12/26/08

This is Atticus. He is an awesome cat and we miss him a lot. He's currently staying with Indi's brother but we're looking for someone else to care for him during our travels, due to some issues. He's well tempered and very loving, and also won't aggravate allergy issues due to his non-dander nature.

I'm normally a dog person and I love this cat. He's so mellow and laid back...and he's soft. All good qualities in a household pet!

12/14/08

Sequestered

When I was in Fifth Grade, our class put together a little 'yearbook' type deal to commemorate our 'graduation' from Elementary to Middle school. Among other things, there was section where we were to put down a nickname if we had one. I did not. However, I made one up ("Golfer" as I'd played golf once or twice at that age, and Dad played it often.) When the book came out, people poked fun at me because A) it wasn't true and B) it was lame. I desperately wanted to be accepted.

In Middle school, I added signatures from fictional movie and literary characters to the blank pages in my yearbooks so that there weren't the huge gaping holes between the various "Have a Great Summer" signatures.

I didn't have a girlfriend until I was 17. Aubrey was a nice girl, and I still remember our first kiss. She didn't have a great home life, and I personally feel those eight months were more of an escape for her than any real attachment. I, of course, latched on quickly since I hadn't received that kind of attention before. Prom was unmemorable.

When I moved to Topeka, I was often ridiculed by my co-workers. Whether it be my poor sense of style or generally conservative viewpoints, I made an easy target. My manager(s) normally picked me for the lesser duties knowing I wouldn't complain or raise any issues.

I have spent the majority of my years on this planet feeling out of place and that I have nothing to contribute. I haven't felt that I have the adequate skill to create anything of value, nor provide an irreplaceable value to someone else's life. I don't make friends easy (acquaintances, sure, but that's because I'm so amiable...it's nearly impossible for me to be difficult).

When I met Indi, it was the first time that I really felt like someone special. Our marriage has been the greatest blessing I've ever known. She makes me into a better person by challenging who I am (and why) and opening my mind to endless possibilities.

I still don't think I have a lot of value to add, but my upcoming trip is a big question mark for me. I've tried many times to break out of my shell and try to figure out who I really am. I don't know my place here. I feel like a drag on people and I need that to stop.

What do I provide or create that makes me different? What can I do that both makes me happy and makes others say, "That's why he is my friend."? I don't know right now. But I hope to soon.

12/6/08

Favorite Band

I have a hard time nailing down favorites. Music, Movies, Foods...I love so much that it's hard for me to really sit and say, "Hey, I like that better than the rest."

However, upon some additional reflection today, I have to say that I have a favorite band. And that band is Mute Math. Their mix of electronic and rock influences, as well as a dose of uplifting Christian influence, rocks my socks off every time.

I first saw them live @ Oneighty, the youth group for Church on the Move. I didn't expect much, as I'd never heard of them, but a good friend of mine @ work (shout out to the Wofford) highly recommended them. So I went. I was moved to tears.

This was back when the only source for their music was at live performances. The Reset EP CD was mine as soon as the show was over. When I learned a full length CD was coming, I was stoked. I was even MORE excited when I purchased my tickets for their first Cain's Ballroom gig.

I rarely go nuts at concerts. I'm much more of a stand-there-and-nod kind of music listener. I out-and-out DANCE to this stuff. Their music is so complicated, yet so beautiful and seamless. Their drummer is off the CHAIN ridiculous, the only performer I've seen rival Brad's level of energy on the stage. Their lead singer is also very energetic, riffing on a Keytar and jumping on top of his old school organ during part of the show.

It's encouraging to see them slowly move into the mainstream. They have songs that are played fairly regularly on the Edge now and had a song featured on the Twilight soundtrack.

If you've not heard their stuff, please do yourself a favor and do so. They are on iTunes.

11/28/08

Day After Thanksgiving

Ah, yes. Black Friday. Retail Environment. Hilarity does not ensue.

I read today that a Wal-Mart worker in NY got trampled to death in the open door rush. That is beyond ludicrous. What is wrong with people?

We haven't seen anything THAT drastic by a long shot. We opened an hour early today and had two customers in that first hour. Whee. It has picked up a little bit since noon, though. I've had a really good day with activations and upgrades, not so much on features and accessories. People just aren't going for the extras this year. Let's give another cheer to the economy!

Our boss was nice enough to supply foods for us. I had me some KFC and am pleased. I've also been testing out an iPhone again, really wishing I owned one. Free Pac-Man? C'mon, there's nothing that says value like that!

11/24/08

The Commercialization of Christianity

Indi and I went to The Christmas Train last night. This is the first year it's been running since they started renovations three years ago. Being big fans, we were excited to go back this year. Instead of a happy-joy Christmas experience, though, we left disappointed.

It's still a western village, complete with church workers dressed in period garb. They still run the steam locomotive through a retelling of the Christmas (and Easter) story. They've added several nice buildings, a huge windmill, and a better organization structure. But they've also lost a boatload of the charm. There are multitudes of places to eat. Lots of the Christmas lights are gone. There was a stop-over on the train ride halfway, in Santa's Village, that no longer exists. Gone is the old-fashioned candy shoppe, in are the three to four toy/trinket stores. Gone is the caroling and in-person appeal after the train ride, and in it's place is a video presentation.

Nothing stays the same. I know that. I'm eager to roll with the punches and adapt as the world moves on. But there's a difference between updating the message and bypassing your purpose.

On the ride home, Indi laid quite a challenge at my feet. She called me on my wishy-washy beliefs and struck me to my core. What do I believe? I don't know anymore. I haven't looked too closely, afraid of what I might find. I did some soul searching last night, and need a lot more. I'm not as strong a believer as I once was, and there's the argument that when I start questioning some of the foundations of my religion, there's a question around the entire religon itself.

I have no excuses. I got called out on my shaky grasp of Christianity and rightly so. I haven't been a 'good' Christian for some time. I don't know the God I purport to support. Either I need to seriously invest myself into what I believe or open myself up to believing something else.

10/19/08

Five

Friday is October 24th. It was five years ago on that day that I took a chance and went to a company Halloween Party. How is going to a company gathering taking a chance, you may ask?

Well, I’m not much of a social butterfly. I generally feel awkward or uncomfortable and I’m often the quiet guy in the corner. However, this time would be different. I had been invited by a girl, one that I quite fancied. She had mentioned how much she would like to see me there. I’ve never been good at picking up on signals, but I figured this was about as clear as I could ask for that someone of the opposite sex would like to spend some time to get to know me. So I ventured forth to the American Legion Post near Cherry Street.

I was nervous. What if she was just being nice? I probably wouldn’t have anything to say either. I walked into the building and started scanning the crowd. It wasn’t long before I saw her. She was dressed in a dark cat costume, complete with painted whiskers and fuzzy ears. I stood for a few minutes and just watched her dance, half hoping she wouldn’t see me. She soon saw me, though, and as soon as she did her smile widened. Heartened by this (and a hug) I was soon attached.

The evening progressed, a mixture of my trepidation (I still wish I’d danced) and this stunning woman continuing to want to spend time with me. We talked about everything. I couldn’t get enough of that laugh or that smile. She had so many interesting stories, anecdotes, observations…this was the night I fell in love.

The evening drew to a quick close when the alcohol that this lady had consumed decided it would be best to return to sender. I did the only thing I knew to do, which was to provide support, strength, and run blocker to ensure she had as much time as she needed. When she didn’t want to return to the situation that had prompted her to drink so much in the first place, I offered her a place to crash.

Tucking her in on the couch, I felt blessed to have been in the right place at the right time. I was able to help. The fact that I was able to help this woman who set my heart aflame was an added bonus. Soon after, we were an inseparable couple and a year and a half later, we were married.

The last five years have held the happiest of times for me. Not a day goes by do I look at her and thank God for her. Indi, you have enriched my life far more than I could’ve hoped for and continue to make me want to be a better person. I can’t wait to see what the next five years holds.

I love you yesterday, today, and forever.

9/16/08

Economic Woes

After the disappointing discovery that Cold Stone Creamery has closed, I decided to look a little deeper into the AIG concerns of today.

