ch-ch-ch-changes…

Well, after a little over a year, the startup that I’m working for has decided to close the location at which I work. It’s been fun, it’s been real, but I can’t say I’ll miss it too terribly. The long hours were gruelling, and now it’s time for a break.

So, what’s next? Honeymoon. My last day is Sept 30, and we begin our honeymoon Oct 1. Pretty sweet, if you ask me.

BTW, getting laid off sucks. I’ve gone through the emotions about it, and feel a lot better about it now that I’ve gone through them. In the end, I know that I’ve been called to do something else, and for the last several months, I’ve been feeling more and more that I should not be here anyway. This is just speeding up the process. My next step is to do some web work and multimedia work for a small company that does such things. Also, I’m going to step up the game with the nonprofit that I’m a part of. The next year will be interesting indeed.

After the honeymoon, I’m taking some much needed rest. I haven’t had a real vacation in years, and it’s about time to regroup, gather my thoughts, focus on my future, er “our” future 🙂

Oh, also, we’re trying to move. That’s a load of fun in and of itself. Add that to the other stuff going on, and it’s a recipe for an ulcer. Ah, everything in its own time, everything in its own time. (I’m no where near getting an ulcer, really, I just have a penchant for the dramatic. I’m really about as un-stressed about the whole thing as I could possibly hope for)

Here’s to the end. The end of Chapter 2, and the beginning of chapter 3!

<EOL>

New Crack City

So A2C and I are in DC for a little R&R. We go shopping one day, and she gets me to try an iced-decaf-soy milk latte at *$s. I have to say, I’m hooked. We got a coffee/cappuccino machine for our wedding, and we just made some at home this last weekend.

Now, I’ve tried avoiding caffeine for a long time, as it has some pretty bad effects on my sleep. However, I think I’ll have to find a place for this new fascination.

Ah, sweet addiction, thy name is iced-decaf-soy milk latte.

<EOL>

connections…

so, I’m reading slashdot, and a submitter’s name suddenly strikes a chord in my memory. I follow the link in the story, and find that we have the same alma mater. intrigued, I shot off an email trying to see if there is a connection.

Within an hour, I receive a reply. The person not only identifies me, but a few key words in the mail totally bring the memories of where we knew each other from rushing back. How cool is that?

When I was a shy nerd back in the junior high days, my parents forced encouraged me to “broaden my horizons” by going to summer camp. As it turns out, it was the best thing I did in my youth. I met lots of great people and had wonderful experiences.

So there’s a flurry of email exchanged, and it turns out that this person has also kept in touch with others from our camp days! Man, I hope we can all get together and catch up on the last several years soon!

Anyway, this really made my day 🙂

<EOL>

decrescendo

In all things there is a balance. With joy comes sorrow, with death comes life, and with beginnings, ends. (cue Barber’s "Adagio for Strings")

As I approached the microphone, the cacophany of sniffling noses and choked moans of emotional release rang in my ear. Could I keep my composure long enough to let those present know what I felt? My mind was awash with memories of the smell of an aged iron skillet, the taste of cheese toasties on a cool summer day. All I knew is that I missed her already.

As I approached the microphone, accompanied by my 2 older cousins, the gravity of the day truly sank in. There would be no more time together in this life. There would be no more phone calls, enquiring as to the presence of cars in the driveway. There would be no more Thanksgivings or Christmases spent with everyone gathered around.

The words to the sentimental poem left my mouth, but rang only a cold din in the chill of the parlor. Though the words were true, they could not convey the emotion that swelled as they were read.

The sincere outpouring of stories from lives she had touched brought to light the profundity of the impact this one woman has had in her time here. I realized at the visitation, as the hordes of friends and family crowded past, that she had not only touched these lives, but truly shaped them. Some were taught to sing. Others had learned life lessons in tolerance. Some were still in awe of her immense compassion and love.

I will remember many things. There are the usuals, like the love that she showed all her grandchildren, or the wisdom and learnings from her experience-rich life. I’ll always remember the time she (an old caucasian woman, as white as white can be) taught me (a little Korean kid) how to use chopsticks. This thought always brings a smile to my lips.

As the Taoists might say, she was the center, holding the family wheel together and allowing it to function. She is where we all returned. She is where we all found reconciliation, understanding and forgiveness. She showed God’s love to those around her, never judging, always accepting.

