Friday, July 3, 2015

Where I Am Part 03

I don't often write about the writing process I go through to write a blog post. The details are boring. I type a sentence, delete it, retype it, move the second part of the sentence to become the first part, move paragraphs at the bottom of a post to the top, and all sorts of other mind-numbing steps before I finally click Publish and share my thoughts with the world. In fact, this precise paragraph was at the bottom of this post before I moved it to be my opening paragraph, changed my mind, and placed it back at the bottom and then reread it and put it back up at the top. Before I even created a post with "Part 03" in its title, this post was at the bottom of Part 02. That was prior to my decision to address my faith in God on a separate post.

Partly, I blame Courtney Kirkland for that. I discovered her website when a Facebook friend shared her article called "I Don't Want to Be a Christian" on her wall. I admit to being skeptical when I read the title of the article. I nearly didn't bother to click on it. But then I did. I read the essay. If I had not, I would probably never have discovered Kirkland's writing talent. On the link above, this video was embedded. I nearly didn't watch the video, but I did.

I cried.

I felt joy.

I truly wish that faith in God would be something that would unite every person on earth with the person next to them. Unfortunately, there's division. Whether you believe there is a "War on Christianity" (as Bill O'Reilly talks about every Christmas season) or you believe there is not a "War on Christianity" is not really important. Label it a war or a conspiracy theory - whatever suits your whim at this precise moment. I believe in God and I believe that God sent Jesus Christ to die for my sins. I've read essays by atheists. Often, these essays criticize Christians for believing in what cannot be seen. To me, that is precisely what my faith *IS* - the belief that there is a God and that God is bigger than anything my feeble mind can comprehend.

As I've mentioned elsewhere on this blog, I am Catholic. Being a member of the Catholic church is not easy. After all, I am a human being and - shocker! - I sin. While there are prescribed guidelines for avoiding sin, as described in this article, I will be the first to say it's not always that simple. I believe that my relationship with God is personal.

People I either know or have learned about struggle with their faith. Former Catholics point out that the Catholic church is comprised of hypocrites and that they cannot be a part of a religion that has hypocrites. Former Catholics are classified as "former" because of a divorce. Others - including a priest that helped baptize a nephew - have left the Catholic church because they were victims of sexual abuse by priests. Those are big issues and not for a split second do I think they are trivial issues. They can't be reduced to the level of being at a general store in Elkader and trying to decide whether to have ice cream in a waffle cone or in a bowl.

Life is about choices. I will be the first to describe the lack of good choices I've made in my life, but God loves me, despite all of my sins and despite all of my human traits. I don't understand God's plan, but I believe that when the time is right, I will. I don't understand why Mom - a woman with a Master's degree and who spent 40+ years in educating the youth in Cedar Rapids - was reduced to not being able to communicate during the last few months of her life. Mom was left handed so it doesn't make sense to me why God chose her left hand to be the one to contract, causing her to learn to do every thing with her right hand. And I don't understand why God chose me to be with her the last days of her life, including when she passed. I hope that someday I will.

Where I Am Part 02

To continue with the previous post, our country would be better off if we weren't so selfish. In a word, that's how I describe the people in our country. While that sounds awful, especially on the eve of the 4th of July, in my head, that's where I am. What other word describes the political maneuvering that surrounds the Benghazi hearings.

I'm not a Hillary Clinton fan. I hope she is not elected as our next president. I don't necessarily believe that she would be a bad president, but I do believe she would be a continuation of President Obama. Maybe. I don't know what she intends to do.
Videos like this are on Conservative websites:

The fears of Republicans come to light when they continue to try and make the attack on the Benghazi embassy a controversy. The latest tactic is to review emails that Clinton turned over to the Benghazi committee and Democrats are unhappy, pointing out in this article there isn't a "smoking gun" about blaming a video for the attack in her emails. Instead, it makes Republicans look like loons because there's an email about Clinton requesting some iced tea.

Someone smarter than me has got to find a way to make our country stay united. The problem is that the issues we face as a country are divisive. Race, politics, gay marriage. Yes, about that last one. I find myself divided about gay marriage. This article describes the gay rights rally that was held in Iowa City on June 26. Could that gay editor I mentioned in part 01 be right? Do I really not understand why that rally was so important to the gay community in the Iowa City area because I am white, male, and heterosexual? That may be part of why I wouldn't go.

The other part is that for all this talk about wanting to be treated equally, groups that are marginalized, and I'm speaking in dangerously general terms now, expect to be treated unequally. There were an abundance of scholarships for minorities, but not nearly as many for my daughter Megan. There is a movement called "Black Lives Matter" that responded to the Supreme Court decision by tweeting that the decision shouldn't take away from the "real" issue in our country - that "Black Lives Matter" more than any other skin color. To me, if you want to unite our country, you don't call it "Black Lives Matter" - you call it "All Lives Matter."