I've been following the recent Wall Street turmoil with a sickening fascination, like watching a slow-motion building implosion. Did you know that there are only TWO independant investment banks left in the US? Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. The others (Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Bros.) are all gone. Bought out, bankrupt. Goldman Sachs just posted the worst earnings since going public.

How much worse is it going to get? AIG (largest industrial and technical insurance company in the US) is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. That's $441 billion in assets. Stocks are plummeting. Is my 401k going to be there when Indi and I leave the country in March?

I'm not really concerned with "who to blame" right now. It's more "what can we do?" to turn things around. This kind of thing always trickles down. How long before I start to see personal, meaningful changes? Sure, an ice cream parlor went into foreclosure. These things happen. But is this a sign for the future?

We're already seeing a downturn in business at the store. How long before AT&T starts to trim things to keep moving forward?

Damn Economy!

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9/14/08

A good visit

My grandmother Gail (Dad's side) is in the hospital for another round of chemotherapy. Her leukemia has returned.

I don't get to visit with my grandmother (either of them, really) very often. I went up to see her last night and we visited for two hours. It was really nice to spend some time with her and she was very happy to see me.

We talked about a variety of things.

We talked politics: she has been a John Edwards fan for the last several election cycles, and would've campaigned for him if she felt up to it. She was very disappointed with his infidelity revelation and has lost most of her interest in the political cycle this time through. She said she isn't scared of Obama, though, like some folks she knows, and thinks McCain is too old and cancerous.

We talked the war: Grandma said during her childhood, the country was united for WWII and everyone did their part. Her Mom worked in an ammunition depot, her Dad collected metal and other recyclables to donate, they bought everything with gov't stamps (only two pairs of shoes a year, etc). After the war, credit started showing up and her folks bought their first refridgerator.

We talked medicine: She doesn't believe in getting a blood transfusion. She refuses. I was intrigued by this. She points to the advancement of science and the sickness/diseases that have been discovered that is carried with blood and genetics and she said, "What else have we not discovered yet?" She's been good enough not to require one for any of her treatments. She's refusing to have her bone marrow harvested, too, though. That just sounds creepy.

We talked family: She is excited for Indi and myself regarding our upcoming world trip. She noted that her generation was focused on home ownership and having a little piece of land. She noted that Mom n Dad's generation was focused on the dollar and accumulating stuff. And from what she's seen, my generation is focused on making an impact.

All in all, it was a great visit.

9/13/08

Obama Tulsa HQ

I got here late, but they said there were approx. 1200 people that showed up. Woot!
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9/1/08

Republican Blundering

I've mentioned this before...but I was raised Republican. As a conservative, I generally relate better with the GOP agenda than the Democrats. However, the last eight years have really caused a divergence between my raised values and my new look on life.

If I were still a hardcore republican, I'd be PISSED that McCain picked Sarah Palin as his VP.

She has been Governor of Alaska for 18 months. Before that, she was mayor of Wasilla, AK. End of Line. No, I don't count her time as PTA President or newscaster as her 'experience'. Wasilla, AK has a population of Vinita, OK or about half of Claremore. The entire state of Alaska has 200k less people than the Tulsa metro area. Although this is, indeed, experience...it's not experience for the Vice Presidency. And, let's face it, with McCain's age and history, she is auditioning for the highest office in the land.

She's in the middle of an ongoing investigation where it's alleged that she fired an official for not terminating an Alaska State Trooper.

Most recently her campaign announced that her teenage daughter is pregnant. Now, I know a lot of American families go through this, and I'm not bashing anyone; but this kind of family drama takes a lot of focus and attention. Let alone separately raising a 4 month old newborn with Down's Syndrome.

She doesn't know what the office of VP actually does. Check the YouTube clip, it's everywhere.

She has no foreign relations experience. The fact that several national newscasters (and Cindy McCain) have pointed to her proximity to Russia as foreign relations experience is disturbing.

I would be furious as a Republican, and I'm still upset as a Democrat. Not because McCain picked her, but because she is being so feverishly defended in light of her glaring unpreparedness and gimmicky nomination to get the female vote.

8/27/08

Best Presidential Debate Ever

[fade in from commercial. John McCain is in the middle of the squared circle.]

McCain: "My friends..."

[crowd boos slowly, X-Pac style]

McCain: "My friends! Please! I come before you tonight to speak about an issue of great importance. I'm here to talk to you about an approaching danger, and one that I am graciously offering to shield you from. That danger is Barack Obama."

[boos rise once more]

McCain: "It's true! I was captive in a prisoner of war camp for five and a half years. Five and a Half Years! That's longer than most of you have been able to put together coherent sentences, if you have gotten to that point yet. I know pain! I know the dangers that this man poses if he is elected into the most powerful office in the world. We can't afford to let someone as soft-skinned and namby-pamby as Obama dictate our foreign policy! You need someone with experience like me!"

[boos rise again, sign behind McCain says, "BY GAWD IT'S MCCAINE!"]

McCain: "I've been in Washington for decades! I can play the system better than anyone. I know your interests, quite frankly, better than you do. I won't take too much off the top, but Cindy and I...heh heh...need a few more homes. I'm sure you won't mind! Besides, Barack isn't even at the Area tonight. He-"

[Barack's entrance music starts up, crowd goes banana~]

[McCain looks around, confused, helpless. He begins yelling at his cronies @ ringside to stop the music.]

[Barack strides out on the ramp to a deafening roar of approval from the crowd.]

Obama: "Look at you, out here running your mouth when you didn't think I'd be here to respond. That's low class, George."

McCain: "But my name's John..."

Obama: "IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOUR NAME IS! As a matter of fact, it doesn't matter what you're saying, either! People know that when senile old people are talking, it's polite to nod, smile, and ignore what they are saying."

McCain: "But it does matter! I was a P.O.W. for years and it's time for me to get my dues!"

Obama: "Tell me, John...do you like pancakes?"

McCain: "Why, yes, I love pancakes..."

Obama: "Then pancake your ass back to Arizona! The only thing these people are here to see is CHANGE! And change that we can ALL believe in, not the change you're interested in depositing in your bank account after you've taken us down another four years of failed policies and kickbacks. We need-"

McCain: "Actually I-"

Obama: "Don't interrupt Barack when he's talking, jabroni! We need a changing of the guard in Washington. We need to get out of Iraq, rebuild our economy, and restore our standing in the world. Do you really think another Old White Guy(tm) is going to accomplish that?"

McCain: "Not just one old white guy! I have a tag team partner that'll help me finish you off once and for all and let me assume my rightful place as President! And here he is!"

[Lights go out briefly. When the come up, Joe Biden is in the ring behind McCain. ]

[McCain looks @ the ramp, confused by the absence of his supposed partner. The crowd is full of nostalgia for Biden and is cheering.]

[McCain finally turned around and walks right into a patented Biden clothesline. McCain's cronies scatter.]

[Biden picks up McCain's discarded microphone.]

Biden: Sorry to dissappoint, John...but your time is up! And that's the bottom line, because Joe Biden and Barack Obama said so!"

[Cue Obama and Biden's tag team music.]

Note: I actually despise the Rock as a credible wrestler. He makes a great foil, though. I refuse to do any kind of "If you smelll..." reference, although it would've fit nicely.

8/16/08

Blight upon Humanity

The Oatmeal Raisin Cookie is a vile creation and not fit for human consumption.

"Where is all of this venom coming from?" you may ask. I hate oatmeal raisin cookies. h8! It looks good from a distance, like a chocolate chip cookie, but when you get close...only then, THEN do you realize the evil and deceptive nature of this faux-treat!

Heaven forbid you actually bite INTO one of these confectionary travesties before realize it is, indeed, NOT chocolate chip. You will certainly rue that day.

I do not look down upon those that enjoy this cookie, as its' deception knows no bounds. They know not what they do. I, however, will continue to push for the eradication of the ORC. It serves no purpose but to decieve and disappoint!

DOWN WITH ORCS!

8/15/08

1978 Kawasaki KZ400


Price: $700

Needs: Needs a speedometer cable, cam gasket, headlight, tail light, blinker piece.

