Monday, December 29, 2008

The First Wii-In

Thanks to a freelance copy editing check, I bought a Wii today. Tomorrow, I'll sell my PS2 and games to cover some of the cost.

I decided recently that a Wii was for me after I did some boxing and tennis on someone else's Wii Sport (the game that comes with the console). My heart rate was up, and I was sweating...a decent cardio workout. And a helluva lot more fun than a stationary bike.

So I bought the Wii for health purposes. Really! I'll try to play on the Wii for 45 minutes to an hour each day (the sacrifices we make) as my exercise. I'll track my weight, and in mid-January I have to see my doctor again anyway, so I can see if the exercise is helping my cholesterol and triglycerides at all. In the meantime, I'll just have some fun.

So at tonight's Wii-in, I come in at an embarassing 215 lbs. Gotta start Wii-in' it off!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Boxing Day Cleanup

This Christmas is proof positive that it really does pay to post your wish list on your blog!

Dear Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, et al.,
Christmas may be over, but don't feel that a late gift will be unappreciated. I didn't get that house in Lawrence Township that I was hoping to find under the tree, so feel free to help me cross that off my wish list anytime during 2009.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Christmas Wish

Our company holiday party was yesterday. In the past, they have been pretty lame because they try to do too much (like hiring a magician instead of just letting people socialize). But, still, it's hard to pass up free food these days. And there were door prizes.

But in the end, I'm really glad I went. I made the acquaintance of two women I didn't previously know, though I would see them around often enough. One in particular, the (ahem) single one, seems quite intelligent, has a quick wit, seems to share my sense of humor, knows a lot of obscure trivia (like me), and . . . well . . . is single.

So now I'm trying to figure out how to screw my courage to the sticking place and ask her out. I'll be happy if I can get through the conversation without having an anxiety attack, even if she shoots me down.

[Update: I was red as a beet, but I made it through. We're going to a little chamber concert tomorrow night.]

Thursday, December 04, 2008

My First Christmas Present 08

I was surprised this afternoon at work by the delivery of a package. I hadn't ordered anything, wasn't expecting anything. I don't get packages at home, much less at work.

The return address revealed that it was from the production company that put together the new videos we put on (more about this below). Somehow I had become the "math guy" — my degree in music certainly made me qualified, eh? — and I had helped the people at this company decipher what we had given them to use as scripts for some videos about Calculus. (I took Algebra 2 my sophomore year of high school, and didn't take a math class again until my junior year of college, and that was business math.)

Anyway, inside the package I found a little gift bag from a place in Michigan. Inside the bag was a really cool travel mug (bearing the production company's logo) and four little bags of specialty coffees.

This gift, my first Christmas gift this year, brought a bright ray of caffeinated joy to an otherwise somnambulant day.

--- was relaunched recently, and there are a mess of videos and new free content to see there. If you haven't stopped in to check it out, you oughta. Here's a fun little video about adding and subtracting fractions. Much of the rest of my daily labors will go to creating more content to put on this site. There's a lot of stuff there already, but we've left plenty of room to grow.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Fruit of the Womb

So my best friend found out today that the bean in her belly is female. Let the baby-naming fun begin!

The mother had some horrible heart problems when she was born, so this pregnancy is officially somewhat risky. As such, she has been getting ultrasounds more often than normal, with special attention paid to the baby's heart. The bean's heart looked healthy in today's ultrasound.

With that in mind, I thought they ought to name the bean something that meant "good heart" or "strong heart." Unfortunately, I couldn't find a name online that meant exactly this that was actually a decent name. I don't think they would go for Creuddylad or Azami (though, considering the bean is one-quarter Japanese, perhaps Azami would make a great middle name?).

I did, though, land on Cordelia, which might (might!) come from the Latin "cor," heart. Plus, there's the Shakespeare reference, which is almost always good.

So there. That's my official (and perhaps only serious) suggestion for a name to replace "Cletus the Fetus."

Monday, December 01, 2008

I've Run Out of Context

Statements actually made over Thanksgiving vacation:

Phrases you hear only from the mouths of young children (let's hope): "Nobody wants to hear about your penis!"