Because that's my truth. All lives matter. All human beings poop, pee, and breathe. Whether you are rich or poor or somewhere in the middle, those are the things in life that are common.

Where I Am Part 01

Each day brings the United States closer to the next election. While it is important to me to keep one eye on the political structure of our great country, I am going to resist the urge to make this blog be a 100% political blog. I tend to side more with Republican policies than Democrat policies so when appropriate, I use the tag "Republican Tendencies" to indicate the post is going to be political. The funny thing is that the tags for a post are at the bottom of the post so it's stupid to read an entire post and then find out that its subject is political. I doubt I will be able to exercise the discipline to put "Republican Tendencies" as the first line in my posts so I won't even promise I will try. I am not going to reduce this blog to be solely essays or links to essays about the current hot topics in our country. I think the three hot topics in our country are:
  1. the Supreme Court's ruling that grants a gay or lesbian couple the right to have their marriage recognized in all 50 states (not just those that previously had passed laws that did this)
  2. the wretched scum that are racists who believe that a man of one color can be superior to a man of another color
  3. the controversy surrounding the Confederate flag and whether it should be displayed any more. 
The latest news about the Confederate flag is that the TVLand station is no longer going to broadcast the "Dukes of Hazzard" series because their vehicle, the General Lee, has a Confederate flag on it. I chuckled when I read about this. I email a lot of articles that I read on the Internet to myself to use as references in blog posts but, for some reason, I didn't email the link to the article I'm about to summarize. The article stated that anyone that believes not showing reruns of a popular TV series on TVLand because the vehicle has a Confederate flag is doing anything to stop racism in the United States is delusional. I agree with that theme. It's not like we can delete our history that offends us.

Many want to do just that. I'm trying to be very careful to not make this a "Democrats are loons; Republicans are sane" essay, but when I read articles about a college professor declaring that all white people should commit suicide because white people owned slaves and another article about a gay editor declaring that all straight people should cease making their profile picture have an overlay of a rainbow because there is no way straight people can know what it is like to struggle with sexual orientation, it makes it hard to not adapt an "us versus them" mentality.

If only life were that simple. Life is not that simple. Republicans are not making it easy for me. According to this article, Rick Perry said:
When it comes to race, America is a better and more tolerant and more welcoming place than it has ever been. We are a country with Hispanic CEOs, and Asian billionaires, and a black President.
So why is it that even today, so many black families feel left behind? Why is it that a quarter of African-Americans live below the poverty line, even after the impact of federal programs like food stamps and housing subsidies?
The supplemental poverty rate for African-Americans is nearly double the rate for other Americans.
Democrats have long had the opportunity to govern in African-American communities.
It is time to help black families hold them accountable for the results.
Perry was doing so well until he pointed out that it's the Democrats that black families should blame for their discontent. While I suppose he had to say that because he is a Republican candidate for president, I don't think blaming someone else - whether it's the same political party or a different one - coincides with Perry's stated goal of "to help black families" because since when did blaming someone else help resolve an issue. In other words, blame is not action. What is Perry going to do, if he sincerely wants "to help black families" and improve their situation? Action, not words!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

It's so Cute

From Craigslist > Dubuque:

700 music CD's for sale! All for $1750.00. Average of $2.50 each, will not separate!
50's through 90's Rock, Blues, Country, Big Band, etc.
Serious inquires ONLY!

It's so cute that the person who posted the ad thought they would get $2.50 for a used CD. There's no way in hell I would pay that. At $.50 / CD, these 700 CDs would cost $350! I paid $.20 / CD when I bought the 200 CDs for $40.

Drum Hero Tommy Aldridge

First in a series of 4 - Drummers that Inspired My Independence as a Musician

When I discuss drummers that shaped my perspective about playing drums, Tommy Aldridge is a name I always mention. Aldridge caught my attention when he played drums on a Tony MacAlpine project called "Project:Driver" on Shrapnel Records.

