Thursday, November 29, 2007

Make me feel old

I was assisting one of the "younger" ladies today at work (meaning she's about 30). She's pregnant with her first kid. We were discussing stuff you go through with your kids and I related a story about Maverick when he was a baby. He was having problems with gas bubbles that were making him scream. I mentioned that our pediatrician was useless on the whole thing and that we finally just went with our gut. Her question?

"Why didn't you just Google it?"

My response:

"Dear, when Maverick was a baby, I was pleased to have a state of the art 56 K modem. I was on AOL 4 at the time."

Ouch, talk about making me feel old! And that was 1996! I feel like an old guy saying to the young punk, "You know, back in MY day....."

(sigh) Young snotty kids.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Musical Epiphany

Tonight, I was farting around with my guitar (my baby, the Yamaha) and started playing with modes. I'd known about them for a long time, but never really had a lot of use for them (well, except the Mixolydian mode, which I use all the time). Anyway, as I started trying different modes in a single key (in this case A), it suddenly dawned on me: Many of these modes were the major scale in the key I was in (again, it happened to be A) with ONE NOTE CHANGED! You might not think one note could make a difference, but let me explain.

Let's start in key of C. The notes of the major scale are C, D, E, F, G, A, B, and C. No sharps, no flats. Now, let's say I change ONE NOTE. I'm going to change the F to F#. Now the scale becomes the G major scale (I forget which mode this is in C). Now let say I change ONE OTHER NOTE INSTEAD. I'm going to change the B to Bb. I now have an F major scale. What's the significance of all of this? Well, listen to your basic 12 bar blues in key of C (think of AC/DC's The Jack - go find it on YouTube if you have'nt heard it). To play the blues, you pick a root chord, play for 4 bars, go to the IV chord for 4 bars, then go to the V chord for 4 bars. In key of C these chords are, C, F, and G. And guess which modal scales fit right in if I change only ONE NOTE?

Brilliant! I can't wait to try this stuff out with the band. I have to mess around with it more to get a feel for what works and what doesn't. Being a musician is so fucking cool!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ouch! I Hurt!

It's been a busy weekend. Thanksgiving was spent at my Mom's place, so all we had to do was bring a cranberry dish and a sweet potatoe dish (both of which rock). We got to sleep in, watch the Macy's Parade with the kids, and the dog show afterwards. After dinner we came back home a crashed. All in all a good day.

Friday and Saturday were spent painting the living room and dining room (now dubbed the "Quiet Room"). There was lots of things to move and the painting itself. I didn't realize how much stuff was in our Quiet Room until I had to clear it out. Friday was the living room, Saturday the dining room. I painted it Biscuit, which is a light cream color. I was very satisfied with the result. It's a subtle shade and almost looks white in low light. I'd post pictures, but I'm lazy. I'll put up some pictures after the window treatments are in. However, due to all the painting, my legs are killing me! Painting uses muscles I don't normally use. But I'll live.

Today, we went to see The Nutcracker ballet. The Wife got some free tickets from a friend at work that couldn't use them. I wasn't sure if I would like it or not, as I'm not a big fan of classical music or ballet. But I must say, we all had a great time! It was quite fascinating to watch the dancers! Seeing the ballerina's spinning on their toes was just like something out of a music box. The athleticism and conditioning of the dancers was just amazing. One woman bent over backwards practically in half. It was just unbelievable. They had a young girl playing Clara and she was just awesome! Overall the production was great, and it was cool watching the little kids they added to the performance. They were so cute! And they even added a children's chior to one part.

The music was quite good as well. It amazed me that all of those different parts where once in some guy's head. There's no way I could compose anything so complex and it blows my mind that people can do that.

The boys really enjoyed the performance. The Wife and I enjoyed 2 hours of not hearing the kids talk. I think we need to take them to events more often so we don't have to hear them constantly yammering, fighting with each other, or talking back every time we say something to them.

Hope your holiday was great. Now we start on the holiday decorating and cookie making. The Wife is making cool cocoa kinds of cookies now. Remember, Christmas is one month away!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope everyone had a great Turkey Day. We spend the morning watching the Macy's parade and the Dog Show. We then went to my mom's for the traditional dinner of antipasto, tortellini soup, then turkey with all the goodies. That was followed by fruit, coffee (espresso of course), choice of about 10 desserts, and the chestnuts. Now we're hanging out watching The Incredibles. I so dig this movie!

The rest of the weekend will be painting the living room and dining room, and hopefully going to see the Nutcracker on Sunday. One of the Wife's co-workers offered free tickets. She's supposed to get them tomorrow. Being that her employer is cheap, they don't have the day off so she'll have to work. One thing I won't be doing tomorrow is shopping. I can't believe all these crazy peoples that will actually go to a store at 4 am to get a deal. One of the outlet malls here opens at midnight for shopping, and that I can maybe see, but getting up at like 2 am to go Christmas shopping? Are you kidding?

We actually had some snow today that stuck, so I'm starting to get in the Christmas spirit. We pretty much only got a dusting, but winter's coming. Luckily we put the snow tires on the Wife's SUV. I also got the snowblower tuned up and back on Wednesday, so I'm ready to go.

I've been spending more time playing guitar these days. After dealing with IT stuff all day at work, it's nice just to pick up a guitar and play around. It's helping my chops as well. I'll try and post more often, as I found out checking my blog is the second thing the Wife does when she gets to work. Since my music doesn't entertain her any longer, I must keep her entertained somehow.

