Monday, November 24, 2008

Major Update Post

I know I've been really remiss in posting. Lots of reasons for that, the main one being that I post at work, and work's been busy. Busy work = no posting. I figured I'd just make up for it at home, but the home life has been crazy, too. Crazy home = no posting. Hence the long periods of silence punctuated with limited postings about the pirates operating off of Somalia and elsewhere in Africa.

All that to say that since today is a lot slower than expected (Huzzah!), I finally have time to write about all that's going on around me. So go get yourself a cup of coffee and get settled into a comfortable chair. This could take a while.

Go ahead. I'll wait.

Deep breath. Okay. We finally sent the last of the puppies off to a foster home yesterday. Now all that's left is to rebuild the bathroom where they were living. Puppies like to chew, of course, and these little monsters took out the molding, the toilet seat, the plaster on one corner of the wall, and scratched the paint off the door. We're also going to have to replace the flooring. Not that we're dreading that. A home improvement project like that will improve the selling value of the house, so the puppies actually did us a favor, since I'd probably wait until doomsday to do that kind of work!

But discovering that damage seemed to be the harbinger of bad house behavior. The fridge went on the fritz, and there's a weird noise coming from the pipes in the wall in our other bathroom. Even as I type, One Ring is dealing with repairmen (they actually showed up!). Hopefully there won't be any huge problems awaiting me at my house (Just got the phone call - it's not as bad as I thought, thank God!).

Just got back from lunch. Bunch of delays in finishing this. Fortunately, I only have two patients to deal with today, so this may actually get published.

One Ring and I are heading to Virginia for the holiday. On the way, we're stopping off to see some friends. Should be fun. We've done the whole 12 hours in one day, and now we're figuring that's a tad too extreme for us. So we're breaking it up into two 6 hour days. I'm looking forward to the break, though not necessarily the usual family drama that takes place over holidays. My mother's health is not the best, and when you combine that expense, the current economic situation, and the usual Thanksgiving and Christmas insanity, there's family stress that none of us need. I'm hoping it goes well, but, as usual, I'm fearing the worst. Plus there's the usual obligatory meeting with my dad. Grrr. Ah, holidays!

One big thing that's happening on this trip is that I'm picking up an heirloom. My grandfather left my family an acoustic guitar when he died back in 1991. Back when I was sixteen, he offered to have it repaired and to pay for lessons if I wanted it. My response, being the idiot that I was, was, "Is it electric? No? Then I'd rather not." Yeah, I never did realize that it was essentially the same thing.

So I regretted that decision for a long time - the next 22 years, to be precise. Now that the guitar, which had been in Sharkbait's hands for the last little while, is being handed over to me, I'm going to bring it back here to Nashville, have it repaired, and then learn to play. At some point, I'm also going to pick up an electric guitar (probably a Epiphone Les Paul Studio model, in case you're curious). Thing is, I'm really nervous about this whole endeavor.


Same reason fear grips me whenever I try something completely different and new: fear of failure and making a fool of myself. I know, it's completely silly when I try to think logically about it. Who cares if I'm not good at playing the guitar? It's not like I'm depending on this for my livelihood! Nor is it like I'm taking my grandfather's guitar away from someone else who could be playing it. It's been sitting in a closet for the last 20 years or so.

But still, those fears remain. One Ring's brother brought his guitar over the other night, and I tried to learn some chords. Let me tell you - I found it way harder than playing Guitar Hero! I looked up some tabs on the internet and tried playing a song - "Hey You" by The Exies - and One Ring's brother pointed out that I was about 9frets off! Ouch. Yeah, all correctable issues, and I'm going to be taking lessons. Hell, I live in Nashville. You can't cross the street without knocking over a guitar player. Still, the realization that this is a lot harder than it looks gives me pause, and makes me regret thinking that the members of all those high school garage bands I knew back home (I wonder what ever happened to "Chuck's A Hippie"?) were idiots. They may not have gotten good grades in school, but they could play, and that's a lot more than I can do at this point in life.