Other issues: Starter not working (kick start only), dies when idling. Needs a good cleaning. :)

Now I just gotta learn how to ride it.

8/9/08

Happiness

Happiness is a fresh chocolate-glazed donut and a coffee.

On a Saturday morning.

At Merritt's.

While playing WoW.

:D

8/6/08

You know...

It's like a bad joke.

We sell the Oldsmobile to my brother.

The Dodge breaks down. Alternator...in the shop till tomorrow.

!

Wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tube man! WACKY WAVING INFLATABLE ARM-FLAILING TUBE MAN!
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8/3/08

Assault and Battery

Yesterday, Indi and I had a hanging-out-fest with Nikki (as an unwind from the tornadic few weeks that have been our estate sale/home rental). We went over to the Jonestead and watched movies, ordered some pizza (how I've missed you, Papa John's!), and made a trip up to Borders. I read a good deal of 'Wisdom of our Fathers' ... a collection of letters Tim Russert recieved after his best-selling book about his dad. I wept/filled with emotion as expected. We went back to Nikki's and left at about 12:30. Well, that's when we tried to leave.

Thet
ttt The car battery was dead.

We jumped the car, let it run a few minutes...and then it died when we tried to turn on the headlights.

Mega teh-suck.

Indi stayed over, Brad took me home, and I scooted on over this morning to get it resolved. For some reason, we thought Auto Integrity (best place in B.A. to fix your car!) was open on Sunday, but alas no. We knew it was either the battery or the alternator. We ventured forth to Autozone to have the battery tested.

Good news: it was a bad battery. Factory from '02. Bad news: the battery is underneath the air filter and requires the removal of a panel and access from the wheel well. Whee.

After about an hour and a half of wrestling (and some help from the Autozone guy) I get the old battery out. I also throw up due to heat exhaustion and the fact there was absolutely no shade. Due to my adverse reaction, Nikki and Indi asked (forced) me to rest and we sat inside El Chico (with water...and tea!) to regroup. After about an hour, we went back out and finished the job.

So now I'm home. Showered. The car battery light came on en route to home (At first I accidentally hooked the battery up wrong. The horn went off, lights came on, wipers went on...) so I either fried the sensor cable (it smoked) or there's still a problem. In either case, I'm indoors now. Wishing my years-ago heat stroke wasn't still affecting me getting overheated so easily.

Oh, and I may be getting a 1987 Yamaha Virago 535.

7/30/08

When it rains...

Storm clouds? Here? I must warn the others...oh no! I've been shot! /3PO
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7/15/08

Some sadness

Selling some of my nostalgia. NES, SNES, N64, Gamecube, Top-Loading NES, Atari 2600, and oh so many games.
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7/12/08

The Self Destruction of Jerry Lundegaard

On of my favorite movies is the 1996 Coen Bros. classic, "Fargo". I was looking for a movie to watch this evening and smiled when my eyes scanned the spine of the DVD case.

There are a lot of things I like about this movie. The erratic speech pattern of Steve Buscemi. The slow but effective method of police work by Frances McDormand. The inherent meanness of the father-in-law. The subtle nuance of the score by Carter Burwell. Out of this entire masterpiece of a movie, I'd have to pin the atypical glee on the performance of William H Macy.

Macy's character is in deep...with someone, but we're never allowed to see into that part of Jerry's life. It's referenced several times in that he needs a large sum of money but that's as far as we know. He has several plans going to get the funds he needs, but they are all poorly executed and fall apart during the course of the film. He took out a huge loan on cars that don't exist...and GMAC calls to check up, knowing that something isn't right. He is trying to work a real estate deal, which his father-in-law takes from him. And, of course, he has his wife kidnapped, which goes extremely awry.

Macy plays uncomfortable so well. I love watching his argument with Margie (I'm cooperating here!) and seeing how many red flags I can find. Listening to him prepare to tell his father-in-law about the abduction (Aw, geez, it's Jean...) Trying to communicate with Steve Buscemi (the heck d'ya mean?) It's all wonderful to watch.

That, and he keeps on going forward. He does not give up or falter in his path even as the world crashes around him. Of course, this is to his ultimate humiliating demise, but whatev.

7/2/08

Movie Review x 2

Wall-E

I've been a fan of Pixar since the original Toy Story. Technically, I've been a fan since Superman (1978) as they were responsible for the eye-popping credit sequence. But I've enjoyed their films so far, all being good, some being great, a few being absolute masterpieces. Wall-E falls squarely in the latter category.

Wall-E is a marvel of technical achievement. It is also a marvel of modern storytelling. With a minimal amount of dialogue, you relate to and love these characters. The magic of Ben Burtt's sound design (he designed R2-D2) brings this world to life. I had tears in my eyes throughout the whole film; sometimes out of appreciation of beauty, and other times out of raw emotion. I can't give this movie high enough praise.

Hancock

Now this was a high disappointment. I can deal with bad movies. For example, The Musketeer (2001) was a BAD movie. First time I recall actually burning my ticket upon my exit from the theater. Bowling-shoe ugly, it is. (House of Ladders? Really?) Anyway...Hancock is not a BAD movie...but it hurts because it could've been so GOOD, and it ended up being mediocre. Will Smith does a fantastic job with his acting, but the story itself is the product of many rewrites and it shows. Things are disjointed and there are moments where the movie doesn't even play by it's own rules. I wanted to love this, and did until about 2/3 through. It fell flat for me.

Hancock is probably going to play very well to the National Treasure/Mummy fanbase, but since I hold myself as somewhat of a movie snob (I don't think I can ignore that anymore) I can't recommend it as anything but a mindless summer film. What's terrible is that the first half of the movie brings you OUT of that expectation and into something greater...only to go back to it.

Special Guest @ Charlie's Chicken

Paradise by the chicken fryer light?
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6/19/08

6/15/08

Happy Father's Day

To my Dad.

Growing up, Dad was always working. I don't have the fond memories of playing catch or going fishing or things like that, but that's not who my Dad is.

I remember going to Disney World. A few times.

I remember him calling me in to see Snake Plissken's introduction in 'Escape from New York' and watching Rambo crash through the police barricade in 'First Blood.'

I remember playing Frisbee in the back yard and riding around in the go-cart with him.

I remember him walking out to me in the back yard, still wearing his suit, to discipline me for throwing dirt clods over our back fence and into traffic.

I remember the respect everyone gave him that worked with him at the Food Shows.

I remember him reading Calvin & Hobbes to me.

I remember him bringing home my first Nintendo.

I remember him teaching me to ride my bike on an Easter Sunday.

I remember him giving me the keys to the Scorpio.

I remember going price checking with him.

I remember how tired he would be after working all day.

I remember watching countless hours of John Wayne movies with him.

I remember sitting and listening to Johnny Cash with him.

I remember the day I saw my Dad as a man and not a god.

I remember going shooting with him.

I remember talking to him the day he learned of his impending divorce, and how shaken he was.

I remember embracing him a few hours later after driving to Topeka to be with him.

I remember how eager he always is to talk to me when I call him.

Love you Dad.

Murphy's Law

I get out of work yesterday about twenty minutes late. No big deal, it happens. A little behind schedule for the evening, but again...I can manage. Indi's over @ Nikki and Brad's and asked me to go home, get steaks, and bring them over for grilling purposes. I make the thirty minute drive home and realize:

I have no house key and no garage door opener.

I think for a moment. I call my Mom, no answer. I call Indi's Mom, and success! They have a spare house key. I get it (they live four houses away) and come back. The steaks are leaking a bit, so I bag 'em and gather stuffs. Cokes, steaks, movies (Open Range and 3:10 to Yuma. I've been trying to watch Open Range with Brad for like a year and a half.), helmet, jacket, all is well. I leave the house, put all the stuff on my bike, and realize...

I do not have my bike key.

Or the spare house key.

Yup, door's locked.

Hmm.

I think again...and try to call Indi to apprise her of the situation. Call Failed. What? Try again. Call Failed. Curses. I power cycle my Blackberry, which takes twelve years. I suddenly remember that a bedroom window was open last night and, perhaps, it's unlocked. I walk around back and, indeed, it's unlocked. Using three quarters (Montana, Utah, and Indiana) and twenty minutes of time, I jimmy the screen off and open the window.

