Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Am I crazy?

Besides the obvious answer, here's the deal.

My parents are going to Italy next summer. They've told my sister they would pay for her and her family to go as well. To be fair, they offered us the same deal. If we didn't want to go, they'd give us the cash equivalent to do what we wanted.

The Wife thought it would be great, at a minimum, for me and Maverick to go. He's studying Italian this year and has no problem flying. The Wife gets horribly clausterphobic and is not going no way no how. Grasshopper says he doesn't like the feeling of a plane taking off and landing, but he's never actually been on a plane, so he's just guessing. He wants to go, but doesn't want to fly. I told him his options are fly to Italy or stay home with Mom. He hasn't committed yet but is leaning towards going.

You'd think I was all excited to go to Italy, right?

Actually, no. Right now, I don't really want to go. The Wife has been talking about scheduling passport photos now so we have them in time and possibly taking the boys on a short plane trip to get them used to the idea. So today at dinner she says she never asked me if I wanted to go. Which is when I told her I didn't.

I don't know why, but I'm having trouble getting up enthusiasm for this trip. Part of it is that it feels like just one more obligation thust at me I don't want. Part of it is I really don't want to go without the Wife. I got to see lots of cool places in Europe when I was in the Navy and every place I went I always said to myself "I wish the Wife were here to see this".

In any event, I'll probably end up going. And I'll probably have a good time. But right now my heart just isn't in it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

New possible friend

I was browsing through ebay last week, and saw something that's been of potential interest to me but usually goes for too much. However, in my search for musical perfection, I always thought this might be something I'd need. So I put in a low bid, thinking it wouldn't hold up. I'd be damned but it held up. So now I'm the proud owner of this:

It's a Yamaha SG1300TS. For you guitar techie types, it's constructed similarly to my beloved SG2000 (mahogany body, through the body neck, ebony fretboard). It also has upgraded pickups and a locking tremelo system. I'm hoping it has the same tone and feel as my SG2000. With the added tremelo, I can go all Eddie Van Halen again if I want. I should have it for my next gig on Sunday so if I do, I can put it through its paces.

On a seperate note, I somewhat promised Lisa B I'd give her some relationship war stories. So I need to come up with a few. However, if there are any requests for specifics on how to stay married for almost 20 years, let me know and I can include.

Monday, September 22, 2008

BOHICA - Updated

Naval acronym for Bend Over, Here It Comes Again.

I am, of course, referring to the current "financial crisis" surrounding our banks and financial institutions. The one that is resulting in taxpayers, ie you and I, to foot the bill for irresponsible practices by said institutions.

Where do I even begin? There are so many things about this that so piss me off. Let's start with the real cause of this mess. You all know what it is. Greed. The almighty dollar. Let's lend money to people that obviously can't afford it, whether it's mortgages or credit cards. Cause you can make a lot of money on interest. And people in big debt will spend all their time paying interest on principal that will never go down. Guarrenteed income, right? That is, until those people can't pay any more. And declare bankrupcy. But what do these bigwigs running these institutions care? Are any of them getting hurt by this mess? Of course not. They're getting huge payouts from these institutions the government need to rescue.

Who else is to blame? I'm going to drop this one squarely on Republicans. A central plank in every presidential platform since Reagan has been deregulation. McCain has even said it recently: we should trust businessmen to do the right thing to make our economy strong. We should remove impediments (like taxes and rules) from business so they can create jobs. Well, I might believe that if businessmen these days were motivated by something more than getting filthy rich and not giving a shit about anyone else. I think they've watched Pirates of the Carribean a few too many times: Take what you can, give nothing back.

Historically, you cannot rely on business to "do the right thing". Why did we need the anti-trust act in the 1800's? Because businessmen were crushing competition and then gouging the consumer for everything they could to make more money. Why did we need legislation protecting workers? Because businessmen exploited them for everything they could. Why do we have an SEC? So unscrupulous brokers don't cheat people out of everything.

So tell me how deregulation is going to help out? The point of government is to protect the governed. I don't trust "business" for a moment to look out for anyone's interest but their own. And why should they? Especially when they have the Grand Old Party to look after their interests for them.

Not that I trust Democrats to do a hugely better job if there's one in the White House, but perhaps the public will now wake up and demand some sort of action. Everyone should be pissed and fire a lot of the people in Washington. But then again, it's not really the voters in charge, is it.

