Saturday, December 30, 2006

Life Update - 123006

I had a great time spending Christmas with the family. Sadly it was shorter than it should have been. We bid with our seniority for holiday time off. This year we weren't told if we had it off until the week before. I took the prior week off due to it being slow at work and used the time to work on projects. I called into work to see if I got the time off and they said I was scheduled to come in Christmas week on my regular shift. That was a little depressing. I called a few days later to ensure they weren't wrong. This meant really coordinating my day well so I could spend a few hours with the family before going to work. Sadly, Mom and my brother Michael were running late and I got less than an hour to spend with them. When I got to work, I decided to check my file to find out why I was denied the day off. I looked at the paperwork that I filled out earlier and saw that it was approved. When I took that to the supervisor doing the schedule and asked where the "denial memo" was, he suddenly became skittish and apologized profusely when he noticed that he gave another Hennessy (there are two of us in the department) the week off. He said that I could leave right then but by the time I would get back to Boulder City, everyone would be leaving. Such is my luck but I did wind up getting some time with my family as others probably didn't.

One of the gifts that I received this year was painting from Kerry. I've been very reluctant to put any color on the walls of the house because that's just the way I am. Anyhow, she spent most of the last week in the living room and last night got into the hallways and dining room. She's a hard little worker. I try to help here and there with the really high parts (she's pretty short) and touch-up spots. I can actually say that the house hasn't looked better. It has brought up another issue that needs to be fixed soon: speaker wiring. I need to run it through the ceiling and... cut through some of the walls to run the rear speakers to the surround sound. When that is done, the rest of the paint can be finished.

Less than 2 hours from now, I start my talk show/podcast. I've decided that I'm going to use the next few hours to outline a bunch of things to say if there aren't any callers so I can kill and fill time with something other than inane babble. Should prove to be a good test.

Later tonight, we head over to Lloyd and Teri's to watch the UFC. Maybe the one good thing about working this week was the fact that I got to help and meet both Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell. Should be a very good fight. Logically, I think Liddell has the better chance but I'd like to see Ortiz win. He was very nice when I met him and my impression of him changed when I saw him as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter.

After the living room gets put back together, I'll have to play a little catch-up on my DVR. Yes, it's hard not to say Tivo but in my living room, I took the only option left to me for the HD content coming from DirecTV. Anyhow, right now I have a full season of Battlestar Galactica and a majority of episodes for Smallville, Jericho and Doctor Who waiting for me. Things just need to slow down or I need to set aside a little time each morning to watch an episode.

There are babies on the way. Matthew and Beth announced at Thanksgiving that I'll have a new niece or nephew to spoil next year. My friend Tracy also is expecting as well as my friend and co-worker Patrick. Should prove to be a very interesting year.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Debt Analysis: Someone Else's

I was sitting at work, not having broken my book out of my bag, and found the Money section of the USA Today. They seem to be running a series this holiday season called Young & In Debt. I'd definitely like you to read this article because there are some points that the writer Mindy Fetterman leaves out.

Finished reading it yet? Alright. Yes, it's a really sad situation that Dana is in. She charged about $15,000 to credit cards while in college. (That seems to happen a lot.) She has $12,000 in student loans. Then she gets in a car accident which cost her $16,000 in medical bills (although, I'm unsure if the $2,000 to fix her front teeth were included in that) and is now paid down to $3,400. Sure, she makes $64,000 a year as a bartender but at 24 years of age, that's a lot of debt. Heck, her boyfriend and her both make the payments on the car. Anyhow. I'd like to address a few of these issues.

  • Credit cards should only be given to college students with jobs. In other words, they need a way to pay it back before being given a line of credit. In the article, she mentions that her father helped her out while she was in college but she would see a shirt while shopping and charge it. This seems to have become a habit as $15,000 in clothing later she is having issues. It is later noted in the advice that she stop spending $850 some months on clothes... hello!! You got a shopping problem. Learn to sell some of those on eBay. They'll even teach you how... after you fix that computer.
  • $12,000 in student loans isn't abysmal. I just wonder. With a degree in Fashion Marketing from Indiana University, why is she tending bar? She had a job managing a Ralph Lauren store and at least that was using that education wisely. Yes, at 24, she might have discovered she went for the wrong degree but, then again, there is a little hope in something mentioned later about her working for a friend that is starting a clothing line. This could become that step in the right direction as she could help market this line. With the experience and contacts made there, she could really start her career.
  • They were pretty vague about the accident causing the medical debt. "She was in a car wreck." Was she insured, at fault or under-insured? Was the other driver insured? The direction of the article points to her not having medical insurance as being the culprit here but if the other driver was insured and at fault... those medical bills would be paid and the settlement would have paid off some of those credit cards. What I believe happened here is that she was at fault, was paying liability insurance only, under-insured or the other driver wasn't insured. One or several of those. Medical insurance is still extremely important but I kept waiting for something to pop up in the article saying, "this never would have happened if she was in Canada."
Anyhow, the article irked me and I feel I've gotten it off my chest now. The advice given in the story is very important. I just think that our kids need to better understand insurance, credit cards, shopping moderation, career direction and many other things prior to entering the 'real world.'

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Understanding The "Weekend"

Many people will remember Henry Ford for the invention of the transmission mechanism, Model-T and the assembly line for automobile manufacturing. But it is something he did in 1914 that changed the way America works. "We have," he said, "decided upon and at once put into effect through all the branches of our industries the five day week. Hereafter there will be no more work with us on Saturdays and Sundays. These will be free days, but the men, according to merit, will receive the same pay equivalent as for a full six day week. A day will continue to be eight hours, with no overtime." Of course, this was looked at as crazy but the standard workweek and weekend were defined.

The brilliance of this announcement was that both of the days off observed the different Sabbaths of Jews and Gentiles who at that time worked a 6-day week. Previously, it was advantageous to hire from only one religious group to keep a maximum workforce for 6 of 7 days a week instead of full attendance 5 of 7 days and partial employment for the other 2. At this time racial and religious anti-discrimination policies weren't put in place to create this change. Businesses that previously hired only Catholics (so the full force of the labor could work Monday to Saturday) were still free to do so but... that other company gives you an extra day off and the same pay. Costly litigation was avoided that would later come from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000e, et seq., which prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion and requires employers to reasonably accommodate an employee's religious needs.

Anyhow, as this is the start of the weekend, leading into Christmas, I thought that I'd take a moment to thank people like Henry Ford that had a moral compass (before needing lawyers and judges to nudge them in the right direction) and made ESSO [Every Saturday and Sunday Off] employment mainstream. Not that this exists much in the 24-hour hubbub of Las Vegas but for those of you that happen to enjoy it... have a great "weekend" as it could have been your "day off."

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Return Of Slobokan

I've talked about my introduction to BBS' (bulletin board systems) which predated early Internet use. Several people reading this blog became friends of mine via one such system. Recently, I had been browsing around and stumbled upon another friend from that part of my past. Slobokan (a.k.a. Mike, Ren or Renegade) would actually swing his truck over toward my house on Saturday nights to pick a 16 year-old me up for our Multi-comm park gatherings. (Come to think of it... I probably owe him gas money.) Sure, there was the point that I had a crush on his sister (as others did) but then again she also had my dream job of working in a record store at the time.

