Tuesday, March 6, 2008

 Getting back on the writing horse has been difficult. Even now I donít know if Iím awake enough or have passion enough to get very far. Sadly, reading and writing have suffered in the past year or so. Weíve discussed why writing has diminished, but the reading was almost a head-scratcher.  As it turns out, itís pretty simple. Instead of reading, Iíve been doing Kakuro, a puzzle game like Sudoku, but harder. It involves some math. J So instead of sticking my nose in a book, Iíve kept the pen in my hand. The other reason is that Iíve been reading comic books. My brother and I collected comics in the mid to late 80s. My brother bought more of them than I did, but I contributed some dandies by ordering some back issues through Mile High comics. Last year, Tara and I were talking about comics and I introduced her to Elf Quest. My brother and I collected a 32 comic book story arc. Tara really liked it, particularly the romance. Spider-man 3 came out right after that, and a new comic book store opened up nearby. Tara began reading back issues of Spider-man and shortly afterward I bought y 1st new issue of Spider-man since about 1991. You folks know Iím a collector, and it wasnít long before I was checking out the local comic shops for back issues of the best Super Hero ever created.

            Some men go on travel for work and do bad things that their wife would not approve of. Me? I go to comic book stores and look for bargains. I visited 5 different comic shops around Louisville and Owensboro, KY. Yesterday I found a really large bin of .50 comics. Itís fun to hunt for all these comics that have come out in the last 15 years. The trouble is that Iíve still got a couple of boxes of comics that Iíve bought that I havenít read yet! I was able to catch up on my reading during the winter months when I travel less. Louisville is a particularly rich place to visit. They tend to be priced lower than other areas and I found a lot of bargains to round out our collection. Weíve also subscribed to the Spider-man comics through Marvel which save us at least 50% off the cover price and it comes right to our mailbox.

            One of the cooler stores I saw on this trip was in the town of Owensboro, KY. Itís called the ďCoolectorís MallĒ and itís a small warehouse full of action figures, toys, videogames, DVDs and comic books. Their selection of Star Wars was amazing! I had fun looking through their selection like a fine art connoisseur going to a museum. See? I just classed myself up by making that comparison. I donít collect Star Wars anymore, but if I did I would have found quite a bit to purchase there. It was a real treat to visit. Their comics were also reasonably priced and I found some there too.

            I wish Tara could see some of these unique places too. I try to describe it to her, but itís just not the same. Weíve gone hunting before and itís been fun.

            I love being married to Tara. I used to say that I loved being married, but that statement lacks an article and that article is why marriage is great. Everyone knows that we share the same taste in music, thatís no secret, but we also share the same taste in movies and TV. Iíve even introduced to video games. I started out slowly by playing Lego Star Wars with her. While we were playing, we discovered that she enjoys hacking at stuffÖ killing it. From there we tried X-Men legends, another cooperative game and she was shredding it up as Wolverine. We played the sequel and then moved onto Marvel, Ultimate Alliance. When we bought the xbox 360, it was hard to find games that we could play cooperatively. It was then that I remembered how my best friend Chris and I played games together in junior high school. Most of the games that we enjoyed playing as kids were single player and there was a mission involved. We would take turns playing while the other watched and tried to help out by pointing out treasures and bad guys. I thought that could work for Tara and me too, since part of the joy of playing video games is the unfolding story. So, we went online and looked at the highest rated games and discovered the Orange Box, which is actually 5 games in one. Three of the five games are Half-Life 2 and its successive chapters. So, we worked our way through the game taking turns and we both really enjoyed it! Tara is a good shot and Iím a spaz. I shoot everything and run around with my head cut off. (Literally! Iím such a poorer shot than her and Iím prone to dying in these games.)

            Tara showed me how to brawl by the time we started playing through Halo. We beat Halo & Halo 2 together. We havenít bought Halo 3 yet, instead we were intrigued by the critically acclaimed Bioshock. Let me just tell you that Bioshock is both disturbing and wonderful. Itís a horror / sci-fi first person shooter that is really a treat to play. The unfolding story gives it a smooth wrapping. The whole style of the game is art deco, and it looks like its come right out of an Ayn Rand novel stylistically. Itís set in an alternate 1960. I wonít give too much away, but to say that if you like being frightened and can handle the first person shooter, than itís a really exciting game. Tara can only play for about 2 hours before she gets frustrated with playing, so weíll be playing for weeks (months?) to come.

