friday random eleven: “what a craic” edition


Another week down. I spent quite a bit of it doing the usual work/exercise/etc thing. Pretty standard, aside from a couple of car service appointments (one of which is still in process – a recall repair/rogue check engine light on the van is taking a while, so the spouse is currently rocking a 363hp Chrysler 300C with a huge V8 and the capability to store half a dozen dead hookers in the trunk as a loaner) and doing my grocery shopping on Tuesday instead of over the weekend because Awesomecon.

Weight loss project still looks good, though I’ve kind of plateued a bit – I’m still going down, just not at the same rate as before. I’m pretty sure the easy weight is gone now, and the last 15-20lb is going to take a bit longer. I’m actually okay with this, rationally, but it’s screwing up the nice trendline I had going on my personal data crunching spreadsheet, which is kind of infuriating to my inner pedant. Oh well.

I’ve also put a bunch of miles behind me on the bike (some of them in fifteen mile chunks, which I appreciate, but my ass doesn’t), though I had to cut yesterday’s short, as I think it’s time to replace the rear tire; the tread’s down, and I think I have a slow leak in the tube (the ass-end of the bike was sliding all over the place yesterday afternoon). I’ll probably live with it for another couple of days (keeping the pump in the car) and get it to the shop on payday (it needs a gears-and-brakes tune-up anyway).

As for the weekend, that’s going to be mostly all about the HOI recital, where I’m helping out with sound/lights/tech/whatever else they need me to do while everyone else dances. Tonight’s dress rehearsal, and Saturday evening at 7pm at Thomas Dale HS is the big event.

Also – if you’re down the NC triangle way, check out my bandmates from the Blibbering Humdingers (as a duo, because of my responsibilities in the last paragraph) performing at Steampunk Mid-Atlantic in Raleigh Saturday at 6:30!

Anyway, here are some tunes. Nice and indie this time around:

  1. “Phantom Limb” – The Shins
  2. “Rocket”- Def Leppard
  3. “Farm on the Freeway” – Jethro Tull
  4. “Luxury Problem” – Lunachicks
  5. “Soul Meets Body” – Death Cab for Cutie
  6. “Ran” – Future Islands
  7. “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” – The Proclaimers
  8. “Lord of the Blacksmiths” – Falconer
  9. “She’s Amazing” – Team Dresch
  10. “First Day of My Life” – Bright Eyes
  11. “Kiss and Ride” – Bratmobile

wonder, awesome, love


‘Twas a pretty busy weekend, overall.

While work has kind of settled into a new routine now that development on our piece of the larger project is in full swing, my two contractors (responsible for different parts of the process) are kind of at odds (this rivalry pre-dates my involvement, but it’s currently my problem), with little bits of sniping and calls to me from both sides complaining about something the other one did. It’s really annoying; we should all be better. I ended up having to put my foot down and tell them all to grow up on Friday afternoon (in a pretty professional and eloquent manner, if I do say so myself), though I suspect this business isn’t totally over.

Friday afternoon involved a doctor’s appointment, checking in on the weight loss program, and my doctor was very impressed and happy with my progress. We talked a bit about ultimate goals, and it turns out she and I are on the same page, and all is well. Friday night was nice as well, getting out of the house with the family to grab a meal out and catch a screening of Wonder Woman, which I recommend you all go see if you haven’t, because it’s really good. Unlike the rest of the current crop of DC movies, WW manages to balance the tone much better; a WWI movie, by virtue of the setting, is going to be drab and a little dark, but you get a nice contrast between that and the bright paradise of Themyscira in terms of visuals, and the characters get to actually be people, finding pleasure and humor in life, despite the dark situation they find themselves in. Gal Gadot is a joy; a great Wonder Woman who embodies both the warrior and the peacemaker – the strength and compassion that are both core elements of the character.

