Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Eve Of '06

I have so many things to post and so little time because the year is almost over. I'll save most of it for '06 as I've been heavily distracted by the filling of my iPod (I'm up to 21GB.) I'll be working on this project for the next week, I believe. I know it's going to be a pain in the butt deleting all the extra copies of songs (they tend to put Belinda Carlisle's "Heaven Is A Place On Earth" on almost every compilation) from the collection but better to delete than miss anything. The 300 disc changer sounds very daunting but I'll figure something out after I get through my... crap, I still have a folder full of stuff I used to DJ with. Oh, well... just means that I'll have to scrutinize even more about what goes on there. Give me a month.

Anyhow, I'd like to thank all of you for spending the year with me. I've met tons of wonderful people and most of all you. It's been a year of growth for me and I hope that you also enjoyed a lot of positive changes in your year. I'm only hoping for bigger and better things next year and wishing that you all have the happiest of New Year's.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Getting Sirius About iPod

This year was pretty strong for me technologically. Starting with the new car. I've never had a new one before. So the one thing that I told myself that I'd get if I got a new vehicle was a better radio setup. I get upset that I can't listen to every football game possible when I'm driving around on a Sunday. I also think that the 80's station we are provided here repeats the top 10 from every year on the hour every hour. With these in mind, I decided that I wanted Sirius. Now, I find myself listening to the First Wave station (33), The Big 80's station, BBC Radio 1, Sirius Talk Left, Sirius Talk Right, Fox News, ESPN and sometimes I'll browse around.

The next step that I made in technology was after Christmas. I kept telling myself that I couldn't fit all my music on an iPod so it wouldn't be worth it. Then I started thinking that there would be repeat songs (I own most of the CDs that the 'best of' albums are created from so I'll just not add those and any songs that I don't deem worthy.) So, I took the $185 that I received in Best Buy gift cards and added it to the $159 that my father spent on a Shiatsu massage chair pad and heat lamp. Those put me over $300 and made it more tantalizing to purchase the 60 Gigabyte video iPod. I've filled 17 gig of it so far and have much more to add to it. I also need to go through the 300 disc changer in the other room, the crates of CDs and find a way to get into my old auto CD changer (without power it won't eject.) But, so far, I like the challenge but I'm sure all this ripping and ejecting of discs will kill my computer CD/DVD drive. But, how cool is it to be able to walk around with your whole music collection on hand? When someone says, "Who is Nitzer Ebb?" I can just pull out the iPod and show them. Should prove interesting.

So I've immersed myself in technology this year and do not see much more purchasing of it in the next year (maybe another small TV and a hi-definition Tivo... maybe.) So does technology control or do you feel we are getting better control of technology?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Fridge Of An 80's Nut

Ok, Layla tagged me. (It was hidden between a few post as she's been pretty prolific recently.) Essentially, I need to post a photo of the inside of my refrigerator. It's pretty scary right now. I've been busy and lazy. I haven't gone in there too much recently and some things may have expired. There on one shelf are packets of jalepeno sauce from El Pollo Loco (I really like the stuff.) Steaks, burritos, Philly Steak sandwiches, TV dinners, fudge, a Christmas poppyseed cake, juice, water, beer, other alcohol and too much crap.

I don't normally tag anyone because I feel like I'm picking on someone but I'd like to see if I left any alcohol in Lloyd and Teri's refrigerator.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas 2005

I had a tremendous Christmas as everything went very well. The last bits of shopping were done (a gift card, a tin of assorted popcorn and a container of mini brownies were taken care of my early on the 24th.) I actually felt like I could relax for a little bit and I did. I was smart enough this time to put my camera on top of my keys so I wouldn't forget to bring it. I wasn't so lucky on Christmas Eve. Anyhow, we had a big turnout with all but my aunt (she, her husband and daughters were at Christmas Eve) staying for the festivities. I didn't go absolutely crazy with the camera but took enough shots to capture specific moments. Ok, I really wanted to make sure that the kids got a few photos and maybe take a shot of the family here and there. So first up is the random family photo after the gifts were opened. Yes, we found room for ourselves somehow amidst the wrapping and boxes.

I messed with Olivia and Connor a little on Christmas Eve. You see, I found some little animal puppets at the store earlier that week. The little grey squirrel seemed almost realistic and I had a blast making it lick it's paws, nuzzle an arm or tickle a child. Dad played Santa Claus and stopped by a few houses to deliver a few gifts to some children with their jaws dropping as Santa remembers not only their names but a little bit about them. I really think that encapsulates the Christmas spirit to me. The wonder and amazement of they young. Sure, Connor is afraid of the man in the beard and ran right into his mother's arms crying but he warmed up to him this year, walking back towards the other kids and joining the conversation with Santa (for a little ribbing about hitting his Grandpa with a tennis ball.) No, that's not Aunt Queen Latifah in that photo but it is the twins and my mother.

Just as important was getting a picture of Beth and my niece Mia. You can never know how proud I am of my brother Matt. He's successful in every phase of his life (sure he's mentally ill like the rest of us, though.) He has married a wonderful woman and has a beautiful daughter. She hardly cries and loves being held. (I mean the baby. Ok, that could be a curse at some point... like bedtime.) She got a nap in here and there. But was and is absolutely precious.

Anyhow, I got to spend time in person and on the phone with my friends and family. I can't ask much more than that and am thankful for having the time off of work this year. I can only hope that each of you had a great holiday.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

People Are Strange

Quick post. Got all my shopping and wrapping done... ok there are a few little things left but thanks to Kerry, it doen't look as ominous. I just have to pick up a few little things for some people to keep the balance. You know, gift giving to family members needs a sort of balance. What weighs heavier on most of these gifts is the fact that 3 family birthdays were missed here and there due to cancelations, my new shift, a vacation and someone living in another city. So they look like they are getting more and they are but how much more... that's where the balance thing comes in.

Anyhow, I also got tagged by Well Woman and Davydgrey for what looks to be the same offence so I'm paying my fine here:

5 Weird Things About Myself

  1. For the longest time, I believed that I really could fly... well float. I don't know when this ended but I don't disbelieve that I ever did.
  2. I can direct my dreams by telling myself what I want to dream about beforehand.
  3. I'm an over-organizer and a packrat. My pantry is set for me to live a good 4 months. I have all the boxes from my major expensive electronic items with the idea that I can return them if I need to. My CDs are not only in alphabetical order but they are separated by 80's and non-80's with another section for greatest hits collections.
  4. As a child, my bedtime prayers always included one for strength and I believe they were granted, for which I'm thankful.
  5. I sleep coffin-style and without a pillow. I get headaches when I use a pillow.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Office Of An 80's Nut

I have tons of shopping to do. I'm feeling a lot better but the mix of Thera-flu and cough medicine seems to make me sleep longer than I want. This may be good because I'm feeling a lot better but I've neglected my shopping. So, I'm going to be spending tomorrow and the last few days before the holiday doing just that. Today is also my last day of work for the year. This is going to help me get a lot of things done. I'll hopefully get that icon put on the other site, finish a few reviews and clean up quite a bit.

Speaking of cleaning up, I figured I'd rip open the veil and show the home office in the photo provided above. It really needs some organizational help. If you look carefully, there are 3 stacks of CDs near the computer that have been added to the collection over the year (there are some others in the car) and a rack full of my non-80's collection at the far right. Yes, I have too much crap. Hopefully, I'll go through the CDs and find a home for each of them (the rack or the storage boxes which I'll explain during a later post.)

If you feel very adventurous, my little orange Chinese beaver on my monitor (I figure it's Chinese because the label says he was made there) needs a name. He/she (I haven't had the heart to check) looks over all my posts, my newsletters and keeps my monitor clean (has a soft lint-attracting belly.) It's not good with spell-checking but you can't have everything.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

For Rent

All of my life working as an adult, I kept telling myself that when I retire I want to go to a nice quiet community in the mid-west to play harmonica and banjo all day long. Then I saw this sign...

Now, I think I'm going to move to Cedar City, Utah, and use my Social Security checks to rent me some single girls.

Photo thanks to J.K. Hennessy

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The War On Words

Yes, the media is covering it pretty well. Stores everywhere are saying "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." And there are times when I entirely agree that changing the names of things from Christmas tree to holiday tree is as insane as changing the Macy's Thanksgiving's Day Parade to Macy's Holiday Parade. Ok, maybe that's giving some people at the ACLU ideas.

