Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Now I'm inspired

I just finished watching the VH1 Rock honors. I sat with my guitar most of the time and boy am I inspired now. I mean, Brian May once said that Tie Your Mother Down was the perfect song to whip out if a gig wasn't going so well, cause the riff is catchy and it just plain rocks. Starting the show with it was just the way to go.

First, on the show itself: Queen, of course was totally awesome. I read that they also taped Under Pressure, but the show on VH1 was edited and every band had a tune cut. Too bad. Priest TOTALLY ROCKED! They reminded what I love about heavy metal. Lots of leather and kick ass guitars. They still rule after all this time. Def Lep wasn't bad. I thought maybe Joe Elliot was having some sort of vocal trouble because he didn't sound so good singing the first tune (Rock of Ages?). Sorry Julz and all you Lep fans, but I think his voice has sounded better. However, 20th Century Boy was quite good. Even beside the fact that Brian May joined them. I never realized what a great guitarist Phil Collen was either. Damn he impressed me. As far as Kiss, while I'm a fan, I thought the "Supergroup" sounded better than they did. Paul Stanley was trying WAY to hard to sing and they generally sounded shitty. I also got a big chuckle out of the fact that Gene and the Ace standin had to get in supports when the risers went up at the end of the show to make sure they didn't fall off. So NOT rock and roll!

Now, about the inspiration. I've been trying too hard again to write a specific type of song. After listening to all these different bands all playing styles I liked, I realized I just have to play and then whatever comes out that is good, use. As a result, I've got a couple of working riffs going. One is kind of pretty, something Queen-esque in my own style. The other is a direct Priest influence heavy metal kind of thing. I was also inspired by Lep's 20th Century Boy to just do some straight up rock something or tother, but nothing yet. Still, there's nothing wrong with being eclectic. Voice of the Spirit shows that. I'll keep everyone posted on any musical progress I make. Don't know what I'll do with the songs, but whatever. It's the process of writing that matters.

The Wife already went to bed, so I"ve got one other computer type thing to do and it's off to bed. Also, before I forget, Grasshopper's soccer team won again today making them 2-0. Hurray for the Red Rockets! That's the name they came up with for themselves to go with their red jerseys.

Rock on everyone!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

How's your weekend going so far?

To begin, I'd just like to thank everyone for their comments on my last post. I thought it was a great discussion and I learned a lot. I'll make sure to do another post on religion next time I want a huge comment list. You guys rule!

This has been a outdoor work kind of weekend. I've spent the last two days doing all kinds of yardwork. The big project for Saturday was to seed a large area of our backyard where a tree had been removed. Throwing down seed and starter fertilizer was easy. However, I then had to cover it with top soil. Now, there are some pile of topsoil in our neighborhood, since it's not finished yet. One is next door and one is across the street. I ran into the dilema that the one next door has been there a while and is very wet and difficult to shovel in a wheelbarrow. The one across the street is very loose and easy to shovel, but is like 3 times as far away. I eventually ended up using the pile across the street, but now I'm sore everywhere because of it. Even my butt muscles are sore. I must have moved nearly 30 wheelbarrows of dirt to get everything covered.

Today, I needed to mow the lawn. I got it mostly complete, but with just a little left to go, the mower wouldn't start any longer. Turns out the safty cable that shuts off the engine if you let go of the mower got all frayed and now won't work right. So I have to get a new one. I also cut an edge for landscaping in the front of the house. I still have a lot of work to do with it but I've had enough for one weekend.

We had a good family day today. After church (and my inability to finish mowing the lawn) we went to one of our county parks for a picnic lunch. Afterwards, we went to the conservatory at the park and looked at tropical plants. The boys enjoyed that. They had a fish pond with the HUGEST goldfish you've ever seen. Some of them were like 2 feet long and must have wieghed 5 or 6 pounds. We then went to one of the local cemeteries to check on the Wife's Grandmother's grave. Of course, this required more outside work as no one had done any planting in a while and we had to get rid of all the grass and weeds.