Plus there's that whole looking like I'm having a mid-life crisis thing. Don't think for a second that I've forgotten about the Bowflex commercial with the bald guy in his late 40s who is a salesman by day and a musician by night. They show him playing bass with his shirt off and wearing shades. One Ring asked me this morning if that was the look I was going for. "Nah," I told her. "That would involve way too much waxing!" We also joked around yesterday when we were at the local mall. I pointed at the Hot Topic store and said that as soon as I took some lessons, I'd be going there for my new rocker image. In reality, though, the last image I want to give is that I'm pushing forty and trying to return to some mythical point in my youth.

It's weird how the simple act of repairing a guitar and taking lessons can generate so much angst!

But that's the latest from here. I'm working a half day tomorrow and then we're off for Virginia. If I get a chance, I'll post from here before we leave or from one of the places where we're staying.


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Thursday, November 20, 2008

More on Those Pesky East African Pirates

Just a quick note to bring everyone up to speed on what's been going on in the waters off Somalia. Seems that the pirates still have a hold on the Ukrainian frieghter that's carrying missles, tanks, and ammunition, while other pirates have captured a Saudi oil tanker. Meanwhile, yet another navy, this time from India of all places, has sailed into the area.

Unlike all the other fleets in these waters - such as ships belonging to the U.S. Navy - the Indian ship Tabar actually engaged and sank what they called a pirate "mother ship" after the pirates made the mistake of opening fire on them. Some of the pirates fled in small motor boats after their base ship was left burning and sinking.

You can read more about the modern pirates and the ongoing battle here.

You know, I'm just not getting these modern pirate types. 17th century pirates NEVER, to the best of my knowledge, willingly engaged any vessel that had more firepower. They used hit and run tactics. These Somali types hit, but then they hang around for weeks on end! And then they're surprised when they're attacked and sunk? Go fig. They're deserving of Davy Jones' locker, I say. Send 'em all to th' bottom!

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Think One Ring Will Get This For Me?

Saw this on Pirate Mod. I think it's got some appeal, eh? : )

My day has gone off the edge of the map. So I'm going to have to write more later.


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Friday, November 14, 2008

I Hate Being Lied To ...

I've already mentioned (many, many times) that Halloween is my favorite holiday. There are too many reasons for this to list here. Suffice to say that ghosts and ghost stories factor prominantly. I try to watch as many good - in my opinion, anyway - horror movies as possible during this season, as well as try and turn my normally (very) skeptical mind to the "open" setting and watch all the shows on ghosts and hauntings that basic cable has to offer. For the longest time, Ghost Hunters on the SciFi channel has been a favorite destination. Why? Because the two lead investigators seemed to approach their work with as close to a scientific method as I've seen in that field and a what appeared to be a healthy dose of cynicism. Until recently, that is.

On Halloween I watched the seven hour marathon investigation of Fort Delaware, a Civil War era installation. And no, I didn't sit through the whole thing. One Ring and I skipped back and forth between that, movies we Netflix-ed, and answered the doors for poorly costumed trick or treaters (a major pet peeve of mine). But what we did see bugged us. There were so many technical glitches, miss cues, and botched scenes (do overs? On a live show?) that I was permananetly turned off.

But enough of me ranting about this. See for yourself.

Here's a selection of scenes that one viewer put up on YouTube. You can also see a review of the 7 hours broken up in three sections here, here, and here.

I still like the idea of ghosts and hauntings, but I have to admit that I'm more skeptical than ever after seeing the kinds of stuff that went on in that show. And I'm ashamed that I actually even considered that the Ghost Hunters crew might have been on to something. Oh, well. I guess I shouldn't be that surprised. When ratings and advertising dollars are at stake, keeping reality television "real" isn't that high a priority to many in the entertainment industry. Still, I hate feeling like a fool.

In other news Session 9 was REALLY creepy. And David Caruso's character got whacked. So it was a good evening's entertainment. : )

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Ahhh, Monday

At least tomorrow is a holiday.

Yeah, it's been that kind of day. Work, people on vacation, having to cover for them, nothing really going as planned. Nothing major went wrong, just a feeling of blah / malaise caused by the fact that tomorrow no one is working and my wondering why we get Tuesday off for Veteran's Day and not simply the second Monday in November. Yeah, I know, it was originally called "Armistice Day" and came on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour because someone thought that was cool. But you know what? As grateful as I am for all the sacrifices men and women have made for my freedom - and I am grateful! - I'd much rather have a Monday off than a Tuesday off. Just throws my whole week out of whack.

