Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Birthday/Halloween!

Today is Nicholas' 12th birthday. Our trick or treat baby is growing up to be a pretty good kid. Today will be filled with cake, trick or treating with friends, and candy. Weather looks to be cool, but rain free.
So Happy Birthday to my youngest that's been much more of a treat than a trick so far!


Saturday, October 30, 2010

It's the little things

Just a couple of things that make me smile in the morning and get my day off to a good start.

1. When Ellen wakes up in the morning, rolls over and smiles. She's so damn cute.

2. Seeing Ellen in her nightgown backlit from behind. You can see all of her curves through the nightgown. Rawr!


Friday, October 29, 2010

We're all going to Hell

As I was skimming the headlines this morning, I found the below story. Apparently, a pair of 4 year olds (one was ALMOST 5), were racing their bikes with training wheels on them under the supervision of their mothers in NYC and ran into an elderly woman. The woman broke her hip and died a couple of weeks later due to the injuries. The woman's children, on behalf of the state, sued the mothers for negligence. That I can understand.

However, it turns out they ALSO sued the 4 year olds for negligence. That's right, little kids. Apparently there's a law from 1928 that states only minors UNDER the age of 4 are incapable of negligence. The lawyer for the kids tried to get the suit dismissed but the judge is allowing the case to proceed. Not to say the kids actually ARE guilty of negligence, but just that they can be sued.

What is our nation coming to when a kid that isn't even old enough to ride a bike and might not even know how to tie their shoes be sued for negligence? You can barely hold their attention for 5 minutes! What if they said it was their imaginary friend's fault? While the judge may be correct on legal grounds, that's just plain wrong.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39905143/ns/us_news-the_new_york_times/


Thursday, October 28, 2010

All work and no play

I've been so busy at work and home I barely have time to do anything not related to work, school, or the kids. Work has been so nuts lately I barely have time to goof off on the internet. Every spare moment I have (even lunchtime) has been focused on school work.

However, I did manage to find a couple of minutes to tell all of you I haven't had time for you. So there.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dang Vivian!

Don't ask me where that comes from, it's something I picked up from Ellen.

Since Sunday this week I've been CONSUMED with a single paper that is due next Wednesday. It's been requiring a shitload of research. I've been using every spare moment I have at work and at home to work on it. Today at work, during lunch, I manged to put together the majority of the notes and references I thought I needed. Tonight, I began writing the draft. Not too bad, I'm thinking. Maybe I can have the draft done by tomorrow.

Well, I spent close the 3 hours working on it today (ok, maybe 2). I've got 7 pages done and referenced 20 online articles. And that was just for the first section worth 5 points out of 50. Mind you, I haven't FINISHED the first section yet as I have to discuss one more point. THEN it's on to the rest of this beast. I must say I've never done so much freaking work for one assignment. And it's all about how Colgate should market toothpaste in China and Mexico. As if I care.

So I'll keep plodding along and give it my best effort, though I suspect the more time I have to spend on it the less it will be my best work. Right now, I'll just be happy to turn the damn thing in on time.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Overheard

Those of you that follow football may have heard that Brett Favre has been accused of sending inappropriate texts and pictures to a female reporter when he was with the Jets. Now, personally, I could care less. Sports figures long ago stopped being role models in my book and finding out another professional athlete didn't live up to the hype is no surprise.

However, I was in the gym at lunch today working out and a story came on one of the cable networks on the "latest" with the "scandal". I overheard two female co-workers talking about the story and I had to laugh at myself at what one of them was saying. First she went on about what a slime Brett was. She's stated she was from Wisconsin and her brother told her about some bar all the football players frequented that closed at like 2 am and the owner would bring in young girls just for the football players, and blah, blah, blah.

But the best part was when she started talking about the female reporter that supposedly received the texts. She then went on about how this woman who OBVIOUSLY got a boob job should have known better than to put herself in a situation like that. I left to get changed at that point in the conversation but I found it hysterical how catty women can be. God forbid a guy would say "She brought it on herself" but it's perfectly acceptable for another woman to say it. And since when does getting a boob job automatically mean a woman's a slut?

I just found that funny as hell.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Breakthrough!

I hit a milestone today! I finally broke through the 19 mph average on my bike. I'd been averaging around 18.8 mph on my road rides and I just couldn't seem to get any higher. Today, I rode a little over 10 miles in 31 minutes for a 19.3 mph average! Don't know if I can sustain that but I've got all winter to keep working on my stamina.
Also today the band played at Mass and I got to do one of the things I truly enjoy, making music for the Lord with my band. It was a very spiritual undertaking and it never fails to put me in the right frame of mind.
I'm going to try and let those good feelings take me through the rest of the evening as I plod through a paper I'm writing. It's due next Wednesday but the research is going painfully slow. So I'll keep thinking of the positve and plugging away at it.
Ride AND Rock On people.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Birthday Bash

Next Saturday is Nicholas' birthday (Halloween) so today we're having his bithday party with family. Instead of going easy and ordering pizza, we decided to make chili, cornbread, german potatoe salad, and a 5 layer mexican dip as well as serve sandwiches. Plus, Ellen made a filled cake AND an apple cheesecake for dessert. Needless to say we've been going crazy since yesterday doing all the cooking. I think Ellen is ready for bed already and the party hasn't even started. However, I think it will work out.