Update: It appears our illustrious fearless leader of a President now is opposed to capping the compensation on exectives of the companies being bailed out. The excuse being the financial institutions may not accept the bailout if they do. Let me get this straight: the choice is get paid less or go out of business. Just who is doing the bailing out here? Who is asking to be saved? Since when should it be without conditions? Just another example of who really runs the Republican party. So much for them looking out for the little guy.

Friday, September 19, 2008

I was nearly impressed

I have a HUGE rant coming concerning the current "financial crisis" that's all over the news. But before I go all ballistic, I thought I would post this little gem. Bare with me as it only makes sense if I tell the story in the order I got the information.

Yesterday I got a call at work from the Wife. She asked me if I had noticed anything wrong with Grasshopper that morning. I told her he seemed like his usual self, giving me his usual amount of grief about getting ready in the morning, but that by the time I dropped him off at the Y, he seemed in a good mood, gave me a big hug before I left, etc. I wondered why she was asking.

It seems she'd recieved a call from the school nurse to see if Grasshopper was all right. She had a message on her voice mail to the effect that Grasshopper was calling in sick for the next 500 or so years. Now, we both got a huge kick out of that. I was just laughing my ass off. I was actually quite proud of the boy for that level of ingenuity. I planned on having a chat with him when I got home, but I wasn't going to give him too much grief.

When I got home, I got the real story. It turns out that Grasshopper never made the call. Someone had called the school at like 7:30 the previous evening and made a prank call using Grasshopper's name. I must admit, I was a little disappointed. Relieved that my boy has better sense than to make a call like that, but it would have been a creative thing to do.

Still, it was a good laugh and made my day brighter either way. And it makes for good blogging material.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Oh Dark Thirty

That's what time the power went out today. The remnants of Ike blew through last night around midnight and the result was about 37000 people without power, including us. I found out when the Wife woke me up this morning saying the power was out. Thankfully, I had my work laptop with a Verzion wireless card so I could get some news on the internet. I must say, the loss of power and a few downed trees was the worst of it for us. I really can't complain. We feared for a little while we'd lose some perishables in the fridge, but again, that's nothing compared to my pals down in the Gulf. So I count my blessings that all we got was a little inconvenience. And I continue to pray for all my pals out there that need it. You know who you are.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Plus a change, Plus cest la meme chose

Nothing new going on around here. Settling in to the school year and school schedule. I'm trying to visit everyone but either I have less time for the internet, or less energy. Either way, just wanted everyone to know I'm out there.

I would ask everyone one favor. Not something for myself. But it seems to me that many people I know right now (both in the blog and real world) are in need of prayers. Especially Trish, who's dad is in the hospital. So if you could just say some general prayers for those struggling and in need of spiritual support, I'd appreciate it. I think we could all use a few prayers said for us.

Peace and stay well.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

What was he thinking?

The he I'm refering to, of course, is John McCain. Now, I'm sure you know I'm a big commie, pinko liberal, and wouldn't vote for a Republican even if you had a gun to my head, but I felt like weighing in on this whole mess.

To be fair, from a political perspective, the choice of Sarah Palin as VP would seem a smart one. Her political leanings appeal to the very conservative base of the party, strongly pro-life, social conservative, all the things McCain is not. HOWEVER, you really gotta question McCain's judgement here.

I went back and forth with a stauchly conservative (and PhD earning) Navy pal of mine and we had some common ground. He stated her lack of experience was no greater than Obama, and she's only the VP candidate. I'll be the first to admit I think Obama is not experienced enough in the national scene. And that she makes a good balance to the ticket (young energetic speaker VP of old guy compared to young energetic speaker with old guy VP, his point). But here's where I got a problem.

McCain put her on the ticket, first and foremost, to try and grab the PUMA crowd (see Jennyjinx's blog for a lot on PUMA's) and pull in the "female" vote. Somehow, I don't think many disaffected Hillary voters are suddenly going to switch to McCain because his VP has a vagina. It's such a blatant ploy it's almost pathetic.