In other news, I've decided to extend Halloween again this year. What with my being ill and away on vacation, I feel that I didn't get to fully get into my favorite holiday. So, being that I have a ton of obscure horror movies coming in via Netflix, I'm forced to keep the season going until I'm good and ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas. And I'm sorry, but I am nowhere near ready for Yuletide, no matter how much Target and the malls want me to be!

By the way, if you happen across the Japanese movie Ghost Train, pick it up. Great movie. Not that original a plot - basically it's a haunted house movie moved to a commuter train station, but it does provide a good night's entertainment. Unless you're into gore, of which there is very little.

Speaking of haunted house movies, we also just finished Stephen King's Rose Red on DVD, which was a direct to TV miniseries that came out a few years ago. Yeah, the characters are somewhat stereotypical in nature, and the plot contains a few holes (like, if everyone is concerned for the safety of the autistic girl, why is she allowed to wander off so often? For that matter, why is everyone allowed to wander off so often?), but it's still an enjoyable couple of night's worth of viewing. Some of the parts of the house reminded me of the Haunted Mansion in WDW, especially after the refurb Disney did a few years back, which made me wonder whether the movie influenced the refurb, or vice versa.

I have Session 9 cued up next. Haunted asylum movie filmed and set in Danvers, MA. I hear David Caruso gets knocked off. Now THAT'S good viewing! : )

It's quitting time. I'm outta here!

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Everything Changes, Everything is the Same

Wow. That's really all I can say. Wow. One Ring, her brother, and I watched the returns last night, channel surfing to find the best coverage of the election. We happened to be on Comedy Central with The Daily Show's John Stewart announced that Obama had become the 44th president of the United States. At first we thought it was a joke; surely it was far too early to find a winner. In 2000 I stayed up until 2 AM waiting to see if Gore had pulled out a win. And if I recall correctly, it was pretty late into the night in 2004 before we found out that W had been reelected. We were hosting an election party that night, and man, did that kill the evening!

But not last night. At 10:00 PM central, Obama was pronounced the winner by Stewart. We switched over to CNN to confirm the news. Within ten minutes of the polls closing in California , Sen. McCain was giving his congratulatory speech. After that, it was just a matter of watching the celebrations and wishing we were in Chicago.

I couldn't believe the vast numbers of people who poured ount onto the streets to celebrate. 125,000 in Chicago (I told One Ring that I've seen smaller music festivals!) and Times Square in New York was packed out. They were even partying in front of the White House! One Ring stood up when those shots aired and imitated one of the Obama supporters, saying, "Um, yeah. Hi. We were wondering if you could move out, like, now? January is just too far away!"

"Nah," said I. "Bush and Cheney will probably cite emergency powers and declare that their taking over for a third term. You know, for the good of the country." God, I hope not!

Today, though, I'm feeling a slight slump. I mean, yeah, Obama had a massive victory - something like a 3% win in the popular vote and 343-163 in the electoral college vote (some of the returns haven't come in yet). Yes, in January there will be some huge changes, and the hopes of many are now resting on what he can do while in office - end the war, fix the economy, save the environment, create a health care system that actually works. But for now, it's the same old, same old. Bush is still president, the economy is still collapsing, and we still have two wars going with no sign of an end. It's going to be a long wait until January.

On the personal side of life, I'm gradually feeling better following my recent cold from hell. One Ring is feeling ill, and I fear she may have picked up the same mutant virus / bacteria / hellspawn. So we've reloaded our supply of cold medicine, and hopefully she won't be down for as long as I was.

We managed to move another puppy out of our house and into foster care, leaving us with two. One Ring's parents are going to adopt one - Rorschach - so we're pretty happy. The bathroom where the puppies have been living has been almost completely destroyed, so we're looking at a pretty substantial rebuild. Not looking forward to that at all.

Work is work. Enjoying it a lot, and learning a lot about people at the same time. There are still rumblings of major changes taking place in the system, but nothing definite. We'll see. I'm not worrying about it at the present.

Okay, back to the grind. More later, hopefully.

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