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Monthly Archives: May 2012

iJon update

As my iPhone has become more integrated with daily life I have found myself looking for less new functions and streamlining usage of most others.

The only app I have added recently is The Weather Channel app.  I am not sold on it yet.  It is free, so I guess I shouldn’t complain too much, however it lags like I am trying to online game over a 56k connection.  It hangs up like the internet when AOL was king.   It has some features that the default weather app doesn’t- a more extensive forecast and assorted other features I have never considered using- Social and Video.

I am still Streaking for the Cash.  I had a few good runs for the month, but when I got to 8 wins instead of adopting a “one solid play a day wins” approach I was picking a match up every time one was available.  It is a fun exercise, but even with access available 24/7 I can’t imagine how people pick enough games to compete for most wins in a month.  I had 54 for May.  The winner had 118. Perhaps June is my month…

All the games bore me.  I have Angry Birds, but that is for my daughter. She loves the game.  I downloaded a few free ones, but none of them hold my interest, which I am actually grateful for.  I have enough “Oh look, shiny” moments without adding more glowing objects distracting me.

I enjoy the USA Today app… mostly because it was the only free total access newspaper app I have found to this point. I already spend enough money and while I won’t bootleg codes to get access to other sites I will gladly consume what free news media I can get on my phone.  I just wish I could filter it to the areas I regularly read.

The greatest boon remains the camera.  While I am still poor at taking good shots (and admittedly the camera itself has short comings on the iPhone3) it still beats the extra purchase of a new digital camera at the moment.  I get many candid shots and lose an equal amount due to my aforementioned ineptitude in photography.

It serves as an ever present iPod at work- save when I am conducting interviews. It really earns its keep there. Between music and pod casts I have plenty of ways to enhance the sometimes repetitive grind that is office work.

 

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Posted by on 05/31/2012 in iJon

 

To My Daughter

To this day when you want to express a superlative you say “100” sometimes:  – How much fun was that?  – *arms outstretched to the point of your shoulder blades touching* 100!  It is not like it was from four to five, but it still sneaks its way in.  Tonight while playing Sorry I looked at you and had one of those special moments where I take in how much you have grown.

You went back and forth on whether you wanted to get your ears pierced and in a rare moment you confided in me “That this weekend may be the one”.  It is a rare instance where I was allowed to sub for your Mother in the confidant role.  I will always cherish it and while I would welcome it with open arms, I recognize that hallowed ground as your thing.

You have a kindness about you that is innate.  It is to a level where our parental influence we could coax it, help you in growing it, but it is not teachable.  I pray that you hold onto it and use it to better others lives as well as your own.

I watch you with your brother and you are pure joy as an  older sister.  The almost six year gap may be helpful, but you transitioned to a helpful and loving sister from the day you met him in the hospital.  At the time you were holding onto your two front upper baby teeth like you were in the running for Cletus (Cletyana?) in a stage version of The Simpsons.

I wish that Thanksgiving when I had to remove them could remain my hardest moment as a parent, though I would guess that is impossible.  It  was heart wrenching though. Through tears and spitting up blood, despite the fact that I was the guy who twisted the teeth out, you wanted me to console you.  Bittersweet defined.

You are athletic and when you love something “again” is out of your mouth before the first attempt is over.  I bet I could spend a whole evening pushing you on the swing out back.  Maybe we should try that sometime soon.

Your artistic talent already surpasses where I made it to in totality- to be fair that wasn’t very far.  You have a true talent.  When you took your Mother’s pastel, removed the wrapper and used the long surface to texture the drawing I was in awe.  My wrappers only came off because I broke the crayon. We know you received your gift via your Mom (or recessive from me) and I will do my best to encourage you to continue to grow in it.

You are quite the little feminist. I admire that about you.  Every stuffed animal is a she.  You would think I have learned this by now, but I still stumble from time to time. They all have names and any of your bedtime accoutrements even have places. Currently I am not allowed to talk to them. You run over if it looks like I am, snatch them off the bed. It is a fun game and you often laugh that full laugh of yours.