Things only your grandmother can say: "You're getting fat!" I considered correcting her: I'm not getting fat, I am fat. But I made some statement about joining the Y instead.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Life Lessons from Homemade Salsa

I made some salsa again last night. It turned out yummy, but I learned something very important: the oils from hot peppers don't wash off one's hands very easily. At one point, both of my eyes were stinging from the oils after I unconsciously rubbed them with my fingers.

And then, later, I had to go to the bathroom.

I might just have to buy some disposable rubber gloves the next time I want to make salsa.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Another Year Younger

I turned 34 last week. They say that 40 is the new 30, but as far as I know, 34 is still just 34.


I wish I had turned 40, so I could be four years younger than I am now.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Voting Follow-Up: Foretelling Results

On the way back from voting, I stopped at Panda Express for some lunch. My fortune cookie had this to say: SOON YOU WILL BE SITTING ON TOP OF THE WORLD. Since I'm not planning any trips to Tibet in the near future, this could mean only one of three things:

  1. I will suddenly come in to a lot of money.
  2. The girl of my dreams will drop into my life.
  3. Obama will take Indiana.

I can't decide which is the more realistic option. It has to be one of these. And fortune cookies never lie.

My Voting Experience: Thinking of Changing My Name

Because I work so close to my polling place, I figured I could avoid the before- and after-work voting crowd by taking my lunch hour a little early and going to vote.

I arrived at 10:40 with two books to read. (I'm nearing the end of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, so I brought a second book in case I finished it.) Two precincts are voting at my polling place. When I got there, I saw one long line and one line with only five people in it. Turns out that both of these lines were for my precinct. There was no waiting for voters from the other precinct, and maybe ten people voted there while I waited in line. (I can't be too certain of that number because my nose was buried Jekyll and Hyde; at any rate, I never saw a line there.)

As I said, both lines — the long and the short — were for my precinct. One was for last names A–M, the other for N–Z. Guess which line I was in!

That's right. I was in the long A–M line. Seems my precinct has more Davises, Johnsons, and Millers than Smiths, Taylors, and Williamses. (Incidentally, I just found a list of the most common surnames in the US; 19 of the top 30 fall into that first half of the alphabet.) Maybe I should change my last name to Ziegfeld so I don't have to spend so much time at the polls?

But, all-in-all, it wasn't terrible. I was out of there by 11:15, and I got some reading done. Now we just need to see if any of the people I voted for actually win. (Cross your fingers that we know the election results before December this time!)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Wish List 08

Both my twenty-four(teen)th birthday and Christmas are coming up soon, and people always ask me what I kind of gifts I want. Whenever someone asks me the question, though, my mind goes completely blank. So here I'll keep a running list of things I'd like, so you lucky few who read this blog won't be left in the dark. (A certain amount of analysis can reveal more about what kind of person I am, too, probably revealing more about me than I would like to.)

So, here's my wish list for 2008:

  • Caroline Hartig's Clarinet Brillante II. I don't already own this CD from my college clarinet prof, and there's no excuse for it. [Finally bought this, Spring 2009]
  • A wireless router (as opposed to a cordless router — we're talking WiFi here) [All I went out and bought this one myself. I still get to cross it off the list!]
  • A subscription to Games magazine [Thanks, Dad!]
  • The CD Best of Bowie [Thanks Ginia!]
  • The Kronos Quartet's Nuevo [Thanks, Mom!]
  • Coldplay's Viva La Vida
  • Spore Creepy and Cute Parts Pack [Thanks, Nelsons!]
  • Neal Stephenson's new novel Anathem [Thanks, Jean!]
  • A 26-hour day
  • Russel Shorto's Descartes Bones
  • A house in Lawrence township (in hopes that Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, et al. surf the blogosphere looking for ways to spend money)
  • One of those nonclassical-music creation programs, like one of these. [Anyone know of a good Cakewalk guide?]
  • Effects pedals for an electric guitar (I don't have any, so anything from simple distortion to a wah-wah pedal would be great -- get them used at eBay)
  • Maybe a new watch (analog, something interesting but not too visually loud) [Even better: an old watch. Two, actually, that belonged to my brother.]
  • A large donation to the Indiana Wind Symphony
  • A small sculpture of a clarinetist, to add to my small collection [Not a sculpture, but a nice framed paper silhouette]
  • Teen Titans: The Complete Fifth Season [Found this at Fry's]
  • The New England Jazz Ensemble Wishes You a Cookin' Christmas