Anyhow, I recently found his blog, Slobokan's Site O'Schtuff, and was amazed at what he's been up to in the last 17 years. I guess it is like knowing someone and suddenly seeing Barry Manilow their CD collection (ok, I peek at peoples collections as it gives me more insight into what makes them tick.) If I didn't already decide to go with a live/talkshow format for the podcast, I would have taken him up on his offer to host my podcast through his ISPN Media company. It seems that he also does web design. So, if my request doesn't go through with the people that did Lora's, I'll be begging him for a blog make-over.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Silver And Black Weekend

There are usually so many things to talk about that I don't mention my football team much on here. It could be that I believe announcing myself a fan of a particular NFL team could be as polarizing as labeling myself a Democrat or Republican. Sadly, there aren't any Libertarian teams out there. I do think that playing fantasy football has made me a bigger fan of the sport, specific players and the game itself rather than just an Oakland Raiders fan. Then again, the only positive thing that can be said about the team this year is that their defense (especially their secondary) has improved immensely as it could most likely outscore their own offense.

My evolution into being a Raider fan is rather odd because I clearly remember a Christmas present of a Minnesota Vikings jacket one year. I did think the purple and orange colors were cool but I didn't care to watch pro football yet. In retrospect, I know that Dad would make wagers on the 49ers every so often but I figured that he was given a 'hot' tip by someone he was teaching tennis to that day. I wouldn't sit down and watch a football game until my last year of high school as my stepfather Bob would scream at this quarterback Jay Schrader every week. I figured that I'd find out why he was so upset, so I sat down to watch a few games with him. It wasn't long until I was upset also. I just wanted to see them win. Watching games with friends/co-workers and fantasy football had me watching every game that I could.

Why do I bring up football now? I'll be sitting in section 115 for their upcoming game against the St. Louis Rams. There was a time that I'd go see one game in Oakland each year. The first game wasn't so great (against the Dolphins where at the end of the game a young child in a Dan Marino jersey taunted some ticked off fans... I was waiting for him to 'accidentally' tumble down the concrete stairs.) The others were all winning events and all of them were extremely fun. This year, I'm heading there with my uncle David (yes, he's my age but leaving it out isn't respectful) who is a Rams fan. We fly out early tomorrow morning, attend the 1pm game and fly back a few hours after the game. I know we'll have a good time no matter who wins. (No, I really don't want the team to get the first pick in the NFL draft but if it happens, it happens.) Here's hoping your teams (football or not) do well this week!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Is It Live, Is It Memorex Or Is It Me?

Aside from writing the weekly 80's Nuts Newsletter, I dabbled in radio for a year. I had trained as a disc jockey at KUNV during the early 90's but never submitted a demo tape. It would take a couple named Patrick and Aimee that launched their own online 80's radio station to coax me onto the microphone. For that, I would record five 2-minute segments called the 80's Nuts Update that aired on weekdays at noon and midnight in the Midwest (10am and 10pm P.S.T.) This was fun as I believed that getting the news out to people, who didn't normally get it, was important. 80's Airwaves closed after just more than a year.

It was during this time that Patrick and a few other people asked me about podcasting. I knew very little about the technology involved and was pretty fearful. But, I made a promise to the subscribers of the newsletter and visitors of my Web site that I'd bring the radio segments back in the form of a new podcast by the end of the year. With just a few months left, I started looking into the changes in this technology. I had a better idea of what podcasting was as I was downloading a lot of them for my iPod. But, I was still lost as to the hosting and RSS feeds. I also knew that I needed to take steps of progress from what I was doing before.

This morning was my first test of two new free tools: Skype and Talkshoe. You may have heard of Skype before as it is a way of using your computer as a pseudo-telephone. You can connect with more than one person and hold conversations or pay a little more to actually call real phones (this means using your speakers, microphone or headset.) Talkshoe is a very exciting program. Essentially, a user can set up their account and record their rantings, podcast or talkshow. People connect to the program on their computer and call in via phone or use Skype. On the host's end, you can mute and unmute people to control the flow of conversation. The computer program allows you to chat with other people in cue and also 'raise your hand' to ask a question. At the end of the show, the file (which runs as streaming audio during the live recording) will be posted to iTunes as a podcast. The test went pretty well but I'll have to make an attempt with a real live audience before I even consider it further.

So the negative to going with these production tools is that I can't stop and edit my flubs as I've done many times when recording. What happens, happens and that's just the way it is. Yet, there are positive points:

1) I wouldn't just be reading the news to people that may have already gotten the email or been to the Web site
2) I could connect to many people that don't currently read the newsletter
3) I would be able to answer questions from long-time and new listeners/readers
4) I could actually schedule live interviews with guests
5) I could make the experience more personal by discussing the news with people

I figure that the best time that I could do a show like this would be for an hour on a Saturday afternoon/evening. I'm sure that the next test with live callers will seal the deal. Talking 80's Music with Martin Hennessy is the current working title. Keep your fingers crossed.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Fired Up Over Question 5

I grew up in a smoking household. I never developed the habit although there were times early in my life that I tried it. I show and hold no disdain for those that do partake as they have chosen that for themselves. Actually, the same family member that smoked back when I was growing up has been trying to quit while my youngest brother started.

I mention this because questions 4 and 5 in Nevada during the recent election dealt with banning smoking in particular public areas. Prior to the vote, local news and streets were inundated with signs saying, "Yes On 4, No On 5" and "No On 4, Yes On 5," with little understanding of the implications. Many were led to believe that if both 4 and 5 passed that the one with the most votes would be enforced. Others believed that if neither passed, the local legislators would try to pass a law for the one with the most votes. Either way, Question 5 passed. The legislation would affect hotels in several ways: the closure of "employee smoking areas" (we got a memo at work about this one), no smoking in the hotel with select parts of the casino (where minors are not allowed) being exempted and no smoking in the hotel rooms (I'm not too upset with this one as I hear complaints constantly about people asking for non-smoking rooms and the room they get smells like someone just put out a cigar.) Local bars (who fought hard for the less strict Question 4) that serve food would have to choose between having food served or banning smoking.

I was already hearing grumblings from visiting Californians that heard about the new change in town and was expecting the worst... until a Clark County judge decided to delay the ban for 15 days to review a challenge calling it unconstitutional. The delay would only affect the southern-most county of the state but it seems other counties have decided to not enforce it.

My personal take on the ban is that, for the good it does, it also has some ill-conceived notions. The American business model was founded on meeting desires and needs in the mind of the consumer. Don't want to leave home? They'll deliver food to you. Want to stay in your car and watch a movie or have that meal? There are drive-in theaters and drive-in restaurants. If I want to open a local bar called Smokey's with a big sign upon entry claiming it is a smoking or even smoking-only establishment, I should be able to meet that desire. If the idea is to keep second-hand smoke away from children, why not just say that children are not allowed in pubs or restaurants that allow smoking? That ends the issue. They are carding people there anyhow, right? As a business owner, you want to keep your patrons happy. I know many of my friends and co-workers that only smoke when they have a few drinks. They usually do this when they are playing video poker with friends at a local pub. So when deciding between serving food at your establishment and telling your patrons they can't smoke... you will choose to save money and cut a few food server jobs. Maybe the overall banning of cigarettes is a better idea as Al Gore has said that cigarette smoking is "a significant contributor to global warming." But then again, we know how productive banning products in America has gone.

