Sunday, December 20, 2009

In a blogging rut

I think I am out of things to write about. I mean, who wants to hear about my job search anymore? Or my lack of gigs? Or my kids? Or anything about what my life revolves around?

Even I don't want to read about these things, let alone write about them.

I guess I could write about Christmas, right? This year, we will be celebrating with the in-laws. Surprisingly enough, we have been able to get a few presents here and there with some creative eBaying, Craigslisting, anonymous gifts and some odd jobs. It won't be a barren Christmas, but it won't be a bank-breaker either.

Now, if I could just get Riley to realize that people weren't put on this earth to give him gifts. That little stinker needs to have some gratefulness beat into him. I think he's becoming what I fear the most: entitled. Yikes. Makes me shudder.

Marci has been a holiday whirling dervish. If I didn't know any better, I'd think she was having an affair with Mr. Santa Claus because of all the time she's spending making gifts. She basically spent all weekend making and baking treats for friends and family. When she hasn't been doing that, she's been scouring thrift stores and the like, looking for inexpensive gifts. When she hasn't been doing that, she's been looking for ways for our family to get by. She's started babysitting a friends 3 month baby (SUPER CUTE!) and she's still part-timing at a local church, as well as the Y.

So, she's keeping busy. And doing quite well at it.

I'm still looking and applying and applying and looking. I did spend some time recently helping out an acquaintance set up some computers and printers at their house. Between the husband and wife (empty nesters), they have 4 computers and 3 printers. Sounds like overkill, sure, but all those computers sure make it easy to get online without having to go too far. Plus being able to print from the bottom floor and pick it up 2 floors above is kind of neat.

It's the simple things.

We just passed the 6 month mark with our dog Bella. She is still a fun girl and we really enjoy having her. She does go a little nuts when we let her outside, and she occasionally will still eat a poo, but she's not bad, provided we brush her teeth if she eats a poo.

I've been working on uploading lots of pictures to Flickr the past few days. Everything from ice skating to truffle making to our Make a Wish trip from April is going in. I hope you get a chance to check them out.

I think I'm going to try another year-in-review post, but not right now. Maybe when we're with the in-laws. It'll keep me occupied for a little while, at least.

In the meantime, have an excellent Xmas if I don't write by next Friday, and do stay safe. Here's a picture for you to enjoy until then.


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

December is here

And, as has been for the past few Decembers, I'm freezing my buns off. I'm just so cold! It took me almost all day to finally get comfortable. Of course, it didn't help that I was at a friend's house for a few hours where their temperature was probably in the low 60s. Ugh.

I'm still looking for work, sadly. I did have a phone interview last week and have yet to hear back from them. It's getting to the point where the work will probably have to come via someone who knows someone, as opposed to applying. I'm finding that when I see something interesting, I apply, only to see that I've already applied for it. Yay for redundancy!

I have a few gigs lined up, one for each band. Unfortunately, they aren't until January and Feb., so don't get your hopes up.

I've also been doing a lot of Craiglisting and ebaying of stuff. I forgot how valuable one's junk can be to someone else. One new thing with ebay/Paypal is this "pending payment" stuff. Apparently Paypal will monitor transactions and if you're the seller (which I've been in two transactions), they "hold" the payment from the buyer until that buyer receives the product.

Huh?

I guess it's designed to protect the buyer from paying money and not getting their items. Paypal holds this money for 21 days or until the buyer indicates they've received the item they bought. In the meantime, I am screwed. I'm not sure how Paypal protects me if the buyer gets a working product, yet reports that it's broken, or, worse yet, that they never received it. So for now, I have about $120 sitting with Paypal, that I can't access until the buyer makes note that they got it. Lame. Maybe I should stick with CL. At least it's cash and local.

That's about it for now. I have run out of steam and will conclude this post with the following picture. Enjoy.



Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Moving on

Once again, for those who care, my old MusicMan Sterling has changed hands. I traded it for a Lakland Duck Dunn in 08/08 or so. That guy then sold it this past March to someone in Portland. That guy then sold it to a guy in Nevada. And that last guy just traded it to someone in CT, all the way on the East Coast.

Ironically, Marci saw pix of that Sterling tonight and said she liked that bass. She basically told me to get it back. All I need is a sugar mama to hook me up...

Is it weird to stalk a bass?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Nope, still no job. Yes, still looking. Good news is that my unemployment extension went through so, sweet, I get to have a little income while I look.

My mom has been back in town and I've been running back and forth between here and her house. It's nice to be needed, but it does cut into my time a little. On the positive side (at least I think it's positive), she's a big fan of the OCB (if you don't know, you need to know) and we've gone there twice in the past few days.

All that, and Thanksgiving on Thursday? Better let out my belt.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sigh

It finally caught up.

Last week, my unemployment benefits ran out. I applied for an extension and that should be going through soon. So far, due to some sort of black magic, we've been able to stay above the waterline with creative ways of keeping money in the bank. 
  • Last Wednesday, I sold a bass on Craigslist. It was my black SB-2 and it wasn't getting off the bench. I sold it to a guy for $350 and that money went in our USE jar.
  • Last weekend, I cleaned out our downstairs closet and came across a bunch of computer games that I'd purchased over the past 15 years or so. I didn't list them on eBay or Craigslist, but on some forums I frequent. I listed them fairly cheaply and have moved a few of those at $5 to $10 a pop.
  • One game I found was an original copy of the legendary FPS, Doom. It was on 3.5" disks, had the original manual and box. I did list that on eBay for $50. After a day or so, a guy from Austria started emailing me about it and before long, he bought it from me. That was a nice surprise, but, did you know that PayPal will sit on funds for 21 days on an international transaction? They basically wait until I confirm that it has shipped or the buyer has received the item until they allow the money to go through. I see how that protects the buyer, but what about me? Shrug. The buyer seems cool through our emails, so we'll see what happens.
  • On Monday, I hit up Half-Price Books with a box of books (duh) and a bunch of DVDs. They offered $50 and I took it before I could calculate really how much stuff I "sold". After that, I sold a chorus pedal to a Craigslister for $25. I also went to Gamestop with about 6 games and an old Gameboy Advance SP. When purchased, all those items totaled about $300 or so. What did I get? $14.16. I took it anyway. $89.16 for a bunch of stuff that was sitting around the house. That was pretty cool, but it went straight to groceries that afternoon.
  • Marci got a job being pretty much a full-time nanny for a friend's 9 week old daughter. That starts at the end of November when the mom can go back to work. In addition to that, she's been subbing at a local church and our YMCA when they need her. She's also been very persistent in looking for ways to get help from organizations like Hopelink. Every little bit helps.

Anyway, this morning my phone blew up with emails. Several were from Chase indicating we had a low balance, then the dreaded Overdraft ones as well. We checked the bank today and the good news is my unemployment deposit is pending and should go through today. The bad news is that we're hit up for at least 2 overdrafts. Lame.

I'm still on the hunt for a job. I sent out 3 applications tomorrow and will send out more today. It's getting old, aggravating, depressing and soul-crushing that I can't even get myself an interview anywhere. And the frustrating thing is that it's not like I'm looking for upper level jobs! I can't even get in the door as an entry level kind of guy.

Normally I'm not a worrier. I tend to lay back and see the positive. This morning was a reminder that things are not ok and they need to change.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Interesting day

It all started off nice enough. Sunny out, etc. Marci and I had an early morning meeting with an advisor and got some good insight on some things we're working on.

We headed to the library after that. A few weeks ago, we were at the library and I got an email on my phone saying I got a second interview for the Parking Enforcement Officer job. Today, I got another email, only this time, it was to say that they had chosen other people to move forward. First thought? "Oh, no." Second thought? "Now what?"


I was pretty bummed. I got a few books and kept to myself for the ride home. After awhile, though, I started coming around. I figured feeling sorry for myself wouldn't help things. That, and Riley came home and was all goofy, so it was cool.

Speaking of Rye, he and I headed to Children's Hospital (aka Seattle Children's) for his weekly speech appointment. While we were there, I realized that one year ago tomorrow, we were in that very hospital getting his decompression surgery done. I wonder if they would've had cake and ice cream for us if our appointment was for tomorrow instead of today??

Later tonight, I perused Riley's blog a little, for the aforementioned reason of the one year anniversary of his surgery (was that redundant?). It's pretty amazing to think about what's gone on for him in the past 364 days. Just looking at that picture of him checking his new haircut just a day before the surgery is pretty poignant for me. I think that's the last picture I have of his head still intact. LOL.

