Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wisdom from the Beatles

I first really listened to the Beatles in Jr. High.

There was a big group of people I thought were 'cool' that were majorly fixated on the Beatles. By majorly fixated, I mean these 13-15 year old guys coordinated wearing entirely black on the 8th of December in remembrance of John Lennon's death! And really that was just one of the groups of Beatles fans.
It really was amazing the level of Beatles-mania that was going on in 1992-93 in a little town junior high in Northern Utah. And yes, I was swept up in it as well, though not to the extent of some. Beatles Albums were one of my favorite Christmas requests at this time and I was able to acquire quite a collection of Beatles albums on CD.
--As a side note - while my parents never REALLY cared for the Beatles back in their heyday (my mom did think Paul was cute), my mother-in-law still thinks the Beatles are evil. : )

So yes, my interest in the Beatles was born from following the crowd like a sheep. Baaah!
Quite a few of my integral life philosophies were influenced by some of the Beatles lyrics, and based on my Beatles preferences - i.e. the earlier less drug-influenced music - they are actually a MUCH better influence than other lyrical alternatives from that time.

For example, I present to you "We Can Work It Out" from 1965:

Life is very short and there's no time for fussing and fighting my friends. I have always thought that it's a crime.
We can work it out
Too often people fight, fuss, worry, hold grudges, etc etc when there are so many other things that can be done instead!
Try to see it my way. Think of what I'm saying. Think of what you're saying.
Too often people get too stuck on their own point of view. Most of the time you DO have a good point - but so does the other person! And sometimes they actually have a BETTER point. So it's worth looking into.
I have found that it is VERY beneficial to look at things from all sides, ALL the time if you can. I think it'll help you keep more centered in your life and not go too far off kilter.

Very Small
Lyrics and a few links below:
We Can Work It Out

Verse #1
Try to see it my way,
Do I have to keep on talking till I can't go on?
While you see it your way,
Run the risk of knowing that our love may soon be gone.

We can work it out,
We can work it out.

Verse #2
Think of what you're saying.
You can get it wrong and still you think that it's all right.
Think of what I'm saying,
We can work it out and get it straight, or say good night.

We can work it out,
We can work it out.

Life is very short, and there's no time
For fussing and fighting, my friend.
I have always thought that it's a crime,
So I will ask you once again.

Verse #3
Try to see it my way,
Only time will tell if I am right or I am wrong.
While you see it your way
There's a chance that we might fall apart before too long.



Verse #4
Try to see it my way,
Only time will tell if I am right or I am wrong.
While you see it your way
There's a chance that we might fall apart before too long.

We can work it out,
We can work it out.

It is also of slight interest to note that my two all-time favorite bands had their first breakthroughs in this time period as well - Better Than Ezra and Toad the Wet Sprocket, although it's really my big brother's fault I started listening to them.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Post Christmas Blahs

Okay so the only BLAHs I'm talking about are the sick kinds.

Christmas was wonderful. I got lots of rest. Unfortunately I was also sick, along with pretty much the rest of my little family, which means my poor wife had to take care of ALL of us! She's amazing. Thanks for doing such a good job.

I was lucky enough to receive some really cool gifts.
  • A new awesome Leather Jacket
  • A new slim wallet - I keep my wallet in my front pocket, have for years and love it, this new slim one helps a ton
  • Resistance Bands so I can rehabilitate my shoulder a bit with some good rotator cuff exercises
  • A Multi-function Chinning Bar that is actually very cool and apparently a popular gift this year as I know a few other people who got or wanted one of these!
  • A BOSU! Sweet now I can use my resistance bands and work on my core at the same time standing one-footed on this baby!
So I think she's trying to tell me I need to get rid of some of the excess bulk that has accumulated since my shoulder was hurt... :) Okay just kidding she knows I love this stuff and I'm very happy by it. (I do need to get back on track though!)

I also bought my wife some pretty cool gifts this year:
  • a hot new leather jacket (she looks REALLY good in it)
  • some nutritional books, which I'm sure you'll be able to read about on her blog later
  • Subscriptions to Domino and Yoga Journal - I hope she enjoys these!
  • The new Adele 19 cd
  • A set of Pyrex dishes so she can re-heat stuff in the stove or convection/toaster oven and stop using the microwave.
  • A new Canon Powershot camera that isn't as hard to lug around as our big expensive one! This one also has the bonus of video clips - so maybe more of those will be seen 'round here.
We spoil each other I think... I wish I could spoil her even more.

With our new leather jackets though... We really need some motorcycles!

So if anybody wants to donate a couple - we'd gladly take them, and I'll write a real nice review here. HA!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

More Parkour

This is just too cool. I saw this video a few years ago and it is still amazing today.

Actually Russia is the perfect place for stuff like this - there are abandoned and in-construction places all over the place.

I guess that makes it more dangerous too...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas and it's Wonderful Music

Christmas is only a few days away!

I can't believe how fast 2008 has gone by!

I love Christmas Music.

But, since WHEN was "Favorite Things" from Sound of Music a CHRISTMAS SONG?!?!

I just don't get it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Free Running and/or Parkour are two things I've always wanted to do.
Okay maybe not always since just a few years ago they didn't exist in my awareness.

In actuality this type of thing has been around for a LONG time.

Seems like lately I've just been posting a bunch of videos... which is true. I've really enjoyed finding so many good ones!

Unfortunately I didn't find them - somebody else found them for me, but still.
Go to to see more random postings.

I actually prefer to read it in a RSS Reader like Google Reader.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Wolverine: May 1st


I'm excited for this movie.
When I was a kid Cyclops was my favorite X-Men, but since I've grown up (and am much hairier than I was as a kid...) Wolverine is my favorite.


Looks good!!

Maybe I'll be Wolverine again next year for Halloween.

Probably not though - time for something new!


Undoubtedly the BEST Muppet ever...

He does Coldplay too!:

The chickens, on the other hand, including Camilla, are overrated.
But here they are anyway:

Friday, December 12, 2008


Saw this and thought it was very cute and appropriate for this Holiday season.

A bit long at 16 minutes...

I think we could all definitely do better at appreciating other people.

Although maybe not in such a cheesy way.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


First off let me say that comparatively - my life is GREAT.