            Iím in Louisville, KY waiting for my flight home and Tara is on her way to work. Yep, work. She was so well respected at her school that they hired her. She recently passed both her state exams and has now received her license to practice all things hair in the state of Virginia. Weíre beginning to cut friends and families hair at our house with the Salon chair we purchased off of Craigís list in December. Our hopes are to grow that into a business when our family starts.

            No news on the baby front yet. Tara wants one badly! Iím warming to the idea and as each day passes Iím more at peace with it. For me, I want to provide for my family, and if we can pay off her student loan before she stops working then weíll be in a much better position to handle the other challenges. Now that sheís working, I can see the debt crumbling.

            Iíve got to go catch my plane to Chicago. Maybe Iíll ďblogĒ more later.

 

Ö.

 

            Iím now thousands miles above the earth on my way to Dulles airport. Home Sweet Home! Some trips feel longer than others, and of course, vacations are tragically short. This business trip was fine, but crazy by design. I was tasked to go to both Charlotte, NC & Owensboro, KY on the same trip. Charlotte didnít require a full work day, so I left Dulles at 7:00 Am on Tuesday, arrived in Charlotte at 8:30 AM. I drove right to the facility, did my work and went back to the airport. I then caught a 3 PM flight to Louisville, KY. I arrived early enough to go comic shop hopping. (Like bar crawling for the geek set). I visited 3 on Tuesday before packing it in and settling down to watch American Idol in the hotel. Wednesday started with a two and a half hour drive west to Owensboro. I wrapped the installation up in a couple of hours before trying to visit two comic shops in Owensboro. One was mysteriously locked up, even though it was Wednesday (new comic day). After visiting the Coolectorís Mall I drove back to Louisville and caught some dinner before I decided to visit one last comic shop before Wednesdayís edition of American Idol.

            Itís exhausting. Really it is. Not a bad life, but strangely tiring to travel even if youíre mostly a passenger. The upside is that I collect hotel points and airline miles. Whenever an opportunity presents itself I splurge on behalf of Tara and myself. Last year, I gave up a seat on a plane to get a free round-trip ticket to anywhere in the continental United States. Tara and I decided to use it to go visit her family in Oregon. Weíll get about 8 days in Oregon, time enough to visit with most of her family. I should also get to explore some more comic shops. Just kidding. Maybe. Weíll see.

            Iím pretty ambivalent about the election. My candidate bowed out earlier. Iím a Fred Thompson guy. I suppose Iíll still vote republican but Iím not sure Iíll care about the outcome too much. The horse race between Obama and Hillary is mildly interesting but will be much more interesting in the rear view mirror of history. In the arena of identity politics itís important that they govern well if they win, otherwise they are in danger of representing blacks or women. I donít agree with judging things that way, but when you live by identity politics, be prepared to die by it. My sister-in-law thinks itís about time that we had a women president, so her support is behind Hillary, though by now she might think its time to have a black president.  Seems like voting on those lines means that I have to vote for a dude, because I am one. I have a crasser laugh line that I use, but this is a family publication.

            Tara and I are scheduled to see two concerts on the same weekend in May. Weíre seeing the Cure on Friday and Radiohead on Sunday. Iíve seen both bands before, but for Tara it will be her first time for each band. Speaking of concerts, Tara and I saw U23D twice. The first time we saw it was at this multiplex that was built about 20 years ago.

            Whoops, time to turn off the electronic devices.


Wednesday, November 28th, 2007. Dulles, VA

 

Iím at Dulles airport. Naturally. I donít seem to write unless Iím forced to be away from my world for a few minutes. Iím on my way to Memphis and life is fine. I have an installation in West Memphis, Arkansas. Iím not overly excited but I accept that itís part of my job, and Iím grateful to have it.

            Tara is doing great! Sheís almost finished with hair school and it couldnít come at a better time. Putting someone through school & braces is expensive and weíre feeling the pinch as Christmas arrives. Tara is beginning to seriously interview with local salons and the choices are there. Weíll see what works best and where weíre drawn to. Tara is a little conflicted right now because there are two very disparate salons she could choose. On the one hand, itís attractive to have a salon close to where we live so that she can easily serve the ladies we know with color services etc. On the other hand, Tara has been doing so well she might be able to get a job at a top Salon in D.C. where she could make a lot of money and do trendy haircuts. Me, Iím conflicted too. I want whatís best for her and not allowing her to go there might be wisdom.  Then again, Iím also kinda psyched to watch my wife be the very best and conquer the hairdressing field, if only for a short time.  Weíll see what happens. I want the best of both worlds; to work at a top notch Salon in our own neighborhood.