I’m glad I got to see her before she left us. The doctor said if I wanted to see here it should be soon. I’m glad I took the opportunity. I was at lunch with Gene and Dan at the seafood buffet, when my phone rang at about 2:15 on that Saturday. A week later, I was home, and visiting her. I remember I gave her a kiss on her cheek and held her close one last time before I had to catch my plane back to the east coast. I count myself truly blessed because I was able to tell her how much I love her and how much she’s meant to me all of my life.

The only regret I have is that she was not able to see my wedding. She passed only 3 weeks prior. Interestingly, on the day of the wedding, a bird had entered the reception hall. I’d like to think that in someway, this represented her presence there. Somehow, God wanted me to have a physical reminder that her memory would always be with me, particularly on those special days.

If there were one thing more I could say to her, it would be, “You will always be in my heart. You will always be grandma.”

<EOL>

Grandma was right…

You know, back when I was a kid, I thought it was so stupid when some well-meaning adult would say, “you know, that’s how wars are started!”, in response to kids in disagreement on something. I remember thinking, “yeah, right. As if world leaders are really so childish as to put the lives of their countrymen at stake for really pedantic reasons.” I always thought that the world of adults was about really important things, and that they were above playing silly games, or starting conflicts over seemingly meaningless words or actions, or doing completely irrational and stupid things.

To all of you well-meaning adults who have ever uttered those words, my sincerest apologies.

<EOL>

Ordeal of The One Ring

Suddenly, everything went into slow motion. The words that rolled off his lips seemed to hesitate in the air, gathering untold amounts of potential energy before unleashing their harsh reality on my ears. “There’s no way we can set a stone in this setting.”

As these words made their way across my tempanic membrane, they didn’t seem real. At first, I thought that I was in some surreal dream. I was half expecting the clocks on the wall to start melting, and the man’s face to contort into some mockery of a human visage.

Unfortunately, it was true, and something needed to be done right away. Months had passed, and no resolution had come of the whole mess. Something would be done today. If need be, my typically mild disposition would be pushed aside by the rage of a consumer scorned.

Let me back up a bit. In August, I purchased a diamond for A2C. At that time, she didn’t know what type of setting she wanted, so we decided to wait until she figured it out. By the time she left for China, I knew what she wanted and where to get it. Armed with this knowledge, I called the vendor – who shall remain nameless – and ordered the setting, or so I thought. It turns out that the setting I wanted was not availble alone. It only came with a stone. However, I could order a reproduction of that setting. It would take 8 weeks. This was crazy, but I agreed, desiring to obtain the setting that I knew A2C would just love. So, I placed the order and waited.

At about the 6 week mark, I received a shipment notice. Yes! The ring would soon be complete. Upon arrival, I immediately noticed that the ring I held in my hand was not the one in the accompanying photo. The design was different: not even close. I immediately called them and informed them of the mishap. They readily acknowledged the error and offered to ship the correct one right away. I sent the wrong one back and waited.

Upon receipt of the second ring, I again noticed that it wasn’t 100% the same as the one I selected, but it was closer. I asked A2C if this was okay. She hesitated, mulled it over, but in the end, she wanted what she wanted, and so did I. For all this effort, waiting and trouble, I wanted to get what I had paid for. I called the vendor again, and explained. Again, they were willing to work with me. They agreed to remove the stone from the original and ship that item to me. Naively, I agreed to this.

Another week passes, and I finally receive the correct item. I call around to find a place to get it all put together. Being the week before Christmas, this was impossible. So we decided to wait until after the holiday to conlcude our months-long quest. I took a half-day the first Monday after Christmas, and A2C and I journeyed to the dealer from whom we purchased the stone. I showed them the setting and made my request to get it set, sized and appraised. Then things got surreal.
****
That brings us back to the moment at hand. A cold sweat started to form on my brow, and my stomach began to feel like the epicenter of a brewing storm. Instinctively, I reached for my phone and searched for the phone number of the setting vendor. Not there. I asked the dealer if they could retrieve the number from the vendor’s website. Within minutes, I was speaking to the salesperson that I dealt with. I explained that I was standing at the jeweler’s and had just been informed that the setting was in very poor shape. I was told that many of the prongs were damaged, and that there were signs of previous repair attempts. This was not acceptable. This vendor has a policy of no refunds, but my case was extenuating, and the salesperson quickly complied with my request for a refund. I was wholly ready to wage a war over this matter, as I was one very dissatisfied customer. Luckily, the scorn was not needed.