You have a sharp sense of humor, at times too sharp for your own good. Sorry.  I will do my best to help you reign it in when necessary. You pick up on jokes fairly quickly and are getting really good at telling a few yourself.  You have come a long way from creating knock knock jokes that go nowhere.

You are the pickiest eater I have ever known.  It is a struggle to get a balanced diet in you.  You hate sauces(though we have made inroads with a table spoon of red sauce), don’t care for many vegetables, chicken is the only often repeated protein and noodles may be your second most used word after again.  You never turn down a good cheese stick (twisties rule!) and I believe you and carbohydrates have a magnetic connection. You are getting better though. Try as I might to be authoritative, I am always amused at you eating 1/2 of a new menu item only to turn to us and say “I don’t like it”.

You brighten my day every time I think about you.  When I see you my heart sings. You are a ray of hope and energy that makes my life fuller. Thank you for being my best little friend (female edition) and most importantly, being you.

Love always,

Dad

 
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Posted by on 05/30/2012 in Weekapaug Groove

 

Jay Mascis

I wasn’t familiar with Dinosaur Jr. until I started dating my then future wife. I was looking through her CD collection and I happened upon two Dinosaur Jr. albums- Green Mind and Where You Been.

I should really thank my Father-In-Law for my introduction to the band. The two discs were BMG choices he made without her knowledge. Thank you Ted!

While I enjoyed Green Mind, Without a Sound and Farm my favorite album by far is Where You Been.

The first song on the album is Out There. The guitar on the song is kind of crunchy to start and the church bells late in the song are genius. His wailing of the refrain is poignant and genuine.

 

I will take a moment to mention the reason for this post being named Jay Mascis and not just Dinosaur Jr. Jay is the primary lyricist and even at times the only person putting the music together. Save Where You Been during the course of Dinosaur Jr.’s major label run he performed most of the instruments.

Now onto more melancholy goodness that is Dinosaur Jr. 1994’s Without a Sound spawned one of their hits – Feel the Pain which had a video that saw heavy MTV rotation.

 

In the video Jay and and another member of the band playing golf around the city of Chicago. Despite its heavy play it never wore on me.

I borrowed the album Farm from the local library. It contains three gems, though I do enjoy the album as a whole.

My absolute favorite on the album (and challenging Out There as favorite Mascis ditty) is Ocean In The Way. I will let the music speak for itself. Excellent song.

 

As are these two- Plans and Said The People are in regular rotation on my playlist.

 

 

 

Dinosaur Jr. has played the Town Ballroom a few times in the last few years. I have yet to indulge in the experience. I hope Jay and company give me a chance to rectify that.

 
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Posted by on 05/30/2012 in Dirt, Weekapaug Groove

 

I find my smiles…

In the course of some e-mail correspondence with a friend she mentioned that I am “so serious sometimes”. I could try and deny it, but it is the grain of truth. I would say it is a heartier grain, an oat perhaps.

I feel it is being a parent more than anything, but the changes in society in the last ten years (probably more 20 years, but I feel it has hastened the last 10) are directly a result of poor communication and a refusal to understand the other sides point of view.

While my paternal instincts are the most likely culprit for my sometimes solemn demeanor I will admit 9/11 has much to do with it as well.

The event itself was shocking and heartbreaking. Equally so was how we reacted to it. For a few weeks it appeared we were going to unite and better ourselves as a nation. Even Congress pledged to work toward more unity, once thought to be a sign of the impending Apocalypse. At the end of those fairy tale weeks it was back to a more polarized back biting, cover your own ass selfish America Fuck Yeah approach to society. I think we failed a big litmus test. From the beginning of that turning away I felt so. Not much of what has transpired in the nation since has made me feel otherwise.

I often try to subtly inject the opposing viewpoint into conversation because I believe that is what is most lost these days empathy and consideration. Most often I am of the minority or dissenting opinion I bring forth, but not always. I am not trying to change peoples minds, rather just get them to look at the whole picture.