            A few days ago, a couple of Mormon missionaries stopped by the house. The last time a few of them stopped by Tara broke off the conversation because it was becoming contentious and I was beginning to wind up. This time, the missionaries were nicer and more earnest and I didnít become agitated. Tara joined me after about 15 minutes and we ended up talking for about an hour. At the end of conversation, Tara suggested that we meet again and just get to know one another instead of just trading theological and philosophical points. Iím not so sure about this strategy, but as Iíve done more reading about the Mormon faith, the more sorrow I have for these young men. Some who read this may look at one religion as being just as valid as another, but most religious adherents donít believe that they are interchangeable at all. Muslims claim absolute truth as do Christians, Catholics, Hindus etc.  (I donít know if this applies to Buddhism or not, but I suspect any religion with a large group of practitioners claims that their religion is better, other wise they wouldnít be practicing it!)

            Anyway, I had been introduced to some of the heretical teachings of Mormonism, but was unaware of the historicity of the church. Itís amazing that itís struggling to become a world religion, then again the Church of Scientology is winning converts too. I imagine that the Mormon church is growing because they are very serious about their missions and serious about their babies.  Iím not going to rehash what other websites will mention about it, but I feel like there is a tremendous sleight of hand being performed when discussing doctrines with them.

     Gotta roll, the flight will be boarding soon. Catch up with you later?

 


 

Saturday July 28,2007:10:24 AM EST Ashburn, VA

Over the past two years I've written sporadically while I've been on the road, but none of my writings have made it back to the web for publication. I'm going to see if I can do something that is simultaneously easier and more prolific. Shorter diary entries, but written more frequently. So here is my first stab at throwing something up here. This one of course, by necessity will be longer. Every Saturday, I have a day away from Tara, which is both bad and good. The good is that I can accomplish some chores around the house and pursue whatever means of Tim entertainment comes to mind. Sometimes that means that I can play video games, read comic books, buy flowers for Tara or just take more than a few minutes to go through email and stuff. Tara doesn't limit me from doing these things, it's just that we enjoy each other's company and most of the side items are not as interesting when she's around.

    So here I am listening to the Cold War Kids, a band that Tara discovered when she visited her sister in LA. I always lag behind her enthusiasm for new bands, but I can't deny her good taste, because her taste in music is so close to mine. Ah, what a blessing. We were talking to Jack, a guy at our church who recently graduated college, and he said that musical compatibility was the best predictor of whether or not roommates at school would get along. That certainly seems to be true in this scenario.

    Tara is currently attending Paul Mitchell the School in Tyson's Corner Virginia. She's studying to be a hair stylist. She seems to have a talent for it as evidenced by the praise of her teacher's there. She excels at Men's cuts, so she's looking for a place where she can perhaps doing more cutting than coloring of hair. She'll be done in December. In January she got braces, and she has about a year more with them on. The one tooth that really necessitated the braces is emerging, so she is excited by it.

    This year I haven't traveled as much as I have in the past, but recently I've gone on a few trips. My company sent me to Seattle the week before my 2 year anniversary. Tara took a leave of absence from school and joined me out there. Her family was excited to have a visit with us, and we had a wonderful 8 days in the Pacific Northwest. I worked for most of it, but we got to go up in the Space Needle, ate at Elliot's Oyster House and had a picturesque drive up 101 through Astoria, Oregon the place where they filmed Goonies.

    Yesterday I came back from West Palm Beach, Florida. It was really hot and muggy. More so than even Virginia. Even though I stayed on the beach, I didn't take advantage of any of it. I was alternating between working and hunting down the local Comic Book Stores. Recently Tara and I pulled out my old comic book collection after we saw Spider-Man 3. Since then we've been collecting Spider-Man comics and I've been trying to fill in a 15 year gap in my collection. It has been a lot of fun searching for bargains. I found a store down in Boca Raton that was selling $1 back issues and I loaded up. Later today I'll start reading through some of them.

