Monday, April 03, 2017

Today is my Saturday

What did I do?

I went to the dentist for the second time in a month, or, more accurately, the second time in the past 5 years or so. I finally caved to the pressure last month, figured it was time to get my mouth checked out (planning on mouth, then eyes [they are getting worse], then perhaps a dreaded physical), so I made an appointment with the family dentist.

Marci and the kids have been going to see Dr. Ryan (last name, Chiang; no relation) for some time now and kept bugging me to go. I finally went and it wasn't all bad. They had told me that he is reminiscent of Knight, which, after seeing Dr. Ryan, I have to agree.

Anyway, during the first appointment, he told me that for 44 year old teeth, my teeth were in excellent shape.


But I did have a little cavity, which, fast forward to today, I had filled. Then I had my mouth cleaned. Took about 2 hours and it reminded me how unfun going to the dentist is. The people were great, but the process is never fun.

Today is also Opening Day for the MLB. I'm a casual fan. I enjoy baseball. The past few years, I haven't had cable to watch the Mariners, but this year I do. Gonna check them out today. I'm buying into the hype.

Later tonight, I'll return to a new obsession of mine, playing Tom Clancy's The Division on Xbox One! I got this a few months ago with my Xbox One S and let it sit for a bit. I tried it out and got hung up on a boss. Then a few weeks later, I tried it again, and now I can't stop playing it. I'm in love with the New York setting. The graphics and immersion are fantastic. It's difficult enough without being too awful. My handsome character is at level 17 and I'm really enjoying the journey.

Ballgame is about to start. Go M's!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

5 months later

Well, I never got around to posting pix, did I?

I'm still using that phone from the last update, so there's that.

Christmas came and went. Big whoop. I finally got an Xbox One S and have been enjoying that.

Today is Daylight Savings and we lost an hour. We're all exhausted.

I've spent a lot of time recently on Twitter reading about politics, of all things. I follow the president and enjoy/get scared about his almost daily rants and ravings.

Applied for two more jobs at work and got turned down for both, though there may be one more interview for another position soon. 

Playing music with the Navins still, and just finished another show with the Scheme last night. At the start of the show, I broke my E string about 30 seconds into the first song. I proceeded to finish the song trying to transpose the E string notes an octave higher, sing, and stay locked in with Gregg. It sounded rough to me but the people that came said it sounded pretty good.

The bassist from the last band, Jeanette of Dany Laj and the Looks, loaned me her Fender Mustang for the rest of my set. It is a short scale bass and it took me about 2 songs to get comfortable playing it. I didn't adjust her strap as I didn't want to mess it up for her, so it felt like I was playing with a Rock Band guitar.

Today I ended my many year relationship with T-Mobile. Due to Haley breaking her last iPhone, we wanted to find a carrier that would finance a phone on my dealer plan. It seems that TMO wouldn't do it, so we switched me and Haley over to ATT. It'll be nice to get reception in the house now, after so many years without it.

I guess I'll blog again in August, at this rate.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Out with the old, in with the new

A few months into my stint at Microsoft, I was told I qualified for a discounted phone plan. I was on T-Mobile and looked into it. I was able to get an HTC Radar for free and I was off and running. Over the years, I had that phone, an HTC 8X, a Lumia 900 (briefly), a Lumia 800, and then a Lumia 925.

That 925 I had for the past three years. In that time, I got Marci a Lumia Icon on Verizon (now it's Riley's), another 925 for Haley (which became my backup when she got an iPhone), and Marci a Samsung Galaxy S5 on AT&T.

All that time, I was pretty proud to use the 925. I loved the size of it, as well as the camera. Plus, it did what I needed it to do: make calls, send texts, stay connected, etc. And it did it pretty well.

However, over the past several months, it started to show its age. I had put a developer's preview of Windows 10 Mobile on it as the phone didn't support the actual W10 software. It worked enough to use as a daily driver, but it did have some quirks.

