Archive for March, 2007

My killswitch has been engaged

As much as I talk about classical music here and everywhere, one would be inclined to think that is all I listen to. It’s not. In continuing the dichotomy that is Me, I listen to extremely varying styles of music. In fact my two favorite types of music are on complete opposite ends of the musical spectrum. Classical and bone crushing metal. Both genres get equal playing time and I believe it all evens out, which is probably the reason I don’t feel the need to listen safe, middle of the road music like U2 or R.E.M. Why would I go to a Thai eating establishment and order ‘medium’ sauce when I can mix the ‘hot’ and ‘mild’?

Last night I attended one of the best concerts I’ve been to in a long time. Killswitch Engage was in town for a brutal session of face stompin’ music. I remember the first time I heard Killswitch. Jake brought over a new group he wanted me to hear. This is standard fare as Jake loves to share his new musical discoveries with me. He popped in the CD and I was nearly instantly mesmerized. I remember dropping everything that I was doing and just taking in the music. Killswitch seemed to embody so much of how I thought ear bleeding metal should be. Yet, they were also ultimate dichotomy to metal music. They have incredibly crisp drums and guitar, but no self righteous guitar solos. Their singer can yell and scream like a maniac but he also sings very well. Their music is awesomely heavy yet all of their lyrics are positive with a message of hope, love, truth and good will towards mankind. I love it. I have never heard anything quite like them. The fast-paced drums and death metal guitars make me want to get punchy but the lyrics make me want to help you bandage all the wounds I caused. Nice right? Plus one of the things that sets Killswitch apart, is their lead singer/frontman is a tall, slightly pudgy black man. I’m not racist but seeing him at the concert I had to laugh. Here was a nicely dressed lead singer wearing a button up shirt and nice jeans (not baggy) backed by the typical rockers of today. Shaved heads with gotees down to their nipples, shorts so long I can’t tell if their long shorts or short pants, and chain wallets on the side. Appearances aside, the concert rocked hardcore.

I was looking forward to the concert but I’ve been so busy I really had forgotten about it until a day or two before the date. Phil and I were way late, and the line stretched all the way around the building and down the block. We thought we were going to get a horrible seat but the balcony provided us old men with great seats from a safe vantage point. I say safe vantage point because I was pretty sure there would be bodies flying at this show.

After the three yes three opening bands, Killswitch finally took the stage. Everyone in the balcony stood up and for once I was actually glad. Something strange happened to me as the guitars began to chunk their relentless riffs and the drums pounded their beefy beats. I found myself moving about, head-bobbing and punching the air like never before. Usually at a concert I might do the conservative head bang to the music or if it’s a really groovy song I might jump around a little bit but on this night I was moving about with purpose! It really suprised myself and I know it scared the hell out of Phil. No matter how much Phil likes a band or song, he will never go past the conservative head bang. His is so conservative you have to really look and see if he’s headbanging or if he just has a nervous twitch. For the first time ever I found myself actually wanting to go downstairs and mosh with the rest of the psychos. Not because I was angry, but because I felt PUMPED! After the concert I figured out why I wanted to go nuts. I am one of Pavlov’s dogs. Last year when I lost 30lbs you know who was there nearly every workout? That’s right, KSE. Even today they are my number one workout partner. So it makes sense when I saw them in concert my heartrate increased, my pupils dilated, my fists clenched and I felt like dropping down and doing 20……and pummelling Phil with fists of friendship.

I never did go down and mosh or crowd surf. My common sense kicked in before I could try anything stupid. Although at one point I was sure we were going to see disaster on the concert floor. In between songs the singer announced, “Alright I want to see to circles going around these posts, c’mon! c’mon!” In the middle of the Roseland are two large support posts that I have always felt are in horrible locations, but hey it keeps the roof above our heads. The crowd wasn’t really swirling until they instantly broke into this song and the swirling mass of bodies smashingly circled around the posts. It was an awesome sight to behold and it didn’t look like too many people ran into the poles. Another thing I thought I’d never see at a hard rockin’ concert was so many people singing. Nearly every KSE song has a part of the lyrics that are sung. Usually the chorus. Scream the verse, sing the chorus that’s their formula for success. I watched other rockers head bang their brains out during the verse, then stand up straight and sway while belting out the chorus, often so loud I could barely hear the singer.

