nineteen

19
Jun

happy birthday, kid…

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catching breath

18
Jun

So, I didn’t get a whole lot of downtime this weekend.

Starting with Friday afternoon, I left work, rode a quick ten on the trail, then made my way over to the local high school auditorium (now vacated by students, since Friday was the last day) to set-up and assist where necessary for the dress and “tech” rehearsal for the dance recital scheduled for Saturday.

Given the weird, incomprehensible, and undocumented sound board installed there (we ran into issues last year as well) not supporting our needs (or indeed reliably playing music through the house speakers in any way), I ended up running home (thankfully, only a mile away from the venue) and grabbing the little portable P.A. that’s been sitting in a corner of my house since April when I carried it home from Ravencon for a friend who said she’s get it later (which still hasn’t come) and ended up saving the day. Not all heroes, as they say, wear capes. This rehearsal ran late into the evening, after which I came home and collapsed, since I’d been running all week with stress and depression and whatnot, both from me and from the rest of the family who were also jittery, given recital nerves and end-of-school feelings and whatever.

Saturday I woke early-ish, knocked another ten miles out, handled a few errands, got some people rolling on cleaning things up, did some laundry, and tried to relax for an hour or two (read some book, commandeered the PS4 to play a little FFXII remastered, realizing that I hadn’t played it in six months per the save file date), before heading out to drop some books at the library and wander around the general village green area to catch larvitars for Pokemon Go Community Day (I got three shinies – a pretty good effort) before coming home, re-dressing in backstage black, and getting the sound dialed in and running audio for the recital, which wasn’t the complete flustercluck we were expecting; it at least sounded good. I’ll take it. The fam put in a good showing, at any rate, and afterwards, we closed down the local mexican place down the street with some out-of-town friends who came to see us and one of the other adult dancers and her friend (all of us got along swimmingly, and I think we just enabled a new social interface).

Sunday the family took me(?) to Busch Gardens to wander around for Fathers’ Day and check out the food and wine festival they’ve got going on. The park was pretty lightly populated overall, which was nice – lines were short, food was good, and I got to ride a bunch of roller coasters (since the youngest child decides she likes them); this time around we knocked out Invadr and Verbolten; I’ll take it.

I’m kinda spent. Weather’s supposed to be really, really hot – we’ll see how the biking holds out, maybe not a 60-80 mile week this week, but I spent our drive out to Williamsburg yesterday recce-ing my Va Capital trail bike route – I just need to pick the day.

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friday random elevenish : “about 400 cranks per mile at 2-6 gearing” edition

15
Jun

More often than not, life looks a little better from other side of twenty miles on the trail.

As folks keeping tabs on me this week likely know, I’ve been having a rough week, mentally and emotionally. Vivid dreams, unsettling nervous anxiety, intermittent malaise. Not my best showing. That said, I’ve been doing my best to muddle through, and one of the things that’s helped me is keeping up the biking routine. I hit a bit of a bump when the rain spoiled it Monday, though the rest of the week’s rides have been a real boon to my mental health, especially rides like yesterday’s: low humidity, mostly empty trail beyond me, the trees, and the animals; plenty of time and space to just let the mind empty and wander. Sometimes, of course, my mind wanders over to unfortunate earworm songs, and sometimes it falls to counting crank revolutions and calculating pedals per mile, but whatever floats in and out of my thought processes, it really does help to purge concerns and give me a bit of a reset. It is, as I’ve semi-jokingly taken to calling it, my “two-wheeled meditation.”

It helps that it’s been a kind of quiet week at work with few emergencies to deal with; my team’s doing their level best to stay on (or often slightly ahead of) schedule, and I’ve largely been left alone to do my job and not deal with weird manufactured crises. That’s always nice.

It appears as if I’ll be busy this weekend, starting tonight with dance recital dress rehearsal (I’m pitching in to help set up and run sound), the recital tomorrow, and riding out Fathers’ Day on Sunday (see this week’s references to my mental state for details). I also need to work in the usual tasks of laundry, groceries, and the like.

Luckily, I think I’ll be able to make some time for some more of that two-wheeled meditation.

