Thursday, November 24, 2011

Things for which I am thankful

In no particular order:

  • a house in which to live
  • a furnace for which to heat
  • a dog for which to mock/walk/talk (to) and be entertained by
  • a job for which to make a few dollars (and new friends!)
  • a daughter for which to be proud of, cherished and loved by
  • a son for which to be proud of, to play with, and to watch grow
  • a wife for which to hold near, dear and true to my heart

Ok, so it’s a little sappy. I think I’m just nervous for Black Friday.

I’m also thankful for:

  • my mom, pitching in when I need help
  • my brothers, for being my brothers and always being cool
  • my dad, for being “out there” and “always around”
  • my friends, for caring and reaching out

But wait, there’s more!

  • my Kindle, it’s always by my side
  • my basses, neglected recently, but will go with me to the grave
  • my VW, 2 idiot lights on at all times and I still love it so
  • my bed, where the magic happens (SLEEP)

Speaking of sleep……… zzzz

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Back, what is up with you?

Somehow, some way, my back hurts. I have been lucky to not have back issues for the past 39 years, but for the past few days something has been up.

Today, my back hurt a bit at work but nothing terrible. It’s just above my left hip, maybe about two inches above my belt/waistline. I would stretch it a bit between tech appointments, but it was manageable.

For some odd reason, once I got home and had dinner, it really fired up. It hurt to sit, then it hurt to stand. I ended up heating up a heat pad we have and strapped it on before heading to a Boy Scouts meeting.

At the meeting, shortly after Riley’s den did a little skit (best of the night, IMO), I realized that I simply couldn’t sit anymore. I ended up standing and leaning in the back of the church. After the meeting was over, walking to the car was actually pretty painful. Grimacing, breathing through my teeth, all the signs of OLD AGE that I think are catching up with me.

Sad smile

Once I got home, a friend of mine who is a LMP called me at the request of Marci and gave me some tips and pointers. Then Marci slapped some weird homeopathic medicine on my back. All that did was make my back cold and clammy. Weird.

Now I’m slouching on the couch, surfing Facebook and typing up this quick entry. It’s still sore, but not as bad as earlier. We’ll see how it goes tonight. Hopefully it feels better for work tomorrow.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Books

I’ve been tracking the books I’ve read since 2009. Here they are:

2009

Summer of Night by Dan Simmons
A Winter Haunting by Dan Simmons
Rock On: An Office Power Ballad by Dan Kennedy
Killing Yourself To Live by Chuck Klosterman
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
The Poet by Michael Connelly
Persuader by Lee Child (on Kindle)
Afraid by Jack Kilborn (on Kindle)
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (on Kindle)
Whiskey Sour by J.A. Konrath (Kindle)
Bloody Mary by J.A. Konrath (Kindle)
Rusty Nail by J.A. Konrath (Kindle)
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (Kindle)
Serial by Jack Kilborn and Blake Crouch (Kindle)
The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly (Kindle)
Cemetery Dance by Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston (Kindle)
Be the Pack Leader by Cesar Millan
Paranoia by Joseph Finder (Kindle)
City of Thieves by David Benioff
Cesar's Way by Cesar Millan
The Last Detective by Robert Crais
Alive in Necropolis by Doug Dorst
Collision by Jeff Abbott
The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer by Philip Carlo
The Pesthouse by Jim Crace
A Few Seconds of Panic by Stefan Fatsis
Soul Patch by Reed Farrel Coleman
The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith
The Given Day by Dennis Lehane
Nine Dragons by Michael Connelly
Fuzzy Navel by J.A. Konrath
Dirty Martini by J.A. Konrath
Cherry Bomb by J.A. Konrath
Borderlands by Brian McGilloway
I Love You, Beth Cooper by Larry Doyle
The Watchman by Robert Crais
Mystic River by Dennis Lehane
Chasing Darkness by Robert Crais
Shutter Island (again) by Dennis Lehane
Sunset Express by Robert Crais
Gone, Baby, Gone by Dennis Lehane
Indigo Slam by Robert Crais