But, I also believe in saying Happy Holidays. If you don't think that you will talk to that person until next year, you may also want to wish them a Happy New Year. I also don't know how many people reading my blog are Jewish. I'd love to wish them Happy Chanukah (had to actually look up the spelling.) Isn't it as unjust to not wish it to them but wish for everyone to say Merry Christmas? Sure, I feel we may be overly sensitive to these things and a lawsuit probably isn't too far off for being wished something that you don't want. But, if you really do want to wish well to others no matter what faith or holiday being celebrated, I feel no shame in saying Happy Holidays.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Project That May Never End

Back some time ago, I asked a friend to take some of his favorite bands and solo artists then list his favorite song (better if it wasn't a big hit or overplayed.) I figured that this would be the best compilation that someone who only has a cursory idea of some of these artists could get. I started mine also and have decided that at some point, I'll make a CD compilation of all the tracks from my own collection. The problem that I had was that once I started it, I had trouble going back. I don't know if it was the fact that I really love a lot of music, that I keep thinking of a lot of the same bands or don't know how big that I want the list. Anyhow, I have decided to put what I started with back then in print to force myself to revisit it at some point. If it ever gets finished, I'll be pretty shocked. In no particular order:

U2 - All I Want Is You
Thelonious Monster - So What If I Did?
Buffalo Tom - Taillights Fade
Billy Joel - Honesty
The Pogues - Tuesday Morning
Jean-Paul Sartre Experience - I Like Rain
Frankie Goes To Hollywood - The Power Of Love
Paul Young - Come Back And Stay
Gene Loves Jezebel - Kiss Of Life
George Michael - One More Try
Squeeze - Last Time Forever
Duran Duran - The Chauffeur
Garth Brooks - Unanswered Prayers
Depeche Mode - I Want You Now
Ministry - Stigmata
Erasure - When I Needed You
Roger Hodgeson - Had A Dream (Sleeping With The Enemy)
Alarm - Strength
Peter Murphy - Strange Kind Of Love
Blancmange - Don't Tell Me
Bauhaus - God In An Alcove
Camouflage - Love Is A Shield
Paul McCartney - No More Lonely Nights
Stabbing Westward - What Do I Have To Do?
Candyland - Something To Somebody
Cars - Why Can't I Have You?
Julian Cope - Charlotte Anne
Cult - Edie (Ciao Baby)
Nitzer Ebb - I Give To You
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - You Got Lucky
Cure - Boys Don't Cry
Danzig - She Rides
Machines Of Loving Grace - Butterfly Wings
dB's - Amplifier
Adam Ant - Desperate But Not Serious
Bob Marley - Waiting In Vain
The Timelords - Doctor In The Tardis
Toad The Wet Sprocket - One Little Girl (live)
B Movie - Nowhere Girl
The Waterboys - A Girl Named Johnny
INXS - Mystify
Robyn Hitchcock - So You Think You're In Love
Randy Travis - Forever And Ever Amen
Cyndi Lauper - Money Changes Everything
Skinny Puppy - Tin Omen
ABC - King Without A Crown
The Mission UK - Tower Of Strength
Queen - Who Wants To Live Forever
Moev - In And Out
Billy Idol - Catch My Fall
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Deanna
New Edition - If It Isn't Love
The Plimsouls - Oldest Story In The World
Nine Inch Nails - Ringfinger
Air Supply - Two Less Lonely People In The World
Stephen Duffy - Wednesday Jones
The Go-Go's - Head Over Heels
New Order - Touched By The Hand Of God
Vitamin Z - Burning Flame
The Scorpions - Still Loving You
Camper Van Beethoven - Come On Darkness
The Bangles - Hazy Shade Of Winter
Alison Moyet - Invisible
Mighty Mighty Bosstones - Someday I Suppose
Pet Shop Boys - Love Comes Quickly
Renegade Soundwave - Biting My Nails
Lush - For Love
Icehouse - Crazy
Beautiful South - Song For Whoever
Culture Club - Time (Clock Of The Heart)
Recoil - Electro Blues For Bukka White
Men At Work - Overkill
The Connells - Stone Cold Yesterday
Dramarama - Anything, Anything
Fields Of The Nephilim - The Harmonica Man
ZZ Top - Rough Boy
Pseudo Echo - Lies Are Nothing
Aztec Camera - Crying Scene
The Fixx - Secret Seperation
Passion Puppets - Like Dust
Def Leppard - Foolin'
Barry Manilow - Weekend In New England
Del Amitri - Always The Last To Know
Book Of Love - Witchcraft
Yaz - In My Room
Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine - Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere
Hall & Oates - She's Gone
The The - August And September
The Lightning Seeds - Pure
Information Society - Repetition
The Ramones - Pet Semetary
Soft Cell - Wave Hello, Say Goodbye
Elton John - Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word
Sisters Of Mercy - This Corrosion
Red Flag - Shame On The Moon
Madness - It Must Be Love
Bon Jovi - Runaway
Asia - The Smile Has Left Your Eyes
Crowded House - Into Temptation
Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Of All The Things We've Made
Rolling Stones - Undercover Of The Night
Talk Talk - Such A Shame
Jon Astley - Put This Love To The Test
Simple Minds - Alive And Kicking
The Replacements - The Ledge
Joan Jett & The Blackhearts - I Hate Myself For Loving You
Dream Academy - Ballad In 4/4
Men Without Hats - Dancing In The Moonlight
King Swamp - Blown Away
The Church - Reptile
Real Life - Burning Blue
Voice Of The Beehive - Monsters And Angels
Howard Jones - The Prisoner
Pop Will Eat Itself - There's No Love Between Us Anymore
Boom Crash Opera - Onion Skin
Elvis Presley - It's Now Or Never

... To Be Added To

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Crossing Streams

  • noun - The prevailing current of thought, influence, or activity
  • adjective - Representing the prevalent attitudes, values, and practices of a society or group

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately and (yes, it scares me too) I've been trying to figure out the word I have mentioned above: mainstream. You hear it often when talking about mainstream media. This of course means a magazine, Web site, newspaper, radio station, television station, cable network or book publisher that represents the prevailing current of thought. I wonder how we find that out. They either must have a license or a specialist on staff to check with to make sure they aren't straying. Maybe they check the latest polls. I wonder if that means being for prohibition, against a women's right to vote and for slave ownership were mainstream at one time.

I started thinking about this during Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts' recent hearings. Several claimed that Mr. Robert's views were "outside the mainstream." Which views these were, I'm unsure. Did you know that is a Web site for advocacy and news for disability rights? Heck, I didn't know being disabled was prevalent. I do wonder though, if the people elected into office by a popular vote aren't in the 'mainstream' does that mean that people just forgot to vote, aren't old enough to vote or we have inaccurate polls deciding what prevalent ideas are.

Slacking Off As I Sleep Things Off

Been working the 'marathon' and all seems to be going ok. I just don't want to have to go to the doctor and find out it's gotten into the bronchial area. Anyhow, I figured I'd take a moment to allude to another post I did a bit ago. Every so often, I'm putting a few posts up at my other blog (Ask An80'sNut) that are mainly about 80's music. I meant for it to be a place to answer some of the weird questions that I tend to get but suddenly they disappeared. (I think it's shyness.) Ever wonder what goes into a "hit" song? Well, that's what this post is about. I'm heading back to sleep.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Getting Pixelated

Let me take you back a few months to an email that I sent out. I had asked a few questions of Amber from G4's Call For Help about helping out a graphically-challenged 80's musicologist fix his Web site. She mentioned a few hints in the televised reply (right now it is in repeats here in the U.S. but should finally air sometime soon) which included getting 'Iconized.' So, I finally gathered the courage, found one of the last photos I had taken, scanned it and sent it along with my money to Jose' Ramos of Iconize Me.

So, today in my eager little hands was an email from Jose' which included the icon you see here that he came up with for me. I'll be working that into the layout 80's Music Central sometime but we'll see how soon. I still fear screwing up things. Thought I'd share it with you as you are the first few people to see it. The guitar works but I've always been a keyboard kinda guy. But... it definitely says rock. I just wish I smiled more in photos but I guess it's a knee-jerk reaction to having a camera nearby hahaha. Anyhow, I'm off to bed (got out of work early) to attempt my Thera-Flu marathon in hopes of a quick recovery.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A Cup Is An Unstruck Bell

I'd like to step back a moment and ask you how many bells you hear in a day. I mean real bells, jingle bells, church bells, Liberty bells, sleigh bells, service bells, bell boys, etc... There once was a time when we had tons of these but we've slowly went the way of electronic ringers, buzzers, ringtones and beeps. The only time I hear them often are during the holidays with the Salvation Army bell ringers. I don't know what happened but it really made me wonder...

