it’s dragon*con week

29
Aug

If you happen to be in Atlanta this coming weekend, once again, the Blibbering Humdingers are playing Dragon*Con as part of the filk track, and once again, I’ll be joining them to play bass and carry heavy things around. I’m checking out of the office for a week or so starting Wednesday, which I think is exactly what I need at this point in the year.

Anway, if you happen to be around, here’s where we’ll be playing:

  • FRI 8:30-9:30 PM Concert in Hyatt Hanover F/G
  • SAT 4:00-5:00 PM Concert in Hyatt Hanover F/G
  • SUN 5:30-6:30 PM “What is Wizard Wrock?” Workshop & some tunes, Hyatt Hanover F/G (With Erin Pyne from House of Black, and Grace Kendall of Snidget)
  • SUN – 8pm until the Ministry shuts us down – Outside the Marriot Marquis Ballroom we will be playing an unsanctioned, renegade, hallway concert at our merch table outside of the HP Yule Ball.
  • MON 11:30am-12:00pm Concert, AmericasMart Concourse Stage II.

Otherwise, at least some subset of us will be at/around the merch booth near the ballroom on the bottom floor of the Marriott through most of the weekend, ready to sell you something or chat with the fans, old, new or potential (we usually end up getting up to some sort of hijinks with our fellow filk-track friends like Mikey Mason, Tom Smith, or the Brobdignagian Bards – sometimes this results in neat stuff like this tune from Mikey’s latest release, sometimes we get yelled at by the panels in the ballroom for being too loud. Either way, we have fun).

So, if you’re around, swing by and check out a show or something!

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solving the world’s problems over a couple of drinks

29
Aug

For once, it was a relatively low-key weekend; I’m feeling much better after decompressing a bit after being wound up so much around the spindle of depression the last week or two. The weekend’s activities, as I said, were pretty benign and relaxing. I took my wife out for a nice dinner and some Pokemon hunting on Friday night, which was nice, because I’d not seen much of her over the last week, thanks to dance classes and stuff.

Saturday I took care of some grocery shopping, rehearsed some tunes for the coming weekend, and spent the afternoon hanging out at the end-of-summer dance school pool party/whatever thing (which thankfully is only a couple of blocks from our house). While the girls hung out with their friends, I spent most of the afternoon chilling out on the deck with the dance dads, chatting and solving the world’s problems. It was nice, especially since the host (and the spouse of the owner of the dance school) is a great, gregarious fellow who enjoys holding court, which meant he was able to carry enough conversation for all of us; let me be clear, this isn’t a bad thing at all – Chris is exactly the kind of person to take the pressure off an introvert in this setting, and is becoming a pretty good friend. He got an appreciative audience, and the rest of us got to enjoy a nice relaxing afternoon of conversation without the pressure of carrying things ourselves – we all got what we needed out of the arrangement and felt refreshed afterwards.

Somewhere else in the weekend I managed to finish off the last of the kids’ school supply shopping and started putting together my packing plans for this coming long weekend. I’m only working two days this week, and two next – I’m due for a nice, well-deserved break playing music with my friends.

And if you’re curious about what that can feel like, this image below expresses it pretty well, at least some of the time:

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friday random eleven – “bruised arm at Magrathea” edition

26
Aug

I suspect this is kind of the usual refrain here, but this has been a rough week. I think this comes up here more often because feelings of despondence tend to trickle out through my fingers onto the interwebs. If I’m feeling good, I’m less in my head, enjyoing the moment. Anyway, I struggled a bit. I suspect some of it had to do with the birthday, which, for any number of reasons I won’t get into here, was tough. As usual, it was kind of low-key, which I usually appreciate. However, maybe because of the completely arbitrary geek connotations of this particular year, maybe I wanted a bigger to-do and simply didn’t realise it; I dunno. I’ve been a little adrift and feeling lonely lately, and that’s feeding into the funk I’m feeling.

That, and I actually gave up on the “um” count this week after I crossed over 75 instances in the first 20 minutes. Ouch.

Also, I’ve done myself a couple of minor injuries in the last week that have kind of annoyed me. Out for a lunchtime Pokemon walk earlier this week, I tripped over a gap in the sidewalk and twisted my ankle (apparently others did too – as I limped by the spot yesterday, somebody put some orange cones over the area), which just kind of sucks. Also, somewhere along the way, I gave myself a pretty deep gouge/abrasion on the inside of my right thumb. This is bothersome because (1), I have no idea where it came from; I just noticed myself bleeding the other afternoon, and (2), it kind of hurts when I’m running songs on the bass in preparation for Dragon*Con next weekend. I gave it a rest last night to see if giving it another day to heal up helped (besides, I’m still don’t have setlists; I’m kind of making educated guesses as to what we’re playing).

