12.21.2005

En El Fuego

Hit the thrift store today at lunch. Met Wayne there. I didn't think it'd actually turn in to a topic for a post (afterall, I was only looking for a new sweater vest, honest!)...but I got a post.

But I got so much more.

I have to start off with the major feat (that should secure my title of Thrift Store King and assure my place in the pantheons of history).

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you one freakin' hard to come by record:




















My friend Darrin is on a quest to get the records of his childhood. Some of these he managed to rescue from his parents. The beloved Christmas album, however, was not among the survivors. It had fallen victim to a spring-cleaning/Garage Sale incident known only as "that day"*.

Darrin wanted to test my prowess as the ThriftStore King, so he says to me. "Todd, I had this Christmas record when I was a kid. It has some Christmas scene....tree...kid...truck...that kind of thing. Oh yeah, and it was on Colortone records. Can you find it for me? I haven't been able to find it anywhere."

That was FIVE YEARS AGO. I started the normal places: every thrift store in town...then I resorted to eBay (which I was sure he had already done), record conventions...and then I found GEMM. It was a listserv of hard to find records. During the course of my hunt, I had found out that anything on Colortone was insanely hard to come by. You just don't see anything on Colortone anymore. So, after 5 years of gettting my monthly GEMM email saying someone had Mihalia Jackson on Colortone for $11.35 in Chicago...Wayne and I hit the Ohio Thrift (known as my holy ground of choice). And there it was.

Center of the shelf. Right in front. I had found it. Dude. Indiana Freakin' Jones right here at your service. I was seriously stoked.

Pumped by my find, we headed up to the sweaters. And that's pretty much when it all fell apart.

I have since dubbed the rest of the day Gay Shirt Day. There are three degrees of flame that we saw.

The first was this one.




Now this one wasn't TOO bad. It's definitely a low smolder. I MIGHT be coaxed into wearing this if I was going to be someplace where there was an abundance of alcohol. And women.

Definitly a Low Flame Factor.

Next we get to the mid-line:


You can't tell from this picture. But this one is silver. Yes. Silver. And Shiny. Very Shiny. There are very few circumstances I can think of where I would ever wear this. In fact, I can think of none. This is definitely a Medium Flame Factor. Only someone secure in their homosexuality could go out in this.

And that brings us to the High Flame. There is no question that this one is for seriously HOT dudes. Ladies and Gentlemen...I give you today's HFF winner:

Today's winner comes to us courtesy of PRONTI for Men and is modeled by Wayne (who also agreed he would not be caught dead in this shirt). You can't see it unless you zoom in on the full picture, but there are actually some bedazzler-jeweley-encrusted things on the front of this.

Now, I'm sure that in some parts of the world (like those where having more money than sense is the norm), this is considered high fashion, but folks, if I won't even pay $1.99 for the tux shirt from hell, what does that tell you? Exactly. It's natty no matter how much (or little) money you have.

And that concludes this post (mostly).

I would like to say that the use of the word "gay" is meant solely as a classification for something that I would not wear (or do, or be). Nothing more, nothing less.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, I did find my sweater vest. :-)

Rock on.

*I don't know if this is actually what happened to the records of Darrin's childhood, but it made a good story.

My Father's Eyes

It would seem that I am turning in to my dad.
I don't have his stature (I'm slightly taller). But I have his nose. And forehead. It's the Skaggs nose and forehead. Ever see Ricky Skaggs? He's got the Skaggs nose, too. So, picture him with a buzz haircut and you're pretty on target for what I look like (or will look like in 10 years).
 
So...looking in the mirror and seeing my dad-check.
 
How else am I becoming my dad? Apparently I've picked up his vocal mannerisms. 
Growing up, I would frequently think that my dad was yelling or mad at me. Ever see "That 70's Show" where Red Foreman says "This is not yelling. When I'm yelling, you'll know!"  That would be my dad.
 
