Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Talking about hair

I've been growing my hair out for awhile now. That's not to say I haven't gotten it cut; I get a trim every now and then.

These days, it's pretty long. I haven't measured it, but it nearly hits the middle of my back if I pull it straight. I usually wear it in a ponytail or some sort of bun.

I've always been fascinated with how people can put their hair up so effortlessly. I mean, I can do it too, but it never looks how I want it. Even Haley just twists, tucks and POOF! Perfect bun. The girls at my work, too. They do the same thing and their hair always looks good.

Me? It's hit or miss.

Laurel sent me a link to a video of a woman doing 6 different types of buns. All of them look awesome (though quite girly; I might be able to pull off one of them), and the model makes it look SO EASY.

I just tried twice and it looks like a small bird has made a home on top of my head.

Maybe tomorrow will help. I have a haircut scheduled. I'm planning on having Michele layer it, and probably more importantly, trim my awful sideburns. Ugh.

I'm hoping the layering will allow me to wear my hair down from time to time. Currently, if I do that, it's all one length and looks weird.

What I refuse to become is the guy with the long hair simply for the sake of having long hair. There's a dad in Riley's old boy scout troop who had hair to his waist. He always carried a DSLR around shooting pictures of his sons and the troop. He had no business having hair that long. It was like having a giant spoiler on the back of a Toyota Prius. Totally uncalled for and unnecessary.

I don't want to be that guy. I'm always asking for validation and I think people aren't just telling me what I want to hear.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Map stalking my old houses

I was cleaning downstairs the other day and found a copy of my birth certificate. On it listed the apartment that my parents brought me home to after I was born in 1972. I don't actually remember that home, of course, but seem to remember from pictures I may have seen sometime in my life.

I sent the link to my internet-savvy mom, who confirmed that it was the place I went to first from the hospital. The place is actually for sale and is near the Ohio State University campus.

Not great pictures, but downloaded from Zillow, except for a screen capture from Google maps.

From there, we moved to an apartment about 5 minutes northeast. It appears to be across the street from the OSU School of Law.

t looks like these apartments are now mixed use buildings, one of which houses a Jimmy John's (or, if you're feeling fancy, a James Johnathan's). If JJ's was there when I was a baby, we may have never moved.

A few years after that, we moved to Dayton, OH, into a real house! I have very slight memories of this place. Mainly that it was across the street from an elementary school, and also that it had a wraparound driveway. The driveway was at the side of the house, and you'd have to go around to the back of the house to park.

We left this house sometime in '77 or '78. My baby brother was born in March of '77 in Dayton, but I don't recall how long we stayed before moving to Bellevue. From this house, it was to the house I lived in until I graduated from Newport. Mom still lives there now.

After HS, I stayed at the dorms at the UW, then an off campus apartment in an old house. I don't have any pictures of those places handy.

And then, in '95 or so, it was into Newport Hills, to the same house I'm posting from now.

I can't believe I've been here almost 21 years. Hay mentioned that I've moved more than she has, which is true. She's never moved!

At this point, I can't imagine us moving, anyway. We love the neighborhood and the house, too. It would be hard to move and start over. Besides, we wouldn't be able to afford it right now. So, we'll just make ourselves comfortable.

Friday, May 27, 2016

10 years!

10 years ago, I bought a car. I documented it here: link

I can't believe I've had this thing for 10 years. I was pretty stoked when I got it. These days, I'm stoked when I can get the electrical to work.

Since I've had it I've made a few changes. The original owner had put a cold air intake in the engine. When I was out of work, I needed money, so I took that thing out and sold it. I think I got 200 for it. So, actually, I made that one change. I can't think of anything else.

Couple other stupid things about this car. Every 2 years, I have to pay to pass emissions. $150. It never passes (3 things are tested, always fails one), so I pay the $150 to waive it. My local garage said that they think it's a carbon build up inside the engine, that it would cost about $2000 to fix, and even then they wouldn't be able to guarantee that would do it. So I drive around with an idiot light for that.

