Friday, February 26, 2010
1. It's very hard to take something back. Apologies only go so far.
2. Life's hard, get used to it.
3. Momentum is a powerful force in science. It's that way in life as well, remember to always try and move forward in life, it doesn't always mean you need to take an action immediately, but it does mean you have to make the decisions on when to take the actions.
4. Focus is a powerful tool and one that many people don't develop. Focus allows you to channel your skills and energy, it also enables you to utilize skills from traits that might be considered negative. (addictive nature, obsessive)
5. If you want to be good at something, there is usually more then one way to achieve it.
6. Learning to learn maybe the most important thing you can ever do.
7. The ironic thing about complexity, is that it's fairly simple to deal with, either embrace it or ignore it. Those that get caught somewhere in the middle tend to be paralyzed by it.
8. Understanding that the concepts of Good and Evil are based more on perception then reality is a good first step to understanding others.
9. Surround yourself with people you love and who care about you.
10. Fear is something people will try and use against you all your life. Whether it's in day to day life, on the news, or your own thoughts. Don't be afraid to confront it.
I realized as I got half way through typing the list that this wasn't about reminiscing about life lessons. This is my plan for the things I want to share with Bronwyn. For those of you reading, I hope you enjoy. For Bronwyn, if you stumble upon this someday, I hope you find something useful here and I love you.
The bad thing about working from home is that on snow days you have no chance of the office closing or being Stuck in traffic for 3 hours in the morning ;)
The good thing about working from home is you can make these. Made from scratch cinammon rolls.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
I walk around the house and occasionally one of the many collages of pictures of my daughter catch my eye. These two pictures caught my eye this week and all I can see when I look at them is the innocence in her face and eyes.
Can you see it?
Bronwyn has been talking a lot about growing up this week. She broke out in tears last night because she was sad she wouldn't be living with me someday. When I was a child I'd have similar thoughts and emotional moments with my parents.
I remember those moments as a child and how upset I'd get about them and it breaks my heart to watch her have similar moments. It's the beginning of the world chipping away at her innocence and no matter what I try to do it's going to happen. That realization is hitting me like a ton of bricks.
I know she's growing up and I'm acutely aware that her childhood is going to continue to go by too fast. The irony is that even though she was the one crying about the future yesterday, I think I'll be the one crying about it tomorrow. Her childhood is a lifetime to her, to me it's a small precious window, a gift. She'll learn to think of it as a natural progression, I can only hope to do the same.
For now, I'll continue to enjoy it and when she asks me to play or tell her a story after I've had a long day of work, I'll try and remember that someday she won't be asking me, she'll be off continuing to grow up.
As I said at the beginning "I'm not ready".
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Not a whole lot going on here in my neck of the woods of Cleveland, but a couple things that I thought might be interesting to write about.
We didn't eat at Melt last Saturday even though we got an early start 4:30 and headed right there, the wait for a table was 3 hours at that point and for take out was an hour. I think our first experience with Melt will wind up being take out. I just can't see myself in this day and age waiting around for food, regardless of how good it is. (It should be noted that poisedinparma pointed this out in her comment last Friday, thanks again).
We decided to see about eating at Dave and Busters since were were out in that area of town and the place was packed, hour and a half wait for the dining room and the midway was filled with people and noise, definitely not conducive to grabbing a booth and eating there, so we wound up skipping Dave and Busters and heading to Stancatos.
Stancatos is a small Italian restaurant off of State and Pleasant Valley. It's what I would consider old school style Italian, decent prices and good food. It's not going to blow you away, but the quality is consistent and they have some tasty entrees. There big hook is their sauce, which is bottled and sold in a number of local grocery stores, it tends to be a bit sweet for my tastes, but my wife loves it and considering she has the Italian background, I leave it to her to decide whether it's good. Their chicken parm. is very good and what I order when I go there. To give you some background , I never order chicken parm. at a restaurant, I'm not a huge fan, although you'd think that it would be a staple for me, as I tend to gravitate toward chicken dishes, especially when pan fried. It's just a dish that I usually find to be sort of 'bleh' so I don't order it, I gave it a shot though at Stancatos and I've had it twice since and highly recommend it.