Tomorrow we can march in the Memorial Day parade with the scouts if we like, but it requires being at the meeting place at 8 am. That's WAY to early for me. I'm trying to prep Grasshopper that we probably won't go, but he really wants to. I may have to get up early anyway. sigh. We'll see how that goes.

On a totally different subject, I'm having a musical crisis of sorts. It's not really a crisis, it's more of a lack of satisfaction. With the Alive at 5 group on summer break, I suppose I'm going through a little rock withdrawal. I've played with the folk group at church the last couple of weeks. It's fun, but it's no longer the same. I miss the dynamic of having the drums and crunchy guitars. Going pure acoustic and doing folk music just seems so, unsatisfying. I did speak with our music director, and there is some question as to whether the Alive at 5 mass will continue. He asked me if I'd mind doing it once or twice a month instead of every week. I don't have a problem with that as it is a big time commitment on Sundays.

My other "problem" so to speak is that I'm missing playing really heavy music. In case you didn't know, VH1 is having a Metal Month. It culminates Wednesday with the VH1 Rock Honors. Normally I wouldn't care, but Queen is getting honored so I must watch. And for Julie, there's also Def Leppard (along with Kiss and Judas Priest). For me, as I'm not a big Def Lep fan, 3 out of 4 ain't bad. But I'm having trouble being motivated musically. I've been reading some columns Brian May did a while back and they have indeed been inspiring, but what I really want to do is turn my amp up to 11 and make some eardrums bleed. Not really what I can do with any of the groups I'm playing in right now. Kind of a return to my roots as a guitar player (I grew up with Nugent, Black Sabbath, and Judas Priest). Anyway, I'm sure it will all sort itself out soon. Things are so busy with the house and kids that I'm not really minding the break from music.

So I hope everyone's having a good long weekend. I know our family has been enjoying the time off and just hanging out doing homey/family kind of stuff.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I've been wondering

Before I begin, just two quick orders of business:

1. Maverick got his first stripe last night in karate and Grasshopper earned his orange belt! I'll have two karate masters on my hands soon it appears.

2. I'm typing this post at work but Mrs. Mogul need not worry, as it's during my lunch hour. So I'm on my time.

Now, on to the main thrust of my post. This thought occurred to me last week when reading another blog and it came up again in the sermon at Church on Sunday, so I thought I would pose the question.

I've been reading a lot lately comments/posts/etc that they are religous but do not go to church/attend services/belong to a "religion"/whatever. And I'm a little confused by this, so I was hoping for some enlightment from any of my readers that feel they fall into this category. To begin, I'm not specifically addressing Christians. Regardless of what your "faith" is, if faith is important to you, why do you practice it alone?

My feeling on the issue is that if faith is important to a person, then that faith should be practiced with others of like faith. To be a little more specific, being a Catholic is not just about believing in Jesus. Part of it is worshipping God. Sure, I can worship and pray on my own, but it's not the same. Worshipping as a community gives me much more strength. For example, I've been a member of several musical groups at our church. The people I've met are an incredibly close knit group that supports each other like family. Part of it is the music, but more of it is the shared believes and faith. When one member of the group needs help, everyone goes out of their way to do something. And this is not just confined to the music groups. I see it all over our church with those that participate in the community. Those actively involved in the life of the church and the community get so much more out of it than they put in. Both the Wife and I have met so many people we otherwise would not know. And they are some of the best people around. It's not perfect, and some people in the community can annoy, but their people, so you got to expect that.

Then there's all the other things I get out of just going to Mass every week. Setting aside for a moment the fact you can't take the Eucharist unless you go to Mass, the sense of peace and renew I get from going to Mass speaks for itself. I can't count how many times I've been in a rotten mood or am worried about something and I feel better after getting out of church. So I guess for me, having faith and attending Mass go hand in hand.

So I'm genuinely curious as to why someone would say they have faith but do not want to publicly practice that faith with other like minded people. Because it seems like you'd be missing out on a lot. Can anyone enlighten me?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Bug in my head

I was intending my next post to be on a different topic (which I'll hopefully post about this week), but and odd bug in my head made me do this one instead.