The cat stares at me as I pour myself into the bedroom. No matter. I close/lock the window, get the keys, and walk back out front. My phone is back on and it's ringing. Indi tells me not to bring the steaks, as something has come up.

Nobody's fault, it was the natural succession of the universe at that point.

6/13/08

Movie Review: First Blood

I sat down tonight and watched one of my old favorites: First Blood. Culture has taken the Rambo character and blown it into an stereotype of 80's exaggeration, but the first film is far from that iconic image.

First Blood is a movie about John Rambo, a Vietnam veteran that has turned into a drifter after discovering the last of his unit, the last of his friends, has passed away. He wanders into the town of Hope, OR and is hassled by the local law enforcement, led by Brian Dennehy's Korean War veteran sheriff. What starts out as a "we don't want your kind here" scuffle turns deadly as Rambo's treatment stirs up POW flashbacks and he escapes the local jail. The ensuing chase causes a deputy to get killed and it escalated in the wilderness until Rambo returns to town, armed with National Guard munitions and a heavy regression into his wartime service. His saving grace is his commanding officer, Colonel Trautman (played by the late Richard Crenna). At the end of the film, Trautman comes into the destroyed police station to convince Rambo that the fight is over, and that he will die if he continues. The final scene of the movie is a testament to Stallone's under-appreciated acting skill; he devolves into an emotional mess as he recounts a story of one of his buddies dying in Vietnam, and how he is nobody in the public sector and he can't hold a job. Trautman escorts Rambo out of the building and into custody.

First of all, this movie is based on a novel by David Morrell. In the novel, Rambo is shot and killed by Trautman at the end of the movie. Stallone felt that this was too much of a "downer" ending (...yeah) and that it sent the wrong message to Vietnam vets around the country; this was released in 1981. Many veterans at the time hailed this movie as being able to express emotion that they were unable to verbalize and that the representation of PTSD is a hallmark. I also have to give kudos to Jerry Goldsmith for the score. I own the CD and it is always on my iPod for a listen.

If you've never seen First Blood, it's not quite the action extravaganza that the later films turned into. In my book, this is a great character piece that serves as a reminder to the horrors of war and the delicate balance it disrupts in human nature.

Workplace Stuffs

So I'm waiting to start working, another day at the store.

The last few days I've worked have been REALLY slow. I started out the month @ the top of the list in our stack rankings, but I've since slid down a bit to fourth. I've had a really slow couple of days. The good news is that the first six months have a 'grace period' in which I cannot be disciplined for performance. The bad news is the fact that I don't WANT to have to use that grace period, I want to pull my own weight and do my job well. Many of the others are also not hitting goal, but that's not an excuse.

I see customers come in and either I'm not the first one to greet them or I'm with someone else, and all of these activations are going to others. It's very much a 'luck of the draw' kind of situation and my luck hasn't been great.

Eh...it's the first month. I'm used to being highly successful and I'm irritated that I didn't hit the ground running. All in good time, I suppose.

(This bit of pessimism brought to you by the fact that the last song on my iPod was from Radiohead...~)

College Fowl

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

6/10/08

Caulking the Wagon

Sunday was my fun day; we went rafting down the Illinois River!

Malinda was kind enough to drive Indi and I up to Talequah for the day. I got to use my AT&T Navigator (yay! I'm a dork!) to help provide directions but otherwise it was a pretty uneventful drive. Once we got to War Eagle (our boat rental place) we got ready. I bought special swim trunks just for the trip; they look like a Hawaiian shirt. Indi was not impressed.

On the bus trip up the river my lower back started to ache a bit. This has been an ongoing issue and I'm pretty sure it's my left kidney. As long as I drink plenty of water, it goes away. The fact that it's persisted for about two weeks is a little worrisome, but I don't have my insurance stuff yet, so, I just deal. We get the raft in the water (our raft was Indi, Malina, myself, and our cooler) and we're off.

It was a supremely pleasant day. Partly sunny, partly cloudy...temperature wasn't too hot, water wasn't TOO cold (boy it was a shock to get in though) and there was a breeze. About a mile down the river, though, my back was starting to REALLY hurt. I had been drinking a lot of water to try and counteract it but it wasn't working this time. I started to get scared. What if I had a serious infection or something and I'm out in the middle of the wilderness? I don't have a Jack Shepard to take care of me.

I relax in the boat for awhile but it's no use. By the time Indi suggests I eat some pineapple I would've done anything to get rid of the pain. I ate quite a bit of pineapple and cantaloupe and, thankfully, the pain started to subside about a half hour later. My wife is great, isn't she?

At some point, we pass these two guys floating down the river without a raft. They just have a log. With a cooler strapped to it. They looked at our raft and said, "Hey, if you had done it our way, you'd have that extra money...for more beer!" We called it their Beer Log. So I guess you could say they were Blogging down the riverl. epic lulz.

We floated in and around about 4 other parties pretty consistently throughout the day. Early on, we bumped a raft and knocked a guy off; every time we got close to them he made sure everyone knew what had happened and to be careful.

We stopped about halfway through for a break, using the restroom etc. Malinda bought some beers that didn't all make it (Busch beer seems to constantly try to return to the earth) and Indi got an ice cream. We started that morning at about 11 and wrapped up at, I'd say, 5:30? We all had a great time.

Can't wait to go again!

6/5/08

Hmm

You know, doing laundry and listening to Radiohead may be just about the most depressing thing ever.

But it's a beautiful depression...

6/1/08

Great Scott! :(

UNIVERSAL CITY, California -
A fire at Universal Studios on Sunday destroyed a set from "Back to the Future," the King Kong exhibit and a video vault containing more than 40,000 videos and reels.

Los Angeles County fire Captain Frank Reynoso says the blaze broke out just before dawn on a backlot stage at the 400-acre property. The fire has been contained.

Officials say the iconic courthouse square from "Back to the Future," has been destroyed, and the famous clocktower that enabled star Michael J. Fox's character to time travel has been damaged.

:(


**UPDATE** The Courthouse made it! But just barely: take a look at this!!



5/30/08

Scooting

Is that what it's called? Biking sounds much better.

So I've been riding my scooter back and forth from work now since I got my license. I seem to be averaging 70-80 miles to the gallon depending on which roads I take. (above 45 mpg eats a bit more fuel.) It's 14 miles to work so, at around 30 miles a day I'm filling up my tank two to three times a week. It holds a gallon. The Dodge was taking a gallon each way. By Grobthar's Hammer, what a savings.

It's also interesting to see that I've instantly been inducted into the overall biking community. Any time that I pass another person on a bike, they wave. I've noticed that some of them lose interest once they see I'm on a scooter and not a full-fledged motorcycle, but whatever. Ive also noticed that some cars pass me, even when I'm going over the speed limit, presumably because they don't feel masculine enough to follow a scooter.

It's such a blast to drive. The same roads feel completely different. There's always a breeze. It's a feeling of freedom that I cannot accurately explain. You just gotta feel it.

5/22/08

Indy 4

It was a fun movie. It had some moments where I thought it went a little too far, but overall I had a great time. Shia did well.

Also, for 200 points of GEEK CRED, be on the lookout for the 'original' time machine from Back to the Future. Did you know it was not a DeLorean in the first draft? I was gleeful in the theater when I realized it's purpose. Brilliante~

5/20/08

of politics

I am a registered Republican. However, in recent years, I've started to lean a bit differently although I don't have a huge problem with my affiliation. Let me run down a few major issues and my stance on them to expound on this:

1. Taxation - I would rather have lower taxes than a balanced budget. Yes, a balanced budget would be great, but there's nothing there that means anything to me. Granted, we shouldn't be in the hole like we are now but I don't really trust the government with my money per se.

2. Gun Control - Although at it's base I think outlawing guns would be great, the country is far too gone now to abolish them. It would never work.

3. Capital Punishment - I do not believe in the death penalty. Regardless of crime, it is not man's duty to make that decision.

4. Conservatism - As a Christian, many of the Republican viewpoints on life and moral codes match. Not all, but most. For example, although I personally do not agree with abortion, I do not think it is the government's right to take that choice away.

