Around the world around the world around the world around the world

Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Did any of you see the movie Up in the Air, where George Clooney's character has a goal of flying 10 million miles in his lifetime?

Admittedly, 10 million miles is more than I think I will ever manage, and I'm glad for that! However, the sick person I am, I think a cool million miles is perfectly feasible and reasonable.

On January 17th, somewhere in the skies above Manitoba, Canada, I will have reached the 25% mark of my lofty goal - 250,000 butt-in-seat miles. Slightly over the distance to the moon. That's a lot of sore ass time!

Some interesting facts about my flying time so far:

- I've spent a total of 588 hours (24.5 days) in the air.
- My longest flight in distance is 5,663 miles (Paris to Los Angeles)
- My shortest flight in distance was 106 miles (New York City to Hartford, Connecticut)
- My longest flight in duration was 11 hours and 50 minutes (Salt Lake City to Tokyo)
- My most frequented airports are Atlanta (26 flights) and Paris (16 flights)

(Almost) A Hero's Life

Thursday, November 25, 2010
This evening while walking Goomba in penis-retracting temperatures, I noticed a house whose smoke alarms were going off. I blew it off as somebody burning Thanksgiving dinner and continued walking.

I went around the block where the house was beeping. While on the other side of the block, I could still very faintly make out the smoke alarms still. "Huh," I thought - I would have expected them to be off by now. A bit concerned, I decided to circle the block again.

I arrived at the house in question, and it was obvious there was no one home. I checked out the place and saw no signs of smoke or flames. However just to be sure I called a fire department. After describing the situation, they advised me to call 911 to have an engine sent out from the correct company.

I called 911 and they sent out a truck. I stood by as some fire fighters scoped out the building. They managed to open a window and ......... there was nothing. No smell of smoke. Just a false alarm.

They thanked me for being vigilant and headed off. I did not rescue a family from near death or save a building from destruction this time. But my day to be a hero will come eventually!

It's vacation time!

Monday, November 15, 2010
Have any of you noticed I haven't posted any big trips this year? That's because it's a very late one! All my flights are booked now, so I think I can safely announce that I will be spending nearly four weeks in South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and other surrounding countries!

Since a few of you seem to fret whenever I leave for places unknown, here's my flight itineraries. I'll be checking in as I can to let you know I'm still alive.

December 24
Delta 170
Salt Lake City, UT (SLC) to Paris-DeGaulle, France (CDG)
Departs (SLC) at 05:00pm and
Arrives (CDG) at 11:20am (next day)

December 25
Air France 2310
Paris-DeGaulle, France (CDG) to Hamburg, Germany (HAM)
Departs (CDG) at 03:25pm and
Arrives (HAM) at 04:55pm

(Here I will meet up with my friend Saskia and see Hamburg for a day.)

December 27
KLM 1776
Hamburg, Germany (HAM) to Amsterdam, The Netherlands (AMS)
Departs (HAM) at 06:25am and
Arrives in (AMS) at 07:40am

KLM 591
Amsterdam, The Netherlands (AMS) to Johannesburg, South Africa (JNB)
Departs (AMS) at 10:20am and
Arrives in (JNB) at 10:20pm

(Quick overnight stay in a hotel by the airport.)

December 28
South African Airways 401
Johannesburg, South Africa (JNB) to Port Elizabeth, South Africa (PLZ)
Departs (JNB) at 05:50am and
Arrives in (PLZ) at 07:30am

Here we will rent a car and drive along the southern coast of South Africa over the next several days until we arrive in Cape Town.

January 3
South African Airways 306
Cape Town, South Africa (CPT) to Johannesburg, South Africa (JNB)
Departs (CPT) at 07:00am and
Arrives in (JNB) at 09:00am

Air Botswana 214
Johannesburg, South Africa (JNB) to Kasane, Botswana (BBK)
Departs (JNB) at 11:30am and
Arrives in (BBK) at 01:50pm

Kasane is the gateway to the Okavango Delta, where animals come to drink during the wet season. We will be doing a short safari here, then spending a day driving up to Victoria Falls on the Zambia/Zimbabwe border.