Normally, I wouldn't post this at work, but for some reason this got into my head and won't let go. So I'm going to put it out there for your opinions. Recognize first that the most important opinion will the the Wife's, but it's also good to get some outside perspective.

So here's the deal. I'm going to be hiring a new tech as one of my technicians got promoted. Nothing wrong there. But in verifying that the ad was properly placed in the weekend newspaper, I found that there are several jobs available for IT manager/Network Administrators, a job that I would like to have. All the training and certifications I hold lead to that particualr job. I've been doing the job of a Help Desk supervisor for close to 4 years now.

Not that I don't like my job or the pay or the company I work for. I'm quite fortunate in that I do a job I enjoy for a great company. The people I work with are top notch and there's no personality conflicts. They also pay me fairly well for what I do. So what's the problem? I want to move up to the next responsible position, basically my boss' job. But he's not going anywhere soon it appears. And it would be nice to do something else.

So do I start looking around for something that may be better or stick with what I've got and wait for something internally to come along (sound familiar Kate?)? Since we've merged with another company, there probably will be good opportunity to get my name known as we integrate our IT systems and I may just need to be patient.

So what do you think? I'm probably going to update my resume as I haven't done it in a while anyway and it's always a good idea to have a resume ready to go, just in case.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Is that you Muse?

Lately I've been in a bit of a musical dry spell. I've had no inspiration or desire to come up with any new music. Sometimes I can't even find the energy (or the time) just to sit down and play. However, I've managed to pick up my guitar at least for a little while over the last couple of days. I've even managed to tool around and come up with some little snippets of riffs that might make good songs. I've thrown them down on tape so I don't forget them. No real songs yet, but perhaps they'll develop into something. I think it might be time to pick up my Bible looking for lyrical inspiration. However, there are developments at church that may affect the direction of the music. I can't say much about it now, as all I got was a cryptic message from one of the members of the group that's on our church staff. We're meeting week after next so I might know what's going on then.

In any event, it appears the tempremental Muse of mine hasn't completely deserted me, we're simply not communicating too much right now. But perhaps that's her whispering in my ear. Or it might just be the buzzing from too many rock concerts. I'm not sure which.

Monday, May 15, 2006

What a weekend

Hope everyone had a very nice Mother's Day! And Happy Belated Mommy's Day to all of you with kids!

The weekend was typical. Saturday was just nuts. Got up early to take the boys to a Cub Scout service project/Bike Rodeo. We spruced up the school with mulch and then had a bike saftey/obstacle course kind of thing. The boys liked that a lot. The ran out to get some lunch, got to BJ's, and bought Maverick a new bike. He had SERIOUSLY outgrown his so we got him a nice Trek mountain bike in black with silver flames. It's adjustable so it can grow with him. He REALLY loves his new bike. I'll have to get a picture of him with it up on the blog.

After that, back home to begin mowing the lawn. I only got to do the front (for about 15 minutes) cause then I had to take Grasshopper to a friend's birthday party. He had a lot of fun since this was one of his best pals. The minute Grasshopper got there, his friend put his arm around him and let him off for fun and games. How cool is that?

After the party, back home for dinner. I then had to FINISH cutting the grass, even though it had poured during the party so the grass was damp. Then I finally got to go out and do the grocery shopping (the Wife isn't into grocery shopping. It takes her 10 minutes just to pick out some vegetables). By the time I got home, it was 9 pm. I had seriously crashed and burned at that point and fell asleep watching a Nascar race. They're so good for that!

Yesterday was much better. We went to church and then went to Tim Horton's for a snack. The boy's gave Mom the things they'd made at school. Grasshopper drew some really nice pictuers of the Wife with her new hairdo. Very good renderings. We then took a nice bike ride.

We then went off to the local Garden Store to get something for my Mom and look at plants for landscaping the house. We were there only about a half hour but we need like a whole day to look around for landscaping ideas. They had SO MUCH COOL STUFF! I may need to solicit donations to pay for all the plants. We got my mom a nice potted plant for Mother's Day and went over for dinner. At 1:30. Cause in Italian families, you have Sunday Dinner actaually at lunchtime then eat enough where you can sleep the rest of the day. It's a wonderful thing.