Saturday, as indicated earlier, was Awesome-Con in DC, where Dimensional Riffs had a panel/short performance in the afternoon. This con, being largely an autograph hunter thing with a big exhibition hall/dealers room, focused less on our kind of thing; and was frustrating for me in terms of organization and some of it’s growing pains (it’s only four years old, and has gotten *really* large); things like crowd management and layout were less than optimal, and a lot of the attendees don’t necessarily understand con etiquite (this introvert would characterize the exhibition hall as “agressively unpleasant”). Several of us who are in this community had a nice discussion about it on FriendFace this weekend, both the strengths and weaknesses. That said, the volunteers and staff I dealt with were pretty accommodating and pleasant, I got to see a bunch of dear friends I haven’t seen in a while, and our panel went pretty well, sparked some nice discussion with folks in attendance, and driving some online music sales, which is always nice. I’m still not sure if I’m interested in returning in the same capacity next year, but we’ll see how it goes.

Sunday, being Father’s Day, was rather pleasant. The kids did a good job making the holiday pretty cool. Cards, gifts (a pretty awesome understated hawaiian shirt!), and a nice meal, including my favorite dessert, apple pie. I felt like I’d gone off my diet requirements a little bit, but I also was not going to pass up apple pie (in a nice turn of events, my weigh-in Monday morning showed me dropping again after being plateued for a couple of days – it’s a Father’s Day Miracle!).

I’ll take it.


so i have an adult now


this is the face she's probably making right now if she's reading this

Eighteen years ago today, I watched a tiny little person under five pounds come into the world, being quite feisty and full of life in spite of having to hang out in one of those plexiglass incubator things for a lot of the first week.

In the interim, there were dance classes, road trips, laughs, tears, and all that other stuff that happens in, you know, life.

Today, she’s legally considered an adult, has graduated high school, is smart and poised and talented and all that other cool stuff, has a solid (as solid as anybody’s plan can be, anyway) for the immediate future, and impresses everyone she encounters (seriously, kid, people tell me that all the time, without prompting!), including me.

So, happy birthday, kid legal adult, go make the world a better place; I know you have it in you!


my hero this week


Senator Harris went above and beyond this week during her questioning of AG Sessions during his testimony this week. Calm, professional, and effective. I know my body language would be a lot less restrained than hers had I been in her place dealing with the word salad bullshit coming both from the questioned and her fellow questioners:

Bravo, Senator. California’s lucky to have you.


friday random eleven: “it’s me or wheaton!” edition


After a shaky start to the week (some program schedule weirdness that is still sort of getting worked out), I seem to have fallen back into at least something of my routine again, which is, to be honest, so much better for my health and sanity. The weather and a couple of doctor’s appointments are throwing at least some of the afternoon biking off the schedule a bit, though I’ve still got 35 miles in for the week, and will try to get another ten or fifteen in on Sunday if the universe cooperates. I think I kind of need that, as I’ve hit what I hope is a momentary wall in my weight loss progress – I’ve been hovering around in the same half-pound range for the last couple of days, and need to give the system another kick in the pants. I’m not that concerned, because the range I’m hanging in is under 250 pounds, and I haven’t been there for any significant length of time in years.

I’ll throw my patterns off again this weekend, thanks to a con gig in D.C. tomorrow, but it should be an interesting time, assuming I survive the trip up (I’m also driving the “band bus”) with this particular gang of weirdos – As I said earlier, we get started bright and early (because our singer really wants to see David Tennant), so we’ll be wandering around the con for a few hours before our panel/performance at 6pm in room 154.

Can’t be there? Going to see the Mr. Wheaton instead? Here’s a draft of the notes I’m going to use for “Nerd Rock 101”.

Anyway, that’s what I got here – today’s the last day of school for the year as well for all of them (the eldest is, of course, done with all this business, the middle wrapped finals yesterday), so Monday should be absolutely wonderful, as I’ll be the only one who has to be up and around before the sun.

So lovely.

Here are some tunes. Pretty usual spread, trending toward “classic rock” this time. Patterns holding:

  1. “Tainted Love” – Soft Cell
  2. “Montana” – Frank Zappa
  3. “You Got A Crush on Me” – The Donnas
  4. “Welcome to the Machine” – Pink Floyd
  5. “Aqualung” – Jethro Tull
  6. “Missed the Boat” – Modest Mouse
  7. “Houses of the Holy” – Led Zepplin
  8. “Entering Eternity” – Falconer
  9. “Every Breath You Take” – The Police
  10. “Too Many Humans” – Buckethead
  11. “Cum on Feel the Noize” – Quiet Riot

Slow news for Stranger Things this week (I probably ought to let this business go until Halloween, when the new season hits Netflix), but the latest thing is word from the producers that the season may do things that “leave fans disappointed”. Maybe, but I’ll still dig it.


this weekend – Awesomecon


Just as a heads’ up, I’ll be a guest (as part of Dimensional Riffs) at Awesome-Con on Saturday in D.C.!

