehearsal. When I got home, I mowed the front and then helped Alex finish mowing the back.

Today, it's back to work and going through the pile at work. We have a department meeting today at 2.

I want to write about what's been going on in my life, but cannot do so at the moment. Thus, I leave this:




Bloopers from Above

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Knack

At Uncle Rico rehearsal last night, Gary and I talked about a couple of songs by The Knack. The tune that every cover band seems to always do is, of course, "My Sharona". Gary mentioned a second tune called "Good Girls Don't (But I Do)" which, somewhere in the deep depths of my mind, I think I had heard previously.

Scott is going to confirm our gig today. For the third summer in a row, Uncle Rico the Band is going to be playing on Saturday, August 23, 2014, at the Elk's Club in Iowa City. We are playing from 6 - 10 by the pool. The date is meaningful to me. It is a year to the day since the last time I played drums at a rock gig setting. This will be the third summer in a row that the band has played a poolside gig.


Good Girls Don't (But I Do)



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Prepare for Missing a Goal

My reality is that I am going to Elkader tomorrow after work with Alex to set up the camper. Karen is coming up after work on Friday. When I am in Elkader, generally, I assume I will be offline and not writing posts for this blog. Why does this matter? With the way my busy life seems to be heading, I have 11 days, including today, to reach my goal of 1750 posts by the end of the month. I will be in Elkader until Tuesday, 7/15. Thus, I am looking at writing 38 posts in 11 days which comes out to just under 4 posts a day. That will take a dedicated effort. If I were to write another 4 posts and drop my number to 33 posts in 11 days, that would be an even 3 posts / day.

Whatever ends up happening with this blog and my effort to make 2000 posts by the end of 2014, I firmly resolve to not post miniscule nuggets of content.

Alcohol got Him into Too Much Trouble

Somewhere, in an alternate reality, former Skid Row vocalist Sebastian Bach is still putting on legendary shows with Skid Row and the fact that Skid Row has a different vocalist has never been a reality. Also, in that alternate reality, Bach continues to drink like a fish. As he describes in both this article and the embedded video below, Sebastian Bach is sober.

From the article, I've snipped some quotes that I feel are applicable to my own sobriety and, quite possibly, the following quotes are out of context as he was talking about being a lead singer in the music business and I am talking about my current life.

Quotes:
  • You know the game Monopoly? Do not pass 'go' – do not collect $200, go straight to jail? That's what drinking is for me. I just get pretty crazy on it, and I don't know when to stop. Some people can be social and have a drink now and then. When I start drinking, I don't know when to stop.
  • I drank .... for [roughly, 22 years]. And I loved it. But you have to make a choice of whether you wanna be .... your best.
  • So I just wanna be the best I can be. That's pretty much it. I just feel physically better, and I look physically better. When I [got messed] up every night, I look[ed] like pure hell, like anybody else does.

Tentative Details

At least among the band members, we have a selected a date from the three options presented to us. I won't reveal more details until they are finalized. We have rehearsal tonight at 6:30.

Two-Minute Hates

This article about the Supreme Court decision in favor of Hobby Lobby is interesting. It quotes another article by Megan McArdle. In *that* article, McArdle makes the suggestion "that the Left and the Right “misunderstood each other so profoundly — and continue to do so even after all the screaming.” I agree with the author of the first cited article when he writes, "That’s not even remotely true: I (and most of the rest of the Right) understood the Left’s position on the case from the beginning. I just rejected it, because it was stupid; simplistic; and frankly designed to produce Two-Minute Hates on cue."

There! That's the phrase for politics in America 2014: "Two-Minute Hates".

The article goes on to quote McArdle's article, which includes this text:

Still, Megan’s article is in itself of interest:
"…while the religious right views religion as a fundamental, and indeed essential, part of the human experience, the secular left views it as something more like a hobby, so for them it’s as if a major administrative rule was struck down because it unduly burdened model-train enthusiasts. That emotional disconnect makes it hard for the two sides to even debate; the emotional tenor quickly spirals into hysteria as one side says “Sacred!” and the other side says, essentially, “Seriously? Model trains?”"

And, if that's really true, if someone can put religion on the same pedestal, the same level, as a hobby, they do not understand faith in God.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Local Headlines

Though the specifics are not ironed out yet, there is a gig in the future for Uncle Rico the Band! When I can reveal more, I will.