All through his life (from what I've observed and of his retelling), he's had to fight to be top dog. This sometimes results in the "Good Message-Sucky Delivery" approach. And it also ensures that some people will be put off by his abruptness.  Growing up, my papaw was also this way. And now it seems I have adopted this approach to my own vocal stylings.
 
I don't know when it happened, but it's there. My wife doesn't say it all the time, but I can tell she notices when I'm sounding like my dad.
 
It's a little tough to deal with (OK-it's a lot tough to deal with). I'm making my own kids feel the way I felt as a child. There were times that I wondered what in the world I had done to make my dad upset. My mom would serve as interpreter and peacekeeper between my dad's gruffness and my childhood psyche. She always reassuring me that yes, he did love me, and no, he didn't mean to sound so mean, that he wasn't really upset with me-he'd just had a hard day at work. And now, 30 years later, my wife is doing the same thing my mom did. And I'm filling the role my dad played.  It took me quite a while to realize that the gruffness of my dad did little to really show the love and generosity in his heart. It didn't totally excuse him from hurting my feelings, but with kids of my own, I can see a little of where he was coming from.
 
I can distinctly remember swearing as a kid that I would not behave in this manner toward my kids, that I would not act like he acted toward me with my own children. It would seem that I have turned out to be a liar. Nature v. Nuture. It's a powerful frickin' force.
 
I just realized this morning that this extends beyond my own kids. I said something to a co-worker and his reaction to my comment led me to realize that this abruptness must carry over to anyone I speak to. It hasn't reached pandemic proportions, yet. But I definitely need to work on it.
 
So...now what? I know I can come across as an asshole. I'm I guess I'm mostly ok with that (as long as you're not related to me, or a close friend)-I can't change what you think about me-and I don't care to. I know what I mean and I know when I'm angry or not (and if I'm yelling or not)...and if I AM yelling, I'm probably not angry (I usually shut up (or shut down) completely when I'm angry). But I don't want to hurt my wife or kids by being this way. It creates too much tension and causes things to escalate much more quickly then they should. A discussion of how the cordless phone works sounds like WWIII. And it's pretty much all on me.
 
I have to work on the buffer. The buffer between when my head wants me to say something and when my mouth actually says it. Too often I will just say it as the thought is forming without pausing to think whether it's really appropriate or how it will be received.  I know this puts my wife in a position of having to heal the wounds that this may cause. It's not fair to her and it's not fair to my kids. As a kid I was expected to do something the minute my dad said to. I expect that out of my own kids (whether right or wrong). And they're just not that way. They are not me. I am not my dad. Except when I am.
 
And it frustrates me that I see myself doing this. But I guess recognition of the problem is the first step. Now I just need to stop it. I can already see it filtering down into how my kids talk to people. How can I expect them to treat someone with civility when they think (thanks to my example) that being the most forceful one in a conversation is the way to "win." It's definitely not cool and doesn't sit well with me. I owe it to them, my wife and my own peace of mind to get my shit together.

12.20.2005

Les Meme Choses

So, I swore (ok, didn't swear, but thought strongly about) not to pepper this blog with Quizzes. And for only the 2nd time that I choose to remember, I break that and subject you to this one. It's actually a book quiz that I goinked off of my SIL's blog. And given the nature of what the results were, I can't really speak to whether or not it's accurate.
BUT I LIKE TO THINK THAT IT MIGHT BE...at least to some extent.

And without further ado...I give what I would be, if I were a book (or some cheesy name like that):





You're A Prayer for Owen Meany!

by John Irving

Despite humble and perhaps literally small beginnings, you inspire
faith in almost everyone you know. You are an agent of higher powers, and you manifest
this fact in mysterious and loud ways. A sense of destiny pervades your every waking
moment, and you prepare with great detail for destiny fulfilled. When you speak, IT
SOUNDS LIKE THIS!



Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Happy Holy Day

A thought just occurred to me.
There are those that think it is better to say "Happy Holidays" rather than some religiously biased phrase like "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Chanukah," etc.
A large portion of those that argue this point are atheist or agnostic at best.  And this amuses me. Because instead of focusing on one deity by choosing the holiday, you're opening it up for ALL of the deities to come in and have a sit-down.
 
from the merriam webster site (http://www.m-w.com):
Main Entry: 1hol·i·day
Pronunciation: 'hä-l&-"dA, British usually 'hä-l&-dE
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English hAligdæg, from hAlig holy + dæg day
 
It's a HOLY day.  This, then, opens a whole new set of definitions:
 
Main Entry: ho·ly
Pronunciation: 'hO-lE
Function: adjective
Inflected Form(s): ho·li·er; -est
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English hAlig; akin to Old English hAl whole -- more at WHOLE
1 : exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness
2 : DIVINE <for the Lord our God is holy -- Psalms 99:9 (Authorized Version)>
3 : devoted entirely to the deity or the work of the deity <a holy temple> <holy prophets>
4 a : having a divine quality <holy love> b : venerated as or as if sacred <holy scripture> <a holy relic>
5 -- used as an intensive <this is a holy mess> <he was a holy terror when he drank -- Thomas Wolfe> -- often used in combination as a mild oath <holy smoke>
 
 
Hmm. OK.I can see where we should go with this next. We should just say Happy Days.
Or, people can stop being so uptight and just realize that if someone wishes them a Merry Christmas, it's really OK. There's no need to get all bunged up about it. If you want to protest or boycott the retail establishment of your choice, feel free. But maybe instead of worrying about whether they do or don't wish you a Merry Christmas versus Happy Holidays, you should worry about something that's going to have an impact for more than the 25 shopping days out of the year. Maybe you can focus on how the company treats their employees. My wife and I have not been to a WalMart store in nearly 4 years. This has nothing to do with their greeting. It had to do initially with how drained and unhappy we were after every shopping experience there. It later grew to incorporate disgust in how they treat their employees, how they crush local small-town competition, and how they've strayed from Sam Walton's vision of carrying American Made merchandise.
 
That's not to say Target isn't as bad or some other retail store. But we've never had a bad Target experience, so for now, they have our business.
 
We are now standing a mere 7 days away from the world premiere of "Nashdance." I can't wait to see what Christi and Nash think of it. And I can't wait until this weekend (did I mention that already??). 
 
Happy Holy-days to you and yours.
 

12.19.2005

Merry Christmas

I'd like to take a moment to wish you all a Merry Christmas. I don't know about this recent trend of just by-passing that for the more generic "Happy Holidays." Oh, I know why it's done. Political Correctness has eroded many traditions of my childhood, but this is one I'm gonna hang on to.


So, again I say Merry Christmas. And by that I don't mean that you have to give up on your holiday traditions, and I'm not trying to slight you in any way. I'm basically trying to say that I wish you and yours a peaceful and safe season full of merriment with the ones you love. In whatever way you choose to observe.


This is our first Christmas at the new house. We have a fireplace. And a pine tree outside. And stockings hung by the chimney with care. I'm so totally jazzed for our Christmas that I can barely stand it. Here's a shot of the homefront last night as the snow was falling. We went uber minimalist on the lights this year. Next year, we're going to just hang C-9's. But I thought the C-7's on the tree out front were a nice touch.


Posting will probably be sporadic at best for the next couple of weeks. Next week we're heading to Indy to have some family time with Nancy's cousin. We'll be debuting "Nashdance," too. I think Nash and Christi will really dig it.

It's funny. No, it's really funny. Darrin and Maryann were over this weekend and I subjected them to it and they laughed (so either they were being polite or it was actually funny. I'm gonna go with the first option-I think Darrin snorted at one point). We also had some of the best Pizza in Columbus and got some good news from them and finished up the night with some hilarious rounds of Riff and SceneIt. It was a great Saturday evening with friends.

