Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A new Look

There are so many things happening in life right now, it's hard to capture them in words.

  1. The camping season is over so we are actively seeking winter storage. We are hoping the finalize where we will store the camper within the next week.
  2. There were repairs that needed to be made to the camper. We are also actively seeking to have those resolved prior to taking the camper to storage.
  3. Alex's basketball season will kick off next week, the Thursday after Labor Day. We will have fewer kids than last year so each player will be expected to contribute.
  4. Work is insanely busy as I push to get my work done that must be completed prior to the update being released to clients. After a co-worker finishes a task, I will have (roughly) 3 days of work. That was my guess. I hope it goes a lot quicker (like 1 morning :>)) but I don't want to jinx myself.
  5. We added a third driver last week (actually, the license arrived this week) so I will be starting driver's ed (go to an empty parking lot before getting into traffic) soon.
  6. Played drums @ Mass on Sunday @ 11 and it was fantastic! There were 14 high schoolers singing their guts out and two guitarists along with piano and clarinet. It sounded great. I'd really like to start recording the way we sounded!
  7. We go to the Brewers/Cubs game on 9/12 but are leaving 9/11, the day of the Iowa/ISU game. Tentatively, we will go to the Miller Brewery tour on Saturday. The assembly line fascinates me.
  8. My father-in-law, Karen, our neighbor Mike, and I hung cabinets in the laundry room. We have more to hang in our storage room, but it's probably going to be a month before I think about it. Seriously.
  9. The CDs to review keep roaring in. Wrote a review of Emily Shirley's 5 song EP. Liked it. I have a "Classic Albums" DVD of Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" and I hope to get Avenge Sevenfold's new one along with the "Big Four" DVD (Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer, Megadeth) soon. I have a large backlog. I'd like to say I'm going to write a review a day for the month of September, but I'm not sure if that's possible.
  10. I have been dabbling into songwriting again, something I kind of gave up in 1995 when it just didn't seem like I could write anything else. I've put together nearly 30 songs with some ideas for music on a yellow legal tablet. Some of them were written just to write them, but a couple of them have potential. Some of the titles are "Your Moment to be Dead", "No Rhythm", and "When You Say Die," and "No Return to Sender". I don't have my notebook next to me to even say if these are all ones I would consider having potential. I know "Your Moment to be Dead" and "When You Say Die" have some musical ideas written down on the rough draft of the sheet of paper. I am transcribing them into a single notebook and, actually, have written a couple of others. I'm not taking it too seriously but I would like to think that if a guitarist called me up and said, "Hey, let's do original music" that maybe some of the ideas I've written down in July/August might be interesting to try out.
  11. I'm working on a couple of personal projects involving efforts to improve myself. I have lost 20 pounds (going from 244 to 224) and I would like to lose another 20. I'm trying to make smart choices regarding food and drink less Pepsi, though some days, that is really hard. I am also trying to pray more and to thank God daily for his blessings on my life and family. There are also prayers for my wife as she deals with me , my daughter who is dealing with being a teenager, and for my son who is dealing with his sister being a teenager. I also have added prayers for my mother in the nursing home with AD, for my father who is dealing with a wife of nearly 50 years deteriorate in front of him, for my brother and sister-in-law who are expecting a baby girl in December. I also have been saying prayers for my co-worker's daughter who was found dead in February, for my co-worker who was struck on her bike by a truck, and for my manager's mother who was buried earlier this month.
  12. On a lighter note, I got to sit at the electronic drum set at West Music on Monday night during Alex's lesson. It felt so good to play drums! It was so awesome! It really, truly, is a highlight of my week. I put on headphones, press a button to take out the prerecorded drum part, and pick a genre like "LA Metal" or "Rock and Roll" or even "Country" and just jam out. No one can hear me except for the tap tap tap of the pads. It is so much fun.

And with that, good night. I hope to have more posts in the month of September than I did in August. What's the point of a blog if it's never updated? Exactly! I think maybe tomorrow night I will purge my inbox, like I wrote about last time.

Or not.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hard Luck Woman, Please... LEAVE ME!

Ever since Alex "discovered" KISS and persuaded me to put "Detroit Rock City" and "Rock and Roll All Night", I have frequently listened to "Double Platinum" while sitting ever so briefly at this PC. Of all the songs on this release, I keep coming back to:

And this one:

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Another Purge Part 2

So I sit in my cubicle by day and these e-mail messages come to me b/c I subscribe to various technical writer groups. I get e-mail messages about pencil shavings and I think, wow, I need to send that to my personal e-mail account so I can look it up at night. Then I get home at night and one thing leads to another and I don't look at the e-mail messages or I forgot why I thought it would be neat to look at a collection of aerial photography produced by Yann Arthus-Bertrand during the day so I don't immediately look at it. Sometimes, I get distracted by the promises I've made:

How's it going? I've been out of town the past few weeks. Are you still planning on reviewing my album?