Ok, then. Happy Surgery Anniversary to Rye. It's time for bed!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

All's quiet on the Eastside front

Had my interview on Tuesday. I think it went pretty well. At least I didn't stick my foot in my mouth.

I did feel like I rambled a bit, though. Rambling in order to think up a decent answer beats awkward silence, I suppose. I know I answered one question quite well and the Director appeared impressed. Or he's a great actor. And by "great", I mean he can fool an idiot like me.

In other news, does anyone have the key to deciphering a 7.5 year old girl's emotions? A taste:
Haley: Let's play this game.
Riley: You always choose the game.
Haley: I'M THE BADDEST GIRL IN THE WORLD!!! (storms off to her room)
 or this:
Haley: playing on piano
Riley: touches a few keys on piano
Me: Rye, stop bugging Haley!
Haley: FINE. I DON'T WANT TO PLAY ANYWAY!!! (storms off to her room)
 Marci and I are at a loss. It's gotten so we can't even talk to her without worrying about her blowing her lid. I'll save any other chat for her blog.

Lund Bros. are playing a short little gig on 11/7 at the Skylark. We'll be doing 2 Riffbroker songs (it's their 10th birthday) and possibly one of our songs to wish them a happy birthday. It's short, but it'll be our first time out since 7/11 (ooooh, that's cool!!), and we're looking forward to it. Hopefully we can get some more shows lined up soon.

We are babysitting our friend's boxer, Lulu, for the weekend. They watched Bella the one weekend in July when it was 100+ degrees, so we're returning the favor. Lulu is a few inches taller than Bella, but besides that, they could be twins. Except that Lulu is full boxer and Bella is 1/2 (we think). I'll take some pictures this weekend and share them. It should be a kick.

Oh! Been watching this new show on ABC called Modern Family. Do yourself a favor and watch it. It's on Wednesdays at 9:00pm and it is a freakin' laff riot. I am in love with this show and you should be too. Similar to The Office, it follows 3 families through their days and revels in their awkwardness. Awesome.

In more other news, Friday Night Lights started season 4 on DirecTV last night and darn it if I don't regret getting Dish instead of DTV because of that. Do yourself another favor and check out FNL if you haven't already. In my opinion, the best show on TV.

Happy Halloween and all that stuff. Watch out for sugar high kids as you drive around on Saturday.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Getting closer

I finally got a response from the SPD today regarding my application for working as a PEO (Parking Enforcement Officer). For the next step, at least.

I have made it to a second interview! Sweet! I will meet with 3 VIPs of the Parking Enforcement department and interview with them next week! After that, who knows? I'm just happy to still be in the game! More as it happens...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Music is fun

Had a Lund Bros. rehearsal tonight! First time I've seen Chris & Sean since our last show on 7/11 at the Sunset! It's been a very long time. Ironically, though we did get together, we ended up rehearsing 2 songs by our friends, the Riffbrokers, for a show we'll be doing in their honor with a bunch of other friends. That show is 11/7 at the Skylark and I'll let you know more as it gets closer.

As we finished up and were about to leave, Chris played for me one of the songs we recorded way back in 6/08. As funds are always tight, we've been slowly piecing together songs for another CD. I haven't heard anything but the rough mixes of me and Sean's rhythm tracks, plus a few scratch guitar and vocal tracks threw in.

Anyway, Chris played a rocker for me called "Are You Ready?" We've played this live before and I have some live rehearsal recordings, as well as the rhythm tracks. This time, though, it was done, save for the mixing. The guitars, vocals and pretty much everything else was ready to go. He hit play and...

It. Was. Awesome.

I bobbed my head and grinned along to the song, loving what I was hearing, and also bumming that I hadn't heard it yet and probably wouldn't again unless I begged for it, or waited until we decide to release it. It's cool to hear a finished product, but I'm a little chagrined as I'm in the band, yet I don't get a chance to hear anything else. Luckily I'm a laid back kind of dude, right?

Anyway, it was great to see the guys and play again. We'll hopefully start firing that up again and getting some gigs. Lordy knows we need to get some.

Gigs, that is.

Next up: Scheme rehearsal on Wednesday. Sweet!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Test

I woke up today feeling pretty crummy. A few Tylenol later, the congestion had abated and things were as good as they were going to be. I headed for West Seattle a little after 9 and it was a beautiful day.

Once at the West Seattle Stadium, ran into one of the guys who interviewed me for the PEO position a few weeks ago. He greeted me by name and I thought, "Cool. He remembers me." Then I realized that he was expecting me and, after seeing the other folks arrive (all white, 4 guys, one girl), well, by process of elimination, he knew who I was. Or, as I like to think of it, I made a heck of an impression on my interview and, therefore was, unforgettable.

Anyway, after some waiting, we got started. The testers (all PEOs as well) lined us up at the track and had us do jumping jacks, minus the jumping. In other words, we were waving our arms in the air, waving them like we just didn't care. Or to 40 waves, whichever came first. Easy enough.

After the jumping jacks minus the jumping (does that make them simply "jacks"?), it was onto the track walk. We had 8.5 minutes to make two laps around the track. Half a mile in 8.5 minutes. Walk, run, crawl, skip, they didn't care. We just had to be under 8.5 minutes.

And, they're off!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I am ill

About one time a year, I get sick. Thanks to my superior genes and flawless physical make-up, this is true. Usually, when I get sick, it's over in a day or two and I'm back to normal.

This time, not so much.

It started with those killer headaches from a few weeks ago. They're still happening from time to time, but at least I know what to expect. Doesn't make it any more fun though.

The past few days, it's been congestion and coughing. Though my sinuses don't hurt, I think I'm long overdue for a sinus infection. Perfect timing, as I have my agility test tomorrow. Hopefully it doesn't affect anything.

Sunday is the day

It's agility test time! That's right. At 1000 hours (or, 10:00am), I get to head into West Seattle for my Parking Enforcement Officer's Agility Test (caps mine). I'm told to dress accordingly and that I can bring water if I so desire.

I will be tested on the following:
  • Jumping jacks
  • Track walking
  • Moving cones
  • Stadium climbing
Now, I'm no athlete or anything, and, at the risk of sounding cocky, I'm pretty sure I can pass this test.

Unless, it's some sort of reverse physical psychology or something? Because if all the applicants take this test, maybe it'll weed out a few of them, but surely at this point, they're wanting to trim the numbers? So, with my RPP logic, maybe they're trying to fool me into thinking it'll be way easy, when in fact they'll have me do, say, 2000 jumping jacks, 20 laps (5 miles) around the track, move cones into intriguing and interesting positions, and climb the stadium stairs 10 times in less than 5 minutes. Could it be?

At any rate, by this time tomorrow, I'll be done and hopefully feeling pretty good about my progress. Stay tuned...

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Update before bedtime (for the kidz, that iz)

Still unemployed, but that situation is looking better. Nothing is guaranteed, other than that I made it through the interview process for the City of Seattle Parking Enforcement Officer job. Next up is the physical agility test, which, I was told, consists of walking and the like. The training officer at the first test basically said if you can walk, you will pass this test. So, if I make it past that, I think it's another interview with some VIP at the City.

I spent about 2 hours on the roof today blowing leaves, pine needles, and other junk off. Cleared out the gutters, too. And now it's pouring. So I fully expect the gutters to be filled by tomorrow morning.

The whole Dish Network thing is working out ok. We have the DVR upstairs and that's cool. For downstairs, I have the receiver and Tivo hooked up and though it's kind of a bear to record a show (set receiver to channel, set Tivo to hopefully [but not mandatory] same channel, hit record), it's working. And did I mention we're saving a few bucks? Cool!

No gigs to speak of, though I did bum rush my way onto a bill with the Unsmashable crew. It's the Riffbroker's 10th anniversary and we're (the Lunds) are going to cover a few of their songs. I got the ok from the bros, but haven't heard back from them yet.

I have Scheme practice tonight, but it'll be shorter as I can't get there until later. It'll be good to play, though.

I cleared out my side of the garage (thanks Mom's Empty Garage!) and now I can park the LILDRGN inside again. I realized that I didn't want to have a car outside all fall/winter, so that kind of got my rear in gear. I'm also trying to sell a lot of the computer stuff, but heck, I can't even give that stuff away...