However there are a few things I am frustrated with...

Things have been all right the past few months but something came up yesterday that reminded me something that greatly annoys me.

Corporate America is extremely frustrating in that complete IDIOTS are often paid significantly more than more intelligent, qualified individuals.

*sigh* I definitely must be doing something wrong.

On the plus side - I think my shoulder is slowly improving - and my amazing wife gave me an early Christmas present of some exercise resistance bands with which to do some conditioning and therapy-type exercises. Yay!

Hopefully I'll be able to get back to more intensive exercise soon, as I am feeling quite BLAH lately, and that's definitely not helping me keep a positive outlook on other things, such as working in corporate America!

Friday, December 5, 2008

In Honor of the Honorable Ninja

A Ninja flash movie for you to enjoy...

Fuggy Fuggy

They need to add more to this funny little site. :)

Day... of the NINJA!!!

If you don't see me today - it is for a reason.

Believe me. I am still there. Or here. Or wherever.

Watch out!
(although in reality, it won't do you any good)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The End of the Year

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and there are only 2 more paydays until Christmas!


Thanksgiving was great - it was nice to have family in town and spend time with them, but I did NOT get enough rest and relaxation on those days off. Too many plans, kids, meetings, etc. etc.

I'm tired.

Worse than that it seems that I have possibly injured my acromioclavicular joint, as my right shoulder has a bit of a lump on top. Technically I should keep my arm in a sling - but I don't have time or patience for that... Ugh. Stupid arm. It hurts when I use it much in certain rotations.

This has also affected my exercising. While we've been lazy anyway, I CAN'T handle Forza, many WiiFit activities, or yoga. They just started a yoga class at work too that would have been fun to go to. :(

It's now December and I am lucky I finished a picture early last month because I haven't had much time or patience for anything lately. Time to get back to work and get one done for December!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Hooray for Vacations with no work! Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Animations provided by

Friday, November 21, 2008

Shoulders, Armbars, and Paranoia

Holy cow dodge ball is hard on my shoulders!

Yesterday was our last game, we were quite soundly beaten. The first game was decently played with a close win for the other team, but after that we dropped like a bunch of drunk flies. Only faster and less lazy-like floating down... So basically like zapped flies. Yeah. Zapped.

My shoulder... KILLS. I had a hard time sleeping after Tuesday nights' game, and after yesterdays... Yow. However, I think my shoulders are actually STRONGER and will recover quicker. I'll have my chiropractic in-laws take a look at it tonight at the State High School football championships my bro-in-law is in.

Then it didn't help that I finally made it back to Jujitsu last night, and we were practicing armbars from the mount and from the guard. I feel like I learned a LOT last night - even though I was mostly observing - my shoulder was bugging me enough that I was only able to make a few attempts, but even still I think I have the basics. I just need more practice. Powerful move when properly controlled.

As for Paranoia - we have mice again... I saw something run across the hallway into our bathroom, and since this was the second time in a few weeks (the first time was pretty late so I thought I was imagining things) I investigated. FAST little bugger! So now we need to take countermeasures. Still... my paranoia comes from our weird little house and how I REALLY hope we don't have a Ratatouillie type thing (i.e. a whole colony of critters living in my roof/floorboards, etc.) More on THIS fun to come!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Game Three!

This dodge ball team had a slow start...

But after the past two games where we have totally dominated, I can be satisfied that the team of my dreams has been created!! :) Okay I'm just kidding.

Or am I?

Anyway, we took the other team out very quickly in the first 2 matches. They then rallied and barely won the 3rd match. So we brought the heat and took 'em down the last game. I stayed in the entire first two games and they got me out in the 3rd and 4th. 3 and 1 in a best of 5. We did awesome.

Thankfully we get a break until Thursday.

I just wish my shoulder didn't hurt so bad!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dodgeball... GAME TWO!

Game two was a fierce competition between the two teams I put together. It was sad that one of them had to die.

Thankfully my team won, quite brutally actually.

On average we had 10 of our 15 starters left by the time the other team was out. We definitely played a lot better.

My shoulder hurts - and we have another game tomorrow.

We can do it!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dodge Ball is Dangerous!

I don't think we had enough Dodge, Dip, Duck, Dive, and Dodge-in goin on!

We lost. :(

So did the other team I created... Both played very well, but in the end we lost because of the pure chaos that is 30 people on a standard size volleyball court!!

So because we both lost, that unfortunately means we will be playing each other on Monday.

So one of my creations will be going away.

Worse than that though - and actually quite shocking - was one of our players BROKE HIS ARM IN TWO PLACES while throwing the dodge balls! He went up to the center line and powered a ball across and immediately walked off the court and sat down because he could no longer feel his arm. Hairline fracture and another fracture. From throwing a dodge ball.

You can't throw these full power because your body misjudges the weight and it HURTS.

So please be careful flingin those dodge balls!

The 5K

So yesterday we did a 5k! I'm a bit sore today, even though I didn't RUN too much of it.

Being our first time running in over a year, we took it easy. :)

My wife is amazing - she ran BAREFOOT because she's always barefoot!

Because it was rainyish and cold, only the hardcore runners came out to run, so I ended up being dead last. Even though we were last - my wife was able to shave 3 minutes off her best time! Way to go!

See... here she is beating me to the finish!

Finally the dodge ball games are upon us. We face off against our first opponents in just under 3 hours. I will let you know how it goes!! We can lose once before we are out of the tournament - but we WILL WIN!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008


My quality of sleep the past week or so has been horrible. So the 'Monday-ness' of today has been amplified.

One of the major contributors to this bad sleep is that the frequency and intensity of my workouts has decreased... I need to fix that. Hard to fix when I go home feeling so wiped out every day though!

Another is the baby's teething and growing is giving her discomfort so she wakes up a lot and causes us not to sleep well.

In other news...
Dodge Ball!!
Our first game is Thursday! After more people expressed interest (and whined that they weren't initially invited), we split our team into 2 teams... so that gives our "House" a better chance to get more points! Bring on the pain!! (unfortunately or fortunately (however you want to look at it) the balls are quite soft so it probably won't hurt too bad)

Goal: Art - "Complete AT LEAST one drawing/art piece a month."
Last month I actually completed TWO - one a painting done at an art night with friends, and the other was FINALLY finishing "The Fey Wood" for a friend. First full original artwork I've given away I think... But I have some originals of her art so I thought it'd be fair if she had one too! She requested one with fairies and other woodland creatures.

