I don't dig on swine (as far as I know).

Ok, I'm gonna cave. I see Jews eating pork all the time on TV. Andrew Zimmern on Bizarre Foods/World and Adam Richman on Man V. Food both eat pork like motherfuckers! And they're New York Jews from way back! I see on Facebook the group "Jews for Bacon." There's even KOSHER bacon flavored salt out there. That and Bac-O's are Kosher. What is happening to the world? I've abstained for so long, except for the time or two when I had it by accident. I had no opinion, one way or another, by the way. I feel like I'm missing out on a lot of food out there, to which my gentile friends, brother, and fianc?e will attest to that notion, and not hesitate to tell me so. In any case, I might just try it when no one's looking, and if I'm not into it, I'll never do it again. I promise.


Ready. Set. Nap!

I'm off until lessons today. I have this feeling of near-nirvana. I was so tired yesterday and this morning that all I want to do is read comics and nap until I have to leave later.


Ok, this is cool.

I can post to blogger through my iGoogle homepage. Time to change my homepage from my blog to iGoogle.


Open Letter to Angels Fans:

(From my Facebook:)

An L is just an L, no matter how many runs the enemy scores! My Angels are still in it! Get your asses in gear! Time to earn some W's! I didn't propose to my beautiful fiancée on that field for nothing! If the S...tankees win, let 'em win in New York, but don't let 'em take my town! LETS GO ANAHEIM! LETS GO ANGELS! (end Facebook)

Seriously, I'm crazy about this team. This is my first year I've actually followed not only baseball, but any sport. I realize the deck is stacked against us, and I realize we got creamed tonight, but seriously, whether it's 2 to 1, or 20 to 1, a loss is only that. The Halos have a day off Wednesday, then back strong on Thursday. So boys, go home, see your wives, drink your booze, and grieve for your loss, but only briefly. We've got an entire team of cheaters and juicers to beat. If we don't make it to the World Series, lets at least give the Yankees a reason to pause before returning to Anaheim next Spring. Let's prove to New York that Anaheim doesn't put up with East Coast bullshit, at least in Southern California. The Rally Monkey is calling, Angels. Don't keep him waiting.


The Tunnel Vision

I've spent the lion's share of the morning with my eyes at the computer, on the TV, or in research books. I feel extremely and literally myopic today. I gotta get away from this, at least for a little bit.


IPA: Intɚrnæʃʌnl fʌnɛtIk ælfʌbɛt

Who ever thought I'd use this stuff after UCI?


Pass one window, tideo

Pass two windows, tideo

Pass three windows, tideo

Jingle at the window, tideo

Tideo! Tideo!

Jingle at the window, tideo


pæs wən wIndo tɑıdio

pæs tu wIndoz tɑıdio

pæs Θri windoz tɑıdio

ʤiŋgʊl æt ∂ə wIndo tɑıdio

tɑıdio tɑıdio

ʤiŋgʊl æt ∂ə wIndo tɑıdio



Life is a fickle thing. You live, you love, you fuck, you die. Not always in that order, and not always literally.



he sits alone in his office, a cubicle-sized room, with no windows, except the one in the door. No air circulation, so the heat from the computers fills the room to the point of discomfort. The sound of the hard-labor workers haranguing each other is only distracting if it gets too close to the chicken-wire glass. Tonight, he sits betrayed, only slightly, by an ally, possible his only. Betrayed by circumstance, or by his own pig-headedness. Both of which amount to nothing but being petty, or overcome by apathy. Tonight, he sits, dismayed, with the finish line in sight. It gets closer with every day that passes, but is it close yet, or is there still a great distance to cover? Tonight, he sits.


Over it.

I'm over a lot of things lately, most of all sitting here in the computer lab, waiting to print. Mine at home wouldn't print because I'm out of magenta. Can you believe that? I'm printing black & white. Oy.

EDIT: Just when I think the line's short for the goddamn printer, 5 more people jump on!


The super poop master!

I saw this at PetSmart this morning! Nice to know there's some out there that's the master of the super poop.



Spending the day as a Costa Mesa local.

After two years of apartment life in Costa Mesa, I feel like I've been missing out of a fair amount of local flavor. Granted, I go to places like Plums, the Omelet Parlor, That Mongolian BBQ place (next to Plums), but it's been a while since I've ventured out for some solid local fare. Today, I found a comic shop AND a one-off sandwich place.

I usually buy my comics at my all-time favorite of comic shops, Comics, Toons N Toys near Old Town Tustin. But today, I didn't feel like making the drive. A quick search on comicshoplocator.com revealed JNJ Comics on Harbor & Edinger, in Fountain Valley, 4 miles closer to my Costa Mesa abode than CTnT. I wish I had the foresight to have brought my camera, cause this place is dank. Words don't really do it justice. The owner, Jeff, was a nice guy, albeit a little off. He was watching TV, screaming to the other guy in there if he had heard about the hermaphrodite African runner that's all over the news, and how she's got "both sets of parts."

There were no lights on, only indirect sunlight. Also, it was cluttered. Granted, being the only guy (seemingly) to run a comic shop for 15 years, you probably tend to leave stock sitting around an extra day or two. I found the new issues, with some help, bought my two, (Green Lantern Corps #40 & Blackest Night Batman #2), and made for the hills. Would I go back? Sure, if I couldn't make it out to Tustin. Or, if I lived closer to Harbor & Edinger, I'd probably go back on a weekly basis. But as far as friendliness of staff & quality of presentation, it's Comics Toons N Toys for me. Besides, google maps says 14 minutes by street to JNJ, and 15 by freeway to CTnT. I think the choice is apparent.

On my quest for lunch, I thought of a sandwich place close ot my place. A kid I work with told me about how incredible Frank's Philadelphia was. Located a mere 3 minutes from my place, on Fairview & Wilson, next door to the 7-11, it's this little shop, with maybe 10 tables, and 4 counter seats. Total family shop, one of a kind. They don't mess around at Franks. On the menu, near the top, it says "Please order by SIZE and ITEM NUMBER". Since they're specialty is Cheese Steaks, I went for a large #1. A 10 inch cheese steak with fried onions & hot (or bell) peppers, on presumably house-made Italian bread. I took it togo so I could make a mess of myself without the fear of ridicule from my fellow diners. This sandwich was fantastic. Cheesy, meaty, and salty-sweet from the onions & sliced pepperoncinis. I earned every minute of the itis that it caused. I can't extol the virtues of Frank's enough. If I ever get a night off, I gotta get the dudes over, get a case of beer, and make a cheese steak run. Maybe make a little Big Lebowski happen. It's the stuff that dreams are made of. Of course, I may go for the #4 next time, "Frank's Choice." A #1 with extra cheese with hot AND bell peppers. Only 50¢ more. What a deal!


Tuesday, bloody Tuesday

I'm on line for financial aid right now, after leaving school, only to come right back. It took me 40 minutes to park again. And if this line moves any slower, I'll be late for my piano placement exam. I am over today. Work had better go swimmingly tonight.


Year Two, Day One

I'm back in school, and I'm already over my schedule. I have to get here an hour early just to park, and I have an hour break between classes. This doesn't bode well for my piece of mind.


Life flows on

I've come face to face with the stark realization that I've been an unavailable friend for the last year, and with these next two years of school, it's not gonna get any better. I want to apologize to those that call me 'friend.' Someday, I'll be able to hang, and I won't have to sweat making up the money from taking a night off. $100 for a night at the bar, or even $20 for a night of poker, won't seem so prohibitive. My schedule sucks. Between work, school, & everything between, there's no freedom. I'm perpetually busy at night, and I'm sick of it. Just throwing all that out there.


Predictive text is rad, mostly

We'll see how many correctly spelled, grammatically incorrect posts make it through when I post from this phone... I count one already.

Late one tonight

The kitchen guys for stuck doing extra cleaning duties tonight. If they get stuck here late, I still need to be the last one out the door. I just punched out. It's time to go home.


29 years down. 1,999,971 to go.

But do I really want to live to the age of 2 million?

I'm 29 now, and I'm tired. This week, I've suffered through kidney stones, imaginary conflict at work, and the people I love, not seeing eye to eye about me.