After dinner we were stuck for something to do, heading out early for Melt screwed up our whole timeframe for the night. We couldn't find anything at the movies that we wanted to see and it was much too early (7pm) to head to a club for a band or to indulge in karaoke. We decided to head to Jammin' Java place on Pleasant Valley, a coffee shop that I always wanted to check out.
The shop has a nice sitting area, although I think they could touch it up a bit, it still has a bit of a convenience store feel, which it was converted from and feels like the tables were just thrown in there. They had an average selection of coffees, coffee drinks, and beers. I wasn't impressed with the selection they had or the drinks they put together, but I like the concept of a hangout with beer and coffee without the hassle of a bar or club. They run open mic nights during the week and on Saturdays they do karaoke. The nice thing was it started a bit earlier (8:30) then a lot of the bars do, so we hung around and sang some songs. I don't know if I'd go back and I can't exactly tell you why. If I had to guess it would be that I just never warmed up to the place, even though I love the concept of music, coffee, and beer for people to casually hang out.
Sunday was sent doing absolutely nothing much to the distress of my fire signed daughter, who has a severe case of cabin fever right now, but we just couldn't come up with something to do outside of making soup for the week and baking a cake. Next weekend we'll hit the auto show, at least it will get us out of the house.
I do have some news on the singing front. I had a second session with the drummer from my former band and a couple of guitar players he knew on Friday. It looks like we are going to give it a go in putting a group together and getting a set list ready to play out. It's likely going to be a bit of a different style than we had before as the new players are more familiar with some different music, but at this point it works for me, as I just want to get out and do some shows. It's interesting to see the differences in guitar playing styles for these new guys compared to the former band member. I'm still hesitant to talk about it too much, as I want to see how things go, I guess I'm fearful of jinxing it.
Interesting tidbits from the weekend. (at least to me)
Table next to us at Stancatos with about 8 people, on of the men ask the waitress if they have Patron, she says they do. 2 others follow suit and order it as well. Waitress brings the shots back and one says to her, "I thought Patron was a beer". (The other's said the same thing after she left, as they looked at the shots and realized they had screwed up) Oops. The part I found really funny though is five minutes after the shots arrive one of the guys is talking to the other two and asks them if they know where Patron is made and then goes into a little spiel telling them. I have no idea if he was right on where it was made or not, as I stopped listening, but I did find it fascinating that he was sharing his knowledge of it, considering he didn't know what type of drink it was in the first place.
I stopped into Walmart on Saturday to pick out my new glasses and was immediately approached by the sales clerk. I got a kick out of the fact, that she seemed to be trying to set expectations with me on what frames were the ones on special and that lenses were more. I assured her, I understood that there were only so many glasses in the $9 frame range and that lenses would be more dependent on the type. It started to get annoying though, when I sat down with the two pairs I chose and she continued to seem to be concerned about how much the 'lenses' were going to cost, even though I assured her I was aware they were going to be rather expensive, but that it had been 6 years since I last bought a pair. I'm all for associates setting expectations and I get that 90% of the people that come in to that store are looking for the specials, but it's also a bit irritating to have to be told repeatedly that these are going to be expensive. At some point as a clerk, you need to take a step back and realize that you've done what you can to try and avoid issues later and if the customer proceeds then they really are intent on spending the dollars that it's going to cost.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Here are a couple of thoughts that ran through my head:
"I must really sound like shit on this thing"
"Would it be so bad to just post the damn songs and never listen to them myself?"
"How long can I keep avoiding this?"
"You were an idiot for giving this a shot"
"I'm going to have to re-evaluate how I read people again, especially those that gave compliments to hearing me sing before"
Pretty bad aren't they? Then I got to this thought.