So, my irritation still subsiding, we decided to take a look at the settings that were available at the dealer’s shop. We were told that if we wanted a custom setting, it might take some time. A2C interpreted this to mean that there was no way she’d get her precious that day.

Our guide led us to the other showroom and helped A2C refine her selection of a setting. After viewing several samples and deciding on 3, I could see the disappointment on her face. It was tearing me up inside. Then, I noticed that one of the setting she picked was already in the metal she wanted, and was available. It also happened to be the one of her selected 3 that I personally liked. I whispered in her ear that if she picked this one, we could go home with it today. Her eyes lit up, and a smile of joy burst from her lips. Decision made.

A few hours later we walked out of the shop, ring on finger, one happy A2C, and an even happier malfunction54.

fixin’ maniac…

It all started with that old ADA preamp. Since then, I’ve fixed Ken’s Tobias bass (just needed to re-solder a wire to a potentiometer), and I’ve revived my old fretless bass.

Way back in 1992, I bought my first bass. I don’t even remeber what brand it was, but it had a cherry burst finish, and a small body. I really liked that bass. I had it setup by the one guy in my hometown who *really* knew how to set up a guitar. Dave Pickett was his name, and if Pickett couldn’t fix it, it couldn’t be fixed. Needless to say, when I got it back, it played like a dream.

Then a friend of mine, Jay, wanted to know if I’d trade him for his fretless. He needed a fretted bass to do some recording. He sweetened the deal by throwing in a Crybaby wah-wah pedal. This was an offer I couldn’t refuse. So, I traded my first bass for this fretless and the wah pedal.

Many years passed, and since I didn’t play enough to be good at the fretless, I really didn’t play it much at all. Eventually, I moved out to the east coast and got the itch to play again. Unfortunately, years of neglect had taken its toll on the fretless. The battery for the active electronics had corroded and took the battery connector with it. Also, the output jack corroded. I thought it was finished. “Maybe one day I could fix it”, I thought. And so, it lingered amongst my possessions until a few days ago.

With my new-found interest in fixing things, I thought I’d fix my gaze upon this old thing and give it a shot. I looked at the electronics, and it looked like I really just needed to replace the jack and the battery connector. Everything else seemed to be okay. So, this Saturday, I headed over to a local guitar shop and got the jack and the connector. A grand total of $12. I figured it was worth that much to see if it was fixable. If it didn’t work, I was out $12 and I could get rid of the bass with the knowledge that I had at least tried to fix it.

To make a long story short, after one failed attempt, I realized my mistake and rewired one of the connections. That did it! I plugged it in and I was in business. How cool is that?!

<END OF LINE>

A2C 365

Wow! Yesterday marked one year since A2C and I have been together (that 0x016D days in hex, or 0000 0001 0110 1101 in binary). She’s the best! As a gift, she got me the LOTR trilogy on DVD. It’s the theatrical version in widescreen. She was bummed that it didn’t have all the extra footage, but honestly, I don’t really care that much. I like having what was in the theaters. Also, widescreen was my primary concern. The whole set is 6 discs in all! Whoa. I can’t wait to see what’s included in the exrtra features.

She also managed to find something I’ve been looking for for a long, long time. She found a Buttercup keychain! It’s so groovin’. AND, she also found a little Godzilla keychain as well. Man. What a woman 🙂

In all serialness, she’s the best thing that’s happened to me, and not merely because of the aforementioned things!

A2C… she pwnz0rz!

w007!

<EOL>

losing what I lost

dang! After a weekend of having a picnic, and a birthday party, I seem to have gained the girth back. My pants are a bit tight about the waist. 🙁 Oh well. At least I’m eating better now. Hopefully over time, the reduction and normalization of my eating habits will lead to a decline in weight.

Oh yeah, got a haircut this weekend. I let A2C try her “hand” at it. She did a really good job of it, but I think it’s a little too short in the front. Oh well, I’m sure next time will be better 😉

<EOL>