I became a coach to a high school brass section, and wished I could make a living doing that, exclusively. Then I realized that I'm working to make that goal happen. School starts a week from Monday, by the way.

My cell phone went blind on Thursday, and I effectively lost every phone number on it. My new phone, the myTouch 3g, is awesome, but I gotta fill it up with numbers.

To prevent a kidney infection (from passing 4 kidney stones), I'm taking antibiotics, which I can't drink on, so I'm enjoying a birthday Virgil's Cream Soda. A pretty solid substitute for a proper beverage.

I guess that's it for the first hour of year two-nine. Gotta go to bed to wake up early to get to breakfast @ Dawn's Mom's. Always a good time =)


Fighting the not-so-good fight (kidney stones)

Over the last couple of days, I've been passing kidney stones. It started as I was going into work on Monday. I felt the telltale pain of a stone starting to pass. When I got to work, I told my boss, "if I pass a kidney stone tonight, who do I call to bail me out?" He said himself. two hours later, the pain came on, and I called him: "hey man, I was hoping to put this off for a couple more hours, but my stone is starting to pass." He gave me some sob story about how long he was at work that morning for inventory, and that he wasted to take a nap and iron his shirt, and it'd be 2.5 more hours before he'd be able to get in to work. Upon hearing that, I locked myself in the office, hung chef coats to block the windows, and was in agony for a good 1.5 hours until my boss showed, and I was able to call Dawn to come pick me up.

That night, the stone passed, but I had another one hot on it's tail. Around 9 pm, I felt that one come on. 36 hours later, it still hasn't passed. I went to the ER yesterday, where they doped me up and kept me for 6 hours, ran some tests, including an ultrasound of both kidneys and sent me home with some really rockin' prescriptions. At this point, I'm fighting to stay awake just to finish this blog, and then I'm passing out for a little while. I didn't sleep at all two nights ago, so I think I'm still catching up on sleep.


The Culprit

The Culprit
Originally uploaded by JeffX3K
Oliver, basking in the glow of his comic book sabotage.

The Crime

The Crime
Originally uploaded by JeffX3K
We came home to see a copy of an X-Factor comic destroyed on the floor.


SDCC Morning #3: Panel Day

If anyone needs me, I'll be in room 20 for most of the day. We're heading down now for energy drinks and then it's:

Family Guy
Cleveland show
The Simpsons
Green Lantern
Venture Bros.

We're booked til 730. Wish us luck


No sleep til!

San Diego!

What I did tonight (1000th post!)

I got home from work at 1230 to find a note saying there was a huge ant attack in the house, and where are the ant-killing supplies you said you'd buy? I did say that. Shit. Off to the store I went. Bought 2-pack ant killing spray, indoor bait traps and outdoor bait stakes. Within 45 minutes, I polished off one full bottle of the spray, along with half the bait traps. Hopefully this stems the tide of ant vengeance.

After that, I took a long, hot shower to rinse the pesticides and night of work off before ironing my shirt for the morning. The notoriously prone-to-wrinkles tan I have.

Now, as I'm struggling to keep my eyes open, I'm drinking an ice cold Corona. It's like a 12oz golden gift, or a little glass pat on the back for a job well done. 10+ hours at work tonight, by the way.

Happy 1000th post, everyone. Here's to everyone who stuck it out from day one.


A guy walks into a bar

And his young female friend is denied alcohol because she forgot to bring her ID. The manager says it's against the law to serve someone without an ID once they've been carded, which is true. The guy gets pissy, but says nothing. The manager tells his staff that she's not allowed alcohol service because of the lack of ID. The guy tells the bartender that the manager is an asshole when the manager isn't around. He doesn't like anyone making decisions for him or his friends. The manager walks back into the bar and sees women in bikinis, wrestling, and decides bikini wrestling is inappropriate to have on in the middle of the day. It is a family restaurant, after all, so he changes the channel to the baseball report. When the guy's friends have left, he pulls the manager aside and says "I think you are extremely rude."

The manager says "I'm gonna have to disagree, I don't believe I was rude at all, but I'd appreciate it if you'd tell me why you feel that way."

The guy says, "you were rude to my friend about her ID, and I was watching a program in TV, and you saw I was watching it, and you changed the channel without asking me if it was ok." The TV in question was literally behind the gentleman, out of even his peripheral vision.

The manager replies "thank you for letting me know, I'm very sorry you feel that way."

The guy asks "what's your regional manager's name?" And the manager tells him. "I'm going to write him a letter." So the manager gives him the email address & business card to the regional manager.

And the manager writes a letter first, and the regional says to him "Thanks for the heads up."

And the guy who walked into the bar is still an asshole.



It's motherflippin' hot in my house

The downfall of living in west side costa mesa, on the ground floor, is that you can't leave your windows open at night to let the breeze in. Can't even leave the back door open. Such a bummer.

Had to play detective at work tonight to locate some missing bread. 45 minutes later, I figured out what happened. At least I got a little more overtime, but I went 2pm to 1245am, and I'm not even close to going to sleep. My average out time is midnight, by the way. At least I'm off tomorrow morning.

I think I might order the DIY battery replacement kit for my apparently ancient 4th gen iPod. I guess 5 years old means your tech is old, but using it at work tonight revealed the battery hasn't aged well, though the rest of my zombified iPod has held up well. I just hope I can get it in the mail by Wednesday, so I can have the battery installed, charged, and ready to go to SDCC.

Oh yeah, paid my car registration that never came today. $122 in late fees, because the DMV made a typo on my reg which made it undeliverable. Lucky me. Gotta get that refund form filled out so I can fight for my right to money.


Zombie iPod?!

Earlier this year, I washed my iPod shuffle. It dried and worked 100% perfectly. In an amazing twist of fate tonight, my 5 year old 4th gen iPod, which officially died a year and a half ago, plugged right in, charged right up, and plays music like it was fresh out of the box. I've been wanting all this new tech shit, and my old shit keeps working! Thank God, because my ass is broke, and I can't afford the flashy gadgets I want. My zombie iPod will be accompanying me to Comic Con this year. Hopefully, in part, as a good luck token.


Quite the bastard.

Tonight at work felt like everything that should have been simple took way longer than it needed. The margarita machines went down, briefly, and I had to get in there and get MacGyver on some shit to make them work. Sorta. Then off the heels of that came the soup lady that literally asked for free shit cause the hostess fucked up on her togo order. Someone on staff said some rude shit to me, as a joke (I can only assume), and I unleashed my fury on him. I was, in fact, quite the bastard. I don't feel altogether that bad about it. I'm just saying.


2-Run Home Run!

2-Run Home Run!
Originally uploaded by JeffX3K
In case people haven't seen the proposal pics yet, here's our home run just before I popped the question!


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.


July 1, 2009

Oh, posting is so tedious! Or coming up with good material is, anyway.

Dawn & I have set our wedding date and our venue is booked. Mark your calenders people:

May 23, 2010.

Now all we need to do is square away catering, flowers, a Rabbi, the guest list, etc...

Not much else exciting is happening, except Jonny is back from his 10 day trip to Israel. Breakfast is on the docket in a few minutes.


Newton was right

Newton's third law of motion states:

To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

How exciting!


Spring 2009 Grades Are In

Here are my spring semester grades. Not too far off from what I predicted. Asterisks indicate classes I'm getting (or trying to get) the grade changed.

Developing Literacy Sec      A-*
Orch Instruments:Perc A
Orch Instruments:Winds A
Mus and Child Development A-*
Pub Schl Inst Music Mat A
Instrumental Conducting B+

I am super pissed at the B+ in Conducting. I knew I wasn't going to get an A, but I thought I'd at least be able to pull the A-, since he said I was on the cusp. I was told that my final was the best conducting I'd ever done, and I felt that way, too. My professor said that My conducting is clean & tidy, but not expressive enough. Apparently, that doesn't warrant an A-. Hopefully I don't get too resentful and instead use this slap in the face to improve my conducting significantly in the next year.

The first grade change is going to be from an A- to an A+. My literacy professor made a mistake with her grading, and she said she'd change the grade.