I'm still mesmerized by what I hear! The first time I actually saw Tommy Aldridge play was the Whitesnake video "Still of the Night" on MTV. It was mind-blowing because I realized what a drummer could do with visuals could go beyond Rikki Rockett (Poison), Tommy Lee (Motley Crue), and Bobby Blotzer (Ratt). They had been influencing me with this idea that drummers could incorporate visuals into their drumming. When I write "visuals", I'm specifically thinking about stick twirling and raising the stick high into the air prior to striking the drum. Upon seeing Tommy Aldridge in the Whitesnake video, though, I remember being captivated by him. I had gone back to his recordings with Ozzy Osbourne when I heard "Project:Driver" so I already knew he was a powerhouse drummer. Watching this video below inspires me to try to incorporate similar visuals into my drumming.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Lock Them in a Room Together

As Chris Christie joins the list of Republican presidential candidates, it seems fitting to renew what I have wrote previously about this growing list. Lock all of these potential candidates in a room, without their assistants, without their policy spoon-feeders, and do not allow them to leave the room until they have reached a compromise regarding who is going to be the Republican party's candidate in the 2016 election. Now, instead of just me thinking this, it seems that Bill O'Reilly is seeing the same type of issue. The Democratic presidential candidates are not stepping upon each other or trying to tout credentials by pointing out gaps in another candidate.

As O'Reilly points out in this article, the Democrats are united. One simple example is that Jeb Bush has released 33 years of tax returns to show that he's transparent. While it draws a contrast with Hillary Clinton, any other Republican candidate that doesn't release 33 years of tax returns is going to give the appearance of hiding something. Another example is Dr. Ben Carson is telling anyone who will listen that he is not a politician, which implies that he is the choice for voters who are tired of politicians. One final example is that from what I understand, if you are running for president, you have to have a lot of money. Each candidate that has announced their intention to be the next president is trying to tap the same voter base. How does one choose now who will be the actual candidate at least 18 months prior to the election? In the past, candidates who have been christened "the likely candidate" have ended up not being the actual candidate. What all this does is waste money on candidates that will not actually be in the election.

And that brings me back to the appearance of being united. I'm going on record today, July 1, 2015, that unless the Republican candidates unite, the 2016 presidential campaign will be a joke.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

It Does Get Old

I've been a Metallica fan since, roughly, 1989 and in all my years of listening and following and defending and arguing the merits of the band, I have never EVER heard a Metallica song called "Kill 'em All." I have a CD and a cassette called "Kill 'em All", but there is no song, that I've ever heard of, called "Kill 'em All."

Feel the Joy

I checked my email a little while ago and one of the emails was a concert announcement! BAYSIDE!!! YES!!!! Tuesday, September 8th in Des Moines, IA, with The Early November and Better Off.
I emailed Megan, since she has gone with me to see Bayside twice - Iowa City & Des Moines - and she wrote back, "Can we go?!?"
I had to phrase my words gently. "Uh, it is the Tuesday after Labor Day. You will be in Cedar Falls..." I really don't think she saw the date. I also emailed Chris, who likes them as well.

Four months ago, Bayside posted this video:

This is what The Early November sound like live.

And this is what Better Off sounds like live.

I think it will be a good show.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Range of Topics

I believe that a marriage is a man and a woman. I was married in a Catholic church. As this article points out, the idea of gay marriage is not something new. Closer to home, I recall a spirited debate in 2004 at a CEW meeting. A male member of our team and a female member of our team got into a spirited argument, each convinced their side was right. What I take away from that memory is that no one wins in discussions like this, whether it is about gay marriage or Metallica. Yeah, let me do my part to fill up cyberspace with more opinionated blabbing about Metallica.

The other day, I got caught up in watching the intro to the Metallica DVD called "Cunning Stunts" on I watched the band enter the arena, with the house lights on and a circular stage. They would emerge from their dressing room and sprint around the space between the security wall and the stage, slapping high-fives with the fans. Lars Ulrich then began playing a beat and was joined by Kirk, Jason, and James, playing the riff to the 8th track on "Reload" to the delight of the crowd. What intrigues me is that "Reload" is often dismissed as a terrible release but if you see the crowd, they are not reacting to the song as if it was a piece of music that is garbage - the heads are bobbing and the fists are pumping in the air. In a twisted, unconventional way, that seems to be where my head is at - I don't like the idea of gay marriage as a nationally accepted "normal" but I also don't like the idea of two people who love each being able to live in "some" states, but not in others. I know that Facebook has exploded with rainbows as an overlay to all sorts of profile pictures and national monuments, including the White House. I'm not really on board with all of that, but it is unsurprising that those feeling passionate about the issue of gay marriage are acting passionate.

The joke about this comic is that you have to assemble every thing when you purchase anything from IKEA - I've never purchased anything from the store so that is knowledge I don't have personal experience with - so part of assembling the crucifix that the priest in the comic purchased from IKEA is that the priest has to nail Christ to the cross. It's a funny comic because it reminds me that IKEA requires assembly for every thing, but it is also a reminder that Christ died for my sins and when I sin - hello? I am human - I am essentially helping Christ be nailed to the cross. God sent Christ to die for my sins.


