The Birthday Pants

This year I purchased two pair of dress pants for myself as a gift for my birthday. As I am a very impatient shopper, I didn’t try the pants on in the store. Instead, I went by the size that I thought was current for me. Dress pants are usually looser to wear anyway, aren’t they?


Well, to my shock and amazement, when I tried on the pants at home the next day, I found both pair of pants to be uncomfortably tight around the waist and the thighs. Had I really increased that much in size since the last time I was measured for pants? And, how long ago was that, anyway?

The next day, i dug out the receipt from the store and drove back to the store to return the pants, or at least exchange them for a larger size. However, upon arriving, I found I couldn’t exit the car. It dawned on me that to accept the continual increase in my waste size is to admit defeat in both my health and self-image. I could not let that continue. Size 36 is the wall, the line, the frontier that cannot be breached.


So I got back in the car, returned home, and hung the pants back on the shelf. Immediately I began to make revolutions to begin losing that belly fat. I don’t want to just say “lose weight”, because during the course of my personal program, I might become leaner, but more dense. That simple number on the scale is not always a good indicator of progress. The success factor is that I will be able to fit into those pants easily and comfortably in a matter of months. And I’m not going to stop there – after that, I want to take those pants to the tailor and ask them to take them in a bit.

So I’ve started the diet this week – I’m actually using the Nutrisystem program that Marie Osmond advertises (gosh, I still have such a crush on her!). The food is pretty good, but more importantly, it will help to control portion size, which might be one of my bigger issues. I’m going to see if I can all but cut out alcohol. And I’ll be supplementing the program with extra protein bars and shakes to be able to make it throught the accompanying gym visits. I’m using the fitness tracking apps available to me, and making a concerted effort to record calorie intake. I’ve not resorted to a personal trainer yet, but I will need to get my body-fat measured to see what can be done about that.

More to report in the near future…

Doctor’s Orders

Ugh. Surgery. Well, that actually wasn’t so bad, as I was out before they started shaving my stomach (for which I’m trying determine the best course of action to remedy – shave my entire chest to make it even out? Ok, I digress…), and the hospital stay wasn’t too bad either, as I bolted out of there as soon as the doctor nodded her head. Ok, by “bolted” I meant: “wheeled to the front door as fast as a nurse could walk”.

But it’s the bed-ridden part that starts to wear on me really fast. Initially, you want all the drugs and other internal additives cleared out of your system, and there’s that overwhelming sense of fatigue. After a few days, that passes, but now everyone has cleared out, and you’re home alone quickly becoming bored with the line-up on Netflix, Amazon, Crackle, and all the rest. Doctor’s Orders and a stupid flat tire that fixing would undo much of the surgeon’s work prevents you from getting in your car. The Blu-Ray collection you were once wondering when you were ever going to view is now morphing into a chore. It’s a similar theme with some long-ago-purchased games and books. Now that I have the time, I’m not interested in them.

The upside is: I have my faithful friend by my side (as long as there’s pizza crust left)…

Perhaps it’s a lingering effect of the pain medication which I use to ward off the abdominal, or more to my fears, it is instead one of the indicators of growing older (or post-physical crisis) where the spirit begins to deem to leave more things behind. Human interaction has been nil since being abandoned with the exception occasional phone calls and text messages. Music is still a pleasure, both old and new discoveries. Maybe that’s a clue for me to challenge the mind a more, as being home alone can dull the noggin the same way that doctor’s orders to stay out of the gym is dulling my pecs, lats and quads.

As a “warm-up” excercise, I started reviewing my back-log of “saved links” in Pocket. I was flabbergasted by how much I’d tucked away. After several hours, I had moved almost half the links to “reference” storage or actually read and deleted them. I think it worked: I picked up a few new ideas for productivity (more on that later), fitness, awareness training, and other areas. Next, I think I’ll start the “big sort” of the paper and other items that have erected a tower on my home desk since we downsized workspaces in the office last month.

A New Year and Whatever

A new year has come upon us, and I find myself experiencing a sense of urgency for no particular purpose or reason. Here is this urge to write, but I really have nothing about which to write. It’s like getting a new rod and reel but being nowhere near the water; you want to flick your wrist, but there’s nothing to reel back in. However, I will start going to the motions anyway as I am sure I will find myself by the waters before I know it.


There’s always the promise of the New Year, but I’m really not sure what it’s supposed to be this time around. Yeah, I’m going to try and get in better physical shape, I’m going to try to learn some new skills, and maybe dive a little bit deeper into my current interests, but I’m doing that every year. There’s nothing really exciting and new that I can foresee on the horizon, and that distresses me a little bit. The distress arises from that suspicion that maybe that this is all there is. Experience tells me otherwise, but there is still that nagging.