I went away from the concert absolutely satisfied. It was only missing one thing and that was my buddy Jake who introduced them to me. He thought his new kid was being born on the same night as the concert so he didn’t buy a ticket. Turns out he was two months off. Oh well. Just to make sure he got a taste of the concert, I called him during the middle of one of the songs and held my phone up so he could hear it. I don’t know if he answered or it went to his voicemail, but at least I tried.

If you like hard rock music mixed with screaming, singing, incredible grooves with a positive message, do yourself a favor and check out Killswitch Engage.

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Happy Birthday

Just wanted to tell my bud Billy Happy 30th Birthday. Hope your wheels keep spinning for another 30 years.

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Problems in the alley

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m just not very good at bowling. I like bowling, or I think I like it but everytime I get to the alley I always remember, that I’m no good at throwing the ball straight down the lane. I think part of the reason I struggle so much with accuracy, is the ball. To me, the ball just seems too damn heavy, this is what I woke up thinking this morning as my bowling muscles ached. I bowled and bowled last night, it seem illogical to me that the ball was ‘too heavy’. When I workout I have no problem muscling 30lb dumbells and 40lb kettlebells. How then could a 16lb bowling ball cause me so much grief? At least I think it was 16lbs I figured that’s what the big “16″ on the side of the ball meant. It felt heavier than 16, probably because of the grip, and really this is my main gripe.

It’s hard to hold the ball with your two middle fingers and thumb. How often do I use those fingers in that combination? Hardly ever, except when I’m bowling or rockin’ the devil horns. I know you’re probably thinking, ‘just use a lighter ball girly man’. I tried that but it really is no resolution to the heavy ball problem. Even if you go down in weight a couple pounds, say… a 10lber then you run into the problem of the finger holes being too small. There is no middle ball for people like me. My hands are somewhere between a woman’s, a man’s and E.T. They’re bigger than a woman’s, slightly smaller than a man’s but shaped more like E.T.’s. The end of my fingertips are more rounded and a bit bigger than the rest of my finger, resembling E.T.’s glowing digit more than that of a normal human. I can phone home all day, but it doesn’t help me with bowling. My dad’s fingers are like sausages so I bet he has no problem bowling a strike. When I first checked into the alley last night, I noticed a father getting some balls for his little girls. These balls had 4 finger holes and one thumb hole! So you can use your whole paw to launch the ball down the lane. Why don’t they make these for grownups? Or bowling tweens like me?

Despite my problems with bowling, I had fun last night. Michelle and I had an appointment that got cancelled so we decided to seize the moment and do something fun. We went to the local bowling establishment and they were offering 2 hours of bowling for $12 a person. It sounded steep at first but since it was just the two of us I knew we would get our money’s worth. We bowled our brains out. I quickly realized that my wrist was not going to be able to keep up the whole night so I developed a strategy. For my first try I would use the normal 16lb cannonball bowling ball. If there were a few pins left standing I used one of Michelle’s neon orange 10lbers. This was smart. It saved my wrist and it’s much easier to pick up a spare with a lighter ball. None of this two-ball strategy really mattered since Michelle was apparently born in a bowling alley thus giving her favor in the eyes of the gutter gods. She constantly complained that she was ‘crap’ and didn’t know what she was doing but consistently threw up strikes and spares.