"You know, this was your first time recording, and you did it in one take in sub-freezing temperatures in a barn. It's not like you were trying for a record deal here, the whole purpose of this was to sound 'real' not to be overproduced or perfect, so why don't you remember that and listen to the damn cd"
I knew I had a voice of reason somewhere. So I listened to the cd and here are my thoughts. It's ok, not great, but not awful.
Considering my only vocal training happened in 4th through 8th grades and otherwise was 'self taught' through 15 years of long car drives, and drinking/karaoke. I'd consider it a nice start. Sure, there are parts I don't like or could use work (parts of Nothing Else Matters and Dead or Alive were most obvious to me), but they weren't awful. With a little more work, a second take, or a warm environment to record in, who knows what it might have sounded like.
It's sort of nice to know that I don't completely suck. Whether I'm good enough to front a band, time will tell, but I think I have enough going for me to continue giving it a shot.
I've made it out to one jam session with a couple guys and have another one this week. I don't want to go into a lot of details yet as there isn't a lot to discuss, but potentially something could come from it. I consider it getting back up on the horse after falling off. It was necessary for me to do so and I'm glad I did, otherwise I think I'd have just filed this hobby away under missed opportunities.
Friday, February 19, 2010
1. My dog's ill, he's got a urinary tract infection, poor little guy. Even thought he vet. thought it was a pretty bad infection, the good news is he seems to be going around with a little more energy after only two days on his medicine.
2. I've been talking about it for a week and a half, but we are finally going to 'Melt Bar and Grill' tomorrow in Lakewood for dinner. Now if I can only decide what to order. http://www.meltbarandgrilled.com/ I'm leaning toward the Tuna melt or Big Bopper, just trying to justify eating a fried sandwich filled with cream cheese and jalapeno as my dinner. I'll definitely have some thoughts to write up next week.
3. I managed to do minimal cooking for the week, thanks to a very large pork shoulder I slow cooked on Saturday. It turned out to be extremely versatile and lent itself to 5 meals. The pork courses for the week, pulled pork sandwiches with mac and cheese, stir fried pork with rice, and cuban sandwiches with pierogis. I'm a huge proponent for making something large over the weekend and getting the most use out of it for the week, but by far, this is the most success I've ever had. Considering the roast was about $5 on sale and we were able to get such a variety of dinners on it, it's going into the rotation for sure.
4. I'm going to post my self-critique of the demo songs on Monday. I wanted to see what type of feedback I got on the posting of the songs. (from yesterday or here: Demo Songs post)
5. I mentioned last week, that I was fighting a cold for a week. On Monday I thought it was over, but in truth I'm still feeling some lingering affects about 2 weeks in. I think we are finally at the tail end of it though, but I'm hesitant to say anything and jinx myself. Hopefully you are able to avoid this one.
6. I'll go out on a limb and make a prediction. There is no way that Howard Stern steps into the judges role on Idol. Howard Stern and Idol talk. Stern's not the type to jump into something on it's downward spiral and as much as his presence would boost ratings, Idol is on the downward swing. I also can't see the Idol people giving up as much creative control as Stern would want, which means it would be essentially the same show with Stern as a judge over Cowell, not a recipe for success in my opinion.
7. I mentioned in a previous "Friday Thoughts" post that I was looking forward to the Winter Olympics. That excitement appears to have been tempered, as I haven't watched a single minute of coverage.
8. The only things I'm watching right now are: Men of a Certain Age, Fringe, Lost, Shark Tank, and an occasional American Idol night, and a yet to be determined fascination with Discovery channel's Pawn Stars.
9. Pawn Stars is like Antique Road show mixed with American Choppers. I sort of dig the history aspect of the show, but the 'pawn shop' setting means that we aren't watching appraisals of quilts for 80% of the show. The family interaction is a lot of fun as well and I like seeing some of the unusual things they buy and restore. (i.e. a crashed helicopter, which doesn't exactly fall into the antiques category)
10. 14 days until I'm out of the home office for some work on the road. It's a much needed change of pace.
Have a great weekend!
Thursday, February 18, 2010
For those coming to my blog for the first time, welcome and I hope you find things interesting enough to come back.
