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.