As I previously mentioned, we went up to UNI (Cedar Falls) for Megan's freshman orientation this past Thursday & Friday. Because there are so many things / events / emotions I could write about, I'm actually having a tough time writing this post. My mind keeps resetting priorities of possible topics. Do I write about meeting Chuck & Deeanna from Davenport first or about the seminar about the TEACH grant first? Do I write about seeing Megan's actual dorm room first or about the difficulty / drama with getting her classes? Do I write about the discussion with the dad and (presumably) grandma from Washington, IA, that I had as I waited in line to discuss financial aid or about Connor (a freshman, supposedly with a 15 year-old girlfriend) flirting uncontrollably with the senior at our dinner table?

While I'm unsure as to where this blog post will take me, I'll start with a simple fact. My oldest child, Megan, will be a freshman at UNI in the fall of 2015. I won't say what dorm she will live in, but I saw her dorm room, empty except for the lofts, desks, and chairs that come with it. Compared to what I lived in at Mount Mercy College, her dorm room is really tiny. That's okay, though, because my mind seems to think that means the move-in process will not be extensively intense. She moves in 3 days after her 19th birthday, on a Monday in August - 50 days away.

The number of days from her move-in day is not meant to indicate I am eagerly awaiting her departure from our house. It simply means that there are 50 days remaining of her being my little girl. David, a psychologist at the UNI counseling center, said that the son / daughter you drop off in the fall and pick up four years later is not going to be the same person. That made me pause a little to reflect upon my own college career. I wasn't the same person I was when I moved into the Regina dorm room on the Mount Mercy College campus in September 1988. Sure, I kept some character traits, like loving Metallica and loving to write. Other traits changed. For example, when I began college, I was very confident that I would never, ever, drink booze, but by early November, I partied with 2 liters of Strawberry Blush, a wine cooler made by Sun Country. Another example is that I was very confident that I would have a long career as a high school English teacher, but at some point during my student teaching, I had decided I did not want to spend 40 years as a teacher.

The thoughts I continually return to are that I have no idea what character traits Megan will retain, adjust, or adapt once she begins college. No one knows, including her! The unknowns in life will present themselves to her over the days and weeks and months and years. While some parents may fear the transition of their child from a caterpillar to a butterfly, I find it exhilarating and exciting. Will every aspect of Megan's college career be perfect? Absolutely not. I know there will be bumps and potholes. I also know that each bump will eventually be smoothed out and each pothole will eventually be filled with some substance that will make her a better person.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I Remember This Tragedy

On this date in 2007, Chris Benoit murdered his wife and his son. I remember this not only because I appreciated Chris Benoit's in-ring performances, but because when it came across the news, my mother-in-law criticized professional wrestling.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Globally Acceptable

My belief that world peace can be achieved has been renewed. Despite the use of the archaic term "album" being used in the title of this article, I am encouraged. The various trade groups in the music industry have agreed that Friday, not Tuesday, will be the global release "day" of the week when new albums are released. This change goes into effect on Friday, July 10. And, from the same site, here's an article about being a music supervisor, which would totally be a kick butt job.

Friday, June 19, 2015

I Feel This Way

I feel the same way as Erick Erickson, as described in this article. There is too much "I'm right, you couldn't possibly add to the conversation." When is our country going to get "real" and focus on solving the problems that exist, though, I guess the first step is to get all involved to agree that a problem does exist in the first place. It's remarkable how that element - agreeing that there is a problem - defines so much of daily life.

Speaking generically, if Alex (who at 16 is almost as tall as me, but not quite) says, "Dad, it's a problem that we're not going to every single hard rock concert that comes to Iowa," and I look at the check book and say, "No, it's really not a problem," we haven't agreed upon the problem even existing. How likely am I to, for example, take up a second job in order to go to every hard rock concert that comes to Iowa so that I can fix a problem only he sees as existent?

Speaking of an existing band that I may / may not end up playing in, their current drummer is the problem. I'm told that the current drummer doesn't do his homework and learn a song prior to a rehearsal. Because of that, he needs to be replaced. The current drummer's perspective seems to be that there isn't a problem. After all, the band has gigs lined up with a full set list. Why learn more songs? On the flipside, the other three think that it is a problem because they want to play newer songs or different songs or more easy songs or more challenging songs, meaning, in some way, they want to change.

Life is about agreeing that there is a problem.

When Does it End

My day started with this post on the Techwr-l list:
Subject: Politically correct term for four-eyes authorization?


We have a problem with a term in our product documentation (and the UI as well), and I'd like to ask for your collective wisdom.