Unlike most visits to my mom's we actually didn't stay to long and left after about 2 hours. One more quick errand to get some cat food and we had the rest of the day to ourselves. The kids played outside while the Wife relaxed with some reading. All in all a very pleasant day. Not having to play a Mass at 5 pm can be so refreshing. I am really going to enjoy Sunday's this summer.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Where Vince get mushy

I was meditating one evening earlier this week (translated, mind wandering just before falling asleep on the couch) and I got to thinking about all the people I've met in the blogging community. Perhaps it was Brighton's blogmeet that put it in my head. Or perhaps it was the very touching email I recieved from one of the bloggers who's site I frequent. I've only met one blogger in person, Julie, but it's like I know so many of you.

I don't really know why I started this blog, other than to have something to do and a place just to write random shit that happened to be going through my head. I never thought I'd actually have any readers! Let alone actual friends! The support I've recieved from people I've never met has been unreal. I think that's what really keeps me coming back to the blogs I frequent. Certainly, many are entertaining, but mostly I want to check in on how all of you are doing.

I also try to lend my support where I can. Cause that's what friends do for each other. Perhaps there's a lesson to be learned from the types of people out there. Cause there certainly seem to be far more caring and tolerant people out in blogland than watching mainstream media would have you believe. And it's a really good support structure. It's amazing how many bloggers out there have to deal with the kinds of issues I do with my boys. It's good to hear how other parents deal with it and also have someone that can drop you a note and say "I understand" and mean it.

So anyway, what was the point of this post? I'm not sure I had one. I guess I just wanted to let you all know that I'm thinking about you and praying for you. And I just wanted to say thanks for taking some time out of your lives to swing by and say hi, offer kind words, and generally being a pal and a friend.

Finally, a word for the Wife. She's been quite patient and understanding with all the things I have going lately (non-blog related that is). I very much appreciate her support and love her deeply and always.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Weekend Festivities

It was a busy Saturday for us. Grasshopper had his first communion Saturday morning. It was followed immediately by a nice party. My nephew is the same age as Grasshopper and had his first communion at the same time, so Sis and I decided on one party and split the bill. It was quite nice. Grasshopper was very proud of himself and is happy he can fully participate in the Mass like the rest of the family. It was a joyous and spiritual occasion for us. Our pastor gave a really nice homily and spoke to the kids directly. All the kids made banners which hung in the church and were quite creative.

Food at the restaurant was pretty good. We had a "family style" type of meal where they put the differenct courses on the table (with the exception of the soup and salad) and you just serverd yourself. There was TONS of food! We started with a chicken soup, then the salad, then there was Chicken French, Sausage and peppers, pasta, and eggplant parmesean. Followed by sherbert. Followed by my mom's home-maded cookies, cream puffs, and wandies, THEN followed by cake! Death by dessert baby! The kids even had kiddie cocktails with cherries in them. The boys finished the afternoon at the bar watching golf on TV. They're going to turn into very typical men.

I also promised some pictures, so here's some of my faves from the day:

The Franco clan, including my parents:

Next, just us. Good shot of the dress The Wife decided on. It's sleeveless under the jacket. And she did indeed look HAWT!

Next, a shot of the boys:

And finally, my complete fave, a shot of Grasshopper as he was walking by during the procession at the end of Mass:

Isn't he precious?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

National Day of Prayer

Before I get into the heart of my post, I'd like to thank everyone for thier input on the Wife's wardrobe dilemma. She's out right now looking for either a new outfit, or perhaps black pants to go with the dress. We'll see what she comes up with. I also hate to put up another post and push those excellent pics of hers down the site. At least I have the originals.

Now, on to the business at hand. Many of you may not know today is a National Day of Prayer. Congress decreed back in 1952 that a day should be set aside for National Prayer and President Reagan designated the first Thursday in May as the day in 1988. Bet you didn't know that.

In any event, the reason all of this is on my mind is that I just came from a service at our community senior center to commemorate the day. Our town supervisor was there representing the town. We had pastors of area churches pray for towns, government, communities, families, etc. They read scripture. We had a wonderful preacher give a key note speach. Oh, yeah, and my Sunday night group and I played a song.