    As I close up my first entry in two years, I want to warn some of you that I plan to occasionally write about things that may surprise some of my oldest friends. As I've gotten older I've become more conservative and I do enjoy reading conservative blogs and sometimes I rant to Tara about something that I think is silly that hasn't been written about elsewhere to my knowledge. I also will occasionally write about my own spiritual journey back to the faith of my youth. I was raised Christian and after about 10 years of doing my own thing, I finally came back to it. I'm active in my church and am currently in charge of Audio / Visual stuff there. Although my talents tend to run more toward the visual side. For some reason I'm able to notice things that other's don't in terms of presentation. Originally, they put me in charge of Church setup and I did that for a couple of years, but this current job definitely trends to my interests more. So it's a win-win. Since returning to Christianity, I have been more consistently joyful, and when I'm tempted not to be by circumstances or my own frail humanity, I can rest on God and not rely wholly on circumstances for my happiness. Certainly, it's easy to be joyful at this time in my life, I'm married to a wonderful woman, I'm employed, have a great family, friends and a home to hang my hat. But if those things were taken away, I would always have God to rely on with the knowledge that this life is brief in light of eternity. So, I hope you continue to hang around and I apologize for not being more outgoing to those friends of mine in the far flung corners of the country. I'm hoping to grow in that area and prize you more than I have in the past and if I'm fortunate, I'll see you again soon. - Tim

P.S. I've included a song by Travis called Selfish Jean. This is another Tara find. I knew about them, but she brought them home. This one just has a nice driving sound. I don't really relate too much to the lyrics but I love the bouncing melody.

Now Playing: Hospital Beds - Cold War Kids

I've got one friend laying across from me
I did not choose him, he did not choose me
we've got no chance of recovery
joy and hospital
joy and misery
the joy and misery
the joy and misery
the joy
the joy
the joy misery


September 2, 2006

            I buried my grandfather today. He was 85 years old and deteriorated pretty fast. It was a little over a year ago that he attended my cousinís wedding in NY before flying out to Oregon to attend mine. The enormity of that gesture did not hit me until much later. My brother and his family had a chance to see him just a couple of weeks ago and the pictures of him were a little disturbing. He had lost a lot of weight and wouldnít eat. I think that he was depressed and lost his will to live. He had recently been moved into a home and I think that even those his overall care probably improved, he probably missed his family and his home.

            Four years ago he lost his bride of 59 years. Today he was buried along side her. All of his children and most of his grandchildren made it to the funeral. The only ones that did not make it were my Uncle Billís children who live in Texas, I believe. Uncle Bill, if you remember, died earlier this year. His life separated him from the rest of the family and as a result, Iím sure that the kids did not know Grandpa as well as we did. Although, given Grandpaís nature, Iím sure that he never missed their birthday even if he rarely saw them.

            Iím going to miss Grandpa. He never missed a birthday and apparently he thought very highly of me. From what Iíve learned this weekend, he frequently talked well of me, and Iím just honored by it. I was also honored to be chosen as a pall bearer. All of the male grandkids and the husband of another carried the casket to the gravesite. I was extremely moved by this whole situation. Grandpa was just good. He was a good man who always remembered you and always remembered the good things that youíve done, but seemed to forget and forgive the bad things youíve done. He was a forgiving and generous man, who never seemed to live for himself. Sadly, I did not get to say goodbye to him. I meant to. I even bought a card to express my gratitude, but it sat in my backpack unsent and unwritten. The only consolation I hold is that he is in Heaven and knows how I feel about him. Of the two grandpas that I had, he was my favorite. He was always kind and just a little goofy, which sounds like a good description of my father, which is also a good description of me. With Godís help and my Grandfatherís example maybe Iíll be able to be kinder and less goofy.

    Seeing family is good. Because we donít all live in the same geographic area, we are not as close as Iíd like to be. But Iím optimistic. Over the years Iíve been able to make some inroads and make the most of the opportunities and as a result, Iím closer to some of them than my siblings are. My cousin Mike is now living down in New Orleans and I have a business trip down there in about 3 weeks. Iím going to make time to see him when Iím there. We got along pretty well when we were kids, but Iíve blown several opportunities to hang out with him over the years. Iím ashamed of that. It should be fun. Heís now a pilot for FedEx and Iím working for the USPS. Itís funny how we continue to work in the same or similar organizations. We were in the Air Force at the same time in the same town nearly 10 years ago.

            Weíre currently at my Auntís house (from the other side of the family), and now both of my sister and my brotherís family are all under the same roof. My parents will be over soon for dinner.

