Maintenance post

What have I been up to? Well, let’s see. I just finished up a couple of classes here at the college; a radio broadcasting class and a speech class. Work’s been pretty sucky. I’m pretty burnt out.

I just got a new TiVo, the TiVo Premiere. It’s a great upgrade from the box I already had but I’m having trouble getting the mcard digital decoder from Comcast to work. I have a cable technician coming out this afternoon so we’ll see. I re-signed up with Netflix because this box will stream directly. That’s been cool.

I’ve been playing lots and lots of LOTRO; I’ve been enjoying leveling up my Captain. I haven’t been to the theatre much but I have watched several movies at home recently. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Toy Story 3, RED, Knight and Day, some others I can’t remember.

I joined a Middle Eastern/Tribal/World Fusion percussion group and I’ve been playing for a lot of belly-dance events. You may have seen pictures on flickr or facebook. I ordered a new drum that is supposed to arrive on Tuesday. It’s called a cuica. This is a Brazilian friction drum that’s used in samba music. I can’t wait to get it and start mixing it in for our playing.

Family Christmas gathering tomorrow. Work MTW next week then 11 days off. I hope it helps.


And then there were four…

First off, let me apologize for all of you experiencing asphyxiation. It has been overlong since I reported on the burger challenge. Rounds 3 and 4 are complete. We now move to the semi-final rounds.

Here are our results from the last two qualifying rounds (remember, points can range from 8 – 40):

Round 3 (September 29th)
#3 P Wexford’s Irish Cheddar Burger with 26 points
#2 Fast Eddie’s MOAB (Meal on a Bun) with 27 points
#1 Fudrucker’s ½ pound burger with 30 points

Fudrucker’s ½ pound Burger advances.

Round 4 (October 13th)
#3 Sips Sliders with 32 points
#2 Scenic Drive In Knock Out Burger with 33 points
#1 Harvest Moon Dinah Burger with Swiss Cheese with 34 points.

Harvest Moon Dinah Burger with Swiss Cheese advances.

Wow! Round 4 really had some high scores!
In my opinion, the Harvest Moon Dinah Burger was the best burger we’ve tried all semester. Certainly the points support that, but we’ll see what happens when it goes up against winners from previous rounds.
Coming up, the highest point earner, Harvest Moon, will go up against the lowest winning point earner, Chili’s. Two weeks after that, Bacchus vs. Fudruckers.

Stay tuned and don’t forget to breathe!


There can be only one!

My office is in the process of trying to determine what the best burger in Modesto is. We’re conducting this investigation using a tournament bracket model. Using a highly unscientific selection process, we started with twelve burgers that would be in contention for the title of Modesto’s Best Burger. Every other week, during our office staff meeting, we would sample three burgers and rate each of them in the following categories: taste, value, burger construction/ingredients, and how well the burger appeals to the other senses. Of the three burgers, one advances.

We’ve completed two preliminary rounds so far with two more to go. Once the field has been narrowed to four contenders, we will have a semi-final round to identify the two best burgers in Modesto. Then, at the end of the semester, the final round will determine the champion.

Here are our results from the first two rounds (points can range from 8 – 40):

Round 1
#3 Firken & Fox Mushroom & Swiss Burger with 26 points
#2 Firken & Fox Guacamole Swiss Burger with 27 points
#1 Bacchus Kobe Beef Burger with 28 points

The Kobe Beef burger advances.

Round 2
#3 Mike’s Roadhouse San Francisco Sour Dough Burger with 23 points
#2 In N Out Burger with 25 points
#1 Chili’s Shiner Bock BBQ Burger with 27 points

Chili’s Shiner Bock BBQ Burger advances

Round 3 will happen on September 29 and will include burgers from P Wexford’s, Fudruckers and Fast Eddie’s MOAB.

Round 4 will take place on October 13 and will feature burgers from Sips Bistro, Barking Dog, and Harvest Moon.


For Rachel

For some reason, several frozen yogurt shops have sprung up in the greater Modesto area over the last several months/years. I’m not complaining, but I am at a loss as to why this has happened all the sudden. For years and years, we’ve had TCBY and the Yogurt Mill. But all of the sudden, we have LA Cultures, Yogofina, Yogolicious, Oodles, and probably some I don’t even know about!

I’ve tried all the ones listed here and I have no complaint about any of them. I do have a preference for the places where you create your own serving and pay by the ounce. So of all the places listed here, I like Oodles the best. Not for any particular reason apart from it is the self-serve type and it happened to be ‘on my route’. I like that there are lots of fresh fruits to choose from for my toppings and I typically go for a vanilla or banana flavor yogurt with lots of fruit.

However, there is one flavor that I will not pass up. That is the Irish Mint. I’m a sucker for mint. I get this flavor with chocolate chips, Andes Mint topping, or both. Love it, love it, love it!!