We’re running a panel on “Nerd Rock” at 6pm on Saturday in room 154. We’ll talk about the history, future, and myriad flavors of “Nerd Rock”, and will also play a couple of tunes while we’re at it. If you happen to be around (and aren’t attending the Wil Wheaton Q&A scheduled at the same time in the main programming room… 🙁 ), we’d love it if you’d stop by and support us!

I’ve never actually been to this one before, but I have several friends exhibiting and vending (21st Century Sandshark Studios!, Capes and Babes!, etc), and they’ve got a hell of a guest list, including David Tennant and Stan Lee! Yeah, it’s an autograph hunter con, but what the hell.

Anyway, we’ll be around on Saturday, wandering around and checking things out (my band mates are desperate to catch Tennant’s panel at 10:30 – we’ll see if they get up in time) for a lot of the day before closing the regular programming day down with our panel. It should be interesting.


hey Virginia….VOTE!


It’s primary day here in Virginia.

As it is every year after a presidential election, Virginia will pick a new Governor in 2017 (it’s always a new one – that office is term-limited, no more than one four year stint, at least sequentially), and the media always focuses on the race as a litmus test for how the Republic is feeling about the newly elected administration.

The most common story this year is the Democratic primary for Governor, which a lot of people are categorizing as a fight “for the soul of the Democratic party”, as one candidate (Lt. Gov. Ralph Northham) represents the establishment, at least by convention, as he’s got the support of all the statewide elected officials (Gov McAulliffe, Senators Kaine and Warner, and AG Herring – all of VA’s statewide offices are Dems right now – thanks, interstate corridors!), and is touting his understanding of the Virginia political landscape as a way of getting things done, and another (former Congressman Tom Periello) is running as the populist upstart, with the endorsements of folks like Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth (swoon) Warren.

Three folks are running on the Republican side, but former RNC chair Ed Gillespie seems to have it all but wrapped up.

Also on the ballot is Lt. Governor (lots of former federal lawyers and state senators), and all the House of Delegates seats, and various and sundry other things.

My personal ballot’s only going to have the Statewide candidates (no primary for my House district; it’s possible the incumbent will be unopposed…argh); unsurprisingly, I’ll be picking the Democratic ballot, and casting my primary vote for Periello for Governor, mostly because I like the populist streak, and Liz Warren’s endorsement means something (not that Kaine’s doesn’t, but c’mon, Warren’s a superhero). I also like his position regarding creating jobs via localization of food and energy production (he uses the example of local craft breweries in VA revitalizing so many communities). That said, he and Northam are both very good candidates, and I’ll happily vote for either one in November.

For Lt. Governor, I’m going with Justin Fairfax, because I like a lot of his positions on small business (echoed by most of my business owner friends), the Democracy For America (PAC growing out of Howard Dean’s 2004 run) endorsement, and the endorsement of my congressional representative, Don McEachin, who’s done pretty well by my district since getting elected last year. Again, though, everybody looks pretty good overall.

My other bit of excitement about this one is that my daughter’s eligible to vote in this one (if you’ll be 18 by the general, they let you into the primary), which is a big deal to me.

So if you’re in VA, VOTE!


friday random eleven: “lots of big stuff” edition


Lots of big stuff happening this past week…Obviously, the *biggest* news was what happened in the last post. So far, the kid tells me she doesn’t feel all that different, which is understandable; this big event, to be honest, probably has a lot more to do with how other people see you than how you see yourself; at least that’s the way it was for me (assuming I have an accurate memory of life twenty-five years ago) – I was ready to get it over with and on to the next part of my life. I think she’s kind of just taking a breather for a couple of days, and playing with the fancy hot-rodded laptop we got her as a graduation present.