I've been having these murderous headaches recently. Yesterday it was so bad, I went to the doctor. Of course, I felt fine when I went (Tylenol, anyone?) but it was good to get checked out, I suppose. I think they're migraines, but I don't know how they're caused. They happen behind my right eye, along my right temple, above my right ear, etc. The doc prescribed me a nasal spray steroid so we'll see how that works. It may be allergy related? I've been having a lousy past few months with stuffiness, itchiness, etc. Maybe I'm allergic to the dog...

Speaking of the dog, she's still cool. Kind of hyper at times, but I think we're pretty much used to it by now. She's probably gonna gain a few pounds now that weather is going to SUCK FOR 6 MONTHS as it'll be tougher for Marci and I to take her out. Even worse when/if I get a job. She'll (Bella, that is) just have to suck it up.

I guess that's all for now. Happy October. Carve a pumpkin!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Goodbye Comcast Cable

Hello Dish Network!

After getting our last Comcast bill, well, it was way too much. Marci and I started talking about satellite TV and seeing that it was quite a bit cheaper than Comcast. Basically, it came down to DirecTV and Dish Network.

The past few days, I've been on the phone with both companies, as well as researching on the internet. Both have their positives (cheaper than cable, better picture, more channels) as well as their negatives (dish on house, possible interruptions in service by weather, have to install new equipment).

The channel packages are pretty much the same. The package I ended up getting with Dish Network, the Silver 200, does have AMC so I can continue my Mad Men addiction, however, it's in standard def. Also, no more National Geographic channel, so goodbye to my pal, Cesar Millan. The pricing for HD channels ($10.00/month) and equipment pricing ($7 to $10/month) was about the same. So, after researching, to me it came down to one main difference:

Equipment.

With DirecTV, if I have 3 TVs in the house (which we do), I'd need to have 3 receivers installed. One HD receiver downstairs, one upstairs, and one SD receiver in the bedroom. Sure, they're "free", but I didn't want all that hardware.

Dish Network has these dual tuner DVRs that are pretty slick. For our 3 TVs, we are able to get by with 2 receivers. One HD downstairs, and one HD-DVR upstairs. What's cool about these is with the dual tuner capabilities, we can have the upstairs TV on HD while our little SD TV in the bedroom runs off the other tuner. It sends the SD signal through the existing cable to do this. The technician put a little antenna on the back of the box in the front room and we're using a remote in the bedroom to control it.

Pretty slick!

Anyway, it's working fabulously upstairs. The picture is great, even on the SD side. I'm able to record a show from the bedroom and watch it in HD in the front room. Or vice versa. Or record 2 separate shows and watch 2 previously recorded shows, if we desire. Slick!

So, downstairs, I was going to go with the HD receiver only, with no DVR. As I started realizing that I'd have to watch football on the SDTV or hog the other TV, I started to hyperventilate. I eyed our trusty Series 2 TiVo from way back when and brought that sucker downstairs.

With the dual tuner capabilities of the Dish Network's receiver, I'm able to send the SD signal to the TiVo, have the TiVo control the satellite receiver, and record shows that way! Yes, it's another box down here, but I'm not paying $12/month for the service, and sure, the shows will be recorded in SD (but transmitted via S-Video, at least!), but I'll get to watch them on my time, without bogarting the TV from Marci and the kids.

Right now, the TiVo is chugging away downloading and organizing show content from the Dish Network servers. That should be done shortly and then it'll be go time.

I love it when a plan comes together! Plus, saving about $50/month on TV bills is pretty nice too.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Well, that was close

The past few days, I thought my hard drive was failing. I'd be downstairs and I'd hear a click from over here. My lights would dim for a second when I heard the click too, so I thought maybe I had a bad light bulb too.

Anyway, I turned off my computer and the sound was still there, so I knew it wasn't the CPU. Tonight, I finally sat at my computer and listened. Strangely enough, though my computer is to my right, the sound was to my left.

I heard it once more and looked that way and saw... the iron I plugged in sometime this weekend. I was going to iron a shirt and forgot all about it.

Yikes.

The good news is, the computer is fine! ;)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Cakes n Cukes

This just in! Marci has a blog. The clever, clever title was gifted to her by Yours Truly. The content? All her, except for some pictures here and there.

If you couldn't already tell, Cakes n Cukes is a blog about cakes and vegetables, two of Marci's favorite hobbies. You can go there and check out what she's done the past few years. Hopefully she'll keep updating as time permits.

Sweet!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Went to see Dad today

It was good. Good to see Dad, so to speak.

We weren't sure how Haley would take it as she's still sensitive about Dad being gone and all. But she said she wanted to go and she was great when we were there. I put the kids on my shoulders (separately!) and let them see Dad in his, er, cabinet (he's cremated, in an urn, high on a glass shelf). I told them how happy he was to see them, how proud he was of them, how excited he was to see how big they've grown and that he missed them so much.

I told the kids some stories about Dad and they had a good laugh. I told them about a friend of mine that used to work at C&A. He was new to the country in '99 and my dad gave this guy his first job. The job at C&A allowed him to get to where he is at today. This guy happened to learn yesterday (power of Facebook) of Dad's passing and was really moved by it. He sent me a super nice note about his thoughts of Dad and I was happy to receive it.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

One year later

Last year, I wrote this: link

This year, we're better, or as better as we can be. A year ago, I was pretty sure Dad was going to die. I just wasn't sure it was going to be so dang soon.

As some of you know, this has been a rough 364 days. I'll spare you the pity party, but suffice it to say, it's been the most difficult of my life. Having said all that, though, it's weird. I don't feel all that bad.

Sure, it'd be nice to be employed and out of debt. It'd be nice to have Dad around and stuff like that, but, truth be told, with all the drama in the past year, life isn't too bad. Let's be thankful for the following, in no particular order:
  • A loving, caring, compassionate, patient, wise, sweet wife. I do wonder sometimes how I roped her in and kept her here. I still have a LOT of work to do to be the man I want to be for her, but I'm trying every day.
  • Kids that try my patience every day, but also show me every day why I love being their dad.
  • A roof over our heads.
  • Supportive family and friends.
  • A dog that loves the heck out of us.
  • Good health.
I could go on and on, but those are the important things. I do hear about other people's problems and issues, and I realize things could be so much worse.

Anyway, that's enough of that. We're going to go see Dad tomorrow and see what's up.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

DIY R-Strap

Do a Google search on R-Strap and you'll find a ton of links indicating DIY (do it yourself) straps. Basically the R-Strap is a camera strap that allows you to wear your camera over your head and one shoulder, like a messenger bag. A company named Black Rapid in Seattle makes the strap and, apparently it's quite cool.

I found that the "free" Canon neck strap that came with my camera was too short to wear over one shoulder and too sweaty to wear over my bare neck. Most times, I'd just hold the camera in my hand and bunch the strap underneath.

When I saw the R-Strap and the DIY R-Straps, well, I just had to try making one myself. Most people used 1/4" screws of some sort to mount into the tripod socket. I had a few free minutes yesterday so I headed to Home Depot and spent $2.95 on some hardware. I picked up a .98 cent bag of 1/4" screws and eyes and a $1.97 locking ring. I had a guitar strap in the closet somewhere that looked to be perfect, so I put it all together today. Check it out.

Flickr link!!


Finished product
Originally uploaded by gwonchang

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Just a quickie

Quick update before the in-laws come downstairs to turn in and I have to give up my computer...

I heard today that I passed Phase 1 of the parking enforcement officer test! Now I get to go charm them with the interview portion of the application. That will happen in a few weeks or so, and is scheduled to go until the first week of October for all applicants. It's a long process, I guess!

The kids started school this week and so far it's been hit and miss. They seem to love it, and it's nice to have some no kid time, but man, when they get back? Whoo. It's crazy time. Riley is nuts and climbing on everyone/thing/dog. Haley has been ok, but today she had about an hour of COMPLETE INSANITY! I keep telling myself it's a transition thing and that they'll be better soon, but my patience is wearing thin. Maybe I need a bubble bath.

We (Lund Bros.) got offered a show at the Skylark by Jessie (the owner) for 9/19, but I had to turn it down as it's the one weekend that Chris is busy. So I ran it by the Scheme and we were all go, but then Gregg remembered that he had company in that week and had made plans. Ugh. I had to turn it down and now we're showless once again. I miss rocking out. Or rockin' out, if you prefer.

Been taking a lot of pictures and posting them to flickr.com. You can see a lot of them over there --->. Hope you're enjoying them.

