Now for the rest of the story

Ok, so in my earlier post, I had arrived at the church. The church itself was sort of unimpressive but the campus was pretty nice. What was impressive was the number of people in attendance. There were so many people there who loved my uncle. That was really nice. Mass seemed haphazard and rather lazily put together. I won’t get into the specifics but it was a little frustrating and disappointing. My uncle had served in the army and received military honors at the cemetery. The Church could learn a thing or three from the military. These guys understand the value and power of ritual. The lone bugle playing Taps and the words spoken to my aunt when the soldiers presented the flag to her were the most moving moments I’d witnessed in some time.

Back at the house, there was a seemingly endless influx of people bringing food or coming by to spend some time remembering my uncle. It really was a wonderful celebration of Doug’s life. I got to spend lots of good time with family.
I did sneak in a nap, and when I woke up, almost everyone had gone. I and my cousin, and a friend of his finished up the evening playing some games.

I’d hoped and intended to leave to come home at 8:00 or so, but didn’t end up leaving until 9:30. I had something to be back in Modesto for at 2:00. I was an hour late. But that’s not too bad.


Despite the long road trip down south and the rapid turn-around to come home, nevermind the accompanying lack of sleep! this was surprisingly one of the most restorative weekends I’ve had in a while. Maybe it had something to do with it being a four day weekend. Or maybe it had more to do with seeing family. Maybe it was about who wasn’t going to be in the office when I came in this morning. But I actually felt rested when I went back to work today.

My crack dispenser

What’s one piece of technology you can’t live without?

I guess the obvious answer is the internet. It’s so useful for so many things. Certainly email and web browsing, but I use it all the time for playing MMOs, Lord of the Rings Online in particular. I spend hours and hours playing this game.

Another obvious guess would be my iPhone. Obvious in the sense that I can’t stop using it to check statuses and updates on facebook and twitter.

But I’ll make my official answer… my TiVO. I used to be running two or three VHS recorders multiple nights of the week. Keeping track of the tapes and making sure to watch them in the correct order to clear up space to do it all again was logistically challenging. TiVO was made for me! I recently upgraded to the Premiere box. 5 times as much storage, HD if I want it, download directly from Netflix and YouTube, and I can use it as my cable tuner box. Lovely! So TiVO gets my vote.

Sometimes I feel like the only cab on the road. But not in LA. Never in LA.

I went to bed at about 10:30 Thursday night. I set my alarm for 2 AM, but I woke up at 1 and knew I wouldn’t be able to get back to sleep. So I got up, showered, dressed, made a pizza, and departed for points south. At this point, I had ½ tank of gas and $20. My monthly paycheck hadn’t hit my account. So I had to take it on faith that it would before I really needed to fuel up.

I stopped for gas in Bakersfield. It was either going to be the $20 or…. I checked my account and my paycheck had hit! Yay! So I filled up and continued on.

I was actually making really good time despite the thick fog. I’ve had lots of practice driving in the fog. You do have to be more careful, but it’s quite doable. There were only three points at which I needed to slow down, but they passed quickly. When I hit the Grapevine, all fog disappeared. I was feeling very good about my ETA.

Then I hit LA traffic. Good God! I hate LA traffic! But at least I was still moving. Until I hit OC traffic! It was even worse!! It didn’t help that I was a little tired, and uncomfortable (I really had to take a bathroom break), but traffic was so thick that I couldn’t readily move over to exit in the right places and I ended up taking a couple of detours. Grr. So I was getting more and more physically uncomfortable. It was looking more and more like I wasn’t going to arrive in time. And I couldn’t see a place to stop and use a restroom. Finally, I took a chance and exited so that I could look for a stop. I found one but their bathroom was out of order! I am not too proud to say that at that point, I resorted to improvising.

Feeling much better, I contined to follow my iphone’s map to the church. Indeed I arrived at the appointed destination with 5 minutes to spare!! Only to realize that my phone had sent me to the wrong church. *Sigh* I reprogrammed the map ap, and quickly made my way to the correct location. I ended up being only about 10 minutes late. But it was only the rosary, so no biggie.


To be continued….

It’s just a good thing this island has electricity and the equipment to play a cd!