I hope you enjoy, please feel free to leave me some comments or drop me an email on what you think. I've typed up a self critique and other thoughts that I'll be posting in the next couple of days.
Sex Type Thing
Wanted Dead or Alive
Nothing Else Matters
Monday, February 15, 2010
It's still cold here and I'm starting to worry about my replacement gutters, as I see another ice dam building up on the back of the house. I'm hoping they stay up long enough for me to actually pay for the 1st replacement, which I haven't got to yet.
The weekend seems to have flown by, I spent the majority of Saturday catching up on grocery/household shopping, that I've avoided for the last couple weeks. I also exposed Bronwyn to her first Valentine's day Malley's experience. For those that aren't familiar with Cleveland, Malley's is a family run Cleveland based chocolate institution. If you are planning to buy high end chocolates for a holiday, you are likely heading to Malley's. For Valentine's day, Malley's has chocolate covered strawberries. These are extremely perishable, so they are only available 1 or 2 days before the holiday. They are very popular though, at their flagship store, they run makeshift drive through windows for purchases over the holiday weekend. There were about 30 cars in line for the 6 drive through windows on Saturday. At $16 bucks a box ($25 for two boxes) they aren't cheap, but I have to say they are pretty good, and I don't particularly like chocolate covered strawberries.
Sunday we went sledding at the Metroparks hill off of Memphis avenue. I spent a lot of time here as a kid, and in my opinion it's one of the best hills in the Cleveland area for sledding. It was Bronwyn's first sledding experience outside of Grandma's drive way and to say she was excited would be an understatement. I think she had as much fun falling down on the climb back up the hill as she did going down.
The sledding experience ended on a bit of a bad note, as Bronwyn kept asking to sled by herself rather then ride with us, after the first time down where she fell off and got snow on her face, she managed to make it down 3-4 times solo and did very well. I decided that was enough as she was getting tired and I was worried she wouldn't be able to hold on as well, so we resumed her riding with either the wife or me. Well the last sled run, I decided to let her go one more time by herself as I rode down next to her and sure enough she had a crash. She did a full face plant in the snow and considering her huge cheeks were already red from the cold, let's just it stung a bit. Upon arriving home and once the redness from the cold wore off, we could see she got a nice little raspberry on her cheek from the face plant. A total trooper though, she's been telling me that it doesn't hurt, it's just a bit red. The funniest part of the whole ordeal was when she was crying and I told her to just shake it off, as tears poured down her face, she asked me "How do I shake it off?" In moments like that I sometimes forget that as a four year old she doesn't understand what I'm trying to suggest. I suppose that's one of the things that separates Mommies and Daddies from dealing with little ones though.
Friday, February 12, 2010
1. Little known fact: I'm blind as a bat. I've had corrective lenses since I was a kid. Once I got contact lenses you'd be hard pressed to ever see me in glasses. Working from home I wear my glasses constantly though, the mix of dry air in the house and staring at a computer screen all day almost requires it. Sadly my glasses I've had for the last 6 years broke this week. Which means I have to go get another eye exam and get another pair. As if I needed something else to irritate me this week.
2. I finally have a copy of the demo songs I did for the band. As soon as I figure out a way to get them posted, I will. (the blog software isn't real keen on .mp3 or .wav files, although it likes video files fine, sigh).
3. It's nice to have my cheerful little girl back, I didn't realize until she had a long nap yesterday, that she becomes uber-grumpy like me when sick. She woke up and seemed to have finally kicked the bug and I could immediately see the change in attitude. Still learning this parent thing.
4. I've came to the realization last weekend that I have a very serious addictive personality. The good news is it's utilized correctly about 80% of the time, the other 20% not so well. Thinking of writing up some more thoughts on this sometime.
5. I was watching Diners, Drive ins, and Dives on Food Network this week and caught the episode with "Melt" in Lakewood. It's at the top of my next 'want to try list' I swear in the five minute segment I came across three sandwiches I'd want if I went there. I'd go tonight for takeout, but I fear that the drive home with the food would make for some soggy sandwiches.