I'll throw something up afte the painting is done, and maybe a picture or two. The walls will be interactive cream, and that will mean the downstairs is officially painted. Now all that's left is our bedroom, Grasshopper's bedroom, and the two bathrooms upstairs. Grasshopper's room will be next, since he's been bugging us for a while to do it. I'll probaby work on it during the break between Christmas and New Years. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and don't either eat too much or spend too much.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Fingers on Fire

I've been a little obsessed with music lately. I've been spending quite a bit of what little spare time I have playing. I'm actually starting to add some new riffs and ideas to leads, something I haven't done in a while. I managed to find my Star Licks Brian May video. Holy shit his leads don't sound hard but dammit if he doesn't use unique scale patterns to play the way he does. Which is what makes him Brian May. But it sure makes it hard to learn.

In other music news, I had to replace the Wife's Ipod. I got her a 2 gig Nano a while back and for some reason it stopped working. Wouldn't charge up and I couldn't connect it to the PC. Luckily, I got the extended warrentee. And since they don't make that model any longer, I got a 4 gig video Nano at no additional cost. Free upgrade baby! She's pleased with that.

Thanksgiving this year will be at my mom's place. I'm looking forward to the long weekend as I have nothing planned but painting the living room and dining room. Hope everyone has a nice holiday as I intend to enjoy mine. Later peeps!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Random thoughts

I've been uninspired lately as what to post about. Plus I've just been too damn tired to bother. Way too much stuff going on. So I figured I'd just throw up some random tidbits of stuff that's been going on lately.

Yesterday we finally had Grasshopper's kid's birthday party. October was just totally nuts. This was after doing a sleepover with his cub scout den Friday night. The sleepover was fun. I'd done it before with Maverick. We got to walk through Genesee Country Village (a 19th century village) at night by lantern and did a cool nature hike. The birthday party was at an indoor race track. The boys got to ride go carts and race and play video games followed by pizza and cake. What boy wouldn't like that?

I got a cool new phone from work. It's one of the Treo 700 smartphones. It's totally neat. I can get internet access on it and everything. I got it more to be able to support it for our users but I also was having trouble keeping my schedule up to date since it was changing like 10 times a day. I can even keep up with my email (both work AND home). Very cool.

I had to run to Schenectady for a day last week. We had a project that was not going well, mostly due to issues beyond my or my team's control, but still, we took the brunt. At about 7:30 PM Wednesday I get a call from my boss and basically he told me he wanted me to come out the next day. It was good that I went out there since I got a few things straightened out, but damn driving 450 miles in a day is tiring. That's what I get for being a guy that can get things done. There's a down side to being that good.

Tomorrow the boys are off from school so I'll be home. We're going to do a shopping trip. There's an outlet mall about 45 minutes away that's one of the only places we can find pants that fit those two. There probably won't be a weekend between now and Christmas we'll be able to head out there so I figure I might as well go on a day off. We've begun out shopping lists and of course, can't think of anything to get anyone. At least the Wife has given me some ideas and I thought of one all by myself, so I should be good. I think.

I've been needing strings for my new guitar for a couple of weeks now, since I broke one at a gig. I haven't had a change to even go near a guitar store since then. It's probably a good thing so I won't be tempted by some new cool musical toy, but I really need to set the guitar up properly and need new strings first. Maybe some time this week if I'm lucky.

Anyway, things are finally somewhat "normal" around here now that we've made it through October. Last month was completely insane. This month we have only our "normal" craziness. So all is well here. Hopefully I'll have more interesting stuff to say later.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Election Day

Today is my annual public service announcement. Tuesday, November 6 is Election Day here in the US. I'm urging everyone to get out and vote. Even though this is an "off" year election, it's far more important than the national elections. This year's election has the greatest impact on you, the voter. How? Let's face it, local elections impact voters far more than national ones. Your local politicians are the ones that raise or lower your taxes, enact laws that affect your every day life, and control what goes on in your schools. If you really want to make a difference, go vote for a town supervisor, school board member, or town councilman. These are the people that live in your neighborhood and keep all of the services running that make your every day life what it is. The most amazing thing is that these "off year" elections have the lowest turnout.

So get out there and vote! It can make a HUGE difference!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Dad Who Saved Christmas

I'm sure you've seen the news stories about parents that stand in long lines and go out of their minds to get the "it" present for thier kids for Christmas. I've always made fun of those people and vowed I would never do such a thing myself.

However, this year the Wife and I thought it might be nice to get something cool for the boys for Christmas. That cool thing being a Wii gaming system. They've been out for almost a year, should be no big deal getting one, right?

Wrong. I started looking on line and there are literally NONE to be had. Well, that's not entirely true. If you want to go to Ebay or these dealers that snapped up a bunch so they could charge $150 more than the system goes for retail, then sure, you can get one. All the retailers were out on line. So I started checking the stores. Nope, sold out. However, I did end up with a nice little tidbit of information. That being if a retailer advertises an item, then by law the retailer must have some available.

So, after doing so research and making so inquiries, I found out that Wal-Mart was going to be offering the Wii this weekend at a good price. I also found out that since Wal-Mart is 24/7, they could start selling it at midnight of the 4th. Sooooooooo.......

At about 10:15 last night I showed up at the local Wal-mart and began inquiring. Within 15 mintues, I was instructed where to stand to wait. Shortly thereafter, other people started showing up. Yes, dear friends, I became one of THOSE people that will wait in line for one hour and 45 minutes to get the cool toy for Christmas. But, dammit, I WAS THE FIRST ONE IN LINE BABY! AND I GOT A WII!!!!! On top of that, I got one without all of the post Thanksgiving insanity.

On the plus side, I didn't have to wait outside in the cold. And we decided standing was for suckers so we grabbed some folding chairs so we could be comfortable. I had my Ipod and a book of word search puzzles, so it wasn't so bad. The funny thing was that there was a second line for an LCD TV deal. So I guess if you want to get something hot at Wal-Mart, you need to show up well before midnight. And if any of you kiddies want a Wii, well, keep your eyes open and happy hunting. Cause I got mine baby!