The heat of the summer is gone and we’re headed toward fall and winter. I hope that Oodles and the other froyo shops can make it through the colder time of year so that they are all thriving next summer. I know I’ll do my part. Will you? Yes, I’m talking to you Rachel! When are you coming down to help support my froyo habit??!!?! Make it so!


My good weekend – Part II

Ok. Sunday.

Sunday, started off with 8:00 Mass. I was asked to sub as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. One thing that is definitely true about me is that I like having a job to do. Music was meh. I was surprised by how little singing there was in the pews. Sad. The choir sounded small and very far away. Piano and strings sounded good but voices were just about too quiet to evaluate.

Then it was back over to BVG for the later morning service. I was helping with audio/lighting again. As an added bonus for this service, my friend Sonya was there, so after all the songs and baptisms, once Pastor Rick began his message for the day, I left the sound booth to go sit with my friend. On my other side was an attractive woman who it turns out Sonya knew for years past. After the service, Sonya, this woman, her dad, and I sat talking for a bit. Attractive, but this woman has many problems in her life. We prayed for her and will continue to do so.

So then it’s back over to St. Stanislaus for the priests’ residence open house. There was so much food! I spent a couple of hours chatting and mixing with fellow parishioners. But man oh man it was hot! Side note: there is some moving and shaking that’s getting going at the parish. GOOD!!

In the later afternoon, I met my friend, Lance, to see A-Team. The movie was good, ridiculous fun. It really captured the spirit of the series in many ways. I hope there are sequels.

Finally, back home to play LOTRO for several hours. I’d have stopped playing earlier than I did, but it was too hot to go to bed.

This was a busy weekend! I was go, go, going the whole time. But I didn’t feel like I was overburdened with activity. Oftentimes, I am scheduled for so much on the weekend that I don’t feel like I’ve gotten any downtime when I return to work on Monday. For some reason, that wasn’t the case this time. I need to figure out why so that I can replicate the effect of this weekend.

That is all.




My good weekend – Part I

This was quite a good weekend! Let’s run it down.

Friday started with me assisting as a sacristan at a funeral. I know this will sound strange, but I like serving at funerals. Not because of the grief or what have you, but because I feel like I’m really providing a service at a time of real need. Hard to explain maybe. Anyway, I prepared the materials beforehand, served as an altar server during the Mass, proclaimed the first reading, and helped distribute Communion. I joked with the office staff that the next time, they’d have me preaching!

Then, in the afternoon, I went over to Rob’s place and played Dark Heresy with the gang. The adventure that day was very theatrical/cinematic and fun! My character did a decent job in combat, but I made a few bad rolls which nearly led to the demise of my Guardsman. Looking forward to the next session!

On Saturday, I went down to Big Valley Grace church for the Love Modesto event. Everyone met in the Worship Center to kick the day off, and I met up with my good friend Sonya. She and I went out to work at the Habitat for Humanity site. Met some nice people, broke up some concrete, had a great lunch.

In the late afternoon, I went back down to BVG for the evening service. It was my first time helping with audio/lighting tech for the regular services and I really liked it!! I ran the lights this time. At the service, I saw my ex-girlfriend and her current boyfriend. I surprise myself a little by realizing that I really am over her, in the sense that I am NOT interested in dating her at all anymore and wouldn’t want her back. Granted, it still hurts, the way she treated me; I don’t think she was very honest with me. And, she still owes me $100 that she borrowed from me at the end of January.

So anyway, after the service, I’m driving over to my favorite frozen yogurt place, when I notice that she’s in the car behind me. She’s going to the same place. Now, she’s essentially been ignoring/avoiding me for the last couple of months so I think to myself, “This could be interesting.” I park my car and walk directly to the shop. She’s parked off to my left, 15 yards away with two rows of cars between us. As I’m walking up, her boyfriend and his kids(?) get out of a car right in front of me. I deliberately didn’t look her way as I walked up (I wasn’t looking to cause a scene or anything. If she wants to avoid me, I’m not going to try to force her to be a grown-up) so I only imagine that she must have made some motion to him to come her way. She certainly didn’t say anything out loud; I’m guessing so as to avoid drawing my attention. Anyway, he sort of stops and then starts moving her way. Ok, so I enter the shop, which was bustling, and go about getting my yogurt together. As I’m doing so, I can look out and survey the scene in the parking lot. Again, in my imagination, they’re having a confab about what to do.

My imagined dialogue goes something like this:

Her: Wait, maybe we should change our plans. My ex just walked in there.
Him: What’s the worst that could happen? Let’s just go in.