In the meantime, for your viewing please I give you Buddy the Dog holding his rawhide treat, giving me the "please don't take it away from me" look.



Friday, October 22, 2010

Accidentally on purpose

I was giving a lesson last night and I'm teaching my student the lead to one of my songs. When I wrote the song, I didn't have a lead worked out and after recording all of the rhythem tracks. I had my engineer burn me a CD of the track so far and just whipped something up. I tried to break out of my usual habits and do something different, but that was about all the planning I did on the lead. I was rather pleased with the result.

So as I'm teaching the lead to my student, I started to break down what I was doing so he could understand it from a musical perspective. The more we got into it, the more I realized how well it all worked out and WHY it sounded so good. I naturally ended each phrase on the note of the next chord change, modulated up when the chords shifted up, and actually had themes built into it. From the way I explained it to him, you'd think I'd worked all of this out ahead of time.

My student understood the lead much better after we deconstructed it, and I didn't hurt my arm too much patting myself on the back. But I think it's cool how sometimes you just DO something without thinking about it and later realize how good your intuition can work.

So if you have my CD, listen to Calvary Hill and appreciate the great lead at the end of the song. If you don't have my CD, the link is up and you can still purchase it.

Rock on.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Does it matter?

I want to begin my saying I drank too much of an ice cold beverage just a moment ago and am recovering from brain freeze! Arg!

We're a couple of weeks away from the next election, and I always encourage everyone to vote and do so again this year. You can't get what you want from our government (whichever way you lean) if you don't participate in the process. Not enough people do.

That being said, am I the only one tired of all these damn political ads? And does it really make a difference who you vote for? It seems lately our choices are between bad and worse. Or at a minimum bad and just as bad. Everyone seems to be mad at their representatives but they aways vote the same people back in (with few exceptions). Dems took the Congress and the White House because people were pissed at the Republicans. Now everyone's pissed at the Democrats. But with the exception of health care reform, they didn't do anything that the Republicans weren't doing before them. Now we'll probably put Republicans back in charge and again nothing will change for 2 years.

In Albany, it's even worse. Paladino won't get elected because he's a nut, but I have no illusion tha Cuomo can make a difference. The legislature is totally broken and the only way to fix it is to enact term limits. But what's the incentive of lawmakers to limit their own power? Especially when no one is making them?

There was a time when I really felt you could make a difference and use politics to do that. That delusion was expelled from my system many years ago. Now I just try and make a difference in my small circle of community. And not in politics. Because local politics is just as bad as state or federal politics. All the politicians suck.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Microsoft Time

Have you ever noticed when you're installing an application on a Windows PC, the installation reaches a point where it says there's a few seconds left (perhaps 5 sec) but it takes more like 5 minutes for the installation to finish? I've dubbed this Microsoft Time. It a type of distortion to the space time continuum where what is perceived by the application seems to be seconds, but in the "real" world is much longer. Sort of like what is supposed to happen when you approach the speed of light.

Why do I mention this? Well, we have a frontloading washer and matching dryer. If you put clothes in the dryer (though the washing machine does this too), it will tell you it's going to take, say, 1 hour to dry your clothes. So we keep an eye on it, and it reaches a point where the number on the display is 2, presumably minutes. However, the dryer (or washer for that matter) doesn't actually stop until something like 15 or 20 minutes later. So we've concluded the washer and dryer are also on Microsoft Time.

Last night, Ellen put some clothes in the dryer a little after 9 pm and the timer indicated they'd be dry and ready to fold at about 10:15 pm. Not too bad. However, they were ACTUALLY ready to fold at 10:45 pm. Ellen likes to nap in her chair prior to going to bed. She was already nice and comfy and had to get up during her "nap" time to fold laundry. Which she didn't want to do. Which made her a little unhappy. Which was obvious when I came up to bed and she was running around like a crazy lady to get in bed quick with that "don't fuck with me" look.

So I did the smart thing and kissed her on the head goodnight and rolled over to go to sleep. I'm happy to report she's in much better humour today. And I got a nice little bonus of seeing my very sexy lady half nekkid last night. Not that I said anything about it at the time. It was obviously sleeping time.

I wonder if I complain to Bill Gates if he'd write a patch for his software to fix the space time continuum?