Which reminds me - if you have any ideas for a drawing (like a theme, etc) let me know - and I'll probably give you a copy of it! (I honestly have a hard time parting with the originals!!)

So the goal was met for last month... but I've been lazy this month so unless we have another art night for painting, I doubt I'll finish a drawing. I better put more effort into it!

Turkey Trot
I'm still excited for it, 2 days to go!
I highly doubt I'm READY for it... but a 5k isn't THAT long.
Hopefully the weather gets better.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Turkey Trot!

Our corporation is having its annual Turkey Trot next Wednesday.

5k, top couple finishers in Men's and Women's divisions get gift certificates for turkeys.

Not a bad prize... except that I'm too lazy to REALLY run. My goal is usually to defeat a couple of my female friends/coworkers... cuz as long as I can beat them, I'm usually doing all right

However, I really should run harder. The problem is my lungs don't want to let me because they too are lazy. Definitely something I need to fix.

I'm considering getting a few more dodge ballers and splitting into 2 teams. Now that I have this responsibility of dodge ball team leader, I don't really want it! :)

Man, I really have to work on that laziness!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball!!


Somehow I put myself in charge of getting a departmental dodge ball team together for our Corporate "House Cup"

25 people later and we're ready to play next week!

Should be fun... I haven't played dodge ball since Elementary school!

So I need to go out and DO IT!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Hate My Teeth

I've never minded the Dentist - other than the cost.

Today I had to fix a yanked filling - courtesy of a Caramel Apple Sucker...

I was being careful too, dangit!

Now my mouth is still a bit numb and I'm realizing that for all my excitement for Halloween - I didn't put anything up here. Doh!

So here is a picture of me and my baby girl in our Pirate costumes!

I hope everybody had a Happy Halloween! I know we had a lot of fun.
Maybe next year I'll be a Ninja... :)

Now that Halloween and the accompanying craziness is over, it's time to focus again on a good exercise routine including RUNNING. I hope to try some High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to make it a bit more interesting than just mindless running.

I would LOVE to have my wife running with me, but finding a babysitter for an hour or so every other day is kind of tough - and we can't afford to pay anybody... so hopefully I can find a solution!

More pictures of Halloween later!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tomorrow is Halloween!!

I'm excited!

I'm convincing some of my coworkers to be pirates with me - so we'll have a decent sized crew! Yarr!

I'm also excited to take my boys Trick or Treating... We'll see how excited they are this year. Definitely one of my favorite parts of Halloween.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Election is Over, at least for ME!

Yesterday I voted.

It was VERY nice to get that done early and not have to worry about it anymore.

It's hard to want to vote when there are SO many problems with the forced 2 party system we have in America... but if you DON'T vote, you're basically giving up your right to be included.

So as far as I'm concerned - The election is over. I'll find out who won in a week or so. :)

If you haven't voted - do it. Do it!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Morbidly Hilarious

13 Reasons NOT to Travel:

Calamity Coach

I definitely need to check out more of this guys stuff... hopefully it's nothing TOO offensive or off-kilter. :)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pirate Fun

So I wasn't thinking I'd be a pirate again for Halloween this year...

But I probably will be since that's how we dressed up tonight and Kakes looks SO good that she needs a Pirate protector... or something. :) Our pirate table was awesome, even though we really didn't pull stuff together until the last minute as usual. We had chicken and lots of Root Beer yaarrr!

I got a partial video of our song - but the main singing portion has a weird feedback-type static noise that I want to find a program to clean up a bit before (and IF!) I post it.

But - I got a little bit of me telling lame pirate jokes right before singing - so here you go!

So hopefully I'll get the video up soon! We did fairly well - our biggest problem was that we had not practiced with the piano as loud as it was (connected to the speakers) OR with microphones, or we would have played better.

Overall we just needed more practice. :) Maybe with some more practice we can record some stuff together at our friends house. That would be awesome!

Sore!! Now it's Pirate time!!

As I close up here at work and get ready to leave...

I'm in PAIN!!! I was quite beat up last night at Jujitsu! It was just me and Connor, so we grappled and I really figured out how little I know. It was a lot of fun, so although I got my trash kicked in pretty hard - I THINK I learned from it! We'll just have to see how much I improve against others who don't have a TON more experience than I do. :)

I get to go shopping for the next little while, finding stuff for the Pirate Table we are hosting later this evening at our talent show. Kakes and I weren't able to practice our song quite enough, but last night's practice was good, so I think we'll do all right.

Pirates singing "Faling Slowly"... I hope SOMEBODY videos so I can post it here somewhere, but I don't have a digital video camera. :( I should get one of those sometimes - I'd use it a LOT more than a tape camera.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Random Geekishness (Webcomics)

A while back I discovered an artist with an amazing name.

An awesome name.

One that will go down in history as one of the greatest names ever!

Okay so maybe not, but hey, when you like something and the creator of it shares your name, doesn't that just make it so much cooler?

Aaron Williams has two comics I really like, and others I haven't read too much of.

Nodwick is the (mis)adventures of a Henchman at the mercies of his Adventurer employers.

PS238 is a funny elementary school for superheroes.

So if you like that type of thing, they're pretty funny webcomics.

Recently for some reason I decided I needed to read Dune again, since I can't even remember when I first read that book. Normally I don't like Sci-Fi very much, but occasionally there are some very good ones.

So I read Dune yesterday and have decided to read the rest of the Frank Herbert Dune novels. I've heard the Brian Herbert (Frank's son) Dune novels aren't anywhere near as good - but we'll see when we get to that point!

I remember years ago playing Dune II with friends... THAT was a fun little RTS game!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Normally I'm not a huge fan of TV.

I love movies and a TV is definitely useful in watching movies, and in playing games, etc. But most of the time I don't really care to watch TV. I think there are MORE than enough hospital, crime, and law dramas out there that I don't need to see, or care to see for the most part. (There are some good ones, to be fair, but usually there are quite a few things that I'd rather be doing.)