2010

1. Under The Dome by Stephen King (Kindle)
2. The Girl Who Played With Fire by Steig Larssen (Kindle via library)
3. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest by Steig Larssen :ninja: (Kindle)
4. A Drink Before the War by Dennis Lehane (library)
5. Darkness, Take My Hand by Dennis Lehane (Kindle)
6. Sacred by Dennis Lehane (Kindle)
7. Ariel by Steven R. Boyett (library)
8. Elegy Beach by Steven R. Boyett (library)
9. Prayers for Rain by Dennis Lehane (library)
10. The Pawn by Steven James (Kindle)
11. The 25th Hour by David Benioff (library)
12. Frankenstein, Book One: Prodigal Son by Dean Koontz (Kindle)
13. The Dark Tide by Andrew Gross (Kindle)
14. Digital Fortress by Dan Brown (Kindle)
15. Boy's Life by Robert McCammon (Kindle)
16. The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep And Never Had To by DC Pierson (library)
17. The Tomb by F. Paul Wilson (Kindle)
18. Fever Dream by Preston/Child (Kindle)
19. Legacies by F. Paul Wilson (Kindle)
20. Conspiracies by F. Paul Wilson (Kindle)
21. Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry (Kindle)
22. The Dragon Factory by Jonathan Maberry (Kindle)
23. The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown (Kindle)
24. Swan Song by Robert McCammon (Kindle)
25. The Devil's Star by Jo Nesbo (library)
26. The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo (library)
27. Nemesis by Jo Nesbo (library)
28. The Redeemer by Jo Nesbo (Kindle)
29. The Snowman by Jo Nesbo (Kindle)
30. The Reversal by Michael Connelly (Kindle)
31. Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane (Kindle)
32. In The Woods by Tana French (Kindle)

2011

1. The Likeness by Tana French (Kindle)
2. Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist (Kindle)
3. Catch Me If You Can by Frank W. Abagnale (Kindle)
4. Faithful Place by Tana French (Kindle)
5. Prince of Thieves by Chuck Hogan (Kindle)
6. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby (Kindle)
7. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (Kindle)
8. The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly (Kindle)
9. The King of Plagues by Jonathan Maberry (Kindle)
10. Gideon's Sword by Preston/Child (Kindle)
11. The Zero Game by Brad Meltzer (Kindle)
12. The Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Neville (book!)
13. Collusion by Stuart Neville (Kindle)
14. Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock by Sammy Hagar (Kindle)
15. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (Kindle)
16. Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales (Kindle)
17. The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton (Kindle)
18. A Cold Day in Paradise by Steve Hamilton (Kindle)
19. The Terror of Living by Urban Waite (Kindle)
20. The Leopard by Jo Nesbo (Kindle)
21. Cold Vengeance by Douglas Preston/Lincoln Child (Kindle)
22. Headhunters by Jo Nesbo (Kindle)
23. Stolen Souls by Stuart Neville (Kindle)
24. War by Sebastian Junger (Kindle)
25. Cherry Bomb by J.A. Konrath (Kindle)
26. The Killing Moon by Chuck Hogan (Kindle)

I’m currently listening to The Drop by Michael Connelly. Does that belong on the list?

Books are cool.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Happy Brain Transplant… er… Surgery Day!

My running joke for Riley is that Dr. E switched his brain with another brain 3 years ago today. The reality is that Riley had brain surgery 3 years ago and it really changed his life.

More recently, his headaches are way, way down. No longer is he using pain patches on a daily basis. In fact, I can’t remember the last time he used one. So, that is quite awesome.

Some of his other issues are still works in progress. Speech, drinking, fine-motor, all coming along, but still not where we’d like them to be. But, as usual, he just goes with it. It’s part of his life and he doesn’t know any different and, the truth of the matter is, life is good.

2011 09 04_4789

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Weekend update

Yes, as a matter of fact, it is my weekend today and tomorrow.

I am loving my job. It may still be the honeymoon phase, and even though when I walk through the mall to get to work, I think to myself, “Man, I work at the mall,” I still love clocking in and helping people.

