Thursday, September 27, 2007

Drugs are goooooood

I saw the dentist today. He gave me the verdict with my tooth. I had a HUGE cavity in a wisdom tooth which he filled last time around. It apears that all this work on the tooth aggrevated the nerve. Which is in the slow process of dying. And doing it kicking and screaming all the way, which is the cause of all that mouth pain. He said normally, a root canal would be called for, but since it's a wisdom tooth I don't need, he's going to pull the tooth. Next Thursday. In the mean time, he's given me some nice pain killers for it and antibiotics to prevent it from absessing. I'd like to say I'm feeling no pain, but the good drugs are wearing off and I can't take another until bed time.


So to distract my brain from the pain, I'll talk about the Coast Guard sleepover. It was a boy scout event with Maverick. I had other things going (as in Grasshopper's activities) so I didn't get there until lunch time. Since Rochester is right on Lake Ontario, we have a Coast Guard detatchment. They have this nice little base all fenced in and secure on the Genessee River where it spills into the lake. The boys got a nice tour of the base before lunch and we were pretty free for a while afterwards. The Wife and Grasshopper came up to join us for lunch. Afterward we walked the pier while the boys froliced in the lake on a small beach next to the base. The Wife and Grasshopper took off around 4 since they weren't staying for the overnight. Later on, we all got a ride on a small coast guard boat up the river before dinner. I must admit, it's been a long time since I've been on a ship, and I did miss it a little. But only a little.


The boys prepared dinner and afterwards we had a nice camp fire and made s'mores. The boys then fixed breakfast the next morning and we went on a nice 2 mile hike to finish the day. It was amazing how quickly the time went. The first day, it got to be 10 pm before we even realized it. The weather was perfect, warm during the day, clear and in the 50's at night. You usually don't get weather this nice at the end of September. Overall it was a great time and a fun visit. Here's a couple of pictures from the event:








Monday, September 24, 2007

Say Hello to my little friend

Meet my newest pal. I rescued it from the accursed House of Guitars where it certainly would have been mistreated had it been there much longer. We're still getting to know each other. We need to learn to work together, but it's coming. I don't have a lot of time to spend with the new friend right now, but I do what I can. Not exactly what I was looking for in a new friend, but sometimes rescues surprise you.

Say hello, new pal:


For those of you that are discerning Brian May fans, you'll note that the pickup selector and phase switches are in the wrong place, and that the knobs are the wrong type. It also has a standard spring tremelo. But, it has the real deal Burns Tri-Sonic pickups so it sounds very much like the real thing. And as it turns out, it uses my favorite body wood, mahogany. And the tremelo stays in good tune. I do have to set it up as it doesn't quite tune correctly and the E string buzzes, but I'd expect as much from the House of Guitars.

Still, it plays very well right now. I have to get use to the balance of it when I put a strap on it since it's very different than my other guitars. The neck likes to slide down if I let it hang on it's own. Still, I think I'm really going to enjoy this baby. The sounds I can get out of it are totally cool.

I'll be in Schenectady the next couple of days so when I get back I'll update on my tooth woes and post pictures from the Coast Guard sleepover. As always, Rock On!



Sunday, September 23, 2007

Ow, I hurt

I had lots of fun things going on this weekend. I did a sleepover at our local Coast Guard station with Maverick and his boy scout troop. It was a blast, but I had one thing put a damper on it.

Starting last night, my head started hurting. I had a cavity filled about a month ago and that tooth has not stopped hurting since. Now my whole jaw on the left side is hurting and I've got a killer headache on that side. I've got a suspicion something got infected. I'm going to call the dentist first thing tomorrow. Something just isn't right with that tooth. After I'm out of pain, perhaps I can post something of substance.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Almost, but not quite - update

Today we had our IT department picnic. I left work with plenty of time to get there, and had a few extra minutes. Since I was in the part of town where the infamous Great, Great House of Guitars resides, I decided to stop by. Mind you, I only go there to LOOK at guitars, since they have the absolute worst treatment of instruments of any shop I've ever been in, but the selection is HUGE so it's a great place to try stuff out.

Anyway, the reason I went there is that I thought they just MIGHT have a Brian May guitar and I was interested in trying one. Well, they had this, the Dillion copy. So I said what the hell, and plugged it in. I was pleasantly surprised. It sounded great, the pickup combinations were awesome, and I could get all kinds of cool tones (especially through the Vox amp I was playing). So, even though I once vowed NEVER to buy a guitar there, I asked the price.

$500.

I thought the guitar was nice, but not $500 nice. I mean, it's not even that authentic a copy. It does have the Burns Tri-sonic pickups and is wired like Brian's guitar, and is shaped like Brian's guitar, but that's as close as it came. If it was somewhere in the low $400's, I'd have been willing to deal. But I passed.