By our fifth and last game everything was all tied up at 2 wins a piece. During the last game we were neck and neck with strikes, spares, swears and splits. At the top of the 10th frame I couldn’t believe we were dead even at 115. I chucked the ball down the lane, took out 9 pins and picked up the spare. At the bottom of the frame I launched the ball to secure my win, but instead the ball took a turn towards the left and knocked down only three pins. I nervously watched as Michelle knocked down 9 pins and got the spare and then proceed to knock down 9 more pins, thus winning by 6 points. Disgusting. I think the real reason she won was because she was using one of those light balls, and she has man muscles. During our fourth game we decided to switch it up and we could only throw the ball granny style or with our off hand, I found that I’m pretty good at throwing it granny style. The ball is lighter, my control is better, I look dumber, it is a win-win for everyone. But I don’t mind, until they change the balls to accomodate my fingers I’m sticking with granny style from here on out.

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How have I missed this?

On Friday night after work I went down to Dundee, Oregon. From my house during rush hour, it took about 1 hour and 45 minutes to reach the one-blink town of Dundee. One blink, and you’ll miss it. I wasn’t there to enjoy the budding metropolis of Dundee, I went to see my old college friend Seth. We always mean to hang out more than we do, but it seems life and school get in the way. He’s getting his doctorate in psychology so he’s a pretty busy dude.

We shot the breeze, worked on his motorcycle and scratched ourselves where we itched. Remembering my love for whiskey, Seth suggested we should make some Manhattans. After his excellent idea I realized I have never had a Manhattan. I knew they contained some form of whiskey but that’s about it. I usually prefer my whiskey the same way I prefer my women, neat, smooth with a bite at the end. Why mess with a good thing? Seth’s first try was just ok, they were a bit too sweet for my tastes. We were going to make more, but his wife came home and we decided to go out and eat instead. It was at the restaurant where I got my first good taste of a proper Manhattan, and ever since I’ve been hooked. I’ve been out three times since and that’s all I can order. Just in time for spring! During the winter months my drink of choice was a spanish coffee. This is also how I like my women, hot, strong and flaming. But now we’ve turned over a new solstice and I say new drinks are in order! Who’s game for a round of Manhattans? It’s a great way to start or finish a night.

My night with Seth was finished with hot chocolate laced with peppermint schnapps and his wife pounding out the sweet compositions of Debussy, Mozart, Chopin and many other greats. She is a piano teacher and wow….can she play. Watching Seth and Beth interact reminded me of how awesome it is to find that special person and to be happily married. The cool thing about these two is that they take real interest in all aspects of eachother’s lives. This doesn’t seem like rocket science for a married couple but I’ve seen otherwise from many married couples. She knew all sorts of details about his motorcycle and cycles in general and he knew all about her music, who she liked to play, who she liked to listen to and what composers annoyed her. Seth jokes that he ‘married up’, and while I agree with him, I think most men marry up. Because really, where would we be without women? A strong women is the stitching that keeps the family together and the world turning…..that and strong manhattans.

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It’s nice to be missed

Over the weekend I visited my previous place of employment. Twice a year my old work has a big fabric show where hundreds of customers and vendors come from all over the country to cash in on deals. My previous boss invited me out to the Saturday night festivities which usally included delicious food, wine and music. It’s always been a trip for me to walk into previous places of employment. I feel fine and then I’m suddenly hit with a dizzy spell. I feel out of place and things don’t seem to be how I remember them.

Even though I received a personal invite from my old boss, she failed to tell any of my ex-coworkers that I would be coming.
There is nothing better than walking into a room full of people and seeing their faces light up as their eyes catch a glimpse of you. Across the crowded room of people I spotted my friend KB spotting me. Her eyes switched to full beams as her mouth hung open in dismay. Before I could make my way over to her I was waylaid by a myriad of other faces and gasps. When I finally caught up to KB she jubilantly flung her arms around me. I really couldn’t believe all the excitement over me. She told me how much she missed me and she explained that things were completely different since I left. Apparently when I exited, so did all the excitement. They hired two new girls that are nice, but terribly boring. One of them thinks she’s funny and cynical, but really she’s more of a beotch. The other new girl is extremely quiet and talks like a valley girl, much to the vexation of KB. And, my old boss is still an abrasive ball of blathering arrogance (not everything can change). While I was there I had the ability of keeping my boss at a relative state of calm, but since my departure no one keeps her in check and it sounds as if she has quite a few moments filled with rants.