For the second grade change, I had a solid A before my lesson plan project was graded. Now I have an A-. Hmmm...


Goodbye, 1st year back at school

The second semester of my first year back at school is over! I've got two in the can. I think my GPA is gonna be solid this semester, almost as good as last semester. At my worst, I think I've gonna have some "A-minuses" sprinkled in with my "A's." There may be one "B+." I'm on the cusp of an A- in conducting. I feel like the rapport I have with my professor is going to have to pull me through to the A-. Woodwind methods is the same between an A- & an A. Anyway, here's my predictions for the ol' report card:

Conducting: A- (or B+. Hopefully not.)
Literacy: A+
Instrumental Music Materials: A
Music & Childhood Development: A
Woodwind Methods: A (my actual grade is 91.9%, A-. 92% is the A)
Percussion Methods: A

Let's see how the next few weeks unfold with these.



I love being smart!

If only all of my other grades looked like this...


five down, one to go

I just now turned in my Public School Instrumental Music Materials final. Let the record show 1140 as my in time (gotta love post time editing) The deadline was 9 am tomorrow morning, but why bust ass to get out early when I don't need to? My next final is Wednesday night, which means I have all day Tuesday off. Just me and the boys. Hopefully we can get some serious nap time in.


Like Ma Bell, I got the Ill Communication

What a fucking Saturday. Last night, in the midst of my mad, drunken tweeting frenzy, I passed out. My last thought before falling asleep was "I really should get a blanket..." I didn't. At 6 am, I woke up freezing with the shitking of all sore throats. Somehow, I managed to teach two lessons, only to feel worse and worse throughout the morning. Dawn & I grabbed lunch afterward. I thought a little spicy Thai curry would do the trick. I was wrong. I think being white is a detriment to ordering spicy Thai, by the way. The waitress asked me if I want the spiciness at 'medium.' I told her to go well past medium. Frankly, I had a death wish: I wanted to burn. But, alas, I didn't burn. It wasn't hot enough.

When we got home and I got ready for work, my nose began to run. Work was miserable, if only by the fact that I felt like shit over the whole shift. Since I had no time to get to the store to get some Alka-Seltzer Cold, I bought Day-Quil at the newsstand, knowing that it is ineffective on me. My 8 hours felt like 16. We were slammed tonight. Of all the nights to be busy, right? Anyway, I got through it. There were some issues with the money I had to figure out. Or, I'm so lagged from feeling crappy that I just took forever. It was 1230 by the time I clocked out. I was reading a couple of required-reading articles for my final on Monday, and the door to the structure was locked. I kicked it and want back downstairs and made for the elevator.

The clock in the car said 1242. The gas gauge warning light was on. And I had a runny nose. It was 1258 after a trip to Sav-on for Alka-Seltzer, and a trip to the gas station for a fill. I'm now falling asleep on the couch, just like last night. I'm tired like a motherfucker.


I hate repeating myself, but...

I love scotch. Scotchy, scotch, scotch.

(from nearly 4 years ago...)


Almost there...

The finish line is in sight. I finished my 10 week curriculum project ahead of schedule at 345 this afternoon. It's due at 730 tonight. My finals have all been easy, so far. Monday, we had a team project that ended up being our final, my woodwind final was fairly straightforward. Hopefully my prof will see it in his heart to move my 91.9% 'A-' up to a full fledged 'A.' My percussion final literally took me three minutes, and I didn't to play rudiments like everyone else. I was 15 minutes late, due to traffic, and he was pretty understanding about it. That's three finals down. Next Monday, I have a conducting final at 12. My final that is supposed to happen that night is now a take-home final. He said he's going to assign it this weekend, which sucks for me, because of work. We'll see how that plays out. Then I just have one more on Wednesday night at 730 pm, and I'm finished with my first year back at school. Finally...


My first spam!

My first real, honest-to-goodness lottery scheme spam! How exciting! The 'xxxxx's' are my doing. The rest is for real!

Dear Sir/Madam,
This mail is to notify you have been selected as a winner to receive the sum of £850,000 British Pounds in our on-going Google anniversary lotto draws.

Your email address was attached to the following winning numbers that made you one of our lucky winners for this year draw :Ticket number: xxxxxxxxxx, CGPN: xxxxxxxxxxx,Serial

numbers:BTD/xxxxxxxxxxxxx,Lucky numbers:xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.
For more info/ how to claim your prize,contact the processing agent (Mr. Grahams Benfield) with the email addresses below by sending your winning numbers,full names, sex and location.

Agent E-mail(s):grahamsbenfield.agent@xxxxx, grahams.benfield@xxxxx
Wishing you goodluck as you'll spend your fortune!!
Mr. Petersen, Promo Coordinator


Engaged!! =D

In case you haven't heard, I proposed to the beautiful Dawny (!!!) on Saturday at Angel Stadium, around 145 in the afternoon. We ran for a home run, and I popped the question back at home plate! We are officially fiances. Or is it fiancees? All I know is our little family is fantastic and I'm crazy in love with this redheaded woman!

Pics from Saturday to come.


Odd use for Holst's 'Jupiter'

This commercial is like the act blending chocolate & peanut butter itself.


Swine Flu?! What's next, zombies?

So the entire world is freaking out about this swine flu. The World Health Organization (WHO) officially called it a "Global Pandemic" yesterday. Pandemic means "epidemic over a wide geographic area and affecting a large proportion of the population." This is the first medical pandemic since SARS and the Avian Flu, and lucky me, I'm geographically right in the middle of this one. Schools are closing, and the world is in freak-out-and-overreact mode to prevent the spread of this swine flu. Egypt is culling it's entire pig population, even though people aren't catching it directly from pigs. W.H.O. is watching Spain for a community-level outbreak, which will take it to the highest pandemic warning level possible. If I could ask, no one breathe on me, no one cough on me, and wash your damn hands before shaking mine. I just hope people with this swine flu are smart enough to stay out of my restaurant.


The unthinkable has happened

I find myself at a loss for words. I've done a lot of talking today. A lot of talking and a lot of directed thinking. And now, I'm tired. Maybe I'll have more to say tomorrow.


Finally, a laptop that again lives up to the name.

For the past year or so, I've been at a point where I can't run my laptop without having it plugged in. The battery has been dead. I broke down and spent the $129 on a new battery for my Powerbook G4, and it' runs like a champ. No longer do I have to worry about it unplugging and shutting down in the middle of an assignment, or a blog, or just looking something up. I'm stoked about this computer again. Maybe I can even hold off on buying a whole new machine for a little while longer after a RAM purchase from crucial.com


It's amazing what relaxes someone.

I said something to someone tonight that is kinda giving me a guilt trip. I turn on Spike TV and Deadliest Warrior: Samurai vs. Viking is on. If watching a viking's longsword slice nearly through a ballistics gel skull isn't the cure for what ails ya, I don't know what is.


Mark. It. Zero.

We've enacted a new set of rules at work, and I'm driving myself crazy with trying to follow them. I'm usually the cool, collected guy, but lately I feel that I have these incredibly high standards, and that I'm battling with an inordinate amount of apathetic coworkers. I get the feeling that I'm slowly transforming from The Dude into Walter. I believe the above clip speaks volumes for how I feel.

Sometimes Spike TV just hits it out of the park.

Last night, the average, but it's-still-good Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.

Tonight at 1am, the outrageously fantastic Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. It may be the 20 year makeover version, but I still love it. I even still love going to Tashi Station to pick up some power converters.


I think I'm over it...

I was upset earlier about rotating out of a dinner shift for my brother's birthday. I'm still a little sore about it, but my family made the decision to bring the party to me, at work, instead of me trying to get out of work to go. It's probably better in the long run.

No love at work.

Trying to get tomorrow night off for Jonny's bday. Here's the email from my boss about it:

For Saturday, I gotta have you here. I am leaving to palm that night.
And [the other manager] has plans. Sorry.

Cya tonight.

I'm so livid at this situation, I can't see straight. I am upset with the lack of help from my coworkers.

"Cya." Jesus.


such a headache!