Funny thing is, some days are weird. When I get customers and they have issues with their computers that I have a hard time with (re: OUTLOOK!), I get bummed out. Every once in awhile, I get an issue that is quite easy (last night, helped a customer burn a song to his mp3 player) and I end up feeling great. Then I get a tricky one (and maybe with a less-than-patient customer) and BLEH, it feels rough.

The kids (so young! and smart!) I work with are FANTASTIC and I’m learning from them all the time. It’s hard to flounder around when I get a tricky question, but thankfully, everyone I work with is super-helpful and patient.

***

The next few weeks should be interesting. For now, I have Thursdays and Fridays off, which for now, is kind of cool. What’s not kind of cool, though, is that when Marci and the kids have Sat and Sun off, I’ll be at the mall, getting my retail on. Which isn’t so bad either; I am getting paid, after all. But for the rest of the week (Mon-Wed), the earliest I am off is 8pm. In other words, I’ll see the kids for about 30 minutes before school, and for 3 other nights, they’re asleep when I get home.

I’m feeling some daddy guilt since I’m not seeing the kids as much. I’m feeling some husband guilt as I’m not around to help Marci, but during the day, I’m trying to keep busy. Dog walking (since Friday, 4 walks with Bella!), dishes, laundry, garbage, etc.

Anyway, I keep thinking to myself that the scheduling thing will change soon enough. We’ll all be super-busy at work during the holiday season, so that’s to be expected, but afterwards, I’m hoping to get at least one weekend day off, as well as one or two nights a week where I can have dinner at home.

***

Next week I’ll be heading to the studio with the Scheme to record some… backing vocals? I think? Way back in February we recorded 7 rhythm tracks. David has gone in and finished up some guitar, vocals, stuff like that. My plan is to go in on Friday and lay down some velvety, syrupy backing tracks. It’ll be my first time-I hope they don’t have to autotune me.

***

Last thing. Can we have a running game on Sunday? Please? I want to see some BEAST MODE.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

"To bad being stupid isn't painful"

I drove by a car with that written on its license plate frame and I couldn't figure out if it was supposed to be ironic or not.

Were they being overly clever and in on the joke? Or simply stupid? The mind boggles.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Late nights, bored

The past few nights I’ve worked the late shift at, er, work. It’s kind of cool to do as it gives me all day to do what I want/need, but man, it sucks for the family life.

I got home last night at 10:45 and tonight around 9:45 and the kids are asleep and the wife is turning in. I suppose I’ll go to bed soon as well, but I’m not quite ready and, well, it’s boring without anyone to talk to. I can only check FB so many times. People, do something interesting!

Tomorrow I should be home after 8, so in time to see the kids a bit, as well as Marci. And then Thursday I think I’m off at 7. But next week it’s still the weird late hours. Not sure how it will be the following week.

They did say it was a 40hr/week job, which it has been, but it’d be nice to be able to have dinner at home/see the family a bit more than I have been as well.

And sorry for the weird formatting. For some reason, Windows Live Writer is doing something to something. I will try to figure it out.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

I saw Fountains of Wayne the other night

Growing up, my favorite band by far was Rush. Then it was Boston. I was lucky enough to see both of those bands in concert (though with Boston, it was way late in their career). As I got older, college age, I developed more mature (yeah, right) tastes, branching off into, er, chick rock, mainly with Juliana Hatfield and Aimee Mann, both of whom I’ve also seen in concert.

After my college days, I just played in bands and didn’t listen to much new music. And then I really got into power pop bands as I am in power pop bands. Stuff like Weezer, Oasis, and, most recently Fountains of Wayne, none of which I had seen live.

Until Friday.

Fountains of Wayne released a new record earlier this year entitled Sky Full of Holes. I wrote about it here.

When I found out they were coming to town, I was pretty excited. My friend David was kind enough to spring for tickets, so all I had to do was wait.

Anyway, Friday rolled around and it was off to the Croc for the show. Curiously, it was an older crowd at the Croc. Not a lot of youngsters there. I’d say that the average age of the club-goers was probably 35 or so.