January 7
Air Botswana 213
Kasane, Botswana (BBK) to Johannesburg, South Africa (JNB)
Departs (BBK) at 02:40pm and
Arrives in (JNB) at 05:00pm

From here we will be renting a car and driving east, hitting up game parks in South Africa, Swaziland, and Mozambique.

January 15
Air France 995
Johannesburg, South Africa (JNB) to Paris-DeGaulle, France (CDG)
Departs (JNB) at 08:20pm and
Arrives in (CDG) at 05:55am (next day)

January 16
Air France 1410
Paris-DeGaulle, France (CDG) to Hamburg, Germany (HAM)
Departs (CDG) at 07:30am and
Arrives in (HAM) at 09:00am

(A quick day to drop off Saskia and maybe do some laundry.)

January 17
Air France 2511
Hamburg, Germany (HAM) to Paris-DeGaulle, France (CDG)
Departs (HAM) at 07:25am and
Arrives in (CDG) at 09:00am

Delta 171
Paris-DeGaulle, France (CDG) to Salt Lake City, Utah (SLC)
Departs (CDG) at 10:22am and
Arrives in (SLC) at 02:00pm

Dead Horse Point Trip - The Other 0.5

Thursday, November 11, 2010
On the way home from Arches, my friend Mary was telling me about a ghost town I had never heard of. It was just a short detour on the way home, so why not check it out?

The winter of 1982/1983 was a very wet one, with above average snowpack. A sudden warm spell cause the snow to melt rapidly and caused flooding throughout the Salt Lake City area (which I remember very vaguely). Further south, the mountains around the town of Thistle, Utah were saturated with water, causing the land to slump and destroying almost the entire city.

Today there are just a few random outbuildings and houses remaining.

A few more photos can be found here.

Dead Horse Point Trip - Day 2 + .5

Tuesday, October 26, 2010
After dragging my sorry ass out of my sleeping bag and a tasty breakfast, we continued the scenic drive to Dead Horse Point. We arrived around noon, set up camp in our way-too-small campsite and and cracked open the beers right away.

Later that night we met up with the rangers for an escorted hike through the backside of the point. We learned about all the desert life, most of which you don't see. We were, however, graced with a golden eagle doing a fly-by!

The next morning was the point!

Since Arches National Park was just a few miles outside of Dead Horse Point, we popped down there for a few hours to take a look around.

Does anybody else think that rock in the middle looks like a penis? OK good.

Double Arch

Landscape Arch. From this photo you should deduce that it's better to shoot it during the day than during the evening.

Sadly we did not make it to the famous Delicate Arch - next time! However, we DID make it to an epic burger joint in Moab (whose name I have forgotten), where I had one of the best chili burgers I've had in my life. NOM NOM NOM NOM

There is one more piece to this day I want to post about, but I still need to pull those photos off the camera and see if any turned out.

The other Dead Horse Point photos can be found here, and the Arches photos can be found here.

Dead Horse Point Trip - Day 1

Monday, October 25, 2010
My last blog entry was depressing. Let's hear something happy!

So a few months ago at Pride, I won an auction for an escorted hike to Dead Horse Point. Dead Horse Point is a neat patch of rock in the middle of Utah, near Arches that I would tell you more about, but I'm lazy so just click the damn link if you don't know about it already.

I invited several of my friends who work for eBay (who sponsored the auction), and we all trekked down for a weekend of camping!

The first night was spent in Huntington State Park, about an hour's drive from Dead Horse. The campground was nearly completely empty - only one other person there that I noticed. There was a small lake adjacent to it that proved to be lovely for some photo taking too!

This is also the perfect time to announce that, at long last, I have purchased the 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 lens that I have wanted for so long. This thing is AMAZING. I want to make sweet love to it. I would marry it if I could. But instead of sticking various body parts in it or trying to get a marriage license for it, I think I will settle for an upcoming blog entry about it.

I really like this photo. You have three different light sources - a street lamp off to the left, the full moon, and me shining a flashlight on the tree to the left. I wish I had a better artificial light source, as I would have liked to use a shorter exposure as not to blow-out the moon so much. Still, moonlight provides some interesting pictures.

We went crawdad catching by the lake and were quite successful! However most of them were rather small. This was one of the bigger ones we found.