I caught the beginnings of a headache at work today. It didn't go away. I think it's because I'm so worn out today. I hit the wall in the practice room and class was a fiasco. I'm in a class full of Music Ed. specialization people, very few of who've actually taught (I have, by the way). The prof is giving people a chance to teach and no one's into it. It felt like four hours, instead of the 75 minutes it actually is. I still have my headache.

Trombones (and mouthpieces) are expensive!

Not that I'm in the market for a new trombone, but I'm always lookin'. The $3200 bass trombone I was dreaming about over three years ago is now over $4000. Damn inflation. I've got the itch for new gear, as if my new practice mute wasn't enough new shit. It's time for a new mouthpiece, for both bones, I think. My Conn 88H & King 3B are due, and as much as I hate changing gear, I've only been on the same basic mouthpieces for 10 and 13 years, respectively. Maybe when the semester's over, I'll indulge a little bit. I kinda want a new case, too. It's neat to see all the cases of the gear-crazy kids at school. If I'm gonna buy something, I want to see it in action.



I had a conducting test today. I was nervous as shit. I did well, according to my professor's evaluation. My grade? B+++. Literally, a 'B' with three pluses. Meanwhile, the guy after me got an A-----. An "Ay, minus minus minus minus minus." What the fuck is that?! Anyway, I'm kinda bummed I couldn't break past the "B" plateau. On a bonus, the other bone player who barely shows up to class, and is very nonchalant about it, got a C-. The universe the right thing every now and again.

If I feel ballsy enough, I'll post my conducting video later. That way, YOU ALL can critique me!



He's so poor, he can't even pay attention!

"he" is me in this scenario. I need to read Chapter 9 of my Literacy text book for my 1pm class (it's 12:05 now), but instead I'm blogging, tweeting, emailing, and I just signed up for a Facebook *egads*. I am the goddamn antithesis of productivity right now.


Totally, completely, and excruciatingly late.

I've been sleeping funny. I imagine I am, anyway, because it's so difficult for me to get moving in the morning. Today, I skipped breakfast because of it. I held lunch off an extra two hours today, too. I got back home at 245, lightheaded, burrito & comics in hand, and I vegged out for 75 minutes. I meant to leave at 4. I left at 415 and realized I needed to get gas. I got to my 445 class at 505. The doors were locked. The room was dark. They were watching a video. I go to every single class meeting. The only time I've missed any class this semester was when Chris' mom went to the hospital. Which is more than I can say for nearly all of my classmates. If I was to be locked out of a class, then this was the day to do it. I'm gonna go get a naked juice, chill out, and practice recorder for class tonight.


Midterm Monday Wrap-Up

Got my essay test back today. 100% That's right, A+. She said quietly that I my score was perfect. My professor even wrote "Excellent!!" with a little smile connecting the two dots under the exclamation points. As I'm watching other tests handed back around me, I'm seeing 87%, 92%, 93%, but I definitely have the satisfaction of scoring 100% on the only thing I was freaking out about last week. That makes my average an A+ average, having scored 100% on everything so far. That's pretty sweet.


Les Claypool : Of Fungi And Foe

Les Claypool has come out with a new album entitled "Of Fungi And Foe." My brother hipped me to a live performance on Jimmy Kimmel, and we went to Best Buy today to buy a tangible copy. Only a mere 90¢ more than iTunes charges. Les' liner notes say he came up with some of the source material while writing the music to a video game and an independent film. This is the most out of anything I heard from him. While Primus, Oysterhead, Frog Brigade, And Bucket of Bernie Brains (among others) are all pretty against the grain, this, compared to the rest of Les' catalog, is minimalist. That is to say, in the first track, bass, drum, & marimba ostinati, vocals, and what might be considered vocal percussion. Four line verses, very little hook, instrumental, back in with vocals. This is a fair amount of the album. Not much in terms of action, if action is being able to dance, sing along, or bump it in the car. The "single," Red State Girl, is vocals, arco bass (distorted) and tabla. Yes, tabla. And that's it. I don't know how marketable this tune is, but it's damn cool. Of Fungi And Foe is more suited to rolling a joint and sitting on the couch for a while. There are manic tunes on this one, like "Pretty Little Song" and "Primed by 29" (which I think he plays Dobro Bass on). But even then, manic compared to the other tunes on the album, not the rest of his catalog. I hear remnants of other Claypool-vehicles like "Here Come the Bastards" on Amantias, and bits off of Antipop and from Oysterhead, but I can't put my finger on just what this late at night.

Of Fungi And Foe is a very experimental album from a very experimental guy. If you like Les' other stuff, buy it. Know you're not getting an album to jam to all the way through. It's awesome, but some tunes just ask to be listened to.

Red State Girl, as performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live


Tax time is approaching.

This is how I know I'm getting old. I have my tax appointment at 1145, and I woke up at 630 thinking about it. I cashed in an investment last year, something my grandmother set aside for me when I was a kid, to pay off a credit card completely. I get to contend with something called capital gains tax today. Oh boy.


Now that the iPod works, here's my emo-jazz-sitar playlist

I have no time for bold this, italics that.
Artist, followed by album.
Except for the first selection, which is a track unto itself.
You want it? You got it:

  • Dvorak Serenade for Wind Instruments in D Minor Movement II, Op. 44
  • Beirut, The Flying Club Cup*
  • Beirut, Gulag Orkerstar
  • Beirut, The Lon Gisland EP (I think)
  • Buena Vista Social Club*
  • Charles Mingus, Oh Yeah
  • Charles Mingus, Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus
  • Elvis Costello with Burt Bacharach, Painted From Memory*
  • John Coltrane, Blue Train*
  • John Coltrane Quartet, Ballads
  • Matisyahu, Live At Stubbs
  • Miles Davis, Panthalassa/The Remixes
  • Ravi Shankar, LIVE: Ravi Shankar at the Monterey International Pop Festival*
  • RF & Lili De La Mora, Eleven Continents**
  • Sufjan Stevens, Illinois
  • Tabla Beat Science, Tala Matrix

920.8MB/1GB of ecstacy. 13.4 hours, 150 songs. I wish I had it in me to listen to all of it in one sitting.

* = If you don't know, do yourself a favor.
** = This album is literally Heaven on Earth. Ambrosia for the ears.


Waterproof iPod?

My iPod Shuffle, dubbed "Ampersand," the one that Dawnie gave to me nigh on 18 months ago when we started dating, has gone through some turmoil. I lost it for about 4 months, when I stuffed it in the ol' xB glove compartment one day after school. I found it, and I've been using it at and for school. It's been a great help to learn the most recent piece for conducting class. I've been taking it to work, too, just to have some music for the final 45-90 minutes of closing paperwork, depending on how waylaid by actual management I get. I brought it home the other night, forgot to take it out of my pants, and washed said pants early the next day. I realized this morning what I had done, and fished it out of the pile of dry clothes still in the dryer. The low battery light came on, and my computer recognizes it, and the songs still on it. I have yet to actually listen to it, but I'm hopeful that it officially works.

45 minutes later...

That shit was boring. What lengths I have to go through to be a team member.


Online Harassment Awareness Test

Are you fucking kidding me? I have to take this online harassment test for work (we all do, not just special ol' me) and it's not nearly as dumbed down as the last one. Apparently it took all the other managers 2 hours at work to get it done. Let's see how long to takes me...



The Devil's Interval

In basic music theory, you learn that the interval known as a tritone, or three whole steps from one note to the next, was once called "the devil's interval." Three whole steps would be going from B to F, or E to Bb, or D to Ab. D-E-F#-G#(or Ab)In medieval times, this interval was considered so dissonant, that it was avoided. These days, it's everywhere because that whole devil stuff is stupid. During tonight's in-class discussion, one of the more annoying vocalists said "you would never teach the devil's interval to kids because it's hard to sing." Now, it is hard to sing for untrained ears, but "devil's interval?" Really? This is why I hate people. And this is why there's such a huge dichotomy between instrumental & vocal music in schools. Vocalists are looney tunes.


Beef Bacon: Delicious alternative or gateway drug?