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Compliment . . . 16 Years Later

Way back in the early days of the nineties, when big hair bands were giving way to grunge and a Bush-free eight years was just beginning, I took a printmaking class in high school. One of the projects we did was silk screening. I created "my version" of Picasso's "The Old Guitarist," which, hopefully, you can see here:
The Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso

The original.

This is from Picasso's Blue Period. Thinking of him as "The Blue Guitarist," I gave him an electric guitar and sunglasses and made him "The Blues Guitarist." I made six prints (and I'm realizing now that I never took a picture of them). I have one of them (the first one, which definitely wasn't the best one) hanging up in my office cube.


The Blues Guitarist

The complete and total fraud

I had since forgotten what happened to the other five. This weekend, I got a Facebook e-mail from Kelly. Kelly wrote to tell me that I had given her one copy of this print, and that she had moved it around from apartment to apartment and displayed it for 16 years, framed even. As you can imagine, this made me feel quite good.

Honestly, I didn't even remember who this Kelly was. I looked through her photos on Facebook for a while before I recognized her. I don't remember actually giving her the print, but I do remember that she was a pretty red-head, which in those days (okay, still!) would have been enough for me to do anything for her. I was such a pushover for a pretty face and red hair.

Too often, things from our past can come up and bite us. It was nice that something from my past came up and gave me a big hug.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Language Log Blogroll: A Follow-up

I mentioned here that I had suddenly experienced a rise in readership on my other blog, Logophilius, for no apparent reason. Well, I think I found the reason. Logophilius is now listed in the blogroll at Language Log, and some people who read that blog (and there are a large number of them) must have seen it and clicked over.

I hadn't noticed because I get their RSS feed in Outlook, and I rarely click over to the actual Language Log site anymore. But today I did.

I am honored to be included. But once again, this means that I need to keep up with posting.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Networks Get Smart

It's no secret that, instead of coming up with creative original ideas, TV and movie studios are clamoring to remake hit shows from the 70s and 80s. Underdog, Speed Racer, Get Smart, American Gladiators, Battlestar Galactica Knight Rider, etc.

Well, somebody finally got smart. Instead of putting out the money to create crappy remakes of old shows, someone finally decided to just re-release the old shows instead!

Over at NBC's Wayback Wednesday (, you can find episodes of The A-Team, the Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Rod Serling's Night Gallery, Buck Rogers, the original Battlestar Galactica, and a couple of shows I'm not interested in.

I thought it was just NBC, but WOOT!, CBS ( has The Twilight Zone (the original, with Rod Serling), MacGyver, the original Star Trek, Beauty and the Beast, and HOLY CRAP! MY ALL-TIME FAVORITE SHOW Twin Peaks!

Looks like FOX and ABC need to catch up...and I can just about get rid of my TV and live on my computer.

Monday, September 22, 2008

You Didn't Say What You Thought You Said

Without looking at your keyboard, can you figure out what's wrong with this statement:

Okay, so there is really more than one thing wrong with this statement — most notably the fact that someone would be making statements about their penis size in a public forum.

This was just too funny. I had to share.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Computers Launch World Domination Plan

Complicated, globally linked computer systems are supposed to be labor-saving devices. But at what cost?

Last week, I went through the Taco Bell drive through for a quick bite and ordered three supreme chicken soft tacos and a medium gluggable. I estimated that the bill would be around (but under) $8, considering I ordered four items, each of which costs less than $2. When I pulled around, my bill was up over $9. I questioned the woman in the window about it. Because "Chicken Soft Taco Supreme" isn't in their computer system, she punched up a fiesta soft taco, minus avocado sauce and fiesta salsa, plus sour cream and diced tomatoes. Each "additional" item cost me 30 cents per taco; but of course I didn't get any "discount" for removing items.