and I think about needing to do so. My mind travels through a vast landscape and I often contemplate whether I will ever 'get done' all that needs to 'get done.' It's a common theme when I talk to some co-workers and even friends. There are people shuffling in the work force, moving from job to job, but not one seems to find my employer or my department. For example, we are one manager, 4 Team Leads, and 2 non-TLs. We were a department of 13. As people left, their responsibilities have been absorbed by those that remain. It becomes a nightmare of juggling number one priorities and just hoping that the priority that was ultimately assigned as "number one" is the right "number one" in the big picture, not in the little niche of the world I inhabit. There was a meeting today and if I were to have the time to do what I want to do, I would have enough work for at least a couple of months, doing only one specific part of my job that has fell to the backburner, not because it was deemed a lower priority but because other higher priorities pushed it back. In fact, there are over 500 things I need to do (predominantly the same task for 500 different things) and, unfortunately, it's not an overall task that can be done in a week. It's not like I can complete 100 a day and be done in 5 work days. It's more like 50 a day x 10 work days. But I don't have 10 work days to devote to it.

And if I worked non-stop at home, I'd miss out funny things like an escape key making a break for it and pleas from drummers on Bandmix.com like this one, verbatim:

Im looking to join a band or start one with committed people only. Im tired of drama filled crap and people missing a thousand practices. I want people who want to play live and not just sit and jam and call yourself a band. Jaming is fun and everything but I want to play songs live.

+ Influences
I have way to many influences to list but Ill name my 10 biggest as far as playing drums is concerned.

Peter Criss KISS
Eric Carr KISS
Eric Singer KISS
Neil Peart Rush
Joey Kreamer Aerosmith
Tommy Lee Motley Crue
Rick Allen Def Leppard
Lars Ulrich Metallica
Keith Moon The Who
Nick Mason Pink Floyd

I could say almost the exact same thing, except I would list Alex Van Halen instead of Jerry Kramer, Liberty DeVito instead of Keith Moon, and (after seeing Fear Factory last month) Gene Hoglan instead of Nick Mason. Tommy Lee and Rick Allen would be borderline includees but I am being flexible.

Here's something I didn't know:
Dodge had an ad with a monkey. PeTA, of course, whined about it. SoDodge made the monkey disappear. It's kinda funny.

Editor's Note - the video in question was removed from youtube.com so it is no longer available for your viewing pleasure.

Editor's Note - the video in question was removed from youtube.com so it is no longer available for your viewing pleasure.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Week Ahead... and a Purge

Once again, this is going to be a busy week.

Tomorrow is my work's client conference. I am at the conference from 7 AM - ~11:40 and then I go back to my cubicle and work.

Tuesday and Wednesday, I am not at the conference.

Thursday, I have a project that I need to work on from 8-2 b/c I have meetings from 2-5 (basically).

Friday, I am on vacation. Yeah!

I've been collecting a lot of things I wanted to write about so this is a purge of those things.

Here's something to think about. I recently picked a new primary care doctor. Aftertwo visits and exhaustive lab tests, he said I was doing'fairly well' for my age. (I just turned sixty-something.) A little concerned about that comment, I couldn'tresist asking him, 'Do you think I'll live to be 80?' He asked, 'Do you smoke tobacco, or drink beer, wine or hard liquor? 'Oh no,' I replied. 'I'm not doing drugs, either!' Then he asked, 'Do you eat rib-eye steaks and barbecued ribs? I said, 'Not much... my former doctor said that all red meat is very unhealthy!' 'Do you spend a lot of time in the sun, like playing golf, boating, sailing, hiking, or bicycling?' 'No, I don't,' I said. He asked, 'Do you gamble, drive fast cars, or have lots of sex?' 'No,' I said... He looked at me and said,.. 'Then, why do you even give a shit?

Fear Factory's bus caught on fire in England. Remember, I saw them in concert a couple of weeks ago. Concert Review View photos of the blaze here: http://tinyurl.com/2vt7ztm

The US drinking age of 21 is shared with but four others (Fiji,Pakistan, Palau, and Sri Lanka). The rest of the world has lower age limits. http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/magazine/articles/2010/08/01

A woman was in town on a shopping trip. She began her day by findingthe most perfect shoes in the first shop and a beautiful dress onsale in the second. In the third, everything had just been reduced by50 percent when her mobile phone rang.

It was a female doctor notifying her that her husband had just beenin a terrible car accident and was in critical condition in the ICU.The woman told the doctor to inform her husband where she was andthat she'd be there as soon as possible. As she hung up she realized she was leaving what was shaping up to beher best day ever in the boutiques. She decided to get in a couplemore shops before heading to the hospital. She ended up shopping therest of the morning, finishing her trip with a cup of coffee and abeautiful chocolate cake slice, compliments of the last shop. Shewas jubilant.
Then she remembered her husband. Feeling guilty, she dashed to thehospital. She saw the woman doctor in the corridor and asked abouther husband's condition. The doctor glared at her and shouted, "Youwent ahead and finished your shopping trip, didn't you!? I hope you're proud of yourself! While you were out for the past four hoursenjoying yourself in town, your husband has been languishing in theIntensive Care Unit! It's just as well you went ahead and finished,because it will more than likely be the last shopping trip you evertake! For the rest of his life he will require round-the-clock care. And he will now be your career!" The woman, overcome with guilt, broke down and sobbed.
The woman doctor chuckled and said, "I'm just messing with you. He's dead. Show me what you bought.