            Please forgive me, Iím all over the map in describing the events and thoughts of this weekend. I donít really have one thematic story to tell. Instead they are a just a jumbled thoughts, observations and facts that are coming out poorly.

            The whole adventure began yesterday morning at 5:40 AM. My sister met up with us to caravan to Ohio. We took two vans and I actually drove for about 6 hours of the trip. Iím not accustomed to driving a van, but itís a pretty comfortable ride. We made the trip in about 8.5 hours because my brotherís lead foot led the way. I expect more of the same on the way home.

            Tara has been great on this trip. Iím glad that I could share the experience with her. It also allowed me to introduce her to some relatives that couldnít make it out to our wedding.

            Well, itís time to eat. If I have more thoughts, Iíll share them later.


Friday, May 18, 2007 Denver, Colorado

It's been a long time...


Tuesday, May 22, 2007 Detroit, Michigan

...and a little longer yet. I began to write my 1st journal entry in some time, when I heard an offer I could not refuse. My flight was overbooked and they were looking for volunteers to sacrifice their seats in favor of the next flight. Once I discovered that the next flight was only 40 minutes later, it was a no brainer. In exchange for an hour of my time I received a round-trip ticket anywhere in the lower 48, and an upgrade to 1st class on my return trip home. And this wasn't just any 1st class, this was 1st class on a 777. On this particular airplane, 1st class entitles you to a pod (enclose picture). Me and the guy next to me were effusive in our praise. Even though I'm showing you a picture, it really can't show you how cool it was to have your own living space on a plane. The plane I'm on today is downright ghetto in comparison.
I'm on my way to Louisville, KY. There are really no direct flights from Dulles to Louisville, so I'm waiting in Detroit. 1.5 hours to fly, 1.5 hours to wait, 1.5 hours to fly for a 4.5 hour trip to Kentucky. Today I'm working in Elizabethtown,KY, yep the same town that Cameron Crowe used for his last film starring Orlando Bloom & Kirsten Dunst, or Legolas & Mary Jane for the initiated. I've already found my love, so I guess the only similarities will be cell phone calls. I had my Elizabethtown long distance moments in Colorado and Alaska. Tara had hers in Hawaii & Arizona.
Can you believe that we've been married for almost two years? Crazy!!! In love. Yep the honeymoon continues. I have to give credit to Tara for that. She is so affectionate, that you just can't help but reciprocate! If she were less loving, who knows how close we'd be. For now, we're best buddies. Last night we shared a bottle of Shiraz while playing X-Men Legends on the X-Box. It's a fun game, and she likes playing Wolverine. I don't have a favorite yet, I'm not good enough at it yet to know who has the coolest powers. Yes, we're geeky. I've always been slightly geeky, but she indulges part of that. She's really digging on my comic books. A couple of months ago, I pulled out the comic book collection for the 1st time in about 15 years. It was in my brother's possession while I was out of town, but now I'm the holder of the booty. We collected mostly Spiderman, and now Tara is reading through it. A comic book store has opened nearby, and I've been buying bags and boards to keep my comics in the best shape possible. Then when I went to Colorado I visited Mile High Comics and bought a few comics, and now I'm rehooked! I'm such a pathetic collector loser. LOL. I even went to Marvel.com and subscribed to a few Spideran comics. We have a subscription for the next year, and the price is 1/3 off the cover price. I also stopped by an old book store and found a bunch of 1/2 off comic books. It's fun.
My mind went in the way back machine, which prompted me to write. I'm most inspired to write when I'm feeling whistful, and this memory harkened back to Beach week following my senior year. I have no idea why I conjured up this set of memories, but I recall my best friend Chris losing his virginity. No, I was not actually in the room, but it happened. For the next month (before he joined the Navy), he frequently drove by the pastry shop where she worked hoping that it wasn't just a one time thing. The older I get the more I recognize how sex is not nearly as disposable for Men as they would have you believe. Something happens to bond people.
I'll have to cut this philosophical musing short. They are ready to board. I'm extremely tired, a 6:05 AM flight will do that to you.