Our current set of leaders see fit to do nothing to change our course, in fact they are doing nothing at all. Special interests on both sides coupled with severe apathy by the general public have lead to a system that is so corrupt and driven by the interests of lobbyists that we have two people in all of Congress(out of 535) who are not bought and solid by special interests- Representative Ron Paul(TX) and America’s Senator Bernie Sanders (VT).

I have gotten to the point of staying away from politics. I have no real voice in how it goes other than in the voting booth. I am to the point where I am almost ready to vote for anyone who is not an incumbent… almost. If there were a way to take money out of the process or at least strip much of its power I would invest more time into it. That would be unlikely. Oh well, I am serious enough without politics thank you.

I find plenty of smiles, but I will say most are at home, with my family. I have a loving wife who has been my partner for 18 years and wife for 12 this year. I have two adorable children. While we struggle with money at times (Raise your hand if you don’t… where are those hands!) we do our best not to let it define us. We have a roof over our head and are not hungry and we laugh often.

I believe much of my seriousness, especially at work is driven by a need to be the opposite of the stereotype of a government worker. I have developed a strong work ethic over the last 15-16 years and it is something I take tremendous pride in. My current job has allowed me to earn a living doing what I learned was so valuable in my youth attending church and Catholic school- being of service to others, especially those in need. Like any job it carries its frustrations. The rewards surpass those negatives incredibly.

Today is a day I need to remember that. I am so removed from the dominate culture at work that I am, surprise, in the minority. So be it, Jedi, or some such pop culture throw away. It was a day that not even my favorite cover song could break open. Some days it is just not meant to be.

 

 

 
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Posted by on 05/29/2012 in Dirt

 

Hmm, what’s in this e-mail junk folder anyway?

I do not relish the pre-junk folder days of my e-mail account.  Navigating through the spam that was often quadruple my “valid” e-mails was a hassle- a first world hassle, but a hassle nonetheless.

I misplaced some bill information and I was looking online for a means to pay it electronically.  The company in questions will be back to me within two days to verify my online account… early aught technology at its finest.

So I went searching into the junk e-mail folder to see if this yet verified response would be lurk in the depths of poorly worded entreaties from Africa (they have to move their fortunes through me, dont’cha know?)  and other phishing expeditions of yesteryear.

What did I find?

  • Various foreign e-mail address offering my beta invitations to World of Warcraft’s latest expansion.  Sad to say when I was working two jobs a few years ago I was actually duped by one of these e-mails.  To be fair the one I feel for must have had an English as Second Language student going over the piece because it contained no errors on first glance. Of course, deconstructing it afterward there were signs I should have caught.  I don’t play the game anymore, nor do I have any interest in continuing.
  • I found an e-mail from the game Aion that was giving me a lecture on how it is illegal to attempt to sell my account.  No wonder I have been having such a hard time selling the account, I don’t have one!  I must have ended up on the sucker’s list on the dark side of the internet.  I would change my e-mail address, but I have had it for 11 years.  I am somewhat attached.
  • One of my favorites here is from Norton- it is a warning that I might not be protected by them and I should update now! Bingo, I am not, nor do I follow such commands from an e-mail! I use a few other products and my bolstered common sense from my earlier mistake with World of Warcraft to maintain a clean computer.
  • I was trying to figure out how I was receiving dating ones for so long.  I am happily married and I don’t visit sites that would put me on such a list, at least, I don’t  think so. After thinking about it I am guessing it might be from advertisements on sites I do visit. Even mousing over some can be detrimental to your spam box from what I have read. I am not sad to see them go, save the amusement of having a Christian Singles e-mail next to one with a more racy subject line.
  • There were no Nigerian money scams in the folder today. I worked with a man who fell for one of these.  While I followed a link that compromised a gaming account I don’t believe I would have ever fallen for something of this scale.  He brought the fake looking check to work one day. We all warned him not to continue.  He lost the undisclosed retainer he sent them and was stuck with a bank fee for the bogus check.