Today, by special request, I will try to answer the following:
If stranded on a desert island, and could only bring one music album with you, which would it be? What is it about this music that never gets old for you?

My initial thought is that I would bring the album, Some Great Reward by Depeche Mode. For many years, DM was my favorite band and this was the first album of theirs that I’d listened to. Not every song on the album is a favorite. Particularly, I’m not much a fan of Somebody or Blasphemous Rumours. But these songs are part of the album and so I accept their inclusion. I guess this album speaks to my youth; of that time when the world of music was really starting to open up to me. Of all the various ‘sounds’ that Depeche Mode has evolved through over the years, this represents my favorite period.

Other albums that are top-tier for me include, The Two Ring Circus by Erasure, Greatest by Duran Duran, Table Songs by David Haas, The Joshua Tree by U2, ABBA Gold by ABBA, The Commitments OST, Les Miserables – The Complete Symphonic Recording, Farewell to Ireland by The Dalraida Brothers, Sucessos de Verão by Roberto Leal, and Stunt and/or Everything For Everyone by Barenaked Ladies.

Google is your friend.

Postus Interuptis

I am with family today and I will be unable to write a proper post. I will double post tomorrow.


The WAY to celebrate a birthday

2:15 – I had many things that I’d planned to do today; laundry, CHP office then court, rotate tires, grocery shopping (maybe), nap, bridal show & party. I got a bit of a slow start but I’m about to check off #3. A nap is looking more and more unlikely, maybe I can still do an hour or so… I will have to do a little shopping first.

3:45 – Home now, finishing up this week’s The Cape. Had a couple hot dogs for lunch and a nap is pending.

6:05 – Got less than an hour of sleep for a nap. 🙁 Ah well.
Currently standing outside Mistlin Gallery with about 50 other people waiting to get in for the bridal show. It’s ok that they haven’t opened up yet as I am not yet in possession of a ticket. I anticipate the arrival of same any time.
Uh oh. They just announced that doors will be opening momentarily. Carp!
Joy! My ticket arrived!

9:13 – hanging at Surla’s with Betty, Brian, and Jaime (and dozens of others) now that the fashion show is over. I liked it! I hope I get to go to more! I did feel that the models were a little inexperienced but it was ok. I think that the show is viewable online at

I need to head home now to try to catch another nap before heading down to Irvine.


Que linda esta la manana

So, I’ve been watching a lot of old television lately. I’ve watched several episodes of The Rockford Files, two entire seasons of Magnum PI, and tonight I watched four episodes of The Six Million Dollar Man and one of The Bionic Woman. I have Emergency and Simon & Simon ready to view on Netflix. These are all shows from my childhood and it’s definitely nostalgic. It’s interesting to see how things were portrayed back then.

Tomorrow is my birthday. I’ll be 41. Birthdays to me are so very unimportant. I guarantee I won’t feel any different tomorrow than I did today. I rather dislike my birthday actually. A month ago, I requested the day off work so that I wouldn’t have to be there for everyone’s birthday wishes for me. My supervisor asked if it would be ok if I was given a card (which is what we do for everyone). I told her that I would prefer not. Well, I was given a card anyway. As I read it, I was nearly overwhelmed with loneliness. But this year isn’t as bad as last year was. Last year, a girl I was dating decided to break it off the evening before my birthday (hey, that’s today!). It was really hard on me. And the next day I had to go into work where my coworkers had decorated my work area for me. It was my 40th birthday so they tried to kick it up a notch. I did expect that they were going to do something so despite feeling like crap, I put on a brave face and attempted to cheerfully go along with it all. So the crappy part wasn’t turning 40. Big whoop. The crappy part was being dumped and especially that on my birthday, I had to act happy in order to make everyone else feel good.

So let us all agree that I do not care to celebrate my birthday. It’s nothing special. I think it’s much more significant to celebrate my conception day. Good luck figuring out when that was. 🙂

O.P. WestdaleCo

Oscar nominations were announced this morning. I was up to watch it live. Yay me! And yay Modesto Ambadassadors! That’s what we’ve named our movie group.

So far, I’ve seen 15 of the 56 movies that were nominated in one category or another. I’ve seen 7 out of 10 of the nominees for best picture. I plan to see The Kings Speech with Jamie and Betty next Tuesday evening. Anyone else want to come? During my lunch today, I watched the first half of one of the movies nominated for Best Documentary Feature, Exit Through the Gift Shop. I’ll finish it tomorrow.

