Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Walking Dead

I'm a late-comer to The Walking Dead, not having watched it until the past year.

Well, that's not entirely true. I did watch the very first episode maybe before that. I remember seeing Rick Grimes get trapped in that tank, being mysteriously talked to by a wise-cracking voice on the walkie talkie.

It annoyed me then, that wise-cracking voice. You are surrounded by zombies, you are stuck in a tank, and your only chance at salvation is a guy who is cracking wise to you.

It annoyed me so much, I didn't watch any more episodes.

Then some time passed and I decided to give it another shot. Fast forward to now and, yes, I am caught up.

There have been some good moments on the show. I have enjoyed a good chunk of the show. But I can't shake some of the choices they make.

I keep thinking of LOST. Like how much I enjoyed LOST when it first started out. I had all these questions! Why did Oceanic 817 crash? Why is there a hatch on the island? What is the deal with the smoke monster? And so on, and so on. I've forgotten over the years.

But what I remember is, after a few seasons of LOST, I simply gave up on it. I got tired of the way the characters would talk to each other. Not like people surviving on a deserted island with smoke monsters, polar bears, weird stuff, but more like people seeing each other at the mall, or out on a bike ride.

I hated that.

The Walking Dead reminds me so much of LOST. You have Rick's crew, which is Jack Sheppard's crew. You have the zombies, which are like the Others. But where LOST seemed to (at first) have a path they were going down, TWD is simply this:
  • encounter zombies
  • kill zombies
  • experience loss/injury of group member
  • encounter new group. Are they friend or foe?
  • encounter zombies
  • etc, etc.
What's driving me nuts about TWD is it seems like they are introducing characters simply for the sake of introducing characters. Since Michonne showed up, what other character has brought anything to the table? Father Gabriel? Abraham? Eugene? The Latina? Tara? Bob? Sasha? Noah?

It seems like every time someone worthless dies on this show, they're replaced with someone equally worthless. I'm not caring for any of the newer characters; if they're not part of the original crew (Rick, Daryl, Carol, Carl, Michonne, Glen, Maggie), I don't care.

Plus, when does the show progress? Remember the questions from LOST? Here's the question I want to see raised on TWD:

What caused the zombie outbreak?

They acted like they were going to touch upon it at the end of S1, but once the CDC blew up, well, I guess that was that.

There's too much of the finding of new groups (Herschel's farm, the Governor's crew [and GOD did I hate that story arc; "the Governor?" Please, how lame of a name was that?], Terminus, Alexandria, and now the Wolves). Let me guess: once they get past the Wolves, there's gonna be a new, dangerous group that our heroes encounter.

So tired of this lazy story. Bring on Westeros.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Haley and me from 2006


You can't handle the cute. I can barely handle the cute.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Follies 1988

For whatever reason, I guess I'm on a nostalgia trip. It started a few days ago when Microsoft allowed OneDrive users to upload their own music to the cloud for streaming purposes. In other words, music you have that may be indie or DIY, not available to mainstream streaming, can be uploaded and shared to your devices.

Cool.

So I immediately uploaded a bunch of rehearsal tapes that I had from previous bands. Long story short, I was listening to an old band I was in, Starchief, and remembered how great the tunes both Johnny and Brett wrote were.

Fast forward to this weekend. I decided to look through all my old Video 8 tapes from the Sony camcorder days. When I was in bands starting in 2000 or so, I would record a lot of our shows in the clubs around town. The video resolution is uniformly terrible (no greater than 480, I think), but the audio isn't bad and the entire package is quite viewable.

I uploaded a few videos to YouTube in the past year as I had burned a bunch onto DVD a few years ago. Total irony: I took videos off tape to burn to DVD, only to rip off of DVD onto the computer to upload to YouTube. Pretty convoluted process.

Anyway, I got a wild hair to look for that camcorder and after a search, I found it. I've had the videos all along in a cabinet in the basement, so that wasn't a problem. Heck, I even labeled most of the tapes that I have.

I figured it was time to get these onto YouTube to "keep them safe," but in reality, "to get attention from strangers," when I post them onto all social media.

But having them in the cloud would make access much easier than popping in a tape and hitting FF or REW to find the spot you want. Who has time for that anymore??

I have one video uploading now, a show from 2004 with Starchief. I don't remember the venue, or the show, but it must have happened as I have video. And it sounds pretty good, too. So, in another 303 minutes (slow-ass CenturyLink), it'll be in YouTube's hands. Until then, I'm looking at other tapes.

Including a possible cringe-inducing one from 1988, when I was taking Mom and Dad's camcorder all over the place. This particular tape was shot likely in April or May of 1988, during my high school's annual talent show, The Follies.

I haven't watched this video and I don't know if I can stomach it now, almost 30 years later. The opening act was one of the school's Hot Girls, Michelle Mains, doing a dance BY HERSELF to Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal."

And it was criminal.

Just watching the first minute or so, I'm thinking to myself, "Why would ANYONE dance by themselves in front of the whole school? WHAT POSSIBLE PURPOSE COULD IT SERVE?" But then again, she was the Hot Girl, and Quite Popular, so perhaps for her, it was NBD (no big deal).