So they head for the entrance. I can see all of this from inside, but because of tinted windows, those outside can’t see in as well. As they enter, I’m at the cashier. I gather up my purchase and I’m leaving, but, if it’s obvious that we’re in the same place at the same time, I want to be nice and say hello. (I guess this is sort of in opposition to what I’d said before but I’m a complicated guy.) So, bag in hand, I reach the door and go to back out of it, opening it with my derriere. I was giving the room a quick scan so that if I saw her, I could walk up and smile, say hello, how are you, good to see you, have a good evening. Here’s the funny part (to me), she’s nowhere to be seen. She’s hiding in the bathroom or behind a wall or something. HAHAHAHAHA!!!

I feel quite wicked deriving amusement from this, but it is what it is.

Next up: Sunday and the end to the weekend.


Mass Review

I’m at the Knights of Columbus State Convention in San Jose. This morning we had the opening Mass. I thought I’d review the music (provided by a choir from Our Lady of Peace Church in Santa Clara).

Selections: B+
Execution: C
Sound: C

Selections were good overall, but there were some notable exceptions*.

You Are Mine
Shepherd Me, Oh God
*Celtic Alleluia (in G. A is the original (& better) key.)
We Remember
*Mass of Creation (Mem Acc A is not the best choice but is the most well known.)
The Summons
I Am the Bread of Life
*Panis Angelicus (Not well known so not a great choice for Communion.)
**Ave Maria (Not liturgically appropriate.)
Canticle of the Sun

Group was a piano & 10 voices. There were ok but not especially skilled. They often didn’t use the written intros & outros for songs. The soloists were warbley. The Lamb of God was confused & only 3 verses were sung, all ‘Lamb of God’.
Panis Angelicus & Ave Maria began at the end of, or after, the Communion procession. Really, one Communion song would have been sufficient if repeated with interlude. Communion song(s) began about 45 seconds late.

Sound problems persisted throughout the Mass, though they did subside a little. Problems included feedback and being too loud/too soft.
There were a pair of sound guys but I’m not sure how skilled they were.

Overall, I give it a C+/B-. But I’ll give the benefit of the doubt and call it a B-.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Frustration #153,282

Complain, complain, complain. Sometimes it feels like that’s all I ever do. But I am not a complainer that is unwilling to work to make things better. And I don’t complain (much) about things in the past that we can do nothing about now. Well, what I do try to point out is that we didn’t take the proper steps then, and if we continue to misstep, we will keep running into the same problems; something about failing to learn the lessons from history or some such thing. (Also something to do with doing the same things over and over and expecting different results.)

I am becoming more and more convinced that I need to redirect my efforts and get a degree in communication. I am equally convinced, and thus dismayed, that any attempt by me to impart knowledge and skills to others will be akin to screaming into a vacuum. Not the Hoover kind; the outer space kind. We all remember the tagline for Alien, right? I am currently advocating for improving the communication processes at my church, but far from being considered or heaven forbid, embraced, I’m getting pushback and explanations/excuses for why things are broken. The implication is that they will continue to be broken and that will be ok.

Someone told me yesterday that there is fear/concern that I will leave the Church. I have been attending a non-Catholic church here in town for a couple of months now. At this other church, I have been welcomed and empowered. I indicate a willingness to get involved and they are putting me right to work. Last night I was asked if I wanted in depth training about how to run some of the technical side of things for one of the services. Compare that to how things work at my church. The chances that someone will welcome you when you come around are better than they used to be. But it still amounts only to a hello at the door. If you are a fallen away Catholic, you get higher priority than if you are a weekly, anonymous attendee. If you tell someone that you’d like to get involved with… whatever, chances are very slim that that message will ever reach someone who can do anything about it, and that’s only if there is someone who could do something about it, which mostly there is not.

And another thing, here we are, well into Lent, and yesterday was the first homily (an explanation of the scriptures of the day and how they pertain to our lives) that we’ve had at St. Stans in over a month. Every Sunday for the past four weeks, what we’ve had instead is someone asking for money. People, this is not feeding us.

I have no intention of leaving the Church. But it’s looking more and more likely that I will end up being just another obligatory attendee at Mass. I’ll probably be getting my spiritual nourishment and fellowship at a place that works harder to provide such things. And here’s the thing, I doubt many people will care.


Oscar Shorts – Animated

Of the animated shorts, I liked the one from Ireland best followed by the one from Spain. The one from Canada was the worst followed by the last one, the long one from France.

Next up, live action shorts.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Wedding Day

My friend, Kathleen’s wedding is today. Some days it’s really hard to be happy for others’ good fortune when I am still so sad. Even watching tv shows, there are moments when very suddenly my chest feels empty.
The good news is that in the past several days, I have had a lot of opportunity for reflection. I hope that I have learned something from all of this. Growth is good, right? It’s easy to see where the term growing pains comes from.

My hope today is that I am able to look beyond my own neediness and be happy for Kathleen and Scott.


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