I also really question his judgement on the pick. Only a couple of days and already you've got potential scandals around her pregnant daughter, people she fired while governor, and pork barrel projects. And McCain said he knew all of this stuff. And he still picked her to be VP? Is he crazy? Or just stupid? They showed delegates at the convention trying to put a positive spin on it all but it was obvious rationalizations for what they felt was a confusing, if downright dumb, pick. If he wanted to make a really controversial choice that might have paid dividends, he should have picked Mike Huckabee. THAT would have been brave.

The most amusing thing I saw today the McCain campaign should probably categorize under "Least Helpful Endorsement Ever". It seems Ms. Palin's daughter got some baby clothes and sympathetic support from, wait for it.......Jamie Lynne Spears! Now there's an endorsement that should go really far. Sarah Palin is as good a mom as the Spears matriarch! And I think I read that Lindsay Lohan also weighed in on her side. With friends like those, who needs a media conspiracy.

Even though I haven't really been paying attention to the conventions, I may watch tonight to see if this Palin gal can actually speak. At a minimum, she's more lively that McCain. But then again, my 18 year old cat is livlier than McCain.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend. Mine's an extra day longer since the boys are still off from school. Grasshopper starts tomorrow and Maverick on Thursday. This year they decided to have 6th and 9th graders start on Wednesday and the rest of the Middle School and High School start on Thursday to give the new kids a chance to get used to thier new buildings. It's hard to believe Maverick's starting 7th grade. He acts more like a teenager every day. He's starting to get overly concerned about his appearance, especially his hair. The other day, we were shopping for clothes and he tried on a shirt. When I asked him what he thought, he wasn't sure because his hair was not combed correctly for the shirt! I failed to see the connection between hairstyle and whether or not a shirt looks good on you, but I'm an old guy after all.

Saturday was spent mostly doing back to school shopping. Yes, we waited until the last minute. So sue me. Sunday we attended our annual Labor Day Weekend High School Pal Get Together. Usually it's at our house, but this year one of our pals asked if we minded moving it to her place since we hadn't been there in a while and they'd done lots of nice improvements and wanted to show them off. The Wife and I were happy not to have to go crazy to get our house ready for a party (cause it would have needed MAJOR work to be guest-ready, even to my low standard). We were more than happy just to show up and bring a dish. It turned into a most pleasant affair. Our boys and her girls are just days or weeks apart so they got along FAMOUSLY! After our one friend with the small children left, we fired up the chiminea and just sat there in front of the fire chatting. The kids were off doing something or other but they were quiet so we just enjoyed the evening. It is always fun getting together with the old "gang" as it where. We still all get along great even after nearly 25 years from graduating high school.

Yesterday was mostly a do nothing day. I cleaned the garage and prepped it for today's big job. I had to do some running around to get everything I needed but managed to get everything done by 4 or so. Then we went to my Mom's for dinner and just hung out for a while. The Wife was kind of quiet for a while (she can be like that around my dad especially). But then we got into some lively topic and all was animated across the board. The boys enjoyed watching cartoons since I've blocked them at home until their behaviour improves. The big shock of the day was that my cousin's husband walked out on her. He was in the Army until the beginning of the year. I won't get into too much of it since I only got her side of the story. Not that I care too much about his side right now. She was a devoted wife to him, putting her life on hold and following him to Germany and Atlanta, supporting him every step of the way so forgive me if I'm a little biased. We'll see how it turns out.

Today has been Paint the Garage Floor Day. The Wife as been "asking" me to put down an epoxy paint/seal on the garage floor since last year. I promised her I'd get it done this summer so I sneaked it in under the wire! Let me tell you that was a lot of work. The last bit of it I was standing in the direct sun since I had to put the second coat on while standing in the driveway. But it's done now and looks pretty good. In 3 days we'll be able to bring the cars back in the garage. The boys have actually been getting along great today. I think the idea of priviledges based on behavior is starting to sink in. They even practiced their instruments together and were doing duets! The only thing the Wife wanted me to get done this summer that I didn't get to was painting the front door. But that would require purchasing a screen door first which we also didn't do. Still, we got a lot done.

Hard to believe summer is pretty much done. Hope it went well for everyone out there. Ours was just way too fast. We're already starting to plan Grasshopper's birthday, which is Halloween. Time just flies around here.

Lastly, as a quick update, things at work resulted in my rescheduling my training in NYC so I'll be going in November now instead of this month. Bit of a bummer I have to wait longer to see my NYC pals, but I'll get there.