5. Social Medicine - Capitalism is great but once it gets too big it's much more damning than a social system for certain things like health care.

I grew up in a Republican household, but not a very politically active one. I remember Reagan fondly (he reminded me of my grandfather, and as a child I could understand him.) and thought ambivalently about George H.W. Bush. I remember the first Gulf War vaguely and my Uncle Keith (not really an uncle, but a good friend of Dad's...you know how it goes) served. However, the Clinton Years were when I really started to come into my own as a person.

My folks were fairly anti-Clinton the whole way. All I remember is Whitewater, Lewinsky, Yugoslovia, Impeachement, Marc Rich, et al. My first Presidential election to vote was in 2000 and I was pretty heatedly against Gore, as I felt he was boring and did not fit my profile of a 'leader'. Which is ironic, in hindsight, isn't it? I felt that Bush was more of a 'Man of the People' and I enjoyed his debate style more. Plus, I disliked Clinton/Gore so much, why not? I was so relieved when Gore relinquished Florida and Bush started his term.

Then the next eight years happened.

I voted for Kerry because he wasn't Bush. Not because I really believed in him, but because I felt anything could be better.

Now I'm a fervent Obama supporter. He represents a real change from the status quo. I respected Hillary in the beginning for her historic value, but have still not gotten over her term as First Lady. As time goes on, I watch her speeches and her oddly familiar rhetoric as she digs herself deeper and deeper into this grave that I placed her in over a decade ago. She consistently refuses to give up and is driving the Democratic wedge farther into the voting block. Every day I see her on TV damaging the Obama campaign in some futile attempt to win when that is no longer an option. She is a cut-throat politician and an example of why I have never aligned myself with the Democratic side of the aisle.

If Obama loses the general election, it is going to be all her fault.

John McCain is not a President. He's an anti-Clinton.

Indi made an interesting analogy. Ted Kennedy having a stroke, now being diagnosed with a brain tumor, is the last member of Camelot. Sure, he is the Black Sheep of the clan but he represents the last of the true Old Guard. Something like Obi-Wan must pass beyond the veil so that Luke can realize his destiny. I was never too fond of ol' Kennedy but geez, a brain tumor is not something I'd wish on anyone.

5/16/08

Ding!

You have gained 1 point in Motorcycle Riding!

WOOT!

5/3/08

Last Day at the Call Center

Friday was my final day as a call center employee for AT&T. Thursday I will foray into the world of retail sales. I'm excited, a little scared, but eagerly awaiting this new chapter in my work life. But before I did that, I had to get through my last day.

I don't say that like it was a chore; I'm an emotional guy. I spent all day trying not to break down as I said my goodbyes. It started out just fine. I went in early to help facilitate some training (as a technical support SME [subject matter expert]) and that lasted from 9:30 to 12:00. When I went into training, the bulk of our Tech Support staff wasn't in yet, so it was quiet. When I exited the training, though, different story. Everyone was there and we had a really nice potluck. Lots of folks contributed and a lot of monies went into it.

I sent out my farewell emails to the reps, and the managers. I received so many kind replies...it was very touching. It seems like just about everyone came up and offered a handshake or a hug along with best wishes. I got several cards of "thanks" and "we'll miss you" as well as a DVD of goodbyes tapes by one of my reps. Everyone pitched in for a Cheddar's gift card, as my fondness for steak is well known. I was wished well by both our Director and Regional Vice President. And my team is working on a shirt for me that'll be ready next week.

I learned all this, and was okay. Gave hugs and farewells, and was okay. I turned in my Blackberry, my badge, cleared out my email folders, and was okay. At 5:45, when I started walking around to those left working, shaking their hands and telling them it had been a pleasure working with them, knowing I held in my hands all that I was taking and that this was my 'final run' was the rough part. I could feel my throat wanting to betray my stoic demeanor and had to fight it all around the center 'till I said goodbye to the security guard, went to my car, and started to drive away. Yeah, I'm a softie. Can't help it now, it's hard wired.

I'll visit from time to time. I'm off work till Thursday to prepare and relax. Plus I'll get in some scooter riding time! Gotta learn somehow.

4/26/08

My List

Indi has a List. I do not have a List.

The 'List' is a group of celebrities that, if presented the opportunity, one would throw themselves at unmercifully. Growing up, I never really had the hots for any celebs. I think plenty of people are attractive, but I guess I'd never been -hit- by a bolt of lightning by anyone. When I learned that Indi had a list, at first I was surprised/apalled because I could not relate, but over time have grown to appreciate it and don't take it as hard line as I first did.

All that to say, only RECENTLY have I opened myself up to the concept of a list, but still haven't found anyone that I felt was truly suitable.

Until now.

Carah Faye Charnow of Shiny Toy Guns is teh hotness~ Only I don't think I should call mine 'The List'. That's taken. Perhaps the book. She's going in the book. Yeah, that'll work.

4/22/08

New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

The week of my birthday, I interviewed at an AT&T Wireless store location for a part time sales position. Today, I was advised that I got the job.

I start on May 7th. I will be going to school full time in the summer and fall and onwards to a degree that I haven't quite decided on.

I will be leaving behind 7 years in the Cingular Call Center. I have many friends there and the next two weeks are going to be a farewell to a way of life that I have enjoyed for some time.

I'm excited. Scared, too. But I am hopeful. And thankful.

Penn Primary

As predicted by the majority of the world, Ms. Clinton won the PA Primary tonight. Whee.

I don't have much to say right now but this: Hillary's speech was, "Thank you for this, I am important." Barack's speech was, "Thank you for this, you are important."

That is all.

4/21/08

Music Review (inspired by Indi)

In homage to Indi's most recent music review, I thought I'd share some recent music experiences of mine. I'd also like to introduce my random arbitrary rating scale...

1 star - Older than McDonald's
2 stars - Glenn Campbell in True Grit
3 stars - RC Cola on Tap
4 stars - Sinclair leaves B5
5 stars - Josh Lyman on the Mary Marsh Show


Daft Punk - Human After All
I came into this album from an interesting angle: I already own and am a big fan of the Alive 2007 album, which is primarily a live version of this record intermixed with their previous efforts. It was cool to be able to hear the songs in their original "studio" version but I know it would've sounded cooler had I heard this first. I enjoy the sound immensely but it has lost some punch in light of the live show. Sinclair leaves B5.

Calvin Harris - I Created Disco
There's a slight twinge of geekdom that is screaming in agony as it is brought to the light...I downloaded this album solely due to a 20 second sound clip of a particular song that has been attached to a YTMND fad as of late. I listened to some snippets and thought it was worth a try. Overall, there are some enjoyable tracks (the one that hooked me, 'Acceptable in the 80s' tends to make me bob my head) but some are too repetitive and it's painfully obvious that the album was headed by a producer. Glenn Campbell in True Grit.

Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours
Now this is more like it! This was the greatest surprise in a long time. I was randomly perusing iTunes and this showed up on the radar. I've listened to this a few times and it's been just as good as the first time. It's this hybrid between Royksopp and Snow Patrol. If the 80's happened today, this is what it would be. Josh Lyman on the Mary Marsh Show!

Gnarls Barkley - The Odd Couple
This was another pleasant surprise. I had heard bits and pieces of the first album and was not impressed. Crazy was overplayed. However, this came recommended from someone so I gave it a shot. I'm very glad that I did. It has a wonderful rolling sound to it. Some tracks are light and fun and others are dark and brooding. It's a great roller coaster ride of not-over-produced music with an amazing vocal performance. Sinclair leaves B5.

Franz Ferdinand - You Could Have It So Much Better
I had a few tracks of this forever mixed in with Franz's previous record but never anything really organized. I've heard most of the tracks before and after a certain period of time it's hard to listen to the songs as a cohesive unit after experiencing them piecemeal for so long. Still, this is enjoyable and Franz brings the same energy that they always bring. On first listen their music sounds very repetitive but if you listen closer you can hear the real thing. RC Cola on Tap.