Anyway, Friday morning tunes. A neat mix, including a tune I get to play with a friend every now and then, a neat 80s rarity, and in at #3, perhaps the most 90s song ever; or at least the one that kicked off the whole early 90s aesthetic (even if it’s really about the events in late 80s Eastern Europe).

Music. Another kind of meditation, or at the very least, a neat distraction for someone like me.

  1. “Daughter” – Pearl Jam
  2. “Sunglasses At Night” – Corey Hart
  3. “Right Here, Right Now” – Jesus Jones
  4. “It’s A Mistake” – Men at Work
  5. “One Brown Mouse” – Jethro Tull
  6. “Sweet Revenge” – Bangs
  7. “Here and Now” – Letters to Cleo
  8. “No More Tears” – Ozzy Osborne
  9. “From the Beginning (Alt Version)” – Emerson, Lake & Palmer
  10. “Oh! You Pretty Things (BBC Radio Version)” – David Bowie
  11. “Fascination Street (Extended Mix) – The Cure
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figuring it out helps

13
Jun

Since I wrote my last post, I’ve kind of sunk into one of those strange, kinda mysterious depressive episodes I get now and then; feeling down, weird buzzes of axiety in the nervous system, typical for me. Sometimes it just happens, sometimes it’s got a reason. I thought at first it might be the rain/weather (spoiled my ride on Monday, cut yesterday’s short), or sympathetic vibrations from my wife and eldest daughter, who are both dealing with some new medication and are a bit out-of-sorts. I didn’t really know. Like I said, sometimes it doesn’t have a reason.

I finally made the connection this morning on the drive in to work this morning.

I miss ya, Dad.

This is right around the time, so many years ago, when it happened. What made it weird is that it usually doesn’t hit me at this time of year; usually, it’s around his birthday in March. Not this year, apparently, as I was pleasantly distracted by my West Coast Musical Oddessey™ this time around, which, I guess caused things to settle in somewhere else.

We’ll see if coming to the realization helps me get past it. I hope so.

__________________________

Otherwise, I still got some stuff done the last couple of days, in spite of my brain betraying me. Got some actual useful stuff done at work, still managed to get a ten mile ride in yesterday, and voted in the Virginia primary yesterday; as there was no Democratic ballot this time around in my congressional district (both Senator Kaine and Rep. McEachin, the incumbent Dems, are running unopposed), I voted in the Republican primary (we’re allowed to pick one or the other here, as we don’t register by party), choosing to support diversity in candidates by picking Shion Fenty (who intrigued me, as a black millenial woman and a child of immigrants running as a Republican), and E.W. Jackson (who is, I fully recognize, a total trainwreck of a candidate, but ticked the diversity box over the racist Corey Stewart and the other guy); both of whom lost by significant margins, which I totally expected; I wasn’t intentionally engaging in “ratf**king”, but that vote for Jackson isn’t doing any favors for my defense. Oh well.

The good news in the election is that Abigail Spanberger (with whom I share many friends in common and have met socially once or twice) easily won the nomination across town in the 7th district, and will quite likely knock out Dave “women are in my grill wherever I go” Brat come November.

__________________________

So yeah; I have some good news to celebrate here in my adopted home state, a decent weather report for the rest of the week to support my biking (which helps me deal with my issues), stuff to keep me busy through the weekend, and a bunch of friends out there who offer support when I need it (thanks, folks).

I think I’ll be okay.

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productive weekend, huh?

11
Jun

I actually accomplished a very big pile of things this weekend. Friday night’s visit to Lynchburg to watch Shakespeare under the stars – Love’s Labor’s Lost – with the eldest was a nice trip; the show was well done for a small production, and the location, Jefferson’s Poplar Forest, is a gorgeous historical site I definitely want to spend some time exploring for it’s own sake one day soon, and I got to spend time with the kid, and see a couple of her friends that I like (HI, SARAH JANE!)

