it’s your civic duty!!

Everyone here at sounds familiar (which, actually, is just lonesome old me) urges you to get out and do your part in flexing the muscle of the people today.  In other words:

(Oh, and the “real” entry for today is just below this one.)

see you at the booths

Hey internet. Didja?

I’m going before work bright and early; depending on the coast you’re on and the time you’re reading this – I may in fact have already been. Think we’ll get a definitive result tonight? Not sure… but I sure hope so. We’re off to Oregon on Wednesday and I’d like to be able to know who’s taking office come January. Here’s hoping. Ready, set, blog.

Three random paragraphs I wrote and  have no way to make slick segues between, presented in no particular order:

I’m pretty sure that when I took “science” back in middle school that someone along the way taught me that the average lifsepan of a common housefly is about twenty-four hours; a single day.  In fact, unless I totally imagined that (for some oddball reason), I recall thinking how crappy that was.  Birth, a dedicated search for both potato salad and a suitable mate for procreation, and repeated attempts at escaping by flying headlong into closed windows (not even knowing what a window is or why you can see, but not fly, through it).  But man, that was a bunch of bunk.  There’s been a fly in our house for days now.  How he survives, I have no idea… but 24hrs is a load of dook.

Don’t know what I was thinking about doing a picnic today with Keaton on my “working from home” daddy-daycare day, it’s been cold, cloudy, and rainy for the past few days. I guess I was just in some daddy-n-daughter time fantasy world.  Instead, we decided to take a walk over to a local eatery, rain and all.  We both crowded under my large umbrella and braved the elements to have lunch together.  It was one of those salad-bar places so we both kinda hunted and pecked of my plate, veggie-style.  By the time we’d finished eating and chatting, the rain had subsided for our short jaunt back home.  The walk in that direction is mostly uphill and I thought up the idea of challenging Keaton to a “race” to the top in an attempt to at least let her expend some energy before naptime.  Was fun.

Finally decided to try and sync my iPhone Safari bookmarks with my “standard” bookmarks today.  I use a server-based bookmarking application called SiteBar to store/access my bookmarks.  That way, I can access/edit them in any browser and anyplace in the world – instead of having them locked to a particular application on a particular PC.  I used the SiteBar “export” feature to get an HTML bookmark file which I could import into Interner Explorer (which I don’t use, so was void of bookmarks), then told iTunes to sync the IE bookmarks with Safari.  Worked like a charm and it’s really nice to have the entirety of my usual bookmars on the device – really helps make the internet more usable.

OK folks, off to get one final pre-voting day dose of punditry before I sleep on my intended vote one last time (and, wait for my wife to get home from her short out-of-state trip!).  Have a good day, and I’ll be talkin’ to you tomorrow.


stick to blocks

A pleasantly productive-feeling Monday at work.

As the pendulum swings, this was one of those days where I felt like some of the work I do may actually impact something for the company when all is said and done.  I guess that means later this week it’ll swing back the other way and I’ll be left reminding myself the beast wouldn’t blink were I to disappear off the Earth.  Thankfully, my family still needs me.

Well, maybe not tonight… since Sharaun’s out and I’m here alone (Keaton’s already sleeping) listening to some John Mayall on the iPod.  And, even though I’ve turned down the volume on the Halloween display’s “ambient sound” (which is just howling wind, hooting owls, and some crow-caws on an endless loop) the sound is still dribbling through the front door and driving me mad.

Mmm… gotta be some blog around here somewhere…

Usually sometime after I get home in the evening, I’ll queue up the day’s episode of Countdown and watch it.  I know, I know… it’s about as left-loving as you can get, but I sometimes temper it with some O’Reilly Factor just so I’m not 100% brain-poisoned.  Anyway, today Keaton came out and sat on my lap during the show and, after a couple minutes of watching, told me she’d like to watch a Backyardigans.  Not really thinking before replying, I chose the flat-out lying route and said, “This is The Backyardigans, babe.”  “Not it’s not!,” she corrected me, “it’s Obama!”

Wow… too much politics on the TV methinks.  I don’t need a policitaclly aware two-and-a-half year old, thank you very much.  Anyway, we already have her saying prayers for McCain and Palin every night at 5pm PST (3pm CST, 2pm EST) so the liberal Satanists don’t make all the weddings be gay weddings.  Dude, kidding… totally kidding, OK?  Sheesh.