I went to my neighbor's house today because they had a friend in town who was using a huge zoom lens to take pictures of birds. 400mm, I think. Now, I know next to nothing about lenses other than the lens he had was one big mofo. I took a peek through it and it was super cool. I don't need a lens that big, but a telephoto or zoom (or are they one and the same? I told you I knew next to nothing) would be cool, way down the road.

Bella is great, btw. She's a hoot every day and we all love her. She "graduated" from her discipline class, but she's far from disciplined. But, in reality, she's awesome and we are so lucky to have found her.

I guess this wasn't a quickie update after all. But I'll wrap it up now. See you later.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Getting ready for a test and other stuff


Just chillin'. We had Riley's 5th birthday the other day and he's upstairs now playing Superhero Guess Who? with Marci and Haley. I just dominated him at it so I'm free for a minute.

I have a "test" today. At the suggestion of a friend, I applied for a job with the city of Seattle as a Parking Enforcement Officer (re: meter maid!). I get to take a test today that focuses on "Numerical Coding and Proofreading, Parking Enforcement Law Interpretation, Map Reading, Math Aptitude, and Spelling." Seems easy enough, right?

If I pass this test (70% or higher to move on), it's onto an interview. After that comes an agility test, then a background check.

Of all those, I'm sure I would pass the background test with flying colors. Here's hoping I make it that far!

In other news, I've been taking pictures like crazy and am way behind on editing them (prettying them up) for public consumption. I was invited to a party last week for a bunch of kids at a place called 1-2-3 Bounce. It's basically a warehouse with a bunch of "bouncy house" type toys inside. Pretty clever, if you ask me. No inventory or stock, very little overhead.

Anyway, the pictures were pretty good. I still need to work on getting better at what they call "tack sharp" photos. Some turned out really clear, but for the most part, my technique (or lack thereof) is causing me some grief.

On the music tip, things are pretty quiet. Lund Bros. haven't played since early July. We have no shows, and Sean is (or was) in Costa Rica for a few weeks. I've put out some feelers to clubs but have gotten no responses.

The Scheme is down now, too. Gregg's thumb is healing and we've rehearsed a few times, but David is out of town for another week. We should be revving that up again next week and hope to have some shows booked for that soon.

In the meantime, it's Sunday Morning Worship Rock with Emmaus Road. It's not my first choice, but it keeps my fingers busy.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Orange fleece sweats

We went over to Mom's house today. She had a big ol' bag of Dad's old clothes she wanted me to try on/give away. Dad was a pretty flashy dresser. He liked bold colors. Yellow, red, green, pretty much all the primary ones.

In this big bag was a pair of orange fleece sweatpants. Bright orange. I don't recall ever seeing Dad in them and I wasn't too keen on them. Riley, however, put them right on, pulled the waistband up to his shoulders and walked around. I had no camera, but it was pretty funny. Haley found a purple pair and did the same thing. She looked like Barney.

We ended up bringing a few things home and Riley had those horrible orange sweats with him. After a shower, he was pestering us about what to wear to bed (he likes to know what temperature to expect so he can dress accordingly). He started to almost cry (I thought he was tired and frustrated because we wouldn't tell him how to dress) and said, "I keep thinking of Tai Yeh," which is what he called Dad.

He then said he wanted to sleep with the sweats because they reminded him of his grandfather. I asked him why, and he said, "They smell like Tai Yeh."

I took a sniff.

Sure enough, they smell just like Dad. LOL. Now, I don't know if Mom just took them from the closet and didn't wash them and it's the smell of the house, or if she washed them and put them in the bag and it's the smell of her laundry. But, dammit, if those sweats don't smell just like Dad.

I had Haley smell them and she agreed, but she's still having some trouble with Dad being gone, so she just wanted a small whiff. I took a few more smells and it was uncanny.

Anyway, I thought that was pretty cool tonight.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Just saw an old friend

My old bass is back up for grabs over at Talkbass.com. I traded it away for what seems to bring most visitors to my blog, the Lakland Duck Dunn Skyline bass. The guy I traded it to sold it and now the guy who bought it is selling it again.

If only I had some extra $$$ laying around...

Friday, August 07, 2009

Screaming and yelling, screaming and yelling

What is with all the screaming and yelling?

Haley had a nice day today. We all went on a walk with Bella and it was great. Marci got to spend a few hours one on one with Haley and they went to lunch and ran some errands. Afterward, they came back and Haley, Riley and I watched The Iron Giant as a little summertime movie treat. We had a nice dinner, bath and then it was storytime...

And then the wheels fell off.

Haley just started apologizing for something. "I'm SORRY!!!" Thing was, she wouldn't tell us what she was apologizing for. This went on for a little while. It escalated until she was pretty much out of control. She was (and still has been) screaming, hyperventilating, crying, etc., and simply won't tell us what it is she's apologizing for.

I went in her room for about 20 minutes, doing my best not to lose it. I told her to tell me what was bugging her. She made some stuff up. I tried to question my way around what was bugging her but she wouldn't tell me. She started coming up with excuses why she didn't want to tell us. I told her it was starting to become an issue of trust; if I couldn't believe or trust what she was saying, that could lead to big problems down the road.

I gave her a few more minutes with the hopes that she'd say something, but she'd just hyperventilate some more and say, "But, but, but, but," and not say anything at all. She started an old trick of hers, saying that all she needed was a hug and I told her that I had a big problem giving her a hug when she was in this state. I told her I had to go take a breather and suggested she do the same. So I'm here, venting, taking a breather, hearing her wailing a bit and hoping that she'll be calm when I go back upstairs.

I think I'll give her about 5 more minutes. What is it with 7 year olds??

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Allergies? What's up with that?

I am not an allergic dude. At least I wasn't. I used to be allergic to cats. Then I met Marci and her 3 cats and somehow developed immunity. Nowadays, I'm fine around the one remaining cat.

This morning, Riley woke us up at 5:16am to tell us he had to pee. Super. After that, my nose started running and I started sneezing. Then I got all stuffed up. Awesome. I have no idea why. The trend continued all day into the night.

I took a Claritin D in the morning. No use, really. I took an Allegra tonight. That helped a little, I think. In the meantime, my nose is all dried out from the blowing and my throat is sore from the sneezing (and it didn't help that I had Scheme practice tonight and sang a bunch).

My dad had horrible hay fever in the springtime and as far as I know, Mom has no allergies. We just had the kids tested this week and it turns out both are allergic to grass (great. Seen our back yard? All grass!) and Riley is just a tiny bit allergic to cats and dogs (isn't irony grand?). Marci has in the past year developed serious allergies to beans and nuts. It's really lame.

Anyway, hopefully whatever's in the air decreases tonight and tomorrow so I can get back to some semblance of normal.

Now how about that? Blogs every day this week! Go me!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Riley's action packed day


I started my day by taking Riley to Children's Hospital, currently known as Seattle Children's, for his weekly speech therapy session. He usually spends an hour there with Miss Wendy and she plays games with him. Only there is a lot of speech involved and she really hammers him with corrections and suggestions. It's pretty intense, and I'm 37. Imagine Riley being 4.9 and I wonder how he feels.

Anyway, today he was a bit distracted. I think it had something to do with being up late last night (we went to a party at a friend's house) and he didn't actually fall asleep until 10:30 or so. He was tired and he said his head was hurting. During his session, he ended up laying on the floor to alleviate the ache in the back of his head. He told me (and this wasn't the first time) that he wished he had a rolling bed so he could move horizontally (again, to relieve the ache).

After the session, we went to "Five, down", which is how Riley refers to the cafeteria location, as it's a floor below his therapy. I got him a bowl of pasta and he chowed down. In between bites, he'd ask to take a break. He just looked worn out. I asked him if sometimes he wished he could just hang out at home instead of going to doctors and hospitals all the time. Of course he said yes, and that made me a little sad.

From there, it was back home for a bit before we loaded up again to go to yet another therapist, this one of the occupational variety. He spent about 45-50 minutes with Miss Jessica working on things like opening packages, writing, squeezing dough. His fine motor skills need work and that's the kind of thing Jessica works on.

Since we've been seeing these two therapists, Riley's speech and motor skills have improved dramatically. It's pretty incredible to see and hear his progress. We are very fortunate to have these people helping Riley. It's great to know that he'll be able to master most of the things that other kids can master; it'll just take him a little longer.