In line with the four-eyes principle, our product can require an authorizer to approve (and possibly review) the actions of a user. Currently, this is dubbed four-eyes authorization. The problem is that the "4-eyes" term is derogatory and should be changed. Possible candidates we found and are commonly used are "dual control" and "two-person rule", but these are not as accurate, because in every definition I could find (for example,, they refer to two users who have the same privileges to perform an action, but can only do so together. In our setup, this is not the case, one of the users is who performs the action, and the other approves that.

If any of you works in an IT security or finance-related field, have you encountered a problem with four-eyes before? (And how did you solve it?)

Thanks a lot for your ideas in advance.

Off-list, I responded with this:
I don't accept your conclusion that "4-eyes" is derogatory. I've been called "4-eyes" on occasion when someone refers to me wearing glasses. If anything, I don't think it's accurate as I wear glasses so, by the definition that "4-eyes" means someone with glasses, I wouldn't think I needed a second person. Is there a reason you have to call it "anything" at all and simply focus on naming the task the user is doing with your product. Something like "Obtain Authorization from a Second User."

We have something in the system I work on now where a person reviews a response to an essay and then assigns a score, based upon established criteria and project rules. The response to the essay is then routed to another user and that person reviews the same response and then assigns a score. If the scores are the same, all is good. If the scores are different, they go to another person who reviews the response and assigns a score. That third person who assigns a score is "adjudicating" the assigned score. The name of that task is, yep, " Add an Additional Score for Adjudication of Score Differences."

Good luck.

[rant: I'm saying all of this because I went through something similar years ago while working at a telecommunications billing software company. I was talking to the lead designer about a project that would add two types of the same entity to the system. One was going to be the highest level and was to be called "master" and the term for its subordinates? Yep, "slaves". The lead designer said, "We can't have 'master' and 'slave' in our system!" I said, "Why?" "Because it could offend someone!" "Does our system have anything to do with the Civil War?" "No. " "So why would you apply terms that are most commonly associated with the Civil War to our system?" My point was that "master" and "slave" in our system had nothing to do with the despicable legacy that caused the Civil War. It is a term that is used in the IT industry and our use of it, in the IT industry, was appropriate. Lately, it's getting worse. Society is just getting too crazy with what you can say and what you can't say. For example, if you work at a specific company and say, "you guys", you now have to put $1 in a jar because "you guys" is sexist. Another example is if you describe someone that robs someone else as a 'thug' it's now considered a racist term. One time I mentioned that "the office girls" were making copies for me of a user manual only to be called out for that phrase because it was "sexist." Finally, and this is more about the dumbing down of our society, if you attend college at Utah Valley, there's now a third lane in some areas on the sidewalk. One is labeled "walk" one is "run" the third is "text", which is for those walkers that are texting as they walk. Someday we will have no way to communicate because all words and even actions will be deemed inappropriate because they will offend "someone" in some way. It has to end somehow. [/rant]

Sorry if this rant offends you but I thought it might best describe my perspective.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Political Tidbits and a Religion Tidbit

  1. Donald Trump entered the 2016 presidential race yesterday.
  2. This article, Rachel Dolezal, Bruce Jenner, and how we’ve solved all the really hard problems, was worth the time I spent skimming it.
  3. This article, Studies Show: Conservatives are More Tolerant Than Liberals, made me smirk. A Conservative website is going to say that liberals are more tolerant of Conservatives? Is MSNBC going to criticize President Obama? Is a Catholic website going to post an article about how great Atheism is? Of course not! The readers of want to read articles about how great they are and how awful "those other guys are" - which is short-sighted. There should be a dialogue, not global dismissals of an opposing point of view.
Finally, the religion tidbit. I heard a point of view about Catholicism that has me thinking on this morning. Why do you have to follow all of the teachings and all of the customs of the Catholic church? For example, who decided at what age you no longer are required to abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent? Answer: humans.* Were the humans that made that the "teaching" or "custom" of the Catholic church any different from me? This person said, "No, the men that decided that were human." All of the customs of the Catholic church were created by men, so what makes them better men than anyone else? What this exchange has me thinking and pondering is the lack of "study" in my life because I am not "up" on the reasoning behind a lot of customs of the Catholic church. If I were, I would have been able to provide counterpoints as the above points were made. Sounds like I have some homework to be completed.

* For what it's worth, here is some quick research about the the question, followed by an explanation.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

No Shakespeare

I hated Shakespeare. I had a 9:30 T/R class and was criticized for yawning. I was yawning because I was up late, writing a paper for the class! Payvandi was my professor's name at mount mercy college.

Years later, I was working on a scoring project. One of my coworker's was her son. When I told him about what his mom had done, he chuckled and said, "I am not surprised."