I got there a little early so I had to wait through the opening act of Mike Viola, who was an excellent guitarist and singer. Sort of like FoW light, as all his songs were catchy and told stories. All in all, a good fit for the night.

FoW finally took the stage and they started with Little Red Light from the excellent Welcome Interstate Managers record. It sorely missed the keyboard line present on the recording though as they only brought the four band members.

And I think that was why I felt pretty underwhelmed by the band for the night.

FoW is an ultra-slick and polished band in the studio. They are tight and everything sounds incredible. They have horns (listen to Mexican Wine for example), keys, more guitars, percussion, and chances to make everything sound right.

Live? Well, as much as I enjoyed the music, the live performance left me wanting more. It seemed that Jody Porter, on lead guitar, didn’t want to be in Seattle at all. He basically wanked his way through some solos and played just adequate guitar.

The other guys did well enough and I guess that was cool. Then they tried a little cover song medley in the middle of one of their older songs, including riffs from Burning for You (BOC), Carry On Wayward Son (Kansas), Do You Feel (Frampton), among others, and the wheels kind of fell off.
I don’t know. Maybe they had a bad night? I just felt a little unfulfilled. It certainly wasn’t like when I saw Muse for the first time, or Rush at the White River after their 5 year hiatus.

Ah well. I’ll still watch them on Leno this Wednesday and listen to their CDs religiously. And maybe I’ll catch them if they ever come back to Seattle.

Monday, October 03, 2011

My nightmares are to become reality

I realized recently that the holidays are just around the corner. I recently started working at a local mall.

What happens at the mall during the holidays?

CHRISTMAS MUSIC.

Aside from the long hours, tons of customers, Santa, kids everywhere and providing excellent customer service, I will be subject to at least 9 hours a day of at least some Christmas music.

I can’t imagine they’ll play Xmas music for all the music in the mall and/or Microsoft Store, but I know that there will definitely be some.

And to me, that some is simply too much.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m no Scrooge or anything, but my feeling is that Christmas music should be played at only one time: Christmas Day. None of this starting-mid-October stuff. Christmas and Christmas only is when those tunes should be played.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Well that only took all night…

Goodness. Yet another several hours fixing what should’ve taken just a little while.

After upgrading my computer to Windows 7 yesterday, it made Marci’s computer unable to print. With the previous setup, the printer was connected to my XP computer and she was able to print via the network.

For whatever reason, the printer was still seen on our network after the W7 upgrade, but it simply wouldn’t print.

I removed the printer several times, tried downloading drivers, researched the internet, and could find nothing indicating what might have been the matter. I brought her laptop downstairs and plugged it in directly to USB and it worked fine, so I know it wasn’t a compatibility issue. Plus it had just worked less than 24 hours before!

Anyway, I did some more reading and realized that Marci’s laptop was running W7 64-bit and my computer is running the 32-bit version. Someone mentioned downloading the WinXP 64-bit driver, which I did, and lo and behold, we have a winner!

Canon (the printer manufacturer) doesn’t have a W7 64-bit driver, but the XP one works fine anyway.

Problem solved.

Randomness on Saturday

I finally got Windows 7 on my computer. Good news is it is installed and running well. Bad news is I had to pull out a bad stick of RAM in order for it to work. So, though it works, it’s a mite slow.

___

I’m drinking coffee now. I have some flavored creamer and I keep forgetting there’s already sweetner in it, yet I keep adding sugar. Extra sweet, I guess.

___

I really need to clean my desk. Or, rather, junk-holding-apparatus. What a mess.

___

Working Sunday through Thursday is taking me some time to get used to. True, I had yesterday off but being with the family just for today is sort of weird. Plus, when I would work on a Sunday, it was always a shorter shift. The mall, however, is a beast that never sleeps. I’ll do 8 hours tomorrow. Plus, I have to miss football, but it’s sort of fun to blast through it on DVR after the kids are asleep.

___

Fountains of Wayne at the Croc next Friday! Can’t wait to see them.

___

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dogs, they are a barkin!