So, um. Yeah. Good times, good times.

And if I didn't say it before-Have a Merry Christmas.

12.15.2005

You Know....

I think the song “Der Kommissar” has a whole subplot about an underground culture of disenfranchised youth that sniff cocaine on the subways.

 

 

Hmm.

 

How about that?

 

Yada Yada

I will say right now that I don’t have the Seinfeld gene. He always seemed like a whiny twit to me when I would see his comedy routines on Comedy Central or HBO. I laughed no more or no less than any other comedian I saw.

 

I have watched maybe 3 entire episodes of the show (and many more bits and pieces whilst flipping to other destinations on the dial). I was misfortunate enough to watch the final episode and what a piece of shit way to end a series.

 

I also saw one where George’s fiancée died from licking the glue on the cheap wedding invitation envelopes (was that also on the finale??). And that’s funny how?

 

I clearly don’t get it.

 

It is one clique of office vernacular that I will immediately exclude myself from. Talks are going around about Festivus.  And when someone tried to explain it to me (I guess my deer in headlight stare was an indication that I had no idea what they meant), they said “you know-Seinfeld.”

 

No. I don’t know Seinfeld. I have nothing against the show. There were moments that made me laugh (again as I was flipping through), but I was not religious about watching it. At the time I was more consumed with Mad About You than Seinfeld. To me, Paul Reiser was more identifiable than Jerry Seinfeld (and I enjoyed his books more). He was more like a person I’d want to hang out with. And they had a dog.  And Helen Hunt.  No, I know just enough Seinfeld to tread water for a few minutes in a conversation. I know Conversational Seinfeld, if you will.

 

This is in no way a cut on my friends who do like Seinfeld. Merely an attempt to explain why I simply don’t get it.  Don’t feel bad, though, there are several pop-culture phenomenons that I just don’t get. Including:

  • Sex and the City
  • Seinfeld
  • ANY US show that’s a remake of a much better British version of the same show.
  • TRL
  • RealWorld (after the one with Puck, I just stopped giving a shit)
  • The O.C.
  • Survivor (lost interest a couple seasons ago)
  • Arrested Development (but to be fair, I’ve never seen an episode, so I’m not sure it should be on the list)
  • ANY fashion show (with the exception of the Victoria Secret Show, and What Not To Wear (the British version))

 

And that’s about all I have to say on that.

12.14.2005

I Wanna Take You to a G-Bar, a Genius-Bar!

If you've never been inside an Apple store, all I can say is, it's surreal.
I had to sign in to see a Mac Genius. When my turn came I was face with a dude that was almost a mirror image of me. At first I thought it was Apple's way of helping me feel at home-you know.."come on in, we'll have you help you"..that kind of thing.

But it wasn't me. And I don't know NotMe's name, so it doesn't really matter.

Anyway, I bellied up to the bar. Told him my sad tale and handed over my deadPod. He looked at it, typed some things into the computer and after a little small talk said, "hold on. I'll be right back." Um. Sure. I wasn't going anywhere. Not without a new iPod anyway.

He comes out with a brown box. And you know what? Sonuvabish if it wasn't a 40GB iPod. I guess just because they don't sell the 40's anymore that doesn't mean the service centers don't still stock them.

I was giddy. I wouldn't have to worry about cases, or accessories or any of that bull. Everything would be the same. And I had a new unit. And then came the bad news.

Only, he called it the "down side."

OK. Hit me.

Turns out if your iPod dies in the first 6 months of the 12 year warranty, they swap it out no questions. If it dies in the last 6 months, you have to pay a $30 'recycling' fee. Um. OK. Did I mention I wasn't leaving without a working iPod?

OR....he said....You could get the Apple Protection Plan for $59....which waives the recycle fee and totally covers your iPod until 2.26.2007 (the present warranty is up in 2006).

So....lemme get this straight...for $30 more, I get free service for an additional year...including the dreaded battery replacement (which they charge $60 for).

Yup.