I've known about this stuff for years now. It was recommended by a Muslim coworker from back in the day. I've been curious for a long time. I bought some this morning. Cooked three slices up & added them to a breakfast burrito. Everyone tried to tell me, but I refused to believe. This stuff was seriously good. It brought back memories of breakfast past. I think this stuff is going to become a mainstay in my fridge. Also, I think there may be a battle of willpower to stay away from the bacon from here on out.

On a side note, I rented Quantum of Solace from the RedBox when I was at the store this morning. It sucks.


Monday Midterms

I had an essay style midterm today that I couldn't study for all weekend, because my dumb ass left my book & study guide in my school locker. I got to school early enough today, went to the library and jammed on my study guide. The test ended up being nearly verbatim to the study guide. I was stoked! I managed to knock it out in an hour or so, and got out of class 90 minutes early.

Unlike at the beginning of the semester, I have priorities now, so when I have big break, I can find something productive to do. Conducting class has been a pain in the ass lately, because we're working on Dvořák's Serenade for Winds in D Minor, Op. 44., Mvmt. II I'm having way more trouble with conducting than I did last semester. It turns out everyone's having trouble. It's just that everyone's trouble is completely different. Mine is I can't hear the melody when it moves through the ensemble. I thought I did well on the first exam but I got a B. My first grade below an A in that class this entire year. Anyway, my professor recommended to me that I listen to a recording of this until I can follow the melody from instrument to instrument.

With all my free time today, I got myself a practice room, loaded up my iPod with Serenade for Winds, and went to work. I think I listened to it something like 20 times in succession. I've got what I perceive to be a better handle on it, but I went into the Movement I exam overconfident and didn't get an A. We'll see.

Now it's blog time. I've got a nice little break before percussion class. And my afternoon soundtrack is The Low End Theory. I'm in a pretty good place right now. If only I could get the ceiling to change color...


What Lucid Dreams May Come

Two years ago at Comic Con, I briefly met a Suicide Girl by the name of Bee Jellyfish. She signed the book I bought at their booth, and couldn't've been nicer to me and the guys. When I got home from San Diego, I signed up for SuicideGirls.com. Through some crazy twist of fate, she began to IM me. When we IM'd, we talked about a lot of things, like relationships, religion, work, death of close pets, and something Bee believed in called lucid dreaming. From Wikipedia:

A lucid dream is a dream in which the person is aware that they are dreaming while the dream is in progress, also known as a conscious dream.

This took Bee from status as a neat friend to someone who, in my opinion, was in tune to something seriously profound. If I were to talk to her today, I don't know if she'd remember me, but it would be cool if she did.

Lately I've been going through episodes where I feel like the life I'm living is a dream. Not a dream in the euphemistic sense, like where eating a #13 at Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles is a 'dream,' but a dream in the sense that my perception, just for a second, thinks the things happening to me aren't real. At school, I don't usually have this feeling. At home with Dawn & Willy, I have this feeling in the most positive sense; I love the idea that I have a budding family, and I love spending time with Dawn when the two of us have nothing to do. It's the other times of my life that feel like they couldn't possibly be real. Particularly during professional endeavors (work), and driving.

I've begun the process of attempting to elicit lucid dreaming. Bee prescribed me to attempt effect change in reality while I'm awake. Like asking the walls to melt or turn purple every hour (or maybe more often than that). The idea is that if you're dreaming, the walls will melt when you ask them to, because you control your dreams. That means in reality, they won't, because you don't control reality. You ask yourself regularly, so you develop the capacity to ask the walls to melt while you're sleeping. When they do, you're in control, and you can then effect change in the dreamscape. I'm hoping to develop this process of lucid dreaming at some point. I just asked my computer to change colors, to no avail. We'll see how it goes.


Billiards, anyone?

After class, I'm getting the guys out for some billiards & beer. It's Eric's birthday today & Chris' last Friday. Plus the guy has been through hell the last couple of weeks. I think we're gonna head to Danny K's in Orange if anyone cares to join.

Dork Status.

I'm early to class, blogging in the hallway outside my conducting classroom. I just paid a shitload of bills from the school's free connection. I have truly attained dork status. I gotta put this thing away.


Guess who's homework is done

My Fridays have been entirely lazy days where I don't do laundry and I don't go to Aikido and I don't do homework. Today, I did my homework, I'm about to do some chores, and I'm about to get some laundry in gear. My suit is ready for Kathy's wedding tomorrow. I have to call on lessons, but I can do that later. I discovered that Frosty Heidi & Frank have a brand f*¢king new uncensored podcast that's hilarious. It's the first one, but hopefully not the last.



I should be aspleep. I managed to get on an opening shift tomorrow. My first sanctioned opening in almost 18 months. I'm stoked. I've gotta bring the kitchen guys some donuts to celebrate when I go in at 830. Also, I figured out the lesson I'll present for my Music & Child Development class Wednesday night. And now that my favorite thing on TV is the Travel Channel, I've got the Monday night Tony Bourdain's No Reservations marathon on. I love this show. More so than Man v. Food, because this Bourdain guy gets into some serious adventures. Ninety-five percent of the things he does/eats on that show, I want to partake of, too. That other five percent involves pork. Even then, If no one was looking, I'd eat things I'd never share with anybody... But my biggest triumph of the night is that I freed an ingrown hair that's been plaguing me for too long. I'll spare the details, but I feel a strong sense of accomplishment. So, it's Miller time Negra Modelo time.


19 principles of efffective instruction

(my easy-access study guide for Monday's mid-term exam)

from the University of North Texas:

The Nature of Expertise: 19 Principles of Effective Instruction
  • Goals and Expectations

    • 1. The repertoire assigned students is well within their technical capabilities; no student is struggling with the notes of the piece.

    • 2. Teachers have a clear auditory image of the piece that guides their judgments about the music.

    • 3. The teachers demand a consistent standard of sound quality from their students.

    • 4. The teachers select lesson targets (i.e., proximal performance goals) that are technically or musically important.

    • 5. Lesson targets are positioned at a level of difficulty that is close enough to the student’s current skill level that the targets are achievable in the short term and change is audible to the student in the moment. When errors in performance require attention, teachers guide error correction successfully.

    • 6. The teachers clearly remember students’ work in past lessons and frequently draw comparisons between present and past, pointing out both positive and negative differences.

  • Effecting Change

    • 7. Pieces are performed from beginning to end; in this sense, the lessons are like performances, with instantaneous transitions into performance character; nearly all playing is judged by a high standard, "as if we are performing."

    • 8. In general, the course of the music directs the lesson; errors in student performance elicit stops.

    • 9. The teachers are tenacious in working to accomplish lesson targets, having students repeat target passages until performance is accurate (i.e., consistent with the target goal).

    • 10. Any flaws in fundamental technique are immediately addressed; no performance trials with incorrect technique are allowed to continue.

    • 11. Lessons proceed at an intense, rapid pace. Because teachers identify targets quickly and concisely, teacher-student interactions occur frequently.

    • 12. The pace of the lessons is interrupted from time to time with what seem to be "intuitively timed" breaks, during which the teachers give an extended demonstration or tell a story.

    • 13. The teachers permit students to make interpretive choices in the performance of repertoire, but only among a limited range of options that are circumscribed by the teacher. Students are permitted no choices regarding technique.

  • Conveying Information

    • 14. Teachers make very fine discriminations about student performances; these are consistently articulated to the student, so that the student learns to make the same discriminations independently.

    • 15. Performance technique is described in terms of the effect that physical motion creates in the sound produced.

    • 16. Technical feedback is given in terms of creating an interpretive effect.

    • 17. Negative feedback is clear, pointed, frequent, and directed at very specific aspects of students’ performances, especially the musical effects created.

    • 18. There are infrequent, intermittent, unexpected instances of positive feedback, but these are most often of high magnitude and extended duration.

    • 19. The teachers play examples from the students’ repertoire to demonstrate important points. The teachers’ modeling is exquisite in every respect.


Friday To-Do List (w/ update!)