An exception to this (and there are always exceptions!) for me is a couple of shows on NBC's Monday night lineup.

Chuck has got to be one of my favorite shows of all time. Geeky humor mixed with international espionage and general awesomeness! Such an awesome show!

Right after Chuck, Heroes comes on, and this show is a fun one to watch as well. Definitely more crazy and convoluted than Chuck, but that's not always a good thing...

So Chuck is definitely a show I love to watch on TV, and Heroes I like a lot as well.

We don't let our kids watch Heroes though since it's a bit violent/scary sometimes.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Night at the Opera

Thursday night we went to Madame Butterfly.

Very good performance at an awesome price! We actually saw the final dress rehearsal, and it was only $5 a person! If you are a student you can actually get a 'season pass' to these final dress rehearsals for $12! Wow that's a great price. That would have been nice to know about when I was in school. Oh well. I'll bet there are similar programs for affordable Opera viewings all over too, so look into it if you are interested in Opera! (I believe many symphonies have similar programs as well)

My wife and I dressed up a bit for it - we were the most dressed up of the group we went with - but quite a few School kids were dressed up in Prom Dresses and Tuxes which was fun to see.

I need to see more Operas. I've only seen three in my lifetime in a theater. Mozart's Magical Flute a LONG time ago (Jr. High), Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin (Евгений Онегин) in Kaluga Russia, and Puccini's Madame Butterfly here in SLC.

Seeing Madame Butterfly makes me really want to get some Opera music for Tenor or Baritone. I'd like to try it out, which is why it's one of my Music goals!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pandora and the Opera

I have been using a LOT the past few days and I love it.

Created by The Music Genome Project this online radio station (available only in the US) takes a song or artist that you like, and based on aspects/attributes of that song, picks other similar songs that you might like. There are a bunch of restrictions, so you can't listen directly to a song or artist you want to, unless you get lucky, but overall it is a good listening experience. Make multiple "channels" and then you can mix THOSE together to get a broader, more random listening experience. I like it a lot!

If you do want to listen to a specific song that you don't have in your music library, is a good site to use. Enter the artist or song, and it will give you a list of choices you have and you can see if it can find a good online stream for that song. It doesn't ALWAYS work, but it is definitely a valuable resource for finding a particular song.

Tonight I am going with my beautiful wife to Puccini's Madame Butterfly. Unfortunately this means I won't be able to go to Jujitsu tonight. :(
It has been a while since I went to an Opera though.

Finally since we're talking about music - I've been practicing the Guitar a bit in preparation for a Talent show where my wife and I will be singing "Falling Slowly" from the movie Once. I'll also be playing the guitar and my wife will be playing the piano, so we're excited. The one practice we've had fully together showed us that we need lots more practice but sounded pretty good.

Awesome song. I'm excited.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Goals: Financial/Career

In my original post on Goals, I forgot to include Financial goals in my list.

I guess it can be stuck with the Career goals, since that is a fairly small and unexplored category.

  • Get out of Debt. It's still strange to me to think that even on my small income with my growing family, we were able to keep out of debt for so long. And then fall in so heavily!
  • SAVE! My saving has been horrible. I need to remedy this and FAST.
  • Don't waste. Do you REALLY need a candy bar every day? I tell myself that I do. But I really don't. I've been good lately which isn't saving us that much - but hey every little bit helps!
  • Work on marketable skills. The BEST thing about my current position is that while it doesn't pay enough - I am surrounded by supportive people and potential opportunities. So I need to work on what I need to know in order to move into a more lucrative and responsibility-laden position.
  • Keep eyes open for opportunities. Talk to people about jobs.
  • Don't give up on my(your)self and my(your) potential. Seriously - people will try to tell you that you can't do things or aren't good enough. And you can't and won't do or be able to do them if you believe those people. I had 5 years in my last position where the last two were spent doubting myself horribly. NOT good. You don't need that, so find something better.
And now both of those areas have been somewhat more explored. They definitely need more work and fine tuning. Things are looking up, and I'm excited.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Columbus Day

Today is when the United States observes the so-called 'holiday' of "Columbus Day."

I say 'so-called' because - well - I'm at work.

However State, Bank, and Credit Union employees all have the day off. This means I'm stuck at work, while others who might be getting my new HELOC through are NOT working. :p

Oh well, at least some people can enjoy a day off in the cold!

As for the holiday itself, my wife and I were discussing this on Saturday after closing on our loan.

Is it really 'discovery' if there are already people living there?

Friday, October 10, 2008


Halloween is only 3 weeks away folks - and guess what?!? I haven't fully decided what I am going to be this year :(

To recap real quick:
Last year I was the guy from Easy Rider (or something like a country rocker or the like)
Easy Rider

I took 2nd place in my company Costume Contest, lost to this iPod guy...
First and Second Place

The Year before that I was Wolverine
Wolverine in Flames
I took 1st place.

Unfortunately this means people have expectations this year.

So I need more ideas.

The only thing I have right now is King Arthur from Monty Python.

It would work if I rode around on my coconut horse all day... but I don't have a patsy that can follow me all day. Boy it's hard being King of the Britons!

Another thing that would be cool would be to get some of these...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Boy it's nice when things come together!

Yesterday I had my Annual review.

It is actually hard to imagine that I've actually been in this position for over a year now!

The review and accompanying raise went better than I thought, which surprised my Boss, because I think he was expecting me to be wanting more... not that I don't WANT more, but I was happily impressed getting a higher percentage raise than expected.

So that's good news!

The other good news, and is GREAT timing along with the raise, is we are closing on a Home Equity Line of Credit that will save us well over $100 a month in various payments. We will have more control over our debt!

This will help in my major Financial goal of GETTING OUT OF DEBT.
Not amazingly - but it's a great improvement on the way things have been going lately.

Things are looking up! Hooray!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Dream Library

I love books - I always have.

Working in a book store or Library would be unfulfilling in many ways, but would be bearable just because I was surrounded by books all the time...

I was amazed to see on (through some other blog or something) this beautiful 3,600 square foot Library owned by Jay Walker, a very successful Technology entrepreneur (guy came up with among other things).

THAT would be an awesome library... 3,600 square feet?!? Wow!