Saturday I managed another ten miles on the trail in the morning, followed by some grocery shopping and a nice visit to the local farmer’s market for my weekly veggie hook-up from Jerry the farmer. I also knocked out a bunch of laundry, cleaned the toilet, fixed my bass jack (and felt like an electronics god afterward) and motivated the rest of the family to do some real cleaning up. It felt good. We closed out the day making an appearance at a dear friend’s birthday party (at the apartment that was still kind of dressed for the recent bachelorette party; the wedding is in August); socialization was had, Cards Against Humanity was played, and laughs were shared. I’m sure the party got a little more off-the-hook after the old folks like Colleen and I left, as is good and proper. We did bring Mary back a left over bachelorette party cupcake covered with penises; it was funny.

Sunday started again with a nice ride on the trail; another ten miles down, hitting eighty for the week; I’m getting closer to picking my Capital Trail weekend, as I think I’m almost there in terms of condition and endurance. I hit the trail earlier than usual (trying to avoid the humidity), and had a somewhat strange experience – the dog walkers out with their Starbucks kinda looked at me like I was “fitness guy”, which I totally don’t feel (especially since I got lapped by some other guy while doing one of my fifteen milers last week), though I was reminded by my wife and friends on social media that I might, just perhaps, be fitness guy, since I’m out there riding all the time on my well-maintained bike with disc brakes and all, wearing the shorts and the helmet, and knocking out four minute miles on dirt. I dunno.

Otherwise, I did some more laundry, made some Hawaiian-style chicken (“Hawaiian” because it had pineapple in the bbq sauce), made my electronic door locks on the car work again by changing the battery in my key fob (and learning a few valuable tidbits about coin cell batteries in the process), and thanks to Colleen’s doing some sorting of storage boxes from upstairs, hooking up an old VCR (and finding cables to do so to my modern, HDMI-based system) so we could watch the VHS tape we found of a dance recital featuring Mary, age five.

That’s actually a nice lead-in to what we’re looking toward this week; it’s dance recital time once again, which becomes big dad time; I’ve been doing some minor sound editing leading up to the performance the last couple of weeks, but I’ll likely be working sound and setting things up all week to some extent. The work week shouldn’t be too onerous; I actually got some good news late last week about some folks wanting to maybe fund some of the things I want to accomplish but have bureaucracy getting in the way, and need to work that bureaucracy even further (since my boss is away in training for the whole damned month) in order to make this good stuff happen, which will be tough, given that although what I want to do lines up perfectly with the bureaucracy’s stated goals, involves all sorts of complications designed to keep me from working in these sorts of efficiencies because of all kids of weird power plays built into the system. Damnit.

Oh well, I can hope the rain holds off (it’s not doing such a good job as I type this) so I can ride off the stress as the week progresses.

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friday random elevenish – “ouch” edition

08
Jun

It’s another Friday. The week’s not been awful; just the usual meetings, plus my boss is off taking a class for the month of June (I’m on the docket to take it in August; neither of us were looking forward to it), so I’ve got a few less distractions than usual. That said, office gossip about the future of this organization is running rampant, but I’m doing the right things according to the right people, so I’m not too worried; just taking in the info and banking it for the future.

Outside of the office, I’ve been biking…a lot. Did twenty miles yesterday, because it was gorgeous, and I’m occasionally a glutton for punishment. I hurt afterwards (still do), but it’s a good hurt, and a good reminder than I’m not in my twenties anymore (even if I’m in better shape now), and I made the right call by listening to my aching behind and not doing twenty-five. I’ll be taking tonight off (see below), but I’ve got sixty miles down so far this week, and will probably knock out another twenty or so this weekend assuming the rain holds off.

Otherwise, I totally didn’t fix my bass input jack yet, mostly because I’ve been biking, and haven’t been in the right frame of mind to do it – the soldering iron intimidates me, even if I’m not terribly bad with it. When I get around to it (ideally this weekend sometime), I’ll do a beautiful job and feel like a superhero for the next couple of hours, but I need to work up to it.

I’ve also been watching some upleasant drama/fallout from the con I attended as a musical guest this past weekend, which thankfully didn’t touch or intrude on my experience at all, though some of the stuff I’m hearing (I’m not going to link to it; if you care, it’s out there) does concern me. I expect we’ll get some more news in the coming days. The politics of fandom is just as weird as the larger American community, perhaps weirder because so many of the fans are less-than-competent at social discourse under the best of circumstances.

