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.