There's another idiot light for my seatbelt. Something like a seatbelt tensioner is not working. A shop quoted me $200 to fix that a few years ago. Seems like my seatbelt tension is fine; I've never noticed any issues with it.

A few years ago, I started noticing weird grinding noises when I'd step on the clutch. I forget how I came up with the diagnosis, but turns out my wiring harness by the ignition switch was melting. Apparently this is a problem with some VWs and it was a problem with mine. I ordered the parts off of Amazon (it was cheap) and went about fixing it.

That lasted about a year or so. The second harness started melting again. Most of the electric components (wipers, signals, radio, HVAC) would stop working. Most times, a whack to the left of the steering column would get everything back on. But eventually, the whack stopped working. The garage said to fix it, they'd likely have to pull all the wires and replace them at the source. That sounded like a major pain, so I recruited my pal Kyle on New Year's Day 2015 and we soldered the bits and pieces back together. All the wires are now exposed, because to remove the cover from the steering column is a major pain.

These days, it's over 100k on the odometer, having flipped over last May. It starts every day, but the electrical is still suspect. I have to give the wiring harness a nudge to get everything working. I had the oil changed for the first time in over a year about 2 months ago. It hasn't been washed since last summer, I think, when I had the kids wash it. New tires went on shortly after Kyle and I worked on it last year.

It's always gotten me to where I need to go. It still holds all my band gear in the trunk (though it's empty now; stuff is at Cain's house now). It's still too small, with the kids getting bigger. Anytime I need to take them anywhere, we're all stuffed in there. But it's been by my side for a decade now, and it's the longest I've ever owned a car.

I plan to drive it for 2 more years. After that, Haley will be 16 and I'm hoping to give it to her. It's paid for, and it will be fun (will it??) to teach her how to drive stick. It'll be the perfect student car and it'll actually be a cool car for her to have.

Plus, it'll be fun for me to get myself another GTI. Or something.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Riley and I at the Museum of Flight!

Several weeks ago, a customer and I got chatty at work. Turns out that this guy was a docent at the Museum of Flight. I mentioned how we had a membership a few years ago but hadn't renewed and hadn't been back for a while.

A few days later, he came back with information about a program called Connections (link, but enrollment appears to be closed now), which allows students to get free admission until they turn 18, as long as they're accompanied by an adult (who also gets free admission!). I filled out the application, and it was done.

Yesterday, Marci had a thing for Plexus and Haley went on a shopping date with a friend, so it was Riley and I. Since he's still getting over lingering effects of his concussion, we decided to finally go to the Museum of Flight.

It was nice to get some boy time in. Plus, since it was free, that made it even sweeter. Next time, we'll bring the girls, too.

Here's some pictures.
Flattening a penny for .50 cents.

Derp time.

Riley really enjoyed the "jukeboxes" that would play music or news from WWI.

Cool instrument dial photos. Reminiscent of the watches I like.

Digging this paint job.

I'll be honest, taken to crop to make into a lock screen for my phone.

Looking north.

He can't smile normal.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Concussions: they run in the family!

Riley fell down in PE last week and came home complaining of a headache. Fast forward to Saturday and Marci's Mother's Intuition and a trip to the doctor and the official diagnosis was a mild concussion.

I guess in flag football or capture the flag or simple flag raising ceremony, Riley got bumped, fell down and somehow knocked his head on the ground. I, of course, see this as a teaching moment and told him when he falls, to tuck and roll, not simply land on his head.

The suggestions for recovery from concussion are to rest, not stimulate yourself with electronics (tv, tablets, phones, etc) and to take it easy.

Have you ever tried telling an 11 year old boy to "take it easy?"

You'd think we'd have learned our lesson from last year when Haley was playing flag football or capture the flag or something flag-related and took a dive and got herself a concussion also!

Same recommendations for her, but her knock was a little more serious. Though we tried to get her to to go to school, she ended up staying home for a few days and missing some friends' birthday parties as a result.