One common thread you find in almost every culture are the appearance of angels. Sure, a few might say they are little cherubs, ghosts and others may say they look like Michael Landon but the fact that there is an overwhelming borderless belief in one thing is rather intriguing. I've just been wondering if less of them are getting their wings now.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Eyes Wide Open

A little over 3 years ago, I went to see the eye doctor. I figured it was an appropriate time to ask him a question after he had just tested my eyes. "Hey, Doc? Any idea why I feel this pulsing in my eye every so often?" He went on to tell me about a condition that causes it and sometimes eye twitches that is normal but brought on by lack of sleep and/or caffeine. Now, I always thought caffeine was a good thing. I drank Jolt cola like a madman when I was going to college and working 2 jobs to support myself. And, I had normally been drinking two 20-ounce bottles of Diet Coke every morning and a few more scattered throughout the day. It was at that time that I went caffeine-free.

It is an amazingly difficult battle to cut out the wakey-wakey drug. It's in chocolate, tea and most soft drinks. I was already drinking diet drinks at the time so trying to find something without calories and sans caffeine was incredibly difficult. Go into a 7-11 and count how many bottles of Diet Sprite, Diet 7-up, Caffeine-Free Diet Coke or Barq's Diet Root Beer you find there. There aren't many. They figure that you'll drink what's available because you wouldn't be paying more for it at their store if you didn't have to have it now. But, with all the little pitfalls, I stayed caffeine-free for 3 years. Yes, I said "stayed."

It was an early morning on one of my days off that I broke my abstinence. I was tired and stressed after going weeks without my car. I started thinking about why I was avoiding caffeine. Notice that after talking to the eye doctor that I didn't say, "I need more sleep!" It's that night owl thing that I have going on. I'm afraid that important things are going to happen and that I'll miss them. Children do that. Anyhow, I threw caution to the wind and gave up my issues. Now that I have that new shift (5 pm to 1 am,) I find myself drinking the stuff more. I even found a cool chart to help guide me into the jitters. Who would think that Diet Coke had more than Classic Coke? Go figure. Anyhow, no eye pulsing or twitches yet and it's only been a few months. Scientists are even saying that it can increase short term memory. I think I just need to sleep more.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Deepest Darkest Regret

Just by the fact that our lives are a multitude of choices, we will always have regrets in life. I am definitely not a stranger to bad judgment. Every December 1st, I am reminded of at least one mistake that I have made in the past. Oddly enough, I have mentally blocked out a lot of the information surrounding it willingly over for the last decade. There is a long story involved but I'm going to keep it as brief as I can and probably never mention it again.

I was married once. As a child of divorced parents, I had this weird resolve that I could do better... I could bend more, give more, be more but I was young and foolish. She was a beautiful, strong and outgoing woman that never let much affect her. We had an on-again-off-again relationship for quite some time before I wound up being one of her roommates. I got to know her better and felt that I was there during some of her tough times. When she told me she was going to move out of town, I gave her the option to stay and go to school while I cover her rent. You see, I knew I loved her. Before that offer, we weren't officially a couple and she had been determined to leave.

A short time later, we were driving back from seeing Duran Duran in concert and I can still remember that Erasure's latest single "Always" was playing on the radio when she mused about when her last period was. Yes, she was pregnant. I proposed several days later at a Pizza Hut (romantic, huh?) and we had a quick small ceremony with hopes of a bigger one at another time. It was months later that I could see something was bothering her. She told me that there was a possibility that I wasn't the baby's father as, she was single when she was planning to leave and she had said goodbye to someone in a very special way prior to that offer I made to stay. This floored me. But, I quickly reassured her that I loved her and told her that just being her child would make him mine also. She then asked me not to ask for a blood test, fearing that I would treat the baby differently if it wasn't mine. I told her that if it meant that much to her, I wouldn't (heck, inside I had no idea how I'd react to a child let alone if he wasn't biologically mine) but I wasn't concerned because it was our child. Cody William Hennessy was born on December 1st.

My wife stayed at home for the first months with Cody. He was an amazingly beautiful boy and looking at his photo above, I still see a lot of her in him. He was my little bear. A lot of things changed when her mother moved in to 'get on her feet' after moving to town. She went to work, bought a new car, our communication broke down, walls were put up, insecurities built and our marriage suffered. In retrospect post-partum depression very well could have been involved but I can't accept that I had no hand in it. There were times when I returned home that he was the only smiling face that was happy to see me. I can still remember that it was just prior to his first birthday that she first mentioned separation. She was happy around me but depressed when I wasn't around. Her mother moved out first and my wife followed. I asked about us seeing a counselor but that didn't happen.

After a few months, my wife told me that she could get several grants for school as a single mother and prior to her filing for divorce she asked me to meet her at work to talk. She told me that she was sure that Cody wasn't mine and that if I pushed for custody of him she would take him and run. That was the last thing that I wanted. She had mentioned that he wasn't mine a few times before but there in my head, I still had hoped to reconcile. I still had hopes after signing the papers and then I made the one mistake I will always regret and be haunted by every Dec. 1st. I gave up my rights to my son. I can't blame being young and ignorant for my mistake. Sure, I was still talking to her about us being together afterwards. I was an idiot.

My ex called our old apartment a few months later (although she had my pager number and knew that I had moved in with my father) to pass on a cryptic message to a friend of mine to meet her at a laundromat on Tamarus and Tropicana as she was moving out of state. I was freaked out but knew that there was little I could do. So I went 'there'... but 'there' wasn't a laundromat. Just like playing the game telephone, information was jumbled and I expect that Topaz and Tropicana was the real location. Her number was disconnected (she was moving) and that message was the last thing I heard from either of them.

Sure, I've thought over the growing years to hunt them down (somewhere in Colorado) and find out if they are doing alright, need anything or even to get a blood test. But, I also know that the last thing I want to do is uproot or destabilize that child's life. I do hope he knows that he is loved... by many that may never see him again and that he is a very special child. Happy 10th birthday, Cody Hennessy.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Thinking Of You?

Ok, I was reading a post by Miss Hobby and that's when I thought about it. I come up with tons of ideas that I'll either forget, not have the ambition to pursue or think are idiotic 48 hours later. So, I'm only 30 minutes in so bear with me.

Women, in general, desire to be wanted and shown attention. Not all of them want to be put on a pedestal or see love declared to them via a megaphone during a football game. Just the idea that someone thinks they are special does amazing things for self esteem. Actually, there both genders could use positive reinforcement. But, for some people that are in that iffy stage of their relationship and need to feel inspired or wish to how the significant other reacts to competition... there is the secret admirer. This person seems to spread smiles and rushes of blood to the cheekbones a good 95% of the time (because some aren't exactly that secret and make the skin crawl.)

I was thinking about it and why not have a professional secret admirer? Feeling down? Want to elicit gossip in the workplace? Want to give someone special a hint that you might not be there forever as a 'good buddy'? Why not pay a minimal fee to a service that sends endearing or erotic email, cards or letters? For an extra charge, get gifts delivered to your workplace or home. Sure, you would know you are paying for it but sometimes just the anticipation of mail can be thrilling let alone something saying that you are being thought of. Heck, this could possibly even work as a means to send those real secret admirer letters and gifts anonymously.

Yup, probably another one I won't pursue.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Goin' Postal

I'm driving home from work and pull up to the house. There stands my mailbox with it's front open like an open mouth ready to spew my mail onto the sidewalk. During the last year, I've come home to this view about 6 different times. It's a relatively new mailbox so it should stay shut. This has me pretty worried since I tend to buy things on eBay often and get deliveries from record labels here and there. I actually had to report boxes missing to the post office before. Now that I'm not at home from 4pm to 2am, I can wind up leaving a veritable buffet of a full mailbox there for people to pick through for 10 hours.

I've talked to the mail lady and she has told me that she has a few on her route that put locks in the back of their mailboxes so when she drops off mail, she'll pop the lock on the outside and go. I like this idea, personally, but think that my luck would be that I'd lose a lot of locks to people finding them in the back of the mailbox in the morning. So, I've started to think about different types of mailboxes. Ones that lock, have enough room for some parcels and won't leave me broke. It's kind of driving me batty (yeah, I know... I wasn't far from it before was I?) The one in the picture? That's almost $500 so it's not going to happen. As I figure out this dilemma, I wonder how much you would pay to keep your mail safe?

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving Thoughts

First off, I'd like to say that I'm very very thankful for my family and friends who are my secret source of support and strength. Sure, I have issues with needing to be self-sufficient but just knowing they are behind me makes that much more secure. On the lighter side, I'm also thankful for pumpkin pie as it is my favorite pie even though it's hard to find the rest of the year.