Friday, December 08, 2006

BeckEye's Tag

I've had tons to say but think it would be best to spread things out a bit. Today, I'm taking care of a promise to answer BeckEye's tag.

Sometimes. I think it depends on if I'm stuffed up. Worse yet, I talk in my sleep sometimes.

Fighters can wind up lonely. I prefer to love fiercely.

Living long enough to forget my own name.

I don't think that I was the only one to take the Lego antennas, put them in the Lego peoples hands and play out a scene from Star Wars. Ok, maybe I was. I never owned any but I did spend time playing with his Legos.

I think that they need to ditch the term 'reality' as I know someone is yelling, "CUT! Ok, Billy, how are you feeling? Tell them! Tell them how pissed you are?" There's definitely a script and make-up crew. Anyhow, some shows in this genre are great (Biggest Loser and Hell's Kitchen) but most I can do without.

No, no oral fixation.

Actually, I've been told by my mother that I looked a lot like the Gerber baby and for some reason I remember someone mentioned to her that I should be entered into a contest they held back then. Does that mean the Gerber baby is cute? Dunno.

Tough question. I love my individuality and the feeling of coming back to an empty house. It might be that I'm set in my ways or something. I follow the beat of my own drummer.

Dingy grey. It really needs cleaning and every time I think to clean it, I consider buying a replacement.

Here and there. Weird songs appear in my head sometimes so some of them don't fit well with the shower. Some of them are original spontaneous creations.

Thought about it but I find it highly unlikely that I'll ever lose that much of my sanity.

It wouldn't be a 'secret' if I said anything, now would it?

A tour of the United Kingdom with stops in every used CD store that I can find.

Yes. One of my first jobs was as a lifeguard at the Dunes Hotel.

Nope. Everyone tells me that I should see it but all I know is that the soundtrack is good.

I think you have to care about a lot of things, especially our planet. With that in mind, I think that it is good to view all sides of the issue before becoming one of the ecological end-of-times annointed.

Depends on the size of your tongue.

No. I won't even make the attempt. I also find it horrible that police officers make that part of a sobriety test as I'd never pass.

Manual. They are smaller... unless they are the huge ones that were bolted to the teacher's desk when I was a kid.

Hunting has it's place. I look through the ads on Black Friday just like everyone. Actually, I think that hunting for food (meaning you plan on eating what you killed) is alright. Doing it for 'sport', well I'd like to see it more sporting like bow and arrow only.

There was a time when I thought, yes. But it goes back to that earlier 'single' question and me getting over previous issues with the word. So, I'd say a definitive "I don't know" to that one.

That's tricky as I tend to dislike my printing (which I do for quick notes), have a different signature on everything I do in cursive (I skip 80% of the letters in my name) and can't remember the last time that I wrote something out in cursive but know that it looks better than the others.

I've heard that I have a dust allergy. I do plan on taking that allergy test sometime soon, though.

Today on the phone.

Not really. Almost did after giving my 'bestman' speech for my brother though... more because I didn't really think through what I was going to say and I'm happy he still talks to me.

Hard scrambled with a little seasoning salt and bacon-bits.

Some, yes.

If I knew, I wouldn't have a bunch of unmatched socks sitting near my bed.

Nearly 6am. I still haven't gone to sleep yet.

I was 'Meat' in Jr. High (yes, it was a sexual connotation), 'O.D.' for a few years on AOL (it was short for ODarknessO) and more recently 'Party' (I took it in stride even though some people misheard it and thought that it was alright to call me Marty... they are still alive.)

No. What is disgusting is describing the process in which chicken nuggets are made. I think there are far worse places than McDonalds.

5 1/2 hours ago.

Showers. Does anyone really get clean sitting in dirty water?

I was told that a reindeer would die every time I said no to this question. He's in my heart.

Not really. I'd say it's a dude thing but I'm not big on having my ears bitten either.

Only when I know that I haven't done laundry in awhile and could twist my ankle walking to the kitchen.

Information accumulation. I check my email 4-5 times a day and many Web sites at least 3 times a day. I also spend a lot of time watching the news. I'm sick, I tell ya.

Crunchy. I like thinking that if there are real bits of peanuts in there that I'm really eating peanut butter and not some peanut-flavored substitute.

Not in that real loud way but it does crack here and there.

No. Hope not to.

I'd like to say that natural is the way to go but if they help, sure. Now, if we mean the illegal type... I still believe in personal responsibility. If you are controlled by something, you have stopped being responsible.

I'd say a medium level. I sleep soundly and little noises don't wake me up.


Yes. Don't take it from me and everything will be alright. I'm pretty content even though I think there are areas to improve.

I usually get visual deja vu moments. Usually this means that I will see something during my dreams the night before that pops up later that day.

No but I've been considering it. I might just have to buy it with cash just in case 'they' plan on putting me on a watch-list.

I took piano lessons as a kid and later played keyboards with a band. I acquired my great-grandfather's player piano (via my mom) and once in awhile sit there and plink a few keys.

I did make a mistake when I was younger, was caught and learned from it. Life's opportunities should never be wasted for instant gratification.

Nope. Don't plan on making an attempt either.

I used to love camping and someday will return to doing it every year or so.

I don't think so.

Yes. Some things can't be explained.

I think the person that coined the phrase died before the invention of the remote control. I think they can bond with people and feel like a family member but 'best friends' is a bit overboard.

No. I think that is another reason that I had trouble with the 'marriage' question earlier. If I don't believe in something and it happens, that puts me in denial. I think divorce is too easy of a way to walk away from a commitment.

No. My brother Matt could. He would also breakdance. But, I don't see an attempt in my future.

'A lot' is rather ambiguous. I make many and 99% of them can be ignored, corrected, apologized for or covered up.

Yes but I think anything under 67 degrees is cold.

A caesar salad, cinnamon roll and brownie.

Ummm... I've heard of some guys doing that but why would you want to put clear polish on? I don't know if I want my nails shining in the light.

I like lots of people. It might be easier to ask how many people I don't like right now. That's a short list.

The ones telling me how easy it is for me to learn Spanish. I actually have books and CDs to learn how to do that but the more they show that makes me say, "Wait a minute! Why am I enabling Americans to not learn American English?"

No. Do they make motorcycles or something?

I can't say there is one that sticks in my head but I do enjoy Walter Wray's "A Hand To Hold."

No one. I don't play tag anymore.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Farewell Mr. Kim

I've been wanting to talk about James Kim for the last few days but the words didn't come. Previous to his work at, he appeared on many of my favorite tech shows (many of them you will remember me mentioning before) including Call For Help and The Screensavers on ZDTV/TechTV. I keep thinking that there are few people we turn to for advice and fewer when purchasing computer parts. After getting much advice, you rely on and respect that voice as well as personally connect to the content. For this reason, I find myself really emotional at the news of his body being discovered today. He leaves behind a beautiful family and my hopes, wishes and condolences go out to them.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Classically Martin: Penelope's Boyfriend's "Wishing Tree"

This month I'd like to delve into a local favorite. Las Vegas' Penelope's Boyfriend had a lot of promise. Several of their songs were getting airplay on KUNV and many saw them as the city's 'next big thing.' In 1992, the group released their debut album, Waiting For The Big Thing. It seems that they wound up waiting and waiting and moved on to other things never to be heard from again. Here I leave you with possibly their most memorable song, "Wishing Tree," which I still find beautiful but feel it hinted at promises that never came true.