Let me clarify, there’s nothing good that I can foresee on the horizon – there are plenty of ominous events lurking about the radar screen. I’m currently trying to determine which ones I should evade and which I need to tackle head-on. My natural tendency is avoidance, but my reward for that behavior is a growing feeling of cowardice. I’m not seeking confrontation, but I’m learning more and more that sometimes the direct path is the best.

There are lots of other thoughts in my head I’m working on sorting out. Fragments of plans, ideas, philosophies, and beliefs. Like an attic that’s running out of space, my brain is filling up and needs to be organized. Some thoughts need to be put to the curb, and others need to be restored. If you choose to follow along, you might even get to see the yard sale. Sometimes it will be abstract, sometimes personal, or perhaps instructional, but at least I hope to make it interesting for you.

Until the next time…

I Can Read!

Ok, to clarify, that doesn’t mean that I just learned how to read.  Instead, I’m proclaiming that I finished a bona-fide BOOK.  Start-to-finish.  No, it was not the first book that I ever read, but, it was the first non-reference, non-graphical, non-audio book that I completed in what seems a long long time.


Up until now completing any type of book that wasn’t assigned to me for occupational reasons seemed a distant goal.  I began acquiring a collection of books borrowed, bought, and gifted which slowly transitioned into a backlog.  One day I was hit with the depressing realization that I had not read a complete non-technical/tutorial book start-to-finish in a number of years.  The beginnings of this trend are unclear to me, but reasons started to become apparent: my attentions began to be pulled in a multitude of directions. Not all of these are negative – I’m a father, and I have more responsibilities at work – but there are more nefarious ones as well: too many digital distractions, gadgets to play with, and other less admirable uses of my time.  Audiobooks became a regular habit for my commute and long-distance drives, but I simply fell out of the practice of reading text for pleasure.

It took an act of will – I had to find a text that (1) I would actually be interested in, (2) was not too long, and (3) was available on Kindle.  Otherwise the book would be placed on a shelf and inconveniently forgotten before too long.  Criteria #3 was necessary for me as I would already have the Kindle software closely available to me on a multitude of devices.  Number 2 works to accommodate my shortened attention span, and #1 should speak for itself.

(Just for reference, the book I chose was Stewart Copeland’s Strange Things Happen.  It was an entertaining, if not quite comprehensive, retrospective of Copeland’s life and endeavors both inside and outside the Police.  Personally, I would have liked a bit more detail on items to which I’m more personally attached such as the Equalizer soundtrack story and some more of the final days of the Police, but I’m sure that’s been covered quite thoroughly in other publications and forums.)   

The next step was to actually set aside time to read – that meant no movies, no games, no television.  I chose bedtime as that seemed to be when I could be the most consistent with my behavior.  Also with the Kindle, I started building the habit of reading whenever I found myself in a situation with nothing else to do such as during air travel, waiting rooms, and so forth.  It really took a few weeks to become regular on the process, but buy that time, I surprisingly found myself at the end of the book.  One feature I like with the Kindle is that it’s easier to make yourself oblivious to your progress through the book.

So now I’m getting ready to start on Book Number 2.  I already have a few candidates lined up.  Should I go with a piece of science fiction (one of my guiltier pleasures) or a biography of a historical figure?  It’s a really a good and exciting feeling to have these choices to make again!

Why is There Not A Good WP App for Mac?

I don’t get it. I’ve found two decent WordPress apps for iOS (for just a few bucks), but I have yet to find a reasonably priced OSX app with the same feature set. Maybe I’m not searching hard enough. But I’m still VM’ing a Windows session of Live Writer to put things together, which just doesn’t seem to jibe with my perceptions of Apple products and creativity. Let me know if you know of a good and decently priced WP app for Apple.

Why Blog?


Ok.  So I was going through my monthly bills, and one I pay is for web hosting for this blog.  I’ve rarely posted anything in the past year, and I started to wonder if it was worth it to keep it going.  Then I started to ask myself why I started a blog in the first place.  I mean, beyond my inane postings in Facebook and Twitter, do I really have anything to offer the rest of the world?  Yeah, I have created some reviews of Tangerine Dream albums, and some other items, but I was thinking of moving those off to their own area anyway.