As for the coming weekend, the eldest and I are taking a father-daughter road trip out west to Jefferson’s Poplar Forest to catch a performance of Shakespeare’s Love’s Labor’s Lost that a few of her friends from school are involved in this evening, and I’ve got a friend’s birthday celebration Saturday evening I’m hoping to make an appearance at. Otherwise, I gotta fix the bass and ride the bike, as previously described, and hopefully watch a bit more of that Bobby Kennedy doc on Netflix I’ve been trying to keep pace with.

Anyway…tunes. Nice, different than usual variety this week!

  1. “The Beauty of Dead Cities” – Borknagar
  2. “Bye Bye Beautiful” – Nightwish
  3. “Shine” – Mondo Cosmo
  4. “Here If You Want (Pale Blue)” – MOSSS
  5. “Panama” – Van Halen
  6. “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)” – Talking Heads
  7. “Just Like Heaven” – The Cure
  8. “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) – Eurythmics
  9. “Midvinterblot” – Unleashed
  10. “Never Be The Same” – Surf Rock is Dead
  11. “Dammerung” – Equilibrium
  12. “Dear Life” -Beck

Oh, and having read the news this week about Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, and hearing a story on NPR this morning about dramatically increasing suicide rates in this country…as a person who has been touched by this very personally, if you’re having thoughts in that direction, know that there are people who love you, and please, please get some help – one option is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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pretty good political dad joke shade

05
Jun

My Senator kind of won the internet for the day with this one:

Sure, the internet occasionally laughs at Sentor Kaine’s “aww shucks” demeanor and dad jokes, but I kind of love the guy (even if he’s not always as progressive as he could be); he’s got a consistent worldview, and does his best to live by it, and I think he’s mostly in the right. He’s also pretty sharp with his humor (his “believe me” bit at the Democratic National Convention in 2016 was on point and funny), and isn’t afraid to use it to make a point, even if he’s poking fun at himself.

Plus, you know, the guy’s a musician and a Replacements fan…that’s gonna count for something.

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concarolinas and beyond

04
Jun

As is tradition, consider this the Concarolinas wrap-up post!

As I indicated previously, going into this one, it felt a little weird – there was some drama regarding guests and politics, which, thankfully, never ended up crossing my path during the weekend. Instead, I got to spend some time with dear friends, making music, jokes, sharing stories and updates over a pint or three, and saw some really pretty great music performed (in spite of some weird programming choices for music and performance), and played a couple of good shows myself, and overcame technical difficulties that might have broken lesser men.

The Humdingers had two shows over the course of the weekend; a “happy hour” set near the bar on Friday at 5pm, which went well, and we shared the stage with next-generation Huminger Liam on keyboards for most of the set (at least until the batteries ran out), and featured in the audience pretty much the entire extended family of singer/guitarist/co-bandleader Scott, all in fine Potter regalia(!), and Sunday at 2pm, which was past time a lot of folks have hit the road, but we still had a pretty nice turnout, featured Liam once again, and was saved by my friend DJ (from Dimensional Riffs, the Nefarious Ferrets and elsewhere) when the input jack on my bass crapped out halfway through the set, when he loaned me his Ibanez to finish things out. My lovely wife also livestreamed the whole thing on Facebook, which let a lot of our friends who weren’t there enjoy the show too!

Otherwise, I got to see, as I said, some pretty great music, from usual friends Mikey Mason (who did a couple of shows of music and comedy), Valentine Wolfe (who sounded amazing, and put the best show I’ve ever seen of theirs, and *all* their shows are damned near perfect), the aforementioned Nefarious Ferrets, and Atlanta’s own Nick Edelstein, who I met at Dragoncon a few years ago, and is amazingly talented, generous, and all-around excellent, as a performer and a friend. I also caught most of the a show by Frenchy and the Punk, who impressed the hell out of me, and got to hang out a bit with Neil from Antler Hill, who jammed with us a bit on Sunday in the hallway near our merch table.

…I also got to knock another item off the bucket list by appearing on Mikey’s Beer Powered Time Machine podcast, where we (along with Chris and Tina from the Nerdbliss Podcast) tasted and talked about a few beers, what exactly “filk” is, professional wrestling, and a bunch of other random things, late into the night on Saturday.