All that said, yes, I am okay with reading Shakespeare.

How the Hell did I not Know of JP Cappelletty

Last night, I'm watching WWE Raw and, towards the end of the episode, it's announced that Machine Gun Kelly (MGK) is going to sing. Raw is live from Cleveland, OH, and MGK is from Cleveland, OH, so it makes sense to showcase a local hero. As I'm watching MGK sing, I see the drummer behind him and I am instantly captivated. He's playing with a fluidity that I've not seen before. Sure, he's twirling sticks and doing showmanship things - with an obvious homage to Tommy Aldridge and Tommy Lee - as he plays, but this drummer has taken it up a notch. After Raw, I look on and come across the following videos. I'm impressed!
From 2010:

From 2011:

This video was published on Mar 16, 2013 and shows JP Cappelletty playing drums behind stage before the show with Machine Gun Kelly in Billings, Montana on the Hostile Takeover Tour.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Unpopular May Be Okay

I know the kids would not like this idea at all, but just because an idea is unpopular does not mean it is not a good one. Leaving a student's cell phone in a container, in the classroom, where it can be viewed at all times is a pretty fair alternative to simply outlawing cell phones and demanding they be left at home.

Not Interested

This local band (Iowa City) is seeking a drummer.


Saturday, June 13, 2015


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Dusty Rhodes Passes

I was too young to appreciate the talent of Dusty Rhodes. I'm not going to say that I can name his best matches, promos or feuds. I'm sad that he has passed away.

Va Ca Day

Today is the beginning of the Sigwarth family reunion/campout in Elkader. I was wide awake at 6:15 today. I know the opportunity to sleep in was present, but it didn't matter. I had two thoughts. Either I could start thinking about loading the Ford with our camping supplies and not fall asleep or I could simply fall back asleep. I knew that if I fell asleep, when I woke up, I would regret that I hadn't gotten up at 6:15 and loaded the Ford. Thus, I got up and took some supplies to the Ford. I went through my golf bag and put the bean bag game in along with the Rubbermaids of food. I put my clothes in as well because I didn't want a repeat of the weekend (last summer) when I didn't remember my clothes and had to drive up to Prairie Du Chien, WI, to go to Wal-Mart to get clothes.

I admit I'm a little bit conflicted regarding whether to take my laptop to Elkader with me for the weekend. Part of me wants to test out the "new & improved" Wi-Fi that will be at our campsite during our month residency to gauge whether I could actually stay in Elkader during a week and work remotely. The other part of me doesn't want to bring it up so that I can authentically "unplug" for a period of time. I'm leaning towards "unplugging" this weekend and bringing up the laptop next weekend. There, I just decided.

I've never been a fan of the opening track on Metallica's "Ride the Lightning" release. I remember wishing "Fight Fire with Fire" would be the last track so I could stop my cassette player and fast forward. I may be thawing a bit in my harsh regard for the tune because when I watched the video below, I found myself gravitating to the intricate synchronized guitar solo. It made me think of the way Hetfield & Hammett are really a great duo on guitar.

I also have to say that I really enjoy watching the MetonTour videos. I like watching how the members interact in the tuning room prior to the gig... and watching Kirk Hammett untie and then retie his shoe.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015


  1. It's probably fixed, but at one point, this page had two number 4s.
  2. Always use OL tags instead of manually numbering a list on a web page! 


If the author of this Craigslist ad hadn't stated I'd also like to mention that I'm entry-level, would you have known?

Monday, June 8, 2015

Good Deal or Bad Deal

I've never really put a "price" on the cost of ripping one of my CDs to MP3. Now I'm thinking about it because, from the Craigslist > Central New Jersey site comes this ad, that quotes a $.60 / CD cost.

Will transfer your CD collection to digital backup - With PRICING!! (Somerset County)
I will move all your CD's to digital format.
This is considered a "backup".
You need to tell me how many CDs you have and I can give you a quote.
All media removed from the CD will be in the best quality possible.
I don't take shortcuts and I pride myself in the work I do.


$0.60 cents per CD.

If you have any questions, please call, email or text me. I will get back to you within a day.

Let's just think about my 38 spindles of 100 CDs each. Using math I can actually do correctly, 38 x 100 = 3800 CDs x .60 = $2280. Sometimes, I see ads for 10,000 CDs, which means to have this person rip those 10,000 CDs at his rate, it would cost $6000.

That's a side business I would absolutely love to get into doing.

Or scanning pictures. In Cedar Rapids, there's this ad:

I'll digitize your photos for 10 cents each, minimum charge $20, includes up to 200 photos and a CD.
Additional photos at 10 cents each. Sorry, no quantity discounts.
Scanning is done at 600 dpi.