The Crystal Method - Drive: Nike+ Original Run
I got sucked into this because I don't know much of Crystal Method's catalogue and this is marketed for the exact reason I wanted it. Still haven't listened to the 45-min long mix track all the way through yet but it does do it's job. I want to run/jog/drive fast when I hear it. RC Cola on Tap.

Two Reflections

4/20/08

Skating and other Activities

Indi and I went out on a double date last night with the Joneses. Our first stop was the cajun dining experience of Copeland's at 71st and 129th in Broken Arrow. The blackened chicken there is amazing. Everyone was pretty pleased, I think.

After the meal, we went to the Broken Arrow Roller-Skating rink for some good old-fashioned times! Unfortunately, Nikki took a nasty fall early on and the Joneses had to go. When I returned, though, Indi had been skating for awhile and was having a great time! I got out and skated awhile myself, even though I was frightened of falling and generally had no idea what I was doing. Indi looked like a natural, and she taught me some things.

BTW, she's been doing AWESOME this week at getting some exercise in! She's been walking daily and this morning we went and walked around the reservoir at 21st and 193rd. 2.5 miles around! It was great! Tell her congrats on her blog or somewheres :)

Today has been a good day. I still want a dog, but realize we need a fence first. Our tree is still alive. Grocery Shopping went well. I have discovered that I like the band, "Shiny Toy Guns". And why wouldn't I with a name like that?

4/19/08

good advice



Mars Volta Concert

I attended a concert on Tuesday, one features The Mars Volta (no openers) at the historic Cain's Ballroom. I have let the concert simmer a bit before commenting on it, but feel the time is now right.

First let me say I am glad I went. These cats definitely dance to the beat of a different drummer and there is some true talent there...the drummer is amazing. That being said, I do not believe I will be attending any future concerts.

I am not a big fan of cacophony. You know, like the end bit of 'A Day in the Life'. It just grates on me. Mars Volta thrives on this. The majority of the concert was like one huge jam session and there was a lot of stuff I didn't really care for. The experimental nature of the Volta's sound is tolerable for a short period of time, but they played for two and a half hours. After the first hour I was bored. It all started to sound like the same song.

Everyone else had a good time, though, and rightfully so. They're all big fans. I was on the fence. I can now say, confidently, that I am not a fan. Good luck to ya'll, but it just ain't my cup of tea.

4/13/08

Spider-Man 3: What Happened?

If you've not seen Spider-Man 3, turn back now. Here be spoilers!

I'm a fairly decent fan of comic book movies. I'm cursory familiar with most of the properties that have been optioned for TV and Film and, although I'm not intrinsically comfortable with the particulars of the franchises (save Batman) I know enough. Spider-Man was in and around my peripheral understanding all throughout my childhood and I was very happy to see Sam Raimi take the reigns of the film franchise back at the beginning of the decade. First movie was good, I remember folks saying things like, "This is what a super hero movie should be!" and the general aura of excitement. The company I worked for (Cingular Wireless) had put a lot of support into the movie and it seemed to be everywhere. Some years later, Spidey II hit the screens and I was bowled over again with the great story brought to the screen. Score, directing, acting, all of it was in good order. So, naturally, I was excited to see Spider-Man 3.

I cannot accurately describe the level of my disappointment. From a fan perspective, they got a LOT wrong. Much more than I'm sure I caught as a casual fan. Sure, you expect some changes and liberties to be taken with a film as compared to the roots of the graphic novel, but really? Plus the acting, dialogue, and EVERYTHING else associated with the film was atrocious. Let's run them down:

  1. Opening credit sequence was a video-capture history of the first two movies. Sure Spidey II did a similar thing, but at least it made it look like a comic book. The recap here is lazy and unnecessary.
  2. Peter Parker is unsympathetic from the beginning. From his mannerisms to Hubris Gone Wild it's a wonder I ever liked the character in the first two films. When he starts to "go bad" later I almost welcomed it...before I realized what that meant.
  3. Mary Jane has become the most insecure person on the planet. She is always asking for booster statements and not accepting compliments. Plus, I don't like the way that Kirsten Dunst sings, but that's a personal gripe.
  4. The symbiote just so HAPPENS to land mere feet from Parker's moped via meteorite and attaches to his bike. How convenient! It then tucks itself into a drawer for the first and second acts.
  5. The Sandman stumbles through his scenes and is set up early on with a backstory (daughter with unknown illness) that assures that Spider-Man won't be able to kill him, regardless of what bad things he does. Also, his method of transmogrification is ridiculous. Particle accellerator in the middle of a field, at 2:00 AM, and the scientists don't notice there's a guy in the unprotected area. Whatever.
  6. Gwen Stacy, her father, and even Eddie Brock are completely and totally wasted. I don't want to get into the relationship triangle attempt this movie made, but I was totally uninterested.
  7. Amnesia? Really? REALLY?! Any movie that uses amnesia to get rid of a bad guy for awhile really needs to go all the way back to the drawing board.
  8. The whole 'Parker Goes Bad!" segment...terrible. Evidently, cosmic symbiotes cause you to turn emo, strut everywhere, and be ridiculous. Not to mention cause you to break out in random dance numbers in a jazz club.
  9. Venom. He shows up for like ten minutes and goes down like a sack of potatoes.
  10. All is forgiven at the end, la-de-dah, and Spidey let's the Sandman go. Not to mention that mid-way through the movie, it's revealed that HE is the one that killed Uncle Ben, not the other guy, but since it ended up being an accidental killing Peter forgives him...and Sandman just flies away. Cause, y'know, sand does that.
  11. THE BUTLER! ZOMG! "Oh, by the way, this whole vengeance thing you've been on that has caused you to damage the house, disfigure your face, and alienate all your friends...your father wasn't killed by Spider-Man, it was his own glider. I'm the butler, I know these things and kept it to myself until just now...20 minutes before the movie is over. Cheers!" I almost walked out of the theater at that moment.
We watched it with Rifftrax goodness last night. It gets worse on repeat viewings. Poor dialogue, terrible pacing, hammy acting...what the heck happened? The other two were so good!

C'mon, Dark Knight. Make it all better!

4/12/08

That's Right!

On the recommendation of my good friend Mark, I rented 'There Will Be Blood' on Wednesday. Watched it and loved it...but understand that it isn't a movie for everyone.

Daniel Day-Lewis plays an oilman (you'll agree) around the turn of the century. It follows him as he starts his career and ends at the twilight of his life. The primary part of the story has him in a small California town pitted against the local preacher, a holier-than-thou (ha) faith healer played by Paul Dano. What a fantastic film.

My favorite film of '07 is still No Country for Old Men but this is right up there. This movie falls into what I call the 'American Epic' category. Movies like The Searchers and The Godfather...detailed, realistic, deliberate. The score is also fantastic: Jonny Greenwood (of Radiohead) performs some amazing feats with traditional period instruments that really put you on edge. The first time I watched the movie, I wasn't sure, but the second time it was perfect. I now own the soundtrack, in fact! ^-^

And boy, how perfect was Day-Lewis? His character of Daniel Plainview is pitch perfect. From the first fifteen minutes of NO speech to the infamous milkshake line he skirts the line of overbearing and comes across very similar to Javier Bardem's character in No Country: Not a nice guy, but very loyal to his own personal code. He just chews up scenery. Great acting all around, actually; children and all.

So, yes, heartily recommended.

4/9/08

Casio: The Return


On Thursday, January 5th of 2006 my wonderful Casio NF-11 watch broke. I had replaced the strap three times (battery twice) in its 10+ years of service but the watch itself had broken and would no longer fit a pin for the wrist strap. With a heavy heart, I placed it in a drawer and sought out a new timepiece.

I wanted the same functionality, but I had a hard time finding a simple watch that told me the time, day, and date. I settled for a nice Fossil watch and moved on. Yesterday, I finally told myself I'd had enough. The watch I purchased was nice, sure, but it was hard to read. It was TOO dark and the light was dim at best. I decided to try to find a suitable replacement for my old watch.

Behold. The Fossil mistake cost me $75(!) but the Casio cost me $16. All Hail the Return of the Magnificent Casio! (The old face is in the background on the mousepad...still ticking away.)

4/4/08

Filling the Well

My good friend Tony is amazing with analogies. He helps me out in times of trouble.