HOWEVER, trying it out did answer the one big question I've had that's been keeping me from seriously looking at the Brian May guitar: will I like how it sounds. After all, I'd hate to spend money on a Brian May of any sort and then find out I didn't like it. Bottom line, I LOVED the sound. Totally kick ass and I could do so much with it. Sooooooo, now I need to figure out how to get me my own Red Special (in perhaps a non-red color). Not any time soon I think, but eventually. Assuming I can keep the Wife from killing me for getting ANOTHER guitar.

Rock on, people, rock on.

UPDATE: On a whim, I called the HOG back and said that $500 was too steep. I was asked how much I wanted to pay. I said $375. The guy puts me on hold and says, "Sounds good."

I let the Wife know I was going to pick it up and she said "What do I get?" I responded "Whatever you like."

I pick it up in half an hour.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

:( or :)

Sorry I've not been around much. I really havn't had a lot to say. I will say I'm very frustrated at work and that frustration is boiling over into the home life. I won't say much about it since if I get started, the tirade might never end and could turn into such vile nastiness it would be truly scary to behold. So let's not go there.

Instead, I'll leave you with a conversation overheard at work:

Worker 1: Wow, that's a nice car you've got (car being an Infiniti G37)

Worker 2: (shrugging shoulders) It's just an Infiniti.

If only we all could say that.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

You want a piece of me?

While loading up my new Ipod I came across a pair of MP3's of songs I recoreded with my band The Real Emetics. They're two songs I'm very proud of, but before my Christian era so were not included in Voice of the Spirit. I got to thinking they're just sitting there doing nothing, sooooooooooo:

I thought I'd offer them up to those that would like them. They're rough mixes since I didn't have time for a final mix, but they're decent. If you'd like copies of the two songs, Remember When and Beg and Plead, then please email me and I'll email them to you.

There's one MAJOR condition: These are my copyrighted work. If I send it to you, then you ABSOLUTELY CANNOT give them to anyone esle without my express permission. I'll probably say yes, but I'd like to know who's getting my work for free. I'm totally not kidding about that.

So if you're interested, give me a shout. Rock on!


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Believe

Hopefully this speaks for itself.




BELIEVE by Stryper

Verse 1
Look what we can do
When we get together
And give support
To those on the lines

Verse 2
It's our sons and daughters
Our sisters and brothers
Let's show them we cared
If they lived or died

Chorus
In this land of freedom
There's riots in the streets
All in the name of peace
If we stand in unity
We'll win with dignity
Our strength has said it all
Pray and believe

Verse 3
The wars through the ages
Have taken so many lives
I think of their faces
And the fear in their eyes

Verse 4
With hearts made of courage
And souls filled with fire
Those who fight for their freedom
Let's lift their names higher


Sunday, September 09, 2007

Wanna Trade?

It's been an interesting couple of days. I've aquired some new toys and have yet to spend a dime.

Friday, one of my co workers asked if I had a minute to look at her daughter's Ipod. She said it wasn't working and the daughter was relying on her newer Nano. I said sure, so she goes out to the car and brings me a 4th generation 20 gig Ipod. I immediately noticed that Hold was on, and turned it off. After a quick test, I determined the Ipod worked fine. My co-worker had been willing to give it to me to repair and keep if it didn't work, but I could not in good conscience take a fully functional Ipod from her. I caught up with her later and told her it worked perfectly fine and I couldn't keep it if she wanted it. She told me her daughter didn't use it and she wouldn't, so if I'd be willing to bank some personal tech time for her home PC, having me available to assist her was much more valuable than the Ipod.

So I became the proud owner of a 20 gig Ipod! Which is now loaded with a ton of my music to listen at work.

Saturday I played in the company golf tournament. It was fun, and I had a few good shots. Everyone got a free raffle ticket for prize giveaways at the end. I found my ticket stapled to some golf tees, which I thought was cool. The tees were next to a golf club with no ticket on it. I found out that my winning ticket was actually for the tees AND the golf club. Also cool. It turns out another person had won the head cover for the golf club. Unsure as to why they were seperated, he was willing to trade the golf tees for the club head cover. More cool! As it turns out, I have this type of club (a 3 hybrid) and don't use the club I have that much. Another golfer won a portable DVD player and has a DVD player in the van AND a portable DVD player. I offered a trade for the club and cover for the DVD player.

With permission from his wife, I now am the proud owner of a portable DVD player! Which the boys have already begun to enjoy. Today we went to a family reunion. The weather was kind of rainy so we brought the player. The boys were able to watch Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and really liked the player.

As you can see, it's been a rather productive weekend!


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

What a weekend

We had quite the busy Labor Day weekend. Saturday was spent running around and getting the house ready for our annual Labor Day party on Sunday (more on that in a minute). Monday was spend at my Aunt and Uncle's place for another picnic. All told, the Wife and I had almost no time to ourselves. Almost, that is ;).