Additional services: DVD slide shows (with or without music) from your scanned or digital photos.

Saturday, June 6, 2015


Same Old Song & Dance

I've been reading and/or watching Bill O'Reilly for enough years to simply say that this article does not present any different ideas than what has come out of his mouth. I like reading / watching O'Reilly because I think when he talks, he makes sense. I know MSNBC loves to poke sticks and insults at him, but that's just a bunch of jealousy.

Friday, June 5, 2015

This Would Be Awful

On the Craigslist > Iowa City > Musicians page, there was this ad:

We just lost our drummer and we need to fill the spot fast! We're based out of San Diego, CA and on the last leg of a four month tour and have shows booked up to July 27th. We're currently stranded near Dayton, Ohio. We need a good drummer over 21, who's not a dick, and has no drug or alcohol problems to learn 10 easy songs within a week. Every day that passes is another show that we have to cancel so it's hard to say when and where our first show together will be. The shows we need you for are mostly on the Central, East Coast. Georgia, the Carolina's, that area. Music sounds like Rancid, Distillers, Adolescents, all the good stuff. Hit us up if you're crazy enough to jump on this train wreck with us.
show contact info
Text, call, whatever works. Here's a link to our music.

This would be awful! If I were anywhere close to them, I would offer my services. Matthew had a great idea - send each band member to an area music store and watch for anyone buying sticks. Ask a qualifying question - "Have you heard of the Sex Pistols?" - and find a replacement drummer. Of course, if I were buying sticks in Coralville and someone asked me if I wanted to go out on tour until the end of July, the drummer in me would say, "Oh my gosh! Yes!" while the realist in me would say, "Are you kidding?"

I hope they find a drummer soon.

Meanwhile, closer to home, there was this ad:

Rock Drummer Wanted (Cedar Rapids)

Previously established hard rock band "Mogolith" from the 1990's looking to re-establish ourselves today. Guitar and Bass player looking for a drummer to finish off our three-piece band. 75% instrumentals and 25% vocal songs, 90% originals and 10% covers. Covers include "Voodoo Chile," "Hocus Pocus" and "Mr. Scary." Interested drummers who contact us will be given 2-3 of our songs (MP3's) to listen to. If interested, learn 1 or 2 of the songs and we will give you an audition. Serious inquiries only!

"Mr. Scary"!?!? Wow. That'd be interesting.

Doing Well or Good

The English language is so complex. Last night, Megan asked me a question. She said, "If someone says, "How are you?" do you reply, "I'm good" or "I'm well." I said, "I'd reply with a different adjective." That ties in with my tendency to never use tricky English words when I write. For example, I write around using lay / lie in a sentence. I also write around using wrote / written in a sentence. Sometimes I think I'm doing the world a favor to not use these words simply because so many writers using these words incorrectly!

Crazy Price

No, I'm not moving and I'm glad! There's no way in hell I would pay nearly $300,000 for this house! I don't like the entry (going up steps), I think the kitchen looks crowded, and I think mowing the lawn would be too time-consuming. I don't mind mowing - I just don't want to spend all of an evening doing it.

Price: $ 297,500 | Bedrooms: 3 | Bath: 2.0

This close in acreage is a must see! Only minutes to North Liberty, restaurants, shopping, Lake McBride, the Reservoir, Sugar Bottom Beach and much more! A true gem in outstanding condition. 3 Bedroom , 2 Bath and over 1,600 sq ft finished. Loaded with updates and priced at just $297,500.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Rare Work-Related Post

Intentionally, I do not write a lot about my work on this blog for a multitude of reasons. There is a move in my future. They are remodeling the portion of the building in which I sit and, while the remodeling is being done, I will be relocated to a different part of the building for (roughly) a year. During that time of change, I will be sitting in the space that is outlined by a yellow square below.


In contrast to the picture above, this is what my desk looks like now. I have my desk configured so that I stand as I work. I did that in September 2014 because I felt like I wasn't 'getting away' from my desk often enough to feel healthy. The picture below is an eye-level view of my spot at work.


Metallica's "St. Anger" release came out 11 years ago. It's still a controversial release. It's still nice to know that, per this article, they sound excellent.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Wish No More

From here comes acoustic renditions of heavy metal tunes.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Different Def of R

Wow! Did our President just say that "... the United States is the most respected country on earth." He did. I'd like to know how "respect" is defined in his mind.