We ran a few errands later and made it home for dinner. His wheels finally fell off at bedtime. He was so exhausted (huge dark circles under his eyes) that he pretty much screamed for 10 minutes before going to bed. And this is from a kid who pretty much never screams about anything anymore.

I just have to remind myself sometimes that when I was 4 going on 5, I was usually just hanging around the house, playing with my brother (only one at the time!), or doing whatever 4-5 year olds do. Riley has gone to the doctor in his almost 5 years more than I have in my 37. We just hope he continues to improve and the doctor visits will be for follow-ups only, and nothing more.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

It's done

I finally finished painting a neighbor's house today. It took about 3 weeks or so, with me doing what I could when I could, but it's done. White on white, kind of a pain. But then, when I thought about it, I realized it could've been worse, especially if he wanted me to paint the trim a different color. As it is, I didn't have to worry about anything other than painting that house white.

Next project, weeding Mom's yard. Joyous.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Hiatus over

Ok. I took an unexpected hiatus. It wasn't planned or anything. I don't even know if you could call it a hiatus, actually.

I've just been lazy. There it is. I've had plenty of time in front of this computer, but I've been lazy.

So what have I been up to the past month? Here you go, in no particular order:
  • Stayed in a yurt (look it up).
  • Walked the dog.
  • Lost my temper with the kids.
  • Got a library card. Back in the day when I applied for a card, it took a few weeks to be mailed home. Now? Fill out a form, pick a card and, pow, it's yours. Pretty cool.
  • Read a bunch of Cesar Millan books.
  • Played a gig at the Sunset for the first time in a long time, and it was only 5 songs!
  • Played with the Scheme for the first time since Gregg sliced his thumb, and it was only 5 songs! :)
  • Bought a DSLR (used) Canon Rebel XT.
  • Got in some hot water for buying said camera.
  • Sold bass effect pedals on craigslist.
  • Painted neighbor's house.
  • Sweated a ton when the temps were 100+. Gave thanks for buying a room AC unit when Marci was pregnant with Riley.
  • Hung out with my brother, who was in town from Ireland.
  • Went to the new Spaghetti Factory in Tukwila.
  • Applied for a bunch of jobs.
  • Did not get invited to any job interviews.
  • Questioned my abilities to find a job.
  • Saw a movie with Haley on the hottest damn day of the year.
(Firefox just crashed! Unpossible! But, Blogger autosaved so I am back to entertain you!)

So in between all those activities and happenings, it's not like I haven't had time to post. I just haven't been motivated to do so. I don't know why.

Anyway, I am going to try to be a better blogger, for my own sanity's sake and for the meager entertainment for others. Believe it or not, for reasons unknown, people still check this blog. I guess that's cool, right?

In the meantime, here's a picture.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

It's July and I'm avoiding laundry right now

There's a big pile staring me in the face. I'm avoiding it. So here I am.

Not much to report on the anything front. My sister-in-law, Alison, and her two daughters, Ella and Chandler, visited us last week. We had gorgeous weather and really took advantage by hitting Snoqualmie Falls, Newcastle Beach Park, and then Pt. Defiance Park in Tacoma. Took a ton of pictures and generally had a lot of fun with them.

I've been spending a lot of my "down time" taking pictures and generally learning about photography and trying to improve. I've been doing the flickr thing and reading a lot. It's a ton of fun and I only wish I'd gotten into it a long time ago.

Bella has been great still. She's a bit of a poo eater at times, but if we clean up RIGHT AFTER, there's no issue. We start obedience classes this weekend and we're looking forward to that. She's been really good with us, but could use some polishing around the edges. Pulling on a leash is one I can't wait to work on.

I had a job interview a few weeks ago. I thought it went well but I still haven't heard back from them. I was gonna call them today, but forgot. So I'll make the call tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed.

Saturday night Lund Bros. is playing at the Sunset. We'll get about a 15-20 minute set as there are 6 or 7 bands playing that night. It's the 6th birthday for our friends at Unsmashable Records and they were kind enough to put us on the bill. It'll be a great gig to play and watch/listen and you bet your ass I'll have the camera out in full force. I'll get pix of everyone but us... :(

In the meantime, stay cool and hope that summer comes back soon.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Friday, June 26, 2009

Rock and Roll Marathon

I'm not running it, silly, I'm playing in it. I'm doing the "Rock and Roll" portion, not the "Marathon" portion.

Lund Bros. is playing tomorrow. We have to be there at the ungodly hour of 6:00am (considering Bella has been waking us up daily at 5:30ish, it shouldn't be too different). Poor Sean and Chris are coming from Tacoma so they're probably leaving their necks of the woods around 4:30 or so. Yikes.

I just talked to a friend who is running the 1/2 marathon and she's leaving for Qwest (where the runners are congregating) at 4:00am. Yikes again.

Looks like the weather should cooperate. Hopefully the logistics are set up for tomorrow. I know kind of where we're playing (SR99 S @ Elliot Ave onramp), but beyond that, it's kind of wait and see. As in wait until I get there and see WTF is going on.

Good luck to the runners! Get ready to rock!

Monday, June 22, 2009

One week and counting

I suppose a full-fledged dog update is in order. Trouble is, I haven't been able to stop playing with her to sit down and write!

Actually, the truth is, I've been lazy. But she has been great. We're only a week in, sure, but she has been everything we could've asked for and more. In fact, I think we've been very lucky. Whatever the previous owners did with her has lead to an incredibly easy transition for us.

Bella is very low maintenance, loving, funny and a kick to be around. Her worst habit would be bringing us a toy/animal/sock/slipper every morning to greet us. Oh, and waking us up every morning at 5:30, but she goes to sleep after so it's not *too* bad.

She has integrated completely with us. From the first night, Bella has slept in our room on the floor. It is a little annoying when she shakes or scratches (re: noisy tags), but we're pretty much used to it by now.

When meeting new people, she's been great. No jumping or intimidating. She'll bring them a goodie too and it's just too funny. She's a bit of a licker and a tiny bit of a nipper (when she's excited), but by and large, we completely lucked out. When we take her out, she pretty much stays in the yard. Her and I did some frisbee work yesterday and it was a lot of fun. She needs a little training in "come" and "heel", but she has "sit" down, provided I have a treat for her. Leash walking needs some work too (she is STRONG), but as she ages, I think she'll improve.

I've surprised myself with what a "dog" person I've become. We went to Petsmart yesterday and having a dog (though Belly wasn't there) is a total ice breaker. Talked to a lady about her big black poodle. Plus, getting the kids comfy with her has been great too in that their confidence around other dogs has increased. It helps if the dogs aren't in their faces, but even when they were around my friend Evan's excited dog this weekend, they did great.

L to R: Duke (Evan's dog) & Bella

I couldn't be more happy with how the adoption and transition has gone. It's like Bella's been part of this family for a long time, the way things are going. I do wish the cat would be a little more open to things, though. She's been sulking around and generally being ornery. Of course, everytime Bell sees the cat, she wants to play and the cat just wants to be left alone. Doesn't help that Bell is all energy and whining/playful barking. They are pretty much coexisting. I'm glad the cat doesn't bolt at the sight of the dog, and she's come a long way, but I'm looking forward to when she gives Bella a smack to show her who's boss. Maybe that'll settle her (Bella) down a little.

Anyway, enough about the pets. It's time to head out.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

We done got ourselves a dog

And things couldn't be better.

Well, I could have a job and no bankruptcy pending, but otherwise, things with the dog are great. I'd write more, but I'm lazy, so here are some pictures instead.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Decisions, decisions

For the past few weeks, we have been going to the Humane Society to look at dogs. Knight and Shannon have two dogs and one weekend last month, Hay, Rye and I went over and Hay really took to the dogs. She cried herself to sleep that night wanting a dog (re: tired), so the following day, we went to take a look. We didn't see anything terribly enticing, plus, we're really in no position to adopt, so it was really just looking.

At home, we started looking online at pets and the associated things that go with pets. It'd come and go like the tide. As the weekend drew closer, we'd find ourselves over at the Humane Society again, looking and listening to the barking dogs, then leaving.

In the meantime, Haley's been going over to her friend Erin's house every couple days to walk Erin's dog Lulu. Lulu is a boxer and she's a kick in the pants. She's super strong and playful and is just a sweet little dog. Erin's mom is pregnant and can't very well walk Lulu so Marci, Haley and Erin take her out. As such, they've gotten fond of that dog. Even Riley seems to like her and if you know Rye, you know Rye isn't the biggest fan of dogs.