There were a few stores in the mix- I tend to junk box stores that send e-mails with annoying frequency.  I usually just delete the folder a page at a time, once the numbers get to the hundreds.  Perhaps we will see what gold (or painted rocks) are deposited to this folder another day.

 
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Posted by on 05/28/2012 in Dirt

 

Not bored games for me… yet

I remember the jokes amongst our group of friends on the street I grew up on- “That’s why they call them bored games”.  It was after a few games played or maybe after a few summer evenings of gaming sessions, but I never bought in. I was always up for more games.

I seem to have passed that trait onto my daughter, well, traits- she loves to play games and she also has the habit of saying “again”, whether it be throwing her on the bed, making a goofy face or a tickle attack.  Thankfully she is also compulsively kind.

Tonight we had two games for a resurrection of sorts- Family Game Night. Before her brother was born we played a board game or two every night, with few exceptions. Time becomes constrained. Family Game Night gave way to once a week. Eventually things got hectic enough it was a every once in awhile.  My wife and daughter played some Kinect Dance last night. Tonight  we played a game of Star Wars Trouble and a game of Sorry.

Star Wars trouble is just like regular Trouble except R2D2 is in the bubble along with a six sided die.  If he stands on his two feet it counts as a six no matter what is on the die. There is also a squeaky R2D2 sound effect.  It hurts her ears, so we have yet to play with it on.  I try just about every time we play.

Her development shines in this sort of prism. She used to have a lot of trouble with picking the correct move- be it taking out one of my wife or my pieces or moving her pieces into the safe zone instead of advancing other pawns.  It seems to come easy to her now and the counting for the most part is perfect.  She only makes mistakes when she is not concentrating.

Sorry brings back memories of childhood. We had a Sorry board at my house and it was played often for a period, if memory serves me correct it was right after a Parcheesi craze.  Tonight my daughter was getting hammered back to start.. Sorrys and standard knockouts alike hit her left and right.  My wife was the main offending party.   She took it in stride, only letting out one high pitched squeal.

We played on the back porch.  Many laughs were shared. We watched a clip of the What’cha Gonna Do guy from America’s Got Talent during the festivities.  Ice cream treats were consumed.  It was a fine way to end the family portion of the evening.

This holiday weekend is about honoring those that have given their lives so we can lead ours.  As I sat and laughed with the two favorite women in my life I thought of these soldier’s sacrifices.  It renews my drive to continue to better myself every day, even in small ways. If only everyone took the same lesson.

 
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Posted by on 05/27/2012 in Dirt

 

Baby one out of two ain’t bad

I took out my prognosticating hat for the NHL playoffs- who I am I kidding, I am often found doing such things- and came up with a Cup final of Nashville vs New Jersey.

I was half right about the participants, but Nashville was dominated by the Phoenix Coyotes in a five game series that saw Nashville do something seldom seen in the world these days, let alone the world of sport- they held a standard even though it may have hurt the team.

Alex Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn were suspended for game three of the round (they broke curfew) and while Nashville won the contest coach Barry Trotz sat them again for game four- a 1-0 loss to the Coyotes. Radulov and Kostitsyn are both scorers. I applaud Mr. Trotz for holding the line on accountability, but his carrying the message an extra game may have cost his team a chance to move further.

We have LA vs New Jersey for the finals.  I think LA has the more talented team top to bottom, but I love the story of Brodeur at the end of his run.  He has been a jerk, OK a downright asshole at times, but the story of the older athlete making one final push to glory is always a sell with me.

I am going with my heart on this one, made easier by no longer having an allegiance to the Sabres and pick New Jersey in six.

On an NHL related note, will any team take a chance with a 47 year old Dominator?  I think Hasek would be good for 20 games a year.  He might end up becoming a major headache in the locker room around playoff time though.  If he were in my locker room and he started making noise I would play footage of Darius Kasparitis in 2001 winning game 7 with a flimsy wrister.

Oh yeah, go Bills.

 

 
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Posted by on 05/26/2012 in Gamehenge