I argued with her a bit. It didn't make sense to me that one taco ought to cost 60 cents more than another with the same number of toppings, as if sour cream (plenty of cows in Indiana) is much more expensive than avocado sauce (plenty of avocados in Indiana?), and — more to the point — that diced tomatoes cost more than machine-processed salsa with multiple ingredients. In the end, she argued that she couldn't change the way the computer rang up the bill.

(To her benefit, I could tell she was frustrated, but she didn't lose her temper with me, and always kept smiling.)

Computers – 1; Humans – 0

Last Friday, I stopped in at Papa Murphy's Take-n-Bake Pizza. The sign out front advertised a large pepperoni pizza for $6.99. I ordered one half-pepperoni, half-cheese and one with pepperoni, chicken, and diced tomatoes (a great combination after I added diced garlic to it at home). The bill: $23 and change. I had been charged full price ($10.99) for the half-pepperoni pizza.

I asked him about this — after it was wrung up but before I signed the receipt — and was told that, because he had to ring it up with "special" toppings (as opposed to, I don't know, pushing the big red "Pepperoni Pizza" button), it wouldn't ring up as the special, so I had to pay full price.

That's right: I paid $4 to have half the pepperoni removed.

(Why didn't I just order a pepperoni pizza and move the toppings around when I got home? Hindsight being what it is, this is what I should have done. I very rarely order uncooked pizza, so I guess my pizza-ordering habits weren't quite ready to make the shift. Plus, I was so excited that they actually had chicken as a topping choice.)

Computers – 2; Humans – 0

Just now I went to Taco Bell again; this time I went inside. The customer in front of me ordered a simple lunch and gave the cashier his credit card. She ran it through the Credit card machine and waited. And waited. And waited. She ran it through again. More waiting. She ran it through the machine in the drive-through area. More waiting. Apparently, the credit card machine broke just before I got to order (I was paying with a credit card anyway). A couple of other people tried things, but nothing worked.

It must have been 10 minutes of waiting. Not until production slowed to halt — because no one else could order — did someone with some knowledge and authority assess the situation. Yup. It's broken. Cash only.

The guy in front of me and the people waiting in the drive-through got their food for free. I only had a little cash on me and ended up spending less than a third of what I had planned at Taco Bell. Production stopped, customers got frustrated, and Taco Bell lost money, all because one little piece of technology stopped working.

Computers – 3; Humans – 0

Keeping all this in mind makes me wonder if I really should be worried about the big atom smasher in Switzerland.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A New Face(book), and a Surprising Jump in Readership

On Sunday night, I finally opened a Facebook account. Why, after avoiding what will surely become another time sink for so long, did I finally decide to do it. Because I had a reason, for once. The Indiana Wind Symphony now has a Facebook page, and I figured I, as president, ought to be in there, too. (I didn't say it was a good reason.) There are probably a dozen or so other IWS members in there, too, that I've already "friended."

I don't know whether it's related, but this weekend saw a (for me) huge jump in readership on my other blog, Logophilius. I got five new comments from five new people in the last three days. I think that just about matches the number of comments I had gotten the entire year before that.

But, now that I know there are actually some people reading it, I'll have to actually update it more regularly. And I don't mean once-a-year regularly. I'll be happy with once a week.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Abe Martin Lodge

I took this last week before school off to have a little vacation with the boys. Monday, we went to the Indianapolis Children's Museum. Tuesday, we were going to go to Conner Prairie, but it rained a lot the night before (and it was raining that morning), and I thought it would be too muddy.

This morning (Wednesday), we got on the road at about 11:00 and drove down to brown County State Park and checked into the Abe Martin Lodge, which is where I'm writing this post.