Other little highlights included hanging out with Julius the kitten (representing Saving Southern Kitties), conversing with a big plastic penguin, being told I was “buff”, and seeing my friend Scott look way prettier in drag than I might have expected.

On either side of that was driving *a lot*, and taking today (Monday) off to recover from the con (which is a great practice), but I still ended up cleaning the fish tank, doing a bunch of laundry, riding fifteen miles, taking care of the grocery shopping, and teeing up dinner in the crock pot, that I’ll finish off after I finish this.

So, yeah, it was fun. Exactly what I needed after the week I had last week…and as always, I kinda dread going back into the mundane world tomorrow….

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thursday random eleven – “no wonder i drink” edition

31
May

Because I’m off for a long weekend to do the ConCarolinas thing, I’m doing my random playlist this morning, because I like doing it, and I felt like playing some tunes before another day of virtual meeting data analysis starts for me today.

For two days so far, I’ve been doing an all-day data analysis thing to figure out where one of my data trading partners is horking up their transactions; as I’ve said, this is the exact thing I offered all of them two years ago and none of them had time for me. Now, when somebody is breathing down their neck, I gotta jump and derail all my resources and timing (I have a buttload of other efforts running now) to appease. Oh well. It’ll be over today, I hope. We are, slowly, but surely, learning some things, but damn, if it isn’t tedious.

I also learned yesterday my building’s fire alarm isn’t hooked into the larger installation system anymore…the bell went off yesterday morning, and nobody showed up to check for over half an hour (after I called the building manager). Last time this happened a few years ago (faulty sensor), the fire department, who’s right down the block, was here in 90 seconds. This is encouraging.

While running this data analysis thing all week (nine hours a day or so…yay), I’ve also been dealing with the most stereotypical public sector auditors as well – I’ve got an interagency data exchange agreement in the process of being renewed (no changes other than formatting – simple, right?) that hit a schedule snag at the other agency, but me and the other guy got it covered with an extension to span the gap. The auditors on our end (we’re always auditing, it’s life here in the public sector) decided that the documentation on the extension wasn’t technically correct because it didn’t have a sentence with the words in the right order (literally), though I think I’ve managed to finally head that off.

Oh, and when I tried to get a good bike ride in the other day, the only day it wasn’t a complete rainy washout, I got half a mile down the trail and blew a tire tube. Seriously blew it, as you can see from this photo of when I took the tire off:

That’s about a six inch split right from the tube stem; the green goo that automatically patches small breaches (that’s that stuff everywhere) wasn’t gonna fix that. Luckily I only had to walk the bike half a mile back to the car. Anyway, I have it fixed now (no biggie), and once the weather settles, I’ll be able to ride again.

…as the title says, no wonder I drink.

So…ConCarolinas promo time. The Humdingers have two shows on the schedule:

Saturday, June 2 – 5:00pm – “Blibbering Humdingers Happy Hour Fun Time!” – Fountainview
Sunday, June 3 – 2:00pm – “The Blibbering Humdingers” – Lakeshore 3/4

We’ll also be showing up with pretty much anything with the word “filk” in the title, plus probably engaging in some busking/hallway shenanigans with our other musical compatriots. I’ll probably drop some new-ish solo stuff in the circles, see if it goes as well as it did at the last con.

Anyway – tunes for the week – lots of roit grrl/punk/indie sort of stuff here. I’m okay with a little agression right now, to be honest.

  1. “That’s All” – Genesis
  2. “Police Blitz” – The Donnas
  3. “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” – AC/DC
  4. “Suffragette City” – David Bowie
  5. “Black Ice” – Kitten Forever
  6. “I Turn My Camera On” – Spoon
  7. “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” – Guns N’ Roses
  8. “Under The Sun” – DIIV
  9. “Mama’s Gonna Make Us A Cake” – The cCsual Dots
  10. “Jezaig” – Eluveitie
  11. “Psycho Killer” – Talking Heads
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as a parent…

29
May

…this is a thing that doesn’t surprise me in the least.I literally LOL’d (and I don’t claim such things lightly).

Encountered in this thread on Jezebel about Matthew “Neville Longbottom” Lewis’s wedding this past weekend:

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