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What is the world coming to

I've seen this commercial a couple of times now. My first reaction was "OMG, I never thought I'd hear Judas Priest used to sell cars." My next thought was that no matter how cool the music, how many explosions, or how cool you try to make it, that commercial does not make this metalhead want to buy a minivan. Nor does it make me think I would be somehow more cool driving one. It's a MINIVAN people. I could never own one.

The only thing that commercial motivated me to do was get a Marshall stack to plug my guitars into and play loud ass metal. THAT would rule. In case you haven't seen the commercial, for your listening pleasure, then enjoy.




Monday, October 18, 2010

Epic Fail

Lately, Christopher's new catchphrase is "Fail!" Anytime something goes wrong, he'll quickly state "That's a fail." I'm not sure if all the kids these days are saying it, but it is a quick statement of screwing up. If something goes really wrong, it's an "Epic Fail".

So I picked up the latest edition of one of the IT trade magazines and there was an article on the current state of IT security. The title of the article? "Epic Fail". I got a big kick out of that and will have to show it to the kid.

I guess that phrase isn't just for the younglings these days.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Staying awake

So how many of you are crazy busy? I'm sure its not just me. At Mass today, the readings were about never tiring. Meaning, never cease to keep praying and asking God for the things you need. As the parable goes, if a corrupt judge will render a just judgment to a widow simply because of her persistence in bothering the snot out of him, how much more so will the Lord, who is Good, answer our prayers if we continue to ask?

At the beginning of Mass, our pastoral administrator challenged us to think of the things that are making us weary and to ask God to take them. Which was appropriate for me as this morning there was much making my weary: school, work, kids, everyday STUFF. But I tried to give it all to the Lord and have faith it would work out. I left Mass not feeling much better that I started.
However, I now feel much better. The paper I had to write, while taking a while, came together smoothly. I've been making it a point today to try and NOT get into a pissing match with the kids, I went for a ride and that always refreshes the mind and spirit, if not the body. I've got more to do, but I don't feel weary about it.

Many thanks to my man Jesus for hooking me up like that. God is indeed Good.


Friday, October 15, 2010

All tied up

Our organization at work has a business casual dress policy Monday through Thursday, meaning appropriate business attire every day but Friday with Friday being a dress down day. Business casual means essentially dressy pants and collared shirt (button down or polo) tie optional. Since I'd lost weight I've had to buy new dress shirts and pants and I've got some nice looking stuff.

Over the last couple of months I've been thinking that not only did my "work look" seem to be missing something without a tie and partly because I've been feeling the desire to look more professional, I started wearing a tie to work a couple of weeks ago. Initial reactions were as you'd expect: "Are you interviewing?" "What's with the tie?" One of our admin assistants really was concerned I was going somewhere (as in leaving the organization). All not true.

My favorite question was "Why are you 'all tied up'?" It struck me as kind of dirty and funny all at the same time. Now that it's been a couple of weeks, people have figured out that I'm becoming one of those "funny" guys at work that does things a little differently. Which is OK with me.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

So many choices

So what to blog about? So many little things going on. Christopher was supposed to have a marching band performance Saturday, but it got cancelled at the last minute. The high school football team made the playoffs and the original game date was today. But then earlier this week it got changed to Saturday. Too many of the marching band members (including Christopher) had already made plans and not enough kids were available for the band to play. That's what happens when you change things last minute like that.

There's a little drama going on with the band. We're still having a hell of a time finding a drummer. And our bass player feels overextended (she's also working on a masters degree among other things) and was questioning whether she should quit the band. Like we'll let her.

The boys have an all day merit badge class on Saturday (9 to 4) so Ellen and I should get some peace in the afternoon. Sunday we should be able to hang around the house and do whatever. I'll be writing my draft for a paper due Wednesday. Most of the research is done now I have to put it together. And read like 5 more chapters in text books.

Off to read a chapter now!


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

5 Minute Post

I've decided to try something I'm stealing from Julz. She gets total credit for the idea. It's the idea of taking 5 minutes a day (at least) to blog something. I actually look forward to checking out a blog again on a daily basis. How many bloggers are doing that any more? Saves me the trouble of trying to do a drawn out post (unless I really have something to say) and gives me a reason to keep the blog going.

So what to post? So many little things have been going on that I could talk about. As you probably know, taking courses can really stress me out. Between my over achieving to get good grades and sudden perfectionist streak, I can shut everything out and obsess on it.

So, anyway, recently, my obsessivness and general crankiness if I'm stressing on school caused the Wife to put a comment on one of my Facebook posts that said "Not sure which will come first, the degree or the divorce." Let me tell you, that really hurt. Like, kick me when I'm down kind of hurt. I was bummed for like 2 days after that. Then she made a comment to me that I couldn't talk to her children the way I had been. Another kick in the teeth.