We had come here with Grandma for Easter dinner back in the Spring. At that point, they were in the process of creating a little indoor waterpark (which they laughingly call and "aquatic center"). Now the waterpark is done, so it seemed like the perfect place for a vacation. When we get tired of the waterpark, we're in the middle of Brown County State Park, where we can go hiking, or find a playground, or even leave the grounds and go over to nearby Nashville, Indiana.

So we checked in a little before 2:00. I discovered when I got here that the normal check-in time is 4:00, which I thought was really weird. Luckily, they had a room ready for us anyway.

We spent about an hour in the waterpark after we unloaded our stuff. It's a neat little place: one water slide, a little water volleyball "court," a splash area with all sorts of falling and shooting water, and a hot tub that isn't too hot for kids. The deepest part of the pool is the water volleyball "court," at 5 feet. The majority of the pool is 3.5 feet, including at the bottom of the slide, which means Hollandbeck the Elder has a full run of the pool (he even went down the slide a dozen times, after I talked him into it), and Hollandbeck the Younger has a lot of room to splash around in and have fun.

I have heard that the residents of Nashville are a little pissed off about the waterpark because it isn't open to the public; only registered guests can use it. After being in there, I see why that is a wise choice. If you've ever gone to a public waterpark during the summer, you probably remember how crowded it was — lines for the water slides, people running into each other underwater, all the chairs taken. A waterpark of this size just couldn't handle that many people. You could certainly cram that many people into it, but very few people would have a lot of fun there.

Anyway, it's a nice little place. The rooms are nice, and they're done up in a rustic look. The beds have quilts instead of comforters, and the pillows have quilted covers with a picture of (in our room, at least) big owls on them. The entertainment center, tables, chairs, and headboards are all woodsy, with a lot of bark still on the wood.

Oh, and they have free WiFi. But no free breakfast.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Oral Topography

Talk about a horrible day . . .


About a month ago, I discovered a big gap between a couple of molars. I thought one of my old fillings had broken, creating the gap. I let it go because it was just a nuisance at the time.

A couple days ago, it really started to hurt, and the pain expanded through the whole right side of my jaw and up to my ear. It got to be so bad that I left work early and drove over to the Immediadent clinic at Castleton Mall. This was the bad news:

I had a cavity eating its way under an old filling. The sudden gap was most likely caused by a chunk of my tooth falling out and the filling shifting a little into the space left by the cavity. The pain started when the cavity ate its way down to the nerves in the tooth.

I had two options:

  • A root canal, which would cost nearly $2,000 and involve a minimum of two visits to the dentist.
  • I could have it pulled for $288.

I mulled it over for a while. It was a tough decision. I hope I made the right one. I had it pulled.

I got to see the tooth after it was pulled. (I wanted to keep it, but apparently the law doesn't allow it.) Teeth are apparently like trees: there's more below the gums than there is above. It seemed like it was huge!

I guess, in the grand scheme of things, I've done well. I went 33 years without requiring any stithces — at least that I can remember. Still . . .


Talk about a horrible day . . .

Monday, July 21, 2008

Heather B and Bad Prom Night Memories

[Written on July 10, but posted late.]

I wasn't always the well-adjusted, polite, thoughtful megalomaniac that you know and love today.

Wednesday night, after rehearsal, I stopped in at Starbuck's for a cuppa and ran into Heather B, who was working there part-time. I went to high school with Heather B, and very nearly went to the senior prom with her. In fact, I asked her to go, even though I really didn't want to at the time. But time was running out, and in my teenage mind, getting to the senior prom was a very important thing to do. And there it was, the week before prom, and I didn't have a date.

I found out that Heather didn't have a date yet and asked her. I found out soon after that Stephanie, the German foreign exchange student, didn't have a date either. So I snuffed Heather and asked Stephanie. Now, I don't remember the order in which things happened, but Heather actually said yes to my offer, which means I basically dumped her, leaving her dateless the week before the prom, to take Stephanie.