Thursday, May 24, 2007 - Louisville, KY

My business trip is complete and it was a success. I'm in the airport on my way home. I was pleasantly surprised to find a part of the city that I really like. It's the Bardstown Rd and Phoenix Hill section of the city. It's the Bohemian district. Who'd have thought that Louisville would have a Bohemian district? Not me. I'm a collector. Lately my collecting has been tempered. When I got married I stopped collecting Star Wars, although I still like looking. I've continued to collect cds, in part because it's something I can share with Tara. But even that has taken a little bit of a hit. I'm much more budget minded now, then I was last year. But since I still enjoy collecting, I'm susceptible to something new. Except, my latest endeavor is actually an old one rekindled. A few weeks before Spiderman 3 came out, I pulled out the 3 boxes of comic books that my brother and I collected as kids. I literally hadn't opened those boxes since I left Virginia to join the airforce in 1992. That's nearly 15 years!!! I didn't know if Tara would like this or not, so I opened up the Elfquest Series and I read all 32 issues right before bedtime. She really liked it! So, then I started to look through the boxes and found the Spiderman collection, which is actually quite large. Spiderman is my brother and I's favorite super hero. We both love how he keeps doing the right thing, even though it costs him personally with his relationships and career. He is a reluctant hero, a geek cursed / blessed by a spider bite.
    So we're now all geeked out about Spider-Man, and since I haven't collected comics in 15 years, there are a lot of comics to look for. Initially, we didn't buy any, it looked too daunting, and expensive, but we wanted to at least protect the comics we have, so I bought enough bags and boards to keep the ones we have safe. Then we bought an Amazing Spiderman, and we were pulled in. The art and color is dramatically improved. We'll see if the storylines hold up as well. The nice thing about not collecting the whole time is that it's possible to get some issues for less than the cover price of the original. On Bardstown Rd, I found two sources for Comic Books. One had a section with $1 comics, and the other one had a half-dozen boxes priced @ $.50. So I raided the bargain bins and stayed away from most of the new stuff. Locally, I found a bunch of half-off comics, and that's when I found a storyline that Tara can really get interested in. It's called Spiderman loves Mary Jane. It throws the Peter Parker / Mary Jane romance back into high school and is more a social comic than a combat comic. I thought it would appeal to Tara's schmoopiness.
So now I have something fun to do when I'm on the road, I can go look for cut-rate comics! Ok, they're beginning to board. Maybe I'll have a few minutes in Detroit to finish up.

Now Playing: Selfish Jean - Travis

With a perfect understanding of the finer things in life
A quite alarming knack of knowing when to twist the knife
Oooooooooh
Selfish Jean


Mon

Monday, July 30th, 6:58 AM EST Ashburn, VA

 

    I made some mistakes when linking this page earlier. You probably didn't notice, because when you cared to look at the site, I was busy doing other things. So I lost my readership. In a way I like it like that. I know that I've been delighted to find an old friend typing away again. Whatever happened to my inspirations for starting this thing anyway? Don only writes a diary entry when one of his musical or literary heroes dies. I wish who I knew to root for to kick the bucket so that he would write again, but I think he got caught by the same tender trap I did. Doogie Howser was the other one. Just last year, Tara and I began to watch a charming romantic comedy entitled "How I met your Mother", and he plays a noxious sexist pig named Barney. It wasn't long after that we discovered that in real life he is gay. Well, I guess we all grow up and stop doing the same things we did when we were kids. Obviously it's appropriate to change. It's also worth commenting on, don't you think?

 


Tuesday, July 31st, 6:56 AM EST Ashburn, VA

   

    Last night we went out to dinner with our friends Chris & Kathy. We try to have dinner with them twice a month. Chris was in my wedding party and was my greatest encourager when I was pursuing Tara. After dinner I smoked my first pipe in probably 12 years. He only had one cigar left, so he offered us a pipe. All in all it smoked well, although I'm beginning to wonder if the headache I have this morning is related. LOL

    Tonight we are having guests over. Ben and Maddie are coming over. They are brother and sister. She recently graduated high school and he is about a year older. Ben is going to make Chicken. Maddie is bringing dessert and we're providing the salad. It's interesting because I've begun to befriend the kids of my friends. Tara's age helps out a lot and it's kind of fun straddling the two age groups. The kids don't see me at all as a authoritarian, nor do they see me as their straight up peer with the same problems and experiences. I like it. And I'm looking forward to getting together with them this evening and finding a little about how these kids have become adults. But first I have to go to work.

 


Monday, August 6th, 6:43 AM EST Ashburn, VA

   

    It's been a really hot & muggy summer here in the DC area. Or at least it feels more so right now. Looking back, I can remember some wonderfully non-humid days not so long ago, but it's now August and it's sticky. The A/C is on in the house, and I'm still sticky. Icky.