Behold, the power of an ultra-wide angle lens! Look at all that sky you can squeeze into the photo! Yes, 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5, I do love you!

The rest of the first day can be found here.

Alone in Kyoto Salt Lake City

Saturday, October 23, 2010
When I moved from Suburbia, Utah to downtown, I was looking forward to having quite the busy social life.

It was already fairly busy while I lived in suburbia. I was always heading downtown for concerts, dinner with friends, or random parties. In fact, part of my move was because everything I did was downtown and the 40 minute drive to get out here was miserable.

So, now that I'm downtown, I'm finding myself kind of saddened and a bit surprised that I really don't do anything any more. I'm typing this at 8:30pm on a Saturday night, and all I hear are crickets and the sound of Goomba snoring and farting.

Granted, I did have one invite that I kind of invited myself to, but when you're kind of surly and you have to drive 80 miles to get there and have to work the next day anyway, you find your motivation a bit lacking.

Why has my social life gone to hell all the sudden?

It seems I've encountered a perfect storm. I've lost a few friends who have moved out of state. I've lost a few friends to having kids. I've lost a few friends to relationships. I've lost a few friends to break-ups. I've probably scared a few away with drunken flirting too. It also doesn't help that I have a hairy 140 lb child to take care of.

Tonight seems to be particularly bad. I tried at least writing some music to be somewhat productive, but I couldn't even get a single measure down that I liked.

Is 32 too old to go out and have fun? I'm starting to feel more and more like a homebody, and I don't like it.

But, of course, instead of going out and trying to make some friends tonight, I'm sitting at home posting on the internet on how I feel like a loser.


The San Francisco treat

Tuesday, October 12, 2010
I spent a week and a half in the Bay Area last month attempting to get my CCNA, which is a huge nerd certification which you can tell girls about in attempts to not get laid.

As it turns out the class was a bit of a bust, and I didn't even feel remotely prepared to take the test, so I didn't. I'll study some more and give it a shot in a few weeks. Maybe.

Of course I couldn't let a good trip out there go to waste, so I hung out with some friends for the extra weekend.

Meet Kris. Kris likes to hump things.

Meet Kristina and Natasha. I don't know if they like to hump things, but they probably didn't after I mentioned the letters "CCNA".

Kris an I later drove down the Pacific Coast Highway a bit to see what was going on.

I thought this guy had an awesome view for fishing.

The rest of the photos can be found here.

WARNING: Grossness ahead.

Saturday, October 9, 2010
So I'm going to try to update this slightly more often than once every two months. At least once a month now.

When I moved into this place, I noticed the front porch light fixture had a rather large accumulation of bugs. I decided to ignore it until I absolutely needed to pull the fixture down.

As luck would have it, the last bulb in it burned out last week and I had no choice but to pull down the glass fixture which was LOADED with moths and beetles and who knows what else. It was well over an inch high in a few places in the glass.

Even the retaining ring was completely full!

Happy Birthday Goomba

Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Goomba turned two years old last month. Large dogs usually don't live as long as small dogs, so this is probably around age 20-25 in human years.

Owning a Newfoundland subjects you to questions you don't hear with a lot of other breeds. So I present the...

Top Ten Questions You Hear When Owning a Newfoundland

1) Is that a horse?
No, it's a dog.

2) Is that a bear?
No, it's a dog.

3) Do you have a saddle for him?
No, I do not.

4) Do you ride him around?
No, I do not. He doesn't like things on his back, although other people have reported a bit of success with their dogs.

5) Is that a (Great Pyrenees/St. Bernard/Other breeds I can't recall)?
No, it's a Newfoundland.

6) How much does he weigh?
Goomba weighs around 140 lbs, which is about average for the breed. I have personally met one that weighed in at 220 lbs!

7) Does he take you for walks?
Only when he sees a cat.

8) How much does he eat?
He eats about six cups of Orijen Adult per day. Goomba is allergic to grains, so I had to buy him a rather pricey grain-free food to keep him healthy.

9) Does he shed lots?
He sheds unreal amounts of hair, but only for a couple of months of the year (usually around May and September).

10) Does he sleep with you?
Goomba will sometimes crawl onto the bed with me for a few minutes, often laying directly on top of me. He eventually gets too hot and moves to the hallway, the kitchen, or even the bathtub!