You know what I find amazing to think about.  Once, in the year 2003, I wrote a blog on the world-wide-web about some of the silly things I used to do back in gradeschool – which, by the way, was way back in the year 1988.  Then, that entry garnered a comment from someone who was actually in that fifth-grade class with me so many years ago – and he remembered me doing the silly stuff I was writing about.  That, my friends, is one of the reasons I love blogging (not that it happens all the time or anything).  But, really, the internet has made some amazing things possible… no?

I guess I have to end this somehow…

It’s 11:16pm now and I just got up from my laptop-side perch on the couch (the iPod is playing Ben Folds Five now, their self-titled debut… a truly seminal album from my college years) to take a pee.  As I rounded the corner into the hallway I gasped aloud at what lay before me: There, at my feet, was my beautiful and sound-asleep daughter laying face-down on the carpet in the middle of the hall.  I was actually so surprised to see her there I stood shell-shocked for a few seconds before scooping her up and taking her to bed.

She does that sometimes, sneaks out of her unlocked door and army-crawls to within inches of the hallway where she can hear and/or peek out and see Sharaun and I – but we typically hear her do it and can redirect her right away. I have to think she was there for quite a while tonight, she looked completely comfortable.  Dang this lulling music and stupid howling Halloween wind for masking her telltale steady breathing!  If the iPhone camera had a flash (I know, ridiculous, right?) I would’ve snapped  a picture to accompany the entry… but as it stands you’ll have to take my word for it.

That girl is hilarious to me.  I less-than-three her so bad.


halloween ’08 “walk-up”

Good evening beautiful denizens of the interwebs.

Hope your Wednesday was OK; mine was.  Some friends invited us over for another debate-watching party tonight, so with no time to get things done after work I snuck out about thirty minutes early at lunchtime and got some finishing work done on the Halloween display.  I setup the sound and did final placement and tacking on cables and motion detectors and whatnot.

I’m really happy with the way things turned out.  I’m using the prop activation timer as it’s supposed to be used instead of just as an afterthought as in 2006, and the rest of the work is just icing at this point.  Halloween could be tomorrow and I’d be OK (providing I carved a pumpkin or two with Keaton before nightfall).

And, since I’ve had at least one person ask me to see a video of the whole house “walk-up” as it’ll look to trick-or-treaters, here’s something I put together quickly tonight.  The only drawback to this video is that I don’t yet have the light hooked up to the ceiling dropper – so I had Sharaun hiding out shining a flashlight on it at the right time to simulate.  Unfortunately, the flashlight just isn’t bright enough and the effect doesn’t come through very well in the video.  Owell, maybe I’ll reshoot it once I hook up the real light (which will be a bit more orange and a lot more bright than what you see here).  So, check it out, and, come get some candy… if you’re not too skeered!

Anyway, with that last light and a couple handmade glowing Jack-o-lanterns it’ll look a lot better… I added it to the Halloween gallery too, y’know, for posterity’s sake.  Let’s move along now.

One of my best buddies has a daughter whose spending a year studying abroad in Sweden.  Before she left, I helped her setup a blog here on the servers so she could keep the masses updated with her foreign goings-on and post pictures and do general bloggy stuff.  She’s been gone now for a few months, and I’ve enjoyed reading her blog a lot in those times – it’s kind of like I’m getting to experience the whole culturally-displaced thing through her (even though she doesn’t write nearly enough).  Her last entry, however, really made me stop and think.  I’m gonna link it now without much setup or commentary and just let you take it in for yourself.  Read it by clicking here… heavy stuff for someone I still think of as the eight year old I first met so many years ago.

For real though, I’m straight-up doing a year abroad vicariously through her… since I was too chicken to ever do anything like that when I was younger.

OK folks, it’s coming up on 10pm and I need to not be at the computer for a bit.


hide and seek

Happy Friday-minus-one my fellow internet lurkers.  I talk music and politics today, although I think I weave the taboo topics in smartly enough that you’ll enjoy the narrative wrapped around them.  So, give it a try, wouldja?  Thanks.

I’m happy to share that I seem to be on the mend from my brief battle with a hit-and-run stomach sickness earlier this week.  And, even if it did force the cancellation of a long-planned trip to Oregon for some important (no, seriously, I missed something important) work-business and some even more-important family-business, I’m glad to share that I am once again comfortable enough to willfully pass gas without first heading to the bathroom.

Being at home today, and feeling much better than yesterday (and worlds better than Monday), I had some idle time on my hands.  I decided to try something I’ve been considering for a long time: Importing all my music into iTunes so that I can actually sync my Apple devices (iPod and iPhone) as they are designed.  So, I undertook that Herculean effort.  And, I’ll stop talking about it here now because I’ve broken off the detailed tech-heavy explanation into it’s very own blog entry you can read below (unless you’re an uber-nerd though, I don’t really recommend it).