Two weeks ago, there was a cute little beagle there named Jody. I forget the specifics, but we asked to see her and were allowed to take her to one of their meet and greet pens. Evidently beagles are very nose oriented as Jody spent pretty much the whole time sniffing the pen and ignoring us. Again, we weren't adopting nor were we planning to, but Jody didn't sell herself very well. I hope she's found someone by now.

Anyway, today we were out and about and on the way home from Riley's occupational therapy, I asked if they wanted to go to the Humane Society. We pulled in and looked around. No dog really caught my eye, but Haley was really drawn to this dog that didn't have any info on its kennel. It (no info, remember?) was brown and whimpered a little. It had a soft tongue that licked through the crack in the door. It was very cute and seemed happy to see us. After some finagling with the fine volunteers at the Humane Society, we got to see this dog, Bella, in the meeting area.

Unlike our last visit with Jody, this one was much more entertaining. Bella, an 11 month old boxer/lab mix, was happy to see us and seemed to enjoy being out of her kennel. She played fetch with a tennis ball (until we accidentally rolled it under the fence) and would sit for treats. She'd walk around on a leash and we all felt really comfortable around her. Riley really enjoyed being around her as well and was very excited about playing fetch prior to losing the ball. We've also read/heard that dogs are good for therapy, and goodness knows that Rye might like some therapy that didn't involve going to Seattle Children's. Maybe playing fetch with Bella would do him some good...

Though I don't consider myself a dog person, I don't not consider myself a dog person and, dang it, I kind of liked Bella too. Apparently when I snuck out to get my camera, Marci said Bella whined the whole time I was gone. Is that good?

Anyway, we had to cut it short because there was another couple interested in Bella. Evidently when Marci got helped at the front desk, she got in *just* ahead of these other two ladies that wanted to see Bella. If they'd gotten to her first, I'm pretty sure they would have adopted her right then and there. As it is, we did put a hold on her and we've been discussing it all night. These folks have second dibs.

From the HS, we headed to Nancy's (Erin's mom, where Lulu lives) house to pick her brain about dogs. I got a chance to play with Lulu and, you know what? I enjoyed it. Of course, the consensus at her house is to get the dog.

I got home and called my bud Evan. I remembered he has a Golden Retreiver and I picked his brain. Of course, the consensus at his house is to get the dog.

I've put a picture of Bella on Facebook and, of course, the consensus on the Internet is to get the dog.

The thing is, I can't get a dog because of what everyone says. I'm pretty sure if we get a dog, my mom and Marci's mom will disown us. My brother (he of the 2 dogs!) may not approve, but in the end, I know he has my back. My niece Megan in Ireland will now have another reason to want to be back in the US (the other 2 reasons are Knight's dogs. She really wants a dog).

But, the thing is, I can't not get a dog because of what everyone says.

So I guess I need to think of what's best for my family and I. One other thing to consider is that cat of ours. She's been with Marci and I since '95 or so and she's pretty mellow. Knight's brought his dogs here once and though the cat didn't like it, she survived. Of course, if we adopt Bella, they do a cat test and if Bella eats the cat, well I guess all bets are off.

But back to us. I see two main factors. One is money. In talking to Nancy and Evan, they estimate yearly dog care to be approximately $500 or so. Managable. In talking to my brother, keeping in mind he has 2 dogs, well, the cost is much more. In addition, with me being unemployed (but finally receiving unemployment!! Yay!) and Marci being partially employed, maybe it's not the best time.

The other factor would be the added responsibility. My bro is always running home to let his dogs out (either that or he's avoiding us!). We'd have to feed and water and walk the dog. More poop, too. Added wear and tear on stuff, furniture, etc.

But are those "responsibilities" enough to make us pass this up? I don't know! Was this dog fate? After all, it was me who suggested going there. And they happened to have a dog that Haley just gravitated to. And tonight at dinner, the pot Marci cooked the pasta in had a label on it. Bella Cuisine, it read. For real.

I guess the bottom line is I'll be giving it some thought tonight and tomorrow. Stay tuned.


Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Music stuff

Well, gigs are a comin'!

The Scheme had 2 gigs lined up. One was for this Friday at the New Frontier in Tacoma. The other was at the end of June, where we'd play a stop in the Rock n Roll Marathon. We got assigned a stage at the 99 and Elliot Ave off ramp (or something like that). They gave us a 2 hour slot to play and it sounded pretty cool.

Then I got a phone call from David with some bad news. Gregg, our drummer, sliced his left thumb pretty badly (ligament and tendon damage; surgery and PT to follow) and would be out for pretty much the whole summer. Major suckage.

But, that's the beauty of playing in two bands. After making sure it was cool, I ran it by the Lunds and they agreed to play these two shows. So, for the month of June, that gives us 3 shows (the third one is 6/19 in Olympia).

This Friday's show should be fun. I had asked Llama to play with us, but evidently their drummer is unable to play due to health reasons, so Rusty will be playing an acoustic set. After he plays, the Lunds will take the stage and following us will be a new band called the Build Up. I'm excited to see the Build Up as it features a bunch of Unsmashable All Stars, with Heather on guitar and vocals, Wesley from Young Sportsmen on bass, and Ryan from the i love myselfs/Young Sportsmen on drums. I'm hoping they bring a nice contingent of people as it's their first show. We'll see what happens.

In the meantime, here's hoping Gregg has a safe and relatively pain-free road to recovery. I can't imagine what I'd do if I gutted one of my hands.

Friday, May 29, 2009

My babies done left me

This morning.

This evening.

:(

Good bye feathered friends,
I hope we meet agains.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

More birdy pictures

Mama bird

5 days old.

7 days old.

9 days old.

Today, 10 days old. So furry!

Spring has sprung?

We have baby birds living in a bush RIGHTNEXT to the back door. As in, open the door, reach out, and get buzzed by a low-flying red breasted robin.

The next was empty for a while, then, one Saturday, I peeked in.


Then next morning, not even 12 hours later, I peeked in again.

A few hours later, I peeked in again.

This was just over a week ago. Since then, the mama bird and a daddy bird (I think) have been flying around. When we slide open the door, the bush rustles, then a bird takes off. We've seen both birds hanging out by the bush, on our back hill, on the nearby bushes, often with worms in their beaks.

Today the chicks are chirping and, when we peek in, looking for food from the parents. They have feathers and have pretty much doubled in size. It's kind of neat. I've grown pretty attached to these guys. It'll be neat to see how they turn out.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Back from the dead

No reason for the downtime. Just not into blogging, I guess.

I just got back from 2 hours of God Rock. I played in the worship band at SPU for a little function for the college kids. I rehearsed for 3.5 hours yesterday and now my hands are kind of tired (but not too tired to blog).

In addition, today, I climbed on the roof and cleaned the gutters (leaf blower to gutters FTW), went to a friend's house for a double family Memorial Day barbecue, came home and mowed the lawn, then weed wacked the back yard. It was a busy day.

Anyway, it was interesting playing this gig. Musically, it wasn't my finest moment. I guess I did ok, but it's hard playing the worship songs because we never practice but for the performances, which is my fault, because I don't want to tack on any more practice time than needed. Also, the drummer we had today has been away from drums for awhile and is out of practice. He has some time issues, but appears willing to learn.

What was cool about playing there at SPU was the people that came to watch. It was college students and, since SPU is a Christian college, they were religious. Usually when I play out, the people watching are drinking beers and sitting around. For this thing, people were out in the middle of Martin Square dancing, singing, praying, kneeling, holding hands and just having moments. Though it wasn't for the band, the sight of these people showing some sort of emotion or reaction to the event was pretty cool.

A few of us went out for food after the gig and found a cool place in Fremont. Forget what the place was called, but you get big ass slices of pizza for $4.95. Pretty neat.

I'll get caught up in another blog tomorrow. It's time for bed now.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

What's next?

I think I have writer's block. All I want to write about is how I've been spinning my wheels the past few months. No progress on the job front. No progress on the legal front. No leads on the horizon.

At what point to I swallow what little pride I have left so that I can at least get a paycheck?

Church today said that God will provide. I'm not looking for a handout, but a little nibble might be nice.

I feel like a dull failure. I feel like I'm wasting my time looking on Craigslist every morning. Then I set my sights higher, look at Amazon.com or Microsoft or something and realize that I simply cannot do the things that they want an employee to do.