I felt bad about it at the time, but, if it's possible, I feel worse about it now. It was a really idiotic, selfish, small-minded thing to do. But I think I paid for it. Stephanie was carrying a torch for one of the Schatts twins — maybe even the one who was, at the time, dating my future ex-wife. She (Stephanie) had no interest in me (well, I had no real interest in her, either). I was little more than a way for her to get to the prom without going stag. (Do women go stag? Or do they go doe?)

On top of that, I went with a group that included my own ex-girlfriend, for whom I had mixed feelings. I was definitely the odd man out in this group.

So, Heather B, if by some stretch of the imagination you stumble across this blog post, I apologize for how I treated you during this whole senior prom process. I was a real dick. If it's any consolation, I had a horrible, expensive time, and I'm sure I would have had a better time with you.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Moldy Peaches

I finally saw the movie Juno this weekend. I liked it so much that I watched it again.

"Anyone Else but You" by the Moldy Peaches is my new favorite song. It's the song that Ellen Page and Michael Cera ended the movie with, and I think it captures well what love ought to feel like.

But maybe I'm just a touch too romantic. And maybe I've watched too many movies with happy endings.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Four Fours

I stumbled upon this little brain teaser a few months ago. Since then, I've kept a sheet of paper near my computer that I've added to when something strikes me, and I think I've finally completed it. Here's the puzzle:

  1. Start with four fours: 4 4 4 4

  2. Add mathematical operators between and around these four fours so that you end up with equations that equal the numbers 1 through 20.

Hint: You'll have to use six different operators, as well as parentheses, to accomplish this.

Here are my answers. Some of these (the first one, is a good example) have more than one possible answer. I went with the one that involves the fewest HTML codes. (And, yes, some of the parentheses are redundant because of the order of operations, but I think they're also easier to read.)

See if you can figure it out, and then click the link below to see my answers.

  1. (4 + 4) ÷ (4 + 4)

  2. 4 × (4 ÷ (4 + 4))

  3. (4 + 4 + 4) ÷ 4

  4. (√4 + √4) × (4 ÷ 4)

  5. ((4 × 4) + 4) ÷ 4

  6. √4 + 4 × (4 ÷ 4)

  7. (4 + 4) – (4 ÷ 4)

  8. 4 + 4 + 4 – 4

  9. 4 + 4 + (4 ÷ 4)

  10. 4 + 4 + 4 – √4

  11. (4! ÷ √4) – (4 ÷ 4)

  12. (√4 + √4 + √4) × √4

  13. (4! ÷ √4) + (4 ÷ 4)

  14. 4 + 4 + 4 + √4

  15. (4 × 4) – (4 ÷ 4)

  16. 4 + 4 + 4 + 4

  17. (4 × 4) + (4 ÷ 4)

  18. 4! – (√4 + √4 + √4)

  19. 4! – 4 – (4 ÷ 4)

  20. (4 × 4) + (√4 × √4)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Meeting notes

I was pretty tired today because back pain kept me tossing and turning last night. In an afternoon meeting, I even started counting sheep. Here are my notes from the meeting:
Okay, so one of them is really a wolf in sheep's clothing. Either way, it didn't help me fall asleep this afternoon.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


One of my new favorite blogs: FAIL Blog.

Some happy shots from that blog:

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

IWS Season Ender

I think that our final concert went well. I got very lucky with the PowerPoint presentation — especially considering that the conductor unknowingly started the second movement before I had even pulled it up on the screen. I've got nothing but compliments about it.

The silent auction, though, was pitiful. We didn't even have two dozen items up for auction. (Last year, we had over 30. But we also had a larger audience.) Last year we made about $1,000; this year we didn't even break $400.

I just don't know what to do to get people in the band to put in some extra work. I know I need to help create a sense of ownership among the band-members, get them invested, so that they will stop just expecting things to happen the way they're supposed to. Most of the people just come and play, and the behind-the-scenes machinations that keep the ensemble going are just SEP: somebody else's problem.