Oh well; instead, I sat down with my kid and watched Pacific Rim last night, and according to her, I “sat there smiling like a four year old” the whole time. I guess that means things are looking up, at least a little bit.

Here’s some tunes, as per usual; I changed up the Pandora settings a bit; the mix is a little different, if a bit heavy on modern alternative stuff for this particular sample. At least it’s leaving the same three Journey songs out now.

  1. “Ghosts of Mississippi” – The Steeldrivers
  2. “All That Jazz” – Chicago OBC
  3. “Dead Inside” – Muse
  4. “This Charming Man (BBC version) – The Smiths
  5. “Heathens” – Twenty-One Pilots
  6. “One Chance” – Modest Mouse
  7. “Three Marlenas” – Wallflowers
  8. “Drop The Game” – Flume and Chet Faker
  9. “Turn Up The Radio” – Autograph
  10. “Fighting on the Same Side” – Hooters
  11. “Rock You Like A Hurricane” – Scorpions

And I just gave up and went eleven right away; sue me; I had a momentary bout of enthusiasm when I saw this earlier this week:

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some personal pokemon silliness

25
Aug

There’s been another update to Pokemon Go this week, including the new “appraisal” feature, ideally for players to get a read on how effective/powerful their various pokemon are. It took players approximately 30 seconds to turn it into one big dick joke.

I admit, I did laugh. And I needed a laugh this week. This has been a rough one; birthdays often are. I’ve been feeling, well, kind of useless and ineffective all around.

So in the interest of turning tragedy into cheap comedy, I played along, though my particular jokes are a little less phallic and maybe a bit of a cry for help:


(this was only because “sense of self worth” was too long for the field)

Anyway, so far, I’m feeling a little better, which is good, because I need to find my better self in the next week; playing music with my friends in front of people who dig it always does make me feel better, but they’ll be better shows if I’m able to pull myself out of this funk and into a more positive state of mind before I hit the stage next weekend.

I think I’ll get there. Of course, I’m closing out the day with another two hours with the “um” individual, so we’ll see what happens.

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they grow up so fast

25
Aug

Got it back just in time to roll over five (virtual) barrels:

Overall, the ownership experience with my Scion iM has been a pleasure; it’s a great car, fun and comfortable to drive. Just sporty enough in appearance and drive feel to engage me without being ridiculously powerful and consumptive (note the average MPG figure in this photo, which was shot after a tank of mostly city driving with lots of stop ‘n go. Highway, I flirt with 40). It stops and corners nicely, which is where all the fun is anyway.

Plus, I can fit all my crap in the back.

So, yeah. Happy 10k, little black hatchback!

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the answer

23
Aug

Don’t Panic. (and happy birthday to me).

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raid

22
Aug

…among other things, I went to a Pokemon Go! raid this weekend.

What that means is that a huge number of players of this game get together in a Pokestop heavy public area and wander around catching monsters, sharing intel, and generally bringing the social part of this game that overlays the real world to the forefront.

It was also a poorly organized event, as the organizer from Virginia Pokemon Go! had to bow out a the last minute and nobody quite knew how to pick up the slack. Oh well, we still had fun wandering around Colonial Williamsburg in the dark with our own little group (eight or ten strong) and meeting up with other folks doing the same thing. Also, we got an impromptu tour of the William and Mary campus, as our group contained several alums.

The best summation of the the event came from my daughter, who threw the following up on social media:

The best part of a Pokemon raid is when you and three other people yell “PIKACHU” and thirty people come speed walking towards you.

…which is exactly what happened.

Yes, it’s the epitome of a crap Pikachu, but it’s my first – now I have all the starters (yes, the little yellow rat counts).

Oh, I also got my car back on Friday afternoon. The paint match and repair work was pretty much top notch, and they even detailed it before handing it back to me. I am so very happy.

Forecast for the week? Work, and now that Dragon*Con has become real to me, I’m going to be doing a hell of a lot of rehearsing.

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friday random ten eleven: “from despondent to obvious” edition

19
Aug

It was a bit of a struggle to get here, I must say. This week’s been rough. Found myself in a bit of a down cycle on the depression continuum the last couple of days. I think I might see the way out of it, but it’s been a hard road the last 48 hours or so. I’ve got a weekend coming up with no formal commitments, so I’m hoping for a little rejuvenation. I always find my way out of these little digressions, so I think I’ll be alright.

I’m also kind of hoping to hear that my car’s ready, though given my luck so far, I’m tempering my expectations. The insurance will eventually get tired of paying for the rental, which will probably motivate the eventual closing of this transaction (yes, I sort of conflate the insurance company and the body shop, but my insurance company has a “concierge office” inside the shop, so they’re kind of one in the same in my head). I’m still debating about whether I call them today. We’ll see.