For now, Riley tried going to school today. I guess he was feeling pretty good this morning, but ended up calling me around 10:30. Luckily I took the day off and he's home now, in his darkened bedroom, listening to an audiobook and taking it easy.

Marci and I have both had concussions as well, in our mid-teen years, but both from car accidents, none of this falling down BS.

Here's hoping Riley feels better soon.

The Navins at the Funhouse, 5/14/16

We had a little show at the Funhouse last Saturday. I think it was the first time we got 2nd slot. Every other show I've played with the Navins resulted in an opening slot.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Stay Up.
A band from PDX opened for us. They were called the Stay Up and were a little power trio. The singer/guitarist reminded me a bit of my old bandmate, Emilio; same frontman type looks. The bassist was a short little dude, playing pick style on a Jaguar bass (I think). Their drummer was all arms and legs, a beanpole of a guy with nice energy behind the kit.

Their music was power poppy and a bit lacking, to me. I think they could've used a second guitar. They definitely could've used some backing harmonies as the singer was the only vocalist.

Cãin said that it was their first show as a band and it sort of showed. They were excited like little kids. The singer was pretty tall and he kept getting in the face of the bassist, which only accentuated his smallness. It was like they were awkward lovers, with all the personal space issues going on.

As the Stay Up was the opening band, they got no sound check or anything. Simply vocal mic and a kick drum mic. Needless to say, it didn't sound that great, which made me a little nervous. Luckily, as we set up, the sound guy did mic the drums, our amps and my DI. We got a little sound check and off we went.

Setlist for the night.
Things started off pretty well. It took a few minutes for me to feel dialed in as I thought my bass was simply too boomy. I'm used to practicing a certain way and I'm thinking I need to practice with my gear set up the way I gig. In other words, I need to use both my cabinets and re-think how I have my SansAmp set up.

On our third song, Never Wanted Nothing, something happened and my headstock hit my microphone, which sent it to the ground. Nothing bad happened and the sound guy was able to get the mic back on the stand. We finished without a hitch.

Laurel and Alex came in during Piano Fire and Laurel took some pictures and shot some video. Super happy to see them there supporting the old man. She had a grin the whole time we were up there.

Mean mugging at the Funhouse.
For this night, of our 11 songs, I was singing lead on 5 originally. But we ended up subbing Hidden by the Sun for Sorry, which bumped me to 6. Also, it meant I was singing 4 songs in a row! That was the first time for me other than in practice, and, I must admit, it was fun! I always feel like I'm singing way too loud, though. I guess I'll trust the sound guy to figure that out.

Speaking of Hidden by the Sun, I think we need to sync up on the vocals on that. Don't know if it's me or Corey, but I feel like our vocals are hit and miss. Either I'm out or he's out and I can't tell. Will need to record a show to find out. Or ask the guys for some tough love.

Walking Through Walls is our newest tune and it's super fun to do. Fast, peppy, fun to sing. I'm feeling like that one is coming into its own. We are still trying to figure out a bridge, but even as it is, it comes across well.

Wallet is a pleasure to close with. Corey really goes to town on the 16th notes on the floor tom. His arm must ache at the end of the song. Cãin had busted a string on the previous song and switched guitars prior to this song. For some reason, something wasn't working right, so he bailed on his guitar for the first half. During the breakdown section, he was able to get dialed back in, but it was pretty cool for him to just sing the second verse without his guitar. 

People really liked what we did. The Stay Up kids were quite impressed and gave us some nice words after. Laurel and Alex were stoked and I loved their enthusiasm for our set.

It's the F-Holes. And the "F" doesn't stand for what you think it stands for.
The F-Holes closed the night and they were solid. They play greasy, gritty, pretty standard bar rock. Sort of like AC/DC meets .38 Special meets Thin Lizzy. I wondered what the guys in the band might do for their day jobs, as all of them are, well, of an older generation. Their set went a little long towards the end, with a 5 minute blues rock jam that sort of turned me and Corey off. But, no matter how we felt, they did rock.