6. I've been trying some new higher end rums lately. My current favorite is a rum out of Brazil called Orocono. Nice sipping rum with little burn.
7. I'm thinking of taking a trip around town with some of the tax return dollars to try and find some higher end vodkas and rums for the liquor cabinet. Unfortunately the selection around town stinks though, and it doesn't help that the 'high end' market for rum and vodka is not a match for the scotch.
8. Another little known fact: I came very close to skipping/turning down my initial job interview for my current company. I've now been with them 10+ years. When they called for an interview the description of the position was very different from what I had been told by the person who suggested I apply. It's funny how things work out sometimes and also reminds me that my instincts sometimes stink.
9. If the Indians make one move this off-season it should be signing Jermaine Dye. They need a right handed bat for their lineup. Dye is a veteran that they should be able to sign for 1 or 2 years at a fairly reasonable salary and he would provide some veteran presence to a lineup that needs it.
10. Staying on the baseball subject. I'm still amazed that the Indians have not done anymore Winterfests. In conjunction with moving into Jacob's Field in the 90's and starting their sell out streak. The Indians put on a Winterfest at one of the hotels ballrooms downtown. It was basically a collection of seminars, autograph signing, collectibles, and indoor baseball booths for fans to attend. From what I remember it was well attended and it was a great way to keep interest in the winter for the team and a great way to spend a Saturday in Cleveland. I know that the Indians became a winning baseball team in the 90's which spurred their popularity, but I still believe Winterfest and moving their spring training site to Florida rather then Arizona was a key step in making the team more popular. Of course they now have moved back to Arizona for spring training, which I think is a mistake as well.
Have a great Valentine's Day weekend.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Friday night we wound up with another foot of snow and over the last day we've gotten at least another 1-2 feet. (Although it's hard to tell how much with as much as it's drifting due to the wind.)
Needless to say it's not been a great week. This brings me to my rant for the week.
The phrase "So much for global warming" or anything similar has to go. I realize that phrases in our American pop culture typically start off on one coast or the other, but in this case, I'm sure that I've heard a variation of this phrase over the last three winters. And based on that, I'm tired of hearing it. It's not clever, it's not funny, and every time a snowflake falls it's not proof that Al Gore was wrong.
I get it; people are tired of having 'global warming' shoved down their throat. (Although environmentalists realized about 5 years ago that the phrase 'global warming' was the wrong term to use, they use 'climate change' now). I'm tired of the coverage of it as well.
So the next time you have the urge to be clever and topical at the same time, I urge you to reconsider and realize that it's a tired and old phrase. I also cannot guarantee that there will not be a snowball flying at you if I overhear the phrase as well.
Friday, February 5, 2010
1. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ynews/ynews_pl1112 . Wow, it wasn't enough that she drove HP into the ground, she's now running for Senate and managed to start a bit of buzz with one of her campaign's first attack ads. Carly Fiorinas off to a great start isn't she? I'm not particularly fond of video on the web, but words could not describe this piece. (See #2 and blog post below this one)
2. YouTube has removed the HTML language used to embed video directly into a post. This sucks on so many levels. They've added the functionality to allow you to send a direct post to your blog, but it comes in as a separate blog entry, so if you'd like to see the Fiorina video, it's the blog entry previous to this one or you can click on this link: http://lifeandtimesincleveland.blogspot.com/2010/02/carly-fiorina-sheep-ad_05.html
3. I'm headed to a band 'jam' session tonight. I'm not entirely sure what that means besides getting together with some people and playing music. The drummer from my former band invited me out. I anticipate this is sort of a soft audition for a new project. We'll see how it goes. I have a ton of thoughts related to continuing pursuit of singing for a band, but I'm waiting to see how things develop before I start talking about it more.
4. I'll admit I'm looking forward to the Winter Olympics. I prefer them to the Summer Olympics. They just seem better suited for TV and my interests. It doesn't hurt that they are on in Winter when I'm already stuck inside.