I've also been thinking about PETA's recent campaign outside children's schools. I'm actually not a really big turkey fan. I think of it as something to eat maybe 2 to 3 times a year unless ground up and used and a ground beef substitute. If you look at the link there above, you'll see what is being handed to children on their way to classes. I don't know about most parents but as protective as we are of what our children see and hear in schools (the Pledge of Allegiance, evolution and religion), why do we allow people to approach them with questionable material on their way to getting an education. Especially with something that tells the children to keep the pets away from Mommy and Daddy because they kill animals. If I had the time, I'm very tempted to find out where the next comic distribution is after the Thanksgiving break and hand the kids beef jerky with a smile before they get to class just to even things out.

My other thoughts are varied as I try to figure out how I'm going to survive work after getting my dose of L-Tryptophan at an early family dinner at grandma's house. I'm also thinking about any hardware stores that are open on Thanksgiving Day, starting my Christmas shopping and getting the Tucson registered. So much to do but I would like to take this moment to also say to you that I'm thankful for you and this special form of communication we have. Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Life Update - 112205

I figured that it was time to update a few of my previous posts. After a long search and over $650 in auto rental fees, I have finally purchased a vehicle. Now, as you know, I was thinking of getting something older that I could avoid making payments on, something good on gas, something safe and something roomy. It was a hard choice but I got 3 out of 4. It's hard to drop down from an Isuzu Rodeo because in a smaller economy car you suddenly feel vulnerable. Heck, it's hard when you are used to looking over the little cars to be trying to look over the big ones. So I went with a 2006 Hyundai Tucson. I've never had a new car in my life. For some reason, I feel giddy as if I lost my virginity and want to tell the world. Well, maybe not tell the world but jumping-out-of-my skin-excited.

The new shift starts in about 2 1/2 hours and it should be interesting to see how they operate. Things change from early day to late night shift. I've heard it will be busy for awhile, slow for awhile and the odd calls from people needing condoms delivered to them. Emergencies happen, I guess. My major concerns will be how full the parking garage will be and getting off of work after midnight. I'm thinking of bringing some clothes with me so if I want to go have a beer before I go home, I can. Leaving work at 3pm and getting a beer made me feel like an alkie.

The neighbors have been pretty impressed with the letter (I should post that letter but I'll keep things timely) and we've all been talking about putting up those motion-sensor lights that I mentioned earlier. I've been looking at prices and talked to people about installing them... I think, I'll install mine if only to get it up in a timely fashion and it being there will urge their own done.

Lastly, remember my post about teachers and the age of consent? Well, I wanted to put a few good months in before I mentioned it again. My list there talked about then current cases against teachers. I was contacted by one person on the list and a childhood friend of one of the people on the list. Both wanted names removed as it seems you want to get rid of as much evidence of past indiscretions so some lives can start anew. I removed one because I wanted current U.S. cases and that case was in another country and resolved a year prior. The other stays because it imposes no guilt and only talks about cases, not convictions. But, this is a reminder for you to be aware that anyone might read or even respond to your postings.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

I Was Tagged... I Guess I'm It

I'm not good on passing things onto other people. (Why do I suddenly sound like the neurotic Richard Lewis?) Lora has tagged me to answer a few questions about myself. I'll own up to my responsibility and answer the questions but I am going to hold back on tagging anyone else. So here we go:

2 names you go by:
- Party (It's just something one of the guys from work started and it just rolled downhill from there.)
- Marten (I covered the confusion about this earlier but lets just say I may reply to mail with any spelling that I desire at the moment.)

2 parts of your heritage:
- Irish (The Hennessy name sticks out like a sore thumb whenever I get carded somewhere.)
- Cree (Ok, this area is up for much debate as the percentage if any is unreported. My late grandfather Gilliam McGillis was adopted by a nice American Indian family that lived on a reservation.)

2 things that scare you:
- The words "We need to talk." (Which essentially means: I'm telling you that something is wrong and I can't talk about it now so take the time to think of all the bad things you have done, will do or might have considered because they are all relevant you bastard.)
- Losing members of my immediate family. (I've been very lucky and/or blessed to have had healthy siblings, nephew/nieces and fairly healthy parents. I don't know how I'd deal with losing one of them and thinking about it freaks me out.)

2 everyday essentials:
- Kirkland Daily Multi-Vitamin and Omega-3. (I think it goes back to the horse pills my father used to have us choke down as kids but then again as mentioned above... we are pretty darn healthy.)
- I always place a tube of Blistex medicated chapstick in my left pocket every morning (I was really struggling with this question.)

2 fave bands/artists:

- Depeche Mode
- Skinny Puppy

2 favorite songs:
- The Chauffeur by Duran Duran (Something about the haunting melody played on the pan flute. Oh, and I am sparing you the rehash of the "I Like Rain" story.)
- The Power Of Love” by Frankie Goes To Hollywood (I've always gotten chills just hearing this song. Tremendous lyrics.)

2 things you want in a relationship (other than true love):
- This is a loaded question for someone with a breast fetish
- Personal growth. (Sometimes two plants that are put too close together get their roots entangled and one plant winds up killing the other... wait was this an optimistic question?)

2 favorite hobbies:

- Research (I love being given a problem and spending hours learning about why things are as they are, who recorded a song first or if someone is dead or Canadian.)
- Singing (Whether it's karaoke or in the car, nothing helps me leave my personal baggage on the floor than belting out a few notes of relatively obscure songs.)

2 things you want really badly:
- To know that a specific someone is having a great life and is without pain or suffering. (Sometimes what you want the most isn't the healthiest thing to achieve though.)
- For each individual person in my life to know their significant value to making me who I am.

2 places you want to go on vacation:
- The United Kingdom
- Australia

2 things you want to do before you die:
- Write a book
- Organize a charity event

2 ways in which you are a true guy:
- I pee standing upright.
- My aim isn't always the best.

2 things you are thinking about right now:
- The external hard drive that I put together that is sitting on my bed that needs to be installed and off my bed before I sleep.
- The motion-sensor light that I need to buy early tomorrow morning which is supposed to be installed sometime tomorrow by a neighbor's co-worker (who may not show up.)

2 stores you shop at:
- Best Buy (I'll know all the employees by name someday.)
- The 99 cent store (I don't know why but I find myself amazed walking through the rows of crap that I know is selling for a few pennies more somewhere else.)

2 people guaranteed to make you laugh:
- My brother Matthew
- Steven Wright (Something about his dry delivery and intellectual humor floors me.)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

They Paved Paradise

After 40 years of business, Las Vegas' Westward Ho closed their doors today at 5 p.m. The property was purchased recently by Centex Destination Properties with possible plans to place highrise condominiums on the Las Vegas Strip location.

Today, I started thinking about how much this city has changed. Not just the empty lots being filled or new homes pushing the borders of our burgeoning metropolis but the landmarks. One of my first jobs was at the Dunes hotel as a pool attendant (that was imploded to make room for the Bellagio.) I literally grew up in the middle of the Desert Inn Hotel & Casino's golf course on the tennis courts (that was replaced by the Wynn Hotel & Casino.) I played many tennis tournaments at the Sands Hotel (which is now the Venetian) and the Hacienda Hotel (now Mandalay Bay.) So many of those odd little places have been sentimentally pushed aside as anti-progress only to become the next big thing.

As I think about this, I think about the Westward Ho and its neighbor Slots-A-Fun. As in many cities, cruising your major local street is ritual on the weekend. They had set a curfew when I was graduating to cut down on the traffic. I can still picture what hotels went where in my head. Yet, I know that I won't stop stop thinking of those two hotels as the Wayward Ho and Sluts-R-Fun.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Delivery Room

I've been spending the last few months really confused about how long it is taking mail to get to me. I recently got a box from eBay that was sent out a month ago (really) which went out Media Mail meaning it'll take 8 to 9 business days. That is pretty nuts. This is after I started receiving some of my ads from Best Buy and Suncoast for big sales savings on (insert date here) weeks after.

I went to the post office two months ago to confront them about the late mail. I talked to the manager who said that this was happening often and it was a problem at the processing hub that she was assured would be fixed soon. That didn't happen. So, I caught my mailwoman dropping off a box for me yesterday and asked her about it. She reiterated to me the issue with the hub but added more info. The mail carriers have been overwhelmed and have been logging 10-hour days meaning 2 hours of overtime. The manager, trying to save their own butt, started hiding some of the mail that didn't need to go out right away to lighten the load and save on overtime. This backlog was happening more and more. Mail was being misplaced and wound up going out later than was acceptable and the complaints grew. She also told me that this person has been fired and the problem will be resolved. Today, I got my Best Buy coupons (10% off DVDs, home appliances, etc...) over a week early. Someone is finally earning their pay.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

A Change Can Do You Good

Yesterday, was a very busy day for me. I dropped off copies of the letter that I mentioned. It went well and we'll see how many calls I receive from the neighbors. I talked with the neighbor that was attacked and she is doing better.