While I don't know that I'll ever have a library like that, there are lots of things in the design and content that I would love to have in my dream personal library.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Goals: Music

I thought I'd find time for this yesterday - but it was pretty busy.

Plus I had to write about Root Beer.

My goals in the realm of Music are quite short - although in reality there are a lot of sub-goals that would need to be done in order to accomplish everything...

So here they are!
  • A Band - Now this is slightly silly, but I've always wanted to sing and play in a band. As I've gotten older that desire hasn't changed, so there you have it. Most of the other musical goals would be beneficial for this one.
  • Sing More! Since High School I haven't sung as much as I should. Many people I know aren't even aware that I'm a decent singer. So obviously I haven't been optimizing or magnifying that talent much now have I?
    1. One of the sub-goals here is to learn some Italian Tenor Operatic songs - stuff like Nessun Dorma, O Sole Mio, stuff like that. That stuff is FUN to sing! One time I was singing to my wife's roommate (we weren't even really dating quite yet, and her roommate just wanted somebody to serenade her) and people thought I was proposing or something. That was funny... So yeah - I need an Italian opera song book.
  • Guitar - I can still play everything I taught myself to play 12 years ago... but that's about it. I haven't progressed at all and that isn't good. The biggest problem is finding a time and place to practice, since every time I pull out the geet it's an annoyance or the kids want to interrupt.
  • Other Instruments - at one time I took piano lessons - learned how to read music and if I sit there long enough I can plunk out a song, but I could definitely use some more practice. I also would like to learn more - drums, wind instruments, other strings maybe
  • Write more - In High School I wrote poetry and melodies to go along with it all the time. Only one was really worthwhile, so that's pretty much the only one I have remembered. Someday I should video it and post it. We'll see. Anyway - I want to 'write' more music.
So there you have it. Nothing amazing, but for some reason finding time for these goals is quite hard - because music is noisy and interrupting...

Check out this Ronald Jenkees guy - he's pretty weird and I can only handle so much of him, but I was quite impressed when I saw this:

Monday, October 6, 2008

Root Beer

I know I said I'd be posting about my Musical Goals... but instead I have to post about something more important. (No it's not pirates or ninjas at the moment - this could possibly be more important than those subjects as well!)

I love Root Beer!

I read this story from the NY Times that reminded me that it's been a while since I've written about Root Beer anywhere.

I have had a yearly (or multi-times-a-yearly) Root Beer Party for a couple of years now... (I think we've had 3 or 4 total) and so far the favorite has always been IBC. Something about that is just so smooth and more "Traditional Root Beer" than the rest that it always wins. If only it didn't have high fructose corn syrup!

The biggest problem with these parties are the lack of variety - so while IBC usually wins - that's not hard to do when you are only up against (at most) 5 other root beers!

I need to find more brands of rootbeer that I can get to my next Root Beer party. That is assuming I actually HAVE one considering our financial situation... but that's beside the point.

One brand that did all right (We found a big bulk deal on it at Costco - haven't seen it since) was Virgil's. I just found out you can order a 5 liter Keg of Virgil's Root Beer online for $28! That's not too bad! Virgil's is all right... Kind of licorice-y root beer that starts to grow on you as you drink it.

I need more Root Beer! It has been too long!

The Cough That Won't Go Away

It's been over two weeks since this cough started.
Definitely beyond annoying now.
The worst thing about it is that along with the cough I've had this strange lethargy.
I think today has been the best it's been so far - so hopefully it'll be gone soon!

Exercise has lagged quite a bit this past week, although I did go to Jujitsu on Thursday and played Soccer with work-mates Friday, but I just haven't felt great... which is probably more the problem than a lack of exercise. Part of it is also related to Finances, which just aren't going great.
Thankfully it is Review time at work so I should get a raise effective October 1st (Retro paid for the time before the review) - and I'm going to try to work more overtime since Overtime (if you can get it) is more lucrative than a part time job.

If I get some time I'll post my Music Goals today.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Goals: Art

So the first of my goals are in what I call the "Art" category.

Well... the first besides not posting scary pictures of myself like in the last entry. Yikes.
I look like a zombie. :)


As you've seen in some previous entries I've linked a few of my drawings that I have on my Deviant Art page. Eventually I want to do something more with some of them - blow 'em up, frame them, sell them as posters, put them on T-shirts. Thinks like that! Suggestions are always appreciated, along with other thoughts and ideas.

On to my goals in Art:
  • Draw MORE - use more than just pens. I think I'm a bit addicted to the permanence of ink, even though usually I would use an eraser a LOT. So why not?
  • Complete AT LEAST one drawing/art piece a month. Since I made this goal in August I've done a good job at this :)
  • Explore more art mediums. Clay, Paints, Carvings, Airbrushing, Foam sculpting (Ooh I want to do things like I linked here)
  • Find my scratchboard tools and do more
  • Study the Masters - in Jr. High I had a horrible art history teacher that turned me WAY off to school art classes. Because of that I think my talents suffered horrible so I never learned a lot of Art basics most people get in school.
  • Have more Art Nights. A while back we had a few nights where we'd just go to a friend's house and paint. (She's a very talented artist check out her Deviantart and Mural sites!) It was a lot of fun. While I'd like to be able to do this with friends - just my wife and I would have a lot of fun as well - so I want to have this scheduled, kind of like a date night, with or without friends. Only it wouldn't be a date when it was with friends. Maybe like a double date... but the kids would be around too so whatever.
  • My wife is a brilliant photographer - but I am not. I want to learn more from her and with her in the realms of photography.
And that's it for my current goals in the realm of Art. Music is next I think.
Any thoughts, comments, suggestions, improvements, etc are always appreciated! :)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Before, After, and In-Between! (and art)

So back on this post I talked about me shaving my head and promised pictures.
Took me a while so I didn't feel like putting these pictures down in that post, so here they are!

Yikes those are scary.
Maybe I should have just left the mohawk for a couple of weeks...

Finally - I scanned a new finished drawing - check it out!


So I am not normally a person that talks about politics - especially online.
Basically I think it's pointless because nobody ever convinces anybody and it just gets ugly.