We're not in Kansas any more.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Once again I seem to be having a lack of blog posts.

I'm not entirely sure why. I think it's just because my life isn't particularly exciting at the moment.

Last month I helped a friend move from Columbia, Missouri to Boulder, Colorado.
I got the privilege of driving a Penske truck through Kansas! Let me tell you - that isn't the most interesting place I've driven through.

Did you know that Missouri has wineries? Neither did I.

The Missouri River is pretty big, at least compared to Utah standards. Also, there appears to be a giant pube floating in it. Or maybe I need to clean my camera sensor. Yes, I think it's definitely the latter.

The drive through Kansas was interesting for at least the first five minutes until I made it through Kansas City. Afterwards it got a bit dull.

Even worse, I grabbed a stack of CDs from my friend to listen to, and one of them had been put in the wrong case. I ended up being stuck with an Ani DiFranco CD! *hurk*

This photo shows why 18mm is not enough for awesome sky shots. Need to go wider!

Wow I did a horrible job with those colors - the sky looks neon blue. I should redo that one.

I had never been to Kansas, so now I can check one more state off the "places I've been" list. Glad to help any time Heidi - although you will have to expect some teasing for it.

Our house in the middle of the street

Wednesday, August 18, 2010
So I think I alluded to it several months ago, but I guess I've never really said much about it until now. I finally moved closer to downtown, where you can actually walk to the grocery store and get to fun stuff without having to drive half an hour!

The new place is about the same size as my last one, but much better suited to me. It's only two bedrooms and two bathrooms, but it has a much larger range of entertainment options! It was built in 1920 and still has the original wood floors and windows!

The downstairs is finished, with a wet bar and a steam room!

Finally, a nice deck has been built out back, with a hot tub just off the master bedroom.

Leopold GoDOHsky

Sunday, May 30, 2010
Leopold Godowsky was a Polish-American composer, who, as far as I can tell, was legally insane.

For example, he decided that Etudes of Frederic Chopin (which are already incredibly difficult) weren't challenging enough already, and rewrote them. He reversed some of them so the left hand was playing the fast parts. He wrote some entirely for left hand alone. He combined two different ones into one piece.

Because I am a glutton for punishment, I decided to try to learn a few for myself. I chose the variation on Op.25 No.4. It has been reduced to be played entirely on the left hand, but there aren't too many notes on the paper, so it can't be THAT bad, can it?

So let's see what we've got here. Hey, these first three notes aren't too bad, so the rest of the piece can't be ....... ohhhhhhhhhh WTF:

Those numbers you see above and below the notes? That's telling you what fingers you should be using to play each key. Since I know most of you aren't pianists, try this exercise instead:

Using your left hand, on your computer keyboard hit the left Shift key with your pinky, and the letter "M" with your thumb. Now, WITHOUT LETTING GO OF THE "M", reach over and hit the period key with your middle finger, and the right Shift key with your index finger. Not so easy, eh?

Alright, well let's move on and see what else we have. Hey, lots of finger substitutions, and ... oh what the hell is this?!?!


For you non-pianists, hold down the left Shift key with your ring finger. Now hit both the "N" and the "M" key with your thumb. It's not too hard to do when thinking about it, but try doing it in the midst of regular typing!

Well let's see what the rest of this line has to offer:

Ow ow ow ow ow! Finger substitution isn't that uncommon in music, but this is unreal!

On your keyboard, hit the left Shift key with your pinky and the "M" key with your thumb. Now, without letting go of the "M" key, replace your thumb with your middle finger. Now, while still holding down "M" with your middle finger, hit "C" with your pinky, the comma with your index finger, and the slash key with your thumb. Now try doing it in one fluid motion!

OK fine, what does the last line torture us with?

I'm not even going to worry about the chord part for this demonstration. On your keyboard, with your left hand, just hit the following keys in rapid succession:

1) "Y" with your pinky
2) "G" with your pinky
3) "T" with your middle finger
4) "F" with your ring finger
5) "D" with your pinky
6) "E" with your ring finger

Well I don't know about you but my hand is already cramping, and we're only on the first page. Well done, Mr. Godowsky.

Nice cans.

Sunday, May 9, 2010
I do not like dealing with homelessness.