Anyway, since we moved into our new place, every Labor Day weekend we host a party for our high school gang. We all get together about twice a year, once at our place Labor Day weekend, and once at P's house for the annual Christmas party. Going into Friday evening, everything looked good to go. Our one friend that lives in Montreal was going to be in town. Another friend couldn't stay late since she had a family obligation to go to later in the afternoon, but that's fine.

So Sunday I get a call from one friend saying she had to cancel. Her husbands started a project and then wasn't feeling well and it had to be finished (something about no door on the front of the house or something) and she had to finish the job. Ok. So a couple of other friends show up and we find out our friend from Montreal had to go back early. She was starting a new job and had to be there on Tuesday and only found out last minute. So our party was down to us and two of our friends. Kind of a bummer, especially for the boys since our friend that called Sunday morning has two girls the same age as our boys. No cool playmates :(

However, shortly after the party started, the doorbell rings and some of the boys' friends are there. They ended up playing together for quite a while and they had a good time. The Wife and I had a nice visit with our two friends, especially one of them who had come late the last two years due to working retail. She no longer does so she got to stay a while. They boys friends stayed for food so we didn't have stuff go to waste.

Just as our last guest was leaving, the Wife heard someone call her name. Down the street comes her cousin! In a strange twist of fate, the Wife knows this couple at the end of our street. The one gentleman is the brother of one of her childhood friends (they lived next door to each other) and his partner is the Wife's cousin's brother in law. Confused? It doesn't matter. The Wife's cousin said they were having a party and we should come crash. So we did! With the kids and the dog! Buddy loves the two dogs that live with the couple and they just LOOOOOVE our dog. We had a totally fun time at the other party! We'd have stayed late but we had to get the boys to bed, but what looked like a potential downer of a day turned into one of the funnest days of the summer. I'm probably going to need a weekend to recover from my holiday, but it doesn't look like I'll get it. Oh well, we need more weekends like this past one.


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Outcome

First of all, I hope everyone had a great Labor Day Weekend! I've got some good stories to tell, but I wanted to conclude my saga from last week first. I'm home today with the boys since they start school tomorrow (YEAH!). Perhaps tonight I'll get caught up with everyone since I haven't been online all weekend (for a change). So, without further ado...

After speaking to my co-worker and getting the very (or not so very) subtle impression that he wanted me to rally some troops to the cause, I was on the fence as to how to react. On the one hand, I wanted to support my co-worker, since I agreed with much of what he said. On the other hand, I probably would not have handled it the way he did. After much thought, I decided my best course of action would be to email my boss and blind copy in my co-worker. I basically said that the co-worker was going to talk to upper management about concerns he had, concerns which my boss and I had already dicussed previously. I mentioned that perhaps now might be a good time to raise some concerns about this team to the CIO, but that I felt it should come from him, as he reports directly to the CIO. I worded the email VERY CAREFULLY to show that I was sticking my hand out to help a friend, but not my neck.

Later that evening, around 7 pm, I get a call on my cell from my co-worker. He was a little panicked. He'd read the email at home and now was afraid that it might look like he was trying to turn people against this team. He asked that I talk to my boss first thing in the morning to make sure that was not the impression. I said no problem, but decided to call my boss right away. We chatted for a while and I made him understand that I felt if any concerns should be raised, he should be the one to do it. He'd been working with these guys for 3 years and knows what they're like. He agreed that perhaps it was time to stop putting up with the behavior and do something about it, and that he should bring it up with the CIO at his next one on one. He understood where I was coming from and that I was not trying to make waves. The behavior of this team is affecting the entire department in that location and now is starting to affect our location.

So the next day was the "big meeting". Later in the afternoon, I spoke to my co-worker to see how it went. It could not have gone worse. They talked for an hour and didn't address any of the departmental issues, just specific issues my co-worker was having with his bosses. Which ended up making him look petty. At the end of it all, the CIO told him he was disappointed that he was "stirring up trouble" in the department when we're trying to bring it together. This is after our CIO said he had an open door policy and wanted to hear the good and the bad. He said we need to be "honest with each other" if we're going to get anywhere. Howver, when co-worker tried to be honest in meetings and try to give alternative opinions (which we do all the time in our location), he was "contradicting his bosses" and "making them look bad". Bottom line is that now my co-worker, who really know's his stuff and at a minimum should have his boss' job, is now branded as a trouble maker.

For my part, my name was left out of everything. I don't know if my boss spoke to the CIO, but I've raised my concerns with him, and that's my job to do so. It's his job to take action. In the mean time, I'll do what I always do and try and get people to work together. If I was in the same situation, I don't think I'd have emailed the CIO the way he did. I would have worded things WAY differently and brought up the general issues without singling out anyone. I would have approached it from the "we really need to get better about this thing as I feel it's preventing the department from successfully working together". I have a pretty well refined method of covering my ass while trying to get things done. I've also found that if you approach difficult people from the perspective of asking for a favor when what you really want is just for them to do their job, you get better cooperation.