There's a long recap for you, huh? Thanks to Laurel for the pictures (and Corey for the setlist pic).

Next show: June something at the Rainbow with some bands I can't remember right now.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Bubble tea

Bubble tea is an obsession I share with Haley. Marci and Riley like it ok, but Hay and I are always looking for excuses to get some bubble tea.

Haley: It's Tuesday!
Me: I guess that means bubble tea!

Haley: I had band today and Mr. B wants me to try out for All-City.
Me: I guess that means bubble tea!

Marci: Dinner!
Me and Haley: We guess that means bubble tea!

So for Hay's birthday last month, I thought it would be cool to get her some goodies to make bubble tea at home! I visited Seafood City at Southcenter and there were some packets where you just add water and, poof! Instant bubble tea!

Well, I thought that's all you needed. Turns out, you need to buy the bubbles separately.

Anyway, after getting all the supplies, Haley made me some one afternoon. The mix I bought was black tea and though I liked it, she didn't like the "caffeine" taste to it (caffeine has a taste??). But she was happy to boil a cup of bubbles and mix them into a fruit smoothie.

Also, did you know that one cup of bubbles will supply about 2.5 beverages? Either that, or we need to figure out the perfect recipe ratio for bubbles to drinks.

Yesterday we went to a local Asian market, over next to Goodwill in the Overlake area. I actually think it's called Local Asian Market, but I could be wrong. There are fewer places where I can feel Most Asian or Least Asian than a local Asian market. I can't read a dang thing on the signs or posters, but I can flirt with the elderly check-out ladies in their native tongue. I think it throws them for a loop.

I walk in with my white woman and my mixed kids and then start dropping Mandarin dimes all over the place. The check-out ladies are almost always impressed with the broken Chinese coming from my mouth.

Once we got home, Hay got to work. She boiled up some boba and drizzled honey all over them (evidently you do that, or the boba just taste like nothing), which I didn't know and once she told me, it made all sorts of sense because, you know, they sort of do taste like honey!

After our 2 beverages, we had a scoop or two of boba left over. We ended up putting them in the fridge and figured we'd use them in later days.

I ended up using them just now. Though tasty, their bouncy texture was gone and the experience wasn't as satisfying as I would have liked. However, I chalk it up to a lesson learned.

Pro tip: don't save the boba. Use it all! It's just better that way.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

I gotta stop reading old posts

I just like getting in the So Yummy Way Back Machine to see what kind of shenanigans I used to get into. I think my favorite ones are the ones about the kids.

I just read something about Haley losing a tooth and writing a letter to the Tooth Fairy. That was dated 2012, so she was 10-ish.

I also read something a few minutes ago from 2009 from when we first met Bella. That was pretty fun, too. Though, for some strange reason, I thought back then that Bella would slow down on a leash as she got older. That hasn't happened.

Saw some posts from when I first started at Microsoft in 2011. Now, almost 5 years later, I'm a grizzled old vet. Reading those early posts, I sound like such a baby.

It's sort of cool seeing those old posts about music too. I saw one about recording with the Scheme in 2012. Though we never officially disbanded, and there are talks about getting together for a few summer shows, I had forgotten when we recorded. David is putting the finishing touches on the songs he, Gregg and I recorded and they are sounding sweet. I even sang backing vocals on them and I think I hear myself on the songs and they seem to sound good!

In the meantime, here's a picture from April of everyone.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Like a car crash, but better!

Now that I've restarted my blogging career again, I like to jump in my time machine and look at stuff I posted OVER 10 YEARS AGO.

There are references to stuff that was the norm back then. Like Myspace.com! LOL!

My kids were babies and my hair was short. I had just started corresponding with a band that I would play with for 7-8 years! I was still working for my dad and he was still alive!

Time moves on, don't it?

I do enjoy looking at the stuff every once in a few years, but some of it is just so...