I'm trying to get my head together about what I need to do today. Here's the rundown:

  • Study for MUS 353 Midterm
  • Memorize National Standards for Music for above
  • Memorize 19 Principles of Effective Instruction for above
  • Pull the forest of weeds in the backyard
  • Take Willy for a real walk
  • Clean second bedroom, including all the laundry
  • Buy guitar strap (and apparently, a bunch of other crap)
  • If sax reeds don't work, buy two more (they're fine)
  • Begin movement lesson assignment
  • Possible trip to the library to help with the above
  • Begin to get ready for work at 2-230


So I got most of this stuff done. All except the most important, time-consuming things on it. All-in-all it was a good day yesterday. The backyard looks completely different with all the weeds pulled. I should've taken pictures.

Flight of the Conchords

You gotta love On Demand. We've got the ol' HBO, so we watch everything. Lately, I can't stop watching Flight of the Conchords. These two comedians from New Zealand have a sit-com type show that takes place in New York. It's full of hilarious original songs. It's funny. Watch it. Download it. Whatever.

Also, this one.


$927.25 later...

I knew I needed brakes, I knew I needed an oil change. I'm driving home yesterday and three idiot (gauge) lights come on (I should've taken a picture). The manual says "Take your Scion to your dealer" for all three lights. God. I get there, and they tell me I'm due for air filter, spark plugs, oil, and major service. I bring up the gauge lights, she says "we have to run a diagnostic. That's $94." The service guy calls me and says "Your cam sensor A has failed. We have the part. It's $690." Brakes are $210. That's $900 so far. All the little things in addition to those two take the total to well over $1000. I pleaded with the service guy to help me with the price, and he lowered it to what ended up being $927.25. Just enough to max out my credit card. But my car is well. I can stop and I can drive. That's all I need. They even washed it. How nice for me.


Catchy, but damn annoying

I keep hearing this one song everywhere. This morning, I heard it on stupid Kevin & Bean. It's part of the playlist that drones on and on at work. This song is called Human by The Killers. The hook goes:

Are we human?
Or are we dancers?
My sign is vital
My hands are cold
And I'm on my knees
Looking for the answer
Are we human?
Or are we dancers?

I like my share of repetitive, hear-it-everywhere songs (lest we forget 2003's Hey Ya, STILL one of my favorites), but I can't get over the permeation of the gay dance club into our every day culture. Now, I love the gays. Love 'em. I support equal rights, equal marriage, everything. It's these annoying songs I equate to hearing when I end up at the Tin Lizzy (yes, really) that I'm tired of. I think it stems to my general hatred of popular music. And lately, Human is as popular as it comes. When describing disdain, I tend to stay away from the word "fucking" unless I really dislike something, although "fucking" is part of my everyday lexicon, it's not often hate-associated. And I fucking hate this song. I can't get it out of my head. Good one on The Killers for coming up with a song like that, but I'm tired of it. And America, you don't have to stand by and listen to these songs, either. Stop buying, stop listening. 88.1 FM is listenable now that their membership drive is over. This song is seriously putting me at "blow-my-brains-out" status.

The Wall

This semester has been a constant battle with hitting the wall. Last week, I nearly fell asleep in class. Today, I had a conducting exam that I didn't think I was prepared for. Conducting exams involve acting as the conductor for the class ensemble, +/- 20 people. When the first person went up, I saw he didn't have his score. For those who don't know, the score is the music the only conductor uses, that has the part for everybody in the ensemble, where individuals read individual parts. It's like... I dunno. I'd have to show you. Anyway, I didn't know our exam was from memory, so I was freakin' out. I volunteered after the first 7 people or so. I flew by the seat of my pants. I think I made a few little mistakes, but no egregious errors. I feel like I got an 'A.' When I was done, I was jittery, shaking, flush, all of it. I was more tense than when I was actually in front of the class. I had an epiphany as to why smokers "need" to smoke after something stressful. I felt like I needed one. I get this way at work, after a couple hours on the line when it's busy. Today, I got that worked up in about five minutes of conducting. I gotta start bringing my pipe to school... not that I have that much free time.


One last sour aftertaste left by the cancellation of 97.1 FM

This morning, Tom Leykis was on KTLA Morning News. I've been a fan of Tom's for a long time now, even bestowing his Leykis 101 wisdom on friends who came to me, looking for advice with girl trouble. Last Friday, when all the shows were having their farewell broadcasts, Frank of Frosty, Heidi & Frank went on a rant about how the all-talk format could've remained if the entire staff had taken a pay cut. According to Frank, everyone agreed to sacrifice their salaries for listener benefit. Everyone except Tom Leykis. Now, it could be a lie, but Frank was pretty emotional when he said what he said. I've been a huge FHF fan for seven years, so I'm happy to give Frank the benefit of the doubt. Tom Leykis didn't budge with his salary, so thousands of fans are suffering from the change of format.

I've been listening to a combination of 88.1 KJAZZ, 95.5 KLOS (Classic Rock), and Kevin & Bean on 106.7 KIIS FM in the morning to make up for the loss of Adam Carolla. Every time I'm in the car, I want to glue my ears shut. Needless to say, I am not much of a fan of Tom's now, considering I'm holding him personally responsible for the loss of my favorite radio station.

Like I was saying, Tom Leykis was on KTLA Morning News this morning. I was half asleep, having not slept through the night, and I heard this familiar voice. I've had this mental picture of Tom for a while now. Older white guy, a little overweight, but not fat looking, with hair cut short and close to the head. DL Hughley had a show called Weekends at the DL where Tom was once a guest, and he matched my mental image. Today, on KTLA, there was this greasy-headed, fat slob, looking every bit of 320 pounds claiming to be Tom Leykis. I didn't listen to a word he had to say. I couldn't get past the image of the blob, dressed in all black and wearing sunglasses, sitting comfortably after the demise of the best thing on LA radio.

Will I be a fan if Tom comes back to the radio? I don't know. His show was always entertaining, albeit repetitive. I'll probably listen, but more in the background than before. This isn't something I have to worry about for a while, though. During his farewell show, he said he'd take a couple years to pursue ventures in other media. That's fine with me. Just give me back Frosty, Heidi & Frank.

Late night insomnia wish list.

Not only am I not asleep at 4 am, I'm wide awake. I've been tired all day, and I'm really not that sleepy now. Tomorrow doesn't bode well. That said, I've been on Amazon.com, and I found a bunch of shit I want that I can't afford:

Futurama: Bender's Game

Futurama: Into The Wild Green Yonder

Venture Bros Season 3 (out on March 24th)

3 Joker Graphic novels/TPBs:
-The Joker
-Batman: The Killing Joke
-The Joker: Greatest Stories Ever Told

Breakfast of Champions


The 15 minute rule is in effect

Percussion methods was canceled tonight, since our professor was a no show. If it were Tuesday or Thursday, I'd be pissed, but this gives me time to bone up for my 6pm class. I thought about shooting some stick in the student union, but discretion ended up being the better part of valor. I'm in the library, studying. And blogging.... ¡Preocupate por tí!

Second Wind

After my "nap" during my last class, I managed to gain a second wind. Now let's see if I have enough energy to go move my car before my 445 class.

It's official: Sinus Infection.

I'm at school, fuckin' dying, having just been diagnosed an hour ago. I want to go home and sleep and forget my whole day. I'm hoping my antibiotics and Mucinex D all kick in pretty soon, or I'm gonna hit the ol' dusty trail.


No te preocupes por mí, preocupate por tí.

I love Spanish. I wish I could speak more of it than the kitchen Spanish I already know. The guys like to have fun with me, taking the things I say in English, and translating them, maybe less accurately than it should be, into Spanish. Tonight, we translated one of my very favorite sayings:

Don't worry about me, worry about your damn self.

Maybe the damn was left out in the Spanish version, but it's still fun for me to say.

Tonight was one of the better nights I've had in a while. Friday and Saturday were each a fiasco in their own right. Saturday was a thousand times worse than Friday. Tonight was nearly a walk in the park. Now, I'm home with a horrid sinus infection, watching the last half of tonight's Big Love, and now Flight of the Conchords, looking forward to rereading Secret Warriors, Nick Fury: Agent of Nothing. I'm feeling rested for the first time in a few days. Willy is laying with me, too. I'm pretty content.

