I participated in my first raid ever tonight. It didn’t go well. Heck, we didn’t make it past the first room/boss. However, there was a feeling on the part of many that it was a successful night in the sense that many newbies to the raid now know the mechanics for this fight. Perhaps we’ll try again tomorrow.

My friend, Betty started The Challenge last year. I joined in then and we are doing it again this year. This go around, we’re taking it up a notch. Bam! So the first of several scheduled events will be the Morning Matinee, wherein the most dedicated (crazy) among us will meet at 5 AM on Tuesday the 25th to watch the Oscar nominees announced live. The awesome part of this event is that Betty, with help from her husband, has secured the dining room of the Holiday Inn Express for the viewing. It will be up on a big screen and breakfast will be free! w00t! So I plan to go to bed VERY early on Monday so that I can make it up well before the crack of dawn. Perhaps some of you will come join us for the viewing…..

I have tendered my resignation from the percussion group I was in. It had started to become clear that it was going to be much too serious for me. I just want to have some fun. I wish them the best and I anticipate that I’ll still sit in and play with them sometimes. I hope so.

The funeral for my uncle will be on Friday, the 28th. I already had planned to be off work that day so hopefully I’ll be able to make the drive down to Irvine. But I’ll have to leave at O’dark in the morning. The drive should take about 6 hours and the funeral starts at 9:15. So I need to leave by 3 AM. Ugh. I’ll plan to stay overnight at my cousin’s then come home on Saturday in time to play with my gaming group at 2 PM. Busy? Yeah.

Yeah, when I get where I’m goin’, don’t cry for me down here.

My uncle passed away this morning. He had been ill for some time but as recently as one month ago, there was hope that he might soon be well enough to be eligible for a lung transplant. Sadly, over the last two weeks, he deteriorated rapidly. And then this morning, surrounded by those he loved most, he slipped away.

I don’t get too bugged by death. I’ll miss my uncle; he was one of my favorite relatives. I feel bad for my aunt and my cousins; his absence will be felt so much more acutely in their lives. But death, to me, is just part of life. It happens to all of us at one point or another. I believe in heaven and I hope and pray that my loved ones will be there should I squeek through. But no matter what exactly waits for us after we die, our earthly worries are over. No, I don’t feel bad for the deceased. I feel bad for the living.

Goodbye uncle Doug. You were a heck of a good guy. I will miss you.

All my heroes are dead and gone…

…killed by bad writing.

Once upon a time, there was a brilliant, shining star of a show called Heroes. Heroes tried to explore how people might really behave/react if they suddenly acquired super powers. Anyway, I do not take it upon myself to try to give you the entire premise and backstory of the show. No, I am here to rant about how bad the writing got and about glaring inconsistancies and torturous plot holes that never, ever got explained. Verily, the writers never tried.

Here are just a couple that I’d like to point out.

#1 This is the biggest for me. In the first season, the ‘boss’ bad guy was Mr. Linderman. His power was to heal others. Well, he dies at the end of the season. At the end of season 2, one of the main characters, Nathan, is shot. So at the beginning of season 3, he’s taken to the hospital, hovers near death, yadda, yadda, yadda. All of the sudden, we see Linderman is back! Whoa! He heals Nathan and is a recurring character for several episodes. Then we learn that it really isn’t Linderman, it’s a character who has telepathy powers, including planting thoughts in the minds of others. This whole affair is important to the story the writers are trying to tell. But they never go back to explain how Nathan healed! It’s like the success of the show depended on viewers not paying attention! Crimeny!

#2 A popular character from season 2 is Adam. We meet Adam back in feudal Japan. His power is that he heals from pretty much any wound. This also allows him to live for centuries, maybe longer. In season 3, Adam has lived long enough to be in the present day. Ok. The big bad boss man in season 2 is Arthur Petrelli, father of Nathan. Arthur’s power is to steal/take for himself the powers of others. But Arthur has been lying in a hospital bed for a couple of years, on a ventilator. Adam is brought before Arthur, and Arthur takes Adam’s healing power. Which causes Adam to crumble to dust due to extreme age. Later in the season, there’s an eclipse which takes away the powers of all the Heroes (and Villains). You see, it’s sort of implied from the beginning of the series that an eclipse is the way that people got powers in the first place. So the eclipse giveth, and the eclipse taketh away. Silly to begin with, but whatever.
So, my question is, why didn’t Adam crumble to dust during any of the hundreds of eclipses over the past several hundred years??? Again, the writers must think that we the viewers are complete idiots!

I have more, but I’m too disgusted to continue.


Blatent attempt to generate traffic

From time to time, I take photos.
I’m no professional. Don’t want to be. But I do have fun with it.
I post my photos at flickr.

This is my most viewed photo.
Reunion 145

Now, I find these ladies to be very attractive; quite lovely, one and all. But I’m not sure why this photo has been viewed about twice as often as the second place pic.
Any idea?
Is there something I’m missing?

Puccini deux

I mentioned before that I was in an opera a few years ago, Gianni Schicci. I want to relate a couple more anecdotes from that experience.

The first one I find amusing, but I wonder if anyone else will. I do often crack myself up and I often suspect that I am far more impressed with my witicisms than are others.
Anyway, I was receiving some acting instruction from the assistant director. He was telling me that as he watched me perform, he could really see the inner dialogue that my character was having, but that my gestures weren’t large enough for the rear of the house to see. I asked if what I was doing was somehow wrong. He said no, but my gesticulations (Good word!!) needed to be bigger if the back row was going to see them. I replied that my more subtle movements were a gift to the front rows.