Not that it was poorly written (not me!) or stupid (definitely not me), but maybe I was trying too hard. I think part of it was simply trying to start a blog and figure out what I wanted to write about.

Turns out, now I don't care. I just write about whatever.

Like what happened to me last night.

On the way out the door from work, I will take a handful of cardboard and dump it in the cardboard compactor. I had my backpack, water bottle and the boxes. I chucked the boxes in and then headed for the car.

Two steps from the car I realized I didn't have my water bottle. I had put it in the boxes to carry out, and when I put it in the compactor, I forgot to grab it.

As Haley said when I got home, "R. I. P."

Of course, I posted a quick update on Facebook (which, incidentally, I don't think I was a part of when I started this blog), and got a heartfelt, "Nooooo," from a beloved co-worker.

I had another bottle I got as a birthday gift last year, so this morning, I filled it and off I went to work.

Day was slow, time dragged on. Then Laurel (said beloved co-worker) showed up with something, said it was for me.

New water bottle from REI!

Super thoughtful, super appreciated, totally unnecessary. Then again, she is super cool!

Anyway, stoked for the water bottle, looking forward to staying hydrated tomorrow.

And that's my blog post for today.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Cereal: is there a more perfect food?

You know what I love about cereal? It's the perfect anytime food.

Breakfast? Cereal, please.

What about lunch? I suppose you could have cereal.

Dinner? Ok, maybe not cereal, but it could be done.

Late night snack? YES PLEASE.

I think I may have gotten this habit from my brother-in-law. Only he has the metabolism to eat a bowl of bran flakes, as well as possibly a turkey leg and a few beers before bed and not gain an ounce. Me? I have about a bowl (sometimes 2, if I'm feelin' frisky!) and I call it a night.

I suppose I could do without. My spare innertube is not going anywhere anytime soon. But something about a bowl of cereal late night just appeals to me. Tonight's choice was Honey Smacks. I love 'em. Marci hates 'em. Evidently they give me bad breath.

I'm a big fan of Honey Bunches of Oats, too. Fill a bowl, pour in the milk, and then drizzle honey all over the top of it. DOUBLE HONEY! Genius!

Time to go brush my teeth.

11 months later

It's been almost a year. What's new with you?

What's new with me? Oh, you know. Same old stuff. Working, playing music, being a family guy, watching Game of Thrones, obsessing about watches.

I guess since last May, it's just been life as usual. We did refinance and remodel our kitchen as a result. Finally moved some of the house into the 21st century.

I've sold a handful of watches and purchased a bunch of watches. Most recently I picked up a couple of Wengers for my birthday.

Since last May, my little band, The Navins, has played out at least once every month. I think we took a break in April. We've written a handful of new songs and I'm singing more and more. It's been a lot of fun and we have some great shows lined up.

Kids are getting bigger and just growing up. No major dramas recently. Haley just turned 14 and is pretty stinking awesome. She's a great kid and I'm really proud of her. Riley is still Riley, loving his Minecraft videos and being an all-around cool dude. He recently discovered Marci's old Microsoft Band and he has been obsessed with wearing it all around to see how many steps he can get.

Marci is still working at Eastside Christian, managing our house and running her Plexus business. She stays really busy and I do what I can to handle the stuff to not make her too busy. She is headed to Las Vegas (!) in June for a Plexus convention. She's pretty stoked about that.

Work went through some transition earlier this year with one manager leaving and a new store manager coming aboard. She has really impacted us positively and it really is great going to work everyday knowing I have support and leadership. The associates are pretty much all onboard and we are moving in the right direction.

Kids are gonna be out of school soon. We don't have any vacation plans. Maybe we'll do a staycation again. Or, maybe a road trip. Who knows? Our car's lease is up in August and we've done some research on what we want. Leaning towards a Mazda CX-5 at this point. But we'll have to see what we can do with a down payment.

Anyway, once we get the bigger car, I think it would be cool to take it somewhere.

Ok. See you in a year.