Hit FF, see another popular senior, Steve Elder, playing "Candle in the Wind" in full Elton John regalia.

Hit FF, see Steve Thomas and Matt Arnold, both fellow band nerds, playing electronic drums and keyboards (respectively) to something so 80s, I could hardly stand it.

Hit FF, see three juniors under the name of DDT for Dave, Darin (I think) and Troy doing some terrible rap act. Oh my god, it is so terrible.

And so on.

Since I was playing bass back then, and no one else really did, I always had a gig come Follies time. This particular year, I was in several bands, IIRC. One of them was a group of senior guys doing "I'll Melt With You" by Modern English. I had my horrible little white Steinberger clone (Hohner, I think), and couldn't have been more out of place.

But when it happened, it was quite fun.

I don't remember specifically which year I did what, but I remember playing bass to
  • "Straight Up" by Paula Abdul
  • "Fight For Your Right to Party" by the Beastie Boys
  • some song by Jethro Tull
There may have been more, but my memory is fogged.

I may have to take a look. Or at least have the kids take a look.

Bands timeline

My bands over the years. All super famous and known around the world.



1995-1996 Grasshopper/Her Majesty's Secret Service










1998-2000 While Away

2001 Ethyl pre-Brett


2001-2003 Ethyl

















2003-2004 StarChief























2005-2013 Lund Bros.















2007-2013 The Scheme
















2013 Shake Some Action!





































2014- The Navins


The following bands I sat in on a few shows for here and there.


Static Radio
2011-2012 Yakup Trana




2012, 2014 Sightseer

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Quiet Wednesday afternoon musings

I'm planning on seeing a couple friends play in their new band tonight. I was hoping to get in on the guest list, but that's a no-go, so I figured, no big deal, pay the cover charge, enjoy the show.

As I'm not the home treasurer, I asked the home treasurer about getting $7 to go to the show. I was shut down. When I checked the bank, let's just say that even $7 was too much.

Both Marci and I got paid last Friday, and, being the middle of the month, the mortgage is due. After the mortgage and some groceries, well, we're tapped out. Usually our paydays don't fall on the same day, so this shouldn't happen too often, but, still, it sucks.

Then I hear that good friends of ours just made an offer on a house. A very expensive house. And large.

I'm super excited and happy for them, as they've worked hard and earned their success, but I'm also so envious.

It's not so much about the money. Sure, it'd be nice, solve some problems, alleviate some stress and frustrations. I think for me, it's more about just being able to exist comfortably and not have to wonder if it's OK to go to a $7 show.

It seems like I have lots of friends that are very successful. Lawyers, doctors, accountants, my own brothers, salespeople, you name it, they do it. And then there's me. Making an hourly wage that gets us by, but Marci really has to do some juggling. Not only that, she's working 30+ hours at her school and trying to get a home-based business started AND being a once-a-week nanny for some friends.

All this done by a woman who has MS and whose best way to treat MS is to take it easy.

Right.

I keep telling myself that we're lucky. And we are. Nice house, awesome family. Great neighborhood and neighbors. Full time employment with a company I love working for.

But I can't help but feel like a failure sometimes because one of my primary reasons for being (a provider) is not completely being fulfilled.

I'm not providing enough.

So, how do I provide more? I can't work more hours; they've put a big emphasis on watching our hours at work. I don't buy stuff. And before anyone hollers at me about the watches, I will say that those have come by way of selling other stuff or getting gift cards.

I have reached out to someone who I used to work for. I'm hoping that either she can mentor me or give me some tips and pointers on how to move up in the world. What I am doing currently is ok, but it is not going to get me anywhere, really. I need to go look for it and get it.

In the meantime, Haley let me borrow $7. She has already told me twice to not forget to pay her back.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

#welcometosouthcenter

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Seiko SNN079P2: It's a Watch!

 
My latest addition to the rotation. It's made by Seiko, it's quartz, it's not as big as I thought it would be, and it's my favorite watch.
 
I have another Seiko chronograph and since last summer, that was my favorite watch. Take a look:
 
 
I love this Seiko SDNA65 and it was my most worn watch over the past 6 months or so. I love the black PVD style, the orange second hand at 9 o'clock and the large chrono second hand. I love how when I reset the chrono, all the dials spin (especially the 1/20th second hand at 12 o'clock). It looks sweet on any of my NATO straps and the lume is outstanding.
 
Even so, I wore the watch once every few days, as I rotate my watches daily. I always got a kick out of being in a bright space our outdoors, then walking into a dark area and seeing that face just pop. Super cool.
 
After getting SDNA65, I got a few more watches and they all became part of the rotation. At Christmas, I got a digital watch that seemed to have a faulty countdown timer. I mean, if you're not going to beep as the time runs out, what's the point? Back to Amazon it went and the credit sat in my account.
 