It's not because I think I'm above a homeless person. I'm not.

It's because you don't know who legitimately needs help and who doesn't.

Several years ago I saw a guy panhandling for money outside of Crossroads Mall. He had the typical beard and old clothes and sign saying he was a homeless veteran, please help, god bless, etc.

About ten minutes later, I saw the same guy walking through the mall, talking to somebody on a Bluetooth headset.

I once had a guy approach me for money to replace a broken fan belt for his car. I knew there was a Checker Auto Parts just a block away. I offered to walk up there with him and buy him a fan belt. He declined of course, he just wanted the money.

And then, of course, there are stories like this:

Bottom line: I don't give money to people who claim to be homeless. I much prefer to give to organizations like The Road Home who can put the money to use for people who actually are in need of it.

This last week, however, I did meet a person who I felt genuinely needed help.

I had just gotten home from somewhere, and he was walking down the street. He was going through all of the recycling dumpsters in the neighborhood and collecting all the aluminum cans from them and loading them into a huge plastic bag on his bicycle.

I knew I had a ton of cans, so I started pulling mine out of the dumpster and crushing them for him. He made it to my house and helped me round up the cans I had crushed. I chatted with him for a little bit. Said he had a few medical problems, a few thousand in bills to pay off. I wasn't sure of his housing situation, but you could tell his need was legit. And you know what - he was actually doing something about it by rounding up cans for recycling money.

I gave him all the change I had on me and told him I would set aside all of my cans for him in a separate bag from now on so he didn't have to go rooting through my dumpster. I do really hope to meet him again and find out more about what his story is. I hope it will eventually end up with a happy ending.

Supply and Demand

Sunday, May 2, 2010
The other day I was running some errands in West Valley, and I decided to pop into F.Y.E. to browse their used classical CDs.

F.Y.E. always has an odd selection of used CDs. Sometimes they're even priced reasonably.

Other times, though, the pricing leaves me completely confounded.

For example, about a year ago, I ran into a set of about eight CDs of Beethoven-contemporary Ferdinand Ries. They were all priced at about $10 a piece.

Sounds reasonable, right?

I've been teaching myself about classical music since I was about six years old. I've been broadcasting it for nearly six years, and while I am no means a professor at it, I consider myself well-versed in it.

I have never heard of Ferdinand Ries.

And I'm guessing none of you have either.

In fact, I'm guessing the number of people in the entire Salt Lake valley who have heard of Ferdinand Ries can probably be counted on both hands.

I could be wrong on that number, of course, but I doubt it's by much.

OK, so let's double that number and say that 20 people in the valley have heard of Ferdinand Ries.

What are the odds that one of them goes into that particular F.Y.E.?

And what are the odds that one of them is actually looking for music by Ferdinand Ries?

I'm going to put that number around zero.

Which is why, a year later, the same eight CDs were still available when I visited this weekend.

Frankly, if the price was a little more reasonable, I'd pick up the set myself just out of curiosity and for something new to play on my show. But at $10 a pop, I can't justify that.

And I doubt there is any one else in the Salt Lake valley who can either. Which is why I expect those same eight CDs to still be there another year from now. Or five years. Or until the store closes.

(Any F.Y.E. people reading this, maybe drop the price to $8 (plus the 20% used CD discount for buying three or more, plus 10% off for being one of your special members), and I'll give it a second thought.)


Sunday, April 25, 2010
People these days have too much "stuff".

I include myself in that statistic, because, well, it's true.

Granted, I am not to the level of the people you see on Hoarders, where an intervention is needed. No, I'm quite the opposite. I actually pride myself on my ability to keep myself mostly in check with "stuff".

When I knew I was going to be moving, I got rid of as much crap as I could. Even when you think you do well at keeping your life mostly clean, you still do find stuff you don't need. I donated or threw away clothing, dishes, and other random items that I unwittingly accumulated over the years.

Through the process of unpacking in my new place, I'm finding a new batch of "stuff" that I probably should get rid of. But for one reason or another, I can't get myself to do it!

For example, I have a box of bold, solid-colored velvet-like curtains.