Before heading home to do that, I made a big decision. I've worked nearly 12 years at my job at the same position. I have also always worked early shifts (7am-3pm and 8am-4pm.) But, it was in July of last year that I took some classes that would lead me to a new career. There are problems with the move:

  1. I wouldn't be paid at first and slowly paid more as I learn
  2. It also requires banker's hours (usually 9am-5pm)
  3. No benefits or insurance provided

Now, of course, those logically create issues. I took a step to helping with this a few months ago by applying for a HELOC (home equity line of credit) which I intend to have to help me through the tough early months. The hours would require a bit of a miracle as changing shifts is nearly impossible and the HELOC could actually put an big chunk of debt on my shoulders (as would buying insurance.) It was by luck that someone that quit had their shift up for bid. As people took shifts, one was left that was adjusted to a 5pm to 1am with Friday and Saturday off. I bit the bullet and took the shift. How this is going to mess up my sleeping habits, relationships with friends and girlfriend or work with the other job is pretty much unknown. I know that I'll be able to work both jobs for awhile if I really have to (which helps on the insurance and money issues.) Here's to hoping that I made a good decision.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Like A Good Neighbor...

I don't think that I'm the best neighbor. I know the families of 2 of the houses surrounding me pretty well but I'm going to fix that. I need to be a dependable person to those around me. I need to let them know that I'm there if they have an emergency or need assistance with something. I also need them to know that I'm expecting the same in return.

These changes begin this weekend as I'll be typing up a letter to 8 of the homes surrounding me. You see, on Friday night, Neighbor A (whom I don't know as well as I should) was attacked at her home. She's a young woman living by herself and upon driving up to her home, noticed some young boys walking by her house and proceeded to open her garage door. After parking her car inside and hitting the remote to close the door, she proceeded to step out of her car. The garage door stopped closing abruptly. The two boys had stepped into the garage and were pointing guns at her demanding her purse or her life. They ripped the purse so forcefully from her hand that it tore tendons in two fingers. They ran off and hopped into an unplated car parked down the street with two other boys. She was left screaming for help... but no one heard her. All 4 boys were caught after a high-speed chase. The guns were in the car (they had jumped out) but not the purse (gotta get rid of the evidence.) It seems this same thing had happened in the neighborhood before with shots fired that time.

I am not going to let this happen to myself or my neighbors again. I'm not going to create a neighborhood watch. I'm going to create a 'good neighbor contact list.' In wanting to be a better neighbor, I am going to give my cellphone number to each of them. I am hoping to gather numbers for all 8 of these homes so if someone needs emergency help, if someone sees someone suspicious while driving up or if someone leaves their garage door open without a car in it... a neighbor will help. If Neighbor A had a few phone numbers to call that night when she got that weird feeling about the boys outside her home, someone could have walked outside their home to make sure she got in safely. I believe this is a good way to instill trust in your neighbors and create a support system. The other major change that I'll be adopting is I'll be placing motion-sensor lights on the front of my house and that of another neighbor (if anyone else wants one, I'll help install them.) On stage, it is often said that a star is only as good as their supporting cast. I also believe a neighborhood is only as safe as their homeowners communication.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

On The Other Hand...

I was helping Kerry move into her new condo yesterday when I discovered a secret that many men don't talk about. (Sorry guys, but I'm going to let this one out.) I believe we have a third hand. I know what you are thinking and no, I haven't trained those muscles that well. If you think about it, men carry things differently than women. We both try to protect our sensitive protruding parts. You don't see women balancing heavy boxes on their chests when they move (unless they don't have anything there.) Likewise, you won't see men holding boxes against their groin (pointy edges.) But, you will see men use their third hand... their stomach. I noticed myself doing that here and there as things were being loaded and unloaded. I also recall seeing others do that at work. It's almost a little shelf when trying to hold a suitcase, desk or dresser in a certain position. Scary what goes through your head when you are moving stuff.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Spacing Out

Ok, not much for you here today. I have of course been busy typing up the newsletter (the usual Monday thing) and also got started with a MySpace account to keep tabs on some of those artists. You wouldn't know how hard it is to track down all the 80's artists and try to add them to your friends section. Kind of a pain but we'll see how that works out. Otherwise, my mother went to Sacramento for a second time to be with Nana during her surgery. The results are very promising and is reportedly "cancer-free." I'm cautious about that outlook but I'm just thankful she's the fighter she is.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Painting The Town Red

Mayor Oscar Goodman will always stand tall in Las Vegas for speaking his mind whether it gets him in trouble or not. Right now, it's undecided whether his comments about hacking the thumbs off vandals that have been spray-painting graffiti gang tags on the recent highway redevelopment project. (Wait, I don't see his thumb in that photo.) Although this is getting a lot of press, it hasn't been reported that Goodman talked about cutting off their hands last month during an interview on KXNT radio. The last time he got this much coverage was when he was doing a Q&A session with elementary school students. He said that one of his favorite hobbies was drinking and that the one thing that he'd want if stranded on a desert island would be a bottle of gin.

Although his words are extreme, something does have to be done about the vandalism of construction areas, billboards and public areas. Catching them is difficult but not enough is done when they are apprehended. Personally, if they are caught out past curfew doing this, I'd like to see them and their guardian spending the day repainting any of these areas. As a parent, your child shouldn't be out that late without your supervision and someone has to be responsible for their actions even if your child isn't old enough to be. I also think that everyone should know who you are as family honor seems to have disappeared in our culture. I know there are some people that believe this is a form of art. I worry about them. I see this as a growing town that is trying to beautify their highways, city streets and public buildings yet will have to put aside millions of dollars and hire people just to keep repainting these areas. Then again, I don't think people are ready for personal responsibility and they would rather use my tax dollars to clean up after someone else's hobby.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Just One Look

Do you have someone that you can communicate with just with facial movements? I was reminded of this the other day when visiting my brother. Matthew is almost 3 years younger than I am and is a successful loan officer. I stopped in to see him at work (I wanted to fax something and brought him a few burritos for lunch... it's just blocks from my house.) He is used to clients who are always stressed about getting in under deadlines prior to rate increases and are on edge about getting the loan. So I'm sitting in his office and someone calls about a upcoming conference. The "uh-huh," "I see" and "get it over with" looks were on his face. That is when we looked at each other. For some reason, just looking at Matt at the wrong time will cause us both to break into uncontrollable laughter.

I specifically remember sitting in our seats at St. Frances DeSales when we were kids. It was time for sacrament. I was sitting with my brother and sister to the left of my mother with my father on the far right. The chaplain raised his something in his hand (a cracker) and said "This is my body. Eat from it and..." That was about the time that I was looking at my brother and we started giggling. My father looked tersely at us and then came the raising of the cup, "This is blood. Drink from it and..." That was when we both lost it. I don't think that my father's arm could triple in length but at that moment it did as he smacked both of us in the back of the head. Dad stood up and dragged Matt to his right to keep him out of my view and the rest of the service was pretty silent.

I think back about that right now and I wonder. How often have you had a weird connection with a family member that you couldn't explain?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Halloween 2005

Ahhh, Halloween. It's over now but for just a few hours it was beautiful. As you can tell the house has changed and there is a bit more foliage in the entryway. The flash on the camera takes away from the two strobelights (you can see one in the photo without the flash on in the plants.) The little red light in the window is one of those fiery cauldrons. Also hidden in the bushes were a few sound boxes that work off remote control (up to 50 feet away) that make cat noises, screams and howls. I had my scary music with heavy bass playing in the living room with the window open and a CD player near the entry playing growling and howling noises. Oh, you can see the spiderwebs but can't see the bushes to the left where I put a human hand. Many people thought that I was going to jump out of the bushes. I also left the door partially shut so I could pull it open quickly for an extra scare.

Anyhow, no photo of me this time but I did the white pasty look with dark circles under my eyes and a goatee made of make-up. Maybe next year. Several children stood on that walkway and would not get any closer than a 4 feet from the door (they were young but I guess I looked scary.) I used the sound boxes to catch people on their way to the front door and on their way out. I had 3 people (between 14 to 16 years-old) jump back and fall on their butts in front of the door when I opened it. Not as much blood this year but it is amazing the panic that sound creates. At some point, I'd like to be able to shake the bushes and or pop out on the people but it's hard when you then have to go inside and get them candy. I've also come to the conclusion that I need to buy half cheap candy and half what I enjoy (usually Snickers.) This way if they come to the door not dressed for Halloween... yup candy corn or carmels. Dress up, Snickers.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Halloween 2004

I've just finished writing my Monday newsletter and am off to dress up the house for Halloween. I believe that if you decorate too early, it takes away from the shock of it all. As I work on the set-up for this year, I decided to put some photos up from 2004.