Recently I've been having problems with my faith. I've been unable to defend positions and answer questions in a meaningful way and have realized that I fell off the Christian horse a long time ago. Not on purpose, per se, but gradually. Casually.

After being unable to properly express my religious beliefs I was angry at myself, at God. I was talking to Tony about my crossroads and he asked if I'd ever been dehydrated. If one is dehydrated and is sitting inside in the A/C you don't tend to notice it. If you go out and work in the yard, you break down real quick. I've been spending a lot of my spiritual time lately inside in the A/C and when someone wants me to come out and play I fall on my face. I originally took this as a sign that perhaps my faith was misdirected but I cannot fault God for my shortcomings. I cannot expect a good defense when I haven't been tending it. You can't draw water from an empty well.

If I get back into a strong relationship with God and still feel this way, then that's something else entirely. But it's not fair to give up on Him because I haven't communicated and expect to be just as good.

He's not far away. He has not moved. And, really, neither have I. He is standing right next to me. All I have to do is look over and He is there.

3/29/08

the tiniest grocery cart

Happy Birthday?

The guy that did my back tattoo called me some weeks back and invited me to a birthday party tonight. He's turning 35, a few friends of his (including me) are having birthdays in the next week and 1/2 and he decided to get a room @ the Cherokee Casino hotel and have a poker party. He cordially invites me so of course I attend. I take some beers, some shot glasses, and some poker chips and head up there at about 9:00.

We get there and some folks are already there. We had this two-room suite that must've cost a pretty penny. I think I heard him say it was comped, which would be nice. The master room had some pretty deep smoking going on and the secondary room had not yet really taken shape. Several of us were hungry so we went down to McGill's (casino eatery, very nice) to eat. The host also had a $100 comp ticket for the meal, so four of us ate and I ended up paying $10 for one of the best ribeye steaks I've ever had. We adjourn back to the room.

I play a few rounds of cards...as I didn't have much cash, I didn't play that long. After finished, I stood around awhile and sat awhile before finally heading home. Got in just a few minutes ago.

As I sat there, listening to the 20 or so people talk around me in groups, I realized that I did not have any stories to tell. Everyone had moved into their little cliques and were having a good time. I looked around and was the only one just sitting around. I'm very quiet normally, and I didn't say much. No one reached out to me, but maybe that's because I didn't reach out to anyone myself. In either case, I just got my jacket and headed out.

I doubt they noticed. No great loss.

The drive home was rather dreary. I've realized quite recently that I don't quite know who I am or what I've molded myself into. My wife has helped me see that a lot of my foundations are built on sand and not stone as I've believed for so long.

I don't have fun like other people do. And I don't know what to do about that.

(note: I hate to think my blog has become some morose woe-is-me trip down emo lane. I just haven't felt well lately.)

3/23/08

Faith and Following

I attended a Catholic service tonight for the first time. Not only was it an Easter service, but my good friend Mark was confirmed. He has searched for some time and it is pleasing to see him find a home after so much work and study. His ceremony also got me back in a church pew for the first time in a long time.

Many aspects of my life are wearing thin and fraying and it is very apparent that my lack of connection with God has helped accelerate this. I have lost contact with Him and barely even pray anymore. Although tonight's service felt a bit more disconnected than usual (Catholic services are more traditional and less...lively? I dunno, definitely not what I'm used to) it did awaken the need for fellowship.

I have not been a good example for my wife to look to. A husband is to be a model for his household and I have been lacking. I have also let things interfere with my relationship with God and overshadow the #1 priority in my life. I will be changing that immediately.

On a lighter note, I saw some surprise faces at the ceremony. Old friends, acquaintances, and at least one person who surprised me by knowing who I was. It was a good evening.

I give thanks to God for His continued blessings and for always welcoming me back with grace.

3/16/08

Indi's new baby

Thank You

Thank you everyone for making Indi's surprise party such a resounding success. It was great to see you and Indi had a wonderful time.

3/5/08

Better

On a long shot, I looked through my movie collection to see if there was a nice cinematical experience that would cheer me up...and Rocky Balboa called to me.

I love this movie. The original Rocky is a classic film and an amazing piece of American Pop Culture. When it was announced that Stallone was making another Rocky movie, everyone (myself included) let out a collective groan. Ol' Sly had made himself into one of those 'has-been' actors and it was a bizarre appearance of art imitating life. However, I was in for quite a shock.

Once this hit video stores, it had built up some decent buzz. I hadn't watched a Rocky film in years and figured, "What the hell?" I'd give the Italian Stallion a try. I am so very happy that I did. This film has become one of my favorites. Stallone approached this movie as everyone should approach their autumn years. There's several excellent speeches in the movie and the whole film captures the spirit of the first movie.

He doesn't look pathetic. He looks old, but not unrealistic. In fact, the special features on this movie go into detail regarding what Sly did to prepare and how the final fight was stages as close to a real boxing match as possible for the film. My respect raised for Stallone tenfold.

There is nostalgia, naturally...but it's mixed with a new reality. I hope the new Indiana Jones movie is this good at mixing those two elements.

So, needless to say, watching the movie (and getting some laundry done) have put me in much better spirits. Nothing like watching someone who is told "you can't" prove 'em wrong.

And he's right. It's not about how hard you can hit, it's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.

Funk

I've found myself in a bit of a funk lately.

I got up at 5:00 AM on Monday to take Indi to the airport. I dropped her off, came home, couldn't really sleep...tossed a bit and went into work at 10:00. Came home, played a little WoW, and went to be at about 10:00 PM. Slept for 12 hours. All week I've been sleeping 10-12 hours a night, getting up later than I normally do in the mornings. I've been pretty lethargic and a little snappish at folks, I get emotional at the smallest things, and there are times I feel utterly and hopelessly depressed.

I did spend some time with friends, and that time goes well, but once it's just me again, I slump.

Is this because my wife is in another state? Honestly, I hope not. If I've placed all of this happiness into our relationship I've lost myself. I do miss her, but I shouldn't feel so empty. I have come home, had a beer, listened to classical music, and tried to whittle the hours away. There are some things to be done, I could be cleaning or organizing or something but I don't have the motivation to really do much.

The easy answer is to call someone and hang out. But I think that's masking the problem, as I'm fine around people it's when it's just me that there's an issue. I did dig the chess board out and set it up last week, but of course that's a two person game. I don't feel like watching any movies or playing any games. Just blah.

I'll blame the weather for now.

3/4/08

Gobama

I spent the evening with my old friend, Tony. It was good times. We spent the night watching/listening/discussing the Presidential Primaries held tonight.

I am a Barack Obama supporter. I'm a lifelong Republican (yes, at 26 years of age I realize that's not saying a lot, but whatever) but the last eight years have soured me on the GOP message. I do like John McCain. I think he's a bit too old, though. Indi and I had a great discussion where we compared him with Reagan. When Reagan started to go a little wonky, he went back into Actor days. When McCain goes wonky, he's going to go back to Vietnam. Not really the guy I want at the button. Or at the phone at 3 a.m.

On the other side of the Democratic ticket, we have Hillary Clinton. I can not stand this woman. How much of that is holdover from Bill? I don't really know. I do know that she represents 'old school politician' to me. I also know that when she's backed into a corner, she bites. I don't trust her as far as I can throw her. (Yes, they're all politicians...) Barack represents regime change for me. In the same way I'm sure JFK represented a 'new guard' when he was elected. He inspires me and gets me excited about politics. I think he strives to reach a place that most folks don't try to reach anymore.

Interestingly, if Huckabee had run in 2000 or 2004 I've have voted for him. I really like the guy and he lines up with me in most idealogical senses. Bush, however, has tainted me on the "Hey, I'm a good Christian guy that wants to be President" idea. If Dubya is the measuring stick, the world simply cannot support that.

If it ends up being Clinton vs. McCain, I'm voting McCain. My dislike for Clinton is that deeply rooted.

(All that being said, it's going to be extremely important for all three of these candidates to have solid veeps.)

3/1/08

2/29/08

at the reservoir

Spidey Smash!