Guys, guys, guys.  There are only a few unsolved musical mysteries left for me to ponder.  And, tonight, I totally solved one of the longest-running ones.  While I was sitting here typing, my iPod happened to shuffle up a live performance by Van Morrison (hey, it’s a 1-in-42,000 shot, them’s some odds!).  Now, this isn’t just any live performance, this is an incredible, amazing, vibrantly “alive” live vetting of Van’s “Summertime In England.  And, it’s a recording that I’ve been obsessed with for years.  Let’s tell the story, shall we?

Back in middle and high school, my best buddy Kyle was my musical sage, muse, encyclopedia, and conduit.  For a time, I got everything through Kyle, who himself got it all from his father by way of dubbed cassette tapes in the mail.  In a previous longwinded entry, I wrote about my “Kyle connection” thusly:

When I met Kyle after we moved to Florida, things exploded. With the influence his dad had on his extremely-mature-for-his-age and varied musical tastes, and the mainline connection to his dad’s collection in Texas (via dubbed cassettes again, but of course), my horde of lovingly hand-labeled 90min Maxells flourished.

Ahh… still as delicate a prose as the day I penned it, and just as accurate too.

Anyway, one of those recordings scored via a dubbed cassette from Kyle’s dad was a live version of a Van Morrison song before then unknown to me.  All I knew was that when I put on that tape and listened to that eleven minute orgy of musical and lyrical genius, I was transported.  Smiles creased my face unbidden, and the tune seemed to mate perfectly with the Fall weather of the season in which I first heard it. I was smitten from the moment I heard it, not even knowing the name of the tune.

I can remember vividly driving to Sharaun’s house early one Saturday morning in my little Red Nissan (perhaps it was still my parents’ litte Red Nissan at the time, actually).  I had the windows down and the cool Florida air (a welcome rarity for the few months we get it) streamed in as I listened to the tape.  The saxophones swelled as I crossed US-1 towards the river.  I remember we were headed to a pancake breakfast at McDonalds, I think to raise money for her soccer, or volleyball, or maybe it was softball team (Sharaun is the jock in our family).

The point being, that song was indelibly inked into my mind in that moment.

Somewhere along the road, as things transitioned from tape to CD, I put that well-worn cassette away.  And, eventually, somewhere in my college-years moves from apartment to apartment, I lost it altogether.  I never forgot that song though…

Several years later, after marrying Sharaun and moving to California, I decided I wanted to hear that song again.  Over the years, I’d done a fair job collecting a bunch of bootlegs – and I’d always been keen to pick up a new illicit Van Morrison recording in hopes my fabled song would be included.  Although I never did find the song, I had long before been able to identify the name of the track as “Summertime in England.”  Unfortunately, the song is a staple of many live Van performances – and trying to find a particular version based on vague memories of between-band banter just wasn’t that easy.

Believe me, I tried.  I e-mailed die-heard Van collectors every detail of the show I could recall.  I mentioned that he thanked the members of the band by name, and that he did this echoed lyrical interplay with another vocalist during the performance, where one guy copied the other guy almost at the same instant he sung his line.  They did the same thing with the guitar, I noted.  Not a bad level of detail from a then musty memory, but I had zero luck in locating the actual performance I was after.  Don’t get me wrong, I did manage to acquire ten or so other fantastic live versions of the song which kind collectors guessed might be the one I was after… but no paydirt despite my hunt.

Then, finally, out of frustration, I decided to cut to the chase.  Sometime in 2004 or so I decided to e-mail Kyle’s dad directly and just ask him about the performance.  I wondered, in my e-mail, if he recalled where in the world he got the tape… or did he even know what performance I was referring to?  I figured going to the source was my best option.  Turns out Kyle’s dad knew instantly exactly which song I was referring to (of course he would, he’s the same as me in that way).  However, he said he “thought” he recalled dubbing his cassette off an old VHS he’d recorded from a television broadcast, but could remember nothing more than that.

He did, however, still have that dub and promptly offered to send me a CD-R copy.  I supplied my address, the CD came, I thanked him profusely and dutifully ripped the now legendary-to-me performance onto my iPod… which brings us back full-circle to it being shuffled up tonight.