Heck. I don't even know what I want to do. People ask me and I have no idea what to tell them. When I went from the Y to work for Dad, I didn't have a job interview. I didn't have to give a resume. I guess that's a plus when your dad is the boss.

These days, I have a resume, but, in my humble opinion, it's kind of a joke. It's so hard to be objective about myself. I know I'm good at stuff, but so many of those employers are looking for something specific.

Part of me is like, "Hey, get your ass back to school! Get some knowledge on these 'specifics' and get your ass hired!"

Then I realize you need to have $$$ to go to school and $$$ is something that is sorely lacking. Plus, the way the C&A situation is, well, let's just say I won't be taking out any loans anytime soon.

On the plus side, I'm really enjoying the family time. I love spending extra time with the kids and with Marci (what little I see of her. She's a busy bee!). I wish I was more handy; I could whittle down my imaginary Honey Do list. I'd start with replacing the ballasts in the garage lights, then maybe power wash the driveway. Gutters need cleaning too.

All of a sudden I just realized those things are easy. I just need to do them. Don't worry. I'm on it!

I just hate having a pity party.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What's new?

Been spending lots of time in front of the computer at home. The past few days have been spent working on C&A taxes. I have finished them; now I just need to get the funds to pay them. Sweet!

I've been pounding pavement (ie: searching the internet/Craigslist/etc) for job listings. People ask me what I want to do. I have no clue. Selling computers isn't cutting it, that's fer sure. I've emailed and called customers and either they hate me or they are out of money or both. I don't really know. In the 2 or so weeks I've been "working", I've made 2 sales, which should pay for lunch sometime soon.

Our trip to FL was super duper. I've been posting my journal entries verbatim and, while they look good all handwritten, something gets lost in the translation to blog form. Don't know if I'll put any more up, but I may use the notes and springboard from there.

Not much else to note. I tried growing facial hair the past week but I shaved it all this morning. If I could only grow sideburns.

I'm going to bed.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sunday, April 26, 2009

10:10PM EST end of day 3

Today was kind of back to routine, I suppose. Well, at least we got the kids in bed by 9:30. Still up, though.

Another beautiful day here. We got up around 8 and were done w/breakfast by 10 or so. We headed for the Magic Kingdom at WDW.

Well, we got there and spent about an hour in Main Street, just inside the park. We got the kids lanyards and some pins to start pin collecting. It was fun to see the kids hook up with cast members. We tried to get Rye a haircut so Marci waited with him. Hay + I took off + found Pinocchio and got some pix and an autograph.


The magic button Rye gets to wear sure is cool. It will be tough to go back in the future.

We made our way over to Fantasy Land and did the Dumbo ride, had lunch, got our stroller lost (moved), and took some more rides. (Snow White + Pooh x2)

I think my favorite thing today was meeting the Princesses + Fairies in Mickey's Toon Town. The kids all got pix + autographs with the fine, fine ladies. Riley got some serious smooches and then they met the Fairies.

From there we headed to Tomorrow Land + got to meet Buzz Lightyear and do his shooting ride (not that exciting, IMO).

We also watched the Monster's Inc comedy show. That was cute but boy am I glad we have those passes.

And what day would be complete without a meltdown by Haley? Marci wanted a hat so we got her one. Then Haley couldn't decide what she wanted. Instead, she dragged her feet and then lost out. She is unable to make decisions and it cost her again. She basically freaked out until we got on the ferry to go to the parking lot.

Things got better when we got back, but it's now the horrible bed time routine again. Riley is singing now. Not sure about Hay, but I'm gonna read now.

Tomorrow's agenda: Animal Kingdom. Wish us luck.

Friday, April 24, 2009

9:30 EST Day 2

Horrible night sleeping for some reason. Maybe the bed was too bouncy. Anyway I'm up now with Riley & we're hanging out on our front porch enjoying the warmth and each other's company.



I am so happy to be here, for Rye's sake and our family's sake. Just to be AWAY from everything has been such a relief, even though we just got here.

Haley is still sleeping and at this rate, we may miss the big breakfast. Marci is at the orientation and should be back shortly.

In the meantime, I'm gonna hang out & enjoy Rye's company.

12:45EST

Waiting for lunch. Spent a fun morning hanging out at GKTW. Lots of fun stuff for us to do, all of it FREE!

Rye got a tasty strawberry shake. The kids got wish pillows. We got a free lunch. It's pretty cool!

9:45EST

Wow. That was fun! After lunch we headed to Universal and ended up going to Islands of Adventure. Not the most kid friendly, but it had Dr. Seuss-Land and we wanted to hit that up. We went on the One Fish 2 fish ride. That was fun. Me + Hay got all wet. It was hot and sunny today. Pretty crowded too. I took a ton of pix and had fun documenting.

The whole MAW/GKTW pass was awesome. We got to the front of the few rides we did. We also got to "meet" Spider-man and get an autograph. Later on, Storm, Rogue and Wolverine came by and we got to have special meet + greet with them due to the passes. Very cool. We did a few more rides and bought some souveniers. And it is so much fun to do it on someone else's dime. Everyone should get an opportunity to travel without worrying about money.

We headed back to the Villa for some dinner (not so yummy) and partying as it was Mayor Clayton's birthday @ GKTW. Dancing and tons of pictures ensued. Haley + I had Dippin Dots and then we all took a train ride.

All in all, it was a very fun day. Haley had a few moody moments - quite a few, actually, including now, at 10:00pm. Overtired and she simply can't control herself. Super annoying and it gets our goat every time.

4/17/09 Day One

  • Shuttle Xpress limo van
  • Make a Wish credit card
  • Wendy's lunch
  • Southwest boarding - weird
  • flight to KC, then ORL
  • Kindle on board, Moving Pictures on MP3.
3:25PST
  • Descending into KC.
  • Kids good on first leg.
  • Read a lot.
  • DVD player wasn't charged after all. Hope it doesn't matter on 2nd leg.
  • Plane is 3 seats/side. Marci sat w/kids & I sat on other side of aisle.
  • Nothing terribly interesting to report. Some turbulence. 74 degrees @ KC.
4:30PST

Back in the air. Tried a sudoku puzzle + failed miserably. Some nice folks let us borrow their DVD player. They're on the way to WDW too.

I guess we landed in Kansas City, MO, not KS.

2+ more hours of this fun. Hay + Rye watching Scooby Doo. I'm going to read and we'll be there in no time. Also, why do pilots always mumble when they speak on the P.A.?

9:20EST

Plane descending, Riley asleep. Haley a little grouchy but hanging in.

I caught Riley picking his nose... and EATING it. It's the second time I've seen it. ICK.

Dark outside, then it's off to eat, most likely at the airport.

Finished my book "AFRAID". Pretty action packed. Someone should make a movie out of it.

I am ready to be off this plane and on with our trip. Kids are gonna be a mess, I think.

Oh well, all's well that end's well. No drama. But I am full of gas and the seats are not cloth. So I'm being polite and abstaining. But it's uncomfortable.

1am EST

We are at the villa, #284. It's pretty cool. We have a king size bed. The kids have twins in their own room, plus a giant bathroom complete with "hot pool".

They stocked the fridge with Boston Market as they knew we were getting in late. Yum.

They rented us a Toyota Camry and it's noisy.

Toll roads everywhere. It's kind of lame. It's warm + muggy and the kids may still be up right now.

Not sure what the plan is tomorrow but it should be fun!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Guilt trip

Our big trip is on Friday and it couldn't come at a better/worse time. It's coming at a good time because of all the drama that we've endured the past 6 months or so. I won't rehash it here as if you've been following along, you know what's going on. It's bad because right now, Daddy is not making any $$ and is, for all intents and purposes, unemployed (not getting a paycheck means unemployed, right?).

Trouble is, the state still sees me as an officer of my corporation. On paper, I am. But the business is dead and I have to jump through a bunch of hoops (and pay taxes) to get out from under it. Until then, I can't collect unemployment.

I have sent out resumes and haven't heard anything back yet. I'm tempted to go pull shots at Tully's or something because even at $9.00/hour (or whatever they pay), it's more than what I'm making now.

So, while we're vacationing in sunny, muggy Florida, I'll be missing out on prime job hunting time, as well as business wind down time.

It's a conundrum, no? I just gotta get in the vacation mindset, I suppose. Once we're off the ground, I should feel better. After all, this is 6 days where Marci and I can just spoil the kids and not worry about anything else.

I can't wait, but part of me is feeling guilty for leaving this mess behind...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I turned 37 today. What did you do?