Words Cannot Express

If you have any love for stringed music (the classical kind) please do yourself a favor and check out Vitamin String Quartet. I stumbled across them on iTunes and I have been blown away. They're a four-piece string cover band. They have albums up with music from everything to My Chemical Romance to Tool to Mars Volta to David Bowie. Some is better than other, but I'm listening to their version of Dig by Incubus and I have tears welling.

It may not be your thing, but I think classical music is absolutely beautiful. These many tracks bring old (and new) favorites into a new light for me.

I'm going to go be a girl now and fall asleep to classical music, trying to contain my emotions...

:)

2/27/08

Time Travel

I'm a science fiction fan. Not really a nut, per se, like conventions and such...but a fan. My favorite type of sci-fi is time travel.

My favorite series in this vein is Back to the Future. Anyone that knows me knows what a fan I am; hell, I dressed as Marty (circa 1985) for Halloween last year. I have three model DeLoreans on a shelf in my living room, one version for each movie. Whenever I see a new film advertised that deals with time travel or something similar, I'm filled with an equal amount of dread and excitement. It can go so wrong...like with Timeline. Or, it can go well...like with the film I watched this evening, Frequency.

Frequency is one of my faves. It's not a true time travel movie, as a person doesn't travel to a different time period but through a ham radio an adult son talks to his father thirty years in the past. What starts as a good intention sets some things in motion that turns a father/son reuniter piece into a crime drama and suspense thriller. It plays with some conventions and ends up being a great little movie.

I've long sustained that Dennis Quaid is a better actor than he gets credit for and this was the first movie I saw Jim Caviezel in. I love the way the film wraps around itself and the
"dual real time" changes that occur and affect both time periods. I'm also a bit of a sucker for period pieces from the 60s and 70s (Zodiac was amazing.) so that doesn't hurt either.

2/24/08

No Country for Old Men

My favorite movie of last year just won a glut of Oscars.

Bravo, Coens.

More dreams

Man, I don't want to make this a habit but I figure if my dreams are particularly linear
(which is rare) or make an impression I'll post it

The first dream is fuzzy as I woke up earlier and slept again after. The first part of the dream was strange, it was very exaggerated and tongue-in-cheek....the universe of the dream was like that of a Will Farrell comedy. I don't know how to better explain it. However, I was driving real fast down a city street but I don't remember if it was a race with someone or if I was chasing someone. In either case, something went wrong. I lost control of the car and crashed into a building...and then there was an explosion. Fast forward two weeks and I'm walking towards my house...but it's a huge mansion in a busy part of the city. When I had wrecked the car, I had crashed into a business and actually gone not only through the glass front but the back wall as well and was ejected through the windshield. When the car exploded, I was not killed. But the news had reported I was dead. I had temporary amnesia from the shock and it took two weeks for me to come to my senses. I reach the front of the house and Indi is out there. She furrows her brow, gets up from her porch chair, and comes over. There's a caution in her voice as she tells me everyone thought I was dead. I am overjoyed to see her but this emotion is not returned. Indi says she moved on and is with someone else. I can get my things when she goes on a business trip in a few weeks, but she needs to get back. I stand there, crushed...and wake up.

I finally get back to sleep and dream that my brother and I find an old camcorder tape while we're at my grandma's house. We watch it and it's unfamiliar footage from a vacation (that never REALLY happened). Tyler and I are messing around in this house and Dad gets all upset and angry cause we're misbehaving. Tyler asks me to stop it as it's a little too intense for him. At this time my grandfather walks in...you know, the one that passed away in December. He is having a hard time walking, his hair is longer, and his hands are dirty...as if he had dug himself out. He stumbled over to his easy chair and sat down. Tyler looked at me and said, "You know, that doesn't weird me out as much as I thought it would." Then I woke up.

Man. I spent several hours at Night Trips last night (Happy Birthday Phylicia!) so you'd think I would have sexy dreams. No such luck.

2/23/08

Dreams

Indi says I should keep a dream journal. Not too fond of writing, so I thought I'd post instead.

Backstory: I had to fire my first employee today. It didn't go well, as this representatve (we'll call her Prudence) had lulled herself into a false sense of security even though she wasn't meeting the goals that we'd been working on since November. My boss and I met with her and told her that's that, she starts to get upset and we walk her out into the front lobby. That's the short version, there's some arguing in there and such. I felt like I had failed as a manager because I was not able to turn her around and was in a bit of a crummy mood, although I didn't let anyone see it.

So in my dream tonight, it's right after all this happens. I'm sitting at a table in some second-floor lobby that doesn't really exist and notice this person is back in the building. I send a quick SMS to my boss as I'm helping a representative with a technical issue. Prudence sees my boss coming and hides...but he is smart. He gets to a certain point and hides as well. She sees that he has disappeared and continue to walk down the hall. My boss emerges and confronts her, as she cannot be on the premises. She breaks down and starts bawling, saying something about watching a movie in the break room. I stay out of it and continue to help the rep at the table I'm sitting at. Prudence is re-escorted back out. My boss comes back upstairs and comments on how ridiculous it is that security didn't shut off her badge, etc. Then I woke up.

Dunno what it means...if anything.

And now it's six AM, when I went to bed at around 2:00. I'd rather not sleep. Plus, I gotta buy Indi some Mars Volta tickets at 10:00 AM...they're coming to the Cain's and she's a huge fan.

2/22/08

Customization

I'm a customization freak.

I have a cell phone. Of course, most folks do these days. But I change my ringtone a lot. By a lot I'm talking weekly. Not just my regular ringtone, but my custom ringtones. For example, if Indi called me right now (which would be freaky, 'cause she's asleep) my phone would ring with the opening notes to Der Komissar by Falco. If my Dad called me, you'd hear the somber piano notes from the closing shot of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. If my brother called me, you'd hear the Level 1 theme from Super Smash TV, a SNES game we enjoyed playing co-op. I could go on. If those same people had called me last week, you'd hear Silent Hill music, Ennio Morricone, and the theme to Unsolved Mysteries in their place. I can't leave 'em alone.

I'm the same way with my user picture on MySpace. Changing it all the time. I have an IM client at work that supports avatars. Changed weekly. I wear a different belt buckle every day. Once I have my clothes picked out and on my person, I decide what jacket I'm going to wear. It's madness.

However, back to my first example...I'm a bit of a ringtone freak. I make my own using mp3's, NSF (NES Sound File) clips, and other resources. Edited properly in Adobe Audition, of course. Balanced for sound. And finally transferred to my phone via Bluetooth. My memory card on my Nokia has not yet begun to hold the amount of random tones that it will eventually.

I think everyone is a little crazy. I'm a bit OCD (more at some times than others) and can sometimes spend hours at this computer perfecting sound. Editing out a chorus or merging two music clips together. I don't like words in my ringtones, so sometimes it's dropping vocals or trying to clip just the right part of a song that will repeat nicely.

I find myself hearing a bit of a song and think to myself, "That would make a great ringtone." Or I'm lying in bed and I must get up and make a change to my handset. Then I end up typing about it.

2/20/08

Of work and things

I work from 11:30 to 8:30 Monday thru Friday.

Indi works 8-5.

Some mornings (like this morning) it's hard for me to get back to sleep when Indi leaves. I didn't get to bed till about 2:00, thanks to a hilarious Rifftrax and the company of my buddy Brad. I've tried to take a nap before going to work but I'm not -quite- tired enough to go back to sleep. My body simply won't let me. I hate that. Lots. 'Cause I know around lunch time at work I'm going to be in terrible, terrible shape. And the coffee at work now sucks, so that is not an option.

Obama picked up another win yesterday, two actually. Not unexpected, but still pleasant to see. Ohio and Texas are the next targets and hopefully he wins those as well and the Democratic nomination is all sewn up. I'm tired of the bickering.

Work is going to get busy - real busy. Not sure what the immediate future holds, but there are a lot of spinning plates and all signs point to them crashing down and me having to work 12 hr days 6 days a week. I don't like that. Salary = no OT.

Meh. No real point to this post, 'cept just passing time before I head on into work. Perhaps I will stop by Sonic, that sounds good. Breakfast always sounds good. But you knew that.