On the left is a decapitated body. It worked really well except the kids wanted to look under the sheet to see the head. Have a great Halloween folks. Oh, that's how I answered the door that year. I'm sure that you are now happy you know what I look like. B) I'm a sick bastard.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

What Can Brown Do For You?

Many people know that I don't watch American Idol. I believe the reason for that is that I'm not really a fan of current pop music. There is something missing there. I tend to look back and think of the first search for musical talent instead... Star Search. As you can see in the picture, there's Ed McMahon. Sure, I don't think he knew much about music at the time (they did branch off into comedy, dancing and comedy with much success) but there sure were some amazing people that used that show as a stepping stone.

The show was a fixture in our household growing up and, for some reason, the winners seemed to be pretty obvious for awhile. It was almost like a Survivor talent show when there were people of equal talent. Sure, everyone knows about Britney Spears appearing on the show. Even Sinbad, Sam Harris, Dennis Miller, Drew Carey, Rosie O'Donnell, Alanis Morissette, Martin Lawrence, Justin Timberlake, Ray Romano, LeAnn Rimes and Christina Aguilera made decent careers for themselves after appearing on the show that ran from 1983 to 1995. But then, there was this 5-piece country band that was embraced by the studio and television audience that won the $100,000 grand prize on the show and got signed to a recording contract right afterwards named... Sawyer Brown.

Friday night was my first time seeing Sawyer Brown since I first watched them on Star Search. The band have been together now for more than 23 years, performed over 3500 shows and have collected many gold and platinum albums. I actually don't have any of their CDs (this will be remedied.) The show was phenomenal. Unexpected witty banter between the band members, great cover songs and a tight sound seem to be a staple of their shows from most of the crowd reaction. The energy of lead vocalist Mark Miller is astounding. Sure, he dances funny but after awhile you get past that. Keyboardist Gregg 'Hobie' Hubbard stands out though. He has an amazing ear for vocal harmony and plays the hell out of that Yamaha he has on stage. His vocal on their cover of Joe Walsh's "Life Is Good" had me floored. This isn't to say that the rest of the band were slouches. I'm just amazed that I might never have seen them if it weren't for the kindness of Dan and Robin offering the tickets. I'm very thankful. Now I need to find a good greatest hits collection for them. I'll work on that later. Gotta get ready for a Halloween party and maybe sneak a nap in.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


My website needs graphical help. So much so that I got ahold of that television series in Canada (Call For Help... I think I mentioned the show before.) I was able to get a copy of the episode online from when it aired in Canada and Australia before it airs here in the U.S. (kinda funny because it actually shows a photo of me.) Anyhow, one thing that they came up with was personalizing it with a mascot... me. So, what Amber there devised was a company called IconizeMe which makes caricatures from photos you provide them. I've looked at the samples (click that link and look to the right at what Jose' does) and found the artist and style that I want. Now I just need to sent the right photo. I really hate photos but I have a few that I took a bit ago that just need to be scanned and sent with my $50 payment and I'm on my way.

I've also been considering my idea of having crazed art pieces that I come up with adorn my walls. Many include using body parts and other things and well, someone might figure what they are out and that wouldn't be PG. I'm now thinking of having a blown up version of the caricature created for me put on canvas but then again... that could either be vain or self-deprecating.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Shortcuts Through The Maze

I know that you've been there. You got the wrong product, wanted to call about product availability, needed to know about your account, wished to make a payment... one way or another, we've all had to go through a silly menu to try to get somewhere. Depending on how that electronic phone menu is structured... you may be there awhile trying out different options. Heck, most often we are so distracted that by the time they mention what pressing 7 will do for you, you have forgotten what 1, 2, and 4 are.

As a business it only makes sense. If you can cut down on simple phone calls that can be answered with a quick message and hire less people, it's better to have a menu system. But, if it is something more pressing, having a person on the other end may ease your mind quickly. It used to be pretty easy to foil the system and just press zero but they seem to have caught on to that. That's why it may be handy for you to keep your Find-A-Human cheat sheet available for some of those calls. Here you can speed up the process (until they learn people know about the shortcut) and get difficult answers quicker instead of meandering through a maze of words in hopes of finding what you need.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Just Another Hair-brained MLM Scheme

The service industry is tough. Turning on a smile, dealing with upset customers, answering customer questions... keeping people happy is difficult. I actually enjoy meeting new people and believe that I learn something every day from the ones that I work for and around. But, sometimes the customer doesn't want to be a customer. That's right, you are being solicited.

When was the last time you went to a convenience store and told the clerk that their life is heading in the wrong direction? This seems to be happening more and more in what some call 'viral marketing.' Sure, there are companies out there that actively pursue employees as if they were a sale. I'd mention some names but I'd like to cut the lawsuits down to a minimum.

The last few days at work have been solicitation hell. I can't actually count on my fingers and toes how many times I've dealt with this. This one unnamed company is in our building holding sales conferences (I worry that what they are doing is trying to meet people on the street and ask catch them off guard.) As an employee serving a customer, you are pretty much trapped in conversation with them. The conversation usually makes a turn at "So, how long have you been working here." A simple and easy question but you know the follow-up of "How do you like it?" is just awaiting whatever response you have. Now you are trapped. No one likes to work. Everyone wants to be paid more. Everyone would love to have better days off (like football Sundays.) Any way you answer the question you will be given a card, asked for a card, be told about how you can make money in your spare time (I have spare time? Really? Someone drug test this person!) or how something can change your life. I'm devising a plan for the next couple days to combat the scenario without endangering the job but I wonder how often you've felt cornered in the same way?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

It's Raining Again

For a lot of local Las Vegans, today and last night we had weather that many moved here to avoid. Yes, the dreaded thing called rainfall. Somewhere in this city, there are a bunch of pots and pans under leaks in the roof. There are people getting in car accidents because they can't drive. There are roads closed due to flooding (we don't actually have the best drainage.) There are people that can't work (outdoor jobs.) But, we are second to Arizona in getting the least rainfall so I find it hard to complain and I actually like it.

I don't know specifically why but there may be several reasons for it. My father teaches tennis. Having rainy days meant that he wouldn't be at work and we'd have him to ourselves. That could be a good one. It could be that amazing smell that comes before the rain here in Vegas. I've heard people talk about the smell after the rain but by that time the smell I notice is gone. I also like seeing empty streets in the middle of the day. It's a break from the hustle and bustle. Maybe it's even the feeling that the rain is washing away the impurities that have built up and is starting our town with a clean slate. What am I saying, it's Sin City. Heck, I've even thought of it as the Lord either urinating, spitting or crying at different times in my life, too.

Sometime after I graduated high school, I found an album that I've mentioned before called The Size Of Food by The Jean-Paul Sartre Experience. After becoming transfixed and sucked into their sound, I went looking for more. All I could find was an old vinyl album of theirs called Love Songs. That's where I found my favorite song, "I Like Rain," and for a few weeks I'll leave it up here (it's going to kill my website's bandwidth otherwise.) It takes repeated listenings but there is something about the cheesy keyboards, simple guitar picking, rollercoaster of melody and innocence... maybe even the falling notes. I also notice that some of my favorite songs are about rain: Jars Of Clay's "Flood," Supertramp's "It's Raining Again," the Eurythmics' "Here Comes The Rain Again," Depeche Mode's "Sun And The Rainfall," Cracker's "Another Song About The Rain," Eddie Rabbitt's "I Love A Rainy Night," New Edition's "Can You Stand The Rain?," The Everly Brother's "Crying In the Rain," The Cult's "Rain," The Jesus And Mary Chain's "Happy When It Rains"... let's just say there are a whole lot of them.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Thought Of The Day - 101705

The one song that is not expected to be played on New Orleans radio when it returns to the air: Katrina And The Waves' "Walking On Sunshine."

Saturday, October 15, 2005

So Much To Do With No Obvious Order

It seems like everything is going on at the same time right now. As I've mentioned previously, my Isuzu Rodeo was in an accident. The insurance company has decided it is a total loss. Meaning that I will receive around $3,000 minus the $500 deductible. The way the company works is that when they give you their offer, my car rental coverage stops. So, I have been thinking about what type of automobile to move to. It'll have to be cheap (within the money returned to me) because financing something right now will kill my home equity line of credit (HELOC) loan process. So, I've decided the next vehicle will be a 2-year deal. Essentially, I'm going to buy what I can, use the time to save on gas (that Rodeo had a drinking problem) and buy a newer vehicle 24 months later. I just need to find one by Tuesday. No sweat, right? So that is on my mind.

The loan process is important as I have a chance to start a new vocation in the next few weeks. If it doesn't happen then, it'll be about 18 months down the road and that 2-year car will become a 4-year deal. Once set in motion and secured, I'll be able to use my equity to help me make it through the tough couple years of internship. But, it also means leaving a job I've been at for almost 12 years (which is tough because I have a lot of good friends there.)