World and National Headlines

Busy Week

I practiced drums for a long time last night, but didn't actually *play* drums the entire time I was in the den. Instead, there are some songs in the Uncle Rico list of songs that we are playing that are "failing" because I'm not able to play the pattern I need to play. I focused on "Johnny B. Goode" and "Two Princes." These tunes have very different feels.

First, "Two Princes" with its modern feel. Here's a drum lesson I watched to try to learn the opening fill.



But I really wanted to hear another drummer playing the "main" pattern of the tune. That's when I found this:



What's kind of funny is that the parts of the song that I have to really concentrate to play correctly are the same parts of the song that, in my opinion, he doesn't nail.

Moving on to "Johnny B Good", I found quite a few videos to watch.

This is simply a drummer playing the tune:


This is a very good cover of the tune:

This is NOT a very good cover of the tune:


If time permits, I plan to go through these two tunes again.

The Rumors Swirl

I'm amused by the way the Internet puts news in front of numerous people quickly. The sequel to "The Avengers" is being filmed. There are all sorts of rumors about who is in the movie and who is not as well as plot details. This article reminded me of the dangers of trusting the Internet for every thing. The rumor was that Spider-Man was going to be in the movie and, as evidence, there's this photo:


But, unfortunately, the above picture was modified. Here's the original picture:



Monday, July 7, 2014

Heaven

Without a doubt, the ad on Craigslist here will not exist at some point in the future so, in order to preserve the awesomeness of the item for sale, I've copied / pasted the text of the ad here:



Here's the deal: this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire a combination of state-of-the-art technology combined with old-school media in the form of a truly massive CD collection.

First, the CD's. You are purchasing a painstakingly curated collection of pristine CD's that have been accumulated over a lifetime, going back to the very beginning. There are roughly 8,700 titles comprising over 11,000 actual discs (many multi-disc collections). Many, many rarities and one-offs. Except for a few hundred recent purchases, every single CD has been carefully stored in a padded, archival sleeve and ALL the original artwork has been preserved without any folding or cutting. Read
more about these sleeves here: http://jewelsleeve.com. These CD's are in truly mint condition. Due to a limitation of my system I CANNOT provide a list sorted by genre (don't even ask) but a full artist/titlelisting is provided here:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/6gwow7kjin09dsq/FinalAlbums.txt


Next, these sleeved discs will come with four custom-made oak chests that store the entire collection in a very small footprint. Attached is a pic showing the concept (pic 1), a pic of the actual CD's in a different chest (pic 2), and finally a pic of two of the actual chests themselves (you will get FOUR). These chests will come with upper cabinets for additional storage (shown). This is a link to the pics:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/a2deurvsr8rz1x8/MyJewelChests.jpg


But wait, there's more. About 98% of these discs have been ripped to four first-generation 2TB Sooloos servers. You will get these servers, a Sooloos Control One that only needs a new disk drive (easy to fix) and a Sooloos Source Five that seems to have a bad ethernet port (could probably be easily fixed by any hardware geek).


Finally, you will get several thousand extra blank Jewelsleeves so your collection can continue to grow.


The original value of everything offered here: 8,700 titles stored in sleeves, four custom oak storage chests with uppers, a complete Sooloos system, and extra sleeves, is over $160,000.


Offered for $50,000.

Friday, July 4, 2014

That Bitch Irony

Around 12:30 yesterday, I got an email from my manager that said that we could get an early start on our holiday weekend and leave at 2. Of course, that's about the time that an issue with work that had to be done came up. Basically, help text in HTML gets routed to a queue and the web application pulls the help text from that queue, except, for the help text I was concerned about, it displayed "null" instead. This turned into a "not my job" merry-go-round that I finally jumped off of at 2:45.

The ultimate issue that caused "null" instead of the help text was not my issue. I couldn't have fixed it.

I just checked a bit ago and the defect I had created for the issue was routed to Development and four hours after submitting it, the issue has been resolved. Yeah!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Too Many Catholics


I am Catholic. I am fully indoctrinated (ooo - big word!) in the Catholic beliefs. I could list the reasons I feel this way but my point is to provide context about this idea, not list milestones in my life that coincide with my faith in God and Jesus Christ. Yes, I would say that when anyone proclaims negative ideas about the Catholic church, I feel hairs on the back of my neck raise up a bit. I am biased in the belief that Catholicism is the set of beliefs I attempt to use to direct my life choices. Am I always successful in that? Of course not - read any post on this blog where I have captured my mistakes and failings as a husband, father, and son as evidence.