I helped KB clean up and took her to Newport Bay for drinks and eats. She drew quite the looks with her polka dots and pearls. The theme for the big show this year was ‘favorite Hollywood star’ so she dressed up as Lucille Ball. Over manhattans and cosmos we discussed all the things that had changed and where our lives were headed. I was amazed to hear of some of the changes that have occured since I left just 4 short months ago. The main one being my former boss began handing out raises like they were tic-tacs. Oh man, I haven’t had a tic-tac in so long. I used to love playing with the little container once it was empty, my action figures were always getting their feet stuck in them and the minty aroma would last for months after the last tic-tac tumbled out. But I digress….
I don’t know if it was because I left, but suddenly my old boss started fighting for more money for her slav–employees! Now KB makes way more than I did and she’s only been there for 9months! I was there for 2 years. Even though I truly believe I’m in a much better place to make money and be content it still gets my goat. My goat is got! It’s funny how things work like that. Had she given out good raises while I was still there, I’d still be there. It would’ve most likely made me complacent and not cared that I was still at a dead-end job. So I say it’s good. The manhattans were good, the company was good, the whole night was good. It’s always good to be missed.

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Nuns with Guns

About a month ago I went to my buddy Andy’s wedding in Bellevue Wa. It was a nice wedding that went pretty smooth. Actually I’m gonna go ahead and toot my own horn here and say that catastrophe was avoided because of me, but I’ll save that horn tootin’ story for another day. The night before the wedding was the rehearsal and after the rehearsal was the rehearsal dinner. Once the dinner was done I was excited to leave so I could begin objectifying some women at Andy’s bachelor party. My wishes were put on hold because someone had planned a game for all of us to play. Unless it involves balls, controllers or alcohol I usually hate games. Bored games are named as such because they are just that…..boooooring. In the basement of the church there was no controllers or alcohol so I tried to make the best out of the situation.

The first part of the game was to dress up two people in our group as a bride and groom using only unused toilet paper and a garbage bag. Our team won because of the stylish TP buttons I had fashioned and attached to the front of our groom. Our whole group then had to run through a maze to reach the next stage which was basically five rounds of charades.

Ryan was the first to volunteer to do the charades. He got his secret word and enthusiastically came running back. Our team was in the lead so when we started the charade part of the game no one else was in the room. Our eyes widened as we watched Ryan go through the motions of the word he was trying to act out.

First he crossed himself like a person of the catholic faith would do, he then took out a pretend ruler to slap an imaginary kid’s wrist, but then to our dismay he pulled out a shotgun with sound effects. He cocked the pump action shotgun and proceeded with a distinctive “Blam blam blam!” effectively blowing away the imaginary kid’s head and any idea we had of what he was trying to act out. Before the shotgun blasting I believe we were all thinking ‘catholic, discipline, pope’ but afterwards we were speechless, we stood there with our mouths agape and a collective “WHAT?” across our foreheads. The other teams started bursting in and the pressure mounted to try and guess this mystery word. Seeing that we weren’t getting it, Ryan started over. He crossed himself, pulled out a ruler while slapping a bad kid, and once again finished with cocking his shotgun and blowing people’s heads off. None of us spoke a word so he began again.



Ryan went through the same motions 6 or 7 times before I meekly muttered “nun?”. He pointed at me and yelled “YES!” tagging me to be the next one to act out a word. Now I’m not Catholic, but I do know a few things about their beliefs, I wasn’t aware of the shotgun blasting part of their religion. Because of Ryan’s lack of charade skills Our team went from 1st to dead last but we pulled it together and rallied to win the whole she-bang! I can’t rip on Ryan too much because during the charade game he correctly guessed “pig in a blanket” when the person had hardly acted out anything.