Then there is Nana. Her surgery on the tumor went alright. The only problem was when they went in and discovered cancer on her bladder. In some ways I'd think they'd just go in and take that then but to not lessen her chance of recovery, they stopped there -- she is 85. Mom said the thin and spirited little woman looks has been weakened dramatically but is fighting through it. I guess, cancer really starts spreading once it's being removed and she'll need all the strength she can by then. She's forefront of my addled mind. Having the transportation and the money to spend more time with her would be wonderful and are a few of the reasons why I'm making the changes but I need to also keep my thoughts and prayers (yes, be scared, I'm saying a few prayers for Nana) on her right now. I just think that if the Lord wanted to take a saint, he would have grabbed her long ago. So, I figure there are still things here for her to do.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

When Rumors Become Reality

It was the during the ESPY awards that I heard the wildest rumor. I don't know if you can call it a rumor if it came from the person that it was about. Anyhow, it was during a very bad year for the San Francisco 49ers. The only thing that legendary wide receiver Jerry Rice had to look forward to in February of 2000... a nomination as Male Athlete of the Decade. Rice had begun contract talks with the team after his first healthy season since he was a rookie that he had less than 1000 yards (830.) Talks about him going to other teams were circulating but easily dismissed.

Anyhow, a friend of mine named John that worked with me was able to assist Mr. Rice as he departed the premises. As they were walking, he asked him, "Any chance you might go play across the bay?" The future Hall Of Fame wide receiver stopped walking for a moment, turned and looked at him enthusiastically and replied, "You know... I'd love to catch balls with Tim Brown!" It was quick and positive, leaving John with the giddy feeling that next year, Jerry Rice would be an Oakland Raider. But, that didn't happen. Rice would have less receiving yards in 2000 with the team as teammate Terrell Owens would jump from 754 yards to 1451 yards and become the 'go-to-guy.'

Rice did wind up going to Oakland the next year after many believed he had 'lost a step' which upset many 49er fans that wanted him to retire with the team then. I was pretty astonished to think that maybe there was a little something in what he said to John that day about playing across the bay. Did something he said to Jerry create an intrigue into the idea? His career rebounded the next two seasons with 1139 yards and 1211 yards as he played along-side the player ranked right behind him in all-time receiving yards. Although he has retired, I still remember looking at John that day like he was on crack when he gave me what I expected was just another bad rumor.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A Night Of Keyboards

It was a great show on Saturday. Heck, both acts played with the Las Vegas Philharmonic Orchestra (Ok, I know you are thrilled.) I didn't know how much longer it would go on but I was enjoying it and I do recall that I called in sick the next day because sleeping from 2 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. isn't really an option (I work early.)

First on was Alan Parsons Live Project. I had seen them live years ago and think that this was a better show. I went with Kerry, Dan, Robin and bumped into renown Las Vegas photo-journalist J. K. Hennessy (who provided the photo.) Parsons performed a few tracks from their latest album A Valid Path which is a lot heavier on the keyboards and at times very trance-like. Also notable is that each member of his band provide vocals. All but the backup keyboardist sang lead on songs during the performance. I'm still shocked at how well Parsons himself sounded on "Don't Answer Me." I wound up purchasing their live DVD and the previously-mentioned album after the show.

No, that's not Tony Bennett in the photo (we'll talk about him another time) this is Dennis DeYoung. He opened with his solo hit "Desert Moon" and then was very animated as he pointed and yelled at a few roadies (off microphone of course.) Come to find out that the roadies set up Alan Parsons' keyboard up where Dennis' was supposed to be. Since it was pre-loaded with songs for "Eye In The Sky" and all, it wouldn't work out. DeYoung admitted to being a little out-of-sorts not sitting behind his keyboard and this was noticeable as he played his piano on a few songs (possibly to replace the keyboard sound) but the volume wasn't there. His stage charisma was definitely boosted by his great sense of humor as he seemed to forget the keyboard mess after a few songs. It was an amazing performance as the hits he wrote for Styx were mixed with classical music interludes that fit the songs well. I'd tell you which classical pieces but I'm a mediocre 80's music authority not early classical. Overall, it was well worth the issues I'll have at work for calling-in.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Never Let Me Down?

There have been a few bands that have really influenced my musical appreciation over the years. Duran Duran would be a big one but when it comes to songwriting I've always cited Depeche Mode above all. So as you can expect, I sit eagerly awaiting every album and b-side of theirs. My favorite Depeche Mode song? That's a toss up between "But Not Tonight" and "Sea Of Sin." So for their 12th studio album, the band have made a subtle but important change.

When the band released their 1981 debut album, Speak And Spell, their sole songwriter was a man named Vince Clarke. He had been instrumental in convincing the band to perform entirely with keyboards. The album was very successful but Clarke decided to move on (forming Yazoo/Yaz and Erasure.) Bandmate Martin L. Gore successfully took over the songwriting on the following albums with only one or two compositions by Clarke's replacement on keyboards Alan Wilder. In 1989, Gore would release, Counterfeit, (a solo album of cover songs) and a Counterfeit2 in 2003. Somewhere along the way, vocalist Dave Gahan decided to try his hand more at writing. He had presented songs to the band before and been balked. In 2003, Gahan released a solo album, Paper Monsters, to modest reviews. He then reported that if he were to work on a follow-up to Depeche Mode's 2001 album, Exciter, he would have to be allowed to write some of the songs.

Fast-forward to 2005, I've picked up an early release of their new album Playing The Angel. Gahan has written 3 songs for the album ("I Want It All," "Suffer Well" and "Nothing Is Impossible") and Gore has gone through a recent divorce leading to a lyrically dark album. I'm impressed by the first single, "Precious," but can't find another song that jumps out at me. There seems to be more noise than actual hook in most of the songs. I can actually say that if I had to list my favorite albums by the band this would be right at the bottom. I remain hopeful that this disc will grow on me before the Oct. 18th release date but right now I'm suddenly finding their songwriting is letting me down.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

My Share, Their Share, Their Math, My Butt

Nevada cities North Las Vegas and Henderson have been ranked #2 and #3 in the Top 5 fastest growing of the 1990s by the Census Bureau. The 2000 census report rated the Las Vegas metropolitan area as the #1 fastest growing area (83.3% to 1,563,282.) Between 2000 and 2002, Las Vegas gained 6%, North Las Vegas gained 17.7% and Henderson jumped 17.3%. From July 1, 2003 to July 1, 2004, the U.S. Census Bureau ranked North Las Vegas as the #3 fastest growing city. Growth can be good and then it can bad as we are all facing pains in transportation but it seems that the police have been feeling the effects as well. Or have they?

By a narrow margin in 2004, the voters approved an initiative to raise the sales tax to 7.75% in order to hire and equip more police officers with another possible .25% increase possible in 2009. The initiative was later approved by state, county officials and signed into law by Governor Kenny Guinn earlier this year. This month, the new sales tax went into effect which raises the annual cost of living but for a good cause.

The Las Vegas area had 852,732 residents in 1990, nearly 1.6 million in 2000 and our current estimate is 1.8 million. My problem with this raise in tax is that the funds for the police already come from our state sales tax. This value climbs as our population does as more spending occurs exponentially with growth. If I was one of the 1 million people that moved to Las Vegas in the last 15 years, I probably went shopping to fill my home and taxes on those items filled state coffers. Yet, I have difficulty understanding how a .25% increase helps with growth when sales do that. I also find it intriguing that after this new tax went into place, a new contract proposal from Sheriff Bill Young to the police union assures most officers a 10% annual raise. Which instead of being used to hire new officers will deplete that tax increase faster than Courtney Love goes through needles.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Well, I'll Be A Monkey's Uncle... Again

Taking a photo of a photo in a frame is a pain in the tush. Glass glares and the focus is thrown off by the reflection but I wanted this picture in here without having to scan it. Pictured here are my sister and her husband with the twins (Olivia and Connor but I'm sure you've heard me talk about them before... there's even a photo or two up here.) After trying for years to get pregnant, Michelle and Cory did the whole medical route. After a lot of money and attempts, Olivia and Connor were born. They impress me every time I see them.

Recently, Cory has been to the doctor several times over an inner-ear issue that could affect his job if not treated. He is expected to have another surgery next month. With all the flu cases going around, Michelle has been under the weather... at least that's what we thought. It seems that I'm again going to be an uncle. It's rather unexpected for their family but both Connor and Olivia have mentioned wanting a baby. After all the issues that they've been working through, it's good to see something good happen naturally. So now, I'm looking at the picture and thinking of a third child (then again maybe two) in the middle somewhere.