Cool. Sign me up.

And that was it. 10 minutes later we were headed toward Target...new iPod in tow.

I have to say I was pretty damn impressed with the customer service...even if the Apple store does look like it came straight from A Clockwork Orange.

I felt bad for the girl next to me who was at the G-Bar because she dropped her notebook 6 inches on to a carpeted floor (after having just paid it off)...it was going to cost her $755 to get her shitz fixed.

Bets she wishes she got the protection plan earlier.

Now comes the fun of loading all the music back on it.


Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Fuuuuuuuuudge...




This is not a good thing to get when you fire up your iPod.

This is the "sad-iPod" icon. And it means you're screwed.

Or in this case, I'm screwed.




Luckily, my particular technical fornication came at month 10 of my initial 12 month warranty period. I called the Apple store nearest me and was told to bring it in to the gEnius dEsk, so that one of the mAc gEniuses could look at it and tell me I'm screwed. Amy (the person who took the call) also told me that since it's under warranty, it will not cost me anything to get it looked at (and presumably repaired) and that sometimes depending on the particular cause of the sadiPod icon, they just swap out units right then and there.

If this happens, it will be interesting. I have a 4th Gen 40GB iPod (which is no longer made). And I had over 30GB of music on it. So, my thinking is...the righteous thing to do would be to swap me out to a 60GB (since the 40 is no longer made and I clearly had over 30GB of stuff on it). I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, the new one is sleek and sexy..and color...and video...blah blah. All nice features-but none that I would pay for. On the other hand, I have a few accessories that require the accessory port to be next to the headphone jack (OK, I have one accessory that fits this bill)....on the new iPods, the accessory port is on the bottom.

I guess I wouldn't be too broke up if they sent me home with a shiny new iPod. But I'm getting ahead of myself. My guess is the mAc gEniuses have some kind of magic tool they can use to just reset it.

It's all speculation at this point. I go in to the apple store tonight to see what the dealio is.

meanwhile, I'm stuck listening to top 40 crap all day now.

blech.

A Blip On the Update Radar

I love the word 'radar.' In fact, I love all palindromes (but that's a story for another time).

Just popping in to say that I started the undertaking of re-arranging the studio last night. The record shelves were re-configured and the tie-dye grateful dead banner flies high.

All that's left now is to:
  • move the desk up
  • move the table with the turntables (the DJ Table) closer to the desk
  • slide the hammond a little further to the left of where it is now
  • place the 4 shelf unit (which will house the 12" singles and 45's) closer to the DJ table
  • go through the album collection, integrating Shelley's albums with my own collection and pulling the ones that I won't really be listening to and putting those back in the album boxes that Shelley's albums came in
  • Jam. Party like it's 1999. Get down with my bad self. I want to have a party where we just jam and have a blast with records and adult beverages....let's see....what kind of holiday is coming up that would be an excuse to throw such a party?? hmm...

So. There. That's the mini update.

I may be hitting the thriftstore at lunch, so expect some fun and whacky comedy gold in the next day or so.

12.11.2005

Along Comes a Train at 5:15

If I were going to spin for parties (and in particular, 80's themed parties), I'd call myself DJ Amtrak. That way people wouldn't be surprised if there were a few trainwrecks every now and again.

And what brought this sudden bout of wistful thinking mixed with a tinge of self-deprecation? A couple things actually. But before I get to the answer, we have to go back about 12 hours.

A friend of mine (the brother of a friend, to be exact) hunts all forms of wild game for later human consumption. My favorite of these would be venison. Dan's been bartering with venison for many many years now and I'm more than happy to fix his PCs in exchange for dead bambi. Today was no exception.

He had to clear his freezer of some of last year's kill to make room for this year's kill, and could I help him do that and oh yeah look at his ailing computer while I'm there? Sure.

So I headed up this morning and quickly determined that the system was horked. In a big way. But we headed to Circuit City for some upgrades nonetheless. I got the new harddrive in and the new 256MB video card.