I just finished my first week at the Microsoft Store. Though my official capacity there is on the technical side, I do spend a bunch of my time on the floor helping customers, greeting customers, and basically hanging out with customers. As such, I’ve been on my feet a lot and I’m discovering that I need better shoes.

Or, more specifically, I shouldn’t wear my old boots anymore. Or my newer Pumas. But possibly only some Adidas cross-trainers I bought last year.

So far, I had one day where I worked in the back tech room, where I could sit a little. But the other days, it was go-go-go on the showroom floor.

But even with all the standing and fatigued legs, you know what?

I’m diggin’ it.

So far, it seems I’m making a great impression on the folks I work with. They’ve had a chance to see how I work with the customers at the Answers Desk and, though I don’t have all the answers, my demeanor and rapport with the customers is calm and engaging.

Or so I’m told.

Anyway, it’s exciting to be there. Still a ton to learn, but it is fun and I am looking forward to continuing for a long time.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Riley time

Marci and Haley left the men today to go on some horse thing over in Cle Elum. So what did Riley and I do today?

Well, I did some laundry and some dishes. We took Bella to the local grooming salon as she needed to be, ahem, excreted (don’t ask), as well as have her nails done. After that, I drove around to some local parks and let Riley run around for a bit. He’s nuts.

From there, we hit the library, then a few drug stores. I’ve been noticing for months that my eyes can’t seem to focus very well on computer screens. Basically anything that’s maybe 2 to 3 feet from my eyes is blurry or just barely out of focus. When I cover one eye, it’s better, but still not perfect.

To Marci’s great pleasure, she offered me the use of her reading glasses and to my great chagrin, they seemed to make things clearer for me.

Anyway, in the drug stores, there are plenty of options, but I don’t know exactly what to do or to look for. I’m figuring that since I’ll be getting some great benefits with Microsoft, I’ll wait until they kick in, then go see my eye doc and have her tell me I need reading glasses.

Wow. Did I digress?

For dinner tonight, I was going to take Rye to the Outback Steakhouse. Marci had gotten a free steak dinner card in the mail and since Riley loves steak, I figured we could go there.

Then I read the fine print: Valid Monday through Thursday only.

Oops.

Being that it was Saturday, the Outback was out of the question. But since I am a quick thinker, I dropped the Five Guys Burgers & Fries bomb on Riley. He’d been there before, but not like this.

As he’s getting older, we’re finding that the skimpy little kid’s meals offered at most restaurants simply don’t fill him up. I figured a gut-bomb of a burger would do the trick.

We got to 5 Guys and I ordered the “small” bacon cheeseburger (one patty as opposed to two) for Rye and I. He got mayo, ketchup, mustard, relish, grilled onions and mushrooms. The girl behind the counter said, “He’ll eat all that?”

I said, “You have no idea.”

I got myself mine and we sat down for some chow. Once we got it, I prepped him on how to eat it (squish it down a bit, tuck it in your mouth, and BITE!), and we got down to business.

riley 5 guys

He DOMINATED that burger. His mouth and hands were’nt quite large enough to do it the way I showed him, but he made it work. Add in a handful of fries and he was one stuffed dude.

We then came home and just hung out the rest of the night.

Sometimes I forget how much fun it can be to be a dad.

Back to Blogger… for now

I haven’t been blogging much at all for the past few months. It just seems I have not much to write about. Or that I do, but I find it terribly boring, and if I find it boring, well, goodness knows what anyone else would think about it.

Anyway, with my new job at the Microsoft Store, I’ve been trying to learn more about the MS products, one of which is this free program called Windows Live Writer. It’s basically a word processor, but it imports your blog settings (in this case, Blogger’s settings for the original So Yummy blog), and it allows you to write within the blog itself, instead of Blogger’s horrible back end. Imagine writing with the power of MS Word, and when you’re done, you press “Publish,” and, POW, it’s published!

Pretty cool.

Trouble is, WLW doesn’t support tumblr. I guess that’s not a terrible thing, but it just means for now, I’ll be bouncing back to Blogger.