The bad news is that my mother (who's birthday is tomorrow) is visiting Grandma Hennessy in the hospital in Sacramento. After the car accident, it seemed everything was going to be alright. A few nights later she awoke to blood on her sheets. She has a tumor on one of her kidneys. Surgery is expected to take place shortly. Mom has always had a very close bond with Nana (one that most would like to see in mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationships) and I can see why she went there as soon as she could. We have our prayers with her as well as fingers crossed.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Knit One, Pearl Two

It has been a great football weekend. This has got me thinking about football rivalries. Some people are just a bit more passionate about certain things and you can see that in the stands at some of these games. There are people that you just don't want to tell that you are a fan of a certain team because all you will hear from them in the future is about your team. Most of us actually like to have bigger conversations that "your defensive line couldn't fight it's way out of a paper bag" or "they have decided that your next pre-season will include a game with Bonanza High School, hope you don't lose that one" which are fighting words for any passionate fan. So, something about all this (which I see a lot at work) seemed familiar.

Politics. Partisan politics can bring out fighting words from anyone that is passionate about their views. Name-calling is nothing new but when you see one friend assaulting another over the 'war on terror' it's pretty bad. You hear the snide remarks in the news and can tell who not to talk about your political views with.

What I notice in common there are the fact that most often, these views are passed on from family. There are times when it will deviate on with both fandom and political leanings but most often these are learned practices. Dad is a fan of the Bills, Billy sits down and watches Daddy watching the Bills and is happy the Bills win because it makes Dad happy. The same thing often applies in families when a child hears that (insert party) is corrupt, evil or brain-dead. Impressions start young on both issues but it is interesting to see those that are obsessed with both football and politics... that's when you discuss knitting.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Maybe, It's Better To Sing In The Car

Feel free to officially call or visit Green Day's Billy Joe Armstrong today and wake him up.

Today at the big green building we had many celebrities that are performing a benefit concert (Celine Dion, Usher, Mary J. Blige, the Eagles and Duran Duran.) I personally hold Duran Duran's first album (which is very underrated) responsible for my music development. So, I had one of their songs in my head and spent some time singing one of the album tracks, "Night Boat." Anyhow, I turned a corner heading back to the office and was still singing as I passed John Taylor. Eye contact was made but we kept walking by each other. A very weird moment, indeed.

I was given tickets to see the show a little bit later on today but I had plans to go to a wedding with my father and work 5 am to 1 pm tomorrow (so I'll be sleeping.) Gave the tickets to my little brother Michael who is in town from L.A. I then got home and thought about what I'd have to wear to the wedding. Sports coat is M.I.A. and really lacking clothes that would work well in a formal environment. So, I called Dad and let him know that I'm not going to the wedding. Heck, by the time I drove back, I really wouldn't have much time to sleep so it's probably better off this way. September really has ended.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Thought Of The Day - 093005

I really loved Anne Rice's book The Vampire Lestat and read it before The Vampire Chronicles (rare for me because I'm very anal about reading or watching things in order.) Yet, I've developed a big fear of Elton John and Bernie Taupin's new musical Lestat. For some reason, I've got this idea that they will spend 13 minutes in the middle of the show on a number called "I Want To Suck You Dry." I'll have to wait for the reviews.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Say My Name

You've had it happen to you before. You are checking out at the grocery store counter and the clerk looks at your store savings card or credit card and says, "Thank you for shopping with us Mr. Hennessy." Well, probably not the same last name but businesses have taken more notice of customer service. As competitive as things get in the world, you can only do so many things to bring a customer back. One of those is to offer them the cheapest price on the planet which will leave you to make barely enough to pay your employees. The second way is to give the aura of personalized service where everyone feels like Norm walking into the Cheers bar.

This doesn't always work though. My unnamable position at the big green building requires us to go overboard. We are required to say their name twice in conversation with them by penalty of supervised training courses. This can also make you feel a little more uncomfortable when someone keeps saying your name yet you don't know theirs and have never met them before. Sure, we are also supposed to sell them on every product in the building and show certain obvious features. What makes the situation silly and a customer service nightmare is when you are given the wrong name to address the person. Either it is a misspelling from an earlier transaction, someone else made their arrangements under a different name at the big green building or they aren't supposed to be there. But, if you spent a week somewhere and were called the wrong name at least 6 to 8 times a day, you would feel the incompetence level of the business is extremely high after correcting each person. Furthermore, you'd be pretty frustrated and want as little contact as possible.

Our parents work so hard to give us good names (then again, some don't) to enter our lives with. Many times we'll be asked our names as a form of introduction. Yet, a line should be drawn when they become thrown about haphazardly, misspoken or trivialized by people who are there to serve your needs.

Monday, September 26, 2005


Sometimes, I ask myself if I'm getting all the information that I possibly can. Is what I get slanted, biased or unfounded? That's one reason why I tend to read and watch a little from every side so I can make up my own mind. But, sometimes some things don't get reported. How do you how your senator or representative voted on particular issues or if they even bothered to vote?

That's why I signed up back some time ago at Government Guide. Every so often you are sent an e-mail telling you how the people representing you in your state are voting. There is something reassuring knowing that I get an untainted view of who voted for what (a simple Yes or No vote.) The only thing that is missing is a list of the riders on some of those bills being passed or declined. Also handy is the product and car recalls list in the Citizen Toolbox.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Just A Bill

I grew up on cartoons and yes, many may note that I haven't given up on them entirely (the Smurfs killed everything good about Saturday mornings in the U.S.) One staple of the weekend flurry of morning entertainment was School House Rock (great DVD collection, btw.) This was the perfect vehicle to teach children as you entertain them with catchy songs.

As you know, my mind wanders and sometimes finds some odd items in the nooks and crannys of my brain. Today, for some reason, I couldn't get one thought out of my mind... 'What kind of bill was he?' In the song "I'm Just A Bill", we find out that Bill is waiting in line with lots of other bills to get passed in either the House or Senate with hopes to be a law. For some reason, I just want to know what kind of bill he was.

The episode was first aired in 1975. Could it have been the amendment to federal voting rights laws adding protection from voting discrimination for language minority citizens? Could it have been the Age Discrimination Act? Maybe the Education For All Handicapped Children Act, the Metric Conversion Act, the Firearms Control Regulations Act, the Pension Act, the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, the Buying Services Act, the Energy Policy And Conservation Act, the Tax Reduction Act, the Financial Institutions Act or even the International Development And Food Assistance Act could all have been possibilities. There are many more that I can list... but I'm starting to think that it was a very long year in line for some of those bills.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Legalize It

When it comes to political leanings, I've defined myself as a free-thinking laissez faire capitalist. What does that all mean? It pretty much puts me inbetween parties and closest to being a Libertarian (although, I find myself less happy with their methodology.) I believe that trade is important. I value each individual state over the federal government. (We are a united 50 states but it doesn't mean we can't have different values and beliefs.) I think that government interference with trade creates a bigger federal government. With all that, I also believe in legalizing marijuana.

It might sound like this is the time for me to tell you that I grow plants, smoke up at concerts or sell the stuff. Nothing could be further from the truth. I admit that I have tried pot twice. The first time gave me a case of the giggles and a case of the munchies (which ended with me finishing 3 large Little Caesar's pizzas and curling up hoping my body would process it before I exploded.) The last time did absolutely nothing. Will I try it again, I doubt it. But I do wonder why pizza chains haven't been trying to push for legalization... I mean, they'd do huge business.

My reasons for wanting legalization are many. The 18th Amendment was a failure and America supposedly learned a valuable simple lesson from 1919 to 1933, a supply will be created if a demand is there. Simple economics really. By creating a black market for the goods, more money was diverted for other illegal uses while the government spent money on cracking down on these operations. I see the War on Drugs in the same light. This war started with the Harrison Act which only had to deal with registering people to sell, produce, import and distribute opium and cocoa leaves and their derivatives. These items were sneakily made illegal when they then decided not to register anyone. The Marijuana Tax Act would follow in the same footsteps in 1937 (only 4 years after Prohibition ended.) Anyhow, essentially one prohibition ended and another began and continues to this day. States have been trying to address these federal acts. Since 1995, 20% of the states have passed Medical Marijuana initiatives (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.) Between 1978 and 1997, 70% of the states have passed legislation recognizing the medicinal value of marijuana.

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't want all drugs legalized. I just believe that it's hypocritical of us to keep punishing people for recreational use of something that they enjoy and has less serious effects on the body than the very legal alcohol. I personally would rather see tax revenue made from this item than spent on sustaining the status quo. (I'm not even going to go into money saved from enforcement.) But, I'd like to hear your thoughts.