*Beauty of Mathematics!!!!!!!*

1 x 8 + 1 = 9
12 x 8 + 2 = 98
123 x 8 + 3 = 987
1234 x 8 + 4 = 9876
12345 x 8 + 5 = 98765
123456 x 8 + 6 = 987654
1234567 x 8 + 7 = 9876543
12345678 x 8 + 8 = 98765432
123456789 x 8 + 9 = 987654321

1 x 9 + 2 = 11
12 x 9 + 3 = 111
123 x 9 + 4 = 1111
1234 x 9 + 5 = 11111
12345 x 9 + 6 = 111111
123456 x 9 + 7 = 1111111
1234567 x 9 + 8 = 11111111
12345678 x 9 + 9 = 111111111
123456789 x 9 +10= 1111111111

9 x 9 + 7 = 88
98 x 9 + 6 = 888
987 x 9 + 5 = 8888
9876 x 9 + 4 = 88888
98765 x 9 + 3 = 888888
987654 x 9 + 2 = 8888888
9876543 x 9 + 1 = 88888888
98765432 x 9 + 0 = 888888888 *_

Brilliant, isn't it?_*

And look at this symmetry:

1 x 1 = 1
11 x 11 = 121
111 x 111 = 12321
1111 x 1111 = 1234321
11111 x 11111 = 123454321
111111 x 111111 = 12345654321
1111111 x 1111111 = 1234567654321
11111111 x 11111111 = 123456787654321
111111111 x 111111111 = 12345678987654321

Mind Boggling...
Now, take a look at this....

> From a strictly mathematical viewpoint:
What Equals 100%?
What does it mean to give MORE than 100%?
Ever wonder about those people who say they are giving more than 100%?

We have all been in situations where someone wants you to GIVE OVER 100%...

How about ACHIEVING 101%?

What equals 100% in life?

Here's a little mathematical formula that might help
Answer these questions:



Is represented as:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.

Then: *

H-A-R-D-W-O- R- K *

8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%

And: *

K-N-O-W-L-E- D-G-E *

11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+ 5 = 96%

But: *

A-T-T-I-T-U- D-E *

1+20+20+9+20+ 21+4+5 = 100%

THEN, look how far the love of God will take you: *

L-O-V-E-O-F- G-O-D
12+15+22+5+15+ 6+7+15+4 = _101% _

Therefore, one can conclude with mathematical certainty that:

While Hard Work and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will get you there, it's the Love of God that will put you over the top!

Final thought: we went to Cedar Falls and picked up 3 more of Mark's cabinets. Now we just need to hang them in our house... somewhere. Probably the laundry room and storage rooms. It will be something I've never attempted. I hope it goes well. I hope it is completed by 10/1/2010.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Happy Anniversary! and Death

Today is our 17th wedding anniversary. That means 17 years ago, we pledged our love to each other in front of our families and friends. The number 17 usually doesn't mean anything special as far as wedding anniversaries go. I am not planning any huge surprise party or anything like that. It's another day to tell my wife that I love her and that I will always be there for her. Pretty simple.

The other thing going on in life is I went to Susan's wake on Thursday and her funeral yesterday. It seems surreal that my co-worker of nearly 12 years, that I watched come in every day, that I saw every day, is not going to be here. It's obviously very fresh and very sad. I admit I didn't accomplish much yesterday. In fact, the main thought that got me through the day was looking at the clock and hoping that my neighbors would be outside when I got home, drinking. And they were. So I joined them. Went inside around 11:30 and went to bed @ midnight.

Monday, August 2, 2010


Update: my co-worker passed away today.

On Thursday, one of my co-workers was out for a bike ride. Around 6:30, she was struck by a vehicle. She bounced off the vehicle and onto the pavement. She was taken to the hospital. She was on a breathing machine, but had no brain activity. As of now, her condition has not improved.
It was a sad day @ work on Friday.

If you have any prayers laying around, my co-worker could use them. Desparately. She is now breathing on her own, but her condition has not improved.

I was @ Mass on Saturday night in Elkader. Fr. Peters said something in his homily. He said the only moment we have is now. We may all not be here tomorrow. If there's something that needs to be said, say it. If there's an apology that needs to be made, make it. Do not put off things you have waited to do because our time on earth is up to the Lord. He will decide when we go to meet him. So do those things that you have been meaning to do.

To Fr. Peter's words, I add "YES!!!"

Club Scene in JW

The video below is from a movie that was rated R by the MPAA. Viewer beware!