As with all these songs: They will be removed in a timely manner as to not infringe on the rights of the artist/songwriter and will be removed even sooner if asked.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Rock Star: Martin's Closet: Episode 3

After last month's episode we were contacted by the ACLU and notified that singling out particular shirts and noting their country of origin was in fact discrimination. We have sent our apologies to those that were sent home already but reminded them, "you didn't look good in the closet anyhow." With that little bit of nastiness behind us we move on to our 5 remaining contestants. Our contestants have been promised a second-chance photo shoot but the time in negotiations with the ACLU pushed that back until our next episode. When our contestants complained, we told them that two of them were leaving the closet this week... never to return. (We can be stern around here.) Now a reminder of our contestants:

Contestant 1: This is our only short sleeved contestant (we are not discriminating here so please no more lawsuits.) Might look good over a t-shirt.

Contestant 2: This one has been the most flashy even though the stripes might make Martin look wider than he is. Escaped a few vote offs so far.

Contestant 4: A little plain (even though it has that little emblem on the left chest) but hasn't been picking up many votes to go so far.

Contestant 5: This one's checkered past may be catching up with it. If only it matched with something.

Contestant 6: Still a little blue, no collar and a diagonal pocket.

Anyhow, as I said earlier, two of these contestants go home this week. So vote like normal (which one really doesn't deserve to be in the closet) and thank you for participating.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Definitive "Later"

I recently got a call from my friend Heidi. Essentially, she wanted the man's definition of the word "later." Although I think this falls into that Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus book, I tried to answer.

Unless it deals with business, men can be very vague. When someone says, "catch you later," it means that they will see you when they see you (with no time constraint.) That is quite different from "see you later" which can mean goodbye and good riddance or again an open time frame for when they will see you but they definitely will. Yes, we have phrases that mean entirely opposite things but aren't meant to be deceiving. Men just avoid the stress of "That's right, I promised Dan that I'd call him." Men don't promise to call each other and don't get upset if someone doesn't call unless it's Dominoes and their pizza is going over the 30 minute mark.

Does this mean all women are like this? No. It just means that jumping to conclusions doesn't help your case if you are waiting for a guy's call and he told you "I'll call you later." Anytime after that call is later. If he had something important to call you back about, he would have said, "I'll call you later tonight" or "I'll call you later tomorrow." Men don't offer those extra words if it's not urgent because the don't like wasting words or pinning themselves down to a time-frame where they may forget to make a call. What this generally messes up for women is when they are trying to figure out the depth and level of a relationship. How many days is waiting too long for later? This can drive a woman batty as they then wonder if they should call that man instead of waiting for 'later'. For some reason, it reminds me of Jon Favreau in Swingers.

I just think later without any dressing is a blanket word for sometime. Personally, I don't enjoy phone conversations all that much and would never pin myself to being near a phone or having to use one unless it was important. That usually is when I throw in the determiners like tomorrow, tonight, in the morning, on Tuesday and many more. Is it worth stressing out when someone doesn't determine the time-frame of their next conversation with you? Not really. What is more important is the quality of that single conversation if you paced the floor for a week waiting for it as it most likely won't meet expectations.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Thoughts On Racism

I admit that I was pretty startled when I first heard about Michael Richards recent implosion on the Laugh Factory stage when reacting to hecklers. I've never been a big fan of Seinfeld but I had held Richards in high regard since the release of UHF. Anyhow, the whole issue reminded me of something and I thought that I'd share it.

I grew up with very little racial bias and I look at it as being colorblind. I still remember how I met John Moy while attending Las Vegas Day School. Another student was trying to throw rocks at him and my entering the area near the jungle gym ended the assault. Moy was of Asian-descent. I always looked up to him when it came to test scores and his ability to hit a 3-pointer. It was at the same school that I met Princess Kirkland. She was a beautiful black girl that hopefully went on to modeling later in her life. I think about her often when I drive by where her house was. I tie my memories of Taco's "Puttin' On The Ritz" and Asia's "Don't Cry" to a swimming pool birthday party at her house. Life was pretty simple, people were what I believed them to be... people.

Just a few years later, I had moved on to Hyde Park Jr. High. I still had one or two friends from L.V.D.S. going there but not that many. But, I'd made several others including Jonathan MacArthur - who was black. He was very energetic but just seemed to be a magnet for trouble. In retrospect, I think he had A.D.D. as he did have some manic episodes (one included turning on the hose in our front yard and spraying down the house because I told him he had to leave.) We had a common interest in cartoons (although, I couldn't get his interest in Inspector Gadget.) Jon wound up getting the nickname Dig 'Em from our science teacher. The same science teacher that would forever make me question my cultural sensitivity.

Mr. Smith was a big black gentleman that always wore his lab coat in class. During one of our tests he added an extra-credit question: What racial group has the highest percent of A.I.D.S. affliction? I knew the answer but didn't. You see, I'd never really described my friends at this point in my life as black, white, Asian, Hispanic, etc. Even the word "black" at that point in time for me seemed imposing and negative. I hadn't heard the phrase African-American yet and the word "colored" (which I'd heard on TV here and there) seemed less bold to me. Boy, was I wrong! It was the first time that I'd ever been lectured by someone on race as he personally took offense to the word and pointed out that anyone that wasn't white was colored.

Suddenly, I went from thinking everyone was the same to thinking that everyone had words they wanted used to be described. I questioned my overall approach to people in general. I became over-sensitive in what I say while knowing that my being unsure of what word to use made me choose something that I thought was sensitive. That moment hasn't stop me from gaining some great friendships as I still enjoy people for who they are and not what they are. I guess this could be why I was uneasy with the Michael Richards tirade but felt a little bit better after reading something reported at New York Daily News attributed to his friend and fellow comedian George Wallace - who is black - when asked about his reaction to the incident: "It's about time someone told those Negroes to shut up."

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving 2006

Here's wishing you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving.
You happen to be on my list of things that I'm thankful for.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Have to put something happier up here. On Sunday, I went with my father to see an early version of Clint Holmes' new musical Breathe! My father has been a friend of Holmes for awhile as the singer plays tennis and is involved in some of the same charity work. I went with my mind open as I really don't know much of his work (as his recording career skips the 1980s) but knew that he was making an abrupt detour from his performances on the Las Vegas Strip.

It was a small venue where the third and last preview of this musical was shown. There were few frills on the stage as we are told by a narrator of the stage setting during scene changes... pretty much it was about 6 chairs in an arc open toward the audience. I have to say that the music (especially the first 4 songs) was fantastic. All original tunes that hit heart strings and continued pushing the story about the life of this title character played by Mr. Holmes.

Essentially, a man grows up in a multi-racial family (much of this is true of Holmes' upbringing) unsure of which world he belonged in but found an escape in music. Racial issues play a big role in this film as his father mentions the three things that can't be changed: death, taxes and the color of your skin. Meanwhile, the family relationships take center stage as he deals with his inability to understand his father, mother, sister, wife and son. A lot of the wife and son issue is reminiscent of "Cats In The Cradle" as he has been so focused on his career and keeping money coming in that he hardly knows his family.

