my brother the squad leader

i'm gonna sit right down and write me a letter
Got my first letter from Frank at bootcamp. Reading it made me quite emotional, and not because it was an emotional letter, but for some other reason. Maybe hearing from him that things are hard, that he’s having a hard time and he sometimes gets lonely. Maybe reading that he was appointed squad leader of his barracks, or that he and Angela plan to get married soon after he’s out. Maybe just the simple fact that he wrote me a letter, and talked to me like a friend. It’s not like we ever hated each other, or ever weren’t on speaking terms – but we’ve been far from that “brotherly” vibe for quite some time. Anyway, I’m proud of him.

He mentioned how much he likes to get letters, as they’re his only contact with the outside world. So I started the “write Frank a letter a day” campaign, I’ve been doing it so far – although it doubles my required writing per day – so the blog entries may suffer a little bit in terms of length (just to give my typing fingers a rest).

Sharaun’s really been into the latest Strokes album, and she successfully lobbied the crew this weekend and got us to commit to the show tomorrow night. She bought the tickets last night, and we’ll be rolling over to the bay after work to catch the show. We saw them last year (nearly a year to the day, as we caught them on Halloween), and the show wasn’t that impressive to me.

Don’t get me wrong, I love their music – but the show was kinda uninspired, and they only had one 40min album at the time, so it was a short set. And, Julian cussed so much it was comical. You know, he’s one of those “‘fuck’ isn’t good enough as a stand-alone word, so I’ll insert it befuckintween the syllables in my words” kinda guys… for some reason I didn’t like that. It was like New-York-rock-star-to-the-extreme.

<begin tanget>
Julian Casablancas is possibly the best rock-‘n’-roll lead singer name ever. Even if he wasn’t in the Strokes, he would surely have to be a rock star. With a name like that, you’re destined to be. Casablancas… with an ‘S’ at the end… smoooove!! I’m so jealous.
</end tangent>

But, hopefully with this new album (which is great, by the way) they’ll have some more material – and the show wasn’t bad… it just wasn’t one of the brighter spots in my concertgoing career. So, we’re going – and I’m listening to the album now to get pumped. I’ll a review of the evening posted in Wednesday’s blog.

Two projects came very near completion this weekend. The retaining wall is about 3/4 backfilled, with the slope graded and all. Eric came and helped me on Saturday morning, which I thought was totally awesome of him. Now I owe him work. Then later on Saturday, Anthony and Ben came over and we finished assembling the FCG, and got it running. We did our first test at night with the blacklight, fog machine, and music. The results were far better than I could have imagined. Neighbors were coming out to check it out, and we got several compliments on her. We must have stood in the street for like an hour and half, just watching the ghost and drinking beer. It really is that cool. I also nearly finished the cemetery fencing, so things are definitely on track for all decorations being up and operational by this coming weekend.

I’ve made my backyard schedule a little more aggressive, after seeing how much work I was able to get done this weekend. I think I can have the entire wall backfilled by this coming weekend. Then, I plan to call the dirt movers and have them cart away our excess dirt during the week before Halloween. I know it’s gonna be close, but I think it’s doable. That way, at least my yard won’t look quite as “under construction” for the big Halloween party. Ahh… there’s a chance it’ll happen… maybe…

Dave out.

update on frank

blogged it's way to the top
Got an update from the folks re: Frank.

Hey dogg – just wanted to let you know we got a letter from Frank today. He sounds okay, says he really misses Angela a lot and thinks they will get married over his leave at Christmas. He says he actually starts Basic tomorrow and won’t have a real address till then, so we still can’t write to him. He says he’s met a lot of new people and his lower bunkmate cries a lot cuz he’s never been away from home. Frank says he tries to “talk him up” but he still cries. He says Fort Knox is supposed to be the hardest place for basic – great! He also says they get up at 3:00 AM and don’t go to sleep till 9:00 at night. He got his glasses and can see much better – surprise, huh? Anyway, just thought you’d want to know he doing okay. He asked how you and Sharaun are so he’s thinkin’ about ya. Say hey to Sharaun, too and talk at you guys later.


To me, it sounds like Frizank is doing OK so far.

No red banner on CNN all day yesterday or thus far today. I predict a red banner by the end of the week, stay tuned. Meanwhile, I’ve been trying to figure out who I’m going to vote for in this upcoming recall election. I’m just so out of touch with politics, I don’t know when my lack of caring started – but I kinda wish I cared more.

I was checking my website stats today, and the blog page has really rocketed to the top. Probably because half those hits are me checking it for spelling errors and just generally admiring my own work. It’s getting about half the hits of my Mysterians site (man, I hate that site), but that makes sense since that page is a #1 return on Google. Still cool to think people might be reading this.

The cast of characters page has about 50% of the images I want already integrated into the format. Which means I should have it done by early next week. I was tempted to link an early version here, for feedback – but I’m gonna hold off and wait until it’s done to my liking.