I go back to school tomorrow. It feels like I've been away for weeks. I have nine class meetings during the week (six classes, three of them meet twice a week), but last week, I only had three of my nine class meetings. I feel out of the loop. I'm ready to get back to business.

This week, I have to begin learning the guitar (thanks, Ryan), get my tenor repaired and practice that, do a moderate composition assignment, along with reading for three classes, and a moderate writing assignment. Concern is appreciated, but don't worry about me, preocupate por tí.


97.1 FM Changed Format Yesterday

In a devastating maneuver to save money, the new owner/program director of 97.1 changed format from talk to Top 40 yesterday at 5pm. Over Thursday & Friday, all the shows were saying their good-byes, Adam Carolla, Frosty, Heidi & Frank, Leykis, & Tim Conway Jr. I've been a loyal listener to all of those shows, and that station as a whole since 2002, so 7 years after I became a fan, the plug gets pulled.

I got in my car last night after work expecting to hear the inane jabber of the usual Friday night talk show (I still love it), when I was surprised to hear I wanna make up right now now now by Akon. It's about as good of a song as the title suggests. If you haven't heard it, go to iTunes as soon as you're done with this blog. If you blow your brains out after hearing it, I wanted you to at least have read this blog first.


Man v. Food, my most guilty pleasure

On the Travel Channel, my new favorite show is called Man v. Food. I cannot stop watching this show. I come home from work or school, and I pray the fine programmers at the Travel Channel decided to run all the episodes that night. I can't get enough of it. This guy, Adam Richman, is a trained actor, not a chef, and he goes around the country, attempting food challenges. Tonight's episode brought him to Orochan Ramen in LA to eat their Special #2 Ramen, an extremely spicy ramen. The tag line for these challenges is always "thousands have tried, but only a few have completed the challenge." I think Paul from Aikido told me about this place a couple years ago. Anyway, Adam goes back into the kitchen to see how it's made, then he has his crack at eating every little bit of noodle, veg, & broth out of what looks like a 64 oz. bowl (at minimum). Watch the episode to see if he can stomach the heat or not. Such a good show, though. It makes me think about how little I really get out there and eat. I would love to take up an eating challenge! We'll see. Maybe someday I'll make it to Orochan. Of course, I don't know what I'd do when I get there. No ramen for Jeffy...

It's not the vegetables I'm worried about...


If anyone has a tenor sax they aren't using...

Why, oh why, didn't I learn saxophone from Justin when I lived with him? I have to learn Tenor for my woodwind class, and the instrument I have from school is a piece of junk. I'm going to see if I can trade it in today for a better one, or at least get it tuned up. I'm hating it less than I initially did, but it's still frustrating. Who the hell would play an instrument with so many variables that literally affect EVERYTHING?! Reed thickness, reed quality, reed age, mouthpiece, pad sealing, pad quality/repair, spring action, neck angle, cork repair, amount of mouthpiece in mouth, ligature (holds reed to mouthpiece).


That, and a box of reeds costs almost as much as a middle of the road mouthpiece for trombone ($45 @ ABI). Reeds also have a finite use, that is to say, they need to be replaced every so often. Also, you buy a box of 10 reeds, maybe 2-3 are usable, maybe 1-2 of those are great. The rest are trash. Literally 70% of the reeds you buy, you can't use due to quality. If I spent $120 on a trombone mouthpiece, I'd have it for the rest of my life, and it'd be fantastic!


Trapped in the basement

I'm stuck in the basement of the educational classroom building for a lesson on technology. My homework is done. And I'm ready to learn! (so tired!)


Red Sox opener postponed for Passover?

I don't know if the story is true, but it's a good one, nonetheless.

Uncle Harv forwarded this to me via email:

Red Sox Opener Postponed For Passover

Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein, announced that the Boston Red Sox home opener will be postponed to April 14, to avoid the eight days of Passover. He noted that because three of his starters were also Jewish, as were many of his box seat holders, he was forced to make this change in scheduling.

The non Jews in Boston are enraged at Epstein's decision. The protests are being tendered to the Commissioner of Baseball's office in protest; however, Bud Selig, Commissioner of Baseball, will not be able to address these protests, mainly due to a scheduling problem caused by the family Seders he and Mrs. Selig will be attending.
Also unable to attend the opener, were former Vice-President, and Mrs. Al Gore, who will be unavailable to be at the opener, as they will be attending the Seder at Al Gore's son-in-law's home.
Bill and Hillary Clinton, also at Seder at the home of their daughter's "steady."
Further, former Mayor of New York City. Rudy Guiliani, whose wife will be busy preparing their Seder will also not be in attendance at the "opener."

I'm so proud of my Jewish people!


I should be in bed...

I know it's early to go to bed (midnight), but do you ever have one of those days where you just can't get the day out of your head, and you can't get to sleep because of it? Not that anything terrible happened today, I just had enough stuff happen to where I can't shut my brain off. I'm tired, but not sleepy. We're playing this Dvořák tune in conducting, and I can't stop hearing the thematic material in my head. Also, we sang kids tunes all night in my Music & Child Development. And Secret Warriors #1 is fucking sweet (I read too many Brian Bendis comics every month).


Week 2 of Semester 2

Last week, I was completely overwhelmed with what I need to get through this semester. Now that I've made it through the first week, I think I've got a handle on it. I spent every available minute yesterday working myself to exhaustion (literally) to get my homework done for my nighttime class last night. I came home from work Sunday night at 1030 and spent a solid 90 minutes with Dawn. Some of the only time we had to spend together during the week, by the way. At midnight, when she went to sleep, I began one of my several paper due, which I fought til 2 am to get a start on. I fell asleep with my laptop on my lap, and forced myself to go to bed at 2. At 6, I woke up to a sick puppy. Willy's having some kind of stomach issue right now. So up at 6 and class til 8pm, with no breaks. Now that I got through it, I think I can handle it. I just need to get my work done for Wednesday. Which is a lot.


All you (I) need is...

Kinda got into it with a security guard tonight. My way out of the mall was locked up, so I had to go a different way. I couldn't drive out the way I normally do, either. Granted, it's the wrong way, but there's never any cars at midnight. He, in his SUV, stopped me, so I got frustrated and (intentionally) squealed my tires, turning around to go the "right way." He tried to pull me over. Remember: security guard, not police. I didn't pull over. I went home. He kept pace until the TBN compound, when he turned around. Our night has come full circle. I was pissed when I got home. Dawn left a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup on the table for me, and Willy was happy to find his best buddy. A little love was nice to come home to. Now, I've officially mellowed out to a little Flight of the Conchords, though I think a beer is in order. My first since my kidney stone.


3 blogs in 1 day! Lucky You!

My Literacy class ended 80 minutes early, so guess what! Yep, bored again. No class for 2 more hours. Time to get that 1st-day-back homework done.

Bored out of my gourd.

If this is how this semester is gonna go, I'm going to go crazy. My conducting class ended early by at least an hour, which gave me a 2 hour and 15 minute break. I burned 15 of it thinking I only had an hour until my next class. Oh, no. 2 hours. I registered for the school gym, ate lunch, read, and I'm blogging again, because I want to just curl up and fall asleep, I'm so bored. It'll be nice when I actually have homework to do, cause I can work on that stuff when I have breaks, or when I buy workout pants and shoes, I can go do that. Or maybe even practice trombone. I need Willy to get a video phone so I can play with him over the camera on the school's Macs, which I am now taking pictures of myself with. That solved the boredom issue for a few minutes.

1st hour back at school

I thought the atrocities of the parking structure and bookstore would be too much to bear, so I got here very early. An hour ago. Found a covered, non-roof parking spot, I bought my books, I got the info about a class I may have to take on Wednesday nights, and I have 30 minutes til class starts. I am bored already.

I thought I might have to take more classes than I'm currently enrolled in, including class piano (CSUF's standards are way beyond UCI's), and Music & Child Development. I should take that one, but it'll screw my Wednesday nights completely, so I'm undecided. We'll see. I'm enrolled in 9 units right now, and that seems like a cop-out compared to last semester's 10 units. Piano is another 2, and that other is 3 units, which would take me to 14. That seems like a lot, especially with working 5 days a week. But I chose to go back to school. Friends, it looks like I'll be a hermit for another 5 months. Sorry. Except maybe Aikido on Fridays...