I went on the hunt at Amazon with a criteria of a chronograph watch between $50 to $100. I wanted to pay as little out of pocket as possible. I ended up adding about 50 watches to a wish list, ranging from Casio to Timex to Android to Seiko and others.
 
I ended up seeing the SNN079P2 and it was at the top of my list for a bit, but just in case I saw something I liked even more, I kept on looking for a bit.
 
There were a few Seikos that eclipsed the $100 mark, but I decided that was more than I wanted to spend, especially when there was such a good looking watch below that. Plus, with some extra Chinese New Year cash, I was able to get the SNN079P2. I ended up paying only .12 cents out of pocket for this watch.



 
I ordered the watch on a Friday and I received it the following Tuesday. Out of the box it came and immediately I was struck by how not big it was. It wasn't necessarily small, but for whatever reason, the pictures at Amazon seem to make it look quite big. But that's OK. I'm not a big dude and I don't need a giant watch on my wrist.
 
It came on a plain two-piece black strap. Nothing to write home about, and it didn't float my boat. Lucky for me I still had a few dollars left and, since I work at a mall, I stopped by my local Fossil store and picked up a nice leather NATO strap. This watch is 20mm at the lugs; most of my NATOs are 22mm, so that's sort of a bummer, but on the flip side, new straps!
 
So this little watch has the beautiful orange hands, plus the word TACHYMETER in orange. It has that super cool date window at 9 o'clock, with 3 numbers visible. And it has a super unique coin bezel, which I wasn't too sure about at first, but now I really dig it. Pair it up with the gray/olive green NATO and it is a sharp looking unit.
 



Field trip

Last week I got to spend an entire day off as a chaperone on a field trip with Haley and her band/choir/orchestra mates. My group was with Hay and 7 of her female cohorts.

8 tweens.

Luckily, it wasn't as daunting as I thought.

We started the day at the school, where simply by default, I was going to be the cool dad. Even if I wasn't already cool, I still would've been the cool dad. My goodness, were some of the other parents super dorky.

Luckily, one of Haley's friend's mom was on the field trip too and, since we're already friendly, ended up chatting on the bus into Seattle.

Haley's group of girls was all good, too. Nice, listened, and generally had a good time. I just told them where to meet me and what I expected, and that I was going to be cool dad, and we were all good.

In Seattle, we stopped first at Benaroya Hall and saw a portion of the Seattle Symphony perform during their rehearsal. The conductor, who either had a Russian or French accent (I couldn't tell), was very interactive and took Q&A during the rehearsal. The kids were encouraged to use microphones to ask questions as well as volunteer to help conduct the orchestra.

 
The orchestra, as expected, sounded outstanding and for me, it was quite cool to hear these musicians at the top of their games. To have some of the technicalities and nuances of the music explained right after hearing it was pretty cool too.

From there, we walked a few blocks to Westlake, where we stood in line to jump on the monorail.

 
After the monorail, we ended up at the Seattle Center Center House, where we had lunch. I was approached by a long haired older Asian man and we had the following exchange:
 
Him: "Hey, man, you look coooool."
 
Me: "Right on. You look cool, too."
 
Him: "What's your name?"
 
Me: "Gwon. What's yours?"
 
Him: "John. This is for you."
 
He handed me a flower made from a leaf or something.
 
Me: "Nice, thanks."
 
And I thought that was that. Then he said, "Hey man, you have any change? I'm really hungry."
 
...
 
I gave him a few bucks and felt stupid for getting hustled. But he didn't look homeless!
 
Anyway, Hay, me and our friend Jennifer had lunch at a Mexican restaurant (not great) and then made our way to EMP.
 
 
 

EMP was cool. I had never been there and though it would have been cool to visit with my family, I have a feeling I'd be fighting the kids as they would have been quite bored. However, with Haley and her friends, they all just zoomed off, leaving me to the EMP by myself for a bit.

Which was sort of fun.

I got to see a bunch of Nirvana memorabilia, British Invasion stuff, Jimi Hendrix items. There was a horror exhibit, a fantasy exhibit, a Seahawks fan exhibit, and an area to play instruments upstairs, or at least attempt to play them. Only one bass exhibit though, I'm sad to report.

We got a nice, long time to hang out there, but even so, we ended up running out of things to see. I did get to hang out with Haley and her friend, Jilly, for a bit, though. That was fun. I had let the girls run around doing what they wanted, but Hay and Jilly got bored and tagged along with me for the rest of the time. That was fun to hang with them. They really get each other and it was a blast for me to just be with Haley.

At the end of it all, it was back on the buses to the Eastside. It was nice to get into Seattle and not have to pay for parking or have to rush around anywhere. It was sort of like being a tourist.

But the best part was just hanging out with Haley and having fun in our city.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

So many shows, so little time

What I'm watching now to fill my football void, in no particular order:
  • The Walking Dead
  • Better Call Saul
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Last Man on Earth
  • Top Gear UK
  • House of Cards
  • Parks and Recreation
With Game of Thrones and Mad Men on the horizon! And, time willing, I've been wanting to check out The Americans and Homeland too.

I really need to get a life.