I think we need some measurable goals to work toward. We need both monetary and musical goals, and some way to report how close we are to achieving those goals. That way, it won't just be a string of individual concerts, but a single continuing season. But how do we do that?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Final IWS Concert of the Season

The final concert of the 2007–08 regular season for the Indiana Wind Symphony is this Sunday, June 1. This is the concert that ends up taking up so much of my time, and that isn't even for practicing.

We have some traditions at our final concert. We give out the James B. Calvert Award for the Outstanding Indiana Music Educator. We also give out the Bob Day award to the outstanding member of the group. I don't have much to do with that.

But we also have our annual silent auction at our final concert. Once again, it has fallen to me to hold on to the auction items that people bring in (though, to be honest, the only auction items I have are the ones donated by my parents). I also print up auction sheets by creating a spreadsheet and doing a mail merge in Word.

Another tradition, and this is only the third year for it, is for the final piece of the concert to be something big and to include a visual presentation (using PowerPoint). Guess who puts that together. It just happens to be the guy who copy edited the original Cutting Edge PowerPoint For Dummies. This year, the piece is James Barnes' Fourth Symphony, "Yellowstone Portraits." It's about 22 minutes long, and I'm having a hard time finding enough pictures to put it together...or at least enough pictures to make it interesting. I do have a couple of videos to include this year. And it's taking up so much of my time.

As if that weren't enough, I also have to assemble the program, which runs 16 or 20 pages. This year we even have an advertiser.

All this, and I have to play most of the concert, too. I'm even taking Friday off of work to make sure everything gets done on time. And I have two freelance copy editing assignments smoldering on the back burner while I do all this. (sigh)

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy doing these things -- well, except for the auction stuff, which is just a pain. But I think next year, I'll just sit out for the playing part of the concert and concentrate on the other creative stuff. Or maybe I can get started on the PowerPoint presentation in, say, January (or next week), so I can have it finished before we even start rehearsals for that concert. (Like that'll happen. I thrive on deadlines a little too much.)

After all this, I just hope the concert is a success.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


An update on the never-ending search for intellectual and emotional connection.

Last night on, I found a local musician that, for the most part, looks on paper to be just the kind of woman I'm looking for. She's a violist with a Master's degree in performance, and she teaches viola and violin in the area. All of our other stats line up well except that she posted that she was looking for someone who had never been married and didn't have any kids. I'm hoping she will overlook that, at least for now. I wrote to her last night and have been crossing my fingers that she'll write back (which makes it difficult to type).

This morning, though, I couldn't help myself. I started Googling around. It only took me about 20 minutes to find some more, real information about this woman, including her real name, where she works, and even her home address and phone number. Is this considered cyber-stalking? I hope not. I don't plan on doing anything untoward with that information -- except maybe to point out that there are a lot better pictures of her out there than the ones she has posted at

But did I break "the rules" by searching her out online? For all I know, she could be doing the same. There is certainly enough information in my profile for someone to find me, if they really wanted to. It might lead someone directly to this blog. Hey, she could be reading this right now!

Hey! IndyViolaBelle! Drop me a line! I really am a nice guy, and my children are wonderful and gifted. I hope to hear from you soon!

(Sigh. I think that's the last of my optimism for the day.)

Monday, May 05, 2008

A Weight-Loss Summer

This summer, I will lose 30 pounds. I will lose 30 pounds.

Okay, with a little help from my froggy friends (or, in this case, from my toady friends) I hope to find the motivation to actually do what I set out to do this summer.

Today's weight measurement: an embarassing 206 lbs.
This week: More exercise, less chocolate. More beans, less cheese.

(Un)Health Update

I had a visit with my doctor this afternoon, six months after my last visit, and six months after being on Tri-Cor to lower my triglycerides.

The results: I’m very bad at this staying healthy thing. I have no self-control. Plus, I hate that I feel like I have to do it alone.