But what I wanted to share here were thoughts, ideas, and discoveries of a more personal nature.  What I found, however, is (1) I’m still not sure I want to share them as I am a very private person, and (2) I’m not really sure how those items would manifest themselves as I’ve not given myself the freedom to explore within and ask myself those questions. 

So what do I do?  Where do I go?  I could run back under cover, delete this post, and move on like the thought had never occurred to me.  But no, I think it’s time to do a little digging, and start working on a little introspection.  It’s high time in my life where I take an inventory of the things that are truly important to me and determine why that is.  Ok, not every nugget I find will be philosophical gold, and I do reserve the right to keep the really personal stuff under wraps, but at least I hope to make it interesting and worth your time to read the highlights along my journey.

Oh, and the Tangerine Dream reviews and the more esoteric things will soon have homes of their own, so if you’re looking for those things here, I’ll soon have pointers for them. 

Happy New Year!

I’ve made a short list of New Years goals this time around – they may seem less ambitious, but I think it gives me a lot of room for improvement!

My Goals for 2012:

1. Learn Something

2. Lose Something

3. Do Something

4. Fix Something

5. Stop Doing Something

6. Start Doing Something

7. Discover Something

That’s it! I’ll get started right away! Happy New Year!

Greetings from Vilnias

My wife brought this beer back from her home country. Gotta admit: it’s very sweet – almost too sweet for my tastes. But I certainly appreciate the gift and the effort to get it here.

I wonder: if they made a beer called “Washington Beer”, would anyone find it appealing? More or less so than, say, “Old Milwaukee”?

Back to the Land of Confusion


Okay, so it’s been a while since I’ve contributed anything to my own blog.  I know that’s a little sad.  Also a little ironic considering how much stuff has been going on “up here” [tapping brain].  Work, parenthood, and all have been real adventures, but I’ve not taken the time to perform a mental inventory and determined what select cuts I’d like to share with my friends and followers.  More and more I feel I need to do that – not necessarily because it would be interesting, but mainly because I need to park it somewhere else before either I get filled beyond capacity or it gets lost in the shuffle.  Also I’ve been inspired by such great bloggers such as James Lileks who make it seem so easy.  I know it’s not, but you never know how these things are going to turn out.

There are some topics and areas that I would really like to spin off into discussions of their own.  Those bloggers I admire always state that it is best to keep your posting onto specific subjects, and not “scattershot” everything you may know and love into one place – so I’m working on that, too.  The plan is to keep this place for the more personal commenting, and take the reviews and more geeky topics to other homes.

I’m trying to use less and less Facebook, and not just for the privacy issues – I really don’t feel it’s best to bring the full load of laundry to that forum and lay it out.  It’s more how I’ll catch up with others’ goings-on (or is it going-ons?) and quick pokes here and there.  I’m trying to divert the creativity here when I can.  Twitter is always fun, but obviously the constraints of the medium don’t allow for much depth.

Also gonna experiment with new posting tools – so if a one-paragrapher pops into my head while waiting in line at the Costco, I might be able to get it up before it gets knocked out trying to recall what flavor of gelato I was supposed to bring home. 

Kind of feels like going back to a town where I used to live – let’s see how long I stay this time.  <wink>


The Ricochet Gatherings were a series of electronic music “mini-festivals” that were held in various locations in the U.S. and Europe over the past decade.  The first three Gatherings were held in the Okeefenokee Swamp, and it was at the third one in 2002 that I met “Boombox” Dave.  Dave was brave enough to venture across the Atlantic Ocean with his wife to meet up with other EM-heads to listen to some unique music in a very isolated location with other kindred spirits.  He was always helping out with the setup and the “chores” and keeping us “connoisseurs” and the musicians entertained with his stories and humor.

The following year’s Gathering was in the Mojave Desert at Nipton, California (Fallout players will recognize the name), and Dave was again in attendance with that twinkle in his eye and a humorous quip on his tongue.   During the trip, I was fool enough to break a bone in my foot, and had to spend the last couple of days in a cast and with crutches.  While I don’t recall the exact details of the conversations, I do remember Dave sitting with me and telling me a heroic tail of his making a journey in a delivery truck in London to help keep my mind off the injury.  He also offered to get me a stiff drink or two to help take the edge off when the meds started to wear off. 


Nipton was my last RG attendance, but I would always hear updates of the following Gatherings, and how Dave played an important part in each of those.  There were also the group emails from his wife, Marion detailing their move to Spain and all the projects Dave undertook in getting their new home fixed up.

Dave passed away this week – electronic music lost one of it’s biggest fans, and many of lost a good friend.  Farewell, Boombox.  Keep it playing loud up there, will ya?