I think I'm having a pre-mid-life crisis. Is there such a thing?

I had a gig on Friday. I talked to some friends in other bands. I felt like such a crybaby telling them about what's been going on. They ask how I'm doing, I say ok. I tell them about our MAW trip coming up and why we're going. Which leads to talking about Riley's surgery. Which leads to discussing our past 6-7 months.

If I'm sick of talking about it, I'm sure you're tired of reading about it.

Anyway, I figured, they asked, I'd fill them in a little. I just don't want to come across like I'm throwing a pity party. I'm not. But, it is my/our life and that's what's going on.

So, for me, the last 7 months or so of being 36 were pretty crummy. So far, the first day of being 37 has been pretty rad. Except for the rain.

Things I've done since I turned 37:
  • played bass in church. Normally not too exciting, but today it was pretty cool. Good song choices.
  • watched Marci get dunked in a pool. Normally quite exciting, but today it was pretty awesome. It was Easter, after all.
  • dyed Easter eggs with Riley. It was his first time. Pretty fun. Haley had the dropsies. She'd be lucky if she had one uncracked egg.
  • took Riley to the doctor. As luck would have it, he has Fifths disease. It's weird. Don't ask. Nothing serious.
  • lectured Haley about eating candy. She's turning into quite the candyholic. I think she needs help.
  • had a birthday party with some friends and their family. It was quite nice of them to invite us over as all my family are either passed away or out of the country. Quite literally, my entire family is not in North America. Well, except Dad, but he's in an urn. LOL.
  • ate a steak. It was tasty. The house is still smoky.
  • did excise taxes for C&A. That was lame.
  • got my hair done. Haley likes to play hair salon with my unruly hair. Sadly (for her), I'm getting it cut tomorrow. Manageable hair, here I come!
  • opened birthday presents. I got a man purse (messenger bag), a photography book, some money, and a cool shirt from the McCaskills for helping name their baby. ;0
All in all, not a bad day. It was a nice reprieve from the job hunt/business closing. Unfortunately, I can't avoid that crap much longer. I'm going to have to hit it this week before our trip and then when I get back. I think there is an end in sight, but I'm gonna have to work at it to make it happen.

In the meantime, here's a picture of one of my new friends.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Last night at the New Frontier Lounge!

It was an epic 3 way battle for Tacoma's affections. In one corner, it was us, the Lund Bros. In the other corner, rock heavyweights Guns and Rossetti. And in yet another corner, it was relative newcomers, the I Love Myselfs (though their collective experience probably outweighed everyones!). We all descended upon the NFL for some serious rock and shenanigans.

First up was GNR. I spoke with ex-guitarist, current bassist, Marsh Gooch, at length about his new position in the band. Apparently the ex-bassist left/moved and kind of left GNR in the lurch. Marsh took it upon himself to get a bass (offered a trade for my SB-2, black. Too bad I don't play guitar!), a rig and learn the songs. He ended up getting an Ibanez P (Destroyer?) and a sweet little (re:big) rig.

The guys took the stage and did not disappoint. Marsh's bass was aptly named as his tone did destroy. The music flowed fast and free, kind of nasty, a little naughty, definitely rocking and fists were pumping. Strangely, the boys in GNR wore matching sweater vests. It was sort of cute.

I brought my fancy new camera and took a ton of pix, almost 300, but sadly, most of them were crap. I'm learning how to use it, but what I learned last night was that this camera may suck for low light shooting. Of the 50+ pix I took of GNR, maybe 10 were worth keeping. But I digress.

Dick and co. put on a great set, though the sound was a bit weird throughout. Vocals were down and it just seemed off to my ears. Oh well, as, weird sound or not, we were up next.

After some technical difficulties (bad monitor output), we were off and running. We started off with Enjoy the Fire, from the Loser record. It's a fun little tune to start with and I felt really good about things, until I exhaled through my nose and felt a snot bubble (a little TMI here). I was able to sniff it up during the song, but it was there and it was bugging me. There was no Kleenex to be found anywhere, so I had to tough it out. Luckily, our second song was I Don't Believe in You and I don't play for the first 16 bars or so. I was able to disengage my bass, set it down, poke my head out the side load-in door, do a farmer's blow, get back on stage and continue, all without missing a note. Go me!

We continued on and I think our 4-5 consecutive weeks of rehearsal paid off. Things felt really cohesive and tight. Though there was a little hiccup in the middle of Accident, we were strong. At least I felt that way until our new cover, Flavor of the Month, by the Posies. We'd had two practices with that song. I'd worked on singing the vocals all week (backing in the verses), even busted out the keyboard to figure out the notes. Came up with a little device to remember the melody (think "Oh when the Saints" from When the Saints Come Marching In). Plus, the note I sing is the same note I play on bass. Did any of that help?

Nope.

It was a train wreck vocally for me. Instrumentally a little as well, but, in the end, it was fine. It'll come together quick enough.

Oh yeah, we debuted Sean's new song, It's Okay, and that was great. No screw ups there and the people seemed to dig it. I was also able to make it through my arch-nemesis, Chris' Find the Sun, with hardly a problem. Good for me, I suppose.

Up last was the I Love Myselfs. I think they played their first show with us. Back then, it was Oly (Twink [among others]) on guitar, Heather (Riffbrokers) on bass and Jason (Small Change) on drums. I think it was the Skylark and it was pretty loose. Fast forward to last night (we'd played with them since the first time) and add Ryan (Sportsmen) on guitar and some rehearsals and you have a whole new band.

These guys were great. I think I've written about Oly before. He's big and tall and has this cool spastic stage presence. His songs are quick and to the point and just plain cool. Neal at the NFL finally dialed in the vocals (I think he did in our set too, so I hear) and it was great to hear everyone backing Oly. I've seen Ryan sing many times, but I think last night was the first time I'd heard him sing.

They did Great White Buffalo!!

All in all, it was a super night. People seemed to have a good time. I know I had fun watching and listening. And we get to do it all again next Friday at the Skylark. It'll be us, the ILMs and Throwback Suburbia from PDX. Should be a super time. Plus it's my birthday on the 12th. Buy me a drink!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Welp, it's almost over

Since mid-February, I've been winding down the family business. Mom and Dad started the business back in 1981. It's been a part of my life for just over 27 years. In 5 days, it'll be done. Computers & Applications will cease to exist.

At least physically, that is.

You see, I have to be out of our space by 4/1. The past few weeks have been spent selling, Craigslisting, recycling, shredding, dumping, and just plain moving. The next few days will consist of more moving and selling, some cleaning and possibly some relief.

Things have been bad at C&A for a while now. It wasn't until mid-Feb that I realized just how bad things were. If I had more of a business mind (M&D always said I should've taken more accounting courses) it's possible I would've seen this coming earlier and perhaps made changes, or even pulled the plug then, but I didn't. So I'm pulling the plug.

I've had a long time to think about things. I've had time to point fingers and get advice. At this point, there is no blame to be put around, other than with myself. I'm pretty sure if the two guys who left in Oct/Nov 08 didn't leave, I'd still be in the same boat, only with a lot more drama then there already is.

Speaking of drama, as if closing the business and being out of work isn't dramatic enough, there's the little matter of all the money owed to creditors by C&A. I'd get into it more, but it just doesn't seem the place to do so. So I'll just say that things will continue to be interesting even after I am out of the building and working on closing out C&A. Not looking forward to that.

So, having said all that (and believe me, that's brief), it's not to say that everything sucks and is horrible. On the contrary. Besides the fact that I haven't been paid since Feb. 1, well, things aren't too shabby.
  • Luckily we have money saved up. It won't last forever, but it'll get us by for now.
  • We have Riley's Make a Wish trip coming up in a few weeks. Timing is bittersweet. It's good in that we get to get away at a most stressful time. It's bad because I need to find a job and I probably won't find one in Florida.
  • Everyone is healthy and doing well.
  • Spring is here and it's going to get nicer out soon.
  • Friends are really helping out and being there for us.
  • Though I don't have any job leads yet, something positive may be coming my way...
This period in my life is just a little speed bump. Or perhaps a fender bender would be more appropriate. It's not going to be a lot of fun, but I'll come out ok in the end. When I'm 80+ and shuffling around the retirement home, this period of my life will be long gone, but it'll definitely be a pivotal period, and it may go a long way in determining what I'll be doing and who I'll become.

Should be interesting, no?