So, worked on the computer, etc. etc. As I'm making one of the many trips to the fridge (never one to turn down free beverages), his wife asks me if I want to take "those albums" while I'm here (in exchange for working on HER computer). Sure, I said, trying hard not to salivate. "Those albums" are an eclectic collection of Shelley's in damn near pristine condition. She aquired the collection when she worked at a local record store and has stored them (correctly, I might add) for over 20 years. The collection leans toward hair metal, but is surprisingly rounded in spite of that.

I won't bore you with the details of the collection, but going through it this evening was just a wicked ride. I dusted off the decks, cued up some vinyl and started spinning. Then I found the box of 45's. Holy crap! I could take just the 45's and deejay any 80's night party and rock the house! Couple that with the 12"s in my collection (which seem to live mostly in the 80's and 90's) and it would just be nuts!!

Hence the thought pattern leading to DJ Amtrak.

The irony is, I forgot to bring home Shelley's computer to work on (but I will damn sure be getting it this week).

All of this is also motivating me to make arrangements to pare down my own collection (some of which has already been supplanted with her albums from earlier trips). In addition to the re-org'ing, I'll be moving some things around in my little area.

I'm going to move the turntables closer to the computer (so I can cue albums easily and run CoolEdit Pro (I refuse to call it Adobe Audition) to make some Toddly podcasts (and start the process of transferring the vinyl to mp3 to go along with my master plan of making my iPod be the digital representation of my vinyl collection).

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

After having Nancy's company's Christmas party last night and my company's Christmas party on the same night, I'm a tiny bit tired. There are unfound rumors that at one point I got up on stage with a VP, our wives and two others and danced my fool arse off. But I'm not giving them too much credence (unless someone got pictures).

night all.

12.08.2005

Suck

You know what sucks about having an online blog (as opposed to the offline kind-affectionately called "a journal" or "diary")?

Here's the suck.

When I do something I'm proud of...and it's a gift I'm making for someone...I can't talk about it in the detail I want to until after I give it to the person for whom it's intended (because of the simple fact that they may, in fact, read this blog).


Oooooh. Now you're all wondering what I've made for you.

Tee hee.

12.05.2005

A Sign From The SQL Server

Or was it Oracle?

Either way. I have to share this.

I went to see the Oracle, and she told me I would find the one. The one to bring balance to the...well. Anyway, you get the idea. Point is...she said I would find ZEO. And today I did.

Finally, an end to the ColaWars.




Apparently all this time I was looking for Zeo, he was looking for me.

12.02.2005

whoa

"Persistence of vision turns still images into movies"


This hit me squarely between the eyes about 5 minutes into going through the online Film School course Nancy got me.

Cross Posting

Rather than cutting and pasting the same exact post, I'll just tell you that the Year In Review post is up over on the TwistedZen Projects Blog.

You'll also notice (hopefully) a new link over in my friends & family (*cough*MCI) section. I'd like to give a big shout out to Victor and the WolfZone. I've known Victor for several years and am more than happy to help him fill space on his website until he finds someone better to put there :-) I was pleasantly surprised to read what he had to say about me. There's not enough celebration of Creativity around here. Don't be minions of the corporate "Arts". Find your own path (paints face blue and heads off to find a kilt) AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!


OK. Where was I?

Oh right, Christmas lights.

Mine still aren't up. I took advantage of the move this summer to purge our light collection of the wimpy things that pass for lights (and no, I will NEVER put icicles up, heathen). C-7's or C-9's. THOSE are Christmas lights. The Christmas lights of my youth. And this weekend, weather permitting, I'll be hanging some lights on our new casa.

And that's about all I got for now. I've got some tuna salad to get back to (it is lunch afterall).

Shakubuku Part Two: Eclectic Booglaloo

I posted on the book of face recently that I felt out of sorts. The gist of it being I couldn't decide if I was hungry, horny, or on the...