The other big “event” (I guess you’d call it that) was my hitting my first system-generated weight loss goal; based on the tracker and data from the scale, there is a little more than ten percent less of me than when I began this process back in mid-April, a total of about 35.3 pounds gone, if you use the starting point as the average between those first couple of days in order to shake out the signal-to-noise ratio:

I’m feeling much better than I did before I started, I’m back to cycling an average of 40 miles a week, and thanks to the chemical assistance of this program, I’m not really feeling like I’m missing anything in terms of food or indulgence (brain chemistry is a strange and fascinating thing). The next goal it’s setting for me is maybe a little ambitious (and really feels like it might be too low -I haven’t weighed under 230 since high school!), but I’m going to aim for it for now, and I’m due for a follow-up with the doc in a week or so, so I’ll get her opinion then and adjust accordingly. In any case, I’m rather proud of myself.

I’m also feeling better about the work setback I alluded to the other day. We’ve got a plan to get the delay sorted out reasonably, and some more of that awesome I was talking about got waved around Wednesday while I was gone, so some of the sting came out of the situation. Gotta admit, it was a pretty stressful couple of days. The other bit of good work news is that the organization found me another chunk of budget that’ll let me throw some more resources at some lingering problems in the next fiscal year, so that’s a load off of my shoulders.

As for the weekend, I don’t know what’s up, really. My usual Saturdays this time of year involve some biking and the farmers’ market, so that’ll probably happen. A friend and band-mate of mine is having a birthday get-together on Sunday afternoon I’ll probably pop in for, and I’ve had an unopened copy of Logan on blu-ray sitting next to my center-channel speaker since Monday morning that I’d like to get around to watching some day.

Anyway, here are some tunes, which is just reminding me I have a CD or two to rip into the digital library, including a copy of “Scary Songs to Play in the Dark” from The Long Losts, who played on the bill in Charlotte with us last weekend, and were really awesome. Check ’em out!

  1. “Don’t You Want Me” – Human League
  2. “Separate Ways (World’s Apart)” – Journey
  3. “Take On Me” – A-ha
  4. “TKO” – Le Tigre
  5. “Take Me To The Backseat” – The Donnas
  6. “The Whistler” -Jethro Tull
  7. “Ditmas” – Mumford & Sons
  8. “Guten Tag” – Varg
  9. “The Torture Never Stops (live)” – Frank Zappa
  10. “Celebrity Skin” – Hole
  11. “Float On” – Modest Mouse

Edited a few hours later because this is awesome: Finally, in today’s Stranger Things/Eleven news – the soundtrack is getting a release on cassette (a cassette that’s packaged to look like a VHS tape!?!) this summer. Honestly, that’s just about perfect.




So this happened today. I am proud. Also a bit jealous, because she’s heading off to one of the most interesting times of her life now, and that’s really cool, exciting and frightening. But the next couple of years are gonna be amazing for her, if my experience of age 18-24 or so is any indication. And, I get to keep watching, as I send this amazing person (who I had a hand in creating) out into the world to make it a much cooler and better place, because I know that’s exactly what she’s going to do.

Congrats, Kid!


best of times, worst of times


So, first off, Concarolinas was awesome. Both bands had some decent shows, and I got to make lots of great music with my friends. It was tiring, but a really good tired.

After a day of rest (always take the day after the con off of work…trust me), I went back to work today. I got to spend most of the day showing off all the things my team has done over the past year or so to make the organization way more awesome.

Then, in the last hour of the day, it came up in a meeting that one of the developers hit a snag and an important work product in an important project is going to fall a bit behind schedule, in part because of something I missed. This happened in front of the visiting project branch lead (aka one of my bosses) who was in town for a couple of days this week…did I mention that?

Yeah, that sucked. Totally destroyed the high from the first seven hours of the day. It doesn’t matter that the scale of this project will probably make this delay irrelevant in the end (the product doesn’t deploy for over a year; this delay will most certainly get eaten up in the slack), I still feel kind of awful right now.

I feel a little better after some meditation (aka ten brisk miles through the woods on the bike), but yeah. The timing of that piece of information couldn’t be any worse.

Oh well.


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