Well I found it amusing.

Second story. There was a line that I was to sing, “They’re the cream of the crop!” My first note was the same as the last note of the preceding line, which someone else was singing. To make sure that I came in on key, I would sort of hum along with the line before mine. Well, I was doing it quietly, but I didn’t think about the fact that I was essentially leaning over another actor’s shoulder such that my mouth was very close to his ear. So, unknown to me, my fellow cast mates took to poking fun at me by mimicking me, “mmmm mmmm mmmm, mmmmmm mmmm mmmmmm THEY’RE THE CREAM OF THE CROP!” When I found out, I thought it was hilarious! And in a way, I felt like I belonged to this group.
So, a few months later, when I went to get a tattoo, I had that phrase of music applied around my left bicep.

Now the number one condiment in America!

Last week here in the office, we took a bunch of cheese and melted it down in a crock pot. We dipped chips and bread into our cheesy goodness.We did this three days in a row. I might do it again tomorrow.

I bring this up because this cheese fest has inspired me to create a similar dipping extravaganza. This one will be a two week salsa spectacle. The four days prior to, and the four days after, Presidents’ Weekend, different coworkers will bring in home-made salsas and related creations. So a green salsa is allowed, but so is a block of cream cheese and jar of salsa. My intention is to take sign-ups for the event and then space out the varieties so that we don’t get two of the same type back to back.

So, you may begin your eager anticipation for the photos that will serve as my daily posts for those two weeks.

This is called planning ahead.

Someone answer me before I pull out the plug

I am a fan of witty and clever use of language. I love a good turn of phrase. And I think some words are just good words.

A few years ago I had a good buddy, Matt. Matt was the accompanist at the college where I work, and where I was taking classes. Matt loved words too, and when he heard one that he particularly appreciated he would respond with, “Good word!”

One semester, I was in an opera being staged by the music department. During one of the rehearsals, I was on stage with the music director, and Matt was seated at the keyboard beneath the stage, in the orchestra pit. The director was giving me some acting advice/instruction; something along the lines of, “move your arms thusly” or “point at that thing when this action is taking place”. I don’t really remember. Anyway, I responded to what she was saying by using the word “gesticulate”. At the same time, I pointed ‘through’ the stage to where Matt was sitting as if to cue his response. Sure enough, Matt clapped his hands a couple of times and exclaimed, “Good word!”

Good memory! God, I miss Matt!

Showcase of the Mundane

I expect that you think I live quite an exciting life. You’d be wrong. Allow me to illustrate.

I am a bit more than halfway through an uneventful weekend.
Friday evening I went to Sonora for a hafla. This is a belly dancing event where several performers take turns showcasing dances they’ve been working on. I was there with my group, Burning Sky Musicians, to play between sets and allow for a kind of open dance period.
Yesterday I went to my buddy Ross’s place, the House of Robot Pets, to play some board games. A group of four of us played Tales of the Arabian Nights, a story telling game. Mike won by a wide margin. The three of us played several hands of Zombie Flux, a card game wherein the rules can change as you play. The last board game we went with was Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers. Ross won this one while I came in second place. Finally, Ross and I worked on creating some Rogue Trader characters and discussed comic books. Yes, we are all nerds.
Today, I did so little, that out of boredom, I took a 3 hour nap. I expect to be up all night. All I did was play LOTRO and watch some stuff on the DVR.

Tomorrow I plan to do laundry, and go grocery shopping.

To those of you still awake, I’m impressed.

I just want your extra time and…

Today’s post brought to you by the question: If you had a time machine that only let you spend one hour in a different time, what date would you go to?

If I spent some time thinking about it, I might come up with some different ideas, but my first reaction is that I would like to go back to February or March of 1987 and spend an hour talking to my younger self. Certainly I would give myself some tips about what to do and where to invest money (a la Biff in Back to the Future). But the most important thing I would tell myself is to go for it and kiss Angel.

I have never been, very forward/bold/assertive/brave. At the age of 17, I had never kissed a girl, and my first ‘girlfriend’ was Angel with whom I was in a play. She was 15 and we were both a bit shy. We only were together for a couple weeks and it was all so awkward and innocent; all we ever did was hold hands. I had the opportunity to kiss her, but I was too shy and had no idea how to approach doing so.

It would be 4 more years before my first kiss. I have always regretted not going for it.

First Food Post!!!

A local twitter buddy of mine, @tonjac has been working her way through downtown Modesto eateries and blogging about it. I, and others, have joined her on occasion. Today, I met her at Charlie Browns, a new burger place located at 14th and J streets..

I liked the space, it seems just large enough for a lunch rush and no larger. There were 8 or so tables and lots of counter space as well. The menu is basically burgers, but they also have soup, salads, and chili. The burgers are a lot like those at In-N-Out. By that I mean that they are very fresh and hand-crafted. It’s the kind of burger that once you pick it up to take a bite, you’re better off not putting it down as the bun or toppings will slide all over the place. To accompany my double burger, I got a soda and a basket of onion rings. The food was good and filling. My total came to a bit under $7.00 which seemed right in the price range I would expect. The servers were very friendly and my order was completed and brought out to me very quickly.

Overall then, I was quite satisfied with the place. I will not say it’s the best burger I’ve ever had. To be honest, I don’t mind previously frozen, machine made patties. In any case, I can happily recommend this restaurant for anyone looking for a quality burger and fast friendly service.

It was also nice to chat with Tonja. J

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