For the first time, I passed a kidney stone today.

It started as little more than dull pain and discomfort around 930a, and slowly got worse by the time the pain was in full effect at 1p. I can't describe the pain well, except it feels like someone punched me and never took their fist away. I went to work, thinking the pain would go away, and it never did. I said to the managers on duty that I was in excruciating pain and needed to leave, and they were compliant. I'm glad I didn't get out of there a minute later than I did. I called the doctor and was displeased with the amount of help I received from them.

"Well, Doctor isn't available now. Can it wait for tomorrow?"
"How bad is the pain?"
I was at back and forth between 2 (out of 10) and 5 this morning. Now, it's an 8 and rising.
"Oh, ok. Let me take some notes and get them to the doctor. Call back in 45 minutes.

30 minutes, I thought I was going to pass out (but never did) from the pain. I called the doc, who got on the phone right away. Told me my two options were to do go to the hospital, get an X-ray or CT scan and pass the stone, or pass the stone myself and call the doc and tell him what happened. I decided to go with the hospital. My dad was here (at my request) so he took me, and I was doubled over in the car, moaning and groaning in pain. We pulled up to the emergency area, I stepped out of the car, and the pain went away. Are you kidding me? 4 total hours of slowly-building agony to not even be seen by any nurse? I felt like a liar. The triage nurse was nice. It was the concensus that my stone had passed and staged itself for urination. I was in the ER bed, and they asked for a urine sample. When I went to fill it, my stone dove for freedom into the room's toilet. It sank like a... well... and I fished it out with latex gloves and put it in a sample cup.

The stones that were broken up during my lithotripsy two Decembers ago were 10 mm x 8 mm, and 8 mm x 6mm. This one was significantly smaller. 2 mm x 2 mm. Maybe 3 mm x 2mm. According to the staff, that was a HUGE stone. I didn't think so, but it hurt like Hell and fucked up the first 1/2 of my day.

I'm home now, and I'm fine. A little worn out, though. The beautiful Dawnie PP is cooking a delicious comfort food dinner for me. Pasta & garlic bread. Stoked!


A little recognition

I've been going through phases at work where I feel less than appreciated, like I'm left out of the managerial loop. I recently was asked to write an email to an upset guest after we took her favorite item off the menu:

From: Troubled Guest
Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2009 3:32 PM
To: Comments
Subject: Comment - Green Chile Barbacoa Enchiladas


Yesterday, I had lunch with a friend at your Costa Mesa, CA location. I always, always, always order the green chili pork enchiladas, as they are my absolute favorite item on the menu and the ONLY reason why I eat lunch or dinner at Z's.

I was disappointed to learn that the green chili pork enchiladas, have been taken off the menu and replaced with green chili barbacoa enchiladas. I decided to try the barbacoa enchiladas and I was extremely disappointed in not only the enchiladas, but the green chili rice and black beans. I was used to getting other side dishes with the green chili pork enchiladas and wasn't expecting black beans and rice and apparently, that was my fault for not reading the menu more closely. Regardless, I was disappointed in the taste, the presentation and the combination of the three items. Needless to say, I will not be back for lunch or dinner.

I do frequent [Z's] for happy hour and may return, but definitely not for lunch or dinner. Your cornbread is the best I've ever tasted!

Upset Customer

"Jeff, take care of this," I was told. So I wrote the nicest email I could muster.
From: Jeff
Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2009 5:59 PM
To: Troubled guest
Subject: Z's

Troubled Guest,

Please accept our sincerest apologies in regard to your previous visit to our store. The Green Chile Pork Enchiladas was a popular dish among our regulars, and much to the dismay of many, we removed that item from the menu during our last menu change. You may be surprised to learn that, although we no longer have the item on our menu, we still do have all of the ingredients on hand to make the dish the way you prefer it, including the appropriate side salad, instead of green chile rice & black beans. You would have to order it by special request, but it’s an easy request that we would be more than happy to accommodate.

Please reconsider your position on coming back to us for lunch or dinner, so we can make right the unfortunate meal you had last time. It would be my pleasure, and the pleasure of the entire management staff, to take care of your next order of green chile pork enchiladas. Please call us ahead of time at (***) ***-****, so we can reserve a nice spot in our dining room for you.

On behalf of the management staff, thank you for your understanding, and we hope to see you very soon.


We forwarded it to Deborah in marketing at the home office, because the complaint came by way of her. Here's what she had to say:
From: Deborah (Head of Marketing)
Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2009 6:06 PM
To: South Coast
Subject: FW: Z's


This is a great letter. It truly is one of the nicest and most sincere letters I’ve seen. And thanks for the quick response!

She then forwarded it to Steven, our company's COO, and the guy that signs our checks.
From: Steven
Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2009 5:09 PM
To: South Coast
Subject: FW: Z's

Jeff- Thank you for the professional and caring response to this guest. This is an example of living the Journey. Much appreciated. See you soon. S

"The Journey" is our company's philosophy, in the form of a little handbook with our ideals. I even received a section in this week's newsletter about how happy this woman was with how the situation was handled. I wanted a little bit of a smile back from this company I dedicate my time and energy to, and it really reaffirmed my enjoyment of this job.


Guess who has a 4.00 GPA now? Me!

In my frustration about my 'A-' in the online class this semester, I emailed my professor, just to see how far away I was from a true 'A.'

Subject: EDSC 320 Grade (quick question)


I earned an A- in your class with 362 out of 390 points, which is 92.8%. If you don't mind my asking, how far away was I from an 'A,' without the minus?

I just received this reply:

Jeffrey- Sorry for not getting back to you sooner- I wanted to investigate a few things. First of all my apologies- you should have earned an 'A' not an 'A-.' Anything below 360 earned an 'A-.' With that said I have submitted all of the paperwork for a grade change and it should go through within the next week.

Thanks for understanding and calling this to my attention. I wish you luck and success in the spring semester.


I'm so stoked! This is my first semester ever with straight A's! And if I wasn't so pissed off about missing a 4.0 by nine tenths of a point, I would have never known.


Vonnegut blog

I am fortunate enough to own eight of his books. I've read seven of them, in this order:

  1. Cat's Cradle
  2. Slaughterhouse Five
  3. Sirens of Titan
  4. God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater
  5. Timequake
  6. Player Piano
  7. Galàpagos (Just finished)

Dawn's Grandma bought me Armageddon in Retrospect for xmas, which was published posthumously by his son. I think I'm gonna start on that one soon.

What I've noticed so far is that these books really don't have endings; that is to say, they just happen to come to an end at that particular time. Sirens of Titan definitely ends when it ends, but Slaughterhouse Five ends in the middle. Read it for it to make sense. Cat's Cradle, still in my top 2 on this list, if I had to rate them. Galàpagos is interesting in that the narration leaves very little to surprise. There is quite a bit of allusion to what takes place later in the book. Also, there are characters, names of characters, and locations that appear, in one way or another, in all of the books. If you haven't read any of them, do yourself a favor. I wasn't sure where to start, so I used this list, from his Wikipedia page.


I wrote this and blogger wouldn't post. I finished Armageddon in Retrospect yesterday (1/20/9) and I'm onto another author's book before Breakfast of Champions gets here.


3.91 GPA. How pissed am I about nine tenths...

Fall Semester 2008

Dept/No Course Title Unts GR GP
EDSC 310 Teaching Exper:Particip 3.0 A 12.0
EDSC 320 Adolescence 3.0 A- 11.1
MUS 281B Orch Instruments:Brass 1.0 A 4.0
MUS 281S Orch Instruments:String 1.0 A 4.0
MUS 382A Instrumental Conducting 2.0 A 8.0

Enrolled Earned GPA-Units GRD-PT Acad-GPA GPA
Term 10.00 10.00 10.00 39.10 3.91
CSUF 10.00 10.00 10.00 39.10 3.91
Total 10.00 10.00 10.00 39.10 3.91