Still, this was interesting to see the results of this OK Cupid test:

You are a

Social Moderate
(43% permissive)

and an...

Economic Moderate
(41% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid

I'd probably be even MORE centrist if the questions were phrased differently.
But there you have it.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Allergies and/or Sickness are NOT FUN

Jujitsu last night was fun - but the other guy that was there last week wasn't there, so the two of us did more talking than Jujitsu. It was still fun and I did learn some and was able to roll a little bit. I'm still very excited to learn more.

There were three problems which made me a bit hesitant to do too much physically...
1. I had just eaten dinner - REALLY great salmon and salad and green beans - Delicious but too close to the physical activity.
2. Our new 80-90% Vegetarian lifestyle has been giving me some major bubbles in my stomach... NOT fun especially when wrasslin'. Yikes.
3. I had a horrendous allergic outbreak last weekend. Something got to me real bad. Now I THINK that as a result of my allergies my throat was really irritated and this was further exacerbated by the smoke machines, heat, and air quality at the SYTYCD Tour on Tuesday causing me to miss work Wednesday. My throat is still weird, I have this nasty wheezy-type cough, and occasionally feel feverish and dizzy. Those last two are what makes me worry it might NOT be just allergies... but they are usually only late at night as I'm trying to go to bed.

Very annoying.

I brought my soccer stuff to work today (nothing really unique for soccer though... I don't have cleats or shin guards or anything!) but I'm not sure if I will go play or not. I could probably use the sunshine and fresh air!

Yesterday we went to our Credit Union and applied for a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). We are tired of our Credit Cards and want to have more control over our debt, along with a lower payment. Online the rates matched what the lady told us, but the payment threw us off a little, and we need to verify that what we think she said was correct. According to the online listing of loan options, the monthly payment on the HELOC was 1.25% of the balance. For the debts we are looking to 'pay off' with this that would save us approximately $100-150 a month on debt-payments, which is definitely a good thing. But for some reason both my wife and I think the loan helper person at the Credit Union said that the monthly payment was 3.5% of the balance per month. THAT would put us at DOUBLE what we are currently paying per month on Credit Cards and student loans... so that wouldn't make much sense.

We'll find out when we hear from the people that really make decisions about the loans. Hopefully this will help us get back on track a bit.

What I really need to do is find a job that pays more than I currently make. We won't be able to get out of our situation otherwise - we don't have any superfluous expenses to get rid of!

I blame our car, which is looking at another $1000 in repairs before we can even sell it... for hopefully around $2000. :(

Thursday, September 25, 2008

SYTYCD Tour 2008

For my beautiful wife's birthday last month I bought her tickets to the So You Think You Can Dance Tour. The show was Tuesday night, we arrived and dealt with ridiculous parking ($10 for parking? Lame) to get there. The place was packed with probably 19 females for every male there.

The show was really quite good - I wish I'd been able to get better seats for my wife, it was wonderful to see how much she enjoyed herself. She really is amazing. Although this really was for my wife - I did enjoy watching both the TV show and this tour with her.

My favorite dancers are Courtney, Twitch, and Gev. Out of all the dancers I think they are the most fun to watch.

The physiques of those dancers is amazing. Makes me feel somewhat chubby! So I got to work on some things. Maybe we should start dancing more. :)

Tonight is my second night of Jiujitsu. Hopefully I can get over my hesitancy and make myself do more. Either way I'm sure I'll be sore!

Monday, September 22, 2008


In general I don't think that I am a very goal oriented person.

I don't keep track of everything I want to accomplish this week and check it off when it's done.

In many ways I do need to improve on having, keeping and achieving my goals, because it is something I feel I should do.

For a long time I've struggled with what exactly I want to DO with my life, because I have actually already accomplished ALL of my goals that I had!

When I was young I had the following goals: (In this approximate order)
  • Graduate from High School (ridiculously easy)
  • Go on a Mission (2 years religious service) - Awesome experience in Russia
  • Get Married (7 years now with the most amazing woman!)
  • Have Children (3 beautiful children Boy 6, Boy 3, Girl 6 months)
  • Graduate from College (Degrees in International Studies and Russian)
And that's it. All done. Now what?? Guess I didn't think through that very well now did I.

So although I am not a big fan of small goals, and I REALLY don't like New Year's Resolutions (If you want to do something why wait until the new year when you can start NOW?), I do think that having goals is a good thing. So I have created a large list of goals that range from very broad to more specific in order to organize what I want to do - and actually move in that direction rather than stagnate where I am.

Currently I have 5 broad categories, and 1 other category that doesn't really fit into those but could involve any or all of them. Each of these categories will get a post on its own in the near future as I gather my thoughts more coherently about them. Those categories are:
  • Physical - Exercise related, along with skills and things/activities I'd like to do. If I had a goal to run a marathon someday (which I don't) I would put it here. My goal of running more IS here as well. I just don't ever aspire to run a marathon.
  • Art - Painting, Drawing, basically anything physically created by me and put into some medium. I want to explore more mediums as well. Some of my more direct goals are in this section involving drawings I have been doing for a while. The pirate flags in previous posts are examples of my 'art' and link to my deviant art page as well.
  • Music - I could possibly combine this with Art, but this is less physical as far as its expression (meaning you can't see or touch it - cuz it definitely involves my body!). I've always been involved with music and want to continue to be involved - increasing my current involvement.
  • Languages - I speak Russian from my 3 years spent there, but I need to keep it up and improve it. I would also like to learn more languages. Pretty simple.
  • Career/Job/Employment goals - This last category is probably one of the most important, but one of my least developed goal categories. I'm still trying to figure out what I really want.
So as you can see - I'm trying real hard to get back on track so I can know where the heck this train is headed! Wherever that is I want it to be a fun and enriching ride - so there you have it.

Have a wonderful day and if you have any goals or ideas for goals that help you - let me know!


Thursday before I went to learn some jiu jitsu I shaved my head. Buzzed it real short with a number 1 attachment on our hair trimmer.