As my face beamed listening to the song again, I began wondering about typing some exact phrases from the band banter into Google… just fishing.  Turns out I got a single hit on the phrase “Mr. Morrison” “Mr. Hospitality.”  It led me to a message board where it mentioned a “Beacon ’89” show.  A few Google searches later and I’d landed on a YouTube clip of Van Morrison and his band playing “Summertime In England” live at the Beacon Thearer in New York City in November 1989 (too bad it’s clipped at the beginning).  And, wouldn’t you know it… it was the song.  That’s right, the version I’d been looking for forever (and, I suppose, had actually “found” a few years back – although still not fully knowing all the background).

And, with a little more digging I’d turned up the fact that a two-disc soundboard quality bootleg of the show exists under the title Inspired Evenings.  Minutes after that, that very bootleg was streaming it’s way, via a series of bits and bytes, onto my hard drive – from the very nether regions of the internet.  And now it’s done, one great mystery solved.  Next – the unidentifiable mixtape of 1992… I swear I’m gonna crack that case one day… I just know it.

OK, end music stuff.

Before I go, I wanted to remind everyone (even if you voted in a recent primary) to go ahead and double-check your registered voter status.  With deadlines looming in nearly every state, it’s in your best interest to confirm your registered status so you have no surprises at your polling place come November.  And yes, I mean this regardless of whom you intend to vote for 🙂

To check your status in your state, use the this handy website (quite a few states have quick and painless online status checking).  Happy democracying!


it’s cool y’all

‘Round 9pm and Sharaun’s out (more on that later).  I’m listening to the iPod on shuffle, just switched from some late 50s free-jazz to Radiohead’s “Stop Whispering” to James Brown live at the Apollo.  I love shuffle.

Just another Friday here in America.  You know, no closure on our government’s taxpayer-backed $700B Wall Street bailout; the largest bank seizure ever with Washington Mutual being commandeered by the FDIC before it can crumble on it’s own, then later sold piecemeal to JP Morgan; even China won’t lend us money anymore

It’s cool y’all.  Don’t worry.  Oh!  Did you see the new Real Rules Road World challenge!?  I totally almost choked on my Grilled Stuffed Chalupa when that one gay dude was making out with that inflatable sex doll in Vatican Square!  It was, like, so hilarious, I had to put down my People magazine and full-on got Fire Sauce all over the picture of Brad Pitt’s newest and blackest baby.

What a mess; what a mess.

We can get past this.  Let’s write…

At work, I usually run the MSN instant messaging client in the background on my laptop.  We have our own internal-only sawmill IM client, but I use the MSN one to talk to people outside of work.  Typically this is limited to Sharaun, and maybe on or two other friends who don’t happen to work at the same sawmill or live in the same state/country as me.  It’s useful for quick communication with Sharaun though, particularly if I’m tied up in a meeting – as I can type out a quick answer to things like, “Hey, can you pick up some milk on the way home?” and the like.

Sometimes though, IM just doesn’t cut it.  That delay between reading and writing can really gum up the gears of a conversation.  Take, for example, this exchange between Sharaun and I this morning.  She was at home, presumably eating bon-bons and doing her toenails, and I was at work, winning bread or some such.  Marvel:

sharaun says:
you know color me mine
that pottery painting place by the bounce place

dave knows all your secrets says:
i don’t really know it, why?

sharaun says:
I wanted to go if that was ok with you

Straight-forward enough.  At this point, I think I understand what’s going.  There’s some paint-your-own pottery place around here (apparently next to the bounce place we sometimes take Keaton) and she wants to go.  I’m not sure, however if she’s asking if I want to go with her, or if she’s asking if she can go with a friend (meaning she’s actually asking me if I’m OK with Keaton for the evening).   So, I proceed to inquire down this path:

dave knows all your secrets says:
are you asking me to go?

sharaun says:
that’s what “I wanted to go if that was ok with you” means

OK, makes sense now.  She’s asking if we all want to go, as a family, to the paint-your-own pottery place over by the bouncy place we sometimes take Keaton.  Glad I asked.  At this point, I’m already typing up the explanation of why I misunderstood her the first time.  See, I want to explain that I was just unsure if she was asking me to go, or asking if she could go with a friend.  But, right before I hit send on that message, she replies again:

sharaun says:
anyway, there is a MOPS moms night out there tonight at 6:30

And, seconds later, I hit “enter” on the sentence I’d been typing”

dave knows all your secrets says:
i thought you might be asking if it’s OK if you go w/liz and spend money or something.  when?
you want to go tonight?

On her end, confusion blooms:

sharaun says:
I said 6:30
not Liz
are you reading what I type at all?