I’m out.

overwhelmingly underwhelming

are we there yet?
Well, last night was the Radiohead show. Today’s entry is a late one for a couple reasons. First off, we didn’t get back home until 3am. Here’s the rundown:

The show was overwhelmingly… underwhelming. And it kills me to say that, believe me it does. This is the 3rd time I’ve seen Radiohead live, and each time they have impressed me. Musically, sonically, and with their stage presence and show – they are flawless. Sharaun and I had great seats for the Greek Theater show (my 1st Radiohead show), and it was amazing. However, the two times I’ve seen them at the Shoreline, we were so far back from the stage (in the general admission seats on the lawn) that the group looked like ants up on the stage.

The night was cursed from the getgo. We were running late getting to the venue, but actually ended up making it with time to spare. We took the new Ion, which made a great 1st foray into concertgoing. The 2.5hr trip to Mountain View, where the show was, was OK – although during dinner at In-N-Out Sharaun asked if “Mountain Dew” was close to San Jose. She swears she said “Mountain View,” but Ben I and I both distinctly heard different.

Unfortunately, arriving with time to spare didn’t do that much good. About a block away from the venue, we encountered what is possibly the worst parking situation of any venue I’ve ever been to. We were stuck in traffic just to get into the parking lot for something like 40 minutes. When we finally got in, we had about a mile hike to the amphitheater (really, not exaggerating). About halfway there, Sharaun saw the lights go down, and we heard the rumblings of “2+2=5.” By the time we actually got inside the venue, the band was midway through the 3rd song. That put me off right from the start, I think it’s the only time I’ve ever been late to a show.

The place was filled to capacity. We walked in and took up a spot near the very back of the lawn section, which is already miles above the actual seated sections below. The venue has two huge jumbo screens, which are nice since they allow you to see a little bit of what’s going on on the stage. Seeing a huge stadium show like that is such a far removed experience from the normal concert environment Ben and I have grown accustomed to. I mean, we’ve been seriously spoiled by small venues like the Fillmore, the Great American Music Hall, and the Capital Garage. It’s just too impersonal, being at the back of a crowd of ~20,000.

Ben said it perfectly last night, somewhere near the 2nd ecnore he turned to me and said: “Man, they sounded great, they looked great, and it seems like they’re having a really good time. I wish I could have been there.” Yeah. We coulda got a similar experience watching the show on TV with the volume cranked. Dave’s bottom line: Radiohead sounded and looked great, but I wish we coulda been a lot closer.

Here are a few of Ben’s snaps from the show, click on ’em for larger versions:

sharaun and dave after finally arriving at the show. you can see how pissed i am that it’s already the 4th song.

ben musta used the super-zoom, because this image makes it look like our ionosphere seats weren’t that bad… they were.

here you can see the ~20k fans, notice we are at the very back of the milling masses…. woohoo.

As an unintended side effect of the concert, I decided to take a vacation day today – partly because I was dead tired from getting back so late, and partly because there was so much work I had to catch up on around the house. So I woke up at 7am, sent an e-mail saying I was taking the day off, and proceeded to get back in bed and sleep till 11. It was awesome. Refreshed, I joined Ben and Anthony for lunch, then came home and mowed the lawn, edged, fertilized, weeded, and built a new rock/dirt sifter (yeah, the old one bit the dust; it was a flawed design). Later, Steve and Ragan (formerly referred to here as “the Mooneys”) came over, and we added another two courses of stone to the retaining wall. It’s finally coming together.

In other news, my mom called to tell me that the Army pulled a last minute switch on my bro, and he’s now doing basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Not that it makes that much of a difference, but I at least thought it might be cooler there. Who knows.

And, another interesting tidbit. Sharaun has the kids of two of the California gubernatorial recall election candidates at her school. McClintock’s kid is actually in her class, and Bustamonte’s kid possibly will be next session. Funnily enough, she said the candidates kids are actually like best buds. I thought that was interesting.

That’s it for now. Time to hit the sack.

frank leaves for the army

Well, it’s another slow day at work. My boss didn’t come in again and that makes me want to be here even less. I’ve been working with my good buddy Bob in FL to get the comment count below to display without the additional space before the closing parentheses – but we can’t figure it out. So for now it’s gonna be there, better get used to it.

My mom wrote me this morning about Frank leaving for the Army, and wanted to give me his number so I could call before he ships off. I guess I hadn’t talked to her since he last called me, which surprised her when I mentioned it. Here’s what I wrote her, mostly to test my style sheet 😉


He called me 2 days ago. Called everywhere looking for me, work, home, cell… I finally managed to be there when he called on my cell phone. I talked to him for about 20min or so, about nothing much really. He is really excited to go, and I could also tell he’s a little nervous. He talked about how the drill instructors only try to “break” those who are new and green, and he (being physically fit and somewhat experienced in life) shouldn’t get picked on too much. You could tell he was as much reassuring himself as he was telling me. He said he’s having a massive party tonight, a “going away” thing with all his buddies.

I told him I’d call him again before he left, I really enjoyed talking to him. OK, I’m off. Peace.

Anyway, today is Friday, and I don’t really have any plans. I want to work on the yard tonight, but not sure. I’d also like to work on some of the Halloween props for the house haunt we’re doing. More about that later. That’s it for this entry.