    Tara and I played fantasy football on NFL.com last year, and we both did really well. I played in 3 leagues, Tara played in two and in one of the leagues we played against each other. Well, I won the Super Bowl in two of my leagues and the other league? Tara won the Super Bowl in that one. So our first season was a huge success. Last year, we used an automatic draft, which means that you select all the players in advance and then the computer does the rest. Well, we both decided we wanted to try a live draft where you log into the site and draft your players, um Live!

    Tara's draft was last night. She joined a league called Greek Pride. We've never been in a fraternity and we're not even close to being Greek. Most of other players are named after their college teams. I asked her about it, and she embarrassedly admitted that she didn't see the R in gReek. Geek's she's comfortable with, after all, she married one.

    She was so cute before the draft. Nervous and excited. I think that she did really well. Among the highlights on her team are: Steven Jackson (RB) Rams, Drew Brees (QB) Saints, Torry Holt (WR) Rams & the Bears DST. Each of these players are among the top 2 or 3 at their position. She has other boast worthy players, but I think she did very well in her 1st live draft. Mine 1st one is in a couple of weeks.

 


Friday, August 10th, 6:49 AM EST Ashburn, VA

 

    Tara and I saw Muse last night at the Patriot Center last night. The funny thing is, if it weren't for the opening band, we wouldn't have seen them at all. You see, The Cold War Kids were the opening band last night, and Tara really wanted to see them again. Earlier in the week I was able to purchase a couple of General Admission tickets on Craig's list at cost. (First a few definitions: Craig's list is a free classified ad site where people most what they want to sell and what they want to buy. If you're interested you email the person and you do business. General Admission means that you're on the floor near the stage, and it's first come first serve in terms of where you stand.)

    Anyway, I found many listings on Craig's list over the past few days and each time I emailed I was too late. I told Tara that if we couldn't get the tickets at cost, we wouldn't be going. So,  as the concert neared, my enthusiasm for finding tickets was waning, but then two ads were posted back to back and I was the first to answer this woman's ad. Ta da, I met her at work, gave her cash, got the tickets and away we went.

    I'm running out of writing time so I'll try to move it along to the point of it all. Cold War Kids were definitely an interesting band to watch up close. We were very familiar with their first album, but then were surprised that nearly half of their set wasn't even on the album. Tara got a spot up on the rail and was able to take pictures and really enjoy it. Muse was really interesting. Their music draws their influence from several bands that Tara and I like, but sadly we weren't that familiar with their music. We own one of their albums, but the newer one was completely alien too us. They put on a great stage show, lighting, props, etc. They even had these giant Balloons filled with confetti that bounced over the crowd before they finally exploded in a rain of confetti. Very novel, very fun to watch. The lead singer is incredibly talented, both on the keyboard and the guitar. The crowd was much rowdier than the bands we usually see. A Mosh pit developed and there was some body surfing as well. I think, that Muse fills a void in the heavy metal set for the wild boys among us. Since popular music no longer has the Hair bands around, the kids who like that sort of thing needed to find something else. Not to say that Muse is hard rock, they aren't, not really. There is definitely a lot of muscular guitar going on which is probably what appeals to some of them.

    I have to wrap this up. Muse spared nothing in delivering what their audience wants, and so I applaud them for that. I liked it but was ready to go, because I just don't know them that well. I was also surprised at the audience that it appeals to. Well, now that I've talked about music, how about a few mp3's.    

 

Now Playing: Starlight - Muse

Hold you in my arms
I just wanted to hold you in my arms
I just wanted to hold

Now Playing: Robbers - Cold War Kids

as robbers in my thoughts
they tell me what to think
they're hiding in my clothes
crawling in the kitchen sink


Wednesday, August 22nd, 6:58 AM EST Ashburn, VA

 

    Last week I drove over 1100 miles through Northern Arkansas and Oklahoma. It didn't leave much time to reflect, write and ponder. I'm back home now. Gratefully.

    Car Trouble. We got it right here in Ashburn, Virginia. We got both of our cars inspected and they both failed their inspection. So we have to drive around illegally until they are repaired. The more inferior of the two almost passed, but for some reason my hazard lights don't work. Today, I have to drop it off somewhere to get it looked at. The other car has a lot of work needed before the place will pass it. Ugh, I don't want to talk about it anymore this morning. I'm not upset about until I start talking about it. Maybe greener grass is ahead in my journal.