Basically it was time for a change. Funny that with all the OTHER changes that have been happening (diet, home improvements, no Mt. Dew) I need ANOTHER change... but there you have it. Plus it is REALLY easy to get ready in the morning now because I don't have to figure out what to do with my hair. I did take some before and after pictures - so once I get them I will put them up for your enjoyment. Basically so you can laugh at me. :)

One benefit of having less hair is that the rest of me looks bigger. So now I look a little bit more 'buff'. Since my hair grows so fast it won't be long 'til my head looks huge and the rest of me looks tiny.

I posted the pictures in the most recent entry HERE. Scary!

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Holy cow!

Tomorrow is an important day!!


So - Don't forget!


Ahoy! Avast and away me hearties! Aye!

Remember that today be International Talk Like a Pirate Day!!

Arr me hearties! Look lively now for there be much to be done t' day!
In case ye be havin a harrrd time figgerin out how to be talkin like a swarthy pirate, here be a little tip from the slightly annoying Cap'n Slappy and Ol' Chumbucket.

Ye're to be findin more tips here.

I don't understand t' people that have a hard time with takin' one day out o' t' whole year t' talk like a pirate. Be it really that hard or humiliatin'? Maybe humiliatin' - but aye it's most definitely not hard! And you'll get over t' humiliatin' part.

And really me friends - even Google has made it easier t' be searchin the internets fer pirates!

In non pirate news - last night I had t' opportunity to try out some crazy fightin arrts with some friends. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Let me tell you those Brazilian folk can be mighty mean when you are trying to loot and pillage. Arm Bars and Rear Naked Chokes are NOT fun whilst tryin to haul a load of booty back to t' ship! Methinks I'll be visitin' them some more so I can learn some of that craziness. I definitely be best at using the Kimura right now... But I need more practice! I have a goal to learn martial arts of some sort. So this is helping that goal yay!

Until next time - remember: Don't be a scurvy lubber or cowardly bilge rat! Say Aye-aye to Cap'n Blade (Tomorrow I'll be the Warlord again, no worries!) and enjoy the day when you can plunder all the booty you desire and drink some grog (i.e. Root Beer) until ye pass out and wake up in a non-piratey manner tomorrow!!


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Caffeine & Sugar

I love Mountain Dew and Dr. Pepper.

I have also stopped drinking all caffeinated sodas... since September 5th. Almost two weeks! It has been hard, but not THAT hard to not drink caffeine. I'm tired, but at the same time I'm sleeping better. My headaches haven't improved too much - but then again, at only two weeks who knows.

An interesting thing to note... I don't have a lot of weight to lose, I could lose 15 pounds, but then I'd be really skinny. But lately I've been going UP instead of maintaining or down. Last night I was about 173 on WiiFit, today in our corporate gym I stepped on and was almost 178! Granted, that was with jeans, polo, big fat wallet (unfortunately NOT fat with cash!), keys, etc.

I think I want to get down to about 165... about what I was when I got married.

It's funny, but when I was 165 lbs I wanted to be 175. Now that I am 175 I want to be back down...

Guess I'd better start running!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Someday I'll come up with more interesting post titles...

But for now, I'm in a bit of a rush since I have an all day meeting starting soon!

I finished Shaman's Crossing and am 3/4ths of the way through Forest Mage the second book in the Soldier Son Trilogy. Really good stuff. I probably would have finished it last night, but I made myself stop and go to sleep.

I seriously doubt I would have been able to get up this morning if I hadn't finally exercised some self-control!

The more I do Wii Fit, the more I like it! It's fun, it's fast, and before you know it you're sweating, panting, and wondering where the past 30+ minutes have gone! I don't think I would have as hard a time if I ONLY did the balance games, but throwing those in between yoga, strength and aerobics is great. We've unlocked quite a few more workouts and games, and all of us are healthier (Although the new less-meat/no dairy diet we're doing is helping with that as well!).

We are trying hard to help our kids whine less and be happier. It really is an amazing change in myself lately in that I have been CHOOSING to be HAPPY and it WORKS. We have more power over our thoughts and feelings than we think we do. Sure everybody has tough times, things don't always go our way - but the happier we are, the easier these problems are to deal with!

For a couple of good blogs on happiness and exercising check out these:

The Happiness Project - While I don't always like HOW she says what she says, there is a lot to be learned from Gretchen Rubin's posts. Basically I think it makes me look at things in ways I didn't before, so I like her blog.

Caustic Musings - I found Maggie Wang's blog looking for info on the P90X (which I still want to try) and subscribed to because her writings on exercising motivated me. The Financial thoughts are great too!

Friday, September 12, 2008

World of Warcraft

I've been playing the World of Warcraft for almost two years, and enjoyed it immensely.

I even had a blog about some of my experiences and strategies. That blog is actually one of the reasons I wanted to do better with THIS blog, since I don't think I really accomplished what I wanted to do there.

In a week and a half my subscription is up. I wrote about it on the earlier linked blog - you can read about it if you want to.

Basically my family comes first, and I don't have the time or desire to participate in a big portion of the game - group dungeons. It takes a lot of time without interruptions. That doesn't happen much with kids. And that's okay. I'll miss it, but I have a lot of things I want to accomplish.

My goals are some of the focuses of this blog - Exercise, Fun, Reading, and other forms of self improvement in the areas of Art, Music, and more.

I'll post a more in depth look at my goals and hopefully I'll be able to figure out more specifically what I want to do AND how I can do that.

Thanks World of Warcraft for helping me overcome some stress and unwind at the end of the day! I'll miss you, but I'll live, and live well.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Random post here...

Just found this amazing site where they build expensive custom tree houses/play houses.


I would like to learn how to do this type of stuff!

Daniels Wood Land

I think my favorite is this Pirate Oasis, but all their Pirate stuff is cool, and their Castle and Fort stuff too!

New Goal: Learn Foam sculpting, airbrushing, and chainsaw carving!

More on the New Diet and Books

Day 6 of the New Diet:
Okay so technically we've really been doing this for a couple weeks now since we basically lived on this diet at my parents house in Denver.
I've noticed today though, that I am HUNGRY! I've even been snacking on Almonds all day! Normally I don't get that hungry throughout the day - barely even thinking about food until I get home and Kakes reminds me I have to eat dinner.
Since we aren't going to be eating all that much meat (We most definitely have not given it up), I have a feeling I am going to need to find a non soy source of protein.