5. It is tax time once again. Since my wife substitutes at a number of school districts it means I get to try and determine which ones we should be expecting W2s from. There is one district/organization that consistently sends theirs out at the last minute. The problem is we don't know whether she actually worked for them in the calendar year of 2009, or stopped taking assignments from them in December of 2008. It doesn't help that they don't return her calls. Based on their answering machine message it's due to the fact that they are overwhelmed with requests to find out when they mailed the damn W2s out anyway. Here's a tip for them, mail them out earlier and you wont' be overwhelmed with requests to find out where they are. Idiots.
6. I'm a big movie fan, I've resisted the trend of signing up with Netflix, as I'm not fond of trying to plan out my movie watching in advance and the idea of waiting 2-3 days for a movie I want to watch seems ridiculous to me. However, the store I rent from has seen their inventory dwindle more and more due to services like Netflix, which means it's getting to the point where I'll have no choice but to subscribe.
7. Before I do subscribe to Netflix, I need to take a couple weeks and rent all the stuff I haven't seen at the video store. I didn't realize it, but there are a ton of new movies that I haven't seen and I actually wanted to see. I can't remember the last time I saw a bunch of movies at the video store, where I actually had to 'decide' on what to rent, vs taking the lesser of evils.
8. Here's a bit of sharing on how much of a nerd I can be. I downloaded two songs to Itunes this week that were from an animated film from my childhood. Without cheating and looking up the songs and artist, can you guess what movie? The songs are "Dare" and "You Got the Touch" by Stan Bush. (side note: childhood is probably a bit of a stretch here to use, as the movie came around 1985, which put me smack into preteens at 12-13. Then again I was a fairly late bloomer)
9. I'm having food issues lately. All I want to do is throw restraint out the window. What I mean by this is I tend to try and keep a healthy eating profile. The wife and I mix in a fair amount of low fat meals with our indulgent ones. Lately all I've been thinking about is the indulgent ones, especially if I think about cooking for the weekend. (Deep dish pizza, chocolate chip cookies, fried chicken, you get the idea). In my mind right now, if it's not indulgent, it's going to taste like crap. I'm not sure why I'm feeling like this, but I suspect that being cooped up in the house has caused my dopamine levels to fall and I'm looking for excitement in any form I can get it.
10. I received an email from Travelocity last week, asking me to rate my cruise that I was supposed to have returned from at the end of January. Talk about rubbing salt in the wound. I booked a cruise back in October for a great price, that we were unable to go on and while I got a full refund from the cruise, Travelocity didn't cancel their reference of the reservation, which is why I got the email. Thank you Travelocity for reminding me that I could have been spending a week in January on beaches across the Caribbean.
Have a great weekend and indulge in something ridiculously absurd for me.
*Edit* Since Facebook share function isn't working at the moment and I haven't given much thought to how this would play out as a post anyway, I'm adding a number 11 this week.
11. Article on middle class 'homelessness' http://news.yahoo.com/s/huffpost/20100204/cm_huffpost/450045
Things like this make me wish we weren't caught up in an ideological/political game of pointing fingers. Real problems continue while everyone yells louder that the other person is wrong. It's easy to blame the politician's, but it starts with us, elevate your rhetoric when discussing issues and others may as well.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Last weekend was really fun, one of my good friends and his wife came over and we had a ridiculous amount of food and drink while we played games. We always have a great time with them and I wish we could do it with more couples. Unfortunately, couples compatibility is an interesting quirk of relationships and it doesn't always work the way you hope. I am amazed at how difficult it can be to put 4 people in a room and have them enjoy each other's company.
We've been dealing with Bronwyn having a cold and cough this week. It's a fairly nasty virus and I hate seeing her suffer through it. There isn't a lot we can do except to let it pass through the system. Its times like these that you really feel for parents who have to endure children with serious illnesses. I find it painful watching my girl suffer through a basic cold. I can't fathom how I'd handle something serious.
I've been thinking about the pursuit of singing for a band and have some thoughts to post next week once I get them organized in my head. Until then though, hope you have a good week!