Man, I hate it when this happens.  Now we’re exactly one thought out of sync.  I try to type a little faster and make my seemingly misplaced explanation a little more clear:

dave knows all your secrets says:
when you asked me if it was OK, i didn’t know if you were asking me to go or asking if you could go w/someone else (assumed liz)

There, that’s totally clear, right?  I just misunderstood her.

sharaun says:
no. It’s tonight at 6:30. Do you mind?
I can have dinner ready beforehand

OK, now I’m getting confused.  It’s the phrase “Do you mind?” that out of place here to me.  I need some further clarification, and attempt to get it:

dave knows all your secrets says:
do you normally ask someone if they “mind” when you’re trying to invite them somewhere?  sounds like you’re wondering if i “mind” you going w/o me?
how long would we be there?

See, the whole “Do you mind” thing really makes it seem like she’s asking if I mind her going… it just seemed like an odd way to ask me to join my own family at the paint-your-own pottery place up by the bouncy place we sometimes take Keaton to.  I mean, she clearly told me above that she was asking me to go with her… right?  Her response:

sharaun says:
I am asking if you mind watching K

Oh, wait… what?  Now she is asking if I mind her going and leaving Keaton with me.  By now, I am royally confused, and have decided we are having two totally different conversations.  I let her know this as tactfully as I can:

dave knows all your secrets says:
good god you make no sense

There.  That should do it.

sharaun says:
what about that makes you think you are invited?


dave knows all your secrets says:
you never said that

Whoops, my first mistake.  I was spotless up until here.  I should’ve been reading a bit closer back there I suppose.

sharaun says:
sharaun  says:
anyway, there is a MOPS moms night out there tonight at 6:30

Oh, I see.  She copied her own sentence from a few lines above.

dave knows all your secrets says:

sharaun says:
I never said that?

OK.  Whatever.  This conversations is almost over.

dave knows all your secrets says:
i’m going to punch off your face

sharaun says:
not if yours is already laying on the ground and you can’t see me

dave knows all your secrets says:
no sure, that’s fine.
i don’t mind.
i like watching her

sharaun says:

dave knows all your secrets says:
plus i get to listen to music when you’re gone.

sharaun says:
I’ll make you a pretty piece of pottery

dave knows all your secrets says:
OK, make a bong so i can smoke tons of weed…
and then maybe you’ll make sense

sharaun says:

dave knows all your secrets says:
love you.  sorry i don’t read right.

A flawed technology, I tell you… flawed.

Well, Sharaun’s car decided to crap out on the side of the road today.  I went to rescue her (and Keaton) and the thing was towed off to the local shop.  No word yet on the damages, but I suspect some kind of transmission problem (because, as you know, I’m an expert in all things car).  So, we’re doing the one vehicle thing with her taking me to work (which also means she has to take me by the donut place beforehand tomorrow – can’t come empty handed on my turn for the rotating managers-bring-donuts Friday). It’s cool, two cars is overrated.

Hey, Bill put up some pictures from our “extended lunch” the other day when we drove downtown to meet Sharaun and Susie at the circus.  Since I haven’t posted pictures of Keaton in ages, you should go check out what she looks like with her new retro bob and black dye-job.  Man… I think Bill’s camera needs an adjustment, I look globular.

Goodnight friends, have a good weekend and I’ll holla at you Monday.

america’s smarter than a dancer

Wednesday night.  Still have to take the trash out; will probably wait until like midnight-thirty like I always do.

Almost through one wall-to-wall listen of the new Of Montreal record (again).  I’ve gone from a curious interest to pure infatuation with this record; and, through repeat listenings, have gained enough appreciation for it that I feel safe lauding it.  We see them live in the city the week before Thanksgiving, looking forward to a splashy glam fantastic show.

Sharaun’s watching that awful awful dancing show on TV.  No, I don’t know which one… they are all so horrible, and there seems to be so many of them.  Dancing With This, Dancing Around That, America’s Got Dancers, CSI Dancing… whatever.  I’ll just stay here hunched over my laptop, reading and writing and surfing the internet while I try not to listen…

Watched George address us this evening; he deserves some credit for offering a sound and concise explanation of the current situation – hopefully it works to raise the general awareness.  Also give him points for citing a desire for 1) low taxpayer risk, 2) no golden-parachutes for failed CEOs, and 3) bipartisan oversight and process transparency as critical aspects of a successful plan.  Overall, I thought it was a well-delivered and timely address to the nation.  Credit where credit is due.  I still have strong feelings over the whole thing, and don’t desire one bit to see my investments continue in their downward spiral, but I suppose us thirty-somethings are in it for the long-haul at this point.  It’s that, or win the lottery…

OK internet – as Keaton says to me, “I’ll see you in the morning when I wake up!”  Goodnight.