I used them in my last two places, but my current place doesn't need them. Easy to get rid of, right? But they have photographic possibilities! A good solid-colored backdrop can be useful! Granted, I've used these curtains as a backdrop exactly once, but I used it! Is it worth keeping around a box of curtains in hopes I may use them for this one day?

I have a few boxes of other things I haven't been able to get myself to get rid of, like a bunch of original NES games. I haven't hooked up that NES in five or more years, and 98% of the games I want to play are available on the Virtual Console on the Wii. I have no good reason to keep them around.

Other things I still haven't gotten rid of include:

- Clothes appropriate for camping, which I've worn twice in the last three years.
- Two rolls of Furby wrapping paper. I have no clue where they came from cuz I sure didn't buy them, but they're so awesome that I can't get rid of them.
- A set of TV trays. What if I have a party and people need a place to set their drink down? Perfect!
- A huge box of painting supplies. I'm perfectly happy with all the paint here. Why do I need them?

But let's take this one step at a time. Comment and tell me whether I should keep the curtains. What would you do?

Kick off your high-heeled sneakers, it's party time!

Friday, March 19, 2010
So, some of you are aware that I am purchasing a new house downtown.

And if you're not aware of it ... well, you are now.

I'll make a separate post in the upcoming weeks once I'm moved in and can take some pictures so you can see what the hell I'm talking about.

But ... something I can work on planning now is the housewarming party!

Being as strange as I am, I have a very diverse group of friends, and I don't know how well they would mesh.

So I'm considering throwing two housewarming parties in different styles, and you can attend the one (or both) that suits your taste. Maybe I'll even throw a third one for my more-religious friends who would like to avoid hearing my Dennis Hopper impressions.

Maybe I can come up with a witty name for the parties. "Class and Trash"? "High Life and Miller High Life"?

To help you decide which party you would rather attend, base your choice on the following information:

#1 - Agour Ossau-Iraty with Rosemary and Sea Salt Crackers
#2 - Chili Cheese-Flavored Fritos
#3 - Green jello with carrot shavings

#1 - 2003 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon
#2 - Pabst Blue Ribbon
#3 - Caffeine-free Dr. Pepper

#1 - Thievery Corporation
#2 - Motley Crue
#3 - U2

#1 - Trivial Pursuit: 80s Edition
#2 - Rock Band: 80s Edition
#3 - Jots and Tittles: 80 A.D. Edition

#1 - Gallery Stroll and Dine O'Round
#2 - Who shaves their junk?
#3 - Infants, toddlers, kids, children, rug rats, crotchfruit

Hot Tub Attire
#1 - Au natural
#2 - None
#3 - Full body suit

If you think I should just throw one big party and let everybody deal with each other, say so. Perhaps I can be convinced!

Thank you.

Thursday, March 11, 2010
Today I decided to de-link my blog from Facebook.

I previous had Facebook set to automatically import my blog posts as a note. I decided I didn't want to do that any more because reading a blog requires a marginal bit more effort. If you're reading this, you've actually found the link posted somewhere or received it from me, and cared enough to actually read. Facebook notes are just broadcast to all your contacts, whether they care or not.

Either way, the people reading this actually care to some degree about my life, or at least find me funny or something.

I was going to rant and rave about the last year, how it's kicked my ass, but how I've learned from it at the same time. But frankly, that's boring and a bit depressing.

I do, however, want to say that I finally feel like I'm starting to shed the last year, and my depression over it is dissipating. This last month I've felt more confident in myself than I have for quite a while.

Which brings us to you, the person reading this. Obviously if you've made it this far in this weird post, you do have some odd interest in my life for some reason. I want all of you to know that you have each brightened my life or taught me in some way.

Since I'm not entirely sure who reads this, I know I will miss people. Feel free to make yourself known if you ever want. All are welcome here.

Thank you to:

- The hippie who makes my work days tolerable by indulging each other in our quirkiness. I hope we never have a long uncomfortable silence again.

- The pastry chef who prevented me from batting 1.00 on insane girls. I wish our timing had been different, but I cherish the weeks we had and am excited for you and your new passion, even if I never get to share it with you.

- The girl who sounds like she's singing in her native language. I know your life has suddenly become more busy and I don't expect to see or hear as much from you. But don't fall off the earth. I still hope to visit at least every few years, here or there!