I couldn't always attach photos to texts or emails without the app crashing. Some apps simply wouldn't open unless I tried two or three times. The camera button would trigger the camera (good!) but take about 10-15 seconds to open (bad). And the battery was starting to show its age, which, after 3 years, wasn't too big a surprise.

Worst of all, I couldn't make phone calls reliably. At home? It was a 50/50 proposition. I could call you, but it would probably drop. Or not even dial out. At work? About the same. I'd use wifi calling at either place and it would still be a crapshoot.

It got to be bad enough that the kids at work joked that they were gonna get me a new phone for Christmas, because they know how cheap I am.

Last week, my boss Monique said she had a surprise for me. The next day, she dropped her old Lumia 950XL on me. In other words, Microsoft's flagship phone! Unlocked, dual sim, with SD card storage, wireless charging and iris recognition. I went to T-Mobile to have my sim cut and put it in the phone.

We were off and running!

This phone is bigger than my last, and a bit thinner. I have a 64GB card in with all sorts of tunes! No more shuffling music on and off! The camera triggers within a second or two and takes superb pictures. Calls have been a pleasure to make, and all the apps and functions seem to work great!

I've had the phone for a week now and I am still stoked to have it. The iris recognition is cool, though I still feel like a dork staring at my phone to open it up. The battery lasts all day. I took it off the charger at 6:15 this morning and at 9:00 right now, it's still at 29%.

I've recorded the Scheme the past few days at rehearsal and it sounds pretty dang good for what it is. I'm excited to record some video tomorrow at the Scheme's show, and hope to have someone record us as well.

I'll post some pix and video soon.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Fall update

It's fall and I hate fall. I've already cleaned the driveway, winterized the deck and climbed on the roof to clear the gutters. Inevitably, the gutters will be filled in a week and the driveway will be carpeted with pine needles. Add in 8 months of darkness, wind and rain, and it's 8 months of being a grump.

In other news, get off my lawn.

With regards to music, the Navins are on a mini-break as we have no shows coming up. We plan on going to Easylake to do some recording, but turns out Easylake is on hiatus as Corey is moving to West Seattle soon. We can still practice and write, though. Recording will have to wait.

The Scheme is shaping up nicely. Brett is Brett and an awesome addition to the lineup. We have a super show this month, with Stereo Embers and the Boss Martians at the Lo-Fi. Don't know what a little pop band like us is doing with some heavy hitters like them, but I'll take it.

And then last week I got an email from James, who is the force behind Shake Some Action! He's wanting to get back together for a few shows and new tunes and possibly recording, so he hit up me, David B. and Drummer To Be Announced. I suggested Gregg A. from the Scheme and Gregg seems interested, so we're all gonna meet on Monday to talk it out. Should be fun!

Work is... work. I love the team, I'm getting uninspired at the job. However, I'm changing roles TODAY and with my manager back on the team, I think I'll start feeling better with the new challenges and support. Part of it is my own lack of drive. I'm so caught up in the day-to-day stuff that I'm not finding time to look or explore other avenues of work. I love the company, but I need help finding out what I could do and/or what's available to me.

Pumped about the Seahawks. Pumped about what the Huskies did to Stanford last night and really on the Mariners' bandwagon now that I have Root Sports again and can watch them nightly.

Ok, see you later.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

I played the IPO last night, here's a recap.

The Scheme 2.0 played the Skylark Cafe last night as part of the International Pop Overthrow. We were slotted second on a bill with 5 other bands. Here's how it went.

First up was Jason Berk. He was solo, with an electric guitar and some hooky, melodic tunes. Really nice voice and talented guitar player. He came up from LA to play the show. I would have liked to have heard him with a full band; I'm not sure if he plays with one in LA or not, but he was really really good.

The Scheme went next and it was a blast. Getting on stage with my old pals Gregg, Brett and David was fantastic. All three guys are excellent musicians and performers and I loved all of it. We started with a song that David, Gregg and I recorded (Brett added vocals and guitar recently), called Met With The World, and booked right through it.

I was playing through a Yamaha amp that I couldn't really get dialed in. It was distorting hard and I had a hard time hearing it on stage. I was told it sounded good out front, though, so I'll just have to trust that it did.