That's the reaction I have when I consider the thesis that "there are "too many Catholics" on the United States Supreme Court." That thesis, put forth by the Huffington Post, a liberal website, is within an article which was written as a reaction to the Supreme Court ruling about Hobby Lobby. Had it not been for my daily newsletter from Red State leading me to their article http://www.redstate.com/2014/07/02/huffington-post-many-catholics-supreme-court/ which is a rebuttal to that Huffington Post article, I might have never conceived this idea.

All that said, here's a link to the article for your amusement.

One thing I really enjoy about politics is the way "everyone else" is wrong. Look at this set of comments from the above article:


David Willingham · Top Commenter · Works at Retired
I have no opinion on whether a catholic or 7 should be on the court, but I have a concern when the Churches argument is presented as justification for this decision, when all of us know that nearly everyone in the Catholic Church do not practice the Church's teaching on birth control.
Dorothy Madigan · Top Commenter · Works at Retired
Have you read the lawsuit? It's not about contraception, but about the four forms of contraception that Hobby Lobby objected to as abortifacients out of the 20 which were presented. They had no objection to the others. It wasn't about preventing conception, but about continuing life after conception.

Gerald Allen · Top Commenter · Works at Living with Parkinson's and fighting everyday.
Not real oppression if they made the Supreme Court bench. Sounds like this paper is the one that wants to oppress Catholics.
But then they are the liberal news and liberals just got handed 3 blocks to there God obama.
Lars Taylor · Top Commenter · UC Berkeley
You are delusional.
Ray McGaughey · Associate Research Scientist at I can't tell you that
Lars Taylor Like so many others. They live in a different world, somehow.
Scott Randall · Top Commenter
Gerald is not only delusional, he is very under educated; you can tell by his spelling and punctuation. He is typical of so called conservatives: knows hardly anything about history, and most of what he thinks he knows he is wrong about. That goes for political theory, economics and science. He gets all his information from FOX and Limpbaugh and truly believes opinion and ideology are worth more than facts and reality. He has been religiously indoctrinated to worship the rich and have nothing but contempt for everybody not as gullible as himself. Like I said, typical conservative religious republican.

It sounds to me like Scott Randall is the one that is delusional. Is there one fact in his response? No. Where does Gerald Allen state that "he gets all his information from FOX and Limbaugh"? How does he know that? He doesn't. There's no evidence whatsoever. And to conclude that Gerald Allen is "very under educated" because of his "spelling and punctuation" seems to be trying to discredit ideas by pointing out the delivery of the idea, not have a discussion about the idea. By the way, the last I knew "republican" when referring to a proper noun ("the Republican Party") in Scott Randall's reply should be capitalized. I guess I can tell Scott Randall is "very under educated" because he doesn't capitalize a proper noun.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Doggy Tired

I was exhausted last night after mowing the yard. I don't think it was especially hot or weather-related but I sat down on the couch and I could barely keep my eyes awake. Karen and Alex wanted to look at the spillway by the Coralville reservoir, but I stayed home. There was no way I would stay awake just riding in the van. Instead, I put the supper dishes away, put the dangerous junk down the upstairs bathroom tub, cleaned the tub, and with CDs ripping and "Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter" on the television, I folded the laundry. By the time 10:15ish hit, I was cashed out. I didn't even have the energy to comment upon the fact that liberals are in a serious tizzy about Hobby Lobby. There is a link to this article in that article that is interesting.

Even more interesting is to read another article by Abortion clinics are not safe places - anti-choicers have ensured that - and if women are going to be free from harassment, the fight must go on."

No.

No freaking no.