I'm not going to ruin too much of this show but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised as the performances were well above expectations. The woman playing his mother had an unbelievable voice. Yes, the story has some elements of "Comfortable Shoes" (a one-man play he also starred in) but the terrific casting, great music and a bold approach to telling many stories at once makes this a Broadway-hopeful worth taking the time to see. I actually had to pause, look over at my own father, see the connections on our relationship and consider the closeness I have with the rest of my family. I can only hope that the writing continues (as many scenes weren't finished yet) and this musical gets out there to affect the masses.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Being The Helping Hand

I've always believed that the best way to help someone out of a bad situation is to make myself available to assist them. Sure there are government agencies and other sources of help for people out there (that usually get paid with tax dollars) but I think showing how far you are willing to give with your friendship is important.

Last year around this same time, I had a co-worker living with me that was working on rebuilding his life after problems with gambling and drinking. That day-to-day contact is pretty important as you drive to work together and find time to communicate positive thoughts. He is doing great since last year as he has purchased his own house and found a purpose in life. To this day, when I see him (I have a totally different shift than him now) he smiles and points me out to his friends and family as the person that helped him turn his life around (which I deny.)

Several weeks ago, I received a call from a friend of mine (who will remain nameless and be here-to-fore called 'my friend') that had fallen on hard times. She told me that after a drug problem in the family (her daughter and soon-to-be son-in-law), having her car break down when her job depended on it (meaning she lost the job delivering newspapers) and several financial mishaps (including not paying auto insurance when you have an SR-22 even if you don't currently have a car which she didn't have the money to pay the fine... so she went to jail for a month) that she was just trying to stay in town long enough for her probation to end (which I found out later meant that she had a problem several years ago with prescription pain medication and lost her nursing job because of it) so she could leave Las Vegas and move back to New Mexico where her family is to start her life over in a new environment.

I thought long and hard about helping her out. Sure, things went great with my other friend and I would hate to see this person out on the street in a worse situation but didn't also want to impose on Kerry when she comes over. My friend was staying at the notorious Blue Angel Motel downtown (well-known retreat for the downtrodden and insects) and was alright for the moment. She then found a place to stay when she couldn't pay for the weekly rates there. She had stayed in contact with someone she met in jail and felt she was in a similar situation with. After calling her house a few times, her friend's husband had heard about her dilemma and offered her use of the converted garage. Well, it seems her jail-friend had been in mandatory rehab and left early because she missed her kids. This didn't make the situation good for my friend but she made do. That was until a new situation arose that made her immediate retreat eminent.

Essentially, an ex-boyfriend came to visit her at her friend's house and the two got intimate [granted, this is what I'm hearing from my friend.] Coitus interruptus occured when her jail-friend entered the room. My friend followed her out of the room (with a robe on, I suppose) to talk to her. Anyhow, the night ended with not much more sensation. I wind up getting a call from my friend that she needed to get out of the house at that time. Not knowing much of the situation but wanting to help, went and picked her up. She proceeds to tell me that her jail-friend (who has a probation officer searching for her) had been going next door to get Meth. I also find out that her jail-friend has been obtaining things illegally online. This just so happens to come into play a few days later when the ex-boyfriend tells her that his credit card has been used to purchase some things on-line (coming to about $2,000 or so) and that he was missing $150 from his wallet. My friend claimed that it had to happen when her jail-friend entered the room and their clothes were on the floor. He blamed her and had threatened to turn her in to her probation officer over the ordeal. This would later get dropped as the next few days passed. Anyhow, for a person trying to keep out of trouble, I knew that wasn't the place for her to be.

Anyhow, my friend had planned to meet with her probation officer (either him coming by the house or her going to his office) and then leaving town on a bus on Wednesday night. During her stay, I picked up some food and other items she'd need and gave her some money just incase she needed anything. She decides to pay me back by cleaning the house (the second bedroom, second bath, kitchen and my bathroom) at which she did an amazing job. I then took her to the probation officer's office on Wednesday and killed time nearby at a store and Mexican restaurant until she was finished. The car was packed with her stuff for the train ride. She was upset when she came back as he still wanted to see where she was living. This meant a delay in her move (as she planned to come back if he called.) I told her that it was only time and that it didn't matter. An issue with her cellphone bill had come up and I told her that if she wanted to, she could paint my front door (which is a task that I've put off forever) and maybe come up with a few other little things for her to do with the money going to her phone bill. The phone got canceled anyhow but she did paint the door, then another door, another door, the walls around the door...

On Tuesday morning, I was awoken with a phone call. It was my credit card company asking me if I'd made some big purchases in the last few days. That was when deja vu hit me. It seems that the card in my wallet expired and the new card may have been amongst the many pieces of mail that were strewn across my kitchen counter. I received several calls that day. Many of them were asking about purchases that I made. It seems that after the card was registered on Saturday someone tried to open accounts with Discover and Dell as well as send thousands of dollars via Western Union, purchase tickets for Justin Timberlake and Queensryche, purchase shoes, buy gas... pretty much spend on anything possible. I've been reassured by my creditors that they are looking into the purchases and that I'm not liable for them. As I left the house that day, I was wary of leaving her there alone so I talked to my neighbors who kept an eye on the house.

I received a call that night at work that my friend had left the house (she didn't have a key so that meant she left the house unlocked) to walk down the block. My neighbor's brother hopped in his car and followed her. He saw her hop in someone's car for a few moments, hop back out and return to the house... expecting it was a drug deal. So... having more time to mull this over, I was pretty calm about it. I went to sleep knowing that I had to send her packing yesterday morning.

She was doing a final coat of paint on the front door when I talked to her. My friend had no shock in her eyes but denied she had anything to do with it. I didn't mention to her the $20 that I thought was missing from my wallet during the first few days of her stay (I tend to put everything on that kitchen counter) and I didn't tell her that I knew she'd been in my room on my computer (the printer was left on one day with a CD cover printed... it wasn't there the next day.) I packed her things and took her back to her jail-friend's house a few hours later. I slept well last night until the first of the new calls came in about new charges on new accounts.

So, is there a moral to this long tedious story? Yes, I'm only out some money that I spent to help her out and the time involved to clean up the credit problems. Had I had small expensive items like jewelry... I may not have been so lucky. I believe that I'd do it again if a friend was in need but I think that I'd want to sit down and learn everything about what got them to where they are now. I see life in the glass half-empty/half-full scenario and know there are times when you are standing in shallow water at the bottom of the glass. There is always water in the glass if you are still alive and a little more if you aren't in jail or on the streets. I will always hope to add water to your glass as I've been in shallow water before and am thankful now for being closer to the rim. Here's hoping the helping hand in your next act of kindness isn't bitten.


What do you think could change in less than 12 hours? A note was posted on my door stating that: "Mr. Night UPS driver. Please leave the items under the bench. Please do not knock." Essentially... my friend planned to come back for an item that must be special. I wasn't expected to see it as I usually leave through the garage and hardly use the front door. Well, two items charged on one of my cards from an adult Web site showed up. I placed them aside in my bedroom, notified my neighbor as well as the company and drove to work. I returned home to find my door to the garage was dead-bolted from the inside... which I couldn't have done. I then headed to the front door. The bottom knob was unlocked but the deadbolt was on. I cautiously entered the house and put my work items aside. The back door was unlocked (which I double-checked with the front door before leaving) and the screen door was open. I was now a bit jittery (I drank a RockStar energy drink with a late dinner which doesn't help) as I returned to the bedroom. One of the two items was missing as was the letter that was on the door earlier that morning. Needless to say home security has moved up on my priorities. The police were called and they did all that they can do for now but it does amaze me what people might do for sex toys.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

How Many Of Me?