Tonight I watched Restrepo, another of the documentaries. I liked it. I liked it way more than Inside Job. Resptrepo told a story; it gave an account of a group of people in a period of time. What it did not do was beat me about the head with it’s heavy-handed message. Whatever conclusions are to be drawn from Restrepo, I get to come to those conclusions on my own, thank you very much.


Ok, so I feel like I should be much more tired than I am. I’ve been up since 4:30 this morning and it’s almost 11 PM. Either way, I’m going to bed very soon.

Oh, yeah. Pastoral Council was tonight. Nothing Earth shattering, but it’s always nice to see people. One thing that came up was that this Feb 15th is going to be the 2 year anniversary of the dedication of the church. I’m going to see if I can video record the Mass. Man alive do I need a video camera!

The week in preview

Tonight I plan to go to bed around 8:00. This is so I have the best chance of waking up at 4 AM to make it over to the Holiday Inn Express for the Morning Matinee. Apart from that, today is just a work day.

Tomorrow, as I said, I’ll be up well before dawn to go watch the Oscar nominees being announced. Then work all day and a pastoral council meeting in the evening. Then I’ll probably collapse into bed.

Wednesday is a regular work day made special by the fact that it will be my last work day until Monday. This will be the only evening of this week that I will be able to watch any television. I’ll try to squeeze in as much as possible, but it won’t be enough.

Thursday I need to go have a police officer sign off on a ticket I was issued back in November then go to court to settle everything and possible pay a fine. I’ll also use my time off this day to do laundry and pack for the weekend. In the evening, I’ll be going to a party at Surla’s with Betty, her husband, and another friend, Jamie. I’ve been promised socialites in pretty dresses, food, and booze. 😉

Friday (payday) I will have to be up even earlier! I’ll need to depart at 3 AM or somesuch to make it down to Irvine in time for my uncle’s funeral. I love long drives by myself; I get to listen to books or podcasts and no interuptions from chatty travel companions. After the service, time spent with family then spend the night at my cousin, Danny’s new place.

If prior plans to game on Saturday hold, I’ll have to leave to come home at around 8 AM, otherwise, I may stay a second night and drive home on Sunday.


Ok, there’s my game plan for the week. Any questions? Suggestions? Plot holes? (You KNOW how I hate those!)

Disjointed thoughts on friendship

A recent topic suggestion for the post-a-day was (loosely) about the meaning of friendship.

I know people, I think I used to be one of them, that called everyone with whom I was friendly, a friend. It didn’t matter if we’d known each other for years and spent time together every day or if I’d only recently met you and spent only a short time in the same room, you were my friend.

I am much more strict with the definition these days. I think I have numerous acquaintances, relatively few friends, and only a handful of good friends. For me, several things are contribute to the state of existance called friendship. Shared interests, ongoing maintenance, common history, reciprocity in attention and effort, mutual caring about and for each other. The more elements a relationship has, the stronger, and more likely, the friendship.

There are people in my life that exhibit only a couple of these characteristics. Truly, these people are not really my friends. If you are never interested in what is going on with me, you are not my friend though I might be your friend. If we haven’t seen each other or communicated in years, even if we are ‘friends’, the friendship is unlikely to be very strong.

A couple of years ago, I posted some thoughts regarding one’s (my) capacity for relationships. I reprint it here.




I have a particular way of conceptualizing my capacity for relationships. I see it as a zero-sum game. I have a finite amount of attention, energy, and interest in pursuing, improving, and maintaining relationships. If one person’s allocation of my time is to increase, that portion must come from somewhere. And if a new person is to enter my life, other relationships must be downsized in order to make room. Here’s an illustration.

This graph shows how much of my attention is spent on the various members of the Brady family. The numbers add up to 100%. Now, when I am forced to add another person to this pie, the numbers have to shift.

In discussing this imagery with friends, I have had some respond by saying that they don’t need to reduce what they have in order to add a new person to the mix. Poppycock, I say. I do think that people have differing capacities for relationships. 100% to one person is a different quantity than 100% to another.


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