The reason why abortion clinics are not safe places is not because of "anti-choicers" at all. The reason they are not safe places is because when a woman enters that clinic, she is intent upon murdering a baby. Nowhere in the article does Valenti confront that fact. It is a fact. Who is talking about abortion with honesty? Who is thinking about the child that is feeling and breathing? In general, there is hypocrisy when a liberal gets into an uproar about owning guns and about guns killing people (not the person pulling the trigger) but in the same breath, a woman should have the right to choose if they want to kill their baby. How is that right? It's not right. It's wrong.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Two Sides of the Coin

People don't speak the same language when it comes to politics. The "We are the United States of America and we stand together as one nation" theme that came out of the horrific 9/11/2001 attacks is over. The great KISS song, on their underrated "Unmasked" release called "Two Sides of the Coin" summarizes this. For never before has Ace Frehley singing, "There's two sides of the coin to choose from" been more true in America. When I read the reactions from Republicans and Democrats to the Supreme Court ruling about Hobby Lobby, I wonder what people really think is going on in this world.

First, on the Conservative side, I read this: http://www.redstate.com/2014/06/30/hobby-lobby-decision-misleading-language-left/ which says, in part, this:


There is legal precedent for for-profit companies promoting religious values.  So yes, Hobby Lobby is promoting religious values.  That’s legal.  And employees, if you don’t like it, don’t work there.  No one is forcing you to work for Hobby Lobby.  After all, it’s not like this was a secret – they are one of many Christian-owned companies who recognize the Sabbath and close on Sundays.
I went on to read  this article: http://www.redstate.com/2014/06/30/white-house-understand-happened-hobby-lobby-case/

Based upon the two links above, I know where Republicans seem to be heading on this issue.

On the Democrat side of the aisle, I read this in my First Read from NBC News daily email:
Contraception as a Democratic wedge issue
Turning from the White House and Congress to yesterday's big Hobby Lobby decision at the Supreme Court, we observed that Democratic candidates seemed more excited to talk about the Hobby Lobby case than immigration. Of course, one of main reasons is that the Latino vote will only be a factor in one Senate contest THIS November: Colorado's. But women -- whether they live in Arkansas, Iowa, Michigan, or Oregon -- are going to be the key voting bloc this year, and Democrats see the Hobby Lobby case and contraception in general as wedge issues with female voters. Indeed, back in our March 2014 NBC/WSJ poll, 48% of men said that employers should be able to be exempt from covering birth control on religious grounds, while 46% of them said they should NOT be exempt. By comparison, nearly six-in-10 women -- 59% -- said employers should NOT be exempt, versus 35% who said they should. Overall in that NBC/WSJ poll, 53% of all respondents said employers should not be exempt, and 41% said they should be exempt. It was in 2012 that Democrats first started capitalizing on the politics of contraception, and they continued that in last year's gubernatorial contest in Virginia. If Democrats hold the Senate -- and we stress the word "IF" -- yesterday's court decision could end up being one of the more important turning points. The party has been looking for a reason to rationalize a focus on contraception during this campaign year, the Supreme Court's conservative majority gave it to them. Spend any time with your nose buried in crosstabs from today and 2010, and it is crystal clear this contraception issue has had a negative impact among women for the GOP.
 
Which leads me back to the first link and this text:

This is not an anti-woman ruling.  It is anti-religious discrimination.  Post-Hobby Lobby, women still have access to contraceptives.  They still (unfortunately) have access to abortiofacient drugs.  They can pay for them out of their own pockets.  Companies have had, and thanks to this ruling, still DO have the ability to “practice what they preach” with respect to their religious beliefs.  They are not forcing their religion down the throats of employees or customers.  If the employees don’t like it, they can quit, and customers can go elsewhere.  The irony of this is that the vast majority of Hobby Lobby’s customers are: women.  If this ruling has a profound impact on women, the best thing that women can do is not shop there.  Somehow I don’t think that’s going to happen.

Then, to counter that, Rachel Maddow, my favorite liberal loon, used this misleading subject in the daily email I receive: The GOP's takes a risk celebrating contraception ruling. No one ever said, "Women, you can't have contraception." It doesn't say that!


Monday, June 30, 2014

Not Fun

So, with Karen at work and Megan in Grinnell and Alex at home and me at work, this is not fun. The white circle indicates Iowa City.

And no, that's not what I wanted to write about in my 1700th post on this blog.

Ringo is Lars and Lars is Ringo

Per "Avenged Sevenfold drummer Arin Ilejay has hailed his Metallica counterpart Lars Ulrich as "the Ringo of metal" - saying he's one of the most underrated musicians in the world." More often than not, I read about how he is "overrated" as a drummer, mainly because (gasp) he is human and (gasp) he may not play every song every time *perfectly* or to the standards of those who think all the band does is show up and play 3 hours and bitch about growing old.