- The really short girl. I really enjoy chatting with you and wish we talked more often. Your cheery disposition always brightens my day, and your nickname for me ... well ... probably makes me a bit more cocky than I should be. But I'm not complaining. ;)

- The girl who I met on an LDS dating site - although you'd never guess it from our history. Thanks for letting me vent my troubles on IM. You're a very patient listener, and I appreciate that.

- My best friend's wife. We don't talk or see each other very often now that you're married and have kids, but I still enjoy the times we do stuff together.

- The former neighbor and classmate who seems as bright and cheery now as they were 20 years ago. Your attitude always makes me smile. It's contagious!

- The blog stalker whose blog I was stalking too. It's a bit more comfortable (although maybe not quite as fun) now that I've been outed. I think you are hilarious and could have quite the following if you ever chose to go public.

- The blog stalker who was quite proud of her stalking. I'm not sure what brought it on, but it amused me then and still amuses me now.

- The symphony friend who I am always very awkward with for some reason. Thanks for still talking to me despite my screw-ups. You're very forgiving, and it means a lot to me.

- The semi-famous blogger and columnist. We don't talk often, but hearing you rant and rave about the same things I do reassures me that I'm not crazy. Either that, or there are at least two crazy people in the world.

- The friend of a friend whose laptop I fixed and had working for all of a few hours. Thanks for listening to my radio show and making fun of how young I am and inviting me to bingo. I promise to make it some time.

- The ex that I am on speaking terms with. We chat every few months and it feels casual and comfortable. Thanks for not being bitter.

- The ex(s?) that I am not on speaking terms with. I don't know if you read this or not, although I suspect you may pop in on occasion. I know you're not happy with me and may never be. I hope you see it in your heart at some point to forgive my imperfections and at least become at peace with each other.

Hey, I can see the Cubs losing from here!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010
A little while ago I decided to take a quick weekend trip to Chicago. I've been to oddball places that nobody has ever heard of, but for some reason I've never been to the third largest city in the country.

I was scheduled to get in early evening on Friday, but due to flight troubles I got in around 9 pm. I had tickets to see some improv at Second City, so I was a bit bummed I missed most of the show. Second City is one of the premiere improv clubs in the US, and numerous big names are alums of it, including John Belushi, Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, Eugene Levy, Andy Dick, Mike Myers, Chris Farley, Stephen Colbert ... the list goes on and on! Despite missing the entire first half, I got my money's worth when they did a bit about Hall and Oates. Always appropriate!

Saturday was sunny and chilly, but I braved the cold to explore the Grant Park and other downtown areas.

Lake Michigan was still frozen over in a few places. These guys were throwing rocks onto the ice and trying to make it break through. DAMN HOODLUMS GET A JOB

If you have never seen the Cloud Gate, it's definitely worth checking out sometime in your life. I could have spent hours photographing all the different reflections and such.

That night I went to catch a Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert, featuring the Shostakovich 11th Symphony. While the Shostakovich is one of my favorite works, the deal-clencher for me was the fact that Charles Dutoit was conducting. The very first classical CD I bought was conducted by Charles Dutoit, and I've amassed quite a collection of his work. I've always wanted to see him perform live, and now I can finally check that off my "to do" list.

A rainy Sunday was spent exploring and shopping in Wicker Park. The weather was unpleasant so I didn't bother taking any photos. I did, however, stop into Reckless Records, on which the book/movie High Fidelity is supposedly based.

The evening wrapped up by visiting an old classmate whom I hadn't seen in almost 20 years. I attended her Oscar party, where I received accolades for choosing the fewest number of Oscar winners correctly. The winner chose 16 correctly, with most people getting around 12-14 correct. I brought up the rear with a total of six correct guesses. Perhaps there's a reason I'm not on the Academy Board.

All in all, Chicago is a pretty decent city. I don't think it has as much charm as New York City, but it has plenty to offer. I would also suggest staying for longer than a weekend - I didn't have enough time to see and do everything I wanted.

The rest of the pics can be seen here.

(I really need to spring for a 10-22mm - look at those building lean! That's beyond Photoshop-able.)


Monday, February 15, 2010
As a kid, I always dreamed of being a radio DJ. I would play music and announce songs to myself in my spare time. One day, somebody would hear me.