Decided to post a bit more useless fluff today as there is a bigger post on the horizon. So, I recently stumbled upon this:
LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

I've always had name issues but over the last decade I've become more and more happy with being who I am. I remember my worry that there was a composer out there with my name (even though my dad shares my name also) so I rushed out and registered it as a domain to assert my authority. Hence, was created. Now, I find out that I kept it from a total of 7 people.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Classically Martin: Guadalcanal Diary's Always Saturday

It looks like this will be a monthly feature as well as our current reality-blog series Rock Star: Martin's Closet. My quest to bring you some of my favorite songs (no more than one by each artist) hits the beautiful "Always Saturday" by Guadalcanal Diary. I actually remember seeing the video for this one on MTV as I had taped an episode of 120 Minutes which also had videos for The Proclaimer's "I'm On My Way" and The Outfield's "Voices Of Babylon."

It could be that the video had a major effect on me as it showed a man going out to water his lawn on a sunny day (probably a Saturday) while the band sit back on their lawn watching. Slowly the ground begins to crack where he is watering... and out pops a smiling woman. She joins the man (having cleaned up) in watering the lawn as a young boy and little girl slowly grow from the ground. As the day comes to a close, the wife and kids suddenly have dirt on them again and return to the ground smiling. A lot can be read into this but I found it profound, painful and pretty.

Here's the song. Just click the play button on the player. You'll see it when you put your mouse over the icon. (Trying something different than CastPost this time.)

P.S. - These songs will be removed shortly as I in no way wish to infringe on the rights of the artist.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

This Election Was A Referendum... On Something

In the wake of the 2006 election, one thing is clear... everyone wants to go home a winner. The most common response as to why the Democrats picked up so many seats has been that it was a referendum on the war in Iraq although it seems that everyone else is jumping in with perceived notions that the election results were voters lashing out at: the Bush presidency, GOP culture of corruption, Wal-Mart's political agenda, national character, those unfriendly to the 2nd amendment, those against civil liberties/freedom, anti-gay candidates, Donald Rumsfeld, non-comprehensive immigration reform and many many more. I guess when something is lying dead in the middle of the road and more than one person ran over it with their car... conjecture will happen over which vehicle 'really' killed it. Heck, some people even note an election trend in abandoning the political party of the sitting President during their sixth year in office.

I don't find the results astounding as neither party holds a 'supermajority' and they will have to pass legislation that only Democrats, Republicans and a few Independents can swallow. This is a good thing. What I did find amazing about the 2006 mid-term election: voter turn-out was over 40% with more than 79 million people voting. If true, this would be the first non-presidential election with a showing of over 40% since 1970.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Halloween 2006

I think that I needed to refuel my imagination this year. Sure, I had some grisly ideas of what kind of dead body to leave on the porch but something didn't feel right about it. So, I took Kerry, Dave (Obi-wan Kenobi) and his cousins Jacob (football player with basket on his head) and Mackenzie (Dora The Explorer without the wig) out for a round of trick-or-treating. Here's a picture of them in front of their grandmother's house.

During the rounds, we stopped by my friends Mike and Kim's (also a great excuse to see their daughter Alyssa Rose.) Amazing how big she's getting and yes, that is really really red hair. There is a reason why they call her the redhead tornado around their house.

Prior to going out with the kids, Kerry and I stopped in to see Teri and give you a better understanding of why she hasn't posted in a very long time. She has her own Jacob and he is a very calm baby. You can't see it too clearly but Teri also has a little Halloween decoration on her shirt as she was silently getting ready for the holiday (I guess he was just 10 days old at this time.)

Overall, I had a great time and saw a few houses that gave me ideas for next year as it will be scarier than anything I've ever done. I just need to purchase and dye a bunch of bedsheets.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Rock Star: Martin's Closet: Episode 2

Yes, it is Halloween and instead of decorating the house and scaring little children like I usually do, we have something scarier... another episode of Rock Star: Martin's Closet. As you may remember, contestant #7 was voted off by our readers and left the closet in a nice bundled up ball. Now, your votes will decide who else goes home.

I think you remember contestant #1 out of China. Yes, all the contestants are legally here but do note that this one may have issues with wrinkles. Not unlike a Shar-Pei.

Contestant #2 is from India and might upset those that are thinking that horizontal stripes makes one look rotund but it made it through round 1 without frayed sleeves.

You probably remember our contestant #3 from Myanmar. It binged on Haagan Daaz after learning it wasn't voted off last month.

Pakistan's contestant #4 had reason to celebrate last month as it received no votes. It has mentioned some fears in the house about how it will fare during the surprise photo shoot planned for next month.

Contestant #5 of India was able to avoid dismissal last month and use as part of a mangled corpse tonight. Has its luck run out?

And last but not least, contestant #6 of India held up well last week but has mentioned being a little worried that people will discover the diagonal pattern on the chest pocket.

Now, it's up to you! Who gets voted out of the closet?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Rolling Stone Magazine: The 10 Worst Congressmen

Rolling Stone magazine has decided to focus on politics over music for their election edition with their cover story: Time To Go: Inside The Worst Congress Ever. I'm not planning on focusing on that but I'd like to look at their list (by contributing editor Tim Dickinson) of The 10 Worst Congressmen:

So, as I am looking at the list... something stands out. I'm not saying that anyone on the list is a shining example of what a congressional representative should be unless it is indicative of their constituents. I just find it funny that it is 90% Republican. Maybe the percentage would have been less on this list if it was a Top 20. Was William Jefferson chosen as a token Democrat or was he tossed to the wolves here because nearly $90,000 in bribe money was found in his freezer? Does Marilyn Musgrave's stance against gay marriage warrant being #10 out of 535? I guess that depends on what priorities rate highest for Mr. Dickinson.

I think this is why I'm not fond of Top 10 lists as they are highly questionable (unless they are personal favorites or supported by stats like album sales and airplay create Top 40 lists.) If they wanted to call most of them corrupt, that might be easier to discern. I just find it interesting that they weren't rated by their voting record or bill sponsorship. Then again, a list is only as good as its creator.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Voting 2006

Yesterday, I ran out of the house early to vote. I've recently heard how some people are opposed to early voting. Some believe that if you make your choices early that you are not getting all the information out there and are not hearing all of the message. I like to think that my voting a few weeks early counters the power of negative, mudslinging ads and lessens congestion at the polls during a later date. It's also a great way to force me to visit the mall.