Bandmix Ad I just Saw

This is the type of ad I would have liked to have seen in summer 1988, prior to starting college. Of course, none of the bands mentioned existed back then <smirk>

"Looking for a solid drummer with an awesome modern hard rock/alternative rock style. Strictly focusing on originals. Influences include, but aren't limited to (Incubus, STP, old school Staind / Limp Bizkit / Korn, Red, BB, etc.). For an idea of what we are about check out some of out stuff at [snip]. We are looking for someone with a good positive attitude and high energy stage presence . No drugs. No drama. Having a good voice is a plus, but having the drive to go out and do everything you can to succeed is a necessity. Our main goal is to be able to quit our jobs someday and play music full time, but we are only as strong as our weakest link. So with that in mind, sky is the limit."

Blitzing the Inbox

Megan keeps getting emails from colleges that, apparently, want her to attend *their* college. Some of the techniques used by the college's Admissions department are well-thought out. One shows a graduation class on a raft and talks about their on-campus beach and a 97% graduation rate. I commend the college for creativity. Megan actually intends to attend UNI next year in pursuit of a degree in elementary education.

It is sometimes difficult for me, as a graduate of Mount Mercy College with a minor in Secondary Education, to encourage her. I still have that awful shitty student teaching experience taste in my mouth and even though it was during the fall of 1991 and so much has happened to me since then that has been positive in my life, I find myself suppressing an "all in" attitude. This is my issue and I need to get over it. I realize that teaching is in the blood as Mom was a teacher for 40 years and for many years, I wanted to fill the empty voids of young minds with grand ideas about literature and writing. Student teaching destroyed me in so many ways and, I guess, now that I consider myself rebuilt into a technical writer, I don't have the will to rip the wounds open that have mercifully healed over the last 23 years.

Again, though, this is my issue. I pray for Megan's success as a teacher and I believe she will do awesome.

My Rights

Apparently, there's a movement emerging that places my right, as an American citizen to say what I want, in jeopardy. Why? Why can't people with opposing points of view come together and figure out their disagreement. We have to somehow find good within the hearts of our enemies, both at a global country to country basis as well as in the daily interactions in life. What kind of a sick earth would we have if we all just got along?

I Hunt, Therefore I Am

My absolute least favorite Metallica song is "Of Wolf and Man" on the Black album. I don't really like the groove, the lyrics, or the melody. It's just not a song I would choose as either their best or brightest piece of music. I have felt that way since I first heard the album in 1991. I don't mind that James Hetfield sings, "I hunt, therefore I am" in the lyrics but, apparently, there are a lot of people
that have a problem with it apparently.

Here's my take on it. I don't own a gun. I don't plan to own a gun. I realize that hunting is a passion of a lot of people. I realize that gun ownership is a right I enjoy as an American citizen. I appreciate that if I wanted to own a gun, I could. Simply, it's my choice to not own one.

That leads me to James Hetfield. I don't really care if he owns a gun, if he likes to shoot bears in the wilderness, if he likes to go to Russia on a hunting expedition, as he discussed in the "Some Kind of Monster" movie, or even if he narrates a television series about hunting bears. That's his passion outside of Metallica. All of the members of Metallica have passions outside of music. Drummer Lars Ulrich sold off a bunch of his paintings (also shown in the "Some Kind of Monster" movie). Guitarist Kirk Hammett likes scary movies. I admit to not knowing what bassist Robert Trujillo does for fun outside of Metallica, which is sad because he's been in Metallica now for a decade.

All that said, do I really believe James Hetfield should *only* focus on Metallica and have no other interests? Should he only pursue a hobby that I, a music fan, grant approval for him to do? That's insane. It is also the perspective I have when I read about the protests that came prior to Metallica's concert in England. Hetfield should follow his bliss and do what makes him happy.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Reconversion Update

Prior to shutting down the 3 devices that were used to rip CDs from Friday night until today (Sunday) at 1:10 PM, I ran a DIR command to get a count of the number of MP3s I created by ripping the CDs. The result of that DIR command is 2175 MP3s and 156 base folders. I made great progress but now it is time for me to shower.