It was quite cool. The speakers were inspirational. While we played, a woman literally stood up, closed her eyes and raised her hands, and sang with us. First time I'd seen that. We had a lot of Amens, hallelujahs, and such. Very Baptist feeling.

I did feel a little bit of irony, perhaps, that we were doing a prayer service at a town owned community center. That whole seperatoin of church and state thing. But the town didn't really plan this. The town merely asked community leaders if they wanted to organize something. Everything was organized by the parishes involved. And it is a community center that can be used for any purpose, by any denomination if it so desires. I did find it a little dissapointing that we were all Christian. It would have been neat to get some Muslims, Jews, Buddists, or whatever in on it as well. But, ours is a suburban neighborhood and primarily Christian. We do have more Jewish and Muslim sections of the county, but those are other towns. Anyway, it was a cool thing to attend and it's always great to play in front of a crowd.

Now for an update: The Wife just got home a few minutes ago and she's not happy. She spent several hours looking at dresses and they were either WAY to formal, or just plain ugly. It seems brown is in this year. What a dull color for a party! Anyway, she's got a nice black dress that she can wear with a shawl that she's going to go with. She looks HAWT in that too, but won't be showing as much leg. Damn. On the plus side, she'll be showing some shoulder in this dress, and she's got very nice shoulders as well. Plus, it shows enough leg. I'll post pictures next week.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Need a female opinion

The Wife has requested I take some digital photos so she can get the opinion of the ladies in her office. So I figured, if she can ask them, I can ask my readers! After all, I have a large female readership, so she can benefit from all of your womanly advice.

Here's the background. Some of you may recall I gave the Wife a totally hot red Mandarin dress for her birthday. Well, since this Saturday is Grasshopper's first communion, she decided to wear it. Being a typical female, she decided to put it on first to make sure her shoes matched and that there were no other potential "wardrobe issues".

Well, she thinks she discovered an issue. The dress has slits up both legs on the side. She is concerned the slits go too high and show off a little too much leg. As if that's possible when you have legs as great as hers. She seems to think if she bends over, her ass will be falling out of the dress. Her solution is to wear pants under the dress. She needs to know if the pants go or if she should go with just the dress.

I have photos of her in the dress with and without pants. My personal opinion is that she should go without the pants. But then again, that dress makes me want to fuck her brains out, so I may be a little biased. Mind you, nearly everything she wears makes me want to fuck her brains out, but with this dress I have trouble waiting for her to actually get out of it. Just thinking about her in the dress is arousing. But, on to the pictures.

First, with the pants:

Next, without the pants. Please ignore the cat that was to lazy to get out of the way:

And finally, my favorite shot. The "bending over while talking to Grasshopper pose". I'd use this as the background for my laptop, but I have to resize it first. Again, I think this works just fine, but as I said, "would need to fuck her brains out". Probably not the opinion she wants.

Opinions ladies?

If only...

I had a dream last night that I was at an "American Idol" type competition (more of just a performance than an elimination kind of thing). I was singing Bad Company's "Can't Get Enough of Your Love". And in the middle of the performance, who should come out and greet me.....

Why Queen and Paul Rodgers of course! In the dream I got to meet Paul, Brian, and Roger. And Brian tells me I did a great job. And in best Grasshopper form, I tell Brian, "Of course!"

Ah, such a sweet dream. Perhaps it can come true one day.

In other news, I've linked a new blog on my blog roll: Lynx at Just Sayin... It's a very interesting read and I recommend you all go out and read her blog. Obey!

Also, just for Miss Evil Science Chick, I've added a picture of my Ibanez RG-550, in Road Flare Red (factory name for Neon Pink), in my sidebar. She posted a comment concerning my taste in colors on another site, so I thought I would let you all see for yourselves. The picture is a pretty good representation of the true color, but it's much more shocking in person. That guitar is totally cool and it smokes! I pulled it out Sunday for Mass and it was a blast to play! You all must now come to my church to see me play and I'll promise to bring it for your enjoyment.