But, more specifically:

Test Healthy Range Result 8/20/08 Result 10/4/08 Result 5/5/08
Cholesterol 140–200 228 ↓185 ↑214
Triglycerides 30–150 226 ↓146 ↑197
D-HDL (Good stuff) 30–70 38 ↑42 ↑45
LDL (Bad stuff) 0–160 145 ↓114 ↑130
Coronary Risk 4.2–7.0 6.0 ↓4.4 ↑4.8

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Goodbye and good riddance, fridge

When I came home from work today, I found some great news in the form of a brief letter from the apartment management team on headache-inducing chartreuse paper. In part,

It is with much pleasure and anticipation that we announce that we will be doing major upgrades and improvements on your apartment! . . . Your cabinets, countertops and appliances will be replaced all in the same day!
(The exclamation points are theirs, not mine.)

Perhaps this means that I will finally be able to fall asleep within an hour of getting into bed after they finally haul away my buzzy buzzy refrigerator. Who knows . . . maybe the elimination of that constant annoyance will "cure" me of my anxiety problems?!

One can hope. At least I can look forward to some new appliances.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Divorce Countdown

This afternoon, a packet of legal papers was waiting in my mailbox when I came home from work. It was my divorce papers, finally signed and approved by a judge. We have to wait 60 days after the papers were filed before the divorce takes effect.

The papers were filed on 26 March, so 25 May looks like the day.

May I never have to deal with the legal system again for as long as I live.

[Update 3/31/08: Being, as I am, so deficit in legalese, I misinterpreted the opening paragraph of our divorce decree. There is a 60-day waiting period, but it began when we separated (over 2-1/2 years ago). So the waiting period is over, and we are now completely legally divorced.]

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

I Hab a Code

I went to work wiff a bild code dis borning — sore throat, ruddy doze, little headache — hopig that doig sub work would bake be feel better. Idstead, it just got worse. So I took sub sick tibe and cabe hobe early.

It seebs like I haved't been sick in a log tibe. I subbose dow dat I dod't lib wid by kids eddy-bore, I'b dot exposed to so bany biruses and udder binuscule balignancies. But, I subbose I could-d't aboid it foreber.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Quarterlife hit network TV tonight. I wonder what effect it will have on the blogosphere. Will people like me remember their half-forgotten blogs, come online, and try to make something of it.

The show certainly made me realize that I don't write as often as I need to. Hell, I hardly write at all. I used to dream of being a writer. I don't have dreams very much anymore. I just feel like that dreaming part of my is atrophying as I spend my time trying to make enough money to pay the bills, the child support, the rent, the car lease. And I know it's my own fault. I have no self-control. It's why I'm fat and lazy, two things I don't want to be but I just can't seem to find the motivation to do anything.

I don't know who I am or who I want to be anymore. Nothing seems to fit anymore.

I'm nearly divorced now. The papers arrived at the house on the Friday. They were there unopened when I went to pick up the boys for the weekend. I skimmed through them and signed them. S was going to sign them and send them back to Ms. Lawyer on Monday, yesterday. So, maybe later this week I'll be the so-called free man.

But it really won't make much difference, will it?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Idiot Phishers

I received an e-mail from "The Bank of America" about problems with my account. Here's what the text looked like:

Your Online Banking is Blocked

Because of unusual number of invalid login attempts on you account, we had to believe that, their might be some security problem on you account. So we have decided to put an extra verification process to ensure your identity and your account security. Please click on sign in to Online Banking to continue to the verification process and ensure your account security. It is all about your security. Thank you, and visit the customer service section.

Now, really. Is this going to fool anyone? The first sentence has so many errors in it ("unusual number" instead of "an unusual number"; "you account"; "their might be" instead of "there might be", as well as an unnecessary comma beforehand; "you account") that it's difficult to read.

A closer look shows that all the links go to some space at "" except for the link on the phrase "Equal Housing Lender," which apparently actually does link to the Bank of America Web site.

One more dead giveaway: In the lower right was the Olympic insignia over the phrase "Official Sponsor of 2000-2004 US Olympic Teams." This calls to mind the cars I occasionally see puttering around proudly emblazoned with "Gore/Lieberman in 2000" bumper stickers.

I used to think that "phishing" was an intentional spelling derived from old Phone Phreaks. Now I wonder whether it's spelled that way simply because actual phishers can't spell worth a damn.