Work is still in transition, but the reorg is starting to kick in, so the new status quo is sorting itself out in terms of who I need to report to when and what they need to hear. Looks like I have about six bosses again, which really means I don’t have any bosses except the project schedule, so as long as that has some actual direction to it, I’m left alone to do work my data miracles. This is a circumstance I’m comfortable operating in, so I’m cautiously optimistic. Time will tell.

Finally, Dragon*Con is starting to become a real thing in my head, being about two weeks out. We’ve got our tentative performance schedule (including a concourse show this year!), and I’m just waiting for some setlists (though I kind of know where those are going). It’ll be nice to knock the dust off the Humdingers tunes after playing with those other guys this summer, and wrock the pants (or other garments…it can be that kind of party) off of D*C for a third year running. Also, word on the underground is that Valentine Wolfe might join us on stage for a couple of tunes…that’s gonna be a blast.

So yeah, life’s kind of low right now, but it’s on it’s way to getting better. To celebrate the coming weekend, here’s a handful of tunes Pandora spit out. Kind of obvious and unremarkable until you get to the back third, but hey, sometimes life gives you exactly what you’d expect (especially when you get to set the streaming music service channel parameters).

  1. “The Ledge” – The Replacements
  2. “And We Danced…” – The Hooters
  3. “Silly Little Man” – The Badlees
  4. “Losing My Religion” – R.E.M.
  5. “The Safety Dance” – Men Without Hats
  6. “Summer of ’69” – Bryan Adams
  7. “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” – Guns ‘n Roses (the studio version, not the live one 🙁 )
  8. “The Godfather” – Harry and the Potters
  9. “Pretty In Pink” – Psychadelic Furs
  10. “West Coast” – Coconut Records
  11. “Don’t You Want Me” – The Human League

(edit) – so, it looks like there are actually eleven tunes here. I’m okay with a random Eleven now and then.



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losening and tightening

17
Aug

I took yesterday off, to take care of some appointments. I got one in, and lots of drama.

The chiropractor experience was magical. My back and shoulders have never felt better. The man is magic. I still worry I’m going to get addicted/dependent on these adjustments; visions of Victorian ladies being treated for hysteria come to mind; seriously, it feels that good. I shall, however, choose to ingnore the guilt complex I have about suffering and continue to go for my periodic maintenance.

Also, I had to cancel my 10k service appointment for the car, because the car’s still not done. I’m looking to the end of this week now. When they took some things off to examine them, they found a bent tie bar, so they had to order one. Better they get it all, I suppose. I’ll keep driving the damned Corolla, and coming up with longer lists of things to check before I eventually take custody of the Scion back.

Things got weird around lunchtime when I got a call from my lead analyst that they changed the locking codes on my building, and the team couldn’t get back in. This goes back to last week when some of the equipment folks moved some equipment out of the building (the bits of it my team doesn’t use is given over to storage) without going through proper protocols. The problem’s been solved, though it involved changing the locks, and left my guys having to shift efforts to their local office. Argh.

As a result of all this, the wonderfully loose back and neck tightened themselves right back up thanks to the stresses of the day. It happens.

At least today, I’ve made myself useful by finding a bug….in my team’s test results analysis tool.

Yeah.

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one hundred seventy-seven

15
Aug

Had an okay weekend, I guess. Got together with friends on Friday and Saturday, which was nice. Took the kid for surprise pizza and Build-A-Bear for her birthday. She had a blast.

Somewhere along the line, though, I started feeling pretty awful – it’s going around. I was totally crashed out by early Sunday afternoon. Sinuses and all that. My lovely wife woke up the same way this morning. Must be some new round of blooms in the region (probably tied to the 100+° temperatures around here this last week. Also might be a depressive flare-up; I’m getting those nerve buzzes. Whatever.

I should have stayed in bed. I really should have. However, I’m in the middle of one test (which is going fine), and about to start support on another this week that has never, in the history of ever, gone off without a hitch the first day. The person running that show simply isn’t up to the task, and I gotta be here to pick up her pieces. I don’t enjoy it, even when I’m healthy.

Unrelated, but semi-relevant transition: the person I speak about above was running that two-hour Friday morning meeting I mentioned previously. To give you an idea of what I was dealing with, I engaged in the following (along with the snark and jerkoff motions also mentioned) to get through over 120 minutes of irrelevancy:



If you can’t read that, the final “um” count was 177, give or take, because I likely missed a few.

Anyway; I’m supposed to get my car back today, which will be nice. I’m just waiting on the phone call.

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