After the game we asked Ryan what the heck he was thinking with all the shotgunning. Apparently he was trying to make a reference to a conversation we had in the car 6 hours earlier about Phil’s old t-shirt. This shirt:

which is a cool shirt, but too vague for charades.

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If you like good music

Just a reminder to all of you, that KBPS 89.9 is doing their spring pledge drive to keep their station alive and you should give. I know this is falling on mostly deaf ears since nearly all of my friends do not listen to classical music, but hey I thought I should try. I just don’t want them to turn into a country station like what happened to the classical station in L.A. I find it hard to believe that anyone in L.A. is listening to country, but what do I know?

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Wine barking

Tonight I flipped the channel and Discovery’s “Dirty Jobs” was doing a segment on wine making. It wasn’t very exciting but it made me think of this:

Tyler and Phil, I think we can all agree this is a classic as much as ’shovelhead’.

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I have always had a love-hate relationship with math. In grade school I really enjoyed math and seemed to accel at it, until I reached 6th grade and ran into a brick wall known as Mrs. Judd. Quite possibly the worst 6th grade teacher ever, but more on that later. After 6th grade I just didn’t care about math as much, deep down inside some part of me still liked it, but I rarely let that glimmer of math hope shine through. In high school I barely passed Algebra 2, not because it was so hard but because I was more interested in talking to the cute girl next to me.

In college it took me a year to figure out what I was going to major in. Once I made up my mind on what degree to get I was faced with more math…tons of it. The problem was, I hadn’t even looked at an equation in years. I’ll always remember what the lady said after I took the aptitude test before registering for my first classes. She said my reading and writing scores were off the chart (should’ve taken the hint) but I needed some help in math. She informed me that I tested into Math 20. Those of you who know what Math 20 is, please quit laughing, to those of you who don’t, it is essentially very basic multiplication with some addition, subtraction and geometry thrown in. A 6th grader and a guy in a coma could test into math 20.

Nevertheless, I was determined to get a degree so I ventured forth. With some hard work I started to catch on and get it. Once again I found myself loving math and it didn’t hurt that I had a girlfriend and other friends that were quite adept at calculatin’. Jake has always been awesome at math, but what I learned at community college is he is really a kick ass teacher of math. He could explain things way better than my teacher and in such a way that instantly made sense to me. After a year and a half I had progressed from Math 20 all the way up to Calculus. To this day I still cannot believe it. Like a bell curve on green graph paper, my good wave of enjoyable math fell ferociously fast once I hit GFU. I was enrolled in their Computer Science program, happier than a geek in a sea of LCDs that I had completed all the math requirements, when they suddenly decided that all CS majors had to complete Discrete Math. Discrete Math felt like the opposite of every other math I had learned in the previous years. Our teacher would pull numbers out of the air and stick them into equations, graphs didn’t make any sense, and no matter how hard I studied I couldn’t seem to get a grasp of the subject. I barely passed the subject and only because the professor was completely generous on his grading scale.

Discrete math was the last math class I’ve ever taken and unfortunately it was a negative experience. Sometimes I get these crazy thoughts that I’d like to enroll in a math class…….for fun. How pathetic is that? I think that would be like drinking chocolate syrup and draino at the same time. A little bit of enjoyment with alot of burning. The saddest thing to me is that all that glorious knowledge of math my head once held, is now but a memory erased.

There were many math tests I took where I was so frustrated I wanted to rip the test into tiny shreds, I never did but now I wish I would’ve been as creative as some of these kids.

Seems the most logical to me!

I love this, obviously didn’t study.

Best answer ever.

This one cracks me up. I think I did something similar to this on a CS test. When you don’t know, write more.

Too Funny.

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Good news!

Alright, I hope you’re all sitting down. Yes? Ok then I can tell you something you probably do not know. They have made a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, set to be out at the end of March! I know! Can you believe it? This is the best news since 1990 when the first Turtles was released! Cowa-dudabung! errr…you know what I mean.

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