Unfortunately, she was right in that I can get really crabby over this stuff. Which I'm trying to work on. I realized yesterday that there are times of the day I REALLY need to stay away from the computer. I have a paper due next week and was trying to get a bunch of research done so I started working on it after dinner. And was working on it during the kids' bed time. They're not the easiest to get ready for bed since they bounce off the walls. So much yelling ensued (from both of us) and today, over my bleary eyed tiredness, I realized I should have shut my laptop lid and let the research be until the boys were in bed. Today was easier since we had a scout meeting so I didn't even boot up the laptop until the boys were in bed.

So I keep working at it. There are days I'm tired of teaching myself an MBA (which is what online courses feel like) and just want to quit, and there's other times I think it's only a little over a year and I can finish what I started. I'll let you know next December if it was worth it.

Was that 5 min?


Saturday, October 09, 2010

What a day

This being Columbus Day weekend, the boys are off from school. Friday was a superintendent's day (no school, and don't get me started on that) and Monday they have off for the holiday. We're trying to pack in as much family fun as we can over 4 days. And I'm trying to find a little school time.

Today we went on a bike ride called the Quilt Run. It was SUPPOSED to be a ride where we go on country roads and look at painted quilt squares put up on the barns of farmers. All of the squares have a story and you could have done either a guided tour or there's a cell tour where you call a cell number, put in a code, and get the story. We met Ellen's sister-in-law, niece, and niece's husband up there this morning at about 10 with our bikes and started pedaling. The entire route was about 21 miles and we did about 15 of it.

It had to be one of the best rides we ever did. It was a nice easy pace. We stopped when we felt like it. We were near Lake Ontario so we stopped by the lake and checked out the waves (very choppy today). About halfway through the ride, we were enjoying just being out and riding so much, we forgot to look for the quilt squares! Ellen found this ride easier than a shorter one we took about a week ago. Both boys were with us and they did great. We bought Christopher a new mountain bike about a week ago and he'd been dying to try it out. He LOVED it. Afterwards we all went out to lunch and just hung out for a while. All in all, a very fun day.

Next up, tomorrow we're going to do a day trip to Niagara Falls (American side) and Monday is Mountain Bike riding at a local park with single track trails. Ellen's niece is meeting us out there for that as well.

Right now I need to get a little school work done, and more tomorrow night and Monday night. However, I'm fairly well caught up and right now waiting for my teammates on a paper to do their part. So it's off to check in and get some reading done. Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone!


Sunday, October 03, 2010

Why I stay

Something I've been thinking about lately is what keeps me in the Catholic church. If you've been reading the news any time in the last couple of years, there's so much negative stuff going on. Sex abuse scandals. Money scandals. Shortage of priests. All kinds of stuff.

There have been more things more personal to me going on. I know plenty of people on the "inside" at my church. Meaning they're privy to all of the "politics" that goes on. There's the the ever increasing demand for money from the diosese. For example, we just started our Catholic Ministries Appeal. It is supposed to be an "appeal" for people to donate to this cause. However, here's how it really works. Our parish has a goal of about $120,000 to raise for the appeal. If we don't raise it in donations, it comes out of the parish budget. Meaning our parish has to pay $120,000 to the diocese for this effort no matter what we do. Every year.

And, being Catholics, we're all about "the rules". For example, we have new "rules" about how we're supposed to do the Mass, what the congregation is to respond, etc that go into effect next year. Some of them are just plain stupid and make no sense. For example, right now when the priest says "The Lord be with you" we respond "and also with you". Very simple exchange right? Our new response will be "And with your spirit". WTF is that supposed to mean?

Lately I feel like the Church is getting more like the Pharasees. We're so concerned with the "rules", we're losing sight of what it's all about, Jesus. I've had to endure people saying there's no room in church for a Christian rock band. I've had people criticize me for how I move when I play in church or that I get too close to the microphone and it looks "obscene" (that's no lie). I've seen the petty politics of people staking out their own little "kingdom" in the parish. I've heard people say we can't do things because of some arcane rule or argue that "should" means you have to do something versus you can do it if you want.

So why not join some other church? There's a place just down the road from us that's non-denominational that's packing people in, worship with a band similar to mine, and seems very spiritual. I heard the did a collection, put the basket at the front of the church and told anyone who needed money to take just what they need. Crazy, huh?

I stay because the Catholic church has the one thing no one else does: the Sacrements. Catholics believe something very unique. That when we take Communion, it's not a symbol of the Body of Christ, but the physical Body of Christ. It's called Transsubstantiation. Where else can I go to have Christ truly inside me? Basically nowhere.

Mind you, I've always felt you can't fix something from the outside, so if my Church is worth fixing the only way to do it is be part of the change. Which I try to do in my own small way. But it's hard sometimes.