That day has finally come, as I was offered a spot as a DJ on UtahFM, an online community radio station.

I jumped into things right away and started an all-classical show, which I call "(de)composition". I "decompose" music from time to time, analyzing the technical structure underneath it, and hopefully giving listeners some insight into things they hear. Other times I play music fitting a particular theme.

So, if any of you have nothing to do on Monday nights between 6 pm and 9 pm (changing to Thursday mornings in April), give me a listen. Maybe you'll hear something you like. Or maybe you'll just laugh at my on-air voice. Either way, thanks for listening!

(I also have a crappy website set up at - check it out to view previous playlists and a catalog of most of the music I play. I'll put more stuff up at some point.)

Holy underwear Batman!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Several years ago I went to visit my friend Jenny in Sweden. Through a long series of misconnected flights, my luggage disappeared into the abyss somewhere. (The abyss is also known as Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris - where luggage is often sucked into a black hole for eternity.)

Having been flying for 18+ hours and arriving with only the clothes on my back, I would soon be producing odors more suitable for - well, Paris. I was already feeling a bit uncomfortably sticky as it was. Since my luggage was not likely to show up that day, or even the day after, we chose to go to H&M to buy a few articles of clothing to get me through the next few days.

I bought a pair of jeans, a couple of t-shirts, and another set of my beloved "days of the week" socks.

I also bought a few sets of boxer-briefs.

After I got to the house and showered, I put on the boxer-briefs and was pleasantly surprised to find they fit perfectly. There was no excess material anywhere, yet they weren't fitting too tightly. This has been the opposite of my experience with US-market boxer briefs. I don't know why the US-market briefs don't fit well, but frankly they suck. The Hanes and Fruit-of-the-Loom briefs feel more like boxers with a bit of elasticity. Old Navy's boxer-briefs are particularly bad - I believe they were made for kangaroos with a pouch in the front and no genitals below.

Anyway, I later returned home with my new perfectly-fitting boxer-briefs and they joined the underwear rotation. But I always was sure to wear them for special "dressy" occasions like the symphony or funerals. You never know when you're going to get lucky at a funeral and want your best underwear on display for potential mourners.

While doing laundry today I noticed my very favorite pair of the set, a bold dark blue number, has developed a number of holes in the crotch area. They're not huge holes yet, but they will be in a a short matter of time.

It's times like this that I'm glad I'm single.

We all know that girls will make you throw away your favorite pair of underwear as soon as there are holes in it. Despite the imperfections, I am in no way ready to throw away this particular pair of briefs. In fact, I think I'm going to step away from dating for the next year or two, just so I don't end up in a relationship which may see my favorite banana hammock relegated to the trash bin.


Monday, January 11, 2010
Today was a busy day at work, and I didn't end up having time to grab any lunch.

Then I have my radio show at 6:00, which didn't leave me any time to grab some dinner either. Hence I have not really eaten today.

There is a small market by the radio station studio. I popped in there and grabbed the best dinner I could: a jar of Pringles and a king size Snickers.

I got into the studio and set up shop and queued up a long song so I would have time to devour my meal.

As I pulled the Snickers bar out of my backpack, I felt something was amiss. It felt like it was broken in two. OK, fine maybe I set it down a bit rough. Famished, I opened it and plopped this down:

What the hell is this crap?!?! There is nothing "KING SIZE" about two Halloween-sized candy bars! A King Size Snickers is supposed to look like a massive majestic lump of milk chocolate-covered orgasm, not two turd nuggets!

Reading the label carefully, you see that they now advertise it as a "2 Piece" (written in smaller letters, of course) King Size. More importantly, though, is the weight, which has decreased to a meager 3.29 ounces of carbohydrate-loaded goodness. This is a decrease of over 11% from the original King Size Snickers of 3.7 ounces! Who to blame for this? Apparently the Food and Drink Federation in the UK, in an effort to make consumers more health conscious. Of course, the price remained the same for the reduced-sized bar. How convenient!

In short, Snickers is now off the top of my list of preferred meals on the go. I haven't decided who will be promoted into this new position, but it's likely to be a runoff between Twix, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Pringles. Farewell, my old friend Snickers.