Saturday, May 30, 2015


Friday, May 29, 2015


Thursday, May 28, 2015


Tapping memory, when I attended NCYC in Indianapolis as a chaperone in 2013, I connected with a guy selling his CD collection through Craigslist. Since then, every so often, I look at the Indianapolis Craigslist site to see what is available, knowing that I will attend NCYC in Indianapolis as a chaperone in 2015. Here's what I saw today:

I have (roughly) 1500-2000 Cd's - All artists. Hendrix, Allman Brothers, Santana, Ramones,.etc. 9 HUGE crates of Cd's . Need to sell them. Will take offers.You could resell them and make your self a ton of $$$$$..I have them in storage and I am moving. Cant take them with me. Email for more details.

Too bad NCYC isn't during the summer!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Fall of the House of Duggar

Routinely, my wife and I watch "19 Kids & Counting" together. We often comment about how chaotic the house seems - not because there are no rules enforced in the house, but because there are 19 kids running around. The sheer number of people that need clothes to wear, food to eat, and an education is intimidating. A few days ago, the sins of the past were reported in the media. Josh Duggar, the oldest child, had molested children when he was younger. Josh Duggar is now married, living in Washington D.C., and, until this past mistake was reported, a lobbyist for a conservative group called the Family Resource. After this news, Josh resigned from his position - yeah, good luck finding another job - and TLC removed "19 Kids and Counting" from their schedule. Reading this article, I paused for a moment when I read this summary of what has happened and what the reaction to it is: "Whenever something awful happens and Christians do what Christians are commanded to do: forgive, the left simply draws a blank."

Made me pause and think about "what Christians are commanded to do" and whether I am heeding that command (to forgive) in my day-to-day life.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Great Story

Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose: Tracing the History of WWE Title Feud | Bleacher Report (via

What Timing

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Potential Band

One of the big things that happened this week was that there was a "drummer wanted" ad posted to the Iowa City Craigslist Musicians site and I responded. Without going into "Oh my, God wants me to play drums in this band!" mode too soon, it turns out that the singer / guitarist works with me - he is located not that far down the building from me. On top of that, they want the new drummer to begin this fall - tentatively September - and have a gig scheduled for March 12, 2016 in Dyersville for a St. Patrick's Day dance. At this point, I am just happy that I have an audition in early June - no definite date set as of now. I am hoping that the audition goes well and that we click. Playing in a band that actually goes out of the rehearsal room and plays gigs would be just one more component of an ideal band.

What tunes do they play? Well, pretty close to what I would describe as a perfect set list. Recently, this is what they played:

Set One

1. SMALL THINGS – Blink 182
2. HURT SO GOOD – John Cougar
3. HARD TO HANDLE – Black Crowes
4. CANT GET ENOUGH – Bad Company
6. THE MIDDLE – Jimmy Eat World
8. 3AM – Matchbox Twenty
10. ALL SUMMER LONG – Kid Rock
11. AUTHORITY SONG – John Cougar
12. KEROSENE – Miranda Lambert
13. COUNTRY GIRL – Luke Bryan
14. Mountain Music - Alabama

Set Two

2. SUMMER OF 69 – Bryan Adams
3. I WANT YOU TO WANT ME – Cheap Trick
5. CRAZY BITCH - Buckcherry
7. COWBOY – Kid Rock
8. TALK DIRTY - Poison
9. JESSES GIRL – Rick Springfield
11. SAVE A HORSE – Big & Rich
13. JENNY 8675309 –Tommy Tutone
14. YOUR LOVE - Outfield
15. HICKTOWN – Jason Aldean

Set Three

1. EVERY ROSE - Poison
2. HATE MY LIFE – Theory of Deadman
3. TNT – AC/DC
7. BAD GIRLFRIEND – Theory of Deadman
8. FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT – Beastie Boys
9. SHE HATES ME – Puddle of Mudd
10. SURRENDER – Cheap Trick
11. ROUND N ROUND - Ratt
12. STONE IN LOVE - Journey


1. HEY JEALOUSY – Gin Blossoms
3. MAN IN THE BOX – Alice in Chains
4. YOU REALLY GOT ME – Van Halen
8. DRINK IN MY HAND -Eric Church
9. WHY - Jason Aldean
10. HEAVEN - Warrant
12. CANT YOU SEE – Marshall Tucker
14. LETS GO CRAZY - Prince
17. BANDITOS - Refreshments
19. WITH OR WITHOUT YOU – Punk Cover of U2
20. WERE NOT GONNA TAKE IT – Twisted Sister
21. BEVERLY HILLS - Weezer
23. WILD THING – Ton Loc
24. SWEET EMOTION - Aerosmith
26. MELT WITH YOU (IN C) (DAVID) – Modern English
27. KISS - Prince
28. BLISTER IN THE SUN – Violent Femes
29. MY SHARONA (DAVID) – The Knack

On their channel, they have these videos posted.