The one thing that ticks me off most recently about voting in general is pressure from employers and associations to vote a specific way. I actually received a "2006 Employee Voters Guide" this year as well as a "recommended candidates list" from the union that I belong to. This got me thinking about how much pressure someone might feel to vote a specific way to keep their company in the black which may in-turn keep them employed. Sure, we've often heard about people voting their wallet. I've just never been reminded by two different sides as to which puts money in mine.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Mann Cub

Congrats go out to Teri and Lloyd. Their son Jacob was delivered at 8am yesterday morning (photos were taken some hours later with Aunt Wendy as designated holder.) Teri and Jacob are doing great and should be heading home in the next few days. Yes, even I am starting to notice the abundance of children photos on the blog lately. I'm not complaining.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

My Favorite Quote

During the weekend, I reflected on my favorite quote. It means that much to me that I put it up above my computer monitor (and Pumpkin) so I have to look at it often. I'm not really the type to dwell on things that I can't change like the past or other people. Instead, I do think about the many ways that I can affect my surroundings and keep myself from looking at a bad situation in the near future that was at one point correctable. I guess my lack of intense worry about many things comes across very unaffected but I think it's more attributable to Saint Francis of Assisi's quote:

Lord grand me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can, and
the wisdom to know the difference.

I assume that I'll always be working to attain that level of wisdom.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Brian Lumley

I probably have mentioned a book to you before called The Necroscope. Well, there is a reason. The author, Brian Lumley, puts an amazingly creative spin on the topic of vampirism. I've probably dressed as a vampire for most of my days trick-or-treating and still find the subject fascinating. Lumley also mixes his best-known series with the paranormal (the idea of being a necroscope is one that communicates with the dead.) If interested, you can find a lot better detailed information about Lumley and his books at

Anyhow, the reason that I mention this is that Mr. Lumley (along with his wife and site webmaster) were in Las Vegas this weekend promoting his latest installation of the series, Necroscope: The Touch. I made sure to run my butt down to the mall to chat with him and get a few autographs. Here's a photo of him at the signing table with his wife and several of his books.

One reason why I made sure to get down there was that I have first editions of every U.S. hardback release of his Necroscope series (15 books and counting) and first published novel. He did mention to me that the option on the film rights have been re-upped and I can only cross my fingers that someone will make a film. If I had more time, creativity and skill, I'd probably try to write a script for the first book but I wouldn't even make the attempt. Anyhow, below is a photo of my Lumley shelf. In the brown case on the left is his first book (I'm pretty protective of it.)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Mom's Birtday Party With The Kids

Went to my sister's house on Sunday to celebrate my Mom's birthday. Although, we got there after they ate (really good recipie for pasta bake of which I moments ago finished off the last of the left-overs), I got to spend a little bit of time with everyone. I also took a bunch of photos with the kids that you'll see below.

First we have the twins. For some reason Conner really wanted to pose for the photo and I waited for him to relax.

Then their little sister (with my little sister) Lillian.

For some reason Mia didn't want to look at the camera but I stole this shot while she was hanging out with her Dad.

Then there is my cousin Syndey in her cute dress.

Last but not least is her little sister Kaitlynne. (Ok, not too sure on the spelling.)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Classically Martin: Possum Dixon's For Your Love

I think you remember back before I picked up my iPod that I mentioned a quest of mine... the one to keep track of my favorite songs (one per band.) Well, since I've added them all to my iPod, it has made looking at them that much easier and I've decided to try to use technology to bring them to you here. So here's Possum Dixon's cover of "For Your Love." The song was actually a B-side to one of their singles and after I heard it... I had to hunt it down. Not an easy one to find but I think it's that mix of darkness (in the keyboards) and light (in the chorus) that kinda fits me. Just click on the little link there below to hear the song. Here's hoping it works on the first try.

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Bottled Up: The Challenge

It is a little funny when you get ready to post something, think it through and then delete it because you find it invalid and irrational. One of those things that I didn't post was about fluoride. You see, I drink a lot of bottled water. I don't drink the drinking water though because I think distilled means that everything has been killed in there and it tastes cleaner. I got to thinking that distilled water doesn't even have fluoride which is a mandate for tap water in the effort to protect our teeth. I took some time and looked into it. Yes, there are a few bottled water brands that mention they have fluoride added. But in my research, I found out that there are many doctors out there saying that the level is actually higher than it needs to be as nearly every toothpaste currently has fluoride while it didn't back then. So... that post never happened. Why do I mention it now?

I went out to dinner with Kerry, Teri and Lloyd for Kerry's birthday a few weeks back. She was mentioning how her doctor has been urging her to drink a gallon of water a day. We teased her about it slightly and she said to me, "You do it." I actually drink a lot of water each day. But I'm going to take up this challenge and go one step further. I am putting plans in action to drink... 2 gallons of water on Saturday. Why? I've always heard that you can't drink too much water but you need at least at least 8 - 8oz. glasses per day. I will use this as a learning experience and will begin my training in a Takeru Kobayashi method. I know that I can do it. Let's just say that I'm going to drink a little extra for Teri this weekend.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Rock Star: Martin's Closet: Episode 1

Usually, you don't want to start a series with bad news. 4 of our 12 contestants were disqualified for doping (we've never seen such thick threads) while 1 opted out of the contest. This leaves us with 7 contestants and a shorter season. Let's see who we have (click on each photo for a better view):

Contestant 1 is from China (57% linen 43% rayon) and has probably been worn more than any of the others (usually over t-shirts.)

Contestant 2 is from India (100% cotton) and might have been worn once or twice but I you'd think that I'd remember.

Contestant 3 here is from Myanmar (which I have no idea where the hell that is but it's 100% cotton) but I'm pretty sure that it was washed once. It just may have been after pulling all the tags off of it.

Contestant 4 is from Pakistan (100% cotton Chaps/Ralph Lauren.) Never worn but I'm sure care was taken in making it. I think that I'd be afraid to get it dirty.

Contestant 5 is from India (100% cotton.) I think that I used it for the top of a Halloween murder victim one year but it might look alright under a t-shirt someday, I guess.

Contestant 6 is another Indian entry (55% cotton 45% rayon.) I think that I tried it on once but with the lack of a collar, I don't see a shirt working under it.

Lastly, we have our Seoul Korean entry (85% acrylic 15% polyester.) I think it would have gone well with parachute pants. There is a zipper where that black stripe goes across. Wide enough to hold a pencil or two, I assume. Someone must have thought me scholarly.

All votes you send via the comments section will be for the removal of a contestant. Voted off contestants will be announced at the end of the commentary period. In the event of a tie or lack of commentary votes, I reserve the right to make a final decision (no, I haven't pre-selected a winner.)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Life Update - 092706

Things have gotten rather busy around here. I have to put a lot of the responsibility for this burst of production on the class that I've been taking. I did think that ALS 101 was going to be about learning how to handle taking notes, how to study effectively and how to take a tests. Now, I'm not so sure. The most important thing that I've started doing is writing down everything that I want to get done each day on an index card. This allows me to keep in mind my goals for the day, add to my goals and mark off any progress that I've made. I'm getting quite a bit more done now. I figure the pack of 500 index cards might help me get through the year.

After 3 years, I've finally joined the text messaging generation. Do I plan to do much of it, not really. I gave up my cheapie little Samsung for this Sanyo Katana (pictured here.) Why would I do that? Being able to see who is calling, the ability to check NFL scores and hear clearer are big reasons. The Bluetooth earphone is nice but taking some time to adjust to. Looks slightly cooler too.

After that Tivo vs. DirecTV post, I took some time to think about things and yesterday ordered DirecTV's HD DVR Plus. I think it's because of Bones, Lost, Jericho and the Biggest Loser airing at the same freaking time. Jericho may bite the dust but I will have to watch the first episode that I recorded already prior to make a decision. What this will allow me to do is: not miss a UFC fight, not have to choose between most shows (bedroom Tivo catches one while living room DVR catches 2 more) and lets me hold onto HD shows to watch at a later date. They'll be showing up on Friday morning to set things up... meaning that I'll miss the second episode of Jericho in the meantime.