I actually don't like to think about food a lot. It might be strange, but while I enjoy many types of food, I've never really LOOOOOOVED and raved about food, and I don't want to. I think too many people are obsessed with food. I don't want that to be me.

The other side effect of a mostly fruit and vegetable diet? Multiple trips to the bathroom.
Yikes! Hopefully that regulates sooner than later.

I love books. Have I mentioned that?
Specifically Fantasy books are my favorite, but there are many other books I have greatly enjoyed.
I was finally able to get Shaman's Crossing, the first book of Robin Hobb's newest "The Soldier Son Trilogy" from the library. I've had a hold on it for months. I'm only 165 pages into it, but it's doing great at keeping my attention so far! Time-period wise it isn't so much medieval fantasy as an early American Cavalry vs. American Indians Fantasy. As a child I loved Native American lore, so I'm not having a problem with this at all. One thing I loved when I first opened it was the books dedication: "To Caffeine and Sugar, my companions through many a long night of writing." Too bad I've given up Caffeine eh? (6 days and counting! I can do it!) But sugar? NEVER!!!

The reason I'm excited about this is because of her previous Trilogies; The Farseer Trilogy, the Liveship Traders Trilogy, and the Tawny Man Trilogy. This one is brand new and totally unrelated to the other three. Great books. Not my favorites, but they are highly esteemed by me.

I recently finished some GREAT books by Carol Berg, The Bridge of D'Arnath series. These books are about a bridge that connects a magical world and a mundane one, and attempts to destroy and save this bridge. Really good reads all around.

AND I think I've realized why I don't blog MORE... As it is already, I write too much in each entry!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Wii Fit, Forza, and a New Diet

Wii Fit
For my beautiful wife's birthday - I got her the Wii Fit and tickets to the So You Think You Can Dance Live Tour 2008. It took me FOREVER to find that Wii Fit! For anybody wondering - this is something she WANTED for her birthday, this is not a suggestion or anything like that from me. She is amazing and looks SO good 5 months after having our 3rd child!

This is a game that we will allow our kids to play every day, at least to get the balance test and a few games in. Keeps them aware of their bodies, what they put into it, etc.

The Wii Fit has four types of activities you can do: Aerobics, Yoga, Strength Training, and Balance Games.
- Aerobics is basic hula hoop, running (using the wiimote like a pedometer basically) and step-type aerobics. These workouts get you pretty good, although I'm still getting used to the running ones.
- I was unsure how the Yoga exercises would work out - but they basically concentrate on one pose and do repetitions of that. I haven't unlocked too many activities yet, but you start with some basic single poses. Do them correctly and you really can feel it.
- If you've done a lot of working out, you'll immediately get high scores on the Strength Training workouts. Push-ups with side-planks, leg-extensions, the beginning stuff isn't too hard. I've gotten 100/100, 4 stars on most of the strength training activities, but they are still a good workout.
- Kids will like the Balance Games the best, although sometimes they can be a bit frustrating, but the more you try it, the more fun they become. It's interesting to see what different types of people end up being good at. I'm good at the soccer and tight-rope walking ones, while my wife is really good at the ski ones, even though she's never been skiing!

Overall the Wii Fit is great! I'm excited to see what new activities, exercises and games we unlock as we continue to use this 'game.' One problem is that you have to unlock everything yourself, so something fun your kids might be doing you can't do until you've worked out more. Good motivation, I guess!

Just before Father's day I discovered a really cool workout called Powerstrike Forza. We bought it for $30 from For $30 it's a good workout, but the DVD leaves much to be desired, mostly in navigating through the program.
Developed by Ilaria Montagnani, "Forza teaches the graceful, empowering skill of Samurai sword training designed to build the body and mind. Everyday warriors will learn how to move and control the speed of a Japanese sword, the queen of all weapons." (from the above link)
It's important to note that this is NOT really Japanese sword training. Many traditional Kendo purists would scoff at the way she does some of the movements. However - it is FUN and it is a great workout! One of the biggest problems for ME in this workout is finding time to find an hour to get the full workout done. Really though, the first half hour is a "warmup" that is pretty amazing. We have done just the first half, then cooled down with some Yoga.
One final thing about Forza... Ilaria's pretty amazing, but her arms and abs kind of scare me. I'm very impressed that she was able to achieve such definition, but it just looks a bit too manly. Then again, maybe I am just jealous!

New Diet
We recently returned from an almost week-long vacation to visit my parents in Denver. One of my younger brothers just got married, so we packed our 3 kids into our small Mitsubishi Galant and miraculously survived an 8 hour drive through the most boring section of Wyoming imaginable. ANYWAY, for the past few years my parents have been experimenting with various diets and food-lifestyles to find what's right for them. A few years ago my dad was diagnosed with type-2 diabetes, so basically his pot belly and bad-eating habits throughout his life has not been good.
Currently my parents are basically Vegan in their eating habits, very rarely eating meat or animal products. As we stayed with them my wife really enjoyed the fruit/veggie shakes my mom had for breakfast and the simple meatless dinners. So now we are doing that. I wake up in the morning, grab my shake from the fridge and drink it on the way to work. Very tasty. I've noticed over the past few days that I don't have as much energy as I'm used to. A very big part of that is probably that I have given up my Mt. Dew and Dr. Pepper habit... at least I have for the past 5 days! People I work with don't think I can do it, but I'll show them!!

Watched Howl's Moving Castle with my kids the other day (Borrowed it from my new sister in law) and loved it! I have enjoyed the other Studio Ghibli films I've seen, (Spirited Away, Kiki's Delivery Service) but not as much as I enjoyed this one. As my wife was semi-listening while doing something on her computer, she said "Hey, that sounds like Batman!" Christian Bale voices Howl. Good flick! I may have to add it to my collection.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It's About Time!

So I've had this blog for quite some time...

Obviously I've used it a great deal.

Initially this blog was going to chronicle the adventures of Warlord Blade - a moniker I have used online for about 15 years now, and a character I 'created' for stories I meant to write.

Unfortunately that didn't turn out to well, so I've decided that I should use this blog for another purpose.

Exercise! I like to exercise, but because of general laziness I often let myself off too easy.

I will also be talking about other general interests of mine; Books, Video Games, Finances, etc.