It was a ton of fun singing David's old songs again, and playing alongside those guys. The set was over way too fast!

Following us was Stay Up, a little trio from Portland. The Navins had played with them a few months ago at the Funhouse. They were OK. I think more seasoning will do them well. They could also use a second guitarist and some backing vocals.

David and Brett's other band, the Pop Cycle, played next. They were on fire! I've seen them several times and I think it was the best they'd ever played. All songs, vocals, instruments sounded great! Jim was on point with his bass playing, and Paul was simply excellent on drums. I really enjoyed David's new songs, New Band and Comeback, as well as Brett's oldies that I remember from the Starchief days. Both David and Brett said playing in the Scheme earlier warmed them up for the PC performance.

After Pop Cycle was a quartet of hipsters called Colorworks. They had shorts on, trendy hair and glasses, and if I based it on looks alone, I would have disliked them immensely. However, as they started playing, they won me over. They were SUPER TIGHT and they were all excellent musicians. The bassist was a tiny little dude on a yellow Jazz bass, with uncomfortably short jeans shorts on, but he was a MFer on the bass and he sang great as well. The other singer played his giant hollowbody guitar right under his armpit, and he was also excellent. The entire band was great, sang impeccably and played some wonderful songs. I really liked them a lot.

Closing the night was a 5 piece with the strange name of General Mojo's. Four guys and a girl. I was gonna leave, but the frontwoman had a floor tom with Indiana Jones on it, so I had to stick around and listen.

I'm so glad I did.

Heather fronted the band, played percussion and shared vocals with the bassist (on a Thunderbird!) named Dune. They did some proggy, funky stuff and they were incredible. The band was tight, the musicianship was incredible and the harmonies were so, so sweet.

Heather and Dune had really awesome stage presence and they played off each other well. The percussion Heather added was so good and timely and really on point. Dune played bass and sang like a champ. And the rest of the band (guitar, keys/sax and drums) was simply excellent. I can't say enough about how great this band was.

It's rare that a 3 band bill has 3 great bands. In a case of 6 bands, I'd think it was even more rare. However, last night at the Skylark, David Bash of IPO did a really nice job of putting together an excellent bill. Here's hoping the next two nights are just as good.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Scheme, 2.0!

Many moons ago, I played in a power trio called the Scheme. 3 mid-thirties guys playing power pop once a week or so, with an occasional gig thrown in for good measure. Over the time we played, 3 babies (all boys) were born and life went on.

We never broke up, but sort of petered out as the lives within the band did indeed go on. David had 2 sons, Gregg had a son, and I was just me (already had the kids).

I think we hooked up in 2007 originally, and just practiced and played. As our lives went on with our jobs, the band started taking a back seat.

In the meantime, the Lund Bros sort of died quietly and I started playing with the Navins. David moved on as well and hooked up with a band called the Pop Cycle, fronted by an old bandmate of mine, Brett Richards. Gregg started playing with a band called Service Animal and we were all back in the game.

We've seen each other at our respective shows and always kept in touch. Back in 2011, the Scheme had done some recordings at Johnny Sangster's studio, but they were just rhythm tracks. David finally got around to finishing them and said he'd like to get the band back together, do a couple of shows.

For the past few weeks, I've been meeting the guys, David, Gregg and Brett, up in the Northgate area for rehearsals. They've been going quite well. We're doing 8 songs or so, and with Brett in the mix to spice things up, the band sounds great. Gregg is such a different drummer than Corey; he plays with power and chops. He's loud, too. When I went to Navins practice the other night, Corey was so quiet, it seemed like he wasn't there.

We're playing the good ol' International Pop Overthrow in a week at the Skylark. Been there, done that, but it's gonna be a lot of fun with this band and playing some oldies but goodies. We have another show lined up and I'm sort of hoping we can keep it going for a bit. This is a good band and I think people would love to hear it.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Look Who's Back!

A trip to the DOL and $38 gets me my plates back. Now I feel complete!