Forced myself to sleep early last night and if I can keep this going, I'll be very very happy. I do accept that I'm an information junkie. I check the same Web sites 3 to 4 times a day to make sure that I know 'right now' everything that's available to be known. I shouldn't do this before I sleep. Clearing off the Tivo, sure. But, it takes longer to wind your brain down after you stimulate it with information. Hoping to create an habitual 2am bedtime.

On Saturday, I went to the Mike Agassi 'No Quit' National Junior Tennis Tournament. I figured that I need to start appearing at these events and saw some amazing players (this little 9 year-old girl just floored me with how well she hit her 2-handed forehand and 2-handed backhand.) It did remind me of playing these events when I was younger and what reminded me more was having my brother Matt there with me. He brought Mia out and I held her for awhile to give him a breather. I need more mornings like that.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

So Vain

Everyone has done it. You've typed in your name in Google to see what pops up about you. It's called a vanity search. Nothing is wrong with it. Without doing it myself, I wouldn't have known that there is a composer named Martin Hennessy. There is a different twist on it that I'd like you to try. Just for kicks, I'd like you to go to Google and type in your first name with the word 'is' behind it enclosed in quotation marks.

As an example, the first listing in my search for "Martin is" came up in the summary as: Howard said Martin is preparing a response to the accusations.

I didn't even know that I was in that much trouble. What did yours say?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


I've love my experience with DirecTV so far. The worries of losing video signal to birds, trees or weather never became an issue. I do see some problems in the future.

I love my Tivo. I don't think anything has changed the way I look at entertainment more. I also love my high-definition signal. But it seems that Tivo and DirecTV don't plan to get along anymore. Sure, they have had squabbles in the past but they have worked well together too. Yet, there is a battle starting over the HD personal video recorder market. Essentially, both companies per their agreement will continue to work together for the next few years with no new product on the horizon. Meanwhile, DirecTV has launched new satellites for high-definition programming... that will not work with previous high-definition receivers or even the DirecTV HD Tivo (as the satellite carrier will change over from MP2 video codec to MP4.) This means that viewers that want to get the new programming (which includes many HD local and new HD DirecTV channels) will have to ditch the expensive ($999 in some places) DirecTV HD Tivo they purchased over the last year and pay for the new DirecTV HD DVR. This also bends over the customers (much like myself) who paid $400 or so for an HD receiver to get DirecTV HD channels. Sure, this may be a great way to make everyone buy only a product from the satellite company but it also looks like I'll have to consider putting my receiver on eBay and going back to cable. I haven't made any decisions and patience may be my only option. I'm going to have to wait things out with what I have until Tivo creates a new HD box that works with the new satellite video codec or switch to cable and purchase the new Tivo3.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Assignment 1-2

As part of my ALS course that I'm taking, I had an assignment in which I took the Jung Typology Test. Essentially, I'm an ENFJ and am described as:

ENFJs are the benevolent 'pedagogues' of humanity. They have tremendous charisma by which many are drawn into their nurturant tutelage and/or grand schemes. Many ENFJs have tremendous power to manipulate others with their phenomenal interpersonal skills and unique salesmanship. But it's usually not meant as manipulation -- ENFJs generally believe in their dreams, and see themselves as helpers and enablers, which they usually are.

ENFJs are global learners. They see the big picture. The ENFJs focus is expansive. Some can juggle an amazing number of responsibilities or projects simultaneously. Many ENFJs have tremendous entrepreneurial ability.

ENFJs are, by definition, Js, with whom we associate organization and decisiveness. But they don't resemble the SJs or even the NTJs in organization of the environment nor occasional recalcitrance. ENFJs are organized in the arena of interpersonal affairs. Their offices may or may not be cluttered, but their conclusions (reached through feelings) about people and motives are drawn much more quickly and are more resilient than those of their NFP counterparts.

ENFJs know and appreciate people. Like most NFs, (and Feelers in general), they are apt to neglect themselves and their own needs for the needs of others. They have thinner psychological boundaries than most, and are at risk for being hurt or even abused by less sensitive people. ENFJs often take on more of the burdens of others than they can bear.

I was actually kind of floored that a simple Yes and No questionaire with no Maybe's could feel more accurate than anything I've taken before. Feel like taking a 72 question test and letting me know how you did?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Not My Rock Star

Been very busy but just wanted to get something up here. Please, please... Supernova please do not pick Lukas as your singer tonight. I have it in my mind that I will not buy anything from the band if this is going to be their lead singer. My main reason: I can't understand a word out of his mouth during specific vocal styles. His singing with the band was the best example of this. I know some people that don't want him to win because they don't like how he looks. Why am I so worried? Several weeks back, a report surfaced that the band had pre-chose Lukas Rossi to be their singer in... the same way that J.D. Fortune was chosen. Essentially, they also said that they were cookie-cutter images created to get fan response. I dismissed this entirely until a last week when a separate source claimed something similar (without smearing J.D.) If proven right, I know how disgusted I'll feel about it but I would watch another series. I just won't be buying an album.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Freedom Walk 2006

I had a great night out last night. We went to Buca di Peppo last night with Lloyd and Teri for Kerry's birthday. Had lots of food burned some of it off this morning at the Freedom Walk. Essentially, Las Vegas' mayor Oscar Goodman and city councilman Larry Brown sponsored a walk at a northwest Las Vegas park in memory of the lives lost as well as the police and firefighters that responded to the events on 9/11. It wasn't a long walk but I'm pretty tired. I feel like I actually participated in something worthwhile. Talked to Oscar before and Larry after the walk while receiving some nifty items (the shirt and wristband pictured above.)

It is pretty odd thinking about the fact that it will be 5 years since then. I was actually called into work on my day off due to a major convention coming into the hotel. As we stood around waiting for the guests to arrive, I went into the break room to watch the news. About 15 minutes into the news, they broke away for a "special report" showing the first plane crashing into the World Trade Center. I stood there stunned. I yelled for the other guys (about 40 on staff that day) to come see what was going on. Then the second plane hit.

As stunned as we were, it took awhile for it to sink in that those guests coming for the convention weren't going to arrive. Flights canceled nationwide and people were trying to find any way to leave the city that they could. Our hotel sent people home as there wasn't any business and later cut the staff over 30%. Most of these co-workers lost their jobs for quite awhile and had to consider other means to support their families during this time. I was rather lucky. I was around #16 in seniority so they only changed my shift a little. Yet, I still remember taking up a collection for several of the other guys and even joining some that offered to cut back to 30 hours a week so no one would have to lose their job. Not everyone felt that way.

Las Vegas recovered rather quickly but it did wake me up to how vulnerable our city was. Confidence in travel safety and the economy do control our leisure dollar. In no way did this overshadow the lives lost in the air and in New York. It's sad to see that many of those responding to the call of such an emergency still suffering from lung ailments. But, I worry that someone will in retrospect say that it was the wrong decision to send recovery teams in there to save lives at the expense of their own. Thank you for putting your lives on the line for people you may not have even known. 5 years really isn't that long is it?